|The Randian State must be planned, crafted, and drawn up in blueprints; manufactured and implemented by individualists working unanimously to usher in an Ideal Capitalist Utopian society; and observed and respected as infallible by all people who live within its jurisdiction. "Ideal Capitalist Utopian" eh? "observed and respected as infallible by all people" eh? That doesn't sound like objectivism to me. I'll find any idea as fallible if I perceive it as a rational self mis-interest. I don't care who or what authority government or whoever claims to have.|
We can wonder how the central planning of a Randian State would begin, commence and conclude. Objectivists disagree with each other on many matters. Politically, they share no uniform foreign policy. An intelligent minority of visible students of Rand seem to favor peace and nonintervention, basing their dissenting view on Randian principles. In the more inclusive Randian circles, even some disagreement on minarchism vs. anarchism is allowed. Some fans of Rand’s work have trouble reconciling her true brilliance and importance with some of her quirky views and her even quirkier, less rational modern followers. Basically, you say that objectivists disagree, and some of them are extreme and quirky. I agree.
Despite these disagreements and discrepancies, I have, from surfing the net lately, come to form in my mind a composite model of the ideal Randian State. Now, certainly, many Objectivists, and probably Rand herself, would dispute the accuracy of my design. I mean them no offense. But based on what a good number of Randians online seem to believe, I do contend the average vocal Randian advocates a set of policies which, if put into practice, would imply a State quite similar in character to what is described below. Ok. Lets see what you come up with.
First off, as we know, the Randian State would not "initiate force," since that would violate the central tenet of Rand’s political philosophy. It would therefore not regulate industry or even collect taxes. Collect taxes, no. You are wrong on the idea of no regulation of industry. Industry would be regulated at the point that it initiates force.
At the same time, the Randian State would maintain a monopoly on the use of violence, so as to prevent another State from emerging in the same geographical location. We know that most Randians would expect at least this much from their State, for this coercive monopoly is the bare minimum criterion necessary for a State to be considered a "State." Without a monopoly on violence, so believe the Objectivists, society would collapse into a Somalia-style anarchy. Without a State, we would have warlordism. Rand herself warned, in The Virtue of Selfishness, that "If society provided no organized protection against force, it would compel every citizen to go about armed, to turn his home into a fortress, to shoot any strangers approaching his door"; and that "the use of physical force – even its retaliatory use – cannot be left at the discretion of individual citizens." Even though, at times, some Objectivists have challenged this Randian principle; that it is a Randian principle – that a monopoly in violence, including retaliatory violence, is a necessary characteristic of a Randian State, as conceived by Rand and most of her followers – of this much we can be fairly certain. Think this is a simple point to make: its difficult for two groups of people to hold power over the same thing, unless the groups agree on everything or one is passive. Otherwise there is conflict. If there was a place that had two unique groups of power, but I was better able to survive and be happy there, I would go there. I don't think this is the case... pretty much any place to live right now only has one government. I do not really see the benefit of having many.
This minimal coercive monopoly that is the Randian State would enforce "intellectual property rights," protect people’s reputations against "slanderers" and "libelers," restore the now-defunct "property rights" of Western companies over Middle Eastern oil appropriated through colonial mercantilism more than ninety years ago, and carry out some other limited functions. Your claim of "minimal coercive monopoly" is funny. Here is the limit of the coercive nature of a "Randian State": to force initiators of force to have a net loss from their action. I'm not sure what a "slanderer" nor a "libeler" is. It sounds to me like you do not think people should have IP rights. Before we debate IP, please answer these questions: Do you want control over the product of your labor? Do you think that things would be best if people had full control over the products of their own labor?
