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Libertarians and Conservatives: Allies, Not Enemies

by Nelson Hultberg | AFR.org

The modern libertarian movement in America was launched in 1957 by Ayn Rand with her heroic novel, Atlas Shrugged. Using its radical advocacy of capitalism as their rallying cry, libertarians have, over the past 55 years, built a powerful political movement upon Rand’s ideas and vision. It is a very persuasive cause they have fashioned. But, unfortunately, its philosophical base contains flaws, which (if not corrected) will doom libertarianism to being nothing more than a footnote to history rather than a formidable force.

In my opinion, the libertarian movement, as presently constructed, is not capable of defeating the monstrous statism that is taking over the modern world? My book, The Golden Mean: Libertarian Politics, Conservative Values, has been written to explain why and what we must do to restructure the freedom movement to give it the strength to prevail. Following are some testimonials to the book, its Introduction, and information on how to purchase a copy.

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“The Golden Mean is an extremely important book that I believe is destined to be a classic…[It] made me think and gave me answers I've never thought of before. I read it from cover to cover and couldn't put it down.” – Mark Skousen, former professor of economics, Columbia University, author of The Making of Modern Economics.

“In a world inundated with political / ideological books, Nelson Hultberg’s brilliant work…stands apart from, and above, anything I have previously read in this genre.” – Robert Ringer, Author of Restoring the American Dream.

“No one can read this book and not have his thoughts and conscience provoked…It is a profound and passionate effort toward healing a major schism that is long overdue.” – Lawrence W. Reed, President, Foundation for Economic Education.

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INTRODUCTION

The prevailing sentiment on the political right today is that there can be no compromise between the forces of libertarianism and those of conservatism. Such an attempted mix is, as Russell Kirk put it, “like advocating a union of fire and ice.” Murray Rothbard’s hard-core libertarians conclude also that the two philosophical views are forever incompatible and that there can never be a meeting ground where conservatives and libertarians will be able to coalesce. This is primarily because libertarians believe that the central dilemma of civilization is liberty and how to advance it, while conservatives believe that the central dilemma of civilization is order and how to preserve it. Moreover, many libertarians believe in the perfectibility of man, while conservatives see man as forever flawed in nature. Therefore, these two groups must go it alone, each fighting for the implementation of its specific worldview on its own.

This sentiment is grievously flawed, and it has led to our present ineffectuality in combating the statism so insidiously consuming the modern world. Neither of the two philosophies of libertarianism and conservatism can stand alone, nor would any clear-thinking person wish them alone upon humanity. A purely conservative country would be a static despotism of traditionalist philosopher kings, and a purely libertarian country would be a cultural anarchy of moral primitives. One of the purposes of this book is to demonstrate that each philosophy only gains validity by adopting strains of the other.

The error in this dispute is in misunderstanding what a union of the two really signifies. It does not mean that the political structure is going to be half-libertarian and half-conservative, or that we can somehow assimilate a do-your-own-thing philosophy into an objective moral realm. Indeed, this would be an attempt to produce the union of fire and ice that Kirk scorned. The union of libertarians and conservatives into a cohesive “philosophy of freedom” means that the political structure must be libertarian, and that the cultural value structure must be conservative, and that there is no other means to maintain a free, prosperous, ordered existence. Libertarian politics requires a conservative value structure in order to be workable, and a conservative value structure requires libertarian politics in order to be just. Each of these elements, devoid of the other, would wither and die with chaos the result in one instance and tyranny the result in the other.

What is meant by a “libertarian political structure” is that man was meant to be free. He possesses certain clear-cut rights that are to be protected, rather than manipulated, by politicians. Therefore, his government must be objectively limited by a constitution rather than arbitrarily determined by the dictates of an autocrat or the passions of the majority. What is meant by a “conservative value structure” is acceptance of the fact that there is an objective moral order in the universe, i.e., certain rights and wrongs in life that are applicable to all humans for all of time.

THE UNIQUENESS OF AMERICA

Thus one of the themes of this book is that the uniqueness of America lies in the Founders’ libertarian political ideal combined with conservativemetaphysics and culture.

Our nation is a blend of the ideas that shaped the seventeenth and eighteenth century thinkers, John Locke and Edmund Burke (one libertarian and the other conservative). These two minds heavily influenced Americans from the start and up until World War I – the former emphasizing reason and individualism, the latter tradition and community. This gave America a unique foundation of four intellectual cornerstones upon which to rest her social institutions. The individual was held to be sacred within a voluntary gathering of communities to be guided by a synthesis of reason and tradition. This vision manifested in what could be called Jeffersonian individualism, i.e., individual freedom and self-reliance within the constraints of moral responsibility to the community and the nation, or what conservatives term a “society of ordered liberty.”

When it first began in the early 1940s, the freedom movement in America was not split between libertarians and conservatives. It was one coalition unified in rebellion against FDR’s welfare state. Its purpose was to restore the Founders’ vision of strict constitutional government and federalism. By 1960, however, the movement had become tragically bifurcated. Ayn Rand departed totally from Burkean influence to form today’s libertarian insurgence, while Russell Kirk drove conservatives away from their Lockean roots of individualism. This split has now created two incomplete visions (contemporary libertarianism and conservatism) that are, in their singularity, incapable of effectively challenging the authoritarian statism that dominates the institutions of modern society.

What must be done is to reunite these two divisions. This will require a rational theory of politics that can effectively bring together the two philosophical streams of Locke and Burke so as to restore the original repub-lic of states that Jefferson and the Founders envisioned. The Golden Mean, I believe, accomplishes this theoretical unification.

The political philosopher, Frank Meyer, attempted in the 1960s to bring about a merger of libertarians and conservatives, but unfortunately was unable to do so and settled for only a workable “tension” between the two movements. I will extend the argument in a new direction, putting forth a blueprint that should finally bring about this much-needed unity.

LIBERTARIANS AND AYN RAND

To further such a union, part of this book is devoted to unscrambling some of the illogic that has consumed the political right because of Ayn Rand. For the past 50 years, this philosopher-novelist has been a shining inspiration to millions of readers, yet a bombastic misanthrope to millions of others. What I came to believe after reading through her works was that the woman had one fireball of a mind, but a mind that suffered more than a few misunderstandings about the kaleidoscope of complexities that comprises life. Rand thought titanically and wrote eloquently, but she was so insulated in the moral-ideological ivory tower she created for herself that enormous gaps developed in her grasp of what makes up human existence.

Rand’s philosophy of Objectivism still appeals to thousands of thinking men and women and is rallied to by new converts every year through her muscular, heroic novels. But what is damaging about the Rand phenomenon is the fact that libertarians, in their embrace of Rand’s primary premises (several of which are flawed), have created a philosophical movement that cannot get successfully launched as it is presently constructed. They have built a rocket ship with a faulty engine that, upon every takeoff, propels them only a short distance into the sky and then plummets back to earth.

I will explain in this book the major weaknesses in Rand’s ethical thinking that have prohibited libertarianism from becoming a countervailing force to statism. And I will also show how to restructure the libertarian ship to give it the strength to truly take flight. Because I disagree with Rand’s ethical ideas, however, doesn’t mean I consider her to be a waste of time. Far from it; there is much of benefit to learn from her works – e.g., her understanding of individual rights and how they are being destroyed, her identification of altruism (in its sacrificial form) as the moral fount of tyranny, her formulation of the “sanction of the victim” and the “hatred of the good for being the good,” her insistence that ideology is the prime mover of history, etc. But one must read her for her wisdom and dismiss her folly, which requires a certain perspective that comes from experience in life.

