Arkadi

objectivism and democracy

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Objectivism seems to be incompatible with any form of government, including the democratic one, insofar as the latter cannot, in principle, guarantee unanimity, which is a sine qua non of satisfying the principle of non-initiating force.

(Ironically, it is totalitarian so-called "people's democracy" that was flashing the fake "unanimity" of its "voters")
But if there is no government, how can there be any laws? Who would be validating them?
And if there be no laws, who would decide what is a crime and what is not? Would not privately owned police then be just a tool of arbitrary retaliation used by people against each other?

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Rand was not an anarchist. Most Objectivists aren't either. Have you read “The Nature of Government” in The Virtue of Selfishness?

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Thanks. Have had no chance to read it yet, but did have a chance to meet quite a few anti-taxation (and so anti-government) Objectivists.

Perhaps I'm asking too much, but if it is possible to state briefly how non-anarchism is compatible with NIOF principle, I would appreciate it.

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Thanks. Have had no chance to read it yet, but did have a chance to meet quite a few anti-taxation (and so anti-government) Objectivists.

Perhaps I'm asking too much, but if it is possible to state briefly how non-anarchism is compatible with NIOF principle, I would appreciate it.

Anarchism isn't compatible with human needs and nature which is why you can't really find it. It's quite useless therefore to discuss the compatibility of "non-anarchism" with NIOF. We have and will have government. There's no displacing it as such--only replacing it with some other governance, which in turn will initiate force to some extent. Both Objectivism and (libertarian) anarchy posits perfection hanging off the NIOF political-moral principle. Between the two the honesty is with the anarchists. The basic problem, however, is the impracticality of the utopian state. A personal Utopia might be possible, not a societal one unless it's quite small.

--Brant

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Thanks. Have had no chance to read it yet, but did have a chance to meet quite a few anti-taxation (and so anti-government) Objectivists.

Perhaps I'm asking too much, but if it is possible to state briefly how non-anarchism is compatible with NIOF principle, I would appreciate it.

Anarchism isn't compatible with human needs and nature which is why you can't really find it. It's quite useless therefore to discuss the compatibility of "non-anarchism" with NIOF. We have and will have government. There's no displacing it as such--only replacing it with some other governance, which in turn will initiate force to some extent. Both Objectivism and (libertarian) anarchy posits perfection hanging off the NIOF political-moral principle. Between the two the honesty is with the anarchists. The basic problem, however, is the impracticality of the utopian state. A personal Utopia might be possible, not a societal one unless it's quite small.

--Brant

Agreed. Human nature in this context is mis-defined.

NIOF, while a desirable corollary of individual sovereignty, is not actually the basis for a valid moral system, only a derivative principle. After recognition of the existence of life, a more central principle of human nature is that life must *continue*. This is measured by the continuation, not of the individual, but of a *population* of individuals, one that includes reproduction counteracting the ongoing death (extinction) of the individuals. The smallest population is not the individual, but the *family*, consisting of a minimum of one fertile male human, plus one fertile female human, plus any generations they produce. Without this, there is no human race, no human nature to discuss. The fundamental principle here is not a societally-induced definition of not stepping on each other's toes, but what furthers the survival and the thriving of the family. This includes the initiation of necessary paternalistic (or maternalistic) force against any and all for the protection of the progeny.

NIOF works for the atomized individual who has already chosen extinction, but it is incompatible with one who chooses the continuation of life.

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--Brant

Agreed. Human nature in this context is mis-defined.

NIOF, while a desirable corollary of individual sovereignty, is not actually the basis for a valid moral system, only a derivative principle. After recognition of the existence of life, a more central principle of human nature is that life must *continue*. This is measured by the continuation, not of the individual, but of a *population* of individuals, one that includes reproduction counteracting the ongoing death (extinction) of the individuals. The smallest population is not the individual, but the *family*, consisting of a minimum of one fertile male human, plus one fertile female human, plus any generations they produce. Without this, there is no human race, no human nature to discuss. The fundamental principle here is not a societally-induced definition of not stepping on each other's toes, but what furthers the survival and the thriving of the family. This includes the initiation of necessary paternalistic (or maternalistic) force against any and all for the protection of the progeny.

