Sunday, April 16, 2006

I've got your number now, Ayn Rand.

I found it.


'It' being the point at which, at least for me, the layout of Ayn Rand's Objectivism breaks down.

Objectivism is one of the philosophies that (until now) I knew was off - could just feel it - but that I couldn't find the flaw in the logic. It was all consistent, and the premises made sense, but the conclusion was just plain wrong. Around my house, this is known as the Austin Powers phenomenon - you know, "Yes... Yes... No! No!" I get the same thing with Plato.

But I found the flaw. So there, you crazy Alan Greenspan-boning Russian.

The philosophy basically lays out like this. (My summary from reading the summary in the back of the Centennial edition of Anthem.)

1. What's real is real, and our job is to perceive it. Creating your own reality by perception = wrong.
OK, though I'm not sure I completely agree, this doesn't set off any bells. Go on.

2. We are reasoning creatures, and the best way to deal with everything is through reason (since our job is to perceive stuff and figure out what to do with it). We must be free to use our reason as we see fit, and therefore guide our lives as we see fit.
Same response.

3. Therefore, we make our own choices. We are the captains of our own souls, so to speak. Therefore, everything that happens to us is of our own making - there is no such thing as a victim of circumstance - and therefore there is no place for altruism or charity, because that just subsidizes people who chose to make bad choices.
Ding ding ding! We have a winner!

There's a part 4, but it has to do with art and I don't care because I found the break point. Here it is:
You get where you are by making choices. Those who have crap lives just made bad choices so fuck them.
How do you learn to make good choices? You are taught, either through life experience or through schooling of some kind.
How do you get this experience and education? By learning from mistakes; by, say, going to school.

But how do you get into the school?

There's always a gatekeeper, whether physically or in an abstract sense. People who are poor and have crap lives don't get to learn to make good choices because they can't get the education/experience they need. They're kept out, by lack of resources, prejudice, what have you. They can't, say, make good choices with money, because they don't have enough to pay for school to teach them how, and they don't have enough to survive making mistakes and losing it.

That's what a true liberal (in all senses of the word) social safety net, both economically and culturally, is for. It helps people bypass the gatekeepers so that they can learn how to make choices. It's like the large-scale version of not punishing a kid for mistakes made in the process of learning. You can see it in job training programs, public education and healthcare, and welfare (when done right): not punishing people for being born poor. You can see it in making abortion, adoption, birth control, emergency contraception, and sex ed widely available and accessible: not punishing people for having sex. Because shit happens in life, and the world isn't fair. And if Ayn hadn't been so scarred by the Bolshevik Revolution, I expect, as she's clearly clever, that she would have made the connection.

So there, Ayn. I win. You can't make my brain hurt any more.

21 comments:

  1. Philosophizer,
    You assume Poverty as if it were inevitable or a fact of nature.

    You advocate a safety net for those
    with "crap lives" because the net wasn't wide enough for them not to have the "crap lives" they've got.
    And it's the duty of every man or woman, who worked enough to rise above the "crap", to pay tax to subsidize those who didn't.

    Picture this, assume that tomorrow a comet crashes in to Earth and every single value created on Earth; from Manhattan to match-stick is destroyed and all that remains is barren land and a handful of humans. You would call the kind of life these people would have as "Crap life". What would your advice them be, if your could somehow appear in their dreams? "Go ahead tax yourself out of the crap?"

    Yuo need not even "hurt your brain" to imagine it. Just look up the history of any country with people living "crap lives" and you'll find that they actually tried it and failed.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Honestly, I'm not sure what you're trying to say here. Please clarify; I'd love to discuss this with you further, but I'm confused.

    ReplyDelete
  3. May I suggest you get to know John Galt, through his speech? Perhaps that will remove your confusion.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Your claim: Poverty is caused by uneducated people making the wrong choices. It is not fair to expect people to be independent if they are incapable of making the right choices.

    Suggested remedy: Make education free.

    My refutation: Free education comes at taxpayers' expense.

