Defending ATLAS SHRUGGED...

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Defending ATLAS SHRUGGED...

Hey fellow CMers,

I'm engaged in some discussions, more like debates, with a group of extremely liberal friends regarding the validity of ATLAS SHRUGGED. Obviously, for them Ayn Rand's philosophy is indefensible. They typically assault the value and credibility of her work based on the inconsistencies found in her life with respect to actions versus the philosophies discussed in her books. They cite the contradictions in her life, how the end of her life was quite miserable and that her views are much too extreme.

I understand their points but my argument is more about the inherent value and lessons found in her magnum opus and how prescient it was given what has and is transpiring in America (big brother government, police state, growing gov't intervention and nationalization of private industry, crony capitalism, emerging fascism, widespread corruption, socialism, anti-business friendly environment especially for small business, entitlement society, political and economic fraud, etc...).

Can you suggest any particularly compelling articles, interviews, podcasts or You Tube videos that do an excellent job at defending Atlas Shrugged from liberal attacks while separating the contradictions and hypocricy found in Rand's life versus the value of her most famous work? Thanks in advance!

JG

 

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No need to defend Atlas Shrugged

Hi Juan.

I Don't think you need to defend Rand's opus... its eloquence and truth (in my opinion) stand's on it's own!

I think one either gets "it" or one doesn't... however, not getting (or understanding) her philosophy is a matter of choice. The Liberal mind wants desperately to believe in the theory of a "free lunch", so it quite happily ignores the fact that while it may have in deed, received a free lunch, "someone" had to provide it (either willingly or by force).

The challenge you're running in to is that the Liberal mind will rationalize (yes, ironic word choice...) it's belief system, by attacking the author's personal life, stating "see, see... her own life's mess is proof that her ideas are wrong".

That challenge though, can be adequately addressed. I would tell your Liberal friends quite simply that Life is messy; and that time, circumstances and people do in fact, change.

Presumably, Ms. Rand created Atlas between the ages of 37 and 52 (the time between the publishing of The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged). She went on to live another 25 years in notoriety and fame... two fairly big crosses to bear. Whatever her own personal failings might have been, they do not detract from her message in the slightest!

Whenever I hear someone wanting to "spread the wealth around" I immediately wonder, who's wealth are they talking about? While I am personally all for lending a helping hand, I believe it should be given voluntarily... not at the end of a gun barrel.

To your friends I would say, Charity... if it please's you, then by all means please feel free to give. Such charitable giving will vary... as I'm sure your's likely varies from theirs.

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I think using the bankruptcy

I think using the coming bankruptcy of heavily unionized and lavish government employee pension states, the Post Office, Medicare, Medicaid and Fannie and Freddie show that central planning cannot compete with free enterprise when it comes to managing successful entities.  Atlas Shrugged is the best book ever written, and we are living through it right now!  The only thing I note from Ayn's main characters is that they exhibit an iron will in their convictions that normal people cannot sustain.  

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Thanks for the input Timesawasting!

I agree, the book stands by itself.

I have a feeling some of these knuckleheads are going off the relatively poor attempt at taking the book to the big screen in Atlas Shrugged Part 1, critical reviews found on-line or only partial readings of the text with a biased eye seeking to justify selective critique.

Very true about "getting it" or "not getting it". The liberal brainwashing is very hard to overcome for them.

Yes, that "spreading the wealth" phrase Obama likes to parrot is propoganda and a psy op (IHMO) for a socialist and collectivist agenda that ultimately destroys individual ambition, personal liberty and opportunity and society's progress while consequently concentrating wealth and power in the hands of an elite and corrupt few.

Absolutely correct about charity. Charity and helping your fellow man has its place but when a ridiculous amount of laws and regulations are enacted to enforce it and compel others through the restrictions on their freedoms we are walking a slippert slope. You you create a law it creates the opportunity and need for enforecement and fear at the end of a gun barrel is guaranteed way to create resistance.

There is no coincidence we are living in an ever-increasing police state and that our 2nd amendment rights to keep and bear arms are being threatened buy existing legislation.

Thanks for your thoughts!

JG

 

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Right on dmger14!

Very good examples!

The book is incredibly prophetic.

The iron will and convictions of the main characters and heroes in the novel is something few possess. It's no coincidence that  entrepreneurs constitute an extremely small percentage of our population. These visionaries and fighters should be held up, supported and respected, not attacked and held back by gov't bondage.

May the free markets live and thrive, be it in or outside the United States!

JG 

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Moral Philosophy of Politics

In the hopes that just one person may be influenced to put down the bad fiction novels, comic books, internet conspiracy theories,  and other assorted trash valorizing greed and radical individualism:

Yale University wrote:

The final Enlightenment tradition left to be explored in this course is social contract theory, for which we must return to Locke and somehow secularize his views and reconcile them with the refutation of natural rights. Modern social contract theorists replace natural rights with Kant's categorical imperatives, and accept the Aristotelian notion that there is no such thing as pre-political man. They approach the social contract as a hypothetical thought experiment, asking, if there were no state, what kind of state, if any, would people like you and I create? The first modern social contract theorist Professor Shapiro introduces is Robert Nozick, whose theory derives from the voluntary entry of individuals into mutual protective associations in the absence of a state. But he also makes two important points about force: (1) for coercive force to be a good, it has to be exercised as a monopoly, and (2) there's no other natural monopoly. Therefore, a dominant protective association will come out on top and resemble the state. But one problem remains: the incorporation of independents into this state.

Yale University wrote:

Professor Shapiro dives more deeply into Robert Nozick's theory of the minimal, or night watchman, state. This formulation is not redistributive, nor does it consider rights as goals, but rather as side-constraints on what we can do. In other words, Nozick's is a deontological, not teleological, approach. However, the Achilles' heel of this formulation is the incorporation of independents, based on a system of compensation. Some people will opt not to enter into our hypothetical social contract, but for the dominant protective association to protect its members from the fear of these independents, they must be forced to incorporate. Nozick thinks that if members could compensate the independents for this rights violation, it would legitimize the state. Unfortunately, no one has ever solved the puzzle of compensation without some interpersonal comparison of utility. But another way to salvage Nozick's account is with the Kantian dictum "ought entails can," meaning that since independents cannot be tolerated, it cannot be an obligation not to violate their rights. But what if the independents could compensate the members for their fear? And couldn't this compensation model be used to justify the welfare state as well? Isn't the value of consent, in which Nozick's account is rooted, completely violated here?

 

 

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Atlas Shrugged as the Rule of Law died today

JG,

I posted that response this morning before finishing my daily "internet round-up"... only to find out a few minutes later that the rule of law in America died today, February 9, 2012.