The Randian State would also have a very aggressive foreign policy, unhesitant to target civilians, to the degree that, in the months following 9/11, it may well have nuked the Middle East and killed hundreds of thousands, or even hundreds of millions, of people – both to avenge the deaths of 9/11 and also to reassert American dominance and get "our" oil back from the Arabs and Muslims who stole it. In responding to 9/11 in a Randian style, the U.S. government would have approached the action with the "standard value," as one Objectivist put it, that the "rights of one American, whether a soldier or a civilian, are worth more than the lives of all men, women and children in all these [Middle East] nations combined." If, during this hypothetical vengeance killing, you had spoken out against the nuclear annihilation of millions of people, you might have been tried for treason, for, under a Randian State during wartime, no individual can be allowed to spread doubts over certain Fundamental Truths – namely, that the Randian State protects individual rights and Western Civilization, and represents everything that is Objectively Good about humanity. You are quoting the quirky ones, and then acting as if they are the rule! Many who claim to be objective and value their life (including myself) do not think that nuking a country to save a single American is best. In fact, I think that is a very bad idea. If I nuked other countries, then who ever survives will probably be afraid of me, and choose to kill me for their own sense of security.
But the Randian State would not initiate force or collect taxes. Hmmm... yes... well, I think you are too worried about this initiation of force thing. Instead, it is more about what is best for MY survival and what is worse. I think this idea was tackled pretty well here: http://solohq.com/Forum/NewsDiscussions/0643.shtml
The State would be completely separated from religion, and any other ideological organization or predisposition other than Objectivism Itself (which, of course, is The Truth, and should be enforced by the government). The military would abandon any remaining attachment it might have to the Christian, and therefore irrational witchdoctor-like, "Just War Theory." The courthouses would be guided by Objectivist ethics, enforcing intellectual property rights and the corporate charters created by the State. Funny. No, I do not think it is a good idea to force people to be Objectivists, or to force people to think one way or another. That would be foolish... surely a lot of Christians would want to hurt me if I told them they can't think God is true anymore! Wait... I am all for people thinking freely. I am only against people using force against me.
But the Randian State would not aggress against people, nor would it tax them or regulate industry. Now you are starting to repeat yourself. : )
The Ideal Randian State would uphold the values of Western Civilization, which are best understood by reading Ayn Rand. As the U.S. government is now, it is far from the Objectivist ideal, since it is too hesitant to attack civilians and yet it also initiates force too much through the mechanisms of taxation and antitrust law. However, the U.S. government, being an integral, necessary part of America – and certainly far better than any possible alternative in the real world! – does, to a large degree, represent and embody the best of Western Civilization even in its current, imperfect, overly bureaucratic form. Accordingly, either the Ideal Randian State or the current U.S. government has the right – nay, the duty – to destroy uncivilized States, not worry too much about the savages who die or what the survivors among them might think, and thus ensure that America, which is Objectively so much more in tune with Western values, scientific knowledge and The Truth than its small dictatorship enemies, survives forever as a symbol for the entire world to follow. Yea, I think some people who claim to be objectivists would agree with you here. Again, they are the quirky ones. The US government does have problems (it does some things which are detrimental to my life), but it does have some good things about it too (it does some things which promote my life).
But, being modest and limited in its functions as it is, the Randian State would never initiate force.
A Randian State would go around the world toppling non-Randian States, so long as it does so in a non-altruistic fashion. Destroying evil States is a positive good, and a Randian State, being the positive good that it is, could never be blamed if anything went wrong during its escapades of invasion and foreign intervention. Anything bad that happened – any innocents that died during the Randian rampage to cleanse the earth of savagery and anti-mind, anti-reason, anti-reality values – would of course be the fault of the Randian State’s enemies; as we all know, the Randian State, categorically and unconditionally, cannot be culpable for any damage caused by its clashes with less civilized States: the Randian State does not initiate force by definition: anyone hurt during a conflict involving the Randian State either had it coming, or must file his complaints with another, less perfect State. And, Truth be told, any ethical person who lived in a non-Randian State would not only "acknowledge the moral right of a free nation to bomb" him, but would Objectively want to be bombed by the more Randian State, regardless of his chances of dying in the process, for such bombing presents his only plausible chances of salvation, freedom, and deliverance to the realm of rationality and individualism. I wouldn't want to "topple" anyone - so long as I think its best I don't. Haha. Ok, well... I probably wouldn't want to topple so much, but I would more want to make sure that people have a net loss when they initiate force. Enough about the "Randian State". I care about some people because they further my life. I want to prevent people from destroying my life. Some innocents might die, but I would prefer the least died or were hurt while pursuing the "bad" guy. (bad = hurt my pursuit of life). I think most real life scenarios can be solved with few or no innocents being hurt. I think that is generally the best to try to do everything one can to have the least amount of damage to wonderful things (like innocent human lives), while still going to a reasonable degree to assure that the initiator of force has a net loss. Oh yes, the reason why I want initiators to have a net loss is because otherwise they would go even, or even worse, gain from initiating force! People who gain from initiating force are very likely to continue doing it, and more people will see the gain and want to do it... its not good for me!
