Ayn Rand's Finest Condemnation of Libertarianism

mckeever's picture
Submitted by mckeever on Wed, 2011-11-02 02:20

Source URL: http://blog.paulmckeever.ca/20...

Over the years, I have read several compilations of Ayn Rand quotations concerning libertarianism. For the first time today, I was able to listen to Ayn Rand's the Questions and Answers following her April 11, 1976 speech at the Ford Hall Forum, titled "The Moral Factor". Her answer there was arguably the most succinct and essential statement of her views on why libertarianism deserves to be condemned.

During the Q&A segment, an audience member asked Rand:

Q. "By any chance have you heard of Roger McBride of the Libertarian Party? Can you tell us what you think of him?"

A. "My proper answer should be: 'I don't'. But I'd like to elaborate. To begin with [in my speech] I mentioned the candidates which were mentioned as the particulars...article. They didn't hear of McBride, which is just as well: there's nothing to hear there. Now, why would I be opposed to him? Because I have been saying - look, if you know nothing about me except the lecture today - but I have been saying the same thing in everything I've spoken or written: that the trouble in the world today is philosophical; that only the right philosophy can save us. And here is a party which plagiarizes some of my ideas, mixes it with the exact opposite - with religionists, with anarchists, with just about every intellectual misfit and scum that they can find - and they call themselves 'libertarian' and run for office.

"Just let me add: I dislike Mr. Reagan. I dislike Mr. Carter. And I'm not too enthusiastic about the other candidates. I would say the worst of them are giants compared to anybody who would attempt anything so unphilosophical, so low, and so pragmatic, as this libertarian party because it's the last insult to the idea of ideas, and to philosophical consistency."


NOTE: You can listen to Ayn Rand giving this answer by signing up (it's free) to be a Registered user of the aynrand.org website and visiting the Rand audio library there. Those who would like to read the various essays I've written about libertarianism can find most of them by using the search tool on my blog. You can also find my videos on libertarianism by visiting my YouTube channel.


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Paul

Mark Hubbard's picture

I've only just read the header post.

I didn't actually realise Ayn's view of Libertarianism. I've found nothing in Objectivism I don't agree with. I think Ayn is a heroine in the true sense of that word. However, I don't care what she says about Libertarianism as a political movement, even though I can't disagree with the statement you have posted. For me, here's the rub.

In Canada you have your Freedom Party. Good for you.

In NZ I guess the Objectivist could go it alone, as Stephen Berry is, and good on him; another hero. That said, he can change only a few minds at a time. The Libertarianz Party in NZ, as disparate as it is, is still the only party that comes close to representing a loose set of ideals known as individual liberty: hell, none of the other parties here in this year's election has even used the word freedom - um, perhaps Don Brash has, I believe, in a speech Linz has put up here, but you see what I mean.

I guess your header post can stimulate some to intellectual debate. Fair enough. But in a world utterly swamped by statism and statists, where the number of people who know the possibility of something better than the freedom of the slave is so minute, I see a thread such as this as being pointless. We're all bickering about the fourth shade of grey in a definition of something esoteric, while the firing squad are loading their guns ...

Best of luck in the campaign though.

(Okay, shoot the pragmatist).

So my question is then why

darren's picture

So my question is then why would you subsume under the same concept one system you think is "good" and one you think is not?

For the same reason I subsume "prudence" and "miserliness" under "saving." I think the former act is good and the latter act is not good. There's no epistemological problem calling both of them "saving," a term that is broad enough to encompass both.

Not all laws are objective simply because they are written down.

Agreed. Conversely, a law isn't necessarily non-objective simply because it is not written down, or not delivered by any sort of official body such as congress.

A law is not objective when it fails to define uniformly what conduct is permissible. Anti-trust laws are a good example, whereby you can be prosecuted for charging too low a price (i.e. anti-competitive practice), the same price (i.e. collusion), or a high price (i.e. "gouging"). In laws like anti-trust, the same conduct can be both legal and illegal with no rational basis for distinguishing between when it is legal and when it is illegal. The ultimate decision on who to prosecute is left purely to the discretion of the government, i.e. non-objective.

You certainly won't find me defending antitrust legislation. The major problem with it is that there is no objective economic criterion of what constitutes a "trust" or a "monopoly" on a free market, compounded by a faulty understanding of competition (the neo-classical doctrine of "pure and perfect competition" is the problem here). Even more light has been shed on antitrust by the advent of Public Choice Theory (see works by George Stigler and James Buchanan) which applies economic reasoning to political decision-making.  No consumer has ever brought legal action against a business for charging a price that was too low. Antitrust suits are usually started by less successful competitors who get the ear of the right politician for the sake of hampering a more successful competitor (e.g., Netscape, Novell, and Sun Microsystems got the ear of a conservative senator from Utah, Orrin Hatch, who was one of the key men in getting the government to move against Microsoft with antitrust for its success in marketing Internet Explorer by means of  "bundling" it with their operating system ). By those lights, it's unsurprising that interpretation of antitrust laws should be "fluid", since it depends on the specific gripe of the less successful competitor. So by these lights, antitrust legislation can be seen as a tool of "crony capitalism": Novell, for example, is based in Utah and was one of senator Hatch's political contributors. See this review by Thomas DiLorenzo of a new book on the Microsoft trial:

http://mises.org/freemarket_de...

I think an argument can be made that "objective law" is a redundancy: if it's not uniform and objective, it's not really "law" but, instead, an instrument of coercion useful to one specific group; that is a tool of crony capitalism.  However, it doesn't follow that a law uniformly defining what conduct is permissible is necessarily any good, or necessarily encourages a market to flourish. It could be an oppressive law. So "objectivity", per se, isn't enough for a liberal society; it's necessary but not sufficient.

Look at it this way. Under communism there exist black markets, 

True. (Even under regulated capitalism there exist black markets.)

but we do not describe the system as a sub-optimal capitalist one. 

Sorry to nit-pick, but this is not quite true. Under a planned economy (communism, socialism, fascism), the black market that emerges is actually the market -- the real market. That it must function in stealth from the rest of the economy is obviously "sub-optimal," along with the fact that it has no official access to state-provided services such as police and courts. But I think the phrase "sub-optimal capitalism", in fact, is an appropriate one to describe a black market. (I intend to plagiarize it from you.)

To the extent any market can exist under communism, it is not because of the communist system, but in spite of it. 

True.

Same for anarchism. 

Apples and oranges. You're comparing what we already know happened in previously existing systems (level of certainty = 100%), or is happening now in currently existing ones (level of certainty = 100%), to what you surmise will probably happen in a system that has never existed in the past, doesn't exist in the present, and is unlikely to exist in the future (level of certainty < 100%). So we cannot just say "Same for anarchism."

