"[T]he proper moral purpose of one's life is the pursuit of one's own happiness or "rational self-interest" (Peikoff, Leonard (1993). Objectivism: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand. Meridian.)
The state should not interfere "beyond what is necessary to maintain individual liberty, peace, security, and property rights." (Oscar Handlin (1943). "Laissez-Faire thought in Massachusetts, 1790-1880". Journal of Economic History 3: 55-65.)
Anarcho-capitalists say law and order should be by private contracts between private individuals and groups who freely choose or not to choose such contractual arrangements. (Wikipedia "Laissez-faire." Last accessed: Tuesday, April 08, 2008.)
First, define the terms. Put them in context. What is "rational"? Who is "self"? What is "the state"? What are "liberty," "peace," and "security"? What "right" is there to "property"? Who holds that right? Who decides the line for when the state (as fuzzily conceived above) steps in?
Rational is what is right and what works, for they are one and the same. What is right and what works is what is best as determined in the longest view possible, which is infinite. They are perfection. By the Christian definition, God is that perfect state of being. Self is conceptually understood, as are all the terms discussed. The Greek oracle said, "Know thyself." Shakespeare wrote, "To thine own self be true." Jesus said God and he are one. He also told his followers to be one. Jesus expanded the meaning of family to include all those of his same spirit, emotional state or condition, thoughts, words, and deeds. He taught that one is defined by the outcome, the fruits, or results of one's actions and inactions.
The state is the state of being as described above. Liberty is freedom from evil, which is defined as that which stands opposed to the full context of Jesus Christ: His definition of love and truth and peace. Security comes in the end (the infinite; the eternal) not by coercion or force. Forcing others as a means to security doesn't result in the highest degree of freedom, peace, or security. It falls short and is ultimately the opposite of security, for only the perfect is finally real. All else is error that is falsehood and unreal in this full context.
Property is to be understood only within this full context. Property rights are to be consistent with all that has been mentioned. When all things are considered from the highest, most enlightened perspective, all are born into this plane of existence as the equal inheritance of each individually and of all collectively.
To be rational, self, the state, at liberty and peace, and in security is to be giving and sharing as God's intention would provide for all born except for misguided souls who deviate from the true meanings (truth) of the words and who redefine terms in ways that fracture the whole and bring greater evil into the world.
I just concluded a long back-and-forth with a professed Objectivist, Rob Diego. He's a disciple of Ayn Rand.
He believes that Alan Greenspan didn't know what he was doing by having interest rates as low as he did or by supporting the derivatives market and the securitization of the junk mortgages being pumped out by greedy capitalists who knowingly and systematically defrauded poor people in a Ponzi scheme and are now being bailed out by those same poor and middle classes through tax revenues being channeled to the fraudsters. Diego though thinks regulation is bad (accept to stop fraud). So isn't that hypocrisy? When does the state step in and on whose side? Who defrauded whom, and how does the state do anything about if the state doesn't regulate? Rand's philosophy is impossible.
Diego also argues that libertarians and objectivist haven't had much influence. Who among us is old enough to remember the swing from Keynesianism to neoliberalism and the Washington Consensus? Who can't remember the so-called Chilean miracle of shock economics under the brutal dictatorship of Pinochet? The miracle was the rich getting richer, as always, while the poor still don't have and no matter how hard they work in an honest manner. To get rich, one must compromise with the devil. It's required. Perfectly honest people don't get and stay rich in the sense the libertarians and objectivists think of rich (which is really poor or lacking in righteousness).
Rob Diego argues that occupational safety and health and environmental regulations have been evils, as if in the absence of those regulations, the capitalists would have been moved in their own best selfish interest to suddenly do the right things. Necessity would force them is the point. Well, there have always been those who don't care about how bad things get so long as they have theirs now relative to how others are doing. Making Hell and being on top of it isn't the spirit of intelligence. Thinking that selfishness will prevent itself is to relegate the human capacity for evil to the level of sharks who are constrained by nature and not endowed with the human brain that can incinerate the entire planet at the push of a button. A selfish enough person would push it regardless of the fact that he would be committing suicide. Selfishness is not the proper basis for economics unless the self is understood to be all that Jesus taught that it truly is once the error of hypocrisy has been removed.
The objectivists and libertarians also say things aren't that bad. They ignore the homelessness and hunger. They believe in the market efficiency that they call "systemic unemployment." They lack compassion to feel the other person's pain. They are the ones who drumbeat the expression "bleeding heart liberal."
They see conspiracy in that which opposes them, but otherwise, no one is conspiring (planning together to gain and maintain money, power, and control).
