Rand On the Dole

In the grand ol' tradition of "Libertarian reluctantly calls fire department," all and sundry are having fun with the news that Ayn Rand received Social Security and (apparently) Medicare in her dotage.

Scott McConnell's Oral History of Ayn Rand includes an interview with a consultant of the Atlas Shrugged author and founder of the Objectivism cult, who details how she helped the artist formerly known as Alisa Zinovievna Rosenbaum get on the public tit. From Mark Frauenfelder at BoingBoing:

Noted speed freak, serial-killer fangirl, and Tea Party hero Ayn Rand was also a kleptoparasite, sneakily gobbling up taxpayer funds under an assumed name to pay for her medical treatments after she got lung cancer.

An interview with Evva Pryror, a social worker and consultant to Miss Rand's law firm of Ernst, Cane, Gitlin and Winick verified that on Miss Rand's behalf she secured Rand's Social Security and Medicare payments which Ayn received under the name of Ann O'Connor (husband Frank O'Connor).

As Pryor said, "Doctors cost a lot more money than books earn and she could be totally wiped out" without the aid of these two government programs. Ayn took the bail out even though Ayn "despised government interference and felt that people should and could live independently... She didn't feel that an individual should take help."

At the HuffPost, Michael Ford notes the apparent hypocrisy in this position:

But alas she did and said it was wrong for everyone else to do so. Apart from the strong implication that those who take the help are morally weak, it is also a philosophic point that such help dulls the will to work, to save and government assistance is said to dull the entrepreneurial spirit.

In the end, Miss Rand was a hypocrite but she could never be faulted for failing to act in her own self-interest.

Maybe, but as Patia Stephens (who believes her version of this story was deemed too hot for the mainstream media), points out, Rand actually defended the collecting of benefits as a way to get your own money back from The Man:

Rand may have rationalized that since she had paid into Social Security and Medicare, she was entitled to receive benefits. In a 1966 article for The Objectivist newsletter, she wrote about the morality of accepting Social Security, unemployment insurance or similar payments:

It is obvious, in such cases, that a man receives his own money which was taken from him by force, directly and specifically, without his consent, against his own choice. Those who advocated such laws are morally guilty, since they assumed the “right” to force employers and unwilling co-workers. But the victims, who opposed such laws, have a clear right to any refund of their own money—and they would not advance the cause of freedom if they left their money, unclaimed, for the benefit of the welfare-state administration.

Unless it's revealed that Rand didn't pay income tax or Social Security "investments" during her working life, I'm not seeing the hypocrisy here. You don't have the legal right to opt out of income tax. You also can't avoid paying into the Social Security pyramid unless you are a government worker (a piece of hypocrisy that is far more widespread and of much greater moment than the hijinx of an old lady three decades dead). Some commenters are making the case that Rand used her married name "Ann O'Connor" and thus must have been up to something sneaky, since she was using an assumed name. But wasn't "Ayn Rand" the assumed name? Presumably the O'Connor name was the one under which taxes and FICA were taken from her in the first place. It would be a scandal for more than libertarians if that were not the case, but details of Rand’s life are as opaque to outsiders as the circumstances of L. Ron Hubbard’s death.

Stephens notes that the other two founding broads of libertarianism – Rose Wilder Lane and Isabel Paterson – went to considerable lengths to avoid taking charity from Uncle Sam. (It’s harder to turn down Social Security than you think.) I’d be happy if this dustup resulted in a boost for either of those two over Rand, whose unquestioning dittoheads I can never get along with: A while back I ran into some Ayn Rand Institute folks, and our conversation – no exaggeration – began with my saying Anthem was a pretty shady book and within three minutes had reached the inevitable conclusion that I would propagandize for the Nazis if the pay was right because my life has no meaning. They really are like that!

But the Randicare brouhaha is completely opportunistic. This is all part of the game of holding libertarians to some standard you would never imagine imposing on a follower of mainstream politics. If a Democrat complains about a bad day at the DMV, nobody claims he deserves it because he wants the regulations that make the DMV inevitable. But let a libertarian send a letter through the U.S. Postal Service and he’s fricking Tartuffe. It's a goofy game, but you can see why it's so tempting to play, given that libertarians have such a stranglehold on foreign policy, drug prohibition, financial regulation, health care, and so many areas of public policy.

Previous Rand coverage in Reason. And while my Rand interest pretty much begins and ends with the underrated movie version of The Fountainhead, I find her quite charming, in an eccentric-maiden-aunt kind of way, in the 1979 Phil Donahue interview you can find here, here, here, here and here. The first part for your viewing pleasure:

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • Hugh Akston||

    (It’s harder to turn down Social Security than you think.)

    Grip correspondence from the SSA firmly with both hands. Move one hand toward you and the other away. Repeat as necessary.

  • ||

    Yeah, I'm not going to rip up my own money. Come on man. Maybe at some point you reach the level you put in and stop cashing them, but until then...

  • Cytotoxic||

    How is Anthem 'shady'? I really enjoyed it.

  • affenkopf||

    Me too, probably my favorite work of Rand's fiction (though I still prefer her non-fiction).

  • spasticarex||

    It was all fiction.

  • omg||

    I was just wondering that myself. My only complaint was that the tortured grammar made it hard to read, but you can't really complain about that because that was part of the story.

  • robc||

    Also was wondering that. I could see term applied to Atlas Shrugged or The Fountainhead, but to Anthem? Hell, Tim as a nazi propagandist makes more sense than that.

  • Tim Cavanaugh||

    à chacun son goût! I found The Fountainhead wittier than I was expecting, but Howard Roark is such a pill, and he's always telling his customers "The hell with you, I don't care what you want!" When for me the whole awesomeness of capitalism is that it forces everybody to be nice to each other so they can make money. At one point there's an architects' party where everybody dresses up as their favorite building, and Howard Roark makes a big point of skipping such a frivolous affair, and I decided I didn't want to spend any more time with a guy who wouldn't want to dress up as a building and go to a party.

    Good movie though. That and Sergeant York are the two movies that make the best use of Gary Cooper's limited abilities.

    I read the first couple chapters of Atlas Shrugged, and I liked those a lot. But that leaves a lot of book left to read, with, as far as I know, the only promise being a 40-page speech and the revelation of John Galt's identity. And John Galt sounds a lot like Howard Roark. Maybe someday...

    Anthem I just couldn't stomach. In fact, it's the reason I didn't get to the other books in my teens, when you're supposed to read Rand. The whole thing with the pronouns just seemed like such a writing workshop exercise. For years after that I thought Rand was some kind of artsy fartsy experimental-fiction type, and never would have guessed she had some great iconoclastic opinions, like her belief that Mickey Spillane was a better stylist than Thomas Wolfe.

  • Spiny Norman||

    At one point there's an architects' party where everybody dresses up as their favorite building, and Howard Roark makes a big point of skipping such a frivolous affair...

    Personally, I can't imagine missing such a perfect opportunity to dress up as Randy's Donuts or Tail o' the Pup.

  • Cytotoxic||

    I can't really blame Roark for skipping a stupid party. Dressing up as a building is dumb. WRT Anthem: did you not see the point AR was trying to make with the pronouns? How could you not stomach a simple pronoun change?

  • Robert||

    I'm sure he got the point about the pronouns, but thought it was too hokey a writing trick. Hey, maybe he's confusing shady with hokey.

  • Robert||

    OK, but "shady"? You must be using that word in a way that only an artsy-fartsy type would pretend to understand.

    I read Anthem only recently, decades after reading Atlas for the 1st time -- and I still haven't read Fountainhead, though I've read a fair amt. of Rand nonfiction. Anthem I found very refreshing, demonstrating that she had more range than I'd realized. It was clever and witty. Yeah, I know, We by Zamyatin, that I still haven't read & all, but dammit, it was fun and yet profound. Something of a precursor to A Handmaid's Tale, but with a better present'n.

    You want a shortcut to Atlas? Read only the parts in quotation marks. She was a great dialog and monolog writer and I wish she'd've let the characters speak more for themselves -- which is all of Anthem. Yeah, I know the stuff in quotes includes Galt's speech that I understand a lot of people skip, but you shouldn't. You'll miss some good narrative passages, but overall it'll be a lot punchier.

  • Handsome Dan||

    Good movie though. That and Sergeant York are the two movies that make the best use of Gary Cooper's limited abilities.

    Say what you like about that weirdo Ayn Rand, but I'll thank you to take back your slander of one of the great American actors of Hollywood's golden age! You very deeply need to rent BALL OF FIRE.

  • Juice||

    Gary Cooper was a shitty actor. Sorry.

  • Tim Cavanaugh||

    But Handsome Dan is right. Ball of Fire is teh awesome, and Coop (despite my slander) is great in it. I withdraw my comment.

  • ||

    "The whole thing with the pronouns just seemed like such a writing workshop exercise. For years after that I thought Rand was some kind of artsy fartsy experimental-fiction type,..."

    And if you guys think that's bad, you should hear what he has to say about James Joyce!

  • I Heart Capitalisms||

    Roark wasn't all "The hell with you, I don't care what you want!" It was more like "What do you want from a building? Ok, here's my idea. You don't like it? See ya." I'm pretty sure there's a conversation in there between Roark and Wynand about how designing a house involves both thinking about yourself and about your client and how the Wynand house is both Wynand and Roark. Rand's point was that, unlike socialism, capitalism doesn't necessarily turn people into whores.

  • ||

    Just for the record, speaking as a commercial real estate developer, I've had to bump heads with more than a few architects who wanted to use my investors' money to build a monument to themselves, and if any one of them had blown up one of my projects?

    Talking to a jury is the last thing that fucker would be worried about.

    It better be cheap; it better be functional; it better lease and sell--or from this dyed in the wool capitalist to all you Objectivist architects out there?

    Fuck you!

  • ||

    Do you people have any idea how much glass costs?

    Do you?!

  • DesigNate||

    As an about to be newly minted designer with a masters degree, I understand how much glass cost. The problem I've run into working with developers is they don't understand the construction triangle.

    However, I always try to defer to my clients and tailor my designs to them.

  • ||

    I was talkin' about Howard Roark.

    He burns down my project? He has no idea how much that sets me back?! What kind of capitalist would do something like that to someone else's investment.

    All those construction materials have to be paid for--again! Who's footing that bill?! Not to mention the time involved. I'm workin' off an IRR function...

    You know one of my beefs with a lot of architects? They don't appreciate the value of time. It's not that time is money--time is way more valuable than money!

    Oh, that and the bizarre theory that I would want my architect doing my construction management! Are they out of their minds?!

    Oh, and you want to impress me as an architect? When I tell you I've got an office/industrial project, and I ask you 'em what they think I should build there?

    Impress the shit out of me and ask for a market report!

  • I Heart Capitalisms||

    Your buildings are safe from Objectivist dynamiters as long as you stick to the contract. And even if you don't, they're a lot more likely to just sue you.

  • Sheesh||

    Hey retard. The buildings Roark blew up in The Fountainhead were a housing project. A government project. When talking about capitalism, fiction, philosophy and your money, please try to know what you are talking about.

  • Non ARI Objectivist||

    I see you never even read the book, did you? Roark designed low income housing that was cheaper, more efficient, and easier to sell to the customers.

  • ||

    You understand that as a developer--an architect is hired help.

    I've also got structural engineers, biologists, civil engineers, fucking archaeologists and hydrologists on the job too--you think their work is so sacred I don't rip their shit up too?

    If you develop anywhere outside of rural America, everything you build is a collaboration with local, state and even federal government. ...not to mention comments from the general public! It takes millions of dollars and 18 months--at least--just to get plans approved in Southern California...

    Show me an architect who won't compromise on his vision amid all that, and I'll show you an unemployed architect. You know why developers like to use local architects? 'cause they already know the ins and outs of the local approval process.

    She spent too much time with architects--she should have written the book from the perspective of a rabid capitalist developer.

    Like me.

    Any developer who agreed to build whatever the architect wanted--without knowing what he was gonna build first? Is too stupid to be a developer.

    That's like a letting surgeon cut into your insides without knowing what the hell he was going in for or what he was going to do once he got there!

    Would you do that with an investment professional?! Here, take my money! Do you whatever you want with it--'cause you're so smart?!

    A lot of people do that. There's a technical term for them. They're called "suckers".

  • I Heart Capitalisms||

    Roark would show his plans to his potential customers. If they wanted to add Corinthian columns, then he'd walk away.

  • Non ARI Objectivist||

    Wow, the reason you don't get along with ARI types is you are as big an asshole as they are. You start off your post calling objectivism a cult-- which is exactly the insult the leftist idiots use. I disagree with the positions of the ARI and a number that Rand herself took, but I am an objectivist, and not part of any cult (I mean, to be part of a cult I'd have to know other members right?)

    I'm tired of asshole libertarians bashing Rand and objectivism without being honest about what it said.

    One thing Rand said was to treat people with respect who were different than you. There's no elitism in Atlas Shrugged, the characters are often giving others the benefit of the doubt, even well after they've proven they are looters.

    So, don't start off by insulting people and then presume that because they didn't like being insulted they are somehow defective.

  • Sheesh||

    But insults go hand in hand with ignorance, the twin hallmarks of H&R's commentariat.

  • ||

    What astounds me is the type of craven, self-serving assholes that Rand unfailingly depicts as socialists/leftists in Atlas Shrugged, are more accurately found in today's world by those on Wall St, the Auto industry, the banks... in other words, the supposed paragons of capital industry. They're the true parasites. Read some of their responses to why the bailouts were necessary, and you'll have echoes in your ear of exactly the attitude Rand (rightfully) pillories in AS

  • Bucky||

    more gnat straining...

  • ||

    "...interview with a consultant of the Atlas Shrugged author and founder of the Objectivism cult..."

    Oh, you big trouble-maker, you!

    "But the victims, who opposed such laws, have a clear right to any refund of their own money—and they would not advance the cause of freedom if they left their money, unclaimed, for the benefit of the welfare-state administration."

    I agree. ...especially with the first part.

    I'd opt out of Social Security tomorrow if I could--but I can't.

    If someone robs you and then offers some of your money back? You don't say no. Refusing to take your own money back is like being an accomplice in robbing yourself.

    The same thing is happening with ObamaCare too. For a lot of people, opting out of ObamaCare won't be an option. ...and it's getting harder for people to avoid the government.

    I guess the ultimate question is whether it's possible to be a real libertarian in a place like Cuba or North Korea, where it may be impossible to survive without some assistance from the government.

    I think the answer is yes!

    I think living as free as we can and desiring more freedom is more than enough to qualify as a real libertarian. But is that enough to be a real Objectivist?

    I don't know, and I don't care.

    Despite knowing some very uncultlike people who've worked with the ARI, some others I've met who really do exhibit cult like symptoms are enough to send me looking for the escape hatch.

  • Hugh Akston||

    I know what you mean. I once had the stereo stolen out of my car, so I took the stereo of the guy next to me to even things out.

  • Sidd Finch||

    "If someone robs you and then offers some of your money back? You don't say no. Refusing to take your own money back is like being an accomplice in robbing yourself."

    "I know what you mean. I once had the stereo stolen out of my car, so I took the stereo of the guy next to me to even things out."

    For us regular folk, could you translate Others speak into plain American so we can understand the analogy.

  • Pedant||

    I think Hugh's point is that the money that was taken from you is long spent, and the robber saves nothing. Any money you get in the future will first need to be stolen from some future victim.

  • ||

    So, using government funds is still stealing. You get nothing back, instead you take from someone else.

  • the right does it too||

    Is it our fault that the government has already spent the money it steals from us? No. Should it be a defense for a robber to say "I already spent the money I stole from this victim, so there is no way I should pay reparations"? Of course not.

  • Yup||

    Indeed. And don't forget that many people never have a chance to recoup any of their stolen money. A single person with no legal beneficiaries forfeits every penny if he dies before he retires. In that respect, the government does get away with theft.

  • Xenocles||

    Perhaps the morally optimal plan would be to end the system by raiding the estates of current beneficiaries to make the young people whole.

  • ||

    Should it be a defense for a robber to say "I already spent the money I stole from this victim, so there is no way I should pay reparations"? Of course not.

    How dense can you be? The "robber" doesn't have any of his own money. The only money it can "refund" MUST be stolen from others.

    When did people come to believe that two wrongs make a right?!

  • JoshINHB||

    When it benefits them.

  • IceTrey||

    Maybe the robber went straight and got a job and saved up some legitimately earned money before he was caught, convicted and ordered to pay reparations.

  • ||

    It isn't that "two wrong make a right." If a crime lord makes 30 million dollars and the courts order him to return that 30 million to his victims, how have "two wrongs" been committed?

    Personally, I have no problem with people living on welfare or using any government services. People are self interested after all. OF COURSE they are going to make use of government programs that benefit themselves. It is the act of stealing (taxation) that is wrong, not the act of giving (subsidy).

    I am a hardcore libertarian who has never received a dime of welfare, although I have driven on public roads and utilized the public school system, but I do not begrudge even the slimiest welfare queens and kings. WE ARE ALL SELF INTERESTED. When are people finally going to understand what that means? It is the government and the voters who have done wrong, not the people who follow their own self interest to get as much out of the government apparatus as they can.

    Basically:

    Taxing to fund welfare or voting for welfare: Immoral

    Receiving welfare: Not Immoral

    I only begrudge individuals insofar as they vote for one system over another as a part of the electorate.

  • cynical||

    Except that the government's theft isn't tied to its expenditures, it's based on the fact that the money is there. You could kill everyone over 60, but until someone passed a law ending it, Social Security would still be taking a cut of everyone's paychecks.

  • Robert||

    Money is fungible. It's not a particular person's property you're stealing when you recover some of your tax money. If you looked at it that way, you'd have to consider getting a tax refund to be stealing someone's money too, because as long as the treasury's in deficit, the money you had withheld is gone before you get your refund.

  • Fluffy||

    Hugh:

    If Objectivism as a moral philosophy is correct, each and every one of us already possesses the moral authority to resist the state with violence, kill its representatives, and destroy its property.

    That being the case, we certainly would possess the moral authority to pilfer a small amount of its property.

    How could we possibly be morally entitled to destroy all of something, but not morally entitled to steal a very small part of it?

    Yes, the state will steal from others to make up from the fact that we steal from it. Those thefts remain the state's moral responsibility and can't be transitively applied to us. If they could be applied to us, any resistance of any kind would constitute "stealing the next guy's stereo".

