Sunday, November 4, 2012
I wrote this in discussion the other day. At the face level, Ayn Rand's Objectivism makes great points by not infringing on people's liberties, however, an issue that most of these people have is that they have a total disdain for government (which I can understand their point of view). However, the fundamental problem that these people don't seem to realize is that the world is comprised of many other people and that resources are not contrived, they in fact must be managed and shared. Left to a person's own devices, a person will act in their own best interests. The classic economic problem is the Tragedy of the Commons. This is a good example of how a resource will be plundered if a group of people act all in their own individual self interests thus acting to the detriment of themselves and the group while destroying the shared resource even more expediently than if they did not strictly pursue only their self interests. A nice example of this is a satellite image in Al Gore's Inconvenient Truth comparing the devastation of the rainforest on one country's border, and the preservation of it on the other. Or the Oklahoma Sooners with the dust bowl. In a sense, government serves to protect people from themselves or other irrational actors. Hence people not liking the Environmental Protection Agency, or the Transportation Security Administration. Granted, nobody appreciates involuntary anything, however, I think this is something that is necessary to be a functional member within a functional society. I think the problem with Rand's idea is that the kind of society she forewarns, is exactly the type of society that would occur if each individual actor appealed to their libertarian self interests within a society.
Posted by Michael at 9:14 AM