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Everything posted by rhartford

  1. rhartford


    I am puzzled. Did you mean "genus" as in genus-species? Or something like (a) all of the seven virtues are based on selfishness or (b) selfishness is an aspect of each of the seven? Incidentally, Ayn Rand's Normative Ethics describes rationality as "the master virtue." I don't believe Rand did so, but guess she would have agreed. Maybe the following analogy between values and virtues would be useful: Ultimate goal - Life ("Ultimate value" in Ayn Rand's words) Value goals that benefit life and achieve the ultimate goal: reason, purpose, self-esteem, etc. Ultimate action principle - Selfishness ("Ultimate virtue") Virtue action principles that are constitutive of the utlimate action principle: rationality, independence, etc. In that sense, "The Virtue of Selfishness" seems an appropriate title for the book.
  2. rhartford


    In the introduction to "The Virtue of Selfishness" Rand states, "The choice of the beneficiary of moral values is merely a preliminary or introductory issue in the field of morality." She explains that choice as following from "[one's] nature as man and the function of moral values in human life." (Page x) In the remainder of the book, she names and describes the specific virtues that lead to actions benefiting one's Self. Maybe she viewed "Selfishness" as the genus of all the specific virtues described in the book, and captured that idea in the title.
  3. Who is John Aglialoro? The man who effectively brought the ideas and ideals of a 1000 page novel to the silver screen in 98 minutes. The film I enjoyed last night gives the viewer the essence of the novel. The opening scene at Twentieth Century Motors sets the context and helps make the film understandable to those unfamiliar with Rand’s ideas. John Aglialoro can be, should be, and I expect is very proud of what his 22 years of effort and expense has created. Well done!
  4. My wife's name is, coincidentally, Alice. We would agree that one of us would bid $1 and then share the $19 winnings.
  5. For the past half century, the "possibility of [absolute political freedom]" has had "an effect on [the] reality" of my life. The ideal may not "actually happen," but we will be motivated to advocate for the ideal by gaining rational conviction of the truth of the ideal. And, conviction of the desirability of harmony between theory and practice will motivate action toward the ideal. See www.jstor.org/stable/41560402
  6. I sympathize with your view. That is why I wrote "Objectivity and the Proof of Egoism." www.jstor.org/stable/41551405
  7. I judge both the NIOF and NAP to be inadequate guides to determining what actions ought to be considered "a political freedom" and what actions ought to be considered a violation of "a political freedom." If you have access to JSTOR, the below article details my view of a proper political standard for identifying political freedoms. For “A Political Standard for Absolute Political Freedom” www.jstor.org/stable/41560402
  8. Since 2010 I have been somewhat active in the local Tea Party group in Charlotte. Recently a speaker claimed the group was "too old," and encouraged the group to reach out to the younger generation. In that spirit, I presented a piece with that intent and a local news and opinion website asked to publish it. Although the ideas are certainly familiar to readers of Objectivist Living, I give the link here in case it might be of value in your own outreach efforts. http://pundithouse.com/2013/09/liberty-letters-to-my-grandchild-number-1/
  9. Given John Aglialoro's tenacity over the years, I expect he will reevaluate his "Not likely," The interview referred to above is posted at: http://johnaglialoro.blogspot.com/2012/11/to-win-or-not-to-win.html Aglialoro: . . . . I have to believe that, at the crucial moment, the American people will make the right choice of individual self-worth over the detestable commandment to live for others. Kelley: And if they don't? If Obama is re-elected and we continue down the path of collectivism, what about Atlas Shrugged Part 3? Will there be any point? Aglialoro: Not likely. What is the point, once he is re-elected? It will mean that America has decided to continue down that slippery slope, ultimately down to the dustbin of history where the Greek and Roman empires dwell.
  10. Objectivist Living readers might be interested in the below advocacy ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- TEA with SUGAR We TEA Party activists have much to do. We must convince a broad spectrum of the public that government spending must be drastically reduced. We are rapidly running out of other people’s money. The government support of cronyism and paternalism will stop when the money runs out, but if we put a stop to it now, the painful consequences will be fewer. We must protect ourselves from the catastrophe that will surely come if we continue the spending. Mary Poppins told us that “A spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down.” We need to take our economic medicine. The TEA Party is uniquely capable of making that possible. The colonists were able to unify for the purpose of opposing British oppression. We too can unify to overcome our current government oppression. The colonists produced a document that bore the title, “The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America.” To get that unanimity, history records that Thomas Jefferson had to agree to remove a passage he wrote condemning slavery. Just as the colonists put aside for another day the morally repugnant issue of slavery, we must put aside issues that we each may find morally repugnant so that we may unify the country in pursuit of necessary spending cuts. Protecting our economic freedom is essential to keep government from extending its control over all aspects of our lives. How can the TEA Party gain the unity of the American public for the difficult task of cutting spending? Spending reductions must be foremost among the TEA Party goals. We must engage in, Truly Effective Activism With Spending Under- Going Awesome Reductions If we can achieve TEA with SUGAR, our children and grandchildren will recognize that both we, and the colonists, achieved something awesome.
