The following is a response by MCT
So, you're for institutionalized violence. I think that is immoral. I think you do not understand the concept of rational self-interest, if you are asking if individuals include women and handicapped people. I think you, like so many others, are emotionally swayed by need and therefore value it more than production. Need is not a value. And equality is not possible. Money ceases to have value if you give it away based on need. You have never seen laissez-faire capitalism. Every failure of the system is due to government intervention or a government sanctioned support of the federal reserve bank.
And what scrutiny are you referring to? You do not have a proper foundation to even have an opinion on AR's philosophy, as you do not yet fully grasp even the law of identity, let alone more than a few additional concepts, which are basic and foundational, and need to be understood to even see why a limited government that values individual rights is moral. How can you have moral certainty and not even understand the nature of concept formation and knowledge acquisition? You use metaphor as a basis of knowledge. I think if we are talking about what we can know about the metaphysical nature of reality and the epistemological nature of the mind, we can have knowledge about morality, which is objective and based on the structure of our mind, and how individuals are of concern in morality, since morality is a single person's guide to life. When you group people together and talk about moral decisions, you are talking metaphor. These people might be alike in some ways, but are necessarily different and unequal in others. The only thing we share in terms of morality is our singular consciousness and our need to operate in an autonomous rational way to be happy. The nature of humans and happiness is such that you need to obtain happiness by achieving your own goals. It does not help to give out money, after it goes through the necessarily corrupt lobbyists, governmental officials and intermediaries, to the needy without discrimination or judgment. Giving out money based on need fosters and grows the welfare state.The organization of institutionalized violence is not equipped to help people make more of themselves.
The sheer number of patients I have seen in the emergency department who use it as their primary care office because we cannot turn them away is nothing less than an immense and horrific waste of time and money, that doesn't help the people that use the system this way. And they look at me like I'm an asshole, when I question how 2 seconds ago they told me that 2 days ago they were walking, talking, thinking, speaking, eating, drinking, peeing and pooping normally and that they collect disability or unemployment for a living, because they were in a car accident 15 years ago and have chronic back pain that they do not see a doctor for or know the status of. They have multiple children, have IPhones, tatoos, piercings, new shoes, gold teeth, nails did and what-not talking about how, in this economy, they can't find a job. Yeah right, Walmart and McDonalds stop hiring? They can jump up and down, text and laugh, but they can't find a job or aren't able to work. Thousands, I've seen personally, thousands, in my so far very short career as an ER doc.
Yeah, the rich are so because they deserve it; they earned it. And with their own labor, not with that of their employees, the employess get paid for their work. An agreed upon wage is not exploitation. Soliciting the government for other people's money is exploitation. Private enterprise can do everything that government can do and better, save for the monopolization of retaliatory force, the government's only proper function. Nothing wrong with charity or philanthropy, but sacrifice is evil, theft by mob rule is evil.
Profit trumping people is just about the worst false dichotomy I have ever heard. People are best left to earn what they can, based on their ability. Paying people for their need, out of the pockets of those who earn it, creates this shit we have here. Saying that free markets and free trade aren't free is ignoring the very meaning of them. One, they have never existed. Government money went into education super early in America's history. Thomas Jefferson's idea. Government intervention has increased ever since. And then when the robber barons and bankers got together with the government in the early 20th century, created the Fed. And we have the industrial-military complex. All our major impedance to progress is because of too much government. Not, not enough. Two, the whole concept of political freedom is that the only thing we all have in common is our autonomous nature, to be free is to be free of the force of another. The complex processes of an economy or trade between autonomous entities cannot be improved upon by penalizing profit and subsidizing welfare. This free society certainly won't work well for those who wish to live off of others, but less people in the economy willing to work would be unsuccessful, if they could keep their earnings and get paid for what they do. And we don't need the government for those who are truly unfortunate enough to not be able to or willing to fend for themselves. Your ideas of people's limitations and what ever excuse to value need and suffering instead of achievement and productivity are moot in a free society with a very small government.
Whether you wish to believe it or not, you do not have a choice about it, your moral purpose of your life is your own personal happiness. It is the only thing that is an ends in itself. All other values are obtained for your happiness, even when you are giving your last piece of bread to your child. Altruism is a fallacy and perceived rational self-interest is actually what happens inside the human brain. Regardless of what you think your moral code is.
