Defending Atlas Shrugged and Objectivism – Part One

I promised everyone that this particular article would be coming, and as promised, I deliver part one of it to you this evening. I initially thought that this would be a single article. As I began to write, I realized that it could not be. Therefore, I am offering the defense of Atlas Shrugged as part one this evening. Tomorrow, part two will publish and will focus on Objectivism. As many of you are well aware, I am a big fan of the fictional story, Atlas Shrugged, by Ayn Rand. I know that there are plenty of opponents that frequent the site and I have allowed them to take their little shots at my favorite piece of fiction. And I will grant that some of those shots are deserved. But many of them are not. Just as opposed is the philosophy behind the novel, objectivism. What I intend to do this evening is offer my defense of Atlas Shrugged, followed tomorrow by my defense of objectivism. I then open the topic for debate. And I really do open it for debate. I want to hear what others think and debate the ideas honestly. I am never unmovable in my positions. And there are plenty of smart people who frequent SUFA who may just shake my belief tree a little. I guess we will see.

Allow me to start by pointing out that I am not a believer that the story of Atlas Shrugged is meant to be taken literally, or that I believe that it would happen just as the book lays out. There are many great works of fiction out there that lay out an idealistic storyline, meant to spur rational thought, rather than being taken as a step by step plan of realistic action. Orwell’s 1984 comes to mind. The concept of 1984 is sound. A government out of control. Oppression of the population. Would it occur exactly as in the book? Of course not. But the concept remains brilliant, and more important, relevant. Starship Troopers is another book that fits this mold. Taken literally, it is hogwash. But taken as a statement on society and the perils of sacrificing individualism for citizenship, it is brilliant. Atlas Shrugged is no different. It is an unrealistic story that is meant to convey the concept of the objectivist philosophy. And it does a great job of doing so.

There are many problems with attempting to read the story as a literal translation. Yet this doesn’t stop most detractors from childishly relating the material in exactly that way. Go out to the net and read the reviews from folks who are simply opposed to the philosophy behind Rand’s story. They talk about the literal things and attempt to tear the story down based on that. A few examples….

  • There are many who spend a great deal of time relating that John Galt is a sadist or a rapist for his treatment of Dagny Taggart. This is simply foolish. What does this have to do with the story being told? What does this have to do with the philosophy behind the story? NOTHING. But portraying the story’s main protagonist as a rapist or a sadist is easier than arguing the principles behind his philosophy. It’s like arguing that Luke Skywalker is a mass murderer for blowing up the Death Star. If you are arguing that, you completely missed the point…. and you are more of a nerd than the Star Wars folks are (and easy because I am one of them).
  • There are many who point to the length of the speech made by Galt over the radio, which is roughly 60 pages in the book, as unrealistic and, more important, not able to be understood by the average listeners in Rand’s fictional world. They point out that most people in the country would have turned the speech off shortly after it began because they couldn’t understand the concepts that Galt was discussing. I say hogwash. If Galt were the folk hero he is made out to be, they wouldn’t have turned it off for the world, and they would have hung on every word. Further, the speech is for the reader, not the fictional people of Rand’s world. This is another attempt to ignore the points.
  • The biggest argument that I hear is that it is ridiculous to think that the “men of the mind” disappearing would disable the world. In the book, men cannot complete simple tasks, such as re-wiring a generator, without the smart guys sticking around. Again, you are missing the concept that Rand was attempting to get across. The point of the book was that when the producers roll out, the creative minds are what is missing in society, those who would take action on creative ideas. The concept is not that “workers” are incapable of doing simple tasks, but instead the resources and creativity would dry up, leaving workers with little to work with. Would other producers step forward? Perhaps. But arguing this point is again simply avoiding talking about the concept.
  • Another ridiculous argument is that the over-reaching technologies and concepts in the storyline are not realistic. For example, a static electricity motor powering the entire valley is impossible. This again ignores the concepts behind the story. It matters not what the engine really was, only what it represents. Galt inventing a nuclear powered reactor would have served the same purpose. The type of the engine didn’t matter. The concept of the engine and the mind that created it was the point.
  • One of the arguments against Atlas Shrugged that I hear most often is that the story assumes unlimited resources and breaks down completely when the reality of limited resources is applied. They opine about the fact that perhaps natives in Galt’s Gulch would dislike the Galt clans use of their lands or that a foreign power would be interested in the technology that Galt’s crew has created and would invade Galt’s Gulch unhampered to take it. Therefore the book is junk. This is a prime example of the infantile analysis from those who simply don’t like, or else cannot comprehend, the message behind the storyline.

I could continue to point out the arguments of others against Atlas Shrugged. But I think you all get my point. There are arguments against details in the story, but they all simply ignore the over-arching storyline. They miss the point. They focus on the little things that are wrong in the story, while missing completely a fact that they don’t want to admit….

Ayn Rand was largely correct in what she presented in the story when talking about government intervention and collectivism and their negative unintended consequences.

A few things that Rand got right should be noted, in my opinion.

First, Rand was able to work into the storyline the fall of Twentieth Century Motor Company, Galt’s former employer. The company decided that they would move towards a model that is essentially a socialist/communist model. Every worker would contribute based on their ability, and would be compensated based on their need. Sound familiar. The idea, as presented by the idealistic company owners, was that no one would be allowed to fall through the cracks. The collectivist model would ensure prosperity for all. The workers all voted for the plan based on vague promises and catch-phrases. From the man telling the story in the book:

“None of us knew just how the plan would work, but every one of us thought that the next fellow knew it. And if anybody had doubts, he … kept his mouth shut – because they made it sound like anyone who’d oppose the plan was a child-killer at heart and less than a human being.”

Sound familiar? Kind of like that Hopey Changy plan voters applauded a few years ago. And the result? The company fails miserably, because the plan of collectivism leads inevitably to a system that encourages laziness and lying and punishes success. Kind of like what happened in the Soviet Union or other countries that have tried that plan on a national level.

Second, Rand has the uncanny ability to point out exactly how government intervention into business undermines the industry as a whole. Throughout the book, government passes legislation that is voiced as necessary for the common good, only to find that it weakens society as a whole and enriches only the “looters”. For example, the “Anti-Dog-Eat-Dog Rule” passed by the railroad industry gives them the authority to protect established railroads from new competition. The idea is that limited resources of established companies shouldn’t be stretched by defending against new entry in the market.  This is great if you care about protecting established companies from fresh and innovative new ones, but not if you care about providing the consumer with the best service and prices. That’s just one example. There are lots more in the book just like it.

