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

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Chris LeRoux
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Oh, just noticed somebody replied to my post.

A more accurate analogy would be that if I steal a painting from you, as well as thousands of other paintings from everyone else who lives in your community, yes, you would have the right to use force to take back your painting, or you'd even have the right to destroy your painting if that's what you wanted to do rather than let me keep it, but you wouldn't have the right to destroy everyone else's paintings. Their paintings don't suddenly become your property to play with or to dispose of as you see fit. The same is true of Roark. The fact that a fraction of the Cortland project may have been funded by wealth confiscated from him via taxation doesn't give him the right to destroy the property confiscated from all other taxpayers. It's rightfully their property, not his, and not the government's.

No, you missed the point of my analogy. I wasn't talking about the stolen painting as referring to tax money here, the stolen painting was representing the design for Cortland which was taken under terms not agreed to (stolen) and then incorporated into the physical building which was being represented by the closet. If the panting (building design) was stolen in a way that it was entangled in your stuff (the physical building/closet assuming for the sake of argument for a moment here that the government can be said to legitimately own the physical building) and the only way for me (or, if the government were not the culprit and would instead act on my behalf against the actual culprit) to free my property from your wrongful possession involved damaging your property (the building/closet), then it's your own damn fault when the building/closet gets damaged to set things right because you voluntarily chose to use your building/closet to perpetrate a wrong.

Keating was in violation of his contract with the government before he agreed to it. He conspired with Roark to pass off Roark's work as his own. He violated his end of the contract long before the government violated theirs. He, and Roark, went into the deal with the intention of violating the contract.

J

No. What Keating did with Roark is called "subcontracting." People do it all the time. (Not to say being done often makes something right, but just saying this isn't some really odd, foreign thing.) As another example of subcontracting, a company maybe makes boats and has contracts with another company that they'll use their motors and only their motors in their boats for a 10% discount and anybody who wants to buy boats from that company will have as part of the terms of their agreement that the boat company will only sell them boats with motors from this other particular company, take it or leave it. If somebody doesn't know why part of the terms of the contract are that the company won't sell them boats with different motors doesn't matter, it's irrelevant to the fact that that simply is part of the contract and they know that much and either have to accept it or move on to find another company to sell them boats. If they agree to a contract that they will buy the boats with this certain motor though and then after all the boats are done take the boats, refuse to pay for the motors and leave the motors there, *that is a violation of contract they have made with the boat company regardless of why they decided not to take the specified motors.* In Keating and Roark's case, they made a contract about the design, then Keating offered a specific design under specific terms which the people in charge of Cortland agreed to. Cortland didn't hold up their end of the agreement and thus was violating contract regardless of why they decided to do it. Keating/Roark's contract would only be a violation with the contract with Cortland if FIRST Keating made a specific contract with Cortland which allowed for Cortland to make changes to the design and THEN Keating contracted with Roark that he, Keating, would no longer be willing to accept design changes without Cortland's owners being consulted because this then means Keating has agreed to terms which are in conflict with what he has already agreed to with Cortland.

By the way, if we were to say that the government was not rightful owner of Cortland for building with funds obtained through theft, I'd say it was still not wrong of Roark to destroy the building to get the violation of his intellectual property rights of that design ended. To the people whose money was stolen to build the place, it's just a tough break for them that first a building was being built with their money without their consent, then the thing didn't even survive. However, destroying the building made with their money doesn't mean Roark is bad, it is the government who is to blame for creating such a situation to begin with where the only way for Roark to end a violation of his intellectual property rights is to destroy something made with all these other people's money. As for Roark agreeing in the first place to provide a design for a building made with taxes because the challenge looked interesting and perhaps because one way or another people were bound and determined to have it built regardless of who designed it, I'm almost certain I remember in the end that Roark came to regret that decision.

Also, as to this statement from Maek, "Wait a minute, you have already invoked the idea of "public property" now be consistent. The "public" that owns that property is the same "public" that comprised that jury." You know, why doesn't Roark himself in that case count as part of the public? Couldn't you argue he's an owner and he consented? If you want to say he's only one person of the public though, a jury is a VERY small sampling of the public too and far from covers everybody in the public and you could never get all of their say on the matter to agree to things. Heh, so either Roark as one person is a fine enough person to consent for the public in public property and so he was ok to agree to blowing up his property or else you have to just admit fundamentally you can't use the public as an arguable owner. :P

Edited by bluecherry
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Oy, this is so full of misunderstandings and misfacts its disappointing.

a. Roark's designing the project is not a fraud. I'm not sure how anyone would think it so. If it is fraud then every buildilng designed by Keatings firm is as well. But if you'd like to specifically cite the clauses in Keatings contract that make it legally so, I'd like to hear them.

