Jump to content
Objectivism Online Forum

More annoying questions

Rate this topic


Recommended Posts

1. Should the US have not instated the draft during World War II? If so, what do you think would happen?

2. Was it immoral for Ayn Rand to collect Medicare?

3. Are public libraries a moral evil?

4. Are Objectivists opposed to government issued fiat currency in principle?

5. Did Ayn Rand get anything wrong?

Not really interested in starting a shitfest this time. Just curious as to what the opinion of people here is.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Replies 58
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

Top Posters In This Topic

Popular Posts

1. The US should not have had a draft during WWII, or and other war. Instating a military draft is a clear violation of the right to life. As to the second part of this question, I have no response.

Thanks for the responses guys. Although I'd like a better idea of what you think the results of the US not instating the draft in World War II would be like. Did it not matter at all whether the US go

1. Should the US have not instated the draft during World War II? If so, what do you think would happen? 2. Was it immoral for Ayn Rand to collect Medicare? 3. Are public libraries a moral e

1. The US should not have had a draft during WWII, or and other war. Instating a military draft is a clear violation of the right to life. As to the second part of this question, I have no response.

2. No, it was not immoral for Ayn Rand to collect Medicare. It is completely okay to accept things like Medicare, so long as you do so as restitution (for being forced to pay for programs you do not approve of), and not as charity, or entitlement to other people's wealth. People living in the US have to pay taxes for programs they may or may not approve of, so it wouldn't be immoral to get some of the money back from the government, provided such money was taken immorally.

3. I don't know quite what you're asking here: is their existence immoral, or is using them immoral? To the first question: public libraries do not involve protecting the rights of citizens, so it is improper for the government to fund them, and they should be private. To the second question: once again, you do pay taxes that support these libraries, so it is okay to use them/benefit from them.

4. I have no good answer for this one, but I know someone else here will.

5. Objectivism is defined as the philosophy of Ayn Rand; therefore, in order for one to be an Objectivist, one must agree with the philosophy of Ayn Rand. Rand was right about philosophical issues. This does not mean, however, that Objectivists believe that Ayn Rand was right about everything or that she was infallible. I'm sure many Objectivists could find something about which they and Rand disagreed. So long as these disagreements are not in contradiction with beliefs that Objectivism explicitly advocates, there's no problem.

Link to post
Share on other sites

ObjectivistMathematician is right about 1,2,3 and 5; I'll answer 4 for him.

Objectivism is opposed to government currency as such. Money should be printed by private banks. That way, it is likely that most currencies would be tied to hard assets like gold or silver, but it is possible that some currencies were fiat ones, i.e., that its ammount would be set by decree.

Link to post
Share on other sites

1. Should the US have not instated the draft during World War II? If so, what do you think would happen?

2. Was it immoral for Ayn Rand to collect Medicare?

3. Are public libraries a moral evil?

4. Are Objectivists opposed to government issued fiat currency in principle?

5. Did Ayn Rand get anything wrong?

Not really interested in starting a shitfest this time. Just curious as to what the opinion of people here is.

I agree with Jacob's point on currency and Mathematician's points about Medicare (collecting your end of a deal you had no choice in taking) and that draft is in principle practice and core against everything outlined by Ayn Rand and Objectivism.

As for, what would had happen if draft had not been instated, I believe that's a very important question as that would have meant basically no involvement of the United States in the War. It is clear that the United States did not conduct the War, in response to the attack on Pearl Harbor, in a defensive manner; no more than it did during the First One (Occupation of Europe was not a proportionate response to the sinking of the Lusitania and its American passengers).

What do Objectivists think of American involvement in World military affairs I only have two glimpses which also reflect my own thinking:

Externally: Ayn Rand states that war should only be conducted for defensive purposes using voluntary personnel.

