Jump to content
Objectivism Online Forum

Is taxation irretrievably immoral?

Rate this topic


Recommended Posts

But you are missing a point: the Rand statement was contextual, not a fundamental truism.

I have not seen it stated that all taxation is immoral out of that context.

You're quite dense, then. A free society is a RESULT of (among other things) the citizens RECOGNIZING that taxation (and all other variations on the theme of rights-violation) is UNIVERSALLY immoral and putting an end to it on that basis. Once these evils have been abolished, you have a free society. You are literally putting the cart before the horse here and failing to recognize what is logically dependent on what else.

"Government Financing in a Free Society" is not saying that taxation is just dandy in a non-free society, it's saying that there ARE non-taxation methods of financing a government and further demonstrating that taxation is NOT necessary (or moral) in ANY society.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Replies 90
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

Agreed - If there was a totally free society and if people would volunteer to pay for all services.

No, it would be a free society if the government stopped initiating force against citizens.

But you are missing a point: the Rand statement was contextual, not a fundamental truism.

I have not seen it stated that all taxation is immoral out of that context.

You should read the part about individual rights:

"The source of man’s rights is not divine law or congressional law, but the law of identity. A is A—and Man is Man. Rights are conditions of existence required by man’s nature for his proper survival. If man is to live on earth, it is right for him to use his mind, it is right to act on his own free judgment, it is right to work for his values and to keep the product of his work. If life on earth is his purpose, he has a right to live as a rational being: nature forbids him the irrational. Any group, any gang, any nation that attempts to negate man’s rights, is wrong, which means: is evil, which means: is anti-life."

But you are missing a point: the Rand statement was contextual, not a fundamental truism.

How's this statement: "Since Man has inalienable individual rights, this means that the same rights are held, individually, by every man, by all men, at all times. "?

Are you saying it's not a violation of rigths if I take half your money?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Jake_Ellison
No, it would be a free society if the government stopped initiating force against citizens.[/code] Yes; but I said that there is an alternative to taxation "If there was a totally free society and if people would volunteer to pay for all services." Since that has never been the case....
[code]Are you saying it's not a violation of rigths if I take half your money?

Your discussion of rights does not apply as I presented the situation.

Of course - in your ex. - that would be a violation. But Govt. taxing for essential services for our protection should not be a moral issue. I am as strong a proponent of indiv. rights as anyone; but I can't say - as an anarchist would - that I have a right to not pay for said protections.

The article discussing "Government Financing in a Fully Free Society" says that eliminating taxes is the last step in becoming totally free. And "The Nature of Government" notes that Govt. holds a monopoly on the legal use of physical force and must provide the essential services we have discussed. Since it is not possible to do so without taxation in our society, one cannot call such taxes immoral.

Furthermore, we need a fundamental distinction between those taxes and all others that are irrationally imposed.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Your discussion of rights does not apply as I presented the situation.

Having any portion of your money stolen by the government most certainly is a violation of one's rights.

But Govt. taxing for essential services for our protection should not be a moral issue.

The government stealing for any reason from it's citizens is also most definitely a issue. One of the greatest in the history of the world.

I am as strong a proponent of indiv. rights as anyone; but I can't say - as an anarchist would - that I have a right to not pay for said protections.
http://forum.ObjectivismOnline.com/style_i.../rte-italic.png

Nobody is saying that they wouldn't pay for their protection by the government just that it should only be voluntary otherwise it is theft and theft is most certainly a moral issue. This position isn't even remotely "anarchist" which would involve either no government, competing "governments", or some crazy privatization of the police, etc.

Since it is not possible to do so without taxation in our society, one cannot call such taxes immoral.

This is just completely wrong. That's like saying 150 years ago that crops have always been harvested using slave labor; the whole agricultural system is run using slave labor; men need the fruits of agriculture; therefore we can't call slave labor immoral. It's a complete non sequitur.

Furthermore, we need a fundamental distinction between those taxes and all others that are irrationally imposed.

You are now missing the point here. All taxes are irrationally imposed because they are immoral. Why are all taxes immoral? Because they violate property rights. Any violation of an individuals property rights for any reason at any time is immoral.

