Ayn Rand & Freedom
By: Thomas Lee Abshier, ND
A friend of Tom’s from sent the video link of Mike Wallace interviewing Ayn Rand in 1958. I think Tom hit the nail on the head with his critique of Libertarianism in his comparison of it with the Judeo-Christian Constitutional Republic approach of the Founders. I think Tom makes it clear why Libertarianism won’t work any better than anarchy, liberalism, socialism, progressivism, or communism. These are the beasts currently seducing us and seeking to destroy our system of government. I hope you can find the time to read his commentary sometime this week and to weigh the consequences to our future if any of these other systems prevail in their attempts at overthrowing our current Constitution. Please strongly pray for our new members of Congress to impact our nation in their attempt to return us to Constitutional government according to the Founders’ original intent.
On Jan 16, 2011, at 10:02 AM
Thomas Lee Abshier, ND
John, you are clearly very passionate about the perspective of a free market and freedom from imposition of government-approved/imposed slavery. I, of course, agree with the general concepts.
My line of reasoning is based upon what I consider to be the fact/reality that groups will naturally organize into global, state, county, and city-size groups. And given man’s nature to love power and want personal comfort at the expense of others, and use the power of the state/money/majority to give him the authority and means to exert control with force over others, he will probably misuse it and enslave others in a way that you and I would judge to be unrighteous.
But, having said that, you and I both have heard of people who are admired for their leadership of communities; such as mayors, sheriffs, commissioners, etcetera who guided the moral tone of a city into a modern day Mayberry and Pleasantville. My theory posits that good/moral/righteous people can actually direct and frame the environment in which they live into being a wonderful place to live because they have chosen good/right rules of behavior that are yes, enforced. As long as the freedom of movement is allowed, then the living under the restrictions of law in Mayberry and Pleasantville is voluntary. If Jacque T. Ripper wants to live in Satanica, instead of Pleasantville, then he should have the right to move to the location of his choice.
The problem is, from a long line of violations and excursions from Original Intent, that the Federal government has invaded the domain of the State and said that the laws requiring goodness, moral teaching, excellent Godly education, right sexual restraint and exercise, inclusion of Biblical training, and a true history of the nation… is illegal, and such restrictions will be forced. They are on the eve of banning the right to have a Cross on the top of Soledad, have long since banned the right to pray and teach from the Bible and teach its principles and truth, this all began with the ban on the right to transport children to Catholic schools, and a key point of policy is forcing every citizen to pay for government-funded abortions. In effect, they have outlawed the very social policies that made Pleasantville pleasant, and are in the process of enforcing the commission or support of evil.
The very policies, voluntarily chosen by communities, which when enforced and trained upon its citizens, directed men into the paths of righteousness, and these very positive policies have been specifically, and to my mind were purposefully, outlawed by the Feds. I believe we are already subject to the slavery to which you object. The moral error is the mixing of layers, the administration across boundaries of proper jurisdiction.
The Feds (specifically the Supremes) have imposed their humanist, anti-Christian worldview upon the entire nation. The Executive Branch bureaucracy by Administrative Rule has expanded and made specific the restrictions upon community freedom. This moral imposition has been done in the name of multiculturalism, non-discrimination, honoring diversity, and non-imposition of a moral system on a diverse people. But their edicts spring from a humanistic moral system, and it is a tyranny, it is slavery, and it is wrong. This tyranny of ideas is being imposed upon a people who had already chosen their local moral system, which restrained and directed their behavior in certain ways. It is because of the Feds/Supremes imposition of a Godless religion upon the nation that we are having this discussion.
We cannot accuse the Judeo-Christian ethic of hypocrisy or demanding that other religions be suppressed. As a Christian culture, only expect that the culture of the Founders be continued. The tyranny of the imposition of humanism by the removal of that which perpetuates the Judeo-Christian culture/heritage is the point of disagreement. As a Christian nation, there has been never a state demand to believe a particular doctrine. The only State imposition of Christianity on the culture has been the laws and rules of conduct which sprang from that belief system. In America, all faiths are tolerated, but all behaviors are not.