NIOF works for the atomized individual who has already chosen extinction, but it is incompatible with one who chooses the continuation of life.

Yikes! I can't work this out. Restraining your daughter from dashing over the road, is initiation of force?!

So NIOF doesn't apply to a family, only "atomized individuals"?

The family chooses continuation of life, the individual, extinction...

This is surely not libertarian, is it? (of course not O'ism).

I agree with the first sentence that NIOF is derivative (actually, of the right to life), not a base for morality, but why then does the rest not gel with that?

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Steve--

That's what I learned in high school. I still find it plausible. But do we need Objectivism to (re-)discover the truth of this view?

Arkadi, you may not need Oism to ANSWER the questions, but among Locke, Tucker, Rand, and Rothbard, you're at least getting the questions ASKED. But they're NOT asking ALL the questions.

For example, the retired multi-billionaire arbitrageur Warren Mosler addresses the history and nature of money, and shows that virtually all the historians and all the philosophers throughout history have gotten it all wrong. Money is not a medium of exchange. Money is neither value nor a store of value. Money is not private property. What money is made out of is irrelevant to its use. It's value is derived by the mark placed on it by a parasitic GOVERNMENTAL SOVEREIGN, and it is only a "scoreboard" for controlling (and feeding off) the productive people in society. And the scorekeeper never runs out of points.

So, once we get past the semantics of the "Locke v. Tucker" discussion of the nature of property, i.e., rights in res vs. rights in action, we have to look at the subject of trade, WHO is doing it, HOW, and WHY. I am refocusing the WHY from NIOF-based short-term individual self-interest to long-term non-extinction of the smallest human population, the family. But that just scratches the surface.

Once we settle the subject of progeny and property, it must be understood that they need to be protected. This is where the first ideas of government arise, within the family. And the responsibility for this falls on the shoulders of the parents, and anyone they ask to help. Ultimately, in spite of the claims of those who support the "proposition state", government only represents the interests of parents and responsible kinfolk (a tribe). A government can only rule over ONE people, not an agglomeration of unrelated individuals. This is why new members of a society must be assimilated, through cultural learning and intermarriage. A nation is based on kinship bonds. Our 2nd president, John Adams understood this, and advocated intermarriage of former colonists with the Native Americans (NDNs).

Ancap paradises have actually existed throughout the worlds cultures, under patriarchal/matriarchal guidance, many times crushed by nations run by tyrants and bullies. Sometimes they are destroyed from within, by rebellion by those not directly represented by the parental leadership.

A f'rinstance of the former were the matriarchal clan-based societies of NDNs, until they were out-bred and overrun by European immigrants.

A f'rinstance of the latter is recorded in one of the oldest history texts, the Jewish TaNaCh, known to Christians as the Old Testament. For over 200 years (c.1250 BC to c.1050 BC), the tribes of ancient Israel, all descendants of the patriarch Abraham, had lived as an ancap paradise, without government, ruled by patriarchal guidance and free trade, with no imposed currency. After 200 years, there was an alienation that occurred, resulting in a rebellion against established moral authority. As recorded in the book of first Samuel, chapter 8, the young men came to call for the anointing of a king, in rebellion against their own traditions. The moral authority, the prophet Samuel, proceeded to explain to them how a king would be a tyrant, enslaving them; the king would be a parasite, taking their best of everything. But when they would not back down, Samuel relented and chose Saul of the vicious tribe of Benjamin as their first king. They knew nothing but taxes, war, and/or subservience from that day forward, just as Samuel predicted.

You can bemoan how "impractical" these ancap societies, ruled by moral authority of the family, were, but note that, except for the U.S. Government Empire Corporation, none of the victors over these societies still exist, either.

So, going back to your O/P, the needs of government in a proposition state or under a tyrant are equal, resulting in the initiation of force against the individual to deprive him of some modicum of value, to be converted to the use of some individuals in government. Voluntarism in this context is irrelevant; the power to tax is the power to kill.

But in the context of a nation based on kinship, the needs of government are one's own & one's family's needs, Compulsion is irrelevant; blood is thicker than water.

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--Brant

Agreed. Human nature in this context is mis-defined.