I agree that Roark's designing the project was not fraud. What was fraud was Roark and Keating claiming that Roark's design was Keating's. Roark even explicitly lies when confronted by Wynand about who designed the project. He says that Keating designed it. Essentially, the issue is that Roark knows that the owners of the project will not hire him, yet he decides not to respect their right to not hire him. He sees Keating's request for help as an opportunity to subvert the owners' right to have nothing to do with him. Read the novel. Roark clearly identifies this as his motive for passing off his work as Keating's.

Look at it this way: If a publishing house or government agency doesn't like me, what I stand for, or what they think my paintings represent, and I know that they are opposed to publishing prints of my work, it would be fraud for me to conspire with a friend to submit my art under his name to try to trick the publisher or agency into publishing my art. In effect, it would be theft of their materials and labor if I were to try to circumvent their desire to not work with me. The same is true of an architect trying to subvert a property owner's (including public ownership) unwillingness to hire him. He doesn't have the right to use fraud in order to see his dream project realized with others' wealth and labor.

Outside of the moral issues, I think it's also interesting that Roark maintains the mindset of relying on the wealth of others, including government, to fund his creative passions despite resenting the fact that people who are paying for a building project are usually going to want to have aesthetic input. Roark is bright enough to come up with a solution to the problem of affordable housing, yet it doesn't occur to him to peaceably take matters into his own hands, become a landlord himself, start small, take in rent, make money off of his brilliant solutions, and then fund his future projects himself. Instead he very naively or blindly decides to trust in the idea that a proven spineless worm like Keating will adhere to a contract and protect his interests in seeing that his concept is built as designed (and at taxpayers' expense), and, despite everything that Roark has gone through, he doesn't seem to expect that bureaucrats who are in charge of the project, and who live to meddle with things, will meddle with his design!

You're whole argument them is based upon this particular point. I'm not sure how Roark might differ from any other "contractor" a firm might hire and for whose services they are paid. Keating directs the design of buildings (up to and including key creative decisions as he is so "ably" demonstrated) done so by any employee or contractor he chooses to hire under any terms he chooses to hire them. How this could in any way constitute fraud is really stunning.

Yes, people are hired as associates, draftsmen, contractors, etc., but they are credited for their work. They are listed on payrolls, and knowledge of their involvement in projects is out in the open. They are not passing off their work as someone else's, and lying about it when asked. In architectural firms, individual "contractors" are usually only contributing a small portion of the overall services or materials needed for a project; they are not designing it in its entirety and still trying to call themselves mere "contractors," and they are not actively lying and trying to hide their involvement from the owners of the property who they know don't want to hire them.

b. But putting that aside, lets say for an instant that Keating had a clause in the contract that stated that he personally design the building (we'll call it an "artistic integrity" clause) that does not give the other party the ability to do anything it pleases in case of breach. This is the other part of your argument, that "simply altered the terms of their agreement with Keating, who had first violated their agreement by claiming to have designed Cortland." This is not legally allowed. Most contracts have specific remedies and ways to manage conflict or assertions of breach. One cannot and is not simply allowed to do whatever you feel like if they think the other party has breached the agreement.

So, when the owners of the project suspected that Keating had lied about designing Cortland, they didn't have the right to do whatever they felt like doing to remedy the breach, but Roark, on the other hand, did have the right to do whatever he felt like doing when the owners were in breach of a contract that they had with Keating but not with Roark? It was pure, unmitigated evil for the owners to unilaterally make a few aesthetic changes to the project, but it was perfectly reasonable and moral for Roark to unilaterally destroy the project because a few aesthetic changes had been made?

c. but the real issue of course which you fail to mention is that this is not the reason the government cited for violating it's contract with Keating. What is the real reason? Well maybe actually reading the book might help. Let's go look:

When Keating invoked his contract, he was told: "All right, go ahead and try to sue the government. Try it."

That is the only legal mention of his contract in the entire book. It obviously implies that he had concrete terms in the contract, ie that he had terms by which t stand. Otherwise he would have been told "Oh, our contract says we can change the design at our discretion." He's not told that. He's told try to sue.

And then Keating should have sued them. The fact that he opted not to is yet another reason that Roark's gripe should be with Keating.

Nor was he told "oh well you've breached your contract and by the terms of article 2.3 we have the right to change the design." He was in effect told, you can't do anything, government can do anything it wants. Ahem, and you suggest that this is not a moral and legal afront and that Roark by virtue of his contract doesn't have ground? Oy, someone needs to go to law school, eh? Roark is certainly justified in taking his case directly to the government owners of this project. He has a contract with Keating, Keating has a contract with the govt, and neither is in breach nor does the govt have remedy.

