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Guest Heather

My info too: I'm a Digital Media major at CSU Sacramento, I'll be graduating in 2 semesters, and now I think I may come back again and pursue a second degree in structural engineering, or get an MBA. It's hard when you're so interested in everything that nothing stands out over the rest. I begin to wonder if I'm someone who is incredibly motivated and willing to work hard but can never get it together enough to put their talent into a forward motion..about as productive as the person who refuses to work at all.

I'm pretty recent to Objectivism, it's a philosophy that's been brewing in me since I was a kid but I never had a way to indentify it or apply it until last summer. I'm going to be working with a few other people at my school to establish a club near/on Sac State.

I have a question though...I had been wondering what advantages might come from registering the club on campus, if it was worth the time and work that would be involved. I posted the question to the OCN list and the most common response I got was that most universities will pay for half the cost of a speaker to come to campus. ARI will pick up the other half. But...I'm not fond of the idea of using other people's money for my purpose against thier will or knowledge. I understand that people pay money willingly to attend a diverse school where a wide range of ideas are presented, but my University is public and is ALSO funded by the state, though to what extent I'm not sure. I'm thinking that I'd rather have car washes and bake sales, or even pay out of my own pocket, to pay the costs of bringing a speaker to campus. I am not understanding how Objectivists see that it's okay to submit to politically-liberal ideals, even (or ESPECIALLY) to promote thier own ideas. Am I missing some key fact here?

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Heather,

I am not a part of any Oist club: there aren't any around and I'm graduating soon anyway. So as far as advantages to registering with the school, I don't know. But as far as using the school's (ultimately the public's money) to fund it, the way I would justify it (and I read a similar statement made by Ayn Rand somewhere... if you want me to try and find it for you I will) is that your money is taken from you in the first place by the State and goes to fund all sorts of things you don't know about. Using part of that money to fund your club is a way of getting it back.

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It would be, if you were using that money to advocate the gov't taking it from you. But you wouldn't be doing that, you'd be doing the opposite. I see it like when you get a refund on your taxes; do you refuse that on the grounds that the money should never have been taken from you in the first place?

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  • 2 weeks later...
Guest GuestObserver

Jennifer is on the right track in advising Heather that it is OK to use public funds for an Objectivist club.

What Rand said, in fact, was that the only ones who can claim a right to benefit from the proceeds of taxation are those who oppose taxation. Those who advocate and vote for taxation have no moral claim to the proceeds.

They are accomplices in the act of initiating force to deny the rights of others to their money. Any denial of someone's right is implicitly a denial of one's own same right. Therefore it is inherently self contradictory to tax someone and then claim a right to benefit from the proceeds. In simple speak, thieves can never have a moral claim to the loot-- nor can their accomplices.

Those who oppose taxation, on the other hand, do not participate in any initiation of force and are themselves constant victims of taxation. When lifespans and hidden taxes are added into the calculations, you can be confident that it would be difficult to qualify for enough benefits to repay what has already been taken.

It is hard to imagine a more profoundly moral act than the spending of tax funds on a building a moral foundation for ending taxation. So be moral and exercise your right -- take the money!

GuestObserver

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How do you end this cycle? I asked another Objectivist once, he said he thought it would never happen unless the entire 'system' collapsed. I have not yet found any other way through which it might end...What do you guys think about this? Wouldn't that then mean that it would then be moral and beneficial to try to push the collapse of the current government/social system?

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I don't think it would be advisable to push for the immediate end to our current system in order to switch immediately to laissez-faire. It would have a disastrous effect on our economy. I don't believe that Objectivists advocate for the immediate switch to laissez-faire either. This is why in their op-eds you see them talking about repealing certain aspects of the mixed economy one at a time. I believe that it would be best to deconstruct the mixed economy bit by bit, over a span of at least 5 years. The first step would be to properly balance the budget so that we don't have billions of dollars in defecit. This could be accomplished by the elimination of many government programs such as welfare, social security, medicare, and perhaps even NASA (all of which would function much better as private organizations.) Following from this, there would be many similar steps to remove government programs in the economy and allow for businesses to have more and more control. The key in my opinion is to bring back the gold standard and to obliterate the Federal Reserve Bank System.

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Guest GuestObserver

On the subject of the possible, probable, or likely transition from statism to capitalism, NeoRand is right. But there is still another dilemma lurking in Heather's question that is not yet answered: What should I do? What can we do? Where do we start? How do men initiate the transition NeoRand outlined?

First, understand fully what makes men do what they do. It is their philosophy (named or unnamed, chosen or absorbed). Rand has explained in great detail how that functions ... just keep reading.

That means that any nation of men steeped in a culture full of philosophies that condemn or evade or pay only lip service to reason, will never arrive at a rational government by politics alone. The Soviet Union was built on centuries of pervasive mysticism. Rational capitalism could never have sprung forth from the collapse to which it was pushed. They are still mystics and mystics cannot be capitalists.

