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Is Objectivism's political philosophy subsumed by Right-Politics.

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TheEgoist
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  1. 1. Is Objectivist Political Philsophy Subsumed by Right Wing Politics?

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    • No
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So, a few comments on the board in separate topics have got me wondering; do you consider Objectivism's political philosophy to be "right wing"?

I've already stated why this is not so. I'd like to add that Rand never, to my knowledge, aligned herself with the right wing. She mocked the libertarians as the hippies of the Right, and made precisely clear her feelings toward conservatives as being far worse than the modern liberals. I couldn't possibly align myself with 90% of the people on the Right of politics, and the 10% remaining would have to be weeded through.

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That's really the point. Left/Right is meaningless. It'd be meaningless to define Objectivism as either being Left or Right.

Exactly. In a true Left/Right scale I would place Objectivism dead center, due to it's liberal stance on social issues, its capitalist roots and defence f individual rights.

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I would place Objectivism dead center, due to it's liberal stance on social issues...

Can you clarify what liberal stance on social issues there are? Or are you placing "right" under "religious right"?

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Can you clarify what liberal stance on social issues there are? Or are you placing "right" under "religious right"?

I'm not sure what you are asking. Liberal in the sense I used it means free to choose. We do not seek to tell people what they can and can not do in their personal lives and that is, or was the idea behind liberalism.

Classic liberalism is a very different beast than today's reform liberalism which seeks to equalize outcomes.

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Also putting things in terms of Liberal/Conservative is just as ridiculous. Liberals can't even consider themselves social liberals anymore, except for a pro-choice stance and maybe being for gay marriage. And conservatives masquerade far too much as supporters of the Capitalist system, which is rather laughable.

Yes, this stemmed mainly from Binswanger's comments which I found a bit troubling. If the Right is all about individualism and freedom, then clearly Objectivism could be said to be on the Right side of politics. But the Right isn't that, and the Right really isn't anything at all.

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Guest Erik Martinsen

As far as I can tell, for the past half year ARI has been downplaying the fact that Objectivism is an atheistic philosophy. Nearly all their press releases have been very much in line with right-wing politics, and despite the fact that ARI staff have been appearing on conservative media such as FOX News and PJTV repeatedly for the past few months, they have never voiced any criticism of religion besides Islam – certainly not of Christianity, besides indirectly through altruism. Perhaps it's because they see this as a golden opportunity to influence the Republican Party, and moderate their criticism of Christianity so that they aren't outright rejected by conservatives, figuring they might come around to atheism themselves if introduced to other parts of Objectivism first.

Edited by Erik Martinsen
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Erik, Objectivist political philosophy has little to do with it's atheism. One ought to oppose religious tyranny even if one were, say, a Deist or a Christian. Objectivism's opposition to conservatives doesn't stem primarily from the fact that a large majority believe in God, but that they are adherents to the Judea-Christian ethic of self-sacrifice. That can never, ever be reconciled with any political stance Objectivists have. We can only align ourselves with the Conservatives or liberals so far as they reject what makes them essentially them.

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I answered yes. Right meaning in favor of, in the classical liberal sense, individualism, liberty, laissez-faire Capitalism, and individual rights.

Even if you take it to mean that, I don't think Objectivism is fully subsumed under it. The key aspect of Objectivist politics is its moral basis of egoism, which is not present in any other school of political thought.

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Even if you take it to mean that, I don't think Objectivism is fully subsumed under it. The key aspect of Objectivist politics is its moral basis of egoism, which is not present in any other school of political thought.

100%. I disagree with the use of "subsumed" in the question.

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I'm not sure what you are asking. Liberal in the sense I used it means free to choose. We do not seek to tell people what they can and can not do in their personal lives and that is, or was the idea behind liberalism.

Classic liberalism is a very different beast than today's reform liberalism which seeks to equalize outcomes.

Ok, I'm opening Pandora's Box, but I guess I'd put Marxism, Communism, and Socialism in liberalism. You see it differently?

