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Does the Right to Life Trump Property Rights?

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For the past year-and-some, I've been re-reading Leonard Peikoff's Objectivism: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand with a few local Objectivist gals. (We only read about 30 pages per month, so our progress is slow!) A few weeks ago, we read the chapter on "Government" -- and doing so raised a nagging question that I've had related to last summer's heated debate about the NYC Mosque.

On Facebook, I've seen some Objectivists defend Leonard Peikoff's position that the NYC Mosque ought to be forbidden by law by saying "the right to life trumps the right to property." At first, I thought that Peikoff must have said something like that in his podcast on the topic. However, I was pleased to discover that, although I still disagree with aspects of that podcast, that's not true. Here's what Peikoff said, according to Trey Givens' transcription:

Let's start with property rights. Property rights are limited and they are contextual. You cannot do anything you want with property even though it is yours, not if its ramifications objectively entail a threat to the rights of others. You can't build a bomb in your home. You can't even build a big bonfire in your backyard legitimately because the principle of rights is that property rights are a derivative of life as the standard and there can be no right to threaten anyone's life nor indeed to threaten anyone's property.

Second, rights are contextual. In any situation where metaphysical survival is at stake all property rights are out. You have no obligation to respect property rights. The obvious, classic example of this is, which I've been asked a hundred times, you swim to a desert island -- you know, you had a shipwreck -- and when you get to the shore, the guy comes to you and says, "I've got a fence all around this island. I found it. It's legitimately mine. You can't step onto the beach." Now, in that situation you are in a literal position of being metaphysically helpless. Since life is the standard of rights, if you no longer can survive this way, rights are out. And it becomes dog-eat-dog or force-against force.

Now, don't assume that any unsatisfied need therefore puts you in this metaphysical category. For instance, you are very poor and you are hungry. Well, you need feed. But in a capitalist society, even in a mixed economy, that is not a metaphysical deprivation. There's always all sorts of choices and ways in a free society for you to gain food. Always.

I agree with that portion of his podcast, and I think that's consistent with what he says in Objectivism: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand about rights as as unity:

In content, as the Founding Fathers recognized, there is one fundamental right, which has several major derivatives. The fundamental right is the right to life. Its major derivatives are the right to liberty, property, and the pursuit of happiness.

The right to life means the right to sustain and protect one's life. It means the right to take all the actions required by the nature of a rational being for the preservation of his life. To sustain his life, man needs a method of survival—he must use his rational faculty to gain knowledge and choose values, then act to achieve his values. The right to liberty is the right to this method; it is the right to think and choose, then to act in accordance with one's judgment. To sustain his life, man needs to create the material means of his survival. The right to property is the right to this process; in Ayn Rand's definition, it is "the right to gain, to keep, to use and to dispose of material values." To sustain his life, man needs to be governed by a certain motive—his purpose must be his own welfare. The right to the pursuit of happiness is the right to this motive; it is the right to live for one's own sake and fulfillment.

Rights form a logical unity. In the words of Samuel Adams, all are "evident branches of, rather than deductions from, the duty of self-preservation, commonly called the first law of nature." It would be a crude contradiction to tell a man: you have a right to life, but you need the permission of others to think or act. Or: you have a right to life, but you need the permission of others to produce or consume. Or: you have a right to life, but don't dare pursue any personal motive without the approval of the government.

I don't think that Peikoff's views in his podcast or book can be properly summarized as "the right to life trumps the right to property." That implies a false theory of rights, according to which rights can conflict, and when they do, the "lesser" rights must give way to the "greater" rights. That's not just wrong: it's an outright rejection of the demands of logic in politics. That's because the whole point of calling something a "right" is to identify it not just as one value among others to be weighed, but instead to say that it's a "trump." Rights are supposed to settle -- authoritatively -- what people should be permitted to do. If rights can conflict, then rights aren't meaningful any longer. They're just a mush of who-knows-what.

Of all the errors in modern politics, the idea that people's rights routinely conflict is probably the most pernicious of all. It opens the door to any and all rights violations -- from OSHA to Medicare to the ADA to the Drug War -- because when logic is removed from politics, it's deuces wild.

So if you want to summarize Dr. Peikoff's position, I'd think that something along the lines of "property rights are contextual, and in the context of America's war against militant Islam, the property rights of the enemy are null and void" would be more accurate.