Internally, at least I believe that American intervention in dozens of countries worldwide is given leniency by Objectivism because it is seen, yet sadly not literally formulated, that American military occupation is an obvious necessity in terms of security to enable international trade - and most foes behave less rationally anyways. See "Closing the Gap". This stand can be to a degree confirmed by the ongoing unfriendliness with Libertarians who are staunch Isolationists. I could even dare to say that the logic of a necessary government is extrapolated and applied to the whole World, with the USA being that necessary federal organ. Even if I'm wrong about Objectivists seeing it that way (and I'd ask them how you picture the situation otherwise), that's not only how I see it by I support it, at least while it lasts, for being the somewhat lesser of the many evils roaming the Earth. During the time that Ayn Rand was alive and writing in English, the evils of the world were highly organized under Communism. I suppose every intervention, including the occupation of Europe and East Asia can be seen the in the frame of stopping its deadly spread. Just now after its collapse we either have to find new foes or justify military involvement some other way like the War on Drugs and to a very uncertain extent, on Islamic Terrorism.

As for Ayn Rand being ever wrong, I believe she admitted she was several times, including when she quit cigarettes after acquiring new information. If she lived forever she'd realize she'd been wrong about many things (and likely formulated responses), but that's not the case so we (Oists) revere her for the foundations she laid for Objectivism.

Libraries sometimes occupy solid buildings that could be sold in an open bid and put to a better use like hotels or shopping malls.

Edited by volco
Link to post
Share on other sites

As for, what would had happen if draft had not been instated, I believe that's a very important question as that would have meant basically no involvement of the United States in the War.

One of my grandfathers volunteered, and fought in the Pacific. The other flunked the physical, I’m not sure if he also volunteered or was drafted. One ought to be careful with contrafactual history, often there’s no telling how things would have played out. If the OP had used Vietnam as his example, there’d be much less room for dispute. Plenty of people were very motivated to fight in WW2.

Link to post
Share on other sites

2. Was it immoral for Ayn Rand to collect Medicare?

I say no, but it might be interesting to contrast Rand’s taking advantage of Medicare and Isabel Paterson’s refusal to take Social Security. Paterson died poor, but on principal wouldn’t accept money from a program she hadn’t paid in to and had opposed. She died in 1961 at age 74. She refused work for National Review in protest of its Atlas Shrugged review. Was there really never a cent paid in to Social Security on her behalf? I don’t know. Did she martyr herself needlessly? I’m inclined to think so.

Medicare was put in place in the mid sixties, and Rand took benefits in the mid seventies. Had she paid in? No doubt. Had she paid in “enough”? Sounds like a job for a forensic accountant, and I doubt the data is available. Besides, surely she’d paid plenty of income tax over her lifetime, is it the citizen’s job to do a fund accounting analysis? She died a millionaire, so there’s little doubt that she didn’t need LBJ’s teat.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for the responses guys. Although I'd like a better idea of what you think the results of the US not instating the draft in World War II would be like. Did it not matter at all whether the US got involved in World War II? Would it be fine if (for the sake of argument) Hitler won the war because the US couldn't conscript people?

Here's question #6 for you. Are drivers licenses a moral evil? That is, is it wrong for the government to require you to get a driver's license before you can drive a car? Do two year olds have an inalienable natural right to operate a motor vehicle?

Question #7. Should personal ownership of nuclear weapons be legal?

Edited by mustang19
Link to post
Share on other sites

Here's question #6 for you. Are drivers licenses a moral evil? That is, is it wrong for the government to require you to get a driver's license before you can drive a car? Do two year olds have an inalienable natural right to operate a motor vehicle?

Drivers licenses are immoral. One should not have to pay a tax to use their own property. Divers licenses are a form of taxation, as is all licenses. The more evil version is the licenses plate tag. You own the vehicle, but you must pay the state annually to continue operating property that you own. As far as two year olds are concerned, this is a silly question. No two year old can afford a car or practically operate one for that matter. Now a 12 year old is a different story. I am not opposed to 12 year olds driving, but the premise that I am using to make this statement is that parents are responsible and ensure that their children are safe. If parents can reasonably and rationally justify a 12 year old driving, surely the parents know more about their child's maturity then me.

Just to add on, I have a dog and am required to pay $20 annually for a dog licenses. I don't pay it. I am not paying a tax on owning a pet.

