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@ Marc K.

Your whole post wasabout being offended and then some bad throw away argument at the end. I don't get why you even bothered to mention you were offended since being an Objectivist involved being offended so often its hardly worth mentioning. So I concluded you couldn't actually be really all that offended so you were trying to bully 2042 into dropping the argument altogether because you were tired and frustratied with him constantly trying to promote "Anarchism" in every thread it comes up. I thought that this only helped his argument. I didn't bother to look at your other post, I apologize.

Political systems rarely reflect in purity the values and practices of a specific ideology. This is why if you try to base an argument against a socialist in facts about a "socialist" country you are going to get bogged down into an endless chain of BS about capitalist pressures and traitors to the cause. Sometimes they are even right and the nation that someone was referring to was indeed not socialist at all but just wearing the title. Saddam Hussein's political party was a socialist party, but it is really hard to use his country as evidence when talking about socialism because there was not worker control of production there.

Somalia is an islamic feudal society. Somalia is also post apocalyptic since they survived the collapse of a soviet allied regime. The people there do not care about liberty or anything like that. They care about tribal loyalty and religion. However a country filled with "AnCaps" would care about liberty in some sense, and this would probably produce other results.

Weirdly enough I find that you have to have principles before you can even start inducing the nature of specific governments.

We go Man - Morality - Rights - Government - Specific Governments.

Not Specific Governments - Governments in general - rights

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What number of cases of personal irresponsibility are you referring to? What number of cases did you expect based on recent experiences?   What data do you have on the rampant growth of government

This guy doesn't seem to be using Objectivist principles at all. He instead is doing the same thing all anarchists are doing: taking non-initiation of force (a minor tool Ayn Rand used to explain her

Other have answered the particulars, so I just wanted to comment on the faulty epistemological approach of this quote: It is true that politics must be consistent with metaphysics, ethics, etc. How

Weirdly enough I find that you have to have principles before you can even start inducing the nature of specific governments.

We go Man - Morality - Rights - Government - Specific Governments.

Not Specific Governments - Governments in general - rights

Objectivism is a philosophy organized such that its base is metaphysics and epistemology from which an ethics is derived from which a politics is further derived. So, in Objectivism, we discover and define principles of metaphysics and epistemology before moving on to ethics. Similarly, ethical principles are discovered and defined before political ones. To the extent this is what you mean by the above I agree.

However, as a general rule and in principle, the way we learn is by looking out at reality, using reason and conceptualizing and generalizing about what we see. Objectivists follow this procedure, it is an inductive procedure. You cannot reason without having something to reason about. You cannot discover a principle without first having looked at reality. This is true about governments also so I must disagree with your last statement above. It sounds a bit rationalistic and is related to what you say here:

Political systems rarely reflect in purity the values and practices of a specific ideology.

This is true of ALL existents and yet we are still able to conceptualize. All specific instances of a concept differ in manifold ways from other specific instances of it. That doesn't mean that we can't conceptualize and generalize about cats, animals, apples, fruits, plants, or even governments.

It is not only possible but necessary and crucial that we do examine particular governments throughout history looking at their similarities and differences, grouping them by essential characteristics in order to generalize and conceptualize about what a proper government looks like and how it should act. When comparing governments one concept that quickly becomes apparent as a clear dividing line is the concept of "force". Free or semi-free countries stand on one side of this divide. All the others, including anarchist systems, stand on the other.

I think one of the best ways to deal with socialists is to have them define what they mean by socialism and then point out that where ever and when ever this has been tried it has been a disaster from beginning to end.

Somalia is an islamic feudal society. Somalia is also post apocalyptic since they survived the collapse of a soviet allied regime. The people there do not care about liberty or anything like that. They care about tribal loyalty and religion. However a country filled with "AnCaps" would care about liberty in some sense, and this would probably produce other results.

