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Author Topic: Andrew Ryan  (Read 4019 times)

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Offline Celestial Goblin

Re: Andrew Ryan
« Reply #25 on: November 27, 2009, 03:15:46 PM »
But at the same time, you don't owe anyone assistance simply because you can help them.  Just because someone needs and you have an abundance and you choose not to assist, does not make you a bad person.  Charity is just that; the moment it becomes compulsory it's no longer a good deed, it's a duty that you have to uphold from being a bad person, and that takes the meaning out of one of the more humanizing impulses we feel as a species:  altruism.
I have to disagree with this, unless you're talking about charity in a situation in addition to a system of redistribution.
I do think that 'forced charity' as you call it means that the person forced to share cannot claim they're doing a good deed, but I think the one forcing them can instead.
Of course it's just as possible to describe the same situation as one person trying to acquire what they need, the other person using force to stop them and the third protecting the first freedom - hence my comment about definition of freedom being a problem, not just degree of it.
If you feel every instance goverments spending taxed money on helping someone, regardless how dire situation, is wrong, you indeed might be an objectivist. Unless you like the wrong classical music composers, then you're just anarcho-capitalist.
« Last Edit: November 27, 2009, 04:11:04 PM by Celestial Goblin »

Offline consortium11

Re: Andrew Ryan
« Reply #26 on: November 28, 2009, 04:01:36 PM »
Actually, it's also a difference in definition of freedom overall.

If we're talking about the distinction between modern/classical liberalism and the Rawls/Nozick in their definitions of freedom then it doesn't really make a difference; freedom to generally relies on infringing on someone else's freedom from. In short freedom from is a natural state... freedom to is created.

I have to disagree with this, unless you're talking about charity in a situation in addition to a system of redistribution.
I do think that 'forced charity' as you call it means that the person forced to share cannot claim they're doing a good deed, but I think the one forcing them can instead.

I'd say it's a very morally grey area... after all the one forcing them isn't giving up anything, isn't making any sacrifice, isn't suffering. It's questionable to see the moral value of taking what someone else has and redistributing it when it causes no loss to you.

Of course it's just as possible to describe the same situation as one person trying to acquire what they need, the other person using force to stop them and the third protecting the first freedom - hence my comment about definition of freedom being a problem, not just degree of it.

Of course that ignores the fact that in protecting the first "freedom" the third party inevitaly needs to impose on the second parties. Rawls jumped through hoops trying to explain this away with the veil of ignorence and other constructions but none of them really hold up to examination... the simple fact is that situation involves a fairly major restriction of freedom, however you define it... unless your definition of freedom excludes being free to use your own resources as you wish.

If you feel every instance goverments spending taxed money on helping someone, regardless how dire situation, is wrong, you indeed might be an objectivist. Unless you like the wrong classical music composers, then you're just anarcho-capitalist.

Well, there'd be a pretty big difference... one side believes the state is a necessary (even if as a necessary evil) and one side hates the very idea of the government. Rand herself spent at least as much time arguing why she wasn't an anarchist as she did debating with people to the left of her and was voracious in her arguements. They didn't always make sense, but she saw the state as required... an anarcho-capitalist (by the very name) doesn't.

And objectivists do see a need for taxed money being spent on helping people... the protection of private property (and in many ways the very existence of private property) requires the government to spend money helping people protect it.