Edited by EC
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Your discussion of rights does not apply as I presented the situation.

Your claim was that Ayn Rand wasn't against taxation, except in the one context of an ideal society. I presented quotes that prove she was against all violations of rights, in all contexts, and taxation is undoubtedly a violation of rights, as she defined it. That is Ayn Rand's position, and the Objectivist position.

If your opinion is that it's wrong, then you need to specify that when answering questions on this board. I have no desire to argue that point with you (because there are no new arguments, I've heard them all), only the question of what Ayn Rand's position is.

The act of taxing people is wrong, and the alternative is to not tax them, not to expect them to pay voluntarily before you stop taxing them. I do not owe you anything before you stop taxing me. If you stop taxing me and then I die, so be it. If you stop taxing me and then you die, because you can't afford your own protection, and need my contribution, so be it. Neither scenario gives you the right to force me to pay for my protection, or yours. That is my position, and I'm not open to convincing. At this point, the quote I already presented, and I'll post again, also proves that it is Ayn Rand's position:

"Since Man has inalienable individual rights, this means that the same rights are held, individually, by every man, by all men, at all times."

Furthermore, we need a fundamental distinction between those taxes and all others that are irrationally imposed.

Rational taxation is a contradiction in terms. Objectivism does have a fundamental distinction between rational and irrational human interactions: all human interactions which rely on the initiation of force are irrational (they literally disregard a man's rational faculty). A claim that men should be taxed until they volunteer to pay is by definition irrational. Taxation, like all initiation of force, dismisses the rational faculty of the person producing the wealth obtained: it is irrational.

That is the Objectivist position, and that is the fundamental distinction. Any other, more specific distinction would not be fundamental.

Edited by Jake_Ellison
Link to comment
Share on other sites

What happens if you do offer to pay? Are you arrested or maybe kicked out of the hospital? "Sorry sir, yes you are having a heart attack but you offered to pay for your services to selfishly put yourself first in line for treatment. Please let our security guard escort you out. The mounties are on their way. Eh?"

You would have to leave the country to find someone who is set up to accept whatever payment you want to make, certainly cash payment. And were a Doctor or hospital to take your money to provide timely service, that action would violate the Canadian Health Act (oh the irony) as it ensures that everyone goes on the same list for treatment. What's that old quote about an equal share of misery?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

So you are arguing a utilitarian point of view then. The greatest benefit for the greatest number.

Not... exactly.

Around a year ago, I read "An Intuitive Explanation of Bayes' Theorem" at http://yudkowsky.net/rational/bayes (and the related documents and community forums, such as "Twelve Virtues of Rationality" at http://yudkowsky.net/rational/virtues ), and began seriously thinking about what statistics (especially Bayesian ones) implied about truth; and the book "Mind Hacks" (companion site http://www.mindhacks.com/ ), which demonstrates, in extremely practical forms, some of the limits to human rationality and cognition. From what I've been able to learn of Objectivism (using http://www.importanceofphilosophy.com/ as a main source for at least the overall structure, if not necessarily the details), it is effectively impossible for me to be as rational a person as I would need to be to properly follow Objectivism; thus, I have been thinking about ways to enhance my life (as my moral standard) in ways that compensate for my mental deficiencies, such as by figuring out various rules-of-thumb that are sufficiently useful, and can be applied in many situations without needing to spend too much time thinking about them. One such rule-of-thumb is "a rising tide lifts all boats"; that is, improving the general quality of life, especially for the poorest segment of a society (which I'm willing to file myself under), is likely to improve my own quality of life. It's not an absolute, there are many edge cases and exceptions and so forth - but it's worked well /enough/ for my purposes, so far.

If that's what you're using as a reference, then you might wish to peruse http://lefarkins.blogspot.com/2010/01/unte...ble-moment.html , which rebuts that particular celebrity's statements.

It's sad how effective their propaganda has been... Do you actually think that happens at hospitals in America?

My understanding of US health care is that for the uninsured (which, for the sake of argument, we can assume I would be among), outside of emergency rooms, if someone cannot pay the medical bills for a particular treatment, they will not receive that treatment.

