Jump to content
Objectivism Online Forum

"Libertarian" as a concept

Rate this topic


Recommended Posts

I'll go there. Liberal, conservative and progressive are all invalid concepts that block clear thought by making distinctions based on nonessentials. To the extent that all of them embrace statism to some degree they are each dangerous.

Alright, well then at least you are consistent. So, in your opinion, there is no essential difference between a liberal (wants a very strict separation of religion from the public sphere, large welfare programs, few restrictions on non-economic behavior) and a conservative (essentially switch things around)? Grouping the two into categories serves no cognitively useful function whatsoever? I understand that neither take up an Objectivist definition of rights (and most do not agree that government's only function is the protection of rights), but they do have fairly major differences, with each violating rights in a different manner.

If all such concepts are invalid, is "socialist" invalid as well, as it has so many disparate referents, or is it only applicable to a teensy part of the population, like "capitalist"? Would you say that there should only be two categories for political thought- "Objectivist" and "rights-violating" (I didn't want to make up a word)? Because that seems to be the only essential difference, if all specific policy proposals are removed from consideration as "non-essential."

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Replies 56
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

Top Posters In This Topic

Popular Posts

I'm very skeptical about the importance of such a classification. I very much doubt that it allows you to find people similar to me in political view (and "allows" implies that I won't be able to find

Creating a term which forces together disparate units, based on coincidental similarity, at best is useless. It is actually cognitively harmful because creating the illusion of unity obscures the reality of disunity. The dissimilarity in colors of horses or cows is no impediment to forming the valid concepts "horse" or "cow", because the omitted measurements are not at all important. An attempt to weld Objectivists and libertarians into one class based on a superficial similarity is a cognitive disaster in the making, because Objectivists and libertarians otherwise have nothing in common.

See, but "libertarian" does not force together disparate units in the political sphere (unless, perhaps, you include the anarcho-capitalists, then there might be more of a case). If you very explicitly confine your discussion to the political sphere alone, and say that someone being a libertarian has no necessary connection the other branches of philosophy, such as ethics or epistemology, then you can have a valid concept. The justification for their belief in a "small" (defined in terms of scope, not actual size or power) government may be different, but libertarians are all in a similar place in terms of their views on the scope of proper government, and have very different views than conservatives, liberals, socialists, or fascists. Such classifications are very useful in political discourse and enable people to have political discussions about both current policy and to a lesser extent philosophy (when critiquing other viewpoints) far easier. Indeed, banning such terms of our vocabulary would require people over and over to use similar descriptions as that of a hammer given earlier in the thread.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I came to learn about Objectivism and Ayn Rand through my interest in libertarianism. I think that libertarians today are not quite what they were when Rand was so against them, they tended to be the anarchist element, rather than in favour of a strictly, constitutionally limited government protecting property rights. Instinctivey, I would tend to agree with the OP, as there seems to be sufficient common ground between Objectivism and libertarianism when it comes to individual rights and a minarchist approach to government - if not on the reasons for it. However... there is the huge obstacle that Objectivism is completely and fervently against the peacenik, anti-war element and anti-Zionist streak of mainstream libertarianism. I understand your intentions, but I just fail to see how you can come up with a useful definition of a concept that could exclude foreign policy as a non-essential characteristic and I am not sure there is much point in a political concept that refers only to domestic policy.

Link to post
Share on other sites
See, but "libertarian" does not force together disparate units in the political sphere (unless, perhaps, you include the anarcho-capitalists, then there might be more of a case). If you very explicitly confine your discussion to the political sphere alone, and say that someone being a libertarian has no necessary connection the other branches of philosophy, such as ethics or epistemology, then you can have a valid concept.
Emphasis added. "Libertarian" does indeed include anarcho-capitalists and anarcho-syndicalists, so "libertarian" is a non-starter as a possible term. "Minarchist", perhaps. But the fact that you can construct a term that identifies some individuals does not mean that it is a proper concept. As I said, concepts are formed bottom-up, and reflect a cognitive need to economize. There is no justification for inventing a concept that forces Objectivists into a category with a subset of libertarians.
Such classifications are very useful in political discourse and enable people to have political discussions about both current policy and to a lesser extent philosophy (when critiquing other viewpoints) far easier.
That's a false utility. It's easy to discuss political issues without falsely implying some similarity between Objectivists and libertarians. If you're focused on modern political issues, then opposition to Obamacare is not limited to Objectivists and libertarians -- conservatives also share that view. Opposition to government establishment of religion is shared not just with Objectivists and libertarians, but also with liberals. The implied unity of Objectivists and libertarians seriously crashes on the rocks over matters of foreign policy and national defense, where Objectivists totally part company with libertarians.

