I need to spend a few years studying philosophy (Wikipedia addiction takes hold again...)
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Just couldn't force myself to sit down and program today, but neither could I find anyone who wanted to get together and discuss ideas. So, being a hopeless geek, I started writing some political screed or another for you screed-loving people; but every time I referenced someone I found myself tripping through the highways and biways of wikipedia exploring that person, and every ideology connected with them.
I'll jot some notes here in case I ever get back to it...
Rand's ideology is flawed. That's pretty obvious when you consider that society itself is a bunch of people sacrificing some degree of freedom in order to enjoy the benefits of belonging to a functional society; and similarly, society reserves the right to apply force to the individual (and by Locke, the individual reserves the right to rise up against inappropriate application of force). However, the ideal behind the ideology (that of personal freedom which does not impinge upon the freedoms of others) is a perfectly valid impulse.
Looking at it another way, try applying Kant's Categorical Imperative (<elided> used to love mentioning that name because it felt so overblown for what it described) (particularly the formula of universal law) to the Randian Objectivist ideal. Imagine a world where everyone concerns themselves solely with their own (narrow) interest, and is unwilling to do anything for anyone around them. Why would a policewoman confront an armed individual? Why would anyone rise to protect their country? Why would anyone pay taxes to build a road? A hospital?
The obvious answer to all of those is "why, enlightened self interest, my rather daft fellow". The libertarian recognises the need to fund those pieces of the government that directly benefit them. They just try to argue down the scope of the collectivity until only those things that they want are supported, while all others are left out.
If they think deeply at this point, they begin to realise that if only those things they want are supported, there are enough people around who will be unsatisfied enough to "upset the apple cart", taking away their new-found toys (a society under their control), so they grudgingly allow that enough support (or trickery) be added to the "bill" take away the danger of revolt... to make enough people happy enough to keep the society running (though, of course, only just enough).
The childish outlook ("it's mine, it's all mine!") leaves them grudgingly supporting the society they've created, seeing it as an undue burden that they want to reduce as much as possible, taking back what's theirs by right when possible. They approach a Toohey or a Machiavellian prince the further they carry this idea.
Which is where you get the Republican ideal (which, of course, is supported by the Democratic party in the States as well); rule by the rich to prevent the masses from rising up and stripping away the "rights" of the rich to take back from society that which is charged for keeping order and law intact.
How do you prevent others from becoming desperate enough to disregard the law and stealing from you? Why you make them content enough that they aren't willing to revolt.
You can decide to do it through a liberal-looking agenda (actually make life good for the vast majority so that they are willing to fight for the status quo), or you can implement a pervasive propaganda campaign (look at the modern media to get an idea of the complexity required) that sedates the populace into thinking life is good while you rape and pillage them (yes, I realise that the raping and pillaging violates a Randian precept, but there's only a small step required from "I'm only concerned with my own happiness" to "I'm only concerned with how much happiness I can get away with grabbing without getting caught").
(Oh, note to the power brokers in the United States: 1984 was not intended as a 'how to' manual.)
Again, it's not that the impulses to freedom and responsible government are wrong, it's that they need to be balanced with an understanding of the need for collectivity and cooperation. Locke's ideal of government by the will of the governed suggests that fleecing the populace is not a safe approach, no matter how much you sedate them.
Anywho, I should take a walk or something, no one reads "Plumbing" for meandering political posts...
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