Libertarian Mysticism Versus Liberty
Context-dropping is a form of dishonesty and not merely a type of “intellectual laziness…”
I have just encountered a post by a dishonest Libertarian-mystic from the Filipinos for Ron Paul Facebook group. I say it is dishonest because this guy claimed to have read perhaps a few works of Ayn Rand yet he still came up with a total distortion of the latter’s view and philosophy. I say this guy is a Libertarian-mystic because he claims to have embraced the ideals of the anarcho-capitalism faction of Libertarianism, but at the same time advocates for the “restoration of union of Church and State.” Yes, I’m not making this up. In fact, as proof of this statement, this Libertarian-mystic created a Facebook group called “Catholics for the Restoration of Union of church and State” in which he asserts that the “establishment of a state religion [is] often confused,” and that the “Catholic Church supports neither a theocracy nor a state church.”
But before I go to that dishonest assertion of this Libertarian-mystic, let me state here verbatim his rationalization of his advocacy to bring back this country to the rule of the fat friars from 15th century up to the end of the 18th century. This Libertarian-mystic states:
“An establishment of religion is the addition of a moral creed by which to judge the laws and restrict public officials from increasing power by sanctioning anything they want. It is a common misconception among citizens that it is the duty of the State to uphold morality and punish vice. That obligation belongs to the individual Catholic as set by God and may not be usurped by the State primarily because the State is composed of individuals. However, the maintenance of law and order cannot succeed without appeal to a higher standard, an inner morality defining good and evil. Government cannot legislate morality. It has tried and failed.”
It seems that this guy is unable to see the sheer contradiction of the abovementioned statement. He claims that he’s an advocate of capitalism, never mind the anarchism part of it, yet it seems that he refused to understand that the morality of religion is utterly incompatible with the ideals of capitalism. Or does he really understand the concept of capitalism? Ayn Rand and all of the proponents and founding fathers of Libertarianism, which include Ludwig von Mises, Murray Rothbard, Friedrich Hayek, Henry Hazlitt, among others firmly believed that capitalism is primarily about self-interest. We all know that altruism is the morality of the Church. In fact the Jesuits promote the following moral code— “Men and women for others.” Altruism is synonymous with “otherism.” I have stated several times that altruism is a specific form of morality being espoused not only by the Catholic Church, but all religions and even collectivist regimes as well. I stated that “this type of man-sacrificing ethical system conceptualized by Auguste Compte, states that it is the moral duty or obligation of individuals to serve the good and welfare of others and put their interests above their own.”
Also, it seems that this Libertarian-mystic doesn’t know what he’s talking about—that his proposal is as dangerous as the rule of the fat friars who executed Philippine national hero Jose Rizal 100 years ago in Bagumbayan for writing “Noli Me Tangere” and “El Filibusterismo”. It seems that he doesn’t know that his Catholic proposal might lead to religious wars in the country, simply because other religions, particularly the protestants and the Muslims could not simply allow a single church to cohabit with the state and enjoy political and economic power and privileges. It seems that he’s totally unaware that the doctrine of “separation of church and state” led to peaceful coexistence among religions and ended religious wars in the medieval age.
Like I stated before, “The great men from the Age of the Enlightenment who ended the Dark Ages of the mystics and the religionists, were able to prove that reason exists, and that man’s mind improves and develops by observing reality. You start with what exists and never take things or issues on faith. They were able to prove that man’s mind is his only tool of cognition and that reason is his only absolute. You tackle a particular issue by using reason, a faculty that identifies and integrates the material provided by man’s senses. You understand things by means of logic, which should be defined as the art of non-contradictory identification.”
No, we don’t have to embrace an evil proposal that seeks to abrogate our freedom and liberty. A self-confessed Libertarian who favors the union of Church and State is an enemy of reason and a traitor of Liberty. But yes, this theocratic proposal is utterly indefensible, since no one is called upon to defend a dangerous floating abstraction.
Now this is what this Libertarian-mystic has to say about Ayn Rand’s view on charity:
“Here is one of the reasons why I stopped toeing the Objectivist party line. Socialism is the virtue of charity perverted through the use of force. By using force charity no longer becomes a personal sacrifice where you knowingly take a loss for the betterment of someone else. Rand saw the effects of socialism and hated it. But then she went overboard and decided that charity was just as bad as socialism, hence her “Virtue of Selfishness.” I kinda notice how she never really distinguished between rationality and rationalism.”
Really? So is this Libertarian-mystic trying to say that he understands the difference between “rationality and rationalism” way better than novelist-philosopher Ayn Rand did? Again, it seems that this guy doesn’t really know the difference between altruism and charity, between capitalism and statism, and between sacrifice and self-interest.
I’d like to know the exact statement of Ayn Rand on charity that “went above board” and “just as bad as socialism.” I have read and heard a great deal about Ayn Rand’s view on charity and sacrifice, but I think the claim of this Libertarian-mystic only exists in his mind. Did this guy really read and understand Ayn Rand’s Virtue of Selfishness?
I urged this Libertarian-mystic to explain how he understood Ayn Rand’s view on charity with respect to socialism. This is how he explained his disagreement with Ayn Rand:
“Socialism arises because of charitable impulses. Therefore to prevent socialism, stop charity. I disagree. What’s not to understand?”
