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message 1: by Ilyn (last edited Jul 20, 2008 05:42PM) (new)

Ilyn Ross (ilyn_ross) | 1071 comments Mod
I posted this in the Writerpedia group (Topic: Are you making a living writing?)

Journalism is a great profession, even a noble one especially in countries with no freedom.

I have utmost respect for this profession, a necessity, for a country to be free and good. There are many journalists who have suffered and died. Reason Reigns honors journalism and journalists in chapters 3 [The Thinkers] & 4 [The Right Thing to Do].

Fact finding is a stimulating job. It requires courage and passion.

But say, one's boss asks one to write about the A-Rod or Brinkley divorce when one wants to study and write about innovations in the energy industry that could alleviate high gas prices, or about the role of government intervention in the housing mortgage market meltdown.

I would find working for such a boss torture, and for my self-respect and happiness, I would find another job.

For fiction writing: check out Ayn Rand's short story, "The Simplest Thing in the World." It is about a struggling writer who just has to do the simplest thing in the world to "succeed": he tells himself, "Just be stupid... Just relax and be as stupid as you can be."

This is the last sentence in the story: "Then he pushed the sheet of blank paper aside and reached for the Times' "Help Wanted" ads."

Have a great Sunday.

message 2: by Ilyn (last edited Aug 03, 2008 11:55AM) (new)

Ilyn Ross (ilyn_ross) | 1071 comments Mod
From "Ayn Rand Answers [The best of her Q & A]":


For those seeking a career as a writer in the present world, what studies or readings do you recommend in preparation? And do you forsee a greater prospect of success in writing political or other essays rather than novels?


First, I would recommend, above all, that you never take any classes in writing. You will not learn anything that way. Second, there can be no such thing as a rule establishing a greater likelihood of success in writing fiction or nonfiction. Your approach to these questions is all wrong.

If you want to be a writer, ask yourself first of all what you want to say. That will determine in what form you will say it - whether it is properly fiction or nonfiction. The next question to ask yourself is: Why do I think that people will be interested in hearing this? Do I have something new to say? Is what I want to say important and, if so, why? Or am I just planning a rehash of what everybody has heard millions of times before? If you can answer these questions properly, you're on your way toward becoming a writer. These are the first steps.

Then you must develop your own understanding of what you regard as good writing or bad writing. You do it by identifying the quality of the books you read. Whenever you like something, ask yourself, if it's good - why? Whenever you don't like something, ask yourself, if it's bad - why? In this way you will acquire a set of principles of writing. But YOU have to be the author of that set. You have to understand it and it has to be rational - that is, you have to have reasons for the answers you give yourself and the principles you adopt. (page 220)

message 3: by Ilyn (last edited Aug 05, 2008 03:39PM) (new)

Ilyn Ross (ilyn_ross) | 1071 comments Mod
From "Ayn Rand Answers [The best of her Q & A]":


How do you distinguish between literature and popular writing?


Today, whether what you write is literature is determined by membership in the right literary clique, and by being so inarticulate that each person can read what he wants into your book. But let's omit the nonsense, and speak of serious literary distinctions.

The difference between literature and popular writing is the seriousness of approach. Literature has a serious, interesting theme, taking up philosophical, ethical, political, and psychological issues. Literature says something of a serious nature about human life. That's the best definition.

Popular literature is superficial: no serious ideas or themes; at best, good plots. Plots are an important element of literature, but even the plots in popular literature are not too original. Popular literature can offer you light entertainment without touching on serious themes. Today, however, popular literature is much better than "serious literature", from every aspect I mentioned. Popular literature, specifically detective stories, are much more serious and better written than what passes for serious literature. When I say "today's popular literature", however, I mean Agatha Christie and Dorothy Sayers - writers from the period between the two world wars. They made a high art out of popular literature. Incidentally, the detective story obviously needs the conviction of a rational universe, because it assumes that the detective must solve the case, and that justice will triumph. You couldn't ask for a better or more serious base; and no serious writers today - present company excepted - hold these ideas. (page 221)

message 4: by Ilyn (new)

Ilyn Ross (ilyn_ross) | 1071 comments Mod
Ayn Rand Answers - the best of her Q & A

Q : Could you comment on the current status of literature?

AR: No. I don't have a magnifying glass.

message 5: by Ilyn (last edited Sep 03, 2008 02:25PM) (new)

Ilyn Ross (ilyn_ross) | 1071 comments Mod
From the Introduction by Ayn Rand to Ninety-Three by Victor Hugo [The Romantic Manifesto by Ayn Rand (page 153)]

Have you ever wondered what they felt, those first men of the Renaissance, when – emerging from the long nightmare of the Middle Ages, having seen nothing but the deformed monstrosities and gargoyles of medieval arts as the only reflections of man’s soul – they took a new, free, unobstructed look at the world and rediscovered the statues of Greek gods, forgotten under piles of rubble?

If you have, that unrepeatable emotional experience is yours when you rediscover the novels of Victor Hugo.

The distance between his world and ours is astonishingly short – he died in 1885 – but the distance between his universe and ours has to be measured in esthetic light-years. He is virtually unknown to the American public but for some vandalized remnants on our movie screens. His works are seldom discussed in the literary courses of our universities. He is buried under the esthetic rubble of our day -

… Yet Victor Hugo is the greatest novelist in world literature…

… a first encounter with Hugo might be shocking …

Do not say that these giants are “unreal” because you have never seen them before – check your eyesight, not Hugo’s, and your premises, not his; it was not his purpose to show you what you had seen a thousand times before.

