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An old fashioned libertarian’s view on the world

Archive for the ‘Ayn Rand’ Category

America’s One Party System: Big Government

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H/T Skeptical Eye

From Skeptical Eye:

“The Judge makes a distinction between rights and goods per a question about the “right” to heath care. But any such right would violate someone else’s rights, because you can’t have the right to a good, be it the right to health care or the right to food or clothing, without making a claim on the life of another. Whether that claim is in the form of the theft called taxes (to pay for your “right”) or in the time and services of the supplier of that good (Doctors who must treat you because you have a “right” to their talents in the field of medicine), it is in fact destructive of real rights (the right to the fruits of one’s labor and the right to be free from coercion and slavery), and so cannot be a right itself.”

Ayn Rand said something similar:

“Any alleged “right” of one man, which necessitates the violation
of the rights of another, is not and cannot be a right. No man
can have a right to impose an unchosen obligation, an unrewarded
duty or an involuntary servitude on another man. There can be no
such thing as “the right to enslave”. — Ayn Rand

Or Thomas Jefferson:

“Jefferson believed that each individual has “certain inalienable rights.” That is, these rights exist with or without government; man cannot create, take, or give them away. It is the right of “liberty” on which Jefferson is most notable for expounding. He defines it by saying “rightful liberty is unobstructed action according to our will within limits drawn around us by the equal rights of others. I do not add ‘within the limits of the law,’ because law is often but the tyrant’s will, and always so when it violates the rights of the individual.” Hence, for Jefferson, though government cannot create a right to liberty, it can indeed violate it. And the limit of an individual’s rightful liberty is not what law says it is but is simply a matter of stopping short of prohibiting other individuals from having the same liberty. A proper government, for Jefferson, is one that not only prohibits individuals in society from infringing on the liberty of other individuals, but also restrains itself from diminishing individual liberty.”

We’ve gotten very from whence we came. God bless Judge Napolitano.

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Written by James Lagnese

March 9, 2010 at 8:50 pm

John Stossel: Ayn Rand and Atlas Shrugged. Was she right?

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H/T to New Zeal

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Written by James Lagnese

January 22, 2010 at 8:07 pm

Why Capitalism Matters and Why it is Successful

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The Master

The Head Mistress

Inspiration for this post from LCR.
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Written by James Lagnese

September 7, 2009 at 3:21 pm

American Politics: Like a Chinese Menu Part I

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American politics reminds me of a Chinese menu: Pick one from column A and one from Column B. You are ordering the food from the same restaurant, it is all Chinese food, and the differences aren’t very much. Yet we pick and choose in both arenas as if we are choosing between Chicken Scarpariello and Egg Foo Yong or Steak Tatar and Sweet and Sour Tofu. The allegory here is that while we deceive ourselves into believing that we are making rational individual choices, in fact, we are just choosing a different side of the same coin.