How could ancaps care about liberty when they don't understand what it is? It is like saying that the thief cares about wealth production or the wealthy. The thief cares about wealth in as much as it allows him to survive and on principle he destroys the very thing that allows him to survive -- same with ancaps.

An ancap country would have to start out being a capitalist country because we and they know that it couldn't start out in anarchy and become free on purpose. But then the very principles that make a capitalist country free; and I am speaking of the principles of government (i.e., a monopoly on the retaliatory use of force, or, more illustratively when talking about anarchy, outlawing the use of force) -- I know that other principles, held by the people, are prerequisites; the very principles of government that make a free country possible are the ones the anarchists want to overthrow.

An ancap country might start out differently than Somalia but it would soon devolve into pure anarchy. That is, to the extent they implement their plan to make the use of force "legal", is the extent their country will be destroyed.

Your whole post wasabout being offended and then some bad throw away argument at the end.I don't get why you even bothered to mention you were offended since being an Objectivist involved being offended so often its hardly worth mentioning. So I concluded you couldn't actually be really all that offended so you were trying to bully 2042 into dropping the argument altogether because you were tired and frustratied with him constantly trying to promote "Anarchism" in every thread it comes up.

I didn't know that that was the case with 2046 though I did invite him to link to an argument if he had one, he chose not to. After you said this I did look a little at past anarchist threads. I have participated in a few as has 2046 but I haven't read any of his posts and I haven't engaged him in the past (as far as I know).

I was insulted by his false generalizations about Objectivists, which presumably includes Ayn Rand, especially since he would not defend them. When someone insults something or someone you value, being offended and defending them is an appropriate response. I won't apologize for it particularly considering where we are. If there is any place on the internet where you should defend Objectivism this is it. So actually, I don't think I bullied anyone.

And while my "argument" may have been short and incomplete I don't think it was either bad or throw away, it was realistic and essential.

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Anyone happen to see The Dark Knight Rises yet? I saw it last night, and without giving away spoilers, I thought it was a beautiful artistic representation of what happens under anarchy or rule by "the people". The "courtroom" scene relates almost directly to this conversation.

Edited by themadkat
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I'd like to remind those starting to get a bit overly personal on this topic of this from Ayn Rand:

"It is not dishonest if one is unable to see a point. It is dishonest when one is unwilling to see it."

Those mulling the potential merits of anarchy seem to be doing so honestly and they are processing information back and forth.

That they have not yet come to the "party line" conclusion from the information they have does not make them stupid or dishonest, although most Objectivists will say that they are wrong.

Human society will always be an imperfect thing and that some would show concern about turning over certain personal liberties to the government (especially seeing how low our US government has sunk) is natural. That watching what was formerly the greatest nation in the world sink into tyranny and fascism would make some question whether any government can be trusted is also a natural stage of philosophical inquiry.

So long as those discussing anarchy as an option remain honest and within forum rules I'd ask that they be treated respectfully.

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And the principle of individual rights cannot in fact be logically extended to give you (and all individuals) the right to arrest thieves and put them in jail, or hang them, or whatever else your idea of justice and retaliatory force may be.

I agree; Individual rights begin and end with the individual. A government is necessary to protect individual rights, but is a government necessary to create them? I believe that an individual's right to life, liberty and propery is derived from the nature of man, and can be unified by the premise of a right of self-preservation (as suggested by Locke). In consulting the Lexicon, I find the following statement by Ayn Rand:

"The right to life is the source of all rights—and the right to property is their only implementation. Without property rights, no other rights are possible."

What I'm unclear on, from the perspective of Objectivism, is what is the source of the right to life? Does Objectivism agree with Locke on this issue??

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What I'm unclear on, from the perspective of Objectivism, is what is the source of the right to life? Does Objectivism agree with Locke on this issue??