    Cause of Poverty is not the mere absence of values, it is the absence of ability to achieve them.

    Poverty is not a fact of nature, it is manmade; the very morality of altruism, prescribed as the remedy for Poverty, is its cause. Because it judges people not by their ability but by the extent and degree of thier need.

    Your possible justification: This free education is only temporary and once the poor learn to make the right choices, they can be independent.

    My reply: Charity, to remain lawful, must be voluntary. People must be free to decide if they want their money to be used educate the poor.

    In a free society, every intelligent child will find lenders to fund his/her education regardless of his/her economic background, because it is in the lenders' self-interest to identify and support potentially successful students.

    Now about my illustration: I sought to disprove your theory of the Safety-net by presenting a situation where everyone would need (by your stanadards) a safety-net. But the major obstacle would be to find someone to provide that Safety-net.

    Thus, it is your ethical theory that breaks down and not Ayn Rand's. The only way for the people in my example to survive is by act by a code of reason. They are responsible for their own survival and have to discover the means to that end.

    In the event of their inability to do that, they will perish as they failed to deserve to remain alive.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Ravish, I think you're overlooking some of the main reasons why people form societies in the first place.

    Let me take your comet metaphor, for example. The comet hits the earth, and immediately you're in a perfect Hobbesian state of nature. Imagine 100 survivors together in a given area. Fifty of them band together to form a civil society, they share their strength and resources and this gives them a clear advantage over the other 50 who lead lives isolated from the protections and resources of the community. To deny the advantage of the 50 in the society is to deny the reality that life is better in a society of laws than in a friendless, lawless state of nature.

    So yes, in that sense, life in a comet-ridden earth would be immediately benefited by a tax or other resource-sharing plan. In a society where everyone looks out for their neighbor, everyone is being watched out for. This is why societies work.

    Now you may agree with me thus far, but what happens in that society of 50 when one individual cannot be as personally productive as the other 50? A Randian might say that they could exist on what charity the other 49 give by their grace.

    However, I would direct you to Adam Smith and John Locke. Let's say the 49 successful people fund education programs for the one unsuccessful person, so that he may learn things that they have already figured out and be individually successful as well. While that person is learning, the other 49 see to it that that person does not starve. While you might look at something like public education or public aid of any sort as government-mandated subsidy of those who refuse to support themselves, I'd argue (as did Smith and Locke) that there is in reality another benefit to public aid programs that is easy to overlook. By investing in education for the one, the 49 are making a very smart investment in their own property and security.

    You could see the threat: the reasonable person is going to think it better to steal food from you rather than starve. You expect people to abide by a code of reason and it’s a given that you expect them to respect property laws, but what happens when the reasonable action is to steal from you? Educated people are better able to provide for themselves and thus are less likely to commit property crimes, to kill or steal from the successful people in society. In this sense, the 49 educating the one and keeping him fed would reduce the need for the one to steal from them and would not be an investment in that one person, but an investment in their own security.

    The long and short of it is, people form societies for a reason, and that reason has nothing to do with supporting those who cannot support themselves. Societies form for security and symbiotic support. Every successful person – who, in your estimation deserves to be alive – has benefited from that civil society, if only so much as just as they can enjoy a glass of milk by pouring it from a bottle rather than extracting it from a cow’s utters and pasteurizing it themselves due to the division of labor brought about by that society. But enjoying those benefits comes at a cost. We must preserve security within that society.
    No one likes paying taxes, but we have the right to expect that every dollar we pay is benefiting us, in one way or another. But we also can’t take for granted that the paramount benefit that we pay for in society is the right to live a secure life, and it is that security that makes every other aspect of our lives as we know it possible. In this way, any attempt to keep society safe and secure directly affects the quality of our own lives.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I'd suggest you read F.A, Hayek's "The Road to Serfdom" for a fuller exposition on the "unintended" effects of belief in the necessity of society held together by force.

    Rand's point, in my mind, was that individuals, left to their own devices, will, through Reason, act, not selfishly, though, in their own self-interest.

