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Howard Roark blowing up Cortlandt was not Objectivist, and neither is

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Hello, new to the site. This is something thats been on my mind for a long time. Of course, Rand had not fully developed Objectivism when she wrote The Fountainhead. However, I find Roark blowing up the Coartland housing project to be a blatant act of unprovoked aggression. The owners were not involved in his deal with Keating. He knew when he made the deal with Keating that it had no legal force and could not since the owners were not party, did not consent, to the contract.

Now, I want to relate my position here to the various (evil) entitlement programs in the USA. I have heard some Objectivists argue that these entitlements must be phased out rather than abruptly ended (say, 30-90 days notice), including Yaron Brook (President of Ayn Rand Institute). I have deep problems with this position. It is not Objectivist to argue that the State could adjust to the elimination of these evils better than free people, first of all. Further, the argument that has been made from my fellow Objectivists on the other side is that ending them abruptly would amount to aggression, violating a contract, against those who have paid in and have been promised eternal (to death) "benefits." I personally find this argument outrageous. There is no contract regarding the entitlements because parties are being held responsible for a contract in which they did not and would not consent. I made no such agreement but was born in to this slavery. I reject all such arguments as altruistic nonsense. End the slavery now!

Let the debate begin. :)

Edited by Chris LeRoux
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The argument is that building a life for yourself and your family requires long term planning. With the various governments (federal, state, local) massively involved in the US economy, people's plans

There WAS a contract with Keating though that was just given pretty much no consideration and that contract with Keating was formed largely for Keating to serve as proxy for Roark. The owners didn't know about the connection to Roark, but they were still violating contract anyway pretty much and it's just that in that case it was Roark, the indirect party, who was hurt more than the agent acting on Roark's behalf, hence Roark blowing the sucker up and not Keating.

Also, I don't recall hearing that argument for phasing them out before, like there's some legitimate contractual right people have to that stuff. More the argument is that cutting them off very suddenly and abruptly with basically no warning would cause a lot of needless calamity perhaps. The argument for phasing out is mostly just to give people some warning and chance to transition more easily.

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The owners didn't know about the connection to Roark, but they were still violating contract anyway pretty much

There can be no contract without consent. The owners, being one party of the contract, obviously did not consent if they didn't even know about it.

More the argument is that cutting them off very suddenly and abruptly with basically no warning would cause a lot of needless calamity perhaps. The argument for phasing out is mostly just to give people some warning and chance to transition more easily.

But, this is completely in contradiction with the principles of Objectivism. It rests on the principle that the State is better able to deal with this situation than free individuals. It is a collectivist idea, inherently. Remember, a warning period was distinguished from phasing out, which would mean a gradual reduction in new enrollments and benefits.

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However, I find Roark blowing up the Coartland housing project to be a blatant act of unprovoked aggression.

You need to read the book more carefully.

"Aggression" didn't have anything to do with it.

Aggression is not even a valid motive, its a non-explanation.

Roark explains, in detail, why he dynamited the housing project during his court room speech.

The owners were not involved in his deal with Keating.

What "owners"?

He knew when he made the deal with Keating that it had no legal force and could not since the owners were not party, did not consent, to the contract.

Again, what owners?

Edited by phibetakappa
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There can be no contract without consent. The owners, being one party of the contract, obviously did not consent if they didn't even know about it.

It was Keating's contract, and he made a promise to build it to Roark's his spects. as he drew the plans. I.e., he made a verbal contract to Roark.

Keating submitted the plans exactly as Roark drew them, and the plans won the contest, i.e., they were given the "consent".

Further, all the parameters for the building were specified in the requirements provided before Roark designed the winning plan. Roark's plans won the contest because met and/or exceeded all the requirements. Approving, Roark's plans gave Keating the contract to build the building to the plans.

Later, it was without Keating's consent that the building was horribly altered and Keating did not halt the production of the building. Keating's plans and contract was violated, in effect, having his plans stolen out from under him.

By destroying the building, Roark only did what Keating should have done. Of course, if Keating had merely to assert his contractual rights and not allowed the horrible changes to be made, Keating would have honored his contract to Roark.

Edited by phibetakappa
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There can be no contract without consent. The owners, being one party of the contract, obviously did not consent if they didn't even know about it.

But, this is completely in contradiction with the principles of Objectivism. It rests on the principle that the State is better able to deal with this situation than free individuals. It is a collectivist idea, inherently. Remember, a warning period was distinguished from phasing out, which would mean a gradual reduction in new enrollments and benefits.