The similarity between Objectivists and libertarians is purely superficial.

Link to post
Share on other sites
That's a false utility. It's easy to discuss political issues without falsely implying some similarity between Objectivists and libertarians. If you're focused on modern political issues, then opposition to Obamacare is not limited to Objectivists and libertarians -- conservatives also share that view. Opposition to government establishment of religion is shared not just with Objectivists and libertarians, but also with liberals. The implied unity of Objectivists and libertarians seriously crashes on the rocks over matters of foreign policy and national defense, where Objectivists totally part company with libertarians.

Well, actually, non-anarchist libertarians all want a military to defend the country. The major difference is an insistence on a) being attacked directly by that country first before striking (Iran hasn't, directly, attacked us for instance) and b ) an insistence that civilian deaths should be minimized. But if that is the major difference then we aren't very different at all, in the political sphere. There is a LOT of similarity between Objectivists and libertarians. If you ask an Objectivist and a libertarian/minarchist what they think on issue X they will agree almost all the time (or, the variance between them will be within the range of the variance among Objectivists themselves), with the possible exception of some elements of foreign policy (though those issues aren't drastic, and many libertarians agree with most Objectivist positions in that arena). Indeed, in domestic policy, minarchists and Objectivists will have almost identical viewpoints.

I know most Objectivists don't like libertarians because they don't have the proper backing for their positions, but the fact is that the two groups agree on an enormous number of issues, at least as much as any of the other groupings like conservatives, liberals, and socialists. If libertarians and Objectivists cannot possibly be grouped together (even the non-anarchist libertarians), then neither can "conservatives" or "liberals" be grouped together either, for they share just as profound a difference in justifications for their beliefs (including epistemology and ethics) as there are differences between conservatives and liberals. In order to be consistent, you either have to, as Grames has done, denounce all such labels, or admit that a common broad term akin to "conservative" or "liberal" could describe "libertarians" and "Objectivists".

edited to make :huh: be b ). I really don't like that emoticon.

Edited by nanite1018
Link to post
Share on other sites
Well, actually, non-anarchist libertarians all want a military to defend the country.

are you now excluding anarcho-capitalists from your definition of libertarian, for the sake of including Objectivism? if so, doesn't it make the whole thing rather pointless? If you need to qualify anarchist libertarias, Objectivist libertarians, constitutional libertarians... why not just dispense with the libertarian term?

The major difference is an insistence on a) being attacked directly by that country first before striking (Iran hasn't, directly, attacked us for instance) and b ) an insistence that civilian deaths should be minimized. But if that is the major difference then we aren't very different at all, in the political sphere.

you are massively underestimating the difference between Objectivists and libertarians on foreign policy. they are stark. it is not just a question of needing to be attacked first - Objectivism does not argue that that is a necessary precondition, Rand argues that it is permissible for free nations to invade and conquer tyrannies when it is in their own interests, I am not aware of any Libertarian who hold that position. Further, civilian casualties are not as much of a concern for the Objectivist as for libertarians and others, their deaths are the responsibility of their own government.

There is a LOT of similarity between Objectivists and libertarians. If you ask an Objectivist and a libertarian/minarchist what they think on issue X they will agree almost all the time (or, the variance between them will be within the range of the variance among Objectivists themselves), with the possible exception of some elements of foreign policy (though those issues aren't drastic, and many libertarians agree with most Objectivist positions in that arena). Indeed, in domestic policy, minarchists and Objectivists will have almost identical viewpoints.

but isn't is pointless subsuming Objectivism within a wider term if that only applies to domestic policy?