Do not say that the actions of these giants are “impossible” because they are heroic, noble, intelligent, beautiful – remember that the cowardly, the depraved, the mindless, the ugly are not all that is possible to man.

Do not say that this glowing new universe is an “escape” – you will witness harder, more demanding, more tragic battles than any you have seen on poolroom street corners; the difference is only this: these battles are not fought for penny ante.

Do not say that “life is not like that” – ask yourself: WHOSE life? …

Ninety-Three is Hugo’s last novel and one of his best. It is an excellent introduction to his works: it presents – in story, style, and spirit – the condensed essence of that which is uniquely “Hugo-esque”.

The novel’s background is the French Revolution - “Ninety-Three” stands for 1793, the year of the terror, the Revolution’s climax. …

The fact is that Ninety-Three is not a novel about the French Revolution.

To a Romanticist, a background is a background, not a theme. His vision is always focused on man – on the fundamentals of man’s nature, on those problems and those aspects of his character which apply to any age and any country.

The theme of Ninety-Three – which is played in brilliantly unexpected variations in all the key incidents of the story, and which is the motive power of all the characters and events, integrating them into an inevitable progression toward a magnificent climax – is: man’s loyalty to values. …

The emphasis he projects is not: “What great values men are fighting for!” but: “ What greatness men are capable of, when they fight for their values!”

Hugo’s inexhaustible imagination is at its virtuoso best in an extremely difficult aspect of a novelist’s task: the integration of an abstract theme to the plot of a story. …

“Grandeur” is the one word that names the leitmotif of Ninety-Three and all of Hugo’s novels – and of his sense of life.

And perhaps the most tragic conflict is not in his novels but in their author. With so magnificent a view of man and of existence, Hugo never discovered how to implement it in reality. …

I discovered Victor Hugo when I was thirteen, in the stifling, sordid ugliness of Soviet Russia. One would have to have lived on some pestilent planet in order to fully understand what his novels – and his radiant universe – meant to me then, and mean now. And that I am writing an introduction to one of his novels – in order to present it to the American public – has, for me, the sense of the kind of drama that he would have approved and understood.

He helped to make it possible for me to be here and to be a writer. If I can help another young reader to find what I found in his work, if I can bring to the novels of Victor Hugo some part of the kind of audience he deserves, I shall regard it as a payment on an incalculable debt that can never be computed or repaid.

message 6: by Ilyn (new)

Ilyn Ross (ilyn_ross) | 1071 comments Mod
From: the Introduction to Night of January 16th by Ayn Rand

“… This was my first (but not last) encounter with the literary manifestation of the mind-body dichotomy that dominates today’s culture: the split between the “serious” and the “entertaining” – the belief that if a literary work is “serious”, it must bore people to death; and if it is “entertaining”, it must not communicate anything of importance. (Which means that “the good” has to be painful, and that pleasure has to be mindlessly low-grade.”

message 7: by Ilyn (new)

Ilyn Ross (ilyn_ross) | 1071 comments Mod
Art is a selective re-creation of reality according to an artist’s metaphysical value-judgments. Man’s profound need of art lies in the fact that his cognitive faculty is conceptual, i.e., that he acquires knowledge by means of abstractions, and needs the power to bring his widest metaphysical abstractions into his immediate, perceptual awareness . . .

Literature re-creates reality by means of language . . . The relation of literature to man’s cognitive faculty is obvious: literature re-creates reality by means of words, i.e., concepts. But in order to re-create reality, it is the sensory-perceptual level of man’s awareness that literature has to convey conceptually: the reality of concrete, individual men and events, of specific sights, sounds, textures, etc.

All these arts are conceptual in essence, all are products of and addressed to the conceptual level of man’s consciousness, and they differ only in their means. Literature starts with concepts and integrates them to percepts—painting, sculpture and architecture start with percepts and integrate them to concepts. The ultimate psycho-epistemological function is the same: a process that integrates man’s forms of cognition, unifies his consciousness and clarifies his grasp of reality.

- “Art and Cognition,” The Romantic Manifesto by Ayn Rand

message 8: by Ilyn (new)

Ilyn Ross (ilyn_ross) | 1071 comments Mod
The most important principle of the esthetics of literature was formulated by Aristotle, who said that fiction is of greater philosophical importance than history, because “history represents things as they are, while fiction represents them as they might be and ought to be.”

This applies to all forms of literature and most particularly to a form that did not come into existence until twenty-three centuries later: the novel.

A novel is a long, fictional story about human beings and the events of their lives. The four essential attributes of a novel are: Theme—Plot —Characterization—Style.

These are attributes, not separable parts. They can be isolated conceptually for purposes of study, but one must always remember that they are interrelated and that a novel is their sum. (If it is a good novel, it is an indivisible sum.)

These four attributes pertain to all forms of literature, i.e., of fiction, with one exception. They pertain to novels, plays, scenarios, librettos, short stories. The single exception is poems. A poem does not have to tell a story; its basic attributes are theme and style.

A novel is the major literary form—in respect to its scope, its inexhaustible potentiality, its almost unlimited freedom (including the freedom from physical limitations of the kind that restrict a stage play) and, most importantly, in respect to the fact that a novel is a purely literary form of art which does not require the intermediary of the performing arts to achieve its ultimate effect.

- “Basic Principles of Literature,” The Romantic Manifesto by Ayn Rand

message 9: by Ilyn (new)

Ilyn Ross (ilyn_ross) | 1071 comments Mod
Prior to the nineteenth century, literature presented man as a helpless being whose life and actions were determined by forces beyond his control: either by fate and the gods, as in the Greek tragedies, or by an innate weakness, “a tragic flaw,” as in the plays of Shakespeare. Writers regarded man as metaphysically impotent; their basic premise was determinism. On that premise, one could not project what might happen to men; one could only record what did happen—and chronicles were the appropriate literary form of such recording.