Third, the story focuses a great deal on Hank Reardon, a steel man. Rand does a great job of showing the time, passion, ingenuity, and brilliance that goes into creating something new in the marketplace. Reardon spends years working on what became known as Readon Steel, a metal that was stronger and lighter than steel. When he is thwarted by naysayers, it is he and Dagny Taggert who risk the capital and their reputations in order to prove to the world that Reardon Steel is a quality product. And then the government forces Galt to give up his rights around what he invented in order to serve the public good. They tell him who he can sell it to, and how much he can charge. They control it completely. Reardon is a great example of the producer in industry. The person with the idea, who puts his whole life into making that idea a reality, takes all the risks, only to have it taken to serve the public good. He is the ultimate example of the crime that is today’s sentiment that the wealthy didn’t earn what they have.

These are just a couple of examples of what Rand got right. There are so many aspects of industry, philosophy, and the reactions of a society in a deep economic free-fall that she got right. Did she get some things wrong? Sure, but they were the small things. She got the big picture stuff fairly accurate. That being said, there are some things that have drawn people to dislike the book.

Rand paints a picture of a black and white world. The objectivist philosophy is not black and white in the ways that the book portrays (although that is for tomorrow’s discussion). If there is a true fault to Rand’s storyline, I find that it is that there is never a “real” discussion in the book. Every interaction is used to make a statement. And that can wear you down a bit when reading a 1000+ page novel. Every interaction is a chance to make another statement 100% against any possible benefit of government. Rand also takes this to another level, by completely ignoring mention of any aspect of government that would weaken the positions taken by the book’s heroes. For example, foreign trade is loosely mentioned, but national defense and foreign relations are completely ignored. In my opinion, this is because it was impossible for the objectivist philosophy to provide a clear answer to how to deal with foreign powers who don’t even start with the same premise of liberty.

Another reason many people reject the book is that they believe that Rand portrays a world where selfishness and greed rule. Their argument is that the men of the mind in the book are perfect examples of the capitalist assholes that are so dangerous to the world. Men who would take advantage of anyone in order to make a buck. This is 100% false, but it is a predominant belief. This helps lead me towards my belief that the vast majority of Atlas Shrugged haters haven’t actually read the book. They only read the statist and collectivist rants against the book. The reality is that the men of the mind, the producers, are all shown to be men who valued fair trade. They weren’t ruthless or heartless. They simply believed only in mutually beneficial transactions. They never attempted to take advantage of people. They also did not feel a requirement to serve people who offered nothing in return. Mutually beneficial as a requirement is FAR different that manipulative and greedy.

Additionally, it should be noted that the productive members of society that go on strike rather than be exploited and used, actually do so without requiring a single thing of anyone else in the world. They don’t make any demands on society. They don’t create a situation where they say “change this or else.” They simply withdraw from the world. They no longer offer their brain power to society. In fact, during Galt’s speech, he eloquently points this out:

“There is a difference between our strike and all those you’ve practiced for centuries: our strike consists, not of making demands, but of granting them. We are evil, according to your morality. We have chosen not to harm you any longer. We are useless, according to your economics. We have chosen not to exploit you any longer. We are dangerous and to be shackled, according to your politics. We have chosen not to endanger you, nor to wear the shackles any longer. We are only an illusion, according to your philosophy. We have chosen not to blind you any longer and have left you free to face reality – the reality you wanted, the world as you see it now, a world without mind.

We have granted you everything you demanded of us, we who had always been the givers, but have only now understood it. We have no demands to present to you, no terms of bargain about, no compromise to reach. You have nothing to offer us. We do not need you.”

So there are some of my thoughts on Atlas Shrugged. Overall, I believe that the book is among the top books that I have ever read. Not only did I find the storyline to be great and the characters interactions to be intriguing, I loved the way that Rand worked the objectivist theory into a storyline that does a great job of smashing the two concepts that I don’t like: Government control of industry and the collectivist mindset that demands others be taken care of. Originally titled “The Strike,” I found the book interesting and relevant as an example of the dangers of the collectivist mindset. So I open the floor to discussion on the topic of Atlas Shrugged as a novel and as a storyline. And tomorrow we will shift over to the philosophy that serves as the core support structure for the novel: Objectivism. For today, let’s stay focused on the book. Believe me, I have plenty to offer on the philosophy tomorrow.

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Comments

  1. Atlas Shrugged remains one of the most influential books I have read, and I have always appreciated its ability to portray a powerful philosophical message through fiction. The message itself I largely agree with as well, tho there are a couple of things missing. Furthermore, the path described by the book, the backdoor meetings of elites among government and businessmen who did not wish to work hard, the regulations and restrictions enacted, the sheeplike responses of people to the candy coated words of the politicians, and greatest of all, the terminology of the so-called morality of socialism or progressivism and the techniques it uses to sell itself to otherwise decent people. It is all frighteningly accurate.

    The “supermen” concept does have an impact on the idea of the story, and more importantly, on the potential effectiveness of her solution. Not all producers are fair trade types, not all persons of less talent are less due to laziness. Using the concept to polarize things and make the story work is fine, but it is understandable why people argue that point. Most importantly, it would be wise for Galt fans and Rand fans to realize that disappearing into a valley will not fix our issues. The solution, even if along the same lines, will be a bit more complex to pull off.

    The biggest thing that I have against the book is the lack of respect for charity. Both those in real need and those willing to help their fellow man were either ignored to belittled in the story. I do not speak of those who give out of duty, but those who do so out of genuine care for their fellow man. Furthermore those in need are not all lazy or mindless. Granted, she points out an example or two of people down and out that she helped by giving them work, and I do like that concept in general far more than giving money. It just seems that Rand’s world is a bit harsher than needed, and some of the good parts of humanity are lost because of her distaste for the idea of anything unearned.

    Her supermen, however, are the ideal capitalists, not examples of bad ones. Those arguing that those men are examples of the greedy types we should fear do not understand the concept, or worse, understand it and oppose it because they actually subscribe to marx’s concepts. The lack of ability among the rank and file worker, as extreme as it seems, was actually based in reality if you know her background and know about the farming situation in the early days of the U.S.S.R.. In all I agree that the book is excellent and that most of the arguments against it are simply avoidances of the real message.

    • I haven’t read the book but I have listened on here and read some on the internet. I find myself extremely bothered by her seeming rejection of man having any moral obligation to his fellow man, not legal obligation but moral obligation. I also have a Personal problem with her rejection of any religious beliefs-as a Christian I simply do not want her teaching my children that a belief in God is just a way to control their minds. Man is not this perfect entity that through his mind and reason is going to just do what is right, we are taught from a young age what is right and wrong -whether that is through religion or just moral teaching from parent to child. It is learned IMO and passed down from generation to generation. Look at different countries and different ideas of what is right and what is wrong. We have the ability to justify many horrible things if we are only thinking about our individual interest. So those who have read her books-tell me where I am wrong. Explain where the humanity is in her belief system. Perhaps I am wrong but with just a general understanding of her philosophy she seems to have gone to the other extreme away from communism.