I know most Objectivists don't like libertarians because they don't have the proper backing for their positions, but the fact is that the two groups agree on an enormous number of issues, at least as much as any of the other groupings like conservatives, liberals, and socialists. If libertarians and Objectivists cannot possibly be grouped together (even the non-anarchist libertarians), then neither can "conservatives" or "liberals" be grouped together either, for they share just as profound a difference in justifications for their beliefs (including epistemology and ethics) as there are differences between conservatives and liberals. In order to be consistent, you either have to, as Grames has done, denounce all such labels, or admit that a common broad term akin to "conservative" or "liberal" could describe "libertarians" and "Objectivists".

why use a single concept, why not simply refer to libertarians and Objectivists are respectors of individual property rights?

or perhaps individualists? maybe that will work? just came to me, but I will have to think more about that one.

Edited by rebelconservative
Link to post
Share on other sites
A good example might be the color of a horse. The fact that one horse is brown does not imply that every other horse is brown. Brownness is not an essential characteristic of a horse. It is not even a necessary one. Other examples might be whether a horse has a limp, or whether it has been bred for racing.

Let's get back to the original issue of "Objectivist" being a subclass of "libertarian" (again, "minarchist" might be better). Every Objectivist believes in his own life as the standard of value, but not every non-Objectivist libertarian shares this belief. However, both groups can be subsumed under a common concept, provided that the concept does not treat the standard of value as an essential.

By the way, if we didn't allow units of a concept to differ except in measurement, few concepts would survive. Think of "law", "food", or "method".

-----------

Let's remember what Rand said a unit is: "A unit is an existent regarded as a separate member of a group of two or more similar members." (ITOE) The reason that the color of the horse is not regarded as essential to the concept 'horse' is because there are different color horses that share other characteristics in common (shape, ability, type of food they eat, etc.) Without these other similar characteristics, one could not form the concept 'horse'. But the color of a horse would be essential if you want to form the concept 'brown' (for example) or to apply the concept 'brown' to a brown horse. But that a particular horse must be some color is not dropped from the meaning of the concept 'horse'.

How can a political concept be formed by not treating the standard of value as essential to the meaning of the concept???? Politics is a subdivision of ethics. To drop the base of ethical theory from a political concept is nothing less than the fallacy of the stolen concept as well as context dropping. What you're implying is that because an Objectivist and a communist are atheists, they must have something in common. After all, neither one will vote to establish a theocracy! Likewise, that a particular individual must have some standard of value would not be dropped from the meaning of the concept, in this case, "libertarian." Which means that a fundamental, distinguishing characteristic of the entities subsumed by the concept has been ignored in order to form such a concept as proposed here.

As far as I understand your statement "if we didn't allow units of a concept to differ," that is exactly what does not differ. "A concept is a mental integration of two or more units which are isolated according to a specific characteristic(s)..." (ITOE) If the units have different specific characteristics, what exactly is the mental integration doing? For example, if I look at a specific concrete chair and a specific concrete horse, and I observe that people sit on both so we should have a concept uniting chair and horse, what have I integrated? After all, both have four legs, both may be brown, both get sit upon. Clearly these common characteristics should allow us to form the concept of "horsair". This is exactly what the premise of this thread that was proposed to join individuals who are Objectivists with individuals who are libertarians under an concept "libertarian." Such a method makes no sense to me. It is an arbitrary conjoining of characteristics that are non-essential to concept formation. Thus, nothing is being integrated.

I think you need to study ITOE more carefully.

Link to post
Share on other sites
-------------

For quick reference, the original sentences were:

"Objectivism, utilitarianism, cultural relativism, etc. are not essential to libertarianism (i.e. minarchism). Instead, libertarianism rests on the affirmation of property rights. Thus, the concept of libertarianism does not gloss over important ideological differences."

I believe the first two sentences are true, while the third is false.

--------------

I disagree. Libertarianism has many elements of cultural relativism, as evidenced by those who regard terrorists as freedom fighters, among other examples. And this is essential to libertarianism. And there are libertarians who are anarchists, which theory derives from communism. Libertarian communism.

Such a concept is completely unintegrable with anything else, let alone with the Objectivist position.