Man as a being who possesses the faculty of volition did not appear in literature until the nineteenth century. The novel was his proper literary form—and Romanticism was the great new movement in art. Romanticism saw man as a being able to choose his values, to achieve his goals, to control his own existence. The Romantic writers did not record the events that had happened, but projected the events that should happen; they did not record the choices men had made, but projected the choices men ought to make.

With the resurgence of mysticism and collectivism, in the later part of the nineteenth century, the Romantic novel and the Romantic movement vanished gradually from the cultural scene.

Man’s new enemy, in art, was Naturalism. Naturalism rejected the concept of volition and went back to a view of man as a helpless creature determined by forces beyond his control; only now the new ruler of man’s destiny was held to be society. The Naturalists proclaimed that values have no power and no place, neither in human life nor in literature, that writers must present men “as they are,” which meant: must record whatever they happen to see around them—that they must not pronounce value judgments nor project abstractions, but must content themselves with a faithful transcription, a carbon copy, of any existing concretes.

- “The Esthetic Vacuum of Our Age,” The Romantic Manifesto by Ayn Rand

message 10: by Ilyn (new)

Ilyn Ross (ilyn_ross) | 1071 comments Mod
[The] basic premises of Romanticism and Naturalism (the volition or anti-volition premise) affect all the other aspects of a literary work, such as the choice of theme and the quality of the style, but it is the nature of the story structure—the attribute of plot or plotlessness—that represents the most important difference between them and serves as the main distinguishing characteristic for classifying a given work in one category or the other.

- “What Is Romanticism?” The Romantic Manifesto by Ayn Rand

message 11: by Ilyn (new)

Ilyn Ross (ilyn_ross) | 1071 comments Mod
The theme of a novel can be conveyed only through the events of the plot, the events of the plot depend on the characterization of the men who enact them—and the characterization cannot be achieved except through the events of the plot, and the plot cannot be constructed without a theme.

This is the kind of integration required by the nature of a novel. And this is why a good novel is an indivisible sum: every scene, sequence and passage of a good novel has to involve, contribute to and advance all three of its major attributes: theme, plot, characterization.

- “Basic Principles of Literature,” The Romantic Manifesto by Ayn Rand

message 12: by Ilyn (new)

Ilyn Ross (ilyn_ross) | 1071 comments Mod
In art, and in literature, the end and the means, or the subject and the style, must be worthy of each other.

That which is not worth contemplating in life, is not worth re-creating in art.

- “The Goal of My Writing,” The Romantic Manifesto by Ayn Rand

message 13: by Ilyn (new)

Ilyn Ross (ilyn_ross) | 1071 comments Mod
"Books constitute capital. A library book lasts as long as a house, for hundreds of years. It is not, then, an article of mere consumption but fairly of capital, and often in the case of professional men, setting out in life, it is their only capital."

—Thomas Jefferson

message 14: by Jim (new)

Jim (jimmaclachlan) I just started reading Revolutionary Characters: What Made the Founders Different. Wood says in the introduction that the Founders created a much more democratic government than they really wanted. It's interesting how he comes to that conclusion & he writes something to the effect that their vision went too far & actually destroyed the way of life they were trying for.

So far, I've only read the Introduction & the first chapter on Washington. He does a very good job of humanizing Washington & showing his motivations. He explains the attitudes of the times very well.

message 15: by Lucille (new)

Lucille (surfgirl) | 23 comments Hey Ilyn! I find your posts very educational. This group truly satisfies the cravings of my brain cells: knowledge. And this knowledge is creating in me a hunger for more.

Who is Ayn Rand? I'm sorry if I offend anybody. I'm from the Philippines, half way around the globe. She obviously is popular there in the US.

message 16: by Jim (new)

Jim (jimmaclachlan) Lucille, Ayn Rand was a Russian born, American philosopher & novelist born in 1905 & died in 1982. There's a good article on her in Wikipedia

Several of her books are quite famous. They stress responsibility, individuality & other Libertarian values. If you get a chance, I'd suggest reading The Fountainhead first, followed by Atlas Shrugged: Library Edition Part 2 for her fiction books.

Two good non-fiction books by her are The Virtue of Selfishness: A New Concept of Egoism & Letters of Ayn Rand.

There are a lot of others, but these are the ones I've read. You can also find some of her talks for free on the Internet Archive, http://www.archive.org. If you search on her name there, they have some different radio shows she did to listen to as well as an audio book of Anthem.

Although I don't always agree with her, she was a very smart lady who could wring a word for every bit of meaning it had. Keep a dictionary handy!

message 17: by Lucille (new)

Lucille (surfgirl) | 23 comments Oh! Thanks, Jim! I'll check her out. God bless :)

message 18: by Ilyn (last edited Nov 21, 2008 03:12AM) (new)

Ilyn Ross (ilyn_ross) | 1071 comments Mod
Thank you, Lucille. You would also enjoy the posts in the "To the Glory of Man" group. I greatly appreciate your interest, enthusiasm, comments, and questions. Ask away.

Thank you, Jim. Ayn Rand did not like the Libertarian Party because it does not want any government - it advocates that individuals should not delegate their right to self-defense.

message 19: by Ilyn (new)

Ilyn Ross (ilyn_ross) | 1071 comments Mod
Ayn Rand said, "My philosophy, in essence, is the concept of man as a heroic being, with his own happiness as the moral purpose of his life, with productive achievement as his noblest activity, and reason as his only absolute."