      • For one who has not read it, you actually have a decent grasp on the primary root of its failings, the “humanity” of people or the concept of love. Even the concept of rights and being born equal is something taught to us, or at a minimum, something not taught out of us.

        That said, while she does take the extreme position, it does drive some points home. The lack of reason, the blind faith some have, allows those who would take advantage, and those who would place short term help above long term reality, to manipulate many people into doign things that do not, in fact, benefit anyone. In a charitable “transaction”, where one gives for the return of feeling good about giving and good karma or whatever, somce of the benefit is lost if the gift is damaging to the giver in some way, or, more importantly, if it is squandered by the receiver. Corruption hurts charity just like it hurts trade.

        As for the obligation to one’s fellow man, that is a dangerous concept. We are not bound by “duty” to help anyone with less than us. Even if you buy into us being “obligated” to help those “less fortunate”, it must be recognized what is fortune and what is not. It must be recognized what is help and what is not. If you are “helping” and thereby creating dependency, then you are actualyl harming. If you are feeling duty bound to help someone who has their hand out thinking they “deserve it”, then you are being taken advantage of. Giving a hand to someone and reaching out with love is good, doing it out of obligation or duty is not love. Doing it out of love without thought is no good either, because it will be wasted, pearls before swine, so to speak.

        The problem with the “mystics of spirit” as Rand describes them, is that they are often corrupt and encourage unthinking obedience, rather than reason and real faith with action. Real faith would allow one to question and think without fear of losign that faith. And it allows one to reason enough to know if their actions truly help their fellow man or not. Rand despises help in all forms in some of her stuff, and that is out of line, but Atlas Shrugged in particular includes in when deemed appropriate, which I think is a good approach.

      • V.H.

        Let me try to put it very simply.

        You DO NOT have a moral obligation to help your fellow man.

        You CAN help your fellow man if YOU choose to do so. And I will NOT stop you.

        Rand does not deny nor stand against charity. Only the modern basis for most charitable giving. That is the notion that YOU are OBLIGATED to do something. If you are OBLIGATED then who created that obligation? Who enforces it? Did you agree to it or was it IMPOSED upon you at birth?

        And Yes, she did construct an extreme away from communism. It is called freedom, liberty and justice for all.

        • I don’t believe man should be forced to help. And I don’t believe man should just help blindly, reason should be used to determine the when and how, but man is morally obligated to care about more than just his individual self.

          • V.H.

            Morals are a human construct. So how can you be morally obligated and not be forced? By its very nature an obligation is force of some kind.

            I think you assume that acting only in one’s self interest somehow means not ever helping others. It does not mean that at all. It means acting in YOUR self interest. According to YOUR values and principles.

            If you feel some obligation to act for others then you are free to act. But you are not free to IMPOSE your obligation upon me. That is the difference Rand is trying to explain in her very long speeches.

            So let me ask you now. WHY is man morally obligated to care about more than just himself?

            • It’s a concept just like individual freedom-a moral obligation to help your fellow man is what makes man better than the wild animal. Obligation to your fellow man is what makes freedom work without becoming uncivilized. If I don’t believe in a moral obligation to my fellow man than anything goes that is better for society as a whole. The poor man is a drain on society-lets just get rid of him it’s better for me individually, it’s better for society-so why not-because he is my brother-a fellow human-someone I help if I can.

              • V.H.

                How could it be better for you individually to simply get rid of someone else?

                Would this not give all the someone elses the authority to simply get rid of you?

                That doesn’t seem to be acting in your own self interest.

                You are reversing the effect of the moral principles. It is the theory of an “obligation to others” that is used to rationalize “anything goes that is good for society”.

                It is the principle of “self interest” that supports individual sovereignty over that of the “common good”.

              • No, I’m not -using the concept to take away man’s freedom is not the same as acknowledging the need and appropriateness of man being obligated to help man. In our attempt to remain free we should not throw away moral imperatives or let the other sides misuse of the concept cause us to refute the truth of the concept. -Man should feel a responsibility to other people and animals too. It is the moral principals that guide us-
                without them freedom is impossible or at least civilized freedom. You talk consistantly of societal norms and how they will guide our society-mans moral obligations to man is another societal norm that is needed Imo.

              • V.H.

                WHO decides what this “moral obligation” is and how it is to be carried out?

              • The individual decides it. If that individual influences others to come to the same decision, then so be it.

              • V.H.

                to help your fellow man is what makes man better than the wild animal.

                This is where many people fail.

                Wild animals care for their own kind too – it is a necessary instinct for the survival of any species.

                To determine that this trait that is found in the vast majority of all life is some how special to humans creates the false philosophies that you offer, V.H.

              • I’ll give you that one BF-animals do take care of their own in many circumstances -but man has the advantage of looking at his obligations and separating them from personal thought out responsibilities and governmental enforced responsibilities. None the less I think we as humans should be at least as moral as the animals amongst us.

              • V.H.

                The power of humans is that we chose for ourselves in a manner beyond mere instinct.

                The next question that arises is who has the right to choose for you? Me? A stranger?…or you?

                If we are free to choose for ourselves, then that is what we do and hava right to do without imposition from others on us.

              • Wet Nurse (a minor character) puts his own life on the line and is killed after he attempts to save Rearden’s mill. In this part of the story, Rand shows us that a strong sense of self and truth can make us lay down our lives for each other. This is not about whether giving is moral or not. It’s about WHY we give. Wet Nurse gave because he saw the truth and didn’t want to be a part of a lie. He gave because it was not in him to be false. Giving exists, but Rand wants us to understand it is only valuable if we give out of choice and not out of blind obedience.

          • To put it simply V, instead of saying:

            “man is morally obligated to care about more than just his individual self.”

            I would say that:

            “Man is rationally obligated to care for more than just his individual self.”

            In other words, a rational man understands that he is not an island and that it is in his best interests to consider the impact of his actions or inactions on those around him. He may additionally choose to obligate himself to help his follow man, and to encourage or influence others to do so. I have no problem with social pressure to be generous. Where I take issue is with what Rand describes as the “mystics of muscle”, government persons forcing some moral code of helping one’s fellow man in an attmpt to seek some false sense of equality through equal distribution of wealth and resources. Where I also take issue is with the “mystics of spirit” using religion as a rod and a tool of manipulation to enforce moral code. personal influence and market pressure is fine. Teaching what is good and right is fine also. Indoctrination and use of fear tactics, fire and brimstone sermons, et al, is a manner of coersion, using someone’s beliefs and then corrupting them into acting “morally” out of fear. That is a vile corruption of faith. Charity is a matter of the heart, and the good that it does goes far beyond the sharing of resources. Feeding a hungry man of the goodness of your heart allows him to see the true face of humanity and potential, it grants hope and inspiration, and in some cases, even a clear path to recovery. Having a hungry man fed by a namelss, faceless government offers just food, and only that at a highly wasteful price. The church program who had gifts wrought of fear may have better impact, but the help for the giver, the good feeling in the soul and the feeling of real compassion is still lost.