Rand had incredibly trenchant things to say to us about capitalism, tyranny, individualism, the entrepreneur, the powers of reason and morality, the need for heroism, etc. But she floundered with the primary goal of her writing – her attempt to launch a new egoistic ethical system for man. To the extent that libertarians and objectivists embrace her “new ethical system,” they undercut the real strength of capitalism as a way of life. If America and capitalism are to be saved for future centuries, it will not be on the iconoclastic wings of egoism, but upon a new rendition of the ancient wisdom that has guided man ethically for thousands of years.

THE CONSERVATIVES’ DEFAULT

Just as libertarians are going to have to make some important changes in their overall philosophy, so too are those who deem themselves conservatives. Sadly, over the last few decades there has solidified in the minds of many prominent conservatives a disastrous way of thinking. They have come to believe that, by accepting the ideology of the welfare state and merely arguing for a more prudent implementation of its goals, we can stem the tide of tyranny and make it tolerable. On the contrary, such an approach ushers in tyranny rather than stemming the tide of it. In order to counteract the disease of statism, one must go to the root causes of the disease, which means one must challenge its moral and philosophical premises.

Too many conservatives today are not concerned with such a challenge. They are more concerned with scholarly acceptance in their own time than adherence to principle for all of time. They have become “media-darling” conservatives. They fear that since statism is the fashion of the age, to challenge the moral foundation of the welfare state would place them outside the circle of socially-approved intellectuality and thus render them ineffective. But what they fail to see is that it is always contrarian intellectuals who most dramatically shape history. Through all the centuries from Socrates, to Erasmus, to Galileo, to John Locke, to Thomas Jefferson, to Ludwig von Mises, to Richard Weaver, truth and freedom have never been defended by compromising with the forces of statism that exist in one’s time.

Too many today have convinced themselves that by fighting statism’s degree rather than its essence, they can somehow stop its ever-increasing suffocation of the individual. The lures of “celebrity” and “social approval” have consumed their integrity of thought. They want too much to be revered by the political grafters who wield power, as if recognition conveyed by usurpers is somehow honor.

In the end, there is no hope for freedom if men of the mind are not willing to truly stand for freedom, to make of themselves Gibraltar-like representatives of its attributes no matter what level of rejection, calumny, and injustice is heaped upon them. This is the true role of the intellectual in history, his only role – to stand intransigently for truth and its concomitant of freedom, even in face of a vast social herd of academic pedants, poseurs, and media clowns stampeding the other way.

The disease of collectivist-liberalism has only one antidote – restoration of a strictly limited government that treats all citizens objectively – which can be brought about only if we as a country abandon the fundamental premises of modern-day liberalism. This book will identify such premises and formulate the only effective strategy to challenge them. If conservatism is to be a movement of freedom and justice, its leaders must cease defaulting on their responsibility to put forth this challenge.

THE LAW OF THE MEAN

A growing body of dissenting thought in America today agrees with the above perspective. This book is an attempt to crystallize such a view by resurrecting trampled-on truths long forgotten but vital to the freedom and dignity of men. It is a composite of five essays dealing with Aristotle’s famous Law of the Mean (i.e., Golden Mean) and how it applies to the great questions of politics, economics, and ethics.

Practically everyone is familiar with the concept of a Golden Mean in at least a rudimentary sense, for we have all been taught from earliest childhood about the virtue of balance and the evil of extremism in our daily lives. Yet even if we were never taught its truth, I believe some men would still intuitively gravitate to the wisdom it affords, utilizing it as the basis of their judgment of what should be taking place around them – for it is one of the natural lodestars of life that rule our existence.

It is this writer’s belief that most of the tyranny, degradation, and chaos that has overwhelmed so many people throughout the world during the past 100 years can be attributed to the fact that we have moved steadily away from the Golden Mean in the most important regions of our lives. What I will do in this book is to explain such a moving away, how it has distorted our freedom, our ideals, and our moral beliefs – and why we, as a people, must restore such a mean to our way of life again.

The premises that will be examined are as follows: There exists in the natural scheme of life a great ideal of “right action,” which in the political arena is where both liberty and order reside. In essence, these two values are not antagonists but complements, which can and must be equally integrated into a nation’s socio-political system. One need not be sacrificed to the other; in actual fact, neither can exist without the other. And most importantly, there is a body of definable principles that will lead to a society that is both virtuous and free.

In other words, there is a natural law that permeates existence, “an order in the universe which human reason can discover and according to which the human will must act so that it can attune itself to the universal harmony….We do not make this law, but are made to live within it.”2

The Aristotelian mean is one of the manifestations of this natural law that permeates the universe. For us as individuals and as a society to go against this law is to incur tragedy and bring down upon our lives ruinous consequences. This is the great dilemma of modern times. We must once again come to grips with Francis Bacon’s observation that “Nature, to be commanded, must be obeyed.” There are eternal truths to which we must learn to conform.

THE MEAN’S ANTAGONISTS

One cautionary note: the book’s general theme flows from crucial points validated in Chapter One, so naturally the first chapter must be read carefully and thoroughly. Also it is important to read the chapters in the order that they appear. Do not skip around. Each chapter builds upon the previous chapter and will not make complete sense without first understanding what came before. I can’t emphasize this strongly enough. The power and validity of the book’s general theme will be apparent only if the chapters are read in order.

I am aware of the reservations held by some scholars as to the usefulness of Aristotle’s doctrine of the mean to meaningfully analyze life’s various phenomena. It is said that such a concept is “relative,” it is a form of “circular reasoning,” it avoids adherence to principle in favor of the “middle-of-the-road,” and so forth. On the contrary, every one of these claims is demonstrably false and will be explained as we proceed. Some of the claims are answered in the following chapters and the rest of them in an Appendix at the end of the book because they require abstract theoretical discussions that appeal primarily to scholars. For those who are interested in these kinds of arguments, please refer to the Appendix (after reading Chapter One).

What I will show throughout the book is that the concept of the mean is fundamentally misunderstood by its antagonists, which has led to a warped and incongruous philosophy among those who are attempting to defend the ramparts of freedom.

I will also show that, because Aristotle concentrated on the micro-level of personal virtues rather than the macrolevel of political systems, he was able to formulate only part of the mean’s applicability, and therefore only tapped into part of its significance. This book will expand Aristotle’s formulation to the macrolevel of life – to societies, politics, religious codes, foreign policies, monetary policies, etc.

It is very important to understand that, contrary to the presumptions of modern intellectuals, the doctrine of the mean is universal rather than relative. Aristotle held it to be so for the microlevel, and I will demonstrate that it is equally so for the macrolevel.

In other words, the doctrine of the mean is a valid concept to help decipher both the personal and the collective “good” for humanity for all times and all places. It is a fixed philosophical North Star that can be used to direct our lives and our societies toward the ideal. This is not a paltry issue that we as citizens can ignore; all who think must come to know its ideological primacy. Whether there are universal moral truths, or whe-ther all is relative, is the ultimate issue of our existence. It is upon this point that everything of importance, everything that is sane and humane in life – the fate of freedom and civilization itself – rests. So we must come to understand, before anything else, why there are things called “moral truths,” and how we are to realize them. Only then can we arrive at how our government and our social institutions should be constructed. A most important intellectual key to understanding this is to delve into Aristotle’s Golden Mean.

While there is much in Aristotle’s worldview that is indefensible to us today, the doctrine of the mean is one of the immutable verities of mind and man. It is a most powerful idea with far more importance for our lives than we have heretofore realized. This eternal, “rational mean” lies between the disparate and debasing sociopolitical extremes that men are forever prone to chasing after. It is transcendent to the temporalities of human desires. It is tied in with the natural laws that have been instilled into existence, and it is our job as humans to discover it, to define it in the idiom of our day, and then attempt to live up to it.