Edited by Nigel
Link to post
Share on other sites

Drivers licenses are immoral. One should not have to pay a tax to use their own property...

Except the roads that you drive on are not your property. They are owned and maintained by the government, and as such the government should be able to place reasonable restrictions on who is allowed to drive on the roads. Ideally, the roads would be privately owned; but even if that were the case, I'd bet my next paycheck that the owners of those roads would require something like a driver's license in order to drive on the road (administered by a private testing agency, probably). Requiring that people demonstrate some level of competency before allowing them to operate heavy machinery at high speeds on your property is quite reasonable. So long as roads are still government-owned and operated, they are justified in requiring driver's licenses, and I for one am very glad that they do.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Did Ayn Rand have anything to say about driver's licenses, or something similar? She must have touched on those sort of things at some point. Driver's licenses, personal ownership of armored fighting vehicles, the age of majority and age of consent- the kind of legal stuff that matters to people in day to day life. What was her opinion? Did she think it should be not illegal to have consensual sex with five year olds? Or that people should be allowed to keep heavy artillery and explosive ordinance in their backyard? Or am I just misunderstanding Objectivism in terms of the absolute-sanctity-of-human-freedom-and-property bit.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Only one aspect pf sex is a legitimate field for legislation: the protection of minors and of unconsenting adults. Apart from criminal actions (such as rape), this aspect includes the need to protect people from being confronted with sights they regard as loathsome. (A corollary of the freedom to see and hear, is the freedom not to look or listen.) Legal restraints on certain types of public displays, such as posters or window displays, are proper—but this is an issue of procedure, of etiquette, not of morality.

No one has the right to do whatever he pleases on a public street (nor would he have such a right on a privately owned street). The police power to maintain order among pedestrians or to control traffic is a procedural, not a substantive, power. A traffic policeman enforces rules of how to drive

Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks SN. So looks like Rand wasn't quite a libertarian. And from the lack of response I assume you guys are okay with stuff like heavy weaponry being legislated.

Are these random questions or are you actually trying to get at something?

Oh not really, just trying to kill some time, and also get a better idea of what the Objectivist position on things is.

Link to post
Share on other sites
So looks like Rand wasn't quite a libertarian.
You're right, in the sense you use the term.

Here's something that Rand did not publish, but from a letter she wrote:

Please tell your daughter that I am profoundly opposed to today's so-called libertarian movement and to the theories of Dr. Murray Rothbard. So-called libertarians are my avowed enemies, yet I've heard many reports on their attempts to cash in on my name and mislead my readers into the exact opposite of my views.

And from the lack of response I assume you guys are okay with stuff like heavy weaponry being legislated.
Correct. As for Rand's views, she was never a huge champion of the right to bear arms. For anything more deadly than a gun, I think it is a safe bet that if the weapon was something substantially more that would be used for self-defense, she would have wanted them controlled. Edited by softwareNerd
Link to post
Share on other sites

Some of my attraction to Rand/Objectivism is for guidance in distancing myself from libertarianism. As my political study and growth have led me further and farther from what Ayn Rand would agree is the left, it has become essential to carefully disassociate from libertarianism.

About personal nuclear weapons; it would be amusing to dispose of expended nuclear fuel by giving it away with the proviso that it be hand carried away. The hysteria of Radioactive Dispersal Devices, "dirty bombs", would be lessened by some understanding of mass specific activity.

I would be interested in seeing a Objective analysis of the Right to Keep and Bear Arms developed here or, if it exists, a citation that I could access. My political dot.sig; good people ought to be armed as they will, with wits and Guns and the Truth.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Drivers licenses are immoral. One should not have to pay a tax to use their own property. Divers licenses are a form of taxation, as is all licenses. The more evil version is the licenses plate tag. You own the vehicle, but you must pay the state annually to continue operating property that you own. As far as two year olds are concerned, this is a silly question. No two year old can afford a car or practically operate one for that matter. Now a 12 year old is a different story. I am not opposed to 12 year olds driving, but the premise that I am using to make this statement is that parents are responsible and ensure that their children are safe. If parents can reasonably and rationally justify a 12 year old driving, surely the parents know more about their child's maturity then me.

