Neither capitalism nor egoism nor minarchism nor romanticism is the essence of Objectivism. Anarchists may think that the essence of Rand is her politics, but compared to the essential nature of her epistemological method, which anarchists necessarily do not comprehend, her politics and her stands on other more concrete issues amount almost to mere accidents in the Aristotelian sense. Objectivism is the rejection of package deals and of stolen and floating and frozen concepts. Without the analysis of the contextual origin of individual concepts there is no such thing as Objectivism. The concept of rights would never arise if there were not some (potentially objective) third party to which at least one of the parties of a dispute could appeal.
The Concept of Rights and the Social Context
If politics were like sports, we could ask Israel to trade us Benjamin Netanyahu for Barack Obama. Of course, we would have to throw in trillions of dollars to get Israel to agree to the deal, but it would be money well spent.
"The leaders, they're being governed by the industrial complex of Germany," McCain said Thursday. "They might as well have them in the government. It's shameful."
Senator John McCain, R-Arizona
Mr. Obama is a man of supple intelligence, with a nuanced grasp of complex issues and evident skill at conciliation and consensus-building. . . . Abroad, the best evidence suggests that he would seek to maintain U.S. leadership and engagement, continue the fight against terrorists, and wage vigorous diplomacy on behalf of U.S. values and interests. Mr. Obama has the potential to become a great president.
Washington Post Oct 17 2008 http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/10/16/AR2008101603436.html
"The biggest problems that we're facing right now have to do with George Bush trying to bring more and more power into the executive branch and not go through Congress at all. And that's what I intend to reverse when I'm president of the United States."
Barack H. Obama
At what point do folks start seeing the GOP as taking votes away from the libertarian solution???? Notice that both the Dems and GOP despise the libertarians for pretty much the same reason; they see libs as a threat to the tag team do-nothing gig they've got going for decades.
From now on, I'll protect your interests and I'll make your decisions.
Napolean (egalitarian, social engineering, power-broker pig)
DVD: Animal Farm (~37:00 minute-mark); 2004 Digiview Productions, L.L.C.
[The Ivy league schools] are America's stealth seminaries of Social Scientology, preaching and teaching that "S"ociety=God and the State is its proper church, and the annointed few are the chosen Acolytes on a mission to save Mankind from its crass, capitalistic self...'In the nation's service'.
We shall have to share out the fruits of technology among the whole of mankind. The notion that the direct and immediate producers of the fruits of technology have a proprietary right to these fruits will have to be forgotten. After all, who is the producer? Man is a social animal, and the immediate producer has been helped to produce by the whole structure of society, beginning with his own education.
Arnold J. Toynbee
Surviving the Future (1971), Oxford University Press, 1972, p. 95., as quoted in wikipedia @ http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Arnold_J._Toynbee
A further thought on us and existence: Among the many bad and disgusting lies that religions of all kinds and colors have imposed upon mankind, is the believe that there’s life beyond death, a notion that is a total bogus and fully harmful to all human beings that accept is as truth, for it renders this one and only life we will ever have as superfluous. We know that there is no life after death, but, as Tim Minchin correctly raps, advanced civilization and medicine doubled and even tripled our life’s length; for the life of savages and those who live in lower types of what can barely be called “civilization” scarcely extends to 30 years, with the appalling amount of death during childhood to be added. By accepting the truth of this one and only life, most people would oblige themselves to do their most and very best to fulfill it with a PEACEFUL and PRODUCTIVE existence and, thus, be able to reach happiness. We learn only that THIS existence exists (one of the basic premises of Ayn Rand’s philosophy of Objectivism) after coming out of our mother’s belly, a fact that Gustave Courbet so aptly showed in his painting “The Origin of the World,” and it will, of course, cease for each of us at the moment of our death. Hence, we should all take to heart my quote that “The world exists for us human beings. It is not we, the human beings, who exist for the world, as the enemies of mankind would have it, for a world without humans lacks every sense of existence.” Should you not accept this for what it means, just think of the following: Can you PROVE the world’s existence BEFORE you were born? Could you PROVE it AFTER you die? So, instead of going out to butcher others, as most religions command, do your best to fulfill a PEACEFUL and PRODUCTIVE life!
Manfred F. Schieder (1937 - )
By definition, the universe is the totality of ALL that exists. It doesn’t define “part of what exists,” for this would be a contradiction against itself and require a new word to define ALL that exists, a useless undertaking, since there is already a word to define ALL that exists, namely “Universe”. It is, thus, an absolute which renders, in itself, those scientists that hold that there are many universes as ignorant of the definition of “Universe”. By definition, “God” is the totality of capacities, characteristics and existence in itself. It is omnicreative, omnipotent, all-knowing, etc. etc. It is not a partiality of what it is, but a totality of it. It is, thus, an absolute. Here we have two absolutes, which, thus, contradict each other. As philosopher Ayn Rand clearly stated, whenever there’s a contradiction, at least one of its premises is wrong. Above absolutes are the two premises of the contradiction, i.e. they are absolute oppositions. Hence, if “God” exists, then the universe doesn’t exist. On the other hand, if the universe exists, its existence renders the existence of “God” impossible. Therefore, since the universe demonstrably exists, “God” does not exist. This, in itself, solves the riddle.