    If I burn down an IRS building, the state will seize taxes from the populace to build a new one.

    If I fight a guerrilla war against the state, it will tax people to fight back against me.

    Etcetera.

  • ||

    Still, it would only aggrandize the State and turn the populace against us.

  • Charles Novins||

    Putting the same point in a more mundane way, Hugh would need to avoid public roads, sidewalks, and similar such stuff to be consistent. Nothing in Objectivism or libertarianism makes us more culpable because we took the "voluntary" step of cashing our Social Insecurity check. That said, per Ringer, I also recognize the virtue in making the effort to avoid participation in the whole scheme.

  • ||

    By this standard, shouldn't all libertarians apply for every penny of wealth transfers available? We are morally opposed, unless there is something in it for us? Since we can't avoid theft, we must line up at the trough and steal as much as we can get our hands on? All while bemoaning the immorality of it all?

  • ||

    He's not saying get all you can. He's saying since we actually live in reality, and can't completely avoid the fact that this shit happens(roads and parks are good examples), taking part in the benefits of the state isn't "wrong" since its inevitable. I see no problem with taking social security while at the same time stating that "hey, everyone, there may be a better, more moral way to do this." I certainly support avoiding taking as much of the states loot as possible to make a point, but its inevitable you will.

    I mean, in order to be a "pure" Libertarian, you would have to curl up in your closet and never engage in life. I choose to be a Libertarian, while also having a life and being happy with what I do have going on. Having all of these purity/consistency contests is what keeps our views on the fringe. Good luck making any serious change that way.

  • Hugh Akston||

    My moniker to the contrary, I am no Objectivist. So I'm not going to try and defend Rand's philosophy or her actions. But I will try and respond briefly to all the defenestration I have inspired since I went to bed.

    Fluffy: I might be morally entitled to shoot a trespasser in the head, but if I can subdue or dissuade him nonviolently, I will. I prefer nonviolent solutions. There is nothing violent about shredding a letter from the SSA.

    Charles Novin: I am not advocating principles at any price. I drive on the roads and walk on the sidewalks and call the fire department because I literally have no alternative other than suicide.

    But the voluntary aspect of cashing a check or voting is precisely what sets them apart from driving on the roads. By choosing to participate, you not only endorse the respective institutions, but also become an accessory (in whatever marginal way) to its actions. If you can do that and sleep at night, more power to you, but I have no intention of accepting stolen goods, even if they were stolen from me.

    AA: Make no mistake, I live in reality too. And in reality, I have no obligation to accept Social Security payments. I don't intend to do so, and will think less of people who do.

  • ||

    Hugh, I certainly appreciate your points, and respect your intention of not taking SS payments, to be sure. But like you said, you walk on the roads, sidewalks, and call the FD when needs, because your not stupid. I just apply your same reasoning to SS, at least when it comes to lower classes. I'm not saying its "right," but I wont think less of them, for much the reasons tkwelge and Fluffy stated. Also, I was in the military and receive my GIBILL for school(joined before I discovered this whole Libertarian thing), and I've grappled internally with this same issue.

    Ya, I suppose I'm a hypocrite, blah, blah, blah :)

  • IceTrey||

    No we should apply to get back exactly the amount that was taken from us.

  • Robert||

    By this standard, shouldn't all libertarians apply for every penny of wealth transfers available? We are morally opposed, unless there is something in it for us? Since we can't avoid theft, we must line up at the trough and steal as much as we can get our hands on? All while bemoaning the immorality of it all?


    Yes, damn it, and you should also cheat to get even what their rules theoretically don't allow you! To do otherwise would be like avoiding robbing a robber in the hope that s/he'll reform by seeing your example of not robbing hir, and in the fear that if you take (or even more so, steal) from hir, s/he'll rob all the more.

  • Fiscal Meth||

    Fluffy, Your questions are nothing but an announcement that you have never actually ever read any non-fiction written by any objectivist or even by anyone else who has read any of it.

  • ||

    So, do you agree that it is not a retirement program that people have paid into? It is just a welfare program? Therefore, it can be revoked at any time, right?

  • ||

    SS is indeed a welfare program. It's nothing more than an intergenerational wealth redistribution program. Nothing is invested and your hiers have no legal right to the funds taken from you beyond survior's benefits.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    "cult"

    What a load of shit.

  • ||

    Anything can be a cult...

    It isn't about the belief system; it's about the believers.

    If you can think of a few things off the top of your head that Ayn Rand was wrong about? You're not in a cult.

    If you're in a room full of people who can't think of things Ayn Rand was wrong about, right off the top of their heads?

    You're lookin' at a cult.

  • Charles Novins||

    That's fair comment. I know few Objectivists who accept Rand as the first and last word, but if that's the "room," you're looking at a cult, yeah. Many of us do agree strongly with her fundamental principles, so take care to properly evaluate the "room." Try to imagine how you might feel about people who oppose freedom of speech, for example. I see them as savages, and my "absolutism" might well be thought of as "arrogant" and those sharing my views, "cultish." I hope no one here encourages my cult-like behavior in this regard. Heh. So what can you do? But the flip side is fair also, and this has been an even bigger problem for libertarians in the past: People who don't understand the underlying philosophy and judge the content by its supposed followers (or even its originator, as with Rand) are equally misguided. Arguably, Ayn Rand's top goal was to educate people about philosophy - all kinds, not just her own. She thought violent change was arguably justified, but quite pointless and ultimately ineffective. At our sooper-sekret O meetings, we think up ideas, then we try to tell them to you. Hoo-hoo, watch out! So insofar as it's a cult, I wouldn't get my panties in a bunch.

  • ||

    "So what can you do?"

    I don't know the ultimate solution to that, but I guess the first thing is to make sure I'm not part of the problem.

    I know there are a lot of people who have come to understand and appreciate the value of freedom through Ayn Rand's work. Like I said, I've known people who worked with and for the ARI, and they didn't come across that way at all to me.

    I've known some other Objectivists, however, who really did strike me as being a little cult like--but I don't think that was because of Ayn Rand and what she wrote. I think it was about them!

    There's a true believer mentality that's so hard to overcome for so many. Even in a philosophy like Ayn Rand's, where her central premise seems to be that we should all be guided by reason--and believe in ourselves! This true believer mentality is such a problem, for some people...

    I think anybody who immerses themselves in Ayn Rand's thinking and comes away believing in Ayn Rand rather than themselves? Probably didn't really understand what they were studying.

  • Non ARI Objectivist||

    I can easily name things that Rand was wrong about- her objections to homosexuality, anarchism and libertarianism.

    But you call those who believe in objectivism a "cult" and your engaging in cult like behavior.

    You're turning it from an honest evaluation of the philosophy (without which libertarians would have no philosophy) into an ideological "us or them" and "they are the enemy" type marking.

    Which is cult like behavior.

  • Disagree||

    One of the trademarks of a cult is that you're not allowed to leave it. A bunch of zealots in a room isn't necessarily a cult, even if they boo you as you leave the room.

  • ||

    I've seen lots of cults where you could theoretically get up and leave.

    The Moonies used to bug everybody in the parking lots of airports, soliciting for donations--they weren't chained in their rooms.

    You gonna tell me they weren't a cult?

  • ||

    If you can't think of anything critical to say about your guru?

    You're in a cult.

    If your identity becomes so intertwined with someone else's thinking that someone else's thinking becomes who you are?

    You're in a cult.

    That's the kind of collectivism Ayn Rand railed against, and anybody who advocates group think in her name is a disgrace to her legacy.

  • Charles Novins||

    Oh, yeah. If you disagree with us O's, you're in big trouble. Booing is possible. Aspersions directed at your maternal lineage may even ensue. And if any cartoonist dares lampoon us, we may even purchase our own copies and draw mustaches, thus defacing the message. Hide your wimmin and chil'ren, it's not safe. We bad, yeah.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    Ken, the twats who usually spout the "Ayn Rand Cult" bullshit do it to anyone with even a passing interest in her work.

  • ||

    No doubt.

    There are people who hate Objectivists and despise anyone who loves Ayn Rand's work because they associate her and people who like her with--egads--capitalism!

    Cavanaugh isn't one of those people. I'm not one of those people either.

    Personally? I thought the chapter in "Atlas Shrugged" with the Joycean, semi-stream of consciousness roving camera eye passing through the train of people, all of whom are about to choke to death? That is one of the best written fragments of literature I've ever read.

    ...and, darn it, I'm well read.

    There are idiots out there who rage against Barack Obama for being a socialist--and many of them are ignoramuses in every other respect. Doesn't mean they aren't right about that one thing.

    Again, I'm not going after Rand or her thinking. Like I said, if there are cult members amongst those who call themselves Objectivists, I don't think we can blame Ayn Rand for that.

    If I can't think of anything critical to say about Ayn Rand or any other person I've turned into a flawless guru--that isn't Ayn Rand's fault. That isn't any guru's fault.

    That's all me.

  • Non ARI Objectivist||

    "Cavanaugh isn't one of those people. I'm not one of those people either."

    You are because you paint an entire group of people with the term. It doesn't matter that you recognize later that the term may not apply to all of them.

    You expressed a bigotry, as did cavanough. The leftists bigotry is "objectivists are capitalists therefore evil. Your and Cavanaugh's bigotry is "objectivists are cultists and therefore anti-reason".

    Not a big improvement.

    I'm an objectivst, Ayn Rand was wrong about a lot of thinks and Cavanaugh is a asshole.

  • ||

    "You expressed a bigotry, as did cavanough. The leftists bigotry is "objectivists are capitalists therefore evil. Your and Cavanaugh's bigotry is "objectivists are cultists and therefore anti-reason".

    If the shoe fits, wear it!

    I never said her philosophy was a cult.

    The cult members who espouse her philosophy? They act like it's a cult.

    And if you think people are talking about you personally when they talk about Ayn Rand?

    Then you might want to have that looked at. Seriously, there are professionals who can help people like you!

  • Max||

    Ken, the twats who usually spout the "Ayn Rand Cult" bullshit do it to anyone with even a passing interest in her work.

    Only deranged lost dipshits are interested in her "work".

  • Random Passerby||

    More guttural vomit of mental surrender from Max. How amusing.

    :)

  • ||

    He's definitely lost a step.

    Nowhere near as amusing as he used to be.

  • Mr Whipple||

    "cult"

    What a load of shit.

    Not really. Rothbard wrote an article The Sociology of the Ayn Rand Cult, and yes, he describes it as a "cult", in the real sense of the word from his experiences of being part of her "inner circle".

    http://www.lewrockwell.com/rot.....ard23.html

  • Rather||

    "Some commenters are making the case that Rand used her married name "Ann O'Connor" and thus must have been up to something sneaky, since she was using an assumed name." Name names ;-)

  • Rather||

    You're wrong.


    Name
    Birth
    Death
    Age
    Last Address of Record
    Last Benefit
    Issued By
    SSN
    Tools Order
    Record?
    RAND, AYN 02 Feb 1905 Mar 1982 77 10019 (New York, New York, NY) (none specified) California 571-32-9405

  • ponchy||

    Well, either her legal name was Ann O'Connor and that's what it said on the checks or her legal name was Ayn Rand and that's what it said on the checks. This isn't a buffet.

    Is the idea that the social security admin allowed her to use an assumed name just because they admired her work so much?

  • Rather||

    ponchy, your social security name is your legal name. She likely used her married name in private life but she clearly was deceptive when she applied for Social Security, and Medicare.

  • ||

    Under what name are widows allowed to collect their husbands benefits?

  • Rather||

    Her benefits are under her social security name, ergo legal name. She obviously used Rand for tax and legal purposes (a legal name change would be required to change her SS name and for her benefits to follow. I'm not versed on the laws that protect the benefits for widows but the checks would have been made out to Rand to ensure continuity of the tax record.

  • ponchy||

    Exactly. Point is, either her legal (social security) name was Ann O'Connor and it said that on her checks or else her legal (social security) name was Ayn rand and it said that on her checks. If, as it seems you've shown, her name was Rand according to the SS admin, then clearly the lady recounting the story was remembering something wrong or making something up.

  • Rather||

    Tim stated "[p]resumably the O'Connor name was the one under which taxes and FICA were taken from her in the first place". My point was that is not the case, and ergo her use of her married name on applications smells like subterfuge

  • ||

    Do you think Chad Ochocinco got a new social security card when he changed his name? Or will he be able to use his old card when he switches back to Chad Johnson? Or will they make him get another new one?

  • Rather||

    Tim,
    BTW, you were assuming and not presuming

  • Sidd Finch||

    "A while back I ran into some Ayn Rand Institute folks, and our conversation – no exaggeration – began with my saying Anthem was a pretty shady book and within three minutes had reached the inevitable conclusion that I would propagandize for the Nazis if the pay was right because my life has no meaning."

    I suggest you never visit the Mises thing in Auburn. Picture half beards and huge guts with the pretension of Epsiarch. The damn place made me want to swear loyalty to David Gergen and enroll in the Kennedy School of Government. Maybe my one visit isn't representative of the place, but Jesus H Christ, I've only seen such a gathering of hideous self-important assholes at university [some bullshit] demonstrations.

    PS If you either love or hate Rand, go to hell.

  • Rather||

    I'm neutral; can I go to Paris?

  • Sidd Finch||

    Fucking Christ, I'm having a bout of insomnia and you manage to respond in 4 minutes. Take your skankass to the bowling alley and get some wrinkled D for your own good.

  • Rather||

    I happen to have a sweet ass and I wouldn't bowl- ever. "[W]rinkled D"?

    Insomnia? Welcome to my world

  • a penny a day keep obama away||

    Sure you do....

  • Tim Cavanaugh||

    If you either love or hate Rand, go to hell.

    Exactly. I like Rand, just not in that way. And I'm afraid if she ever found out my favorite Rachmaninoff piece is Eric Carmen's "All By Myself" it would mean I'm exactly the same as Hitler.

  • ||

    Uh oh, someone has a crush on me! Enjoy your insomnia and conversations with rectal. Not sleeping's a bitch. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

  • Charles Novins||

    Popular author Robert Ringer analyzed this sort-of libertarian quandry in "Restoring The American Dream." His take was also that there's no shame (or moral quandry) in getting your own money back - almost invariably a fraction thereof. But he counseled against it where the individual could afford not to. Ayn Rand also addressed this sort of thing in her comments regarding whether an Objectivist student ought to accept government loans or grants. Akston makes a thoughtful point (you're not getting YOUR money back, per se) which would be worth considering if we lived in a post-socialist milieu, but we don't, so he's wrong. Even if, magically overnight, every politician in the nation were Objectivist, justice would require a strict but measured return to an era free of institutionalized theft.

  • ||

    The system wouldn't be a problem either if all it did was give you the exact value of the money you put in back. It'd be the worst investment scheme ever but it would be sustainable.

  • Mr Whipple||

    By "exact value" you mean inflation adjusted, plus interest you would have received in a CD, or something? I'm not sure that would be sustainable, either.

  • robc||

    If SS was a mandatory 401K (all the money that you pay goes into your account is yours to invest as you like, then its doled out post-retirement) that would be an improvement, but it would still "be a problem". Allocation of resources is the individuals to decide.

  • Yup||

    The only moral option is to allow individuals to prosper or fail, according to their own talents and ambitions. This is why so many people oppose objectivist ethics. It doesn't seem "fair" to them to let people alone. They assume that objectivists would allow people to starve in the streets, when in fact, no objectivist would ever prevent you from helping the poor, if you wanted to.

  • yonemoto||

    it also wouldn't be possible to use it to screw over minorities with shorter lifespans.

  • Fatty Bolger||

    Imagine the impact on the poor if they had a lifetime savings & investment account to leave to their children, even if they died relatively young. You can see why the left must stop that from happening, at any cost.

  • Spiny Norman||

    What Akston doesn't realize is that the second stereo belonged to the very guy who stole his stereo, which is a surprising ironic twist that you don't find out about until you read down this far in the comments.

  • Government Worker||

    Tim,

    I'm a government worker and I have to pay Social Security.

    On another note, was anyone else shocked by Rand's praise of the child killer? CREEPY!!!!

  • Amakudari||

    Yeah, and of those who get out of it, I believe participation in a public retirement system is mandatory. I think it's something like 10-20 states that have a system like that, with the rest paying FICA.

  • Tim Cavanaugh||

    In California it's 70% of govt workers -- all public safety, teachers and a lot of miscellaneous. Which, like so much in California, is out of balance with the rest of the USA, where most public employees are unable to get out of SS. Each state has a czar who decides who's in and who's out. It's quite absurd.

  • robc||

    In Kentucky, its just teachers who dont pay into SS. But many of them do via 2nd jobs, or jobs they get after retiring from teaching, so they end up collecting teachers retirement and SS.

  • Bill||

    Why do you think Anthem is shady?

    Because it is similar to the book "We"??

  • Brett L||

    If by "similar" you mean far inferior then yes.

  • Spiny Norman||

    Bit of a different ending, though.

  • ||

    In fairness to Ms. Rand/O'Connor, she didn't have the option to relocate to Somalia... back then it wasn't the Galt's Gulch it's known as today.

  • ||

    Maybe you guys should read We the Living to grasp things here.

  • Chony||

    The fact that someone loosely associated with libertarians could arguably be construed as a hypocrite disproves the entire philosophy.

    Check-mate, libbytards.

  • Bucky||

    you must work at the circus...
    Chony the amazing camel swallower!

  • ||

    If by camel you mean the government's fat cock, then you are correct.

  • Zac De La Roca||

    How dare someone profit from a system they dislike.

  • Tom Morello||

    Especially since I was the talent in RATM, Zacky! I should get hazard pay for Audioslave!

  • ||

    I have absolutely no idea what you guys are talking about.

    MEAT IS MURDER!

  • Choad||

    Whoah guys, I'd love to argue, but I'm gonna get some sweet nookie from my wife. I've found a woman who likes choads. Can't let this one slip through my fingers.

  • anarch||

    TMI.

  • Choad||

    You will respect the Choad.

  • anarch||

    Easier when he does so himself.

  • Choad||

    I am the real Choad. My choad can slice through a libertarian straw man with the precision of a laser beam.

