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A "pure" Objectivist would <insert self-destructive action here.>

This assumes that Objectivism is based on altruist ethics. In altruism, there is the ideal and the practical, and never the twain shall meet. In altruism, practical and pragmatic are the same exact thing (as the fellow, I forget who that was, with the dictionary pointed out). Altruism demands that one die for a higher cause. Pragmatism says do whatever you can get away with.

The "moral" and the "practical" are forever at odds.

In Objectivism, of course, ethics and morality are the same. The moral is the practical.

Now, let's look at what a "pure", i.e. consistent Objectivist would do. He can either sacrifice his life in an attempt to destroy a mostly free society with some mixture of statism in it. Or, he can live life selfishly and oppose the statist elements.

Rand wrote an essay regarding when is it time to go on strike. IIRC, her answer was when they take away the right to speak or write. Before reading that, I thought that one goes on strike when one's choice is only to strike or else to sanction the evil. I now think that these are one and the same scenarios.

The US may be moving in that direction, but it ain't there yet!

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As a preface, I will say that I am the President and founder of my University's College Libertarians.

This said, I am also a firm admirer of Ayn Rand and practioner of her philosophy. Never have I run into a contradition in these beliefs. This is likely because, to me at least, libertarianism is a/the corollary POLITICAL philosophy of Objectivism. Libertarianism fills out the policies that Ayn Rand alludes to, but never specifically writes (so far as I can find).

I'll define my terms for the purpose of debate so that Libertarianism is the POLITICAL philosophy (dealing with how governments/force should be used) that governments are established for the protection of individual liberty and the enforcement of negative rights and Objectivism is the MORAL philosophy (dealing with personal conduct) which is defined by the writings of Ayn Rand.

Nonetheless, Objectivists I have met, when I mention libertarianism, act as if I were a Communist and espousing A is B. I have read Peter Schwartz's essay and found it to be full of unwarranted intolerance and frankly is worthy of the progranda parodied in Atlas Shrugged rather than an Objectivist organization.

Thus, please explain why being libertarian (politically) does and/or should recieve the cold shoulder is seems to get in Objectivist circles.

-Rich

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Well, first off, the definition of your terms is incorrect. Objectivism is the name of the entire philosophy, encompassing not only ethics and politics, but also metaphysics, epistemology, and aesthetics.

The political branch of Objectivism is specifically called Capitalism (and it is not *just* the political branch of the philosophy, Capitalism is a social system, and as such also includes economics as well). This social system is inextricably linked to Objectivist ethics, which is derived from Objectivist epistemology and metaphysics. It cannot exist - in fact, NO social system can exist - without an ethic, epistemology, or metaphysics on which to stand. If one does not derive this social system from an ethic, then all one has is a floating abstraction. Libertarianism does not advocate any particular ethic, epistemology, or metaphysics. Thus it IS a floating abstraction - it is the unreal masquarading as the real. It is an attempt to replace the real with the unreal. (And if you assert that libertarianism is based on all of the objectivist metaphysics, epistemology, and ethics, then you need to state why you call it something other than objectivism. See more of this below).

Since you use the term libertarianism to distinguish your political system from capitalism (otherwise, why the separate term?), then what EXACTLY does distinguishes it *from* capitalism. If there is no difference, then why create a new term and try use it in place of capitalism? Why not use the term capitalist instead of libertarian? Why are you not President and founder of your university's College Capitalists?

In addition, what exactly did you consider to be 'propagandistic' and "unwarranted" in the Schwartz essay?

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Nonetheless, Objectivists I have met, when I mention libertarianism, act as if I were a Communist and espousing A is B. 

You can't blame us for this. Take a look at what various libertarian organizations advocate. Follow the link below and you will see a libertarian organization calling themselves "Libertarian Socialists." O'ist Dianna Hsieh has speculated that the term "Libertarian" itself is most likely a package deal of various ideologies under one umbrella.

http://www.dianahsieh.com/blog/2004_04_04_...941896945396488

I think of Libertarianism as an eclectic movement with some really good thinkers and some that are horrible. It has a long history which I know only very broadly. The better libertarians (Von Mises, Simon, etc) probably represent the best ideas (ie most rational and intergrated) that can be obtained without Ayn Rand's philosophy (especially her epistemology). Therefore, being that O'ism is in its infancy and not everyone has heard of let alone read and integrated Ayn Rand's work, I tend to cut some Libertarians (and the better conservatives like Sowell and Williams) some leeway. That being said when one reads the American bashing bile that their most prominent organizations put out it becomes tough to stomach it.