As for my own views, I agree with Peikoff's general claims about rights in wartime. I continue to disagree about the proper application of those principles in the context of American's current foreign policy. In particular, I regard voiding anyone's property rights by any means necessary in an undeclared and unfought war as extraordinarily dangerous to the liberties of all dissenting Americans, including Objectivists. However, as is true for all mosques, any terrorist connections should be vigorously investigated -- and prosecuted if confirmed.

Over the last year, the controversy over the project has died down, but I've not heard whether the project has been abandoned, delayed, or continues. I hope that it's deader than Bin Laden, but if not, I'd be interested to hear about its current state.

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Cross-posted from Metablog

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So if you want to summarize Dr. Peikoff's position, I'd think that something along the lines of "property rights are contextual, and in the context of America's war against militant Islam, the property rights of the enemy are null and void" would be more accurate.

As for my own views, I agree with Peikoff's general claims about rights in wartime. I continue to disagree about the proper application of those principles in the context of American's current foreign policy. In particular, I regard voiding anyone's property rights by any means necessary in an undeclared and unfought war as extraordinarily dangerous to the liberties of all dissenting Americans, including Objectivists.

You only find such voiding of property rights to be merely "dangerous," and not an example of the initiation of force against those who have not been proven to be threats?

However, as is true for all mosques, any terrorist connections should be vigorously investigated -- and prosecuted if confirmed.

I don't think that we should be investigating mosques, but people. Just like guns, mosques don't kill people, or commit other crimes, people do.

If someone is making the accusation that others pose a real threat in which our "metaphysical survival is at stake," the accusation must be investigated and proven to be true before any force or voiding of property rights can rightfully be implemented. If certain people are shown to be an imminent threat, then they should be arrested, tried and imprisoned if found guilty. Whether they intend to build a mosque or not, or whatever other benign uses they might decide to make of their property, should be none of our concern -- if we're "at war" with terrorists, then we should take action against terrorists rather than against the construction of buildings owned by people who are not themselves terrorists, or who have not been shown to be supporting terrorism, but who only happen to share some of the terrorists' religious beliefs.

Why is Peikoff is interested in going after buildings rather than terrorists? His position appears to be that all muslims are such a horrible threat that we have the right to prevent them from building a mosque on their property, but, at the same time, they're not enough of a threat to be arrested and imprisoned? Our "metaphysical survival" is at stake, so we should let "the enemy" walk around amongst us, but let's not let them build a mosque?!?!

J

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Yeah, btw, that reductio ad absurdum (on going after building versus people since "we are at war" after all) was raised back in the NYC Mosque: Respect Property Rights thread.

Thanks for the link. You posted some great comments on that thread, 2046.

What I find interesting is how sweet and tolerant certain Objectivists are in response to Peikoff's advocacy of the initiation of force and the violation of individual rights. I've seen these same Objectivists going into frantic hysteria and publicly judging other Objectivists as "false friends of Objectivism," "enemies of Objectivism" and such over much less. They seem to relish making such judgments, so it's odd to see them desiring to be calm, cool and non-judgmental over this issue.

Apparently someone is deserving of absolute rage and moral condemnation for proposing something like the idea that Objectivism is an "open system," but we should be oh so respectful, tolerant, polite and understanding when Peikoff and others make collectivistic judgments of millions of people based on the actions of a few, and advocate initiating force against them and violating their property rights? Let's all calm down and be tolerant and nice to Dr. Peikoff and not judge too harshly or quickly when he massively deviates from Objectivism, but on the other hand, let's scream bloody murder when someone else has some minor little disagreement with our views of Objectivism?

It seems as if the attitude is that Peikoff (and Objectivists close to him who share his views) should be given lots and lots of slack for advocating views that would earn non-ARI-affiliated people accusations that they are monsters. It seems as if the attitude is that Peikoff is generally on "our side" and therefore we should walk on eggshells when he proposes violating people's rights.

I have the opposite view: Peikoff and company should know better. As people who claim to represent Objectivism and to defend liberty and individual rights, their advocacy of rights violations should not be deserving of less outrage than someone who has committed the crime of, say, associating with the Brandens or buying into the idea that Objectivism is an open system.

J

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But Jonathan, you don't understand.

As soon as Peikoff speaks these people fall into line and deny that there is any inconsistency with Objectivism in anything he has EVER said. It's not that they give him a pass on violating O-ism (and therefore make themselves hypocrites). It's that they convince themselves that he is being consistent with it so there is nothing to criticize him for.

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But Jonathan, you don't understand.