I am saying that the anarchist system is fundamentally at odds with capitalism in the same way communism is.

I suspect you might be correct. Key word here is "might." Since we are comparing historical facts to a mere hypothetical scenario, we cannot be 100% certain of the outcome. Happily, we usually live our lives and make all kinds of important practical decisions without requiring 100% certainty. 

While laissez-faire capitalism has not existed in a pure form, to the extent it has existed in countries the countries have flourished. 

Indisputably true.

The more capitalism, the more prosperous the society with the opposite being true for socialism -- all the way down to Soviet Russia vs. US, East vs. West Germany, etc.

Also indisputably true. Which provides much evidence for the classical liberal case, but also for the anarcho-capitalist one: "See?" they would say, "I told you so. The less government, the better. Get rid of it altogether and things will be great!"

Tribal societies are essentially anarchist in that they have no central government, 

Some tribal societies, perhaps. Many others have "chiefs" or "warlords" as a central decision-maker, as well as rigidly codified social hierarchies and rules of conduct. Doesn't sound like anarchism to me. 

and the various tribes "compete" for the defense of whatever their version of "rights". 

Not sure I understand that statement.

Well, we know how those societies have turned out and what level of prosperity they have garnered. 

I agree. But I didn't think the discussion centered on the relative merits of limited government capitalism vs. competing security-agency capitalism vis-a-vis prosperity. I thought the issue was whether or not both can be subsumed under the the generic name "libertarianism."

I was just making a simple point about the two groups you classified as libertarians.

Understood. No doubt that's why Mises, Hayek, and other pre-Rothbardian Austrians always used the older term "liberalism" (Hayek even wrote an essay titled "Why I Am Not A Conservative") or qualified it by calling it "classical liberalism."

New Web site

darren's picture

http://www.libertarianism.org/

Liberty. It’s a simple idea, but it’s also the linchpin of a complex system of values and practices: justice, prosperity, responsibility, toleration, cooperation, and peace. Many people believe that liberty is the core political value of modern civilization itself, the one that gives substance and form to all the other values of social life. They’re called libertarians.

A new Web site from the Cato Institute.

Fully expecting the usual

darren's picture

Fully expecting the usual anti-Rand argument that Rand stole the ideas of those who came before her and called them her own,

My use of the word "plagiarize" was meant to ridicule Rand's use of the term. You can't copyright an idea so there can be no literal plagiarism. That's like a writer claiming to have invented the idea of "Boy Meets Girl; Boy Loses Girl; Boy Gets Girl" and then yelling "Plagiarism!!" every time he sees a romantic comedy movie. Additionally, as the history of (1) calculus and (2) marginal utility show, it's quite possible for several thinkers, working independently from one another, to arrive at the same fundamental idea about something. Calculus was arrived at independently by Newton and Leibnitz at about the same time; marginal utility was arrived at independently by Menger and Jevons at about the same time. This may have been disconcerting to the parties involved, but there was no "plagiarism" involved. The fact is that Rand (and her acolytes) made outrageously untrue claims for her originality in many areas of her philosophy. Like all thinkers (such as the ones I cited), Rand based her ideas on earlier ideas. I've even heard it said that she based certain key literary devices in Atlas Shrugged on a 1920s novel called "The Driver" (which used a recurring refrain "Who is Henry Galt?"). Libertarian thinkers (Rothbard, Hospers, et al.) also based their ideas on earlier ideas. It was absurd of Rand to claim that they "plagiarized" her ideas. The fact is this: she was miffed that they had the gall not to identify themselves as members of her philosophical movement, as well as the fact that they criticized her philosophy; and as we know from that little tantrum she threw after her aesthetics lecture at Harvard, she didn't take criticism well.

What Rand did - that none of the other philosophers you refer to did - was base her political philosophy on the facts of reality, determined solely by means of reason,

I hear that often, but only by her and her acolytes. No one else agrees.

for the purpose of ensuring that every individual is free to pursue his own happiness;

That was very kind of her. Sounds altruistic.

and, further, she - on the basis of her political philosophy - advocated capitalism (the separation of economics and state) as the only moral socio-economic system.

. . . Given her prior assumptions regarding reality, reason, and egoism. A nice example of a circular argumentation. Others have argued for the superiority of capitalism based on other assumptions. Which proves that there are multiple routes -- not just one -- to the defense of capitalism.

Rothbard and others ejected reality, reason, rational egoism, and the need for objective law (hence for government),

Rothbard agreed with Hayek that explicit "legislation" by a monopolistic institution of coercion like government is not the same thing as "law"; conversely "law" can and does emerge as an unintended consequence of social interaction (including economic interaction) and can be just as "objective" as any piece of explicit legislation passed by congress.

presented the non-initiation of force as an axiom,

As an axiom in ethics. Most libertarians found it absurdly irrelevant to base justification for capitalism on a useless metaphysical tautology -- "Existence Exists" -- or some pointless theory about sensations, percepts, and concepts.

and advocated an anti-concept, "anarcho-capitalism" on that basis, calling the movement "libertarianism".

Why is anarcho-capitalism an anti-concept?

Rand, in the answer I feature, makes it clear that the essential problem is libertarianism's utter scorn for the idea that its political philosophy (if it can be called a philosophy) is the logical result - and can only be reliably defended by - reality, reason, and rational-egoism (i.e., by Rand's unique integration of metaphysics, epistemology, and ethics).

I've heard that a lot but only by self-interested parties, i.e., Rand herself, and acolytes of the Objectivist movement. No one else agrees, even those who did so much to elucidate the workings of capitalism and its philosophical underpinnings (Mises, Hayek for example, and even Popper).

She never claimed rights, or capitalism, or reason, or egoism (in general), or individualism, etc.. to be her discoveries.

In that case, there was no call for her to accuse libertarians of plagiarizing "her" ideas. What did she mean by "her" ideas if not "I discovered them"?

Darren

Michael Moeller's picture

Darren: "Not so, unless by "ought" you mean that minarchists believe that government ought to exist and anarcho-capitalists believe that it ought not to exist. Competing defense agencies are not the same as competing governments. As the prefix "anarcho" in "anarcho-capitalism" indicates, anarcho-capitalists are opposed to government. The don't have a different idea, or definition, of government; they oppose the idea of government."

Actually, no. Some anarchists like the Tannahills (see Market for Liberty) believe in "competing defense agencies". Other anarchists differentiate between the "government" and the "state", and advocate a system of "competing governments". See here (top of 8th page) or here on SOLO (if it doesn't come up, it is the 5th page on the thread in a post by anarchist Jeff Riggenbach).