I was referring to them violating the contract with Keating. That they did consent to.

I'm not saying the government is some magical answer to anything here. I'm saying it just so happens it is the government people are relying on in this case and like any time you have a bunch of people used to and counting on something, if you just suddenly take it away without warning, you'll probably get lots of disarray ensuing for a while afterward related to the issue. Not to mention in this case you'd end up having the government with a bunch of stolen loot they are now definitely leaving no way for the owners to get back to themselves if you just cut off just the "freebie" programs without first stopping taxes and letting the remaining loot get sent out, unless maybe you figured out ways to determine exactly who paid what to return it to them directly instead. Also, maybe this is a difference in how we're thinking of what counts as phasing stuff out, but I'd think if we had a warning period and a time where taxes were stopped before they finished sending back out the remaining loot it would count as phasing the stuff out.

Edited by bluecherry
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I was referring to them violating the contract with Keatng. That they did consent to.

Exactly. "They," whoever "they" are, consented to the plans to be build them to spec when "they" approved the plans.

It was Keating who had his rights violated as his project was hijacked from him.

Of course, Keating would have not won the contract if Roark had not draw the building for him.

Keating violated his contract with Roark.

Edited by phibetakappa
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Keating violated his contract with Roark.

Mmm, I think what happened was a lot like Keating made a contract agreeing to go to somebody's birthday party and contracted somebody to drive him to the party, but then the drivers veered off course and kidnapped him at gun point thus causing him to miss the party. Does something like this technically count as Keating violating the contract? And if so, is Keating to be held responsible in any way, even if just to find him a pathetic failure for it? You may argue Keating should have called the project off, but when they weren't listening to anything else he had to say in spite of great protestations, do you really think we could expect they would just call it off, demolish the thing, and start over with a totally new design that in now way stole from Roark's design? I think Roark blowing the place up was the only way you could get rd of the bastardized building, seeing as how strongly they opposed doing anything to interfere with going ahead with their housing project for poor people. Do you think Keating should have blown the building up to try to keep the contract violations against him from going through? Clearly Keating would have been totally screwed if he did so. Wouldn't asking Keating to do that be like having somebody else kidnapping him in that car and expecting him to let himself get shot to make sure he got to the party? It was worth it for Roark to take whatever may come from the foul people responsible for screwing up his design, but I don't think it would have been worth it for Keating to go that far out of his way and get that screwed over by the wrongful force of others. I think it may have been sacrifice for Keating to be doing the blowing up, so I don't know that I could really blame Keating for not blowing the thing up.

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But, this is completely in contradiction with the principles of Objectivism. It rests on the principle that the State is better able to deal with this situation than free individuals.

The argument is that building a life for yourself and your family requires long term planning. With the various governments (federal, state, local) massively involved in the US economy, people's plans involve that status quo. There is no way around it, your life, just like mine, is dependent at least to some degree, thorough no fault of our own, on some economic activity the State performs.

The only way it would be possible to preserve both legitimate economic entities and the livelihoods and comfort of working, productive Americans would be through a gradual, planned and announced withdrawal of the US gov. from the economy. Anything else would be a disaster. The private sector and the gov. run economy are an interdependent whole, and they need to be untangled, over time. That's not a collectivist suggestion, it is a statement of fact. Not recognizing it would be foolish, and recognizing it and causing deliberate harm to innocent people would be a moral outrage.

If you want to discuss the details of why the above is a statement of fact, I'd be happy to, but only if you show that you are a reasonable gentleman. For instance if you suggest something like " to hell with the millions of civilian employees working for various governments (not to mention all the jobs that depend on gov. spending), they should all get a 60 day notice and be added to the end of the unemployment lines", or that buldozers should be sent into the inner city, to wipe out all the projects, that's not very reasonable. Economic activity needs to shift, new specialized professionals, business arrangements, comapanies need to be formed to take over, and all that takes time.

Obviously, some aspects of government can be phased out quicker than others, especially a lot of welfare checks can be phased out in months rather than years (except for disabled people, the charities they would depend on require time to be created), and various regulations (minimum wage for instance can be repelled in 60 seconds, no need to wait around for 60 days).

