Jump to content


Photo

Fundamentals of Politics


  • Please log in to reply
18 replies to this topic

#1 Boethius

Boethius

    Member

  • Members
  • 12 posts

Posted 07 December 2012 - 03:33 AM

Unlike with Epistemology, Ayn Rand did not ask first why or whether Man needs a study of Politics. She jumped right in to her main interest of discussion, what is the proper political system? No big deal; she created Objectivism, the primary thing of importance, without which we would have nothing. But she left out a lot of discussion unanswered. That is also okay. As she said, she felt it was a fair division of labor for others to fill in where she did not. Nor does his change Objectivism; Objectivism is a closed system. This is the application of Objectivism to one aspect of everyday life. Briefly:

The Premises of Politics

From answering the question: Why and whether Man needs Politics...

1. Politics is the application of Ethics to personal relationships and interaction, paraphrasing Ayn Rand. Like Ethics, it applies in every case to every person in every time.

By the time you reach Politics, everyone has already made their choices regarding metaphysics, epistemology, and ethics. In other words, they have made up their minds about the religious beliefs, philosophies, and sense of what is right and wrong that they hold. How will you deal / interact with all of those differences? What form will those relationships take?

2. Political rules, conventions, and customs include manners, etiquette, Roberts Rules of Order, law, violence, etc.

3. Neighbors normally get along peacefully; that is, through rational discussion. When that is not possible, then the will of one (or some) must be imposed upon the action of another(s). If that can be done without violence, that is political (legal) action; if the action involves violence, that is war, civil strife, riots, mobs, etc.

4. Government is the setting-up / initiation of an entity to organize and control peoples' actions. It can be imposed (from above or outside), or it can be established by the people themselves.

When imposed, the results are necessarily inevitable: tyranny. Imposition leads to further imposition, whether tyranny is vicious or benevolent.

When established, checks and balances must be included to prevent usurpation and tyranny. Examples include separation of legislative, judicial, and executive powers; local, state, and federal governments with division of limited, enumerated, defined powers for each; legislative representation at all levels, republican form of government with democratic voting; separation of government from religion, economy, education, etc., a well-educated populace able to make educated, rational decisions, etc.

5. What is the proper / ideal form of government, economic, and cultural organization? What is the standard by which any form is to be judged - the individual? The aristocracy? The good of society? Dedication to a religion? Subjugation to the will of the strongest?

From this point begins Ayn Rand's standard definition of Politics.

#2 Betsy Speicher

Betsy Speicher

    Administrator

  • Admin
  • 7,235 posts
  • Gender:Female
  • Location:Thousand Oaks, California

Posted 07 December 2012 - 04:42 AM

Unlike with Epistemology, Ayn Rand did not ask first why or whether Man needs a study of Politics. She jumped right in to her main interest of discussion, what is the proper political system? No big deal; she created Objectivism, the primary thing of importance, without which we would have nothing. But she left out a lot of discussion unanswered.


Like what? What open or unanswered questions prompted your interest and your discussion?
Betsy Speicher


Betsy's Law #1 - Reality is the winning side.

Betsy's Law #2 - In the long run you get the kind of friends -- and the kind of enemies -- you deserve.

#3 Boethius

Boethius

    Member

  • Members
  • 12 posts

Posted 07 December 2012 - 05:56 PM

As I began getting involved in political campaigning, first for others (as a learning tool) and then for my own election, l was forced to realize that historic Objectivist discussions on Political Action (ie, not Ayn Rand's discussion of the fourth branch of Philosophy) bore no resemblance to reality; in other words, they were wishful thinking, totally ignoring human characteristics. So I had to figure out what the reality actually is.

First, recall the morality of obtaining food, clothing, and shelter. Similarly, it is just as morally imperative to be involved in government to the degree possible to you, for parallel reasons. Contrary to what many prominent Objectivists say, only if you get involved now can changes occur. This makes sense: if you do not get involved, how can you expect a moral government to arise? Who will do it?

This is the step that has been missed over the years. Yes, ARI and education are essential; the common reasoning for that is quite correct. But if is far from sufficient. Political Action by Objectivists (_not_ ARI!) is essential; no serious inroads into the culture will be made without it. Why wait a thousand years for someone to do exactly that? Do it now, for your own selfish good.

