Jump to content
Objectivism Online Forum

Tell me why...

Rate this topic


Zip
 Share

Recommended Posts

MonopolyOnReason.com, you were wondering in this topic why Objectivists express "antagonism and suspicion" toward Libertarian politics.

In order to help discover the reason behind that, (although it has already been enunciated from the Objectivist's point of view) I would ask you, as a Libertarian to explain to me what the beliefs of that political philosophy are and why.

The why, to me can be as or more important than the what, so please be as succinct as possible.

So, the ball is in your court... as Mill said, "the clearer perception and livelier impression of truth, [is] produced by its collision with error"...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I began typing here in the forum directly, but I could not manage to distill my thoughts on this down to a couple of sentences, so I put it in a post here.

There are several mistakes you are making; for one, Objectivism does not make arguments for the system based rationalistically on the axioms -- Objectivism is based on observations every step of the way; and Objectivism maintains that a government is needed to uphold individual rights and to settle disputes -- in your anarchist or semi-anarchist "country", what are you going to do if you have a grievance with someone? shoot them at your own discretion? get together your gang of friends and shoot the offenders at their discretion? by vote?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Zip,

I began typing here in the forum directly, but I could not manage to distill my thoughts on this down to a couple of sentences, so I put it in a post here.

Adam, "TheTruth"

Monopoly On Reason

Ayn Rand's works (which still "speak for Objectivism at this point", to answer one of your questions) have obvious answers to all the points you raise in your article, I'm just gonna answer this tiny part -- because I never actually articulated my take on the subject before, in writing -- :

1. Personally, I believe in individual liberty. That means anyone can make his own choices as long as it does not infringe on another’s similar liberty. 2. I favor consistency and morality over the specifics of the situation. That means that if I do not understand how a scenario would be handled without government, for example, that in no way lessens my certainty that government is not the solution, because before the solution is discussed, government is, by definition, coercive, and therefore immoral. I do not believe that the “ends justify the means.” This alone is probably the basis of most disagreement.

3. Anarchy (as a label) has a bad name, generally associated with what one person recently called “destructive chaos.” I reject that view and point out that “anarchy” is how most of our daily business is transacted. If a man works for an employer, it is because he wants him to continue working there and he wants to continue working there. There is no coercion or controlling authority needed for that transaction to be orderly and voluntary. Even if they disagree, the employer can ask the employee not to return or the employee can quit. Either is acceptable and still requires no controlling authority.

I did the numbering(1.,2.,3.), everything else is copy/pasted from your article.

1. Objectivist philosophy holds that the ideal political-economic system is laissez-faire capitalism. Logically, I see no difference between what you wrote in point (1.) and what laissez-faire capitalism means, although it's obvious you think there is a difference.

Capitalism is a system where no man may obtain any values from others by resorting to physical force, and no man may initiate the use of physical force against others. The government acts only as a policeman that protects man’s rights.

You on the other hand believe, for reasons that to me are not apparent, that such a system can exist without a government which retaliates against criminals. I've heard anarchists dismiss the idea that people would face violence and abuse on an unimaginable scale from both criminal gangs and groups of people who's justice will have nothing to do with this libertarian ideal, and they seem to base their idea on their view of human nature, which would supposedly not allow that: the fact is that the human race always lived in anarchy, and we still do: countries, different ideologies, nations, tribes etc. are the natural result of such a closed system. There is no other force that acted on human civilization in the past: only the same human nature we have today, which gives us "free will" to choose. There is no reason to think that suddenly everybody will choose to think and act rationally.

My point, on the other hand, is that a government, which is separate from economics (the same way state and church are separate), does in fact allow for what you described in point (1.). How does a government which only uses force against those who initiated physical force against others conflict with "individual liberty, that means anyone can make his own choices as long as it does not infringe on another’s similar liberty." ?

2. I favor consistency and morality over the specifics of the situation. That means that if I do not understand how a scenario would be handled without government, for example, that in no way lessens my certainty that government is not the solution, because before the solution is discussed, government is, by definition, coercive, and therefore immoral. I do not believe that the “ends justify the means.” This alone is probably the basis of most disagreement.

Well, government is not by definition coercive. In fact, a government that only acts as a policeman to protect man's rights is by definition not coercive against people who don't coerce( =to restrain or dominate by force, to compel to an act or choice) anyone.

As far as something being immoral, you first have to describe an ethical system according to which it is immoral. Then you can act on principle (favor morality over pragmatism).