It seems some pigs are more equal than others!

Our state and federal governments now openly sanction all kinds of forgery and fraud by the bankster class... the thieving of The People will now continue with reckless abandon... this robo-signing settlement is just the sort of guidepost I've been looking for... decisions here forward will now be very easy to make.

Ms. Rand was in deed a brilliant human being! I find it ironic that we'd be discussing Atlas Shrugged today, of all days, as the final nail is driven into our collective coffin. I imagine years from now we will look back on this day as a major turning point in the collapse yet to come...

TA

 

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Hey TA, is there a particular article you're referencing here?

I have not scanned the news yet today?

If there is a link to a worthwhile article it would be greatly appreciated if you get a chance. Thanks in advance!

JG

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I hear you
darbikrash wrote:

In the hopes that just one person may be influenced to put down the bad fiction novels, comic books, internet conspiracy theories,  and other assorted trash valorizing greed and radical individualism:

Yale University wrote:

They approach the social contract as a hypothetical thought experiment, asking, if there were no state, what kind of state, if any, would people like you and I create? The first modern social contract theorist Professor Shapiro introduces is Robert Nozick, whose theory derives from the voluntary entry of individuals into mutual protective associations in the absence of a state. But he also makes two important points about force: (1) for coercive force to be a good, it has to be exercised as a monopoly, and (2) there's no other natural monopoly. Therefore, a dominant protective association will come out on top and resemble the state. But one problem remains: the incorporation of independents into this state.

I hear you Darbikrash. In times of anarchy the first thing people do is band together for mutual support and defense. Group cohesion requires some rules and enforcement. Next thing you know you have a state again. People crave this. They realize instinctively it is vital to survival. Groups of people can always overwhelm the rugged individualist. They cannot exist in a vacuum. There have to be obligations both ways to obtain a workable balance.

Travlin

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Empathy

Empathy, or lack of it, is the reason I never took Rand seriously.

Jeremy Rifkin - On empathy in civilization.

 

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Just Google Robo-Signing settlement

JG,

You can google "Robo-Signing settlement" or go to Denninger's blog, Naked Capitalism or any of the foreclosure blog's... most folks won't realize the significance of the agreement, but to put it in a nutshell ALL of the major banks filed literally hundreds of thousands of fraudulent documents in our courts and county records offices (which used to be Felonies) in the theft of millions of homes and our wonderful governments have given them a free-pass, get-out-of-jail card... there will be no indictments, no prosecutions, no bunking-in with Bubba... the banks are just flat out allowed to do whatever they want and to steal whatever they want... the rule of law is now dead!

TA

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Although I have not read Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged...

I did read Anthem. I found her writing entertaining science fiction. I have an idea that she is a capitalists dream in Atlas Shrugged. Although capitalism is just another in a long line of failed concepts in my opinion. I do have to agree somewhat that those who choose to be the innovators of industry should be and usually are leaders and doers.  But, USUALLY  they have no idea what it is like to be without or to struggle to raise a family in any system that requires money to get needs met. Not everyone can be or wants to be a CEO or a doctor. There are some who may only have the mental/intellectual capacity to be a janitor. Does that mean that this person can't have kids? Or not be given a wage that a family can be raised on? The people of these United States in the 50's and 60's saw unprecendented growth in wages thanks to unions. It was not out of greed. It was because working people got tired of seeing rich company owners living exorbinent life styles while millions had their lives turned upside down by economic upheavals(which are manipulated). Shirt Waste Company fire comes to mind or the Ludlow Massacre. People only want a decent wage in a safe environment without having to work 70 hours a week to survive.

What I have read of Ayn Rand is that she lacked empathy in some aspects. But not all those with money are without empathy or compassion. But judging by what I see in this world with a lack of good education, decent wages and stable homes (at least here in America) most notably. What do people of wealth expect out ignorant poor people? At the same time what makes any person on the face of this earth worth millions of dollars a year? That wealth may be coming from a "want" that poorly educated people, who are easily manipulated with slick advertising, into believing it is a "need". Does that person deserve that wealth? I think not. Then you get the pure heartless capitalist who makes a fortune off of actual needs. Like health care. Every person should have access to a good health care system. Instead we have millions who fall into bankruptcy because of medical bills. Sure, maybe if they took better care of themselves they would not be in such poor health, you may say. What do you expect from poorly educated people? But educated people usually demand higher wages and that was evident until those "job creators" got tired of the rising living standards because of those "greedy" union workers. And in the 70's the "job creators" pulled the plug and decided to abuse peoples of other countries for their own personal wealth.

Any person or group who aquires so much wealth that they can literally tilt the system in their favor are enemies of humanity and thus belong in jail. We have a broken system. It was innevitable. Greed for money is inseperable from capitalism. It is inherent to the system. Some may be able to control themselves but that is not evident in the past or present. I don't see it changing in the future.

The "I" can exist within the "We". The job creater needs workers to create wealth. That wealth comes at a cost. And it seems to me that Rand's work has been hijacked by capitalism for it's own purposes. "If men were angels we would not need governments".

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I'm biased...

...I think Ayn Rand was a whack job.  Out of curiosity, did she ever own a business?

I think the video The Darwin Economy here:  http://www.itulip.com/ does about as good a job in refuting her notions as most I've read, although that wasn't the point of the narrator's effort.  As with most subjects, I tend to discard the extremes and look for the reasonable middle.

Doug

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Binoculars.

Ayn Rand came from a Communist society. You can view all her works through that lens.

I have a binocular view af the unfolding of events. Through the Randian lens I see a  free lunch, borrowing from the future to consume today, entitlement of non contributors as the cause of our woes.

Through the other lens I see private enterprise morphing into giant beurocratic cancers. Free enterprise has become a victim of it's own success. To be a CEO of a multi-National is to be more powerful than the government.

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Back in the 60's I read

Back in the 60's I read Atlas Shrugged while training for service in SEA.  I thought it was the greatest thing I'd ever read, however, I was a 20 year old kid who didn't know diddly squat.  45 years later I have a completely different view of her work and of her. 

The first thing, how can you trust anything a person says who cannot recognize simple reality.  I feel the same way about anyone who has failed to question, search for and discover the truth of human life.  IT'S WHY WE'RE HERE!!! 

Sorry about yelling, it's just that a failure to discover reality is just about fundamental to discovering who you are.  That failure is just too glaring to give her a pass.  So on that point alone I wouldn't trust her to walk my dog.