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As far as I can tell, for the past half year ARI has been downplaying the fact that Objectivism is an atheistic philosophy. Nearly all their press releases have been very much in line with right-wing politics, and despite the fact that ARI staff have been appearing on conservative media such as FOX News and PJTV repeatedly for the past few months, they have never voiced any criticism of religion besides Islam – certainly not of Christianity, besides indirectly through altruism. Perhaps it's because they see this as a golden opportunity to influence the Republican Party, and moderate their criticism of Christianity so that they aren't outright rejected by conservatives, figuring they might come around to atheism themselves if introduced to other parts of Objectivism first.

Really, I think your point is important.

Specifically, from my recognition of conservativism, I see the rule of law, individual rights, smaller government, less intrusion from government, and so on. What I see that drives religious right conservatives to act on the basis more on some of their religious beliefs is when social action is taken in society that moves them to become neo cons in their attempt to counter act government action that they feel robs them of their individual rights. Really, I think that all follows some of the Cloward Piven Strategy overloads government with a "flood of impossible demands, thus pushing society into crisis and economic collapse". http://www.discoverthenetworks.org/groupPr....asp?grpid=6967

This leaves two groups "liberals" and "conservatives" bashing each other and blaming each other for losses of individual rights that they champion in some form or another. Meanwhile, progressive statists move their agenda forward continually. Corporate welfare for some. Variations in taxation. Claims that capitalism didn't work in free market system that wasn't free. But those that aren't as aware just don't recognize that they are being played upon by radicals.

Thoughts?

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As far as I can tell, for the past half year ARI has been downplaying the fact that Objectivism is an atheistic philosophy.
I checked the ARI site, to see what press-releases they've put out on religion and (more importantly) on issues where religious folk want to push their view on others. here is what I found from 2007 till today:

The Easter Masquerade (Saturday, March 22, 2008) By: Keith Lockitch

After Ten Years, States Still Resist Assisted Suicide (Friday, November 2, 2007) By: Thomas Bowden

The Right to Assisted Suicide (Wednesday, May 30, 2007) By: Thomas Bowden

The Religious Right's Culture of Living Death (Thursday, April 19, 2007) By: Alex Epstein

These Op-eds are often "shopped around" constantly, year after year. For instance, around Thanksgiving time each year, some papers pick up their op-ed that attacks altruism. Around Christmas, a few papers usually pick up their "Christmas should be Commercial" op-ed. Attacking Christmas and the so-called Christmas spirit is pretty anti-religious.

Apart from the Op-eds, there are the press-releases that they do. Here are some:

Church and State: A Marriage Not Made in Heaven (Saturday, November 1, 2008) By: Yaron Brook

Capitalism Without Guilt: The Moral Case for Freedom (Thursday, October 9, 2008) By: Yaron Brook

Religious Discrimination Laws vs. Free Speech (Tuesday, September 23, 2008) By: Don Watkins

Vatican Doesn't Deserve a Statue of Galileo (Monday, September 8, 2008) By: Keith Lockitch

Expelled Gets an F (Friday, April 18, 2008) By: Keith Lockitch

As you can, they cover quite a range of issues, even things that some might think are over-the-top attacks...like refusing to accept the Vatican's statue of Galileo.

You need to understand that the business of activism is not driven purely by supply (of op-eds and press-releases). A huge (perhaps primary) drive) is the demand side: the newspapers and TV stations. These people demand opinions. They will usually look for a wide variety of opinions, but they will decide the broad topic. Some years ago, some Objectivists were saying that ARI was issuing so much material on the Iraq war, and sacrificing other topics; today, the focus has shifted to the state of the economy. However, this simply reflects the demand side. If one wants to be on TV and in the press one cannot completely ignore their demand. Just try writing letters to the editor on topics that the newspaper is not currently interested in, and you'll see what I mean. You have to understand the gatekeepers and use their self-interest to your benefit. This means one cannot always choose one's agenda down to the proportions one would like it to have in some hypothetical world.

Do not assume that if ARI chooses not to do an interview on the economy, that they will be able to substitute this for an interview on religion. That is not how it works. If you have some creative ideas on how ARI can be more in control, I'm sure the folks at ARI would love to hear them.