  11. This thread - and the paper on which it is based - is a serious attempt to promote a society in which political freedom flourishes and slavery is prohibited. The posts above, considering recourse to a desert island or advocacy of the abomination of slavery, represent the antithesis of my goals and the purpose of Objectivist Living. If those posts are meant to be humorous, I certainly do not find them to be so. If meant to be sarcastic, they are devoid of meaningful content. If meant to be serious, they show lack of respect for the serious reader. Please post only thoughtful commentary that advances the goal of freedom. aynrandstudies.com/jars/archives/jars11-1/jars11_1rhartford.pdf
  12. A good dose of good will, in individuals and permeating society, would go a long way to solving the problem of absolute political freedom. Good will, like resolving social conflict, was beyond the scope of my paper, but the paper’s analysis of valuing processes might be useful in discussions of good will and social harmony. My paper also has implications for another issue, the minarchy/anarchy debate. The paper makes clear that absolute political freedom means that one is not free to act on one’s own judgment, if that judgment entails violating the political freedom of another. The paper suggests that the non-initiation of force (NIOF) principle fails as a political standard and derives an alternate standard for identifying political freedoms. Support for anarchism is often based on the contradiction between NIOF and government. That approach is called into question by placing the standard for political freedom in “Protection of voluntary consent along an individual’s entire politically legitimate valuing chain . . .” (p.59) Please download the paper, and if you know of others who may be interested, please send the link to them and encourage them to post the link on websites. aynrandstudies.com/jars/archives/jars11-1/jars11_1rhartford.pdf
  13. Thanks for your comments. My interest is primarily in theory and yours in practice – a healthy division of labor. I appreciate your thoughts on conflict resolution short of requiring force. I should have included a brief mention of mediation and arbitration in the political arena, similar to my brief statement about resolution of social conflict. “Deriving principles for reaching mutual agreement is the role of social philosophy and beyond the scope of this paper, but Ayn Rand’s assertion that agreement is easy ‘when both parties hold as their moral absolute that neither exists for the sake of the other’ (AS 1957, 695) is a valuable guideline.” (p. 46) For those who have not yet downloaded the paper, its goal is stated in the first paragraph: “This paper advocates a society that unfailingly protects political freedoms and unfailingly constrains those who would violate a political freedom. Such is the advocacy of absolute political freedom.” The paper goes on to present a view of the nature of “a political freedom” and how to identify freedoms. Please download the paper, and if you know of others who may be interested, please send the link to them. aynrandstudies.com/jars/archives/jars11-1/jars11_1rhartford.pdf
  14. . . . But it [an agreement] is what everyone seems to want. Do you refuse to implement it, demanding that they all be atheists before they can have an agreement? . . . And what about three or more parties? It is said in arithmetic that mentally we can only operate on two quantities at a time (3 x 9 x 19) must be worked linearly. Is this true in justice? Why? How do you resolve a disagreement among three or more parties? Must you treat them two at a time? Why? People (2 or more) can voluntarily form an agreement that involves taking action that does not benefit each party to the agreement. Although from an Objectivist perspective one should not enter into an agreement that provides one no benefit, the agreement is protected as a “secondary political freedom.” (See p. 51) No third (or nth) party may violate that freedom. My paper is only a foundational sketch. The paper certainly raises questions and I believe there is much analysis to be done that would benefit from keeping the proposed foundation and political standard in mind. I specifically referred to conflicts wherein it is impossible for the two conflicting chosen actions to both take place. For example, I want to take your money to distribute to others and you want to keep it. Necessarily, only one of those actions can, and will, occur. This type of conflict will be “resolved” and deciding which of the actions to protect as a political freedom is a political necessity.
