Re: objectivists hate libertariens

Eugene Leitl (
Mon, 23 Sep 1996 18:18:38 +0200 (MET DST)

On Sun, 22 Sep 1996, Peter Voss wrote:

> At 07:05 AM 22/9/96 -0700, Jim Stevenson wrote:
> >Why do so many objectivists especially Lenard Peikoff and Ayn Rand,
> >hate libertariens more than comunists, nazis etc?
> The 'official' argument is in Ayn Rand's collection of essays 'The Voice of
> Reason': Peter Schwartz's 'Libertarianism: The Perversion of Liberty'
> Essentially, the argument is that Libertarians are harmful to the ideas of
> capitalism and individual freedom in that they advocate them while rejecting

I think this is bullshit. I am fairly Libertarian, and I am strongly pro
capitalism. Maximizing individual freedom has no intrinsic value. It is
the maximization of in toto (over population, over time) happiness which
has value. Why? Because because because because because because. Infinite
regress. No rational reason. As it happens, at least in my case is full
congruency between ratio and emotion. Unless you are a freak, this is not
a coincidence. Humans are just doing things. Some of it is random modulated,
but most of it is an artefact of genetic or memetic history. Rational
beings fared better in the past. We tend to be rational, being the
descendants of survivors. Irrationality is also instrumental, as it helps
to avoid becoming trapped in local optima. All your actions form the
context for your co-humans, and vice versa. This defines an evolutionary
theatre. Certain boundary conditions given, it artefacts progressively
benign cooperation, albeit nonlinear. ALife computer runs show this. (This
had better be true, or this universe sucks noticeably).

Darwin, the great determinant.

> or ignoring the underlying philosophical foundations: objective reality,

What is objective reality? How can I learn anything about it, but through
my senses, and augmentary senses (gadgets), which translate things
outside my sphere of experience into a language I can understand.
Plato's cave. Is there an outside? That we _feel_ there is something out
there is but the artefact of the process by which we are generated: the
Darwinian evolution. Would we be randomly jumbled, we wouldn't be able to
agree on anything common, because there would be no overlap. We wouldn't
even be able to communicate the insight.

The search for objective reality resembles the quest for the Holy Grail.
With a single difference: there is no Grail. Even if it was, we wouldn't
know, and even if we did it would make no difference.

This is very like the Achilles/Tortoise paradoxon. It is insubstantial,
yet it had kept many men thinking about it. To no avail. So let's drop it.

> knowledge and ethics. They can therefore not logically and morally defend

Knowledge: a bag of tricks. Ethics: cooperation emergence due to
evolution pressure. Deterministic as hell.

> personal and economic freedom, nor do they have the tools to rationally
> define or resolve political issues.

I dunno... Going for the right goals, but for wrong reasons? What's wrong
with that? These objectivists are certainly not utilitarists. But they
are certainly irrational.

> I completely agree with this criticism. However, for me it does not follow
> that libertarians are 'more evil than communists' - I just think that they
> are mistaken in rejecting rational ethics. Objectivists' hatred seems to be

Ratio has no inherent value but instrumentality. There is no value
outside the human system. Many things are meaningless, if taken out of
context. So is meaning. (I must be a Darwinian utilitarist nihilist
Libertarian, or something like that).

> an irrational, non-objective over-reaction born out of contempt for
> libertarians who 'should know better', who are 'traitors to Objectivism' and
> who, in any case should have recognized Ayn Rand as their leader.

All in all, they sound like a funny bunch. But, being an utilitarist, I
have no problems with that ;)


> Peter