As soon as Peikoff speaks these people fall into line and deny that there is any inconsistency with Objectivism in anything he has EVER said. It's not that they give him a pass on violating O-ism (and therefore make themselves hypocrites). It's that they convince themselves that he is being consistent with it so there is nothing to criticize him for.

Yeah, I guess that I don't understand. So, are you saying that even when these people disagree with Peikoff on an issue as significant as initiation of force and property rights, they somehow convince themselves that the disagreement isn't important, or that the opposite positions that they and Peikoff have taken are somehow only tentative and therefore not actually conflicting positions, or that they and Peikoff can come to opposite conclusions, but that it's okay as long as both they and Peikoff claim to be basing their positions on Objectivist reasoning?!?!

Do you think they've actually convinced themselves that Peikoff might somehow be right even when they know that reason supports the opposite conclusion? After all, they do appear to be very eager to overlook the absurdity of his position, and instead to fawn over him and behave as if his rationalizations are deep and brilliant analysis that they need to ponder further. Are they really so mesmerized by their view of Peikoff as The Objectivist Authority Figure that they're this easily talked into doubting their own use of reason, and into treating absolute absurdity as if its deserving of serious consideration?

Scary.

J

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Even though I know this is an automatic cross-post, I want to respond to the OP anyway.

Sure, one person's individual rights are not in conflict with another's. But you still do not have the right to violate someone else's rights.

It doesn't matter whether the American government acknowledges fundamentalist Islam's war against us. The mosque's existence is an objective threat to American lives. And the owners don't have the right to violate our rights. That's what you have to understand.

I don't want to restart that argument here though. Everything that needed to be said on the matter was said in another thread.

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Sure, one person's individual rights are not in conflict with another's. But you still do not have the right to violate someone else's rights.
And I figure the OP would agree, since she said: So if you want to summarize Dr. Peikoff's position, I'd think that something along the lines of "property rights are contextual, and in the context of America's war against militant Islam, the property rights of the enemy are null and void" would be more accurate.

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The mosque's existence is an objective threat to American lives. And the owners don't have the right to violate our rights. That's what you have to understand.

I don't want to restart that argument here though. Everything that needed to be said on the matter was said in another thread.

I did an extensive amount of research on the Mosque in question itself (it's more like a Muslim-dominant cultural/community center than a Mosque by any reasonable standard) as well as Peikoff's position and the long, heated debates that ensued afterwards, and I have not once seen a single argument that even comes close to justifying this notion that the building is a serious threat of any kind. I have seen no evidence proving this so why should I believe that? Osama bin Laden and all of these other terrorists that hold the same or a very similar mindset, who hold to such tenets, would've wanted to blow up that Mosque (this has even been admitted by reputed Counter-Terrorism experts and I can cite this if need be) because it would have Christians, Jews, etc. involved in the programs as well as Christians and Jews on the executive operations board. There are other Mosques in Manhattan, and Muslims died in the towers as well as some that volunteered to help people on that day and were injured/died in the process.

If it were a threat, the government would need to investigate the matter and then apply the justice system appropriately. The fact that you feel the government does not properly realize this potential threat does not give one the justification to invoke or, in my opinion, even support the notion of vigilante justice of this nature even if it is espoused in the form of an abstract, hypothetical philosophical notion. By such a standard the vigilante government (if they heeded such words and acted without a proper investigation) or the vigilantes who, hypothetically lets say, made it impossible for them to continue the construction of said Mosque, would swiftly open the gates of our society to even more wanton abuses of power in the form of sensationalist politics than it has already.

We are actively bombing 5 countries right now (at least 102,000 connected civilian deaths in Iraq alone, obviously I am not suggested all of these are due to the Coalition), most of which have not been directly connected to our original retaliation efforts regarding 9/11, yet for some reason people think that we are going to have another WTC incident because some Muslims that have been praying in that area for many months prior to their construction effort have decided to build a multi-cultural Mosque/Cultural/Community center whatever the hell you want to call it.

I simply don't understand this and I don't think I ever will.

Edited by CapitalistSwine
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I think that when Obama and other democrats/socialists tell us that the poor and hungry are facing what Peikoff calls "metaphysical deprivation" in which their "metaphysical survival is at stake," and they offer evidence of such people dying, and therefore assert, like Peikoff, that "all property rights are out," and that the poor and hungry "have no obligation to respect property rights," we should borrow the Hsiehs' approach to dealing with the Peikoffs, apply it to Obama and the democrats/socialists, and obsequiously thank them for raising good points that we had not thought of before, and for giving us the kind of argument that we needed!

