George H. Smith

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Immanuel Kant, the Social Contract, and the State

Smith explains how Robert Paul Wolff and Immanuel Kant used the same principle of moral autonomy to reach opposite conclusions about the legitimacy of the state.

My Libertarianism.org Essay #207 has been posted.

Ghs

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Immanuel Kant on Property Rights

 Smith discusses how Kant used his theory of property rights to justify government, and how he distinguished the physical possession of an object from the rightful ownership of that object.

My Libertarianism.org Essay #208 has been posted.

Ghs

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On 5/6/2016 at 1:38 PM, George H. Smith said:

Immanuel Kant on Property Rights

 Smith discusses how Kant used his theory of property rights to justify government, and how he distinguished the physical possession of an object from the rightful ownership of that object.

My Libertarianism.org Essay #208 has been posted.

Ghs

I like his theories much better than Locke's.

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1 hour ago, Samson Corwell said:

I like his theories much better than Locke's.

Possession is an observable fact.  Ownership is an abstract fancy. Under abstract ownership "rights"  the "owner" can charge rent on things he (the owner) never made and never created and never labored to bring forth.  All he needs is to purchase a piece of paper that declares him "the owner".   That is why there is a disconnect between abstract ownership and the fact of creation/discovery.   Abstract ownership has created a class of parasitic rent collectors. 
 

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On 5/9/2016 at 10:43 AM, BaalChatzaf said:

Possession is an observable fact.  Ownership is an abstract fancy. Under abstract ownership "rights"  the "owner" can charge rent on things he (the owner) never made and never created and never labored to bring forth.  All he needs is to purchase a piece of paper that declares him "the owner".   That is why there is a disconnect between abstract ownership and the fact of creation/discovery.   Abstract ownership has created a class of parasitic rent collectors. 
 

Not just any piece of paper.  Not all paper is equal, equally profitable, or profitable at all.  Among the firms delisted from the NYSE are: Lehman Brothers, Great A&P Tea Co., Circuit City, Gottschalks, and Sara Lee.  Those are just some of the Big Name firms that have gone under recently.   

See the Top 11 of all time here:

http://www.businessinsider.com/largest-bankruptcies-in-american-history-2011-11?op=1

Knowing what to buy and when to sell require intelligence: knowledge plus insight. Every trader suffers from "the conceit of knowledge" the belief that they have special understanding that will let them beat the market. Some do. Their names stand out in history. It is no different from the millions of people who can change a lightbulb, but not build (or invent) a generator. "All you have to do it take some wire and wrap it around a magnet... and millions of people pay you for doing nothing..."  I am sure that you see the fallacy there.  Your view of finance is just as erroneous.

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On 5/9/2016 at 8:43 AM, BaalChatzaf said:

Possession is an observable fact.  Ownership is an abstract fancy. Under abstract ownership "rights"  the "owner" can charge rent on things he (the owner) never made and never created and never labored to bring forth.  All he needs is to purchase a piece of paper that declares him "the owner".   That is why there is a disconnect between abstract ownership and the fact of creation/discovery.   Abstract ownership has created a class of parasitic rent collectors. 
 

What could possibly be wrong with this statement?

--Brant

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George, it's so good to see you doing so well what you do so well: intellectual history. Keep up the great work!

REB

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10 hours ago, Roger Bissell said:

George, it's so good to see you doing so well what you do so well: intellectual history. Keep up the great work!

REB

Thanks, Roger. I seem to have landed the perfect job in my old age. I can write whatever I want with no interference whatsoever.

Ghs

 

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On 5/16/2016 at 9:14 PM, Brant Gaede said:

What could possibly be wrong with this statement?

--Brant

Not a thing. The statement appears to describe what is seen and experienced.  

Some abstract ownership connects and tallies with effort,  arranging or creating.  Some  does not. 

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22 minutes ago, BaalChatzaf said:

Not a thing. The statement appears to describe what is seen and experienced.  

Some abstract ownership connects and tallies with effort,  arranging or creating.  Some  does not. 

It reads Marxist.

--Brant

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3 hours ago, Brant Gaede said:

It reads Marxist.

--Brant

Those who will see Marxism under their beds will find Marxism under their beds.  

I stick with what is observable.  I can observe possession and control of assets.  People lock their assets up.  They also buy and sell them.  That is possession manifest.  Ownership is a legal abstraction.  One can own something one has never set eyes or hand upon. 

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http://www.libertarianism.org/columns/immanuel-kant-our-duty-obey-government

 

Immanuel Kant on Our Duty to Obey Government

 

Smith explains Kant’s basic justification of government and why he opposed the rights of resistance and revolution.

 

My Libertarianim.org Essay #209 has been posted. This essay was posted on Monday. It should have been posted on the previous Friday, but it proved difficult to write so I was unable to finish it on time.

 

Ghs

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20 hours ago, George H. Smith said:

Immanuel Kant on Our Duty to Obey Government

 

Smith explains Kant’s basic justification of government and why he opposed the rights of resistance and revolution.