Manfred F. Schieder (1937 - )
"Ayn Rand, I and the Universe"
America's economic might is rooted in an entrepreneurial culture and a passion for innovation and risk-taking, traits nourished by the nation's commitment to the rule of law, property rights, and a predictable set of tax and regulatory policies. Policymakers have lost sight of these fundamental principles in recent years. The next era of American prosperity will be hastened when they return to them.
Wall Street Journal (online); Dec. 13, 2012
... the government must never try to prop up unsound business situations; it must never bail out or lend money to business firms in trouble. Doing this will simply prolong the agony and convert a sharp and quick depression phase into a lingering and chronic disease. The government must never try to prop up wage rates or prices of producer's goods; doing so will prolong and delay indefinitely the completion of the depression-adjustment process; it will cause indefinite and prolonged depression and mass unemployment in the vital capital goods industries. The government must not try to inflate again, in order to get out of the depression. For even if this reinflation succeeds, it will only sow greater trouble later on. The government must do nothing to encourage consumption, and it must not increase its own expenditures, for this will further increase the social consumption/investment ratio. In fact, cutting the government budget will improve the ratio. What the economy needs is not more consumption spending but more saving, in order to validate some of the excessive investments of the boom.
Murray N. Rothbard
Economic Depressions: Their Cause and Cure, 1969
But reality is the readings on my instruments--period.
Dr. Peter Zimmerman, Physicist
One Cat's Opinion
... one cannot give up one's property rights as such, because the very act of giving up a piece of property in exchange for something else is itself an exercise of one's right to the property. Property rights imply the right to use and disposal, and by exchanging one's property for something else, one is disposing of it according to one's wishes. One couldn't exchange it for something else if one didn't have the right to it to begin with. So the right to surrender one's property is only possible if one possesses property rights in the first place -- if one possesses the right to control that which one owns. It is the right to control that which one owns that one cannot give up or surrender.
I live thanks to the humanity of a man who was a German Catholic bon vivant who gambled with his life and his money and his wife's life and proved the point that humanity still exists.
Film: Schindler's List (Bonus Materials; Shoah Foundation interviews of Jews on the list).
Think about it. If the person is socially obtuse and just didn't recognize that they were abusing my hospitality, I've helped educate them. If they have a narcissistic sense of entitlement, I've not let their poor grasp of boundaries become my issue. If they are a bit mean spirited and hoped to take advantage of me, I've stopped them.
The history of liberty is a history of limitations of governmental power not the increase of it. When we resist the concentration of power, we are resisting the powers of death because the concentration of power is what always precedes the destruction of human liberty.
A speech in New York, 1912
... if we continually bear in mind the royal law of 'doing to others as we would be done by,' we should never think of bereaving our fellow creatures of that valuable blessing, liberty, nor endure to grow rich by their bondage. To live in ease and plenty, by the toil of those, whom violence and cruelty have put in our power, is neither consistent with Christianity nor common justice ...
Anthony Benezet (colonial American settler)
Monthly meeting of The Society of Friends, 1754. [see p 232-5 in Great Issues in American History, by Ver Steeg & Hofstadter, Vintage Books]
I have always in my own thought summed up individual liberty, and business liberty, and every other kind of liberty, in the phrase that is common in the sporting world, "A free field and no favor."
U.S. President, Speech, 1912
Trades, to me, can't be forced. Trades happen because two sides each get something they want. Even if you think you have a need and want to do it, there has to be a fit. Somebody else has to have a need.
Ken Holland, Detroit Red Wings' GM
... analysts say the opposition Socialists should draw strength from the demonstrations. The leftists, successors to Bulgaria's communist party, have proposed tax cuts and wage hikes ...
Reuters [see link for author(s)]
Inheritance tax? Why should my deferred spending accrue to your children? Make your case.
... this cannot be effected except by means of despotic inroads on the rights of property, and on the conditions of bourgeois production; by means of measures, therefore, which appear economically insufficient and untenable, but which, in the course of the movement, outstrip themselves, necessitate further inroads upon the social order, and are unavoidable as a means of entirely revolutionizing the mode of production.
The Communist Manifesto, Section 2: Proletarians and Communists
[American Citizenship] captures the enduring idea that this country only works when we accept certain obligations to one another and to future generations
President Barack Obama
It is exactly the rush to turn every issue of public policy into a OneSizeFitsAll national solution that is dividing the nation against itself. Politics has become a steel cage death match struggle to national domination. It is neither necessary or desirable in a free nation. It is the very definition of Totalitarianism, that which this free nation used to unite itself against. It is what is driving the nation insane.