    Rand well knew the evil of a "society" that relied on the 'barrel of a gun' for its cohesion--it Is Tyranny.

    We are not craven, yet, that we should believe, as a given, the worst possible about ourselves.

    Another fine book on this topic is "Socialism" by Ludwig von Mises.

    As an aside, one would do well to remember Matt Damon's witty retort in "Good Will Hunting"-- to the Haavard students: "You could of learned just as much with a Library Card and a buck fifty in late fees."

    ReplyDelete
  7. I have read Hayek, but I appreciate the suggestions. However, I don't see the relevance, as no one else was talking about socialism or any kind of planned society. All I was saying was that, clichéd though it may be, no man is an island, and that Rand doesn't take this into consideration.


    And, you know, I still don't understand how ravish thinks that he has disproved an ethical theory I didn't write anything about.

    ReplyDelete
  8. -izer,

    The point is: your beloved tax man carries a gun.

    Rand was not interested in Man being an island, but Man being rationally Self-interested( Not selfish ).

    Hayek's "Road to Serfdom" delineates, well, the end of the path that starts with State-intervention.

    There is nothing the State can do more effectively than committed group of self-interested individuals; except, possibly, kill large #'s of people.

    The 'entitlement' mindset you are propounding serves to enslaves us all at the mantle of inefficiency and corruption.

    If the above sounds harsh, it's not meant to be personal.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Okay, assuming I was even talking about what you claim I was, assuming that I am all for making people feel entitled, and that I love the tax man, answer me this: Hayek says that a planned society (which is not at all the same thing as a not-letting-people-starve society, but just for the sake of argument I'll pretend to be a socialist for you) leads to serfdom down that slippery slope of needing to control people. But people who starve or not at the whim of some higher-up person, having their human needs met if they choose to toss some charity their way, and I emphasize if, because that's what it is, aren't they living in serfdom now?

    To me, I think keeping people out of certain serfdom is worth the effort of having to figure out where the line is, and sticking to it, to keep us from sliding down into Hayek's serfdom. Because that's the thing. Now that we know that Hayek's world is a possibility, we can, y'know, not do it that way. And I think that can be done without abandoning the poor to the whims of the rich.

    The issue is that you've all decided to argue as if I'm representing some sort of socialism, and treat me as an extreme, so that you can counter with your own end of the spectrum. Hi, I'm a moderate, and I know extremes don't work. That's why I am most certainly *not* a socialist, and that's also why I can't agree with you.

    ReplyDelete
  10. -izer,

    I didn't see where anyone called you a "Socialist", or, really, painted you as "extreme".

    I think what I and the others are trying to get you to see is that Gov't intervention doesn't solve the problem you are seeking to rid.

    You state that there is way to "keep the genie in the bottle", in regard to Gov't wealth-redistibution schemas. Can you show me one that has been able to remain restrained?

    That's the point. The nature of Gov't is that it seeks ever more power. Patrick Henry knew well, all the political triangulation one needs to learn: "Liberty or Death".

    If you really want to help "poor people", you'd also acquaint yourself with the inflationary effects of the Federal Reserve. Noone suffers worse, from their antice, than those "at the bottom".