The owners had no knowledge of Keating's contract with Roark, and therefore no knowledge of what "specific remedies and ways to manage conflict or assertions of breach" it might or might not contain, and they were not a party to it. Go ask a judge or contract lawyer about such an arrangement, and see which of us needs "to go to law school."

The only principle Roark violated was the one that suggests that you don't take the law into your own hands, but then, against a government that is clearly exercising arbitrary, illegal power, well one could claim that his is an act of revolution, and rightly so. And the fact is that he followed that principle and was willing to suffer the consequences.

And how far could Roark go with his "revolution"? What philosophical principle would you suggest in guiding him in the proportion of response that he might rightfully use? Since you think that he had the right to destroy others' property because those in charge of it made some aesthetic changes, did he also have the right to kill them for making aesthetic changes?

J

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You said you'd add him to ignore if he continued to redirect you to his previous posts rather than re-presenting his argument. I haven't seen any more links and I have seen a good number of arguments that directly referenced yours. So I guess that means you're just an asshole who isn't worth debating with. Too bad. I see no evidence that you're willing to honestly deal with either the subject of the debate or the other members of the forum, so I'm done with you.

Wow. I said if he posted links to his posts that I had already read, again, that I would add him to my ignore list. He did, so I did. I always fulfill my promises. As for being an asshole, LMAO. Added to ignore!

Wait a minute, you have already invoked the idea of "public property" now be consistent. The "public" that owns that property is the same "public" that comprised that jury.

This is a collectivist idea. Those jurors obviously can not speak for every individual taxpayer in the Nation. To say such a thing is to reject Objectivism completely. Of course, I am for the reduction of public property to a bare minimum, but Rand herself said in the meantime that rights are not non-existent on public property. I already quoted an example of this principle.

knowing that Roark's intellectual property was stolen

His IP was not stolen. He gave it up to Keating with no legally enforceable contract. He got what he deserved. In fact, as Joanathan13 explained, he and Keating conspired to commit fraud against the owners of Cortland.

Jonathan13, I agree, again, with every single word you have written here. And, it was some very good writing. I'd even say it was brilliant. You alone almost make this site tolerable. On your last couple sentences, "And how far could Roark go with his "revolution"? What philosophical principle would you suggest in guiding him in the proportion of response that he might rightfully use? Since you think that he had the right to destroy others' property because those in charge of it made some aesthetic changes, did he also have the right to kill them for making aesthetic changes?"

Fantastic point/question. This is the issue on my mind all the time these days, though not for aesthetic changes to my property but to there outright theft, who these Objectivists seem to find less of a problem than making changes to Roark's design. :P

Edited by Chris LeRoux
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Roark yielded his IP to Keating on the condition it be built as designed. Keating had a contract for it to be built as designed and it was violated. Keating was just a middleman. Whether their agreement was with Keating or Roark the fact remains they broke the contract with no means to address the fault. Roark was the one who's rights were violated even if through a middleman. He addressed it in one of the few ways he could with precision and care.

I have read through some of this and am wondering if you don't want to listen to others or respond in a constructive manner, why are you here? You have not addressed many points fully and when you find yourself backed into a corner or back to an original point with circular logic you ignore them. Might as well ignore the site and chat with Jonathan13

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If somebody doesn't know why part of the terms of the contract are that the company won't sell them boats with different motors doesn't matter, it's irrelevant to the fact that that simply is part of the contract and they know that much and either have to accept it or move on to find another company to sell them boats. If they agree to a contract that they will buy the boats with this certain motor though and then after all the boats are done take the boats, refuse to pay for the motors and leave the motors there, *that is a violation of contract they have made with the boat company regardless of why they decided not to take the specified motors.*

If I agree to manufacture 1000 boat motor pistons for you in exchange for $20,000, and you then turn around and make an agreement with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to sell them the pistons for $24,000, and then after you deliver the pistons, they refuse to pay you, their breach of contract with you would be none of my business. They would not be in violation of my contract with you, since they were not a party to it. They would owe me nothing. You, and only you, would owe me. They would have no obligation to me. I would have no right to sue them for breaching your contract with you, and I would have no right to try to recover from them what you owe me. My only rightful concern would be my contract with you, not yours with anyone else. Any forceful action that I would take against them would be an initiation of force.

J

Edited by Jonathan13
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Jonathan13, I agree, again, with every single word you have written here. And, it was some very good writing. I'd even say it was brilliant. You alone almost make this site tolerable.

Thank you! It's refreshing to see someone on this site recognizing that I'm arguing from an Objectivist perspective, and that I'm not an evil hater of everything good because I'm capable of being critical of Rand's novels while loving them and admiring her.

J

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Thank you! It's refreshing to see someone on this site recognizing that I'm arguing from an Objectivist perspective, and that I'm not an evil hater of everything good because I'm capable of being critical of Rand's novels while loving them and admiring her.