They argue against Jesus by citing problems with Marxism, as if Jesus and Marx agree. They don't. Marx was coercive. He was for violence to level things — to bring down the rich and to spread the wealth among the industrial workers. Of course, selfish individuals became their dictators. The workers were tricked by the ultra-selfish.
Rob Diego also writes as if consequences have no antecedents. He disconnects Alan Greenspan and the Federal Reserve and its private owners from the obvious subprime mortgage Ponzi scheme that is just another in a long line of such booms and busts all designed to keep the currency monopolists raking in the profits while keeping everyone else off balance in wars, etc. They fund the wars after all. They make the most money knowing who will win, because they give that side the most money and cut off the side they decide will lose. It's called a conspiracy, and it's not theory. It's applied science or dark art.
The objectivists say, "[E]veryone must be selfish to some degree even to survive." That's totally false propaganda spewed out as a thought-terminating statement for the hypnotized. Selfishness is definitely not required. Of course, we are talking here about the self as the objectivists wrongly define self and not as Jesus uses the term. Jesus was not and is not selfish in the sense meant by objectivists. His survival didn't depend upon it either and neither does ours. Rand's is a philosophy based upon false premises.
The objectivists argue that the U.S. has had a great economy, but they don't properly define great. They ignore all the pain and suffering that the capitalists have done around the planet to bring their false version of wealth back to America. They are also ignoring that that system has shifted away from spreading the wealth within America to being consolidated more and more in the hands of those who don't hold with America anymore but with globalization in ways only they define globalization. Well, it will catch up with them when the coercive regulations become global.
Rob and his ilk wrongly define abundance as material possession regardless of the net loss to the whole environment. That's not abundance but created scarcity that need not be.
Rob says that the U.S. economy is, "just people trying to make a living and, yes, being selfish enough to want to feed their families and survive well." However, who is one's family? Who is one's neighbor as in "Love thy neighbor as thyself"? Jesus rightly showed that the Good Samaritan was the one without hypocrisy. Those who would not sacrifice for the stranger (brother) were hypocrites. One should leave Rob half dead by the side of the road according to Rob, because there is no profit in aiding him. He didn't have the money to pay for the contract with the private firm that monopolizes the niche market of those who aid half dead people by the side of the road. Oh well, it's just the law of economics.
The objectivists also improperly define happy and also don't apparently know that according to recent polls, those who consider themselves the happiest people in the world are not Americans. One need not wonder why.
Also, before the Great Depression, many people were very happy, so-called. Then what happened? Now, Milton Friedman said that the Depression was made worse by contracting the money supply. So, now what? Should the Fed lower rates until money expands enough to cut short the impact of the downturn? What about inflation? Printing more money when there is no productive place to use it will just bring hyperinflation. Where should the fabricated value go when people can't put borrowed funds into truly productive causes rather then Ponzi schemes (bubbles)?
That's why the Real Liberal Christian Church says that we need to translate the money into the Christian Commons Project™.
Rob ignores the fact that much of the population of the world actually does want to get rid of capitalism but they are beaten down by capitalist operatives. Look at Venezuela where the U.S. is constantly making up stories out of whole cloth about the intentions of Hugo Chavez and the democracy there. The RLCC doesn't agree with all things Chavez, but he certainly isn't as he is being painted in the mainstream media by the U.S. corporate/capitalist news.
Look at the Iraqis. After the U.S. invasion in which the President said the Iraqis would democratically decide things, the U.S. proconsul, L. Paul Bremer, vetoed the Iraqis' draft constitution in which they had written up a fairly giving-and-sharing-the-wealth system. Rob just ignores that sort of militant force being used against the people of the world.
The objectivists define standard of living not by quality of life but by material possessions and regardless of the net loss caused by the processes used to bring those possessions to market. Rob also didn't know that the poor are often obese due to fattening chemicals ingested rather than due to the abundance of affordable and nutritious foods.
He also down plays the corporate/capitalist scandals and frauds continually ongoing in the U.S. His attitude is to just ignore it and move on. He would let them do what they want and let the market self regulate. Let selfishness self regulate where the self is apart from God. When taken to its logical conclusion, however, that self of Ayn Rand becomes less and less caring and concerned with the emotions of others and just seeks to satisfy itself, just don't be fraudulent. It can't be done. Lack of compassion is inherently fraudulent. Her "self" contains the seeds of fraud.