We might also sweetly mention that we still lean toward our original opposition to their views, but that, jeepers, we now have a much better grasp of the merits of their position, and we just adore that they've taken a principled approach to the issue, raised excellent points and given us much important food for thought, and that we highly recommend that others read their comments and join them in advancing the discussion in a positive direction! Yippy!

We should all just get along, be nice to each other, and take time to smell the pretty flowers! Group hug, everyone!

J

Edited by Jonathan13
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And I figure the OP would agree, since she said: So if you want to summarize Dr. Peikoff's position, I'd think that something along the lines of "property rights are contextual, and in the context of America's war against militant Islam, the property rights of the enemy are null and void" would be more accurate.

About a year ago in this post on OL I applied Peikoff's theory of contextual property rights and guilt by association to Objectivists and the Oklahoma City bombing, which some of you might find worth reading:

Imagine that Rand were alive today and had witnessed the Oklahoma City bombing. Would she have agreed that property rights are contextual and that the citizens and government of Oklahoma City have the right to prevent her novels from being sold in downtown Oklahoma City, as well as to prevent Objectivist-owned bookstores or conference centers from opening, and Objectivist clubs and organizations from being established in the area?

After all, we are (or should be) "at war" with anti-government extremists like McVeigh (who read and had cited Atlas Shrugged in his writings), and, since Objectivism has many similarities to the beliefs that motivated McVeigh, it would be understandable and acceptable for the people of the city to be deeply insulted by the prospect of such views being promoted or displayed near ground zero, no?

Since The Fountainhead could be seen as justifying, promoting and making a hero of Howard Roark (a character who, like McVeigh, irrationally and unjustly bombs others' property), and since Objectivism's officially-sanctioned "heirs" and leaders have claimed that Roark's actions were "logical" and "morally legitimate" (for example see Tore Boeckmann's views in Essays on Ayn Rand's The Fountainhead), Objectivism could be seen as being as closely associated with McVeigh as the proposed Cordoba House is with the terrorists of 9/11.

Add to that the fact that in Atlas Shrugged Ragnar takes matters into his own hands and destroys government-held property, and Dagny psychologically torments a guard -- an innocent, low-level government employee -- with an Objectivist philosophy lesson before coldly shooting him like a dog, and that most Objectivists claim that these characters actions were also morally legitimate and praiseworthy.

So Objectivism and Objectivists appear to advocate blowing up buildings for ideological reasons, destroying government-held property and killing innocent people who are indirectly connected to those with whom Objectivists have a gripe, just as McVeigh was willing to destroy property and kill innocent people who were indirectly connected to those who he believed had acted unjustly. And therefore Objectivists don't have "property rights" when it comes to using property to promote their irrational and violent beliefs.

Do you think that Rand would have agreed with Peikoff's views if it had been pointed out to her that the principle that Peikoff is advocating could be very easily be used against her work and ideas?

J

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I applied Peikoff's theory of contextual property rights and guilt by association to Objectivists and the Oklahoma City bombing, which some of you might find worth reading:

Yes, rights are contextual. The issue is just if the context in which rights no longer apply is present. Usually, that context is a dictatorship or a literal warzone. To suggest that such a context is present is pure hyperbole.

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Oh! advocating that the U.S. government bomb Iranian civilian targets. I don't think Jonathan13's post was referring to a U.S. military venture.

Right, I wasn't specifically referring to those who advocate bombing civilians, but it is the type of thing that would be given as an example of Objectivist bloodlust by anyone who would want to use Peikoff's methods to limit or deny Objectivists' property rights.

What I was thinking of was Rand's presentation of Dagny's "calmly and impersonally" shooting of the guard, and with less concern than she would have had for shooting an animal, not because he was guilty of initiating physical force, but because Dagny believed that she had determined that he was guilty of wanting "to exist without the responsibility of consciousness."

Frisco, Hank and Ragnar had bound and gagged three of the other guards (we are not told why a fourth was killed by one of them), so obviously the rescuers came prepared with rope and tape, or whatever, and with the intention of only using lethal force if absolutely necessary.

Yet Dagny shot the guard when he was offering no resistance, and posing no threat to her. She had plenty of time to tie him up, but instead wasted it giving him a philosophy lesson and pretending to give him the choice to think for himself (he does make a choice: He chooses to properly do his job and contact his "chief" when faced with conflicting orders from two different superiors, but Dagny tells him that that choice is not an option, while demanding that he choose for himself!). She shot him because she was disgusted with what she took to be his attitude.