She is the creator of the philosophy of Objectivism.

message 20: by Henrik (new)

Henrik ... Although Objectivism as a philosophical position has existed before Rand.

message 21: by Ilyn (new)

Ilyn Ross (ilyn_ross) | 1071 comments Mod
Hello Henrik.

Ayn Rand greatly admired Aristotle and Thomas Aquinas who both advocated reason. Aristotle is the Father of Logic. Ayn Rand's philosophy, which she called Objectivism, is a first.

message 22: by Jim (new)

Jim (jimmaclachlan) Good point about Rand & the Libertarian Party, Ilyn. I wrote she had a lot of Libertarian values, but I didn't mean to give the impression she was a member of the party.

message 23: by Ilyn (new)

Ilyn Ross (ilyn_ross) | 1071 comments Mod
Hello Jim. Using the dictionary definition, a libertarian is a good person.

message 24: by Jim (new)

Jim (jimmaclachlan) Depends on the libertarian, Ilyn.

"Libertarianism is broad collection of political philosophies possessing the common themes of limited government and strong individual liberty."

I think that fits Rand well enough, but doesn't say much about whether a person is good or not. I think some forms of Libertarianism are bad & I reserve the right to judge a person independent of their political philosophy.

I'm not sure if Rand was a good person. She certainly did some good & I respect her writing, even when I disagree with it. Unfortunately, I've found other excellent writers that were nasty people, to whom I would apply the word 'good' only to their writing.

message 25: by Ilyn (last edited Nov 21, 2008 06:37AM) (new)

Ilyn Ross (ilyn_ross) | 1071 comments Mod


1. a person who advocates liberty, esp. with regard to thought or conduct
2. a person who maintains the doctrine of free will (distinguished from necessitarian)


3. advocating liberty or conforming to principles of liberty
4. maintaining the doctrine of free will

I stand by my judgment that using the dictionary definition (not a member of the Libertarian Party), a libertarian is a good person. By Liberty, I mean the definition of Thomas Jefferson. In my morality, anyone who values Liberty is a good person.

This is definitely NOT Ayn Rand: "broad collection of political philosophies"

She created her own philosophy: Objectivism. Her politics is capitalism.

Jim, based on your posts, you do not share the values of objectivists. What you think of Ayn Rand is a logical consequence.

message 26: by Jim (new)

Jim (jimmaclachlan) You missed my point, Ilyn. People can be two faced. The public face, or the political & philosophical stance or writings of a person don't comprise enough of the person for me to judge them with such a broad label as 'good' or 'bad'.

For instance, I knew a guy who purported to be a 'born again' Christian. He quoted his Bible constantly, listened to preachers on the radio, wouldn't allow rock music, except Christian Rock, to be played in his presence. He wrote stories & editorials for his church paper espousing all his Christian principles. By most people's reckoning, he'd be a 'good' man.

What most people didn't see was he swore serious oaths on Jesus' name & then broke them. He was quick to anger & very belligerent to anyone he had any control over. He wouldn't speak to his daughter for years. This included not seeing his grandchildren until they were almost teenagers. I thought he was an S.O.B. & stand by it. He sounded pretty in company, but was a nasty, almost evil person.

I like to watch some actors/actresses & listen to music by people who I think have disgusting political ideals & sometimes worse personal habits. They're good at their trade, but overall I don't think they're particularly good people.

So, no, just because someone espouses a libertarian line of thought or writes about objectivism isn't enough to label them 'good' in my opinion.

message 27: by Jim (new)

Jim (jimmaclachlan) Ilyn, maybe you should re-read my post. I did not write that Rand believed in a "broad collection of political philosophies". I gave a broad definition of Libertarianism. Rand did believe in "limited government and strong individual liberty." which, as I wrote, is a common theme to libertarian beliefs & is certainly a core belief of hers.

I share some of the values of objectivists, just as share some with other Libertarians & Capitalists. I do not blindly subscribe to any of their views fully nor do I agree with their extremes. I think extremists of any philosophy are deluded & self defeating, including pragmatisism, although I do have many pragmatic beliefs.

Basically, I haven't met a philosophy yet that isn't full of holes & none of this has any bearing on what I think of Rand. While I respect her work, like her novels, I never met her & don't know if she was a 'good' person or not.

message 28: by Ilyn (last edited Nov 21, 2008 07:33AM) (new)

Ilyn Ross (ilyn_ross) | 1071 comments Mod
After reading The Fountainhead, I deemed Ayn Rand a great person. I have read many of her works since then. Now, I revere her. Her consistency, her integrity is sustained.

Reality catches up with fakes.

Man is fallible and not omniscient. He makes mistakes. If a person's fundamentals are good, I consider him good. If his fundamentals are rotten, he is rotten.

message 29: by Will (new)

Will Kester | 11 comments "a libertarian is a good person"??? by definition? Huh? I'm with Jim on this one. A good person has more to do with their heart, their soul, their actions and their associations with and compassion for others.

I don't doubt that Ayn Rand was a good person; that's not the point. I know hard-headed, conservative Republicans and bleeding-hearted, tree-hugging liberal Democrats that are good persons.

message 30: by Ilyn (last edited Nov 22, 2008 08:17AM) (new)

Ilyn Ross (ilyn_ross) | 1071 comments Mod
In my morality, a man who values liberty is a good person. One who doesn't is evil. A fraud is a greater evil.