  15. Thanks for the kind words. I must leave to you, and others with your kind of practical background, judgment as to how the theory might aid practice. I am pleased you archived the paper and that you may find it useful in your work. aynrandstudies.com/jars/archives/jars11-1/jars11_1rhartford.pdf
  16. If a conflict cannot be resolved by voluntary agreement between the disputing parties, force will be used to “settle” the issue. “Absolute Political Freedom” means that force is only and always used to support the side entitled to act. I often don’t know which side that is, but I hope readers of this site care about trying to figure out which side in a political conflict is entitled to act. I have simply provided guiding principles I think relevant to that decision making process. I welcome comments that propose alternate principles, but comments that denigrate the attempt to find ways to decide such issues are not useful. "In other areas of philosophy, people can differ and simply go their own way, but in a political context—the arena of force and threat of force—when people differ, force or threat of force will 'resolve' the conflict. This places a high premium on the pursuit of truth and on judgments that are [politically] right." (p. 50-51) aynrandstudies.com/jars/archives/jars11-1/jars11_1rhartford.pdf
  17. I consider my emphasis on egoism to be foundational for the derivation of a standard for identifying political freedoms. That emphasis fills an important gap in Objectivist political theory by making explicit what is too often left implicit. The emphasis on egoism helps clarify the distinction between “ethically valid valuing chains” and “politically legitimate valuing chains,” and that distinction serves as the criterion for identifying "primary political freedoms" and "secondary political freedoms." (See page 57-58) Keeping in mind the egoistic foundation of rights also serves to guide institutional policy for identifying, establishing, and implementing legal rights that protect the valid rights derived from Objectivist political theory. aynrandstudies.com/jars/archives/jars11-1/jars11_1rhartford.pdf
  18. The paper, “A Political Standard for Absolute Political Freedom,” The Journal of Ayn Rand Studies 11, no. 1 (Issue 21, July 2011): 45–62, has been made available as a pdf download at the below link: aynrandstudies.com/jars/archives/jars11-1/jars11_1rhartford.pdf Please use this thread for questions or comments. If you know of others who may be interested, please send the link to them.
  19. If I did not know that one cannot wipe facts out of existence, I would wish no one would be affected by the Social Security program. For many years government took money from me to give to older people. Now the government is taking money from younger people to give to me. The least we receivers of Social Security can do, if we are financially able, is to be a little more generous in support of those organizations that are advocating for personal responsibility for one’s own life and for limiting government to its proper role.
  20. As important as those billboards are, I would like to see the next step. Not only did people build their businesses, but they and their hard-working private-sector employees paid for the infrastructure as well. The fully private sector pays into government coffers, the public sector and government contractors take money out of those coffers (although giving some of it back in taxes.)
  21. Below is a link to a pdf of the actual decision. http://www.washingto...6/decision1.pdf
  22. "We lost on health care. But the Constitution won." Must reading: Randy Barnett's opinion piece in the Washington Post, 6/29/12.
  23. An institution devoted to protection of political freedom only applies force to those who would violate a political freedom, and rightly does so without the violator’s consent. All those acting in accord with political freedom are left alone, and their consent to be left alone is not required. The “huge issue” is not with consent, but with the means to establish and maintain an institution or institutions restricted to exerting force against violators of political freedom.
  24. Let me illustrate the danger that I referred to above. Assuming for the moment that my analysis of the epistemological origin and meaning of the concept “property” is correct, consider what would be meant by the term “inalienable property.” This would be a value created by its owner that could be transferred to another (property) that could not be transferred to another (inalienable). The term is not only an example of the “fallacy of the stolen concept,” but is such a direct contradiction as to constitute an oxymoron. I realize that “inalienable property” has a long history of use, and not all bad. But to use such a logical fallacy in political philosophy leaves one less committed than one should be to the need for placing “rights” on a firm ethical foundation. Ptolemaic ideas were used in astronomy for centuries, and reasonably successfully, but the error of circular celestial orbits led to the ad hoc use of epicycles, slowing the advance of astronomy until questioned by the Copernican paradigm and Kepler’s work. In a similar respect, the centuries of use of the term “inalienable property” has slowed application of modern epistemological tools to the analysis and validation of rights.
  25. The concept “owner” and the concept “property” used in posts on this thread often appeal to usage of those terms by individualist, libertarian, or Objectivist philosophers. But, to understand the meaning of a concept, it is necessary to appeal to the facts of reality that gave rise to the concept; appeal to statements by others provides information but does not directly lead to understanding. Suppose an isolated individual, A, is pursuing goals that will benefit A’s life. A will create values that A will use for his or her benefit and A will dispose of those values as A sees fit. Only if A is performing those identical actions in a social context is it epistemologically important to have terms to distinguish, identify, and associate the cause of the value created, A, and the effect of A’s action, the value created. It is in this social context, where it is possible that control of the use and disposal of a created value can be transferred to another, that it is important to form a concept for identifying the cause and effect relationship, and the two parts of that relationship. The concepts of owner, property, and ownership arise to identify the value creator, the created value, and the relationship between them. Values that one achieves in the building of one’s own character and personality are not transferrable and the concepts of ownership, owner, and property can only be applied to them in a metaphorical sense, maybe nice aesthetically, but dangerous epistemologically.