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I wish I could get a better idea what kinds of things you think that would entail. What would the general topics be which you think such a thing would require addressing? What kinds of headings would be on a table of contents for what you have in mind?

I gave this some thought and here is my rough draft:

Resisting Socialism: A Guide to Going Galt in the Real World

Part I: Philosophy

1. The Principles of Objectivism

2. The Ideology of Socialism

3. Democracy and the Rule of Law

Part II: Background

4. Game Theory

5. Self Defense

6. Passive Resistance (Ghandi and MLK)

7. Just War

8. The Right of Revolution

Part III: A Theory of Resistance

9. Moral Principles of Resistance

Part IV: Options

10. Submission

11. Avoiding (making changes to avoid being a target)

12. Moving (moving away from the problem)

13. Secrecy (doing out of sight that which cannot be done in the open)

14. Ignoring (open violation)

15. Retaliating (exacting a cost for being disturbed)

16. Fighting (counterattack)

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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

Please do speak for yourself only. If you choose to throw away your freedom, that is your choice.

I had not considered my position as resigned.

Looking down your outline, I am going to have to review some of this thread. Part IV on your outline brings to mind the ancient text "The Art of War".

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I had not considered my position as resigned.

I was hoping you might respond that way.

Looking down your outline, I am going to have to review some of this thread. Part IV on your outline brings to mind the ancient text "The Art of War".

Carl von Clausewitz said that politics is war by other means. That cerainly applies in spades to the politics of socialism.

Anyway, my purpose here is not to write this book. I just want to figure out if it is within the capacity of Objectivism to reason about the subject.

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I'd say the socialists have a tad more evidence in their favor on that score.

huh? oh nevermind

But seriously, how can you possibly assert that the socialists and their ilk have through human history been more successful?? The revolution in Russia started in 1917 and continued until ltes just say 1989-91 ish, seeing its height in brutality during Stalin's regime. Why was it brutal? Because the natural human condition reassrted itself, the humans under his regime were compliant? If so why the brutality? How did he sustain the forced industrialisation of the country(?), you do know the help afforded him by the west , yes? Thatcher's statement comes to mind here about socialism being great until run out of other peoples' money.

The point is bad philosophy is what leads to any advantage evil gains. Evil is impotent, it can only destroy the good, if socialism exists and to what level it can sustain itself, there by necessity must be production somewhere that is either stolen or given away willingly by way of poor reasoning failure to integrate or whatever.

Ayn Rand tried to concretise these issues in fiction, you should read them , they're quite good. Rand's philosophy did not invent or codify such notions as seeing productiveness as a virtue , she integrated man and man's relationship to reality into body of work, her philosophy. Productiveness is metaphysical, capitalism is the abstraction of metaphysical human productiveness applied in a societal context.

Edited by tadmjones
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But seriously, how can you possibly assert that the socialists and their ilk have through human history been more successful??

Firstly, I'm using the term "socialism" rather loosely to cover a wide range of social pathologies of which formal Communism, Socialism, and the welfare state are but modern variations on a larger theme. But however you define it, we are certainly experiencing today an inexorable growth of government and, more importantly, a widespread belief in the moral principles of socialism, even in its more formal version.

The revolution in Russia started in 1917 and continued until ltes just say 1989-91 ish, seeing its height in brutality during Stalin's regime. Why was it brutal? Because the natural human condition reassrted itself, the humans under his regime were compliant? If so why the brutality? How did he sustain the forced industrialisation of the country(?), you do know the help afforded him by the west , yes? Thatcher's statement comes to mind here about socialism being great until run out of other peoples' money.

It's worth noting that even this extreme version managed to last 70 years and has acquired nowhere near the social stigma that, say, fascism carries. For whatever reason, people have not learned any lessons from history and are eager to try the experiment again and again. Socialism has a strong appeal that ought not be denied.

The point is bad philosophy is what leads to any advantage evil gains. Evil is impotent, it can only destroy the good, if socialism exists and to what level it can sustain itself, there by necessity must be production somewhere that is either stolen or given away willingly by way of poor reasoning failure to integrate or whatever.

No doubt, but there it is just the same. Of course, socialists don't believe they are stealing anything. They believe that if you produce something and don't share it you are immoral but if you take from those who produce for others, or even for yourself, you are a moral crusader. Evil is potent and perennial.