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Keating violated his contract with Roark.
In terms of literature, I have no problem with (and can even respect) what Roark did. But in terms of "real life", that would not have given Keating the right to blow up the building - the design was his, not the capital that was invested. Recourse should have been sought against Keating, not the builders who were oblivious to Howard's agreement.</arguing about actions of fictional beings</>

The only way it would be possible to preserve both legitimate economic entities and the livelihoods and comfort of working, productive Americans would be through a gradual, planned and announced withdrawal of the US gov. from the economy. Anything else would be a disaster.
I disagree that this is the only way, and remember that what we have (government interference) is itself a disaster - cutting social security, medicare, welfare, etc. off cold turkey is unlikely and would certainly be a shock to some, but I personally think it'd be best way.

P.S. to hell with the millions of civilian employees working for unnecessary government programs, they should fired ASAP and left to their own means. :)

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Well for one thing, this is the government, aren't they building with rather stolen goods anyway? More to the point though, if you stole my painting and put it in your closet and the only way for me to get my painting back was for me (or somebody on my behalf if we're not dealing with the government itself being the culprit here) to force my way into your closet in such a way that it damages your closet, you don't have room to complain. You brought the damage upon yourself by violating my rights and then putting your stuff in the path between me and setting right that violation of my rights. Don't expect you can keep violating my rights by putting your own out there in the way, you won't succeed in trying to use pity or guilt to keep me a victim. And I explained earlier why I think Keating was not the party at fault here who should be held responsible by Roark. Besides, even if he did go after Keating it wouldn't solve the problem of his rights still being violated by that building existing as it was. Normally you would go to the government of course to solve a contractual dispute, but of course such was no good in this case because the government *was* the one ignoring the contract.

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Hello, new to the site. This is something thats been on my mind for a long time. Of course, Rand had not fully developed Objectivism when she wrote The Fountainhead. However, I find Roark blowing up the Coartland housing project to be a blatant act of unprovoked aggression. The owners were not involved in his deal with Keating. He knew when he made the deal with Keating that it had no legal force and could not since the owners were not party, did not consent, to the contract.

I agree with you. He destroyed the buildings to make a point. They were not his property, and, if do not remember wrong, he did not stated in his contract a right to destroy the property if his designs where no followed to the letter.

IMHO, under objective law (outside the theatrical need for a novel) he'll be declared guilty of destruction of property.

"Rand had not fully developed Objectivism when she wrote The Fountainhead"... Agreee. IHMO "The Fountainhead" is not as consistent as "Atlas".

I guess she saw some of the flaws in TF, because there were none in AS.

Just guessing.

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I disagree that this is the only way, and remember that what we have (government interference) is itself a disaster - cutting social security, medicare, welfare, etc. off cold turkey is unlikely and would certainly be a shock to some, but I personally think it'd be best way.

P.S. to hell with the millions of civilian employees working for unnecessary government programs, they should fired ASAP and left to their own means. :)

Explaint to me how you will get to your private job, if the traffic lights aren't working? Or how do you take a shower, if the water is frozen in the pipes?

Or, alternatively, explain to me how will someone take over these utilities and many more, in 60 days, especially since you just dismissed everyone who had a clue on how to run them, because they were working for the government?

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Aside: It is really messy when two completely different topics are mixed in a single thread. Both topics have been discussed elsewhere, but since they're interleaved in this thread, that makes merging/referencing more difficult.)

On phasing-out: reasonable people act within what they see as the long-term given. It is not just to punish such people for acting reasonably. If one were to stop something like welfare, one could do it relatively quickly, however schemes like Medicare and Social-security are different. It would be just to phase people out of such schemes; it would be unjust to cut it off. Would it be unjust to continue to take money from other, to pay grandma? No, it would not. If we have to transition to a free-market, there are some transition costs that might be viewed as short term reparations.

In any case, know that this is a purely academic issue for our lifetimes.

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Yikes! Keating had no right to make a contract with Roark dictating the construction of someone's else's property. Keating was not the owner, didn't even have a contract to build it at that point in time. The contract between Keating and Roark is totally irrelevant to the ownership of the building. Roark had no commitment from the owners on the building whatsoever. He knew the deal with Keating was a secret, knew full well Keating was completely untrustworthy, and knew Keating had no possible way to ensure their contract was respected. And, clearly blowing someone's building up for no legitimate reason is aggression, regardless of Roark's excuses. Not his property, no contract, no right to destroy it. In reality, Keating was at his most human and most ethical point in the story when he admitted his incompetence to Roark and then *tried* to argue the building should be built as is. He had absolutely no way to enforce his non-contract, which doesn't excuse his failure but then it doesn't excuse Roark making the deal despite knowing this fact either. Roark made a mistake and then amplified it by committing aggression, much as I like his character otherwise.