Well, I have LOTS of Objectivists friends. I don't believe any of them would be throwing around words like stupid and asshole over a disagreement about interpreting the NAP. I love Ayn Rand dearly and I know you do as well. Its plain as day. If you are on FB, I hope you will add me. So far, I have added one other from here. Its a much more flexible form of communication, with discussions not dragged down by the emotional and irrational pretenders. I admire your discipline. I probably should have ignored 99% of all posts in this thread, maybe all but yours. :P

Edited by Chris LeRoux
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If I agree to manufacture 1000 boat motor pistons for you in exchange for $20,000, and you then turn around and make an agreement with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to sell them the pistons for $24,000, and then after you deliver the pistons, they refuse to pay you, their breach of contract with you would be none of my business. They would not be in violation of my contract with you, since they were not a party to it. They would owe me nothing. You, and only you, would owe me. They would have no obligation to me. I would have no right to sue them for breaching your contract with you, and I would have no right to try to recover from them what you owe me. My only rightful concern would be my contract with you, not yours with anyone else. Any forceful action that I would take against them would be an initiation of force.

J

This is not correct. Depending on the terms, 3rd parties may have rightful claim to suits. Happens all the time. If the terms of one agreement stipulate subsequent terms, then the subsequent party may have liabilit that the original parties may sue for. It is not necessary to have only a direct contract holder sue.

The example you list above is not parallel to the Roark case.

Keep trying tho.

Edited by KendallJ
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Well, I have LOTS of Objectivists friends. I don't believe any of them would be throwing around words like stupid and asshole over a disagreement about interpreting the NAP. I love Ayn Rand dearly and I know you do as well. Its plain as day. If you are on FB, I hope you will add me. So far, I have added one other from here. Its a much more flexible form of communication, with discussions not dragged down by the emotional and irrational pretenders. I admire your discipline. I probably should have ignored 99% of all posts in this thread, maybe all but yours. :P

Best to only pay attention to those that agree with you.

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Just a follow-up point to something I read from one of the people in this thread. I do not "hate the good for being good." I do not hate Howard Roark. I love him. He made a mistake. It is irrational to deny it.

Have you thought about perhaps sending an e-mail to Leonard Peikoff on this matter? Since obviously no one here is going to change their minds on this matter, including you as you have made this thoroughly obvious by this last statement. I would like to see his response to this matter. I cannot comment as I am just now getting through Fountainhead. While the philosophy was not as developed during this writing I find it quite hard to believe that such a glaring mistake would be made by Miss Rand, especially since, when mentioning 2 mistakes she wishes to clarify and correct in a revised, later print of Fountainhead she failed to mention this matter. Also, if Jonathan is the only one worth not ignoring on this site, then why waste your time here, why not just continue the correspondence via IM with Johnathan? You might be familiar with the term... moralizing?

Further, on page 6, when Kendall refers to context as the reference for analyzing the morality of actions, a perfectly valid argument both in this discussion and one that holds true in the philosophy of Objectivism, instead of making a counterargument, which, frankly, I don't see how you could in regards to that specific statement, you chose instead to put him on ignore. I will not speak for the others here, nor have I read most of the comments on this thread, however your behavior is quite unbecoming. I noticed a comment about the use of cursing towards your direction. Note that in other discussions this is not the case, I would say your behavior here has warranted as much, because you are being hostile in a passive-aggressive manner through your ignore list. I will be waiting for your response where you tell me I have been added to it as well.

To me, your actions on this site are what are irrational and would, in my mind, not be approved by the philosopher you claim to love so dearly. Perhaps others would be more receptive to your claims if you did not ignore those that disagree with you when you come to a sticky area of discussion.

Edited by Lisa Brincks
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If I agree to manufacture 1000 boat motor pistons for you in exchange for $20,000, and you then turn around and make an agreement with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to sell them the pistons for $24,000, and then after you deliver the pistons, they refuse to pay you, their breach of contract with you would be none of my business. They would not be in violation of my contract with you, since they were not a party to it. They would owe me nothing. You, and only you, would owe me. They would have no obligation to me. I would have no right to sue them for breaching your contract with you, and I would have no right to try to recover from them what you owe me. My only rightful concern would be my contract with you, not yours with anyone else. Any forceful action that I would take against them would be an initiation of force.

J

It is true in your example the piston manufacturer has no concern with what the fish people do with the person you sold the pistons to, but that's because the transaction between the piston maker and the buyer was in no way a subcontract, it was just a normal contract with no impact on things that needed to be done in the future, their whole transaction and all conditions were met and completed once they made that sale. Nothing anybody does with the person you sold those pistons to or the pistons themselves has any connection to you anymore, as long as nobody steals your patented piston design maybe, and n a case like that it is not about breech of contract, just regular IP theft straight out with no pretense of intending to respect their IP rights.