    ReplyDelete
  11. Foucault1:19 AM

    Mehoffer-

    For two people to interact in any reasonable and productive way, both must first have accepted some basic caveats: At the very minimum, they must agree to not commit physical harm or property crimes against each other. In a world without this, everyone would live in fear of everyone else and what could be productive collaboration, instead becomes conflict. One’s entire lifetime is spent protecting their lives and property from their fellow man, and individual potential goes the way of collaborative potential and is wasted.
    When two people can agree to not physically harm one another and not steal from each other, we can call this, for lack of a better word, basic socialization. Getting people to surrender the ability to steal and kill – what are essentially freedoms – is the basic element of mass socialization; such a massive surrender of these freedoms requires coercion.
    (Coercion is necessary because, while reasonable people benefit from a society where they are forbidden to kill and steal, there are times that a reasonable person will see murder or theft as the reasonable option.)
    The type of coercion necessary to keep people from killing or stealing is typically referred to as the police power and requires, either real or perceived, superiority of those charged with the police power. This superiority serves as a deterrent to these destructive behaviors, (the promise of many police officers better prepared to use weapons better than we are, keeps us from stealing each others possessions, even if that is a beneficial and reasonable thing to do. The police power makes it unreasonable).
    This is the most basic human interaction requires this socialization, although this is not a justification for “society” as it is commonly used. As you have said, these same ends could be accomplished by a committed group of individuals, who among themselves have agreed to not kill or steal. Such a collective of wealthy, reasonable people could hire a police force to protect them from those who are not part of the collective and to enforce the social contract among the members of the collective.
    If the members of the collective have all agreed of their own free wills to be policed, then it cannot be considered tyranny. But to enforce the agreements of the collective’s contract on people who have not signed into the collective (by means of protecting the collective from outsiders who have not pledged to not kill or steal) is tyrannical.
    How does this collective amount to anything but a government? Such an arrangement where wealthy individuals, no matter how benevolent their intentions, can enforce their private laws on others is tyrannical aristocracy.
    Simply put, no government is unreasonable. Mass society is a beneficial arrangement for people, because we don’t have to wonder who has and who hasn’t agreed to not kills us or steal our possessions. As we all benefit from society’s security, it is acceptable that we share the financial burden of that security.
    To assume that people are born believing to not kill or steal is to tread into a philosophy that requires a god or gods prescribing morality, something that Ayn Rand rejected and society cannot reasonably rely on. And, while reason dictates we not kill and steal, it only does so because of that coercive enforcement mechanism of police power. And anyone who believes everyone now living makes decisions using only their rational mind is obviously neglecting their own.

    ReplyDelete
  12. You state that there is way to "keep the genie in the bottle", in regard to Gov't wealth-redistibution schemas. Can you show me one that has been able to remain restrained?
    In my view, most 'first-world' countries, including the US, fit this description. Also, the Alien and Sedition Acts, the HUAC, and the war powers taken during the Civil War and the French Revolution and its self-destruction - times when government was getting out of hand and its people fixed it, violently if necessary.

    The nature of Gov't is that it seeks ever more power.
    Assertion. Could you give examples? Preferably ones that don't rely on the numerical exceptions of Stalin, Franco, Hitler, and such? I'm not trying to be snarky here - I genuinely don't know how you came to this assertion.

    If you really want to help "poor people", you'd also acquaint yourself with the inflationary effects of the Federal Reserve. Noone suffers worse, from their antice, than those "at the bottom".
    I agree. The Fed is causing much more trouble than it's worth, I think. Though I don't see the connection here either.

    I think it comes down to this: I see democracies as examples of what happens when the people keep their government in check. If you don't agree, then it's possible we are simply talking about two completely different concepts, and we probably won't get anywhere further than this. Not as a snarky way to imply you're wrong, simply a recognition of the possibility that we're talking at cross-purposes. If so, I may not have anything else I can add here. But I'm looking forward to hearing what you think.

    ReplyDelete
  13. To take from one, because it is thought his own industry and that of his fathers has acquired too much, in order to spare to others, who, or whose fathers, have not exercised equal industry and skill, is to violate arbitrarily the first principle of association, the guarantee to everyone the free exercise of his industry and the fruits acquired by it. --Thomas Jefferson

    ReplyDelete
  14. -izer,

    "In my view, most 'first-world' countries, including the US, fit this description."

    Most "first-world" countries are in stupefying levels of indebtedness. Our own head of the GAO, David Walker, calls the # U$D~57 Trillion. The Euros and the Japanese have similiar problems.

    Past the fact that the "Civil War" abrogated the Southern States right to succede( wholly within the Constitution ), it is interesting that you mention the Alien & Sedition Acts, for what are the USA Patriot Acts, if not kin to those?