Now, an ethical system, like everything else in life, should serve a purpose: namely to help you survive as a rational being. In order to formulate an etchical system that is useful to you, you first have to understand reality, and even before that, you have to understand that there is such a thing as reality. For that, you need philosophy.( in our case, you need Aristotle's law of identity, or what Leibniz called "A is A"). Here's a webpage to get you started:

Objectivism Essentials

Or, if you can formulate an ethical code to support your theories, please do, I'd love to comment. Of course, you need to leave out the part about government being by definition coercive. That's false.( not according to objectivism, but according to any dictionary)

3. Anarchy (as a label) has a bad name, generally associated with what one person recently called “destructive chaos.” I reject that view and point out that “anarchy” is how most of our daily business is transacted. If a man works for an employer, it is because he wants him to continue working there and he wants to continue working there. There is no coercion or controlling authority needed for that transaction to be orderly and voluntary. Even if they disagree, the employer can ask the employee not to return or the employee can quit. Either is acceptable and still requires no controlling authority

You are right, there is no authority needed for such a transaction to take place in a society where that man's children are safe to walk to school by themselves, while he is working, where an employer's property is safe even if he decides to fire all his employees at once, etc. What is to stop the employees from not accept being fired, simply because they disagree with the decision. Is the employer going to have a security force to make sure they do? If yes, what's to stop this employer from keeping his employees there by force, the same way a tyrant can use the police to control the population?

Edited by Jake_Ellison
Link to comment
Share on other sites

MOR, Jake and the others did a very good job of addressing most of your ideas from an Objectivist point of view so I won't rephrase them to get my 2 cents in in my own words but I will address another.

First off, my apologies for labeling you a Libertarian. Mea culpa.

In your post you wrote

I favor consistency and morality over the specifics of the situation.
The question I have is, if it isn't the specifics of the situation that dictate what you should morally do, then what is it?

For example If you see two men facing each other and one has a gun and is going to shoot the other, what morally should be done?

Hmmmm, not much situational information there is there?

Is there no moral difference if the man holding the gun is a Cop or a thief?

If your criteria is consistency does that mean that no matter what the situation you should disarm the man with the gun or mind your own business?

The facts of situations create the context that moral or immoral actions are taken in.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The question I have is, if it isn't the specifics of the situation that dictate what you should morally do, then what is it?

For example If you see two men facing each other and one has a gun and is going to shoot the other, what morally should be done?

Hmmmm, not much situational information there is there?

Is there no moral difference if the man holding the gun is a Cop or a thief?

Damn, I couldn't think of a good example to address this exact same point.

I could also use a few better arguments against anarchy, if someone would like to add to that part.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thomas,

I have some answers to the specific question of how else difficult situations that have traditionally been left to government can be handled, but that will take some time to articulate. I will do that in the next few days. Keep in mind, that they are merely plausible alternative scenarios. The collective genius of the free market will do a better job than any one individual.

Jake,

From what right does this governmental police force derive that makes it more legitimate than any other gang that declares dominion over an area? I fail to see much difference between this form of government, made up of flawed individuals that wield power and extract funding from all citizens, and an organized crime syndicate that infiltrate a region, forcefully charge "protection" money and mete out "justice" in a similar manner.

Government must be funded. If it is funded by voluntary contributions, we generally refer to it as a private security force. The term government generally means funded through involuntary contributions from all, which is coercion ("to compel to an act or choice"). Even when government is funded by tariffs on non-citizens, as was done before direct income taxation, that still represents the seizure of property in the form of skimming off the top of what free trade prices would naturally accrue to the producer.

Government also creates rules and part of your definition is "to restrain or dominate by force" which is exactly what the policeman do. In order to maintain "proper functions" such as policing, I believe you are granting those particular individuals power that is not "proper" and that in turn removes any protection you have against government of this sort growing into the kind of leviathan we have now in the U.S.

I also do not understand the faith in the idea that people are irrational and seek power and gain at the expense of others, but those same people become benevolent when offered even more power when sanctioned as a government. Casting government as an impartial entity makes little sense to me.

It seems that most of the justification for this is the practical idea that you are not sure how to accomplish some level of civility and safety without it. Since I do not believe that "the ends justify the means," I disagree that not knowing the answer means this easy coercive path has now become acceptable. That is actually the same argument made by some of the very poor that justify theft because they know no other way to survive.

As I mentioned above in response to Thomas, I do have some possible answers to the difficult situations traditionally handled by government, but it will take a little time to articulate (I'll start with this week's MOR blogs).

I think the concern over gang violence is misplaced. We already have it in the form of government. If you grant one gang the power of sanction, does that turn them into moral individuals?

In your example, the employer might keep employees by force. The government military is the only job I know that one cannot quit. What if the employer fires employees and they refuse to leave? Currently, the government often forces employers to rescind firing decisions for arbitrary reasons or penalizes an employer for simple situations where employer and employee were in agreement.

We already have the coercive, violent gang we all would like to avoid and it is indeed government. In the history of civilization, the sum total of all individual crime pales in comparison to the death, theft and other ill effects of government.