Regardless, the main point is that they advocate a completely different system of laws and how those laws are enforced and individual rights protected, which is why it is flawed to put them under the same political concept.

Darren: "They are united under a common economic term: "libertarianism.""

"Libertarian" is a concept for a type of political philosophy meant to distinguish between those of conservatives and liberals. I am saying that to include both groups (limited-government and anarchist advocates) under the concept is invalid because they have two completely different schemes for law and the protection of individual rights.

Darren: "To claim that politics is that branch of philosophy studying the goings-on of an exogenous, monopolistic institution of coercion (government) is to grant, a priori, that there is a legitimate reason for such an institution to exist in the first place."

No, they just advocate a different form of how defense and enforcement of laws work, i.e. politics. Call it competing "defense agencies" or "governments" or whatever they want, they are trying to accomplish the same task with a completely different system.

Darren: "So I wouldn't exactly say that this is non-viable -- the manorial system lasted almost 1,000 years with the downfall of Rome -- the question for me is not "Is it viable?" The question is "Is it any good?" My answer is no."

Ok, that is a better way to frame it. So my question is then why would you subsume under the same concept one system you think is "good" and one you think is not?

Darren: "That describes only objective laws you happen to favor. "Objective law" is simply law that everyone is aware of and understands. It can just as easily be oppressive. Depends on the kinds of objective law, and not the mere fact of it being objective."

Not all laws are objective simply because they are written down. A law is not objective when it fails to define uniformly what conduct is permissible. Anti-trust laws are a good example, whereby you can be prosecuted for charging too low a price (i.e. anti-competitive practice), the same price (i.e. collusion), or a high price (i.e. "gouging"). In laws like anti-trust, the same conduct can be both legal and illegal with no rational basis for distinguishing between when it is legal and when it is illegal. The ultimate decision on who to prosecute is left purely to the discretion of the government, i.e. non-objective.

Darren: "There's no doubt in my mind that if you remove someone's state-granted right to a temporary monopoly, you will, at the very least, threaten his market. You might possibly destroy it, too. That is, after all, what happens when a monopolistic privilege is rescinded: others start to compete with you, first by means of imitating your product. You seem to be 100% certain that innovators whose monopolistic privilege is removed will have their markets destroyed. I am less than 100% certain."

I would not describe a state recognition of an invention (government grant in the form of a patent) as any more of a monopoly than the monopoly I have on my car (and the government recognition through a grant of title to my car). Both outline the confines of exclusive use, the difference is one form of property is tangible, and the other is intangible. No doubt the market for cars would be destroyed if the government did not protect my exclusive use to my car, and the same is true for inventions. I know anarchists disagree about IP being property, and I've covered this many times in my go-arounds with them so I am aware of all the objections, but my point here is simply that their conception does not support a capitalist system IF you agree that IP is a form of property.

Darren: "We disagree.

I would say that such a system would not be optimal, and I believe the empirical evidence supports this. But just as you earlier seemed to equate "objective" with "good," you also seem to equate "capitalism" with "optimal.""

Look at it this way. Under communism there exist black markets, but we do not describe the system as a sub-optimal capitalist one. To the extent any market can exist under communism, it is not because of the communist system, but in spite of it. Same for anarchism. I am saying that the anarchist system is fundamentally at odds with capitalism in the same way communism is. I agree with brand of traditional anarchists who claim that anarcho-capitalism is an oxymoron.

Darren: "An anarchist would claim that you've constructed a straw man and then set it on fire. Since anarcho-capitalism has never existed except as a model in books by Rothbard, Hoppe, Block, and a few others, it obviously cannot be analogized to something actually invented but inoperable. An anarchist would also respond much as a leftist does to your own claims about laissez faire capitalism under limited government; even Rand admitted that "pure" capitalism (i.e., laissez faire under limited government) has never existed."

I am sure they would -- and do -- argue this point of view, but neither the socialists or anarchists are supported by history. One can analyze from concomitant differences. While laissez-faire capitalism has not existed in a pure form, to the extent it has existed in countries the countries have flourished. The more capitalism, the more prosperous the society with the opposite being true for socialism -- all the way down to Soviet Russia vs. US, East vs. West Germany, etc.

In contrast, the anarchist system has been employed -- whether anarchists want to acknowledge it or not. Tribal societies are essentially anarchist in that they have no central government, and the various tribes "compete" for the defense of whatever their version of "rights". Even the anarchist medieval Iceland example was nothing more than a tribal society. Well, we know how those societies have turned out and what level of prosperity they have garnered. Anarchists simply try to ignore this history and try to graft capitalism onto an essentially tribalist system, and then say it has never been tried. What they don't realize is that the two are mutually exclusive (anarchism/tribalism and capitalism, that is).

Darren: "The players don't create the rules for themselves as they play. The players do not enforce the rules as they play. The players comply with the rules. "Compliance" is not the same as "enforcement.""

I think we are going to have to agree to disagree on this point. I'm not saying the players create rules for themselves. I am saying the rules are not "exogenuous" because they are enforced by the referees during the game. Without those rules and the enforcement, you would have no functioning game. I am using this as an analogy to point out that the same is true for the free market, i.e. without the legal protections for individual rights and the enforcement those rights, you are not going to have a functioning market (see, e.g., Soviet Russia vs US, etc). They are not exogenuous. They need to be actively enforced if the market is to thrive. Take a simple example like contract law, if you did not have legal rules about contracts and the ability to enforce them, free trade would exist at an abysmal level.

It's been an interesting discussion, but I will leave you with the last word because this discussion has become unwieldy in the number of topics it covers, and I was just making a simple point about the two groups you classified as libertarians.

Michael

The anarchos have their own

darren's picture

The anarchos have their own version of government, usually in the form of "competing governments" or competing "defense agencies".

Competing defense agencies are not a form of government; they are a substitute for government.  Hence, their prefix -- "anarcho" -- meaning "no government."

The other group of libertarians generally advocate a constitutionally-limited government where the government is also the sole and ultimate arbiter of the use of force.

Sole and ultimate arbiter because it's a monopoly; something outside of, and uninfluenced by, market activity -- an "exogenous" institution. See "Bureaucracy" by Mises.

These two groups of very different ideas of what government ought to be.