  • Anonymous||

    You can't opt out of social security anymore, if you are a government worker; in another case of libertarian hypocrisy, my father works for the government. I just asked him; it was true at one point, but not anymore.

    And, by the way, I agree with the assessment of the LvMI; great place to get pdfs, but the place makes me feel like I need to take several showers. The level of worship for Rothbard exceeds any Randroids worship of Rand...which is kind of ironic. Maybe it's because Lew is Catholic.

  • Anonymous||

    I'm the libertarian here. My dad is just a conservative.

  • Xenocles||

    For some, it's not an option. My mother is a teacher in Massachusetts and if she takes the retirement package (which she pays in to; I don't know how much the state augments it) she forfeits SS. Flip side is that she hasn't been paying SS taxes during her career, but the pyramid payments from earlier jobs is gone.

    For the record, there's nothing necessarily hypocritical about a libertarian working for the government. Most libertarians believe some government functions are legitimate and/or necessary; there would be no conflict in serving one of those functions.

  • Xenocles||

    *are gone.

    Oops.

  • Yup||

    Correct. True libertarians are not anarchists. Anarchists are collectivists. They merely replace the state with their own mob.

  • Anonymous||

    What about the free market types? Stirnerites? Tuckerites?

  • BakedPenguin||

    Spooner, too.

  • Xenocles||

    I'm not comfortable with that either. Anarchism is a negatively-defined position like atheism. There's a lot of room under the "no state" label. Some are truly individualists who just wish to be left alone.

    tangent
    Unfortunately, human nature does seem to predict that anarchy - regardless of the intentions of its supporters - will transition into a system of microstates equivalent to localized mob rule. This will happen because there is power in collectives, and as long as even a few people seek power over others they will collectivize. Those who do will dominate those who stand alone, and then the competition will be between various collectives until an equilibrium is reached.

    My understanding is that the entire point of libertarianism is to recognize this unfortunate fact and form a collective that protects the individual's rights to the maximum extent possible while violating them to the minimum extent necessary to achieve that protection. (According to some models, this minimum is zero. This assumes achievement of a voluntary payment system.) It's an imperfect system for an imperfect world.
    /tangent

  • ||

    I don't disagree, but I just think it's intellectually dishonest to say that no libertarians are anarchists. That is clearly not the case. And I don't dislike anarchists, whether collectivist or individualist; I bought some books at an infoshop, and the cashier was very nice.

    I'm an atheist, but it is-as Penn Jillette, a libertarian atheist, a negative position. My morality used to be Objectivist, nowadays leaning more to a modified Paul Kurtz style secular humanism.

  • Xenocles||

    I don't think we disagree; I should have been more clear. I'm an anarchist at heart; I just recognize the futility of trying to achieve true anarchy. It's perfectly possible to be both, nor do adherents of the separate philosophies have to be enemies (certainly not until the status quo is acceptable to one group but not the other, perhaps not even then).

  • ||

    All human beings are anarchist at heart; everyone is an anarchist when hassled by the police or by their boss.

    I see no reason why all these fights between even libertarians and nonlibertarians have to exist. I mean, I can easily see myself getting along with Mr. Krugman if we avoided politics and economics.

    Separate ideas from personalities. Respect people, but subject ideas to harsh criticism.

  • Joe R.||

    So the argument against anarchism is that some individuals will seek power, and use it to control and collectivize others? Sounds vaguely familiar. I'd be willing to take my chances with it.

  • Xenocles||

    Go ahead. I wish you luck, but reality can be a tough opponent. I don't like reality sometimes, but nobody ever promised to please me.

  • ||

    It's logical inconsistent to claim to live by anarchism and then engage in collectivist action and thus live by collectivism.

    Collectivism and its many forms -- feudalism, socialism, fascism, corporatism, communism, military dictatorship -- all require government.

    Anarchism means living by without an overlord, i.e., no government.

  • ||

    ^^This^^

  • Watoosh||

    Not true. Does a football team require coercion to function? How about Amish communes or Israeli kibbutzim (provided that people are able to participate in their decisionmaking and more importantly, free to leave at any moment), are they also instances of big government enslaving people for the common good?

    Or how about the paradigm case of actual anarchy during the last century - Spain during the civil war? Sure, it was somewhat clumsy and not very polished (and arguably some coercion was still present), but it's still the best example of successful anarchy in recent history. Moreover, it was a collectivist endeavor, even though nobody was forced to participate in collective action.

    Anarchy means more than "no government" - it strives towards the absence of all hierarchy, which means opposing the state, but also landlords, bosses, patriarchy, racism etc. Because capitalism includes landlords and bosses, anarchists are opposed to it and therefore favor various forms of voluntary collectivism. You may disagree with the moral and economic implications of hierarchy, but that's what anarchy has historically entailed, and it's disingenuous to try to redefine anarchism as mere anti-statism.

    It's possible to be an individual anarchist, though; I count myself among them. Most anarcho-collectivists also hold the premise that individual action is the basis of all economic activity, they simply believe that it's desirable that individuals voluntarily associate in syndicates, communes etc.

  • Mr Whipple||

    My understanding is, once you turn 65 you are automatically put on Medicare. You have no choice in the matter. It doesn't matter how much private insurance you have, Medicare pays first, then private insurance picks up the difference.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    ...I would propagandize for the Nazis if the pay was right because my life has no meaning.

    In defense of the Institute folks, only a fascist nihilist would allow their work to be posted above that "Editor's Note", with its tyrannical threat of censorship. FIGHT THE POWER! On the other hand, say what you will about the tenets of National Socialism, at least it's an ethos.

    Also, I was kinda hoping this post was about some connection between Rand Paul and Bob Dole. Total letdown.

  • ||

    This comment section is being hosted on their servers. Their servers, their rules.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    You know who else had rules?

  • ||

    Look, this is a privately owned server. You don't like the rules, don't post here.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Hey, you're talking to an invester here! And I have two Reason bumper stickers to prove it.

  • a penny a day keep obama away||

    I had to read the post. I thought it was going to be a story about Ayn Rand doing the wild thing with Bob Dole. I could see why he would have ED.

  • Bucky||

    here i thought it was something puny about Mr. Paul and kinky fruit fetish...

  • ||

    This actualyl makes a lot of sense dude.

    privacy-tools.au.tc

  • ||

    In any case, this is nothing new. One of the reasons I think libertarians (whether moderate classical liberals or more radical types) need to be extra careful. I think we'd be best served by building the new within the old.

  • LOL||

    OH look, the repressed hatemonger is looking out for someone being wiped out. Oh wait, shouldn't you be on a street corner staring at girls, or looking at star child's crotch?

  • ||

    I take issue with the contention that nobody would claim a Democrat deserves a bad day at DMV. That sort of argument goes on all the time on both sides (my liberal friends laugh when I gripe about Wal-Mart or any other "greedy" corporation).

  • Anonymous||

    Is that so?

  • Irresponsible Hater||

    ""
    You know, when I was a young man, hypocrisy was deemed the worst of vices,” Finkle-McGraw said. “It was all because of moral relativism. You see, in that sort of a climate, you are not allowed to criticise others-after all, if there is no absolute right and wrong, then what grounds is there for criticism? … Now, this led to a good deal of general frustration, for people are naturally censorious and love nothing better than to criticise others’ shortcomings. And so it was that they seized on hypocrisy and elevated it from a ubiquitous peccadillo into the monarch of all vices. For, you see, even if there is no right and wrong, you can find grounds to criticise another person by contrasting what he has espoused with what he has actually done. In this case, you are not making any judgment whatsoever as to the correctness of his views or the morality of his behaviour-you are merely pointing out that he has said one thing and done another. Virtually all political discourse in the days of my youth was devoted to the ferreting out of hypocrisy.

    We take a somewhat different view of hypocrisy,” Finkle-McGraw continued. “In the late-twentieth-century Weltanschauung, a hypocrite was someone who espoused high moral views as part of a planned campaign of deception-he never held these beliefs sincerely and routinely violated them in privacy. Of course, most hypocrites are not like that. Most of the time it’s a spirit-is-willing, flesh-is-weak sort of thing.”

    “That we occasionally violate our own stated moral code,” Major Napier said, working it through, “does not imply that we are insincere in espousing that code.”

    “Of course not,” Finkle-McGraw said. “It’s perfectly obvious, really. No one ever said that it was easy to hew to a strict code of conduct. Really, the difficulties involved-the missteps we make along the way-are what make it interesting. The internal, and eternal, struggle, between our base impulses and the rigorous demands of our own moral system is quintessentially human. It is how we conduct ourselves in that struggle that determines how we may in time be judged by a higher power.”
    ""
    -The Diamond Age

  • Anonymous||

    I think I'll get this book. With passages like that...

  • Mike Laursen||

    So, to keep to her "just getting back my own money" standard, she would have had her accountant total up all her contributions and then instruct them to send back any remuneration exceeding that amount. No?

  • Bucky||

    don't forget interest and penalties...
    Yes?

  • Mike Laursen||

    Sure. If she were totally scrupulous about it, she'd figure in inflation, time value of money. Extra points for converting all amounts to units of gold.

  • Zoe||

    Nothing wrong with getting back some of what is stolen from you.

  • Yup||

    It is obvious, in such cases, that a man receives his own money which was taken from him by force, directly and specifically, without his consent, against his own choice. Those who advocated such laws are morally guilty, since they assumed the “right” to force employers and unwilling co-workers. But the victims, who opposed such laws, have a clear right to any refund of their own money—and they would not advance the cause of freedom if they left their money, unclaimed, for the benefit of the welfare-state administration.

    That quote sums up the issue quite nicely. You're not a hypocrite for reclaiming your stolen property. How many "libertarians" here will leave their SS checks uncashed when the time comes? And it will come, in one form or another. I'd bet not a single one.

  • ||

    I, like Albert Jay Nock, plan on dying with zero net worth. So, I will not cash the check.

  • Xenocles||

    I don't see what one has to do with the other. Although there is a death benefit, most people get SS payments while they are alive, and you can spend that money before you die.

    On a side note, how do you plan what your worth will be on a day you can't predict? (I assume you don't plan to off yourself on a preselected day.)

  • Bucky||

    and one of your enterprising progeny or relatives could sell what's left of you...
    zero net thought processes...

  • MNG||

    "If you either love or hate Rand, go to hell."

    Most people are not Devils or Saints. I really enjoyed We the Living (I thought it was like an Anna Karenina for the modern age [not a compliment Ms. Rand would have liked]) but found Anthem to be unintentionally hilarious. Rand's passion often made her make goofily sweeping and extreme statements but they are very understandable considering the crap she dealt with first hand in the USSR.

    As to her taking social security I see no problem, it's up there with Clinton advocating campaign finance reform but running his 96 campaign on counter practices. A self interested person plays by the set rules to their own advantage, their nobility comes in advocating for a change in the rules.

  • Robert||

    I thought it was quite intentionally hilarious.

  • ||

    It has nothing to do with self interest. Did ever Rand advocate that no one but herself should use government services that they were forced to pay for? I don't see how Rand was "gaming the system" if she told everyone to do the same thing as her and being consistent.

  • MNG||

    NYT's Kristoff: OK I call the bluff, let's treat guns like cars

    In reality, of course, we have taken a deadly product — motor vehicles — and systematically made them quite safe. Scientists have figured out how to build roads so as to reduce accidents and have engineered innovations such as air bags to reduce injuries. Public campaigns and improved law enforcement have reduced drunken driving, and graduated licenses for young people have reduced accident rates as well. The death rate per 100 million vehicle miles traveled has fallen by almost three-quarters since the early 1970s, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

    The trade-off is that we have modestly curbed individual freedom, but we save tens of thousands of lives a year. That’s a model for how we should approach guns as a public health concern.

    If we treat guns as we do cars and build a public health system to address them, here’s what we might do: finance more research so that we have a better sense of which gun safety policies are effective (for example, do gun safes or trigger locks save lives?); crack down on gun retailers who break laws the way we punish stores that sell cigarettes to kids; make serial numbers harder to erase; make gun trafficking a law enforcement priority; limit gun purchases to one per person per month; build a solid database of people who are mentally ill and cannot buy firearms; ban assault weapons; and invest in new technologies to see if we can design “smart guns” that require input of a code or fingerprint to reduce accidents and curb theft.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01.....ef=opinion

  • BakedPenguin||

    ...crack down on gun retailers who break laws the way we punish stores that sell cigarettes to kids;make serial numbers harder to erase; make gun trafficking a law enforcement priority; limit gun purchases to one per person per month; build a solid database of people who are mentally ill and cannot buy firearms; ban assault weapons; and invest in new technologies to see if we can design “smart guns” that require input of a code or fingerprint to reduce accidents and curb theft.

    What a pile of stupid. "Limit gun purchases to one a month" WTF? Is there any data showing that someone with multiple guns is more likely to shoot someone than a person with one?

    "...ban assault weapons..." Jesus. Learn something about what you're fucking talking about before embarrassing yourself. Apparently this gun is fine, but this one is too scary! Of course, the biggest difference between the two is their caliber, but one looks like an army gun!

    And those new technologies? Probably won't be cheap. But then, keeping gun out of the hands of poor people... nah, that can't be it.

  • Bucky||

    BP not to mention suddenly the underground gun market will go away...
    like we'll all have some legislational gestault...
    "Let's write a law that makes it illegal for people not to pay attention to the law"
    fify

  • Amakudari||

    Kristof was going to shoot someone today, but he forgot that he only had two guns. He sighed and gave up.

  • MNG||

    My first thought was that I wasn't aware of any movement to limit car purchases to one a month...

  • MNG||

    And do we have a list of mentally ill people who cannot buy cars? I guess they can't get drivers liscenses but I'm not aware that they are barred from owning cars (and driving them off roads for that matter).

  • SM||

    People who have seizures are not allowed to have licenses or drive...you think that's a bad idea?

    He's not saying "have the exact same policies for guns and cars" - he's saying "use the same FRAMEWORK to decide the rules on guns, like we do cars."

    You people are funny...

  • Bucky||

    funny...
    i was stain serious.

  • Inventor||

    Bullets should have airbags built into them. Eureka!

  • Vermont Gun Owner||

    That's what jumped out at me as well.

  • ||

    Kristof doesn't appreciate that treating guns like cars would amount to a massive deregulation of firearms.

  • Jordan||

    How about we treat guns like printing presses, since both are protected by Constitutional amendments?

  • ||

    Winner

  • MNG||

    A Chicken Chain’s Corporate Ethos Is Questioned by Gay Rights Advocates

    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01.....k.html?hpw

    There is a lot of hilarious stuff in this article, here are some nuggets:

    "Nicknamed “Jesus chicken” by jaded secular fans and embraced by Evangelical Christians, Chick-fil-A is among only a handful of large American companies with conservative religion built into its corporate ethos. But recently its ethos has run smack into the gay rights movement. A Pennsylvania outlet’s sponsorship of a February marriage seminar by one of that state’s most outspoken groups against homosexuality lit up gay blogs around the country. Students at some universities have also begun trying to get the chain removed from campuses.

    “If you’re eating Chick-fil-A, you’re eating anti-gay,” one headline read."

    "“Does loving Chick-fil-A make you a bad gay?” said Rachel Anderson of Berkeley, Calif."

    But Douglas Quint, a concert bassoonist who operates The Big Gay Ice Cream Truck in New York during the summer, said he believed that people should make informed decisions about their food.

    “It literally leaves a bad taste because I know the people who are putting this food in my mouth actively loathe me,” he said.

  • Johnny Longtorso||

    So the cows are recurring Satan figures in their advertising?

    This is my nugget. Take eat in remembrance of me.

  • Chick-fil-A||

    You suck dick and you're going to complain about our chicken leaving a bad taste?

  • Bucky||

    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++

  • BakedPenguin||

    I can understand gays or non-believers not eating at Chik-Fil-A because of their lifestyle / views.

    The thing that bothers me is getting them off universities. What about Christians who want to support a restaurant that respects their beliefs? (I worked with a woman who wouldn't work on Sundays due to her Christianity - I even dated her a couple times, but that obviously wasn't going to work).

  • Fatty Bolger||

    Thanks, those quotes cracked me up.

  • ||

    But Douglas Quint... operates The Big Gay Ice Cream Truck in New York...."
    “It literally leaves a bad taste because I know the people who are putting this food in my mouth actively loathe me,” he said.

    Hyperbolic employee of a company that has the words 'Big Gay' on the side of a truck complaining about...what, exactly..?

  • jacob||

    THANK GOD! I thought the column was about Rand Paul before I read it.

    Who gives a shit that Ayn Rand was on Social Security?

  • Mr. FIFY||

    Whiny statist fucktards give a shit!

  • SM||

    No, he just accepted "stolen" money as payment for services...which i guess libertarians are fine with too, now that i find out they are fine with receiving "stolen" money to begin with...

  • ||

    "he"

    HAHAHAHAHA, thankf for showing us your ignorance in this subject right off the bat, retard.

    "now that i find out they are fine with receiving "stolen" money to begin with..."

    Yeah getting YOUR OWN MONEY that was stolen from you, what a fucking concept. Fuck off, you pedantic little shit.

  • SM||

    orry my S key didn't work...anyways...

    As stated elsewhere, its not your own money. Your money was "stolen" and spent on the last generation. You are "stealing" from the next generation. Do you at all know how medicare and SS work? Think welfare, not pensions.

    lus, with medicare running into deficits because it can't collect enough from the current generation, and has no savings from the last, are you not stealing from the next generation by asking for medical care that is DIRECTLY being added to the deficit/debt?

    When you under how these programs work, come back and make a rational argument. Until then, take your own advice...

  • ||

    What the fuck? So if I steal money from you and then spend it, too bad? Game over? I don't owe you anything?

  • MattN||

    You're a goof...

    So some asshole stole my leather jacket 15 years ago. In your mind if he put that jacket in a box and did nothing with it I have a right to get it (or its value) back.

    BUT if he sold that jacket and spent the money helping his kid go to college, and then stole someone else's property, then I no longer have a right to be compensated for my loss because I would in fact be recovering my money thanks to someone else's misfortune.... In the mean time, the thief is free to continue looting since everyone is being very considerate of the next victim's feelings.... logic is a bitch, ain't it?

    Even if I accept your argument at face value, it is predicated on the idea that we have a legitimate case to recover the money stolen from us by the state. But if we can't recover directly from the state, then you must be implying that we DO have the right to try and track down the people on whom our tax dollars were spent, and recover the money from them directly.