Some things are self-evident, especially if you've dedicated your life to discovering truth.  Her ideal of selfishness, which is just an expansion of Adam Smith's self-interest, is a very big cause of where we find ourselves in our present day culture.  Self interest is self destructive.  Capitalism, built on self interest must give way to an absense of self interest in favor of the interest of others.  And it will, in time, for we humans are destined for great things once this rough patch is traversed. 

Do yourselves a favor, all those who favor her work, imagine there is a body of work that will help you explain and understand who we are and what has happened to us.  There is.  And a sincere search will not fail to lead you to truth.

 

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Empathy

 Rihter,

 

Rifkin also wrote something called "The European Dream" where he describes how development in Europe's way of living and governing is overtaking the U.S. as more desirable. I was not convinced by his writing when I read it and certainly conditions in Europe today would not lead me to a change of mind. Of course, he could still turn out to be correct if we continue on the path we have set out over the last decade. Except for her lack of charity, Rand had things right.

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The Fountainhead

The one Ayn Rand book I remember reading in high school was The Fountainhead.  Like Atlas Shrugged, there was the plot in service of Rand's Objectivism philosopy -- and Rational Egoism, whatever that means.  Howard Roark, the hero, rapes Dominique.  That's difficult to defend and is why Rand's thinking is not any good.  An architect like Howard Roark is possible in the 20th century mostly because of cheap and abundant energy. Twenty years from now, as we know, cheap energy will be gone and will it be really possible for anyone to be a Howard Roark?  We all fear living under an over-reaching state, but in the end helping each other, and that means caring about each other, may be all that will save us.

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Howard Roark was supposedly

Howard Roark was supposedly modeled after architect Frank Lloyd Wright.  Buffalo is fortunate to have several of Wright's creations to visit.  One, the Darwin Martin complex, has scheduled tours and is in the process of being totally renovated.  I have toured it and have seen all but one of his local homes. 

There is no doubt Wright was a genius, but was also rigid in his notions, not wanting extraneous needs to interfere with his designs.  For instance, the Martin house is of the prairie style for which Wright was noted.  So are most of his other houses in the area.  It is a matter of some curiosity why he would build a house designed for prairies in an area noted for abundant rain, snow and forest.  But that is just the beginning.  He was also impervious to notions of practicality.  There were apparently huge conflicts with Mrs. Martin who insisted on such frivolities as closets.

I think Wright was an apt model for Roark and demonstrates Rands detachment from the real world.  There is no room in Roark's or Rand's ideal model for the day to day needs of people who actually have to live in their creations.  It's a little like the Communist countries that attempted to put into practice Marx's theories.  There was no flexibility to adapt to changing circumstances.  China is an illustrative example by contrast of why such societies failed.  After Mao, China has adapted to the real world with perhaps the most capitalist of societies.  It will be interesting to see how they adapt to a world of resource shortages.  But, that's a side track.  The bottom line to me is that Rand was a rigid idealogue (and certainly crazy) who had no appreciation of a world that can accomodate real people.

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Ayn Rand and her works do

Ayn Rand and her works do not need defending, their popularity speak for themselves. How many collectivist books that were written in 1957 are still best sellers? The most amusing thing are the people who have never read anything she has written yet still can criticize her works, these are the same mentalities that are swayed by talk radio, unable to think for themselves, just parroting what they've heard from others. Then you have the collectivist ad-hominem form of an argument, "shes crazy" or "she's a whack job", obviously not intelligent enough to realize that once you resort to name calling you have lost any credibility.

Here's a video for all you lovers of govt, enjoy...

Doug and darbi on an escalator,

 

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Politics are really just mutation' of ideologies for profit
Doug wrote:

It's a little like the Communist countries that attempted to put into practice Marx's theories.  There was no flexibility to adapt to changing circumstances.

Hello Doug,

Just as a side note, surely the supposed Chinese ideal of Communism in its 'past' is no more close to Marx' philosophy than that of the Capitalism of 'today' being seen as a measure to the philosophy of Adam Smith?

I suggest that Rand, in a sense, has for a long time been advertised purely as the measure and means of an excuse to act upon selfishness.

Mankind is a selfish creature, especially when western society can grow and are percieved to praise selfishness and immorality as a value and not as a hindrance toward its success. Any excuse to act upon this with impunity is surely a great deal nearer the truth.

I found this recent film quite entertaining, with so many interviewed within it naming their offspring "Rand", it appears the mark of this upcoming generation will nolonger require a health warning as suffix - such as 'malignant narcissistic sociopath' or psychopathic tendency - unless such actions are high praise indeed.

http://vimeo.com/27393748

No, I've read 'We The Living', 'The Virtue of Selfishness', 'Anthem', 'The Fountainhead', without excluding 'Atlas Shrugged'. I didn't often agree with the late Christopher Hitchens, but I found myself laughing with the audience in this short clip, even if Hitchens was just a little mendacious.

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gregroberts wrote: Ayn Rand
gregroberts wrote:

Ayn Rand and her works do not need defending, their popularity speak for themselves. How many collectivist books that were written in 1957 are still best sellers? The most amusing thing are the people who have never read anything she has written yet still can criticize her works, these are the same mentalities that are swayed by talk radio, unable to think for themselves, just parroting what they've heard from others.

Why of course, the ultimate measure of prescience- popularity and market acceptance. If its popular and a best seller, than it must be good!  By that measure I’d bet Danielle Steele would make an excellent political commentator.

But snarky quips aside, Greg Roberts I’d be most interested in your comments on the two videos excerpted in post # 5, which are quite specific to Libertarian thinking.

Although these two lectures (excerpted from the semester long Yale undergraduate course “Moral Foundations of Politics” which you can take for free here) likely cannot compare with the intellectual bandwidth of Stephen Molyneux broadcasting his “Free Domain Radio” from his spare bedroom, they do nonetheless offer some rather intensive study of themes decidedly antethical to Rand’s philosophy.

The two referenced videos pertain specifically to Libertarian thinking, and the conclusions are somewhat unkind. Of larger interest however, is the sweeping scope of the course itself, 25 lectures in total, with each grouped into topics reflecting a particular branch of political thinking, highlighting a veritable rogues’ gallery of big thinkers of some import, effectively comparing and contrasting each ideology against the previous doctrine.

Throughput the course, there is a palatable sense of anticipation among the several hundred undergraduates, presumably in their early 20’s, anxiously awaiting Shapiro’s measured conclusion, his announcement, his proclamation as keeper of the knowledge base that represents 300+ years of Yale history, as to who has the “right” answer; Is it Bentham and the Utilitarians? Novick and the Libertarians? Marx and the well, Marxists? Is it Burke, or Alasdair McIntyre of the Communitarians? Who is right? Who won?