Ayn Rand tried to concretise these issues in fiction, you should read them , they're quite good. Rand's philosophy did not invent or codify such notions as seeing productiveness as a virtue , she integrated man and man's relationship to reality into body of work, her philosophy. Productiveness is metaphysical, capitalism is the abstraction of metaphysical human productiveness applied in a societal context.

I've read most of her stuff (I've never made it through AS but I know the story). There is much to admire in her works, both fiction and non-fiction. The biggest flaw I've seen with Objectivism is it's utopian bent.

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This is the only part without additional subdivisions. Having some sub-categories here would help. What kinds of situations and issues do you think this part would need to contain guidance on?

Well, this is the part that would require the most philosophical work. But I'm thinking roughly that it would draw upon the background as a model. For example, Just War Theory answers the question of whether and how to wage war in a way that is consistent with Christian principles and, in the process, answers the question of whether war can ever be justified (a conditional "yes"). Rather than break it down let me suggest that if this chapter were done correctly then anyone with Objectivist sympathies could read it and know, at least at a theoretical level, what actions are morally sound and what are not.

This chapter sets up the discussion to follow in part IV, which might be better titled "Examples" since it is far from exhaustive. Each of the examples in part IV would draw from the general theory of Part III. Part III thus lays the foundation for determining what can go in the list of part IV and under what conditions they are appropriate and how they ought to be carried out.

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"Well, this is the part that would require the most philosophical work."

Indeed :lol:

"Just War Theory answers the question of whether and how to wage war in a way that is consistent with Christian principles and, in the process, answers the question of whether war can ever be justified (a conditional "yes")."

That one we've already got some general stuff written on that also ends in a kind of conditional "yes." Waging war is justified by one country upon another when the latter's government is responsible for or complicit in the violation of the rights of the citizens of the former country. It's a wide scale effort to protect the rights of a country's citizens when the purpotrator is not within that country's jurisdiction nor is the purpatrator being addressed by the government which they are subject to. Now, if you want to get into when is such a violation enough to warrant war and when it isn't, that's more of a cost-benefit issue again. When one does go to a war they are justified in waging, anything goes which will contribute to the quickest victory with the least cost in life, limb, and potentially money to the citizens of the country trying to protect its citizens rights.

"I'm thinking roughly that it would draw upon the background as a model."

"Rather than break it down let me suggest that if this chapter were done correctly then anyone with Objectivist sympathies could read it and know, at least at a theoretical level, what actions are morally sound and what are not."

What kind of topics does the background material attempt to answer/address? Just "what actions are morally sound and what are not" is really vague to the point of not helping me see any further what kinds of things you don't think we've covered sufficiently already as far as determining moral versus immoral choices.

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"Well, this is the part that would require the most philosophical work."

Indeed :lol:

Keep in mind that I do not regard myself as qualifed to write this book.

Waging war is justified by one country upon another when the latter's government is responsible for or complicit in the violation of the rights of the citizens of the former country. It's a wide scale effort to protect the rights of a country's citizens when the purpotrator is not within that country's jurisdiction nor is the purpatrator being addressed by the government which they are subject to. Now, if you want to get into when is such a violation enough to warrant war and when it isn't, that's more of a cost-benefit issue again. When one does go to a war they are justified in waging, anything goes which will contribute to the quickest victory with the least cost in life, limb, and potentially money to the citizens of the country trying to protect its citizens rights.

The exercise here would be to lay out the (Objectivist) concept of just war, it's conditions, etc., and then to draw an analogy to individual actions within a society. Under what circumstances is it morally correct to break a law, for example? (Merely one that is unust or one that is unjust and burdensome, or where no harm is done, etc.?)

Remember, the focus of this hypothetical book, "Resisting Socialism", is on individual, not collective, action.

What kind of topics does the background material attempt to answer/address? Just "what actions are morally sound and what are not" is really vague to the point of not helping me see any further what kinds of things you don't think we've covered sufficiently already as far as determining moral versus immoral choices.

The background part is a review of somewhat similar philosophical investigations that can be used to lay out the terrain for Part III. It's not as if this subject were a bolt out of the blue and that's what Part II establishes. Futher, Part II can be used to aid reasoning in Part III by various means. (E.g. the right of revolution is at least as old as Maccabees, it wasn't invented by Lenin.)