            • Jon

              Man is not OBLIGATED to care for anyone but himself, period.

              Neither morally nor rationally.

              Whether the care of another will enhance one’s own self interest in some way can only be determined by the two involved in the association.

              The minute we accept that there is some unknown “obligation” we allow those “mystics of muscle” to exist, as you call them.

              • A man who thinks only of himself is not rational. A man who thinks of all things and factors and acts in only his own interests is rational. I shoudl not have said “care for”, I meant to keep it as “care about”. I can care about everything, it does not mean that I am obligated to do anything. If I care about nothing, then I am not considering all factors, and therefore I may still be using reason and rationale, but I am not a rational person, as a rational person will not leave out factors the he is aware of, nor fail to seek out more information, since good reasoning is based on good information. Mathematics is worthless without including all the factors in the formula.

              • Jon

                While “care about” is better it still creates a false concept in my view.

                A person that does not care about anything is a damaged human. It has nothing to do with reason. However, deciding who or what to care about does involve reason.

                For example, why should I care about a person I have never met nor even know exists? How is that even possible?

                At the same time it required no rational thought or exercise in logic to care for my children.

              • “A person that does not care about anything is a damaged human.”

                Please explain this sentence-if one doesn’t have a moral obligation to care than why are they damaged.

              • V.H.

                The only people I have ever seen that appear to care about absolutely NOTHING are those with serious cognitive impairment.

                Of course, you could argue that cognitive impairment can be imposed by deliberate action of others. This is how we wind up with evil philosophies running the world and approved by those who are the slaves.

                But I am talking here about those who have mental disorders.

                My problem with your concept, as you are presenting it is this.

                You keep using “imperative” and “obligation”. Those are words that REQUIRE an action by me as determined by someone else.

                Then you assign “MORAL” to that obligation or imperative.

                So now I have a choice. To care for others according to your view or suffer the stigma of being bad or worse, evil.

                That is what MORALITY is, a search for good/bad or good/evil.

              • Jon,

                A man who thinks only of himself is not rational.

                Where as that may be true, this is also true:

                No man can rationally judge the choices of another man upon himself

                You can never have adequate information to judge whether the action of a man, upon himself, is in his benefit or not to the degree you can judge such action as rational

              • True, I can say that an action appears irrational, but I cannot prove that it is irrational, at least from the standpoint of subjective reasoning.

              • Ray Hawkins says:

                @JAC – should I feel no moral or rational obligation to care for my son? My wife? Other family members? My neighbors? All w/o in the preponderance of events a determination as the self-interest satisfied by both parties?

                Can I care for my own family w/o a semblance of a contracted agreement as to all the aspects (benefits, satisfaction of self-interest) of the care being articulated prior? I most certainly think I can.

                To what do you speak of soldiers that give their lives for other soldiers (think of most of our CMoH folks) – the solider knowingly giving his life to save others – that self likely or knowingly ceasing to exist and thereby unable to enjoy this notion of self-interest benefit?

              • EXCELLENT point Ray.

                What of those who pursue a calling or make sacrifices for something “greater then themselves”. They are NOT acting in self interest. They are acting on their beliefs, and thus satisfying a desire to do something for that belief, which is self serving in a manner of speaking, but it is not rational self interest, tho it may be rational. It is putting mankind or the future or even one’s own future generations above one’s self. Without such men, we would not have the freedom to do what we are currently doing. Without such men, we would still be in a might makes right sort of world, because all persons acting on their own personal interest will not overcome an existing power center. A unified act must be taken, it must be coordinated and strategized, and it will not be an equal effort/equal risk situation, tactics do not permit such a thing.

                It is possible and even necessary to freedom to believe in something other than one’s own self interest.

              • Jon:

                “They are NOT acting in self interest. They are acting on their beliefs, and thus satisfying a desire to do something for that belief, which is self serving in a manner of speaking, but it is not rational self interest, tho it may be rational.”

                Oh how many contradictions can you fit in one sentence?

                It is not rational self interest although it might be rational and it might also be self serving, as in achieving one’s own desires and beliefs. So self serving can be rational but not rational self interest.

                Sorry, just couldn’t pass that all up. I’ll let you try again.

              • Thanks, kinda rammed that one through without reading it.

                A man can only act in self-interest. Even if it is to avoid death by complying with a theif. If a man believes he should sacrifice himself to a volcano, he is acting on his personal self-interests.

                However, that does not mean that he is acting selfishly or acting rationally. Rational self-interest implies a benefit to one’s self. Again, however, a person acting on a belief, such a freedom, knowing they may not live to see the results of their actions, is not acting in a manner that benefits them in any measurable way. It is not in any manner that we see in the animal kingdom that I am aware of, with the exception of the drive to reproduce and protect one’s young.

                So, a man can act with rationale, based upon something he considers greater than himself. The fact that it is an act of self interest because of his passion for his beliefs does not equate it to a selfish act, nor does it justify selfishness by saying that “all people are selfish and act in their self interest”. A mother caring for her child because she feels she should is not the same as a mother starving her child because she feels she should. If the term for the difference between them is not that one is selfish and the other is not, then fine, let me know what the term is, but do not try to play the all is selfishness card to justify vile acts of one man towards another.

              • Ray:

                The better question is CAN you feel an obligation towards your child and wife that is not truly driven by your perception of your own self interest?

                This is not a matter of contracts and cost/benefit ratios, or trade off analysis. It is a question that goes to our nature and instincts as humans.

                I propose that you can not act in anyway against what you perceive as your own best interest.

                And that applies to each of the examples you describe. Including the soldier who dives on a grenade.

              • Ray Hawkins says:

                @JAC – apologies on a tardy response

                First this statement:

                “Whether the care of another will enhance one’s own self interest in some way can only be determined by the two involved in the association.”

                does not seem compatible with a later statement of yours:

                “This is not a matter of contracts and cost/benefit ratios, or trade off analysis. It is a question that goes to our nature and instincts as humans.”

                The issue I have with accepting this is that in former there are two actors and there is action/activity that provides solution to the question of self-interest enhancement (“determination”). In the later you attribute this to nature and instincts. The later can **potentially** include the former but not necessarily so.

                Next – this statement requirement some baking so I could really try and think through what you’re asking (which thus requires me to make at least some assumptions):

                “The better question is CAN you feel an obligation towards your child and wife that is not truly driven by your perception of your own self interest?”

                The key word here is perception. Perception can be taken different ways, not the least to include biological (thus related to instinct) and more active conscious perception. It isn’t clear if you mean one or the other or both and how.