Link to post
Share on other sites
--------------

why use a single concept, why not simply refer to libertarians and Objectivists are respectors of individual property rights?

or perhaps individualists? maybe that will work? just came to me, but I will have to think more about that one.

Yes, I'd suggest checking your premises on that.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Alright, well then at least you are consistent. So, in your opinion, there is no essential difference between a liberal (wants a very strict separation of religion from the public sphere, large welfare programs, few restrictions on non-economic behavior) and a conservative (essentially switch things around)? Grouping the two into categories serves no cognitively useful function whatsoever? I understand that neither take up an Objectivist definition of rights (and most do not agree that government's only function is the protection of rights), but they do have fairly major differences, with each violating rights in a different manner.

If all such concepts are invalid, is "socialist" invalid as well, as it has so many disparate referents, or is it only applicable to a teensy part of the population, like "capitalist"? Would you say that there should only be two categories for political thought- "Objectivist" and "rights-violating" (I didn't want to make up a word)? Because that seems to be the only essential difference, if all specific policy proposals are removed from consideration as "non-essential."

Those political positions only serve a cognitively useful function to the extent that their contradictions need to be identified. The most essential thing to remember about a contradiction is that it is contradictory; there really isn't a reliable way to understand people that may confront their contradiction and face the need to dodge a consequence at any time.

Liberalism and conservatism are just two different ways to be socialist each picking a favored side in the mind-body dichotomy. As Ayn Rand identified, each want government controls over the area of life they regard as the most important. This is how they are similar.

The "the glass is half full" way of judging them by what they let remain free would not conclude they are both socialist. Ayn Rand also pointed out each lets remain free what they think is less important. What each permits to remain free is different.

Now which is the more insightful way of judging them, by their differences or their similarity? Since their similarity is based on what is important to each and their difference is found in what they neglect, the similarity is the more essential.

An essentially different political position would be to advocate freedom and rights in the most important area of life. Since libertarians advocate freedom in all areas of life they might seem to fit the criteria for being essentially different. But they only advocate freedom because they conclude that the problem of "who should rule" is insoluble, and that what is ethically right and wrong is unknowable or irrelevant to politics. Like the conservatives and liberals they only arrive at freedom by means of a default. A default is not a basis for effective advocacy. Since libertarians are only grouped together on the basis of this default there is no necessary coherence on any other issue, even the relatively fundamental issue of the mind-body dichotomy.

Objectivism finds that life is what is important. Objectivism also rejects the mind-body choice, there is not a single most important area of life. Whole men are to be free and have rights, not just minds or bodies. The desirability of freedom and rights is a fact based on practical necessity, known with certainty, that leads to a moral principle, which positively justifies a single kind of political system.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Now which is the more insightful way of judging them, by their differences or their similarity? Since their similarity is based on what is important to each and their difference is found in what they neglect, the similarity is the more essential.

I agree that they both have fundamental issues, and that if they desire to be consistent they must either reject the idea they have the right to initiate physical force for any reason, or wholeheartedly support it (though that path would lead to death, at least they would have a glaring contradiction in their political philosophy, even if there ethics would be way out of whack). And that is their most important characteristic, though I still think they can be useful categories so as to organize the nature of certain errors in political philosophy.

An essentially different political position would be to advocate freedom and rights in the most important area of life. Since libertarians advocate freedom in all areas of life they might seem to fit the criteria for being essentially different. But they only advocate freedom because they conclude that the problem of "who should rule" is insoluble, and that what is ethically right and wrong is unknowable or irrelevant to politics. Like the conservatives and liberals they only arrive at freedom by means of a default. A default is not a basis for effective advocacy. Since libertarians are only grouped together on the basis of this default there is no necessary coherence on any other issue, even the relatively fundamental issue of the mind-body dichotomy.

This is where we differ. The question of "who should rule" has never been answered by Objectivists (that is, exactly how a government should justly be formed; the topic has gotten no attention so far as I can tell, except a brief sentence vague sentence or two perhaps). That is an important question, one which needs more attention in my opinion. In any case, only anarchists are libertarians for that reason alone (and perhaps they deserve their own label).