Not so, unless by "ought" you mean that minarchists believe that government ought to exist and anarcho-capitalists believe that it ought not to exist.  Competing defense agencies are not the same as competing governments. As the prefix "anarcho" in "anarcho-capitalism" indicates, anarcho-capitalists are opposed to government. The don't have a different idea, or definition, of government; they oppose the idea of government. They understand and accept the need for security and defense in a division-of-labor society in order to secure the institution of private property. Their answer to that need is not "some other form of government" but a model of competing private businesses whose service is defense and security; these firms, arising by means of entrepreneurial, market-driven, profit/loss-accounted activity, are said to be "endogenous" to the market. They are not governments; they are private firms providing security and defense.

Therefore, to unite them under the same political concept of "libertarian" is flawed epistemology. In short, the two groups have essentially different ideas about politics and integrating under the same political concept fails to distinguish these essential differences.

They are united under a common economic term: "libertarianism."

There is no essential similarity on the political level when they completely disagree about the role and function of government, which is what politics is.

Anarchism doesn't accept "politics" as a legitimate study outside of market-driven, private actions. To an anarchist, one can theorize, legitimately, about "office politics", or "the politics of the university" because those are private institutions. But in the sense you mean it, an anarchist would simply say that you're question-begging. To claim that politics is that branch of philosophy studying the goings-on of an exogenous, monopolistic institution of coercion (government) is to grant, a priori, that there is a legitimate reason for such an institution to exist in the first place. Reject the latter and there's no need for a study such as "politics" (except in the minor sense indicated previously).

You stated that you do not think the anarchist system is a viable one. If so, then why would try to unite their political theory under the same political concept that you presumably do find viable?

The question is, why should the concept of viability be the one that separates them? Why is that the differentia? Capitalism is viable; socialism is not. Everyone subsumes both under the concept "Economic System." They are correct to do so. Additionally, I don't know what you mean by "viable". I don't believe that anarcho-capitalism would lead to the sort of society that anarchists claim. They seem to have this vision that pretty much everything would stay the way it is now, but (goody!) no one would pay an income tax, and people would subscribe to private defense firms the same way they subscribe to cable television or Internet service providers. I believe that what would happen would be a complete balkanization of nation-states as war-lords appeared attempting to conquer their competition (after all, there's no monopolistic authority to stop it). In the attempt to avoid social chaos, nation-states would probably shatter into smaller units -- modern "fiefs" -- and we'd return to a kind of high-tech manorial/ feudal system. So I wouldn't exactly say that this is non-viable -- the manorial system lasted almost 1,000 years with the downfall of Rome -- the question for me is not "Is it viable?" The question is "Is it any good?" My answer is no.

Objective law defines, in advance, what constitutes the initiation of force and the penalties for violating said laws. 

That describes only objective laws you happen to favor. "Objective law" is simply law that everyone is aware of and understands. It can just as easily be oppressive. Depends on the kinds of objective law, and not the mere fact of it being objective.

The very point of objective law is to circumscribe individual rights by defining what is property, free speech, a contract, etc.

The very point of objective law within the framework of classical liberalism is to allow the market to flourish. Conversely, within a framework of anti liberalism, objective law can have very different goals (e.g., preservation of tradition).

You equate the word "objective" with "good."

in the case of intellectual property, those things subsumed by trademarks, copyrights, and patents (my previous examples being innovations, artwork, a brand name) would have their markets destroyed.

There's no doubt in my mind that if you remove someone's state-granted right to a temporary monopoly, you will, at the very least, threaten his market. You might possibly destroy it, too. That is, after all, what happens when a monopolistic privilege is rescinded: others start to compete with you, first by means of imitating your product. You seem to be 100% certain that innovators whose monopolistic privilege is removed will have their markets destroyed. I am less than 100% certain. (Though I am fairly convinced of it.)

The anarchist argument contra IP is a moral one: they reject, as morally wrong, the practice of an institution with guns and courts and jails entering the private market from outside the market -- i.e., an exogenous institution -- and coercively preventing John and Jim and Amy from making a product that it finds to be "in imitation" of something made by Joe. They also make a free-rider objection: "why should I, an anarchist, have to pay into a tax system to uphold government patent offices and government patent courts and government patent judges to protect someone else's intellectual property, especially if it involves a good or service I don't personally use. Why aren't those costs of protection being borne only by those who use that product?"  Not saying I agree with them; just stating their position. 

Furthermore, anarchists claim that lots of additional innovation gets detoured, in terms of time, energy, and money, through fighting IP cases in court (meaning: firms spend more time fighting infringement cases when they could be allocating those resources toward more research and development). Thus, anarchists claim that IP has a stifling effect on innovation. Again, not saying I agree with them; just stating their position.

My point was that who would spend millions to research and develop a drug if it could be easily and cheaply reversed-engineered and reproduced on the market? Who would put their book on the market if somebody else could easily copy it and sell it as their own? Who would try to develop a brand if somebody else could sell a similar product under the same trade name?

We agree.

In this case, yes, we can say it is not capitalistic. 

We disagree.

I would say that such a system would not be optimal, and I believe the empirical evidence supports this. But just as you earlier seemed to equate "objective" with "good," you also seem to equate "capitalism" with "optimal."

The anarchist system is undermining a basic property right, and thus destroying the profit motive embodied in capitalism.

An anarchist would claim that you are begging the question. Anarchists do not recognize such a category as "intellectual property." For them, it's a fiction. "Property" for an anarchist is always the legal category called "real property."

I liken anarchos' advocacy of capitalism to that of an inventor who claims an invention to an inoperable device. Yes, the inventor can claim all sorts functionality and benefits of the device, but the bottom line is that the invention does not do what he says it does.

An anarchist would claim that you've constructed a straw man and then set it on fire. Since anarcho-capitalism has never existed except as a model in books by Rothbard, Hoppe, Block, and a few others, it obviously cannot be analogized to something actually invented but inoperable. An anarchist would also respond much as a leftist does to your own claims about laissez faire capitalism under limited government; even Rand admitted that "pure" capitalism (i.e., laissez faire under limited government) has never existed. Anarchists agree with her statement but would retort that "pure capitalism" can never, in principle, exist under limited government -- i.e., they claim minarchism is inoperable; thus the way to achieve "pure laissez faire capitalism" -- a  system in which all activities are endogenous to the market and all costs are internalized by private firms or individuals (IOW, there are no "externalities" that have to be pondered or arbitrated, because all scarce resources are, at all times, owned by someone in the market) is to abolish that big monopoly of coercion calling itself "government."

When a football game is being played, the rules are not "exogenuous", but rather enforced as the game is going on. 

The players don't create the rules for themselves as they play. The players do not enforce the rules as they play.  The players comply with the rules. "Compliance" is not the same as "enforcement."