Quite apart from the public/private aspect of road ownership, driver licences are 100% rational. As a driver I want to know that at least some rigorously objective standard of driver skill has been applied to other drivers by an independent agency - it's in my self-interest, ie, my life and property.

Whether it's conducted by State, limited government, or a private company, the testers should be paid. Obviously, that the State uses it as another revenue collection device is not acceptable.

Parents knowing best (in this context) is a slippery-slope, and possibly subjective..

Who 'tested' them? Their parents? And so on.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Quite apart from the public/private aspect of road ownership, driver licences are 100% rational. As a driver I want to know that at least some rigorously objective standard of driver skill has been applied to other drivers by an independent agency - it's in my self-interest, ie, my life and property.

Whether it's conducted by State, limited government, or a private company, the testers should be paid. Obviously, that the State uses it as another revenue collection device is not acceptable.

Parents knowing best (in this context) is a slippery-slope, and possibly subjective..

Who 'tested' them? Their parents? And so on.

Couldn't that same reasoning be used to justify licensing for anything?

Link to post
Share on other sites

Couldn't that same reasoning be used to justify licensing for anything?

Yeah. Well that's what's so interesting about this forum.

I have another question. What is the Objectivist take on government led disaster relief efforts? Say the response to Hurricane Katrina or the recent tornadoes in the south. Or even the cleanup and evacuation efforts of the Soviet government after Chernobyl. Would a proper Objectivist state have something along the lines of FEMA or would disaster victims pretty much be left to fend for themselves or rely on private charity?

An additional question: Can you point out a historical example of a society that more or less followed Objectivist principles pretty closely?

Finally: What do you think would happen if the world suddenly "turned Objectivist", that is if all the people in the world realized the Objectivist position was right? Sudden technological and industrial renaissance or something along those lines?

Link to post
Share on other sites

Yeah. Well that's what's so interesting about this forum.

I have another question. What is the Objectivist take on government led disaster relief efforts? Say the response to Hurricane Katrina or the recent tornadoes in the south. Or even the cleanup and evacuation efforts of the Soviet government after Chernobyl. Would a proper Objectivist state have something along the lines of FEMA or would disaster victims pretty much be left to fend for themselves or rely on private charity?

Leonard Peikoff took this question in his podcast.

LINK

An additional question: Can you point out a historical example of a society that more or less followed Objectivist principles pretty closely?

America in the 19th century came the closest.

Finally: What do you think would happen if the world suddenly "turned Objectivist", that is if all the people in the world realized the Objectivist position was right? Sudden technological and industrial renaissance or something along those lines?

Well, these things don't happen suddenly, so that's a hard question. Also, what do you mean by "the world"? Everyone?

Edited by Brian S.
Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, these things don't happen suddenly, so that's a hard question. Also, what do you mean by "the world"? Everyone?

Yes, everyone. Or at least most people. How does that affect your answer?

I take the answer to the disaster relief question to be "no, government shouldn't get involved".

Edited by mustang19
Link to post
Share on other sites

Yeah. Well that's what's so interesting about this forum.

I have another question. What is the Objectivist take on government led disaster relief efforts? Say the response to Hurricane Katrina or the recent tornadoes in the south. Or even the cleanup and evacuation efforts of the Soviet government after Chernobyl. Would a proper Objectivist state have something along the lines of FEMA or would disaster victims pretty much be left to fend for themselves or rely on private charity?

what is an objectivist state? a state staffed by students of objectivism or objectivists? should we call the canadian state a relativistic state and the saudi state a mystic one? well i guess, but my point is that objectivism is not a political movement, but a cultural one - the political ramifications of that are just as important in shaping how we live as other ramifications, like aesthetics, or more importantly metaphysics.

ayn rand wrote extensive warnings about the ethics of emergencies not to be confused with the ethics or every day life, and you can search for that.

as for regional disasters and how would be handled, she said that the government is there to provide security, I assume part of that security can be against the elements.

humans are able to organize ourselves in many ways and different cultures deal with disasters different ways. You may remember haiti and its dependence on foreign aid and the local population making things worse. You may also remember Japan, more recently, and how criminal organizations openly, spontaneously, collaborated with other civilians and with government agencies to bring relief. as in a spontaneous unspoken agreement in which every party would be better off.

