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A collection of Post-Objectivst Essays.

A collection of Post-Objectivst Essays.

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Published by Leo_The_Magnificent
A collection of essays that can be found at http://folk.uio.no/thomas/po/post-objectivism.html
A collection of essays that can be found at http://folk.uio.no/thomas/po/post-objectivism.html

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Published by: Leo_The_Magnificent on May 10, 2009
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A collection of Post-Objectivst Essays. Collected by: Leo T.


Preface to the book
As the older internet sites start to die off, and produce a multitude of dead links, I thought it was a wise decision to create a wide variety of PDF files to collect the vast majority of insightful essays written by post/neo-objectivsts – just in case the websites that contain them disappear or they become long forgotten. Also, it is to present the essays to people who wouldn't have read or heard of this movement. It is my hope that at least some people will read these essays on their computers and/or at least print them out.

-Laissez Faire!, Leo T. Magnificent

Preface to the Essays These are the premises or doctrines of PostObjectivism. You must observe them or else you will be assimilated. Resistance is optional.
1. RAND IS ALPHA, NOT OMEGA. Ayn Rand was a genius, but she is a starting point, a platform, not the final word. 2. TRUTH IS OBJECTIVE, BUT IT MOVES. Contexts expand. Information increases and is reorganized. Emphases shift. Methods are refined. Processes may be ends in themselves, not only means to goals. Life is a process; only for a fetus is life a goal. 3. Q VS. A: Q IS PRIOR TO AND MAY OUTLAST A. The right question is as important as, and often more durable than, the right answer. Methods precede, and determine the scope of, results. Skills precede, and determine the scope of, achievements. It's not a one-way street though, they are bicausal and mutually reinforcing each other contextually. (Can you say Dialectics?) 4. REASON PRECEDES INDEPENDENCE, BUT CANNOT REPLACE IT. "Objectivist schools" are nice, but you have to graduate some time. 5. TO KNOW IS TO CONNECT. The most important work to be done today, is to compare Rand with other thinkers: to connect her with the history of thought, and to broaden and deepen not her, but our philosophy. History of ideas should be considered mandatory reading by all Randian and Objectivist thinkers, and should be approached with a "gold-digger" attitude, not a horror file-attitude. 6. THERE ARE MORE VIRTUES. There are more virtues than Ayn Rand's "Big 7". There are even more big virtues than Rand's "Big 7". For example: courage, mindfulness, benevolence, prudence, serenity, exuberance, eupraxophy, mudita. 7. THERE ARE MORE THAN SEVEN DOCTRINES OF POST-OBJECTIVISM. (Can you say open-ended?)

-Thomas Gramstad

POP culture
Premises Of Post-Objectivism


A response to Tibor Machan
Copyright Thomas Gramstad Full Context Vol. 11, No. 7 (October 1999) Tibor Machan in his Another Look at Abortion in Full Context Vol. 11, No. 6 (July/August 1999) writes that "The main issue involved in the abortion debate is the time at which a human being come into existence." Not so. The main issue is the sovereignty of self, the most intimate and fundamental of all individual rights: the right to control one's own body. Noone has the right to access, use or dispose one's body against one's will. Therefore it makes no difference what a fetus is - body part, potential human, individual person, god or goddess - none of these have any right to invade a human's body against its owner's will, because there is no such right. The nature of the fetus is irrelevant to the woman's right to abortion. She has the right to evict it at any time during pregnancy, for the same reason and in the same way that she has the right to end an intercourse at any point of its execution. The morality of abortion may indeed be affected by conclusions about the nature and moral status of the fetus. But Machan was adressing the issue of abortion rights, not abortion morals. Also, Machan refers repeatedly to the need for "a stable approach" in the face of "cultural diversity". But a stable approach in such cases is to allow the full range and bloom of individual choices - and not enforcing one group's views on everyone, as any legally enforced time limit on abortion does. Those who are against abortion should abstain from having any. They do not have the right to force other people to give birth. They do not even have the right to force anyone to hear their case, even that requires the recipient's consent. A fetus becomes a human when it is born, when it becomes an individual. It would be meaningless and self-contradictory to talk about a human or a person who is not an individual. Some would say that a newborn is not a human because it lacks a conceptual consciousness and/or a self-concept. But these things develop gradually and there is no specific point in time where they suddenly appear and establish themselves. Therefore prudence requires that individual rights are acknowledged at the earliest point in time they could possibly be of relevance or come into being, which is at birth or very shortly thereafter. Since a fetus is not an individual it cannot and does not have individual rights. If the fetus were an individual, it would, as I noted, still not have the right to exploit anyone's body against their will, because noone has such a right. An individual's right to her- or himself cannot be superseded or suspended by any other concern. Indeed, when a fetus is allowed to do this on the pretext that it is an individual, the fetus becomes the moral equivalent of a rapist, and those who allow the fetus to acquire this status are accomplices to rape - a long, continuous rape of nine months. Since the fetus is a body part, and not an individual, and has no will (nor anything else) of its own, it

can of course not really be a rapist. But this illustrates the absurd premises and logic of the socalled "pro-life" position. I will close with a recommendation of the Rand-and-abortion mailing list, a forum for discussing ethical, social, political and other aspects of abortion, from a basis of Ayn Rand's philosophy. See http:// www.egroups.com/subscribe/rand-and-abortion for further information. See also: A guide to individualist abortion resources http://www.ifi.uio.no/~thomas/po/abortion-links.html

A Reply to William Thomas on Abortion Copyright Nicholas Dykes In his thoughtful and stimulating yet highly condensed article in Navigator titled Debate Topic: Abortion, available at http://ios.org/debates/DebAbor1.asp, William Thomas touched briefly on many issues. But the problem with condensing is that it can leave the reader in suspense over unanswered questions. For example, William wrote: the 'right to life' of an infant ... amounts to little more than an entitlement not to be harmed or killed by force. One immediately wanted to ask: 'How does that differ from an adult's right to life?' Isn't the adult right precisely 'an entitlement not to be harmed or killed by force?' Yet William was in the midst of telling us that adult and infant rights are different. Similarly, he wrote we cannot extend this right... The reader immediately wanted to know what persons constituted this 'we' and how they came by the authority to grant or withhold rights. Earlier, William wrote it makes sense to ban... Again, one wondered who was doing the banning, and by what authority. One could ask many such questions. However, while reading William's essay, the topic which mostly arose in my mind was that of context. Objectivism sets great store by this concept, and few would question its importance. But before discussing its role in abortion, I need to spell out some reservations about the idea of context itself, for it is sometimes misused. For example, it is a commonplace amongst Objectivists to observe that "knowledge is contextual." This is true in the sense that all items of knowledge are hierarchical and have a proper place in the scheme of things. Yet quite plainly the principles of logic and mathematics, and most matters of fact, are not contextual in the sense of "depending on context." The Law of Identity, 2+2=4, and "Bill Clinton is President of the US" are items of knowledge which are true independent of context. In ethics, too, many principles and facts are not contextual in the latter sense. "Justice is a virtue;" "it is wrong to rob the corner store;" and "Objectivism espouses egoism and individualism" are true regardless of context. Yet there are other areas where context comes to the fore. It would seem therefore that we need some extra terminology to help us identify where context is important and where not. Chris M. Sciabarra may have provided this. He wrote recently of "context sensitive" tenets of Objectivism (Books for Rand Studies, Full Context, Vol. 11, # 4, March/April 1999, p. 10). While I don't agree with his 'dialectical' interpretation of Rand, it does appear that his phrasing here is most apt. "Honesty is a virtue," or "honesty is the best policy in business" are objectively true tenets, yet honesty has context-sensitive

aspects: one may lie to a thief about the location of the company safe. Turning to abortion, this is clearly an issue in which the above distinction is highly relevant. A woman's right to abort is an objective fact in a rational morality, but such matters as the point at which a foetus becomes a viable human being reveal significant context-sensitive elements. As to actually making decisions about abortion, I assume that most Objectivists would agree that if abortion is a woman's right, then it is also her responsibility. It is the mother-to-be, and she alone, who should make the decision. The issue is a moral one, and we can all have our opinion, but the decision belongs solely to the woman in question. I assume, too, that Objectivists - as individualists, who hold the moral and the practical to be the same thing - would agree that the woman's decision should be practical; i.e. based on, and guided by, her own particular circumstances and values; i.e. on her context. A clear grasp of the fact that it is her decision, and that it should be a practical one, would seem to be vital for the woman who has to decide. Abortion for most women involves strong and conflicting emotions: a fraught, possibly degrading experience; potential danger to her health, even to her life; and perhaps lifelong psychological scars. Further, her decision is not necessarily clear cut. What may be straightforward for a rape victim or a teenager, can be a painful dilemma for a happily-married career woman who isn't ready to be a mother; or for a woman desperate for a child who is informed that a foetal scan indicates Downs Syndrome; or for one whose husband may not want another child while she does. All this is perfectly obvious, but such intimate, distressing, and contextually important details are often overlooked in ethical or legal debates. As to the timing of abortion, a woman's right, and consequent responsibility, must in my opinion extend to full term. I know of someone, for example, whose husband deserted her and her three children when she was heavily pregnant with a fourth. I would maintain that it was her moral right to abort - if she so chose - regardless of the 'viability' of the foetus. It was a case where context ruled. I think we need also to confront the fact that the issue of viability may not automatically end with parturition. While amniocentesis and scanning make the occurrence less likely, there are still "monsters" born, for instance. Personally, I would not condemn a mother who, say, upon delivery of an infant with neither eyes, fingers nor genitals, chose not to commit herself to a lifetime of caring for such a tragic error of nature. Infanticide was a contextual matter in earlier times. However abominable to contemplate, I see no reason why a mother in such circumstances should be governed by the sensibilities of ethicists or others who bear no responsibility - whatever takes place. In a philosophy of individualism one has to recognise that some individuals face agonising decisions. But no matter what their anguish, nor our own revulsion, we must accept that responsibility for deciding is theirs and theirs alone. They are the ones who will have to live with the mental and physical consequences, whatever they choose to do. Much of the trouble with distasteful and/or morally ambiguous matters such as abortion starts when other people interfere. We should rather recognise the basic fact of individual responsibility and focus our attention elsewhere. I conclude that abortion is an individual responsibility and that whatever kind of law one believes in be it state-made, customary, or religious - abortion should not be placed in its remit. See also: A guide to individualist abortion resources http://www.ifi.uio.no/~thomas/po/abortion-links.html

Copyright Thomas Gramstad Longevity Report No 79, September 2000 Could cryopreservation solve or defuse the political conflicts surrounding abortion, by giving both sides what they want? Can abortion strife be replaced by "cryobortion" peace? This idea has been proposed by people in the cryonics community, most recently by Daniel Ust. The idea is to get "Right to Life" anti-abortionists to support abortion by having aborted fetuses cryopreserved rather than destroyed or "killed". If one can gain support for this idea, suggest its defenders, one could defuse a very deep conflict in Western societies. This could also be a test case or showcase for cryonics technology. I believe the answer to this question is no and yes, respectively. Because there really are two questions involved. The first question is about the relationship between morality and technology. This is the "no"-part of the answer, because technology cannot really alter the moral issues involved in abortion, it can only expand the range of possible choices. That is, new technology cannot obliterate, override, or curtail existing individual rights. Everyone still has full sovereignty and exclusive rights to decide over one's own body and all its parts. This includes the right to remove and destroy a body part, such as an embryo or a fetus. The second question, with the "yes"-part of the answer, is about the relationship between politics and technology. Cryopreservation technology opens up a new set of possibilities for the abortion-seeking woman, possibilities which are, or ought to be, palatable for (rational) anti-abortionists. In this article I simply take the premise of the existence or future possibility of a functional cryopreservation technology for granted. I do not presume to evaluate the technical feasibility of fetus cryopreservation or the time horizon for such a technology. I'm only interested in exploring where the premise of a functional cryopreservation technology might lead to, in the context of abortion. Given this premise, and the moral and political premises outlined above, I do believe that fetus cryopreservation could go a long way towards defusing and/or solving political conflicts about abortion. If the anti-abortionist can peacefully persuade the abortion-seeker to allow cryopreservation rather than destruction of the fetus, then they both get what they want. I want to stress that given the premises I have outlined above, a decision to cryopreserve the fetus is not a compromise - it is a winwin situation, freely chosen by both parties. For the abortion-seeker cryopreservation is just one more option to choose from; for the anti-abortionist it is a possibility to save a life, if the negotiations are successful. So let us explore how a negotiation might proceed, and the social and cultural background that may be required if there is to be a negotiation at all (that is, what does the anti-abortionist have to offer an abortion-seeker? Why would an abortion-seeker even bother to listen?) FETUS DESTRUCTION MOTIVES Why would a woman want to insist that the embryo or fetus be destroyed? I can imagine at least four reasons (and I do not presume to be exhaustive, but these cases illustrate

how one might proceed with a persuasion or negotiation to save the fetus).

The woman might want to be certain that noone comes knocking at her door some day in the future, disrupting her personal life with claims about being her biological son/daughter, wanting to know about her and her life, why she had an abortion etc. In order to address this need, the anti-abortionist might support laws that protect privacy, and point out to the pregnant woman how their anti-abortionist group have supported such rights. Still, private investigators have a lot of techniques for finding people; usually someone will succeed in finding their biological parents if they really want to. The anti-abortionist could then explain about how the antiabortionist group will (1) offer the offspring to join their free-of-charge "abortion surviver" support group, (2) assist the offspring finding professional psychological help if necessary, and (3) if worst comes to worst, provide free legal counsel and other help if the abort-seeking woman were ever stalked or harassed by the offspring. Surely anti-abortionists would work together in order to be able to offer all these things, if they are serious about protecting the "little people" from death. This certainly must be a more constructive and satisfying activity than today's political struggle, and demonstrations and badgering in front of abortion clinics. Still, destruction would preempt a lot of potential problems for the abortion-seeker, wouldn't it? So then the anti-abortionists may pull the ace from their sleeve: "If you agree to a cryo-preservation, free-of-charge, we guarantee you, and you will have this in a legally binding contract, that the embryo or fetus will not be reawakened in your lifetime. For you, that is indistinguishable from destruction. For us, it is a life saved."

The following may not apply to the US, where I understand that anyone may decide freely what happens to all and every part of their property upon their death. But in many other countries, biological relatives can make claims to inherit property. In particular, direct line descendants (son/daughter) can claim a certain fraction (in Norway 1/3) of all the property of their parents (this even applies against the will of the parents). That is, if you are a parent, you can upon your death only decide to give away 2/3 of your property to other people or institutions than your kid(s). The anti-abortionist answer to this concern would be to support laws that make void any would-be claims from someone who was "aborted" (or "cryoborted"). This is similar to adoption; abortees as well as adoptees can make no claims on their biological parents - such claims could only be directed at their "real" parents, i.e., the people who assumed parental responsibility and raised them, or their legal guardians. An "abortee" would just be a special case of an adoptee. Indeed, establishing and maintaining a clear legal distinction between "real" (social, upbringing) parents and biological parents (when different), ought to be one of the primary causes and concerns of anti-abortionists, since it will help them "save lives". Daniel Ust suggests that in a society with widespread cryonics, inheritance might cease to exist - except in cases where total destruction of a person happens. Surely, this would still happen, but imagine if only 10% of people who died were dead permanently. That would call for a change in the legal definition of death and probably nullify inheritance laws like the ones in Norway.