“What’s not to understand” is the shallowness, weakness, and dishonesty of his argument which is worse than floating abstraction and context-dropping. Ayn Rand never said that “socialism arises because of charitable impulses.” Now since this Libertarian-mystic is putting words into Ayn Rand’s mouth, he has now the burden to prove and explain what he means by socialism that arises due to charitable impulses. Based on my readings, it is NEVER the style of Ayn Rand to assert socialism is a result of “charitable impulses.” Anyone who genuinely and honestly understands Ayn Rand wouldn’t even attempt to make such a highly superficial and conceited evaluation of her view on charity and socialism. It is clear that this Libertarian-mystic, like all of the dishonest critics of Ayn Rand, is attacking a straw man. It is utterly wrong- a sign of laziness or even dishonesty- to say that you understand Ayn Rand philosophy by simply reading The Fountainhead and her “Virtue of Selfishness.” If this guy really read and understood Ayn Rand, he’d know that she rejected altruism because it’s not simply the moral base of not only socialism but also of all kinds of collectivism, and because this morality of slavery and death is the very foundation of two destroyers of modern civilization: Faith and Force. The following Ayn Rand quotation explains it all: ”
“If any civilization is to survive, it is the morality of altruism that men have to reject…”
The following is my reply to the Facebook comment of this Libertarian-mystic:
“Do not make things up. Ayn Rand explained the difference between charity and altruism very clearly. If you read her non-fiction and fiction books, you can see her abstract examples of charity and altruism. Your so-called “disagreement” with her only shows you don’t understand her philosophy in the same manner that you failed to understand Mises’ Capitalism.”
It is pretty clear- and one doesn’t have to be genius- that “if civilization is to survive,” it is not the morality of “charity” but “altruism that men have to reject. Charity is not a form of morality. Charity is an attribute of free will, which is “your mind’s freedom to think or not.”Charity evokes the essence of volunteerism; altruism does not. Charity is simply an act of kindness, and that it’s moral so long as you don’t sacrifice your own life, survival and virtue; altruism means you act on blind faith and obedience, and that it requires that you make it your moral duty to put the welfare or interest others above your own. A good example of charity in Atlas Shrugged is when Dagny Taggart helps a tramp named Jeff Allen who stows away on a Taggart train during one of Dagny’s cross-country trips. A very good example of charity in the real-world is John Allison’s charitable funding of a number of educational institutions through the BB&T to offer a course on Ayn Rand’s works. An example of altruism is this Libertarian-mystic’s advocacy to bring this country back to the rule of the religious mystics in the past 100 to 300 years. So “what’s not to understand?”
For the benefit of this Libertarian-mystic and anyone who stumble upon this blog, this is Ayn Rand’s view on charity:
“My views on charity are very simple. I do not consider it a major virtue and, above all, I do not consider it a moral duty. There is nothing wrong in helping other people, if and when they are worthy of the help and you can afford to help them. I regard charity as a marginal issue. What I am fighting is the idea that charity is a moral duty and a primary virtue.”
She said that “the fact that a man has no claim on others (i.e., that it is not their moral duty to help him and that he cannot demand their help as his right) does not preclude or prohibit good will among men and does not make it immoral to offer or to accept voluntary, non-sacrificial assistance.”
“It is altruism that has corrupted and perverted human benevolence by regarding the giver as an object of immolation, and the receiver as a helplessly miserable object of pity who holds a mortgage on the lives of others—a doctrine which is extremely offensive to both parties, leaving men no choice but the roles of sacrificial victim or moral cannibal…
“To view the question in its proper perspective, one must begin by rejecting altruism’s terms and all of its ugly emotional aftertaste—then take a fresh look at human relationships. It is morally proper to accept help, when it is offered, not as a moral duty, but as an act of good will and generosity, when the giver can afford it (i.e., when it does not involve self-sacrifice on his part), and when it is offered in response to the receiver’s virtues, not in response to his flaws, weaknesses or moral failures, and not on the ground of his need as such.”
Now this is Ayn Rand’s view on socialism:
“Socialism is the doctrine that man has no right to exist for his own sake, that his life and his work do not belong to him, but belong to society, that the only justification of his existence is his service to society, and that society may dispose of him in any way it pleases for the sake of whatever it deems to be its own tribal, collective good.”
What Ayn Rand rejected is altruism not charity, as she thought there “is nothing wrong in helping other people” so long as you do not take it as a major value or a moral duty. She also identified the moral base of socialism/communism or any other form of force or faith-based dictatorship, which is altruism. So logic tells us that it is not charity but altruism that serves as the moral base of every dictatorship.
With this Ayn Rand said: “The socialists had a certain kind of logic on their side: if the collective sacrifice of all to all is the moral ideal, then they wanted to establish this ideal in practice, here and on this earth. The arguments that socialism would not and could not work, did not stop them: neither has altruism ever worked, but this has not caused men to stop and question it. Only reason can ask such questions—and reason, they were told on all sides, has nothing to do with morality, morality lies outside the realm of reason, no rational morality can ever be defined.”
This Libertarian-mystic clearly resorted to context-dropping, which is one of the primary psychological tools of evasion. Context-dropping is a form of dishonesty and not merely a type of “intellectual laziness.”