Many libertarians are ethical subjectivists, or follow a more rationalist approach (like Rothbard) and think ethics is irrelevant. But most do NOT arrive at freedom by default. Almost all believe that liberty and property are the keys to prosperity and human happiness. Others believe it is the only logically consistent social system (that isn't default either, that is an affirmation that it is the only possible system, as all others are contradictory by their nature). Unfortunately, some, as we all know, do arrive at freedom as a default, or as an excuse for their immoral behavior. But so what? The majority do not, and can mount a defense of liberty and property that doesn't sound like they are trying to excuse bad behavior, nor that they hold no values whatsoever.

Now, you are quite right that a certain political viewpoint does not imply necessary coherence on non-political (or even all political) issues. But those are not the fundamental differences in the political sphere. Those differences are whether or not government exists to protect rights and whether or not you accept that the initiation of force is never justified and must be banished from human interaction.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Every Objectivist believes in his own life as the standard of value, but not every non-Objectivist libertarian shares this belief. However, both groups can be subsumed under a common concept, provided that the concept does not treat the standard of value as an essential.

Actually it is man's life that is the standard and it is an essential when speaking of ethics or politics or esthetics. This point is exactly where libertarians go wrong, so it is a good thing that you raise it. A is A has answered you very nicely already on this point, but I wanted to emphasize his answer.

Without a standard of value there is no way to determine good from bad, right from wrong. Without a standard of value you could lump all political philosophies together. We could have complete agreement that our policy should be to do the right thing -- but in practice the communists would be doing something entirely different than the Objectivists.

Someone mentioned in the beginning of the thread that the definitions of "force" differ among groups, this is true, and it is why you sometimes see marxists marching along side libertarians protesting the use of force. Unfortunately the marxists think that a business owner is using force on his workers by offering them a job. You would think this would be a warning sign to libertarians, but it isn't and it will be their undoing.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Actually it is man's life that is the standard and it is an essential when speaking of ethics or politics or esthetics. This point is exactly where libertarians go wrong, so it is a good thing that you raise it. A is A has answered you very nicely already on this point, but I wanted to emphasize his answer.

Without a standard of value there is no way to determine good from bad, right from wrong. Without a standard of value you could lump all political philosophies together. We could have complete agreement that our policy should be to do the right thing -- but in practice the communists would be doing something entirely different than the Objectivists.

Someone mentioned in the beginning of the thread that the definitions of "force" differ among groups, this is true, and it is why you sometimes see marxists marching along side libertarians protesting the use of force. Unfortunately the marxists think that a business owner is using force on his workers by offering them a job. You would think this would be a warning sign to libertarians, but it isn't and it will be their undoing.

Good points. It raises a point that this issue of forming a concept based upon one issue of commonality that should reduce it to absurdity. Parents like their children, so do pedophiles. Let's have a concept for pedophiles and parents. I could multiply such absurdities more, but the point should be clear. Arbitrarily grouping entities into a concept because of a superficial similarity produces nothing but confusion.

Link to post
Share on other sites

If Mike Gravel can identify as a Libertarian, the term is useless.

Anyone can identify themselves as anything, doesn't mean that is in fact what they are. Him saying he is a Libertarian is no different than John Keynes calling himself a capitalist, or if Rand called herself a socialist. Just because they said so doesn't make it true.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I never really understood the Objectivist attitude towards libertarianism, in some regards.

Obviously, I'm very against anarchists and "utilitarian libertarians" (which I believe is a contradiction).

See, before I even heard of Objectivism I was a libertarian, and the definition I accepted of the term was "one who believes that every person has an ethical right to be free from coercion".

Is this where the split exists? Do most Objectivists not accept this definition?

Link to post
Share on other sites
Is this where the split exists? Do most Objectivists not accept this definition?
The idea of basing conclusions on a deduction from a definition would be wrong-headed and unrelated to Objectivism. So the question of how one defines "libertarian" is beside the point. In my opinion, the real question is, what drives libertarians to reject Objectivism?
Link to post
Share on other sites
The idea of basing conclusions on a deduction from a definition would be wrong-headed and unrelated to Objectivism.