Today adoption is a random process where the biological parents have no idea what happens to the offspring if it is adopted away. If aborted embryos and fetuses were preserved and then incorporated into the adoption system, the same would apply to them. Indeed, preserved embryos and fetuses would just be one more group of babies up for adoption or in search of guardians (starting with a "prenatal adoption", that is, a transplantation of the fetus to another woman's womb). I think the adoption system needs some amending; in a fully free society there would be an option, for those biological parents so inclined, to specify certain demands and preferences related to values and beliefs that the guardians or adopting parents must fulfill. For example, an Objectivist woman adopting away a child might insist that the guardians must not be fundamentalist Christians; that preferably they should be atheists, or if possible, even Objectivists. So one should be able to indicate some preferences about the guardians, and thus about what kind of upbringing the offspring will get. This would increase the possibility of the offspring being acquainted with and perhaps choosing some of one's own values, and the benefits deriving from these. The more such demands one would make, the more difficult it would be to find guardians, so there is obviously a trade off here for the biological parent renouncing parental responsibility. Perhaps few abortion-seeking women would care about this, and only want to get rid of the embryo or fetus. But perhaps an abortion-seeking woman would prefer destruction of the fetus rather than becoming the cause of a child raised with irrational beliefs and destructive values. In order to meet and argue against this concern, it would be a great help for an anti-abortionist to be able to point to a well-organized agency or organization whose specialty is to locate and offer guardians within the desired range of values and upbringing style. Or at least to be able to say, "we have just begun the work of building up our special division which will address this need, and we will not reawaken your embryo/fetus until our agency is running smoothly and we are able to meet your standards and requirements.". So anti-abortionists should not only support the creation of such organizations, they ought to be proactive in creating them, and working for them.

Today embryos and fetuses are important in medical research and clinical treatment. For example, we are unable to regenerate human nervous tissue, but we can get regenerative tissue from fetuses which can be used for treatment of neurological diseases like Parkinson's disease. Research on fetuses may teach us how to produce regenerative nervous tissue artificially in the laboratory, and it is probably the only way to find out how. So embryos and fetuses are absolutely necessary as medical and clinical raw material. Thus, one can imagine an abortion-seeker who would want to donate the embryo or fetus to such research or treatment - especially if there has been neurological disease in the family. Suppose she has a living spouse or parent with Parkinson's disease in desperate and life-threatening need of regenerative tissue. In such a case, one could even imagine a woman choosing to get pregnant with the conscious intent of producing an embryo/fetus that can be used to save the life of the spouse/parent. Well, you can't win them all; the anti-abortionist would have little to offer in such a case. One thing that can be done in order to alleviate such cases, is to support and speed up the development of artificial womb technology. This would not only increase women's range of choice, it would also separate the medical need for embryos and fetuses from their current "method of production", i.e., women having abortions. This would spare a woman from having to get pregnant herself if she needed embryo/fetus tissue to save a loved one from a deadly neurological disease. Unfortunately, this artificial

womb scenario is unlikely to appeal to an anti-abortionist, because it doesn't "save" any embryos or fetuses. On the other hand, artificial wombs would also reduce the number of cases of health problem pregnancies, including pregnancies where one must choose between the life of the woman and the life of the fetus. In other words, in this scenario artificial wombs can be used to save fetuses from destruction. Alternative solutions include cryopreservation and/or transplantation of the fetus to another womb. Artificial womb technology and/or cryopreservation also opens up the possibility of producing, "farming" and harvesting embryos and fetuses in accordance to medical and clinical needs, just as one is now gearing up to produce (other) body parts and organs industrially. This will probably become an area of political conflict, since anti-abortionists are certain to oppose it. However, the issue of using or producing embryos and fetuses in order to get regenerative nervous tissue may become irrelevant in a couple of years. Geron and other biotech research companies may be able to make embryonic research unnecessary and anachronistic by developing new knowledge about and techniques for neurological regeneration. Probably some anti-abortionists will support the cryopreservation proposal, some will oppose it, and yet others - perhaps even a majority of them - will advocate cryopreservation as a mandatory replacement for plain abortion. The latter could create a good deal of social tension and conflict. Or perhaps this would simply divide and weaken the anti-abortionists. I suppose this too could be judged a successful result of the proposal by pro-choicers. See also: A guide to individualist abortion resources http://www.ifi.uio.no/~thomas/po/abortion-links.html

Copyright Thomas Gramstad 2001 This document is available under the GNU Free Documentation License.

The articles and documents compiled here argue the pro-freedom, pro-choice position from an individualist or autonomy perspective: the right to (one's own) life. (Isn't it strange that the term pro-life is usually associated with the other side of this debate?) Generally speaking they make a moral case for each woman's right to sovereignty or self-determination, and explore the meaning, scope and implementation of this fundamental position. The moral perspective is sadly lacking from much of the mainstream debate, which may explain why the pro-choice position is under siege. The articles here take different perspectives and make different arguments. Sometimes these perspectives and arguments are incompatible with each other or contradictory. So there is a variety of different pro-choice positions (for example, does pro-choice apply to the first, the first two, or all three trimesters until birth?). This variety of positions is to a large degree due to the fact that advocacy of freedom leads to an increased variety of perspectives and viewpoints, the more freedom, the more diversity. While force and its advocacy, on the other

hand, leads to monotony (in how many ways can an act be forbidden or outlawed?). The resolution of the different pro-choice positions is left as an exercise for the reader... Note that pro-choice does not mean that you cannot have strong opinions about what alternative other people should choose, or about the value of saving fetuses, nor does it mean that you cannot advocate and promote those opinions loudly and publicly. It means only that you respect another person's moral and legal right to be the one who makes the decision - her life, her body, her choices. For example, someone running a voluntary campaign to save fetuses, and to convince pregnant women to choose to give birth (instead of supporting forcing women to give birth), is a pro-choicer, not a "pro-lifer". In the context of an abortion debate, the term pro-life is taken to refer to the position that zygotes, embryos and fetuses are persons with the exact same rights and legal protections that any citizen has. But this position always translates into giving the zygote, embryo or fetus more rights and legal protections than a woman has - it has to, because "fetal rights" would conflict with, and therefore curtail and abrogate a woman's rights. Thus, advocating "fetal rights" necessarily means advocating the use of force against women to take their freedom and sovereignty away, by making abortions illegal. This is why pro-force is a more accurate term to describe the pro-"fetal rights" or "make abortions illegal" position. Individualists are people who respect everyone's freedom, autonomy or sovereignty. Individualists are against taking people's freedom away by force. Individualists are pro-choicers (on every issue). That is what this web site is about. Below you will find links to articles and web sites about this theme. There is also a link to a major pro-force web site, where you will find many articles advocating the use of force to take away a woman's freedom and right to her body - an advocacy of force in the name of individualism and life. If you know about any more documents or web sites that should be included here, please feel free to submit them. Thomas Gramstad


Abortion Is Pro-life (A web site with articles and resources presenting the moral case for abortion along Objectivist lines first developed by Ayn Rand) http://www.abortionisprolife.com/ Alstad, Diana & Kramer, Joel: Abortion as a Moral Act http://www.rit.org/editorials/abortion/morality.html Alstad, Diana: Abortion and the Morality Wars: Taking the Moral Offensive http://www.rit.org/editorials/abortion/moralwar.html Alstad, Diana: Teen Abortion: Requiring Parental Consent Makes No Sense http://www.rit.org/editorials/abortion/teen.html Anarchism and the Fight For Abortion Rights

(An anarchosocialist compilation of articles about women's right to choose) http://flag.blackened.net/revolt/abortion_wsm.html Ayn Rand Institute: What was Ayn Rand's view on abortion? http://www.aynrand.org/faq/faq_objectivism.shtml#5 Bissell, Roger: Thoughts on Abortion and Child-Support (Self-described as a "craven middle-of-the-road" position avoiding the extreme ends of the spectrum! :-) http://hometown.aol.com/REBissell/mmAbortion81.html Dykes, Nicholas: Context, Responsibility and Law A response to Will Thomas' Navigator article http://www.ifi.uio.no/~thomas/po/abortion-context.html Gramstad, Thomas: Another Look at Abortion A response to Tibor Machan's Full Context article http://www.ifi.uio.no/~thomas/po/abortion-machanreply.html Gramstad, Thomas: Can Cryopreservation Solve "The Abortion Problem"? http://www.ifi.uio.no/~thomas/po/cryobortion.html King, David: Abortion From chapter 6 of his webpublished book, A Guide to the Philosophy of Objectivism http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Olympus/7695/CHAPTR06.HTM#86 Lawrence University Students of Objectivism: Does a Woman Have a Right to an Abortion? (Compares the conservative approach vs. the liberal approach vs. the Objectivist approach) http://www.lawrence.edu/sorg/objectivism/abortion.html McElroy, Wendy: Abortion Self-ownership vs. mandatory motherhood http://www.zetetics.com/mac/abort.htm McElroy, Wendy: The Abortion Debate that Wasn't Pro-choicers must not be afraid to make the moral case for abortion http://www.ifeminists.com/introduction/editorials/2001/0424.html The officers of The Association for Objective Law: Abortion: An Absolute Right http://www.aynrand.org/medialink/absolute.html O'Neill, Bill: Barricade: the Only Moral Common Ground for Abortion Rights (Conception is neither the beginning of an individual nor of life, and there can be no common ground with those who seek authoritarianism and blind obedience.) http://www.freeworldtrading.com/Reason/pages/fundamentalsarticles/barricade.htm O'Neill, Bill: Modern Demons (An impassioned delivery about the pro-life movement as promoting slavery, why offering adoption is evil, and about the Religious Right, the Catholic Church, and the UN as propagators of irrational ideas) http://www.freeworldtrading.com/Reason/pages/fundamentalsarticles/moderndemons.htm Peikoff, Leonard: Abortion Rights Are Pro-Life http://www.aynrand.org/medialink/prolife.html The Rand & abortion mailing list: http://www.egroups.com/subscribe/rand-and-abortion

Ray, Carolyn: Potentiality Arguments (The first part of a series of caro thinks journal entries on abortion) http://www.supersaturated.com/journal/caro/2001_08_10:17:34Potentiality+Arguments.html Stubblefield, Robert J.: Infants, Fetuses, and the Right to Life http://www.intellectualactivist.com/tia/articles_new/iammo_abortion.html Thomas, Will: Debate Topic: Abortion http://ios.org/debates/DebAbor1.htm Watkins III, Don: Abortion Is A Moral Right http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Oracle/9035/abort.html Woiceshyn, Glenn: The "Partial-Birth" Smokescreen: Anti-Abortionists Are Anti-Life and Want to Stop All Abortions http://www.aynrand.org/medialink/reprint_sample.txt


Libertarians For Life http://www.l4l.org/

Copyright George H. Smith (november 1997) Anarchism is a theory of the good society, in which justice and social order are maintained without the State (or government). Many anarchists in the libertarian movement (including myself) were heavily influenced by the epistemological and moral theories of Ayn Rand. According to these anarchists, Rand's principles, if consistently applied, lead necessarily to a repudiation of government on moral grounds. I call this rational anarchism, because it is grounded in the belief that we are fully capable, through reason, of discerning the principles of justice; and that we are capable, through rational persuasion and voluntary agreement, of establishing whatever institutions are necessary for the preservation and enforcement of justice. It is precisely because no government can be established by means of reason and mutual consent that all Objectivists should reject that institution as unjust in both theory and practice. Although it is sometime useful to distinguish between the meanings of "State" and "government," such distinctions are irrelevant to the present discussion, so I shall use the terms interchangeably. Following the classic discussion of the sociologist and historian Max Weber, I shall define the "State" as a human community that (successfully) claims the monopoly of the legitimate use of physical force within a given territory." The State is vested with the exclusive power to enact legislation, adjudicate legal disputes, enforce laws, etc., while forcibly preventing other individuals and associations from engaging in the same activities. The State, in other words, exercises a coercive monopoly in the enforcement of justice. This ultimate power of decision-making is known in political theory as "sovereignty." In the words of the historian A. P. d'Entreves, "the problem of the birth of the modern State is no other than the problem of the rise and final acceptance of the concept of sovereignty." The concept of sovereignty is the focal point of the current debate between anarchists and minarchists (a label coined by Sam Konkin for the advocates of minimal, or "limited," government). The fundamental problem is this: Where does the right of sovereignty come from, and how can it be justified? This is an especially difficult problem for those in the Lockeian tradition of minarchism which, in this context, includes the followers of Ayn Rand. John Locke (like Ayn Rand) believed that all rights belong to individuals. There are no special "group rights" that exist in addition to individual rights. The rights of all groups (including the group that calls itself a "government") must be based on, and in some way derived from, the rights of individuals. I call this approach political reductionism, because it maintains that the sovereign rights of a (legitimate) government are reducible to the rights of individuals. Political reductionism stands in opposition to political emergence theory, which argues that at least one right (usually the right to enforce the precepts of justice) does not originally belong to individuals, but emerges only in civil

societies under government. Now, having presented this background material, I will address several key issues in the minarchist/anarchist controversy. AYN RAND AND THE SOCIAL CONTRACT TRADITION According to John Locke, every person in an anarchistic state of nature would possess the "executive power" to enforce his own rights against the aggressive actions of others. But owing to various "inconveniences" (such as the likelihood of personal bias when acting as judge in one's own case), Locke argued that rational people would unanimously agree to leave this state of nature and join a "civil society," which would thereafter use majority rule to decide upon a particular form of government, such as constitutional monarchy, democracy, and so forth. This "social contract" was Locke's way of accounting for our obligation to obey the political sovereign. Beginning with the rights of individuals, Locke tried to show how the executive power to enforce these natural rights would be delegated, through a process of consent, to government. Eighteenth-century Americans were chiefly indebted to John Locke for their belief in government by consent. Ayn Rand defends a consent doctrine in several of her essays, but she never explains how this consent should manifest itself - whether, for example, it must be explicit or merely tacit (as Locke believed). Nor does she explain precisely which rights are delegated to government and how they are transferred. Therefore, although Rand appears to fall within the social contract tradition (at least in a general way), it is unclear where she would stand on the nature and method of political consent. I sincerely hope that some of her minarchist followers can shed some light on this problem. CONSENT THEORY VS. GOVERNMENT Many of John Locke's critics - such as David Hume, Josiah Tucker, Adam Smith, Edmund Burke, and Jeremy Bentham - argued that the inner logic of consent theory, if consistently applied, will land us in anarchy. As these critics pointed out, no government has ever originated in consent, and there is no reason to suppose that individuals, in full possession of their natural rights, would ever subordinate themselves voluntarily to a government. I agree with these critics. If we accept the premise that individuals (and only individuals) possess equal and reciprocal rights, and if we insist that these individuals must consent to be ruled by a government, and if we condemn as illegitimate all governments that rule without consent - then all governments, past and present, have been illegitimate. Furthermore, I maintain that Objectivists, if they are to remain true to the consent doctrine, must embrace this kind of "practical anarchism" and condemn all historical governments as unjust. True, Objectivists insist that government can be justified in theory - though none (that I know of) has ever spelled out the necessary criteria - but this theoretically legitimate government has never existed anywhere on this earth. Nor can it exist anywhere except in what Edmund Burke called "the fairyland of philosophy." As Josiah Tucker (a contemporary of Burke) put it, the consent theory of government is "the universal demolisher of all governments, but not the builder of any." John Locke identified two fundamental problems that must be addressed by the political philosopher. First, what is the justification of the State? Second, assuming that we can justify the State in theory, what are the standards by which we can judge the legitimacy of a particular government? Too often minarchists deal only with the first question, while ignoring the second. Suppose I am asked what could conceivably change my mind and cause me to endorse government,

