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Free Markets are for Sissies

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So, looks like the thread creator may be getting that "guides on minimizing the impact of government on one's life" thing after all, and yes, by somebody from this place even.

 

This is from an e-mail from the person who created this forum:

"I am working full time on a major new initiative. It’s called Liberty.me and I’m personally managing every aspect of development. Whereas ObjectivismOnline is an adventure in philosophical discussion and intelectual activity, Liberty.me is a hands-on tool for living a free, rational life. We have assembled over 50 authors to create guides to help you minimize the impact and interference of government controls."

The only thing that comes up on google is a site, with nothing on it except a sign up form and social media links. I doubt that's it.

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As to "going Galt", the earlier point of seeing the valley being a resort, a place to withdraw from "getting one's hands dirty", I find this forum to be a place to one can go and interface with like-m

Establishing context, in other words? If so, I would put game theory in there, because its level of specificity may be too much for philosophical inquiry. The topic is specialized enough that while it

Where did I say "sit down and shut up?" But, yes, I am questioning the utility of talking. To whatever extent they do, yes, but my point is that the usual arguments for free markets

The only thing that comes up on google is a site, with nothing on it except a sign up form and social media links. I doubt that's it.

They sent some emails to subscribers that linked to this fundraising effort. It looks like David V. (OO.com founder) is working on Liberty.me with a small group of other people.

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Let's stipulate that free markets are the optimal economic arrangement and that taxation is theft and regulation oppression.

Still, it has always disturbed me how those who favor free markets have framed the issue.

If people were rational, they would choose a free market economy. They aren't so the choose socialism, in one form or another, instead.

Socialism is as natural as any other human vice. And while it may not have always been called "socialism", the essential elements of it stretch back throughout human history. I suppose you might quibble about the moral self-justification that socialists claim but when has anyone ever not justied their most horrible actions? One need only note the self-satisfaction of the Nazis to see that.

As much as I enjoyed Atlas Shrugged, as one critic of AS2 recently noted, it has a utopian thread running through it as if to believe that the right combination of events would cause people to finally see the light and truth and realize the errors of their ways.

Socialism is a diesase of the human soul, one to be endured like natural disease and natural disasters. There is no cure.

Death and taxes.

Discuss?

 

Atlas shrugged is Art, which means it is a dramatization of principles or themes, not a documentary.

 

Atlas shrugged, 1100 pages of slow societal collapse through 300 years of disinterested characters crushed by senseless sacrifice and force would not be anything to read, well outside of a few academics who already loath themselves. 

 

Art is inspiration, not a treatise. 

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Absolutely true.

The underlying question is: what is the rational choice under such circumstances? Resorting to black markets seems like a good example.

So what can we conclude from this narrow example? That regulation determines whether the market is open or black, not whether commerce occurs, even under the most opppressive circumstances.

Dare we generalize from that?

Yes we do. That Free markets are the natural state. Whether the interference is from the state (govt) of from a monopolist (corp), it does not matter which group-of-people is up to no good, interfering with a free market is counter to individuals best interest. 

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The problem I have with Rand's man qua man is that what she means by that term is an idealized man, not a natural man. Man has the capacity for reason, which differentiates man from other animals, and she idealized this aspect of humanity.

Now I have two issues with her man qua man. The first is that there are plenty of good aspects of humanity that are not oriented around reason, e.g. sex and good food. But more importantly, my second issue is that focusing on the ideal leads one to be blind to the reality, to dealiing with the situation where man fall short of that ideal, for whatever reason.

Nobody here will come out and say that it's wrong to fight force with force and, yet, there is great hesitance to actually explore that line of thought. Always the discussion is taken in various tangents away from it either returning to the ideal or rejecting extremes that were never on the table in the first place.

I'm still trying to figure out why.

