"Malaysia Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad and the Sultan of Johor are seen in a blue Proton Saga... "When asked whether there is any tension with the sultan, Dr Mahathir said: “No, I don’t see anything because I went to see him and he drove me to the airport. I don’t want to comment on the sultans because if I say anything that is not good then it’s not nice because he is the sultan”"

Get email updates of new posts:        (Delivered by FeedBurner)

Friday, August 28, 2009

Libertarianism Is Marxism of the Right

"Because 95 percent of the libertarianism one encounters at cocktail parties, on editorial pages, and on Capitol Hill is a kind of commonplace “street” libertarianism, I decline to allow libertarians the sophistical trick of using a vulgar libertarianism to agitate for what they want by defending a refined version of their doctrine when challenged philosophically. We’ve seen Marxists pull that before...

If Marxism is the delusion that one can run society purely on altruism and collectivism, then libertarianism is the mirror-image delusion that one can run it purely on selfishness and individualism. Society in fact requires both individualism and collectivism, both selfishness and altruism...

The most fundamental problem with libertarianism is very simple: freedom, though a good thing, is simply not the only good thing in life. Simple physical security, which even a prisoner can possess, is not freedom, but one cannot live without it... A family is in fact one of the least free things imaginable, as the emotional satisfactions of it derive from relations that we are either born into without choice... But security, prosperity, and family are in fact the bulk of happiness for most real people and the principal issues that concern governments.

Libertarians try to get around this fact that freedom is not the only good thing by trying to reduce all other goods to it through the concept of choice, claiming that everything that is good is so because we choose to partake of it... this violates common sense by denying that anything is good by nature, independently of whether we choose it... Taken to its logical conclusion, the reduction of the good to the freely chosen means there are no inherently good or bad choices at all, but that a man who chose to spend his life playing tiddlywinks has lived as worthy a life as a Washington or a Churchill...

If all we want is limited freedom, then mere liberalism will do, or even better, a Burkean conservatism that reveres traditional liberties...

Empirically, most people don’t actually want absolute freedom, which is why democracies don’t elect libertarian governments. Irony of ironies, people don’t choose absolute freedom. But this refutes libertarianism by its own premise, as libertarianism defines the good as the freely chosen, yet people do not choose it. Paradoxically, people exercise their freedom not to be libertarians...

Libertarian naïveté extends to politics. They often confuse the absence of government impingement upon freedom with freedom as such. But without a sufficiently strong state, individual freedom falls prey to other more powerful individuals. A weak state and a freedom-respecting state are not the same thing, as shown by many a chaotic Third-World tyranny."


A better article in the thread:

"For a great many people, Ayn Rand is a glowing light in a dark abyss, an intellectual beacon that draws them into a circle of rational illumination.

She has a certain fascination for me, too, but the gravitation is different. It is the appalling spell cast by a train wreck: the grotesque allure of crumpled metal, pools of fuel and oil, shattered ties, wrenched rails -- the shining products of the human mind, smashed by some great error...

Read Atlas Shrugged, and you see humanity with an odd double vision.

There are "the men of the mind" -- the innovative, the productive, the strivers, those rigorous with themselves and all others: the Francisco d'Anconias, the Hank Reardens, the John Galts.

And there are their opposite numbers -- the "looters," the "mystics," the spiritual and literal thugs, the moist weaklings, the death-worshipers...

Here is half of the problem with Rand's view of human nature: Are most of us really the dull-witted drones or outright leeches who inhabit so much of Atlas Shrugged?...

Rand had a record of thoroughgoing disdain for those who didn't measure up to her intellectual standards.

"When anyone compliments me," she says in Barbara Branden's biography, "my first question is: What's my estimate of the source of the compliments? Is it a mind I respect? When it's a mind that understands what I've done, then it's an enormous pleasure. Anything less than that -- no. I don't really want anything but the response of top minds."

In the wake of reviewers' eviscerating response to Atlas Shrugged, Rand felt "like an adult sentenced to live in a world of children"...

Atlas Shrugged is a hymn to the human spirit... Hymns, of course, are sung to gods, and gods need to be … well, close to perfect if not actually there...

"Make every allowance for errors of knowledge; do not forgive or accept any breach of morality."

Forgive, in fact, is one of Rand's F-words. "It is against the sin of forgiveness that I wanted to warn you," Francisco d'Anconia tells Rearden. In the world of Atlas Shrugged, justice is still a virtue, but mercy is a vice -- it lets the rotters off...

"My personal life," Rand wrote in an afterword to Atlas Shrugged, "is a postscript to my novels; it consists of the sentence: 'And I mean it.' "

It seems that she did. Disagree with her on even the smallest matters, and you might find yourself cut off at the knees...

It has often been said that one should not judge a philosophy by its adherents' behavior. But if Ayn Rand was her own best argument for the powers of reason, the perfectablity of man, the virtues of selfishness and the disposability of forgiveness -- as she almost certainly would have said herself -- where does that leave her case?"


Comments in the thread:

"They also believe in the abolition of programs like Social Security as well as the idea of having a social safety net. And some even want to do away with public education, which would lead society back to the day of when education was a privledge for the wealthy. Privitizing education would also be bad for the economy. Because the more educated people are, the better off the country in regards to scientfic research, computer technology, engineering jobs, electronics, innovative ideas and you would have more qualified people to fill these jobs."

"Looking back at the past during the days of JP Morgan, John D Rockefeller and that bunch those men held a lot of power. Prior to government regulation there was no minimum wage no FDA, to regulate consumer goods, people worked long hours with bad conditions, and child labor was also legal. Could a strong labor union counter act that? It could always be possible. But with no regulations protecting the right of a labor unionto exist, the employer could always fire the workers with the a snap of a finger."

"In a pure free market system those who become wealthy would be at an advantage because they are able to increase their wealth more easily and therefore, there would be large inequities in wealth distribution"

"For me, Ayn Rand's influence was positive in that it helped me break free from mindless conventionality and arbitrary authoritarian influences in my life.

But it left me very naive about how the world works. Few leaders of big business are like either her heros or villians in Atlas Shrugged. Most are somewhere in between. Very few are self-made, more come from privileged backgrounds. Read biographies of Frank Lloyd Wright and Howard Hughes and learn that their feet are made of clay compared to Howard Rourke and John Galt.

For a first generation college student, trying to emulate her heros was a decidedly uncomfortable Procrustean bed. I fell short most of time. It left me with more contempt than joy of living. It took nearly a decade to acquire some self-acceptance.

Rational self-interest doesn't prevent the tragedy of the commons. Adam Smith's invisible hand can't be depended on to keep us from depleting the planet's resources faster than these resources can be replenished. We need a sense of community that transcends self interest. We need to accept ourselves as individuals and care for each other in community to sustain our future."


Also:

Ayn Rand’s Literature of Capitalism - "Mr. Greenspan wrote a letter to The New York Times to counter a critic’s comment that “the book was written out of hate.”... ‘Atlas Shrugged’ is a celebration of life and happiness... undeviating purpose and rationality achieve joy and fulfillment. Parasites who persistently avoid either purpose or reason perish as they should'... Rand had a reputation for living for her own interest. She is said to have seduced her most serious reader, Nathaniel Branden, when he was 24 or 25 and she was at least 50... “She wasn’t a nice person, ” said Darla Moore, vice president of the private investment firm Rainwater Inc. “But what a gift she’s given us.”
blog comments powered by Disqus
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Latest posts (which you might not see on this page)

powered by Blogger | WordPress by Newwpthemes