But ever so slowly, as the semester plods on with a fascinating dissection of the major political thinkers of the post-Enlightenment period, as each  thinker is built up to reflect their significant contributions to the nexus of political thought, first prepared to take their rightful(!) seat at the head of the table of all that is right and correct, and then, unceremoniously and surgically taken apart, piece by piece, it begins to dawn on the student and viewer alike that something else is going on here, something very profound and sublime. They are not being taught the “answer”.

They are being taught to Reason.

 

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Darbi, My brother used to

Darbi,

My brother used to tell people before he died that I could fix anything, not entirerly true because some things are beyond repair but for the most part he was right. The Navy called it logical troubleshooting, where you determine how a thing is supposed to act, and then what it not doing and what is the most likely cause. I think this why I'm interested in philosophy, I consider philosophy as a maintanence manual for the human race with difference being that there are both good and bad ideas in it that must be sorted out. Since I don't believe in the supernatural a great deal of it can be tossed out and then we get on to the next question of what is man's nature and what determines a successful life.

A man's nature is that he must use his mind to create tools to survive on this planet. One of my favorite scenes from the movie "2001, A Space Oddessy"  is when the apeman learns that by using a bone to extend his reach he has dominance over other men, he throws the bone into the air and it morphs into a spacecraft, a much more complicated tool.

What determines a successful life, if he can find happiness on Earth.

Can we agree on these ideas?

To be continued, time for work.

BTW I will watch those videos over the weekend when I have more time.

Greg

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Great speech by Stefan & funny video satire. Thx GregRoberts!

Those were good illustrations of the ubsurdity of the situation GregRoberts.

Whenever you hear these words, turn around and RUN!!!!

"Hi, we're from the gov't and we're hear to help you".

Like Stefan said, talk to those people who have their wits about them, demonstrate common sense and can at least question the validity of the existing system.

Back to the top of this board this topic goes. Now go out and support the only candidate who makes any sense whatsoever.

RON PAUL 2012

JG

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Nozick
darbikrash wrote:

In the hopes that just one person may be influenced to put down the bad fiction novels, comic books, internet conspiracy theories,  and other assorted trash valorizing greed and radical individualism:

Yale University wrote:

The final Enlightenment tradition left to be explored in this course is social contract theory, for which we must return to Locke and somehow secularize his views and reconcile them with the refutation of natural rights. Modern social contract theorists replace natural rights with Kant's categorical imperatives, and accept the Aristotelian notion that there is no such thing as pre-political man. They approach the social contract as a hypothetical thought experiment, asking, if there were no state, what kind of state, if any, would people like you and I create? The first modern social contract theorist Professor Shapiro introduces is Robert Nozick, whose theory derives from the voluntary entry of individuals into mutual protective associations in the absence of a state. But he also makes two important points about force: (1) for coercive force to be a good, it has to be exercised as a monopoly, and (2) there's no other natural monopoly. Therefore, a dominant protective association will come out on top and resemble the state. But one problem remains: the incorporation of independents into this state.

Yale University wrote:

Professor Shapiro dives more deeply into Robert Nozick's theory of the minimal, or night watchman, state. This formulation is not redistributive, nor does it consider rights as goals, but rather as side-constraints on what we can do. In other words, Nozick's is a deontological, not teleological, approach. However, the Achilles' heel of this formulation is the incorporation of independents, based on a system of compensation. Some people will opt not to enter into our hypothetical social contract, but for the dominant protective association to protect its members from the fear of these independents, they must be forced to incorporate. Nozick thinks that if members could compensate the independents for this rights violation, it would legitimize the state. Unfortunately, no one has ever solved the puzzle of compensation without some interpersonal comparison of utility. But another way to salvage Nozick's account is with the Kantian dictum "ought entails can," meaning that since independents cannot be tolerated, it cannot be an obligation not to violate their rights. But what if the independents could compensate the members for their fear? And couldn't this compensation model be used to justify the welfare state as well? Isn't the value of consent, in which Nozick's account is rooted, completely violated here?

 

 

DK,

I know you did not specifically ask my opinion but I will try and respond.  First, I am not a big fan of Rand.  While I enjoyed both the Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged but I consider them to be painfully written.  As for Rand's philosophy, I think a broken clock can be right twice a day.  She seems to me to be a very flawed person that might be correct about some things but I think probably for the wrong reasons. 

As for the videos, I have never read any Nozick so I can't make any observations if Prof Shapiro is properly representing his positions.  If he is, I admit that I don't find his arguments very persuasive.  I really don't see how any libertarian can argue that independents can be FORCIBLY integrated into their society.  This is especially true for an offense as nebulous as societies fear of them.  It seems to me in a libertarian society, as soon as force is used in anyway other than for defensive/protective purposes, it must be considered illegitimate.  To argue otherwise, you might as well just agree with Bush and his preemptive wars.

I also understand his argument that a dominant protective association will resemble the state but I must admit that I missed how he drew these conclusions about force:

  1. for coercive force to be a good, it has to be exercised as a monopoly
  2. there's no other natural monopoly

Before there is a single dominant protective association, there will be two vying for that position.  Let's pretend that they are called RED and BLUE.  If BLUE comes to me and asks me to pay for protection from RED and RED asks me to pay for protection from BLUE, how is this any different than a guy that runs a restaurant and having Tony Gambino come around and "ask" for money to protect him from the Genovese's?  That restaurant owner might end up paying for these services but does anyone really consider that a legitimate use of force?  Of course not.  However somehow once all competing "protective" associations are eliminated and Tony gets "elected", anything that happens is somehow magically considered a legitimate use of force.  I think not.

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goes211 wrote: As for the
goes211 wrote:

 

As for the videos, I have never read any Nozick so I can't make any observations if Prof Shapiro is properly representing his positions.  If he is, I admit that I don't find his arguments very persuasive.  I really don't see how any libertarian can argue that independents can be FORCIBLY integrated into their society.  This is especially true for an offense as nebulous as societies fear of them.  It seems to me in a libertarian society, as soon as force is used in anyway other than for defensive/protective purposes, it must be considered illegitimate.  To argue otherwise, you might as well just agree with Bush and his preemptive wars.

I agree, it is a little hard to tie it all together without benefit of the previous 12 lectures, where Shapiro takes the viewer on a rather complete journey of societies effort to reconcile personal liberty with the formation of a structured civilization. Underpinning all of this is the presumption under social contract theory that participation in any government must be voluntary if it is to be considered legitimate.