    If you're NOT willing to accept that, then your entire argument has no meaning, and amounts to nothing more than the whining of a statist who is trying to rationalize his use of state power to extort from others.

  • jacob||

    he just accepted "stolen" money as payment for services...

    And your suggestion is that he refuse to see all Medicare/Medicaid patients? If he did that you and everyone else would accuse him of being a heartless bastard.

  • SM||

    You are right, he has dedicated himself to an ideology that requires him to decide whether he's called a hypocrite or a heartless bastard.

    But that was his choice...and i didn't know there were exceptions for libertarians if it prevents public scorn...

    ....so between that and the "i can take others money if i paid taxes" exception...seems like you got a great little philosophy there.

    Repeat after me: "We're all conservatives now."

  • ||

    You're being ridiculous, unless you advocate that the government gives everyone their money back, YOU'RE the only hypocrite here. I mean if you accept taxation as legitimate, then how the fuck do you get off telling libertarians that getting the money government owes them is "stealing from other people?" The government has to pay everyone back, it's not libertarian's or anyone else's problem if they can't. If the only option the government has is to stop stealing from Peter to pay Paul and go bankrupt, then so be it!

  • S&M||

    Oh, FFS. STFU, SM. You already pwn'd yourself. Now quit hitting yourself.

    Quit hitting yourself.
    Hitting yourself.
    Quit.

  • KPres||

    This is what I've never gotten about Objectivism. Rand says that self-interest is a normative principle, but to me, it's axiomatic. All action is self-interested, so how can I act in self-interest as a moral principle. Normative positions assume we could do otherwise. So for me, altruism isn't immoral, it's impossible.

  • ||

    Interesting observation.

  • Bucky||

    yeah, try telling that to a mother who's child is dying...
    the mental masturbation here is amazing!

  • BakedPenguin||

    Huh? You want to expand on that?

  • Bucky||

    the mother would do just about anything to help her child. whose self interest is it? her's or her child's?

  • Zeb||

    I would say that ensuring successful reproduction falls under self-interest.

  • Bucky||

    maybe on some subliminal level but lets ask the mom sitting in the hospital waiting room...
    "Excuse me Mam, are those tears rolling down your face because of your unsuccessful reproduction abilities?"

  • Mike Laursen||

    Interesting criticism. Thinknyou have a point there.

  • robc||

    Not exactly true. It is possible to determine the action that is in your self-interest then intentionally do something different.

    An argument could be made that then that other action is what you determined was actually your self-interest (if your self-interest is to deny your self-interest). It may actually be possible then, but it is attempted. Its sort of a suicide of the human spirit.

  • robc||

    That was supposed to say "It may NOT actually be possible then"

  • Mike Laursen||

    Kind of ties in with what most drives me nuts about Ayn Rand. She couldn't just stop at making some good points about the value of self interest. She had to pursue the conceit that she had an airtight, philosophy all logically based on a few basic tenets.

    It gets downright silly when you get into her non-fiction works about her Epistemology and her rational Aesthetics.

  • ||

    I notice the same thing with Rothbardians. The pursuit of a perfect, airtight system always seemed somewhat futile, especially if it is too all encompassing.

  • ||

    Totally agree. Rothbard is responsible for "the pledge" that essentially ruined the Libertarian Party's chances for any real world success. Non-initiation of force is a great principle, very useful, but it doesn't as readily lead to the perfect logical system of political ethics that it's made out to.

  • robc||

    I dont even try. When someone calls me out on a contradiction, I point to Kurt Gödel and wave them away.

  • RyanXXX||

    Huh?

    Rothbard never went nearly as far as Rand did. He didn't take positions on cultural or scientific matters, so you guys are trying to make a bullshit false equivalency.

  • Cytotoxic||

    But people advocate and practice altruism all the time. Neocons sacrifice American treasure and blood to the benefit of others; taxpayers who believe in SS get robbed with a smile. Altruism must die.

  • ||

    Ayn Rand said "Judge and prepare to be judged."

    She is being judged *by her own standards* and her acolytes mewl.

  • robc||

    But she isnt being judged by her own standards. Her own standards are, repeating what Tim already quoted:

    It is obvious, in such cases, that a man receives his own money which was taken from him by force, directly and specifically, without his consent, against his own choice. Those who advocated such laws are morally guilty, since they assumed the “right” to force employers and unwilling co-workers. But the victims, who opposed such laws, have a clear right to any refund of their own money—and they would not advance the cause of freedom if they left their money, unclaimed, for the benefit of the welfare-state administration.

    She was following her stated standard exactly.

  • Mike Laursen||

    Not clear if she did or not. Depends on how much she paid in and how much she got back out. And, just as important, whether she bothered to do that accounting. (And whether that accounting is even feasible. If not, she was just rationalizing he behavior.

  • Mike Laursen||

    )

    Yikes! An unclosed paren! Could have brought down the Internet there!

  • Anonymous||

    I admit there, White Indian has a point.

  • robc||

    No, he doesnt.

  • Meh||

    I'm not one of her acolytes. Two things:

    1. As robc pointed out, those aren't her standards.

    2. Even if they were her standards who cares? Hypocrisy is overrated.

    I care more about thoughts and ideas and how *I* might put them into practice than I care whether or not someone else was unable to make those ideas work for them.

  • MattN||

    Finally, a rational statement in this thread.

    All this BS about whether Rand was a hypocrite or not... Frankly, I don't see anything hypocritical here. But even if it is, everyone is fallible but that doesn't mean automatically that every idea they ever expressed is therefore inherently false. If that were the case then no idea in the history of man would ever have been valid, and we'd all be living in caves still.

  • Tony||

    This is all part of the game of holding libertarians to some standard you would never imagine imposing on a follower of mainstream politics.

    But that's the problem with being an ideologue isn't it. We don't care if some random guy does meth and has sex with another man. When it's Ted Haggard, it's a story. Nobody does holding others to impossible standards like Ayn Rand. And I somehow doubt she paid in the full cost of the benefits she received, as she was a mere bestselling author. Sounds like she just discovered the benefit of government services and didn't want to be called the hypocrite she was.

  • ||

    You're right. She held others to impossible standards, making the personal political; say what you want about Rothbard, he did call her out on such behavior.

    Still...she's a part of the ideology I have chosen to adopt. I can argue for her arguments or against them, but can't do without them. Same with Rothbard, Friedman, Hayek, and Mises-and countless others.

    She did hold others to impossible standards. That's the main reason that Nathaniel Branden considered her philosophy somewhat hazardous.

  • ||

    "And I somehow doubt she paid in the full cost of the benefits she received, as she was a mere bestselling author."

    How does that make any sense? The more money she made from her books, the more money went to taxes.

    "Sounds like she just discovered the benefit of government services and didn't want to be called the hypocrite she was."

    She signed up for benefits in 1974, but she wrote that receiving welfare that you paid for was OK in 1966. Nice try though.

  • Tony||

    I've never understood why people can't act in their own self-interest by forming communities in which individual risk is distributed and leveled out. If people formed a society based on Rand's principles the rest of us would look at them and wonder why they're being so unnaturally unselfish, not appealing to their self-interest but rather to an arbitrary collection of individualistic first principles.

  • ||

    This assumes that everyone would agree to such a system. It confuses collective interest with the interests of it's members.

    In any case, Isabel Paterson and Rose Wilder Lane were more consistent than her-they both refused their social security checks.

  • Jordan||

    I've never understood why people can't act in their own self-interest by forming communities in which individual risk is distributed and leveled out.

    Libertarianism in no way precludes that.

    If people formed a society based on Rand's principles the rest of us would look at them and wonder why they're being so unnaturally unselfish, not appealing to their self-interest but rather to an arbitrary collection of individualistic first principles.

    Puuuhlease. You morons call us selfish every chance you get.

  • ||

    That could be changing. Nowadays, opponents appeal to self-interest these days. In any case, that's true; however, it requires explicit, unanimous consent to such an endeavor.

  • Tony||

    Selfish + stupid = unselfish by accident. You wouldn't really want to live in a minarchic situation. You just want to pretend you do and lecture others about your moral superiority, all the while suckling the teat of modern civilization, just like Ayn Rand.

  • Jordan||

    You wouldn't really want to live in a minarchic situation. You just want to pretend you do and lecture others about your moral superiority, all the while suckling the teat of modern civilization, just like Ayn Rand.

    Hey, I can read minds too! You really want to mandate sterilization for poor people to bring down healthcare costs. It's utilitarian-approved! This is fun.

  • ||

    Jordon, cut it out. You may be joking, but consider things from his end; you're just confirming his views. Take the high road, and don't be a dick.

    Tony, I'm very sorry that most of my colleagues are...dicks.

  • Jordan||

    Maybe you're new here, but Tony is incapable of arguing in good faith. Respect is earned.

  • ||

    Actually, he seems to be arguing in good faith to me. Lefty, I don't think so. I know lefties; he ain't it. Hang out with REAL socialists from time to time and just listen. They're very different from bourgeois "progressives".

    That, or he is a good troll. In any case, I rather like him.

  • Jordan||

    You call this good faith?

    You just want to pretend you do and lecture others about your moral superiority, all the while suckling the teat of modern civilization, just like Ayn Rand.

    Reading minds and casting aspersions on your opponents made-up motivations is good faith?

  • Tony||

    Jordan it is unfair to criticize people for having to live within a system they do not endorse. I do think, however, the libertopia most of you guys envision is a functioning modern society and not a stone-age hellhole, even though the policies you champion would produce the latter, imo. Rand was hardly among the poorest of her generation. If she can't get treatment for lung cancer without government benefits, why should she expect anyone else to? Especially someone poorer? This is why everyone always changes the subject when I point out that the logical conclusion of your policy beliefs is that more people die because they can't afford medical care.

  • ||

    "This is why everyone always changes the subject when I point out that the logical conclusion of your policy beliefs is that more people die because they can't afford medical care."

    I won't change the subject. I don't believe that people have a right to live forever. They don't even have the right to live for a long time. IF a long life is so important to you, why don't you work two or three jobs and buy the most expensive insurance and treatments imaginable? Well, we all have to make a calculated decision. Do we want more fun and free time now, or a longer life to be lived later? It's a trade off. Had I had been in Ayn Rand's shoes, I would have just let myself die of lung cancer or pay for it myself.

  • ||

    Dumb, dumb, dumb. Government welfare created civilization, not the profit motive or smart individuals! Taxes! Because!

  • MattN||

    "... everyone changes the subject when I point out that the logical conclusion of your policy beliefs is that more people die because they can't afford medical care."

    Firstly, everyone dies... so this statement doesn't even make sense.

    But if I take it to mean that more people die at an earlier age, then I don't think that's even the logical conclusion. There are very good economical reasons why liberty would benefit access to health care, rather than harm it.

    Even if there isn't an economical argument, I don't accept that the only way "poor" people and people with pre-existing conditions would get health care is through the implied use of violence by the state. Surely if there are so many people who agree that this is a moral imperative that there would be enough to finance a charity to achieve the same result without violent coercion. In fact, it wouldn't even require a charity -- just a willingness to VOLUNTARILY sign up for a health insurance plan that provides benefits to the "poor" at cut rates, and to people with pre-existing conditions. Of course, your premiums would be higher, but you're taking the high moral road, so no problem, right?

    And if not, then perhaps the very small number of people who do believe it is a moral imperative should have a little humility and accept that others think they are wrong, rather than forcing everyone else to meet their moral standards at the point of a gun?

    How's that for not changing the subject?

  • Amakudari||

    Tony's at worst an incorrigible lefty and at best a very talented troll.

  • Sovereign Immunity||

    He brings out the best and worst in both traits.

  • Max||

    Wow, a new Koch sucking liberturd.

  • ||

    Add him to the hit list Max.

  • Bucky||

    tony, please don't confuse altruism with monument building...

  • ||

    That presumes that modern civilization is the result of such systems. I argue civilization supports and funds such systems, and the success of such systems depends on civilization...not the other way around.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    And the typical liberal "minarchy = anarchy" argument, once again, is presented.

  • The Ingenious Hidalgo||

    Thank you for telling us this, because we had no idea what we wanted. Now it's all clear to me.

  • Mike Laursen||

    You've almost arrived at an understanding of libertarianism. Now, if you can just grasp the difference between such a community when it is made up of voluntary members and when it isn't.

  • Mike Laursen||

    Wow, typed that whole thing into my iPod with a three year old crawling on me, trying to get my attention.

  • Tony||

    It's voluntary if it's democratic. So the US and all the modern socialist countries are libertarian approved?

  • ||

    No, it isn't. Democratic merely means majority rules. Voluntary implies completely (and explicitly) unanimous consent. We must also make the difference between liberal democracy (where things like individual rights and liberties are not subject to votes) and illiberal democracy (a majority may rule on anything-including the rights and lives of their fellows).

    Second, there are no socialist countries-contrary to what some dittoheads on the Right may claim. The damn conservatives keep repeating about how Europe is socialist, but the truth is more complicated. They, like us, are mixed market based economies, liberal in their political orientation, with fairly large welfare states. Socialism refers to the collective ownership of the means of production, which may or may not include central planning of the entire economy.

    With the exception of backwater places like North Korea and Cuba, socialism strictly speaking is quite dead. Social democracy, maybe, but it's so watered down I hardly call it socialist.

    Far too many libertarians have a primitive, vulgar understanding of politics. I count myself as among the few who makes a point of understanding these things.

  • Tony||

    Good points, all. I take issue with the idea that voluntariness has to be explicit. People are born under the custodianship of their parents, so no matter what, your ability to choose where you want to live must wait until you reach some agreed-upon age of majority. I suppose, at that point, you could ask every single person whether they want to renounce the citizenship bestowed upon them by their parents, but it's simpler to assume they want to retain it unless they say otherwise. Part of living communally means giving up the ability to do everything you want--which most people happily do because the trade-off works. And I don't think this is just one option among several--it's inherent to living in a world with other people.

  • ||

    I don't think we would disagree; from my understanding, as a libertarian, my rights are limited by the rights of others. I may not kill, steal, or enslave-nor may they do any of these things to me.

    I think most people accept the trade-off, partly for the reason you stated, but mostly without endorsement or rejection. Accepted as part of the background.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    The end of childhood, according to Obamacare, begins at the age of twenty-six.

  • Fatty Bolger||

    Sorry, Tony, but I'm not buying it. Your desire is to mandate & enforce everything from the very top down via the federal government, which proves that you really don't want people to have the ability to move the the "community" (in this case, state) which most reflects their desires.

  • Bucky||

    north korea and cuba are socialist?
    don't tell the guys at top, shit!

  • Ray Pew||

    I suppose, at that point, you could ask every single person whether they want to renounce the citizenship bestowed upon them by their parents, but it's simpler to assume they want to retain it unless they say otherwise.

    But this begs the question: Where do others get the right to even "ask" one to make this decision? Of course, we understand that in reality it is supported by mere force, but as a logical rationale, I see none.

  • jacob||

    there are no socialist countries-contrary to what some dittoheads on the Right may claim. The damn conservatives keep repeating about how Europe is socialist, but the truth is more complicated.

    +1000

  • BakedPenguin||

    So if 51% of America decides homosexuality should be a crime, you're okay with serving time? Good to know.

  • ||

    Cut it out, asshole. Translated from Asshole: If 51% of America decides homosexuality should be a crime, you're okay with gays serving time? Good to know.

  • Jordan||

    Uh dude, Tony is actually gay. You really should get acquainted with this place.

  • BakedPenguin||

    I'll ignore the insult for now - since you didn't get it, I was pointing out that democracy and individual rights can easily come into conflict. Anyone saying "democracy = voluntary" needs to hear that.

    In case you're new here, Tony is (or represents himself) as openly gay. That is why I used that specific example.

  • Tony||

    I would hope that there would be some supermajoritarian requirements on infringing on basic individual liberty, but it's still democratic.

  • BakedPenguin||

    Well, we differ there. I want a country where if 92.3% of the people want gays to be locked up, they still can't get their wish - because gays (like everyone else) have inalienable rights, inviolable by any vote, and have to be left alone so long as they are not violating the rights of others.

  • Tony||

    But then we'd just be living under the autocratic decisions of the long dead. Everything has to be up to a vote. Not necessarily a strict majority vote, thankfully.

  • ||

    Well, there is a process to modify the Constitution.

    This is why I don't argue from original intent or tradition; I argue based on what's right. Is it right to violate these rights for any reason? That is the question. What the Founding Fathers thought or did not think is of no concern to me.

  • Tony||

    I prefer to remove all subjective moral questions entirely. We have rights because the extant governing power--in this case, after a bloody struggle, that would be 'the people'--established them for its own purposes. It could have been a king declaring himself a god with absolute rights. Democracy is pragmatically good because it smooths over the chaos inherent in absolute rule--We could have a brilliant king who makes a paradise, but the next king could be a disastrous retard. The people don't rule because nature has declared it right, they rule because they wrested power from a king. And they don't have individual rights because there is a stone somewhere on which those principles are etched, they have them because they gave them to themselves. I think I'm getting a little far afield, maybe.

  • Fatty Bolger||

    We could have a brilliant king who makes a paradise

    Never happened, outside of fiction, and never will happen.

  • MattN||

    ... far afield ...

    Tell me, do you remember the day you gave yourself the right to speak freely?

  • ||

    Tony, please define what you mean by "democracy". The word has at least two separate common meanings.

  • Tony||

    Rule by the people. Not necessarily simple majority rule.

  • ||

    What percentage of the vote is "the people" Tony? Arbitrary Tony is arbitrary.

  • Edwin||

    yeah, that's the problem when dealing with reality, not everything is exact, not everything is science. That doesn't mean you pretend reality doesn't exist.

  • ||

    What does reality have to do with the concept of "The People rule." Either The People is some concrete thing in reality, or it isn't.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    No use talking sense with authoritarians, heller.

  • ||

    Ayn Rand is as relevant to my personal system of ethics as a Hindoo monkey god.

  • BakedPenguin||

    Personally, I thought her meta-ethics (to be human, you have to think. To think, you have to be free. Randians, I know it's more complex than that) was her most powerful argument - the best concept she ever had.

  • ||

    That I agree. She also nailed down the main questions each branch of philosophy is concerned with. In many ways, she's a lot of people's Philosophy 101.