Reply by Jason Spicer
Oh, my. MCT, I'm with you when you assert that the probability of the impossible is precisely 0.0%. What else could it be? And all the definitions of god I've ever seen are clearly logically impossible. But I'm afraid you've jumped the shark with Ayn Rand. If she had stuck with Objectivism as a philosophy of epistemology, she might have been all right, but her megalomania and her utter, swinish contempt for her fellow humans did her in as a moral philosopher. It must have been tough to have lived under Stalin's fist, but she rather drastically overcompensated in a way that's largely indistinguishable from the regime she hated so much.
Rand's grasp of healthy human nature was nonexistent. All the supposedly sympathetic characters in her novels were megalomaniacal narcissistic creeps, just like her. You appear to be some sort of doctor. Watch the Mike Wallace interview with her and tell me she wasn't a certifiable sociopath.
No disrespect to any ER professional, but an ER hardly provides a statistically valid sampling of humanity from which to draw any conclusions about much besides health issues. Even then, anecdotal recall is simply not a valid research methodology.
Taxation is not theft, regardless of how often libertarians (feudalists) say that it is. Libertarianism is not capable of producing a utopia, because it is just another name for feudalism. In any anarchic social system, gangs inevitably form around strongmen and then you just have the same old shit that's been tried for most of human history and found severely wanting. Ask yourself why libertarianism has never actually been observed in the wild, and the obvious answer is because throughout history we have called that kind of arrangement feudalism.
Our problem now is not too much government, it is too much corporate power. There can be no such thing as a truly free market, because it is never the case that one participant has exactly the same amount of market power as another participant. In particular, producers always hold more cards than consumers. Consumers are always at a disadvantage, so power inevitably concentrates in the hands of a few, leading to repressive regimes every bit as unresponsive to the concerns of the little guy as Stalinism was. By ignoring inequalities in market power, you retreat into a libertarian fantasy.
And I'm sorry, but this is just a laughable statement: "All our major impedance to progress is because of too much government." Utter bilge. Corporations and wealthy people have caused plenty of problems and tend to do so in proportion to how much market power they have.
It's also laughable to claim that the rich are so because they earned it and deserve it. While this may be partially true in some cases, all rich people are standing on the shoulders of others, their parents, teachers, employees, road-builders, swindle victims, etc. People do not exist in a vacuum. Economic actors do not act in a vacuum. Rich people get rich because of other people, even if they treat those other people honorably to a fault.
Morality is about people living together. Morality doesn't exist when one person is considered in isolation. One person's happiness, therefore, cannot be the basis of morality. Morality is all about human interaction, so other human's needs must be taken into account. Libertarianism (feudalism) is a moral and political failure from the outset, because it can never satisfy the needs of more than a tiny percentage of humanity. Whether you wish to believe it or not, we are all in this together. Many people behave irresponsibly by leeching off the system (from small time welfare queens to corproate welfare queens to outright Ponzi schemers). Many others behave irresponsibly by rejecting the very idea of compassion.
I have no doubt that I will never be able to sway you from your position on this, MCT, but you're pretty much in the wrong line of work if you're a fan of Ayn Rand.
Reply by MCT
The Mike Wallace interviews were my very first introduction to AR actually. And I was very impressed with her intellectual honesty. And her appeal to reason instead of emotion. And I agree with almost everything she says in those videos. Most people's arguments against her stem on how she is mean and selfish. They call her, or her characters narcissistic, egomaniacal and so on. Her opponents rail in insult from her being swinish to selfish to uncaring as if she created suffering and is responsible for it. I understand that life can be painful, but doing more harm after that, by frocefully, yes under the very real threat of incarceration, forcefully taking money from those who make the world a better place. Her opponents appeal to compassion really is simply just a demonstration of negative emotions that stem from not being able to integrate the proper meaning of selfishness.
A narcissistic person has a personality disorder and the problem is that they think of themselves only and not in how they relate to others. They are unaware of their disorder. The proper objective understanding of the concepts of selfishness and rational self-interest are within a contextual framework that involves fair interaction with other people. That's the whole point. People are most moral, free, happy, when they are not forced to do anything by others. Free trade is based on the relationship between individuals and why the government just can't help, morally and actually. Objectivism explicitly delineates its rational self-interested nature, it is not narcissistic.
