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View Diary: The Catholic Right's Ayn Rand Economics (61 comments)

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  •  I'm not sure that Aristotle (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dirtandiron, paul2port

    could have provided a better model of social justice to Ayn Rand.  You have to remember his views on slavery, and that some people are naturally meant to be slaves.

    From Nicomachean Ethics:

       But is there any one thus intended by nature to be a slave, and for whom such a condition is expedient and right, or rather is not all slavery a violation of nature?

        There is no difficulty in answering this question, on grounds both of reason and of fact. For that some should rule and others be ruled is a thing not only necessary, but expedient; from the hour of their birth, some are marked out for subjection, others for rule.


    Where then there is such a difference as that between soul and body, or between men and animals (as in the case of those whose business is to use their body, and who can do nothing better), the lower sort are by nature slaves, and it is better for them as for all inferiors that they should be under the rule of a master.

    So we all respect Aristotle for his contributions in other areas, but when it comes to things like freedom and social justice and equality and individual rights, well, to be generous, we can just assume he had typical "misconceptions" of his time.

    As for this, this isn't strictly true...

    Rand and her fellow Objectivists ignore that among the tenets of  liberal economics is that the component of personality is preserved by the realization of private property with the further understanding that even everyday workers require a sturdy government that will protect their ability to acquire property in a meritorious way.
    Objectivists and most libertarians recognize the need to protect the ability of individuals to protect and acquire property "in a meritorious way."  How you achieve that, though, is a matter of debate.  Back in the good ol' days (and it was long ago, so cut me slack), when I actually paid money to attend seminars on this crap of how to achieve a stateless laissez-faire society, one of the most common assumptions was that to achieve it, you need STRONG TORT LAWS to prevent fraud and theft.  Yes, everything, even theft, even murder, would be a tort, with financial penalties.  (This is one of the things that always makes me shake my head when I hear a conservative railing against tort laws.)  

    But who is going to operate the courts if you don't want the government meddling in the economy?  Where will the tort law come from?  And this is where you really start to get into the weird underbelly of libertarian thought.  One way of achieving this is, they would propose, is to have a voluntary civil court system, like systems of voluntary arbitration we have now, but with the additional teeth that you can't opt out without losing by default, and if you lose and try to blow off the system, all businesses that participate in the system will cut you off.

    Yes, you're thinking about all the holes in this.  They do sweat bullets over trying to patch it all up like the boy with his finger in the dike finding 10 more cracks.  At some point, it becomes a weird kind of alternative reality engineering exercise and interesting in that sense, but so progressively divorced from reality that it creates a delusional cult brotherhood.

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