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And to you too. Why dont you read some libertarian litterature instead of just plotting scare-pictures of libertarians with your friends. You could start with Ludwig von Mises.

I have read Mises and he is very good on economics and less so when he steps out of that field.

I get articles from the Von mises institute sent to my work and the articles are very good on economics and absolutely dire on foreign policy. there are some flat-out anarchists at the institute whose political views are also tripe.

By contrast, they sometimes send me excerpts of Mises's books like Omnipotent Government which are excellent and a refreshing contrast to the stuff produced by their modern writers.

Mises did believe in Limited government and, so, was far different from those who write for the institute who believe in no government at the institute and perform incredible gymnastics in many situations to paint America as the bad guy.

http://www.mises.org/fullstory.asp?control=796&FS=The+Choice

"Most libertarians argue that the attack was a murderously evil response to U.S. wars, trade sanctions, and troop presence in the Middle East and the Islamic world—policies the libertarians have consistently opposed. Ranged against them are neoconservatives who believe that it is inappropriate to discuss the terrorists’ true motives and who prefer instead to ascribe their actions to a generalized hatred of Western civilization and "our way of life."

The libertarian analysis would imply a fast and radical pull-back of U.S. involvement in foreign affairs, starting with its trade sanctions and its troops scattered all over the Islamic world. This approach is not inconsistent with a determined, yet narrowly focused, hunt for the surviving co-conspirators. The neoconservative approach would lead not only to no reduction in foreign adventurism, but to a large and long war throughout the entire Middle East region"

and

"The report quotes bin Laden himself, speaking on October 12, 1996:

The people of Islam have suffered from aggression, iniquity and injustice imposed by the Zionist-Crusader alliance and their collaborators. . . . It is the duty now of every tribe in the Arabian Peninsula to fight jihad and cleanse the land from these Crusader occupiers. Their wealth is booty to those who kill them. My Muslim brothers: your brothers in Palestine and in the land of the two Holy Places [i.e., Saudi Arabia] are calling upon your help and asking you to take part in fighting against the enemy—the Americans and the Israelis. They are asking you to do whatever you can to expel the enemies out of the sanctities of Islam.

Later in the same year, bin Laden said that "terrorizing the American occupiers [of Islamic Holy Places] is a religious and logical obligation."

These words barely need any elucidation. They squarely complain about U.S. support for Israel and about American troops in Saudi Arabia. There is nothing about forcing people in Peoria to abandon Western values and convert to Islam at gunpoint. "

and, best of all,

"No matter how many freedoms are compromised, no matter how many wars the U.S. wages, no matter how many people are killed, the only way to reduce terrorism is to immediately and radically curtail military adventurism, stop the belligerence and the violence of sanctions, and adopt a foreign policy of nonintervention and neutrality.

Will doing so hand a victory to the evil demon bin Laden? To ask this question betrays a fundamental misunderstanding of how characters like bin Laden gained influence in the first place. Without U.S. bumbling and stumbling around the Middle East region for the last fifty years, often violently, and without U.S. support for authoritarian regimes there, malevolent criminals like bin Laden would never have been able to gain influence. He did so by stirring up the Middle East rabble into a frenzy by blaming the U.S. for all the misery there.

Ultimately, however, to the question, is this giving bin Laden what he wants, I say this is a policy we should have regardless of what he thinks."

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O'ist Dianna Hsieh has speculated that the term "Libertarian" itself is most likely a package deal of various ideologies under one umbrella.

I have to agree with Diana Hsieh.

Check out The Libertarian Website, which seems to seek a diversity in opinion simply not correlated with capitalism.

Excerpt:

|  Philosophy  | 

The philosophical roots of libertarianism are many and varied. Some in the    libertarian tradition believe that freedom is simply God's order, or more generally,    that there is a natural order in the universe, and human beings have natural    rights. John Locke, for instance, argued that liberty was part of God's or the    natural order. This particular strand of libertarianism generally holds that    people have rights and that those rights cannot be violated under normal circumstances.    Modern libertarian rights theorists have included the philosophers Robert Nozick,    Jan Narveson, Loren Lomasky, and Eric Mack. 

Many classical liberals (including the American founders, of course) have    claimed that the rights to "Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness" were    "self-evident." Libertarians do not all agree about the nature or kind of rights    that human beings have. And not all people who believe that human beings have    rights are libertarians.

This is from the Libertarians' own website

No such inconsistencies exist in capitalism.

Because capitalism holds that man's reason is an absolute.

