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Redsfaithful
01-01-2005, 07:05 AM
Lovely. Ayn Rand kind of makes me nauseous.

http://www.aynrand.org/site/News2?page=NewsArticle&id=10688&news_iv_ctrl=1021


Thursday December 30, 2004
By: David Holcberg

Our money is not the government's to give.

As the death toll mounts in the areas hit by Sunday's tsunami in southern Asia, private organizations and individuals are scrambling to send out money and goods to help the victims. Such help may be entirely proper, especially considering that most of those affected by this tragedy are suffering through no fault of their own.

The United States government, however, should not give any money to help the tsunami victims. Why? Because the money is not the government's to give.

Every cent the government spends comes from taxation. Every dollar the government hands out as foreign aid has to be extorted from an American taxpayer first. Year after year, for decades, the government has forced American taxpayers to provide foreign aid to every type of natural or man-made disaster on the face of the earth: from the Marshall Plan to reconstruct a war-ravaged Europe to the $15 billion recently promised to fight AIDS in Africa to the countless amounts spent to help the victims of earthquakes, fires and floods--from South America to Asia. Even the enemies of the United States were given money extorted from American taxpayers: from the billions given away by Clinton to help the starving North Koreans to the billions given away by Bush to help the blood-thirsty Palestinians under Arafat's murderous regime.

The question no one asks about our politicians' "generosity" towards the world's needy is: By what right? By what right do they take our hard-earned money and give it away?

The reason politicians can get away with doling out money that they have no right to and that does not belong to them is that they have the morality of altruism on their side. According to altruism--the morality that most Americans accept and that politicians exploit for all it's worth--those who have more have the moral obligation to help those who have less. This is why Americans--the wealthiest people on earth--are expected to sacrifice (voluntarily or by force) the wealth they have earned to provide for the needs of those who did not earn it. It is Americans' acceptance of altruism that renders them morally impotent to protest against the confiscation and distribution of their wealth. It is past time to question--and to reject--such a vicious morality that demands that we sacrifice our values instead of holding on to them.

Next time a politician gives away money taken from you to show what a good, compassionate altruist he is, ask yourself: By what right?

David Holcberg is a research associate at the Ayn Rand Institute in Irvine, Calif. The Institute promotes the philosophy of Ayn Rand, author of Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead.

RedsBaron
01-01-2005, 07:13 AM
Ayn Rand is of course deceased, but from what little I've read of her writings and philosophy the article probably accurates reflects her beliefs. She was reportedly a very strange and unpleasant person.
I have some libertarian leanings, but Ayn Rand illustrated how almost anything could be taken to extremes.

traderumor
01-01-2005, 08:49 AM
That's just dumb. To her, I say to whom much is given, much is required, whether it be wealth, talents, grace, etc.

MuEconRedLeg
01-01-2005, 12:52 PM
Ayn Rand kind of makes me nauseous.

That is a very "liberal" point of view.


I have some libertarian leanings, but Ayn Rand illustrated how almost anything could be taken to extremes.

This type of thinking has not always been considered extreme, nor should it be.


That's just dumb. To her, I say to whom much is given, much is required, whether it be wealth, talents, grace, etc.

She would reply, give freely and give graciously of yourself at your choosing, but no man should be imposed to give without his consent (I.E. Its not a gift if you do not give it through your own means).

I disagree with this piece and feel the Gov. should send relief in this case. However, do not pick at Ms. Rand if you do not fully understand her.

traderumor
01-01-2005, 01:19 PM
It's not real complex with respect to this issue. Her line of thinking would not allow any government spending, domestic or otherwise. If the majority believe that foreign philanthropy is a wrong use of tax dollars, then they remove those from office that think otherwise and vote in folks who agree with them. But, because they are tax dollars does not in and of itself preclude their expenditure in this manner, which is her basic argument.

Unassisted
01-01-2005, 01:20 PM
Contrarian views are useful because they are thought-provoking.

The Federal government seldom asks us how we want it to spend our tax dollars. I seriously doubt that this foundation is the place from which the Feds will start seeking that kind of advice.

jmcclain19
01-01-2005, 01:25 PM
Everyone's allowed to have their own points of view on this.