As for American vs Canadian health care, it might be best, for this thread, to skim http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison_of...th_care_systems and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Health_care_in_Canada , and assume that I've trumpeted all the numbers which back my point of view, you've trumpeted the numbers backing yours, and if we want to discuss the matter further, to start a new thread on the topic.

Now, back to taxation...

What says all taxation is immoral? Where is there stated such an Objectivist position?

http://www.importanceofphilosophy.com/Politics_Taxation.html certainly seems to indicate that that is the Objectivist position. I could also refer you to the forum in which the earlier conversation took place, and that position was stated as being the Objectivist one, if you wish.

Wait a second . . . you don't pay ANY taxes?

I fill out the income tax forms annually; however, due to my income bracket, none of my income is taxed. Due to certain minor tax credits, I usually end up receiving about a hundred or two dollars in rebate each year.

I do pay sales taxes on bought items, which is the only tax I can think of that I pay directly (as opposed to paying someone who pays taxes for something, which kind of blurs the whole point, so I'll cheerfully ignore it for now).

To every other post I'm not directly replying to: Thank you; I'm learning quite a lot from what you're writing.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

One such rule-of-thumb is "a rising tide lifts all boats"; that is, improving the general quality of life, especially for the poorest segment of a society (which I'm willing to file myself under), is likely to improve my own quality of life. It's not an absolute, there are many edge cases and exceptions and so forth

No shit. One of those edge cases is every single communist and socialist country in the World, where the poorest segments of society are generally affected first by the general moral and economic decline of society. This applies to socialist democracies such as Venezuela or France (where young people in general are 20%+ unemployed, young Muslims 50% and living in abject misery), just as it applies to hardcore communist countries where tens of millions died from hunger and malnutrition.

If you're planning on ensuring your long term well being by attacking and destroying your betters, instead of doing your best to find a place for yourself living in harmony with them, I assure you, you'll be the first to be discarded once everything goes to Hell, as it invariably does. Sounds like you're almost homeless as it is: what are you going to do when the people you are so self righteously robbing all leave Canada?

Edited by Jake_Ellison
Link to comment
Share on other sites

No shit. One of those edge cases is every single communist and socialist country in the World, where the poorest segments of society are generally affected first by the general moral and economic decline of society. This applies to socialist democracies such as Venezuela or France (where young people in general are 20%+ unemployed, young Muslims 50% and living in abject misery), just as it applies to hardcore communist countries where tens of millions died from hunger and malnutrition.

If you're planning on ensuring your long term well being by attacking and destroying your betters, instead of doing your best to find a place for yourself living in harmony with them, I assure you, you'll be the first to be discarded once everything goes to Hell, as it invariably does. Sounds like you're almost homeless as it is: what are you going to do when the people you are so self righteously robbing all leave Canada?

(I hope you don't mind if I treat your question's "when" as if you wrote "if", as I'm not nearly so certain as you seem to be that the assumptions underlying your question are facts.)

Your question may be phrased rhetorically, but I have, in fact, had to consider and plan for such a situation. I hope that you will be willing to take me at my word that I am, in fact, earning as much as I am physically and mentally capable of, and have done as much as possible to minimize my expenses - for example, I have made arrangements for an internet connection that doesn't cost me any cash. If events happen to turn unworkable the various workarounds, kludges, hacks, and so forth that I use to get by, and I am unable to arrange for replacements, to the degree that I am no longer able to afford even my current room and board, then, obviously, I will become homeless. I already own a copy of "Surviving on the Streets: How to go down without going out" by Ace Backwords, (available from various sources, listed at http://www.bookfinder.com/search/?author=b...st=sr&ac=qr , for about $30+) and I've volunteered to help with things such as a local "Out of the Cold" program; so I know that I can stay alive, to a certain degree, in such a situation, but they're not circumstances I would enjoy, and without even my present meagre reserves, my life would become unpleasantly perilous, with measurable odds of perishing in any given winter.