In new orleans, city government prevented reconstruction because of too much french red tape, while there are cases of americans driving by the city and voluntarily helping locals rebuild without regulations or organization (there's a penn and teller episode showing jsut a case)

in an objectivist culture, people would act according to individual, unforced, value judgments, I can assume that such a culture wouldn't allow much value to be lost.

An additional question: Can you point out a historical example of a society that more or less followed Objectivist principles pretty closely?

Finally: What do you think would happen if the world suddenly "turned Objectivist", that is if all the people in the world realized the Objectivist position was right? Sudden technological and industrial renaissance or something along those lines?

Objectivism doesn't strive for world dominance, it does for cultural change, at first within the United states and western culture (of course it's not exclusive, atlas shrugged has just been recently translated to mandarin). That said, you are pretty much correct in your assumption of an industrial, technological and cultural renaissance but terribly wrong about the "sudden" part.

If you take a look back the last 500 years out of the last 5,000 years of human history you'll be able to see by yourself how drastic and utterly unexpected changes have been. no hunter gatherer expected or could conceive the agricultural revolution, and to this day there are semi/contacted tribes in the amazon, new guinea and most interestingly in the andaman islands, that reject it. Try and extrapolate that change of the way people live to a next stage.

Unrestricted mutually beneficial individual achievement and heroism (for lack of a better antonym to fear and submission) for anyone who cares to is just as unthinkable for most of the world population as it was growing your own food instead of gathering it.

Just see how long (and well) people live now, 50 years ago, 500 years ago and before the agricultural revolution.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Mustang 19,

There never will be a time when the world is quantitatively Objectivist. We are not missionaries. But there can be a time when the world operates under the basic principles (politically at least) of Objectivism, in which case it makes no difference whether someone is a Christian or an Objectivist. Under such a society, the merits of one's actions will correlate to their success in life. We are not here to win by numbers--we win by principles.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Great posts, Volco and VcatoV.

So I guess you don't expect remarkable changes right away after a transition to an Objectivist cultural or political system. Wouldn't the transition be difficult though? A lot of roads going unmaintained until someone got around to fixing them, another Savings and Loans type financial crisis, public schools being shut down in neighborhoods where people can't afford to pay for private school? What do you think would be the immediate effects of this kind of economic policy (which as was mentioned has never really existed in a modern, industrialized country since the 19th century if ever)?

I have some other questions for you guys. What did Ayn Rand think about gender roles? Women should stay in the kitchen and not have a career and so forth, or was she some kind of feminist? Are women just as qualified to be CEOs and presidents and so forth?

Are Objectivists okay with the phrase "contributing to society"? Or is that concept too collectivist for y'all?

What's the Objectivist take on nationalism? Is it okay to be proud of being an American or a Russian or whatever? Is it okay to burn the flag to protest statism?

What do O'ists think of cyborgs, androids, and transhumanism, stuff like that? When does an artificial intelligence become human enough to have the sort of rights Objectivists think humans should have?

Finally, VcatoV used the word "win". What do you expect for the future? You think it's pretty much inevitable that Objectivism will "win" and at some point humankind will mostly live in an Objectivist society?

Edited by mustang19
Link to post
Share on other sites

I'll try to comment on a few of these things.

So I guess you don't expect remarkable changes right away after a transition to an Objectivist cultural or political system. Wouldn't the transition be difficult though? ...

Yes, parts of the transition could be quite difficult. Large chunks of modern society have been built upon the premise that the government is and will continue to be involved in activities that, fundamentally, the government shouldn't be doing. It's a very complicated question as to how, with any particular area, to get the government out with the least amount of transitional damage, and rational people can easily disagree about those things. Nevertheless, we know from fundamental principles which activities we should be attempting to, ultimately, get government out of.