#4 Betsy Speicher

Betsy Speicher

    Administrator

  • Admin
  • 7,235 posts
  • Gender:Female
  • Location:Thousand Oaks, California

Posted 07 December 2012 - 10:23 PM

This is the step that has been missed over the years. Yes, ARI and education are essential; the common reasoning for that is quite correct. But if is far from sufficient. Political Action by Objectivists (_not_ ARI!) is essential; no serious inroads into the culture will be made without it. Why wait a thousand years for someone to do exactly that? Do it now, for your own selfish good.


Many Objectivists are deeply involved in political activism -- including me -- but whether to be and how depends on one's personal interests, knowledge, resources, and skills. Some of us run for office or financially support or write speeches for candidates and office-holders. Some are involved in particular legislative issues like health care, environmentalism, free speech, etc. Others are Tea Party Activists or leaders.

A.R.I. is a wholesaler of political ideas, but many of us who buy A.R.I.'s ideas go on to retail them via local political activism.
Betsy Speicher


Betsy's Law #1 - Reality is the winning side.

Betsy's Law #2 - In the long run you get the kind of friends -- and the kind of enemies -- you deserve.

#5 ewv

ewv

    Member

  • Members
  • 4,588 posts
  • Location:Trescott, ME; Concord, MA

Posted 08 December 2012 - 09:13 AM

As I began getting involved in political campaigning, first for others (as a learning tool) and then for my own election, l was forced to realize that historic Objectivist discussions on Political Action (ie, not Ayn Rand's discussion of the fourth branch of Philosophy) bore no resemblance to reality; in other words, they were wishful thinking, totally ignoring human characteristics. So I had to figure out what the reality actually is.


Where did you ever get the idea that Ayn Rand made no connection between her ethics and the fundamentals of politics and that she "plunged in" without it? What does the "historical" writing of others you have read on "political action" have to do with Ayn Rand's political philosophy and your claims of what it is "missing"? In addition to not understanding Ayn Rand's ideas of why a proper political system is necessary, you seem to be mixing up the necessity for politics and the practical principles of action in politics with allegedly missing reasons for why principles of political philosophy are necessary.

If you don't understand what political system is proper and why, then studying "politics" without the base of political philosophy won't help you, especially if you aim to support the notion that government should be an "entity to organize and control peoples' actions."

Political action, tactics and strategy are not the principles of political philosophy. Ayn Rand stated that it was too early to try to implement her ideas in politics because the premises of the cultural contradicted them. That is a question of knowledge and premises, not a misunderstanding of "human characteristics".

Those who have run headlong into politics, e.g., the Libertarian Party, thinking that they could implement some version of her philosophy (usually in a combination of plagiarism and contracting it) are the ones disconnected from reality, not Ayn Rand. Political involvement and action today can only rationally aim for very limited objectives.

...Contrary to what many prominent Objectivists say, only if you get involved now can changes occur. This makes sense: if you do not get involved, how can you expect a moral government to arise? Who will do it?


What "prominent Objectivists" have told you that getting "involved" is not necessary for change? Ayn Rand was a novelist and philosopher, not a politician. A political philosophy is not a manual for running for office or grassroots organizing. That does imply that no one needs to get "involved" in politics. Ideas don't implement themselves and she never said otherwise.

Don't confuse that with the "armchair philosophers" who don't want to get their hands dirty, have no idea how politics works, and think that pronouncements deduced from premises that others don't understand in occasional letters to the editor, or shouting empty slogans of "just fight", are political action. But the possibilities of success in politics defending individual rights are very limited today no matter what you do.

This is the step that has been missed over the years. Yes, ARI and education are essential; the common reasoning for that is quite correct. But if is far from sufficient. Political Action by Objectivists (_not_ ARI!) is essential; no serious inroads into the culture will be made without it. Why wait a thousand years for someone to do exactly that? Do it now, for your own selfish good.


That is not a "missing step". It is a step that cannot be taken without a base to start with. Taking what actions you can in defense of the rights of the individual -- and yours in particular -- may or may not be in your interest depending on what you do, what is feasible in what time frame, and what your priorities are. You could easily squander an entire lifetime in politics getting nowhere while sacrificing to it the life and career you wanted. Our lives in large part are our careers, not time spent on struggling for a framework for it unless some form of politics is your career.