"Life is a process of self-sustaining and self-generated action; the right to life means the right to engage in self-sustaining and self-generated action—which means: the freedom to take all the actions required by the nature of a rational being for the support, the furtherance, the fulfillment and the enjoyment of his own life. (Such is the meaning of the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.)" Also from the Lexicon and "The Virtue of Selfishness".

I'm assuming you read this, so I'm not sure what you're asking. I'm quoting the above to see if you got this point, and why you don't think this explains the source of man's right to life.

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"Life is a process of self-sustaining and self-generated action; the right to life means the right to engage in self-sustaining and self-generated action—which means: the freedom to take all the actions required by the nature of a rational being for the support, the furtherance, the fulfillment and the enjoyment of his own life. (Such is the meaning of the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.)" Also from the Lexicon and "The Virtue of Selfishness".

I'm assuming you read this, so I'm not sure what you're asking. I'm quoting the above to see if you got this point, and why you don't think this explains the source of man's right to life.

I'm asking if the right to life is derived from the study of human nature, self-generated, or generated by government; does a right to life exist without government sponsorship?

How does the Objectivist position you've quoted differ from the self-evident truths refered to in the Declaration of Independence? Is the distinction simply a secular one??

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I'm asking if the right to life is derived from the study of human nature, self-generated, or generated by government; does a right to life exist without government sponsorship?

How does the Objectivist position you've quoted differ from the self-evident truths refered to in the Declaration of Independence? Is the distinction simply a secular one??

1) Rights are a consequence of the requirements of man's life; a man has rights in any context, but his ability to exercise them is stopped by another man's use of force.

2) Rights are not self-evident. If you have a copy of OPAR, Peikoff addresses the idea that rights are self-evident very well. Basically, rights are an extension of morality and the foundation for any discussion of politics.

3) Probably the most important distinction from the Constitution is Objectivism's foundation for rights (as rights are stated to be self-evident in the constitution). Also crucial is the inclusion of a man's right to property in Objectivism, which is only implied in the constitution.

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1) Rights are a consequence of the requirements of man's life; a man has rights in any context, but his ability to exercise them is stopped by another man's use of force.

The only things true in any context (or all contexts) are axioms. The context for rights is society. Man has rights in a social context. If a man is alone on a deserted island, all of the conceptual prerequisites are there for him to have rights, except one: other people. It is right for him to live, and right for him to use his own judgment, and right for him to use the products of his efforts, but without another person with whom to interact, he has no need for rights. No one is there to take his life, liberty, or property.

A small technical point perhaps, but worth mentioning, I think.

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The only things true in any context (or all contexts) are axioms. The context for rights is society. Man has rights in a social context. If a man is alone on a deserted island, all of the conceptual prerequisites are there for him to have rights, except one: other people. It is right for him to live, and right for him to use his own judgment, and right for him to use the products of his efforts, but without another person with whom to interact, he has no need for rights. No one is there to take his life, liberty, or property.

A small technical point perhaps, but worth mentioning, I think.

You're right. In trying to communicate that man has rights based on his nature and not as something given to him by society, I made a blunder.

I should have said that rights are based on man's nature applied to a social context. A man has the basis for rights without society, but only needs the concept of rights when in a society.

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If a man is alone on a deserted island, all of the conceptual prerequisites are there for him to have rights, except one: other people. It is right for him to live, and right for him to use his own judgment, and right for him to use the products of his efforts, but without another person with whom to interact, he has no need for rights. No one is there to take his life, liberty, or property.

No one, but himself... If it is right for him to live, and right for him to use his own judgment, and right for him to use the products of his efforts, why is it necessary for his fundamental 'right' to be validated by the existence of any other person (or government)? Is it not, in fact, self-evident??

In respect to this topic, do anarchists have a right to life, or does a denial of government preclude that possibility?

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No one, but himself... If it is right for him to live, and right for him to use his own judgment, and right for him to use the products of his efforts, why is it necessary for his fundamental 'right' to be validated by the existence of any other person (or government)? Is it not, in fact, self-evident??

