Transpower

Is the LPPa Platform Truly Objectivist?

63 posts in this topic

I have to say that I'm very disappointed with the lack of intelligence on this Forum.
I take this to mean that you are very disappointed that many highly-intelligent and well-educated people on this Forum do not agree with you and do not find your platform convincing nor consistent.

Two options you have would be to consider carefully the questions and criticisms here of the statements contained in that platform, as well as your own underlying approach and assumptions, or to dismiss them out of hand and take the document to a less thoughtful, less informed, less critical audience.

And I'd pay particular attention to Betsy's most recent post, as your approach is certainly of the formal deductive variety and your appeal to the formal "perfection" of a written statement, rather than to address the contested facts and principles, strongly suggests a Rationalist epistemology.

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A simple illustration of induction was the story Dr. Peikoff told in one of his lectures (I don't recall which) where he asked Miss Rand how she knew how many people were in the lobby of her apartment building. In true Ayn Rand fashion, she explained that she would go down to the lobby and COUNT them.

I suggest to our poster making lots of claims about the Libertarian Party that he "go to the lobby and count them," with regard to his approach on the FORUM. Furthermore, making accusations of the lack of intelligence of members of the FORUM offers no proof of a position and deflects attention away from the issues discussed. I expect this from the left, but a so called representative of the right?

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A simple illustration of induction was the story Dr. Peikoff told in one of his lectures (I don't recall which) where he asked Miss Rand how she knew how many people were in the lobby of her apartment building. In true Ayn Rand fashion, she explained that she would go down to the lobby and COUNT them.

I suggest to our poster making lots of claims about the Libertarian Party that he "go to the lobby and count them," with regard to his approach on the FORUM. Furthermore, making accusations of the lack of intelligence of members of the FORUM offers no proof of a position and deflects attention away from the issues discussed. I expect this from the left, but a so called representative of the right?

My teacher used to say that "left vs right" is a false alternative. The real alternative is "right vs wrong."

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I expect this from the left, but a so called representative of the right?
Um... I have never been under the impression that Libertarians were even so-called "representatives of the right." What causes such an assumption?

Then again, if the left are mostly social subjectivists, and one proceeds to identify the fundamental of "the right" as supernaturalism, and if most people think that these exhausts the field of possible moral foundations, we end up where we are now with our current, abysmal, political choices -- including Libertarians.

And Libertarians are far more confusing to the average person than are Republicans, with regard to Objectivism. Unlike Republicans, some of whom show occasional sympathy with Objectivism, but know that they aren't Objectivists; there are apparently some Libertarians who think that they "accept all of Miss Rand's work in ethics, politics, esthetics, and economics" while advocating policies that contradict Objectivist ethics and politics, e.g. laws/force against cruelty to animals [no matter whether or not any particular individual is capable of seeing it, any such law implicitly ascribes rights to animals], and laws to protect the supposed "rights" of a fetus, etc.

And some Libertarians get even crazier. Someone mentioned a "boy-love" association that was part of the Libertarian party, and anarchists. Libe

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I expect this from the left, but a so called representative of the right?
Um... I have never been under the impression that Libertarians were even so-called "representatives of the right." What causes such an assumption?

Claims to be for a free market.

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I expect this from the left, but a so called representative of the right?
Um... I have never been under the impression that Libertarians were even so-called "representatives of the right." What causes such an assumption?

Claims to be for a free market.

That's why I used "so called" as a qualifier. There is a good reason Miss Rand referred to Libertarians as "hippies of the right."

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And some Libertarians get even crazier. Someone mentioned a "boy-love" association that was part of the Libertarian party, and anarchists. Libe

One of my first attempts to find Objectivists was through a list serve that was called "Objectivism-L", which was a mix of libertarians and anarchists of different varieties. I remember one thread was about privatizing the police force. B) I've even heard of socialist libertarians.

My curiosity about Libertarian Party ended when I first looked at their website and saw the Bible listed as one of the most influential books among its members. I am not at all surprised that NAMBLA (or whatever the acronym is) found its way into the party, exploiting its moral bankruptcy to legitimize their form of coercion.