Those who want to be effective in politics had better learn what is possible, how to achieve it, and what it will take. In particular, politics is not the way to make "inroads into the culture". Political action aims to make specific changes in policy and the power structure. It is not a means of publicity to "educate" people about political theory, with the expectation of acceptance and implementation.

If you want to change policy, preaching philosophy by itself will not achieve it -- policy is changed, where it is possible, by specific people taking specific actions making a difference. That does not mean the something is "missing" from Ayn Rand's philosophy or that implementation of any ideals you want to see in a relatively near future is possible without regard to the cultural context that depends on a dominant philosophy.

#6 ruveyn ben yosef

ruveyn ben yosef

    Member

  • Members
  • 1,397 posts

Posted 08 December 2012 - 02:46 PM

I came across a book that gives a thorough philosophical history of political thinking all the way from the pre-socratic Greeks, through Plato and Aristotle all the way to modern times (post Marxian thinking). -On Politics- by Alan Ryan (two volumes). He got me hooked sufficiently to reread Aristotle's -Politics-, John Locke's -Two Treatises- and Montesque's -Spirit of the Laws-. Very interesting stuff.

You might find some of his material useful.

ruveyn

#7 Leonid

Leonid

    Member

  • Members
  • 182 posts

Posted 09 December 2012 - 10:19 AM



Boethius:" Politics is the application of Ethics to personal relationships and interaction, paraphrasing Ayn Rand"

Ayn Rand never said anything remotely similar to this statement. However Dr. Peikoff in OPAR wrote:

" Politics rest on ethics...it is application of ethics to social questions. ( pg 350).

By social questions Objectivism means relation between man and state, not personal relationships.

"A social system is a set of moral-political-economic principles embodied in a society’s laws, institutions, and government, which determine the relationships, the terms of association, among the men living in a given geographical area." ( CUI pg 18).

So, relationships between husband and wife, or even between neighbors have nothing to do with politics, unless the state is involved.

Boethius:" Political Action by Objectivists (_not_ ARI!) is essential; no serious inroads into the culture will be made without it. "

The failure or success of any political action which aims to change a social structure depends on whether or not such an action contradicts the dominant philosophy of the given society. Today, the dominant philosophy of the West is altruism. Therefore any political action taken by Objectivists is doomed to fail. What is essential is a change of the dominant philosophy via cultural diffusion. Objectivists need a daily newspaper, a weekly magazine, radio and TV stations which broadcast nationwide. We need to be involved with Facebook and Twitter. We need to create inroads into the culture by Objectivist fiction (and there are few really good books), movies, TV serials, and pop culture. We need songs with Objectivist lyrics, our own Elvis Presley, Michael Jackson, Madonna and Lady Gaga. We need our own "Idols" competition. Only when Objectivism becomes part of the mass culture, we can compete on the political battlefield.

#8 Boethius

Boethius

    Member

  • Members
  • 12 posts

Posted 23 December 2012 - 03:07 AM

To Leonid  -- 

 

In PWNI, and as quoted in the Lexicon, "The answers given by Ethics determine how men should treat other men, and this determines the fourth branch of philosophy, Politics, which defines the principles of a proper social system." 

 

This is more than government and capitalism but goes all the way down to the values of politeness.  This is precisely the problem with skipping the fundamental question, as I noted.  The connections were lost / missed, and that continues to this day.   As to why, see the Homework assignment, below. 

 

You said, "Politics rest on ethics...it is application of ethics to social questions. ( pg 350).  By social questions Objectivism means relation between man and state, not personal relationships."

 

But there is only relations among individuals.  There is no conscious entity called the state.  You don't even need Objectivism to understand that; the Founding Fathers knew it very well. 

 

More importantly, are you really going to say that Objectivism does  _not_  apply to individual relationships?  A substantial section of your life exists to which Objectivism does not apply?  That is bizarre and irrational (and it sure gets applied to relationships I see at OCONs!).  Objectivism applies to  _everything_  you do - and therefore, relationships.  QED. 

 

If it does not, then Objectivism is worthless, which it certainly is not. 

 

And so it is indeed a part of Politics that deals with everything down to, as you say, "relationships between husband and wife, or even between neighbors".  I would hate to see the results if that were not so. 

 

I will go further:  as my political experience grows, the principles governing relationships at all levels are all the same (given Objectivism is a philosophy with principles, who should be surprised?).  More on this when I learn enough about it to give a presentation on the topic. 