SOLUTION TO OUR MODERN DILEMMA

We have been grievously misled as a people and a nation for several generations now on what should be the proper relationship between the individual and his government. The original purpose of America has been all but buried beneath a mountain of utopian delusions and perverted ideals, disseminated by scholars who have deliberately set out to redesign our country along the lines of history’s centralized collectivisms. We must reinvestigate in a most serious manner this philosophical relationship of the individual to the state, for there is a very clear theoretical balance that must be struck between the aims and activities of the two if life is to proceed in any meaningful, enjoyable fashion.

The fact that our government is out of control is due to flaws in our life philosophy, or, to more correctly put it, due to a failure to adhere to proper first principles. Ironically, the philosophy of America was right from the start. We just failed to adequately incorporate its necessary first prin­ciples into our Constitution and, as the years went by, we drifted away from the fundamental moral convictions that gave us the inner strength and self­-discipline to sustain the structure. Thus, the solution to our modern dilemma lies not in any kind of “new morality” or “radically altered political system” that pure libertarians advocate. Our solution is simply to have the courage to accept the moral and philosophical principles that will lead to what America was originally meant to be.

All men, possessed of character and strength of will, want to be free; they all desire to have order in their lives; they all hope to find happiness; and they all wish to know truth. What is necessary is for Americans to once again teach to their young the proper manner of reasoning that will lead to the achievement of such values.

With her sustaining spirit so ravaged over this past century by false truths and scholastic illusions, America now has no idea of the level upon which life could and ought to be lived. One thinks of the sturdy and serenely noble ethic adhered to in the aftermath of our founding and through-out the nineteenth century – the heroic self-reliance, stout-hearted love, and family solidarity that living used to be about.

There was an awe about existence before the bitch-goddess of egalitarianism invaded the sanctum of our ideals and the leviathan of government usurped our freedoms. Life was momentous and meaningful. Men and women had reverence for liberty. Their priorities were in order, for they produced before they consumed. Truth was there to decipher from Nature and pay heed to, not paste over with relativized morals and arid technical jargon.

There was a color and gallantry and joy that filled the days of one’s life before egalitarianism and Big Government. Anguish and grueling hard-ship, too. But a man at least knew he had stood up to the anguish and hard­ship on the steel of his own merits, and in so doing had earned a sense of honor. Life was manly for men before bureaucracy’s drab mandarins eroded the vigor of their hopes. And because it was, men thought highly of themselves; and because they did, there was love between man and woman that formed a rock of granite beneath the fearsome vicissitudes they faced.

There is no such love today because there is no crucible of valor from which men and women can forge it. There is only the incessant clamor for more government entitlements pilfered from the pockets of one’s neighbors through the taxman; only the bleak emptiness of a stifling materialism shored up by its demon gods of consumption and power, with its dismal world of obnoxious bureaucrats dictating the ecstasy out of living.

It is hoped that what is written here will help to restore the lofty crucible that life once was and from which the gallant men and women of our past drew their sustenance.

To purchase a copy, click here:

http://www.afr.org/AFROrderForm2.htm

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I just finished reading the book...

Outstanding! Mr. Hultberg has produced a modern day classic.

I don't have time to read many books these days, but I'm glad I didn't pass this one by. "The Golden Mean" needs to be on the short list of anyone who loves liberty.

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The Virtual Conspiracy

quick comment

I was away for a couple days. In the interim, a discussion below has been "stricken," presumably due to the action of a moderator. It is certain that the other party participating was clearly lacking in moderation, but there are some interesting points to be taken from the discussion I think.

One is especially relevant to the Ayn Rand aspect of this thread. Rand seemed to make a good many derisive comments against "collectivists." As the thread below brings out, however, the question is not really one of collectivism. Rand is also a collectivist, as are most anarchists. (And I don't know that any deny it.) The question is not collectivism -vs- non-collectivism. The question is simply the nature of the collectivism advocated. Anarchists prefer voluntary collectivism, and statists prefer a system of collective enslavement.

I am aware that many here attempt to draw a distinction based on degree, so that some level of collectivism is deemed to be no longer collectivism at all, and some level of statism is deemed to be no longer statism at all, so that others can be derided with the terms statist and collectivist. I suppose this is what Rand was trying to do. I think, however, that the principle actually wins out here both practically and philosophically. The general populace just hasn't yet come to that realization.

Thus, you get the recurrent assertion that anarchy is, somehow, not "practical," when in fact attempting to maintain the illusion of an alternative is what is not practical.

Speaking of things one often hears, it occurred to me today that one often hears (especially from neocons; I think it must have been one of their talking points at one time) that various things are necessary or justified because "there is evil in the world." This assertion, with which I totally agree, is used to supposedly justify all manner of evil from nose picking to government.

Of course, the justification is inadequate---well maybe for nose picking. Anyway, I'm not sure of the application, but I thought the following maxim might be of use in both contexts, so I leave you with it.

Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

most conservatives are fascist

as most liberals are socialist. An honest media would correct these falsehoods but we have a corporatist media that seeks to keep us divided while corporatism screws us all. Most people are in dire need of education -reading a dictionary would be a good first step..

Government is supposed to protect our freedom, our property, our privacy, not invade it. Ron Paul 2007

100% disagree

Throwing the dictionary out the window and boycotting all the labels is what is needed. Deep down, people are all the same (except the controlling banker who desire dominance). They all want the same thing but since everyone comes from a different set of experiences, they have different priorities, fears and trusts. This is the entire difference between all these 'isms' that people get so divided in fighting over.

If we instead treated each person as having valid goals and then aligned their fact sets to the same verified starting point, I'm pretty sure both sides would tackle each issue pretty much the same way. We just have to quit encouraging the division between us. RP clearly says this and he's correct. Don't groupify people or there'll be unintended consequences.

Fascists ARE Socialists.

Fascists ARE Socialists. How do you think they get away with it? It's the top and the bottom Vs the middle. It's the merging of state, corporate and banking powers lording over all industry and productive labor. It's the same whether you invest yourself in Communism, or Fascism. It's the regimenting and regulating of industry to stifle competition, and they always want a dictator.

To get it, all you need to do is keep offering covetous people the spoils of injustice. People want something for nothing. They want to feed on that which creates value, productive labor.

JFK, speaking on secret societies: "For we are opposed around the world by a monolithic and ruthless conspiracy that relies primarily on 'covet means' to further it's sphere of influence, on infiltration instead of invasion, on subversion instead of elections, on intimidation instead of free choice. It is a system which has conscripted vast human and material resources in the building of a tightly knit highly efficient machine that combines military, diplomatic, intelligence, economic, scientific and political operations. Its preparations are concealed, not published. Its mistakes are buried, not headlined. Its dissenters are silenced, not praised. No expenditure is questioned. No secret is revealed. That is why the Athenian lawmaker Solon decreed it a crime for any citizen to shrink from controversy."

Typical

Writer Hultberg's initial misrepresentation is that "conservatives believe that the central dilemma of civilization is order and how to preserve it."

To me, this is the definition of a neocon.

He falsely suggests libertarians are on the same side as those seeking order for the civilization.

To me, this line of thinking is just as harmful as Socialism.

He then goes on to laughably think the following:
"Just as libertarians are going to have to make some important changes in their overall philosophy..."

Silly as it is, this is also ironclad proof Mr. Hultberg has no clue about libertarianism.