Rob called Enron a minor scandal — a blip. He said, "You lose your Enron pension, the government makes it up." However, Rob is against the government making up the loss of those who were raped by the greedy capitalists of Enron. That's statist intervention in the self-regulating marketplace. He wants his cake and to eat it too.
He says, "When you say selfishness is evil you are saying productivity is evil...." Of course, that's not true at all. One must properly define productivity. To be truly productive, one must have a net gain. Rob's method of measuring gain ignores the losses his system brings forth in the process. There is a euphemism for this disconnect from reality. It's called "externality." Of course, Rob doesn't weigh selfishness as an evil. He doesn't consider small, cold, hardheartedness as bad. You decide. Doesn't it sound like the serpent? What spirit is his root spirit that he shares with Ayn Rand's disciples?
Rob said, "There are no soup lines" in the U.S. When's the last time he checked? There are people lining up in every city in the U.S. for food and food stamps. It's even in the mainstream news. Why is he spreading such obvious and blatant dung?
Rob also restated the same old worn-out lie that giving-and-sharing economics has failed all over the world, as if evil pressure and even assassinations and dozens of overthrows (clandestine undermining) of the people's freely elected choices hasn't had any impact. Regardless, the Christian Commons Project™ post has a list of those who live by giving and sharing. They aren't doomed to fail by virtue of giving and sharing being inherently an error. The only thing that will bring failure is selfishness from the outside and by those on the inside falling to the evil temptation to be selfish rather than continuing to care about the whole as oneself.
Rob also ignored all the history of the U.S. violently forcing open and taking over markets to then monopolize. That aspect of history is scrubbed from the text books produced by the capitalists. They don't want the children knowing the facts, because those children might actually want to change the system to Christianity.
He cited Leonard Peikoff, Ayn Rand's heir, writing, "Child labor was necessitated by the poverty inherited from feudal economies; it was wiped out in the nineteenth century not by laws or labor unions, but by capitalism's productivity." The truth is that huge prevalence of abusive child labor was ended in the U.S. by the Progressives passing mundane laws against it and then enforcing those laws. The capitalists at the time were mixed about it. Some were Progressives. Most were not. Pure capitalists in the Ayn Rand mold were dead set against anti-child labor laws. Had they had their way, things would not have changed or progressed. Of course, the Progressives were coercive. It wasn't the pure light of brotherly and sisterly love that changed things.
Peikoff also suggests that capitalism is somehow responsible for anti-racism. He doesn't give credit where credit is due and that's to the Quakers mainly who were the most vocal and active of the abolitionists and out of the goodness in their hearts. Capitalism is not what moved the Quakers at all. The word of God moved them. Ask what moved them. Don't take Peikoff's word for it.
He also claims that capitalism is what moved the U.S. to the Civil War that resulted in the eradication of slavery. Capitalism can not take credit for ending slavery. Morality ended slavery. The Civil War was not to end slavery but to force the house to stay together under a divided spirit. It still won't stand under that divided spirit. It is coming apart. Fortunately, it will be displaced by a truly unified spirit in the end. That's the prophecy, and it's correct.
Ending racism and slavery is in spite of capitalism. Capitalism is not a spirit synonymous with the spirit that ends racism or slavery. In fact, the exact opposite is true. The greedy and selfish spirit behind capitalism is conducive to all the other forms of selfishness, such as violence and sexual depravity.
"Adulterated food and drugs are rare on a free market." Wrong! Chemicals are being passed off as real food when they are not real foods. We explained that above somewhat concerning the poor being obese. Drugs is a huge subject area where the major drug companies control the regulatory system to keep out cheaper and better alternatives and where the dangers of their products are obscured. The capitalists hate regulations against them but not for them. Just make sure the law (regulation) says let me sell my snake oil poison and move on unmolested to the next so-call unregulated (wildly confused), naive, and gullible town that has bought into "let do."
"...because a seller's reputation for quality is essential to his long-range profits." If one can buy a reputation by monopolizing the corporations that control the news and advertising (the message), how do the people know that the quality is bad? The capitalists system allows for a total monopoly. The selfish aren't going to inform their prey.
"[T]he major wars of history," Ayn Rand observes, "were started by the more controlled economies of the time against the freer ones." She was being highly conveniently selective in her observations about which wars were started by which people and for what reasons. Empires fight each other as dogs fight over the contents of the dog bowl. The difference lies in humans being vastly more calculating. The bankers fund the wars and weapons makers (the whole military-industrial complex). It's all capitalism whether mixed or not. Those who own the most make the lion's share of the profits off war and desolation and off fracturing, conquering, and then lording it over others.