NIOF, while a desirable corollary of individual sovereignty, is not actually the basis for a valid moral system, only a derivative principle. After recognition of the existence of life, a more central principle of human nature is that life must *continue*. This is measured by the continuation, not of the individual, but of a *population* of individuals, one that includes reproduction counteracting the ongoing death (extinction) of the individuals. The smallest population is not the individual, but the *family*, consisting of a minimum of one fertile male human, plus one fertile female human, plus any generations they produce. Without this, there is no human race, no human nature to discuss. The fundamental principle here is not a societally-induced definition of not stepping on each other's toes, but what furthers the survival and the thriving of the family. This includes the initiation of necessary paternalistic (or maternalistic) force against any and all for the protection of the progeny.

NIOF works for the atomized individual who has already chosen extinction, but it is incompatible with one who chooses the continuation of life.

Yikes! I can't work this out. Restraining your daughter from dashing over the road, is initiation of force?!

So NIOF doesn't apply to a family, only "atomized individuals"?

The family chooses continuation of life, the individual, extinction...

This is surely not libertarian, is it? (of course not O'ism).

I agree with the first sentence that NIOF is derivative (actually, of the right to life), not a base for morality, but why then does the rest not gel with that?

Several years ago I realized I was not really some free-spirited libertine libertarian, but in fact, a stodgy old stick-in-the-mud conservative. So, no. Not Oist, Not Libertarian. But not brainwashed, either.

Yes, restraining one's children or other family members from harming themselves can include the initiation of force, a violation of NIOF. So can stopping and preventing others from harming them.

The family doesn't "choose" continuance, nor does the individual "choose" extinction. It is just a fact. Everyone dies. But your life did not come into being in a vacuum, ex nihilo. There is a chain of life dating back to your first ancestors, your family, that made your life possible. If your life is a value, then so is that chain of life that brought it into being. You do not have a choice as to whether you will die, but you do have a choice as to whether to continue that chain of life, whether you will be one of the grandfathers to the next seven generations. Your choices become your valuation and validation of that chain of life, and those of your own life within it as well.

Most people live so that they can see backward two generations, to their grandparents, or forward two generations to their grandchildren. This, too, is part of our nature. And it indicates the truth that we do not replace our parents but our grandparents, and we are replaced, not by our children, but by our grandchildren. So how many fertile kids we have is irrelevant, as long as the number is greater than zero. In order to maintain a population, we need to have enough grandchildren to replace ourselves. But each grandchild has four different grandparents, so in an ideal world, population maintenance requires four grandchildren, shared amongst the four grandparents; as there will always be those who cannot or will not reproduce, a more realistic number would be FIVE grandchildren.

(Likewise our parents replaced our great-grandparents and are replaced by our children; our children will in turn be replaced by our great-grandchildren. Two separate chains, interwoven, skipping every other generation. Nonetheless, the rule of FIVE holds.)

After our grandchildren? Well, by that point, we're usually beyond the point where we can judge or act; we have been replaced; we are irrelevant; we are dead. But until that point, we of course wield whatever familial moral authority we have.

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--Brant

Agreed. Human nature in this context is mis-defined.

NIOF, while a desirable corollary of individual sovereignty, is not actually the basis for a valid moral system, only a derivative principle. After recognition of the existence of life, a more central principle of human nature is that life must *continue*. This is measured by the continuation, not of the individual, but of a *population* of individuals, one that includes reproduction counteracting the ongoing death (extinction) of the individuals. The smallest population is not the individual, but the *family*, consisting of a minimum of one fertile male human, plus one fertile female human, plus any generations they produce. Without this, there is no human race, no human nature to discuss. The fundamental principle here is not a societally-induced definition of not stepping on each other's toes, but what furthers the survival and the thriving of the family. This includes the initiation of necessary paternalistic (or maternalistic) force against any and all for the protection of the progeny.

NIOF works for the atomized individual who has already chosen extinction, but it is incompatible with one who chooses the continuation of life.

Yikes! I can't work this out. Restraining your daughter from dashing over the road, is initiation of force?!

So NIOF doesn't apply to a family, only "atomized individuals"?

The family chooses continuation of life, the individual, extinction...