Because of our Founding as a Christian nation, the organization of the nation’s laws around other religions was largely rejected until recent times. Our legal system’s foundation upon the principles of our Christian heritage has only a thin strand connecting and maintaining it. Perpetuating the influence of our Christian heritage depends upon the soft-force of family educating its youth. When the humanist cabal usurped the public education system, a change in the direction of our nation was virtually certain. When the education system refused to faithfully continue the indoctrination of our youth in the culture and faith of their parents, a slow-motion coup was set in motion.
Those who wished to dethrone Christ from the national worship have used the power of the state to impose a humanistic indoctrination upon our youth, with the goal of owning the nation. This usurpation of the spiritual allegiance was done covertly, contravening the restrictions of the spirit and letter of the Constitution. But, such treachery is to be expected, given the nature of the spiritual world. And, given that deception is a standard tool used by the forces of darkness, little else should be expected. The shame to the community of Christ is our lack of vigilance and resistance to the glacial creep of the humanistic tyranny that we now see sweeping the nation.
The right of any group to perpetuate a culture by exposing, training, teaching its youth the ethic of the previous generation is a vital aspect of being a free people. America was established as a Christian nation, with a Judeo-Christian ethic derived from the Old and New Testament. The policies that came out of the cultural debate were good, right, and just to the extent that the ideals of the Judeo-Christian ethic were properly and rightly instituted. But, this ethic has been eroded by Federal law (mainly by Judicial fiat), as it mandated other moral systems be instituted superior to the Judeo Christian ethic. This interpretation of Constitutional principle and intent was done without the consent, and in fact, in opposition to the will of the people and the history and heritage of the nation.
My reasoning opposing the notion of our nation being transformed into an anarcho-capitalist Libertarian nation without laws, governed by market forces includes the following: We were established as a Constitutional Republic, and organized around the Judeo-Christian ethic. It is proper and moral for every nation to organize its society around the ethical system of its founders.
It is impossible to avoid the imposition of a group system of rule since; 1) men will naturally organize into groups of nations, states, counties, and cities, regardless of whether we have moral compunctions about another person having authority over us or not. 2) There is no need to capitulate to a lawless state because of the imperfection of law, or objections of a minority. I believe the Judeo-Christian ethic is at its core the most complete and correct standard of human organization, and thus it is only a matter of honest debate and sincere attempts to implement the prescription of scripture that will eventually produce a society that reflects the perfection represented by the Holy Bible.
I do not believe these assumptions contradict the notions of freedom as long as there is freedom of movement, and there is no coercion to believe a particular doctrine. The law arising from scripture should be validated as good and true simply by observing the fruit of its implementation. I believe parents have the right, and in fact a duty, to indoctrinate their children into their faith, but parents should also teach a child to examine the entire body of world ideas. Children should be taught to think critically, reason, evaluate an argument based on fact, and to challenge the validity of fact.
I personally don’t think that Christianity has done this to the degree of detail is necessary to validate the faith on a logic and fact basis. But, even without filling in all the details, the effect of following the Judeo-Christian ethic on a man’s life is so beneficial, that the life results alone are sufficient to validate the value of the faith.
The lack of a full explanation of the drama and play that led to the creation and crucifixion drove me on my own vision quest to develop my own narrative and theories of creation/spirit/nature that have allowed me to believe as I do. I have documented by theory at www.theoryofabsolutes.com, and I believe that ideas might make it be easier for the Christian worldview to compete on the level of logic with the science-based religion of today. Until the time when we adopt a narrative that justifies our faith from consciousness, to substance, to morality, to faith, to salvation, we will continue debating across a philosophical divide with the scientific world. We currently use a common language, but with disparate referents, with our discussions coming to no agreement because of the lack of a philosophical terrain that smoothly connects worldviews. I believe my theory allows that smoothing. Time will tell if my ideas will change anything. (I realize it’s a long shot.)