I think what you understand about the socioeconomic issues in an emergency room could probably just about fit into the Grand Canyon. First of all, every walk of life at some point enters the emergency room. Those who take care of themselves, whose parents decided to get an education or financial stability before having ten kids, who brush their teeth daily, who have medical insurance, who go to their follow up appointments, who have a primary care doctor, likely come less, but they do come. I originally went into emergency medicine for the emergencies, which these people come in with, regardless of their moral choices in life or how fortunate they are. You can't avoid going to the ER. And then there is a very large group of people, empowered by the US government, to use this system to make their own lives worse, because they can and don't know any better. We are literally paying millions of Americans to sit on their asses and make bad choices. There is no need for a prospective double-blinded randomized study to accurately assert that this colossal fail is because of bad governmental policy. I am a member of the American College of Emergency Physicians and have spent time in many ER's throughout the country and have been to conferences throughout the country as well, where it is openly discussed as a drain on society. So, I know that this phenomenon is ubiquitous in every town in America that is bigger than a bread-basket. That's what you people are buying with my money. I am not saying that there aren't a few thousand people who do good with whatever support is stolen from the hard-working people of this country, but that it doesn't matter. It is institutionalized aggression.
You do not have the higher moral ground, when it is you, the socialist, that must, first and foremost, violate the rights of one person to give to another. It is most certainly theft, institutionalized, sure, but theft nonetheless, at a very real threat of violence.
I am not for feudalism. I am for a small government that is only concerned with individual rights. It is there to uphold them. Every single individual's rights as an individual. You don't get more points for being part of a particular group. It is the institution of monopolization of retaliatory force. It is very clearly not feudalism and not anarchy. Maybe you need to learn a little bit more about egoism and capitalism. Because, so far, I'm 'hearing' that AR's ideas are mean, people with money are mean and corporations are mean because you think you can divide groups of people arbitrarily and say that it is the the producers fault and responsibility to do something about the arbitrary dichotomies you make. People will be mean sometimes, that's one thing, institutionalizing the government's ability to rape the rich and then 'get into bed' with some other rich people/corporation while claiming it is a lack of taxes that is the cause of the people's misery and not the government itself, is just corrupt and immoral, but apparently a perfect smoke screen for people like you.
These groups of people you claim the producers are standing on the shoulders of are abstract and metaphorical, not real like every single individual. There is no hive mind, that is an oxymoron, there is no social consciousness, that to makes no sense. Only individuals think and decide, not groups. The shoulder metaphor is just that. The teachers and whoever got paid for their work. They don't get more pay, because you think they should have it. Economic interaction entails making agreements and then honoring them. You want whoever is less successful in life to get more than their fair share of the trade. You'll agree to work for a wage and then demand more from other people that earned more. It is pathetic and we humans, well some of us, are better than that and don't need the government to foster the size of groups of large numbers of need and 'entitled' people. It does not matter that they are needed to purchase the goods the producer makes, they got the goods, when they bought them, they don't morally get more after because they are a consumer. Feudalism, anarchy, classes, all arbitrary metaphorical likes, not actual descriptions of anything but, government by land owner, no government at all and simple statistics, classes don't exist like people do.
Oppressive are such only through government assistance, not because of fair trade. People will, by definition, always be unequal. The only way to make as fair as possible is to respect everyone's rights the same, not some more than others dependent on their need and ability.
Morality most certainly concerns the individual. Every moral decision ever made was made by an individual and in respect to their perceived self interest. If you were alone on a desert island, you would still need a set of rules to guide your decision making process.
We really can do better than institutionalizing violence. Private business, charity, philanthropy and so on can do anything a government can and should other than keeping the peace, based on our personal freedom.
I do not reject compassion. Respecting everyone's individual rights to their own life is more compassionate that robbing the rich to give to the poor. The poor cannot be helped by giving them little government assistances here and there. They can only achieve their own happiness. It cannot be bought. But their dependence on welfare can be enabled. And as for my job, I went into and still value emergency medicine immensely because of the knowledge, experience and money that I gain in return. It just so happens that I also value greatly the personal fulfillment I get in being able to help many people on a regular basis in the most difficult times in their lives. My patient's emotional well-being is very important to me. This is not a secret to those I work with. I love my job and this is very consistent with an egoistic personal philosophy and a necessarily egoist morality.