 

You say, "Today, the dominant philosophy of the West is altruism. Therefore any political action taken by Objectivists is doomed to fail" - but that is wrong - and "Only when Objectivism becomes part of the mass culture" - and who is going to make that happen?  Blank out.   _Who_?!?  Name the person!  Why s it always someone else can do it, but you cannot? 

 

So you just give up?  Don't put out the maximum effort?  Quit?  The real answer is that this assumption is totally false.  Your attitude reminds me of Harry's proof in 1997 (I think it was) that no Objectivist professor would ever teach in a current-era college.  Obviously, he is as happy to laugh at his prediction as the rest of us, beyond the level of any of us not to be the one laughed at. 

 

My own success has proven the same is true of politics.  But you have to understand reality to succeed.  Rationalistic deductions lead to fantasy.  The most prominent Objectivist statements about politics are wildly ignorant of reality - and the reason is because nobody has been there - exactly analogous to those who claimed there were dragons and the edge of the world far out to sea. 


If Objectivists do not do it, it will not get done.  The  _only_  way for Objectivism to make inroads is for Objectivists to get in there and apply themselves.  Nobody else is going to do it for them.  To evade that is mind-numbing blind rationalisation.  Proof?  Easy:  I really like LP's DIM Hypothesis.  I use it as much as I can, and it works.  But LP's despair at the end of the 2010 lecture is  _because_  the dominant Objectivist thinking on politics has been so rationalized it is useless nonsense. 

 

"unless the state is involved" ... Your argument here is a good lead in to this Homework question:  Name the two biggest incidents in Galt's Gulch (in AS!) of a (major) political nature.  Explain the implications of the first, the nature of the most profound implication of the second, and finally, why Ayn Rand, their author, clearly missed both points. 

 

Don't get me wrong; as I made clear, AR was a genius at the level of Aristotle or beyond, even if she herself thought him smarter than herself.  But she was not omniscient.  She knew it, and said it.  The homework assignment above will (once you  _understand_  the answers) let you see it as well. 



#9 ewv

ewv

    Member

  • Members
  • 4,588 posts
  • Location:Trescott, ME; Concord, MA

Posted 23 December 2012 - 03:54 AM

There is no "missing step" in Ayn Rand's hierarchy of political philosophy.

That political theory does not pertain to personal relations does not mean that Ayn Rand's ethics does not, and no one said otherwise.

 



#10 ruveyn ben yosef

ruveyn ben yosef

    Member

  • Members
  • 1,397 posts

Posted 26 December 2012 - 03:29 PM

 

Don't get me wrong; as I made clear, AR was a genius at the level of Aristotle or beyond, even if she herself thought him smarter than herself.  But she was not omniscient.  She knew it, and said it.  The homework assignment above will (once you  _understand_  the answers) let you see it as well. 

With all due respect to Ayn Rand,  she, in now way, matched Aristotle in breadth of knowledge.  Aristotle had something to say on everything from logic,  physics and metaphysics to ethics,  politics, and literature  all the way to weather,  geology and the biology of animals and plants.  There are very few philosophers in history that can match Aristotle for either depth or breadth.  Ayn Rand was not one of them.

 

Charles Darwin regarded Aristotle as one of the greatest Naturalists of all time.  That is great praise comming from a great Naturalist, himself.

 

ruvey\n



#11 Boethius

Boethius

    Member

  • Members
  • 12 posts

Posted 13 January 2013 - 03:19 AM

I confess Aristotle's sheer breadth of accomplishments is tremendous to me as well.  There is no question that the whole of "Western" Civilization (i.e., human progress into reason-based living:  individual freedom, capitalism, etc.) rests on Aristotle's shoulders. 

 

However, AR's Epistemology is such an outstanding accomplishment that in some ways it outshines everything else.  I could almost say the same thing for her egoist ethics. 

 

Aristotle had the breadth, but the errors in his thinking left holes which were ultimately fatal.  AR's achievement's while more narrow, are rationally based, and I think they will stand the test of time.  We need both, and I am glad we have them.

 

Re other comments  --  Re my point about the question that AR never asked, I emphasized that there is not a flaw in Objectivism, that I was not attempting to change it.  However, applying Objectivism to living is not limited to the topics AR wrote about. 