"Timid men prefer the calm of despotism to the tempestuous sea of liberty" TJ

Please note:

The slogan, "The only legitimate purpose of government is to defend liberty" may be true and it certainly sounds very nice, but the sad fact is that the constitutional republic adopted by many in America does not serve that purpose.

The current constitutional republic, introduced in 1787, sought to legitimize the initiation of aggression through taxation. That was its purpose, as recognized by anti-federalists at the time. That purpose, it will be noted, is not defending liberty---it is simply theft for the purpose of enriching those who are well connected. The system uses the stolen resources to further its basic agenda, which brings us to the current regrettable state of America.

This observation does not directly address the thesis of the book advertised here, but any rational discussion of that thesis will probably have to come back to this point. It directly addresses slogans like "win the debate" and "run for office" and the sentiment that the current constitutional republic called the United States of America should be preserved at all costs. If these are to be adopted, then there is nothing to think about. The master has been chosen. The debate has been won. The office has been taken. It only remains to lick the hand that feeds and trust that the chains of your own choosing rest lightly upon you.

Anyone who rejects these chains is to be labeled an anarchist and ridiculed as "offering no solution."

Ayn Rand on libertarians - she hated libertarians

Ayn Rand:
"All kinds of people today call themselves “libertarians,” especially something calling itself the New Right, which consists of hippies, except that they’re anarchists instead of collectivists. But of course, anarchists are collectivists. Capitalism is the one system that requires absolute objective law, yet they want to combine capitalism and anarchism. That is worse than anything the New Left has proposed. It’s a mockery of philosophy and ideology. They sling slogans and try to ride on two bandwagons. They want to be hippies, but don’t want to preach collectivism, because those jobs are already taken. But anarchism is a logical outgrowth of the anti-intellectual side of collectivism. I could deal with a Marxist with a greater chance of reaching some kind of understanding, and with much greater respect. The anarchist is the scum of the intellectual world of the left, which has given them up. So the right picks up another leftist discard. That’s the Libertarian movement."

Rand founded the objectivst movement, not the libertarian movement.

Probably one person who had a much greater influence on the libertarian movement is Murray Rothbard. Here is Rothbard's take on Rand:

http://www.lewrockwell.com/rothbard/mozart.html

And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor.

More actual Ayn Rand on libertarians

""Q: Why don’t you approve of the Libertarians, thousands of whom are loyal readers of your works? [FHF: “The Age of Mediocrity,” 1981]

AR: Because Libertarians are a monstrous, disgusting bunch of people: they plagiarize my ideas when that fits their purpose, and they denounce me in a more vicious manner than any communist publication, when that fits their purpose. They are lower than any pragmatists, and what they hold against Objectivism is morality. They’d like to have an amoral political program. " - http://www.aynrand.org/site/PageServer?pagename=education_campus_libertarians"

Always be on the lookout when a writer tries to shove facts at you that aren't true.

And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor.

The Great Explosion

Based on the intro I think the counter to this book is a book published in 1962.

The Great Explosion
by Eric Frank Russell

While it is simply written, it's story demonstrates how those that wish to impose order can not coalesce with those that wish to retain liberty.

"You Must" doesn't stand up well to "I won't".

Too bad the liberals are so good at infiltrating

and subverting. That is the worse thing that the Republican and Libertarian parties have in common. Liberals control everything and therefor have no problem destroying there opposition. It is already clear that liberals are on there way to controlling another party.

The relationship between

the idealogies of conservatism and libertarianism is the same as that between modern liberalism and libertarianism. All American political ideology stems from libertarian philosophy. Modern liberals do not understand how the welfare state will hinder their civil liberties in the same way that conservatives do not understand how the warfare state will hinder their economic liberties. Both adhere to a flawed understanding of economics; that is that the conservatives tend to adopt the ideals of Milton Friedman and the liberals tend toward the teachings of John Maynard Keynes. Both stem from a lack of understanding of human action and the flow of real capital in society.

While I found the writing entertaining, I just do not see the benefit in pushing the libertarian movement toward a more statist ideology to either direction of the political spectrum. The only reason that conservatism has any attachment to libertarianism is that the modern conservative movement has been desperately attempting to hitch itself to the attractive message of liberty.

"Thus, the solution to our modern dilemma lies not in any kind of 'new morality' or 'radically altered political system' that pure libertarians advocate. Our solution is simply to have the courage to accept the moral and philosophical principles that will lead to what America was originally meant to be."

This quote sums up my entire understanding of this piece. It is a flawed summary of libertarianism and a basic misunderstanding of the principles of liberty. What could be more collectivist than the call for a united goal that transcends political structure like "what America was originally meant to be"?

I think that the writer is captivating and talented, but I would suggest he go back and truly study the works of "extremists" like Rothbard, who could basically be credited for the momentum of the modern libertarian movement, and then come back with a new game plan on how to constructively move the message of liberty forward.

I've never viewed Libertarians and Conservatives as enemies...

In my country, Libertarians are Conservatives.

If by Libertarian he means Anarchist, than yes, Anarchists are a Conservatives enemy. They're a repellent force that attaches itself to what people want, liberty. They have no idea what threatens our liberty, and condemn the very idea of justice.

Ayn Rand: "All kinds of people today call themselves “libertarians,” especially something calling itself the New Right, which consists of hippies, except that they’re anarchists instead of collectivists. But of course, anarchists are collectivists. Capitalism is the one system that requires absolute objective law, yet they want to combine capitalism and anarchism. That is worse than anything the New Left has proposed. It’s a mockery of philosophy and ideology. They sling slogans and try to ride on two bandwagons. They want to be hippies, but don’t want to preach collectivism, because those jobs are already taken. But anarchism is a logical outgrowth of the anti-intellectual side of collectivism. I could deal with a Marxist with a greater chance of reaching some kind of understanding, and with much greater respect. The anarchist is the scum of the intellectual world of the left, which has given them up. So the right picks up another leftist discard. That’s the Libertarian movement."

Just call people what they are and all this will go away... Anarchists aren't Libertarians. They're worthless to liberty, and when you serve no value to liberty, you can't be called a Libertarian.

Libertarians and Anarchist are not the same....

Libertarians are not against a limited-government and tariffs to fund it. Government has a limited role to play.

Anarchist want no government.

I don't understand why some people associate these two groups as the same. Ignorance is the only reason that comes to mind.

They need to masquerade as something they aren't

Because Anarchists need to masquerade as something they aren't. They'll just keep trying to call themselves something else. Their words have no meaning.

It's like with ANY brainwashing operation. You can't just snap to the final lesson. There's a process to it.

An Anarchist can't tell you what they actually are or why they want to break up and destroy the United States, but they DO need a mob of people to hide in while they try. They thought they could use liberty minded Americans to get what they want, chaos and destruction.

They're frauds and users who need to hide behind something people recognize as good, liberty, but serve no value to it.

oops!

"...except that they're anarchists instead of collectivists. But of course, anarchists are collectivists." ---Ayn Rand

"The average price of wage labor is the minimum wage" ---Karl Marx

I can see why Rand would get along well with Marx. She would be impressed with his ability to contradict himself in a single sentence of meaningless drivel. It took her two sentences to accomplish the same thing.

I'd love to hear you try and defend Anarchism. I say you can't.

Sure Anarchists are collectivists. When it gets right down to it, they have to be, because what threatens their system will be another collective. There's no possible way to defend Anarchism without forming a collective.

I'd love to hear you try and defend Anarchism without forming a collective.