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The background part is a review of somewhat similar philosophical investigations that can be used to lay out the terrain for Part III. It's not as if this subject were a bolt out of the blue and that's what Part II establishes. Futher, Part II can be used to aid reasoning in Part III by various means. (E.g. the right of revolution is at least as old as Maccabees, it wasn't invented by Lenin.)

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 pertains to social dynamics, you'd be seeking just consistency with Objectivism, rather than principles to devise from Objectivism. I'd leave that out entirely. Instead, adding history would be more appropriate, namely, the American Revolution and/or the Communists of Russia, and other examples of revolt throughout history. Most of the time, concretes are the means to abstract, how to find any principles to be developed. Unfortunately, I don't know much about that history. By principles, I mean a way to figure out what a proper course of action is, not a rule.

I noticed some underlying premises that you have, I'll try to address them in a day or so. I think you may overestimate importance placed on persuasion per se. That's not exactly something discussed much in any Objectivist literature I've seen, except one article Rand wrote about "What Can One Do?" with regard to spreading some Objectivist ideas. Even then, it was written as some ideas (as I recall, I read it a while ago), not as a philosophical statement on the level of what she wrote in "Virtue of Selfishness". Also, spreading ideas is different than resistance anyway, since spreading ideas is about people who can be persuaded. Not all people are willing to be persuaded.

Edited by Eiuol
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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 pertains to social dynamics, you'd be seeking just consistency with Objectivism, rather than principles to devise from Objectivism. I'd leave that out entirely. Instead, adding history would be more appropriate, namely, the American Revolution and/or the Communists of Russia, and other examples of revolt throughout history. Most of the time, concretes are the means to abstract, how to find any principles to be developed. Unfortunately, I don't know much about that history. By principles, I mean a way to figure out what a proper course of action is, not a rule.

Well, keep in mind that I only offered this outline to illustrate the kind of work I had in mind. You're really getting toward a level of detail that ought to be left to the author. But I do agree that the additions you suggest, and probably more, would be appropriate.

I noticed some underlying premises that you have, I'll try to address them in a day or so. I think you may overestimate importance placed on persuasion per se.

I've more or less drawn the conclusion that Objectivism does not philosophically dictate persuasion but that those who follow it are largely disposed toward it. In other words, it's more a matter of culture and tradition than hard philosophy. I don't think what I'm proposing would violate any Objectivist prinicple but clearly there is no Objectivist book already on the subject.

That's not exactly something discussed much in any Objectivist literature I've seen, except one article Rand wrote about "What Can One Do?" with regard to spreading some Objectivist ideas. Even then, it was written as some ideas (as I recall, I read it a while ago), not as a philosophical statement on the level of what she wrote in "Virtue of Selfishness".

I appreciate Objectism but I am a pragmatist at heart. So "What Can One Do?" is really a very important question to me. I have no patience for pure idealism and detest utopianism. I've read VoS, it's on the shelf in front of me at this very moment, but I'd be far more interested in seeing more Objectivist writing on "What Can One Do?"

Also, spreading ideas is different than resistance anyway, since spreading ideas is about people who can be persuaded. Not all people are willing to be persuaded.

I obviously agree here. I would not favor the view that one should assume people are unpersuadable but I think one must be realistic to survive and flourish in the real world.

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Are you perhaps confusing an advocation of Objectivism for a disposition toward persuasion?

I would put it this way: from what I've observed, an advocation of Objectivism is a pretty reliable predictor of a disposition toward persuasion. It may not be causal but it certainly appears correlational. I do not mean to suggest by that that advocates of Objectivism are not living out their philosophy in some important way. But when the topic turns to dealing with non-Objectivists, the solution is always some form of persuasion. I could easily draw many examples from this thread.

From what I've read, this was true from the start. Although Rand wrote a very dramatic story in Atlas Shrugged, when the question turned to how the makers might deal with the moochers and looters in the real world, her answer was pretty uniformly that of spreading Objectivism though philosphical discourse.