Zip,

Certainly, specifics are used to determine what is the moral thing to do. However, the same acts are moral whether the specific act is socially acceptable by popular opinion at the time. If taking from all citizens is wrong for social programs, it is just as wrong for police or military or courts. The fact that you see more value in one than the other seems arbitrary. Both derive from the taxman coming around and forcefully collecting funds with no explanation or guarantee of how they will be spent. They both derive from a smaller group that unilaterally decides what is right and wrong, important and frivolous, or, in a more cynical view, beneficial to that small group of people or not.

I do not consider the same act under the same circumstances to be morally different because one is labeled a cop and one is labeled a thief. Cops perpetrate plenty of bad acts, most of them sanctioned. Even a professional thief can choose to save an innocent from a mugging. The labels bestowed upon them is not what determines the morality.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I wish we could discuss things point by point, it would make it harder to avoid each other's arguments, but if you prefer it this way, fine...but I won't go through everything you write either. I'll just read your post once and answer you on the fly.

From what right does this governmental police force derive that makes it more legitimate than any other gang that declares dominion over an area? I fail to see much difference between this form of government, made up of flawed individuals that wield power and extract funding from all citizens, and an organized crime syndicate that infiltrate a region, forcefully charge "protection" money and mete out "justice" in a similar manner.

Government must be funded. If it is funded by voluntary contributions, we generally refer to it as a private security force. The term government generally means funded through involuntary contributions from all, which is coercion ("to compel to an act or choice"). Even when government is funded by tariffs on non-citizens, as was done before direct income taxation, that still represents the seizure of property in the form of skimming off the top of what free trade prices would naturally accrue to the producer.

Government also creates rules and part of your definition is "to restrain or dominate by force" which is exactly what the policeman do. In order to maintain "proper functions" such as policing, I believe you are granting those particular individuals power that is not "proper" and that in turn removes any protection you have against government of this sort growing into the kind of leviathan we have now in the U.S.

In an ideal society government would be funded by voluntary contributions. The scope of this government would be limited exactly by the fact that it is not allowed to use use force to collect taxes or any other tariffs, or in general do anything that would constitute coersion, directed at law-obiding (a laissez-faire capitalist law) citizens.

As far as your question: individual freedom and the right to one's property absolutely justifies the use of force in defense of people's life, freedom and property. This act is justified when the entity doing the "defending by force" is defending it's own life or property, it's neighbour's or anybody elses. And this entity, acting in defense of a right( to life, freedom, or property) can be a person, gang, a government, or Satan himself risen from a Hell I can't imagine exists, it is perfectly justified to defend said right against anyone who would initialize force.

So yes, because of this, a government which is voluntarily funded has the right to defend victims, the same way I have a right to jump to the defense of my friend if someone attacks him without justification.---I can't imagine a moral code under which such an act would fall outside my "rights".

I wish you would share your moral code with us though nonetheless.

Government also creates rules and part of your definition is "to restrain or dominate by force" which is exactly what the policeman do. In order to maintain "proper functions" such as policing, I believe you are granting those particular individuals power that is not "proper" and that in turn removes any protection you have against government of this sort growing into the kind of leviathan we have now in the U.S.

I also do not understand the faith in the idea that people are irrational and seek power and gain at the expense of others, but those same people become benevolent when offered even more power when sanctioned as a government. Casting government as an impartial entity makes little sense to me.

It seems that most of the justification for this is the practical idea that you are not sure how to accomplish some level of civility and safety without it. Since I do not believe that "the ends justify the means," I disagree that not knowing the answer means this easy coercive path has now become acceptable. That is actually the same argument made by some of the very poor that justify theft because they know no other way to survive.

Again, a policeman defending the victim of an attack or retaliating against such an attack is not using coersion, so I am not saying a coercive path has become acceptable.

I am not granting him any new power, we all have the right to do what a policeman would do in an ideal society: defend against force. All I am doing (if I want to) is giving him a reason to do this job: money.

Why am I doing this? Because I am making a rational decision that it is in my best interest to have someone be my protector, and everyone else's.

In your example, the employer might keep employees by force. The government military is the only job I know that one cannot quit. What if the employer fires employees and they refuse to leave? Currently, the government often forces employers to rescind firing decisions for arbitrary reasons or penalizes an employer for simple situations where employer and employee were in agreement.

We already have the coercive, violent gang we all would like to avoid and it is indeed government. In the history of civilization, the sum total of all individual crime pales in comparison to the death, theft and other ill effects of government.

No one forces soldiers to sign contracts. They do so voluntarily, and unfortunately it is necessary for society to hold them to that contract for those five years. We need to know we have a defense force we can count on, and they are perfectly aware of what they are signing up for: they have the right to do so.

