That's a lot of writing and straying quite far from Objectivism... I mean, we can debate whole history of liberalism here, but I don't think neither Rand nor Ryan deserve this much. Still, here goes the theory.
Nope, not at all. If anything personally I'm slightly to the left of Rawls in political philosophy terms (athough I disagree with his reasoning) which in Libertarian/Objectivist terms puts me pretty far into the "evil statist" bracket. I just don't like watching political theories being thrown under a truck...
That case, we might not be that far apart. Your opinion on Objectivism seems much more charitable than mine, though - I tend to go with the 'what was good, wasn't new, what was new, wasn't good' judgement of what I know about Rand's philosophy.
Real freedom uses the same basis as the negative/positive distinction though... it just combines them under one banner. As such it faces the same issues Rawls does... how to balance the infringement on the negative aspect with the application of the positive. To use an oft quoted example does the increase in freedom to by giving someone the money to go on holiday balance out the infringement on freedom from by taking that money?
In theory, money represents 'wealth' and I believe same amount of wealth can improve different lives to different degree. 100$ can be a difference between going hungry for one person and ordering one less drink for another person.
I don't think I can give a mathematical equation of where the line should be drawn. Maybe if there'd be technology letting us read minds and measure every little brain state, maybe not even then.
Myself I view wealth inequality as a necessary evil. It's probably not worth to get rid of it wholesale, but less inequality is better.
Which is why I put "in the political sense" in there. It should also be pointed out that the issue isn't with money being spent on protecting humans from non-human inteference... it's with the spending of other people's money and in extreme cases their resources against their will. If someone wanted to donate or give money, all power to them... when someone wants to force someone else to do the same... not so good.
Is that your opinion or you explaining Objectivist opinion? Personally, as I said, I consider owning wealth to be a social contract thing, not an inborn right and that need can be basis of a legitimate claim.
Agreed. It should of course be mentioned that in the 19th century the power of the state was far higher, Western monarchies and Emperors still held sway and sufferage was far from universal... all thing Objectivists would disagree with. Yes in economic terms they would have perhaps enjoyed the period (which, for all its many faults set the scene for the advances that were to come later) but it was far from some Objectivist golden age. It should also be said Objectivists woud completely reject child slavery (or any form of oject slavery) and may reject child laour in general (depending on their view of contracts).
I do consider monarchy to be an evil system as well, just fortunately gone.
But I think your view of Objectivism in this context is very optimistic, taking Objectivism as written. They'd be against actual slavery, but they wouldn't be against any exploitation. As someone said "A deal made with a starving man is a deal made under duress."
And even if Objectivist theory objects to child labour, the effect of a fully Objectivists state would include child labor, just illegal, or perhaps replace children in factories with children in organized begging gangs.
So a world system that includes nations, states and countries is immoral?
What? You mean the fact that there's no supra-national entity that can stop nations from going to war? It would be nice if it existed, but it's impossible.
What does "fair" and "humane" mean? Is it equality of opportunity? Equality of outcome? Treated as an end in yourself and not a means to an end? A large numer of Libertarian type thinkers would consider their systems both fair and humane.
Bit of both. No one should suffer certain things if those can be prevented. Hunger, illness, homelesness, violence.
Anyone should be able to attain at least a 'middle' living standart with a honest effort - thus a need for education and economic regulation.
Why does the system have such strict requirements to be moral, where as the individuals who make up the system don't?
Because the system is created to meet our needs. It exists for us and can be modified to be optimal. Expecting people to be optimal and saintly is unreasonable because most can't do it and trying to improve people too hard can hurt them, so counter to the goal of happiness.
And on a side note it seems slightly dangerous to me that rather than just a difference of opinion you can view those who disagree with you politically as full on being immoral people... it seems to cultivate a dangerous "us and them" mentality.
Don't we all? Every idea can be considered a political opinion and advanced by someone in all earnest. Of course I don't regard every political disagreement this way, but with Objectivism, if it was to be practiced, it's a matter of death and great misery inflicted out of mere selfishness. Hence my comment about Objectivism and Nazism. It's not as much about them being similar, as with them being similarly dangerous
and meriting the same kind of resistance.
(and it's not like Rand herself didn't take this view towards everyone who was *not* an Objectivist, despite those people's beliefs did not put her at risk of death or abject poverty)
Nazism seperated people into "better" and "worse" categories as a result of things that they had no control over... (...)saw the poor as exploiting the rich and productive and the other saw the rich as exploiting the poor and productive.
Objectivism makes no exception for people born infirm, without access to education or abused. Neither does it disallow discrimination on race/sex/religion grounds in employment or other transactions. It flat-out assumes that those who can't make it for no fault of their own are acceptable to be sacrificed.
Which came about because of state worship. If the state hated Jews (or any other minority) but had no power to intefere (...)comparing them all to Nazism little brother despite vast ideological differences reeks of a Godwin type fallacy.
The 'state' is not a person, the 'state' is just people acting in organization. Lawless antisemitic violence occured in Germany and other places before and after Hitler. There's really no distinction here, if people in anarchic Somalia hated a minority, they could kill them just the same.(and if they'd organize, they'd become a state for that moment)
Now, I'm not aware of any great misery caused by Euro-style, mixed-economy democracies, so I don't think saying 'every system has commited atrocities' has any importance. If all systems were equally bad, we wouldn't be discussing them in the first place.
And as for Godwin fallacy, I understand it to be defines as "Nazis did X, so you are wrong because you do X too", with X being everything from banning smoking to bellicosity. As above mentioned, I consider Objectivism 'just as bad' not 'bad in the same way'. I could say it's just as bad as, for example, Maoism, which also decided that some people should die and suffer for sake of others, in name of ideology. That Objectivism and Nazism do share some bits - contempt for the 'weak' and worship of will is just worth mentioning.
While neither Switzerland or Estonia could be called Objectivist... or even Libertarian... both have high levels of economic, political and social freedom (in the negative sense). (...)They're also highly ranked on the HDI index, particularly Switzerland (9th), so it's not as if they're the darling of Libertarians but no-one else rates them.
As far as I know, Estonia's goverment is (was?) a coalition of social democrats and liberals close to libertarianism and while it's got a flat tax, it also has a constitutionally mandated free healthcare and education. Switzerland has robust universal healthcare and free education(not sure to which level). I don't know about things like unemployment coverage, but I assume they have *something* in place.
So I'd say they are nice countries in this regard. But if anything, they prove that you can have high degree of economical freedom and a good market without getting rid of a social safety net and tax-funded services for all. I dread to think what they'd look after a full Randian make-over, though.