I'm not an uber-rational, hyper-competent Objectivist super-man, striding boldly into the future, self-sufficient in every way; never harmed by third-party externalities; able to read contracts at a glance and having every piece of information necessary to find where I'd be screwed over; able to detect building design flaws, medical fraud, contaminated food, and so on, and able to take such companies to court to hold them liable and argue my own case. I'm just a guy trying to get by as best I can given the circumstances I'm in. I think that learning more about Objectivism will help me do that, even if I don't end up becoming a full-fledged Objectivist myself, so here I am.

I think I've done my best to answer your question; if I've misinterpreted it, or failed to elaborate on a point you want me to, just let me know, and I'll do my best to correct my lapse.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

You write far too well for someone who is actually on the verge of considering himself incapable of producing enough to sustain his own life or should be seriously considering himself to be incapable of increasing his own productiveness to a level that affords a decent standard of living.

In your particular actual case, in current actual society, there are a myriad ways the government may directly or indirectly be creating conditions that are as you describe. Minimum wage laws and other labor regulation in particular come to mind. However the circumstances that would lead a person with the mental acuity and expression capability you have demonstrated in this thread to actually be unable to find productive work in a free society are exceptional enough that the fact that such a person would have to rely on charity is no argument against the absence of taxation and tax funded entitlements.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

'EC' 
Having any portion of your money stolen by the government most certainly is a violation of one's rights.[/code] You can't ignore my entire argument and continue to call it "stolen."
[code]Nobody is saying that they wouldn't pay for their protection by the government just that it should only be voluntary.
Yet it is not possible in our system. You are putting the cart before the horse.
This is just completely wrong. That's like saying 150 years ago that crops have always been harvested using slave labor; the whole agricultural system is run using slave labor; men need the fruits of agriculture; therefore we can't call slave labor immoral. It's a complete non sequitur.
Bad analogy: Govt. has a right to provide essential services at our cost; it just happens that it is not able to do so without taxation (unless in the unattainable context). There is no right to enslave.
[i]You[/i] are now missing the point here. [i]All[/i] taxes are irrationally imposed because they are immoral. Why are all taxes immoral? Because they violate property rights. [i]Any[/i] violation of an individuals property rights for [i]any[/i] reason at [i]any[/i] time [b]is[/b] [i]immoral[/i].

Immoral only in that unattainable context. Today, they don't violate rights.

Morality requires choices, and that choice does not exist.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

'Jake_Ellison'
Your claim was that Ayn Rand wasn't against taxation, except in the one context of an ideal society. I presented quotes that prove she was against all violations of rights, in all contexts, and taxation is undoubtedly a violation of rights, as she defined it. That is Ayn Rand's position, and the Objectivist position.[/code] One can theoretically be against taxation; but like I just said, given no choice in our society, Govt. must provide essential services via taxation. You assume that is a violation when it is not in this context.
[code]If your opinion is that it's wrong, then you need to specify that when answering questions on this board. I have no desire to argue that point with you (because there are no new arguments, I've heard them all), only the question of what Ayn Rand's position is.
I never said taxation is right in principle. But the services in this context do not represent a violation. Show a quote that contradicts that.
The act of taxing people is wrong, and the alternative is to not tax them, not to expect them to pay voluntarily before you stop taxing them.
This is an example of applying principles where they don't apply. E.g. try paying for the essential services without taxation and see where you end up. It would be irrational not to collect taxes for them.
Rational taxation is a contradiction in terms. Objectivism does have a fundamental distinction between rational and irrational human interactions: all human interactions which rely on the initiation of force are irrational (they literally disregard a man's rational faculty). A claim that men should be taxed until they volunteer to pay is by definition irrational. Taxation, like all initiation of force, dismisses the rational faculty of the person producing the wealth obtained: it is irrational.

No distinction? You just made one!

And you contradicted Rand: she said taxation is the last thing Govt. can remove..., thus rational now.

Since Govt. has a proper monopoly on the use of force, such use cannot always be irrational.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

'DataPacRat' 
http://www.importanceofphilosophy.com/Politics_Taxation.html certainly seems to indicate that that is the Objectivist position. I could also refer you to the forum in which the earlier conversation took place, and that position was stated as being the Objectivist one, if you wish.[/code]

Again, theoretically yes. But that also says that "taxation is not necessary to pool our resources" and that is not true. Govt. forcing taxes to be paid for essential services if justified until all else is done to make us a completely free society.