Ultimately Anarchists are simply two faced frauds who can't tell you what they are. They're either what I told you they are; worthless to liberty because they don't know what threatens their liberty, or they're frauds who can't tell you what they actually want to create.

I'm waiting. Tell me about how Anarchism is going to protect itself without forming a collective and using collective force.

Talk about divide and conquer? Imagine a land filled with wannabe sovereign rulers who can defend and rule nothing, least of all their own lives, property, or liberty.

The words you're looking for are: "Freedom, liberty, and their common defense." That would be collectivism though, and you don't support collectivism...

I'd love to hear you make some sense.

First Rand says that anarchists are not collectivists---specifically she says they are "anarchists instead of collectivists." Then she turns around and says they are collectivists, contradicting herself.

The entire point (of Rand's comments and your post) is clearly irrelevant, however. The reason for that, first of all, is that anarchy is not a "system."

That does not mean that I cannot tell you what I am. I am a human being who does not consent to the idea that other human beings have a claim on my life beyond the expectation that I do not exercise aggression against them. Now, you may say that you need a "system" to make sure I don't exercise aggression against you, but you would be wrong. You may also say that I have no means to make sure others do not exercise aggression against me. You may be right or you may be wrong.

You may have a point (though it's far from clear that you have the ability to understand or express it) that I do not have the means to defend myself against aggression as an individual. It can certainly be argued that no one does, though some individuals may disagree. But let us say, for the sake of argument, that I feel insecure as an individual. Let us say that both of us do. Therefore, we will seek some means of collective defense, and you seem to suggest that this makes us both collectivists. Fine. Since we are both collectivists, however, your attempt at a distinction is meaningless (drivel).

One could attempt to lend some meaning to what you might be trying to say by drawing the distinction between voluntary collective action/preparation/defense and other means to the same collective end. Yours for example would be through the imposition of a "system." That is, you would be willing to enslave others to provide for the mollification of your perceived insecurity. I am more inclined to the idea of free men agreeing together to fight for their self defense if necessary---no system, no state, no government required. That's a manifestation of anarchy, but it's not a system. Those who participate do so because they have made their own informed decision to voluntarily do so. Or at least their decisions to do so, and the consequences of their being informed or not, are their own.

As I understand it, then, Rand is a collectivist in that she is determined to enslave others to and through her "system." In this way, she becomes not only an incoherent contradictory babbler, but a hypocrite as well. Nice.

She's saying (just as I am) that Anarchists are frauds

She's saying (just as I am) that Anarchists are frauds who offer no solution that works in the real world, and that you're an insult to thinking people. That's what YOU'RE saying too. You're saying that you're a fraud who DOES endorse collectivism and isn't offering any real system. What you're offering is "drivel", pointless slogans and no real system.

She has you pegged.

"anarchy is not a system."

I know. It's a mental disorder. It's what a person wants when they have no idea what it is that threatens their liberty and condemn the idea of justice. It's what a loser wants when they can't win the debate, get elected or find anybody willing to follow them into chaos and destruction. It's what a person becomes when they decide that they're surrounded by stupid morons, sheep, retards and imbeciles who deserve chaos and destruction. It's what a person wants when they can't tell you what it is they actually want.

Anarchism is a means to an end. It gets replaced by what you claim to hate, government. Most Anarchists are actually just Communists who sell Communism as voluntary. It's never voluntary for long. It doesn't work for a reason. I don't care that you don't understand why it fails. I'm not interested in letting you Anarchists find out. Go fight for your Communist utopia just don't ever pick up a gun in my country Anarchist, because you'll face justice.

"I am a human being who does not consent to the idea that other human beings have a claim on my life beyond the expectation that I do not exercise aggression against them."

I didn't say you aren't a human being, and justice has nothing to do with taking your life or liberty unless you exercise aggression against another. Are you NOT willing to pay your share for justice and self defense? Your whole idea of Anarchism is based on the assumption that you ARE. (are you a fraud?) Then win the debate, or run for office, but don't think you're going to live like a freeloader while running your Anarchist mouth. You'll just end up getting hurt. (Damnation awaits.)

The only legitimate purpose of government is to defend liberty, to serve justice, and unlike you, I AM offering a system. It's called a Constitutional Republic. I'm sorry you aren't interested in it, but that really doesn't matter to me. I can't convince everybody, and I don't need to. Don't try and "opt out, just get out Anarchist. Nothing is stopping you. Run to wherever it is that Anarchists go.

Or better yet, live a life of poverty. You won't have anything people covet. Roll like Jesus. Throw off all your worldly possessions and start your ministry. Nobody will come looking for you or try to extract taxation for what you need; justice. Consider the justice you receive a gift from us to you.

You don't have a country all your own. You're going to have to pay for justice or all you're going to get is injustice. You can't get rid of injustice by snapping your fingers and saying there's no need for justice in the first place.

If want to serve justice, you're going to have to use force, and you're going to have to create a system of justice, due process, but you offer no system. Like you said, you offer NOTHING but Anarchist drivel.

I'm glad you need to pretend that you're NOT going to exercise aggression against people, because that leaves you Anarchists completely impotent and without a means of EVER get what you want. What you want is chaos, destruction, and Anarchy. So keep dreaming.

All you can do is what Ayn Rand said, use slogans and drivel. Americans see you Anarchists for what you are, and that's what makes Anarchists a repellent force. All they can do is drive people away from the very idea of liberty and into a statists arms.

That's why I say the only logical explanation is that you KNOW Anarchists are statist frauds; Communists acting as a repellent force driving people away from liberty and offering no system or solutions, only drivel.

fraud?

I would ask where you come up with "fraud," but you couldn't answer. Even according to your ill-advised system which we all have to endure, you can't and couldn't bring any "charges" against me for fraud.

In any case, you admit that you endorse collectivism too, so does that make us both frauds?

So you have your constitutional republic. How's that workin' out for ya?

As far as I can see, your constitutional republic has nothing to do with liberty nor justice. Contrary to your assertion, it has absolutely no legitimate purpose. It's only purpose is to make evil appear to be legitimate. It works like this: You get a bunch of your friends to sign a piece of paper that says we have the right to steal from you (taxes), and that makes it OK.

That's stealing resources from others. Their resources are the product of their labor and constitute part of their life. So in fact, I do know what threatens my liberty. Just as Washington, Jefferson, Adams, and many others agreed: Government is the primary threat to liberty.

I don't have a "share" in your theft. I am willing to pay for my own justice and defense, and if you're honest with yourself, you know that that has nothing to do with being aggressive. But you admit that your system is built on aggression.

I'm offering you a solution for that. It's not a system of enslavement, so you might not like it, but it is definitely a solution. It appears to be, in fact, the only thing that works in the real world. Your constitutional republic---in the real world---is the tyranny we have now. Your system is a failure from every possible viewpoint. That's some "solution" you've got there.

I know what I want. I want you to start thinking rationally.

There can be no debate until you do that.

It is possible too that I will get hurt. Are you going to try to hurt me? That's fine. Give it your best shot. But I'm not leaving. You don't own me. You don't own my land. I will not run. Again, if you want to try to make me leave, give it your best shot. (Shall I ask if you're a "fraud" at this point?)

Just remember: You don't have a country all your own. As long as I'm here, there will be things you can't control and steal. Some little part of this land is mine. I don't need to pretend I'm not going to exercise aggression. I'm not. But you need not pretend I won't defend myself. (You seem to be perception-challenged on that point.)

As far as picking up a gun, I've done that. You should too. Every American should. The discipline and critical thinking it would take for you to learn how to shoot would do wonders for you.

I wish you all the best.