Nozick (through Shapiro) then discuses in some detail how the normal course of events, even under benign circumstances leads to a natural monopoly of force, even if the participants do not desire this outcome, and this becomes, one way or another, a government. The contradiction comes into play when Nozick tries to reconcile the “independents” or anarchist who does not accept the government. The concern is that in a fashion similar to what occurs with Shapiro’s’ discussion of mutually protective agencies, there exists the probability that “independents” will act in a manner which violates others personal rights in the process of exercising their own, and it requires force to address this inevitability.

So Nozick tries very hard (and unsuccessfully) to conjure up a means to incorporate independents into the dominant government by the mechanism of compensation as a means of enticing consent.  As we see from part II of the lecture, this does not work, and he is left with no alterative but to forcibly integrate independents into the dominant government.

The take away from all of this is the bursting of the bubble that imposing force by a government is an unnecessary outcome, and Nozick clearly shows that this is in fact necessary, however distatesful that conclusion might be. Now we may fairly argue what type of force and over which domains the government is allowed to exercise this “natural monopoly” but the logical path that was used, and used with benign assumptions (unlike the Hobbesean vision in “Leviathan”) seems pretty watertight and I don’t see any reasonable rebuttal to this (specifically, as outline by Shapiro in minute 34:00 onwards in the first video) Sure, you can take the position that people will act rationally and never infringe on anothers rights, and reject the whole story before it even gets going, which is why the preceding lectures are so important, to underline the propensity of man to maximize utility and to act in his own best interest, often at the expense of others. The fine line appears between what can be described as wishful thinking and solid political theory.

goes211 wrote:

Before there is a single dominant protective association, there will be two vying for that position.  Let's pretend that they are called RED and BLUE.  If BLUE comes to me and asks me to pay for protection from RED and RED asks me to pay for protection from BLUE, how is this any different than a guy that runs a restaurant and having Tony Gambino come around and "ask" for money to protect him from the Genovese's?  That restaurant owner might end up paying for these services but does anyone really consider that a legitimate use of force?  Of course not.  However somehow once all competing "protective" associations are eliminated and Tony gets "elected", anything that happens is somehow magically considered a legitimate use of force.  I think not.

I think Shapiro covers this exact case in the discussion past minute 34:00. he even uses the analogy you do of mafia projection. I think Professor Shapiro would say that what is happening here is going to occur whether we like it or not, and if the outcome is inevitable, then it makes better senses to admit that a government with a monopoly of force is better left to oversight and input by it’s citizens than an ad hoc civil war. This is the central point, you can choose either one or the other, but one must occur.

 

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goes211
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
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Nozick revisited...
darbikrash wrote:
goes211 wrote:

 As for the videos, I have never read any Nozick so I can't make any observations if Prof Shapiro is properly representing his positions.  If he is, I admit that I don't find his arguments very persuasive.  I really don't see how any libertarian can argue that independents can be FORCIBLY integrated into their society.  This is especially true for an offense as nebulous as societies fear of them.  It seems to me in a libertarian society, as soon as force is used in anyway other than for defensive/protective purposes, it must be considered illegitimate.  To argue otherwise, you might as well just agree with Bush and his preemptive wars.

I agree, it is a little hard to tie it all together without benefit of the previous 12 lectures, where Shapiro takes the viewer on a rather complete journey of societies effort to reconcile personal liberty with the formation of a structured civilization. Underpinning all of this is the presumption under social contract theory that participation in any government must be voluntary if it is to be considered legitimate.

Nozick (through Shapiro) then discuses in some detail how the normal course of events, even under benign circumstances leads to a natural monopoly of force, even if the participants do not desire this outcome, and this becomes, one way or another, a government. The contradiction comes into play when Nozick tries to reconcile the “independents” or anarchist who does not accept the government. The concern is that in a fashion similar to what occurs with Shapiro’s’ discussion of mutually protective agencies, there exists the probability that “independents” will act in a manner which violates others personal rights in the process of exercising their own, and it requires force to address this inevitability.

So Nozick tries very hard (and unsuccessfully) to conjure up a means to incorporate independents into the dominant government by the mechanism of compensation as a means of enticing consent.  As we see from part II of the lecture, this does not work, and he is left with no alterative but to forcibly integrate independents into the dominant government.

The take away from all of this is the bursting of the bubble that imposing force by a government is an unnecessary outcome, and Nozick clearly shows that this is in fact necessary, however distatesful that conclusion might be. Now we may fairly argue what type of force and over which domains the government is allowed to exercise this “natural monopoly” but the logical path that was used, and used with benign assumptions (unlike the Hobbesean vision in “Leviathan”) seems pretty watertight and I don’t see any reasonable rebuttal to this (specifically, as outline by Shapiro in minute 34:00 onwards in the first video) Sure, you can take the position that people will act rationally and never infringe on anothers rights, and reject the whole story before it even gets going, which is why the preceding lectures are so important, to underline the propensity of man to maximize utility and to act in his own best interest, often at the expense of others. The fine line appears between what can be described as wishful thinking and solid political theory.

goes211 wrote:

Before there is a single dominant protective association, there will be two vying for that position.  Let's pretend that they are called RED and BLUE.  If BLUE comes to me and asks me to pay for protection from RED and RED asks me to pay for protection from BLUE, how is this any different than a guy that runs a restaurant and having Tony Gambino come around and "ask" for money to protect him from the Genovese's?  That restaurant owner might end up paying for these services but does anyone really consider that a legitimate use of force?  Of course not.  However somehow once all competing "protective" associations are eliminated and Tony gets "elected", anything that happens is somehow magically considered a legitimate use of force.  I think not.

I think Shapiro covers this exact case in the discussion past minute 34:00. he even uses the analogy you do of mafia projection. I think Professor Shapiro would say that what is happening here is going to occur whether we like it or not, and if the outcome is inevitable, then it makes better senses to admit that a government with a monopoly of force is better left to oversight and input by it’s citizens than an ad hoc civil war. This is the central point, you can choose either one or the other, but one must occur.

 

DK,

I have watched and enjoyed the first 15 lectures.  However, clearly I am not actually doing the reading assignments so I could easily miss some of Shapiro's more subtle points.  I still don't understand how he draws the conclusion that these agencies MUST lead to a single dominant agency and that this agency WILL become a de facto government.  I don't understand your/Nozick's argument about independents violating others rights while exercising their own.  The independents rights end when they interfere with others so unless you are saying that the problem is that the independents believe in a different set of rights, which is totally possible, I don't follow. 

