Danny, it looks like several others got a crack at you first but now it is my turn. This may be one of the worst posts I have ever seen on this website because you are assuming an understanding of several concepts that you have no understanding of at all. This kind of wishywashyness and vagueness may fly as material for a cheesy editorial in a university newspaper but it isn't going to fly here.
“I didn't say that! I don't think any of it is operated fairly. I say, get rid of it all. Laissez faire.”
"But we can't have it both ways... We can't have the government out of our affairs while at the same time having the option of crying to them for help. There is such a thing as balance."
Well, as stated by other posters we can only cry for help against force initiators. The government then has a mandate to take action. This is a very important concept and you should spend more time studying Randian ethics so that you have a clear understanding of it. In matters of politics this is THE key concept. Freedom is, in essence the right to be free from the initiation of force by other groups, individuals or governments. If Walmart is using government pull to obtain their objectives they are likely doing it at the expense of other individuals and businesses. This essentially limits the freedom of these other parties because their ability to act in their own interests in these cases is being subjected to limitations backed ultimately by threats of physical force by the government. The government must only respond when its citizens are being subjected to initiations of force by other citizens, groups of citizens or other governments. This is how a free society is maintained. The government must have a monopoly on force, but it must only be given the power to RESPOND to force and not to initiate it.
"The way things are now, many big businesses don't want government helping out the "little people" by supporting them, yet those same big businesses and their CEOs have no compunction about appealing to the government for help for themselves... apparently they know themselves well enough to know that THEY can be trusted with assistance. *rolling eyes so much it hurts*
"This is exactly the opposite of what Rand wisely argued for. She said in effect, "Yes. It's a jungle. And it SHOULD be. For EVERYONE... even big business."
"I, however, believe in focusing more on the spirit of fairness inherent in that statement, rather than in her specific conclusions, regarding equal insecurity for everyone."
I'll stick with her specific conclusions around the non-initiation of force, the true definition of freedom and government’s role in protecting it. They are far better argued and defined then the sloppy nonsense you just attributed to Ayn Rand.
"I say that whether we choose laissez-faire or mutual support, that rule must be enforced for everyone... We can't have people ACCEPTING help, while throwing a Nellie Olsen-style temper tantrum about reciprocating that help back to others, which is what many CEO's and big businesses have been doing for a long time now.
"I am glad to help floundering businesses, so long as a system exists whereby they circulate that same degree of assistance back to those who help them... But what I see is a clever scheme to defeat that healthy circulation, while the periphery of the national and world economy develops gangrene."
What does this mean? It sounds like a typical liberal rant. There is no clarity at all in this argument, only vague innuendo. If I read this correctly you are directly advocating socialism on an Objectivist website. Go ahead and try that if you want, but please be more concise. That last bit was entirely useless and meaningless.
"Personally, I have seen that this evolves naturally, even in your most laissez-faire of systems. Even in total dog-eat-dog, people form support systems and alliance networks that amount to cooperative socialism."
Nonsense. You are using very sloppy terminology (once again) by equating free cooperation between individuals and the physically forced "cooperation" known as socialism. In capitalism people and business organizations TRADE. This means that two parties voluntarily agree to cooperate in some manner by trading value. Cooperation among FREE people does not amount to socialism at all because no one is being forced to do anything.
"And yes, even Objectivists and SOLOists -- despite all their talk about the nobility of individual struggle -- band together in private groups and cliques to grant special favors to each other, and lay down rules of mandatory cooperation (socialism), lest the non-cooperative individual face excommunication from the group. "
And here you make the same error. In a free society people are free to assemble on their own private property. They are free to include or exclude anyone they want. SOLO is a website owned and managed by specific people, and based upon those rights they are free to include or exclude anyone they like. Just in the same way that you won’t allow just anyone to hang around in your house. If a government forced Lindsay Perigo to include everyone "equally and fairly" on his website that would be an example of socialist policy because they would be saying in effect that if he does not follow their “rules” then they will initiate force on him in some manner even though he was not guilty of any force initiations himself.
"The only significant difference that I see between Rand's own "collective" and any socialist society, was that she gave compelling (albeit sometimes questionable) rationalizations for conformity and allegiance to the group, whereas many socialist governments rarely bother to make such good faith efforts at all. "
See above, more incredibly sloppy arguments based upon faulty premises.
(Edited by Jason Quintana on 2/10, 9:59pm)