And of course, the rest of us are free to strongly disagree.

Thankfully, the Gov't isn't taking advice from the Ayn Rand Institute.

westofyou
01-01-2005, 01:28 PM
Ayn Rand interview in the first Playboy Interview book is classic.

I find her POV somewhat Facist at times.

MuEconRedLeg
01-01-2005, 01:47 PM
It's not real complex with respect to this issue. Her line of thinking would not allow any government spending, domestic or otherwise.

True enough, and a point at which I disagree with her works.


If the majority believe that foreign philanthropy is a wrong use of tax dollars, then they remove those from office that think otherwise and vote in folks who agree with them.

But, that does not mean a minority cannot voice an oppinion.



But, because they are tax dollars does not in and of itself preclude their expenditure in this manner, which is her basic argument.

You miss the point. An act can only be altruistic if a person (or group) gives something of his or her own. In this case the Government cannot truly be acting in benevolence since they are not giving something they own.

If the Government would simply state that rebuilding these areas is vital to our long-term interests. This specific argument would not stand (or would have to take on a different face). However, by giving aid the Government can proceed to seem benevolent by "robbing Peter to pay Paul".

But, private interests can truely give.


Such help may be entirely proper, especially considering that most of those affected by this tragedy are suffering through no fault of their own.

MuEconRedLeg
01-01-2005, 01:48 PM
I find her POV somewhat Facist at times.

HUH? What have you read?

westofyou
01-01-2005, 02:34 PM
HUH? What have you read?

Fascist might be too strong of a word and misplaced.

I however find fault in the total decleration that man exists for his own sake, that the pursuit of his own happiness is his highest moral purpose, he must not sacrifice himself to others or have others sacrifice themselves to him.

That I find against the nature of the interlocking, workable society.

But that's just me.

traderumor
01-01-2005, 03:00 PM
In this case the Government cannot truly be acting in benevolence since they are not giving something they own.

Do not agree with this point at all. The government is a legitimate entity that does take ownership, whether it is a transfer payment or not. To only look at the pragmatic side of the issue as to whether the government has the right to spend funds within the law is missing the point. That is the nature of a republic...representatives of the people make lawful decisions on how to spend money it has at its disposal, regardless of the source of the funds.

I guess if one wanted to split hairs, the government simply only uses funds gained from the private sector, such as T-Bills, Savings Bonds, etc. for foreign aid. Personally, they have enough bookkeeping nightmares without worrying about appeasing this particular political opinion.

Just as an aside, I'm not sure why the qualifications about difference of opinions? I didn't detect any testiness? :confused:

MuEconRedLeg
01-01-2005, 03:00 PM
I however find fault in the total decleration that man exists for his own sake, that the pursuit of his own happiness is his highest moral purpose, he must not sacrifice himself to others or have others sacrifice themselves to him.

This is often misunderstood and a point I have been trying to make in this thread. The philosophy of the objectivist is not that man cannot or should sacrifice himself to others, but that man should not be forced to sacrifice himself, by the state.

I do agree that Ayn Rand's arguments are too absolute (as did/do some of her followers). However, neither they nor any of us lived in Russia after the revolution. Context cannot be overlooked.

It may not be what this century considered "right" or "progressive", but an Objectivist is anything but fascist.

traderumor
01-01-2005, 03:03 PM
The philosophy of the objectivist is not that man cannot or should sacrifice himself to others, but that man should not be forced to sacrifice himself, by the state.That would preclude a military, even an all-volunteer. It would also allow victims of crimes aimed at the state, e.g. terrorist attacks on 9/11, to sue the US government for the loss of life.

MuEconRedLeg
01-01-2005, 05:33 PM
Do not agree with this point at all. The government is a legitimate entity that does take ownership, whether it is a transfer payment or not.

Aye Comrade Traderumor. :mhcky21:


Personally, they have enough bookkeeping nightmares without worrying about appeasing this particular political opinion.


Budget hawks of all shapes and sizes are critical of governmental overspending of all types. Personally, I think we should critically look at every dollar that leaves Washington.


That would preclude a military, even an all-volunteer. It would also allow victims of crimes aimed at the state, e.g. terrorist attacks on 9/11, to sue the US government for the loss of life.