In the time that Dagny spent taunting the guard with an impossible situation, hell, if she didn't have rope with her she could have woven some from the local flora.

And I've seen Objectivists trying to defend Dagny's actions. They practically seethe with hatred for the guard. "Of course he deserved to die! He refused to think for himself while being ordered to think for himself and having a gun pointed at him and not being allowed to think for himself! That bastard!"

So, anyone wishing to deny Objectivists their property rights could give the example of one of Objectivism's fictional heroes believing that it is right to put people into impossible situations and then kill them for not thinking for themselves, and to feel less about it than one would feel for killing an animal, rather than take less time and effort to tie up an innocent pawn who is caught up in a conflict about which he has no knowledge. Rand said that the goal of her fiction was to present her ideal man. Well, then, her ideal man (or woman) mercilessly kills people even when other options make more sense!

Therefore all Objectivists are advocates of murder and mayhem, and therefore no property rights for you!

J

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She shot him because she was disgusted with what she took to be his attitude.

[...]

Therefore all Objectivists are advocates of murder and mayhem, and therefore no property rights for you!

I'm not sure if you're joking about any of this that you've written, but there is some major context dropping going on if you're not.

For one, Dagny was rescuing a man, her lover, who had been wrongfully kidnapped with the intent to torture him. The man she shot was a guardian of this horrible, wrong scene, enabling it to happen. Dagny gave a "speech" because it is a romantic-style novel, but a real person would have just snuck up behind the guard and killed him by surprise, and would have been right for doing so. To say she was disgusted by his attitude is like saying you are disgusted by any killer's attitude: a real understatement!

For the second part, one Objectivist advocating something doesn't represent all Objectivists... or did you mean Objectivism as a philosophy? If so, your conclusion is based on a false context, as I described.

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I'm not sure if you're joking about any of this that you've written, but there is some major context dropping going on if you're not.

I'm not "joking" as such, so much as temporarily adopting the Peikovian Contextual Property Rights Doctrine, and trying it on for size by applying it to Objectivism and Objectivists.

For one, Dagny was rescuing a man, her lover, who had been wrongfully kidnapped with the intent to torture him. The man she shot was a guardian of this horrible, wrong scene, enabling it to happen.

There's nothing in Atlas Shrugged which suggests that the guard had any knowledge of what was going on inside the building, or even who was in it. In such situations in reality, guards would not be informed of what their bosses are doing. So the guard was an innocent pawn unless and until Dagny and the other rescuers would have reason to believe otherwise, and, therefore, if non-lethal force could be used to subdue him without endangering the mission, then it should. And obviously, since the other rescuers had bound and gagged other guards without endangering the mission, and since Dagny had time to lollygag with a philosphy lesson, Dagny could have bound and gagged her guard as well.

As the scene is written, it comes across to me (and to many others) as Dagny going out of her way looking for an excuse to kill the guard rather than quickly subdue, bind and gag him, and as wasting time philosophizing when the love of her life was in danger. Your eagerness to blame the guard without proof of what he knew or didn't know comes across as hair-trigger judgmentalism and bloodlust.

Dagny gave a "speech" because it is a romantic-style novel, but a real person would have just snuck up behind the guard and killed him by surprise, and would have been right for doing so.

I disagree. Killing of guards who are pawns in a conflict about which they probably know nothing should be a last resort, and your eagerness for killing is exactly the type of thing that would be used to deny Objectivists property rights under the Peikovian Contextual Property Rights Doctrine.

To say she was disgusted by his attitude is like saying you are disgusted by any killer's attitude: a real understatement!

He wasn't a killer, he was a low-level guard whom we have no reason to believe knew anything about what his bosses were doing. Also, there was nothing wrong with the guard's attitude. He was doing was he was supposed to do: When confronted with conflicting orders from two superiors, he followed what would be proper procedure in such situations and tried to contact his "chief." Dagny then pulled a gun on him and started giving him the philosophy lesson in which she wanted him to think for himself while not being allowed the option to think for himself. He had to assume that he was going to be shot no matter what he did. If he had said, "Okay, I choose to step out of your way and let you pass," he obviously knew that Dagny wasn't going to trust him to not call the "chief" and come after her, and therefore he had to suspect that anything he did was going to result in his getting shot.

For the second part, one Objectivist advocating something doesn't represent all Objectivists... or did you mean Objectivism as a philosophy?