How so? What I'm saying is that I don't see how Objectvists AREN'T libertarians, under this definition.

I think Objectivists fit under a number of definitions: Minarchists, libertarians, capitalists.

That said, I know that most Objectivists don't believe this. I don't understand why.

Before I was explicitly an Objectivist I was incredibly close to it. I accepted the following:

Ethics: Man's proper state is that of freedom. Not as consistent as Objectivism (it was a non sequitur in the context of my knowledge). However, Objectivists DO share that particular belief, and in my opinion this makes us libertarians. For whatever reason, most Objectivists disagree, and I'm trying to understand the nature of this disagreement.

Metaphysics: Objective reality.

Epistemology: Though I admit I hadn't heard the term "epistemology" at the time, I believed that reason is the proper means of cognition.

Politics: If man's proper state is freedom, it is necessary that some force ensures this state as well as it can (government).

My point here is that I don't understand how Objectivists aren't "libertarians" in the same manner that we're "capitalists". We fit under both definitions, as I understand them. In fact, I've always believed the two to be inseperable, never accepting such ideas as anarchist libertarianism or socialist libertarianism or other such nonsense.

Link to post
Share on other sites
How so? What I'm saying is that I don't see how Objectvists AREN'T libertarians, under this definition.
Read ITOE to a more detailed understanding of concepts, their formation, and their relationship to definition. The approach that you are taking makes the definition -- the product of consciousness -- be primary. The Objectivist approach makes primary the actual referents -- the existents -- and says that you start by identifying the referents and observing their similarities. The very last step is assigning a verbal definition.

The Objectivist approach avoids the Fallacy of Redefinition, whereby on argues to a conclusion by rewriting the definition of some concept, so as to exclude or include individuals to suit your argument. The Objectivist approach to the question of libertarians (qua concept) would then be to integrate the mass of libertarians and see what, if anything, they have in common. With the man-made, it is difficult to clearly identify the concretes, but frankly that's not my problem.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Read ITOE to a more detailed understanding of concepts, their formation, and their relationship to definition. The approach that you are taking makes the definition -- the product of consciousness -- be primary. The Objectivist approach makes primary the actual referents -- the existents -- and says that you start by identifying the referents and observing their similarities. The very last step is assigning a verbal definition.

The Objectivist approach avoids the Fallacy of Redefinition, whereby on argues to a conclusion by rewriting the definition of some concept, so as to exclude or include individuals to suit your argument. The Objectivist approach to the question of libertarians (qua concept) would then be to integrate the mass of libertarians and see what, if anything, they have in common. With the man-made, it is difficult to clearly identify the concretes, but frankly that's not my problem.

I understand what you're saying, but not how it applies here.

In the same manner that all Objectivists are capitalists though most capitalists aren't Objectivists, all Objectivists are libertarians though most libertarians aren't Objectivists.

Libertarianism is a set of specific beliefs. As I understand these beliefs, all Objectivists accept them. If a man accepts libertarian beliefs, he is a libertarian.

Link to post
Share on other sites

How so? What I'm saying is that I don't see how Objectvists AREN'T libertarians, under this definition.

I think Objectivists fit under a number of definitions: Minarchists, libertarians, capitalists.

That said, I know that most Objectivists don't believe this. I don't understand why.

Before I was explicitly an Objectivist I was incredibly close to it. I accepted the following:

Ethics: Man's proper state is that of freedom. Not as consistent as Objectivism (it was a non sequitur in the context of my knowledge). However, Objectivists DO share that particular belief, and in my opinion this makes us libertarians. For whatever reason, most Objectivists disagree, and I'm trying to understand the nature of this disagreement.

That is not the basis of Objectivist ethics. Neither is it an ethical issue. Freedom falls under political theory. Why Objectivists disagree with this has been written about many times, and is clearly presented by Rand herself. Answer David's statement "the real question is, what drives libertarians to reject Objectivism?" and you'll answer the question why Objectivists are not libertarians. Objectivism is a system of philosophy, not just a political theory about freedom. Why would anyone who advocates freedom associate with those who reject reason and selfishness?

Metaphysics: Objective reality.