But as I said, Roark and Keating were working on a subcontract, which DOES have some relevance to future doings and other contracts. Roark and Keating made a deal ahead of time that Keating would go out and serve to present Roark's design for construction of Cortland and the design was only offered to be presented on the condition that nothing about it was altered. This condition of not altering the design was right there from the start in the contract for Cortland and the people in charge of Cortland saw that condition, agreed to it, and then broke it as hard as Keating fought to try to stop them from breaking it. Cortland's breech of contract forced Keating to be unable to fulfill his agreement with Roark. This chain of connection means Cortland's people in charge have through force made Roark provide a building design in such a way that he had not consented to. Thus violation of contract with Keating by Cortland also caused theft of IP from Roark, making it Roark's business that the Keating/Cortland contract was broken on part of the contract that dealt with his design.

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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.
I don’t get that. What is just about paying such transition costs? I would think that justice says that no one deserves the fruits of the labor of others.

As far as Cortlandt goes, I still side with Jonathan13 and Chris LeRoux on this one. You don’t have the right to blow up another party’s property when you believe that said party has broken a contract with you, especially when doing so means ignoring the objectively correct solution of suing and instead taking the law into your own hands.

I find it quite hard to believe that such a glaring mistake would be made by Miss Rand, especially since, when mentioning 2 mistakes she wishes to clarify and correct in a revised, later print of Fountainhead she failed to mention this matter.
I do think Roark was legally wrong for what he did, but I don't think Rand made a mistake at all. Her point was more that Roark had won regardless of the trial's verdict, not that Roark was justified in his life's philosophy just because he got off in court.
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I do think Roark was legally wrong for what he did, but I don't think Rand made a mistake at all. Her point was more that Roark had won regardless of the trial's verdict, not that Roark was justified in his life's philosophy just because he got off in court.

As I said I cannot really comment properly as I haven't read that part of the book yet but from what I know of it I would agree with what you say here.

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I do think Roark was legally wrong for what he did, but I don't think Rand made a mistake at all. Her point was more that Roark had won regardless of the trial's verdict, not that Roark was justified in his life's philosophy just because he got off in court.

Roark was morally justified in what he did, but his legal position was difficult to justify. This is Rand's idea of good drama. Roark gets out of his predicament by making an impassioned moral defense of his action, not a legal defense. When the jury acquits him, it is practicing jury nullification.

Is Rand therefore in favor of jury nullification?

edit: added link

Edited by Grames
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Jonathan13,

First off thanks for at least making a set of intelligent points. Unlike LeRoux who thinks that simply continuing to assert his first few sentences constitutes a discussion, and that the frustration people feel when he doesn't seem to understand this fact, you have made some reasonable arguments and tried to concretize them with examples.

I'm preparing a broader post on this discussion on whether this is fraud or not. From a certain perspective one could claim that; however, I'm unconvinced that the detailed analysis of this context necessitates that this is actually what is happening. But I wanted to briefly answer a few other points.

a. If Roark lied to Wynand, then he also raped Dominique. As Rand said, "if that was rape, it was rape by engraved invitation." Well I would add, if that was a lie, then it was a lie with a wink and a nudge. You should go back and read the scene.

He does certainly act to hold private his involvement with the project, but this does not in fact necessarily constitute fraud, moral or legal. I'll get to that in a future post. You don't address the reasons why they won't hire him, and this goes directly to whether knowledge of his involvement is actually a false pretense. The question "would not hire him to do what?" must be answered if this to be indeed shown a case of fraud.

Outside of the moral issues, I think it's also interesting that Roark maintains the mindset of relying on the wealth of others, including government, to fund his creative passions despite resenting the fact that people who are paying for a building project are usually going to want to have aesthetic input.

This is a smear. I'd like you to quote me one passage where Roark expresses resentment. In fact, he realizes throughout that he only wants and needs a certain type of client. He doesn't resent the client who wants to give aesthetic input, he simply says "those are not my terms, I'm sorry." I just finished reading TF for the sixth or seventh time, and coincidentally, I focused all my notes and observations on Rand's specific use of concretes specifically around the characterization of her characters. I'm quite confident that you'll not find any resentment anywhere in the book.

And you of all people, as an Objectivist should know that characterizing this is "reliance" on others is competely false and violates any sort of discussion of the trader principles. He relies on his own ability, and he trades with others voluntarily. He does not maintain the mindset of "reliance," and others cannot be said to fund his in that way.

Roark is bright enough to come up with a solution to the problem of affordable housing, yet it doesn't occur to him to peaceably take matters into his own hands, become a landlord himself, start small, take in rent, make money off of his brilliant solutions, and then fund his future projects himself.

