The Objectivist Rejection of Libertarianism

I’m not the right person to put this eloquently, nor am I even particularly good at doing so in the first place. Instead, I’ll spell the objectivist rejection of libertarianism out, as I personally understand it.

Objectivism rejects libertarianism because at it’s core, libertarianism is not a philosophy, nor even a political philosophy, but an anti-philosophy. This is seen most clearly when libertarianism is described as a “united front” for liberty. While that sounds nice enough, what it actually means is anything and everything goes, so long as it is for liberty.

So in theory, you could be a devout altruist/collectivist, completely reject the supremacy of man’s mind, and you would still be welcomed with open arms to libertarianism — simply because you believe liberty is a value worthy of “the common good” that you do your best to serve, every day.

In this case, a person’s highest moral value is serving others, and not his own happiness. An individual’s right to life is of no major consequence — only his freedom is important because his freedom is how he best serves others*.

*It’s worthy to note that this is primarily how republicans defend capitalism and free markets. It is how individuals best serve everyone else, be it “America”, “God”, or “society”. The important point is anyone and everyone, except you.

Basically, libertarianism takes man’s supreme right to his life, and replaces it with his derivative right to liberty — opening the door to a wide range of nonsense.

It’s sort of like taking

1=1

2=2

and coming up with

1=2

and forgetting all about 1.

~~~

While there’s more to it than that, this is largely why the libertarian party has been such a colossal failure over the decades. They started a third party and “forgot” to build a real platform, and decided instead to accept anyone and everyone, just like the anti-philosophy itself, libertarianism.

While the term itself, libertarian, could have been useful to globally describe a real party, with a real moral and philosophical grounding, it has been tarnished well beyond repair, and is worthy of complete abandonment.

While I do not agree with the objectivist rejection of Ron Paul — who is not a libertarian or republican — I largely agree with the objectivist rejection of libertarianism.

“Anything goes”, as is in libertarianism, is the fundamental problem itself, and is not a part of the solution.

— Anthony Dream Johnson

About Anthony Dream Johnson

CEO, founder, and architect of The 21 Convention, Anthony Dream Johnson is the leading force behind the world's first and only "panorama event for life on earth". He has been featured on WGN Chicago, and in the NY Times #1 best seller The Four Hour Work Week.    His stated purpose for the work he does is "the actualization of the ideal man", a purpose that has led him to found and host The 21 Convention across 3 continents and for 6 years in a row. Anthony blogs vigorously at TheDreamLounge.net and Declarationism.com.

10 Responses to The Objectivist Rejection of Libertarianism

  1. James Steele II April 13, 2012 at 3:20 am #

    “While I do not agree with the objectivist rejection of Ron Paul — who is not a libertarian or republican — I largely agree with the objectivist rejection of libertarianism.”

    This is an important point really. Ron Paul is wrong on a number of things, but many of his values are worthwhile and so it is worthwhile to associate with and support him. That doesn’t imply an immediate sanction of the idea’s of his you consider to be wrong though. Objectivists often make the mistake of flat out rejecting something with some diamond value if it has the slightest speck of mud or tarnish on it.

    The same applies to Libertarianism. As a philosophy it has considerable gaping holes which have been attempted to be arbitrarily filled with collectivst ideas making it a patchwork quilt of mixed philsophies. However, the elements of the movement that are worthwhile and of value are worth supporting and to do so again does not imply sanction of their misgivings.

    I happily say to people I support xyz ideas of Ron Paul/Libertarians/whoever but vehemently argue against those I feel are wrong when they are aired in my presence or I am asked why I support such a person or idea when they also hold something I disagree with as a value.

    Many Objectivists often without realising it remove the notion of a hierachy to mans values and thus his relatively evaluation of the value other individuals present in their totality from the discussion by which is a mistake.

    Richard Gleaves has a good post noting these points http://richardgleaves.blogspot.co.uk/2012/02/good-objectivist-part-two.html

    • Anthony Dream Johnson April 13, 2012 at 9:49 am #

      Hey James

      I didn’t expand on that point at all. If I had I think it would have been a lot clearer why I do primarily agree with the objectivist rejection of libertarianism (duh).

      What I mean by this though is that I reject it to an even greater degree than they do on the grounds of declarationism, which I’ve been thinking a lot about this year and developing as a politico-legal philosophy.

      Declarationism as I currently understand it is the American legal extension of pure, completely unhindered capitalism in the Ayn Rand tradition.

      It doesn’t just reject libertarianism … it rejects every other political philosophy in American history as well.

      It challenges everything.

      • James Steele II April 14, 2012 at 9:55 am #

        You’re absolutely right. The concept of declarationism takes a step back to early branches of philosophy to see what it is based upon logically whereas most politial ‘philosophies’ ignore the neccessity of each preceding branch in how it impacts its antecedent branches. It’s a name to apply to the end result of a process of logical thought through each logically built upon branch of philosophy. The only issue with it is the minor one of not explicitly defining it’s ultimate meta-physical axiomatic concepts from which epistemologicall the rigths it defines are based. Not a huge issue for those who think about it independently for but a moment. The only issue being that ascription of those rights as coming from some ‘higher order or being.’

    • Anthony Dream Johnson April 13, 2012 at 10:01 am #

      Wow, checked out that link, great blog!

  2. ben sima April 17, 2012 at 12:36 pm #

    Well said Anthony. Massimo Pigliucci did a write-up kinda on this topic too. He unfortunately rejects many points of Objectivism, but he explains it pretty well.

    http://rationallyspeaking.blogspot.com/2010/12/about-objectivism-part-iv-politics.html

  3. robyn bunting April 26, 2012 at 1:47 am #

    I still don’t get it. Libertarians are against the inititaion of force by government or anyone else. It doesnt matter why-whether from coleectivist premises or not. Thats a separate discussion within the movement. They are morally way ahead of the mainstream political organisations, including consrvatism which objectivists are nowhere near as rabid on. I am not christian, but if a christian politician consistently advocates vast reduction in government, why would I oppose him root and branch because I do not share his basic premise, that say, this is what God wants? I reject his reason for doing the right thing, but I have to acknowledge he is doing the right thing.

    And what is the objectivist gripe with Ron Paul?

  4. Charles Dahl May 4, 2012 at 1:47 am #

    As a former Rothbardian libertarian, I can attest to the observation that “anything goes” is almost a mantra. Ayn Rand is cited almost as a self-justifying afterthought (like lapsed Catholics?). Many–though not all– libertarians tend to think that the principle of non-coercion exhausts the concept of morality, when in fact it is the pre-condition for morality.

    • Anthony Dream Johnson May 4, 2012 at 11:10 am #

      There was actually an essay written by Peter Schwartz on just that, the “anything goes” mantra in libertarianism. Its reprinted in the print book “The Voice of Reason”. Good read.

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