Rand in her own words wasn't

Leonid's picture

Rand in her own words wasn't primary an advocate of laissez-faire capitalism, nor natural rights, not even selfishness and NIOF principle. Rand was primary an advocate of objective reality and reason as an epistemic tool to know and to deal with it. Her ethics, politics and aesthetics are corollaries of these basic premises. Exactly these premises Libertarians, who are off springs of Objectivist movement, discarded. They treat natural rights or NIOF principle as axioms, that is-irreducible primaries, essentially parroting Rand's ideas without any understanding of their metaphysical and epistemic roots. That why they can accommodate everybody who demand freedom for freedom sake-be it anarchists or Neo-Nazis.

Darren: "This puts me in the

Michael Moeller's picture

Darren: "This puts me in the funny position of having to defend anarcho-capitalism, at least for the sake of devil's advocate: minarchism and anarcho-capitalism do not have different ideas of government. They have the same ideas about government: they differ as to their moral judgment regarding this institution. They agree on what a government "is". They disagree on whether we "ought" to have this institution.

Since the divisive issue between minarchists and anarchists is an "ought" issue -- a normative issue -- it follows that there's nothing wrong, per se, with lumping the two models under one broad term like "libertarianism", as long as it's understood that the term is useful only to the extent that it remains fuzzy -- it's a fuzzy umbrella (pardon the mixed metaphor). In a casual context, there's nothing wrong with that. Obviously, in more rigorous discourse, more precise terms (minarchist, anarcho-capitalist) become necessary."

I am not sure I understand your point. The anarchos have their own version of government, usually in the form of "competing governments" or competing "defense agencies". The other group of libertarians generally advocate a constitutionally-limited government where the government is also the sole and ultimate arbiter of the use of force. These two groups of very different ideas of what government ought to be. Therefore, to unite them under the same political concept of "libertarian" is flawed epistemology. In short, the two groups have essentially different ideas about politics and integrating under the same political concept fails to distinguish these essential differences. I think Rand's response was: well, let them have the term libertarian then, but don't associate me and my philosophy with what they advocate.

So, in essence, it is more than "fuzzy" because you are subsuming under a concept two unlike things. One can argue that "anarcho" attached to "libertarian" distinguishes them, but I would say no because they do not have a commonality about what government ought to be. There is no essential similarity on the political level when they completely disagree about the role and function of government, which is what politics is.

You stated that you do not think the anarchist system is a viable one. If so, then why would try to unite their political theory under the same political concept that you presumably do find viable?

Darren: "'Michael:>>>>Without getting into a discussion of anarchism, my further argument is that anarchism does not entail capitalism.

Darren: Neither does the concept of 'objective law.'"

It certainly does. Objective law defines, in advance, what constitutes the initiation of force and the penalties for violating said laws. The very point of objective law is to circumscribe individual rights by defining what is property, free speech, a contract, etc. It is the foundation that allows the market to flourish, and without that legal codification, you would not have a functioning market. This was the point of my intellectual property example and brings me to the next point.

Darren: "However, note what you are claiming: you are claiming that without the incentive of a government-granted temporary monopoly privilege, the capitalist system would not function. I certainly agree that it would not innovate as much as it would with such temporary privileges (and I think all the empirical/historical evidence proves this); I don't think we can say, however, that the latter system is not capitalist."

No, what I said was, in the case of intellectual property, those things subsumed by trademarks, copyrights, and patents (my previous examples being innovations, artwork, a brand name) would have their markets destroyed. The argument was not tackling non-innovative goods like a basic chair. My point was that who would spend millions to research and develop a drug if it could be easily and cheaply reversed-engineered and reproduced on the market? Who would put their book on the market if somebody else could easily copy it and sell it as their own? Who would try to develop a brand if somebody else could sell a similar product under the same trade name?

In this case, yes, we can say it is not capitalistic. The anarchist system is undermining a basic property right, and thus destroying the profit motive embodied in capitalism. You would only have a market to the extent you could by-pass the anarchist setup, i.e. the market would only function to the extent it defies the anarchist system.

In fact, this would be the case for the entire market under anarchism -- intellectual property being just one of the examples. What is to stop a bunch of Marxists from forming Communist Defense Co. and asserting their "rights" against Capitalist Defense Co. in the name of the proletariat workers the capitalists are allegedly "exploiting"? It would be nearly impossible to have a market under the threat that roving gangs like Communist Defense Co. will simply enter the market and assert their "rights" to whatever property they can expropriate. Whatever system that is, it would not be a capitalist one.

I liken anarchos' advocacy of capitalism to that of an inventor who claims an invention to an inoperable device. Yes, the inventor can claim all sorts functionality and benefits of the device, but the bottom line is that the invention does not do what he says it does.

Darren: ""Exogenous" in this context simply means that it is something not generated by market activity. A security firm that rents security guards for private use is an example of a market-generated activity. A police force, a court system, or a military, would be an example of something that is not subject to market forces -- simply having the ability to tax people to pay your salaries and expenses is proof enough of that, as well as the fact that such institutions have unlimited (as opposed to temporary) monopoly priviliges in their particular area. No one is legally allowed to compete with a court system, the police, or the military."

Yes, but the government is not "exogenuous" to the market for security guards. They still operate within the confines of the government's laws and cannot use force beyond what is permitted without facing prosecution from the government.

Darren: "I don't understand where you got the second part of your sentence. Obviously, the rulebook for football is exogenous: the players don't vote on the rules before each game, or invent new rules as they go along. The rules are IMPOSED from the outside, and only through a non-football-game process -- essentially a political process of meeting with league officials off the field and outside of the game -- can rules be changed, expunged, or added. Same with government and the free market."

But how both function is dependent on the rules employed. When a football game is being played, the rules are not "exogenuous", but rather enforced as the game is going on. If a football team has a 4th-and-1, they can punt for field position or go for the first down knowing that if they don't make it, they turn over the ball. The rules are set in advance (just like they would be under objective law) and enforced as the game is played. The rules dictate the options the team can use from their playbook.

The football team cannot miss on 4th-and-1, and then decide to "secede" from the referee's ruling. If that were possible, you would have a free-for-all, or anarchy;-) I wouldn't want to play in that game, as it would be no game at all. Similarly, without legally codifying in advance what are individual rights and what constitutes force against them, you would not have a functioning market -- just as you would not have a functioning game in the football example.

Michael

>>>>This is the basic

darren's picture

>>>>This is the basic problem. "Libertarianism" is a political concept,

It also refers to an economic concept. It means the same as "laissez faire."

>>>>and it seems obvious to me that you do not unify two different ideas of government under the same political concept. Maybe anarchos do genuinely believe that the free market will operate under anarchy, as you surmise, but it is flawed epistemology to unite them under a political concept when they have totally different ideas about government.