Rand specifically addresses this with a comment from Roark, and the commend has validity. One whole paragraph implies it beginning with "That's what's happening in New York..." but asubsequent paragraph says it quite directly.

Your government housing, among other things, has mad all building so expensive that private owners can't afford such projects, nor any type of low-rent construction

To then assert that Roark could still go into business for himself in spite of the government's action is to confuse the metaphysical and the man-made (or I should say government made). To hold him to a lesser moral standard because he doesn't take this route is to simply characterize government's actions as a state of nature whose moral impetus is then for us to mold to our own use. Rand wrote a whole essay about this fallacy.

Yes, people are hired as associates, draftsmen, contractors, etc., but they are credited for their work. They are listed on payrolls, and knowledge of their involvement in projects is out in the open. They are not passing off their work as someone else's, and lying about it when asked. In architectural firms, individual "contractors" are usually only contributing a small portion of the overall services or materials needed for a project; they are not designing it in its entirety and still trying to call themselves mere "contractors," and they are not actively lying and trying to hide their involvement from the owners of the property who they know don't want to hire them.

It is true that sometimes, some people who worked on the project are revealed. But that is not really your argument. And it is not true that because it is done sometimes, that it must be done morally all the time. The fact that everyone who is employed by a a company appears somewhere in some document is laughable. It does not follow then that this information is as a result broadly available to any prospective client. In truth, a company is under no obligation to reveal its employees to a prospective client,a nd there is no reasonable expectation that a client may be granted this information after the fact if it didnt' contract for that information up front. THis is not fraudulent practice. A client if he cares may ask, and a firm may if they so choose decline to give the names. But before asking there is no "withholding" of information if this information is not revealed and there can be no reasonable expection of it and thus the transaction cannot occur on false pretenses. If a client asks if a particular person is working on the project and the firm owner says no, when he really is, then that is fraudulent.

But as I said, much more on fraud later.

As to whether or not contractors do small or large parts of the project, in fact, it covers the gamut. There are products which we purchase from companies, even those with significant aesthetic elements where the company itself does almost nothing as relates to the product. The aesthetic design for the first iPod for instance was contracted out to a design company called IDEO, and it certainly does none of the manufacture itself. In fact this is true in the architectural field as well. Depending on what sort of architectural service you're looking for it is not a given that the actual aesthetic design will be done in house. THis is not true of all firms, and some firms make their living on specifically their unique aesthetic style. Was Peater Keating one of these architects. Hardly. Certainly you can't mean that when I contract with an architect that I have a reasonable expectation that the lead architect himself has been involved in the design or that he designed the whole thing himself. You're going have to get much more crisper in your analysis when you say that Keating "claimed Roark's design was Keatings". In fact most of Keatings designs as Rand so aptly shows are not actually "his" designs, yet his firm is not commiting any sort of fraud. If someone in the firms employ did the design, then what is the different between that and a contractor doing the design? This really is an arbitrary distinction in this case. But more on that aspect fraud later.

So, when the owners of the project suspected that Keating had lied about designing Cortland, they didn't have the right to do whatever they felt like doing to remedy the breach, but Roark, on the other hand, did have the right to do whatever he felt like doing when the owners were in breach of a contract that they had with Keating but not with Roark? It was pure, unmitigated evil for the owners to unilaterally make a few aesthetic changes to the project, but it was perfectly reasonable and moral for Roark to unilaterally destroy the project because a few aesthetic changes had been made?

First of all, when exactly did the government suspect Keating had lied? It's not in the book. This shoudl be worded, "were the government to suspect..."

This analysis certainly is a way of looking at it. The question one could ask is, if the government acting as a contractor is bound by contract, why isn't Roark? To look at it the way you do though is to massively drop context.

If this were two private parties, acting within the framework of an actively rights respecting government, then the analysis would be perfectly valid. But that is not the case, and that is vitally important to the context of this analysis. A government cannot in the same action violate rights and then claim the very same rights under the very same principle. When this occurs, when the party who is itself suppose to supply the context that would make Roark's actions immoral, does not supply that context (in it's role as right's protector) it cannot then turn around and try to claim those rights for itself. This is the very definition of tyranny and pure despotism. You can't get around this fact by suggesting that Roark and Keating are private parties and Roark's case should be with Keating, because the whole context of whether or not justice can be served and rights are protected is in doubt, and Rand concretizes this doubt very specifically in the book. This is critical. When you sit here and say that only Keating can file suit with the government, or that Keating should file suit with Roark, you are reinstating the context that there is a rights respecting government at the end of this whole chain providing the context that makes the very concept of lawsuit have any meaning. That context does not exist. Protection of rights is in doubt, law is in doubt and the very meaning of what a lawsuit actually is is in doubt.