Offline Celestial Goblin

Re: Andrew Ryan
« Reply #27 on: November 28, 2009, 06:12:47 PM »
If we're talking about the distinction between modern/classical liberalism and the Rawls/Nozick in their definitions of freedom then it doesn't really make a difference; freedom to generally relies on infringing on someone else's freedom from. In short freedom from is a natural state... freedom to is created.
I never bought into this stuff. Freedom to take something vs freedom from having that something taken can be flipped around to freedom to own that thing vs freedom from being stopped from taking it. Neither do I believe in a 'natural state' of any kind. Nature itself doesn't honour our 'freedom from'.
I'd say it's a very morally grey area... after all the one forcing them isn't giving up anything, isn't making any sacrifice, isn't suffering. It's questionable to see the moral value of taking what someone else has and redistributing it when it causes no loss to you.
Then I doubt we can have much of a contructive discussion. I consider morality to be acting in ways that minimize suffering and taking from one person to give someone more needy would belong there, especially since...
Of course that ignores the fact that in protecting the first "freedom" the third party inevitaly needs to impose on the second parties. Rawls jumped through hoops trying to explain this away with the veil of ignorence and other constructions but none of them really hold up to examination... the simple fact is that situation involves a fairly major restriction of freedom, however you define it... unless your definition of freedom excludes being free to use your own resources as you wish.
...I don't believe ownership to be an automatic 'natural' right but rather something granted by mutual consent, in interest of whole society. Especially when it calls for enforcement, which isn't itself free. Obviously, a prudent society will create rules that reward the creators, since that benefits everyone in the end, but I consider a system that leaves individuals unable to fulfill their basic needs to be morally on the level with one that would actively inflict the same kind of suffering.
Rand's philosophy itself, I admit, I consider to be nazism little brother that never took off. It's still about the 'betters' having more while the 'worse' perish or suffer and still requires force to sustain. It's just dressed in different rhetoric.

Offline consortium11

Re: Andrew Ryan
« Reply #28 on: November 28, 2009, 09:02:09 PM »
I never bought into this stuff. Freedom to take something vs freedom from having that something taken can be flipped around to freedom to own that thing vs freedom from being stopped from taking it.

Which ignores the reason why the distinction is drawn... to seperate between a negative sense of freedom and a positive sense. One covers not being intefered with (whether you can actually do anything with that freedom is beside the point), one with being given the freedom to fulfill your desires (regardless of the inteference with others). Yes you can use wordplay to make them seem meaningless, but doing that misses the fact that "freedom to/freedom from" is just a shorthand explanation for far more complex points.

Neither do I believe in a 'natural state' of any kind. Nature itself doesn't honour our 'freedom from'.

The State of Nature is, in political terms, complete freedom from without any freedom to. Freedom from doesn't require any outside forces... if there was one human alive they would have complete freedom from... but it would be impossile for them to have freedom to (in the political sense).

Then I doubt we can have much of a contructive discussion. I consider morality to be acting in ways that minimize suffering and taking from one person to give someone more needy would belong there, especially since.......

Well, you'd have to start by definining suffering. After that you'd have to work out if there are any limits or if any action to minimize suffering is moral. Then you'd have to work out how to balance suffering... are we using objective or subjective reasoning. Once that's done you have to work out how far we're looking into the future... if minimizing suffering now would increase suffering later is it something worth doing?

The simple fact is there are a decent amount situations where blind allegience to minimizing suffering can, on the face of it, be as moraly repugnant as virtually any other system.

I don't believe ownership to be an automatic 'natural' right.

Ownership clearly isn't a natural right... ownership is dependant on law and law is a human construct. Possession is the closest to ownership that the State of Nature would allow and in those circumstances that "right" is pretty much meaningless.

but rather something granted by mutual consent, in interest of whole society. Especially when it calls for enforcement, which isn't itself free..

Who consented to the granting of ownership rights? Can this consent be retracted? If ownership doesn't aid society as a whole would the state be justified in striiping those rights?

Obviously, a prudent society will create rules that reward the creators, since that benefits everyone in the end, but I consider a system that leaves individuals unable to fulfill their basic needs to be morally on the level with one that would actively inflict the same kind of suffering.

If the system leaves people unable to fulfill their basic needs but people within that system freely give enough to support them, is the system still at such a low moral level?

And if this moral requirement exists for systems, should individuals also be judged by these standards?[/quote]

Rand's philosophy itself, I admit, I consider to be nazism little brother that never took off. It's still about the 'betters' having more while the 'worse' perish or suffer and still requires force to sustain. It's just dressed in different rhetoric.