As far as the ills of government, even our current ones(in the West) are a pretty sweet deal( eh, Wade? --silly Fargo reference, I love that movie), if you compare it to times in history when government was scarce or nonexistent in parts of the world: in fact we have the best lives ever.

And of course, there has never existed a truly laissez-faire capitalist society. Such a country would do even better than America did at the end of the 19th century, under a government that came closest to this. (yet so far away)

Edited by Jake_Ellison
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have some answers to the specific question of how else difficult situations that have traditionally been left to government can be handled, but that will take some time to articulate.

I think you are being somewhat concrete bound, in that you cannot conceive of a government other than what we have today. Under a purely capitalist government, you would be free to do most anything you wanted to do with your life, so long as you were not initiating force or fraud; and I don't understand someone who would argue against that, aside from those who want the supposed right to shoot someone on sight for a real or imagined grievance.

The primary purpose of such a government would be to retain control of the initiation of force or fraud and retributive force; because if you cannot retain enough self-control to explain yourself to someone else, then you are probably acting emotionally based on a real or imagined grievance. Basically, aside from direct here and now emergency self-defense situations, you do not have the right to take the law into your own hands. In order to subordinate force to reason, it is necessary for you to be able to explain how it was that your rights were violated objectively -- i.e. to other rational people, say in a court of law. And the reason the police are there is to prevent force from overwhelming anyone in particular (that can be handled with hand-held weapons).

You anarchist or anarchist leaning folks would have to explain what you would gain in that anarchy, when you have no one to turn to for self-defense or retaliation versus a purely capitalist government. What additional freedoms can you possibly claim under anarchy versus capitalism? The freedom to become judge, jury, and executioner? by what right? and by what moral code of behavior do you claim that right?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Zip,

If taking from all citizens is wrong for social programs, it is just as wrong for police or military or courts. The fact that you see more value in one than the other seems arbitrary. Both derive from the taxman coming around and forcefully collecting funds with no explanation or guarantee of how they will be spent. They both derive from a smaller group that unilaterally decides what is right and wrong, important and frivolous, or, in a more cynical view, beneficial to that small group of people or not.

You should check your premises. Like Thomas said, you seem unable to imagine a rational system in which the government is properly constrained and is in fact the servant of the people. Society without a government is chaos. As a matter of fact society without some form of government would be non-existent.

Also in a free society there is no compulsion, no taxes. The police would be funded privately or through the funds generated by the provision of other services provided by government.

I do not consider the same act under the same circumstances to be morally different because one is labeled a cop and one is labeled a thief. Cops perpetrate plenty of bad acts, most of them sanctioned. Even a professional thief can choose to save an innocent from a mugging. The labels bestowed upon them is not what determines the morality.

I think you are being purposefully obtuse. The intent of my post was clear, but since you seem unwilling to grasp the concept I’ll spell it out. The Cop, is carrying out a legal action, the thief is carrying out an illegal action. Of course if you reject the idea that there are legalities and illegalities then we have nothing more to talk about.

If you have a society with no police then the right to defend oneself is delegated to the individual. So the instant that a thief or a group of thugs bent on taking your money confronts you, your only recourse is to defend yourself. There is no one to defend your rights except you. The chance of you dying a violent death has just increased exponentially.

Now when that thief or some group of thugs decides that they want to control your whole neighbourhood the only recourse you and your neighbours have is to create an armed camp… Welcome to the second dark ages, with you and everyone else cloistered in semi-feudal enclaves armed to the teeth against the semi-feudal enclave of the next block over and roving bands of murderous criminals.

By the way, this anarchistic (chaos) ideal is prime pickings for the rule of the most evil. The vast majority of modern people are rights respecting, civilized folks… And they do not have the intestinal fortitude to carry out the range and scope of violent acts required to defeat the worst, vilest and most brutal minority of our “civilized society”.

Anarchy is a race to the bottom, the person who stoops lowest first wins.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Let me say, I believe Anarchy could work as a form of government, if it were allowed to. I personally would rather live in an Objectivist state than an anarchic state, here is why.

In an anarchy, a company may arise as a private security force to defend a particular community. Then another might pop up for the same region. The people in that region have the option as consumers, and in this case you'd think a little competition would be good! By capitalistic standards, this would be true. However, one PSF might claim dominion over an area, and start to fight the other. At this point, the people in the community would have to take up arms to fight for whatever specific PSF they happen to like, which if the companies don't have any sort of mission statement or ideology, may just be whichever one opposes the one that killed a family member, or whichever one a friend works for. Now a region is at war. Creating feuds, hatreds, and lots of killing. Then, the violence spills into a neighboring region, then the PSF of that region, and probably a few residents, would spill into the region, now we have a civil war. There is no authority, no state government capable of quelling this city vs. city violence, not unless there is a Private Military corporation, which would be difficult to fund with all these private security forces, and then the people must ask the private military to settle the violence, and they may do it, or they may not, because what does a private military corporation get paid for? War. What if there is no more war? Get paid less.