I'm with Patrick Henry: “Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!"

message 31: by Ilyn (new)

Ilyn Ross (ilyn_ross) | 1071 comments Mod
I repeat myself for clarity - based on the concepts of liberty and a libertarian, members of the Libertarian Party are not libertarians.

message 32: by J. (new)

J. King (jtimothyking) > Ayn Rand did not like the Libertarian Party because it does not want any government - it advocates that individuals should not delegate their right to self-defense.

Ilyn, while some LP members indeed want no government, many of them are minarchists, and most would probably be happy if we just had a shrinking government, rather than the perpetually growing one we currently have. There are also some objectivists in the LP. The LP platform (both the "old" one and the "new" one) is consistent with all of these ideological variations.

> based on the concepts of liberty and a libertarian, members of the Libertarian Party are not libertarians.

Again, this is logically incorrect. Some LP members are definitely libertarians. In other words, by any reasonable definition of the word "libertarian," you'll be able to find a significant number of libertarians in the LP. I can state this with certainty, because I know some of these people.

Maybe you meant to say that members of the LP are not NECESSARILY libertarians. That is indeed true, because the LP is a political party (not a think tank or ideological organization), and as a result its members include those of various ideologies, who merely share sympathies with regard to some government policies.


message 33: by Ilyn (new)

Ilyn Ross (ilyn_ross) | 1071 comments Mod
Hello Tim,

I hope there are many people who value liberty. I wish the Libertarian Party (LP) agreed with the Founding Fathers that a government whose sole function is to secure rights is the best way to secure liberty.

I wish those who value liberty in the LP would form a party that honors the principles in the Declaration of Independence. Principled men would not join a party that holds contradictions.

Best wishes.

message 34: by Ilyn (new)

Ilyn Ross (ilyn_ross) | 1071 comments Mod
Ayn Rand’s theory of concepts teaches, in effect, that “A word is worth a thousand pictures.”

- Objectivism: The philosophy of Ayn Rand (by Leonard Peikoff)

message 35: by Jim (new)

Jim (jimmaclachlan) Ilyn, "...the Founding Fathers that a government whose sole function is to secure rights is the best way to secure liberty." is incorrect. Hamilton, another Founding Father wanted a big, strong, central government with a standing army. Others, including Madison & Washington, were in between him & Jefferson.

There were a lot of Founders & while you seem to subscribe to the Jeffersonian viewpoint in some ways, he was not a Capitalist, nor was he the only defining player in the birth of our nation. He was quite upset by & enemies with Hamilton.

The politics of the 1790s wouldn't have been nearly as tumultuous if all the Founders had agreed on the direction of the country & what the Constitution meant, as you continually imply. They didn't, though. They argued to the point that Jefferson's neighbor & long time friend, James Madison, & he had a falling out, later to patch it up to oppose Hamilton as part of the Jeffersonian party.

He was a good man & balance against folks like Hamilton, but he was only one Founder of many. Each of the Founding Fathers had their own reasons & ideas on how the new country would be run. Washington let Hamilton run with the treasury & was a member of the Federalist party. He disagreed with Jefferson that there was no need for a strong central government or standing army, although it doesn't seem he fully agreed with Hamilton. In the middle, as I wrote earlier.

In #31, you wrote, "I repeat myself for clarity - based on the concepts of liberty and a libertarian, members of the Libertarian Party are not libertarians."

Libertarians are like Unix users. There are about as many flavors as there are members. Everyone's ideas of how liberty should be implemented are different. You're taking a bit much on yourself to decide the entire party is wrong because they don't subscribe to your ideal, don't you think? Well, apparently not, but I think so.

message 36: by Ilyn (last edited Nov 25, 2008 01:11AM) (new)

Ilyn Ross (ilyn_ross) | 1071 comments Mod
Jim, it's about concepts. Scrupulous men form concepts that adhere to reality. But there are dishonest people who steal concepts. The Libertarian Party is for anarchism, not liberty.

You say that Thomas Jefferson was not a capitalist. You must mean the opposite of capitalism. Another try at stealing concepts.

message 37: by Jim (new)

Jim (jimmaclachlan) Ilyn, you might want to look up the origins of 'libertarian'. You're close with 'anarchy'. The idea was conceived to get around France's anarchy laws.

Ilyn wrote, "You say that Thomas Jefferson is not a capitalist. You must mean the opposite of capitalism. Another try at stealing concepts."

You're going to have to expand on that some. What do you mean by the opposite of capitalism?

I am not trying to steal any concepts & it's rude of you to say so. If you think I'm misunderstanding something, please feel free to point it out, but accusing me of theft is wrong.

As I understand it, Jefferson did not like stocks & bonds. He thought money had to have some goods behind it or it was a swindle. He would have been one of those who kept us on the gold standard. He continually opposed Hamilton, who was a true capitalist, IMO. These are the reasons I don't think he was a capitalist.

message 38: by Ilyn (last edited Nov 25, 2008 02:04AM) (new)

Ilyn Ross (ilyn_ross) | 1071 comments Mod
The definition of libertarian does not say anything about anarchy. If the founders of a party is for anarchy, it is dishonest to use a word derived from "liberty". They are stealing concepts if they think they are for liberty.

message 39: by Ilyn (last edited Nov 25, 2008 02:02AM) (new)

Ilyn Ross (ilyn_ross) | 1071 comments Mod
We discussed the meaning of capitalism in the "To the Glory of Man" group. It means separation of state and economics. It means no government intervention in the economy.

As usual, Thomas Jefferson's genius and grandeur brightly shines: what Jim attributed to him - money had to have some goods behind it or it was a swindle. He would have been one of those who kept us on the gold standard.

Alan Greenspan wrote an essay about the Gold Standard. It is included in Ayn Rand's Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal

To say Hamilton was a capitalist is a gross misunderstanding of capitalism.