Possibly my assumption of the workability of organizing the nation so that people of different faiths, customs, and social organizations migrate and associate to various towns, counties, and states to test the workability of their choice of lifestyle is incorrect. And possibly my assumption is incorrect that the Judeo-Christian ethic most correctly reflects the natural law upon which men were designed. Obviously, I think that my arguments about community and their right to choose and enforce local ethics is correct. If there is no need for any group organization on any level, then my argument fails. If in fact every community should be organized around market principles only, and every community operates best this way, then no community should be organized around a law, judiciary, and executive system.
Granted, a community could be organized around market principles only, without a law and enforcement system. And, the society that forms under that system would be good to the extent that everyone in the community followed the True ethics that inherently govern human nature.
(Leaving aside national considerations for the moment.) The Libertarian argument appears to be that the best community organization is one where there is no local group ethic that is enforced. Rather, there are only choices made by the market forces (anarcho-capitalism) that direct how the community organizes itself. In other words, no central government requiring or allowing anything; no city planners, no city government, no city ordinances, laws, or rules of behavior imposed upon anyone. The key words I heard Ayn Rand speaking were that a society should exert no force, no slavery, and no imposition of any rules of conduct upon anyone.
The Libertarian/Anarcho-capitalist system is one possible organization of men in society that should be allowed in our society. I believe that groups should have the right to organize their city, county, and/or state around these principles. If men desire to organize themselves around these principles, then the experiment should be conducted in the laboratory of society, culture, and economy on a small scale. And, the experiment would probably turn out well to the extent that the populace was in majority Moral. This experiment has as much right to be run and widely implemented, as does the right of the city to organize around the mayor, council, boards, and local ordinances.
The argument that Ayn stands upon as her projected moral high ground is that no man has the right to tell any other man what to do with force. I disagree. The parent has every right to restrain his child with force. The group has every right to restrain the murderer from continuing in his ways. The nation has every right to mobilize force against those who would invade its boundaries, whether through arms or the more subtle invasion of ideologies. Force is necessary to maintain boundaries as there are innate spiritual, psychological, emotional drives that push men to invade boundaries.
The Libertarian, recognizing that the above is true, then seeks to say that these invasions should be combated with market force-based tools — men choosing freely to oppose them. And again, this is certainly one method of organizing a city, county, state, and/or nation.
We were organized as a Constitutional Republic, and I believe we should have the right to choose to impose that upon ourselves. There is no moral violation in choosing to accept living within a domain where I am subject to the rules of the domain. We have the right to impose rules upon ourselves. Likewise, there is no moral violation associated with the city, county, or state officials executing the provisions of laws passed by the majority. The problem comes when I don’t agree with the morality of the law. If this is a hard tyranny, then lobbying, judicial action, and media persuasion are all futile; in such a condition, I truly am living in a slave state and prison planet.
If the law can be opposed by social action, and legislative and judicial remedies, then I live in a governmental environment that will change on its own evolutionary timeframe dictated by its internal forces of resistance, momentum, and propulsion. There is not a huge amount of difference between the market-based system and a state-law based system when both can be influenced. The market-based system assumes that all human transactions can be entered into and withdrawn by monetary vote. The Law-based system, with its democratically established rules, depends on the psyche/opinion/knowledge/mindset of the majority.
If the society and its functions can be divided into their polar opposites, or blended between the poles, then the economy-based system would be workable. The only requirement being, that the people occupying that system are tolerant of the other systems. In the market-based economy there will be situations where an invasive, destructive business/organization chooses to use force, theft, slander, etcetera against its rivals. In such a case, a market-based team will be assembled to counter that invasion.
But, just as a market-based system could work, I believe that men should be given the opportunity to choose to live in a law-based system. This is the system that we were given by our Founders, and yes we are subject to laws which we did not pass, and a national charter contract (Constitution) we did not sign. But, if there are laws that we do not like, we can lobby against them, just as we can form a market-based force against the evil empire that has come to dominate Smelterville. Both systems require the morality that must be at the foundation of any government that would be acceptable within a moral society.
Your argument is based (at least in part) upon the ethic that no man has the right to tell any other man what to do. (You have framed this argument around the obvious good/evil polarity that slavery is bad and freedom is good. I, of course, agree with this on the highest and most general of levels.) My argument is that the organization of men around regions and ideologies is unavoidable. I believe the only way to give men true freedom is to allow them to choose their ethic and enforce it within the group and give them the option of choosing their group and its associated ethics. Beyond that, I don’t think we will be able to manifest the dream of freedom.