Say what!? Sir you have an odd and sometimes provocative turn of phrase. Oh, and just to be explicit, what you are still trying to figure out, is that your question is internally contradictory. "Nobody here will come out and say that it's wrong to fight force with force" BECAUSE on this forum one should not expect support for such an idea. I would suggest the proper response to force, is superior force. It is simple physics. As for rejecting extremes, I embrace them, "Convince me you intent to kill me and you are a dead man." is a moral statement.

 

Moreover, I disagree with the statement, "that focusing on the ideal leads one to be blind to the reality". Quite the reverse, it gives unambiguous points of reference when the day to day becomes confusing. For example: the ideal "De Oppresso Liber" has been of significant help to me in sorting out these "use of force" questions.

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Yes we do. That Free markets are the natural state.  

The natural state is the "law of the jungle", governed by the might of violence and force. Eat or be eaten. Take or be taken from. 

 

A free market is very much an artificial, man (and government) made state, built on individual rights, where the government actively prevents individuals from killing, robbing, or defrauding each other. A moral state, but not natural. 

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Yes we do. That Free markets are the natural state. Whether the interference is from the state (govt) of from a monopolist (corp), it does not matter which group-of-people is up to no good, interfering with a free market is counter to individuals best interest. 

 

It obviously depends on what you mean by a "natural state". The normal meaning of the term is that which we find in nature. We do find states and monopolists interfering with free markets in nature (obviously to the harm of individuals). That is natural. We do not find free markets (as we would idealize them) anywhere in naure. They are not a natural state.

 

On the other hand, we could broaden the concept of a free market to include the market for coercion. Thus, in a totalitarian state, those with power "own" everything. That's a bit of a perverse meaning for free market but at least it would make them natural.

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The natural state is the "law of the jungle", governed by the might of violence and force. Eat or be eaten. Take or be taken from. 

 

A free market is very much an artificial, man (and government) made state, built on individual rights, where the government actively prevents individuals from killing, robbing, or defrauding each other. A moral state, but not natural. 

 

I think this is much closer to the truth. Much more of a realistic view of the natural state of man.

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Perhaps we could agree that free markets, that is, capitalism, is a moral state, or man's proper moral relationship. Indeed, nature can be brutal and uncompromising.

 

In a vague sense, yes of course. But I'm not satisfied with the vagary.

 

What I find most attractive about Objectivism is that it defines morality in terms of enlightened self interest. Rand hated the term "pragmatism" but Objectivism is very pragmatic. So in what sense are free markets moral and proper?

 

I think we can agree, also, that if a society consisted of Objectivists alone that there would be free markets (or, to be more precise, the more Objectivist a society, the freer its markets). See Galt's Gulch.

 

Further, I would suggest that we should expect such a society to outperform its neighbors. I won't say that's definitely true but I'm inclined to believe it.

 

However, something is standing in the way. What?

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Rand hated the term "pragmatism" but Objectivism is very pragmatic.

Miss Rand was opposed to a type of philosophy called Pragmatism, not to be confused with small p pragmatism--which is a term she never said she hated.

I think Duey was a Pragmatist. I hate him. That god damned Duey Decimal System in my local library tied me up in knots for most of my childhood.

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Miss Rand was opposed to a type of philosophy called Pragmatism, not to be confused with small p pragmatism--which is a term she never said she hated.

I think Duey was a Pragmatist. I hate him. That god damned Duey Decimal System in my local library tied me up in knots for most of my childhood.

 

Yes, I know. I actually like William James original concept, I think it has great merit. (He actually shared Rand's original motivation: to take philosophy back from philosophers and make it useful to living life). But the school took a bizare turn. Duey was definitely the sort of "pragmatist" that Rand rightly hated.

 

But, yes, I think we both agree that Objectivism is very small p pragmatic.

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Yeah, in the sense that things work out great when I apply it to my life.

 

I'd say in many ways including that. One thing I most appreciate about Rand is that she demonstrated a philosophical appreciation for practical things. That shines through in Atlas Shrugged. She made practical men and women heroes and those opposed to practical thinking vilians. 

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