"It was a question which, as a teacher, I would have been proud to hear from a student who'd taken six years of philosophy. It was a question pertaining to Plato's metaphysics, which Plato hadn't had the sense to ask of himself. I answered—and I asked John to come to my office after the lecture."  --  from Atlas Shrugged 

 

Can there be questions AR herself never asked?  Unless you posit AR as being omniscient, then of course the answer is yes.  There is no other possible answer. 

 

Whether the question has value or not, clearly AR never asked the same question of Politics that she asked of Ethics, as I noted in my initial post. 

 

To repeat, AR did not ask why or whether Man needs a study of Politics.

 

Where does the application of one's philosophy end?  As AR noted, picking your choice of ice cream is not a philosophical question.  But picking your choice of friends clearly is.  Anybody who wants to disagree has only to check a few Objectivist blogs to watch the fireworks.  Marriages have even been made and broken in this regard.  We have all seen it. 

 

So friendships and marriage are philosophy-based decisions.  But where is the link from Objectivist philosophy?  They do not just intuitively follow.

 

Not Ethics.  Independence and Justice are virtues primarily applied in interpersonal relationships (i.e., hard to implement alone on an island), but they will not form the basis for friendship and marriage.  The other five virtues are all clearly applicable on a desert island or in downtown Manhattan. 

 

So Politics must be where questions regarding friendship and marriage find their basis.  As I wrote, "Politics is the application of Ethics to personal relationships and interaction, paraphrasing Ayn Rand. Like Ethics, it applies in every case to every person in every time. [...] Political rules, conventions, and customs include manners, etiquette, Roberts Rules of Order, law, violence, etc." 

 

AR did not ask first why or whether Man needs a study of Politics. The result is she missed the connection to these things.

She did ask why and whether Man needs Ethics.  We all know how important that was.  The consequences are the rock-solid foundation of Objectivist Ethics. 

 

As I noted, AR herself said that she had left a lot for others to do.  She knew she was not omniscient.  To dismiss a question out-of-hand is evasion.  Once you ask, "Why or whether Man needs a study of Politics?", the answer turns out to be that Politics applies and is the basis of not just what AR wrote about, but also political rules, conventions, customs, manners, etiquette, law, violence, and even Roberts Rules of Order. 

 

And quite a lot more. 



#12 ewv

ewv

    Member

  • Members
  • 4,588 posts
  • Location:Trescott, ME; Concord, MA

Posted 13 January 2013 - 04:20 AM

...Whether the question has value or not, clearly AR never asked the same question of Politics that she asked of Ethics, as I noted in my initial post. 

 

To repeat, AR did not ask why or whether Man needs a study of Politics...

 

Your initial post was wrong and so are all the repetitions.

 

... So Politics must be where questions regarding friendship and marriage find their basis.  As I wrote, "Politics is the application of Ethics to personal relationships and interaction, paraphrasing Ayn Rand.

 

This is bizarre, and certainly not a paraphrase of Ayn Rand.  You continue to ignore the reasons for rejecting your claims. Repeating yourself is not an answer.



#13 ewv

ewv

    Member

  • Members
  • 4,588 posts
  • Location:Trescott, ME; Concord, MA

Posted 13 January 2013 - 04:42 AM

With all due respect to Ayn Rand,  she, in now way, matched Aristotle in breadth of knowledge.  Aristotle had something to say on everything from logic,  physics and metaphysics to ethics,  politics, and literature  all the way to weather,  geology and the biology of animals and plants.  There are very few philosophers in history that can match Aristotle for either depth or breadth.  Ayn Rand was not one of them.  Charles Darwin regarded Aristotle as one of the greatest Naturalists of all time.  That is great praise comming from a great Naturalist, himself.

 

The scope of knowledge in Aristotle's time included much, much less than what was available by the 20th century.  A lot of Aristotle's assertions,as they have come down to us, in their volume were also false.  His greatest accomplishment was in introducing systematic, reality-based rational thought into human knowledge for the first time in his revolt against Plato. 

 

Ayn Rand was primarily a novelist.  She was not especially interested in many of the fields Aristotle explored, but was careful in correct in what she did systematically explore, such as the foundations of political philosophy (and which does not include all her personal relations, such as what she did with the Brandens before finally catching on).  Aristotle did not write novels.  She didn't have to start from the beginning like Aristotle, but still broke fundamental new ground and had to contend with massive, dishonest and vicious hostility of kind for which there is no record of Aristotle enduring.  "She could have done more but for giants (and nitwits) standing on her shoulders".