I don't see any Obj. position per se on this issue. Context cannot be dropped.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

But that also says that "taxation is not necessary to pool our resources" and that is not true. Govt. forcing taxes to be paid for essential services if justified until all else is done to make us a completely free society.
That's false: the burden is on you to prove that claim.
I don't see any Obj. position per se on this issue. Context cannot be dropped.
There is no dropping of context -- you can't spray invocations of "context" as some magical exception to the principles of Objectivism. There is no context where it is the proper nature of government to initiate force.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I hope that you will be willing to take me at my word that I am, in fact, earning as much as I am physically and mentally capable of, and have done as much as possible to minimize my expenses - for example, I have made arrangements for an internet connection that doesn't cost me any cash.

I'll take your word for that. But I know for a fact that you have the potential to be far more productive, and you choose not to be. You are obviously intelligent enough to acquire a skill that would get you a well paying job. You chose to aim low, and that is no one's fault but your own. That particular choice also causes you to have no idea what Ayn Rand's philosophy is. You are perfectly capable of reading the actual books she wrote, instead of taking the shortcut of some website, before deciding to launch into a cheap, sarcastic diatribe against our views. You just chose against it.

Not that I care. My only desire is to be completely insulated from the consequences of your poor choices. If I lived in Canada, that would be impossible. Which leads me to the clarification I would like to take you up on your offer for: if you are convinced you are right about human nature and morality, and what you read in those books you listed is the way to go, and I am wrong, and the idea of a moral, rational hero is a delusion for you to snipe at with sarcastic detachment, why are you in favor of a society in which you are in any way tied to people like me? In which your health depends on my contributions, and mine on yours? Why can't we go our separate ways, let me voluntarily deal with doctors who wish to deal with me, on terms of our choosing, and you with doctors who wish to deal with you? Wouldn't you and people like you apply the wonderful probability theorems you read about in your books to the production of goods and services, without the need to support us silly idealists in our delusion and failure?

Edited by Jake_Ellison
Link to comment
Share on other sites

If I adopt life as my standard of value, we're speaking of my life. "Other people's lives" is not the standard.

sNerd, I think you misspoke here. Isn't it human life that is the standard and your life is your purpose? The standard is not one particular person's life, but what human life qua human life requires to live and prosper?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

You write far too well for someone who is actually on the verge of considering himself incapable of producing enough to sustain his own life or should be seriously considering himself to be incapable of increasing his own productiveness to a level that affords a decent standard of living.

Thank you for the compliment; I've been both reading and typing, at various levels of skill, since I was four, and I'd hope that I've gotten the hang of the written word by now. :)

(Warning, possible goth/emo whining-sounding writing ahead, though I'm trying to avoid that and offer a serious thought experiment.)

However. Imagine that, say, for your entire adult life (and then some), your body had a circadian rhythm of about 24 and a half hours, instead of 24, a rhythm which stubbornly refused all remedies to fix it. That one night, you'd fall asleep at midnight; a week later, around four am; another week later, around 8 am; and so on, while still requiring about 8-10 hours of sleep per day. That you had to make adjustments such as keeping track of every 24-hour store, simply because much of the time, they were the only ones open when you were awake that day. That nearly all forms of employment required a certain sort of scheduling from you, a requirement so basic that it's never even mentioned... and a requirement that you are literally physically unable to comply with. And, of course, that there is no obvious physical sign that you are different from anyone else, the entire thing being able to be dismissed by others as being "all in your head", which you can obviously overcome "if you really wanted to" with "enough effort".

In your particular actual case, in current actual society, there are a myriad ways the government may directly or indirectly be creating conditions that are as you describe. Minimum wage laws and other labor regulation in particular come to mind. However the circumstances that would lead a person with the mental acuity and expression capability you have demonstrated in this thread to actually be unable to find productive work in a free society are exceptional enough that the fact that such a person would have to rely on charity is no argument against the absence of taxation and tax funded entitlements.