As to how far one can go, as LeRoux has ably pointed out, Rand gives some guidance. It is valid to break laws in order to have them tested in court (as long as you don't violate others rights). To claim that Roark cannot act becuase the public owns the building, actually is false. This is the very legal concept that Roark wants to test. Assuming Roark/Keating didn't commit fraud (which I'll discuss later), then the government obtained Cortdlant by breach of contract. The legal concept being tested then is whether the government actually owns Cortdlant of not if it was obtained by fraudulent means. One cannot defend this by suggesting that the government owns Cortdland and therefore has rights. That is the matter in question! If a thief steals something from you and you then destroy the thing so he can't have it, he cannot has his defense suggest that his property rights have been violated. If you show that he is a theif, then he never had them!

And as an aside to Grames, I don't think this is jury nullification.

Edited by KendallJ
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Roark was morally justified in what he did, but his legal position was difficult to justify. This is Rand's idea of good drama. Roark gets out of his predicament by making an impassioned moral defense of his action, not a legal defense. When the jury acquits him, it is practicing jury nullification.

Is Rand therefore in favor of jury nullification?

edit: added link

I agree that it makes for good drama, and actually don't have an extreme problem here with jury members making the choice they did. But from an objective legal standpoint, I don't think he had the right to take the law into his own hands (whether or not he had a valid grievance against the Cortlandt builders.) Morally justified vs. legally justified is a distinction that I'm not sure I've made, I'll have to think about that.

I suspect Rand wouldn't have had a problem with jury nullification, depending on the particulars of a case.

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Roark was morally justified in what he did, but his legal position was difficult to justify. This is Rand's idea of good drama. Roark gets out of his predicament by making an impassioned moral defense of his action, not a legal defense. When the jury acquits him, it is practicing jury nullification.

Is Rand therefore in favor of jury nullification?

edit: added link

I don't think it is.

Let's say we all drop context for a moment and assume a rights respecting context.

If the government is in breech then, Keating and hence Roark are owed redress, however, Roark didn't get a fee and Keating received his fee, so I don't think a jury would or could award damages (since we're not talking punitive here). His sole payment and the redress that Keating would have sued for was to have the bulding constructed as designed. In which case then the court would probably have ordered what is known as specific performance. That is the government would have to go back and honor the terms of the agreement and modify or demolish and rebuild the building.

At best, one could argue that Roark is liable for the difference between the cost of rennovation the govt might have done under specific performance vs. cleanup and rebuild that it now must do. If the changes were significant enough, it would have been a wash

I suspect Roark would have paid that difference gladly. ^_^

Or if we add the context back in, what is the punitive damage a jury might impose on a government that destroys the very concepts which give them and the court they function in meaning. Oh say maybe forgiveness of any liability of the original person whose rights were violated, or hell maybe a big thank you for actually being the one to aid in the preservation of rights for all of us. This is why the context is so critical.

Edited by KendallJ
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Oh, and as a very strong aside, since Johathan and LeRoux seem to be forming a mutual admiration society at their ability to effectively critique Rand.

Neither I nor many of the people on this board are automatons defending Rand to our last breaths in spite of good argments to the contrary, and to take that position first, is to necessarily be very confident that you haven't missed anything. I've challenged all sorts of Rand's ideas in my almost 20 years of studying Rand, and I've been mostly humbled when I actually have understood the philosophy well enough to understand how very meticulous and exactly she was in her choices. The fact that I am quick to defend her is not that I simply evade the facts, but rather it is that I have learned very well over the years that while Rand might have made errors, I have yet to see a really fundamental one. And that most people claiming one don't realize that they aren't the first such person to do so. However, what I have seen in my time is punk after punk show up and claim he's discovered a glaring error in Rands thinking and then proceed to show so clearly his ignorance of the philosophy as to make his claim laughable. THis is why someone like LeRoux who comes in trumpeting that he has the truth in hand, and it's obvious, so obvious in fact that he doesn't have to do more than repeat the mantra from his first post to label everyone else "hostile for no reason" gets easily dismissed, and why the importance of showing yourself to be honestly interested in ideas (which is not something you can judge from 20 posts) is a critical aspect of participating in a social group like this forum. And make no mistake, the dismissal is also not a sign of evasion but rather a relflection of the fact that I am not under any moral obligation to stay with you until you fix your fucking thinking. That is the rub in social situations. If you want to have a discussion with me, you need to realize that you need to bring me some value for the value you get out of it. If a trader comes into a trade with little of value, he should not cry irrationality on the part of those who refuse to trade with him. Social interactions are spiritual trades. Get that right first and only then can we talk about debate and rationality, etc. I tried to explain that to him before but he seems to want to label all of us as irrational. He doesn't realize how really foolish he looks, and the fact that he's the 2,346th person to try that in my time here.