The only way it would be possible to preserve both legitimate economic entities and the livelihoods and comfort of working, productive Americans would be through a gradual, planned and announced withdrawal of the US gov. from the economy. Anything else would be a disaster. The private sector and the gov. run economy are an interdependent whole, and they need to be untangled, over time. That's not a collectivist suggestion, it is a statement of fact. Not recognizing it would be foolish, and recognizing it and causing deliberate harm to innocent people would be a moral outrage.

If someone steals my property and then becomes dependent on it, I am in no way responsible for any damage done to them when I reclaim my property. This is arguing that they have the continued right to steal from and enslave me because "they need it." It is altruism, holding me/us responsible for other's needs. Now, if someone stole my ladder and I then noticed while he was on top of it, I would not pull it out from him with no warning. But, I would indeed demand my property back. He must get down off my ladder and give it back. This is the warning period I am referring to with entitlements. Announce their ending, stop taxing, stop enrolling new people, and when the date hits cut all "benefits." Any idea the State should supervise a gradual reduction in benefits is to say the State can plan better for individuals than they can plan for themselves, which is of course a collectivist principle. Further, it is to expect power-lusting politicians in a mixed economy to repudiate their own power, conistwntly over a long period of time probably stretching over numerous Congressional elections. Never, ever, going to happen. Irrational to expect it IMO.

Rand had not fully developed Objectivism when she wrote The Fountainhead"... Agree. IHMO "The Fountainhead" is not as consistent as "Atlas".

I guess she saw some of the flaws in TF, because there were none in AS. Just guessing.

Yes, but then we have to assume it was merely "coincidence" or "luck" that there was no such contradictions in We The Living, which is my view.

In any case, know that this is a purely academic issue for our lifetimes.

I do not believe that is true at all. All these entitlements will go completely bankrupt well within my lifetime. It is at that time when we must assert our freedom again, completely.

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I do not believe that is true at all. All these entitlements will go completely bankrupt well within my lifetime. It is at that time when we must assert our freedom again, completely.
As this becomes clearer, taxes will be raised and benefits will be reduced. Also, inflation will be used to achieve part of the result. The question you asked will only be relevant in an environment where a large number of voters think the country must move toward a very free economy, with no government intervention in welfare, social-security etc. Until that happens, the argument and convincing will remain about the direction and destination rather than about the detailed route. That's what I meant when I said that this will not happen in our lifetimes.

Imagine that a large number of voters come around to the view that we should move away from social-security and medicare, that we should wind up food-stamps and unemployment benefits and mediaid, that we should end environmentalism's aggressive laws, that we should disband the public schools, that we should close the FDA and the CDC, that the government should stop funding higher-education and roads. Once that happens, one will need to ask how best we should do these things: overnight ? slowly? or, differently in different cases? However, there is no significant constituency of voters who will not think such a destination is crazily extreme: be they "independent" voters, republicans or democrats. The senate just passed a large health-care bill; and -- contrary to what Fox news would have people believe -- there is significant (if not majority) support for the measure. So, we're still at the stage where we have to argue our viewpoint about the nature of legitimate government.

Nevertheless, the hypothetical is fun to consider; and, as I said, it would not be just to cut off all government programs overnight.

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As this becomes clearer, taxes will be raised and benefits will be reduced. Also, inflation will be used to achieve part of the result.

Of course, this has been happening for 50 years or so. But, contrary to your theory that this will slow the process down it is accelerating. Think of the USSR. There was no phasing out of the evil. It had to collapse before change could be made. The same is inevitable here. We must prepare, and this means spreading the truth so that when the collapse occurs we can start over with a properly limited government. To do this, we must be completely consistent. It is inconsistent to say it would be unjust to stop unjust programs. Every day, more people are being enslaved. Further, it is impossible to phase it out. To do so, you either have to start cutting benefits and reducing new enrollments. But, this would create the very pain and chaos you rebel against in eliminating them all at once, only it keeps the bleeding going. In other words, people will not take the wholesale measures needed to adapt until its completely ended. The economic stimulus of freeing our economy, logically according to Objectivism, is the best manner to deal with the problem. Families will help each other- a wonderful fringe benefit, people that are retired that can still work will go back to work, etc. Keep relying on the State to fix everything and it will never happen. Of course, it won't happen. We will have collapse.

