Objectivist Platform

Posted by  $  servo75 3 weeks, 4 days ago to Politics
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I'm playing President Infinity, a game where you can run a customized Presidential campaign, so I'm creating the Objectivist Party and have to enter a platform. Economics and taxation is easy. I also assume the War on Drugs would be out. Other issues are not as clear. What do you think the Randian view would be on...
1. Foreign policy? I would think that something like Iraq would not serve our interests, but a pre-emptive strike or intervention where the combatants possess a threat to the United States could be in our interest. But can a COUNTRY itself have rational self interest? If it is, then one could make arguments for, say, universal healthcare, saying it's in the "country's" interests to have a healthy population. I don't subscribe to this view, but having the interest of the country does open up a can of worms?
2. Abortion? I don't want to get controversial, but this is tricky, because there are two interests (mother, baby) that may be in conflict with each other.
3. North Korea, Iran, War on Terror? You could say that a stable Middle East, etc. is in our interest to reduce terrorism, I can see others saying that it's a form of altruism toward the peoples of those countries?


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  • Posted by  $  MikeMarotta 3 weeks, 3 days ago
    Ayn Rand explained clearly why no such thing as an "Objectivist Political Party" could exist. The radical struggle for freedom begins with philosophy, specifically with metaphysics and epistemology. Not many libertarians understand why she insisted on that, but her analysis of history supports that.

    Even so, she did publish many essays and gave several lectures on those issues. See her address to a West Point graduating class published in Philosophy: Who Needs It.

    Generally, she was opposed to foreign intervention. In our terminology, what we call "regime change" will not change the culture of a society, it will not alter the implicit philosophy of the population. Ayn Rand was opposed to US intervention in World War II. She did say that it would be morally proper to launch a first strike against the USSR. She also said that they were not an existential threat to the United States but only that we were bent on ideological surrender. For that she blamed not so much the liberals (though there was that) but the conservatives who tried to fight communism with Christianity.

    So, you can see why a nation where a majority of people accept Biblical myths as fact cannot be changed politically. And that is jus the USA. We speak easily of Islamic fundamentalism, but the Qu'ran mentions Jesus 25 times calling him the Son of God and God; and the Qu'ran mentions Mary 12 times calling her the Virgin and the Mother of God. The disconnects between Islam and Christianity are similar to the schisms within the early Christian communities of the Roman Empire. So, you can see why if imposing a new government to improve Iraqi culture is unrealistic, the same applies to the United States.

    On one specific point, Ayn Rand supported a woman's right to terminate her pregnancy. She was uncompromising in that.

    Let us agree that it is best for a society to have its indivduals be educated. Is the government the best way to do that? Let us agree that people are better off wearing shoes. Is the govrenment the best way to do that? Objectivist political theory asserts that the only proper functions of government are the military, police, and courts. Those are needed to protect the rights of citizens. How that gets carried out was never explored by Ayn Rand as being too far down the historical road to be arguable now. She did say that while government is the "servant of the people" is not the unpaid servant of the people. But she was opposed to taxation on principle.

    The philosophy of Objectivism is non-contradictory because it rests on a unified epistemology and metaphysics that is tested against empirical fact. Small o-objectivism in philosophy is also called "rational-empiricism." Capital-O Objectivism is a unified system that is logically consistent (rational) and empirically verified (real). It is the scientific method applied to philosophy, as it properly always should have been.
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    • Posted by  $  3 weeks, 3 days ago
      Well.... I know an objectivist party couldn't/wouldn't exist. It's just a computer game. :) There are also user-made scenarios involving the Confederate States Election of 1900, so, yeah...

      It's the ultimate conundrum, though, which is why I believe similar ideologies like Libertarianism struggle in elections. It's a Catch-22: If you're against a lot of government power, but in order to pass laws removing government power, you first have to attain government power to do it.
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      • Posted by  $  MikeMarotta 3 weeks, 1 day ago
        Right, I got that at first, but I wanted to address the "Objectivist Party" thing because you could have used other labels such as Libertarian, Individualist, Freedom First, Old Republic, or whatever.

        I am not much of a gamer. My wife and I were in a D&D Club about five years ago for about a year. We played a lot of it as Moria or Rogue on the computers back when our kid was growing up. The three of us had a good time running characters. I have done Risk, of course, and I have this monstrous World War II game I could never get anyone to play. It clearly takes a long weekend of cola and pizza. So, just to say, I understand the context.

        Confederate election of 1900... Interesting...

        There is a premise that I think qualifies as an axiom that you cannot really project an alternate history because you only lived in the history you know. Still, you have to accept the pure chance of fate. Hitler survived World War I as a runner. The odds were against that. Did he cause World War II or were larger forces acting? It speaks to your view of the world.