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This is certainly a worthwhile questions that would depend greatly upon establishing measurement. I would certainly agree that mankind has progressed in terms of knowledge and standard of living. There are also some obvious moral measures that have improved, such as a lower rate of killing, but does that imply an overall improvement? More to the point, the single simplest measure to the contrary, at least as far as those here are concerned, is the share of the economy directed by government (i.e. taxes and spending as a share of GDP). Additionally, regulation, which is much harder to measure, has almost certainly increased over the last couple hundred years.

The term "socialism" is certainly new but the idea of taking what your neighbor has is as old as humanity. Collectivism (and here we mean forced) is simply one means to that ancient end and even that is broader than what we might call the socialist movement.

Yes herman, standard of living and knowledge are really good indicators of improvement, as those are values of Objectivism. Respect for property rights is also a good indicator. While the federal government may have invented a lot of rules for how one should use one's property, and even has a system for taking your property, it is still yours. In addtion to this, a lot more people are now allowed to have property than ever before. The level of personal freedom that has been expanded to huge ammounts of people has come at the cost (<----Figurative) of the economic freedoms of those who already had them.

I would argue then that "taking what your neighbor has" is on the decline as well.

Addendum:

I actually agree though we need better options than philisophical discourse.

My fears:

The leaders of this country (corporate and military) are philosophically bankrupt, and thus are probably divided and cowardly. They don't have the organization or the desire to actually protect this country from the very real threat of terrorism.

Multiculturalists and other douchebags will convince people not to resist religion, leavingthe Muslim and "Hindu" world unchecked.

The Christian Right and the Christian (Catholics, American Slave Culture) Left will get over their racism soon (probably the next generation after mine) and unite with one another.

Edited by Hairnet
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I noticed some underlying premises that you have, I'll try to address them in a day or so. I think you may overestimate importance placed on persuasion per se.

Thinking further on your point here, the two most significant Objectivist impediments to my propsoal that I've seen so far in this thread are:

We understand that choice ends at the muzzle of a gun.

I disagree. My understanding is that when someone points the muzzle of a gun at you they have merley changed the value of your choices.

My claim is that it is perfectly natural and normal to reason in and about situations where you are under threat by another person. This claim is fundamential to any theory of resistance.

The more extensive issue is why we don't see somebody threatening to shoot you if you don't hand over cash the same way we see a thunder storm though both are obstacles one may have to work around.

While I don't outright disagree with the distinction between natural and man-made threats, I think that the difference is vastly overrated.

My claim is that, for all practical purposes, and certainly within the span of a normal lifetime, the socialist mob should be regarded as a natural danger. Objectivists (and those of like mind) will always be in the minority, usually a very small minority and, further, that being an easy target only encourages the mob while being a hard target might just discourage it and encourage a greater respect for human dignity and freedom. This view is the main motivation for developing a theory of resistance.

Further, as with the first point, treating the mob as an obstacle to work around puts you back in the position of a reasoning, choosing, and acting human being: man qua man as opposed to a man in bondage to his neighbors.

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I would put it this way: from what I've observed, an advocation of Objectivism is a pretty reliable predictor of a disposition toward persuasion. It may not be causal but it certainly appears correlational. I do not mean to suggest by that that advocates of Objectivism are not living out their philosophy in some important way. But when the topic turns to dealing with non-Objectivists, the solution is always some form of persuasion. I could easily draw many examples from this thread.

From what I've read, this was true from the start. Although Rand wrote a very dramatic story in Atlas Shrugged, when the question turned to how the makers might deal with the moochers and looters in the real world, her answer was pretty uniformly that of spreading Objectivism though philosphical discourse.

Could it be, that spreading it via philosophical discourse is simply a recognition on her behalf of the human condition, as you called it earlier? By human condition, where you referring to human nature?
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Could it be, that spreading it via philosophical discourse is simply a recognition on her behalf of the human condition, as you called it earlier? By human condition, where you referring to human nature?

Let me answer by stating the argument for argument and persuasion: agument and persuasion are loving means to an end. When you argue with someone you are treating them as a human being. When you attempt to persuade them to your view you are attemtping to enlighten them to what you believe to be the truth. Perhaps Rand was more Christian than she realized. Pacifists are the extreme form.

But let's be honest. Someone in love with her ideas is going to be disposed toward sharing those ideas and making those ideas the central feature of her life. And acting on your ideas is a much harder thing to do than merely espousing them. It's much safer to await the promise of utopia, when all mankind agrees with you, than to fight for change against their obstinance.