  • ||

    The two things she wrote that had the most influence over me were (1) a passage in Atlas Shrugged where Dagney Taggart, as a child, reflects on the potential beneficence of the world when men guiltlessly engage in honest business, invention, creativity, etc.; (2) the idea that you shouldn't derive your ethical rules for everyday living from analyzing concocted "lifeboat" scenarios -- I think she called it "lifeboat ethics".

    On the other hand, silliest thing she ever wrote: a passage in Atlas Shrugged with Dagney, again, going on and on about the aesthetics of the flame at the end of her cigarette. I got what she was trying to say -- but, shit, what about how much the cigarette stinks and how it gives you lung cancer, you know?

  • ||

    It's a beautiful 'ought' statement-one that I hold. I think people should be able to do what they want, without guilt, as long as it harms no-one else.

    And, I agree, lifeboat situations are not a sound way to derive ethics. They're a good way to TEST ethical intuitions derived from normal circumstances. But, not much else.

  • ||

    When I hear Ayn Rand, I reach for my revolver.

  • Rock Action ||

    Is that when it all gets blown away?

  • Ice Nine||

    >>Rather|1.30.11 @ 4:51AM|#
    ponchy, your social security name is your legal name.

    For all that it might matter, you are mistaken. I know; I'm proof. Legally changed my name (Jimmy to James kind of thing) and have the court certified amended birth certificate to prove it. My SS account is still in the old name.

  • ||

    ^^THIS^^

  • ||

    It's voluntary if it's democratic.

    Oh.

  • Jim Crow laws||

    I see no problems here.

  • ||

    Far too many libertarians have a primitive, vulgar understanding of politics. I count myself as among the few who makes a point of understanding these things.

    You and Tony should get a room; you're made for each other.

  • ||

    I'm a libertarian, buddy. Besides, if Tony is such a troll...then ignore him. Personally, I like how he disrupts the echo chamber and throws out some things to get people thinking.

    I'm not the only libertarian to think this; I believe Kevin Carson coined the phrase "vulgar libertarians" for those who confuse the current system with the free market ideal.

  • Amakudari||

    What part of what you said upthread are you implying the vulgar denizens of this echo chamber don't understand? The shortcomings of democracy regarding protection of human rights (e.g. why we have the Bill of Rights)? The difference between French-style state intervention in the economy and the economic autarky of the Soviet Union? That we're unaware of the extent of government involvement in the US economy?

  • Tony||

    I'm not equating democracy with majoritarianism. But the Bill of Rights were still voted on within a democratically agreed-upon system. They weren't delivered by the gods.

  • BakedPenguin||

    But majoritarianism, whether you would have it or not, is nearly upon us.

    And one of the biggest debates about the Bill of Rights was whether it should be included at all. Not because they thought it unimportant, but because they feared that enumerating the rights retained by the people would lead later government to conclude that those were the only rights retained by the people - rather presciently.

    If you're ever bored, read the Anti-Federalist Papers.

  • ||

    I think the source of disagreement here is the definition of democracy. I define it as majority rule, pure and simple (with liberal democracy being a liberal limitation on democracy-that is, things like rights may not be abridged by vote or proclamation). The Constitution was a document made by human beings, as such it is imperfect...perfection doesn't exist, period.

  • Tony||

    Even the 1st and 14th amendments could in principle be abolished via the amendments process, which requires large supermajoritarian hurdles. I use democracy as shorthand for people-rule, whatever form it takes. I just push back whenever someone makes an argument that certain rights or policies are ordained by god (or nature or any other originator of first principles), instead of being the pragmatic result of democratic action.

  • ||

    Sorry if I am being anal, but what do you mean by "people rule"? Maybe I don't understand, but it seems a little vague to me.

    Could you help me out?

  • Tony||

    Rule by some form of consent of the governed, contrasted with the dictates of an autocrat. People-rule can take any number of forms, and doesn't have to put every policy up to majority vote, but in principle every policy should be subject to consent of the governed, however they define consent.

  • ||

    @Tony: I don't see how that is in contradiction with libertarianism at all. Granted, other conclusions can be drawn, but your stipulation is essentially how I define a just government. I'm against autocracy, as I am sure most here are. The difference is that you drew different conclusions from the same framework.

    Of course, consent of the governed is one of the basis of Enlightenment era philosophy; as was the idea that human beings had certain rights independent of status. Thank you for your clarification.

  • Zeb||

    Tony,
    What you are saying makes sense right up to "consent of the governed". That is the big lie of democracy. Electoral democracy is probably the best political system possible, but it does not include or require consent of the governed.
    I also think that "people-rule" is a bit of a loaded term and not entirely accurate. In an electoral democracy, only the people who vote with the majority rule. Again, I think it is probably the best system, but lets not pretend that it is best because of the consent of the governed. IT is best because it is a good way to keep too much power from the hands of too few people.

  • Amakudari||

    I just push back whenever someone makes an argument that certain rights or policies are ordained by god (or nature or any other originator of first principles), instead of being the pragmatic result of democratic action.

    You mean when someone distinguishes between rights and privileges?

    There are some very nasty, overwhelmingly popular laws out there that oppress people. It's not because they don't have rights -- as they've been abolished by democratic action -- but because those rights are being violated. Certain basic rights such as freedom of speech, religion, the press, etc. (if you believe they exist) stem from ethical principles not legal blessing.

  • Tony||

    Amakudari,

    I think what you mean is that people should have certain rights, not that they always do. What sense does it make to say that slaves have rights that are being violated? What are rights that aren't defined and enforced legally? They are figments of your imagination.

  • ||

    That's essentially how I think about it; people should have certain rights. At least when defining my view to someone who doesn't share my premises.

    My current challenge is to argue how people have certain, pre-existing rights anyway. In the mean time, it remains an ought statement.

  • Edwin||

    Null Void, from what I've read here, you are NOT a libertarian, and I mean that in a good way. Libertarians do NOT believe the things that you agree with Tony on

  • ||

    Edwin, from what I've read here, you are NOT a real person, and I mean that in a good way. Trolls do NOT believe the things that they say.

  • ||

    If slaves don't have rights, when do they get justice?

  • ||

    Rights can't be taken away, only violated.

  • Amakudari||

    Exactly. I'm comfortable saying that a slave rebelling and failing died defending his rights instead of figments of his imagination.

    I'm also comfortable saying that countries can violate human rights, or that the dignities a person is entitled to -- recognized and subject to legal remedy or not -- just for existing don't change with a border crossing. The moral calculus and violation of dignity don't change if an American's right to speech is suppressed versus a North Korean's.

    And the definition of rights I'm proposing does not depend on natural laws or divine creation, merely moral philosophy. Our conception of what constitutes a right may change as we come to understand more about the human condition or grow more prosperous or disagree on philosophical tenets, but it should remain grounded in the belief that a) all humans are universally entitled to human rights, b) government doesn't grant rights any more than it determines moral right and wrong, and c) regardless of judicial sanction, governments can violate those rights.

    If the US were to spirit away one of its citizens overseas for torture, I wouldn't have to wring my hands over whether his rights were violated depending on how the courts respond.

  • BakedPenguin||

    I'm not sure who you're replying to, NV, but that's my definition of democracy, too. I think Socrates would agree.

  • ||

    [looking at Sigmund Freud]
    Geek!

  • BakedPenguin||

    And worse than majoritarianism is rule by bureaucracy. We have faceless, unaccountable bureaucrats pumping out rules with the force of law.

    Congress is bad enough, but at least it's activities can potentially be seen and comprehended; the thousands and thousands of petty rules and regulations (that can still carry prison terms) crapped out by hundreds of agencies is a colossal threat to free society.

  • Amakudari||

    I never said the Bill of Rights was enacted by fiat or divine inspiration, merely that it was enacted to secure rights against the future whims of the government and the electorate. Democracy comes in many forms, and this was an attempt to correct one of its problems.

  • ||

    And I don't disagree. That's exactly how I see the Bill of Rights. It was derived from the philosophical ferment of the Enlightenment.

  • Juice||

    The Bill of Rights aren't even that great. Too many intentional loopholes.

  • Amakudari||

    And unintentional ones, but I'd say it's done a fairly commendable job. After over 200 years of the government trying to whittle away at it, most of the BoR is intact. If you want to know what the absence of the first 8 would look like, consider the jurisprudence of the 9th and 10th. They have no practical value.

    Also, the biggest "loopholes" were in the Constitution itself (Commerce Clause, Necessary and Proper Clause). And the use of those loopholes often depends on disingenuous, historically and textually illiterate arguments.

    It would have been nice if the document had been clearer, but we have the benefit of hindsight in making that assessment. And I can assure you that even with any changes you think should be made, there would be plenty of staffers hard at work finding ways to read new government powers into those changes.

  • MattN||

    And they were a _recognition_ of rights, and a constraint not to violate them. NOT a _granting_ of rights.

  • ||

    I'm a libertarian, buddy.

    And I'm not your buddy, Guy.

    I'd be slightly more likely to believe your I'm a REAL libertarian, unlike some people around here if you weren't trying to tell everybody what to do.

  • Tony||

    You guys should spend less time bitching at thoughtful libertarians and more calling out the masses of "libertarians" who just regurgitate FOX News drivel.

  • ||

    You're both right. I'm hectoring people on the boards too much, when I should simply argue my points and led them stand on their own merits. Lead by example, as some say.

    Tony is also right; a lot of people are calling themselves libertarian when they aren't.

  • ||

    And we have been too lax with the Right, just because they start waving Gadsen Flags around.

  • Fatty Bolger||

    Tony doesn't like libertarians, so his suggestion can be taken as an attempt to encourage a little red on red action between imperfect allies.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    Better we should be spouting Ed Schultz-style drivel, Tony?

  • Max||

    I'd be slightly more likely to believe your I'm a REAL libertarian, unlike some people around here if you weren't trying to tell everybody what to do.

    I love it when liberturds start arguing about who's a bigger dumbfuck.

  • Tank||

    "If a Democrat complains about a bad day at the DMV, nobody claims he deserves it because he wants the regulations that make the DMV inevitable."

    We don't?

  • The Enforcer||

    Ayn Rand was terrible, bitter, twisted old bag whose fictional writings are nearly as childish and painful as her political views and objectivist philosophy. The later of which any person with a basic knowledge epistemology can have a good chuckle examining.

    It is because so many modern libertarian toolboxes worship this woman that it antagonizes anyone who would otherwise appreciate the ideas of freedom but who also happens to be in possession of a working soul.

    Auberon Herbert, Lysander Spooner, Friedrich Hayek...they got the point. Social activism to protect ALL people from the state. As opposed to the intellectual equivalent of a 2-year old going through their "mine!" stage.

  • Cytotoxic||

    Butthurt troll is butthurt.

  • Juice||

    Nah. He's pretty much dead on.

  • MattN||

    ... analysis of Ayn Rand by a 2-year-old ...

  • ponchy||

    Yeah, I know. I always knew her philosophy was wrong because she never even said dialectic or monad or anything. Any college freshman knows philosophy says that shit.

  • Seven Eleven||

    This is silly - I don't hear anyone criticizing Naomi Klein being ripped because she enjoys 7-11s chicken salad sandwich (which is quite good btw) - there is so much ground to criticize and debate Rand and other ideologues besides whether they take Social Security or participate in the capitalist pig-dog system...

  • ||

    Don't see it as silly at all. It's fair game to scrutinize who advocates and judges others by an ethical system for their own adherence, especially when they have a high profile.

  • ||

    Then, I'm sure you agree (as I have, through the course of this discussion) hold Rand to count like this is perfectly alright.

  • ||

    Yeah, I think so.

  • Xenocles||

    It may be fair game, but it's not very meaningful. You may have disgraced the person who puts the ideas forth, but you haven't touched the ideas.

  • ||

    Hey, I meant well too.

  • Xenocles||

    Spitzer was different because he was not merely a political philosopher. He had a position of public trust, and personal conduct plays in to how much people trust you to do the right thing*.

    *Standard disclaimer about how most of the upstanding ones do scummy things with their power, too.

  • ||

    True. Fair enough. It reflects on Ayn Rand, not ideas that she espoused.

  • ||

    I just push back whenever someone makes an argument that certain rights or policies are ordained by god (or nature or any other originator of first principles), instead of being the pragmatic result of democratic action.

    And there you have it: "Rights" are Granted by the State.

  • ||

    Or by Society.

    If you're reading this Tony, then what we have here is this: There are no rights, only privileges granted by the governing apparatus or by one's fellows. I can argue that libertarian conclusions can follow, especially from the latter.

    It's a fair objection, one raised by consequentialist libertarians and by historical-empiricist types.

  • MattN||

    There is no "society" -- only a mob of people sufficiently large to force others to take part in there fancies.

  • ||

    There are no rights, only privileges granted by the governing apparatus

    If they may be granted, they may be rescinded. By a half-plus-one vote, your personal sexual preference can be stamped out by the full force of government power.

    But that can't be right; only an asshole would suggest such a thing.

  • Tony||

    What good is a right if it can go away by majority vote? I would suggest that sexual orientation should be protected against abuse the same way race, religion, and other classifications are. But it's not gonna happen by magic or because you hope really hard or because you're just right. That's why we have to force the issue in the legal system. To say a right exists before it actually exists is to appeal unacceptably to mysticism.

  • ||

    I don't think there is particularly a disagreement here. After all, that is one argument (one I accept) for government; to secure rights. One cannot depend that everyone will respect the rights of others, so you need someone to secure these rights.

    Where I would disagree is that these rights are created by the legal process. I would say they are recognized by the process. I wouldn't say a majority took away a right, I would say it denied or violated that right. As for where rights come from, there is a long and storied philosophical debate with many proposals-and I am still trying to figure out from where I will argue myself. Suffice it to say, I do not accept divine command as the origin of rights-which is not the same as natural rights. I have a blog, so maybe I'll devote an entry to a discussion on the various theories origin of rights.

  • Tony||

    I think any attempt to explain the origin of rights that is not practical in nature is doomed to fail. Isn't it absurd to assert the existence of something that the vast majority of humans who have ever existed never would have heard of? Rights are inventions of human beings, just like the car or computer.

  • Really?||

    Try considering them as "discoveries", like the Laws of Gravity (or, closer to the subject, the Laws of Supply and Demand) rather than "inventions".

  • Tony||

    Gravity existed before human beings did. Rights didn't.

  • ||

    Tony gets trolled by a troll. Excellent.

  • Zeb||

    Then you don't believe in rights, Tony. Rights are the sort of thing that pre-exist and legal structure defining those rights. If you don't believe in that, you don't believe in rights. You might say that what I am talking about would better be called "natural rights", but I really don't see the point of talking about political privileges or so called "positive rights" as rights since in those cases, there is no distinction between a right and a politically granted privilege or favor.

  • MattN||

    It hasn't gone away... it's simply being violated.

    Again, I ask you, when did you grant yourself the right to speak freely? When did the state grant you the right to speak freely? And now (I love this gem), what mystic gave you the ability to speak freely?

    You didn't. It didn't. None did.

    And if the state passed a law forbidding free speech, would you no longer be able to speak freely? No! And if suddenly all the people on the planet disappeared, would you no longer be able to speak freely? No!

    It's a right because it requires no action by anyone for you to be able to exercise it. It's a right because even if all the world wished you would not do it they could do nothing about it short of using physical violence to prevent it.

    Health care on the other hand (for example), is NOT a right because it requires action by others, and because it can be made unavailable simply by those providing the care ceasing to provide it.

    The federal government of the U.S. was designed to prevent an authoritarian government simply deciding what is a right and what isn't. Because you're right -- if the government is at the whims of some ruling apparatus, be it an authoritarian dictator, theocracy, monarchy, oligarchy, democracy, then rights have little practical meaning.

    But by separating the fed into three coequal branches, and giving them a limiting charter (the constitution), the framers hoped to limit the ability of ANYONE to use the government to act on their whims -- even a majority of the people.

    --

    I sense I'm preaching to a wall so I'll stop now.

  • ||

    And therin lies the problem. As I am sure you agree. I wouldn't endorse such a thing. I merely said that, at least on the basis of society, one could reach a libertarian conclusion. It is perfectly conceivable that notions of mine and thine were worked out in such a pragmatic fashion. That's how the common law came about.

  • ||

    That's why we have to force the issue in the legal system.

    How do you force a dead issue in the courts? Once The People have spoken, if nothing other than majoritarianism underlies the law, nobody in the legal system will give a shit if you don't think it's "fair".

    Just as you don't give a shit if some people don't think their tax burden is "fair".

  • Tony||

    I have said several times that I don't think majoritarianism should be the only factor at work in a democracy. That would be dumb. Part of a good democratic system is a court system. In the absence of legislative action, that's where gay rights battles are being fought. It's possible because we have the force of law behind the concept of equality. If you were being oppressed in some way, would you be content with the knowledge that you have rights somewhere out there in the ether, even though you are prevented from exercising them?

    Your tax burden may or may not be "fair," but it's legal. Don't like it, there's a process for bringing your grievances to light. What other means do you propose? Declaring yourself sovereign with the rights and tax burden you decide you should have?

  • ||

    So then you believe in an inalienable right to be gay. Now lets just move on to all the other inalienable rights that you benefit from. Eventually you'll recognize that everyone has inalienable rights, including the ones you don't like. Congratulations, you're a libertarian. Asshat.

  • Tony||

    I am not going to concede to mysticism. I don't believe in natural rights for the exact same reason I don't believe in Santa Claus.

  • ||

    Mysticism? So philosophical concepts are now analogous to baseless claims of existence?

    I'm just wondering how you can argue theoretics at all if you don't employ concepts. No libertarian says that a right exists in some physical sense. A rule is a rule. Either you adhere to it or you don't. If you don't think people have a right to be gay, then you shouldn't expect anyone else to allow you to be gay. It's that simple. Now please submit to the extermination camps, fag.

  • ||

    Mysticism? So philosophical concepts are now analogous to baseless claims of existence?

    I'm just wondering how you can argue theoretics at all if you don't employ concepts. No libertarian says that a right exists in some physical sense. A rule is a rule. Either you adhere to it or you don't. If you don't think people have a right to be gay, then you shouldn't expect anyone else to allow you to be gay. It's that simple. Now please submit to the extermination camps, fag.