This is surely not libertarian, is it? (of course not O'ism).

I agree with the first sentence that NIOF is derivative (actually, of the right to life), not a base for morality, but why then does the rest not gel with that?

Several years ago I realized I was not really some free-spirited libertine libertarian, but in fact, a stodgy old stick-in-the-mud conservative. So, no. Not Oist, Not Libertarian. But not brainwashed, either.

Yes, restraining one's children or other family members from harming themselves can include the initiation of force, a violation of NIOF. So can stopping and preventing others from harming them.

The family doesn't "choose" continuance, nor does the individual "choose" extinction. It is just a fact. Everyone dies. But your life did not come into being in a vacuum, ex nihilo. There is a chain of life dating back to your first ancestors, your family, that made your life possible. If your life is a value, then so is that chain of life that brought it into being. You do not have a choice as to whether you will die, but you do have a choice as to whether to continue that chain of life, whether you will be one of the grandfathers to the next seven generations. Your choices become your valuation and validation of that chain of life, and those of your own life within it as well.

Most people live so that they can see backward two generations, to their grandparents, or forward two generations to their grandchildren. This, too, is part of our nature. And it indicates the truth that we do not replace our parents but our grandparents, and we are replaced, not by our children, but by our grandchildren. So how many fertile kids we have is irrelevant, as long as the number is greater than zero. In order to maintain a population, we need to have enough grandchildren to replace ourselves. But each grandchild has four different grandparents, so in an ideal world, population maintenance requires four grandchildren, shared amongst the four grandparents; as there will always be those who cannot or will not reproduce, a more realistic number would be FIVE grandchildren.

(Likewise our parents replaced our great-grandparents and are replaced by our children; our children will in turn be replaced by our great-grandchildren. Two separate chains, interwoven, skipping every other generation. Nonetheless, the rule of FIVE holds.)

After our grandchildren? Well, by that point, we're usually beyond the point where we can judge or act; we have been replaced; we are irrelevant; we are dead. But until that point, we of course wield whatever familial moral authority we have.

Thanks for leveling in detail, Steve.

You don't think as I do, that restraining a child for its safety, or "stopping and preventing others from harming them", hasn't a bearing on NIOF - instead, in fact - fits well under self-defence, or a corollary of?

I'd think that was clear.

To me, it is the type of petty mistake which may result when NIOF is elevated to an acontextual moral imperative.

I'm wondering about what you see as your conservatism, and can't help thinking that there are one or two false alternatives/dichotomies in your explanation.

(First, although you don't say it, I assume that your concern is in extending YOUR own generational "chain of life"; it's not as if most of the world is going to stop having kids and in danger of ever running out of people, after all ...). However, this is simply a *value* you detect, choose and have, one not contradictory to Objectivism, as far as I know. But if another person, an O'ist say, doesn't share that value of child rearing, what's the problem?

It's interesting to speculate on the manner that O'ism intersects with right conservatism - and left liberalism - at times. Usually the accord is coincidental, emanating from different premises which arrive at the same end - especially with personal values and political issues. Then - occasionally - both sets of premises might be equally rational. So not in every department do these ideologies conflict. And like the blind chicken, pragmatism without principle can get it right once in a while.

But with your stress on the family unit as the "smallest" number, and the "atomized individual", I must disagree completely.

"Brainwashed" is amusing. I hardly have to point out that never failing to think for oneself, at the cost even of making many mistakes, is central to the virtue of independence in Objectivism! Not that I claim you learned it there ...

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whYNOT--
But is not "stopping and preventing others from harming them" precisely a justification of paternalist state?

Does not it boil down to extending the notion of "non-adult" so as to include under it the bulk of, de facto irrational, population?

How, then, could such elitism possibly square with AR's individualist philosophy?

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I'm not quite with you yet, Arkadi. The government protects individual rights, which means protection from others' aggressive force. If threatened, before the cops arrive and take over, one has the moral right to whatever degree of self defence one deems necessary for one's child, as for oneself.

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whYNOT--

I'm lost. What has it to do with restraining a child for its safety?

And what if it is not biologically a child but a person with the mind of a child?

Or with the mind of a teenager?

Who determines when "adulthood" starts?

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