and suppose I give the following reply: "If I believed in the God of Christianity, and if I believed that God had dispatched a squad of angels to communicate with me personally, and if these angels told me that the State is a divine institution, ordained by God for the protection of human rights, and if these angels further informed me that anarchism would lead to widespread death and destruction - then, under these circumstances, I would abandon my anarchism in favor of minarchism." But consider an important feature that would be missing from my newfound justification of the State. While believing that the State is justified, qua institution, I would not possess specific standards by which to judge whether a self-professed "government" is in fact a legitimate State at all, or whether it is merely a gang of usurpers and oppressors who claim to act on behalf of that divine institution. As a remedy for this problem, suppose the angels provide me with a clear and unmistakable standard, to wit: "You will know legitimate rulers by the visible halos over their heads. This sign, and this sign alone, will mark the agents who are authorized by God to act on behalf of the State." Well, after looking around at the functionaries of existing governments, and after seeing no such halos, I would conclude that no one who presently claims to represent the State is morally authorized to do so. On the contrary, I would surmise that America is currently in a state of anarchy, since it contains no legitimate government - so, devoted minarchist that I am, I would dedicate my life to abolishing our wicked "government" and to exposing those Satanic politicians who fraudulently pose as functionaries of that divine institution, the State. This is a species of the "practical anarchism" that Objectivists must logically endorse. For halos, they have substituted consent as the discernible sign of a legitimate government - and, like halos, consent is nowhere to be found in real-life governments. Hence, while defending the State in theory, these consent-minarchists should oppose all existing governments in practice. And this, I dare say, is a kind of minarchism that I can live with quite well - for we are more likely to be visited by angels than to find a government based on consent. AYN RAND, ANARCHIST My next point will probably cause me to be branded as a psycho-epistemological pervert, but here it is: I am convinced that Ayn Rand was essentially an anarchist in substance, if not in name. She was at most a nominal governmentalist. If the conventional meaning of a word is to count for anything at all (and it should), then Rand's ideal "government" is in fact no government at all, but is merely a sheep in wolf's clothing. How can I make this outrageous claim? I base it on Rand's moral opposition to coercive taxation. The power of coercive taxation, as Alexander Hamilton said in The Federalist Papers is the very life-blood of government. Indeed, the great debate over ratification of the United States Constitution centered on whether or not the federal government should have the power to tax. The Articles of Confederation had withheld this power from Congress, reserving it exclusively for the states. Many Anti-Federalists opposed the Constitution because they realized that the federal government, if granted the power to lay and collect taxes directly from the people, would strip the states of their sovereign authority. If the defenders of either side in the ratification debate had encountered Rand's argument for "voluntary taxation," they would have assailed it, first, as a veritable contradiction in terms (which it is), and, secondly, as a rejection of sovereign government altogether (which it also is). Virtually every defender of government - from John Locke to Thomas Jefferson to Ludwig von Mises - has recognized coercive taxation to be an essential component of sovereignty, a power without which no true government can exist.

The principle of "voluntary taxation" reduces Rand's "government" to a free-market protection agency, which, like every business, must either satisfy its customers or close up shop. What is to prevent a dissatisfied customer from withholding his money from a Randian "government," while subscribing instead to the services of another agency? Why cannot a landowner (or combination of landowners) refuse to pay for the services of their Randian "government," which they regard as inefficient, and take their business elsewhere? The right to pay for services or not, according to one's own judgment, is a characteristic of the free market; it has no relationship, either theoretically or historically, to the institution of government. There is no way a government can retain its sovereign power - its monopoly on the use of legitimate force - if it does not possess the power of compulsory taxation. When the nineteenth-century minarchist Auberon Herbert advanced his theory of "voluntary taxation," he was widely praised by anarchists, such as Benjamin Tucker, who embraced him as one of their own. But he was assailed by fellow minarchists, such as Herbert Spencer, who correctly pointed out that Herbert's position was indistinguishable from anarchism. Likewise, Rand's position on taxation places her squarely in the anarchist camp - her idiosyncratic use of the word "government" notwithstanding. We should focus in this debate on the concept of government and its essential characteristics, not on the word usage of a particular writer. OBJECTIVE JUSTICE VS. LEGAL MONOPOLISM I defend anarchism, or society without the State, because I believe that innocent people cannot be forced to surrender any of their natural rights. Those who wish to delegate some of their rights to a government are free to do so, provided they do not violate the rights of dissenters who choose not to endorse their government. As Ayn Rand has said, the lives of other people are not yours to dispose of. Yet this is precisely what every government attempts to do. A government initiates physical force (or the threat of force) to prohibit other people from exercising their right to enforce the rules of justice. (Either every person has this executive power, or no one does, according to the principle of political reductionism.) A government, while engaging in certain activities which it claims are just, coercively prevents other people from engaging in those selfsame activities. By what moral means, I ask, does a government come to possess this exclusive right? A government cannot bestow justice on an action that would be unjust if undertaken by someone else. Nor can a government, through force or arbitrary decree, render an action unjust when undertaken by someone else, if that same action is just when undertaken by government. The principles of justice are objective and therefore universal; they apply equally and without exception to every human being, as does every rational precept and procedure. A mathematical computation, for example, cannot be correct when computed by a government, and incorrect when computed by someone else. A deductive syllogism, if valid for those in government, is equally valid for those outside of government. Murder, if wrong when committed by an individual, is equally wrong when committed by a government. Likewise, an activity, if moral when pursued by a government, is equally moral when pursued by someone else. All this should be obvious to those who agree with the principles put forth by Ayn Rand. If, therefore, the principles of justice are objective (i.e., knowable to human reason), then a government can no more claim a monopoly on the legitimate use of force than it can claim a monopoly on reason. Those minarchists who claim that justice can prevail only under government must implicitly defend the view that justice is either subjective or intrinsic. If justice is subjective, if it varies from one person to

the next, then government can be defended as necessary to establish objective rules. Likewise, if justice is intrinsic to government itself, if whatever a government decrees is necessarily just, then government is justified automatically. If, however, justice is neither subjective nor intrinsic, but instead is objective - i.e., if it can be derived by rational methods from the facts of man's nature and the requirements of social existence - then the principles of justice are knowable to every rational person. This means that no person, group of persons, association, or institution whether known as "government," "State," or by any other name - can rightfully claim a legal monopoly in matters pertaining to justice. Rational anarchism, in short, is simply the application of Ayn Rand's theory of objective knowledge to the realm of justice. STATE-SOVEREIGNTY VS. SELF-SOVEREIGNTY As far as I know, the first sustained attack on legal pluralism came from Marsilius of Padua in the fourteenth century. In his Defender of the Peace, Marsilius attacked the legal pluralism of his day especially as it pertained to the political authority of the Church and he maintained that one authority, and one alone, should have sovereign power in a given territory. In defense of this view, Marsilius argued that to deny the right of sovereignty leads ultimately to a logical contradiction. Someone - some person, association or institution - must have the authority to render a final verdict in order for a legal system to operate. One of Marsilius's more interesting examples went something like this: Suppose two "competing governments" (to use the misleading terminology of Ayn Rand) claim jurisdiction over the same territory, and suppose both have the right to issue compulsory subpoenas that require a person to appear in court on a given day. Furthermore, suppose I receive subpoenas from both agencies demanding that I appear in court at exactly the same time. Since it is impossible for me to be in two places at once, it is impossible for me to obey both governments simultaneously. Yet this conflicts with our initial premise - that both agencies have a rightful authority to issue subpoenas - because I am logically required to disobey at least one of these governments. I don't know the official Objectivist position on subpoenas, but the logic of the foregoing argument can easily accommodate other examples. The important point here is the reasoning behind this "logic of sovereignty argument," as it is sometimes called. This argument exerted considerable influence after 1576, when Jean Bodin used it to defend absolute monarchy. It was also used for the same purpose in the seventeenth century by Sir Robert Filmer (Locke's dead adversary) and Thomas Hobbes. It is scarcely accidental that the logic of sovereignty argument was a favorite among the defenders of absolutism, and was vigorously opposed by John Locke and other champions of limited government. For consider: If the sovereign (whether one man or group of men) is the final arbiter in all matters pertaining to justice, then how can the sovereign himself be held accountable for committing acts of injustice? The absolutists insisted that he cannot be so judged by any human authority; the sovereign was accountable to "none but God." Sovereign power, in this view, must be absolute (i.e., unconditional), because by definition there is no higher authority than the sovereign himself. The sovereign is therefore above the law, not under it, which means that there can exist no rights of resistance and revolution by the people. To advocate a "divided sovereignty," according to Filmer, Hobbes and other absolutists, is to advocate anarchy. I cannot go into the various ways that Locke and other minarchists tried to get around this logic of

sovereignty argument, but I think the absolutists had the stronger philosophical case. Either a government has sovereign power, or it doesn't. Either a government has the final authority to render and execute legal decisions, or it doesn't. Sovereignty is an all-or-nothing affair. And if this is true, then no person has a right to resist the sovereign, however unjust his actions may appear. For who is to decide whether a law is unjust, if not the sovereign himself? Who is to decide whether a right has been violated, if not a sovereign government in its role as final arbiter? In any dispute between a sovereign government and its subjects, the government itself must decide who is right; and, as Locke suggested, the sovereign, like everyone else, is likely to be biased in his own favor.. I would therefore like to know how those Objectivists who use the logic of sovereignty argument as a weapon against anarchism can avoid sliding down the slippery slope into absolutism. If I am arrested for smoking pot or for reading a prohibited book (say, Atlas Shrugged) do I have a right forcibly to resist my incarceration? If you say "no," then you are defending absolutism. If you say "yes," then what happened to the sovereign power of government to render final decisions in matters of law? - for in resisting the government I am clearly acting as judge in my own case. Ayn Rand somewhere says that a government becomes tyrannical when it attempts to suppress freedom of speech and press, but who is to decide when this line has been crossed, if not the sovereign government? Surely we can't have crazy people like Ayn Rand running around condemning some laws as unjust and calling for disobedience, because this will lead to anarchy. We cannot preach sovereignty when it suits our purpose, and then oppose it when we don't like particular laws, for this undermines the rationale of sovereignty itself - i.e., that legal matters cannot be left to the discretion of individuals. The doctrine of natural rights, as foes of consent theory repeatedly pointed out, is inherently anarchistic. Burke called natural rights "a digest of anarchy," while Bentham castigated them as "anarchical fallacies." If at any point Objectivists are willing to admit that individuals have the right to resist an unjust law or overthrow a despotic government, then they are conceding the basic premise of anarchism: namely, that true sovereignty resides in each individual, who has the right to assess the justice of a particular law, procedure or government. There can be no (logically consistent) middle ground between state-sovereignty and selfsovereignty, between absolutism and anarchism. I defend the self-sovereignty of anarchism. If Objectivists do not understand how I can defend the individual as the "final authority in ethics," I recommend they read Ayn Rand's essay on that topic. THE LOGIC OF STATE-SOVEREIGNTY VS. OBJECTIVE JUSTICE In over twenty-five years of arguing with Randian minarchists, I have encountered few who seem even remotely aware that the logic of sovereignty argument has been a central theme in political theory for over four centuries. Those familiar with its long history will understand that it has everywhere and always been used to defend and expand the absolute power of government. In The Federalist Papers, for example, both Madison and Hamilton repeatedly use the logic of sovereignty argument to defend extensive discretionary powers in the federal government, and to prove that no limit can logically be imposed on the taxing power of Congress. Indeed, Hamilton insists that an "unqualified" (i.e., absolute) power to tax is logically deducible from the axiom of sovereignty, and Madison defends a similar position. As the saying goes, if you lie down with dogs, you get up with fleas. The minarchists who lie down

with the logic of sovereignty argument are infested with the fleas of absolutism, but apparently they haven't noticed or don't care. Our primary concern should be with the justice of a legal system - i.e., with what laws are enforced, not with who enforces them. This justice can be ascertained by objective standards of right. If the legal system of an agency (whether governmental or private) is truly just as evaluated by objective standards - and if, by "competition," we mean any attempt forcibly to overturn this legal system, replacing it with an unjust system - then our agency may forcibly resist and overthrow the outlaw agency, owing to its effort to violate individual rights. As I said, however, the right to suppress the outlaw agency has nothing to do with the alleged necessity for a final arbiter. Rather, it is simply an application of the right of every individual, whether by himself or in combination with others, to resist and repel despotism, whatever the source of that despotism may be. The pertinent issue, therefore, is not whether we need a coercive monopoly to enforce justice; but whether we can determine the justice of legal system by objective methods, and whether, having objectively condemned a given system as unjust, we can then forcibly resist any individual or agency which seeks to impose that system. This has everything to do with the individual right of self-defense, as manifested in the libertarian rights of resistance and revolution, and has nothing whatever to do with the supposed need for a final arbiter. Objectivists, if they are to remain true to the theory of rights defended by Ayn Rand, must agree with anarchists that the moral legitimacy of a particular government depends, not on the subjective claims of that government, but on true measure of justice in its legal system, as evaluated by objective criteria. If a legal system is objectively just, then its enforcement agency (whether governmental or private) may properly restrain the "competition" of an unjust legal system, whether implemented by a government or by a private agency. If, however, the competitor also works within the framework of a just legal system (perhaps differing from the other agency in optional matters of procedure), then that competitor may not be forcibly restrained from entering into contractual relationships with willing customers. The logic of sovereignty argument is valid only within a subjective theory of justice, where a coercive arbiter must prevail in the absence of reason. In an objective theory of justice, however, what appears to minarchists (mistakenly) as the logic of sovereignty - i.e., the right forcibly to eliminate unjust agencies - has in fact nothing to do with the supposed need for a final arbiter, but is instead the application of an individual's right of self-defense. Minarchists, after noting that an objective theory of justice can generate the right to exclude competing agencies in some cases (i.e., when the agency is unjust), erroneously conclude that this right flows from political sovereignty. But sovereignty demands the exclusion of competing agencies in all cases, even if the competitor is far more just than the sovereign itself. Sovereignty, based as it is on subjectivism, cannot logically discriminate between just and unjust legal systems, so it transforms the de facto power of an existing government into de jure sovereignty operating, in effect, from the maxim of Alexander Pope, "Whatever is, is right." This is why the theory of sovereignty and its attendant absolutism have always denied the rights of resistance and revolution. A system of objective justice, on the other hand, enables us to discriminate between the initiation of force and the retaliatory use of force, thereby providing a rational method of assessing any

