Monday, March 29, 2010

Lobbying versus Rights

Paul Hsieh has an editorial out in the Denver Post. It shows how government control of medicine will necessarily turn questions about what to fund and what not to fund into political decisions. To me it also highlights the fact that the only way we can win in the long term is to advocate for principles. The various freedoms and rights are a unity -- they arise from the same fundamental facts about human nature. Ultimately that's the argument we have to make.

That's not to say we can't fight specific battles. We can and we should. Not only to preserve some semblance of freedom in which to make broader arguments, but more importantly to give inductive evidence for why our principles are correct and reasonable. Indeed this is the "virtuous circle" of a true and integrated philosophy: The specific applications are evidence of the validity of the more general principles, and the more general principles shed an illuminating light on the more specific cases. Defending and promoting either advances the whole (as long as we use the correct arguments for each).


Anonymous Steve D said...

Perhaps, but the sad truth is that we have been advocating for principles for decades and it hasn't stopped the march toward government control.

I agree with your analysis of the problem but it will be solved only when a substantial number of people decide to learn to think correctly. I am not advocating giving up the fight (how could anyone just give up), but at some point there must be a realization that the vast majority of people do not care for reason and do not care to learn how to use it.

8:04 PM  
Blogger Amit Ghate said...

Hi Steve,

Thanks for the comment. There definitely are many obstacles, and the outcome (at least to me) is unpredictable. But there are many things that are different now compared to two decades ago:
- There's a culture looking for better ideas (or at least solutions).
- There are many Objectivist authors publishing books to a relatively wide audience.
- Objectivists are getting more organized and more involved.
- At least as I understand it, the philosophy profession (or a significant part of it) is getting better (aka more rational). This makes it possible to make inroads in academia.
- Most importantly, many people are learning the nuts and bolts of Objectivism, seeing how it applies to their lives over time, and being successful because of it. This is the most powerful evidence for anyone wishing to better their own lives, and hence is our best selling point. (I think it fits in the category of the virtuous circle of an integrated philosophy which I mentioned in the original post.)
So while I can't say your pessimism is wrong, I personally don't share it.

8:18 PM  

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