 

My Libertarianism.org Essay #209 has been posted. This essay was posted on Monday. It should have been posted on the previous Friday, but it proved difficult to write so I was unable to finish it on time.

 

George, I particularly appreciate how you consistently present the strongest arguments for ideas you consider to be wrong. If enough libertarians and Objectivists, not to mention conservatives and liberals, would approach ideas in this way, our intellectual and cultural prospects would be much brighter!

I know it's important to keep rolling these essays out on schedule, but you don't have to apologize to us! I, for one, am grateful to read your thoughts whenever you have some to share. You're always thought-provoking. :cool:

REB

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Roger,

I very much appreciate your comments. Unfortunately but understandably, writing a substantive essay every week, week after week for over 4-1/2 years now (209 essays so far), can take its toll, and my mind sometimes goes on strike. This seems to be one of those times when my mind digs in its heels and refuses to move. I am therefore skipping the essay for this week. I need to rest up a bit before getting back to the grind.

Ghs

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On 4/1/2016 at 11:39 AM, George H. Smith said:

Some Personal Reflections on Ayn Rand

Smith discusses some good and bad influences that Ayn Rand’s ideas had on his own intellectual development.

My Libertarianism.org Essay #203 has been posted.

 

I commented on this previously a couple of months ago, but there is a discussion of the essay on Facebook in the Neo-Liberal Drawing Room, and since I cannot trust that my comments will not be deleted, I thought that I'd share them here.

What the author is pointing to is the paradox of referring to someone (Aristotle) as the "father of individualism," when he held statist-collectivist political ideas - which, if you think about it, is no more perplexing than referring to Kant as the "father of collectivism," when he upheld constitutional government and individual rights. In each case, the claim is made by some Objectivists that what matters in the promotion of political freedom is not a thinker's political views, but his epistemology - rational in Aristotle's case, irrational in Kant's. The author, by contrast, goes on in separate articles to show that the connection between a thinker's epistemology and the political views drawn from them is not straightforward, either in that thinker or those who come after. To conclude, I'll just say that if Aristotle was the father of individualism, it was his unacknowledged, bastard child, one that he may or may have not acknowledged if he had been held to account for his having fathered it - just as Kant, demonized by some Objectivists as being the "most evil man in history," may well have not accepted the indictment that he is to blame for communism and fascism.

Here is a link to the discussion: https://www.facebook.com/groups/876936259052288/1043601959052383/?notif_t=group_activity&notif_id=1464881087113823 

REB

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Immanuel Kant on Spontaneous Order

 

Smith explain Kant’s notion of the “unsocial sociability” of human nature, and how these antagonistic tendencies generate human progress.

 

My Libertarianism.org Essay #210 has been posted. Back in the saddle again!

 

Ghs

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Kant seems so reasonable on so many issues (including this one). It's hard to integrate that with the idea that he is "the most evil man in history." :wink: 

REB

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28 minutes ago, Roger Bissell said:

Kant seems so reasonable on so many issues (including this one). It's hard to integrate that with the idea that he is "the most evil man in history." :wink: 

REB

Yeah, I know what you mean. I've had the same problem. 8-)

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George, I'll bet you've commented on just about everything that a libertarian or Objectivist might want to know about Immanuel Kant.

Wait! What about his sense of humor? (Huh? Kant had a sense of humor? Yup. And his explanation of humor was surprisingly similar to that of Arthur Koestler in The Act of Creation, 1964.)

REB

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It has been very fun and informative reading George's pieces on Kant, and comparing them to the Objectivist caricature of Kant.

J

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On 2/5/2016 at 2:41 PM, George H. Smith said:

Immanuel Kant and Nazism

Was Kant somehow responsible for the rise of Nazism? Smith explores two points of view on this issue. This essay discusses the views of Ayn Rand and Leonard Peikoff on Kant.

Ghs

These essays are wonderful for all of the obvious reasons, and one perhaps more subtle as well:  GHS is an outstanding writer.   When discussing complicated issues, the presence of outstanding, crystal-clear writing has a multiplier effect in helping others to understand those issues.

Thank you George.

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On 6/21/2016 at 2:29 PM, PDS said:
On 2/5/2016 at 2:41 PM, George H. Smith said:

Immanuel Kant and Nazism

Was Kant somehow responsible for the rise of Nazism? Smith explores two points of view on this issue. This essay discusses the views of Ayn Rand and Leonard Peikoff on Kant.

Ghs

These essays are wonderful for all of the obvious reasons, and one perhaps more subtle as well:  GHS is an outstanding writer.   When discussing complicated issues, the presence of outstanding, crystal-clear writing has a multiplier effect in helping others to understand those issues.

Thank you George.

Yes, I second that. And he's been doing this - crystal-clear writing about complicated issues - for over forty years! Amazing. :cool:

REB

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9 minutes ago, Roger Bissell said:

Yes, I second that. And he's been doing this - crystal-clear writing about complicated issues - for over forty years! Amazing. :cool:

REB

We are very fortunate to have GHS  aboard  this "ship"  with us....

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