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It is obviously the case that Objectivism does not have nearly enough support to make any sort of important run for the presidency. However, that being said, I do think that Objectivism has enough support to form a small political party with the purpose not of putting a President in office but rather to influence the dominant parties.

A possible alternative is to try to make one of the major parties adopt a large dosage of capitalist platform issues.

I note that Robert Tracinski is trying to wish this upon the Republican party. Check out any of his articles endorsing Bush in 2000.

A potential trap is to try to ally with a candidate who calls himself a defender of capitalism, not realizing that his definition of capitalism might be quite a bit different from the objectivist definition.

Prior to Tracinski having allied himself with the Republicans, he should have taken note as to what Ayn Rand mentioned about their very hero, Ronald Reagan- that Reagan was a demagogue of the faith-based Right.

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Guest bartwart

Ayn Rand should have seized the libertarian movement when she had the chance. As such, those that show up at the meetings get to write all the definitions. Objectivism needs a political vehicle to fulfill it's views otherwise it will remain relatively impotent. Since there are probably more Objectivists than there are nihilists and other moral relativists, it would be easy to take over the Libertarian Party.

It's silly to not have a political party associated with Objectivism.

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False alternative

So will the Republicans and Democrats suddenly stop pandering to their irrational constituents? Both parties' base include large swaths of people that support cradle-to-grave social welfare. What are the Objectivists doing? At least the Libertarians are trying.

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So will the Republicans and Democrats suddenly stop pandering to their irrational constituents?  Both parties' base include large swaths of people that support cradle-to-grave social welfare.  What are the Objectivists doing?  At least the Libertarians are trying.

Trying what?

Trying to spread political views while cutting off the base of these views.

And they are trying to spread anarchy not capitalism which will make things even worse.

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The objectivists are *educating* - and they are doing so because THEY realize one CANNOT have a political system without having an EXPLICIT ethical system upon which to base it.

Action for the SAKE of action is not rational. As such, it is irrelevant that the libertarians are 'trying'.

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Trying what?

Trying to spread political views while cutting off the base of these views.

And they are trying to spread anarchy not capitalism which will make things even worse.

The libertarians believe in protecting human rights, however they are throughly deluded about how to do that. Right now the libertarian movement is dominated by anarcho-capitalists, but with a little Objectivist influence it could move closer to classical liberalism.

Libertarianism doesn't have to be dominated by the anarchist. It is only that way because no one will challenge them.

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The objectivists are *educating* - and they are doing so because THEY realize one CANNOT have a political system without having an EXPLICIT ethical system upon which to base it. 

Action for the SAKE of action is not rational.  As such, it is irrelevant that the libertarians are 'trying'.

Political parties are also a platform for education.

It doesn't matter if what the libertarians are doing is fully rational or not. They are out there competing for public attention on all levels. That means they will have the influence and Objectivists will not.

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"Political parties are also a platform for education"

While a side effect of a political party may be education, that is not the purpose nor goal of a political party. And as I stated in my previous post, "THEY realize one CANNOT have a political system without having an EXPLICIT ethical system upon which to base it." Since none exists, the attempt to create one WITHOUT the existence of that ethical system is the attempt to CREATE a floating abstraction - ie to create the unreal.

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The libertarians believe in protecting human rights, however they are throughly deluded about how to do that.  Right now the libertarian movement is dominated by anarcho-capitalists, but with a little Objectivist influence it could move closer to classical liberalism.

Libertarianism doesn't have to be dominated by the anarchist.  It is only that way because no one will challenge them.

The libertarians can be challenged on the field of ideas.

I don't see why an Objectivist should join that party.

The libertarian idea of 'doing something' reminds me of a combination of James Taggart's comment to Hank Rearden and the old Ronald Reagan idea of 'Don't just do something, stand there' which would at least be better than spreading moral relativism and anarchism.

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Well, first off, the definition of your terms is incorrect.  Objectivism is the name of the entire philosophy, encompassing not only ethics and politics, but also metaphysics, epistemology, and aesthetics.

The political branch of Objectivism is specifically called Capitalism (and it is not *just* the political branch of the philosophy,  Capitalism is a social system, and as such also includes economics as well).  This social system is inextricably linked to Objectivist ethics, which is derived from Objectivist epistemology and metaphysics.  It cannot exist - in fact, NO social system can exist - without an ethic, epistemology, or metaphysics on which to stand.  If one does not derive this social system from an ethic, then all one has is a floating abstraction.  Libertarianism does not advocate any particular ethic, epistemology, or metaphysics.  Thus it IS a floating abstraction - it is the unreal masquarading as the real.  It is an attempt to replace the real with the unreal.  (And if you assert that libertarianism is based on all of the objectivist metaphysics, epistemology, and ethics, then you need to state why you call it something other than objectivism.  See more of this below).