In respect to this topic, do anarchists have a right to life, or does a denial of government preclude that possibility?

The concept of rights isn't validated by another person, it is only necessary because of a society; it is validated by applying reason to understanding the nature of man, then applying that understanding to the nature of man in relation to other men.

Regarding your last sentence, a person's ideology does not change his fundamental nature. For example, an irrational man's actions don't fall outside the bounds of reality simply because he doesn't acknowledge such bounds. A man has rights based on his fundamental, objective nature and the subsequent, objective requirements for human interaction.

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No one, but himself... If it is right for him to live, and right for him to use his own judgment, and right for him to use the products of his efforts, why is it necessary for his fundamental 'right' to be validated by the existence of any other person (or government)? Is it not, in fact, self-evident??

It's basically that as a concept, rights are moot when living on a desert island with no one around. If no one else is around, the conceptual requirement (other people) is missing. A requirement for rights "to exist" isn't the point. Rights don't "pop into existence". What happens is that if you are living in a society, you need to also consider what is required for a society to function, so rights become a meaningful concept. A further extension of rights is government as a means to assure that rights can be maintained. This is only a summary, though, but I had the same questions as you a long time ago.

Edited by Eiuol
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Objectivism holds that rights are a priori.

If your meaning is that rights are "derived by reasoning from self-evident propositions" (definition a priori, Merriam-Webster), then I agree. If a right is a freedom of action, and the actions of a right to life are self-evident, it follows that the right is derived by recognition of the actions.

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The concept of rights ... is only necessary because of a society;

... rights are moot when living on a desert island with no one around. If no one else is around, the conceptual requirement (other people) is missing.

I disagree with the Objectivist position that a right to life is a moral principle delimited to a social context. Hermits have no less need to act morally for want of society. The validation of a moral principle depends on how one behaves when no one else is watching them, and the example of living alone on a desert island is abused if one presumes the freedom to act without regard to life as a property one retains even in seclusion.

It appears to me that Objectivists, not unlike anarchists, rely too heavily on the notion of a freedom from coercion to define their right to life.

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I disagree with the Objectivist position that a right to life is a moral principle delimited to a social context. Hermits have no less need to act morally for want of society. The validation of a moral principle depends on how one behaves when no one else is watching them, and the example of living alone on a desert island is abused if one presumes the freedom to act without regard to life as a property one retains even in seclusion.

It is not the Objectivist position that the right to life is a moral principle. It is a political principle formed by applying a moral principle to a social context.

I'm sure you understand that a single word can refer to different concepts depending on the context/usages. It is right (i.e. good or proper) for a man to live. This is true alone on a desert island or in the middle of Times Square. Morally, a man's actions should be taken with this in mind. Politically, the right (i.e. privilege, just claim) to life is a recognition of this moral fact applied to a social context. The right to life legally sanctions one man's living while delimiting those actions which others may not take against him (killing or injuring).

If a man on a desert island jumps off the top of a palm tree to his death. It may be morally wrong, but it is politically null.

It appears to me that Objectivists, not unlike anarchists, rely too heavily on the notion of a freedom from coercion to define their right to life.

Freedom from coercion applies to the right to liberty, not life. Some Objectivists may reverse the conceptual hierarchy of rights and illegal actions, but Objectivism does not. The readings clearly show a conceptual progression like so:

Ethical principle: It is right for one to act in his own rational judgment

+ Context: Society

= Political principle: Right to Liberty

"Freedom of coercion" comes from an understanding that the only way to interfere with a man acting on his own judgment is by force. Hierarchically, the bundling of all the specific actions one cannot take against an individual into "freedom from coercion" comes after the principle which sanctions the individual's own actions.

There are, of course, many more pertinent facts which are used to fully validate these principles, but I'm not trying to rewrite CTUI or OPAR here.