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I think a lot of this depends on how right and left politics are defined. After all, if we're trying to be traditional, we would consider classical liberals (the old political right) as being the ones defending individual liberties, freedom, and capitalism all at once. Murray Rothbard, Barry Goldwater, and that whole ilk. If we're looking at the new political left and right, we'd be looking at pretty much two of the same party, and then it would be pretty much impossible to play Objectivist political views on any such line. This is because, unlike the new political left and right, Objectivist political views are substantiated in defense of a particular moral code, and political principle - both things that are nonexistent in mainstream political thought.

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Ok, I'm opening Pandora's Box, but I guess I'd put Marxism, Communism, and Socialism in liberalism. You see it differently?

Yes, I see it differently.

Even if you take this big tent idea liberalism does not include the main ideologies you listed. Liberalism is the ideology in favor of individual rights and reform liberalism is interested in equality of opportunity as opposed to communism and Marxism which strive for equality of outcome.

Socialism might fit at the lunatic fringe of reform liberalism but personally I consider it nothing more than a pragmatists launching pad for communism. Any respect it gives individual liberty is fleeting because those individualistic ideals will be crushed by the evil of "the greater good".

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Guest Erik Martinsen
I checked the ARI site, to see what press-releases they've put out on religion and (more importantly) on issues where religious folk want to push their view on others. here is what I found from 2007 till today:

The Easter Masquerade (Saturday, March 22, 2008) By: Keith Lockitch

After Ten Years, States Still Resist Assisted Suicide (Friday, November 2, 2007) By: Thomas Bowden

The Right to Assisted Suicide (Wednesday, May 30, 2007) By: Thomas Bowden

The Religious Right's Culture of Living Death (Thursday, April 19, 2007) By: Alex Epstein

These Op-eds are often "shopped around" constantly, year after year. For instance, around Thanksgiving time each year, some papers pick up their op-ed that attacks altruism. Around Christmas, a few papers usually pick up their "Christmas should be Commercial" op-ed. Attacking Christmas and the so-called Christmas spirit is pretty anti-religious.

Apart from the Op-eds, there are the press-releases that they do. Here are some:

Church and State: A Marriage Not Made in Heaven (Saturday, November 1, 2008) By: Yaron Brook

Capitalism Without Guilt: The Moral Case for Freedom (Thursday, October 9, 2008) By: Yaron Brook

Religious Discrimination Laws vs. Free Speech (Tuesday, September 23, 2008) By: Don Watkins

Vatican Doesn't Deserve a Statue of Galileo (Monday, September 8, 2008) By: Keith Lockitch

Expelled Gets an F (Friday, April 18, 2008) By: Keith Lockitch

As you can, they cover quite a range of issues, even things that some might think are over-the-top attacks...like refusing to accept the Vatican's statue of Galileo.

You need to understand that the business of activism is not driven purely by supply (of op-eds and press-releases). A huge (perhaps primary) drive) is the demand side: the newspapers and TV stations. These people demand opinions. They will usually look for a wide variety of opinions, but they will decide the broad topic. Some years ago, some Objectivists were saying that ARI was issuing so much material on the Iraq war, and sacrificing other topics; today, the focus has shifted to the state of the economy. However, this simply reflects the demand side. If one wants to be on TV and in the press one cannot completely ignore their demand. Just try writing letters to the editor on topics that the newspaper is not currently interested in, and you'll see what I mean. You have to understand the gatekeepers and use their self-interest to your benefit. This means one cannot always choose one's agenda down to the proportions one would like it to have in some hypothetical world.

Do not assume that if ARI chooses not to do an interview on the economy, that they will be able to substitute this for an interview on religion. That is not how it works. If you have some creative ideas on how ARI can be more in control, I'm sure the folks at ARI would love to hear them.

I did say "for the past half year" – none of the op-eds and press releases you listed were published during that period. They were all published from 2007 – the fall of 2008. There may well be a smaller market for criticism of religion this year, but it's a bit conspicuous if they have indeed not published a single op-ed or press release directly criticizing it yet.

