I'm posting because I've browsed through here a bit and find that there appear to be some bright people in these forums, and I have a question that I've had difficulty locating a satisfactory answer to. Specifically, the question is about the contradiction between the non-aggression principle ("No man may initiate the use of physical force against another"), and the support of government (which Rand defined as an institution that claims a monopoly on the use of retaliatory force). That is, any group of people that claim a monopoly (and intend to enforce that monopoly) must do so through the initiation of force. Roy Childs Jr. explained it well in his Open Letter to Ayn Rand:
My question involves specifically the logical contradiction in this position, not the argument from apocalypse justifications for holding a contradictory position (i.e. without a government, there would be chaos!).
I look forward to some illuminating responses.. thank you!
Roy Childs' letter is a very interesting read.
I think Ayn Rand had good deal more realism than many anarchists in that she clearly saw that anarchism can't work.
Childs citing Rand:
1. "If a society provided no organized protection against force, it would compel every citizen to go about armed, to turn his home into a fortress, to shoot any strangers approaching his door," etc.
Hard to refute, this argument.
In a 2007 talk, Steven Pinker cites a source where it says that:
..."the timing of the decline of homicide in Europe coincided with the rise of centralized states."
Pinker also points out that eruptions of violence can be seen
"...in zones of anarchy: in failed states, collapsed empires, frontier regions, mafias, street gangs and so on."
Childs's letter starts off with:
Dear Miss Rand:
The purpose of this letter is to convert you to free market anarchism. As far as I can determine, no one has ever pointed out to you in detail the errors in your political philosophy. That is my intention here.
Did Childs seriously believe that pointing out a contradiction in a philosophy would convert its founder to the critic's philosophy?
Does anyone know of a philosopher who abandoned his own philosophy A, switching to philosophy B after philosopher B pointed out contradictions in philosophy A?
Edited by Xray, 07 August 2011 - 12:32 PM.