                For example: at some point in our youth we learn to remove a hand or finger from something hot (a stove) because we biologically perceive it to be hot – pain receptors fire and a perception is born. OR – I consciously think through different scenarios for example wherein I may be necessitated to make a decision that impacts my own self-interest (e.g. how to handle a work related issue, salary negotiations, etc) – this requires me to have a percpetion of what my self-interest is – it is an active state not necessarily nature or instinct. Let me provide another example – in my self-defense training we continually work on/through techniques that leverage our natural instincts and body movements. However, many of our instincts can place us in greater/graver danger in an active engagement – a great test for this/us is to spar – you quickly find out that until new “muscle memory” is built, things you may have been drilling for weeks suddenly fall by the way side in a near-real confrontation (we do actually punch, kick each other).

                My point JAC is that how I act (e.g. feeling an obligation towards a child/wife/family member) may be driven by a perception of my own self-interest (instinctual and active thought), it may not at all involve self-interest or it may involve it (instinctual and active thought) to some degree.

              • I would also say that according to Rand, in order to care for others one must care for himself.

                Rand would argue that a person sacrifices, not for others, but for the truth that person refuses to live without.

                It is commonly believed that we give to feel better about ourselves- which stems from the moral obligation routine. “I give, therefore I am moral.” Which is a falsehood. Rand’s ideas are just the opposite: We understand ourselves and so we give. Dagny understands that she is good at managing the Taggart railroad and so she supplies the US with the best railroad she can make. In her complete understanding of her own self she gives to others. The same is true of Rearden and his Rearden Metal.

            • Just about any concept can be dangerous if it is used to control and manipulate, but be careful of using the word rational in the wrong place. It isn’t a matter of determining what is right because it is to my rational advantage but to use rational thought to determine how, when, or even if- you are obligated in an individual circumstances.

              • V.H.

                Correct. Rational must have a base from which to judge that which is rational and that which is not. Logic is simply a process to help in answering that question. But the Base is Reality. Remember the series on philosophy as you dig into this subject deeper.

      • V.H.,

        I didn’t get the sense that she was anti-religion so much as being against “blindly” religious, or any other moral code. That you have to decide for yourself what you think and believe, not just act as others tell you is right or wrong.

        from wikipedia,

        Rand argues that independence and individual achievement enables society to survive and thrive, and should be embraced. But this requires a rational moral code. She argues that, over time, coerced self-sacrifice must cause any society to self-destruct.

        Similarly, Rand rejects faith (that “short-cut to knowledge,” she writes in the novel, which in fact is only a “short-circuit” destroying knowledge), along with any sort of a god or higher being. Rand urges the rejection of anything claiming “authority” over one’s own mind – apart from the absolute of existence itself. The book positions itself against religion specifically, often directly within the characters’ dialogue.

        • Rand was clearly anti-religious personally, just as she was rather anti-charity personally. Her background certainly explains/justifies this, but it does come out in her writing more than it needs to. Her philosophy may allow for faith so long as it is not blind, but she personally abhorred all of it, not really recognizing that it could exist without blindness. It comes of a sort of arrogance of the brilliant mind. When one is smarter than his peers, he often closes his mind to what his peers have to say. This can prevent gaining of knowledge just as much as any other blind faith, because it is blind faith in one’s own mind. Even faith born of experience must be questioned at times, else it grows blind over time and ends up just as bad as any unthinking religion.

    • Check this site out if you haven’t already.It gives you tons of Rands opinions based upon topic.It will help you understand Objectivism a bit better.

      http://aynrandlexicon.com/

  2. “People are starting to feel like we’re living in Atlas Shrugged,”

    In the world of Atlas Shrugged, society stagnates when independent productive achievers began to be socially demonized and even punished for their accomplishments.[28] Independence and personal happiness had flourished to the extent that people were free, and achievement was rewarded to the extent that individual ownership of private property was strictly respected. This is in line with an excerpt from a 1964 interview with Playboy magazine in which Rand states “What we have today is not a capitalist society, but a mixed economy – that is, a mixture of freedom and controls, which, by the presently dominant trend, is moving toward dictatorship. The action in Atlas Shrugged takes place at a time when society has reached the stage of dictatorship. When and if this happens, that will be the time to go on strike, but not until then.”[29]

    Rand characterizes the actions of government employees in a way that is consistent with public choice theory, describing how the language of altruism is used to pass legislation that is nominally in the public interest (e.g., the “Anti-Dog-Eat-Dog Rule,” and “The Equalization of Opportunity Bill”)

    but which in reality serves special interests and government agencies

    at the expense of the public and the producers of value.[30] In the novel, the “Anti-dog-eat-dog” rule, as passed by the National Alliance of Railroads, is an example of this type of dictatorship: “The Anti-dog-eat-dog Rule is the logical result of a mixed economy—one in the process of rejecting capitalism.

    When the government has the power to control and regulate private business, it’s in a position to dispense economic favors.

    Republican Congressman John Campbell said for example: “People are starting to feel like we’re living through the scenario that happened in [the novel]… We’re living in Atlas Shrugged,” echoing Stephen Moore in an article published in The Wall Street Journal on January 9, 2009, titled “Atlas Shrugged From Fiction to Fact in 52 Years.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atlas_Shrugged

    • Now here I agree with her-government power and the use of moral obligation as a tool to control and take away freedom is criminal.

      • Love it, “”apologized” for creating 320,000 jobs”

        On September 17, Home Depot chairman and chief executive officer Bernie Marcus appeared on The Squawk Box on CNBC. He was interviewed by show host Joe Kernen. Marcus lambastes the “academics” who have positions of power in Washington (including President Obama) and their view of job creators as “monsters” and “villains.” Marcus facetiously “apologized” for creating 320,000 jobs.

    • And for the record, I think , Dagny Taggart was a tramp.

      Francisco d’Anconia was her first “true love”.
      Then Hank Rearden, who was married when they had their affair.
      And she dumps Hank for John Galt.

      All were larger than life love affairs, with a bonding of souls being as important as the physical. If Frankie was a soul-mate, how could she fall for Hank (him dumping her for 10 years should not affect true love). Hank divorces his wife, and Dagny leaves him for Galt. Gold-digging tramp.

      • Agreed.

      • I agree. Rand’s ideas about love were bizarre to me.

      • Rand’s concept of love was not bizarre nor is it abnormal in any way. Dagny loved Francisco for the same reason she loved Rearden: they were the echoes of Galt. Dagny loved these two men because they had a piece of Galt’s truth within them. You can’t fault a girl for recognizing and appreciating the truth that she so rarely saw in the world. Dagny thirsted for Galt before she met him and she found his likeness in Francisco and Rearden. Dagny could never be fully herself until she surrendered to Galt.

