Saturday, August 11, 2007

Paul McKeever - Freedom Party of Canada

This post, featuring Paul McKeever's letter refusing to attend a libertarian event, is one of the more encouraging things I've run into in a while. (Paul McKeever is the president of the Freedom Party of Ontario - a group I'm not familiar with but which sounds promising, especially after reading Paul's letter and a few of his comments elsewhere.)

On a related issue, for people interested in, or curious about, the Peikoff/Kelley split, I think Paul's video at the bottom of the post does a great job of explaining the issues in layman's terms.

Finally, for those not yet convinced of the intellectual bankruptcy of the libertarian movement, I suggest following the first link in the post wherein the blog's author confirms the essential criticism of libertarianism in a post purporting to refute it (I kid you not). The more I read, the more I think libertarianism is not a school of thought, but merely a club whose sole admission policy constitutes mouthing the words "government is evil" (or perhaps more charitably, in mouthing the words "don't initiate force").

8 Comments:

Blogger P. M. Jaworski said...

I don't understand how my post, which "attempts" to refute the Objectivist objections to libertarianism, somehow proves the point?

Could you explain your position? I'm happy to be shown I'm wrong, but I just don't see it.

My argument is essentially semantic.

Consider: Suppose lung cancer and breast cancer had an argument. Suppose breast cancer refused to be called a kind of "cancer" because it was *not* caused by smoking. Breast cancer might make a big deal out of this, but it shouldn't persuade the rest of us not to call it cancer.

That's how I feel about Objectivists and libertarianism. Objectivists *are* political libertarians, although they seem to believe that they are not. Why not? You tell me...

9:32 PM  
Blogger Amit Ghate said...

Hi PM,

I'm heading out of town for a week but will try to get back to you on this in the following week ....

7:25 AM  
Anonymous Steve L. said...

Mr. Jaworski,

In your http://jaworski.blogspot.com/2007/04/what-do-you-have-to-believe-to-be.html post you admit to the charge by Objectivists but ignore the argument and instead concentrate on the use of the word "libertarian".

Your beef seems to be that Objectivists refuse to call themselves libertarian because they have different philosophical foundations than some people who do call themselves "libertarian". You think that because Objectivists arrive at some of the same political conclusions as libertarians but do so from different starting points therefore they are really just libertarians. This completely ignores the whole point of the Objectivist argument and is simply not true.

The end result of libertarianism is anarchism. Its rejection of any ethical underpinnings will inevitably arrive at this conclusion because if libertarianism doesn't adopt any single ethical code, how can you really argue that the state is necessary? You can't do so from a moral point because libertarianism rejects any single code of morals. It simply says "though shall not initiate force". That is why anarchists consider ANY government evil, because government is by nature, force.

But what is force? Is force ever necessary? Is force ever proper?

Libertarianism can't answer that because it is not a philosophy but a political movement.

Sure, there are some people who don't agree with anarchism but who call themselves libertarian. Those people don't understand the consequences of using politics as a starting point. Objectivism has shown the error in this time and time again.

You claim that conservatism gets a free pass from Objectivism. I disagree. Conservatism is also a "big tent" movement that really stands for nothing. Conservatism is even more vague and ambiguous than libertarianism.

Conservatism and Libertarianism are politicaly movements and NOT political philosophies. There is no single ethical code driving either of the movments. An ethical code is a requisite to any type of philosophy.

The libertarian movement is one whose strategy says that anyone who loves "liberty" should call themselves a libertarian and join together with others to promote "liberty". What is "liberty"? That's up for debate in the movement. What consitutes coercion? That's also up for debate in the movement. How can you answer these questions? Don't ask libertarianism. Just believe!!

Objectivism differs because it has a clear unambiguous understanding of freedom and coercion. It does so because its politics are a result of its metaphysics, epistemology and ethics.

Objectivists cannot call themselves libertarians because to be a "libertarian" one must accept that everyone's defense of liberty is valid. There is a reason why Rand called the philosophy "OBJECTIVE"-ISM and not "Subjective"-ism.

"Just believe in liberty!" the libertarians say. "The non-aggression principle is an axiom!". Well, it is not an axiom. It takes an understanding of metaphysics, epistemology and ethics to arrive at the non-aggression principle. Libertarianism isn't concerned with that though.