The conditionality of life and the circumstance that human life is open to choice has the structure of necessity right for morality. The absoluteness of life or death is the absoluteness of moral necessity. That one freely chooses life, originates life, in thought and action respecting its requirements and opportunities—this is one’s moral glory.
In a sense, Britain inadvertently, through it actions in Hong Kong, did more to reduce world poverty than all the aid programs that we've undertaken in the last century.
http://www.ted.com/talks/paul_romer.html [~minute mark 10:40]
The present workers of the United States Steel Corporation will receive their pensions in twenty, thirty or forty years. Today a pension of one hundred dollars a month means a rather substantial allowance. What will it mean in 1980 or 1990? Today, as the Welfare Commissioner of the City of New York has shown, 52 cents can buy all the food a person needs to meet the daily caloric and protein requirements. How much will 52 cents buy in 1980? Such is the issue. What the workers are aiming at in striving after social security and pensions is, of course, security. But their "social gain" withers away with the drop in the dollar's purchasing power. In enthusiastically supporting the Fair Deal's fiscal policy, the union members are themselves frustrating all their social security and pension schemes.
Ludwig von Mises
The Commercial and Financial Chronicle, February 23, 1950
If some men are entitled by right to the products of the work of others, it means that those others are deprived of rights and condemned to slave labor.
The main problem for this country is: Will the United States follow the course of the economic policies adopted by almost all foreign nations, even by many of those which had been foremost in the evolution of capitalism? ... To answer such a question one must look upon the ideas about economic matters held by public opinion. The question is: Do the American voters know that the unprecedented improvement in their standard of living that the last hundred years brought was the result of a steady rise in the per-head quota of capital invested? Do they realize that every measure leading to capital decumulation jeopardizes their prosperity? ... Today only the businessmen worry about the provision of new capital for the expansion and improvement of their plants. The rest of the people are indifferent with regard to this issue, not knowing that their well-being and that of their children is at stake. What is needed is to make the importance of these problems understood by everybody. No party platform is to be considered as satisfactory that does not contain the following point: As the prosperity of the nation and the height of wage rates depend on a continual increase in the capital invested in its plants, mines and farms, it is one of the foremost tasks of good government to remove all obstacles that hinder the accumulation and investment of new capital.
Ludwig von Mises
Address delivered before the University Club of Milwaukee (Wisconsin) on October 13, 1952.
... the country deserves us to be willing to compromise on behalf of the greater good.
President Barack Obama
They are now two peas in one small pod and as such are false choices to vote for. There should instead be a Constitutionalist party, one who drives the bus back towards the principles of the founding fathers, and there should be a Statist party, one that drives the boat towards totalitarianism.
I want the people of America to be able to work less for the government and more for themselves. I want them to have the rewards of their own industry. This is the chief meaning of freedom.
If liberty is what we claim it is- the principle that protects all personal, social and economic decisions necessary for maximum prosperity and the best chance for peace- it should be an easy sell. Yet, history has shown that the masses have been quite receptive to the promises of authoritarians which are rarely if ever fulfilled. If authoritarianism leads to poverty and war and less freedom for all individuals and is controlled by rich special interests, the people should be begging for liberty. There certainly was a strong enough sentiment for more freedom at the time of our founding that motivated those who were willing to fight in the revolution against the powerful British government. During my time in Congress the appetite for liberty has been quite weak; the understanding of its significance negligible. Yet the good news is that compared to 1976 when I first came to Congress, the desire for more freedom and less government in 2012 is much greater and growing, especially in grassroots America.
Who the hell knows?
Unsourced (I heard it on the radio in my car) answer of Secretary of Defense, questioned about whether he will keep his job in Obama's 2nd term.
The growth of taxation and government control destroyed the Roman economy and caused the collapse of Rome, which allowed the barbarians to take over. The same thing is happening today. We need not give in to the barbarians, but they are certainly waiting anxiously.
Ford Hall Forum; 1967 [excerpted from the book: "Ayn Rand Answers; p. 5"]
In a different age, Mr. Obama would have been the guy who went out and bought an Edsel. In this age, Mr. Obama is the guy demanding that you buy an Edsel, too.
Ayn Rand is one of those things that a lot of us, when we were 17 or 18 and feeling misunderstood, we’d pick up. Then, as we get older, we realize that a world in which we’re only thinking about ourselves and not thinking about anybody else, in which we’re considering the entire project of developing ourselves as more important than our relationships to other people and making sure that everybody else has opportunity – that that’s a pretty narrow vision. It’s not one that, I think, describes what’s best in America.