        If you’re looking at Dagny’s relationship from a literary standpoint, Dagny’s choices were predetermined so that Rand’s overall concept would not falter. Dagny HAD to choose John Galt because he represented the complete surrender to the self. He was the embodiment truth of all that she held dear (and all that Rand held dear, too). Rearden was but a shadow of the truth that Galt represented. Like USWEAPON said, you’ve got to take a look at the concepts that Rand is submitting. The story is but a vehicle for the message.

  3. posting for comments

  4. Ray,

    should I feel no moral (…) obligation to care for my son? My wife? Other family members? My neighbors? All w/o in the preponderance of events a determination as the self-interest satisfied by both parties?

    Moral? No – why should you, if that is not in YOUR moral definition

    Though it maybe in MY moral definition to take care of family, MY moral definitions DO NOT necessarily equal yours.

    So tell me why MY definitions would take priority over YOUR definitions regarding YOU and YOUR family?

    Now, you added this as if it was EQUAL…


    rational

    This is the problem. People confuse SUBJECTIVE reasoning with OBJECTIVE reasoning all the time.

    Your morals are subjective. Some maybe created by reasoning but there is NO requirement to do so.

    However, I can offer many reasons why you should care for your family that has nothing to do with morals.

    So where is your argument, Ray? Subjective morals or reasoned belief?

    • Ray can answer for his self but I personally don’t care whether a man uses the words moral obligation or reasoned belief to determine for his self what his moral obligations are-but the obligations are there no matter what word you want to use-if a man allows his children to starve because he didn’t “reason” his self into believing that he was obligated to feed them-He is an immoral ……… because he ignored his moral obligations.

      • V.H.

        Prove it.

        Please provide the full and complete extent of this man’s life, from his birth, development, education, wants, goals, needs, philosophy, religion, and interests for you to judge him

        • All I would need to prove is that he didn’t attempt to feed them.

          • V.H.

            Do you believe there may exist conditions that prevented him from doing so?

            For example, if he was detained in a jail somewhere – would you continue to claim he has failed his moral “obligation” when it is impossible for him to do so?

            And that’s the problem which you hold.

            You do not know the all the information for you to judge – you look merely at the superficial and pronounce!

            What many fail to understand is that you will never know more than superficial reasons about another man’s actions upon himself

            To judge with such superficial knowledge is, indeed, EVIL and IMMORAL and UNJUST.

            • In most cases I am not looking at the concept in order to judge anyone. I think the individual needs the knowledge that he should care about more than just his self-so he can judge his own actions and make rational decisions about how he should act because it is a matter of right and wrong. Are we going to teach the next generation that they have no responsibility to their fellow man because it what-might be used to judge a mans behavior. Or it must be a tool of authority because it states a general concept of right and wrong. A concept by the way that a free man can use his reason to interpret how to fulfill this obligation.

        • I may not, as you pointed out above, be able to judge his decision as rational or not, but I certianly can judge him as immoral. Morals are my own, and one in violation of them is immoral. Now that does not give me the right to use force against him to make him moral, but I am free to judge him all I want. We judge people all the time, as we should. For instance, a man who did not care for his children would be ostracized in your ideal world, as he would in mine. Total shunning, no ability to engage in transactions with anyone. Why? Because hwe have all judged him as “bad” for letting his kids starve. It really does not matter his history if he makes no effort, I will judge him.

          • Jon

            Jon Smith said
            September 20, 2010 at 1:13 pm

            I may not, as you pointed out above, be able to judge his decision as rational or not, but I certianly can judge him as immoral. Morals are my own, and one in violation of them is immoral. Now that does not give me the right to use force against him to make him moral, but I am free to judge him all I want. We judge people all the time, as we should. For instance, a man who did not care for his children would be ostracized in your ideal world, as he would in mine. Total shunning, no ability to engage in transactions with anyone. Why? Because hwe have all judged him as “bad” for letting his kids starve. It really does not matter his history if he makes no effort, I will judge him.

            Again, this may be true, Jon.

            But it does not create an obligation upon that other man.

            You can judge to your hearts content – applying what ever measure YOU deem is important and denying those that YOU do not think is important.

            But is does not create an obligation on him EVER!

            • Another truism. Of course my feeling of obligation does not create an obligation for others. There are only two types of obligations:
              1) Self imposed, where one does it as a condition of life, or at least life they can be happy with.
              2) Conditional, where an obligation is set up in exchange for something. For instance, I am obligated to respond to my cell phone iwth either an answer or a quick call back to any number I do not know to be a personal call as a condition of my contract as a remote IT support contractor. I could ignore the obligation, but would risk loss of my contract.

              So no, my obligation does not create an obligation on someone else. If I attempt to create an obligation through use of force, wherein someone is obligated to do certain things or else they will go to jail or not be a citizen or what have you, then I am in violation of freedom. If I project my obligation as a condition of having my respect or my patronage or my assistance, then I have violated nothing, as I am simply demanding that someone meet my minimum standards of morality in the same manner that I would demand they meet minimum standards of quality.

              In the example of care for one’s child, however, I would have to think long and hard about responsibility of parenthood/guardianship. I am not sure one can just decide to not care for their kids. Perhaps it should be a conditional obligation of a parent/guardian. Then, of course, comes the question of enforcement and who gets guardianship if the parents don’t accept the obligation.

              Etiher way, I have no problem considering it evil to let your kids starve if you had means to prevent it. Even if you buy that government is inherentlt evil, its not as tho the only evil in existence is government. There are other types of evil.

              • Jon,

                no problem considering it evil to let your children…

                Based on what definition of evil?

                So far, the definition of evil I have seen in your post is “What ever I do declare to be evil, is evil.”

  5. USW

    I have one criticism of the book, and it applies to much of her work. You mentioned it and in my view it has been the primary source of so much confusion and complaint.

    When it came to articulating her philosophy, and not just painting a picture for a story, she did not boil it down in a way that most people could grasp what she was really saying.

    As a primer for those who would be curious enough to search for more, it was great. But as for a work that provided guidance to the populace, it fails. Well at least it doesn’t get the gold star.

  6. Gold $1282

    Now those that didn’t buy when I said a few days ago… are now sad.

    • Not really sad. Waiting for $1170. Next week or next year will be the right time for me.

    • How to revive the economy…

      We need to get back to a gold standard.Gold needs to drop in price in order to end inflation and get investors to invest in the economy.I am so sick of hearing gold, gold, gold!

      We need to cut taxes and government services in order to boost the economy as well.Get rid of inheritance taxes and capital gains taxes all-together to revive the markets.Inflating the money supply by the feds is killing the economy.

      END ALL foreign wars yet keep our national defense strong.

      REAGONOMICS is what our nation needs.

      • Texaschem,

        The other way around, inflation must end for gold to drop in price.

        Reagonomics was a disaster – it ballooned the federal debt and federal expenditures.

  7. V.H.

    In most cases I am not looking at the concept in order to judge anyone.

    I know, but that is what you should do!