I recognize that it would be unwise for Yaron Brook to criticize religion on the Glenn Beck Program or PJTV when he's invited to discuss the economy, so I stand corrected on the part about conservative media – I should have had it in mind when writing my initial post.

Edited by Erik Martinsen
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I did say "for the past half year" – none of the op-eds and press releases you listed were published during that period.
For the past 6 months, neither religion nor the religious right has been driving the agenda. The left has total control over than now. If there is a religious issue that needs to be addressed and hasn't been, I cant think of it.
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For the past 6 months, neither religion nor the religious right has been driving the agenda. The left has total control over than now. If there is a religious issue that needs to be addressed and hasn't been, I cant think of it.

There have been a number of posts on religious issues on the ARC blog in the last six months.

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Yes, I see it differently.

Even if you take this big tent idea liberalism does not include the main ideologies you listed. Liberalism is the ideology in favor of individual rights and reform liberalism is interested in equality of opportunity as opposed to communism and Marxism which strive for equality of outcome.

Socialism might fit at the lunatic fringe of reform liberalism but personally I consider it nothing more than a pragmatists launching pad for communism. Any respect it gives individual liberty is fleeting because those individualistic ideals will be crushed by the evil of "the greater good".

Thanks, that was a very valuable post to me.

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  • 2 weeks later...

The fact is, at this time, all that existis is left, right and center. So you're going to be one of them.

Rand said, regarding the "swing to the right". a term coined in 1968 as far as I can tell "[the 'swing to the right'] is a movement away from statism and toward individual rights" and she was a registered Republican

The answer is what is the most compatible with Objectivism. The modern abortion rights movement has now become specifically anti-philosophical and I know this for a fact. Is THAT compatible with Objectivism.

One does not have to be a Conservative to be on the right and libertarian is such a broad brush that it could include O'ist political theory at this time; the problem is what else it included or subscribed to or has done so over the last 30 years. Also Rand made her remarks about conservatives over 40 years ago. Things have changed since then: Read "Earth Day". She did not see that coming in '66 and that kind of junk was more associated with conservatives anyway. so it's a case of "Who'd'a thunk it?". In reaction to the eco's, the conservatives swung more toward Reason, so there was a bit of a reversal here. In 1978 I said "All our liberals have become conservatives".

"Other" is meaningless by virtue of not having any specifics therefore lacking an identity, whicn means "make them up and hope for some fairy dust". Is THAT compatible with Objectivism?

Nor is politics isolated, it is a deriviative of ethics which is in turn derived from metaphysicis and epistemology. This means that you band together with the ones you are most like. What do you have in common with eco's, antiphilosophical abrotion rights advocates, food, safety and health nazis and the whole PC'ist left?

Now the center. What did Mr. Myagi say about the middle of the road and what has Rand said about the middle of the road? Actually one could legitimately be a centrist but only by virtue of being a collection of extremes that average out to 5. My antipathy to drug laws and school prayer is balanced by my support for gun rights and the death penalty. These four characteristics of me are absolute so I fall in the center on a scale using those as the questions. However, If you looked at my metaphysical stand (Primacy of Existence) My ethical stand (moral absolutism) and my epistemological stand (logic-driven), I resemble more a conservative than a liberal. At one time or other, Rush Limbaugh has voiced support for every metaphysical, epistemological and ethical principle for which we stand (where he fails is in some of the follow-through and specifics). Alan Combes has become such a lunatic that I've lost all respect for him; recently calling Howard Zinn a patriot. and reducing all disagreements on Global Warming to relativims via "anyone can find scientists who agree with what they say". I have a video of Bill O'Reilly, for whom I have a lttle respect; as little as possible reducing Barney Frank to a name-calling caricature of Daffy Duck, stopping just short of "You're disthpicable". And Framk is supposed to be a sharp guy.

This is an alliance, not a love fast. The only thing that makes Mark Sanford a hypocrite is that Republicans are linked to being more than dogs rutting on the side of the road. For conservatives having a mistress is a step down, for the left, it would be a step up.

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