person, agency or government which claims to use legitimate violence. Furthermore, a system of objective justice defines and sanctions the use of defensive violence, which has traditionally been expressed in libertarian theory as the rights of resistance and revolution. These rights, which stem from the individual right of self-defense, can justify the suppression of any agency or government that seeks to impose an unjust legal system. And though this suppression of "competition" may sometimes bear a superficial resemblance to the sovereign suppression of all competition (whether just or unjust), this should not mislead Objectivists and libertarians into supposing that these two actions - one by a sovereign government, the other by a private justice agency - are based on the same mode of justification. One (suppression by a sovereign government) is rooted in political subjectivism (or relativism), and has no relationship to the justice or injustice of the victimized agency. The other (suppression by a justice agency) is rooted in political objectivism, and is confined solely the suppression of unjust agencies and governments. The former power is justified by political sovereignty, a right that cannot be reduced to the rights of individuals. The latter power is justified by the right of self-defense, a right that is possessed equally by every individual and can be delegated (or not) to a specialized agency. The former theory leads necessarily to absolutism and cannot be reconciled with consent. The latter theory generates agencies whose power is specifically limited by the consensual delegation of rights by individuals. As I have said before, we must ultimately choose between state-sovereignty and self-sovereignty, between absolutism and anarchy, between subjective decree and objective justice. There is no middle ground in logic. The chickens of the Law of the Excluded Middle have come home to roost. And they are fouling the minarchist nest. LEGAL PLURALISM VS. STATE-SOVEREIGNTY IN HISTORY The lesson here is that power is always dangerous, regardless of who wields it - be it a private protection agency or a sovereign government. As Acton said, "Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely." Even the rulers in an ideal Objectivist society would be likely to abuse their power, and would therefore require constant monitoring. (I ask you, who is more likely to seek power in an Objectivist society - the Howard Roarks or the Ellsworth Tooheys?) It was this concern about the abuse of power that led Thomas Jefferson and others in his tradition to favor decentralization, a system in which power is checked by other external powers. This was the original idea behind "limited government." A "limited government" was a government whose power was limited, or checked, by another power external to itself. Ultimately, according to Locke, Jefferson, and other minarchists, the only effective check on sovereign power is the right of the people to resist unjust laws and overthrow despotic governments. This sovereign right of the people was the external check that imposed real limits on a "limited government." There are very good reasons to suppose that legal pluralism would be more effective in preserving justice than legal monism. The Western legal tradition, as many historians have pointed out, was rooted in legal pluralism. Legal pluralism existed in Europe for many centuries, until it was finally destroyed by rapacious and violent monarchs. Medieval Europe had a complex network of political authorities, legal systems and overlapping jurisdictions. There existed customary law, the king's law, feudal law, municipal law, canon law, and so forth. What some minarchists claim cannot exist, therefore, did in fact exist for many centuries.

Moreover, as Voltaire, Lord Acton and other liberal historians have argued, the Western World owes its liberty to the conflict among these competing authorities. Neither the spiritual nor the temporal authorities had libertarian intentions, but the ongoing competition between these institutions gradually led to the development of "intermediate" institutions (such as municipalities), as Pope and Prince conceded various "liberties" and "immunities" in an effort to win allies to their side. And it was these intermediate institutions, not governments, which were largely responsible for the freedom that is unique to the Western World. A remarkable system of competing governments also existed in America for many decades prior to the War for Independence. The colonials came to regard their provincial governments as independent and autonomous institutions that were necessary to check British power. And the British government, in its turn, restrained the power of the colonial assemblies. This situation resulted in a paralysis of power (since neither government could do much) and in a great deal of personal liberty. Later, after the countervailing power of Britain had been eliminated by a successful Revolution, the Constitution established a powerful national government - which, as Madison proudly announced during the Philadelphia Convention, was vested with greater powers than even the British Parliament against which Americans "have so lately rebelled." This sentiment was seconded in The Federalist Papers by Alexander Hamilton, who criticized the fundamental principles of the American Revolution, called for their repudiation by the American people, and advocated instead a Constitution and monopolistic government that were based on a newer and more sophisticated "science" of political sovereignty. In just a few short years the decentralized legal pluralism of pre-Revolutionary America had succumbed to the logic of sovereignty and a powerful central government - those evil Siamesetwins that are largely responsible for our present unhappy condition. Consider two of the most powerful and influential ideas in twentieth century politics: the notion of an all-powerful State that is the sole arbiter of justice, and the notion of an infallible general will that can force people to be free. The former was the brainchild of Thomas Hobbes, the latter of J.J. Rousseau. Consider also that it was these two philosophers of sovereignty who, more than anyone else, separated sovereignty from its religious roots in the divine right of kings, gave it a secular foundation, and unleashed the "mortal god" of Leviathan on the Western World. I don't defend anarchism because I ever expect to see an anarchist society. (An anarchist America is almost as unlikely as an Objectivist America.) But I do think we can effectively combat statism with the right intellectual ammunition, and this includes the total repudiation of political sovereignty in favor of individual rights and voluntary institutions.

A Critique of Ayn Rand's View of Government
Copyright Nicholas Dykes Philosophical Notes No. 50, London: Libertarian Alliance (1998) INTRODUCTION In November, 1997, the Internet discussion group "Objectivism L", co-ordinated by Kirez Korgan at Cornell, began a "Great Anarcho-Capitalist Debate" with the intention of thoroughly airing, if not necessarily deciding, the issue of whether a government is necessary to protect individual rights. Participants in the debate included well-known Libertarian or Objectivist personalities such as George H. Smith, David Friedman, David Ross and Chris Sciabarra.(1) Naturally enough, the ideas of Ayn Rand featured extensively in the discussions, and since it could be claimed that Rand started the debate back in the Sixties, I thought it might be timely to take a close look at her thinking about government. Another reason for doing so is the current upsurge of interest in Rand's work, highlighted recently by an Oscar nomination for the documentary Ayn Rand: A Sense of Life. This last, by all accounts - I have not seen it - presents Rand's thought as totally consistent. Because I dispute that view, and because I now hold that government is not necessary to protect rights, my 'close look' amounts to a fairly detailed critique. Several of the topics I cover will be familiar to most Libertarians, and/or Objectivists, they may even be 'old hat.' However, I have not seen them discussed alongside my other material and, as my essay would be incomplete without them, I thought they should be included. Other issues covered here I have either not seen elsewhere, or have not seen directed at Rand, so I hope there will be enough original observations in these pages to compensate for the familiar ones. In concentrating my fire on Rand, I am very conscious that other thinkers, some of whom she inspired, have put the case for limited government - or have advanced arguments against anarchism - far more extensively, persuasively or learnedly than Rand herself. I think particularly of John Hospers, Robert Nozick and Tibor Machan. However, it is not my intention to be exhaustive. Rand remains the prime source for one side of the anarchy/minarchy debate and much of what I say in criticism of her may be applied equally to any proposal for monopoly government, whoever advances it. Besides, the authors just mentioned deserve far more attention than I could give them in an essay of this length.(2) A note on semantics: I use 'force' to mean initiated violence or the threat of it. By 'state' I mean a permanent institution, by 'government' its current personnel; but I tend to use the terms interchangeably to refer to any group of people claiming exclusive authority to make and enforce rules of conduct in a given geographical area. 'Monopoly' refers to activities made exclusive by state-initiated force. Finally, my criticism of Ayn Rand implies no disrespect. Despite some reservations, I still think her novels and philosophy are magnificent achievements. ONE: LOGICAL PROBLEMS To set the stage, I shall begin with a brief presentation of what I consider to be the essence of Rand's politics. This will also serve as a reminder of how she herself expressed the ideas I intend to criticise.

A. Rand on Government For Ayn Rand, the sole purpose of government is to protect rights. This idea was elaborated, forcefully but briefly, in a single essay, "The Nature of Government"(3), first published in 1963, in which Rand argued for a government monopoly on the use of force, and against anarchism. Her exposition began with the sine qua non of individual rights: "the basic social principle without which no moral or civilized society is possible" [108]. She then proceeded to the non-initiation of force, Rand being the first philosopher fully to enunciate this vital principle: "The precondition of a civilized society is the barring of physical force from social relationships .... In a civilized society force may be used only in retaliation and only against those who initiate its use" [108]. Consistent with her devotion to objectivity, Rand related the necessity of government to a necessity for objective law: "The use of physical force - even its retaliatory use - cannot be left at the discretion of individual citizens" [108]. "If physical force is to be barred from social relationships, men need an institution charged with protecting their rights under an objective code of rules" [109]. To achieve this objectivity, and to prevent unwarranted use of force, Rand held that government had to be a monopoly: "a government holds a monopoly on the legal use of physical force. It has to hold a monopoly, since it is the agent of restraining and combatting the use of force" [109]. By 'monopoly' Rand meant coercive monopoly, not 'sole producer.' Government "holds the exclusive right to enforce certain rules of social conduct" her essay begins [107, italics in the original]. Following Locke, and the Founding Fathers of her adopted country, Rand held that government was justified if based on consent: "The source of the government's authority is 'the consent of the governed'" [110]. However, Rand did not allow any choice in the matter: "There is only one basic principle to which an individual must consent if he wishes to live in an a free, civilized society: the principle of renouncing the use of physical force and delegating to the government his right of physical self-defense" [110, italics added]. Rand was vehement in her rejection of anarchy: "Anarchy, as a political concept, is a naive floating abstraction ... a society without an organised government would be at the mercy of the first criminal who came along .... even a society whose every member were fully rational and faultlessly moral, could not function in a state of anarchy; it is the need of objective laws and of an arbiter for honest disagreements among men that necessitates the establishment of a government." She was equally caustic in her dismissal of anarcho-capitalism: "A recent variant of anarchistic theory... is a weird absurdity called 'competing governments'" [112]; "this theory ... is obviously devoid of any understanding of the terms 'competition' and 'government'" [113]. Finally, Rand was fully cognizant of the dangers of a state monopoly on force. Government had to be "rigidly defined, delimited and circumscribed" [109] and its activities strictly confined to police, armed forces and law courts [112]. She was a great admirer of the original American constitution, whose system of checks and balances was an "incomparable achievement ... the concept of a constitution as a means of limiting and restricting the power of the government" [114]. In sum, Rand saw government as essential to protect rights. However, to achieve this end, it was equally essential to protect rights from government. B. The Conflict with Individual Rights Rand argued for a state monopoly on the use of force.(4) Yet the establishment of a state monopoly automatically involves an initiation of force, something which Rand asserted must be barred from civilized society: a state monopoly is by its nature restrictive and coercive.

Further, a state monopoly is absolute, it permits no competition. Elsewhere, however, Rand maintained that the right to liberty is inalienable, i.e. absolute: "inalienable means that which we may not take away, suspend, infringe, restrict or violate - not ever, not at any time, not for any purpose whatsoever."(5) But an inalienable right to liberty would imply that citizens were free to set up their own systems of rights protection. Evidently then, if a state monopoly is established, the state immediately comes into conflict with the inalienable rights it is supposed to protect. Many Libertarians have pointed to this or related problems. The late Roy Childs, for example, wrote an "Open Letter" to Ayn Rand in 1969 asserting that her conception of limited government was selfcontradictory: "a limited government must either initiate force or cease being a government ... the very concept ... is an unsuccessful attempt to integrate two contradictory elements: statism and voluntarism."(6) Rand riposted, if I recall correctly, by saying that Child's alternative idea of free market anarchism purely voluntary society - was nonsense; there just had to be a'monopoly on the use of force'. To my knowledge, she never denied the contradiction Childs had pointed out.(7) Rather, she appeared to imply that it was a paradox: something which only seemed contradictory, and then only to the uninitiated; the wise accepted a coercive monopoly on coercion as unavoidable. Locke, Paine, Jefferson and other Enlightenment thinkers certainly accepted this inevitability. Mankind had 'fallen'; government was a badge of lost innocence, a necessary evil. Yet a 'necessary evil' is at best an oxymoron, self-contradictory for literary effect. One could not have an actual 'necessary evil'. That would be a true contradiction, and contradictions cannot exist, as Rand so often reminded us. The central, insuperable difficulty faced by Rand's exposition, as by any defense of monopoly government, is that coercive monopoly conflicts with freedom. If humans as individuals have an inalienable right to liberty, no person or group can have or acquire the right to curtail that liberty. The issue is entirely straightforward. There is nothing obscure or problematic about it: a state monopoly on law and law enforcement simply cannot be established or maintained without immediately infringing the liberty of any citizen who might wish to offer, or to employ, alternative forms of protection or arbitration. Contradictions cannot exist. We must check our premises. Either the concept of an inalienable right to liberty, or the concept of a monopoly state, is false. One or the other has to be abandoned. C. The End Justifies The Means? Rand's thinking in support of monopoly government appears to be along these lines: a) Individuals have rights, the prerequisites of human life. b) All experience, whether historical or day-to-day, shows hat organised protection of rights is essential. c) Protection of rights cannot occur without objective law. d) Objective law cannot arise if 'governments' compete; agency A's interpretation would differ from agency B's, etc. e) Therefore, protection of rights has to be a monopoly. f) Coercive monopolies are per se wrong, but this monopoly is permissible because it is the only way to achieve the objective law necessary to protect rights. g) To ensure rights are in fact protected, the state monopoly on the use of force will be retaliatory only,