YOU ARE AN ANARCHIST FRAUD, and I told ya you couldn't defend it

"In any case, you admit that you endorse collectivism too, so does that make us both frauds?"

You claim collectivism to be your enemy, yet you ARE a collectivist. You just want to destroy something you don't have the right to or the means to destroy. I have no problem forming a collective, defending liberty, or using collective force against Anarchists.

-Freedom, liberty, and their common defense.

"I am willing to pay for my own justice"

You don't get to take anybodies liberty Anarchist, and when you try, you will face justice.

What do you think you're going to do Anarchist? Overthrow my Constitutional Republic and create a new government? Are you going to start arresting people, taking their liberty and letting a jury of their peers judge them? No... Do you think you're going to rule people with your privately funded goon squads in a free market of violence?

Screw you Anarchist. I will kill you and your little Anarchist goons when you try. You want to declare war?

DO IT COWARD!!! PICK UP A GUN YOU PATHETIC TIN SOLDIER!

You want to be a free range warlord operating in a free market of collective violence replacing government with your wallet: SO DO IT warlord wannabe. Just remember, should you ever pick up a gun and try, you will face justice.

"I don't have a "share" in your theft"

That's right: GET OUT WHILE YOU CAN ANARCHIST. Don't try and opt out; GET OUT!

That's the gist of Anarchism, voluntary association. LEAVE BEFORE YOU FACE JUSTICE. You can either pay your taxes or leave, but living like a POS freeloader running your Anarchist mouth is not an option. It's unjust to let you live like a freeloader while others pay to protect your liberty.

"It's not a system of enslavement, so you might not like it, but it is definitely a solution."

You're offering NOTHING remember? Anarchism isn't a system. Taxes aren't enslavement. You get compensation for your taxes, and that's what makes you a freeloading POS Anarchist. You had the chance to win the debate, to run for office, and to vote. You failed. I told you Anarchists winning the debate was your only hope, but you can't, because you offer nothing but slogans and drivel.

"Are you going to try to hurt me?"

If need be. If you've chosen to live like a POS freeloader and want to destroy my country, you will face justice.

"You don't own me."

I never said I own you, but should you face justice, I will. Do you know we can arrest Anarchists for tax evasion and turn you into slaves? We WILL own you and your labor, and it will totally legal.

13th Amendment

1. Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.

Pay special attention to that part about being duly convicted of a crime within my jurisdiction; the United States.

I have a country, the United States of America, and you don't Anarchist. You want to destroy, to break my country, and buy collective force in a free market of violence, and somehow you need to pretend to do that without promoting aggression or collectivism.

YOU ARE AN ANARCHIST FRAUD.

progress

There are some good points made below concerning the creation of straw men, especially with regard to Ayn Rand. Certain elements of Objectivism may be of interest, but I wouldn't view that as a foundation for much of anything at this point.

I would add the following:

It seems that philosophically, practically, and from every other point of view, the inevitable conclusion seems to be that the notion of limited government is simply contradictory. You can tell that the author has fallen into the contradiction from the recurrent fear-mongering assertion: "Desiring a greater level of liberty for individuals than I do will lead to chaos." The use of the term "chaos" is the give-away.

Beyond that, it seems to me there is a second straw-man, namely, that the only objection to Aristotle's assertion of moderation is from relativism. I'm perfectly happy to accept universal principles of morality, and the application of natural law as described. I'm still of the view that

1. Aristotle was incorrect concerning means. That idea is merely a way to preserve the benefits of immoral actions for those advocating compromise. (Conservative: "ouch!"---probably most libertarians too.)

2. A universal principle of morality is that no one (human being) has a right to originate a claim on another. God may have the right to make claims on people. He may execute those claims through people. But the people through whom God executes his claims are universally immoral. To try to paint any other picture of human government, while very "conservative," is not justified.

3. To compromise on the principle of morality just described is to act in opposition to natural law. As Monroe (I think) said: You may gain power, but you will lose dominion over your soul.

I'd like to read the book. Really I would. If there's a book club offering the opportunity for meaningful discussion I would probably be inclined to participate. Maybe when Michael gets back from vacation, he can explain how one can have meaningful discussion in the presence of the apriori assertion: If you don't agree with me, it will be "chaos." (If you don't have tanks on the street, if you don't have martial law, if you don't have social security, ...)

Hands Up!

Read very critically.

Just another attempt to hijack the Libertarian movement


This is just another attempt to hijack the Libertarian movement in the crooked KOCH-Brothers, Austerity, GOP direction.

First of all, there is no such thing as "conservatives". All the people in Washington and within the Media that use that term today are Statists, Corporatists, WallStreeters, Empirists, Oil Pirates, and War-Propagandists. They want both a Police-State, and Government judging your bedrooms. They want to impose a Corporate-Rule Aristocrisy, and gleefully ripoff the backs of the poor. They want Entitlements for the Wealthy, and Austerity to hollow-out our neighborhoods into Bannana-Republic status.

What has destroyed this Country, our Economy, all of our Laws, peace, and the quality of our News most of all are these so-named "conservative" policies, trickle-down upside-down economics, and the mighty-wurlitizer of CIA-directed "conservative" Media propaganda over the last 35 years. And Obama only represents a willful extension of all the Bush-Cheney criminal policies, not a wholesale rejection of them.

Libertarians should have nothing to do with today's "conservatives". In fact, you see that the best form of alliance is to unite the truth-telling Ron Paul and Dennis Kucinich political wings.

This is the intersection place where you get the greatest amount of truth, integrity, and government accountability, and from that where pratical solutions can be found.

I haven't read the article

I haven't read the article yet, but I like the cut of your jib mister. I am a libertarian and to the degree that conservatives and liberals agree with the Non-Aggression Principal I can embrace them. Otherwise we're really miles apart.

Sorry, but any book which bashes Rothbard and Rand...

...probably will never be read by me.

Economics can be confusing enough without somebody undermining the principles which I think are correct by bashing these great authors.

I was intrigued by the Golden Mean until read those passages.

Now I WON'T be reading it.

"We have allowed our nation to be over-taxed, over-regulated, and overrun by bureaucrats. The founders would be ashamed of us for what we are putting up with."
-Ron Paul

The problem is...

Conservatives think libertarians are crazy. They worship the warfare state. They deride the idea of not threatening and invading other countries as "isolationism." They also view as holy anything in a government-issued costume that exercises coercion.
Many are older and dependent on government programs; They believe not dying before reaching old age makes them heroes and everyone younger than them owe them a living. They get irate about minorities and illegal aliens cutting in on their welfare state action. Stopping that is their idea of "limited government."
Conservatives have had their chance at an alliance with libertarians. They want libertarians to vote for conservative candidates, and expect nothing in return. Sit in the back of the bus or get thrown under the bus are the two choices conservatives give libertarians. That is their idea of alliance.
If there is never another neocon chicken hawk elected to office, that would suit me just fine. They have nothing to offer libertarians and that is exactly the deal they want to cut with libertarians. This is the same old song. Conservatives must believe libertarians are stupid as well as crazy.

[F]orce can only settle questions of power, not of right. - Clyde N. Wilson

Let's address one concept.

Abortion is a concept that is felt to be immoral and unacceptable, by "conservatives" believing that life begins at the instant of conception. Only God has a right to end that life. That is, in fact seen in spontaneous abortions, better known as miscarriages. The conservatives involved will tell the parents that "it was the will of God" Or, maybe they would say, "There must have been something wrong with the fetus or the woman's body would not have expelled it." They see any other loss, of a pregnancy, as unacceptable, especially, what they see as killing the baby.