For example if the independents are radical muslims, they probably never will agree on the same rights as individuals.  If these muslims take violent action against other individuals, those individuals will be justified using force back for protection.

To save some time I thought I would do a little google seach and here is an article from your favorite site ( the Mises institute ) by Rothbard discussing Nozick's Anarchy, State, and Utopia.  Here are some exerpts.

Secondly, even if an existing State had been immaculately conceived, this would still not justify its present existence. A basic fallacy is endemic to all social-contract theories of the State, namely, that any contract based on a promise is binding and enforceable. If, then, everyone — in itself of course a heroic assumption — in a state of nature surrendered all or some of his rights to a State, the social-contract theorists consider this promise to be binding forevermore.

A correct theory of contracts, however, termed by Williamson Evers the "title-transfer" theory, states that the only valid (and therefore binding) contract is one that surrenders what is, in fact, philosophically alienable, and that only specific titles to property are so alienable, so that their ownership can be ceded to someone else. While, on the contrary, other attributes of man — specifically, his self-ownership over his own will and body, and the rights to person and property which stem from that self-ownership — are "inalienable" and therefore cannot be surrendered in a binding contract.

If no one, then, can surrender his own will, his body or his rights in an enforceable contract, a fortiori he cannot surrender the persons or the rights of his posterity. This is what the Founding Fathers meant by the concept of rights as being "inalienable," or, as George Mason expressed it in his Virginia Declaration of Rights:

[A]ll men are by nature equally free and independent, and have certain inherent natural rights, of which, when they enter into a state of society, they cannot, by any compact, deprive or divest their posterity.[6]

Thus, we have seen

  1. that no existing State has been immaculately conceived — quite the contrary;
  2. that therefore the only minimal State that could possibly be justified is one that would emerge after a free-market anarchist world had been established;
  3. that therefore Nozick, on his own grounds, should become an anarchist and then wait for the Nozickian invisible hand to operate afterward; and finally
  4. that even if any State had been founded immaculately, the fallacies of social-contract theory would mean that no present State, even a minimal one, could be justified.

......

First, Nozick assumes that each protective agency would require that each of its clients renounce the right of private retaliation against aggression, by refusing to protect them against counter-retaliation.[8] Perhaps, perhaps not. This would be up to the various protection agencies, acting on the market, and is certainly not self-evident. It is certainly possible, if not probable, that they would be out-competed by other agencies that do not restrict their clients in that way.

Nozick then proceeds to discuss disputes between clients of different protection agencies. He offers three scenarios on how they might proceed. But two of these scenarios (and part of the third) involve physical battles between the agencies.

In the first place, these scenarios contradict Nozick's own assumption of good-faith, nonaggressive behavior by each of his agencies, since, in any combat, clearly at least one of the agencies would be committing aggression.

Furthermore, economically, it would be absurd to expect the protective agencies to battle each other physically; such warfare would alienate clients and be highly expensive to boot. It is absurd to think that, on the market, protective agencies would fail to agree in advance on private appeals courts or arbitrators whom they would turn to, in order to resolve any dispute. Indeed, a vital part of the protective or judicial service which a private agency or court would offer to its clients would be that it had agreements to turn disputes over to a certain appeals court or a certain arbitrator or group of arbitrators.

Let us turn then to Nozick's crucial scenario 3, in which he writes:

the two agencies … agree to resolve peacefully those cases about which they reach differing judgments. They agree to set up, and abide by the decisions of, some third judge or court to which they can turn when their respective judgments differ. (Or they might establish rules determining which agency had jurisdiction under which circumstances.)[9]

So far so good. But then there comes a giant leap: "Thus emerges a system of appeals courts and agreed upon rules…. Though different agencies operate, there is one unified federal judicial system of which they are all components." I submit that the "thus" is totally illegitimate, and that the rest is a non sequitur.[10] The fact that every protective agency will have agreements with every other to submit disputes to particular appeals courts or arbitrators does not imply "one unified federal judicial system."

On the contrary, there may well be, and probably would be, hundreds, even thousands, of arbitrators or appeals judges who would be selected, and there is no need to consider them part of one "judicial system." There is no need, for example, to envision or to establish one unified Supreme Court to decide upon disputes. Since every dispute has two and only two parties, there need be only one third party, judge, or arbitrator; there are in the United States, at the present time, for example, over 23,000 professional arbitrators, and presumably there would be many thousands more if the present government court system were to be abolished. Each one of these arbitrators could serve an appeals or arbitration function.

Nozick claims that out of anarchy there would inevitably emerge, as by an invisible hand, one dominant protection agency in each territorial area, in which "almost all the persons" in that area are included. But we have seen that his major support for that conclusion is totally invalid. Nozick's other arguments for this proposition are equally invalid. He writes, for example, that "unlike other goods that are comparatively evaluated, maximal competing protective services cannot exist."[11] Why cannot, surely a strong term?

First, because "the nature of the service brings different agencies … into violent conflict with each other" rather than just competing for customers. But we have seen that this conflict assumption is incorrect; first, on Nozick's own grounds of each agency acting non-aggressively and, second, on his own scenario 3, that each will enter into agreements with the others for peaceful settlement of disputes.

Nozick's second argument for this contention is that "since the worth of the less-than-maximal product declines disproportionately with the number who purchase the maximal product, customers will not stably settle for the lesser good, and competing companies are caught in a declining spiral." But why? Nozick is here making statements about the economics of a protection market which are totally unsupported. Why is there such an "economy of scale" in the protection business that Nozick feels will lead inevitably to a near-natural monopoly in each geographical area? This is scarcely self-evident.

On the contrary, all the facts — and here the empirical facts of contemporary and past history are again directly relevant — cut precisely the other way. There are, as was mentioned above, tens of thousands of professional arbitrators in the United States; there are also tens of thousands of lawyers and judges, and a large number of private protection agencies that supply night-watchmen, guards, etc., with no sign whatsoever of a geographical natural monopoly in any of these fields. Why then for protection agencies under anarchism?

And, if we look at approximations to anarchist court and protective systems in history, we again see a great deal of evidence of the falsity of Nozick's contention. For hundreds of years, the fairs of Champagne were the major international trade mart in Europe. A number of courts, by merchants, nobles, the Church, etc. competed for customers. Not only did no one dominant agency ever emerge, but they did not even feel the need for appeals courts.

For a thousand years, ancient Ireland, until the Cromwellian conquest, enjoyed a system of numerous jurists and schools of jurists, and numerous protection agencies, which competed within geographical areas without any one becoming dominant. After the fall of Rome, various coexisting barbarian tribes peacefully adjudicated their disputes within each area, with each tribesman coming under his own law, and with agreed-upon peaceful adjudications between these courts and laws.