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Now to answer your questions

2. Animals do not have rights because they do not have freedom of the will or the freedom to think or not to think. Nonetheless, "cruelty to animals" is a crime.

4. The only legitmate function of government is the protection of individual rights.

This has been pointed out less explicitly in other posts, but I thought it should be highlighted again. That is, the obvious and fairly explicit contradiction of answers 2 and 4. It is claimed that the only legitimate function of government is the protection of individual rights, yet it is nonetheless a crime to initiate force against that which has no rights. What individual right is being protected by criminalizing cruelty to animals? None are suggested because none exist. Any properly defined crime requires a violation of rights, to logically follow from answer 4.

Then in another post, it is stated that the existence of this crime without any violation of rights is properly decided by what is appropriate to different communities, as if "animal cruelty" can be fundamentally different in one part of Pennsylvania than it is in another. If the Libertarian Party applies such subjective, contradictory standards to this issue why wouldn't it to even more important issues? Wait, it does.

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Hogwash. The LPPa Platform is an axiomatic system: all planks are logically derived from the Statement of Principles.

The Founding Fathers tried the same approach, declaring that, "We hold these truths to be self-evident...". Unfortunately, the truths stated in the Declaration of Independence are not self-evident -- they are not axioms. They presuppose a certain view of man, i.e. a certain view of morality, that the Founders were unable to articulate or defend.

The creation of America was a fantastic political achievement. But the history of America since the Declaration demonstrates that a political system based on those truths will not survive without that moral foundation. What's more, the history of the Republican Party demonstrates that any attempt to defend that political system without reference to a proper moral base -- that is, any attempt to defend it while conceding the morality of altruism -- only hastens the destruction of that system.

Fortunately, we have something the Founders did not: we have the philosophy of Objectivism. We have access to the genius of Ayn Rand. We have Miss Rand's brilliant derivation and validation of a morality of egoism and individualism. We have her explanation of the nature and source of man's rights. We have her derivation of the proper function of government. We have her ground-breaking validation of reason. We have her identification of the basic axioms, and her demonstration of their axiomatic nature by the fact that one must use them even in an attempt to deny them.

With all of this, and with the lessons of history in hand, why on earth do you (and libertarians in general) seek to promote liberty while eschewing its absolutely indispensable moral base? Why are you so afraid to confront the morality of altruism and reject it for the vicious nonsense that it is?

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Hogwash. The LPPa Platform is an axiomatic system: all planks are logically derived from the Statement of Principles.
The Founding Fathers tried the same approach, declaring that, "We hold these truths to be self-evident...". Unfortunately, the truths stated in the Declaration of Independence are not self-evident -- they are not axioms. They presuppose a certain view of man, i.e. a certain view of morality, that the Founders were unable to articulate or defend.

The creation of America was a fantastic political achievement. But the history of America since the Declaration demonstrates that a political system based on those truths will not survive without that moral foundation. What's more, the history of the Republican Party demonstrates that any attempt to defend that political system without reference to a proper moral base -- that is, any attempt to defend it while conceding the morality of altruism -- only hastens the destruction of that system.

Fortunately, we have something the Founders did not: we have the philosophy of Objectivism. We have access to the genius of Ayn Rand. We have Miss Rand's brilliant derivation and validation of a morality of egoism and individualism. We have her explanation of the nature and source of man's rights. We have her derivation of the proper function of government. We have her ground-breaking validation of reason. We have her identification of the basic axioms, and her demonstration of their axiomatic nature by the fact that one must use them even in an attempt to deny them.

With all of this, and with the lessons of history in hand, why on earth do you (and libertarians in general) seek to promote liberty while eschewing its absolutely indispensable moral base? Why are you so afraid to confront the morality of altruism and reject it for the vicious nonsense that it is?