Our laws, even charge an assailant with murder, if the baby, in the womb, is killed, by an assault that does not kill the woman.

Now, as a Libertarian, where will the stand be? Is it not a fact that the collection of cells, called the zygote, will not, potentially, grow to adulthood, if not interrupted, in some way? Yet, I hear some Libertarian folk saying that the baby has the right to its life, just as any other, free, human being has. Then the controversy happens.

When is the lump of cells a human, deserving the right to life? Or, do they agree that it is a sanctum of life, never to be deprived of its right to life?

Being a conservative Christian, I am of the thought that a life is being ended, with a therapeutic abortion. It is alright to some "conservatives" if the baby was the product of rape or incest. Or, when the life of the mother is threatened. So, are the conservatives denying the fact that this is a creation of God? How do they justify this?! Some women, who get pregnant from a rape, decide to keep the baby. Or, at least, they do not end the pregnancy, putting it up for adoption. I respect the decision. As I, also, do those that choose abortion.

I, also, am a realist and know that no law is going to prevent the performance of abortion on those women who want to end their pregnancies, for any reason they want. And, it does not exclude "good Christian women" either. I know of, at least, one, that terminated a normal pregnancy, conceived during sex out of marriage! I am sure she was not the only believer to make such a decision.

Conservatives can be hypocrites all they want. But, I think they should come to the conclusion that abortion will always exist, whether Roe vs Wade is reversed or not! The question is, do these people want to make a situation where women will be dieing from back room abortions? I do not. As a physician, I could never perform one. I do not want to sentence, the many women, that die from botched abortions, to death, either.

Does that make me an acceptable Libertarian, or just a realist conservative Christian, as I have claimed? The decision by a political body that life begins at the time of conception will have no influence on the practice of abortion.

In the end I can cop out, saying that any judgement of women about this is God's and not mine as is instructed in scripture. And "loving my neighbor as myself means I am to be as forgiving, to others, as I am to myself, when I transgress. I believe we all transgress, every day. We may not know it is "sin", but it is done! I depend on my beliefs that I am saved by the act of sacrifice given to us by our God, as a free gift. If we would learn to follow these instructions, our "inter-church relationships" would be much better. No one would be telling others they were "going to hell", like the group associated with the Westboro Baptist Church. The same denomination associated with this religion believe that alcohol is forbidden by God. They say that Jesus did not turn water into wine, as written in their Holy Scripture! "It was grape juice". You would think that, for many reasons, wine was used instead of grape juice to prevent degradation and/or decomposition. I have, also, read it in my Greek (interlinear) Bible and noted it was the word "oino", the word used for "alcoholic" wine.

Anyway, there are a lot of differences between "conservatives" and Christians who understand what the bible says. Most have not read enough of it to completely understand. They go to church each Sunday, to be spoon fed what they should be studying on their own!

Don't expect too much from them, when it comes to understanding Libertarian views. THOSE VIEWS CAN BE CONFUSING, EVEN TO THE OPEN MINDED, LIKE ME. Do all libertarians agree on the controversy about abortion? Probably they agree about as much as any other human beings do!

Abortion is not a concept.

It is a medical procedure that kills a baby before it is born. When making abortion illegal is discussed, it is the doctor-performed abortion that is meant.
The history of abortion laws in the U.S. is based on the safety of the procedure for the woman. It was against the law because the woman was more likely to die from the abortion that delivering the baby.
After Roe Vs Wade, the focus shifted to the humanity of the fetus.
The question is whether the baby is a person that should be protected by the same laws that protect a child or adult after they are born.
Abortion is an act of aggression against the life of the baby.
If the baby is human, and it isn't anything else, then under the libertarian non-aggression principle, its rights need to be protected by law.
That law will not totally stop abortions is not an argument. Laws against other murders has not stopped murders. That some people get away with it is not an argument to make it or keep it legal.
Nobody is responsible for the circumstances of their conception. Claiming rape doesn't change the child's humanity. The right to protection against aggression remains.
If a woman's life is threatened by carrying the child to term, assuming that can be objectively be determined, then the woman's right to self-defense against the aggressing fetus takes precedence.
One doesn't have to appeal to religious faith to come to these conclusions. If one understands murder is an act of aggression and violates the libertarian non-aggression principle, the rest flows from determining it is impossible to objectively pinpoint when a fetus becomes a person endowed with inalienable rights.
Some libertarians conclude a fetus is not an individual, but the property of the mother until birth. Some conservatives like abortion because it means fewer minorities will be taking their government benefits. The two may agree abortion should be legal for very different reasons. Similarly, a libertarian may conclude based on the non-aggression principle, and a conservative on religious faith, that it should be illegal. I don't see abortion as an issue upon which libertarians and conservatives can become allies.

[F]orce can only settle questions of power, not of right. - Clyde N. Wilson

Ayn Rand hated libertarians

See here:
http://www.aynrand.org/site/PageServer?pagename=ar_libertari...

While it may have been true in the past that libertarians got started through Ayn Rand, that is no longer the case. There is a famous book out there called "It Usually Begins With Ayn Rand." Well, now it usually begins with Ron Paul. In my eyes, that's progress.

As for your thesis, I applaud you for trying to build bridges. However, libertarianism is just a political philosophy. It does not tell you how to live your life past the non-aggression principle. You can live your life however you want, as a pious, church-going family man, as a pansexual libertine, as a greedy accumulator of wealth, or as a bum. All are a-okay in my book. I have no problem with a "cultural anarchy of moral primitives," as long as everyone respects life and property by not initiating aggression. I don't know what's best for other people. All we can do is come to an agreement as to what allows others to maximize decision making for their own life. The NAP is that agreement. Beyond that, it's up to you. Promoting all other guidelines, beyond the NAP, is trying to tell other people how to live. And that's ok too, as long as they are willing to listen voluntarily. But it's not necessary.

“With laws shall our land be built up, but with lawlessness laid waste.”
-Njal Thorgeirsson

tasmlab's picture

Power?

Using its radical advocacy of capitalism as their rallying cry, libertarians have, over the past 55 years, built a powerful political movement upon Rand’s ideas and vision.

Where is this power the author speaks of? We must of missed it when all the Ron Paul supporters were being tossed into the parking lot at caucuses

The article seems very thoughtful and composed, but I find myself disagreeing with nearly every point.

Currently consuming: Harry Browne, Free Domain Radio; JT Gatto and Holt; Wii U

We have issues

we can ally with liberals on, too.

These areas of alliance have to do with what's not on a liberal's or conservative's slate of things they want to force someone to do. Alliances are possible because of the threat of coercion being in the opposite court for that particular issue.

Once a liberal or a conservative can be convinced to turn away from aggression completely, suddenly whether they are liberal or conservative doesn't matter at all, we end up on the same side.

Defend Liberty!

Thank You!

This! Please come together people. Just give some grace to each other please and look at the commonalities and help each other get liberty right. This country needs both of these types of people to fix the mess that is going on right now.

"Once you become knowledgeable, you have an obligation to do something about it."- Ron Paul

Brilliant.

Independent confirmation is powerful.
I have long sensed that there is something fundamentally flawed about the tenets of both modern libertarianism and conservatism. I guess this is why I have felt more than a little uncomfortable with either label.
The author has obviously put a lot of thought and care into his writing.
I have ordered the book and look forward to reading it.

******************************
The Virtual Conspiracy

ayn rand...