and will be rigorously controlled by a constitution. h) Because our end is good, and our means constitutionally controlled, we can live with something which is, in all other circumstances, evil. The problem is, this argument is no different from (e.g.): "We are elected to protect liberty. The enemy is at the gates. We have insufficient troops. To protect liberty we must conscript." But one cannot defend liberty by destroying it. The contradiction is blatant. If an action is morally wrong, it does not become morally right by being carried out for a good purpose. A is A, not B; there is no logical connection between them. Thus, if my analysis is correct, Rand's politics are vitiated by an 'end justifies means' argument. In a private letter disputing my criticisms of Rand, the late Dr Ronald Merrill stated that "government is morally justified because it protects rights."(8) Even taking into account the informal source of this proposition - it might have been phrased differently in a book - it does seem clear that the statement merely repeats the 'end justifies means' pattern of argument outlined above, only in different terms and much more succinctly. For if 'government' in Dr Merrill's proposition refers to 'a monopoly on the use of force,' my earlier objection stands: the establishment of such a monopoly would itself initiate force. A government monopoly not only breaches individual rights - by eliminating liberty of choice - it also conflicts with Rand's principle of barring force from social relations: a state monopoly, to be a monopoly, must be both absolute and enforced. It is therefore, by its very nature, coercive. With due respect to Dr Merrill, it seems evident that to say "government is justified because it protects rights" is merely to sidestep the crucial issue of the initiation of force entailed by a state monopoly. Although intended to be reasonable and just, the assertion attempts to deflect attention from the state's prior breach of morality by pointing to the state's moral end of protecting rights. Ergo, the proposition rests on the false assumption that an end can justify the means used to attain it. D. The Ad Hominem Attack on Anarchism When I reread Rand's essay on government after many years, I was dismayed to notice that most of her critique of anarchism consisted of ad hominem arguments. She neither presented the case for anarchism nor criticised the reasoning behind it. Rather, she simply asserted that anarchism is a "naive floating abstraction" or an "unthinking protest," whose variant, "a weird absurdity called 'competing governments'" is "befuddling some of the younger advocates of freedom" despite being "obviously devoid of any understanding of the terms 'competition' and 'government'" and "devoid of any contact with or reference to reality..." [VOS 112-3].(9) Rand's only approach to an actual critique of anarchism consisted of an unsupported, Hobbesian assertion that "a society without an organised government" would be precipitated "into the chaos of gang warfare" [112], and an equally unsupported allegation that "competing governments" would not be able to resolve jurisdictional disputes: "You take it from there" she concluded ominously [113]. Despite the vigour of Rand's protestations, it hardly needs to be stated that ad hominem arguments are fallacious, and that mere assertion, unsupported by evidence or argumentation, is philosophically unconvincing - even when it comes from Ayn Rand. Any dispassionate observer would have to admit that Rand's attack on anarchism establishes nothing.(10) Writing in her own journal to presumed supporters (the essay first appeared in The Objectivist Newsletter), it seems clear that Rand - possibly in a hurry to make a deadline - was confident that her authority would carry the day, as indeed it has with many Objectivists, and that the forcefulness of her

remarks would overcome doubts. Who in the youthful Objectivist movement would want to be known as 'naive, unthinking, and devoid of understanding'? Certainly, Leonard Peikoff, leader of the 'official' Objectivists, has followed exactly the same formula as Rand in his published discussion of anarchism: anarchists are "foolish" and a lot else besides.(11) However, one does not need much knowledge of philosophy to be aware that appeals to authority are as fallacious as ad hominem arguments, and so are attempts to intimidate, if indeed that is what we are faced with. Rand herself wrote a fine warning against the latter, "The Argument from Intimidation," which concludes The Virtue of Selfishness. E. Rand's Circular Argument Rand maintained that "a government holds a monopoly on the legal use of physical force. It has to hold a monopoly, since it is the agent of restraining and combating the use of force" [VOS 109]. This seems to me completely circular. 'A government holds a monopoly on force. It must hold a monopoly because it is the agent - i.e. the sole agent - for combatting the use of force.' Which is to say that it is a monopoly and has to be a monopoly because it is a monopoly. I had to go over this passage several times to be sure I was reading it correctly. It was disturbing to come across such blatant question-begging in an essay by 'Mrs Logic.'(12) F. The Hasty Generalisations of 'Consent' Rand spoke of the authority of government being derived from the 'consent of the governed.' Again, many Libertarians have asked: what of those who have not consented? For example, consent for the US federal Constitution was last sought in AD 1787. What of all the generations since? Obviously, there is some degree of consent to government, otherwise it would not exist: it has the sanction of its victims. But if consent is the basis of government authority, government can have no authority over those who have not consented. The point was famously made in 1850 by Herbert Spencer, who wrote powerfully and convincingly about "the right to ignore the state" - if one had not consented to it.(13) Twenty years later, the case was made even more forcefully by Lysander Spooner in his fiery pamphlet No Treason, a devastating refutation of any consensual or contractual obligations supposedly created by the US Constitution. Spooner noted, among many other things, that owing first to property qualifications, next to the disenfranchisement of women, Negroes and others, probably not more than 1/10th of the population, perhaps less than 1/20th, were even permitted to vote in the elections which created the US federal government;(14) and even then only a politically active minority of eligible voters would in fact have voted. These points were confirmed by the 1824 presidential election, the first for which there are reliable records, when only 350,000 out of a population of some 11 millions actually voted, a mere 3.2%.(15) Yet, despite its pitiably fragile foundations, the US Constitution and the political reality it has spawned have been held up to the rest of the world for 200 years as the archetype of government by consent! Rand's consent argument might be stronger if universal consent were demonstrated to exist, but it never has been and almost certainly never could be. Most states therefore rely entirely on 'majority rule' - or some semblance of it. But 'majorities' are only presumed to consent to government. Further, they seldom amount to more than one third of the population. Besides, according to the consent argument itself, majorities still have no right to appoint rulers, or to rule themselves, over those who have not

consented. Some advocates of a state monopoly on force maintain that mere residence in a country implies tacit consent to the authority of its government. But what exactly is 'tacit consent'? Who defines it? Who measures it? Who proves its existence? It seems odd for upholders of 'objective law' to rely on something so nebulous and subjective. It is also self-evident that individuals born into a society of many millions cannot possibly by themselves change the governmental structure of that society. Nature imposes an obligation upon all humans to live somewhere, and the vast majority choose to stay in familiar territory. But to assert that residing in the country of one's birth implies tacit consent to its form of government - which one did not create, and has no power to change - is to leap way past the evidence.(16) The notion seems little more than a rationalisation for the status quo. Even if it were true that people did tacitly consent to the state's existence, and to the authority of particular administrations to make law, this would not imply that the same people tacitly consented to the laws which that government did make. Even if one approves of the system of supposedly delegated authority upon which most Western governments depend, one may all too easily disapprove of what one's government does. For example, many of those who voted for British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher heartily objected to her signing away British sovereignty to the European Community. Similarly, while Thatcher's supporters applauded her repeal of foreign exchange controls, many bitterly opposed her imposition of insider trading laws and the other gross economic interventions of her years in power. While it is probable that a sense of powerlessness or an unthinking inertia lead most people to accept things as they find them, acquiescence is not at all the same thing as consent.(17) In any case, one cannot base a political theory on unproven suppositions. Who can tell what the answer to an actual question - "Do you consent?" - might be? What is more significant is the bottom line: if government authority does indeed rest upon consent, government can have no authority over those have not consented. G. The Root Non Sequitur - from Rights to State I am not the first to question Rand's uncritical dependence on the invalid 'consent of the governed' premise. Peter Saint-André, for example, pointed to the problem in a thought-provoking article in 1997. (18) He also criticised two other Randian assertions: that in a civilized society one must delegate one's right of self-defense to government, and that the use of retaliatory force may not be left to individuals, both notions being just as suspect as government by consent. For it has always been obvious that people faced with muggers on the street, or intruders in their homes, are free to defend themselves and their property as best they can; in no possible way could it reasonably be asserted that by living in society people forswear the use of defensive force. According to John Locke, one has the right to kill in such circumstances, even if only threatened by the wrongdoer.(19) Rand might possibly have said that it is the exercise of the right of self-defense which is granted to government, not the right itself, but even that would assert too much. In defending oneself when government protection is not at hand one is exercising one's right. What Rand should have said is that dedication to a life of reason automatically commits one to persuasion - and thus to a self-imposed prohibition on initiating the use of force. But leading a moral life does not diminish either one's right of self-defense or its clear implication, the right to retaliate. As long as one has the former, one may do the latter, either oneself or, more wisely and if possible, through

a dispassionate third-party. Yet there are greater problems with Rand's position than the ones dealt with by Saint-André. For the self-restraint just referred to says nothing in support of government, and nothing to endorse a government monopoly on the use of force. Throughout history, reasonable people have recognised that emotion can upset judgment and that one is usually best advised not to be a judge in one's own cause. But the value of arbitration and of third party defenders emphatically does not, and logically can not, imply a state monopoly, nor imply any obligation to delegate a vital right to the state. The limited government case advanced by Ayn Rand, and of course long ago by John Locke, rests heavily on the logical fallacy of non sequitur. Locke, for example, in paragraphs 87-89 of the Second Treatise, simply slips in the notion of a state monopoly on law and justice almost by legerdemain: "the Commonwealth comes by a power" [para. 88]. Yet no matter how clearly people recognise the need for protection and arbitration, that recognition cannot possibly justify monopolization of those needs by a self-perpetuating institution imposed on society by force. The non sequitur is transparent. There are not now, and never have been, any necessary, essential or logical links between self-defense or justice and a state monopoly on law. TWO: HISTORICAL PROBLEMS Logical flaws hardly exhaust the problems with Rand's politics. Another egregious error is her failure to consider relevant historical facts. It is unfortunate that when she first started to think about politics she did not ask herself the same profound question she asked about ethics, ("Does man need values ... and why?" [VOS 13]); i.e., does man need a state, and why? Instead, she set out to defend a "new conception of the State".(20) Assuming the primacy of the state from the very beginning, she overlooked one of the most important questions in political philosophy: where did the state come from? A. The Origins of Government Aristotle said "the fact is the starting point,"(21) and the most significant historical fact about states concerns their origins. There are currently some 200 or 300 states in the world, all with exclusive jurisdiction over a specific area. They have many differences, but one thing they all have in common was noted succinctly by Herbert Spencer: "Government is begotten of aggression and by aggression."(22) All states were originally established by force. In his detailed account of state origins, Franz Oppenheimer wrote: "The State ... is a social institution forced by a victorious group of men on a defeated group ... [for] no other purpose than the economic exploitation of the vanquished by the victors. No primitive State known to history originated in any other manner."(23) Oppenheimer's judgment was later confirmed by Rand's near contemporary, Albert Jay Nock: "The positive testimony of history is that the State invariably had its origin in conquest and confiscation."(24) Once in power, governments or states have sought to legitimise their authority by appeals to grandsounding conceptions such as Divine Right, the General Will, the Spirit of the Times, or Manifest Destiny; and have perpetuated their rule by such means as military might, various forms of election and, in particular, by creating dependants. In all cases, the state's exclusive jurisdiction has been and is enforced.(25) No competition is permitted in the core areas the original group arrogated unto itself - at the minimum war-making and taxation - or

in later areas of involvement such as law-making, law enforcement and money; any competition being eliminated by force or the threat of it. The origins of states were well known to the American revolutionaries so admired by Rand. Tom Paine, for example, famously depicted the creation of the British state: "A French bastard landing with an armed banditti, and establishing himself king of England against the consent of the natives, is in plain terms a very paltry rascally original."(26) However, historical knowledge did not inhibit the revolutionaries from following the precedent set by William the Conqueror. We have already seen that only a very small, politically active minority was involved in setting up the United States. More significant, perhaps, is the fact that the citizens of the Thirteen Colonies were never offered a choice between a central government or none, but only between English or American government.(27) In fact, the citizens' consent hardly mattered. As Josiah Tucker complained bitterly at the time: "did, or doth any of their Congresses, general or provincial, admit of that fundamental Maxim of Mr. Locke, that every Man has an unalienable Right to obey no other Laws, but those of his own making? No; no; -so far from it, that there are dreadful Fines and Confiscations, Imprisonments, and even Death made use of, as the only effectual Means for obtaining that Unanimity of Sentiment so much boasted of by these new-fangled Republicans, and so little practiced."(28) Once securely in place, the United States government thereafter conformed to the practice of all states by enforcing its exclusive jurisdiction. Any threat to its monopoly on power has been promptly and ruthlessly crushed; whether during Shays Rebellion or the Civil War, at Wounded Knee or Waco. (The native inhabitants, whose free way of life presented an especially serious threat to the American state, were dealt most ruthlessly of all, being driven from their lands by the US Army and wherever possible, massacred. The US government's deliberate policy of genocide against native Americans is well documented).(29) It is not possible to deny these two facts: 1) there exists in all countries a social condition in which force was at some point in the past initiated against the rest of the society by the group which created the state; and 2) force has invariably been used ever since to perpetuate the state's exclusive jurisdiction. The present world order thus flatly contradicts Ayn Rand's assertion that "The precondition of a civilized society is the barring of physical force from social relationships" [VOS 108]. The significance of all this, as George H. Smith has pointed out, is that the coercive origins of government "block the most popular method of justifying the present State: consent theory. If the State originated in conquest and usurpation, it is clear that its citizens, those who are exploited by those who control the political machinery of the State, did not, and would not consent to be so exploited."(30) We have already seen that on purely logical grounds consent theory is of very limited value. Had Rand taken time to consider the historical facts, she must surely have realised that 'consent' is no argument for government at all. B. Gang Warfare? Rand maintained, with Hobbes,(31) that the absence of a government monopoly on force would precipitate gang warfare: "a society without an organised government would be at the mercy of the first criminal who came along and who would precipitate it into the chaos of gang warfare" [VOS 112]. Yet the historical and ethnographic record, much of it published before or during Rand's intellectual lifetime, belies this assumption emphatically. While a single negative instance suffices to invalidate a universal affirmative proposition, there are literally thousands of examples of societies the world over - from primitive forest dwellers to miners in

the Old West - all of whom recognised individual rights and worked out methods for protecting them, and for resolving disputes, without recourse either to gang warfare or to monopoly government. What these societies had in common was customary law: voluntary, usually unwritten codes which evolved over time through trial and error, yet which were willingly and near universally obeyed, often for centuries on end, because they were practical, and because it was in every individual's self-interest to do so. Let us look briefly at some examples. Herbert Spencer told us, for instance, about the "utterly uncivilized Wood Veddahs" on the island of Ceylon, who were "without any social organisation at all," yet who thought it "perfectly inconceivable that any person should ever take what doesn't belong to him, or strike his fellow, or say anything that is untrue."(32) In the Americas, French ethnographer Pierre Clastres has pointed to the great personal freedom and contentment of the stateless aborigines who, when one peels away the European prejudice that saw them as primitive, were actually healthier, wealthier and in many ways wiser than those who conquered or annihilated them. For example, according to Clastres, the mutilation that marked entry into manhood in many tribes was deliberately devised to prevent the development of tyranny: "Archaic societies, societies of the mark, are societies without a State, societies against the State. The mark on the body [mutilation scars], on all bodies alike, declares: You will not have the desire for power; you will not have the desire for submission..."(33) In Europe and the Middle East, Rose Wilder Lane has reminded us (even if she does exaggerate a bit) that while Europeans were enduring the 'Dark Ages,' a great Moorish civilization stretched in a shining crescent around the Mediterranean; largely anarchical - there was no state provision of justice or policing - yet educated, scientific, clean, healthy, free and prosperous for nearly a millennium.(34) It was the Moors, or Saracens, who introduced modern Europe to Aristotle, and also to astronomy, modern medicine, geography and other sciences. David Friedman has shown us the freedom-loving and - the sagas notwithstanding - usually peaceful Icelanders, who lived on their isolated island in complete anarchy for centuries until overwhelmed by the Norwegian state.(35) Murray Rothbard drew our attention to medieval Ireland, "a highly complex society... the most advanced, most scholarly, and most civilized in all of Western Europe" where there was "no trace of State-administered justice" and where customary law held sway for 1000 years, until destroyed by the English state.(36) Coming closer to our own times, Bruce Benson has reported on recent studies of the American 'Wild West' which show that its supposed 'lawlessness' before the arrival of government was in fact the opposite: "some long-cherished notions about violence, lawlessness and justice in the Old West ... are nothing more than myth."(37) Most Westerners were far too busy trying to survive or get rich to be fighting each other. What the 'Wild West' more often provided were examples of the spontaneous generation of customary law: universally accepted, efficient, cheap, and usually a lot more just than the state law which eventually superseded it. Far from lawless, Western settlers, ranchers and miners were as law-abiding as any people in history: "Doors were not locked."(38) Here again, the heart of the matter was simple self-interest. In the trenchant words of Eric Hoffer: "Those who have something worth fighting for, do not want to fight."(39) Dr Benson also pointed to marked likenesses between the customary law of primitive societies and that of early medieval Europe. He refers, for example to the Kapauku of New Guinea, who were described by an anthropologist in the 1950s. Like all 'primitive' societies the Kapauku had no government, yet