Here's where you lose me. Nazism (or virtually any type of fachism) and Objectivism couldn't be more different. You can find them both repugnant, you can hate them both, but that doesn't mean they share any ideological similarities. Nazism sees the state as being master of all... Objectivists fear the state beyond its aility to prevent others intefereing with your liberty. Nazism see's it as perfectly acceptable for the state to discriminate on the basis of race... Objectivists reject this entirely. Now, they may object to anti-discrimination laws... but they'd object to pro-discrimination laws just as strongly and on the same basis. As said above, they have virtually nothing in common.

Offline Celestial Goblin

Re: Andrew Ryan
« Reply #29 on: November 29, 2009, 04:24:05 AM »
Okay, are you an Objectivist or equivalent yourself? Cause I had this discussion more than once and saw others having it and there's not that much to gain from it.
Which ignores the reason why the distinction is drawn(...) "freedom to/freedom from" is just a shorthand explanation for far more complex points.
I don't think it's wordplay, I think the whole negative/positive distinction is dodgy and grounded in our subjective feelings. This stuff http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Real_freedom seems a good start of fixing it. Though overall, I don't think a hypotethical state of a perfeclty alone person has much bearing on morality.
The State of Nature is, in political terms, complete freedom from without any freedom to. Freedom from doesn't require any outside forces... if there was one human alive they would have complete freedom from... but it would be impossile for them to have freedom to (in the political sense).
They would have complete freedom from... other humans, but they'd still be coerced by nature, elements, animals and their own physical needs and flaws. This way of thinking is for me the flaw at right-libertarian though overall. Believers are fine with spending money on police and military to protect humans from humans but indignant about spending to protect humans from hunger, disease or anything else that's not homo sapiens.
Well, you'd have to start by definining suffering.(...)
The simple fact is there are a decent amount situations where blind allegience to minimizing suffering can, on the face of it, be as moraly repugnant as virtually any other system.
Who consented to the granting of ownership rights? Can this consent be retracted? If ownership doesn't aid society as a whole would the state be justified in striiping those rights?
You know, theory can be argued till the end of universe and will still not survive contact with reality. My practical take: I'll take modern Europe and modern west in general over 19 century versions of them. Education, healthcare, welfare, protection from discrimination result in less suffering than child slavery, no bussines regulation and the way victorian charity turned sometimes.
If the system leaves people unable to fulfill their basic needs but people within that system freely give enough to support them, is the system still at such a low moral level?
It's better, but it's not possible. Like a society where murder is legal but everyone's too kind to do it.
And if this moral requirement exists for systems, should individuals also be judged by these standards?
Abstractly, the more someone cares about plight of others, the more moral they are. Practically, I think voting in favor of a fair and humane system is the minimum anyone should be expected to do. Doing more is great but not mandatory.
Here's where you lose me. Nazism (or virtually any type of fachism) and Objectivism couldn't be more different.(...)As said above, they have virtually nothing in common.
They both divide people into 'better' and 'worse' categories and they both see some, inevitably the weakest, as acceptable to be sacrificed so that the elite can prosper even more. They'd achieve it in different ways - nazism by building walls to keep them inside and shooting them as required, hypotethical objectivist state by building walls to keep them outside and shooting them if they reach out for the proverbial Jean Valejan loaf of bread.
Obviously, on paper there's a thousand and one philosophical differences, but nazis aren't hated like they are because of state worship but because of causing great death and misery.
Not that I think they are that entwined. I'm rather saying that they're similarly evil propositions, but only Nazism got to try for real.

Offline consortium11

Re: Andrew Ryan
« Reply #30 on: November 29, 2009, 10:37:21 AM »
Okay, are you an Objectivist or equivalent yourself? Cause I had this discussion more than once and saw others having it and there's not that much to gain from it..

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...