    The nature of Gov't is that it seeks ever more power-- Merely survey our own countries history over the course of the 20th C.

    "I agree. The Fed is causing much more trouble than it's worth, I think. Though I don't see the connection here either."

    You mentioned that you thought the State should be empowered to take, from some, to give to others.

    I was saying that the FedRes is the source of Inflation, they do control the money supply, after all. Also, "poor people" are furthest away from the fleeting short-run benefits of Inflation and always pay the highest costs for it.

    The easiest way to begin to assist "all people" is to tell the FedRes to pack up their Notes, and
    go home. A stable unit of account leads to much reduced costs, throughout the economy.

    "I see democracies as examples of what happens when the people keep their government in check."

    You should remember that we, Americans, have never lived in a Democracy. The Constitution set up a Representative Republic, for good reason. Even then, the framers well understood, through their knowledge of History, the dangers inherent in a Democracy without restraint. D'Tocqueville(sp?) also warned, over 120 years ago, of the danger of the day when Americans discover that they could "vote themselves "bounty"".

    You may be interested in the "Anti-Federalist Papers", a series of arguments from those who thought the Constitution provided a great danger in centralizing too much power in the Federal Gov't. Many of their arguments are proved to be quite accurate (foretelling).

    ReplyDelete
  15. Most "first-world" countries are in stupefying levels of indebtedness. Our own head of the GAO, David Walker, calls the # U$D~57 Trillion. The Euros and the Japanese have similiar problems.
    I know, and it's quite pitiful. But you asked me to show 'genie kept in bottle', not financial issues.

    Past the fact that the "Civil War" abrogated the Southern States right to succede( wholly within the Constitution ), it is interesting that you mention the Alien & Sedition Acts, for what are the USA Patriot Acts, if not kin to those?
    I don't get how this disproves me, as the USA PATRIOT Acts, to me, are just Alien and Seditions that are going to get stomped quite soon. People are not always instantaneous in catching on that being ruled by fear is bad. But note how much of the country, and how much of the govvernment, opposes them.
    I suppose, though I had intended to stay out of partisan politics here, that in my opinion, the Bush administration would be a good example of your side. But I think he's an anomaly of bad within a relatively sound structure.

    The nature of Gov't is that it seeks ever more power-- Merely survey our own countries history over the course of the 20th C.
    I don't see it. I see people trying to screw other people, and a system designed so that they can be stopped.

    You mentioned that you thought the State should be empowered to take, from some, to give to others.

    I was saying that the FedRes is the source of Inflation, they do control the money supply, after all. Also, "poor people" are furthest away from the fleeting short-run benefits of Inflation and always pay the highest costs for it.

    The easiest way to begin to assist "all people" is to tell the FedRes to pack up their Notes, and
    go home. A stable unit of account leads to much reduced costs, throughout the economy.

    Again, I agree with you completely here. I guess what I meant is that, if I agree with you, and most rational people would, how does this disprove me? Or was this just a different point, in which case, I admire you for not having to make everything about 'the fight' when you discuss.

    "I see democracies as examples of what happens when the people keep their government in check."

    You should remember that we, Americans, have never lived in a Democracy. The Constitution set up a Representative Republic, for good reason. Even then, the framers well understood, through their knowledge of History, the dangers inherent in a Democracy without restraint. D'Tocqueville(sp?) also warned, over 120 years ago, of the danger of the day when Americans discover that they could "vote themselves "bounty"".

    I was using democracy in the pop-culture fashion - most people, if asked, would call us a democracy, not understanding the difference. As such, it's a useful term for the 'spirit' of your governments where the people have some sort of say in what happens. De Tocqueville was quite right, and there are some modern scholars who think that his idea of being able to 'bribe' the electorate, as it were, is the beginning of the road to serfdom, using your earlier Hayek terms. I know I've got that book around here somewhere, so I'll come back and cite it for you when I find it.