enjoyed a thriving culture based on individual rights. Protection was provided by kinship groups, and arbitration by competing judges called tonowi.(40) The similarity between the customary, state-less law of the Kapauku and that of Anglo-Saxon England is striking.(41) Much may also be learned from the northern Iroquoian peoples, some of whose descendants lived on Rand's doorstep in New York State. The Seneca, Mohawk and their confederates, and the Hurons in Ontario, had existed as cohesive societies without government for centuries prior to the arrival of Europeans. Their secret was a true freedom involving genuine equality and consent. Among the Huron, "No man could be expected to be bound by a decision to which he had not willingly given his consent."(42) Among Iroquoians generally, "The implementation of the decisions of ... councils required securing the consent of all those involved, since no Iroquoian had the right to commit another to a course of action against his will." Far from a war of all against all, Iroquoian society was characterised by "a respect for individual dignity and a sense of self-reliance, which resulted in individuals rarely quarrelling openly with one another." It was also marked by "politeness and hospitality to fellow villagers and to strangers" and by "the kindness and respect they showed towards children."(43) Even Jesuit missionaries, who were appalled by various aspects of Huron life, such as their sexual 'licence,' freely acknowledged the cooperativeness and tranquillity of Huron communities - in which thousands of people lived closely together in conditions of considerable discomfort. Jean Brébeuf SJ, for example, writing in the 1640s, commented at length on the "love and unity" that existed among the Hurons and "their kindness towards each other" even in times of great stress.(44) A hundred years later, Pierre Charlevoix SJ confirmed the "harmony" which characterised the domestic and community life of the many interior tribes he visited.(45) It is true that the Iroquoians engaged in constant inter-tribal warfare, but this was waged for vengeance, prestige and to obtain victims for sacrifice, not for conquest. Their wars were thus quite unlike European wars, which were launched for territorial gain and for the exploitation of subject peoples. The origins of most Iroquoian conflicts were ancient blood feuds, but the futility of these had become well recognised. The main purposes of Huron confederacy councils were to "prevent disputes between members of different [Huron] tribes from disrupting ... unity" and to "maintain friendly relations with tribes with whom the Huron traded." The Huron were well aware that "no tribal organisation and no confederacy could survive if internal blood feuds went unchecked. One of the basic functions of the confederacy was to eliminate such feuds ... indeed, between Huron, they were regarded as a more reprehensible crime than murder itself."(46) The above evidence shows that it is simply not true to assert that in the absence of a state, internecine conflict immediately breaks out. What the historical and anthropological records actually reveal anticipating the computer studies of Robert Axelrod - is that when people are left to their own devices what emerges is not a Hobbesian war of all against all, but cooperation.(47) C. Objective Law The most crucial aspect of the case for monopoly government as advanced by Ayn Rand, is the assertion or implication that objective law is not possible without it. Since anybody ruled by law must desire their master to be non-arbitrary, just, and impartial - i.e. objective - plainly the assertion that objective law can only be created by a monopoly government is going to carry great weight. Yet the assertion is false. We have just seen compelling evidence that objective law can and does arise without government. Just as 'spontaneous order' arises in economic life, so spontaneous or 'customary' law arises in social life. But there is nothing subjective about customary law. It is every bit as objective as the products of legislatures.

Another compelling example cited by Bruce Benson is the Law Merchant of medieval commerce. This arose spontaneously to facilitate trade when Europe was emerging from the 'Dark Ages' and still forms the bedrock of modern commercial law. The Lex mercatoria was private, created by the merchants themselves, yet was universal, being recognised all over Europe and beyond. It was extremely efficient and cheap to run, and had its own courts with their own rapid and informal procedures. Rulings were followed without question because the judges were merchants themselves - who knew intimately what plaintiff and defendant were arguing about. Besides, it was in the interest of the courts and everybody else that judgments be reasonable and just. A defendant was of course free to ignore an unfavorable ruling, the court had no power to enforce. But to outlaw oneself in this manner was to put oneself out of business, for nobody traded with merchants who disrespected the merchants' own law. Compliance was thus achieved without coercion, perhaps the most vital lesson the Law Merchant has to teach. The Law Merchant's success was due to its objectivity. It was simple, clear, confined to essentials and, its raison d'être, was a practical requirement of trade. It arose because merchants needed independent arbitration, and continued because it performed that service efficiently. Yet it was created and sustained voluntarily - without any involvement from government - and functioned effectively for centuries without costing a penny in tax. Although later submerged in most countries by the growing power of the state, the Law Merchant lives on today in the underlying principles of the (non-state) law which guides international trade. The history of the Law Merchant demolishes the notion that state-created law is a prerequisite for the free market. Prior to 1600 or so, commercial and contract law was entirely private - and vastly cheaper and more efficient for being so. In Bruce Benson's words, the spontaneous generation of the Law Merchant "shatters the myth that government must define and enforce 'the rules of the game'."(48) Equally, the well-documented existence of customary law societies all over the world - in which lawgeneration, policing and justice were carried out effectively without government - shatters the myth that only state monopolies can create objective law. It might be objected that I am relying on work published after Rand's death and hence am being completely unfair. That would only be true if Bruce Benson's book were the sole source for such material, which is not the case. Spencer, Spooner, Oppenheimer, Nock, Lane and other critics of the state all wrote long before Rand composed her essay on government. (Spencer's The Man versus the State was actually 'recommended reading' at the Nathaniel Branden Institute, which promoted Rand's ideas, with her approval, until 1968.) Similarly, students of customary law such as Friedman, Rothbard and the Tannehills, and anthropologists such as Clastres and Trigger, all published their work well prior to Rand's retirement from active intellectual life. She could have been, and should have been, better informed. Furthermore, Rand studied history in St Petersburg, and must surely have known of the medieval Hanseatic League, which dominated trade in the Baltic, and whose trading was governed by private mercantile law. She must also have studied the transition in Europe from customary to authoritarian law which occurred from the 10th Century onwards. The medieval era has always been important in the history syllabus and would have been particularly so in Russia under the Soviets, the rise and fall of feudalism being integral to the Marxist thesis. To conclude this section, it must also be averred that the historical record hardly supports the contention that monopoly government does produce objective law. Whether one thinks of John Locke's strictures on 17th Century lawyers; or the spurious 18th Century doctrine of the Sovereignty of Parliament; or the despairing 19th Century cry "The law is an ass" immortalised by Dickens in Bleak House; or the labyrinthine 6000 pages of the 20th Century 'IRS Code', the US tax law; or one of Rand's

own favourite targets - the manifestly unjust and self-contradictory US Anti-Trust Laws: history seems rather to show that much, if not most, state-made law is and always has been the opposite of objective. Nor is state-provided justice any better. One could cite a thousand examples of judicial perversity. But just one will have to suffice here. In the 1997 Woodward v. Massachusetts case, Judge Hiller Zobel approvingly quoted John Adams to the effect that the law is "inflexible, inexorable and deaf," then informed the world: "evidence is evidence if the jurors believe it; what they choose not to believe is not evidence."(49) I have not come across a better illustration of outright subjectivity entrenched in a statemade legal system. We can see from the above brief review that the basic problem with customary law is not any want of objectivity, but rather the lack of objectivity of those who disparage or ignore it. Brought up in the tradition that 'law is made by government', and swaddled from cradle to grave in state-made, fiat law, supporters of monopoly government assume that objective law can only be made by government. As Nock put it: "There appears to be a curious difficulty about exercising reflective thought upon the actual nature of an institution into which one was born and one's ancestors were born."(50) But in point of historical fact, government is a newcomer. Most laws of any true benefit in use today are merely formalisations or logical extensions of customs or customary laws which existed long before the legislatures which enacted the modern fiat versions. Law was invented prior to government. The state has merely expropriated the law, and has only gradually succeeded in creating the monopoly on law-making and law enforcement which it now claims as its discovery and birthright. D. The Grim Tale of State Monopoly All of which brings us back to the problem we started with, the monopoly status which Rand and its other proponents claim 'limited' government must have. Many fine minds have devoted huge efforts to detailing the devastating effects of government monopolies. Rand was aware of this and enthusiastically endorsed the work of such thinkers as Frederick Bastiat, Ludwig von Mises, Henry Haslitt and others. But when one sees the havoc government monopolies have wrought in the economic sphere, is it not unduly optimistic to expect them to be efficient in any sphere? When one then surveys the domains over which Rand claimed government should have exclusive control - law-making, courts, police and defence - the litany of disasters makes one wonder what faith inspired her. Taking the US alone, one could fill libraries with the names of people, places, events and laws symbolic of crushed rights, military adventurism, genocide, waste, murder, cruelty, stupidity, duplicity, injustice, or what Thomas Sowell has called "passionate delusion"(51) - all perpetrated by agents of government operating under an exclusive license: Fallen Timbers, Sand Creek, Little Bighorn, Jim Crow, Comstock, the Philippines, Selective Service, Prohibition, Sacco and Vanzetti, Purple Codes and Pearl Harbour, the USS Indianapolis, Yalta, Hiroshima, Social Security, Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, Bay of Pigs, Vietnam, Watergate, Rodney King, Whitewater, Donald Scott, Ruby Ridge, and those endless unconstitutional acronyms: BATF, DEA, EPA, FDA, HEW, HUD .... Rose Wilder Lane put her finger on the core of the problem: "Being absolute, and maintained by police force, a Government monopoly need not please its customers."(52) And of course this applies whether the monopoly is a railway network, an air traffic control system, a post office, a currency, a legislature, a police service, a judiciary, or any bureaucracy appointed to carry out a state task. Spencer, writing 100 years before Lane, described the result of the state's exemption from the normal

rule of business - that the customer is king. He characterised the functioning of state officials in the social sphere in his day as, "slow, stupid, extravagant, unadaptive, corrupt and obstructive," and in the realm of law as, "treacherous, cruel, and anxiously to be shunned."(53) Who today can point to a state bureaucracy or state legal system-anywhere in the world-where things are any different? In one of the most apt uses of statistics ever, Spencer also pointed out that four fifths of all British laws passed between 1236 and 1872 later had to be repealed as unworkable.(54) Imposed by persons claiming the exclusive right to direct British life, the laws all turned out to be asses. There was evidently great hope that the system of checks and balances built into the various American constitutions would resolve the problem of monopoly in government. Alas, it failed. Bruce Benson's The Enterprise of Law cites innumerable examples of corruption, inefficiency and stifling of improvement in every branch and level of government in the USA, whether municipal, county, state or federal. The problems have been there since before 1776 and persist despite huge efforts by reformers to root them out. Newspapers and one's own experience in Britain and Europe tell the same story daily on this side of the Atlantic. Corruption and inefficiency have always existed in government. They always will. Government is force. Thus government service tends to attract those of lower self-esteem (power seekers) as well as the less scrupulous and the less able. Thereafter, the exercise of unwarranted power, lack of competition, absence of personal financial responsibility, and the insular, self-serving nature of bureaucratic life, tend to eat away the moral fibre of even the most honest officials. For citizens who have had legal or economic monopolies foisted upon them, government power usually resolves itself into the withholding or granting of permissions. Obviously, those who need to get round these obstacles, or who seek to exploit them, will resort to whatever is necessary to do so successfully. Corruption is the inevitable result. And since competing with government is forbidden, inefficiency is corruption's steadfast companion in crime. The uniformly awful record of state monopolies is too well known to require further elaboration. One need do no more than draw attention to it as one of the most serious objections to 'limited government.' As long as the providers of any service do not have to please their customers, as long as they hold a monopoly, corruption and inefficiency will bloom - as persistently, hardily and perennially as the ugliest weeds. Advocates of limited monopoly government have a great tradition of philosophical debate, heroic deeds, and revered Founding Fathers to fall back on. But no amount of flag-waving can eradicate the historical fact that the only product of government monopolies, whether in commerce or in justice, has been "the law's delay" and "the insolence of office." State monopolies always have, and always will, hold back human progress like cannonballs shackled to the legs of slaves. The solution is obvious: expose all the services now provided by government to competition.(55) Thus arguments for continuing the state's 'monopoly on the use of force' must be very powerful indeed. I have shown that those provided by Ayn Rand are invalid or inadequate. If better ones exist, I hope someone will point them out. THREE: CONSISTENCY PROBLEMS One of Rand's major claims about her philosophy, and one of the facets for which it is most admired, is logical consistency. Objectivism begins with solid metaphysical foundations in reality and continues with impressive logic through an epistemology of reason and an ethics of rational self-interest to a conclusion in laissez-faire capitalism. Unfortunately, this logical structure does not extend to Rand's political thought: there are serious inconsistencies between her politics and the rest of her philosophy.