 

Knowledge is accumulated in stages, relying on what came before.  There isn't much point in trying to comparatively rate the 'genius' of Ayn Rand vs. Aristotle in their different contexts and kinds of achievement, and it wasn't something she cared about either.  She made her debt to him clear, emphasizing substance.



#14 Betsy Speicher

Betsy Speicher

    Administrator

  • Admin
  • 7,235 posts
  • Gender:Female
  • Location:Thousand Oaks, California

Posted 13 January 2013 - 04:51 AM

Whether the question has value or not, clearly AR never asked the same question of Politics that she asked of Ethics, as I noted in my initial post. 
 
To repeat, AR did not ask why or whether Man needs a study of Politics.


She may not have asked the question in exactly those words, but she certainly answered that question both theoretically (her essays "Man's Right's" and "The Nature of Government") and as applied to concrete issues (most issues of the Objectivist monthly periodicals and many of her Ford Hall Forum speeches).
 

So Politics must be where questions regarding friendship and marriage find their basis.  As I wrote, "Politics is the application of Ethics to personal relationships and interaction, paraphrasing Ayn Rand. Like Ethics, it applies in every case to every person in every time. [...] Political rules, conventions, and customs include manners, etiquette, Roberts Rules of Order, law, violence, etc." 
 
[...]
 
Once you ask, "Why or whether Man needs a study of Politics?", the answer turns out to be that Politics applies and is the basis of not just what AR wrote about, but also political rules, conventions, customs, manners, etiquette, law, violence, and even Roberts Rules of Order. 


Ayn Rand did define politics and what it subsumes to include some, but not all of the things you have included, above. In her Essay, "The Chickens' Homecoming" in The New Left: The Anti-Industrial Revolution, she defined what she meant by politics and its relationship to ethics:

 


Politics is the study of the principles governing the proper organization of society; it is based on ethics, the study of the proper values to guide man's choices and actions. Both ethics and politics, necessarily, have been branches of philosophy from its birth.

 


 


Betsy Speicher


Betsy's Law #1 - Reality is the winning side.

Betsy's Law #2 - In the long run you get the kind of friends -- and the kind of enemies -- you deserve.

#15 ewv

ewv

    Member

  • Members
  • 4,588 posts
  • Location:Trescott, ME; Concord, MA

Posted 13 January 2013 - 05:41 PM

To repeat, AR did not ask why or whether Man needs a study of Politics.


She may not have asked the question in exactly those words, but she certainly answered that question both theoretically (her essays "Man's Right's" and "The Nature of Government") and as applied to concrete issues (most issues of the Objectivist monthly periodicals and many of her Ford Hall Forum speeches).

 

Which means she did ask exactly that question, as she characteristically did in everything she investigated.   She did not publicly 'ask the question' for others to tell her the answer.  Asking a question in this context means asking oneself, which she did, and proceeded to formulate and elaborate the answer.  It is not something she "overlooked". 



#16 Leonid

Leonid

    Member

  • Members
  • 182 posts

Posted 13 January 2013 - 06:44 PM

Boethius: "This is more than government and capitalism but goes all the way down to the values of politeness.  This is precisely the problem with skipping the fundamental question, as I noted."

 

First, politeness has nothing to do with politics. It mostly pertains to the realm of culture and customs. What is polite in Italy could be very rude in Japan. Politics, according to Ayn Rand, is the branch of philosophy which defines a proper social system. In PWNI Aun Rand clearly indicated that:

 "political philosophy will not tell you how much rationed gas you should be given and on which day of the week—it will tell you whether the government has the right to impose any rationing on anything." (PWNI)

 

In other words, politics pertain to the system of government. Government  exists not as an entity but as an institution and people constantly interact with government via its representatives. Political power is a power of state, that is-physical force. Therefore the main political question pertains to the use of force. In Ayn Rand's words:

 

 "The basic political principle of the Objectivist ethics is: no man may initiate the use of physical force against others." (VOS)

 

Thus, the proper political system should create such a government which would legislate the prohibition of the initiation of force. Politics is not about politeness and not even about personal relationships. It is about the system of proper governance and that is what the Founding Fathers understood very well. Their political system was based on the principle that government is a servant, not a ruler of people. Finally, Objectivism is certainly applicable to personal relationships, but the branch which treats these issues is ethics rather than politics.



