Wednesday, June 12, 2002


Steve Den Beste has a post on how he is describing himself in philosophical terms. I agree with his thoughts on Liberals and Conservatives. I call myself a radical for capitalism. I am an Objectivist. I am opposed to the Libertarian movement. I don't agree with Steve's pragmatism:

"We Engineerists are intensely pragmatic. We don't try to come up with overriding philosophies ("wealth is evil", "Government regulation is evil", "America is evil") and then judge everything based on it. Individual cases are taken as they come, and the only criterion for any given proposal is practical: will it work better than the alternatives?"

If you want to live a good life, you should guide it in a principled way. If you don't have an integrated system of ideas, i.e. philosophy, you will sooner or later get lost. You will have a mixed bag of ideas, contradicting each other.

"In the Objectivist view, moral principles are not luxuries reserved for "higher" souls or duties owed to the supernatural. They are a practical, earthly necessity to anyone concerned with self-preservation.
The only alternative to action governed by moral principle is action expressing short-range impulse. But for man, as we know, the short-range, viewed long-range, is self-destructive. This is the practical point missed by pragmatism, which tells people to judge each choice not by reference to abstract theory, but only by its results after it has been tried; which insists that today's results need not recur tomorrow; and which urges that each situation be approached "experimentally," "on its own terms." Such a philosophy amounts to the declaration: drop your mind, discard your capacity for thought, decide each case perceptually. This is precisely what man cannot do; not for long." -- Leonard Peikoff (1991) ["The Good," Objectivism: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand, page 218 - 219.]

For a good introduction on Objectivism, go to The Ayn Rand Institute's web site.

To "The Rational Pirate" and Glenn Reynolds: If you want to buy a T-shirt with the text "Don't Tread On Me" and the rattlesnake, check out ALH Products.