I probably fall outside the standard deviation of any norm you care to mention. :)

I prefer comparing myself, not just to my contemporaries in the city where I live, but the whole world, and history. Compared to the vast majority of humans on the planet now, and even moreso compared to those who lived before the 20th century, I live in nearly unimaginable luxury - the very fact that I can connect to this forum and post to it is proof of that. While my future may be more uncertain than most of my contemporaries, taking the long view, I have every hope that it will change for the better rather than for the worse. If I can make it to, say, 2050 AD, then I may even get to see what's often currently called the "Singularity", after which all bets are off... (Mind you, from another point of view, we've already passed through the event horizon of a Singularity, given how rarely Golden Age science-fiction dealt with the impact of worldwide information networks, but I think I'm getting far enough off-topic as it is...)

For anyone still reading this post... from what I can tell, it seems to be a general consensus among the posters that the current form of taxation in America, Europe, Canada, etc, is a bad idea, and that having little-to-no taxes is a better idea. My next question is... do you have any plans on how to get to B from A? That is, are there any intermediate steps between the current system and your ideal one which are easier to reach than your ideal, and for which you are working towards?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'll take your word for that. But I know for a fact that you have the potential to be far more productive, and you choose not to be. You are obviously intelligent enough to acquire a skill that would get you a well paying job. You chose to aim low, and that is no one's fault but your own. That particular choice also causes you to have no idea what Ayn Rand's philosophy is. You are perfectly capable of reading the actual books she wrote, instead of taking the shortcut of some website, before deciding to launch into a cheap, sarcastic diatribe against our views. You just chose against it.

Not that I care. My only desire is to be completely insulated from the consequences of your poor choices. If I lived in Canada, that would be impossible. Which leads me to the clarification I would like to take you up on your offer for: if you are convinced you are right about human nature and morality, and what you read in those books you listed is the way to go, and I am wrong, and the idea of a moral, rational hero is a delusion for you to snipe at with sarcastic detachment, why are you in favor of a society in which you are in any way tied to people like me? In which your health depends on my contributions, and mine on yours? Why can't we go our separate ways, let me voluntarily deal with doctors who wish to deal with me, on terms of our choosing, and you with doctors who wish to deal with you? Wouldn't you and people like you apply the wonderful probability theorems you read about in your books to the production of goods and services, without the need to support us silly idealists in our delusion and failure?

Jake,

If you can suggest a "well-paying job" which can accommodate someone who seems normal when posting to an online forum but who has what is effectively a non-physical disability, which I haven't already thought of, then I'm all ears.

I am sorry that you think I have been sarcastic - I have not intended to be, and I regret that my writing was poor enough that it could be interpreted as such.

I would be happy to read Ayn Rand's non-fiction works directly. Would you happen to have a source for them where they cost approximately CAD$0, including shipping?

I'm not convinced I'm right about anything - quite the contrary. I know that my views on a number of topics, including human nature and morality, are better now than they were in the past, and that they will near-certainly be better still in the future.

Your questions seem to be phrased rhetorically, and based on several false assumptions about my own beliefs, and the false assumption that I've been sarcastic. The most accurate answer I can give for most of them is thus "mu", but that's a rather unsatisfying response for both of us; perhaps you might be able to rephrase what you're trying to ask, without that assumption, so that I might be able to come up with a better answer?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I would be happy to read Ayn Rand's non-fiction works directly. Would you happen to have a source for them where they cost approximately CAD$0, including shipping?

Well, you could start out by registering at the Ayn Rand Institute website: aynrand.org, and getting the Ayn Rand Sampler, which contains some of her works. Her Ford Hall lectures are also available free for your listening pleasure on the same site. I believe Anthem has also entered the public domain and is available free online.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If you have a functioning brain and/or a mostly functioning body, you can do something productive. Steven Hawking seems to be doing well for himself. We're just suggesting that maybe, just maybe, it's not right to rob people, and that your needs establish no moral claim on the life of any other man.

Besides, it's not like voluntary charity doesn't exist. If you recognize that a man can keep 100% of his production by right, and not by permission, then people will generally have more money and you'll likely have people giving move money to causes they approve of.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

sNerd, I think you misspoke here. Isn't it human life that is the standard and your life is your purpose? The standard is not one particular person's life, but what human life qua human life requires to live and prosper?