You should also be made aware of the fact that Leonard Peikoff, Rand's so-called philosophical heir, advocates that the U.S. crush Iran and all Islamic regimes. He's a war-monger.
The great tragedy here is that a great number of rational people, who would have been open in 2001 to a real war (which should have been against Iran), have had years of the Iraq fiasco now and have decided that any war, no matter what, is useless. So Bush has not rallied anyone to the cause of American self-defense. Rather, he has taken the heart out of the population and turned them into a passive, hopeless mass who have accepted terrorism as a permanent and unalterable fact of life. — Leonard Peikoff
peikoff.com February 12, 2007.
Out of one side of his mouth, he calls for war on Iran, and out of the other side he condemns self-sacrifice. Just who is supposed to fight and die, sacrificing his life, in this war against Iran? What statist is going to order in the troops? This Leonard Peikoff is full of hypocrisy.
He talks against environmentalism as if pro-environmentalism hasn't brought benefits where laissez faire never would have. He downplays global warming or human caused global climate change. Almost seven billion people on the planet with many of them living in industrialized nations with more rising up as such, but human kind has had no deleterious impact by all its carbon burning, and besides, the invisible hand would cure it all if just left alone. The truth though is that the heart of capitalism has always been anti-good stewardship from the very beginning even before the greedy, short-sighted ones cut down all the cedars of Lebanon. They've been working their way to devouring and destroying the planet since their wicked spirit first appeared.
Christians aren't for crushing Iran. They are for speaking truth and letting things be sorted accordingly. Peace is the truth. Blessed are the peacemakers and not calling for crushing people. We want Iran to turn, just as we want Israel and the U.S. to turn.
We want the truth about 9/11 to come out completely so the whole people can make fully informed decisions about who was behind the scheme, why, and what kind of spirits they are.
Rob's quotation from Leonard Peikoff continues. "Pornography (along with drug addiction) spreads across a nation not because of liberty, but because of despair, the despair of semifree men in a collapsing world terrified by an unknowable future." The truth though is that the CIA with the support of the plutocrats addicted tens of thousands of inner-city Black Americans to crack cocaine to fund the evil Nicaraguan Contras. They did that for capitalistic control of Central America. Pornography is also a major profit center for capitalists. It becomes an addiction just as tobacco or heroine that is controlled by the plutocrat world-bankers. Only the uninformed don't know about these things. The informed know that the capitalists are racketeers. They are gangsters who own the means of spreading words so they may pay people to couch their evil deeds in lofty language. They are no better than the Mafia, and in many respects they are worse — less honorable. Do you think Jesus didn't see what was going on? He did see it, and he spoke out about it in ways that have been opening eyes ever since and will continue doing so until everyone's eyes are truly and completely open and free of illusion about right versus wrong that is unselfishness versus selfishness.
"Men who are immune to facts and logic have no alternative but to traffic in fantasy. Hence the senseless projections we hear today about life under pure capitalism" - The Philosophy of Ayn Rand.
Rand was ignorant. She didn't know Jesus. She couldn't grasp his revelation. She was abused and just hardened her heart in reaction rather then having the abuse stop with her. That's how it always is.
Rob wrote, "A society of only sacrifice is a society in decline moving toward total collapse because it outlaws selfish actions."
However, mundane laws never outlaw selfishness. Unselfishness can not be forced. It isn't possible. In addition, those who in the U.S. have recently been labeled the Greatest Generation were labeled as such because of their self-sacrificing in going to war with little complaint but rather unified determination to defeat the enemy. Of course, that's all extremely simplistic and also ignores that war is not and never has been the right path. However, the basic premise that unity and sacrifice for the greater good and general welfare is correct. In fact, such sacrifice isn't really a sacrifice in the end. One must have faith in that to understand it though. Jesus self-sacrificed on the cross to imprint the New Commandment on history. It's why we have it still in writing. However, he didn't stay dead. His huge faith has him alive in flesh and spirit conflated and with God in the objective reality Rand acknowledged exists but which she couldn't bring herself to soften enough to discern.
Rob says that you "won't find them [the facts] in the Bible...you have to use your own eyes and look at the real world and think with your own mind."
To Rob and all the other objectivists and libertarians and anarcho-capitalists, the New Commandment is a fact. It is the best idea ever transmitted to human kind. It comes directly out of The Bible.
The best words ever spoken and written are the words spoken by Jesus Christ as recorded in the New Testament. Side-by-side, Ayn Rand's words aren't even the light of the flickering of the tiniest candle as seen by the naked eye across the entire cosmos while Jesus's words are all the light there is. In fact, her words are total darkness.