What did Ayn Rand think about gender roles? Women should stay in the kitchen and not have a career and so forth, or was she some kind of feminist? Are women just as qualified to be CEOs and presidents and so forth?

She most certainly did not maintain that women should not have careers; one need only to look at the character of Dagny Taggart, one of the strongest female characters in modern fiction, to see Ayn Rand's vision of female productive potential. She championed the virtue of productiveness as a general human virtue, to be incorporated deeply into the life of any person. In fact, she stated in a 1968 article in The Objectivist, "whether married or single, women need and should have careers, for the same reasons as men." She did have some unique views concerning what it means to be masculine or feminine, leading to (for example) her statement that a truly feminine woman wouldn't want to be President. I don't have a particularly good understanding of her views in this area, and what I do know leads me to disagree with her entirely, so I'll let someone else flesh this out if they want.

Are Objectivists okay with the phrase "contributing to society"? Or is that concept too collectivist for y'all?

It depends on what sense the phrase is used. The way that first comes to my mind, to be a "contributing member of society" is to be someone who takes responsibility for supporting his or her own life, someone who understands that he or she must produce; basically synonymous with a "productive member of society." This obviously jives with Objectivism; an individual should not expect or strive to be 'taken care of' by society. You should not attempt to mooch off of others, but rather support yourself by producing values and trading with other people, offering them values in exchange for what you need to further your life. In this sense, a "contributing member of society" is contrasted against a parasitic member of society.

However, one should not attempt to make oneself a sacrificial lamb for the sake of others. Your goal in life should not be to produce as much value as you possibly can for as many people as you possibly can, and your own life be damned. In short, one should not hold "contributing to society" as one's primary and motivating goal in life.

Edited by Dante
Link to post
Share on other sites

Great posts, Volco and VcatoV.

So I guess you don't expect remarkable changes right away after a transition to an Objectivist cultural or political system. Wouldn't the transition be difficult though? A lot of roads going unmaintained until someone got around to fixing them, another Savings and Loans type financial crisis, public schools being shut down in neighborhoods where people can't afford to pay for private school? What do you think would be the immediate effects of this kind of economic policy (which as was mentioned has never really existed in a modern, industrialized country since the 19th century if ever)?

I expect to continue seeing remarkable changes some enabling a world resembling a little bit more the one ayn Rand anticipated and I also expect ayn rand becoming more popular or at least known. most voices of dissent are not popular.

You are basically describing the shock and awe policies we experienced around the world beginning in the early 80s, culminating with the collapse of the soviet union and the liberalization of china, se asia and latin america. yes in all those cases, including in america and britain, there were some backlashes but it is undeniable that the level of quality of life has risen impressively in a lot less years than expected. In any case the chicago boys, reagan and thatcher, and lee kwan yew were not objectivists, far from it there is a rather offensive sounding term that describes both Pinochet's and Lee Kwan Yew's politics.

I have some other questions for you guys. What did Ayn Rand think about gender roles? Women should stay in the kitchen and not have a career and so forth, or was she some kind of feminist? Are women just as qualified to be CEOs and presidents and so forth?

Read her novels and you'll see. she was not a stay in the kitchen woman it's obvious, she had novels instead of children. but she didn't allow social movements to control an individual's choice and nature. Just become feminism was sweeping during her age that didn't mean a woman had to bear the mandate to do other than she had planned to prove a social point.

Are Objectivists okay with the phrase "contributing to society"? Or is that concept too collectivist for y'all?

What's the Objectivist take on nationalism? Is it okay to be proud of being an American or a Russian or whatever? Is it okay to burn the flag to protest statism?

What do O'ists think of cyborgs, androids, and transhumanism, stuff like that? When does an artificial intelligence become human enough to have the sort of rights Objectivists think humans should have?

i'd say most o'ists love how technology has advanced to the point where an effective search engine can be embedded into a forum like this.

Edited by volco
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...