Edited by Jake
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If your meaning is that rights are "derived by reasoning from self-evident propositions" (definition a priori, Merriam-Webster), then I agree. If a right is a freedom of action, and the actions of a right to life are self-evident, it follows that the right is derived by recognition of the actions.

Regarding what you think of that definition as explained from Merriam-Webster, I suggest you read the "Analytic-Synthetic Dichotomy" by Leonard Peikoff. A priori and 'self-evident proposition' don't mean what you're thinking.

Regardless, a right is not self-evident, as it depends on moral principles, which themselves are not self-evident.

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Regarding what you think of that definition as explained from Merriam-Webster, I suggest you read the "Analytic-Synthetic Dichotomy" by Leonard Peikoff. A priori and 'self-evident proposition' don't mean what you're thinking.

What I stated earlier is, if a right is a freedom of action, and the actions of a right to life are self-evident, it follows that the right is derived by recognition of the actions. So...

1) Is a right a freedom of action? Y/N

2) Are the actions of an individual to remain alive self-evident, i.e. "evident without proof or reasoning" (definition self-evident, Merriam-Webster)? Y/N

Following your lead, I looked at Peikoff's, “The Analytic-Synthetic Dichotomy” references in the Ayn Rand Lexicon. The only referents necessary for the concept of a right to life are a man and his actions. Presuming the the answer to #1 is yes, and that independent acts of preservation are observationally evident without further proof or reasoning, then it appears to me, "that men, being once born, have a right to their preservation" (as suggested by Locke). I don't see where any social order is necessary, or how the lack of one creates an analytic-synthetic dichotomy.

Regardless, a right is not self-evident, as it depends on moral principles, which themselves are not self-evident.

I believe the actions are self-evident, and the moral principle and right are derived by observation of the actions. I'm not clear as to how this is fundamentally at odds with the Objectivist position...

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Following your lead, I looked at Peikoff's, “The Analytic-Synthetic Dichotomy” references in the Ayn Rand Lexicon. The only referents necessary for the concept of a right to life are a man and his actions. Presuming the the answer to #1 is yes, and that independent acts of preservation are observationally evident without further proof or reasoning, then it appears to me, "that men, being once born, have a right to their preservation" (as suggested by Locke). I don't see where any social order is necessary, or how the lack of one creates an analytic-synthetic dichotomy.

Reread my post suggesting you read Peikoff's essay--it wasn't a suggestion to clarify the issue of rights. And it was a suggestion to read the essay, not read snippets.

"I believe the actions are self-evident, and the moral principle and right are derived by observation of the actions. I'm not clear as to how this is fundamentally at odds with the Objectivist position..."

I'm not sure how that isn't clear to you. Have you read OPAR?

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Reread my post suggesting you read Peikoff's essay--it wasn't a suggestion to clarify the issue of rights.

If it wasn't a suggestion to clarify the issue of rights (which is what I'm clearly questioning), then why offer it? I've stated my position and offered common definition to support it. If you're suggesting I need to abandon Merriam-Webster definitions in favor of those provided by Leonard Peikoff, then I disagree.

I'm not sure how that isn't clear to you. Have you read OPAR?

I have read sections that are available online, and that are of interest to me. My exposure to Objectivism comes mostly though reading articles by Ayn Rand, including audio recordings by her on various subjects, by Leonard Peikoff and by other recognized Objectivists. I've found many areas of Objectivism that I agree with, and some that I don't, but I have yet to read the entire body of Objectivist literature.

My interest here is for a clarification of perspective on rights by those who understand the philosophy of Objectivism better than I do. I don't believe it's necessary to read the whole Bible, Qur'an, Torah, et al, in order to ask a more knowledgeable source for their perspective on a moral/political issue that I'm aware they address. That you prefer to assign further reading than respond to two very direct questions I've asked suggests an appeal to authority, and that you ask a moderator of this forum if they are being sarcastic, suggests you question the validity of the authorities you appeal to.

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