Source: http://www.importanceofphilosophy.com...

"Laissez Faire" is French for "leave alone" which means that the government leaves the people alone regarding all economic activities. It is the separation of economy and state.

There are two ways that a government typically is tempted to interfere with the economy. The first is through the initiation of force, and the second is through socialized industries. Neither of these activities are aligned with the proper role of government, and are both unacceptable.

"Laissez Faire Capitalism" is actually redundant, due to the nature of Capitalism. Therefore, simply "Capitalism" is sufficient to get the point across although historically it has been misrepresented as compatible with government economic interference.

Definition of Capitalism

"Capitalism" is conventionally defined along economic terms such as the following: An economic system in which the means of production and distribution are privately or corporately owned and development is proportionate to the accumulation and reinvestment of profits gained in a free market. - Source: Dictionary.com

This is an example of a definition by non-essentials.

An essential definition of capitalism is a political definition: Capitalism is a social system based on the principle of individual rights. - Source: Capitalism.org

In order to have an economic system in which "production and distribution are privately or corporately owned", you must have individual rights and specifically property rights. The only way to have an economic system fitting the first definition is to have a political system fitting the second definition. The first is an implication of the second. Because the second, political, definition is fundamental and the cause of the first, it is the more useful definition and is preferable.

Because people often use the term "Capitalism" loosely, "Laissez Faire Capitalism" is sometimes used to describe a true Capitalist system. But this phrase is redundant.

It is important to define "Capitalism" correctly because a proper definition is a prerequisite to a proper defense. Capitalism is the only moral political system because it is the only system dedicated to the protection of rights, which is a requirement for human survival and flourishing. This is the only proper role of a government. Capitalism should be defended vigorously on a moral basis, not an economic or utilitarian basis.

message 40: by Ilyn (new)

Ilyn Ross (ilyn_ross) | 1071 comments Mod
Hamilton was not a capitalist. He was a mercantilist.

From dictionary.com


noun - an economic system (Europe in 18th century) to increase a nation's wealth by government regulation of all of the nation's commercial interests


An economic doctrine that flourished in Europe from the sixteenth to the eighteenth centuries. Mercantilists held that a nation's wealth consisted primarily in the amount of gold and silver in its treasury. Accordingly, mercantilist governments imposed extensive restrictions on their economies to ensure a surplus of exports over imports. In the eighteenth century, mercantilism was challenged by the doctrine of laissez-faire. (See also Adam Smith.)

message 41: by Ilyn (last edited Nov 25, 2008 02:15AM) (new)

Ilyn Ross (ilyn_ross) | 1071 comments Mod
Mr. Thomas J. DiLorenzo admires George Washington and Thomas Jefferson. But he likes Ron Paul who is against abortion. Mr. DiLorenzo dislikes Abraham Lincoln - I have not read much about this, but I think Mr. DiLorenzo is of the mind that slavery could have been ended peacefully.

He advocates capitalism. He greatly dislikes Alexander Hamilton. I'm including links to his articles.

An excerpt from http://www.lewrockwell.com/dilorenzo/...

What Jefferson opposed was Hamilton’s mercantilist policies of government-controlled banking, corporate welfare, protectionist tariffs, heavy excise taxation, excessive public debt, and other interventions. Unlike Hamilton, Jefferson had read and understood Adam Smith’s Wealth of Nations and his Theory of Moral Sentiments, as well as the work of David Ricardo, Jean Baptiste Say (who Jefferson tried to get to join the faculty of the University of Virginia), Richard Cantillon, and other economic theorists of that era. Hamilton was ignorant of or ignored all of this. His major intellectual influence was a propagandist for the British mercantilist regime named Sir James Steuart.

As Murray Rothbard wrote in an article entitled "A Future of Peace and Capitalism":

Jefferson was very precisely in favor of laissez-faire, or free-market, capitalism. And that was the real argument between [Hamilton and Jefferson:]. It wasn’t really that Jefferson was against factories or industries per se; what he was against was coerced [economic:] development, that is, taxing the farmers through tariffs and subsidies to build up industry artificially, which was essentially the Hamilton program. Jefferson . . . was a very learned person. He read Adam Smith, he read Ricardo, he was very familiar with laissez-faire classical economics. And so his economic program . . . was a very sophisticated application of classical economics to the American scene . . . classicists were also against tariffs, subsidies, and coerced economic development . . . . The Jeffersonian wing of the founding fathers was essentially free-market, laissez-faire capitalists.

Compared to Jefferson, Hamilton was an economic ignoramus. His reputation as some kind of financial genius has been greatly exaggerated and fabricated, as the great late nineteenth-century Yale sociologist William Graham Sumner wrote in his 1905 biography of Hamilton. In his Report on Manufacturers, for example, Hamilton presented the cockeyed notion that international competition would cause higher prices and protectionism would cause lower prices by causing domestic producers to compete more vigorously with each other. History had proven this to be an absurd idea long before Hamilton’s time.

Hamilton also condemned transportation costs, calling them "an evil which ought to be minimized" through protectionism. Of course, transportation costs also affect interstate trade, but Hamilton never voiced his opposition to them in that context. Hamilton was such a mercantilist that he even argued in favor of "a monopoly of the domestic market" by banning all imports altogether. It is little wonder that William Graham Sumner referred to Hamilton’s Report on Manufactures as a mass of economic confusion, just the opposite of a "profound and practical understanding of markets."