This is accurate if you're talking about abstract "human life" (i.e. the fundamental requirements for ALL humans to live, not just you wherever you happen to be) vs. your personal concrete life, but that's not what SNerd was refuting: he was talking about taking "human life" to mean ALL HUMANS TOGETHER as though we all form one huge collective mega-organism vs. an individual life.

It would be more *precise* to state that the requirements for an individual human life is the standard of morality and YOUR individual human life is its purpose when you're quoting that particular passage without the rest of the context of Galt's Speech.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I am sorry that you think I have been sarcastic - I have not intended to be

Sorry, I simply mistook all these superlatives in your previous post as sarcasm: "I'm not an uber-rational, hyper-competent Objectivist super-man, striding boldly into the future, self-sufficient in every way; never harmed by third-party externalities; able to read contracts at a glance and having every piece of information necessary to find where I'd be screwed over; able to detect building design flaws, medical fraud, contaminated food, and so on, and able to take such companies to court to hold them liable and argue my own case."

Since it isn't sarcasm, I should mention that the above is not an accurate characterization of the Objectivist view of moral perfection. According to Objectivism, morality pertains to choices. Therefor, any man can be moral, by simply making the right choices, within the context of his own knowledge (right choice within the context of your own knowledge means a fully rational choice, not the impossibility of error). That means you can even make what later turns out to be an error, because some crucial information was beyond your reach, and remain entirely moral. (For instance, an ancient thinker may have been entirely rational, even though he made his choices based on the false assumption that the Sun revolved around the Earth. On the other hand, if a person today tells you that, you know for a fact that he's not rational, because he made the irrational choice to ignore knowledge that is perfectly obvious. Another example, IMHO, would be me thinking you were sarcastic: I think it was a rational choice to proceed based on that assumption, but it would be entirely irrational to still do that now, after you told me I was wrong.)

Obviously, it takes a lot to have a focused mind, which is the only way to consistently make the rational choice based on what you know, but it does not take any super human, or even above average mental or physical capacity. All it takes is mental focus. From such a way of life a lot will follow, including self respect, pride, independence, and eventually skills to do things most others can't do. Just as you have been able to learn to write eloquently, you have the capacity to program a computer, or play the guitar, or write a screenplay, or manage a business, or direct a movie. You can't do it now, but the fact that you've been able to learn to write the way you do tells me you are capable of learning some of these other things too. Maybe you won't, but you could.

Edited by Jake_Ellison
Link to comment
Share on other sites

My next question is... do you have any plans on how to get to B from A? That is, are there any intermediate steps between the current system and your ideal one which are easier to reach than your ideal, and for which you are working towards?

It starts will a gradual cultural change. A change in the philosophy dominating the society. As a practical matter, there cannot be political change and action to the extent required without having enough people choosing to think about what is truly best for them.

The political actions would follow and would be manifested in the promotion of free-market (laissez-faire) capitalism and vast government decontrol over society.

Sounds simple eh?

Edited by freestyle
Link to comment
Share on other sites

So DataPacRat, why not work for yourself, set your own hours. The internet (which you have access to... for free even) is open 24/7/365 so why not examine it as a viable way of making some money? The saying goes, "Where there is a will there is a way". So where's the will?

BTW the Brock Lestner story was not my point of reference. My point of reference comes from being a Canadian, and all those other factual points I posted which you conveniently ignored.

Jake is right by the way. No one here is stupid enough to believe that you were not trying to take the piss out of us with that snide little characterization of an Objectivist.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This is accurate if you're talking about abstract "human life" (i.e. the fundamental requirements for ALL humans to live, not just you wherever you happen to be) vs. your personal concrete life, but that's not what SNerd was refuting: he was talking about taking "human life" to mean ALL HUMANS TOGETHER as though we all form one huge collective mega-organism vs. an individual life.

It would be more *precise* to state that the requirements for an individual human life is the standard of morality and YOUR individual human life is its purpose when you're quoting that particular passage without the rest of the context of Galt's Speech.

Not to divert the thread, but Ayn Rand, who is the standard for *precise* said "man's" life. She didn't mean a collective, and neither did I.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
 Share

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

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