Barack H. Obama
[secondary source] http://blogs.wsj.com/speakeasy/2012/10/26/barack-obama-doesnt-think-ayn-rand-is-a-fountainhead-of-ideas/
Of course, rules of fairness have to be enforced, because what other safeguard do we have -- besides the Press. Now, I never suggest that the Press is biased. I recognize they have their job to do and I have my job to do. My job is to lay out a positive vision for the future of the country, and their job is to make sure no one else finds out about it. Let's just say that some in the media have a certain way of looking at things. When suddenly I pulled ahead in some of the major polls, what was the headline?: "Polls show Obama leading from behind." And I've already seen early reports from tonight's dinner: "Headline: Obama embraced by Catholics, Romney dines with rich people."
http://rebirthofreason.com/Spirit/Videos/273.shtml [2012 Al Smith dinner in New York]
Since all demands for equality are by definition meritorious regardless of merit, and since consequences are irrelevant, some interpreters say that inequalities anywhere should be fought against equally. But some inequalities are more egregious, say others, and thus more deserving of society's immediate concern. ... People, they say, know what they want, so no hierarchy of importance is required. [The moral man] starts anywhere, singling out for crusade the specific injustice about which he feels strongly; he is moved by emotionally charged concretes in the here and now. His eyes are not on a vision of an ideal human future, but on a perceptual-level flux of social sores--inequality of health insurance, of gender pay, of wheelchair access, et al--sores to be picked up piecemeal, fought against, and, if the emotional charge runs down, dropped piecemeal.
Book: The DIM Hypothesis. (2012). New American Library, p 175-6
None of us -- none of us have to settle for the best this administration offers, a dull, adventureless journey from one entitlement to the next, a government-planned life, a country where everything is free but us. Listen to the way we're already spoken to -- listen to the way we are spoken to already, as if everyone is stuck in some class or station in life, victims of circumstances beyond our control, with government there to help us cope with our fate. It's the exact opposite of everything I learned growing up in Wisconsin, or at college in Ohio. Now when I was waiting tables, washing dishes, or mowing lawns for money, I never thought of myself as stuck in some station in life. I was on my own path, my own journey, an American journey, where I could think for myself, decide for myself, define happiness for myself. That is that we do in this country. That is the American dream. That's freedom and I will take it any day over the supervision and sanctimony of the central planners.
The other day I had a conversation with a co-worker about politics. At one point I said I don't really think it matters who wins the next election, because the real war is not being fought on that level. I explained that politics is an extension of ethics, and as long as our culture embraces altruism, you can never expect a real improvement.
Despite the rise in the income of the top 0.1 percent of taxpayers as a statistical category, both absolutely and relative to the incomes in other categories, as flesh-and-blood human beings those individuals who were in that category initially had their incomes actually fall by a whopping 50 percent between 1996 and 2005.
Book: Intellectuals and Society. Basic Books; p. 38
They have tried to sell us this trickle-down tax cut fairy dust before. Guess what? We've seen this before. It didn't work then. It will not work now. It's not a plan to create jobs. It is not a plan to lower our deficit.
President Barack Obama
In a state-run society the government promises you security. But it's a false promise predicated on the idea that the opposite of security is risk. Nothing could be further from the truth. The opposite of security is insecurity, and the only way to overcome insecurity is to take risks. The gentle government that promises to hold your hand as you cross the street refuses to let go on the other side.
The value, or WORTH of a man, is ... not absolute; but a thing dependent on the need and judgment of another.
Leviathan, English Works, 3, p. 76
So here's the point: "There are no self-made men. The individual is subservient to the state." This is what Lakoff was trying to conceive that other Democrats could take out into the public domain. They're not talking about roads. This isn't about roads and bridges. Obama and the Democrats are engaged in what I would call 'a determined philosophical takedown of the individual,' at the expense of the total empowerment of the state. If you read a sentence of this or a whole paragraph, what Obama's saying is: There is no self-made man.
If you were successful, somebody along the line gave you some help. There was a great teacher somewhere in your life. Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed you to thrive. Somebody invested in roads and bridges. If you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen.
President Barack Obama
2012 campaign rally in Roanoke, Virginia
An entity which was not concerned with itself or, to put it better, an entity that did not value itself, would not exist for very long. But now children are below the understanding of the issues and, in effect, do not have a choice. It is when children begin to speak -- when they begin to acquire ideas -- that their choice begins. And the idea of self-sacrifice is a totally artificial, very evil idea which children and adults learn from others -- which is passed from person to person. Now this doesn't mean that if a child were left alone he would naturally be selfish, properly. No, because it an enormous achievement to discover rational selfishness. Not acting on whim or pleasure of the moment, but knowing what is rationally an imporant goal, of what value is it to you, and how to achieve it. The idea of being rationally selfish is not available to children. It would take a long period of thought -- or the proper teaching -- for them to discover it.
1962 Interview on The Tonight Show starring Johnny Carson