In an Objectivist style of government the people would pay one military organization, and it would be held to the standard of objective laws, which protect individual rights only. We would pay one police organization in our area, which would also be held to those laws. Without those laws explicitly stated and objectively interpereted, there would be no way to prevent the one or two (Yes, I think people are good enough that there is only a few corrupt individuals) bad guys from getting a lot of power and exerting it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

There are certainly agreements that can be reached that fall between individual self defense and a monopolistic central authority. If we are talking past each other because of a misunderstanding of definitions, allow me clear it up. I define "a monopolistic central single organization in the region to which every individual is subject" to be a government. If the entity you describe indeed has not been granted additional powers and cannot compel all individuals to subjugate themselves to it, what then defines it as the one true government and not just another private security agency? If multiple instances cropped up, by what right is one anointed the "real" government? If instead, we are discussing the exact same scenario with different terms - that a private security force will be employed to protect individuals according to those that voluntary pay dues, then are you just hoping for the particular outcome of a single entity? It seems that either you have predetermined the outcome and are willing to coerce to reach it or you cannot know in advance what type of free market private security agencies will be created.

As far as government coercion, I am not referring to a paid security agent helping to protect a customer from harm, as I agree that is the right of anyone to do the same. However, I would not grant immunity for bad acts to private security personnel or label anything acceptable when they do it and unacceptable for anyone else. What I am saying is that anything I would term a government, namely extracting involuntary funding or subjugating individuals that do not participate, is coercion and I still do not see, in principle, how that is different from two out of three people in a room voting that the third should pay for unsolicited services, even if the two genuinely believe it is in the third's best interests.

I am certainly not against groups of citizens pooling their risk and resources for social or defense issues any more than I am against that arrangement for business transactions. The difference comes when it is suggested that multiple groups cannot exist or that membership is not optional. I assume that we agree, otherwise, it seems that the most logical next step for your premises is that nations should not exist because you would be safer under an even larger one world government.

We have collective voluntary action right now in the form of insurance companies or banks. They pool the risk of large groups of individuals and resolve conflicts between agencies. Individuals can freely join and leave these groups at will. The free market determines which survive and which do not. It might be more efficient if there was only one insurance company, but centralizing power in that way will not likely yield the best result. Banks handle accounts from individuals all of the time. Individuals can open and close accounts. When one bank customer writes a bad check to another, the banks have agreements in place to handle the situation. I would classify neither of these as government, although they are certainly a hired authority in certain areas.

I see no reason that security or dispute resolution must be handled by a central authority. There is no reason to assume that rejection of monopoly on force leads to a "free for all" with each but the last person in existence eventually being gunned down. At the point that it is declared that all in a region are subject to the single central authority, the line has been crossed into coercion (and has also become what I would call "government"). What will stop them, even if we accept your premise about "proper functions" of government? Do we have another government whose only mission is to keep the first government to proper functions?" Where does that end?

When I replied to Zip that I choose moral principle over specifics, I meant that if an act is correct in principle, it does not matter if the outcome is worse by some arbitrary measurement. An example is gun control. The NRA argues that guns owned by citizens make people safer in terms of gun deaths per capita. Perhaps that is true - I tend to believe it is, but it is a weak argument. I assert that the right to own guns is simply that there is not an entity with the legitimate standing to say that I cannot. Even if it were proven that gun deaths per capita increased in areas where individuals owned guns, the basic facts have not changed. I do not agree with arguing from efficiency or utility over principles. Many of your arguments are basically (I think flawed) assessments of how terrible life would be without government. I find that somewhat irrelevant to the issue at hand. The principles of individual liberty and not initiating force demand that individuals not be coerced, even if there is some utilitarian belief that they are better off in some arbitrary measurement.

I am not suggesting that there are no courts or conditions on behavior. I am suggesting instead that those functions will be handled as well by private concerns through the same free market mechanisms that you support in other areas without coercion. I am suggesting that submitting to private courts will likely be a ticket to society and it will be difficult to function without that standing. I am suggesting that instead of coercing individuals to adhere to positive ideals, the market is more than capable of making it the easiest way to live.