Both sides use straw-men populist arguments to attract and divide the population into competing constituencies. All the while, politicians are players on the same team: Team Geppetto. It’s like Miller light: Great Taste or Less Filling? It’s the same crappy beer. So one side uses socio-economic issues to win some of our hearts: The rich get richer, the poor get poorer, universal healthcare, The shrinking middle class, environmental issues etc. The other side uses security and values issues: National security, family values, whatever that is, illegal immigration, and the war on terror.
While many of these issues are real to an extent, they really obscure the true problems: A society that has extended itself in credit to the point that it is both in individual and collective indentured servitude, a political system that no longer serves the citizens of this country, but only itself, and the willingness of the American people to give up their natural rights in order to secure themselves perceived guarantee of security. Let’s first take a look at the second one, a political system that no longer serves it’s citizenry, but promulgates its own existence.
As I asserted above, the political parties in this country are different sides of the same coin. We see the issues they use, but why do we fall for it? I think the reason comes down to power. Just like with sports teams, humans live vicariously through their teams and gain a sense of power through the teams victories. It’s the same thing with politics: Most people want to be on the winning team. This is not rationally based, but emotionally based. What drives them to pick a particular team involves many factors and that team will go to great lengths to understand what their brand represents and give that perception to their fan base.
Where this process falls down is that we only have two political parties and each one cannot encompass all possibilities, no matter how hard they try. What the snakes realize is that people will be pragmatic and accept choices that compromise their values. Again, it comes down to power in which people want to believe they will get a seat at the table. Like a woman who gives up her virtue in search of love and commitment, voters are often find themselves less than satisfied with the results. Still, they keep coming back, believing the same fairy tales.
The sad thing is that once a person sacrifices their values for the seat at the table, they will soon find that they can and will equivocate on anything. My question is, is it worth it? A process that is built on people compromising their core values, their principles, only serves the masters of the process, not themselves. They have become slaves to the wishes and desires of others. They have become nothing. Are we that poor in spirit and mind? If so, where did this failure come from?
I’d like to get into detail here in regards to the spiritual aspects, but I intended this article to be about our political choices. At this point, the failure is fait accompli. We have churches, caring parents, an education system and we still produce people that one, do not use critical thinking in or about the political process and two, are willing to do anything for that seat at the table or for something in return. Basically people want something for nothing, but only a fool is bribed with his or her own money. As our society creates higher abstraction layers of wants, in turn these things become perceived needs. An example of this is the credit crunch. We have been extended credit to the point that we do not only have everything we need, but in many instances, everything we want. We are the only country in the world where someone considered poor might have a house, and a car, both with air conditioning.
The idea of extending credit to pump the economy is nothing new. Even Alexander Hamilton promulgated this with the government. Banks had perfected this credit equilibrium to inflate the economy, driven by consumerism. As long as Uncle Sam helped when it could, it to would benefit with increased tax revenue, and a satiated populace like a sailor that has blown a months salary on hookers and booze in one night.
Now with the partial collapse, or what I call a correction, the mark is called. Reality has slapped some in the face and like the sailor with a hangover, they wonder where all their money went. Of course Team Geppetto has to do their part by promoting the perception all of us are hung over. So like the addicts that Americans are, we do not want to feel any pain. So we go to our dealer, our pimp, and ask if they can make the pain go away. Electing Obama was a classic example of this. Change and Hope is emotional nebulous bull shit. Always has been, always will be. He recognized that people were looking for the relief of their pain. Being the messianic master magician he is, he did his magic tricks and now he is president. Now Americans are willing to give up almost anything to not only get relief from their pain, but to get what they have not earned as well. Basically, that girl that gave up her virtue in search of love and commitment is now a prostitute hooked on heroin. She’ll do anything to boot up. She has no honor, pride, self-esteem, or moral compass. Talk about a lost soul.
Like the Chinese menu, everything that is political in this country comes from the same kitchen. Both the GOP and the Democrats want it and like it this way. While we are supposed to be a government of the people, by the people and for the people, it is not so. These gangsters master is power, the power they get over us from us. so who is the fool here?
There are parties that offer alternatives, but they are perceived as losers with no chance of winning. It becomes a self-fulfilling prophesy, and what we are left with is column A and Column B. Take the libertarians and parties like that. Some great ideas, and great philosophies. The problem is, libertarians offer nothing for the addicts that is tangible. There is nothing to barter for quid pro quo, nothing for the fools to get in return, except more freedom of course. Unfortunately, in today’s day and age, the idea of freedom has become meaningless. People think they have enough freedom, as long as they can have a standard of living that kings didn’t have 75 or even 50 years ago. They also don’t care what unchosen obligation they impose, what unrewarded duty or an involuntary servitude is sustained upon themselves or others in the pursuit of this. It’s not a rational self-interest, but an irrational one, one that Team Geppetto understands and manipulates through it’s populist measures. Freedom doesn’t sell because it promises nothing without risk and responsibility. People would have to evolve from the addict’s puerile and selfish attitude to one of self-reliant adults.
And this is where we end up. Who has the power to control. It is a contest between being free, which means that we make our own decisions and are responsible for them versus a safety net where we don’t have to be responsible for our actions. If we give up this control in our lives, who benefits? Progressives like BHO will say that society benefits. altruism is the service to others without regard for oneself. If this is true, than slavery is the highest attainment. Who benefits? Those in power benefit, particularly those with a progressive view that humans are incapable of taking care of themselves, incapable of being responsible, incapable of managing their own affairs, and that the only answer that will solve all our problems is through the government. Does it sound familiar? Ever hear of Original Sin? In the christian context, salvation can only happen through a belief in Jesus Christ. With progressives the religion is the government, the savior now is BHO, and the Original Sin is man’s conflict between puerile attachment and self-reliance. What we are seeing here is the attempt to create another religion that will control people’s lives. Look at Islam and Sharia Law (throw in Dhimmi, Jizya and Pahlavi), or the Catholic church some centuries ago (and in some places not some centuries ago). They rule(d) people’s lives and made decisions about people’s everyday lives. So progressivism and socialism are just another belief system where an oligarchical power structure benefits at the expense of the rest of us. So where am I going with this? Why do we need this? Where should we go? That is in Part II which will follow. As usual:
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Ayn Rand On Tom Snyder

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Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

While flawed, like all of us, still great. Her words are as prescient now as they were then. 

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Written by James Lagnese

January 13, 2009 at 9:32 pm

Posted in Ayn Rand

John Batchelor: Galt meets Winnie and the Beggar France

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Batchelor, as good as ever, plus his acknowledgement of the prescience of Ayn Rand
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Written by James Lagnese

January 13, 2009 at 9:10 pm

Obama and his Swipe at the "Virtue of Selfishness"

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Only a loser like Obama would take a swipe at a dead woman, and one that I may add is probably the greatest philosopher of the twentieth century (warts and all), but I digress. Ayn Rand was born in Russia and left there when communism was in full swing. If anyone could make a case against Marxism, it would have been Ayn Rand and I would have loved to see her cut Obama down in a head to head debate. Obama seems to think that categorizing people that disagree with him as Objectivists in a pejorative way boosts his position as a socialist. This clearly shows his facile understanding of Ayn Rand and Objectivism. Ayn Rand believed in using reason, and to that extent that rational self-interest was a virtue. It doesn’t proscribe that you would never help others outside of your family, but never as a sacrifice of yourself or anyone else. She didn’t believe in altruism as it isn’t rational. She was right of course. I do have issues with some of the results of her philosophy, but she brings more to the table in a positive way than negative. 


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Written by James Lagnese

November 1, 2008 at 9:50 am