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Of course, this has been happening for 50 years or so. But, contrary to your theory that this will slow the process down it is accelerating. Think of the USSR. There was no phasing out of the evil. It had to collapse before change could be made. The same is inevitable here.
Nothing is inevitable in human affairs projected across decades.

Let's take the U.S.S.R. though and ask the first question: can we make a generalized induction about the class, from this single instance? To answer that, we would have to turn to other countries. Start with other communist countries: take China and Vietnam. Here are two communist countries that tackled their dwindling economies in different ways from each other and different from the USSR. Also, remember that the type of blow-up you're thinking about comes from desperation. Cutting two car families ever so slowly down to one car families is doubtful to produce revolution. Frogs, boiled slowly, adjust. Consider the history of socialist (as opposed to communist) countries. Take India: from independence, the government slowly increased socialism, nationalizing steel, coal, airlines, banks. Times were not good, but the country did not fall into revolution, despite three minor external wars. Instead, it turned around and started to move toward freedom -- this happened across the course of about two generations.

If one were to be placed back in FDR's day, one would have lots of reason to think the U.S. was on an inevitable downward course. The government was dictating all sorts of detailed rules for all sorts of businesses, many intellectuals thought Russia was the ideal we must aspire to, the President was trying to gerrymander the SCOTUS. (Read "Forgotten Man", if you have not already.) Yet, the country tired of it, and things went on pause for a while. If one were to live in Johnson's "Great Society" days, one would think the country was doomed inevitably, and yet the U.S. and the whole world grew tired of it, and the 1980's and 1990's saw a push away from that. Of course, every such downswing has left in place laws and schemes that have made the economy less productive. Nevertheless, the intellectual trend has not been a uniform downward spiral. Thatcher broke the U.K. unions; Carter and Reagan oversaw some opening up of regulations in telecom and airlines. While the intellectual environment is still statist, even people like Obama feel they have to make noises about letting the private sector take the lead.

If one looks at history of the U.S. as well as other nations -- as opposed to imagination -- the best guess is that the U.S. will not dissolve into revolution and chaos and nothingness.

We must prepare, and this means spreading the truth so that when the collapse occurs we can start over with a properly limited government.
But, you see, this is impossible. If such a collapse comes it can only be because there is intense evasion. When social-security deficits are still a decade or more in the future, with current CPI and interests rates at life-time lows, people can easily evade looking for a solution today. However, as things become worse, there will be cries for a solution. I'm pretty sure a time will come where the typical "independent" voter thinks: "okay, it is time for everyone to make sacrifices". I cannot see Americans simply hanging on forever as things dwindle. However, what's more important is that if people let things go completely into chaos, then these are quite the opposite of the type of people who will want to start over with a properly limited government. Just the opposite. The worse nadir we reach, chances are the worse solutions will be proposed. And, this does not mean government bankruptcy. It more likely means that the government will simply appropriate what it needs from some of the richer folk. Read up about the taxes that were enforced during the depression years. Compared to those, the rich aren't taxed at all today.

Basically, the situation you hypothesize is one that will lead to a populist demagogue, not to sudden flash of light.

On your main point, since I reject your argument that justice requires stopping all payouts overnight, I also reject the notion that to stop them is more consistent. To my mind, it would be inconsistent with justice.

Edited by softwareNerd
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Well this is pure fiction. The size of the federal government has been increasing since 1913. Even Reagan with all the talk didn't stop it, only slowed it down for a while. The entitlements are already bankrupt yet the majority is pushing to expand them. This flies in the face of your assertions that crisis will create alternative perspectives.

On your main point, since I reject your argument that justice requires stopping all payouts overnight, I also reject the notion that to stop them is more consistent. To my mind, it would be inconsistent with justice.

Well, you are entitled to your opinion, but it certainly not consistent with Objectivism. It is altruism. You are claiming that I am rightfully enslaved because of other's people needs. You are claiming aggression is justice and stopping aggression is injustice.

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If someone steals my property and then becomes dependent on it

I'm done reading right here. You're accusing me and everyone else, of theft, for being dependent on roads and sanitation. There's nothing more to talk about, you need to learn what theft is.

Unless you familiarize yourself with the hierarchy of concepts in Objectivism, you're gonna just spew out incendiary observations such as "Roark violated property rights" without realizing that property rights exist only in the context of a legal system that has to recognize them and enforce related contracts, or that everyone "committed theft" simply by the act of living in an imperfect society that allows taxation.