A purely anarcho-capitalist world, with no group rules and enforcement, is simply one of the choices that we should have. Even in this world organization, there will be a group ethic that dominates, and if not, there will be warfare of sorts between the two ethics, both seeking to dominate the other. And yes, this is a type of freedom. In the struggles to support my ideals, I can choose to ally with the Empire or the Resistance, and in a Libertarian solution, I would use the tools of participation in the market and production to support my side.
In the law-based system, the local culture, the market is free to the extent that it operates within the boundaries of the group ethic. Granted, the freedom is limited, but the security and happiness can be optimized within that environment. In the law-based system, it does not allow a totally free market in the sense of every manufacturer/purveyor providing whatever service/product he wants. Some behaviors/products will fall afoul of some group ethic. In other words, it is not appropriate to require porn outlets in Pleasantville. To impose a market-based economy/ethic on the entirety of the country is a type of tyranny that arises by requiring the expression of total market freedom. If people don’t want that, they should have the right to choose to be governed by a set of laws.
In other words, I am advocating Libertarianism as an option, to be executed on a city-choice basis. I believe the higher layer central governments should avoid legislating (mandating behaviors) outside of their particular layer of jurisdiction.
In the law and democracy based system, those who will not abide by the group ethic (the local community, business, family…) will, and should, face the forceful repercussions of falling afoul of the group ethic. Of course, there are many forms of force, from a request, facial gesture of disapproval, reprimand, statement with forceful tone, physical restraint or coercion, and ultimately group authorized physical restraint. There is no clear line at which force becomes slavery, but every human interaction involves force of some sort. It may be the attractive force of request and enticement, or it may be the harsh force of discipline and consequences. The end result of each intervention has its intent of shaping the individual’s behavior to come in line with the group. The market-based society will use interpersonal force just as will the law-based society. The greater the offense against the group ethic, the greater the force that the group and its agents/members will exert. The only difference between personal and group authorized force is the level of agreement behind it. Typically, if people don’t like what the group forces them to do, they call it slavery. But, this objection to group force is easily handled by allowing each city to have its own set of group ethics.
As you can tell, I organize my sense of authorized force around that which is the appropriate domain of law for each layer, be it family, city, county, state, or nation, with each layer having laws that are progressively more general. Thus, the character of each state will be different, as it should be, and was intended by the Founders. The nation being the most general layer has as its most important and unique domain, the charge of defense of the boundaries of the nation.
The tyrannical imposition of Federal ethics upon the city/county/state is the perversion of the Founder’s intent for the central government that has initiated this entire discussion. The imposition of a group morality at the highest level leaves no room to run, no place to escape the tyranny of the ruling class.
I believe the perversion and movement away from the Judeo-Christian ethic was the purposeful intent motivating this entire excursion away from the Founding principles. I would be content to live under the slavery of the local ordinance if it were an ordinance I agreed with. I would likewise be willing to tolerate one I disagreed with if there were other options I could exercise (such as moving to another locality). I don’t mind suffering a little, and not taking action against every perceived moral imperfection of my community, or I may choose to occupy myself fighting City Hall. I can live in a system of potentially imposed force as long as I have at least the potential means to oppose the rules, tyranny, and slavery via escape, media, persuasion, and/or democratically mediated victory.
The current state of option-less slavery, with no-where-to-run, and no power to influence the milieu, is likewise one I do not support. Libertarian domains should be allowed as a Constitutional option for the organization of city/county/states. If they thrive, others will be attracted to this organization, and adopt these rules of social/economic organization. The impediment to implementing such organization is the unConstitutional reach of the Federal government into the lives of the common man and state government. This unConstitutional encroachment at all levels of organization and group must be rolled back to that prescribed by Original Intent. With the above qualifications and distinctions of domain, I completely agree with you and Ayn Rand. Libertarianism should be a choice, not another imposed system of group organization.