This is really a very reasonable, and well-prepared bunch of people (well most anyway) and sticking around and getting to know us and vice versa is actually a rewarding experience for those who do it. If one shows up and asserts thing about our psychology that we ourselves know not to be true, don't be surprised if you get a hostile response. The mistake is thinking that it is "hostile for no reason," but since jerks don't actually think of themselves that way, I can understand the mistake. "Everyone is hostile because I'm a jerk" just is something that would never come up.

General notice: Don't confuse my confidence with evasion and I won't assume your confidence comes form sheer ignorance.

Edited by KendallJ
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Wow. I said if he posted links to his posts that I had already read, again, that I would add him to my ignore list. He did, so I did. I always fulfill my promises. As for being an asshole, LMAO. Added to ignore!

I am starting to enjoy this part greatly however.

If you go back to the last post where I posted links for LeRoux, you'll see that in actuality he threatened me with an ignore only after I posted the links for the final time. I posted no more links subsequent.

Thanks bluey for pointing that out.

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Of course, the whole thing was a logical trap. If you say Roark (or Keating) can blow up Cortland because their property has been stolen, then you of course must condone the cessation of entitlement benefits because they are stolen. If you say the reverse, you are condemning John Galt for seeking to collapse the same type system instead of working to phase it out. Its really not that complex. As for the waiting period to implement the "contributions" refunds and the cessation of benefits. I was not very specific about "my" exact plan because it wasn't yet relevant to the NAP. "Contributions" would stop immediately. Benefits, I can see, giving a notice period for people to adjust (i.e., moving in with family, seeking employment, etc). The refunds of their "contributions" should of course help with this adjustment. I would however support immediate cessation of "contributions" and benefits, if necessary to end the system of slavery.

Its amazing to me that an Objectivist would complain about me adding people throwing silly little insults and profanity around to my ignore list. It is certainly consistent with Objectivism to avoid the irrational. The passive aggressive thing makes me laugh. I am expecting the next series of posts to call me arrogant or maybe even selfish. ^_^

Edited by Chris LeRoux
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Of course, the whole thing was a logical trap. If you say Roark (or Keating) can blow up Cortland because their property has been stolen, then you of course must condone the cessation of entitlement benefits because they are stolen.

Yeah, spotted that trap from miles away. I addressed this before as well. The generalization does not work. The fact that Roark can blow up Cortland does not mean that he is not obliged to demolish Cortland. He certainly is having his rights violated but that does not dictate his only option for what to do. This is why I suggested that you need to understand why Yaron Brook for instance is arguing that immediate redress is not the way to work the problem, which you have yet to do.

Is he saying that those who demand immediate repeal are morally wrong? Does he agree that his and others rights are currently being violated?

We are being morally wronged, but we have valid options in deciding the next course of action. There is not a moral principle that helps us select among those options. It is instead a question of what will work the best. You should really work on this analysis some more. Maybe even by looking at the arguments that are made. So my claim is that you are morally within your rights to use force to revolt. Don't accidentally hurt me in the process, and have fun with that. What I will also claim is that given your position, and the state of the culture, you'll most probably not acheive your ends. We both agree on the moral evaluation of the situation. I simply think you have options bout what to do next. You seem to think that Roark if Roark is compelled morally to blow up Cortland, that that implies that I am compelled morally to revolt today against entitlements. That does not hold up.

Edited by KendallJ
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Its amazing to me that an Objectivist would complain about me adding people throwing silly little insults and profanity around to my ignore list. It is certainly consistent with Objectivism to avoid the irrational. The passive aggressive thing makes me laugh. I am expecting the next series of posts to call me arrogant or maybe even selfish. ^_^

But this is not why you said you were going to ignore me.

Passive aggressive? First my "hostility" is a sign of my irrationality, and now my "passivity" is? And here I thought my passivity was just me calmly refuting each of your claims, rationally. (including your claim about the reasons why you ignored me) I mean, look, you have the right to ignore me all you want for any reason you want you can change that reason at any time, but when someone challenges about the reason that you explicitly claimed that you did, don't lie.

Instead of saying "I ingonred him because he did this" (I did not do that, and your claim of it is a boldfaced lie), you should have said, "Oh, I said I was going to ignore him for this reason, but since he was being mean, I ignored him for that reason instead" Prefectly valid. Tell the truth to someone about the reason you do something. It'll help people to not think you're duplicitous.

I am amazed that someone claiming to be an Objectivist, knowing full well the importance of honestly, would assert something about someone's actions that he knows is a complete lie.

Edited by KendallJ
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