  • MattN||

    There's no process if there are no rights.... or if all rights are subject to a vote. Suppose a majority (or a supermajority... let's just get that one out of the way) voted to eliminate congress and the judiciary, and to simply have an executive? Good luck getting an audience before the king...

  • ||

    For those not up to spending several years mastering a workable knowledge of the moral foundation Rand provided for individual human autonomy that would enable you to intellectually pulverize the rabble on the left and right who throw little more than rocks and pebbles at her, here is the logic that begins with specific facts about the nature of man and culminates in the morality of opposing welfare while benefitting from it:

    1) The existence of living organisms is conditional on self-generated action in the face of alternatives.

    2) The most fundamental of all alternatives for all living creatures is life or death.

    3) Of all living creatures, only man can choose which alternative to pursue.

    4) The choice (deliberate or implied in all other choices) to act in pursuit of life makes life one's most fundamental goal.

    5) One's fundamental goal is implicitly the standard of measure for all values one acts to gain or keep in its pursuit.

    6) Therefore, that which contributes to one's life (consistent with one's nature) is necessarily the good, and that which detracts from it is the bad.

    7) The long run pursuit of life necessitates a hierarchical code of values in principle (= ethics) to guide (by programming emotions) one's spontaneous choices in any alternative faced, and it requires one to opt for the higher value per that code in lieu of the lower one (= morality of egoism).

    8) Man's singular means to fulfill these requirements of his nature in the pursuit of life is by applying the product of his reason to his actions in the production and exchange of values needed to survive and flourish consistent with the nature of the human being he is.

    9) The extension of individual ethics to the social context of an individual living in a society of other volitional (and therefore fallible) men requires that one seek to preserve one's own autonomy over the application of one's own reason to one's own action in the pursuit of one's own life (= freedom from the fallibility of others).

    10) The only threat to a man's pursuit of his life in that context would be the initiation or threat of physical force by others to coerce certain choices of action against his will thus diminishing the above defined individual autonomy.

    11) The single most fundamental political alternative is therefore: freedom vs. force (= liberty vs. coercion, autonomy vs. servitude).

    12) The sole moral requirement for any government of a society of men must therefore be to remove the use or threat of force from human interactions and guarantee thereby that all human interrelationships shall be entered into and conducted voluntarily. (= Rand's radical capitalism in which every individual retains his morally justified autonomy).

    13) A moral government must therefore guarantee that:

    No person shall initiate the use of physical force or threat thereof to take, withhold, damage or destroy any tangible or intangible value of another person who either created it or acquired it in a voluntary exchange.

    It should be obvious that a government so charged would be precluded from taxing anyone for any purpose whatsoever. Taxation cannot be implemented without using force, or the threat thereof, to take values from one group of persons and give them to another group. That happens to be the definition of theft. Furthermore, it is widely understood that the accomplices of thieves share in their guilt and neither the thieves nor their accomplices have any moral claim to benefit from the booty stolen.

    Therefore, anyone who advocates the taking of values by force (taxes) involuntarily is an accomplice to theft, and the ones who oppose all taxation, in principle, and all initiation of force to coerce exchanges of values among men are victims. So they—those who support or implement taxation—may make no moral claim to benefit from them. Only those victims of taxation who steadfastly oppose taxation have a moral claim to its benefits as restitution for past and present confiscations.

  • Tony||

    3) Of all living creatures, only man can choose which alternative to pursue.

    Would be a pity if this axiom were proved wrong. At what point in the evolutionary chain did free will come about?

  • Cytotoxic||

    Part 1 before taxation is aweome. When some douche like Cavanough snottily huffs about the 'Objectivism cult' and disengages from its ideas, he chooses failure in the struggle against Leviathan. May as well cut your hands off before combat. Conservatives fail because they don't adhere to freedom; libertarians fail because they don't know why to adhere to freedom.

    Part 2 on taxation: Objectivism =/= anarchism. The state is vital and taxation to pay for its legit functions is a moral imperative. Anything more IS theft but that isn't.

  • RyanXXX||

    You're not convincing anyone

  • Cytotoxic||

    You're not making a point.

  • ||

  • FA Hayek||

    I don't see what the big deal is.

    I promoted an economic system based on the inviolability of contracts, and then violated my marriage contract by leaving my wife for a younger woman when she got old.

  • jacob||

    C-

  • FA Hayek||

    You, on the other hand, get a D.

    The content of your post was defensible, but you didn't show your work.

  • Rock Action ||

    I'm pretty sure you're confusing freedom of contract and inviolability of property. Even if that's not the case -- which I highly doubt -- there are provisions for breach and damages in Western economic systems. It's accounted for within the contracts doctrine.

    I also think you're confusing what "certainty of law" entails. That only means you can be certain that you will be treated like every other citizen, and as it relates to contract breach, that your case will be settled upon agreed principles that apply to everybody. Hence the row over Obama and GM shareholders. Dig?

    Forget C-, try an F.

  • FA Hayek||

    I married a woman in Austria, which even today doesn't have no-fault divorce laws, moved to America, shopped around to see which state had the most liberal divorce laws, moved there for a year, ditched the ol' ball & chain (and boy, did it did suck to be a divorcee in Arkansas in 1950), moved again, and remarried on the double.

  • Rock Action ||

    And you still don't know what freedom of and inviolability of entails, never mind what contract law is. He got a divorce decree. That ends the contract.

    Immoral? Probably. Hyprocritical when it comes to contract law? No.

    F again.

  • Cytotoxic||

    It is the moral duty of all those opposed to Leviathan to sucker the state as much as possible. Take every dollar you can from it. Otherwise it WILL be spent in a manner that effectively expands and entrenches Leviathan. Apply the Pirate's motto: "Take everything you can; give nothing back!".

  • ||

    When libertarians do it, it's "suckering the state," when poor folks do it they're "parasites." Nope, no double standard there...

  • jacob||

    Good point, but consider that "poor folks" don't pay into the system, while the assumption is that liberterians do. At least, Ayn Rand did.

  • ||

    If they have a job at all, then, yeah, they pay into the system.

  • jacob||

    You're implying they don't have a job by saying the collect welfare. WIC and HeadStart are the only welfare I know of that go to working folk. And, if you are in the income bracket that you can receive these services, you aren't paying income tax.

  • Cytotoxic||

    We're fighting the system, so our actions are counter-parasitic as long as we don't support the looters ex by voting for them. 'The poor' are parasites only insofar as they morally and/or practically support the system that steals on their behalf.

  • MattN||

    Parasites vote FOR the programs and then take the ill-gotten gains, while libertarians vote AGAINST the programs, and then recover their stolen loot.

    (incidentally, casting the whole "parasites" net over all libertarians is somewhat bigoted... I went with it for rhetorical purposes)

  • matt||

    There's nothing inconsistent about Rand doing this, there's nothing inconsistent about libertarians being okay with it, or even emulating it, but there IS something very inconsistent in doing ANY of those things while bitching about the left's Cloward-Piven strategy.

    It's one way or the other. Or, you could combine both into hypocrisy.

  • ||

    To me, the key point is that Evva Pryor, the social worker who helped Ayn Rand get her social security, said that Rand needed to get on social security because "Doctors cost a lot more money than books earn and she could be totally wiped out." So this isn't a case of Rand simply "getting back" what she put into the system, but of her NEEDING the system she despised in order to exist. In other words, she failed to be the completely self-made person she demanded others be and ended up as "dependent as the beggar, the social worker and the bandit."

  • Cytotoxic||

    I don't think Rand was poor and I wouldn't trust a social worker's opinion of Rand very much.

  • ||

    Yes, ignoring first person evidence you dislike does make arguing easier...

  • Sean Mack||

    Cyto,

    It's so like an objectivist to haul out a 17 point syllogism when "Yeah...so what?" would have carried the same intellectual freight.

    My gripe here is somewhat different: As a former Randroid, I spent a lot of years feeling terribly guilty because my weed habit was not consistent with the moral code of a rational super hero, and my love for trashy women was a value inversion, and because I chose to spend more time studying Grand Theft Auto than advanced metallurgy, etc.

    For me, then, it's hardly trivial to learn that the woman who helped create that guilt did not follow her own rules, when it comes to drugs, sex, or (debatable as this point is) money.

    The moment when you break away from strict Randian orthodoxy, while carefully preserving and acknowledging the countless things she got right...that's the moment when you become a real libertarian.

  • Cytotoxic||

    ...and lose a rationally moral basis to fight Leviathan with. Have fun losing!

    But really, was it so wrong to feel guilty about things that are probably holding you back, such as your weed habit or GTA (which wasn't even that good a game)? Perhaps you over did it but the motivation was in the right direction. I know I'm not going to be one Rand's Heroes but I can and do still take her philo seriously.
    I have no love for Randroid dittoheads either. True Objectivists have no problem bitching out Rand for her unreasonable behavior/opinions, such as her strange dislike of Beethoven or homosexuals. I certainly don't. It's a matter of not trying to discredit Rand's philo with gossip and tedium in her life.

  • ||

    Very little of Objectivism is about rational basis. Most of it is Rand's personal preferences grafted onto the rational basis. Libertarianism doesn't reject the moral basis, it rejects Rand's truly arbitrary ethical preferences.

  • Cytotoxic||

    No it isn't. You're just wantonly ignorant of her philosophy.

  • ||

    LOL, remember this thread?

    This is exactly what Objectivists do, they assume that criticism of Rand means that you are just ignorant of Rand. Unless you've been doing alot of reading since December, I still probably know more about Objectivism than you.

  • Sheesh||

    Well, if you say that 2+2=5, then you are ignorant of math. When you attribute ideas to Rand that are untrue, you are either ignorant or malicious. It's charitable to call you ignorant of Rand and her ideas, your protestations notwithstanding.

  • ||

    Could you cite where I attribute ideas to Rand that are not hers?

  • ||

    Could you cite where I attribute ideas to Rand that are not hers?

  • Sean Mack||

    I'm glad you mentioned that, because one of the key Randite claims is that her philosophy is the ONLY way to effectively challenge the moral ascendancy of church, state, tribe, etc. (a claim based on her theory that history follows the clash of ideas and the evolution of philosophy.)

    Well, that theory has never really been supported by any evidence. It's just something she said, like her notion that Kant single-handedly reversed the enlightenment and took us all off the path to a perfect world.

    We don't know if her philosophy is the only, or even the best way to oppose statism. We don't know if utilitarian theories of freedom are any less effective. And we shouldn't be so quick to rule out a coalition between the two (as she demanded of her followers).

    Believe me, I wasted more time trying to reconcile her claims to reality than I ever did on the business end of a bong or an XBOX controller. As I hinted above, her madly simplistic view of history was, by itself, enough to consume years of my intellectual youth.

    It wasn't just that I wanted her not to be wrong. I was taught to treat any evidence of her being wrong as most probably a moral shortcoming on my part.

    That's what gives people the creeps about her, and her devotees.

  • Cytotoxic||

    We don't know if utilitarian theories of freedom are any less effective.

    Actually, we do if we have any perception of history. If The Left could be defeated with arguments centered around 'free market = better stuff', we would have killed The Left with fire ages ago. It didn't work. We need a moral argument with a philosophical foundation, and AR provided this with Objectivism.

  • Sean Mack||

    Not granted. The general rollback of socialism and communism that took place in the 1990s seems (though of course neither of us can really know) to have taken place on very simple and practical grounds.

    The people who jumped the border from East Germany didn't do it because they woke up with a new moral theory. We don't know why they did it, but we do know it could not have been ethical philosophizing - because they simply didn't have the requisite freedom of information.

    On the other hand, when I look at the self destructive anti-capitalism of the Progressive Left today, I have troubled explaining it on practical grounds. In that case, your theory seems to make more sense - because they do indeed appear to be acting on abstract moral grounds, and might therefore be expected to respond to abstract moral arguments.

    What I'm saying is: "let's deploy all of our arguments, in the hope that some or all of them might work".

    What you're saying is, "let's leave out half the case for freedom, and only focus on the appeal to morality, because Ayn Rand was really sure (without proof) that history is driven by ideas."

    But if she, and you, could stick to the things we actually know - and to things that are actually knowable - we wouldn't be having this conversation.

  • Patia Stephens||

    For the record, I never said my story was "too hot for the mainstream media." I only said I couldn't get it published. (Mostly, my queries were ignored.)

  • Fatty Bolger||

    Totally OT: Retail match made in heaven

    Kind of reminds me of Idiocracy

  • ||

    Not as funny as Tony's unintentional comedy, especially paired with his new playmate and soon-to-be life partner null void...but still good.

  • Bucky||

    therein lies the rub...

  • Kolohe||

    Stephens notes that the other two founding broads of libertarianism

    Dude, 'broad' is not the preferred nomenclature - "Dame", please.

  • ||

    That Rand was simply getting back what she paid in is BS. Rand took medicare to treat her lung cancer, which is expensive as hell -- she most assuredly drew more than she ever paid in. As her friend says, she drew medicare in order to save her personal fortune. *That* is what makes her a hypocrite.

    And then there's the hypocrisy that a libertarian who refused to believe the science that smoking causes lung cancer (ideology always trumps science for this folks) and would never support gvmt controls on cig smoking, turns to the gvmt for support when she is dying from lung cancer. Just like her fellow libernuttian Michael Crichton.

    Who says that God has no sense of humor?

  • ||

    Cite me one study that shows smoking causes cancer that was not either done by the government or was funded at least in part by the government.

    Then explain to me how people who have never smoked or lived with a smoker in their life get lung cancer and die.

  • ||

    LMAO.

    Thx for proving that libernuttians are complete idiots.

    Your check is in the mail.

  • ||

    Way to avoid the question.

    According to the WHO, it is a risk factor that contributes to 1/4 of the lung cancer deaths in the world. What, pray tell, causes the other 3/4? It's probably TEH POLLUSHUNZ!! RIGHT?

    What non-government funded study are you referring to that says smoking causes cancer?

  • ||

    Gotta hand it to you. You trolled for someone who thinks cigarettes don't cause lung cancer, and hooked someone into arguing with you right away.

  • jacob||

    explain to me how people who have never smoked or lived with a smoker in their life get lung cancer and die.

    Sure

    Lung cancer is actually a heterogenous disease with several histologic subtypes. The folks with lung cancer who never smoked (Like Andy Kauffman) likely had adenocarcinoma.

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

  • ||

    So the government's funding the study of lung cancer's relationship to smoking was not in the interest of public health but in destroying a profitable tobacco industry from which it receives large amounts of tax revenue?

  • Fatty Bolger||

    People who smoke & die from it end up having far fewer overall medical expenses. Not surprising, because end-of-life care is the most expensive, but everybody has it. People who die early don't have all that in between stuff, though. Not only that, but they barely have time to collect SS before they die.

    So using your logic, if you *don't* smoke you are essentially robbing from the state, are a hypocrite, and should therefore be either forced to smoke or pay some sort of non-smoker surtax.

  • Cytotoxic||

    +1

  • Rock Action ||

    This American Life did a segment on this and said there was a consensus that the smoking/non-smoking thing was essentially a wash. I'd have to listen again. I think it was the

    Please, no NPR bashing. I enjoy This American Life. It's a pretty fair show.

    http://www.npr.org/blogs/money.....-you-money

  • Rock Action ||

    *I think it was the...fragmented sentence at the end?

  • SM||

    Thank you for the common sense...

    ...there is no way she paid in enough in her life to cover her treatments, EVEN if in the long run she saved us all money by dying faster. The difference was made up by the CURRENT people paying into the system. BTW - i didn't know you could apply utilitarian calculus to ethics? Guess you learn something every day...

    You see, the dirty little secret of medicare and social security is that they were never a pension type program - they are welfare for old people. The first social security and medicare recipient never paid a cent in their life. The current generation is paying for the last. You are just "stealing" from them if you considered it "stealing" from you. And i thought government debt was terrible too - so, considering medicare runs at a deficit, is not every person COLLECTING IT STEALING from the next generation? Are you not against this? And if rand and others had rejected their benefits, they wouldn't have had to recalculate in the 80s and charge higher taxes...causing MORE "theft" from a future generation...

    Listen, i know its bad when ANOTHER one of your libertarian heroes turns out to have realized their fantasy cannot ever exist and it would not be in their good interest...

    ...one last question - if its in my interest to bash people over the head because i have the power to do so, shouldn't i also do that? I mean, if i have to be selfish, even if it means i violate my other principles, why don't i? I mean, i found out its ok to take "stolen" money as long as i was stole from in the past...i guess receiving stolen property is not prohibited by your ideology...even if i had knowledge the property i was receiving was stolen...money still is property, right?

    Maybe one day you people will realize that all rigid ideologies eventually contradict themselves and fail...and we can begin to have an honest discussion of what we should do as a society...

  • ||

    Rand was a libertarian? Considering she hated libertarians, you must be some kind of super scholar or something.

    "...one last question - if its in my interest to bash people over the head because i have the power to do so, shouldn't i also do that? I mean, if i have to be selfish, even if it means i violate my other principles, why don't i?"

    Uh a libertarian would say that you can't violate someone's rights for any reason. What's you point?

    "I mean, i found out its ok to take "stolen" money as long as i was stole from in the past...i guess receiving stolen property is not prohibited by your ideology...even if i had knowledge the property i was receiving was stolen...money still is property, right?"

    So you believe its bad to get back money from someone that stole from you? Interesting. Idiotic, but interesting.

    "Maybe one day you people will realize that all rigid ideologies eventually contradict themselves and fail...and we can begin to have an honest discussion of what we should do as a society..."

    And since that honest discussion can't contain any "rigid ideology" I guess it will last a long time, since no facts or philosophy will be allowed...

  • SM||

    But you can violate others "rights" if it helps you get back some of your tax money? Interesting. Seems you're at a contradiction and you don't even realize it.

    How is stealing from the current generation "getting money back" when the generation that stole my money is long dead? Why can i accept stolen property as reparations? Are we paying reparations now? Libertarianism encourages this? Wow...

  • ||

    Please tell me how it violates rights, SM. I'm just dying to hear this, since you claim to be a better libertarian than me.

    I am not stealing money from you when I take money from the government. The government stole the money from you, not me. You should also take back as much as you can from the government also.