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Who is being promised utopia? Ayn Rand has simply revealed her view of existence, and of the nature of mankind. Trying to paint her as being more Christian than she realized hardly bolsters what you are advocating.

I realize that around here, that was a major insult. But, no, I don't think Rand promised utopia. I think a solitary focus on argument and persusion entails awaiting utopia. A utopia that will never come.

Let me offer a contrast. Imagine that what I propose were adopted and that it were successfullly implemented. What would that look like, utopia-wise?

Objectivists would be exempted from violations of their freedom, from taxes and regulations. Socialists would go on taxing and regulating each other, and they would almost certainly hate Objectivists even more than they alread do, but they would have found attacking Objectivists to be counter-productive. We have precedents: enterprise zones, diplomatic immunity, charitable deductions, religious exemptions, overlapping legal systems, etc. How hard do you think it would be to advocate for Objectivism in that situation? Sure, many old-timers would stick to their ideology to their last breath but just as people swam from Communist China to Hong Kong and crossed barbed wire and minefields from East to West Germany, so they would stream from the misery of socialism to this freedom.

But let's come back down to earth. What would a more moderate version look like? Well, Objectivists would have carved out just a little more space for themselves in a hostile world. They would live more freely even at the muzzle fo a gun.

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You shouldn't have to come back down to earth if you haven't left it, ideologically speaking. You correctly stated earlier that socialism is inherently immoral. It would be more accurate to state that Objectivists have discovered that morality is something which can be practiced.in world where others may chose to do otherwise, (rather than carving out a little more space in hostile world.) In this sense, we practice what we preach, man must be free to choose.

Edited by dream_weaver
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I believe your theories are based on a filtered view of human history. Collectivism, the nonmetrosexual and all milder variants you speak of, is an abstraction that has as its referent a contradiction, it basically describes a mode of existence that is quite literally unreal. One must remove the idea of human productiveness from reality in order to conceive of collectivism as an existential mode of haman existence.

All discussion and descriptions of collectivism being 'practised' , should be viewed as the use of force by groups of individuals against other groups in order to bring to fruition a nonrealisable goal. Akin in my view to alchemy.

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I believe your theories are based on a filtered view of human history. Collectivism, the nonmetrosexual and all milder variants you speak of, is an abstraction that has as its referent a contradiction, it basically describes a mode of existence that is quite literally unreal. One must remove the idea of human productiveness from reality in order to conceive of collectivism as an existential mode of haman existence. All discussion and descriptions of collectivism being 'practised' , should be viewed as the use of force by groups of individuals against other groups in order to bring to fruition a nonrealisable goal. Akin in my view to alchemy.

The difference between alchemy and socialism is that the former has never been demonstrated in any form whatsoever while the later is a perennial affliction of humankind. The lie of socialism is that it benefits all. The truth of socialism is that it benefits some for a while and that people who don't think thing through can be fooled time and again. Socialism only needs to appeal to envy and jealousy to succeed in the short term and only needs people to forget to succed in the long term. Both ingredients are in ample supply.

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You shouldn't have to come back down to earth if you haven't left it, ideologically speaking. You correctly stated earlier that socialism is inherently immoral. It would be more accurate to state that Objectivists have discovered that morality is something which can be practiced.in world where others may chose to do otherwise, (rather than carving out a little more space in hostile world.) In this sense, we practice what we preach, man must be free to choose.

Have you heard anything in my proposal which would contradict your Objectivist morals? (Whether or not the world is hostile to Objectivist ideals is not within the control of Objectivists. The question here is what to do about that fact of life.)

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. The lie of socialism is that it benefits all. The truth of socialism is that it benefits some for a while and that people who don't think thing through can be fooled time and again.

True , the lie of socialism is that it benefits all. Though I disagree with the idea that it benefits even some for awhile. It is a false theory used to justify the taking , by force or fraud, of the unearned. History obviously shows that groups of individuals in the past have expropriated the production of others , using socialism as some set of principles to justify their actions, some may even have believed they were acting according to reality, but they were mistaken.

Notice in every instance of taking, there must first be perceived values in existence to then 'take'. The real lie in socialism is you have to deny productivity and all that that entails.

Edited by tadmjones
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