Capitalism cannot be given to a nation on a platter. Nor can it be imposed. It cannot even be sustained in a nation that already practices it unless the dominant group of the society is rational, and the rest are not unsympathetic to reason.

So, you cannot change politics without first changing minds.

Given the status quo, it is highly unlikely that anyone living to day will ever witness a capitalist nation in practice. The younger you are, the harder it is to accept that. But when you do, your focus will shift to the course of action you should have taken in the first place: carve out of whatever opportunities are available a rational happy life for yourself.

Easier said than done. You have to first get your own philosophical house in order, and then you have to convert the resulting consciously held principles into the automatic subconscious flow of your daily life. As Rand said, it is one thing to know and understand a philosophy, it is yet another to actually live it.

The good news is that in doing so, you will develop the ability to understand every irrational event the world throws at you and provide a concise, comprehensive explanation to anyone asking about your position. That ability will also immunize you against

frustration by allowing you to process and hold the knowledge of it 'at the ready' in the 'back' of your mind with the confidence that there is nothing else, at the moment, that can be done. The stomach churning bitterness in the face of each new irrational act of others can only occur in the absence of the aforementioned confidence. My 25-cent motto for this is: If they are the ones who are irrational, why are you the one who is so upset? The only reason is, because you have some blind commitment to the idea that there is something else you should be doing to stop it that you are neglecting to do. There isn't and you aren't.

Ultimately it is this ability that will give you the most influence on advancing the transition NeoRand outlined -- at whatever level of exposure to the world of ideas to which your other choices in life take you. Many changes for the better are wrought not by totally converting others to rationality, but by merely making them comfortable in its presence. That begets two more mottos:

Never pass over an opportunity to counter the irrational ... but also never waste yourself talking to anyone who is not listening.

GuestObserver

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Guest Observer,

You made a lot of good points. I think in your last post you tried to answer those questions that were still there after my last post. To fully answer those questions about how men iniate the transition to laissez-faire, I suggest that you read or re-read What Can One Do? in Philosophy: Who Needs It by Ayn Rand. Also, every major intellectual trend in the course of history has been created by a minority of individuals. There is no need to "convert" a large portion of the population of America to Objectivism in order for a system of laissez-faire to work. I briefly outlined some political steps that would be taken to bring laissez-faire into being. However what's more important are the philosophical steps to doing so. These philosophical steps are what must be done to iniate the transition to laissez-faire capitalism. The first step is to obliterate the notion that altruism is an ideal that must be our basis for morality. As long as this is the moral base of our country, laissez-faire can not come even close to existing. So what can one do in trying to bring about laissez-faire capitalism? One must first be able to bring order to themselves, meaning, they must have a comprehensive philosophy of reason to back up their subsequent advocacy of laissez-faire capitalism. This means a constant process of thought and philosophical growth. In conjunction with this, SPEAK, on any forum that is appropriate. This does not mean that you should lanuch philosophical discussions with everyone you meet. But this does mean that instead of sitting idly by as your values are denounced, simply say I disagree, and be ready to defend your position. Introduce Objectivism to your friends, family, and colleagues that are interested. Rand even suggests writing articles for local newspapers and to your political representatives. If you are living your life completely by 4 main principles: metaphysics - objective reality, epistemology - reason, ethics - self-interest, politics - laissez-faire capitalism; you will be ready to fight for that which you believe in. I also suggest that you read or re-read the introduction to For the New Intellectual by Ayn Rand. We can not take the attitude that we must SOMEHOW immediately bring Objectivism to as many people as possible and achieve laissez-faire capitalism as soon as possible. As Rand says, a doctor in the face of an epidemic would not try to cure millions of people on his own. He would know that the best he can do is try to cure as many people as he can, and and attempt to spread these methods for curing to others. Will you feel somewhat frustrated by current events? Absolutely. Will you feel angry about the fact that your life is not completely your own and can be sacrificed by the state in any way in wishes at any time? Absolutely. Yes, there is a certain degree of confidence one can have in their ideas which would negate this anger, but nonetheless, it would seem to me that the more dedicated you are to the principle that man is an end in himself, the angrier you would be when that principle is violated not only towards yourself but to many people as well. The same can be said about all of the other values and principles you hold, obviously varying in degree based on your hierarchy of values. Because of the fact that you know these principles to be right, I think it would make you even angrier to seem them violated. However there is a major difference between the person who is "angry" at the world because of a lack of self-esteem and the person who is angry at the world because his rights are being violated. The former projects his lack of self-esteem into a hatred for the supposed cause of this lack, the world; whereas the man of self-esteem is "angry" at a world which violates his rights exactly because of this violation. Once you achieve the state where none of the first person exists in you, you are capable of doing EVERYTHING in your power to advance laissez-faire capitalism.

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