This puts me in the funny position of having to defend anarcho-capitalism, at least for the sake of devil's advocate: minarchism and anarcho-capitalism do not have different ideas of government. They have the same ideas about government: they differ as to their moral judgment regarding this institution. They agree on what a government "is". They disagree on whether we "ought" to have this institution.

Since the divisive issue between minarchists and anarchists is an "ought" issue -- a normative issue -- it follows that there's nothing wrong, per se, with lumping the two models under one broad term like "libertarianism", as long as it's understood that the term is useful only to the extent that it remains fuzzy -- it's a fuzzy umbrella (pardon the mixed metaphor). In a casual context, there's nothing wrong with that. Obviously, in more rigorous discourse, more precise terms (minarchist, anarcho-capitalist) become necessary.

>>>>I don't have Rand in front of me, but you can look up her definition (of capitalism) and it is a politico-economic definition.

Will do.

>>>>Without getting into a discussion of anarchism, my further argument is that anarchism does not entail capitalism.

Neither does the concept of "objective law."

>>>>Anarchos can advocate free market economic principles if they want, but an anarchist system would not be a capitalist one,

Especially if we define "capitalism" as "that politico-economic system in which individual rights are protected by government that has a monopoly on the use of the initiation of physical force."

>>>>To give an example, anarchos do not advocate intellectual property. Well, the free market for innovations, for artworks, and for the demarcation of a source of goods (i.e. trademarks) would look completely different under the two systems. Without that legal (i.e. political) protection of property rights, the capitalist system would not function.

Well, I certainly think so. Intellectual property law works by means of the state granting the innovator a temporary monopolistic privilege giving him the right to exclude "identical" products made by someone else from the market. The tricky question, of course, is how to determine how close a competitor's product must be before being declared "identical" (in which case, of course, it's called a "patent infringement"). IP law is very refined and lawyers and patent officers have a number of good "rules of thumb" that they use to determine if something is an infringement or not. The anarchst argument is primarily moral: government has no right to grant someone a privilege that they could not earn on the free market. Obviously, a temporary right to exercise an individual monopoly is such a privilege, so anarchists object to it. They claim that there are many innovations on the market that are not patented (or even patentable) but which, nevertheless, make profits for their inventors. Their usual examples are things like recipes. Turns out, however, that some recipes ARE patentable -- it depends on certain criteria. But -- at best -- the market for electronics, pharmaceuticals, medical devices, etc., would resemble the market for new soft-drink recipes. Personally, I don't believe the "at best" scenario touted by anarchists: a new drug molecule costs billions of dollars and years of research, even without the additional drag imposed by FDA testing regulations; I don't think a new food recipe incurs the same cost in time and money. So I don't see that investors would be willing to put capital into a new drug without a structure of IP law in place.

However, note what you are claiming: you are claiming that without the incentive of a government-granted temporary monopoly privilege, the capitalist system would not function. I certainly agree that it would not innovate as much as it would with such temporary privileges (and I think all the empirical/historical evidence proves this); I don't think we can say, however, that the latter system is not capitalist.

>>>>And that gets to my point about capitalism being based on objective law. Objective law codifies those individual rights necessary for the functioning of a free market system. (Pretty damn sufficient, too, unless everybody acts irrationally and decides to live in communes.) Without those laws, you do not have a functioning of the market system (see IP example above).

Hayek and others have done much work distinguishing the concepts of "law" and "legislation." The latter is what congress passes explicitly. The former emerges, often implicitly, social transaction by social transaction over a period of time. If by "Objective law" you mean "those explicit pronouncements by a government body", I'm not sure that's true. (Not disagreeing with it completely at this point, though.) "Objective law" can also impose a politically oppressive, non-market system on society.

>>>>I think the problem with your description is calling the government "exogenuous", as if somehow the market would still function in the absence of a legal codification necessary for the protection of individual rights.

No doubt I expressed myself unclearly. "Exogenous" in this context simply means that it is something not generated by market activity. A security firm that rents security guards for private use is an example of a market-generated activity. A police force, a court system, or a military, would be an example of something that is not subject to market forces -- simply having the ability to tax people to pay your salaries and expenses is proof enough of that, as well as the fact that such institutions have unlimited (as opposed to temporary) monopoly priviliges in their particular area. No one is legally allowed to compete with a court system, the police, or the military.

>>>>It is like describing the rules/referees in football as "exogenuous", and then claiming a football team's playbook would remain the same in the absence of those rules/referees. The playbook would go out the window.

I don't understand where you got the second part of your sentence. Obviously, the rulebook for football is exogenous: the players don't vote on the rules before each game, or invent new rules as they go along. The rules are IMPOSED from the outside, and only through a non-football-game process -- essentially a political process of meeting with league officials off the field and outside of the game -- can rules be changed, expunged, or added. Same with government and the free market.

Seymourblogger

Michael Moeller's picture

"Rand must be separated from her fiction and from the non-fiction philosophy she wrote with Branden and Peikoff. If you critique her on the B and P shit, then you are correct, of course. Which is why I departed from the flock. It's just too simplistic - without being simple - and to anyone at all knowledgeable about philosophical thinking, it is laughable."

Let's get something straight here. Rand wrote non-fiction for the express purpose of laying out the philosophical system embodied in her novels. I mean, you are pounding sand if you want ignore her explicit writings on philosophy while at the same time trying to extract her philosophy from her novels. I suspect it is so you can mold something entirely different than her explicit writings by spinning "interpretations" from the content of her novels.

If you don't like what she explicitly wrote, then why are you bothering with Rand/Objectivism? I hate to tell you, but that is what Objectivism is, regardless of whether you find it "laughable" or "simplistic". I am sure you can make a name for yourself with your own novel and complicated philosophical musings.

I don't know why you keep bringing in Peikoff and Branden. To the extent they wrote for her publications, it was with her approval, not the other way around. She did not write with their sanction, they wrote with hers.

Michael

Darren

Michael Moeller's picture

"I've never claimed that a system of "no government" (or competing governments) is identical to a system of "limited government" in which such institution is exogenous to market forces. I'm claiming that both of them can and do use the umbrella term "libertarianism" as a way of emphasizing what they both advocate: individual economic and political freedom."

This is the basic problem. "Libertarianism" is a political concept, and it seems obvious to me that you do not unify two different ideas of government under the same political concept. Maybe anarchos do genuinely believe that the free market will operate under anarchy, as you surmise, but it is flawed epistemology to unite them under a political concept when they have totally different ideas about government. That's the main point, and why Rand chose to disassociate herself from the movement, in addition to the fact that many libertarians have different justifications for advocating capitalism.