Furthermore, in these days of modern technology and low-cost transportation and communication, it would be even easier to compete across geographical boundaries; the "Metropolitan," "Equitable," "Prudential" protection agencies, for example, could easily maintain branch offices over a large geographical area.

In fact, there is a far better case for insurance being a natural monopoly than protection, since a larger insurance pool would tend to reduce premiums; and yet, it is clear that there is a great deal of competition between insurance companies, and there would be more if it were not restricted by state regulation.

The Nozick contention that a dominant agency would develop in each geographical area, then, is an example of an illegitimate a priori attempt to decide what the free market would do, and it is an attempt that flies in the face of concrete historical and institutional knowledge. Certainly a dominant protective agency could conceivably emerge in a particular geographical area, but it is not very likely. And, as Roy Childs points out in his critique of Nozick, even if it did, it would not likely be a "unified federal system." Childs also correctly points out that it is no more legitimate to lump all protective services together and call it a unified monopoly than it would be to lump all the food growers and producers on the market together and say that they have a collective "system" or "monopoly" of food production.[12]

.....

Let us now assume that a dominant protective agency has come into being, as unlikely as that may be. How then do we proceed, without violation of anyone's rights, to Nozick's ultra-minimal state? Nozick writes[15] of the plight of the dominant protective agency which sees the independents, with their unreliable procedures, rashly and unreliably retaliating against its own clients. Shouldn't the dominant agency have the right to defend its clients against these rash actions? Nozick claims that the dominant agency has a right to prohibit risky procedures against its clients, and that this prohibition thereby establishes the "ultra-minimal state," in which one agency coercively prohibits all other agencies from enforcing the rights of individuals.

There are two problems here at the very beginning. In the first place, what has happened to the peaceful resolution of disputes that marked scenario 3? Why can't the dominant agency and the independents agree to arbitrate or adjudicate their disputes, preferably in advance? Ah, but here we encounter Nozick's curious "thus" clause, which incorporated such voluntary agreements into one "unified federal judicial system." In short, if every time that the dominant agency and the independents work out their disputes in advance, Nozick then calls this "one agency," then by definition he precludes the peaceful settlement of disputes without a move onward to the compulsory monopoly of the ultra-minimal state.

But suppose, for the sake of continuing the argument, that we grant Nozick his question-begging definition of "one agency." Would the dominant agency still be justified in outlawing competitors? Certainly not, even if it wishes to preclude fighting. For what of the many cases in which the independents are enforcing justice for their own clients, and have nothing to do with the clients of the dominant agency? By what conceivable right does the dominant agency step in to outlaw peaceful arbitration and adjudication between the independents' own clients, with no impact on its clients? The answer is no right whatsoever, so that the dominant agency, in outlawing competitors, is aggressing against their rights, and against the rights of their actual or potential customers. Furthermore, as Roy Childs emphasizes, this decision to enforce their monopoly is scarcely the action of an invisible hand; it is a conscious, highly visible decision, and must be treated accordingly.[16]

The dominant agency, Nozick claims, has the right to bar "risky" activities engaged in by independents. But what then of the independents? Do not they have the right to bar the risky activities of the dominant? And must not a war of all against all again ensue, in violation of scenario 3 and also necessarily engaging in some aggression against rights along the way? Where, then, are the moral activities of the state of nature assumed by Nozick all along? Furthermore, as Childs points out, what about the risk involved in having a compulsory monopoly protection agency? As Childs writes:

What is to check its power? What happens in the event of its assuming even more powers? Since it has a monopoly, any disputes over its functions are solved and judged exclusively by itself. Since careful prosecution procedures are costly, there is every reason to assume that it will become less careful without competition and, again, only it can judge the legitimacy of its own procedures, as Nozick explicitly tells us.[17]

Competing agencies, whether the competition be real or potential, not only insure high-quality protection at the lowest cost, as compared to a compulsory monopoly, but they also provide the genuine checks and balances of the market against any one agency yielding to the temptations of being an "outlaw," that is, of aggressing against the persons and properties of its clients or non-clients. If one agency among many becomes outlaw, there are others around to do battle against it on behalf of the rights of their clients; but who is there to protect anyone against the State, whether ultra-minimal or minimal? If we may be permitted to return once more to the historical record, the grisly annals of the crimes and murders of the State throughout history give one very little confidence in the non-risky nature of its activities. I submit that the risks of State tyranny are far greater than the risks of worrying about one or two unreliable procedures of competing defense agencies.

....

 

Conclusion

Some final brief but important points. Nozick, in common with all other limited government, laissez-faire theorists, has no theory of taxation: of how much it shall be, of who shall pay it, of what kind it should be, etc. Indeed, taxation is scarcely mentioned in Nozick's progression of stages toward his minimal state. It would seem that Nozick's minimal state could only impose taxation on the clients it would have had before it became a state, and not on the would-be clients of competing agencies. But clearly, the existing State taxes everyone, with no regard whatever for who they would have patronized, and indeed it is difficult to see how it could try to find and separate these different hypothetical groups.

Nozick also, in common with his limited-government colleagues, treats "protection" — at least when proferred by his minimal state — as one collective lump. But how much protection shall be supplied, and at what cost of resources? And what criteria shall decide? For after all, we can conceive of almost the entire national product being devoted to supplying each person with a tank and an armed guard; or, we can conceive of only one policeman and one judge in an entire country. Who decides on the degree of protection, and on what criterion? For, in contrast, all the goods and services on the private market are produced on the basis of relative demands and cost to the consumers on the market. But there is no such criterion for protection in the minimal or any other State.

Moreover, as Childs points out, the minimal State that Nozick attempts to justify is a State owned by a private, dominant firm; there is still no explanation or justification in Nozick for the modern form of voting, democracy, checks and balances, etc.[47]

Finally, a grave flaw permeates the entire discussion of rights and government in the Nozick volume: that, as a Kantian intuitionist, he has no theory of rights. Rights are simply emotionally intuited, with no groundwork in natural law — in the nature of man or of the universe. At bottom, Nozick has no real argument for the existence of rights.

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darbikrash
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Yes, well, Rothbard

Yes, well, Rothbard’s criticism of Novick is well known. It’s sort of funny that both Shapiro and Rothbard attack Novick’s arguments- but for different reasons and from different perspectives. Rothbard comes at the problem as an anarchist, which rejects any legitimate role for the state- even a minimal, or minarchist state such as advocated by Nozick. Shapiro also points out flaws in Novick’s conclusions, toying with Novick’s inability to provide redress to independents by compensation, and then goes further, well past Rothbard’s arguments, ultimately rejecting the minimalist state as having inadequate response to redistributive justice.