    See your problem is that you think I have to support the government still existing while doing this. I don't. I WANT people to realize that stealing from Peter to pay Paul doesn't work. I WANT people to understand that this system is injust, and that no one can really do what's right as long as this system perpetuates itself. You can whine that I'm a hypocrite all day. It doesn't make it true. You're the one who supports this system, not me. You can't persuade me to perpetuate it by calling me a hypocrite. I know I'm doing the right thing, and you're not.

  • SM||

    I was told that adding to the debt is stealing from the next generation.

    The debt is X dollars higher if you accept X dollars in welfare. This is a DIRECT relationship from YOU to the DEBT.

    You can choose to not accept this money, tear up the check, pay your own way, and the debt does not increase.

    You CHOOSE to increase the debt. This isn't a road you didn't choose to build, or any other public good you use. This is SOLELY for your benefit.

    You are a hypocrite.

    I'm glad you think adding to the debt and "stealing" from the next generation is "doing the right thing." I was under the impression that libertarians disagreed with this view.

  • ||

    This argument reminds me of the people that say libertarians should be against open borders because more immigrants means more welfare. But libertarians are against welfare too, so why should we be against immigrants because the government is doing something we disagree with? Do you understand this?

    I'm not going to change my principles because the government is doing two wrong things at the same time. I'm not going to say that you shouldn't try to get back money that was stolen from you just because the government is spending that money and acquiring debt, which it also shouldn't be doing. That doesn't make me a hypocrite, that makes me consistent with my principles.

    The idea that what the government does makes me a hypocrite is just dumb. You have no real argument, you are just twisting libertarian positions into things they aren't because you have a bug up your ass. Now go cry somewhere else please. I'm sure you'd get the golden shower you've been looking for at HuffingtonPost or whatever other dumbshit website you choose.

  • SM Abbreviated||

    If a group of thieves robs several neighborhoods, taking back what is yours from the combined loot is equivalent to stealing from your neighbors, which makes you a hypocrite if you think stealing is immoral.

  • Cytotoxic||

    Maybe one day you people will realize that all rigid ideologies eventually contradict themselves and fail

    Do you rigidly adhere to this belief?

  • ||

    "she most assuredly drew more than she ever paid in."

    Proof? Some reason to think so? Nope? OK, just a blind assumption then.

    "As her friend says, she drew medicare in order to save her personal fortune. *That* is what makes her a hypocrite."

    You might want to look up the meaning of hypocrite. Did Rand believe that taking welfare that you were faced to pay for is wrong? No.

    "And then there's the hypocrisy that a libertarian who refused to believe the science that smoking causes lung cancer (ideology always trumps science for this folks)"

    Rand wasn't a libertarian and libertarianism says nothing about whether or not smoking causes cancer.

    "turns to the gvmt for support when she is dying from lung cancer."

    So if I steal something from you, and you want it back, you are begging for my charity?

    Is it really too much to ask for a decent post that isn't full of fallacies and idiocy?

  • SM||

    He doesn't have to prove that SHE got more money than she paid in - although logical reasoning would determine the likelihood of this being very high...

    ...we'll instead look at it like this.

    I'm told that it is not wrong to accept medicare if you paid in at some point in your life. I also know that medicare runs at a deficit - ie, it spends more than these people have paid in during the past or people are currently paying in. Hence, i can logically conclude that AT LEAST one person is getting MORE than they paid in, otherwise it would not be in a deficit. I am also told by the first argument that this one person is not wrong to do so, because as stated, you are free to accept medicare if you have at any point paid into it.

    Hence, anyone can take any public benefit no matter who pays for it or how much they paid into it.

    Got it. Libertarianism is either A) full of shit, or B) full of shit.

    Which is it?

  • Golf Clap||

    False 'monotomy' preceded by assumption rather than evidence and a weak argument based on the premise that money is not fungible and that the government's choice not to default on its debt is somehow morally the fault of those collecting benefits for which they paid.

  • ||

    "He doesn't have to prove that SHE got more money than she paid in - although logical reasoning would determine the likelihood of this being very high..."

    Yes he does, or his claim is meaningless. I don't see how logical reasoning is going to help you calculate how much money she paid to the government, and how much money she got back in benefits.

    "Hence, anyone can take any public benefit no matter who pays for it or how much they paid into it."

    Oops you ignored the part about taking back only what you paid in. Retard, no one is falling for your pedantry.

  • juris imprudent||

    I know the dumbshits can't get past the stereotype, but there are a LOT of libertarians that never could stand Rand, not to mention that liberty has many deeper (and earlier and not as kooky) sources (e.g. Spooner).

    I understand the need to smack Ayn around though, given how she was the ungrateful and recidivist product of the near ultimate triumph of socialist design. For the simple minded, if she was wrong, they must still be right.

  • ||

    In other news, FFFFFFUUUUUUUUUU.

    Why am I not surprised. Team Red is just bound and determined to fuck up their chance to get spending under control.

  • Bucky||

    damn!
    an engineer in every pot...

  • ||

    I'm sure this has been pointed out many times in the comments already, but I'm too annoyed to a) read them, b) spend any more time than necessary on this site: government employees pay Social Security and have done for quite a long time. But thanks for continuing to perpetuate anti-government myths! Appreciate it!

    Fact checking - it's a good thing.

  • ||

    Apparently you were also too annoyed to read the post you were responding too...

  • Mr. FIFY||

    Spoken like a good little citizen, Lisa.

    BTW, note how many news reports use the term "anti-government protesters" when reporting on the rioting in Egypt. Apparently, they're the next Tea Party-style whipping-boys.

    "Just shut the fuck up and accept your fate, peons." That's what we get told, in essence, every changing of the majority guard in the Gang of 535, and that's the subliminal message espoused by authoritarians from Team Red/Team Blue.

  • SxCx||

    What about this one: taking a government job, as a libertarian, simply to do it poorly, and thus slow the efficiency/growth of the state.

    Yes you would be living off other people's money, but you would be rendering government ineffective from the inside!

    I'm not kidding.

  • SxCx||

    You'd have to be really coy about it so you wouldn't get fired.

    Although we are talking about the public sector...

  • ||

    Yeah. If you got into their progressive discipline program, you might get fired before your retirement kicks in.

  • SxCx||

    Ha!

    But seriously, this crossed my mind once. Local government were proposing this ridiculous new office, something to do with bicycle regulation or whatever, and I thought "Fuck, more money wasted and more bullshit for biking around", which led to me wonder "Hey...if someone's going to take the job, why not make it me? What better way to interfere with pointless regulation?"

    Could that not be a form of libertarian "direct action"? Sabotage through employment! Otherwise some asshole with an MA in social studies would get the gig and actually enforce everything -- which would blow!

    I guess this is the idea behind gridlock?

  • SxCx||

    I guess it comes down to what offends you more: taking money from people or allowing government to accomplish something outrageous.

    You could even give half your salary away! Privately, of course.

  • Nope||

    I can't think of a scenario where I could justify such an action.

    In the case of open revolution, I wouldn't have a problem committing sabotage or stealing information, but I'd be working to the best of my ability in order to keep the position in order to accomplish those goals.

    In any other case, I'd be morally and contractually obligated to do a good job.

  • SxCx||

    Guys, maybe government is full of libertarians!

    No wonder it can't do anything right!

    Shhhhhh!

  • Fred R.||

    If Cavanaugh had read Rand, he would know that she wrote a book with a pirate that attacked government ships sending foreign aid and traded in his loot for gold bars to refund people's taxes. I doubt she would get upset about collecting social security benefits if you paid the tax.

  • SM||

    ....except your money has been spent, you are taking the next generations money. Can you steal from the current generation to get back money that was spent on roads and bridges? It seems libertarians are saying "steal from anyone you want until you get back all that was stolen from you - even if these are not the same people."

    All the people taking medicare today - their contributions did not cover it, and even TODAYS contributions do not cover it - it is being added to the debt.

    I guess the TRUE libertarian position is "let others do the dirty work" - i hope to live in a country where everyone else is taxed to death and i get all the benefits because its in my interest to do so...see, i'm a libertarian! I didn't tax them - the government did! Now give me all the money!

    Do you people keep precise records of your payments and determine your usage of government goods to make sure you are going over your "allotment"?

    Maybe you will all realize that strict ideologies at some point contradict themselves...and then we can have a rational discussion of what we should do as a society...

  • Warty||

    Absolutely correct, smart guy. And then, after we all understand Nash equilibria, we will all vote Democrat.

  • ||

    That's the one that has to do with Cheech Marin, right?

  • juris imprudent||

    He said Nash not hash.

  • JoshINHB||

    Nash equilibria

    Isn't that a fancy way of saying that we're fucking doomed, catastrophic failure is inevitable?

  • Bucky||

    that's it. bullet trains to hell for everyone.
    All Aboard!

  • ||

    except your money has been spent, you are taking the next generations money.

    No kidding; that's how Ponzi schemes work.

  • SM||

    No, a ponzi scheme would be telling people that their INVESTMENT has accumulated earnings and is now worth more - when in fact these "earning" were others contributions.

    SS does not tell you your INVESTMENT created anything - because it does not keep track of your INVESTMENT.

    It is a welfare program through and through. Different from a ponzi scheme.

    ...not that you'd understand the difference though...

  • Cytotoxic||

    Okay, so SS is a shittily disguised Ponzi scheme where the government doesn't even pretend to grow your stolen money. Got it.

  • MattN||

    +50

  • SM||

    All you people keep saying "she was just taking her money back" - in justifying her receiving socialized medicine. I'll assume this applies to all people. I want to know why all of you ignore the same two points:

    1) Medicare taxes CURRENT workers and pays welfare to CURRENT elderly people. It STOLE from you when you were working and gave to the elderly back then. How is it fine to STEAL from CURRENT workers just because YOU were stolen from in the past? And just because its "money" being stolen - how does that make it acceptable? If someone steals a specific item from you - you're allowed to wait a few years and steal from someone else that has the same specific item - although not YOUR specific item - that's long gone - because you were stolen from at one point? You all realize medicare is WELFARE, not PENSION, right? The FIRST medicare recipient NEVER PAID A CENT INTO MEDICARE - yet they took the benefits - were THEY stealing? What about you libertarians that "recover" MORE than you sent in? Is that acceptable too?

    2) Medicare currently runs at a DEFICIT - which i'm told is STEALING FROM FUTURE GENERATIONS. For the gross majority of people, you did not pay enough in to cover your costs, and CURRENT people you're stealing from have not paid in enough either - yet its fine for the government to add to the debt so that you recover an equal amount that was taken from your before - by adding to the FUTURE theft of other individuals?

    If any of you could explain these instead of obfuscating, i'd appreciate it. These arguments have been made OVER AND OVER again, but ignored, and instead we get boilerplate: "she was getting her money back, no problem."

    PS. Wouldn't it be in my best libertarian interest to vote for socialists who will tax RICH people more, and then take as much as i can in benefits, because, you know, THEY are the ones stealing, i'm just "getting my money back" from all the taxes i've paid in previously?

  • Mike Laursen||

    Guess I was too subtle in my comments. I agree with you, except your P.S., which I'm not sure I understand.

  • SM||

    If "being libertarian" is "getting my tax money back" - wouldn't i vote for the guy who would tax ME the least and send me the largest amount of money, let me get the most welfare, etc? No matter who else would have to pay for it?

  • ||

    It is obviously not about 'getting my money back'. The scenario with Ayn Rand is a 'lfeboat' scenario. She was dying of cancer. She was not voting for or endorsing a system that steals from some and gives to others. She was a human being trying to survive by whatever legal means possible.

  • Tony||

    The problem is she allowed herself to be human but required that nobody else be.

  • ||

    Tony, the post above shows that she didn't expect others not to take benefits from the government. When is this fallacious meme going to die?

  • SM||

    So when libertarianism fails, we become progressives?

    Got it.

    The rest of us would prefer you pay in advance so you don't "steal" from us at the end...kinda like SS and medicare...think about it...

  • ||

    Libertarianism did not 'fail', in this case, because it was never practiced. Given that Ayn Rand was taxed and did pay into SS and Medicare, she never was given the chance to live completely by her morals.

  • ||

    Sorry, can't really answer your question, as this particular libertarian thinks the "I was only getting my money back" rationalization is fraught with problems. You'll have to troll for an argument with someone else -- I was trying to be nice and agree with you about something.

  • Tony||

    There is no falsehood or contradiction a libertarian can't hand-wave away.

  • ||

    Gosh, why can't libertarians see that I'm always right? Why can't they just admit that they're wrong, since they are. Because!

  • ||

    God dang scientists always have an answer for everything. When are they going to admit that God exists?

  • EnviroSocialist Tony||

    God dang scientists always have an answer for everything. When are they going to admit that God AGW exists?

  • ||

    There is no falsehood or contradiction a liberal can't hand-wave away.

  • ||

    not that you'd understand the difference though

    There's at least a thirty per cent chance I'd pay you a nickel to go away.

  • Null Void||

    Now, I'm a libertarian, but I have some concerns...

  • ||

    Are you concerned that some of Tony's load is still on your face?

  • Dull Noid||

    You're not really a libertarian! And how dare you be familiar with the people with whom you are familiar! *mouthfroth*

  • ||

    If I accept the premise that accepting medicare is just accepting the stolen money of some current taxpayer (as opposed to getting back what I already paid in).. so what?

    What you are saying is that I as a rand-oid, libertarian, anarchist, whatever, have a philosophical duty to fall on my sword and refuse payment, even when my life may depend on it. It makes for a nice headstone, but not much else.

    Ok, but its still taking someone else's stolen money, right? Yes, but the money is already taken. It is already sitting in the medicare trust fund just waiting to be spent. My refusal to take it will not send the money back to the taxpayer. The damage is already done. The only 'benefit' to me is to be a martyr.

    And after recovery I can still vote for a congressman who would pass legislation getting rid of that system in the first place.

  • SM||

    Medicare is running at a deficit and is adding to the debt. You're "stealing from future taxpayers."

    Social security is spending more than it takes in right now, so it cashes in bonds, which are paid for...by taxes...or adding to the public debt by issuing more bonds...

    Are you saying deficit spending is fine now? We can just add to the debt to send you checks?

    If you didn't cash those checks or paid for your own healthcare, it wouldn't be adding to the debt. The money isn't "already taken" and the damage isn't "already done."

    You people are turning yourselves into pretzels...

    The title of this post should be "Libertarians justify accepting welfare and redistribution for public good"...because as i progressive, i agree with your logic, you shouldn't turn down social programs if you're going to die.

    That's been our point all along.

  • ||

    No one is saying deficit spending is fine or burdening future generations is sustainable. I am saying that in a life or death situation, I will accept any help that comes my way. But, as others have argued, that is not what should determine policy.

    This is akin to what you are saying: When I'm starving I will take food from whoever can provide it. Thus, we should pass a federal tax on everyone that ensures food for everyone. That is not sustainable, logical, or justified.

    And the obvious argument against maintaining current SS and Medicare programs are that it takes away the right of the individual to buy their own medical insurance or save for their own retirement.

  • SM||

    I am saying that if we KNOW that people are going to be (insert bad thing here - starving, sick, etc) at some point because they always are, then we should PLAN for that eventual concern and save up for it collectively instead of making us all shoulder the LARGER burden later - which is what will inevitably happen, because we do not live in libertopia.

    I love the new excuse of libertarians ignoring the philosophy they preach is "we're not in libertopia so none of it applies."

    I have no problem with you or any of the other hypocritical libertarians taking medicare because you COULD NOT POSSIBLY PREDICT how much it will cost you at an advanced age to keep yourself alive - necessitating help in many cases. But we CAN predict over a large population how much it will cost, so we can implement an insurance policy which will cover us all - medicare. And we do this PUBLICLY instead of PRIVATELY because the PRIVATE way would COST MORE and be INEFFECTIVE and a transfer of our money to private interests.

    Now, if i could just get you all to promise you'll all go die as soon as you can't afford your own care INSTEAD of trying to get money in any way you possibly can, then you should be able to opt out - plus, you have to promise to pay us POSTHUMOUSLY for any costs associated with your death...when you can figure out how to do this, let me know.

    Until then, we'll go with the logical alternative, now that i know your ideological concerns are merely a smoke screen and can be jettisoned when it suits you.

    PS. Sorry for the caps, but a lot of you have a hard time understanding simple concepts. I'm trying to make it more clear for you.

  • ||

    Well now we're at the heart of it.

    You think that a national insurance plan is more logical compared to individuals having the right to prepare or not prepare for the future, and anywhere inbetween.

    You call medicare a 'logical alternative' because we will all need medical care at some point. We also all need food, shelter, and a good job. So just nationalize the entire economy?

    Also, medicare can not be compared to a private insurance plan, because a private insurance plan determines each individuals rate based on them individually. Medicare taxes everyone at a flat percentage so high-earners end up subsidizing low-earners.

    National health insurance also takes personal responsibility out of the equation. If each person is not individually responsible for their own health care, they have less incentive to maintain a healthier (and cheaper health care) lifestyle because they assume their health care costs will be covered no matter what.

    But I get the idea that you are not interested in any argument because we're all just hypocrites anyways....

    You keep saying and implying that its 'logical' or a 'simple concept' to take people's money by force (taxation), as if we need to defend our belief that a person has a right to be free from excessive government interference.

    My view is that the burden is on you to justify taking money by force.

  • SM||

    You take the money from me one way or another, you just don't realize it yet. Until we're going to prevent ambulances from coming when libertarians call 911 and they did their own graves and just go lay in them when the time is right (thought they'll never know when this is), we will all be paying for these things. To pretend we aren't is the pinnacle of absurdity. Will we have debtors prisons, no one paying for police, etc? I understand your "solutions" to these problems, and also what a joke they are...even if you disagree.

    You are going to call the ambulance, ayn rand is going to call the SS office. I'm glad she had to pay in advance.

    No matter how much you hope, when people are in need in this country, others are going to have to pay. Others before you have paid for you and your other intergenerational welfare queens. You realize this shit was all here before you were born and you're just profiting off of it, right?

    You are free to not pay taxes any time you'd like. I'll chip in for the one way ticket to somalia.

    The powerful are going to beat you with a stick no matter what you desire...which is why we prefer to have a system that can account for this: democracy. If you don't like who is beating you over the head, again, leave, or convince us to vote for a different setup and we'll have to live with the new people beating us over the head - government, private tyrannies/corporations, etc - whomever fills the power vacuum.