Its not wrong to question the exsistance of a standing army and perhaps the government should be more careful when it comes to foreign affairs.

Newport Red
01-01-2005, 06:17 PM
What gets me is why no one tapped Holcberg on the shoulder and said, "You know Dave, you're a great guy and we're here for you. We've got a great cause. We look out for the taxpayer. We do a public service. But do you think this is the time to do a piece against foreign aid. I mean 140,000 people are dead and millions are starving. And your piece makes us all out to be inhuman Darwinist idiots."

"You haven't been in the sun since you've been here, Dave. Got out and meet someone."

traderumor
01-01-2005, 06:31 PM
Aye Comrade Traderumor. :mhcky21:



Budget hawks of all shapes and sizes are critical of governmental overspending of all types. Personally, I think we should critically look at every dollar that leaves Washington.



Its not wrong to question the exsistance of a standing army and perhaps the government should be more careful when it comes to foreign affairs.

This piece's purpose wasn't merely to provoke thought and illicit discussion, it was proposing that a certain type of governmental spending is wrong all the time. As you said, its a philosophy. But, since your proposing this as merely a re-evaluation of spending, I'm more worried about the government's domestic pork-barrell spending than I am about sending some aid to help folks who have the stench of rotting flesh fresh in their noses after a natural disaster.

MuEconRedLeg
01-01-2005, 07:11 PM
This piece's purpose wasn't merely to provoke thought and illicit discussion, it was proposing that a certain type of governmental spending is wrong all the time. As you said, its a philosophy. But, since your proposing this as merely a re-evaluation of spending, I'm more worried about the government's domestic pork-barrell spending than I am about sending some aid to help folks who have the stench of rotting flesh fresh in their noses after a natural disaster.

Maybe its purpose was to target a specific type of spending. But, that does not mean we should not view it as thought provoking. It is also important to understand the framework the author was coming from and that many people (to an extent myself) feel that governmental taxing and spending is wrong and against a set of values.

Furthermore, this article should not be used to attack Ayn Rand or the objectivist philosophy, particularly if the context is not understood. Even though the article is in poor taste.

But, we do have some common ground I would much rather see tax money going to aid those who are suffering than something like economic development.

Redsfaithful
01-01-2005, 07:35 PM
Maybe its purpose was to target a specific type of spending. But, that does not mean we should not view it as thought provoking. It is also important to understand the framework the author was coming from and that many people (to an extent myself) feel that governmental taxing and spending is wrong and against a set of values.

Furthermore, this article should not be used to attack Ayn Rand or the objectivist philosophy, particularly if the context is not understood. Even though the article is in poor taste.

But, we do have some common ground I would much rather see tax money going to aid those who are suffering than something like economic development.

Are you a religious man MuEconRedLeg? I've often wondered how objectivists can be Christian (or any other denomination), since I've known a couple of people who espouse both beliefs.

MuEconRedLeg
01-02-2005, 10:18 AM
Are you a religious man MuEconRedLeg? I've often wondered how objectivists can be Christian (or any other denomination), since I've known a couple of people who espouse both beliefs.

I am Relgious.

I do not consider myself an objectivist or an Ayn Rand follower. I have studied all of her writings and enjoy them, but philosophically/Religiously I am more Baptist and politically much more Friedman.

I do think that she is a fascinating figure and brings many important points to light. But, much like Marx, people (for and against) pick tidbits of her teachings and rail on them or quote them without looking at the whole or presenting any real substance. Bluntly, I like to play Devil's Advocate and defend her work.

As far as an objectivist being religious that would be a tough sell. Considering that faith is one of the big evils in Rand's writings. But, many pillars of objectivism and the Protestant Work Ethic are similar, and none of Ayn Rand's writings say be an evil person it only says take care of you before you help others and you should not be forced to do so.

I donít think it is a stretch to respect and incorporate some of her teaching and be religious, but it would be a stretch to be a whole hog objectivist.

GAC
01-02-2005, 09:17 PM
Wasn't it Crowley who esposued "Do what thou wilt?".

MuEconRedLeg
01-03-2005, 09:26 AM
Wasn't it Crowley who esposued "Do what thou wilt?".

Yep