    You may be interested in the "Anti-Federalist Papers", a series of arguments from those who thought the Constitution provided a great danger in centralizing too much power in the Federal Gov't. Many of their arguments are proved to be quite accurate (foretelling).
    Interesting that you assume I haven't read them. I have. Very good arguments, but it comes down to would you rather be oppressed by your local gov't, state gov't, or federal? In my readings of history, it appears that when you basically make the country a bunch of independent states with a common currency and common military, you get, well, basically border wars between the states. Think about some of the acts of the federal that could not have been done at the state level. There'd still be slavery, or at least disenfranchisement, in a good portion of the country. My state might teach evolution in biology, and plate tectonics in geology, and yours might teach that the world is 6000 years old. Many states would say that it's OK to kill gay people, and that women have no legal recourse against men. Substantial parts of the country would only have 'recovered' from the Depression by having large portions of their population die off. I live on the Mississippi, and it could be toxic if it weren't for farm pollution regulations from the fed. (side fact: most people don't know this, but Mississippi water is safe to drink - the only treatment it needs is to have the dust and silt removed for taste purposes. A friend had the Coast Guard labs test it for him.)

    Anyway, I think you might think I'm talking about a much more 'involved' fed than I am. I understand the concerns of an over-regulated society, but all I'm really defending is our current structure, or maybe the way our current system would ideally work, as opposed to the aristocracy that is Rand's world. In the end, if you have a small group of special people making the decisions as to how the rest of the people live and die, as she recommends (I don't know if you agree - you don't address her work) - that *is* a government, by all definitions. It's just an oligarchy. And as I understand it, people worked to get rid of those for a reason.

    Oh, and I see your Jefferson, and raise you some more Jefferson:
    I am conscious that an equal division of property is impracticable. But the consequences of this enormous inequality producing so much misery to the bulk of mankind, legislators cannot invent too many devices for sub-dividing property, only taking care to let their subdivision go hand in hand with the natural affections of the human mind. The descent of property of every kind therefore to all the children, or to all the brothers and sisters, or other relations in equal degree is a politic measure, and a practicable one. Another means of silently lessening the inequality of property is to exempt all from taxation below a certain point, and to tax the higher portions of property in geometrical progression as they rise. Whenever there is in any country uncultivated lands and unemployed poor, it is clear that the laws of property have been so far extended as to violate natural right.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Also, his original Declaration of Independence phrasing included 'preservation of life' as a right of all men created equal, and that the government was to secure this end. (I paraphrase for plurals - check out the quote on wikipedia to see the whole original draft.)
    To me this suggests that as all people have the right to not starve or be killed, the government has to work to ensure that they do not starve or be killed.

    ReplyDelete
  17. -izer,

    Those huge liabilities, U.S. U$D ~57 Trillion, et al., are prime examples of exactly how far the "genie" is out of the bottle.

    Government debt(s) and unfunded liabilities are nothing more than promises of future Taxation. Evidence that the State not only consumes are great part of our Today, but is also busily devouring huge swaths of our Future.

    Still, Johnny, by and large, still can't read, far too many go hungry, many stay ill for want of basic medical attention, and, best of all, we have so de-industrialized our Economic base that we couldn't supply our own demand, even if we wanted to.

    All of the above can rightly be laid at the foot of our Gov't, and its policies, that radically distort and subvert the proper functioning of the marketplace.

    With this: "Very good arguments, but it comes down to would you rather be oppressed by your local gov't, state gov't, or federal?"

    I would think, along with the Anti-Federalists, that one would choose the smallest possible government, under which one was "oppressed".

    The idea is two-fold. One, it is easier to remove one's self to a more accommodation jurisdiction, Two, thereby, there would be a "market" for competing Governmental "units".

    If a person was not interested in having her government support "farm subsidies"( for example ), she would be better off in a universe of smaller of governments for, at least, two reasons. One, her voice would be more easier heard, to endeavor to effect change, if she desired, in a smaller group, and, Two, she could more easily move to a different, more accommodating jurisdiction, if she so chose.