Jefferson was not the only prominent opponent of Hamilton’s scheme to establish a bank operated by politicians out of the nation’s capital. James Madison also opposed the First Bank of the United States (BUS). The Virginia Senator John Taylor was as learned on the subject of political economy as Jefferson was, and immediately recognized the danger of imitating the Bank of England as a financier of mercantilist subsidies. "What was it that drove our forefathers to this country?" he asked. "Was it not the ecclesiastical corps and perpetual monopolies of England and Scotland? Shall we suffer the same evils in this country?" Hamilton’s answer would have been "why yes, we shall, for it is the surest route to accumulate power and wealth for myself and my fellow Federalists." As Gordon wrote, "Hamilton wanted to establish a central bank modeled on the Bank of England."

Excerpt from http://www.lewrockwell.com/dilorenzo/...

Nor was Hamilton "the prophet of capitalism," as Ron Chernow has said. Chernow apparently does not know what capitalism is, for Hamilton was an enemy of free-market capitalism and early America’s foremost proponent of mercantilism, the system of government-granted monopolies, corporate welfare, protectionist tariffs, and other policies that generally benefited politically-connected businesses at the expense of the rest of society. It was exactly this system that the real prophet of capitalism during Hamilton’s time, Adam Smith, criticized so effectively in his great treatise The Wealth of Nations. Thomas Jefferson knew what he was talking about when he said that Hamilton’s interventionist schemes, from protectionism to corporate welfare to central banking were "the means by which the corrupt British system of government could be introduced into the United States." In his 1905 biography of Hamilton William Graham Sumner wrote that Hamilton’s entire being "quivered" with the urge to personally regulate and plan all commerce in America. This impulse of Hamilton’s was not on behalf of capitalism but of central planning, the hallmark of early twentieth century socialism.

Hamilton ignored or was unaware of most of the scholarship of economics of his time, as well as the history of capitalism. As Nathan Rosenberg and L.E. Birdzell, Jr. wrote in How the West Grew Rich, "By 1750, three hundred years of gradual expansion of markets had been accompanied by a corresponding expansion in production, both in agriculture and handicrafts." And all of this occurred without any one "architect." Indeed, the attempt by communist Russia to impose committees of "architects" as central planners of the Russian economy destroyed generations of accumulated capital and production, and placed that country far behind the more capitalistic countries like the U.S. in terms of economic growth and prosperity.

The institutions of capitalism that were developed in Europe were imported to the U.S. by British culture. Economic development was occurring all around Hamilton as a result of the free market, although it was hindered by various government regulations and taxes. Hamilton seems to have been oblivious to all of this in his voluminous writings on economics, which William Graham Sumner concluded were a mass of confusion, "befogged in the mists of mercantilism."

The Corrupt Origins of Central Banking: http://mises.org/story/3167

What Hamilton Has Wrought:

message 42: by Ilyn (last edited Nov 25, 2008 02:45AM) (new)

Ilyn Ross (ilyn_ross) | 1071 comments Mod
The Never-Ending War on American Freedom by Thomas J. DiLorenzo: http://www.lewrockwell.com/dilorenzo/...

First part: "From the beginning of the American Republic there has been a group of influential people who have devoted their lives and careers to putting more Power In Government (PIGs). As soon as the American Revolution ended Alexander Hamilton schemed to overthrow the first Constitution, the Articles of Confederation, and replace it with a document that would legitimize a permanent president who would appoint all the governors and have veto power over all state legislation. He wanted a king, in other words, who could force British-style mercantilism and an imperialistic foreign policy on America without any significant resistance by the citizens of the states. He failed during his lifetime, but that is essentially the system Americans live under today. We now live in "Hamilton’s republic," as his idolaters gleefully remind us.

As soon as Hamilton’s party, the Federalists, gained power, one of the first things they did was to rescind the First Amendment to the new Constitution with the Sedition Act during the presidency of John Adams. Hamilton authored several long-winded reports as Treasury Secretary in which he invented the insidious notions of "implied" powers in the Constitution along with such an expansive interpretation of the General Welfare and Commerce Clauses that the Constitution would become useless as a restraint on governmental tyranny. ..."

Traitors to the American Revolution: http://www.lewrockwell.com/dilorenzo/...

message 43: by Ilyn (new)

Ilyn Ross (ilyn_ross) | 1071 comments Mod
Excerpt from: http://www.lewrockwell.com/dilorenzo/...

Hamilton was the leading advocate of a constitutional convention to "amend" the nation’s first constitution, the Articles of Confederation. He lobbied for seven years to have such a convention convened, constantly complaining to George Washington and anyone else who would listen that "we need a government of more energy."

Patrick Henry opposed Hamilton by sagely pointing out that the Articles of Confederation had created a government powerful enough to raise and equip an army that defeated the British empire, and that seemed sufficient to him.

It's great to read about George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Patrick Henry.

message 44: by Ilyn (last edited Nov 25, 2008 03:21AM) (new)

Ilyn Ross (ilyn_ross) | 1071 comments Mod
Excerpt from: http://www.lewrockwell.com/dilorenzo/...

Hamilton worshipped government power for its own sake, and sought a government that would seek "imperial glory" (his words). He disrespected people like Jefferson who believed the primary purpose of government should be the protection of natural rights to life, liberty and property. He frequently complained of "an excessive concern for liberty in public men" and called for a government of "more energy." As Clinton Rossiter wrote in Alexander Hamilton and the Constitution, "Hamilton . . . had perhaps the highest respect for government of any important American political thinker who ever lived." His "overriding purpose" was "to build the foundations of a new empire" that could "reach out forcefully and benevolently to every person." (Forcefully, yes; but government is never "benevolent.") ...