Right now, if somebody owes me money and does not pay, while suing them is technically an option, the fact of the matter is that having government does not guarantee recovery. If the deadbeat lives in another state or has no assets, the degree to which I can recover is further limited. In a more capitalistic society, the faulty mechanisms for dispute resolution will likely be replaced by free market alternatives, perhaps similar in this case to credit ratings. Even with government, if someone stops paying the mortgage, the mortgage company probably does not even recover, other than repossessing the house. That person has probably gotten away with it, but they have greatly lowered the opportunities to get into that situation again. The reality is that retaliation and revenge is not always the goal. The actual outcome is probably that people will be more careful with whom they transact business and begin with smaller transactions, as most businesses already do today.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Let me say, I believe Anarchy could work as a form of government, if it were allowed to. I personally would rather live in an Objectivist state than an anarchic state, here is why.

In an anarchy, a company may arise as a private security force to defend a particular community. Then another might pop up for the same region. The people in that region have the option as consumers, and in this case you'd think a little competition would be good! By capitalistic standards, this would be true. However, one PSF might claim dominion over an area, and start to fight the other. At this point, the people in the community would have to take up arms to fight for whatever specific PSF they happen to like, which if the companies don't have any sort of mission statement or ideology, may just be whichever one opposes the one that killed a family member, or whichever one a friend works for. Now a region is at war. Creating feuds, hatreds, and lots of killing. Then, the violence spills into a neighboring region, then the PSF of that region, and probably a few residents, would spill into the region, now we have a civil war. There is no authority, no state government capable of quelling this city vs. city violence, not unless there is a Private Military corporation, which would be difficult to fund with all these private security forces, and then the people must ask the private military to settle the violence, and they may do it, or they may not, because what does a private military corporation get paid for? War. What if there is no more war? Get paid less.

In an Objectivist style of government the people would pay one military organization, and it would be held to the standard of objective laws, which protect individual rights only. We would pay one police organization in our area, which would also be held to those laws. Without those laws explicitly stated and objectively interpereted, there would be no way to prevent the one or two (Yes, I think people are good enough that there is only a few corrupt individuals) bad guys from getting a lot of power and exerting it.

If costs are not externalized, expansion for territory is not nearly as profitable. Private security agencies have to get and keep customers to raise capital. It is unlikely that the possibility you mention will be overlooked and therefore the market will demand that security forces give some assurance, either through periodic inspections of both books and property, or by posting large rewards as bond against this behavior. Only the current type of government (not the one suggested by any of us above) can raise that level of funding and apply it to that purpose. It would be difficult to do this in secret anyway, since it would require individuals to be employed for this purpose over and above that required for normal protection. On a practical note, even if your scenario occurred, the worst case scenario is what we have now in the form of a single monopolistic agency of force consisting of individuals that originated from the exact same pool of people. If that scenario occurred, it would seem like resistance were justified -- the only question I have is why that does not apply to the current situation?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Monopoly,

You appear to be arguing that the best way to acheive individual freedom would be to allow individuals to voluntarily form their own collective arrangements for protection of their individual rights. In answer to the question of what would be the ethical principles upon which the rights to be protected are based, you seem to argue that free market forces would result in the most rational possible societies, in a sort of 'survival of the fittest' scenario. This sounds very compelling, but how is that different from the actual conditions that have existed since the beginning of civilization? I am by no means an expert on the subject, but based on my understanding of history and politics, it is first necessary to determine a rational form of government which clearly defines and delimits individual rights (laissez-faire capitalism), and then form a society based on that (or change the existing one). To move towards greater freedom cannot be a bad thing, but unless you clearly define the term 'freedom' to include only freedom from coercive force (and not, for instance, freedom from the need to sustain oneself by one's own effort, or freedom from being insulted), you risk constantly moving only further away from it, or at best sideways to it (as from Oligarchy to Socialist Republic to Theocracy; lather, rinse, repeat).

Remember, also, that Objectivist ethics does not demand any action from anyone; it only requires that we refrain from acting to harm one another. Objectivist Politics expands on this, requiring that, in a rational society, there must logically be a central government whose sole purpose, and only power, is to prevent violence, fraud, and coercion (from within or without). Without that central government based on rational principles, there would be no basis for settling disputes or for discouraging the irrational behavior that inevitably leads to just the kinds of coercive -archy's you rightly deride. Once again, the only behaviors that would be discouraged are those that limit freedom; if the government's constitution is properly written, nothing else would be within that government's power. That is what the Founders of the United States tried to do, and they almost succeeded.

That's my two cents; please correct me if I'm wrong about your basic assertions-I admit I may have misread your posts.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I see no reason that security or dispute resolution must be handled by a central authority.
Okay, so I have a simple question. Which laws and legal procedures will be observed, in case no explicit contract exists between two persons specifying the laws and legal procedures to be observed?
Link to comment
Share on other sites

DavidOdden,

I do not claim to know the final form of the arrangement, but in my example, two people engaged in a business transaction have some motive to determine that kind of thing beforehand. If the situation turned out to be more like insurance for dispute resolution, it is likely that part of the draw of some dispute resolution organizations would be to negotiate agreements between the different DROs. Even in the case that each party is covered by different insurance or one is covered and one is not, arrangements have been determined as part of the service. However, I don't see the necessity to force people to predetermine how to handle every potential unexpected situation. That is for individuals and therefore the market to determine.