        Personally, I think that it cuts both ways. Absent Edison, the incandescent lamp may or may not have been invented at that moment, but the technology was a given. And he did have a competitor in Westinghouse. So, while your own personal choices do make a difference, certainly to you, it is not clear what history would be like if only....
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    • Posted by  $  25n56il4 3 weeks, 1 day ago
      Okay! I too am a writer. I do not expect my readers to agree with everything I say in one of my literary offers. When I asked mother if I could read 'Peyton Place', her response was, 'Yes, but take it with a grain of salt'. I knew what that meant.
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    • Posted by CircuitGuy 3 weeks, 3 days ago
      "Objectivist political theory asserts that the only proper functions of government are the military, police, and courts. [...[How that gets carried out was never explored by Ayn Rand"
      Is this really capital-O Objectivism if it's not tested against empirical fact.
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      • Posted by  $  MikeMarotta 3 weeks, 1 day ago
        Well, you can start with the question of what is the essential nature of government? What is it that every government is or has or does? Some subsidize art. Some built giant tombs for their kings. Essentially, they exist to protect the society from outsiders and to minimize conflicts within the group.

        We can look at the alternative cases in which governments do other things in addition and see how that worked out. How are those freeways looking? Education? Healthcare?
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        • Posted by  $  3 weeks, 1 day ago
          My (insert your preferred deity here if applicable), what have I started? :) I love how these questions just take on a life of their own and start a major thread.
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      • Posted by lrshultis 3 weeks, 2 days ago
        Philosophy is not an experiment. Objectivism is based on facts of objective reality and is not something which must be tested against empirical fact. If it were necessary to test it, it would not be Objectivism. Here, the difference between those who consider Objectivism to be a closed system and those who question aspects and make changes to it creating other objective philosophies.
        Objectivism is a philosophy created from facts of objective reality by Ayn Rand and cannot remain Objectivism with changes to it. One applies it to ones own life in as non-contradictory a way as possible. Other objective philosophies, depending upon how contradiction free, are possible but should not be linked to Rand's Objectivism.
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        • Posted by  $  MikeMarotta 3 weeks ago
          We should have a separate discussion on that. Philosophy is subject to experimental verification. It is not a rationalist, idealist structure, all synthesis and no analysis. That is the error of the Continential rationalists contrasted with the British empiricist. It was a false dichotomy.

          We can explore the question here, but I believe that a separate discussion under Philosophy is warranted.

          I served.
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          • Posted by lrshultis 3 weeks ago
            Thanks for your service. I hope you did it for selfish reasons.
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            • Posted by  $  MikeMarotta 2 weeks, 6 days ago
              ha-ha my "fault." I meant that I served the ball and you should volley if you want the discussion. But, as for that, yes, I am currently in the Texas Military Department. And, yes, of course, I did it for selfish reasons. I am not one of those damned altruists...

              But thanks for your your thanks.

              Mike M.
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    • Posted by CircuitGuy 3 weeks, 3 days ago
      "So, you can see why if imposing a new government to improve Iraqi culture is unrealistic, the same applies to the United States."
      Which religious tradition people follow is orthogonal to whether they accept reason vs. a literal, fundamentalist view of religion. I think you're right that imposing a new government will not change either one of these. The one that matters, though, is reason vs. fundamentalism. If there were an effective way (region change or other method) to make people change religious traditions, it wouldn't solve anything if one set of myths were substituted for another with no increase in reason. It might actually make these worse because people changing religion might fire up the anti-reason people who believe one religious tradition is better than another.
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  • Posted by lrshultis 3 weeks, 2 days ago
    Please define what you mean by interests. How can a fetus or even a baby who has not developed a self yet, have any interest. It is totally dependent on biological processes of the mother and within the fetus and also the mother's choice to let the fetus continue to develop and finally be born as a baby. Biological necessities are not interests, else one would consider that a plant or bacteria or even a virus have interests.
    Interests are based upon conscious minds. Interest presupposes a self consciousness. A life requires certain biological processes which are necessary but not an interest of the organism. When a self consciousness develops, then interests by the organism develop and not before.
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    • Posted by  $  3 weeks, 1 day ago
      Good question. I'm not trying to make a pro or anti-abortion argument here, merely find out if there's anything in AR that we could extrapolate to a general position. I use interests, I admit, as a very general term. What I really meant was an eventual interest in having a life. The good question is when self-consciousness develops. I don't have an answer to that and will not attempt to here. Maybe I'll just leave that issue at "centrist" (default case) and be done with it.
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  • Posted by  $  jbrenner 3 weeks, 3 days ago
    A critical plank in an Objectivist foreign policy would be something akin to Star Trek: The Next Generation's Prime Directive. Though Captain Jean-Luc Picard occasionally violated the Prime Directive in situations where the Enterprise crew accidentally got embroiled in life's thorny situations, he was correct in saying the following:

    ""The Prime Directive is not just a set of rules; it is a philosophy… and a very correct one. History has proven again and again that whenever mankind interferes with a less developed civilization, no matter how well intentioned that interference may be, the results are invariably disastrous."
    – Jean-Luc Picard, 2364 ("Symbiosis")

    https://memory-alpha.fandom.com/wiki/...
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  • Posted by MikePusatera 2 weeks, 6 days ago
    Here is a platform question more for the state or local level. My real estate bill has charges for mosquito spraying, water, library, public school, city administration and county administration. Additionally I pay for drivers license, car sticker, tolls. What would you eliminate as a govt service out of these
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  • Posted by cwdonald 3 weeks, 2 days ago
    You need to read the Tracinski newsletters on foreign policy he's put out in the past. Very good reading on what to do. I believe York at the Ayn Rand Society has also done serious foreign policy statements you can use.
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  • Posted by  $  Commander 3 weeks, 2 days ago
    Rand's lecture and publication of 1961 "The Objectivist's Ethics" is the simplicity beyond the complexity for a base of reflection. She did not iterate the differences between freedom and liberty. The latter being fundamental for community. Everything you've asked is directly related to how we behave in community structures. All of this begins with self. Hope this helps.
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  • Posted by CircuitGuy 3 weeks, 3 days ago
    I could imagine a twisted pseudo-Objectivist society in which the government has the same size an intrusiveness of typical modern governments, but every program is promoted as part of an effort to punish evil-doers and as a cause for citizens to pat themselves on the back for being morally superior.
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  • Posted by  $  MikeMarotta 3 weeks, 3 days ago
    Where we live, we have several Half Price Books stores. I mention that because even though a basic Ayn Rand library might run ten or 15 books, they need not be expensive. And libraries carry just about all of them. (Over 50 volumes by or about her have been published.)

    1- We the Living
    2- Anthem
    3- The Fountainhead
    4- Atlas Shrugged

    Non-Fiction
    5- For the New Intellectual
    6- Virtue of Selfishness-
    7- Capitalism: the Unknown Ideal
    8- The Romantic Manifesto
    9. Introduction to the Objectivist Epistemology
    10. Philosophy: Who Needs It?
    11. Return of the Primitive (formerly The New Left: the Anti-Industrial Revolution)
    12. The Voice of Reason: Essays in Objectivist Thought by Ayn Rand, et al
    (Two anthologies of early fiction go here.)
    15. The Ayn Rand Lexicon: Objectivism from A to Z by Harry Binswanger
    16. Ayn Rand Answers: The Best of Her Q&A by Robert Mayhew
    17. Who is Ayn Rand? by Nathaniel Branden and Barbara Branden

    The Ayn Rand Lexicon is available online as a searchable database from the Ayn Rand Institute here:
    http://aynrandlexicon.com
    You can look up abortion, political party, healthcare, war, and foreign policy.
    It also has a Conceptual Index.
    http://aynrandlexicon.com/book/concep...
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    • Posted by  $  25n56il4 3 weeks, 3 days ago
      I don't read books 'about Ayn Rand'. I read all her books and quite frankly my dears, I don't give a d____ what people write 'about' her! I have my own thoughts on that subject!
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      • Posted by  $  Snezzy 3 weeks, 2 days ago
        A correct approach indeed. When I discover that I am talking to someone who claims to dislike Ayn Rand, that person, more often than not, has only "heard about" or "read about" Rand but has never actually read any of Rand's works.
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    • Posted by  $  3 weeks, 3 days ago
      I thank you for the sources, I've read Atlas Shrugged, Anthem, and am partway through Fountainhead, I haven't yet seen the answers to my questions (at least not directly). I will check some of the other sources.
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      • Posted by  $  jbrenner 3 weeks, 3 days ago
        The Ayn Rand lexicon is quite thorough on what she thinks constitutes life an on the abortion issue. While I am not in favor of any government telling anyone what to do or not do in this situation, I do have some philosophical disagreements with Ayn Rand in regard to both beginning of life and end of life issues. In particular, I think that Rand's definitions with regard to life undervalue life. These perspectives come from the challenges I have had in my tissue engineering research/development and with regard to my father and his father with regard to the ravages of Alzheimer's disease.
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        • Posted by  $  3 weeks, 1 day ago
          Well, let's see, a fetus cannot take the Oath of the Gulch. Neither can an infant, nor someone without the mental capacity to understand it. It comes down to at one point can one exercise a rational self-interest. Rational thought, I think, requires birth, but one can't be sure.
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          • Posted by  $  jbrenner 3 weeks, 1 day ago
            What I struggle with in regard to Rand's definition of life is not the pre-birth time, but the post-birth but pre-rational though period and the time after which Alzheimer's or dementia sets in.
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