A. The Malevolent View of Mankind Rand advocated an ethics of rational self-interest and upheld the essentially benevolent nature of the universe. Her Hobbesian assumption that gang warfare would ensue in the absence of a state monopoly on force hardly inspires confidence in these viewpoints. Rand consistently maintained that "There are no conflicts of interest among men of goodwill." The historical record shows that she was right. Wherever and whenever people have been left free, they have tended to be or to become benevolent and reasonable towards each other, not violent.(56) A war of all against all, on the other hand, assumes the complete irrationality of the population. Alternatively, rule by a strongman(57) assumes a complete lack of virtues such as independence and courage amongst those ruled, and neither recognition nor acknowledgement of individual rights by tyrant or by subject. There could be no room in either of these societies for 'Objectivist Man.' The Objectivist ideal is of men and women devoted to reason, purpose and self-esteem; to rationality, productiveness and pride; to honesty, independence, integrity, and justice. But people of this kind have been found in all communities throughout history. Besides being historically inaccurate, it is a grave injustice to maintain that without a coercive central state they would have been instantly at each others' throats. Good people live peacefully and recognise each other's rights because that is the rational, practical way to live. They are good because they choose to be, not because someone else keeps them in order. In modern society 99% of people neither steal nor murder. But they do not refrain from such acts out of fear of the state. They refrain because they wish to live moral lives. While they do know that punishment and ostracism would follow if they did commit violent crimes, that is not their incentive. They prefer honesty and integrity to taking that which is not theirs. Human conviction is vastly more powerful than any state. The fact is that the universe is actually benevolent, and those who are not coerced generally respond in kind. An assumption of mayhem ensuing in the absence of government is completely counter to a benevolent view of mankind. It also implies the vanity of any hope that Objectivism might prevail. Most notably of all, perhaps, the assumption clashes horribly with Rand's own depiction of an ideal society - Galt's Gulch in Atlas Shrugged - which was a haven with neither government nor dispute. The great frightener the state holds up to us is après moi le déluge - that we are doomed without it. Historically, this is nonsense pure and simple: law and order everywhere emerged spontaneously, with no involvement by the state. It is unfortunate that Rand did not recognise this truth. For by scorning anarchism she encouraged people to believe the state's propaganda. She ought rather to have been first to acknowledge the overwhelming historical and contemporary evidence that it is not freedom which corrupts, but power. B. Conflicts with the Objectivist Ethics The Objectivist ethics is a standard-based morality.(58) It defines principles or standards which act as guides for individual judgment. Laws made by governments, in contrast, are clear examples of, or analogous to, rule-based systems of ethics - such as Christianity, Kantianism or Utilitarianism - which Objectivism rejects. State-made laws are rules made by some men demanding the obedience of others. A law is a command backed by the willingness to use force. "Command is the growl of coercion waiting in ambush" as Spencer so pithily put it.(59) State-made law appeals not to reason, but to fear. A standard, on the other hand, is derived by reflection from the facts of reality, and is reaffirmed

generation after generation because it conforms to the common experience and common sense of mankind. A standard is available to anybody at any time and is employed voluntarily and individually. Its appeal is to reason, its acceptance comes through persuasion. Freely accepted rational standards are the hallmarks of civilization. They are the antithesis of state-made law. That laws may be based on rational standards offers no way out here. If people are free by right, employing civilized standards is up to each individual person. It can never be the right of some one group of people to judge for the rest and thereafter to enforce their judgments 'by law'. It is not only in the general sense of espousing standards rather than rules that Objectivism conflicts with a government monopoly on law. We have already seen that a coercive monopoly conflicts with individual rights. Such a monopoly also conflicts with particular Objectivist virtues such as independence and justice. One cannot rationally uphold independent judgment as a virtue, then maintain that in vital areas of human life ordinary people are not fit to judge. Similarly, one cannot extol the virtue of justice - treating people on merit - while denying everyone the right to exercise justice in the area where it matters most, self-defense. Nor does Rand's trader principle fare well under limited government. How does "a free, voluntary, unforced, uncoerced exchange"(60) take place in the face of a coercive monopoly on the law of contracts? C. Reason, Persuasion and Force Setting up and maintaining a monopoly government is an employment of force to resolve human problems: a monopoly on law-making and law enforcement is coercive. In George Washington's words: "Government is not reason, government is not persuasion, government is force ..."(61) Yet Objectivism upholds reason as man's highest value. Reason abjures the use of force. The method of reason is persuasion. Therefore to employ force is to abandon reason. We thus face another contradiction. But we know that contradictions cannot exist. The choice is stark: either abandon monopoly government or abandon reason. The consequences of admitting force into human affairs are catastrophic. Once you concede the principle, once you allow coercion in one area, you cannot deny it in others. There is no stopping it. Pandora's box is opened, the cat is out of the bag. And that has been the story throughout history. Whenever a coercive state has taken over a society, or when it has been granted (by default or explicitly) the right to use force in, or to monopolize, any one area of life, it has gradually pushed its way into or taken over all others. The logic is irresistible. Abandon reason, introduce the premise that it is permissible to initiate force sometimes, and force will eventually be used at all times. Let a coercive state get one foot in the door, and it gradually takes over the whole house. The classic example is North America. When Europeans first landed in what is now the United States, there was no state. Today, there is not one single aspect of American life which remains untouched by state intrusion.(62) The clearest possible logical chain leads directly from the Norman Conquest - and the Norman state's subsequent suppression of Anglo-Saxon customary law(63) - to the actual chains which fetter Americans today: the dictatorial acts now being committed, in the name of justice, by the uncountable, and unaccountable, agencies of the US state. Ayn Rand was a great admirer of the US Constitution. For many years so was I: it was the noblest attempt in history to cage and chain the beast of force. But the beast broke its shackles almost

immediately and with little difficulty. Aided and abetted by the morality of altruism, the beast has since proceeded to devour, at an ever-increasing rate, both the Constitution so painstakingly designed to restrain it and the individual rights which that hallowed but helpless document was intended to protect. The premise that coercive monopoly, i.e. force, is justifiable in any one part of life, leads inexorably to a total state - even when the purpose of the monopoly is to protect individual rights. History and logic demonstrate beyond question that government cannot be limited. Any limited state power eventually becomes unlimited. In sum, Objectivism, advocating reason; a standard-based ethics; virtues such as independence and justice; inalienable individual rights; and laissez-faire capitalism, cannot consistently support a state monopoly on the use of force. POSTSCRIPT Loyalty to Rand made reaching the above conclusion a long and hesitant process. My interest in politics, my intellectual life itself, began with Rand, in 1963. But doubts about limited government surfaced early. The first occurred when reading Thomas Jefferson at university. His emphasis on self government seemed almost to preclude external forms of control. Rand's 'monopoly on the use of force' also clashed with all those checks and balances I was learning about. Surely they were intended to prevent monopoly? Some years later, about 1970, while reading the journals of Samuel Champlain and other explorers of North America, I was struck, as they were, by the great contentment of the aborigines, in most of whose societies respect for individual rights thrived despite a complete absence of government. Anarchism suddenly lost some of its anarchic connotations. Later still, during the 1980s, in the course of devising a programme for limiting government in the UK, I began to see more clearly the weaknesses of the minimal state position, particularly vis-à-vis its monopoly status. However I wasn't yet ready to abandon 'minarchy,' so I sidestepped, or perhaps evaded, my own acknowledgement of the logical strength of the anarchist case: "... if one is setting out to control government, it must be admitted that the most effective method is to dispense with government entirely."(64) Then, in 1993, a friend, Kevin McFarlane, to whom I shall always be indebted, urged me to read Morris and Linda Tannehill's The Market for Liberty. This, while highly abstract and at first sight not fully convincing, did at least present a consistent argument for anarcho-capitalism which revived my earlier doubts about limited government. Kevin next lent me Bruce Benson's The Enterprise of Law. That remarkable book had something of the effect that Rand had had on me thirty years before. Like Cortez in Keats's poem, I found myself staring at a vast, new, apolitical horizon, my mind filled with the "wild surmise" that a stateless society might indeed be possible - even in our complex modern world. The last piece of the puzzle fell into place in 1995, when I heard about Murray Franck's essay on taxation.(65) Startled to find an Objectivist in favour of taxes, I reread Ayn Rand's essay on government. I was even more startled, and considerably dismayed, when I noticed for the first time the flaws and empty spaces in her arguments. Yet, so what? Rand's mentor Aristotle said, "one swallow does not make a summer,"(66) and even a whole flight of errors in one branch of knowledge says nothing about a philosopher's work in others. Aristotle made some pretty fair blunders himself; eg, over women, slavery, evolution and astronomy. We might have been on Andromeda by now if he hadn't. But he was still the greatest of the great

philosophers. Rand's errors in politics do nothing to invalidate the rest of Objectivism, which in my judgment remains solid: it works; both as a guide for living and - though far from complete technically as a philosophy, especially in its logical integrity. Nonetheless, everything I have read since 1993 - when the Tannehills and Bruce Benson jolted me out of my dogmatic slumbers- and all the facts and arguments presented in this paper, have convinced me that for its logical structure to be sustained from start to finish, the political destination of Objectivism must be sought not among the archives and marble monuments of the District of Columbia, but in the ideal, yet-to-be-realised world of Galt 's Gulch. *************************************************************************** Nicholas Dykes is a British-Canadian writer currently living in England. He is the author of Fed up with Government?, the manifesto for a putative British 'Libertarian Party,' and of A Tangled Web of Guesses, a critical assessment of the philosophy of Karl Popper. Anybody wishing to discuss aspects of this paper privately can reach Nicholas at: oldnick@wbsnet.co.uk *************************************************************************** NOTES 1. I am grateful to Roger Donway of The Objectivist Centre (formerly The Institute for Objectivist Studies) who kept me informed of the debate despite disagreement with my views. Since I refer only briefly to Objectivism L, I should point out that the arguments in this essay were developed before their debate began. Also, I followed only the first month, during which postings focussed on topics I do not address. 2. John Hospers, Libertarianism (Santa Barbara: Reason Press, 1971), p. 417ff, and Anarchy or Limited Government? (San Francisco: Gutenberg, 1976); Robert Nozick, Anarchy, State and Utopia (Oxford: Blackwell, 1990), "the minimal state is inspiring as well as right," p. ix; Tibor Machan, Human Rights and Human Liberties (Chicago: Nelson-Hall, 1975) and Individuals and Their Rights (Lasalle, Ill: Open Court, 1989). For unpersuasive discussions of anarchy v. minarchy see Leonard Peikoff, Objectivism: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand (New York: Dutton, 1991), Ch. 10, and Robert James Bidinotto "The Contradiction in Anarchism," Full Context (Objectivist Club of Michigan, Troy, Michigan), May & June 1994. 3. See Ayn Rand, The Virtue of Selfishness [VOS] (New York: New American Library, 1968). Numbers in brackets refer to the current paperback edition. 4. A view shared by many 'right-wing' contemporaries. Cf Rose Wilder Lane, The Discovery of Freedom (San Francisco: Laissez-Faire Books, 1984), pp. 201 & 204; and Leonard E. Read, Government: An Ideal Concept (1954), passim. 5. Ayn Rand, "Textbook of Americanism" in Harry Binswanger, The Ayn Rand Lexicon (New York: Meridian, 1986), p. 211. 6. "Objectivism and the State: An Open Letter to Ayn Rand"; Liberty against Power: Essays by Roy A. Childs, Jr (San Francisco: Fox & Wilkes, 1994), p. 146; original in italics. Childs' essay was followed in 1970 by two brilliant treatises on anarchism, Morris and Linda Tannehill's The Market for Liberty and Murray Rothbard's Power and Market. 7. I have not been able to find Rand's reaction to Childs' letter, but I have a distinct recollection of reading it, I think in The Objectivist, c.1968. 8. 23 October 1997; quoted with permission. Ronald Merrill's early death saddened me greatly. He was

a sharp thinker and an entertaining writer whose book The Ideas of Ayn Rand (Lasalle, Ill: Open Court, 1991) helped me to develop a more critical approach to Rand. 9. Chris Tame, Director of the UK Libertarian Alliance, informs me that no advocate of anarchocapitalism has referred to 'competing governments'. Since the phrase is confusing and selfcontradictory, Rand may have employed it to disparage. 10. Rand's rejection of anarchism may stem from experiences during the collapse of Czarist Russia. She often went in fear of her life, and at age 13 was robbed in the dark at gunpoint by a bandit gang. See Barbara Branden, The Passion of Ayn Rand (New York: Doubleday, 1986), p. 30. 11. Leonard Peikoff, Objectivism, op cit, p. 371ff. 12. Rand's 1960s nickname in New York Objectivist circles. 13. In his great work Social Statics (1850), ch. XIX. 14. Lysander Spooner, No Treason, James J. Martin Ed. (Colorado Springs: Ralph Myles, 1973), p. 14. 15. Ibid, p. 14, note 2. 16. Cf Hospers, Libertarianism, op cit, p. 14. 17. I owe this point to George H. Smith. See his excellent "Introduction" to Oppenheimer's The State, loc cit, p. xix. 18. "Gentlemen, Leave Your Guns Outside," Full Context, April, 1997. Saint-André also noted, correctly: "A fully consistent Objectivist theory of government remains to be developed." 19. Second Treatise, Ch 3, 18-19. 20. The Journals of Ayn Rand, David Hariman, Ed. (New York: Dutton, 1997), p. 73. 21. Nicomachean Ethics, Bk 1, Ch 4, 1095b 6. 22. Herbert Spencer, The Man Versus The State (Harmondsworth, Middlesex: Penguin, 1969), p. 112. 23. Franz Oppenheimer, The State (San Francisco: Fox & Wilkes, 1997), p.9. 24. Albert Jay Nock, Our Enemy the State (Caldwell, Idaho: Caxton, 1950), p. 44. 25. Cf Rand: "A government is an institution that holds the exclusive power to enforce certain rules of social conduct in a given geographical area" [VOS 107]. Note that the italics are Rand's. 26. Tom Paine, Common Sense (Harmondsworth, Middlesex: Penguin, 1976), p. 78. 27. I owe this point to George H. Smith, "Introduction," Oppenheimer, op cit, p. xvii. 28. Ibid. 29. Dee Brown, Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee (London: Barrie & Jenkins, 1971), passim. 30. George H. Smith, "Introduction," Oppenheimer, op cit,, pp. xx-xxi. 31. "Hereby it is manifest, that during the time men live without a common power to keep them all in awe, they are in that condition which is called war; and such a war as is of every man, against every man .... In such condition there is no place for industry ... no culture of the earth ... no arts; no letters; no society; and which is worst of all, continual fear, and danger of violent death; and the life of man, solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short." Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan, Edited by Michael Oakeshott (Oxford: Blackwell, 1946), p. 82. 32. The Man versus the State, op cit, p. 173.

33. Pierre Clastres, Society Against the State, Robert Hurley trans. (Oxford: Blackwell, 1977), p. 157, italics in original. 34. The Discovery of Freedom, op cit, p. 82ff; she noted Hebrew anarchy too. 35. David Friedman, The Machinery of Freedom (New Rochelle NY: Arlington House, 1973), Appendix to 3rd Edn. R. J. Bidinotto, op cit, scorns Icelandic anarchism for being unable to resist Norwegian invasion, a criticism which implies might is right. Bill Stoddard (objectivisml@cornell.edu, 18 Dec 1997) argues that medieval Iceland's court system was in fact a monopoly and thus the island did have a state, albeit minimal. This may overlook the fact that sole suppliers arise naturally under freedom, the most able supplier winning the competition for the consumers' favour. (Eg, as has happened with many other standards, the simplicity of the metric system is gradually eliminating British Imperial measure.) There is every reason to believe that in a completely free society, there would eventually be one code of justice, worldwide. The Law Merchant has already shown the way. 36. Murray Rothbard, For a New Liberty (New York: Libertarian Review Foundation, 1978), p. 231. 37. Bruce Benson, quoting Dr Roger McGrath; The Enterprise of Law: Justice without the State (San Francisco: Pacific Research Institute for Public Policy, 1990), p. 312. 38. Ibid, p. 313. 39. In The True Believer (1951). 40. The Enterprise of Law, op cit, p. 15ff. 41. Ibid, p. 21. 42. Bruce G. Trigger, The Children of Aatensic: A History of the Huron people to 1660 (Kingston, Ontario, and Montréal, Québec: McGill-Queen's University Press, 1976, 1987), p. 54. 43. Ibid, pp. 102-4. 44. Bruce G. Trigger, The Huron: Farmers of the North, 2nd Edn (Montreal: Harcourt, 1990), p. 72. 45. Bruce G. Trigger, Natives and Newcomers: Canada's Heroic Age Reconsidered (Kingston and Montreal: McGill-Queens, 1985), p. 24. 46. The Children of Aatensic, op cit, p. 59-60. 47. Robert Axelrod, The Evolution of Cooperation (London: Penguin, 1990): "Finally, no central authority is needed: co-operation based on reciprocity can be self-policing" p. 174. It is, in fact, the history of government which is replete with gang warfare; a reality ignored by writers like R. J. Bidinotto, op cit, who attempt to link anarchism to state-created evils such as the Mafia, civil war in Bosnia, Ulster terrorism, or inner city street gangs. The forecast of chaos sans state is a clear case of psychological 'projection.' 48. The Enterprise of Law, op cit, p. 30. One influential paper which argued this case-although written when the author was still a student-is "The Necessity of Government" by David Kelley; The Freeman, April 1974, p. 243-8. 49. Quoted in The Daily Telegraph (London, UK) 11 November 1997, p. 2. 50. Our Enemy the State, op cit, p. 30. 51. Thomas Sowell, Is Reality Optional? (Stanford: Hoover Institution Press, 1993), p. 72. 52. The Discovery of Freedom, op cit, p. 42. 53. In The Man versus the State; quoted in Nock, op cit, pp. 53-4.