Reply by Jason Spicer
Sorry, MCT, but that's all just bullshit rationalization. We have a social contract. Taxation is how we pay for it. In a democracy, we get to help decide how to allocate the taxes. You can call it theft until you're blue in the face, but grownups know it isn't theft. And successful people in any economy very much depend on actual, real people: parents, teachers, customers, employees, etc, etc, etc. Nobody at all gets anywhere in life without lots of help from lots of people, not anywhere close to all of it compensated financially. It is seriously delusional to suggest otherwise. The self-made man is a pure myth.
And libertarianism is precisely feudalism. For all the tripe I've heard spewed in defense of libertarian ideals, I've never once heard anybody explain how it would actually work in practice without a powerful government there to enforce contracts, keep the peace, protect individuals and small groups from predation by larger or more powerful individuals or groups, and, hey! That sounds kinda like big government!
And again, if libertarianism is such a great idea, so workable in practice, why has it never been observed in the wild? Surely it can't be because of all of us powerless welfare recipient leeches, unworthy to lick the boots of the deserving. No, it has never been observed because it always turns into feudalism. It really is sort of amazing that libertarians refuse to admit that any such system in practice is no more than a collection of fiefdoms with powerful people at the top of each one. All the little guys would have to swear allegiance to one of the big boys or be gobbled up. Government would simply do the bidding of the oligarchs. Come to think of it, that's kinda what we have now. You're just irritable because we actually have instituted your glorious dystopia and you don't like it, because it doesn't work the way you wanted, or because you don't happen to be one of the powerful. I guess you don't deserve it.
In any event, this has just about zero to do with the thread topic. Ayn Rand had no rational link from atheism to anarcho-capitalism, and neither do we.
Reply by MCT
Feelings is all I'm getting from you.
I don't go from atheism to capitalism. I get to atheism and capitalism and egoism by use of reason after looking at and describe what actually is, instead of what it feels like or seems like or what I would want it to be. You continually refuse to define your concepts objectively. You throw extra meanings that are not essential and omit ones that are. Libertarians are not the same thing as anarchists. Anarchy is no government. Libertarians might, as I do, think that the appropriate government is a small existent government that does, in fact uphold laws that would stop individuals and groups of individuals, like corporations or needy socialists from gaining favor with the government or from hurting each other. Cops, military and law courts as well as more laws and government on local levels. Under this system, which again includes laws and a government, making it different from and not anarchy, would retaliate with force against anybody violating the individual rights of another person. This does not however include one person's perceived right to another person's money.
Separation of church and state and separation of economy and state is the only moral use of a government. Asking the organization that specializes in the monopolization of retaliatory force to redistribute wealth, teach our children and take care of our sick is asking for disaster. This is your dystopia, not mine.
You say taxes are not theft, but again fail to define theft and taxes objectively. Taxes are the confiscation of personal property, in my case, against my will at the threat of violence from the mob empowered government. They are not voluntary. The taking of my earned money against my will is theft/robbery. That is the meaning of the words. The only social contract we have is that I will pay what you vote away from me, so I can stay out of jail, because the majority want it that way. There is no unspoken contract. I do not agree that I have a social responsibility to take care of anybody. As I said, I have plenty of compassion and enjoy helping people and giving to charities of my choosing, but throwing money at the government to satisfy some perceived unfairness by varying groups of people is not compassionate. It's wasteful. In fact, giving money to people without discrimination is more damaging than simply throwing it down the drain. All you are purchasing is poverty.
Feudalism is a description of medieval life revolving around lords and fiefs. It is inaccurate and annoying to repeatedly call it that. At least, for posterity on this thread, for your own sake, admit that you use metaphor as a basis for conviction. Feudalism of hundreds of years ago might be like other forms of government, but is not the same as any, lest it too would be called feudalism. A libertarian society would not allow rule by the few or land-owners. Every single individual would have the same rights under a libertarian society. The person with 150 acres in southern California has the same rights as a person renting a shack in the ghetto. And in this society, people would be paid a dollar for every dollar they earn, they would get to keep that dollar and pay for services that they use, like roads, healthcare, education, citizenship, charity, whatever, as long as it didn't directly involve violating another's individual rights.