Since you use the term libertarianism to distinguish your political system from capitalism (otherwise, why the separate term?), then what EXACTLY does distinguishes it *from* capitalism.  If there is no difference, then why create a new term and try use it in place of capitalism?  Why not use the term capitalist instead of libertarian?  Why are you not President and founder of your university's College Capitalists?

In addition, what exactly did you consider to be 'propagandistic' and "unwarranted" in the Schwartz essay?

RadCap:

Okay, Objectivism is the entire philosophy, the moral part is what is relevant to the arguement.

You are right that libertarianism does not advocate any particular ethic, epistomology, or metaphysics, but this is for the same reason a toaster does not have an input for dishwasher fluid. Both are appliances, but a toaster and a dishwasher seek to do different things. Objectivism takes a solid position on ethics, metaphysics, aesthetics, etc as it must. Libertarianism is a political philosophy however and only deals with man's relation to his government. In this respect, it is very real with very firm positions and logic.

I do not assert Libertarianism to be Objectivism, but as an acceptable corolloary of "I swear, by my life and my love of it, that I will never live for the sake of another man, nor ask another man to live for mine," which in fewer words is the libertarian adage "live and let live."

I do not use the term Capitalist because liberty is my political goal, not capitalism, which is an economic system. Capitalism is not a political value, Freedom is. Consequently, politically, Capitalism is of secondary importance. After all, you would agree that people can and have lived purposeful and selfish lives in private communes? Capitalism is the overarching economic system, but it does not require homogeneaty throughout. Perhaps you disagree (as I suspect you might, but I'd prefer to have this discussion in a later thread).

Without writing a complete review (I'll forward you to http://www.libertarian.co.uk/lapubs/philn/philn031.pdf for that), what stood out as propogandistic and unwarranted of Schwartz was his conclusion of libertarianism as anti-morality and anti-capitalism. That we feel morality can/should be left for individuals to decide for themselves and not politics/society is not anti-morality. It is a reflection of the free mind that individuals have to decide their lives. That we feel individuals should be allowed to distribute their resources as they deem fit is not anti-capitalism, but a testament to private property. But all these positions presume freedom from physical force, which is the realm of politics.

As you can guess, from my reasoning, libertarianism is the political philosophy that Objectivism warrants and should not be given he hostility and cold-shoulder it is often given.

I think I've addressed your points, but let me know if I missed something...I have a lot of replies to write.

-Rich

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You can't blame us for this. Take a look at what various libertarian organizations advocate. Follow the link below and you will see a libertarian organization calling themselves "Libertarian Socialists." O'ist Dianna Hsieh has speculated that the term "Libertarian" itself is most likely a package deal of various ideologies under one umbrella.

http://www.dianahsieh.com/blog/2004_04_04_...941896945396488

I think of Libertarianism as an eclectic movement with some really good thinkers and some that are horrible. It has a long history which I know only very broadly. The better libertarians (Von Mises, Simon, etc) probably represent the best ideas (ie most rational and intergrated) that can be obtained without Ayn Rand's philosophy (especially her epistemology). Therefore, being that O'ism is in its infancy and not everyone has heard of let alone read and integrated Ayn Rand's work, I tend to cut some Libertarians (and the better conservatives like Sowell and Williams) some leeway. That being said when one reads the American bashing bile that their most prominent organizations put out it becomes tough to stomach it.

argive99:

Ehh, I think I will blame you ;) Yes, and if you read their thinking, Libertarian Socialism, which while contrary to Objectivism, is a consistent idea. While I disagree with its justification for this, it views economic socialism as the path to achieiving liberty.

Libertarianism is simply the political philosophy which holds liberty and freedom as the highest political value. Of course various ideologies embrace libertarianism, freedom is a basic desire of man and there are multiple ways to skin a cat.

Heh, Objectivism is no more in its infancy that libertarianism. Rand has been around since the 30s, though I'll start at the 1960s with the peak of her popularity, and the LP wasn't formed until the 1970s, I'm not sure when the term was coined. Moreover, many of Rand's philosophical ideas had been stated previously by other philosophers and have been out there for awhile. The power of Ayn Rand to me is the presentation and synthesis of these ideas into a powerful outlook on life and humantiy.

I'll ignore the alley into the debate of America's moral superiority for another time :) I'll close by asking you whether your hostility to libertarianism is that it is not Objectivism or whether it really produces a political structure that you cannot live in as an Objectivist.

-Rich

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