And what does "Hamilton’s Republic" look like, from a government policy perspective? It is one that is run by a dictatorial chief executive with king-like powers, for one thing. At the Constitutional convention Hamilton presented his real agenda: a "permanent" president who would appoint all the governors, and who would have veto power over all state legislation. "A king!" is what his Jeffersonian detractors accused him of asking for, and they were right. ...

Hamilton was a frenetic tax increaser as the nation’s first Treasury Secretary. He championed a standing army as well, not so much to defend against foreign invaders as to intimidate Americans into paying all those burdensome taxes he had in mind for them. He proved this when he accompanied George Washington and 10,000 conscripts into Western Pennsylvania during the Whiskey Rebellion, a tax revolt over Hamilton’s federal whiskey tax by Pennsylvania farmers.

Hamilton wanted to hang the two dozen or so tax protesters that were rounded up, but George Washington pardoned them all, infuriating the nation’s first Tax Collector-in-Chief. ...

message 45: by Jim (new)

Jim (jimmaclachlan) In #38, Ilyn wrote, "The definition of libertarian does not say anything about anarchy. If the founders of a party is for anarchy, it is dishonest to use a word derived from "liberty". They are stealing concepts if they think they are for liberty."

First, you're awfully quick to accuse folks of stealing & second, that's not what I said in #37.


As for Jefferson being a Capitalist, I stand by my opinion that he wasn't in the same league as Hamilton nor was he a very good capitalist. He didn't trust stocks & bonds. Anyone who thinks money has to be based solely on goods just doesn't understand what money is. (From what I've been reading about Libertarians, most don't. That last book I read by one, Defending the Undefendable: The pimp, prostitute, scab, slumlord, libeler, moneylender and other scapegoats in the rogue's gallery of American society, made an argument about counterfeiting saying only gold & silver could be used as the basis of money. Sheesh!)

Hamilton understood money, banking & financing in a way that Jefferson never did. He made a lot of enemies, but did set up the US Bank, financing & our tax system. He got money out there for people to borrow with & set up farms & factories that wasn't available before.

Hamilton was ahead of his time & while he was often a power hungry ass, his monetary policies were the main factor Jefferson had enough money in his government to try his economic sanctions in 1809 that worked so poorly. Jefferson believed in borrowing money to the point that he was constantly hounded by debt. Not the man I would want in charge of the nation's treasury. Why, it would almost be like now.

That doesn't mean I disagree with all that Jefferson did or agree with all that Hamilton did or wanted to do. Actually, I tend to agree more with Jefferson & probably would have liked him. I'm sure I'd have hated Hamilton.

Ilyn, remember when you try to tell us about the Founders, that Hamilton was one of them. You often subscribe ideas to all of them that were held by a few. Hamilton was about as far away from Jefferson's POV as anyone can be, but he was a Founding Father. He might not have captured the popular imagination, but he did serve as best he knew how.

message 46: by Ilyn (last edited Nov 25, 2008 04:15AM) (new)

Ilyn Ross (ilyn_ross) | 1071 comments Mod
Where I said Founding Fathers, I mean the FOUNDERS (signatories to the DOI), not the framers.

I will use Founders from now on.

message 47: by Ilyn (last edited Nov 25, 2008 04:12AM) (new)

Ilyn Ross (ilyn_ross) | 1071 comments Mod
It is to the honor of the people of the Enlightenment that they elected Thomas Jefferson twice to presidency.

message 48: by Jim (new)

Jim (jimmaclachlan) Ilyn, I'm not sure that a signature on the DOI means all that much compared to the years of toil involved in being a 'Founding Father' & actually creating the framework that the DOI simply started. The DOI doesn't mean much when compared to the Constitution & the early interpretation & implementation of it, IMO. It was a brave thing to sign a document breaking with England, but setting up a new country that worked was in a class of its own & a far, far greater deed.

They elected Washington, Adams & Madison. They were all Federalists, basically in opposition to Jefferson. What's your point?

What is 'the people of the Enlightenment' anyway? Sounds like a commercial.

message 49: by Will (new)

Will Kester | 11 comments Pardon my interrupting, please.

Just my opinion, but I will always find framing and signing, then sucessfully implementing the Declaration of our Independence a great, great deed. Conceiving, writing, agreeing and implementing a democratic system that worked was an arduous and difficult task. Both were great deeds. The Declaration of Independence doesn't mean much when compared to the Constitution? You're kidding, right?

We are still striving to achieve the goals laid out in the Declaration. We are still trying to make the Constitution work.

But the discussion was about capitalism. The opposite of capitalism? Communism is its antonym. Socialism is the centrist position between the two.

message 50: by Jim (new)

Jim (jimmaclachlan) Will, actually, I'm not kidding. Remember, the war had been going on for over a year. Not every brave soul who would like to have been there to sign it could be, only the representatives. Therefore, signing the DOI is not, IMO, in the same category as those who were active in building the country up in those first couple of decades. It's not in the same category as fighting the war.

Just because someone signed a document, even as great a one as the DOI, doesn't command the respect that I have for those who did the work. Those who signed the DOI were active in the other two projects to a greater or lesser extent, so they worked too. Their reputations are often given a boost by their ability to sign while others as deserving were forgotten.

I'm trying to point out that Ilyn makes a lot of blanket statements about 'Founders' & 'Founding Fathers' that I think are incorrect. Her hero is Jefferson, a great man by all accounts, but he was one of many. She often subscribes opinions to all of them that he & only a few others held.
There was barely a consensus of opinion often. These men got into fights, duels & said some atrocious things about each other. They had different views on almost everything they did, yet managed to work through it & leave us a great nation.

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