    Otherwise you end up judging UNJUSTLY.

    I think the individual needs the knowledge that he should care about more than just his self-so he can judge his own actions and make rational decisions about how he should act because it is a matter of right and wrong.

    Fine, argue for education.

    But this is not your debate

    The debate is JUDGING another man.

    Because you argue for education does not give reason to judge another man regardless of education.

    • No, my argument is that man must judge his self. In order to judge his actions he must have some basic concepts of right and wrong. And my fear is that your distinction between moral obligation and reasoned belief ends up just leaving the impression that man shouldn’t help his fellow man.

      • V.H.

        And my fear is that your distinction between moral obligation and reasoned belief ends up just leaving the impression that man

        First, you have no basis for your fear. It is irrational.

        Second, if by reason a man finds that he shouldn’t help his fellow man then that is the manner of the Universe has provided for such a man to solve his problems.

        To operate in contradiction to the design of the Universe would be (1)irrational and (2) evil.

        Just because you feel the Universe should not be cruel does not make the Universe un-cruel.

        • First of all my fear is not irrational-man reasons based on many factors and what he is taught is one of them. Second the fact that the world is cruel or that an individual man decides he should not help his fellow man in a particular instance is a lot different than man deciding he, as an individual has no obligation to help his fellow man at all. Does a man have an obligation is try to feed his children? Does a man have an obligation to call an ambulance if a man is laying hurt at the side of the road? Now you may say he doesn’t have too(which in these instances I would question that answer) but if your answer is that he should-than you have a moral obligation-and all the universe being cruel arguments simply don’t apply.

          • V.H.

            Does a man have an obligation is try to feed his children?

            No.

            Does a man have an obligation to call an ambulance if a man is laying hurt at the side of the road?

            No.

            The core and key point as I see it.

            You want to control the actions of other men.

            I urge you to control your own actions and leave other men alone.

            • V.H.

              …I urge you to control your own actions and leave other men alone…in thought and in action.

              • BF Sorry, but I urge you to separate the evil force that governmental power and authority can be, from the basic concepts of a free man’s humanity to his fellow man.

              • V.H.

                Impossible.

                To do so would make me claim that I know more about that other man than that other man knows about himself.

                If I hold such a belief would thus give me authority to overrule him by my demands.

                But I would never have another man overrule me.

                By the Law of Mutuality, I, therefore, cannot ever claim that I know more about him then he, so that he cannot claim he knows more about me than I.

                Thus, the Universe has done this:

                “You take care of you, and I take care of me”.

                I care little of the decisions of other men – I care about my decisions

              • What are you talking about? Making a judgement that a man should TRY to feed his children is not making an individual judgement. It is a broad moral judgement. If a man doesn’t feed his children and they starve then you look at the circumstances and make an individual judgement on him based on the circumstances. Although there is no basis to excuse someone from not trying. Trying and failing maybe but just not caring enough or excusing such a horror based on his not having a moral obligation because you don’t have the right to judge another person is beyond my understanding.

              • Hang in there V. Thank God more people think like you than BF

              • Thanks Anita

              • V.H. and Anita

                What are you talking about? Making a judgement that a man should TRY to feed his children is not making an individual judgement. It is a broad moral judgement.

                Prove it.

                As I’ve already asked, please present the entirety of this man’s life -whole and complete – including his feelings and wants and desires for you to judge this of him.

                I already presented but one case of an exception, and you blatantly ignored it with another flick of a judgment.

                You have no basis (yet) to make any of your claims of pervasive morals.

                If a man doesn’t feed his children and they starve then you look at the circumstances and make an individual judgement on him based on the circumstances.

                How is it possible for you to get all the information about the man? It is impossible – you do not have God power – yet it appears you wish to play God!

                Although there is no basis to excuse someone from not trying.

                Who defines “trying”?? You? How is is trying, but not enough for you?

                Why are you that judge?

                Trying and failing maybe but just not caring enough or excusing such a horror based on his not having a moral obligation because you don’t have the right to judge another person is beyond my understanding.

                Correct!

                It is beyond your understanding – it is beyond ANYONE’s understanding EXCEPT the man himself!

                You do not and can never know the picture to a degree that you know enough to persecute that man for his actions.

              • V.H.

                I guess you forgot Jesus’ parable in this matter….

              • Funny-I can’t look at the circumstances and judge his actions but by golly if I want to go into a business deal with another man I have the ability to know everything about him before I sign the papers or his stealing from me is my fault. Seems you make determinations abut what we can and cannot know about a man based on your chosen argument.

              • ZING! Good call V. The level of education of the average consumer that you require BF, would be more than enough to make a judgment call on whether a guy is a decent parent or an evil lazy bum. Since in a totally free world, apparently all people would have or quickly develop this ability, I do not see the problem here…

              • I support leaving other men alone in action, but in thought and even in speech it is a massive part of the free market. Not just the financial aspects, but social mores as well. If I call you a lazy bum for failing to feed your kids, that is my free speech and my opinion. If everyone around me agrees, so be it. If we all decide not to allow you to trade with us in any way and thus you starve as well, such is the market. That is the only way, without laws, that evil men can be handled. Thus, do not DARE to tell me to leave others alone in thought, as action is the only way I can violate freedom.

  8. V.H.

    I want to go into a business deal with another man I have the ability to know everything about him before I sign the papers or his stealing from me is my fault.

    Study the two – completely different – circumstances.

    In your matter, you wish to condemn a man.

    In the business matter, you wish to choose for yourself the wisest decision.

    • And your wrong in both 🙂 We can only get so much information about anything-and then we have to make a decision-I would say deciding whether or not a man is guilty of starving his children would entail more research-but if he may have willingly caused the death of his children -it needs to be investigated and a determination must be made. I have to say we are going a little far afield from our beginning discussion but I will take the blame for causing that jump.

  9. Great book….lots of insight and plenty of ammo for conjecture…..on all sides.

  10. V.H

    And your wrong in both 🙂

    The odds are against that! 😉

    We can only get so much information about anything

    True.

    -and then we have to make a decision-

    True.

    Life is a poker game – incomplete information from which to make decisions.

    I would say deciding whether or not a man is guilty of starving his children would entail more research

    False.

    There is the difference, just like in a Poker game.

    You only control your own cards, not his. You have your own decisions to make, and cannot make them for him.

    If you decide to play his cards for him, he will get very upset for the game is no longer poker (ie: life), but slavery.

    You do what you must, but you have no right to act for him or judge him.

    -but if he may have willingly caused the death of his children -it needs to be investigated and a determination must be made.

    If he imposed upon them by violence then he is in breach of human rights.

    I have to say we are going a little far afield from our beginning discussion but I will take the blame for causing that jump.

    I accept the blame for in very many matters, the core principles must be found and understood before complex questions can be answered.