I don't have Rand in front of me, but you can look up her definition (of capitalism) and it is a politico-economic definition. Without getting into a discussion of anarchism, my further argument is that anarchism does not entail capitalism. Anarchos can advocate free market economic principles if they want, but an anarchist system would not be a capitalist one, which is why I think Rand was correct in defining capitalism in terms of politico-economy.

To give an example, anarchos do not advocate intellectual property. Well, the free market for innovations, for artworks, and for the demarcation of a source of goods (i.e. trademarks) would look completely different under the two systems. Without that legal (i.e. political) protection of property rights, the capitalist system would not function.

And that gets to my point about capitalism being based on objective law. Objective law codifies those individual rights necessary for the functioning of a free market system. (Pretty damn sufficient, too, unless everybody acts irrationally and decides to live in communes.) Without those laws, you do not have a functioning of the market system (see IP example above).

I think the problem with your description is calling the government "exogenuous", as if somehow the market would still function in the absence of a legal codification necessary for the protection of individual rights. It is like describing the rules/referees in football as "exogenuous", and then claiming a football team's playbook would remain the same in the absence of those rules/referees. The playbook would go out the window.

Michael

They didn't.

seymourblogger's picture

By then she was so paranoid that anything that smacked of something she had written or said was stolen from her.

Like Branden stole from her. Did she steal his youth, his open curious mind, his independence, his sexual responses, his body, his his his.......yes, she fuggin did. Did he profit from it? Yes he fuggin did. But he might have profited in a different way, living a different life, if she had stayed in California, kept Frank happy there, let Barbara and Nathaniel find more loving lovers, and let them be independent.

Niketzsche: Beware of Disciples. Zarathustra sends them away in a lovely speech.

She was like the over-protective mother who will not let her child live a life apart from her. It's called symbiosis whend the mother and child cannot separate. "Separation anxiety".

It won't work.

seymourblogger's picture

9-11 was an initiation of force against the US.

But did the US already initiate force against the middle east and was 9-11 a retaliation? See where I am going? But I'll leave it to your imaginations.

Initiation is probably in the minds of the beholders, just like beauty.

WTF is this plagiarism junk

seymourblogger's picture

All thought builds on previous thought within the Hegelian linear, progressive, historical model. Rand was no different but she was way out of her league held up by Branden and Peikoff who had their own agenda.

All of the above you mention has antecedents to their thinking. So what.

You are searching for origins. A useless and wasteful preoccupation.

You are correct if you try to see her

seymourblogger's picture

in the classical philosophy march of time. If you switch to post modern thought then all that shit falls into the toilet where it belongs.

Rand must be separated from her fiction and from the non-fiction philosophy she wrote with Branden and Peikoff. If you critique her on the B and P shit, then you are correct, of course. Which is why I departed from the flock. It's just too simplistic - without being simple - and to anyone at all knowledgeable about philosophical thinking, it is laughable. But you are laughing at Branden and Peikoff, not Rand. When you research and check Rand's reading list, it is horribly embarrassing listing books that are - shit - I don't even want to bother. There are a few excellent ones but they are hangovers from her early excellent education in the Soviet Union at the University of Petrograd. she was superbly educated for her age when she came to the US and educated far above - probably in the top 1% - of men and women her age. She did not build on it much in English and continued spending her capital of education acquired under a mother's tutelage first and Soviet Govt second. I think she revered authority and thought that NYU was a serious place, and it was and is maybe, dk, and perhaps thought that these two adoring boys were more intelligent than they were. She certainly went along with them as NBL became NBI and on to success in the financial market with her ideas and philosophy. But she began to think of herself as a philosopher, notions of grandeur, and by then Peikoff fed her ego and there was no one else around to dissuade her or even to argue with her.

Rothbard would have, but by then he was gone from her and said rather nasty things about the collective. They weren't the brightest bulbs in the box.

It is Nietzsche permeated throughout her thinking and heart that propelled her.

Now why the fug couldn't you think and say this instead of me?

No, they cannot be the same

darren's picture

No, they cannot be the same in terms of politico-economy when they have different systems for protecting rights.

Who said that politico-economic systems are defined by the institutional mechanisms they put in place to protect rights?

Capitalism, to Rand, was a politico-economic concept that -- at it's core -- was based on objective law, i.e. that the government protects against the initiation of force.

I've never heard her say that capitalism was "based on" objective law. I've heard her say that objective law is necessary for the functioning of capitalism; necessary but not sufficient. She implies that only an institution that is exogenous to the market process, such as a monopolistic government, can implement "objective law." I agree with her on that. So do all classical liberals, even those who do not call themslves Objectivists.

Obviously, on a political level, they are significantly different (if not diametrically opposed) when you have one side that does not recognize the role of government or advocates a system of competing governments.

In your first paragaph, you conflated the concepts of "political system" and "economic system" by using the older term "politico-economy". Now you're disaggregating those two terms by claiming that anarchism is a different political arrangement from minarchism. I agree. But they both advocate and claim to promote an economic system known as "capitalism": private property (including private capital goods), division of labor, market-chosen money. I don't believe they are both correct; in fact, I think the anarchist position is just plain nuts. But the problem lies in the catch-all nature of the term "libertarian." I don't think there's anything necessarily wrong with a catch-all term, depending on context: e.g., to someone identifying himself as a libertarian, I might also so identify myself, but with the qualification "classical liberal" or "minarchist"; but to someon identifying himself as a liberal, I would most likely just identify myself as "libertarian" and not bother with more minute subdivisions -- they wouldn't be understood anyway.

I've never claimed that a system of "no government" (or competing governments) is identical to a system of "limited government" in which such institution is exogenous to market forces. I'm claiming that both of them can and do use the umbrella term "libertarianism" as a way of emphasizing what they both advocate: individual economic and political freedom. I happen to think that the anarchist position, would, in fact, lead to injurious consequences for the individual, both economically and politically. But I don't doubt that those advocating anarchism believe that a system of private, competing governments would lead to a capitalist utopia.

Movements

Richard Goode's picture

I have daily movements that closely resemble Rand's philosophy.

Darren - Re: Plagiarism

mckeever's picture

Fully expecting the usual anti-Rand argument that Rand stole the ideas of those who came before her and called them her own, I wrote this in reply to another commenter:

"My whole point, in referring to this of Rand's responses as her "finest", is based on the fact that she dealt with essentials. Plagiarism is not an essential and, too often, accompanied or even became the focus of her extemporaneous answers to questions about libertarianism and the Libertarians.