I meant that I'm taking Peikoff's approach in judging the beliefs and guilt of all Muslims, and applying the same principles to judging both Objectivism and all Objectivists. In doing so, I think I've actually made a stronger case against Objectivists having property rights according to the Peikovian Contextual Property Rights Doctrine than Peikoff has made against Muslims' property rights. The PCPRD ain't so fun when applied consistently to all people, including Objectivists, no?

J

Edited by Jonathan13
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I'm not "joking" as such, so much as temporarily adopting the Peikovian Contextual Property Rights Doctrine, and trying it on for size by applying it to Objectivism and Objectivists.

I'm unsure why you give that a special name. One fundamental idea is that rights of all kinds are contextual, property rights too. If you think Peikoff misapplied principles, that's one thing (and I'd agree on that point), but I can't tell if you're saying that rights apply at all times in a deontological way.

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Jonathan, in an earlier post in this thread, you spoke of dogmatic pro-LP folk. Quite candidly, I see you using the exact same dogmatic methodoloy except that it is anti-LP. I see no fundamental difference in the "truth value" of your "arguments" full of straw-men, evasion and hyperbole, bundled into a structure of argumentation and similar ones that I see from pro-LP dogmatists.

Also, I disagree that anyone who agrees with LP on the mosque issue is being dogmatic. To assume so sounds like the worst type of caricature of "Fact and Value". One does not judge people in that way. Once again, in doing so you share a methodology that the most dogmatic folk employ.

Personally, I think dogmatists on both sides make cesspools of forums, with their dependent and other-oriented rants.

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Your eagerness to blame the guard without proof of what he knew or didn't know comes across as hair-trigger judgmentalism and bloodlust.

Welp, since we disagree on everything, and since you've called me a bloodlust hair-trigger judgementalist, I think we have nothing more to discuss.
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Jonathan13, you haven't applied anything consistently. Ugh. :dough:

Is Objectivism at war with America? Does the presence of Objectivist literature in Oklahoma City near the site of the bombing inspire people who are trying to kill Americans or destroy property? Does Objectivist literature inspire people to initiate force in any way? Is the presence of Objectivist literature at Oklahoma City near the site of the bombing a propaganda victory for those who violate the rights of Americans? Does the presence of Objectivist literature in Oklahoma City give a morale boost to those who violate the rights or Americans, and demoralize those who are protecting America?

Are you an Objectivist? A student of Objectivism? Or just some guy here to criticize Objectivists? You seriously don't even understand why it was right for Dagny to kill the guard in that context? In that case, what did you think about the train wreck, where Ayn Rand listed everyone on board, tallied their views and ideas, and then narrated that no-one of value was lost? (They all died, just in case you didn't realize that.) What do you think about the fact that Francisco left Dagny to fend for herself for all those years while he was in Galt's Gulch? What do you think about the fact that John Galt made it harder on Dagny and Rearden and everyone else by taking away the people that society needed most when they were needed most? What do you think about the way the book ended? Do you think that those things were evil too? Do you understand Ayn Rand's reasons for any of the things she wrote?

Do you understand the absolutist black-and-white-ness of Ayn Rand's morality?

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Is Objectivism at war with America?

The only way to protect ourselves from this thinking is the way you protect yourself from serial killers: smoke the Rand followers out, make them answer for following the crazed ideology of a serial-killer-groupie, and run them the hell out of town and out of our hemisphere.

Mark Ames

http://exiledonline.com/atlas-shrieked-why-ayn-rands-right-wing-followers-are-scarier-than-the-manson-family-and-the-gruesome-story-of-the-serial-killer-who-stole-ayn-rands-heart/

First they ignore you. Then they ridicule you. And then they attack you and want to burn you. And then they build monuments to you.

Mohandas Gandhi

So Mark Ames (among a few others) is at the vanguard of Gandi’s stage 3. Others will join Ames. I don’t like the idea of promoting the government’s ability to violate civil rights and even commit genocide in this context. Actually, that’s true in every context I can conceive of at the moment, hmm…

Edited by Ninth Doctor
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Actually, that’s true in every context I can conceive of at the moment, hmm…

I just thought of a case, an exception. If some group wants to claim freedom of religion to practice this faith, too bad. Even if the sacrifices are "voluntary".

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O_99mcINufQ

And there's another one: in the Power of Myth series, Joseph Campbell describes a coming of age ritual were all the boys of the tribe have their first sexual experience with a woman in a specially built hut. While the last one in line is doing his thing, the hut is thrown down on top of the two of them, and they're killed, roasted and eaten. If they try to do that two blocks from ground zero, then I'll protest.

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