#17 Boethius

Boethius

    Member

  • Members
  • 12 posts

Posted 28 April 2013 - 01:55 PM

Ayn Rand provided some answers (including "Man's Rights", and "The Nature Of Government").  But that list is incomplete; she clearly never asked herself the explicit question.  If she had, her answers would clearly have covered more ground.  I would add as an example that one or two people have reminded me of her participation in the 1940 Presidential campaign as contrast with my thoughts.  Based on my own experience, it is clear to me that her involvement was superficial (regardless of her perception).  There are clearly things endemic to the most in-depth involvement that she never experienced - it would have changed how she worded some of the things she did say, even if she had not mentioned other things, which I think she would have.  She barely scratched the surface. 

 

Regarding the quote of her definition:  yes, she defined it, but never asked the equivalent question as she did in Ethics.  Lacking that explicit question, she could not reach all the facets of the answer. 

 

I completely disagree with the statement made that "politeness has nothing to do with politics".  The more you get involved in politics, the more you learn that it very much does, and that the principles of politics are the same from the relationships of you and your spouse or friend or neighbor, up to the actions of a legislator, President, or dictator. 

 

Politics is about personal relationships.  It is what you intend to do with them that matters. 

 

This is the same as was stated, "The basic political principle of the Objectivist ethics is: no man may initiate the use of physical force against others." (VOS)  --  and that is the valid and correct principle, and very much about personal relationships; the quote proves my point.  It applies not just to the proper role of govt, but also, as I noted, to political rules, conventions, customs, manners, etiquette, law, violence, and even Roberts Rules of Order.  The principle is the same throughout  --  and it is all Politics. 

 

Look at that quote again: 

"... political principle ..." equals the basis of Politics. 

"... no man ... others" equals personal relationships.

But Ayn Rand clearly jumped right into the proper role of govt, and never realized the full implication of that statement  --  which I say was because she never explicitly asked the comparable question that she asked for Ethics:  Why does man need a study of politics?  

 

And just to contrast (for illustration), if your political principle is (in some form) that the dominance of one individual by another is acceptable, then you see the impact not only in the form of govt everywhere in the world (except as was intended by the Founders of the U.S. Constitution), but also in the roles of women (burkhas, as property of / in the safety of men, etc.), etiquettes, customs, castes and nobilities, etc. 

 

Again, this is no shortcoming of Ayn Rand. 

(1)  She did the important thing:  got Objectivism right, and got it known so we could all hear of it and learn it;

(2)  She herself said that she felt it was a proper division of labor for others to build further on the Objectivist foundation. 

 

One impact of the failure to understand that Politics is about personal relationships:  Objectivism's rise to prominence has been severely slowed  --  almost to a halt, compared to what it ought to be and could be.  When etiquette is disdained as unimportant, and not recognized as a key inclusion in Politics, then the ability to convince others of Objectivism's value is significantly weakened.  Ayn Rand was very effective at "marketing" Objectivism, and making it better-known.  Objectivists since have acted generally in the worst-possible way to further the spread of Objectivism, and so are failing to do so  --  that's politics. 

 

Politics gets included as a branch of philosophy because of its importance to and impact on our lives.  Politics is about personal relationships  --  all of them, everywhere, and every-when. 



#18 ewv

ewv

    Member

  • Members
  • 4,588 posts
  • Location:Trescott, ME; Concord, MA

Posted 28 April 2013 - 02:18 PM

You are still confusing political philosophy with political activism.  You are repeating yourself and ignoring what has already been explained to you here.  It  is you who don't understand the "fundamental issues" you falsely accuse Ayn Rand of not considering. 



#19 William W. Kaufmann

William W. Kaufmann

    Member

  • Members
  • 24 posts

Posted 28 October 2013 - 12:20 AM

The original question raises Ayn Rand's supposed failure to ask why man needs politics.  She certainly did raise the question without just "jumping right in".

 

 The correct question which she fully addressed is:  what is government and why do men need it?  Political philosophy or Political Science or Political Economy are the science of government.

 

In that connection, by the way,  I don't think we need quibble whether it would be proper to call a state of anarchy of any sort part of "politics".  It is pre-government or non-govenment.  The question whether anarchy is proper or right, or the argument against government as such, is addressed in the first question"  What is government and why do we need it?"   

 

William W. Kaufmann

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ho)






0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users