If I stay in a hotel, they might ask to see my DRO card before renting a room to me and they might post theirs as well. This sort of thing is done to verify insurance for renting vehicles. Currently, it is already done through credit cards and it is hard to rent a room without a credit card. If I destroy the hotel room or leave without paying, they would have some way to resolve the problem. If two people choose to transact business without that kind of thing in place, they are taking a risk, but it would not be for me (or anyone) to dictate a requirement that they do so. I suppose it is possible that the dispute will be resolved through violent confrontation, but that is already true under government.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Objectivist Politics expands on this, requiring that, in a rational society, there must logically be a central government whose sole purpose, and only power, is to prevent violence, fraud, and coercion (from within or without).

Pokarrin,

I am in agreement about the nature of freedom and in my view, it is simply freedom from coercion. However, in practical terms, I definitely think that the entity that creates the rules and enforces them is the greatest threat to safety. Though you and I probably agree that freedom is the correct course, that is by no means a generally accepted principle. Though our debate on this board seems to be between Objectivism and Anarchy, in fact, it sounds very much like they are much closer in principle than either one is to what has become mainstream thought. I think in basic ideas, we are arguing semantics because I think private organizations can fulfill areas like policing, defense and dispute resolution and the Objectivists are putting forth a need for government, but the government described in the posts above resembles my "private security" more than my definition of government. If the government proposed by Objectivists consists of outsourcing services for voluntary fees, I don't really see the dispute. The only point of contention seems to be whether this agency should be monopolistic and whether individuals have the ability to opt out.

I sense I may get more opposition to the suggestion that our ideas are closely related than opposition to particular ideas.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Pokarrin,

I am in agreement about the nature of freedom and in my view, it is simply freedom from coercion. However, in practical terms, I definitely think that the entity that creates the rules and enforces them is the greatest threat to safety. Though you and I probably agree that freedom is the correct course, that is by no means a generally accepted principle. Though our debate on this board seems to be between Objectivism and Anarchy, in fact, it sounds very much like they are much closer in principle than either one is to what has become mainstream thought. I think in basic ideas, we are arguing semantics because I think private organizations can fulfill areas like policing, defense and dispute resolution and the Objectivists are putting forth a need for government, but the government described in the posts above resembles my "private security" more than my definition of government. If the government proposed by Objectivists consists of outsourcing services for voluntary fees, I don't really see the dispute. The only point of contention seems to be whether this agency should be monopolistic and whether individuals have the ability to opt out.

I sense I may get more opposition to the suggestion that our ideas are closely related than opposition to particular ideas.

It may well be that our aims are similar, though I wouldn't say they are precisely the same. The difference is that a government formed according to Objectivist principles would, necessarily, have to be a government, in the sense that it gives certain people the exclusive authority to initiate force within a geographical boundary, and those people would consider themselves employees of the government, not of a particular individual or company. This is the only way to ensure an unbiased, objective police and court system. The only way to 'opt out' of the arrangement would be to choose to live elsewhere.

The distinction I was trying to make, however, was in our means of acheiving a society in which individuals are free from coercive force. Based on all historical evidence I am aware of, when people are left without some form of government, they invariably create one, even if it's as simple as a tribal chief or gang leader who declares laws according to his whims. I don't see how it would be possible or advisable to try to not have a government; as soon as you abolish the current one, others will create a new one, often worse than the previous one, using exactly the means of conflict resolution you describe. They will create private security forces, and attempt to enforce whatever form of justice most appeals to them. Necessarily, there will be conflicts between groups with differing ideologies and differing conceptions of justice, which will at some point devolve into armed conflict. If, instead, we determine first what the best government would be (since there will be one, whether you like it or not) and do our best to convince others, we can eventually have a stable, free society that respects and protects individual rights, and finally show what human beings are capable of achieving.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

...compel all individuals to subjugate themselves to it....

I think I offered you a more than adequate explanation as to why a government dedicated to the defense of rights, funded by voluntary contributions, does not subjugate anyone, nor does it use force against anyone except in defense of individuals who are being attacked.

Since instead of addressing my point, you continue to ignore it, and present arguments based on the fact that such a government is somehow a tyranny, this conversation is over as far as I'm concerned.

WE'RE NOT HERE FOR YOU TO SPREAD YOUR IDEOLOGY TO, WE'RE TRYING TO HAVE AN OPEN CONVERSATION TO HELP US BETTER UNDERSTAND THE PHILOSOPHY OF AYN RAND.