I'm curious to know whether you really expect an answer to these questions, after reading the entire exchange, including Transpower's last post:

But how does that comport with your earlier post, that the LP must mention a moral justification for liberty, or else violate the foundation of its platform?
The particular platform presented was merely a collection of concretes and the underlying political principles were not stated at all. There were implicit ideas there, of course, but many of them were so controversial they needed to be made explicit and defended. Other positions in the platform were flat-out wrong (criminalizing animal cruelty and the 20-week abortion limit) and make me question what ideas and misunderstandings underlie them.
Hogwash. The LPPa Platform is an axiomatic system: all planks are logically derived from the Statement of Principles. It is perfectly well organized. Also, there is nothing in the Platform about criminalizing animal cruelty. The 20-week abortion limit is scientific. I have to say that I'm very disappointed with the lack of intelligence on this Forum.

I can't help concluding that reasonable questions asked of this poster will remain unanswered, and that the ad hominen I have emphasized, in bold, is his final "argument."

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[...]

With all of this, and with the lessons of history in hand, why on earth do you (and libertarians in general) seek to promote liberty while eschewing its absolutely indispensable moral base? Why are you so afraid to confront the morality of altruism and reject it for the vicious nonsense that it is?

Dishonesty. The quest for the unearned. The desire for ends without means.

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That's a misunderstanding. We decided to leave it to each county Libertarian Committee to draft proposed animal ordinances which would be appropriate for their local community. Pennsylvania is a very large state--one wag said that "it's Philadelphia and Pittsburgh with Alabama in between."

My interest in philosophy is to apply it to the real world. The LPPa Board concluded that recommendations for legislation at the state level on this topic were inappropriate; each county should draft its own ordinances because each county has the relevant knowledge.

That sounds like pragmatism, not applying philosophy. Do you think that rights are contingent on the community you live in? Why was it "inappropriate" for your party to make recommendations to local committees? Either animals have rights, or they don't. Which is it, and why? I'm surprised that although "all planks are logically derived from the Statement of Principles", on an important issue like animal rights you "don't think [you've] nailed it". If your system is "axiomatic" as you claim, it should be a no-brainer, yes?

But what's pragmatism and what isn't? Also, is pragmatism ever appropriate? Consider that this is a policy document for a political party, and not a philosophical treatise. As evidenced by some other discussion threads on this forum (notably in the Current Events>Election thread), members here appear to be willing to accept imperfect advocates for mostly rational positions. If the LPPa platform largely advances rational ideas, is it better to have it out there, or to reject it entirely because there are certainly some aspects that we disagree with?

Also, to your second question, should laws differ between communities, or not? If not, then why should we have state and local governments at all? Should legislative authority be consolidated at the federal level in the hope that they will do the right thing and pass only rational laws? I think the evidence is usually to the contrary, and that the separation of powers between federal and state (and within states) is generally a good thing in that it prevents any one governmental entity from obtaining too much power. Toward that end, a state-wide political document need not address every issue, nor should a nationwide political document necessarily address matters that are better resolved at the state level.

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But what's pragmatism and what isn't? Also, is pragmatism ever appropriate?

Yes. If you reread the exchange, Transpower was unable to explain why there should be laws against animal cruelty if animals don't have rights. His party sacrificed principles to committee consensus.

Consider that this is a policy document for a political party, and not a philosophical treatise.

Betsy and AisA already offered excellent answers to this.

As evidenced by some other discussion threads on this forum (notably in the Current Events>Election thread), members here appear to be willing to accept imperfect advocates for mostly rational positions.

Transpower was asking whether the LPPa platform is Objectivist, so I don't see how this is relevant.

If the LPPa platform largely advances rational ideas, is it better to have it out there, or to reject it entirely because there are certainly some aspects that we disagree with?

It doesn't advance rational ideas, because it has no ideas. Read Transpower's posts. The platform is a list of "axioms" he can't even defend under the scrutiny of other laissez-faire advocates.

Also, to your second question, should laws differ between communities, or not? If not, then why should we have state and local governments at all?

I didn't say "laws", I said rights. Don't you think local, state and federal authorities should agree on what is and is not a right?

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