Epistemology: Though I admit I hadn't heard the term "epistemology" at the time, I believed that reason is the proper means of cognition.

Politics: If man's proper state is freedom, it is necessary that some force ensures this state as well as it can (government).

My point here is that I don't understand how Objectivists aren't "libertarians" in the same manner that we're "capitalists". We fit under both definitions, as I understand them. In fact, I've always believed the two to be inseperable, never accepting such ideas as anarchist libertarianism or socialist libertarianism or other such nonsense.

You're mixing contexts. "We're capitalist" in the sense the Objectivism has defined and identified it as being an application of its fundamental principles. How would you apply that to "libertarianism"? You can't. You cannot take one common characteristic (philosophically a non-essential characteristic) and then form a concept from it. Your definition of libertarianism is not valid. You could equally say "I don't see how communists are not Objectivists. After all, both are atheists."

Link to post
Share on other sites

--------------

Politics: If man's proper state is freedom, it is necessary that some force ensures this state as well as it can (government).

My point here is that I don't understand how Objectivists aren't "libertarians" in the same manner that we're "capitalists". We fit under both definitions, as I understand them. In fact, I've always believed the two to be inseperable, never accepting such ideas as anarchist libertarianism or socialist libertarianism or other such nonsense.

The above is an example of your faulty reasoning. How do you get your conclusion from such a premise? It doesn't make sense. Force does not ensure the state of freedom, force ensures the physical removal of those who initiate force. Freedom is ensured by the ethical and rational behavior of individuals.

How can you regard them as inseparable when there is little in common? Can you cite a major libertarian thinker who espouses Objectivism?

Link to post
Share on other sites

That is not the basis of Objectivist ethics. Neither is it an ethical issue. Freedom falls under political theory. Why Objectivists disagree with this has been written about many times, and is clearly presented by Rand herself. Answer David's statement "the real question is, what drives libertarians to reject Objectivism?" and you'll answer the question why Objectivists are not libertarians. Objectivism is a system of philosophy, not just a political theory about freedom. Why would anyone who advocates freedom associate with those who reject reason and selfishness?

You do all the time. You buy groceries from them, watch movies in the same theater, live in the same country. You go to work with them, perhaps sell to them. Why do you do this? Because you have a goal, and they can help you reach that goal (and their other philosophical positions do not eliminate their usefulness). The goal in this case is a proper government and the growth of the number of people who accept Objectivism. Libertarians a) want many of the same present policy proposals as Objectivists as well as many long term goals and b ) for that reason would be relatively easy (at least I should think) to get interested in Objectivism. Oh, and at least in general, most libertarians do not reject reason as such (at least not any more than anyone who believes in any sort of deity does, or conservatives or liberals generally).

You're mixing contexts. "We're capitalist" in the sense the Objectivism has defined and identified it as being an application of its fundamental principles. How would you apply that to "libertarianism"? You can't. You cannot take one common characteristic (philosophically a non-essential characteristic) and then form a concept from it. Your definition of libertarianism is not valid. You could equally say "I don't see how communists are not Objectivists. After all, both are atheists."

Libertarianism is a term describing a class of political positions (or broadly, political philosophies). If we are discussing politics, Objectivism falls under libertarianism. Communism does not. As for religion, we have a term to describe Communism and Objectivism, it is atheist. How dare we associate with communists by calling ourselves atheists?! (Joking). Perhaps people would be happier if there was a broad term like atheist that described both libertarians and Objectivists? That name has already been taken though, and it is libertarianism. You can make up a word if you like, but it doesn't mean anyone would ever use it.

Link to post
Share on other sites

In the same manner that all Objectivists are capitalists though most capitalists aren't Objectivists, all Objectivists are libertarians though most libertarians aren't Objectivists.

Libertarianism is a set of specific beliefs. As I understand these beliefs, all Objectivists accept them. If a man accepts libertarian beliefs, he is a libertarian.

Most capitalists are not capitalists. Most libertarians are not libertarian. It does no good to profess to have a goal without any means to achieve it, or to act contrary to it. I don't want to be associated with ignorant, incompetent, ineffective hypocrites.

Link to post
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...
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.


×
×
  • Create New...