I don't think it's wordplay, I think the whole negative/positive distinction is dodgy and grounded in our subjective feelings. This stuff http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Real_freedom seems a good start of fixing it. Though overall, I don't think a hypotethical state of a perfeclty alone person has much bearing on morality.

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?

They would have complete freedom from... other humans, but they'd still be coerced by nature, elements, animals and their own physical needs and flaws. This way of thinking is for me the flaw at right-libertarian though overall. Believers are fine with spending money on police and military to protect humans from humans but indignant about spending to protect humans from hunger, disease or anything else that's not homo sapiens.

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.

You know, theory can be argued till the end of universe and will still not survive contact with reality. My practical take: I'll take modern Europe and modern west in general over 19 century versions of them. Education, healthcare, welfare, protection from discrimination result in less suffering than child slavery, no bussines regulation and the way victorian charity turned sometimes.

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).

It's better, but it's not possible. Like a society where murder is legal but everyone's too kind to do it.

So a world system that includes nations, states and countries is immoral?

Abstractly, the more someone cares about plight of others, the more moral they are. Practically, I think voting in favor of a fair and humane system is the minimum anyone should be expected to do. Doing more is great but not mandatory.

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.

Why does the system have such strict requirements to be moral, where as the individuals who make up the system don't?

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.

They both divide people into 'better' and 'worse' categories and they both see some, inevitably the weakest, as acceptable to be sacrificed so that the elite can prosper even more. They'd achieve it in different ways - nazism by building walls to keep them inside and shooting them as required, hypotethical objectivist state by building walls to keep them outside and shooting them if they reach out for the proverbial Jean Valejan loaf of bread.

Nazism seperated people into "better" and "worse" categories as a result of things that they had no control over... race, sexuality, family history... and there was no way to break this tag. Ojectivism seperates people in "better" or "worse" categories as a result of their actions (which you yourself appear to do when deciding between moral and immoral people on the basis of their voting records) and while I can't rememer the term Rand uses (leacher?) the "worse" people could ecome "better". In addition there would be no special rights granted for being "better" or any taken away for being "worse". Each person would be treated exactly the same by the state regardless of income, gender, age or any other factor... and it's this fundaentalist equality that raises the most objections. A closer comparison would be between Objectivism and the State-Socialism/Communism of the 20th century where one side saw the poor as exploiting the rich and productive and the other saw the rich as exploiting the poor and productive.

Obviously, on paper there's a thousand and one philosophical differences, but nazis aren't hated like they are because of state worship but because of causing great death and misery.

Which came about because of state worship. If the state hated Jews (or any other minority) but had no power to intefere with them then they are reduced to someone knashing their teeth. Without the power of the state (in that case) the death and misery wouldn't have occured. The anarchy in Somalia causes great death and misery... but anarchy and Nazism aren't similar. Virtually every political system that has ever existed has caused great death and misery... comparing them all to Nazism little brother despite vast ideological differences reeks of a Godwin type fallacy.

Not that I think they are that entwined. I'm rather saying that they're similarly evil propositions, but only Nazism got to try for real.

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). Tax rates are low (generally lower than the US and the rest of Europe), government inteference is limited and there are (by Western standards) very small wellfare states... and those that do exist are generally provided by state mandated private entities. They're generally classed amongst the most "free" nations in the world by Libertarian type groups and aren't a million miles away from being a Libertarian state... and yet I've yet to see any real signs of the evils you talk about occuring. 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.

Offline Celestial Goblin

Re: Andrew Ryan
« Reply #31 on: November 29, 2009, 12:52:47 PM »
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.
« Last Edit: November 29, 2009, 12:56:09 PM by Celestial Goblin »

Offline BCdan

Re: Andrew Ryan
« Reply #32 on: December 12, 2009, 02:05:37 PM »
His name is a anagram for Ayn Rand.   


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Re: Andrew Ryan
« Reply #33 on: December 12, 2009, 02:29:38 PM »
Fairly close, at least.  The game designers might have looked at either 'Andy' or 'Ryan', and then looked at what they could do with the leftover letters.