    The actuality behind TJ's insight: "Government governs best, when it governs least."-- is manifest in its, government's, necessity to be responsive to its inhabitants--or else fail.

    When we allow government to slip into larger spheres, long experience shows, we not only become less, we get less.

    I'll certainly agree that governments operating at the behest of the citizens are best.

    We, at this time, though, have done quite a poor job keeping ours constrained, and we are poorer for it.

    Closer to the original point: I'm not sure how it is that you interpret Rand as being for an "aristocracy". I would think that, at the max, she would found advocating a "meritocracy".

    Would you expound on that viewpoint: "aristocracy" ?

    ReplyDelete
  18. I see that debt and lack of improvement etc you describe as a flaw of administrations rather than of the concept itself.

    With this: "Very good arguments, but it comes down to would you rather be oppressed by your local gov't, state gov't, or federal?"

    I would think, along with the Anti-Federalists, that one would choose the smallest possible government, under which one was "oppressed".

    I should have been more clear - my concern is about the small-town mentality and such; local and state governments made Jim Crow laws, there are towns where the schools wouldn't teach evolution, and there are states who'd like to take away any number of rights from any number of minorities that they just don't like. Under our current federal system the fed (ideally) keeps these people in check.

    I'll certainly agree that governments operating at the behest of the citizens are best.

    We, at this time, though, have done quite a poor job keeping ours constrained, and we are poorer for it.

    Again, I see this as a flaw in people and administrations.

    Closer to the original point: I'm not sure how it is that you interpret Rand as being for an "aristocracy". I would think that, at the max, she would found advocating a "meritocracy".

    Would you expound on that viewpoint: "aristocracy" ?

    I misspoke - I didn't mean to imply that Rand is advocating aristocracy - she's definitely a meritocracy kind of theorist. The aristocracy comment was in reference to the result of the system you and the other commenters are discussing. A system where people with no resources exist at the whim and charity of those with many resources, where, as you say, this group of resource-rich people can do anything that a government can do - at that point, they *are* a government! They're an oligarchy/plutocracy - government by the rich and their descendants. And they become an aristocracy, hence my reference.

    In all honesty, I really wish we lived in a world where Rand's philosophy worked. But it requires a very different, nobler kind of human nature than what we currently have. Currently, whether due to our 'nature' as humans or our cultural 'education', people are simply not generous enough, unprejudiced enough, or rational enough to make it work yet. Which is a damn shame.

    By the way, how did you find me?

    ReplyDelete
  19. -izer,

    I hear what you're saying. Just remember that those, in Government, are from the same society that you see fault in.

    It's obvious, from our experience alone, that ascension to "higher office" does not, automatically, imbue those individuals with "higher morals".

    You mentioned "Jim Crow" laws as an example of "small-town" mentality, surely, it is.

    Though, many were able to move away from those jurisdictions where they felt their Liberty was being impinged. Surely, many stayed and, some, chose to fight.
    All three were options when "Gov't" is small.

    Those options grow fewer, in number, as "Gov't" grows bigger.

    If we were avail ourselves to the "moving" option, today, in re: USA Patriot Act, we would literally have to ex-patriate ourselves. Sweet choice, no?

    Btw, I came across your weblog via a post of yours @ savvysaver.

    ReplyDelete
  20. "In the hegemonic state there is neither right nor law; there are only directives and regulations which the director may change daily and apply with what discrimination he pleases which the wards must obey. The wards have one freedom only: to obey without asking questions." - Human Action

    from Ludwig von Mises

    ReplyDelete
  21. -izer,

    Match this: "I live on the Mississippi, and it could be toxic if it weren't for farm pollution regulations from the fed. (side fact: most people don't know this, but Mississippi water is safe to drink - the only treatment it needs is to have the dust and silt removed for taste purposes. A friend had the Coast Guard labs test it for him.)"

    With: http://www.noaanews.noaa.gov/stories2006/s2669.htm

    How do the two add up?

    ReplyDelete