If two Randian States existed at the same time on Earth, they would, of course, never have any conflict with each other, since they would both be right about everything. But if, perhaps by some disruption in the space-time fabric, they did come into conflict with each other, the Randian State with the more Randians in it would presumably be in the right. Or, perhaps they would both be right as they tore each other to shreds. Hmmm... of the "Randian State" that you describe, I think the later would be most likely.
But neither Randian State would ever initiate force or regulate the economy. Didn't you already say this?
Living in the Ideal Randian State would be superbly swell, unless you happened to disagree fundamentally with Objectivism. Since Objectivism is The Truth, and since any decent State should reflect It, certainly there is little room in a free, Objectivist society for non-Objectivist barbarians. Right well, um... in the government I would like, you would be free to do/think whatever you want... so long as you don't initiate force... so there is plenty of room for you to think aliens orbit Pluto in toasters or whatever you want to think.
Smoking would be legal in all public places – perhaps even mandatory. (Okay, this is a cheap shot. But we do know that anti-smoking ads would be one of the first government programs abolished.) Right, the government wouldn't do that, but private organizations and people are free to make those adds. "In all public places" Haha! what do you mean public places, there wouldn't be any public places! Pretty much everywhere would be private. Maybe rich people would own towns, roads, and shopping areas, and they wouldn't like smokers smoking there, so they would ban it on their property. Other towns may have more lenient owners. I don't know, and I don't really care. Smoke on your own property. I'll only take my business to places where I don't have to stand or sit in a cloud of smoke.
Indeed, the Randian State would be absolutely perfect, limited just enough never to violate anyone’s individual rights, but empowered just enough to make the world safe for and conducive to Randian democracy. It would keep its massive nuclear arsenal just in case it had a reason to wipe one billion people off the face of the earth to make more room for the individualists in the Randian State. I think its better that I am capable of retaliating force than not. Otherwise, somebody might just come and pulverize me, without worry of retribution. The weapons are there to make sure that people who initiate force have a net loss.
Libertarians might even find the situation quite tolerable. They had better, anyway, for the alternative would either be prosecution, punishment, or – worst of all – excommunication from Randian society. And the same goes for all the other non "Randian State" citizens, citizen Gregory! : ). Libertarians are fine, just as long as they don't start thinking its fine to take the product of my labor! : )
Yes, oh yes, the Randian State would be wonderful, and never collect taxes or initiate force. But if it did happen to collect taxes, it would have to be for the military, and therefore the tax rate could conceivably climb as high as 80%. But this wouldn’t be so bad, by Randian standards, so long as the money is being used for individualistic, rational, and egoistic purposes – such as bombs, warplanes, and uniforms – rather than anything collectivist, mystic, and altruistic. No tax.
For, as nearly any Objectivist can tell you, being taxed 5% of your wealth for welfare is a far greater burden and offense than being taxed 80% of your wealth for the military. Taxing is taking money without consent, but instead by force. If I was "taxed" 80% of the products of my labor, then that would be much worse then being taxed 5%. Until you add more to the context, that's all I can say.
So maybe the Randian State would tax, and regulate industry to the extent necessary for national defense and the military. But none of this taxing or regulating – and, certainly, none of the tax-financed invading and bombing – would be an initiation of force, since, as we know, a Randian State could never initiate force. No tax.
Perhaps some of you might wonder about this Randian State, and believe you have discovered within its framework a number of irreconcilable contradictions. If so, you are obviously wrong. Check your premises, and rest assured that the Ideal Randian State is not only obtainable and desirable; it is the only possible political organization in any way compatible with reality, human reasoning, and, most important, today's popular Objectivist theory. Hmmm... I think this "Randian State" that you propose does conflict with my pursuit of my own life. I would prefer not to live in it.
Thanks for the chat. Have a nice day.