    Much like Mathius who wants to figure out how genetic manipulation resolves with abortion when he is unable to figure out the simple voluntary abortion questions.

    If the simple questions confound a person, do not attempt the calculus questions.

    ZING! Good call V. The level of education of the average consumer that you require BF, would be more than enough to make a judgment call on whether a guy is a decent parent or an evil lazy bum.

    Nonsense, Jon.

    Are you suggesting that if you do not have sufficient information to make a proper decision, that you are therefore absolved of making bad decisions?!?!?

    The answer is, instead: Do not commit to the trade!

    As I pointed out to V.H., you too are confusing two – different – socialistic circumstances.

    (1) Condemnation of a man for his actions that do not affect you.
    (2) A trade with a stranger.

    In (1), you need infinite knowledge, for you are acting upon a man who has done nothing to you. You are trying to justify your actions upon him.

    In (2), you need enough information for you to voluntarily act or not act in your own self-interest. You are not justifying any action on anyone else. In fact, you don’t need to justify a darn thing one way or another about your choice of acting or not acting in this trade.

    Do you see the difference?

    • BF

      “You do what you must, but you have no right to act for him or judge him.”

      You may be using a different context but V.H. and all of us have every right to “judge” him, with respect to what we believe is proper behavior, conduct, his character, etc. That is how we decide who we want to associate with.

      I just wanted to make sure everyone understands that “judging” another is necessary but “sitting in judgment” as in a legal judgment is not necessarily proper.

    • I see the difference, but you have previously alluded to social pressures and “shunning” as the solution for any and all ills in society. You have not stated that you can only shun someone who has harmed you personally. If I judge a man evil and encourage others to do so, I am not acting out of line. If I find I was wrong I will try to make amends, also not wrong. If I choose to continue believing a lie and continue to shun him for evil when I learn I was wrong, THEN I am acting in an evil manner.

      If he is responsible for his children, but makes no effort to feed them, then he is evil. It is not the same as an adult as you claim. A child cannot care for themselves, nor are they put upon their guardians by their own choice. You cannot compare child care with adult care without recognizing the glaring differences. It is not the same as a person expecting a handout or wealth redistribution.

  11. Objectivism rocks…I love Ayn Rand.
    With that being said I am not hijacking but I wanted to share some healthcare reform from a working middleclass mans perspective with you guys…

    So…It is open enrollment time for benefits packages at the company I work for and I reviewed my healthcare insurance enrollment for next year and the premiums went up by 50.00 dollars a month.When the healthcare reform was in legislation form before becoming law, the insurance company added a 1000.00 family deductible before they even begin to start paying benefits!My 20 dollar co-pay for a doctors visit doesn’t count towards that 1000.00 deductible either! 😦
    O…h and they are phasing out our healthcare reimbursement program that allowed us to put money into an account to be used tax free for healthcare…WTF!!!

    So basically my healthcare costs went up 1,600 dollars a month…WTF!

    • Looks like you got stuck with some Hope-N-Change. Too bad you didn’t vote for it….

      😉

    • Tex Chem

      You will find your answers in this short video montage.

      [blip.tv http://blip.tv/play/hJNRgf3_bgI%2Em4v%5D

      • Anita Dunns’ favorite political philosopher was Mao Tse-Tung?WTF!The worst mass killer in the worlds history.50 million killed!She agrees with his political views?She is the white house communications director!

        All that video did was piss me off more JaC!The left is cukoo for cocoa puffs people!Wealth redistribution, wealth redistrubution…

    • Err… I mean 1600.00 a year…

      • The 1000.00 dollar deductible is yearly.50.00 dollars a month more premium is 600.00 a year so total is 1600.00 a year more for my families healthcare.
        Jeesh wish we had an edit option!I hate when I make a post then read it and see a mistake and can’t fix it! 🙂

  12. VH Stated:”I urge you to separate the evil force that governmental power and authority can be, from the basic concepts of a free man’s humanity to his fellow man.”

    BlackFlag replied:”To do so would make me claim that I know more about that other man than that other man knows about himself.”
    “If I hold such a belief would thus give me authority to overrule him by my demands.”

    TC:So BF would you have authority to overrule another man if his actions were deemed to be detrimental to yourself, your family or your way of life? Hrmmmm…I daresay you contradict yourself my friend!

    • Texaschem,

      You confuse my Rights with Authority to rule.

      • Nope I am not confused.

        You have a right; an unalienable right as a man to: defend yourself, your family and your way of life.

        The exact moment a persons actions become detrimental to those three primary purposes of my life they relinquish the authority to rule over themselves to me and I will be judge, jury and enforcer.

        • Texaschem

          … your way of life

          No such right.

          You have the right to defend yourself from violence, not a right to attack another based on some subjective thinking of a mode of “living”

          • My definition of violence includes protecting my way of life.

            The TexasChem tribe is a thriving community living in deep southeast Texas.A very peaceful people!A community of people begin moving into the lands next to the TC tribe.The TC tribe attempts to trade with the new tribe but find out that this new tribe slaughters their children for “dishonoring” a parent.They also stone people for adultry, beat their wives and do not allow them basic civil rights, cut the hands off thieves, and mutilate people as their shaman prophet told them to do so.He also told them to make war against anyone not willing to submit to their religion.

            Should the TC tribe allow such a completely foreign society to subvert them OR should they defend their peaceful way of life? Hrmmmmm??

            • Texaschem,

              My definition of violence includes protecting my way of life.

              Of course it does, so that you can excuse yourself for inflicting real violence upon non-violent people with whom you disagree.

              And that’s the problem.

              People believe they can redefine “violence” to include a host of non-violent situations so to justify THEIR use of violence upon others – and thus, they become the truest of evil.

              • BF Stated:”Of course it does, so that you can excuse yourself for inflicting real violence upon non-violent people with whom you disagree.”

                TC:But BF I clearly stated their violent nature being a threat to my community and hence my peoples way of life!

              • Texaschem,

                A threat of ideas does not justify a use of violence.

              • When the ideas take substance and form in the means to an end
                that destroys my liberty and freedom

                it is justified.

            • Texaschem

              .

              He also told them to make war against anyone not willing to submit to their religion.

              Then why do you pervert your definition of violence, when your argument is self-defense in the face of real violence?

              As I said above, the only reason you would do such a perversion of a definition is to justify YOU becoming the slaughtering monster of others with whom you disagree.

              • When the TC tribe settled in their area of SE Texas there were a fair number of grizzly bears living near their water supply.The tribe was forced to kill the grizzlies due to a child being taken and eaten.Was this not justifiable?Let me add that if the tribe had used a pre-emptive strike the child would not have been lost!

              • Texaschem,

                It was an animal and has no reasoning.

                You wish to commit violence upon non-violent people.

                You are the grizzly, not them.

              • Perhaps you should look up the definition of violence once again BF.

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