Egoistic morality and individual rights do not imply that people are alone or that they can make a million dollars without the fair trade and voluntary cooperation of other people, but it does not require exploitation, coercion and force. People, in a free society, could buy what they want and producers use that money, that was traded for a good, to make profit. The producer does not then need to pay other people in addition for being alive and in the same society, unless of course you value sacrifice and need over liberty and production. All the help a person gets is either paid for or given voluntarily. We do not owe each other anything for being alive. I do not owe you anything, but respect for your autonomous and sentient nature. I do not owe you because you may have less than I or 'need' more than I. If you want more, you should either earn it or ask for it, but not demand it by force. And if you vote so that the government comes and threatens me with jail time or taxes, then there is our social contract. Coercion.
Libertarianism, or a political structure, organizing how civilized people interact in society cannot be found in the wild, because, one, it would cease to be the wild with a civilization on top of it, but simply because people have not been able to be intellectually honest enough to face rationality. Your concern is like asking, around 500BC why, if democracy is so great, why hasn't it been seen. Well, because people are emotional animals and are only now waking up to reason. It is a slow process.
How are things?
I always enjoy reading your posts.
I agree with the premise of libertarianism.
how is the libertarian government/state to be funded if it isn't funded through a coercive tax. If the libertarian system is self funded and self regulated then fine. But if the libertarian system wants protection from the state, how is this state protection to be funded?
Reply by MCT
Hey, thanks. Things? Well, I'm happy and successful despite being a slave to the "99%".
Paid citizenship, fee for service and voluntary taxation seem very reasonable to me. Private enterprise, charity and philanthropy, I think, can do the rest. And who's to say the government can't make money otherwise, say providing additional related services like construction, man-power, tech, security? At any rate, the socialists should be trying to figure new ways to fund the causes they deem important rather than insisting that the cumbersome inefficient war machine that is the government take it from the producers and disburse it haphazardly and indiscriminately, perpetuating and growing the welfare state. There is no need for coercion of any kind for humans to be moral and happy. Only monopolization of retaliatory force. The funding is there. We smart humans can figure out how to get without coercion. If we trust our honest intellect over our feelings, that is.
I like both Socialism and Libertarianism.
Socialism for our first phase of life, until we reach adulthood. The reason for this is that we should all be guaranteed an education, medical services, clean drinking water, during our initial phase of life.
After that, Libertarianism. Once we become adults, we should all be able to live life how we wish and make our own decisions and live by them.
But we have moved right off topic here, we're supposed to be discussing gods no existence.
Reply by MCT
Why should we all be guaranteed anything? And shouldn't only the people that think things should be guaranteed pay for it? That first phase you are talking about should be guaranteed by the parents. People should not be having kids before they can provide for them. Shouldn't it be their responsibility? I did not ask for all of the millions of kids, and adults, I am forced to help take care of. And I don't want to take responsibility for them.
but you live in australia....I thought we had an Idiocracy at the moment, Given our population of beer drinking, football cheering, idiots, how do you have any hope for the implementation of any system that does not work with the 99 percent of fools?
@MCT.....What do you call civilization?
Also our evolutionary brains are hard wired to be altruistic.
I always ask a libertarian, what if no one volunteers to pay taxes.
Free markets that are not restrained will fail. History has shown us that.
Civilization is people living in cooperation with attempts at subordinating society to moral law. And history, as a whole, shows us that prosperity follows from individual freedom.
Our evolutionary brains are hard wired to act in our rational self interest, which often includes cooperation and compassion. In every single act that stems from a moral decision, the chooser is always the final arbiter, they must and do ask themselves if some action is what they want to do.
There are many benefits that one would get for paid citizenship and fees for services as well as volunteerism. I would volunteer. That's more than no one.
"Free markets that are not restrained will fail. History has shown us that."
-This is an abject lie. You do not know this. There has never been a free market. You think that you have proof that a libertarian society would fall apart into few powerful people ruling over many in squalor. Not true. I think the reason you think this is because of what you have been told. Of course the people that want your vote for power, from both the right and the left, are going to bicker over what statistic has changed over the last 10, 20 or 30 years and use it as evidence to argue their point. You can attempt to temporarily change the economy one way or another and may often have an effect, but they are really just putting their fingers in a dike to have another leak spring up and as long as we are rewarding need, penalizing productivity, micromanaging lives and financing it with dept, it will continue its downfall from a time long ago since shortly after the inception of this supposedly free country. Groups of people began soliciting and receiving special interest from the federal government in the 18th century.