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Ayn Rand was openly in favor of British colonialism, says Harry Binswanger

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1 hour ago, Easy Truth said:

I noticed that the OP says that Rand was in favor of colonialism but the title mentions British. 

I was quoting Harry verbatim who himself seemed to be quoting Rand from a personal conversation that he had with her. If you look at the context, it's clear that Harry was specifically referring to British colonialism.  

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On 1/16/2023 at 6:20 PM, Easy Truth said:

The fundamental problem that is not mentioned is the demeaning attitude that the colonialists had toward the natives. The idea that they are primitive and therefore "less than" inevitably will create a unequal basic rights, not in support of individual rights. In all cases, rebellion is over this issue, including in the American revolution. In addition Britain did support slavery so it is hard case to make.

Right, and the very fact that there were widespread revolutions throughout North and South America against both the Spanish and the British - and not just by natives - is evidence that there was something very wrong with the way that colonialism was done in this time. The philosophical motivations were essentially bad. The mistake on Rand's part and others like her is that colonialism of that sort is part of Enlightenment philosophy. 

I mean, I can understand the mistake, but the more you read about it, the easier you can see a philosophical split. We can say the pro-liberty position is that of America, while the anti-liberty position is that of Britain. And why is that? We could theorize, and historians would do a better job than me, but I can at least say that America didn't have colonies and the philosophy that goes with it. There are of course conflicts about America's expansion, it's just a different topic than what happened under British and Spanish colonialism. 

On 1/13/2023 at 8:14 AM, Boydstun said:

Colonial America began as business

I want to point out that the notion of business ownership and free enterprise was completely unknown and didn't exist at the time. Guilds were still in charge of things, and the government always had absolute control. The most advanced economic thinking was mercantilism. I would not call it an expression of enlightenment thinking. Adam Smith is probably the first and best example of economic thinking which was based on enlightenment thinking, which is pretty much opposed to mercantilism. 

I've gotten some of these ideas from the book "religion and the rise of capitalism". I'm trying to integrate those ideas with my other knowledge about colonial North America, without going on any anticapitalist route to condemn British and Spanish colonialism.

The best I can say is that there were silver linings. But this is in a time when people knew better, and far less excusable when it comes to 20th century colonialism by Britain with India. 

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Even if the position/argument is that introduction to western ideas has been good, there was some bad. The issue of transition is not discussed in Objectivism or Libertarianism. It's actually the basis of most disagreements.

Every political system or activity has benefits for "some". We would probably argue that the benefit of individual rights applies to all. And it's out growth, meaning a system respecting individual rights causes laissez fair Capitalism.

The problem is that colonialism also brought in some unjust privilege for some. That is at the core of the argument against it. If you take that out, yes it is beneficial. And were the British able to omit that unjust aspects, I don't know.

The argument for the "good system" has to be based on justice permeating the whole of society.

One has to argue for some sort of objective benefit otherwise you have to deal with "benefit to whom?", "valuable to whom?" You will encounter retorts like: Every system does not benefit some including individual rights. The unjustly privileged won't benefit. For instance, those who want to be house pets, be told what to do, be taken care of, see "liberty" as a threat. Currently, even those who see the boom and bust periods of the current economic system, even in extreme cases like those who lived through the Greek financial crisis and got part of their wealth taken to fix the situation will support government interference with a privileged group running the show.

Edited by Easy Truth
cleaned up wording
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