Ayn Rand? bleh

more of a utopian hypocrite

more of a utopian hypocrite than a libertarian in my opinion

Like:

"This will require a rational theory of politics that can effectively bring together the two philosophical streams of Locke and Burke so as to restore the original repub-lic of states ... "

IMO conservatives don't really give a crap about libertarian ideas such as competition in justice, eliminating special rights for certain groups of people who call themselves government, or the non-aggression principle, they just want the libertarian vote.

keep on generlizing!

It is not real helpful in understanding your fellow human beings! The religious right can be helpful. But, they just have the failure to follow, even, their most basic tenants in philosophy! I am part of that group and also believe nothing should be prohibited to humans (especially cannabis). The only thing God prohibited was a complete failure, because of man, in the Garden of Eden! Then, Adam blamed his wife! LOL! If you are an atheist and refuse to consider their beliefs, in judging them, I agree, there will never be any compromise!

ic

I think young conservatives are liberty leaning.
Half of the old conservatives are democrats/RINO/Neo-Cons
The other half are real Republicans and agree with libertarians about 99%. They're just old and can't dream of starting a new life after a massive revolution. One guy total me this slow tyranny took 100 years and he thinks it will take 100 years to unwind without causing major heartache.

Things I disagree with Ayn Rand on

1.) I swear by my life and my love of it that I will never live for the sake of another man, nor ask another man to live for mine.”

While in general I agree with this credo when it comes to dealing with strangers, she does not account for the power of family and children. When you have a child, your job as a parent is to give that child the best chance you possibly can provide to become self sufficient, but for the first 18 years, you must live for the child's sake. There is no alternative.

If I was a mega-earner, I would want to spread my wealth around to my family and friends. There is only so much money that I need. The rest is just for showing off.

2.) She does not account for the extraordinary power of deflation that technology creates. Mechanization of manufacturing and other innovations means that there is less and less work to be done. We may already be at the point where there is not enough work for everyone because things get done so efficiently. I also believe that this deflationary power is why having sound money is so important. Sound money would tie productivity gains to the currency, and over time, the currency would become so powerful that one might only need to work 20 hours a week to support a family of 4. How to resolve this one is way over my head.

true

Also, there are not unlimited desires in an enlightened world. Enlightened people are beginning to live more simply and with more thrift. Consumption in advanced countries will continue to decline. "Growth" needs to be reconsidered.

perspective & semantics

1- I'd die for my family but could never live for them. It would make everyone miserable and resentful. I will change my life to suppurt my family through cancer, Olympic dream or millions of smaller issues because I want to help them. Not because I'm trapped by my own life and have no alternative.
I give to charity not because IRS puts a gun to my head but because I enjoy helping others. Turns out being selfish and an individual is actually more giving and social because no Gov force is required.

2- Deflation is good. If not your cell would cost $2000 and $25 per minute. For the relative price of an abacus you can get a laptop. So what, if less people are making more! Thats great! Because it allows us to have more variety and luxury. If we produced goods and services with the efficiency of cavemen with cavemen tools. We'd be living in caves.
Wages lag. Inflation- good & services inflate faster than wages. Deflation- good & services deflate faster than wages.
"only need to work 20 hours a week to support a family of 4. How to resolve this one is way over my head." I really hope you're joking!

Living for another's sake

Does not mean that I want to be a family member's household servant. What I am getting at is that when you have a child, you are responsible for it until it turns 18. (At least, in a moral society. I know this is not the case today) This means that you start out by doing everything for that child until they are developed enough to do things for themselves. Laundry, cooking, cleaning, ect...oh, and you have to pay for all that in the process. It would be absurd (at least to me) for a mother or father to declare that he or she does not live for the child sake for a time. Paying electricity bills and so forth.

To the second point. Let's pretend that I am John Galt for a second. I have an invention that reduces demand for natural resources (the perpetual energy engine describe in Atlas Shrugged), and cause a lot of people to lose their jobs because their jobs become obsolete. I could take it a step further in a hypothetical scenario.

Let's say John Galt invents a transporter device as like what is commonly described in Star Trek. That device would wipe out the following sectors of the economy (there are probably things that I haven't thought of that would get wiped out) Airline, Trucking, Package delivery and postal service, Automotive, Oil, waste removal, Ambulances and paramedics (beam me directly to sick bay), pizza delivery drivers, gas stations, highway maintenance, trains, mining (lock onto the gold and silver and beam it out), and we can probably use such an advanced technology to desalinate ocean water.

I just replaced millions upon millions of people with a network of devices that, even if it was the size of a chain like 7-11 or McDonalds, would probably at best take two or three people to operate and maintain at each station. 200,000 jobs vs 50 million jobs. That leaves about 49.8 million people with nothing to do and no way to make money. How do you solve that problem? That's what I'm asking.

There are 7 billion people on this planet. How do you suggest we have full employment? I don't really think we can, unless we actually start working on creating a fleet of star ships, and even then, it probably will not take 7 billion people to accomplish this.

So no, I'm not joking. Technological unemployment is real, which means that the money system with have to change dramatically someday. Someday, in the distant future, we might not need money. But first, we have to get back on sound money to see where we really stand.

real quick

I'm agreeing with you on parental responsibility. I choose a different perspective. Kids don't magically appear. It was my choice to have a wife & kids. Knowing full well the "consequences" or blessings, depending how you look at it. Family, to me, is a branch of personal responsibility. I think we're saying the same thing but starting point is a little different.

I hope we react your hypothetical of solving polution, energy & work. I'm guessing in your fantasy someone or group has solved hunger & disease? I'm thinking we'd have more time for the leisure, arts, science and space exploration. We work to have nice things and if machines make nice things without our work thats even better. haha... but this is all for not. We're not close. But I love how liberty's vision is great advances in humanity. No No really, must be a joke, when you say this is a problem to be solved.

The minute all problems of the world have been solved via hard work to the crazy point that there is no more work but seemingly infinite goods and services. We can move to libertarian socialism. But until that point libertarian free markets is the best vechicle to achive peace, prosperity and that dream world. (other systems will take longer or never reach your dream world...)

Creative Destruction

With your teleporter example you're simply describing Creative Destruction as described by Schumpeter.

New technology replaces old. Car replaced the cart. Computer replaced the typewriter. Telephone replaced telegraph. Electricity replaced oil lanterns. All of those were industries employing people that relied on those jobs. What you're describing is only a difference of scale, potentially. But the fundamental issue is the same.

But people adapt and they find more or new uses for the new technology than even the original intent. That's the power of the free market - of people's creativity. And the people who adapt survive and prosper, which is why we don't still live in caves. And the one's who don't I guess are miserable - but they can make a choice to learn something new or not. The more people there are, the more THINGS and SERVICES there's a market for.

And none of this affects the money system needed. You could run the entire world's economy on an ounce of gold (extreme example, but demonstrates a point) - it's simply about the value of the factions and the value of your time and labor. And that will fluctuate with the market.

Propaganda

Lite

Labeling anything that does

Labeling anything that does not immediately conform to your own view as "propaganda" is an intellectually bankrupt position.

labeling is how language works

Propaganda is a form of communication that is aimed towards influencing the attitude of a community toward some cause or position by presenting only one side of an argument.

Check.

Propaganda is usually repeated and dispersed over a wide variety of media in order to create the chosen result in audience attitudes.

Time will tell. I'll be watching for the narrative.

And who here has read the

And who here has read the actual book yet to determine whether it presents multiple sides?

Besides, in the current vernacular there is a strong negative connotation associated with the word - it is used as a pejorative to marginalize. Similar to how the term "conspiracy theory" is used in the current vernacular.

I did not refer to the book

I gave an opinion on the OP, and you gave an opinion on my opinion.

We all had good fun.