  • Cytotoxic||

    You're "stealing from future taxpayers."

    WRONG asshole. The government is stealing. Ayn Rand was just 'looting the looters'.

  • SM||

    ...and the people adding to the debt getting medicare now? Looting the...future looters?

  • ||

    Nothing to see here, just some retard repeating points that have already been refuted on this thread multiple times. Move along.

  • SM||

    ...or not...changing the subject is not "refuting" a point...

  • ||

    Who's changing the subject, I've responded to all your points, you haven't responded to most of mine...

  • MattN||

    OK, SM is so full of shit I haven't bothered to reply yet, but I will just this once...

    By accepting the government programs available to me I am not stealing from future taxpayers (actually it would really be future beneficiaries... but who wants to be accurate) -- the government already did the stealing.

    On the other hand, if I AM stealing from others by accepting my government benefits, then so is everyone else -- libertarian or not. In which case you've essentially argued for the abolishment of all government programs.

    Logic is a bitch, ain't it?

  • SM||

    Logic would be a bitch to you if you followed it.

    Let me get this straight: because you had money taken from you, you can take money from the next generation in the future?

    I am saying that its not "stealing" - you are the people with that absurd view. So, you either concede A) its not stealing, in which case your whole argument against it crumbles, or B) in certain instances, you condone stealing if it "rights a past wrong" - in which case your moral high ground evaporates.

    Which is it?

    You CANNOT CLAIM THAT YOU ARE JUST GETTING YOUR MONEY BACK - IT HAS ALREADY BEEN SPENT. You are taking money that has been "stolen" from others OR in many cases, is being "stolen" FROM THE NEXT GENERATION BECAUSE IT IS BEING ADDED TO THE DEBT.

    Since when were you ok taking government money that is being added to the debt - when, IF YOU REFUSE SAID MONEY, it would NOT be added to the debt? There is a DIRECT relation with YOU taking government welfare and the DEBT going up. YOU ARE INCREASING THE DEBT because SOMEONE IS GIVING YOU THE OPTION TO. You are a hypocrite. Is this clear yet?

    Say the deficit this year is $1 trillion if you reject medicare. If YOU accept $1000 in medicare benefits, the debt will NOW be $1.000000001 trillion dollars. You have PERSONALLY added to the debt. You are PERSONALLY "stealing" from future generations and JUSTIFYING it by saying "well, EVERYONE'S DOING IT." How principled of you.

    Like i said, i'm a progressive, i don't look at paying into medicare as stealing or getting medical care as stealing, even if those amounts don't add up, even if the next generation ends up paying for it - because YOU paid for them to have this foundation to stand on.

    You people supposedly do not agree with this view - when in fact you do. You will take ANY money given to you and claim a moral high ground because SOMEONE ELSE IMPLEMENTED THE POLICY YOU ARE USING TO GET YOUR BENEFITS.

    You "hate" socialism, until its YOUR socialism. We get it. You're all a bunch of hypocrites trying to bend yourselves into pretzels to justify your hypocrisy.

  • ||

    If "being libertarian" is "getting my tax money back"

    It isn't, but you knew that already.

  • SM||

    ...well i thought it wasn't, until i read this post. Now i find that most of what we all "knew" about libertarianism isn't true.

    You can steal from others to get your stuff back...even if the people who stole from you are dead and you're not getting YOUR stolen goods back.

    Accepting stolen goods as payment is not against libertarian philosophy.

    You can elect people who will give you bigger welfare checks because you have paid into the system and "you're just getting your money back" - and you're not in the wrong, because the people you elected, and not you, are technically stealing from others...so its all good then.

    Libertarianism sure is funny...

  • ||

    No, the government is the one doing the stealing not me. That the thief can't pay everyone back is not my problem. The thief should be taken down. You're saying that no one should bother the thief just let him keep stealing. Hmm, which one makes sense?

    I understand you have a bug up your ass about libertarianism. Weak pedantry is not going to convince anyone on this site. I'm sure there are plenty of sites where people will gladly sniff your asshole though.

  • SM||

    But in the meantime, keep accepting stolen property from the thief.

    Nothing wrong with that...

  • ||

    Wow, it's in one ear out the other with you, isn't it? I really don't feel the need to repeat my explanation of why this isn't wrong. You're a big boy, read.

  • SM||

    Still waiting for anyone to explain why its fine for you to steal from future generations by accepting your debt increasing welfare...

  • ||

    Yeah not like I already explained it multiple times to you in this thread. I guess when you have no answer you just pretend like your opponent doesn't exist. Good strategy. Also, I'm still waiting for an answer to all those posts of mine you ignored.

  • SM||

    You haven't, but don't let that get in the way of repeating the claim you have...if you have explained why taking money that is ADDING TO THE DEBT is fine, please copy and paste it in a reply to this post.

  • ||

    Read the fucking post you fucking trog:

    No, the government is the one doing the stealing not me. That the thief can't pay everyone back is not my problem. The thief should be taken down. You're saying that no one should bother the thief just let him keep stealing. Hmm, which one makes sense?

    And this:

    This argument reminds me of the people that say libertarians should be against open borders because more immigrants means more welfare. But libertarians are against welfare too, so why should we be against immigrants because the government is doing something we disagree with? Do you understand this?

    I'm not going to change my principles because the government is doing two wrong things at the same time. I'm not going to say that you shouldn't try to get back money that was stolen from you just because the government is spending that money and acquiring debt, which it also shouldn't be doing. That doesn't make me a hypocrite, that makes me consistent with my principles.

    The idea that what the government does makes me a hypocrite is just dumb. You have no real argument, you are just twisting libertarian positions into things they aren't because you have a bug up your ass. Now go cry somewhere else please. I'm sure you'd get the golden shower you've been looking for at HuffingtonPost or whatever other dumbshit website you choose.

    God, you fucking retard, how many times do I fucking have to repeat myself? Every other post I've written here says the exact same thing.

  • ?||

    And yet you continue to argue with strangers. Why? What do you hope to gain?

  • ||

    Because if I did not, Reason would simply be an echo-chamber. I come here mainly to hear other people's arguments against libertarianism and to refute them as best I can. Why the fuck do you care anyway?

  • ||

    Now i find that most of what we all "knew" about libertarianism isn't true.

    I am so totally impressed by your argumentation.

    You're a regular fucking Dervish.

  • Statist||

    We were kind of hoping you libertardians would just roll over and take it like a good little bitch.

  • Almanian||

    Yaaaaaaaaawn. Back to the Pro Bowl (yes, I have football-itis THAT bad)...

  • ian luria||

    Broad is an offensive term, care should be used when using it, if you want more women to be interested in libertarianism, using chauvinistic terms will not help

  • Rock Action ||

    If you're serious -- and I only speak for me --but please relax. The lack of humor and overwhelming self-seriousness this winter is bad enough when having a night out on the town, it's even worse when you track that shit back inside.

  • ||

    Objectivism probably got lots of people interested in philosophy, which is good. However it also taught lots of people some fairly stilted interpretations of what various philosophers said and meant, which is not so good. For example, it's almost impossible to get an Objectivist to have a discussion about anything relating to what Immanuel Kant actually wrote because you'll be so busy discussing what Rand wrote about Kant you won't ever get to the discussion of Kant. (The most offensive thing to Objectivists that Kant said, in the Critique of Pure Reason, is just a different way to say what Heisenberg said later. But they won't be having it.)

    Ultimately, the Objectivist movement seems to have devolved into just another sort of dogma. They consider disagreement with or debate about their beliefs to be evil, which makes it awfully hard to have a rational discussion about those beliefs. I'm tempted to say that is ironic but I suspect maybe it's not.

  • ||

    I really hate it when people use Heisenberg as a philosopher. Physics is not philosophy! The uncertainty principle is not something you can just take out of quantum physical context and apply it pedantically to whatever you see fit.

  • ||

    This is a common pattern. People criticize Rand for her analysis of what other philosophers wrote, then demonstrate in their explanation that she did, in fact, understand those philosophers and the snarky commenter doesn't at all.

  • ||

    I know what you mean. I'm OK with it if the person realizes they are making an analogy to quantum physics and seems to know that analogies have their limitation; alas, most of the time the person invoking Heisenberg isn't that aware.

  • ||

    '...and founder of the Objectivism cult..."

    The article's author immediately lost all credibility with that one phrase. It's fine to snicker at her name when you're in one of your libertarian circle-jerks to prove your libertarian circle-jerker credentials, but when you're writing an article for an allegedly intellectual magazine, leave it out.

  • ||

    Right, and Objectivists NEVER display any animosity towards libertarians. NEVER.

    Compared to them calling me a Kantian death-lover, Objectivists being called cultists once in a while isn't really that bad.

  • MattN||

    Careful... he was making a statement about a particular individual who said something specific. You're commenting on all Objectivists based on an encounter you had with one set of people who called themselves objectivists... you're teetering on the edge of bigotry.

  • ||

    So "libertarian circle-jerk" is a reference to one individual?

    Not to mention that everyone who has an encounter with hardcore Objectivists is treated like that. It has nothing to do with bigotry, that is what organized Objectivism demands.

  • ?||

    Ah, it becomes clear now. An "objectivist" was mean to Heller, and now he holds a grudge. It's both funny and sad.

  • ||

    Wow nice guess retard. Too bad you're totally wrong. I have alot of Objectivist friends, and I've met alot of their Objectivist friends. All the ones who are really into it have the same type of rhetorical animosity. The only thing funny and sad here is that you think you're smart enough to psycho-analyze me.

  • Max||

    It's fine to snicker at her name when you're in one of your libertarian circle-jerks to prove your libertarian circle-jerker credentials

    Libertarian circle jerks are less offsensive than objectivist Rand idolatry. Pull your head out of that corpse's ass and get a life you jackwad.

  • Almanian||

    YaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaWN! And now the Pro Bowl's over....and no further light has been shed on this subject.

    Shocker.

    Night all!

  • Warty||

  • Robert||

    I was there for that performance. But I'm told John Muller used to command performances in the back at Laissez Faire Books.

  • Nipplemancer||

    Because of this devastating news, I have rethought my entire way of life and have come up with the conclusion that I don't care about Ayn collecting SS or Medicare because libertarian =/= objectivist.
    Jesus fucking christ on a fucking segway!
    PS SM is a useless fucktard of a troll. Please stop being it's porn.

  • ||

    Everyone seems to be missing the point: Ayn Rand had a health problem SHE COULD NOT AFFORD TO TREAT and luckily lived in a society that required her to participate in a health plan. She seemed quite happy to live in the real world and use that health plan, but, in her fantasy world, she would have only been able to crawl off and die.

  • ||

    Couldn't afford to treat it without the money that she paid into Social Security you mean? Dumbass.

  • ||

    You mean Medicare?

  • ||

    Same shit.

  • Amakudari||

    You know that money she contributed to FICA?

    What do you figure happened to it in fantasy world?

    If it's that she spent it and died as a result, I could really care less. She required no subsidy and there's no evidence that costs are meaningfully lower under the status quo.

  • Mike Laursen||

    Point about Ayn Rand totally understood by at least a few of us here. Whether government should run a healthcare system and what form it should take is a big issue that has many more factors to consider than this one anecdote.

  • John Calhoun||

    And despite that it still wasn't treated and she died anyway.

  • XCowboy2||

    Nasty writer. Objectivism is no cult. You shouldn't write on things of which you have no knowledge (by your own admission).

  • ||

    ""It is obvious, in such cases, that a man receives his own money which was taken from him by force, directly and specifically, without his consent, against his own choice.""

    I'm a fan of Rand, but the above belief is our path to socialism. It's not a wrong belief either, but when the government increases taxes, then people want more in return, which the government then needs to raise taxes, which will make people want more in return. It's a cycle that will lead to a high tax country with the government giving many services. The more services the government hands out, the more authority the government has over our lives in the name of cost control.

  • Max||

    Rand's hypocricy is no match you libertoid idiocy.

  • ||

    Oh the irony of a barely literate troll trying to insult someone's intelligence.

  • JB||

    I'm getting every dollar back some day.

    That or I settle for a pound of government flesh for every dollar.

  • Tim Cavanaugh||

    500th!

  • Fiscal Meth||

    Don't pull a muscle patting yourself on the back. You could've left everything out but the part where you got revenge on everyone who likes the same philosopher as did some guys who made fun of you at a party, and still got 500.

  • ||

    she might not be a hypocrite, but only when understood through the logic of the welfare state--it is correct to draw benefits because they have been paid for. exactly, the entire justification of the welfare state goes. that is exactly the point. by her retarded and childish 'philosophy' (loved most by precocious teenagers), however, she had access to medical services that she could never afford on her own.

    perhaps this is why all those antistatist paradises like oklahoma and texas and alaska have the highest child mortality rates. it is because they are so free and just.

  • .||

    Did you pull random words out of a hat to create your analysis? Not that the resultant stream of words makes less sense than most of the commentary in this thread, as the bulk of the argumentation here is driven by malice and ignorance rather than reason.

  • ||

    Indeed. There are numerous, legal ways in which Rand could have avoided paying income tax. She did not, and instead took advantages of services she herself decried as immoral.

  • ||

    It is humorous to me what irrational suppositions are so thoughtlessly advanced as facts under the rubric of "reason."

    Ayn Rand's legal name was Alisa Zinovyevna O'Connor (nee Rosenbaum) and she was known professionally as Ayn Rand, personally as Ayn Rand O'Connor. It seems her social worker, working on behalf of her lawyers, found a way for her to receive benefits while avoiding public scrutiny.

    Is it shocking (even to Rand) that the glorious self-made might occasionally rationalize hypocrisy in order to protect their own selfish interests? It shouldn't be, but then again Rand did engage in public self-recrimination more than once for not being equal to the ideals expressed by her heroic protagonists, in particular while wasting time morning the death of her husband.

    Rand's rationale for recovering Social Security benefits would be sound if one withdrew only what one "contributes" to the fund. That's not how Social Security works, as others have asserted less reasonably and succinctly. Certainly the argument that Rand's acceptance of Medicare benefits is not antithetical to her ethics fails if she was (at the advice of a social worker no less) accepting taxpayer supported Medicare benefits, which she was not required to use in lieu of private insurance or personal wealth, to avoid decimation of her estate to medical costs. You would be hard pressed to defend such an application as being anything other than hypocrisy from a lifetime smoker whose reason extended to denying scientific evidence about smoking. Any government assistance which would equal or exceed the amount of her amassed wealth would be far in excess of any "lifetime" contributions made by Rand especially to Medicare - an impossibility, as I will explain.

    Regardless, an attempt to protect her assets through the use of a public health insurance program with benefits in excess of her own finances explicitly demonstrates that she was unable to achieve the uncompromising rigidity, the noble righteousness, of her fictional characters. Dagny Taggart would have puked up a lung and died.

    The only way Rand could avoid any hint of hypocrisy is if she determined from the outset the sum of her direct contributions to Social Security since its creation in 1935 (and she could) and then extracted an amount equal only to her at first meager and later capped contributions, adjusted for inflation. Limited to the acceptance of Social Security benefits one might make a reasonable case for Rand's avoiding hypocrisy--if it could be proved that she accepted "repayment" in an amount equal to what had been "stolen" from her. There is no evidence that she did. But with Medicare, especially as it was to be a hedge against the loss of her personal wealth, such a case cannot be made no matter how much one attempts to apply "reason" to the matter. Medicare was not enacted until July 1965, a few months after Rand's 60th birthday.

    Rand's use of Medicare benefits and Social Security is the acceptance of state insurance which acts as such a hedge for all elderly citizens against the arguably reasonable refusal of private firms to provide for the elderly and infirm in spite of attrition in the face of inevitable losses. In other words, Medicare is better for private insurance than some regulatory mandate that they insure old folks.

    Rand's decision is a reflection of the failure of the free market (and the individual Rand) to provide for her need. To a reasonable person, this would suggest that the market is good at providing for some things needed by individuals in a (dare one say) society, and not good at providing for others. The people who argued for a public option in the health care bill would not take to the streets and demand the government make shoes.

    Rand took advantage not of a deposit she made into some forced savings account but a regulated insurance policy, which like private insurance circumstantially dispenses funds disproportionately (i.e. people die before they collect benefits despite having paid the "premium").

    Government administered insurance policies are unmotivated by profit. They are created to protect individual wealth and prevent poverty and illness and are subject to the legislative process in a democracy. You don't have to be a shareholder to influence public policy, you need only be a citizen. In fact, our shares would all be equal if not for an ever-increasing laissez-faire corporate influence.

    Hypocrisy is not the most salient point. Like everything, Social Security and Medicare are flawed, but Rand's lapse into dependence proves that social insurance like Britain's NSH, for example, works, albeit imperfectly, for both average folks and Supermen like Rand.

  • ||

    Nailed it!

  • ||

    should have been mourning the death, not "morning."

  • ||

    also NHS not NSH.

  • ||

    The writer of the article does some intellectual rope-a-doping worthy of Ali himself. Republican Grandma down the street taking the social security to stay off a cat food diet is one thing; the poster girl for rugged individualism, and bestselling author, doing so is another.

    A very dishonest analysis.

  • Jeremy||

    The NYT recently pointed out that Medicare recipients on average get back over 4x what they paid into the system. If Rand received cancer treatments courtesy of Medicare, it's probably safe to say she helped bring the average up. It's hard for me to believe that a writer at a magazine that advocates doing away with Medicare wouldn't be able to figure this out for himself. I agree with Wulfe2k, this article is very dishonest. Her actions were blatant hypocracy.

  • ||

    How funny is it that your reasoning is very similar to what FDR said. He basically said that he would make social security a system where people paid into and that they were entitled to their benefits. He knew that would past constitutional muster.

    Also, I'd like to point out that Democrats complaining about the DMV is not hypocrisy at all. We don't think that government is perfect we just think it can (and does) good things but we always always believe that it's not perfect.

  • Nike Dunk High Women||

    thanks

GET REASON MAGAZINE

Get Reason's print or digital edition before it’s posted online

  • Progressive Puritans: From e-cigs to sex classifieds, the once transgressive left wants to criminalize fun.
  • Port Authoritarians: Chris Christie’s Bridgegate scandal
  • The Menace of Secret Government: Obama’s proposed intelligence reforms don’t safeguard civil liberties

SUBSCRIBE

advertisement