Edited by Jake_Ellison
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I do not claim to know the final form of the arrangement, but in my example, two people engaged in a business transaction have some motive to determine that kind of thing beforehand.
Okay, but that is unrelated to the question I asked. I asked about the case where no explicit contract exists between two persons, which would specify the laws and legal procedures to be observed. If your position only amounts to the claim that contractual disputes can be arbitrated through arbirtation firms, as specified in a contract that actually exists between two parties, then you're not arguing for anything that doesn't already exist. I'm interested in your answer to unilateral actions -- tort negligence, trespass, ostensive rights violations. Which laws and procedures would be followed in dealing with thieves and IP-infringers? If you can't answer that, that should make you realise why anarchy is doomed to failure.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

The right of self defense by the governed.

Correct. The principle that applys is that government "derives it powers from the just consent of the governed." The people, or citizenry, give a legitimate government legal authority by transfering the use of force to that agreed-upon government entity to be used for the common defense. This covers both police and military forces. This does not constrain the individual from acting in his own self defense in an emergency.

The courts are a nesessity to uphold the rule of law. Without the rule of law, we have the rule of the individual, or the tyranny of thugs - those who arrogate said authority to themselves by strength of arms and/or numbers.

A private company would not have the legal authority to be an arbritor of disputes between individuals, as there would not be constitutional oversight, or a limit of power that the rule of law imposes.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Jake,

Fair enough. This did begin as a discussion of differences between libertarians and Objectivists and I think progress has been made, since I have a better understanding of Objectivist philosophy. There are several differences that we are probably not going to resolve at this time, but I do appreciate the time everyone spent in this forum educating me about Objectivism. I have enjoyed the writing of Ayn Rand and am reading "Objectivism: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand" now.

Adam

Monopoly On Reason

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think I offered you a more than adequate explanation as to why a government dedicated to the defense of rights, funded by voluntary contributions, does not subjugate anyone, nor does it use force against anyone except in defense of individuals who are being attacked.

Since instead of addressing my point, you continue to ignore it, and present arguments based on the fact that such a government is somehow a tyranny, this conversation is over as far as I'm concerned.

WE'RE NOT HERE FOR YOU TO SPREAD YOUR IDEOLOGY TO, WE'RE TRYING TO HAVE AN OPEN CONVERSATION TO HELP US BETTER UNDERSTAND THE PHILOSOPHY OF AYN RAND.

Actually Jake I invited this conversation when I asked...

In order to help discover the reason behind that, (although it has already been enunciated from the Objectivist's point of view) I would ask you, as a Libertarian to explain to me what the beliefs of that political philosophy are and why.

I did this in the debate forum because as far as I know this is the proper place for this type of discussion in this forum.

Although MOR has evaded some answers and questions, his behaviour has been benign and as far as I'm concerned his explanation of the anarchist ideal has done more to convince anyone with a limited knowledge of History, human nature, and Objectivism to move closer to Ayn Rands philosophy not away from it.

MOR, I'd like to address some of your points and I will later tonight. Please do not be deterred.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The question might arise, for those siding with anarchy, as to who would ultimately control this agency, called the government, that has a monopoly of the use of force over a geographical area? Well, the answer to that is the governed. A government is not there to rule over the people, but to govern the use of force, and that is why it needs to be clearly spelled out what force can and cannot be used for -- i.e. it can be used for an extension of self-defense, but it cannot be used to redistribute the wealth. If the government, with its clearly spelled out purpose in a Constitution, goes beyond those limits, then it is up to the people to speak out against the government and to use the checks and balances provided in a US type of Constitution, to bring up grievances. It is not as if this institution of force is created and it then has no oversight. The oversight is the understanding of the people that they have the right to live their lives as they see fit, so long as they are not engaging in the initiation of force or fraud (and I do consider stalking and harassment as an aspect of the initiation of force).

Various means of curtailing the government are already set up in our governmental system, such as the ability to vote people out of office and even to take them to court (though some of that has been curtailed over the years). Basically, by the people understanding what their rights are, which requires an explicit philosophy of freedom, they can take actions -- even short of an armed revolution -- to reign in the government if it oversteps it's prerogatives, as it does these days. That is why Objectivism understands that a philosophical revolution and education is needed at this stage, because once enough people understand their actual factually based rights, provisions of the government are already in place to correct the problem without an armed rebellion or a civil war.

The Bill of Rights, for example, can explicitly delineate the rights of the people; however, it has to be understood (and was understood by the Founders) that an exhaustive list of rights is not possible, and that the principle of living one's life unfettered is the way to understand the Constitution. Some mistakes were made, and then very bad philosophy came along, so the understanding of the intent of the Constitution has been warped, but that understanding and correcting the flaws can be corrected with the rational philosophy.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.
 Share

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
×
×
  • Create New...