Objectivists are not libertarians just because they might share a belief in freedom with SOME people who call themselves libertarians. Just as Americans during WWII were not communists because they happened to share a belief with the Russians in defeating the Nazis.

The Americans were saying "destroy NazISM" but the Russians were saying "destroy Nazis".

Objectivists are saying "destory StatISM" but the libertarians are saying destroy "the state".

8:32 AM  
Anonymous Jim May said...

The Freedom Party is still around? I recall seeing *one* lawn sign for them during a provincial election way back when I wa a newly minted Objectivist still living in Canada, and I wondered about the point of a *provincial* party... in Canada, the provinces exist at te behest of the federal government, unlike here in the U.S., where (at least originally) it's the other way around.

As for the Libertarianism/Objectivist argument, Mr. Jaworski's comment hinges on the assumption that the differences between Objectivism and libertarianism are non-essential (which the "smoking" issue is, in terms of different cancers).

Well, if you don't look very deeply, they do resemble each other -- which they should, considering that libertarians merely cribbed their politics from Ayn Rand -- that, and nothing else.

But when you do look deeper, the difference becomes apparent. Paul Hsieh's essay is the best explanation I know of.

http://www.dianahsieh.com/blog/2004/08/fable-of-cardiac-surgeon-and.html

4:11 AM  
Blogger Amit Ghate said...

Hi PM,

I've responded here: http://amitghate.blogspot.com/2007/08/comment-on-conclusions-and.html

6:21 PM  
Anonymous Craig J. Bolton said...

There are several good points made by the debaters in this thread, but others that are not so good.

Yes, libertarianism is primary a negative point of view, aimed at exposing the defects and limitations of government. Some persons may reasonably conclude from examining those defects and limitations that a social order without government [anarchy] is a better state of affairs to one with government. Objectivists seem to be unwilling to take that alternative seriously and head on, but, like the Lutheran Church Lady, they just wring their handkercheifs and whine "OWWWW, ANAAAARCY" and then go on to another topic.

Second, yes libertarianism has become a "big tent" movement. In some ways it always was, even when it wasn't libertarianism but was Radical Englightenment or Classical Liberalism. Yes, that is undesirable because it sometimes results in a lack of clarity regarding what libertarians favor and disfavor. In those respects it is much better to have a tightly disciplined cult whose members tow a particular slogan line with rigor. In other respects, however, the cult is not to be favored.

I find it odd for Objectivists to be criticizing libertarians for being unfamiliar with Philosophy. No Objectivist I have ever personally known has ANY training in philosophy, and as far as I know there are less than a hand full of Philosopher Objectivists in the entire world. Now why should that be? Objectivism is objectively [demonstrably] superior to every other philosophic point of view, isn't it? It has been around for about 50 years now. So why the utter lack of Objectivists with rigorous training in philosophy?

As someone with some of that rigorous training [at least to the extent of a B.A. in history of philosophy, philosophy of science and logic], let me suggest an answer. Objectivism is simply a hodgepodge of slogans. It isn't systematic. It isn't a philosphy at all. It is based, if on anything, on silly equivocations ["definition shifting" in your cult language]. So Objectivists really don't want to play this card of systematic philosophic grounding with those who know better.

10:04 AM  
Anonymous Jim May said...

Some persons may reasonably conclude from examining those defects and limitations that a social order without government [anarchy] is a better state of affairs to one with government. Objectivists seem to be unwilling to take that alternative seriously.

We don't take Flat Earthers seriously, either. Your point?

I find it odd for Objectivists to be criticizing libertarians for being unfamiliar with Philosophy.

I'd find that odd too. Pity for you that isn't the case. We criticize them for refusing to acknowledge its importance.

As someone with some of that rigorous training [at least to the extent of a B.A. in history of philosophy, philosophy of science and logic]

Really? All that and a bag of chips, and yet all you could come up with is:

"Objectivism is simply a hodgepodge of slogans. It isn't systematic. It isn't a philosphy at all. It is based, if on anything, on silly equivocations"

You might as well have said "AWWW< OBJECTIVISTS" and walked away. Oh, wait, you did. I hope you didn't overpay for that "education" of yours.

So Objectivists really don't want to play this card of systematic philosophic grounding with those who know better.

When such a person shows up, we'll have no problem taking them seriously.

2:48 PM  
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9:32 PM  

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