But the conclusions are exactly the opposite of Rothbard’s, while Rothbard argues that there is no justification for a legitimate state, Shapiro demonstrates that some form of distributive justice is not only useful but imperative. The basis for this is seen in the principle of accumulative inequalities, wherein small biases and inequalities accumulate to result in irreversible large scale inequalities, which in turn results in an unjust society.

This directly references the notion of compensation for abstract and indiscriminate fear, which as you point out in an earlier post, is a nebulous and slippery principle. However, taken in the context of the imperative to prevent the accumulation of even minor inequalities as they will grow to create an unjust society, they provide some cold comfort as a means to tabulate and recompense actions that affect individual rights.

In the course of dissecting Novick’s (libertarian) philosophy, Shapiro exposes the fallacy of the anarchist state proposition and it’s failure to pull together a intellectual argument that can stand up to logical scrutiny.

It’s no wonder Rothbard wrote his famous critique, those (Novick’s) are indeed serious charges. If Rothbard were alive today, we might offer the suggestion that he exercise some free market theory for himself, perhaps he could shop amongst the 200 odd sovereign nations that compose the world today, ranging from Democracies to Totalitarian states, Socialist states, even Communist states, to see if he can find an example of an anarchist or even a libertarian state that he can point to in support of his theories.

<crickets chirping>

 

goes211 wrote:

I don't understand your/Nozick's argument about independents violating others rights while exercising their own.  The independents rights end when they interfere with others so unless you are saying that the problem is that the independents believe in a different set of rights, which is totally possible, I don't follow. 

For example if the independents are radical muslims, they probably never will agree on the same rights as individuals.  If these muslims take violent action against other individuals, those individuals will be justified using force back for protection.

I think that’s largely right, as the term independent is taken to mean something different when Novick wrote it that what it means today. Today, we connotate an “independent” as someone who more or less rejects government interference but is otherwise a law abiding citizen, (or perhaps a tax objector) and Novick’s (and Shapiro’s) definition is more along the lines of a terrorist who not only rejects government , but the rule of law as applied by said government.

But to clear, both examples are violating others rights, or have the potential to anyway. If you are a tax objector, you are transferring a cost basis to someone else who is paying tax and adding incremental cost to his obligation. The terrorist example is self explanatory, but I think it better represents what happens (or what can happen) when there is no state monopoly of force. The more subtle argument is nicely explained by Shapiro’s example of rights being a “side constraint” meaning you are metaphorically permitted to move forward in pursuit of your own interests and well being, but to jostle or impact from the side a neighbor also in pursuit of his own interests, is a line that is not to be crossed. This  more subtle example describes how it is possible to have an impact (perhaps indirectly)  on other people’s rights, while pursing your own without necessarily breaking the law or invoking the aggression principle.

I have to say, it was really interesting to go through the whole course and to get a sense for the shear magnitude of the effort in political thought brought forth over the past few hundred years, all in pursuit of liberty and rights. You come away (or at least I did) from this with a deep respect for reviewing political theory not just in the context of a single book, as quite clearly, none of the authors discussed had anything close to the “answer”, all have terminal flaws. But it does give a good accounting of the factors involved, both overt and subtle, in reconciling individual rights against those of the state and of the collective.

And in the process a few popular ideas get knocked around pretty good.

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goes211
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Posts: 1114
How do you find examples of NEW systems that don't exist yet?
darbikrash wrote:

It’s no wonder Rothbard wrote his famous critique, those (Novick’s) are indeed serious charges. If Rothbard were alive today, we might offer the suggestion that he exercise some free market theory for himself, perhaps he could shop amongst the 200 odd sovereign nations that compose the world today, ranging from Democracies to Totalitarian states, Socialist states, even Communist states, to see if he can find an example of an anarchist or even a libertarian state that he can point to in support of his theories.

<crickets chirping>

I believe he did point to some examples.  I personally don't know enough about them to know if they are valid but they seemed to be enough to at least argue that a central authority might not be a necessity. 

As for your point about shopping around the current 200 odd sovereign nations, I really don't see what that would prove.  I assume a few hundred years ago that many sovereign Kings would have made that same observation about the democratic states we live in today.  Times change and so do the underlying systems.

It is clear that you have beliefs about how our current system will evolve into some ideal collectivist state.  I clearly am far more sceptical of that outcome, or at least that if it does come about, it will be viewed as a positive development by the masses.  It seems to me that for thousands of years we have had systems that have subjugated the masses.  A couple of hundred years ago the masses finally got exposed to a certain amount of freedom and liberty and massive amounts of progress have been made since.  Maybe the final outcome is that we will lose the freedoms that we have gained and be enslaved again but I hope not.  I think a far better outcome would be a Rothbardian society where there is no monopoly on force and the only thing that resembles our current governments is some sort of social insurance like entities that have to compete for support based upon services they provide.  Not that I expect that to happen any time soon but at least it seems to me to be more inline with the direction society has evolved over the past couple of hundred years than a massive collectivist state.

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TommyHolly
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Posts: 90
No need to defend Ayn

No need to defend Ayn Rand.  If people want to compain about her writing style or personal life, that's simply their opinion (and we all have one of those)...  You'll find that they can't directly attack her ideology.  They usually just argue reasoning fallacies (which are pretty common on these forums actually?)  She based her Objectionist philosophy on people like Aristotle, and others that have studied history and human nature.  All her detractors can argue thier theories because that is just what they are, unproven theories.  Since her Objectionist philosophy is very similar to that of the Founding Fathers, you can see what effect it had on America which was the greatest country this world has ever seen.

Doug's picture
Doug
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Posts: 3125
definitive

Here's the definitive word on Ms. Rand

http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Ayn_Rand

Quote:

Ayn Rand was a philandering, Russian atheist[2] and the author of vast doorstop-sized tomes like Atlas Shrugged and the ripped-off biography The Fountainhead, and other thick, boring books espousing, essentially, psychotic libertarian themes and ideology. Rand also claimed to be a philosopher, though preferring the title "Objectivist." In fact, her simplistic versions of philosophy were misunderstandings of Aristotelian metaphysical notions formulated thousands of years ago. Whether that makes a philosophy or an excuse for being greedy and selfish is, ironically, subjective.

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TommyHolly
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Posts: 90
Doug just proved my point by

Doug just proved my point by using a reasoning fallacy Ad Homenim attack, LOL! ;)

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