What Rand did - that none of the other philosophers you refer to did - was base her political philosophy on the facts of reality, determined solely by means of reason, for the purpose of ensuring that every individual is free to pursue his own happiness; and, further, she - on the basis of her political philosophy - advocated capitalism (the separation of economics and state) as the only moral socio-economic system. Rothbard and others ejected reality, reason, rational egoism, and the need for objective law (hence for government), presented the non-initiation of force as an axiom, and advocated an anti-concept, "anarcho-capitalism" on that basis, calling the movement "libertarianism". Rand, in the answer I feature, makes it clear that the essential problem is libertarianism's utter scorn for the idea that its political philosophy (if it can be called a philosophy) is the logical result - and can only be reliably defended by - reality, reason, and rational-egoism (i.e., by Rand's unique integration of metaphysics, epistemology, and ethics).

She never claimed rights, or capitalism, or reason, or egoism (in general), or individualism, etc.. to be her discoveries. Her discovery was chieflly a matter of ethical philosophy, and of how to demonstrate - without appeals to gods or popularity - that her ethics were true and right for man. So save the whole anti-Rand nonsense about how she just repeated what others have said before her. It's false and, in point of fact, is intended as nothing more than an ad hominem attack."

Movements

mckeever's picture

I think the only "movement" that comes close to advocating Rand's philosophy is the Objectivist movement.

With respect to political parties, my knowledge of the LibertariaNZ is quite limited, so I cannot comment about its nature. I can say that, so far, I know of no party other than Freedom Party (in Ontario, Canada...a party of which I am leader) that founds its policies and election platforms upon reality, reason, rational selfishness, consent, and capitalism.

I don't care about all the

Mark Hubbard's picture

I don't care about all the legalities, but:

No Objectivist should accept the argument that Objectivism is just another exemplar of libertarianism.

But there is no other political 'movement' that comes near to Objectivist philosophy? Yes?

I know Libertarianz is composed of a lot of disparate groups, but it still is the only New Zealand party that comes close to a program I can agree with as an Objectivist.

Not quite

Michael Moeller's picture

Darren: "For the sake of clarity, the latter will sometimes specify explicitly that they are "anarcho-capitatists" and the former will sometimes specify explicitly that they are "classical liberals." They are both, however, "libertarian" in that they emphasize maximizing personal liberty by means of capitalism."

No, they cannot be the same in terms of politico-economy when they have different systems for protecting rights. Capitalism, to Rand, was a politico-economic concept that -- at it's core -- was based on objective law, i.e. that the government protects against the initiation of force. Obviously, on a political level, they are significantly different (if not diametrically opposed) when you have one side that does not recognize the role of government or advocates a system of competing governments.

Michael

Naive Confirmation Bias by Randroids

darren's picture

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/N...

"Natural justice is a symbol or expression of usefullness, to prevent one person from harming or being harmed by another." (Epicurus)

"Being all equal and independent, no one ought to harm another in his life, health, liberty, or possessions."[ (John Locke)

"No man has a natural right to commit aggression on the equal rights of another, and this is all from which the laws ought to restrain him." (Thomas Jefferson)

"Every man is free to do that which he wills, provided he infringes not the equal freedom of any other man." (Herbert Spencer)

"the only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilized community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others" (John Stuart Mill)

Looks to me as if Rand is the plagiarist.

No Objectivist should accept

darren's picture

No Objectivist should accept the argument that Objectivism is just another exemplar of libertarianism

That's why I'm not an Objectivist. That's also why Objectivists are correctly accused of suffering from Confirmation Bias and make unusually poor scholars.

Libertarians believe all govt

darren's picture

Libertarians believe all govt functions should be privatized.

Wrong. "Libertarianism" embraces classical liberalism on one end and anarcho-capitalism on the other. Rothbard, Hoppe, Block, et al., belong to the latter; Rand, Mises, Hayek, Hazlitt, Paterson, Lane, et al., belong to the former.

For the sake of clarity, the latter will sometimes specify explicitly that they are "anarcho-capitatists" and the former will sometimes specify explicitly that they are "classical liberals." They are both, however, "libertarian" in that they emphasize maximizing personal liberty by means of capitalism. They also both acknowledge that certain economic laws arise as a kind of emergent property under a system of private property and division of labor. These economic laws are, in fact, what we recognize as "economics."

Beauty Doll

mckeever's picture

Leonid's correct: The non-initiation of force was scooped off of the top of Rand's philosophy, then presented - falsely - as an axiom. If libertarians have any defence to Rand's charge of plagiarism in this respect, it is this: it's not plagiarism because Rand did not assert that the NIOF was axiomatic. The libertarians presented it as an axiom precisely so that no matter what ones metaphysics, epistemology, or ethics, one could get on-board with the libertarian movement by just agreeing with a fuzzy, floating, out-of-context political abstraction.

By way of concretes: the libertarian movement set up a factory to make knock-offs of Barbie-doll heads, which, on a doll-by-doll basis, it attached to a randomly-grabbed assortment of defective GI Joe, Robbie the Robot, or Swamp Thing arms; rejected Hulk, Rubber Man, or dildo torsos; discarded licorice whip, wooden stick, or dried up worm legs; dressed the resulting Frankensteins in potato sacks, garbage bags, or dominatrix clothing; packaged the resulting Frankensteins into boxes labeled "Beauty Doll"; and then claimed that the integrated beautiful womanesque invention called Barbie was "just another Beauty Doll, because they all have the same head".

Not many daughters would buy that argument. No Objectivist should accept the argument that Objectivism is just another exemplar of libertarianism.

NIOF principle belongs to one

Leonid's picture

NIOF principle belongs to one of Rand's ideas which Libertarianism plagiarized.

Which part of this post didn't you understand?

seymourblogger's picture

Rand is talking about the libertarian party I think. Libertarian ideas she does differ with. Rand believes in limited government. Libertarians believe all govt functions should be privatized.

BTW Murray lived in a rent control apartment. When I asked him why he said that you use the system to weaken it.

This is Nietzsche.

Ayn Rand was a libertarian

Richard Goode's picture

Ayn Rand did not condemn libertarianism. She extolled it.

Libertarianism is the name of the political ideology based on the NIOF principle.

“Whatever may be open to disagreement, there is one act of evil that may not, the act that no man may commit against others and no man may sanction or forgive. So long as men desire to live together, no man may initiate—do you hear me? no man may start—the use of physical force against others.”

Re: plagiarism

darren's picture

And here is a party which plagiarizes some of my ideas


Which ideas of Rand's did the Libertarian Party plagiarize?

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