Think of the USSR. There was no phasing out of the evil. It had to collapse before change could be made.

Are you saying that when the governments were overthrown in the various countries under Soviet control, in '89 and '90, everyone was fired (since everyone was working for the government)? That the economic change from government control to Capitalism, through privatization, the closing of under performing mines, factories etc, the creation of a legal basis for this new economy, Court systems, etc didn't take years and years? It just magically happened when the Wall fell and the governments changed?

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I'm done reading right here. You're accusing me and everyone else, of theft, for being dependent on roads and sanitation. There's nothing more to talk about, you need to learn what theft is.

Negative. Decisions made due to coercion, the use of aggression, are not subject to a rational system of morality, as Rand explained many, many times. Of course, such a position would also accuse me of being a thief. We are all victims, some more innocent than others. The solution is to end the evil.

Unless you familiarize yourself with the hierarchy of concepts in Objectivism, you're gonna just spew out incendiary observations such as "Roark violated property rights" without realizing that property rights exist only in the context of a legal system that has to recognize them and enforce related contracts, or that everyone "committed theft" simply by the act of living in an imperfect society that allows taxation.

LOL. So you are saying their is no morality whatsoever in an imperfect legal system? This is a rationalization for any form of aggression whatsoever. I'd suggest listeding to some of Peikoff's podcats. He covers this issue many times and very well. http://www.peikoff.com/podcasts.html

Are you saying that...

Nope. I am saying that collectivism, once accepted by the culture, must collapse in order to be diverted back toward freedom, as Rand explained quite often. The only other option is to change the culture before the collapse which simply isn't going to happen given the rate at which we are approaching bankruptcy, the rate of our cultural decline, and socialist control over the "schools."

You seem emotional. :(

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Alright, sorry for the double post but hopefully this analogy will create some clarity.

It seems to me what the opposition is saying RE: Roark blowing up Coartland is that: If I hire a contractor to build/remodel my home and he makes an agreement to do it a certain way unbeknownst to me with some other contractor/person, and I then choose instead to build my home the way I want forcing the contractor to do so or give up the deal that this other contractor who I don't know and have no agreement with can come bomb my home. I find it astonishing that any Objectivist can make this argument.

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I am saying that collectivism, once accepted by the culture, must collapse in order to be diverted back toward freedom

What's your point? Are you saying that there's nothing for us to do until society collapses on its own, in which case there is no possibility of "phasing out" reliance on government services? Or are you saying that government services should be ended abruptly through use of force by some extra-governmental power? Since you don't seem to think it's possible that enough members of the culture will voluntarily change - which of course is the premise of the "phasing out" approach - I don't understand what you are proposing as an alternative.

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LOL. So you are saying their is no morality whatsoever in an imperfect legal system?

No. Print out my post for yourself, take a sharpee and circle where I wrote that. When you fail to find it, you'll have learned a valuable lesson for yourself: pay more attention.

Nope. I am saying that collectivism...

Nope, you wrote this, there's no denying it, it's here in the thread: "Think of the USSR. There was no phasing out of the evil. It had to collapse before change could be made."

You said there was no phasing out of evil (word by which you are clearly referring to government involvement in the economy, socialism, as you just repeated in this last post as well), and I pointed your attention towards the obvious reality of such a phasing out process, that took many years. The truth is not what you said " there was no phasing out", the truth is what I said" there was phasing out. Is at least this minor point clear to you now, the existence of a lengthy phasing out of the socialist economy in the former Soviet coutries?

If it is, please proceed by picturing what would've happened without such a process.

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Alright, sorry for the double post but hopefully this analogy will create some clarity.

It seems to me what the opposition is saying RE: Roark blowing up Coartland is that: If I hire a contractor to build/remodel my home and he makes an agreement to do it a certain way unbeknownst to me with some other contractor/person, and I then choose instead to build my home the way I want forcing the contractor to do so or give up the deal that this other contractor who I don't know and have no agreement with can come bomb my home. I find it astonishing that any Objectivist can make this argument.

An important element of this whole scenario is that there is no "I" who owned Cortlandt. No one in particular was making decisions, no one in particular owned the property or directed the design, no one in particular was responsible for making agreements or enforcing contracts. The whole thing was a circus of non-responsibility. It's not at all like the case of the temple, where the entire design and purpose of the building was changed, but there was an owner and he made the decision about property that was actually his - and Roark left it alone.

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