54. The Man Versus the State, op cit, p. 118. 55. I am indebted to Kevin McFarlane for the correction of an ambiguity at this point in an earlier draft. US libertarian Sy Leon has made the point eloquently: "Some of the things done by government are essential, but it is not essential that they be done by government." Quoted in a Laissez-Faire Books catalogue. Reference lost. 56. The growth of human knowledge results in a tendency towards peace and cooperation. The resurgence of the state since the Renaissance-in essence a rerun of the Roman Empire-has, and is, stifling this trend. 57. An embellishment added by Leonard Peikoff; see Objectivism, op cit, p. 373. 58. I am indebted to George H. Smith for clarifying this point. See "Objectivism as a Religion," in Atheism, Ayn Rand, and Other Heresies (Buffalo, NY: Prometheus Books, 1991), p. 213ff. Dr Merrill contradicted this, but his untimely death prevented me from discussing it with him. See his "Objectivist Ethics: A Biological Critique," Objectivity, (Chicago, Illinois), Vol 2, #5, p. 70. 59. Social Statics, op cit, p. 162. 60. Ayn Rand, "The Objectivist Ethics", quoted in David Kelley, Unrugged Individualism (Poughkeepsie, NY: Institute for Objectivist Studies, 1996), p. 25. 61. Quoted by John Stossel, "Interview with John Stossel," Full Context, January 1998, p. 4. 62. Exactly the same can be said of Canada, most of Central and South America, Africa, and other large areas of the globe. In the words of Russian historian Vasilii Klyuchevski, "The State swells up; the people diminish." Quoted by James J. Martin, "Introduction," No Treason, op cit, p. 2. 63. Brilliantly summarised in Benson, op cit, p. 43ff. The forts built by the US Army in native American lands are exactly analogous to the castles built by William the Conqueror and his 'armed banditti.' 64. Nicholas Dykes, Fed Up With Government? The Manifesto of the Reform Party (Hereford, UK: Four Nations, 1991), p. 16. 65. Murray I. Franck, "Taxation is Moral", Full Context, June 1994, p. 9, and in subsequent issues. 66. Nicomachean Ethics, Bk 1, Ch 7, 1098a18.

Copyright Nicholas Dykes Previously published as Do rights only come into existence with the state? A Randian response to an allegedly Randian position. Philosophical Notes No. 49, London: Libertarian Alliance (1998) I was recently informed by a prominent American Objectivist that, "Correctly or not, Objectivists apparently hold that rights come into existence simultaneously with the state .... they would not exist in a 'state of nature.'" (1) My instant reaction was, 'Hey, I'm an Objectivist, but that's not my position.' After few moments' thought, I added, 'It's not Ayn Rand's position either. It's not even logical, and it sure ain't historically accurate!' Rand stated that "the source of rights is man's nature"(2) and publicly upheld the political philosophy of the US Declaration of Independence: to wit, that men are endowed with inalienable rights, To secure which governments are instituted, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. Rand's essay The Nature of Government endorses this view explicitly.(3) Now, regardless of the validity of this time-honoured position, governments could hardly be instituted to protect rights if rights did not already exist. Therefore, on Rand's own view, the notion that rights come into existence simultaneously with the state is illogical - to say the least. I would agree that it is not clear from her essay just how much of Jefferson's wording Rand actually accepted, but she did quote him directly in affirming that government derived its authority from "the consent of the governed."(4) Such a grant of authority can only imply one thing: that 'the governed' had the authority first. What authority? Rights. Indeed, Rand specifically stated that "the government as such has no rights except the rights delegated to it by the citizens ..."(5) All these points imply the preexistence of rights and contradict the notion that rights come into being simultaneously with the state. Leaving aside Rand's Jeffersonian perspective, this new 'Objectivist' view makes even less sense when considered historically or anthropologically. There are numerous customary law societies on record, such as that of medieval Ireland;(6) and plenty still extant, such as the Kapauku of New Guinea;(7) in which individual rights, while perhaps not named as such, were or are clearly recognised and protected despite the absence of anything which could be called a state. Thus the view that rights come into existence with the state is not only illogical in Randian terms, it ignores a mass of evidence which directly contradicts it. All that said, when I raised the issue with an anarchist friend, let us call him 'M', I was startled to find that he held a similar view; only in his opinion it was society rather than state which caused rights to come into existence. He actually quoted Leonard Peikoff to the effect that Robinson Crusoe alone on a desert island would have no rights.(8) A second friend then informed me that there had been considerable and sometimes heated debate on the Internet about this issue, some postings going so far as to assert that if you came across a solitary Eskimo at the North Pole you could kill or rob him with impunity. Unprotected by a state, the postings apparently held, the poor fellow would have no rights. (Although, if this were the case, with his local knowledge and skill, I imagine the Eskimo would be more likely to put paid to you first. Deservedly so too, I reckon, if you thought statelessness allowed you to commit murder). I confess to being amazed by all this. I have a view of rights - derived, so I thought, from Ayn Rand which differs in some respects from the various accounts I have read over the years, but the differences do not seem great and the whole matter has always appeared to me so uncontroversial that I looked

upon my own contributions as obvious or commonplace. Herewith a quick sketch of my thinking. There is no life apart from living beings. Life is integral. Indeed, life is the integrity of each living thing, its conatus and cohesive force. When life ends, that integrity ends with it. Life is thus purely individual; it is individually procreated and individually sustained. That is the nature of life, the way things are. In other words, life is about selves, about self generation and self preservation. Which means, that the point of each life is that life. Which in turn means that life is an end in itself. And without the primordial driving force of self-sustenance and self-replication, evolution would not, could not, have taken place - and there would be no life. Man shares these basic characteristics of living entities to the full. His life is a fully integrated aspect of his being; it is individual from beginning to end; and it is an end in itself: each human being is, in himself or herself, the sole purpose for which he or she exists. From the facts that life is individual and an end in itself, two things follow. First, life is lived for its own sake, for the sake of its possessor. From that we derive ethical egoism. Second, if life is an end in itself, it cannot be the end of anything else. And that is the source of individual rights. Although clear enough, these points perhaps require a slightly more elaborate restatement: if life is an end in itself, the only correct course for each human being is to live his or her life for his or her own sake, what we call ethical egoism, or the pursuit of happiness. Similarly, if life is an end in itself, all human beings are entitled by that fact alone to live their lives unimpeded: i.e. entitled to pursue values (liberty); to acquire life's means (property); and to retaliate in kind should force be initiated against them (self-defense).(9) While rights are more often than not referred to abstractly - for example as compossible spheres, or as metanormative principles to use Den Uyl and Rasmussen's phrase (10) - they are in fact deeply rooted in individual human beings, without whom they would not exist. It is not state or society which cause rights to exist, it is the individual. Let us consider the matter more thoroughly. Just as life itself is totally integrated in man or woman, so are the various elements that combine to make up their nature: human beings are living organisms. Mind and body, for example, are distinguishable for purposes of analysis or discussion, as are emotion and thought, pleasure and pain, etc, but all of these are aspects of individual humans and have no separate existence. The functions of consciousness can similarly be separated out by abstraction - sensation, perception, concept formation, volition, desire, the subconscious, memory, etc - but none exist apart from conscious human beings. The most important single aspect of human consciousness is volition, for without the capacity to will there could be no action and hence no human life. Similarly, the most important aspect of volition is freedom, for without freedom to focus, analyse, choose, act, etc, volition is not possible. Without freedom, there is no free will. But freedom is not something separate or external to volition, it is integral: it is a moving, working part, as essential to volition as the heart is to the body or as oxygen is to brain functioning. Freedom is built into volition, it is not bolted on. (11) Freedom is thus an integral aspect of man's faculty of reason, i.e., an essential element of what makes him man. It is as deeply rooted in man's being as life itself. I see no significant difference between freedom viewed in this light - as an integral, essential and

fundamental aspect of man's distinguishing characteristic, reason - and freedom viewed as a social or political right. It might be objected that I am resorting to what Ronald Merrill called "the classic meaning switch cheapo" (12); that I am referring to the essence of reason as freedom, then quietly substituting the more usual meaning of freedom, political liberty. I intend no such subterfuge. I maintain, rather, that the essence of reason - free will - and its sociopolitical counterpart - the right to freedom - are really the same thing, but seen from internal or external points of view. The two are separable for the sake of analysis, but the separation is a shift of perspective only: man observing or being observed, as subject or object, as individual or as social being. Freedom of will is freedom of action, and because each human being is an end in him-or-herself, each has a right to that freedom. Because property is external to man, not integral, it might seem difficult to treat the right to property in similar vein. I do not think so. Man is engaged in a continuous exchange with his environment. Every second of his life he must draw from it the means of his survival. He cannot be cut off from it even for a minute. In Galt's Speech, Rand stated that rights are "conditions of existence required by man's nature for his proper survival." (13) She also said that "without property rights, no other rights are possible." (14) And, since oxygen is the first condition of his existence, it is man's first form of property. Food, clothing and shelter follow, varying according to individual circumstances. I therefore maintain that, here too, the natural needs of man's survival, and his right to pursue them, are really the same thing, differing only in the perspective from which one views them. True, Rand said elsewhere that a right is "a moral principle defining and sanctioning a man's freedom of action in a social context." (15) This might appear to lend credence to the view that rights only come into existence in a social setting, since a principle is general, not particular. But rights are only one of several principles in a code of ethics. Others are virtues such as rationality and productiveness, honesty and justice, all of which may or may not have a social dimension: it depends on context. E.g., I can cultivate my garden rationally and productively alone, yet honestly admit - being just to myself - that at my age I need some help. A code of morality is abstract. But the principles of morality are derived from the facts of man's life and are useless if they do not relate directly to the concrete nature of the physical being, man. The fact that a right can be abstracted to serve as a social principle should not be allowed to obscure or diminish the equally important fact that, like other moral principles, rights are rooted in, and drawn from, the actual physical nature of individual men and women, and from the essential physical conditions which make their lives possible. Only particulars exist. Noone can seriously dispute that man is a social animal, but he is first and foremost an individual, "entire unto himself." Pursuing life for himself, he is primarily unique, an entity complete in itself. When Frenchman Georges Brassens sang, Non, je ne suis jamais seul, avec ma solitude ("I'm never alone, when I have my solitude") there was more to his words than pretty paradox. The existence of others is as essential for happiness as it is for procreation. It also creates a myriad of opportunities denied to a solitary person. Yet the social dimension of human life must not be allowed to detract from its starting point, the primacy of the individual. In sum, just as there can be no such thing as consciousness without a conscious being, neither can there be any such thing as a right without a being who possesses it. A right is an integral aspect of a human being in the same sense that motion is an integral aspect of a moving entity. Plainly, as already noted, rights can be considered abstractly, apart from the human beings who give rise to them, but they cannot be divorced from those beings. To borrow a phrase from Aristotle, a right

is "distinct by definition but by nature inseparable." (16) Thus it seems meaningless to me to say that rights only come into existence in the presence of other people, whether state or society. To borrow once more from Aristotle, he spoke of the possession of virtue as "compatible with being asleep" (17); and said of our senses, "we had them before we used them, and did not come to have them by using them." (18) In other words, a talented pianist does not lose his or her talent in the absence of a piano; nor would an honest man lose his honesty if he chose to live in a hermit's cell; and a space explorer would still have rights even if he got lost and never saw another human being. My life doesn't come into being when someone else enters the room. My consciousness doesn't cease functioning when there's nobody else around. My reason, my volition, my power to choose, my ability to act, all are mine throughout my life, regardless of the presence of anybody or nobody. It is true that rights, in their socio-political sense, are only activated in a social context, because only then are they honoured or potentially under threat. But to claim that they do not exist otherwise is to cut them off from their source and make them floating abstractions. The notion reminds me of Berkeleyan subjectivism, esse est percipe, to be is to be perceived. Rights are alleged to be created only when two or more people meet. Facing each other, these folk then generate intangible buffers to keep themselves apart, like so many invisible garden fences. If they decide to about-face and head off alone into the blue, their rights simply vanish. On this theory, then, rights are as ephemeral as rainbows, mere tricks of light, insubstantial pageants that leave not a wrack behind. (Yes, that's Old Bill's Tempest.) It also seems to me that this approach collectivises rights, making them dependent upon other people, particularly upon other people's wrongdoing. Further, in thus depriving rights of individuality, the approach deprives them of their essential nature, for all rights are individual rights. Moreover, this conception of rights makes them appear as mere social conventions. As such, they would be very difficult to protect. If my rights are not inherent, not mine, I do not see how they can be righteously defended against superior might. As a cynical and laconic Canadian friend once riposted to a disquisition of mine on natural rights: "Garbage! Your rights are what you can defend." The view that rights only materialise under government seems to me to be bordering on statism. It is certainly headed in that direction. For if rights only come into existence simultaneously with the state, in other words if rights partly depend upon government, then quite clearly one is half-way to conceding the statist's position - the primacy of the state. It seems plain enough to me that this new 'Objectivist' view has arisen through espousal of 'limited government.' Unable to overcome the contradiction between an inalienable (19) individual right to liberty and coercive monopoly government, the proponents of the latter are attempting to outflank their anarchist opponents by claiming that since rights only emerge with the state, there is no contradiction. It seems equally plain that advocates of limited government would be comfortable enough living with a quasi-statist position because they believe the state can be legitimate. But it does seem odd for 'Objectivists' to abandon so openly Rand's view that rights precede the state. Just as Jeremy Bentham was led to reject rights as "nonsense on stilts" when he realized what an obstacle they were to his rationalist/statist designs, so I believe one can predict an eventual rejection of natural rights by those Objectivists who tie rights to the state. All states, no matter what their origins, have eventually assumed themselves to be both essential, and superior to the individual. Logic has thus led them - inevitably and invariably - to over-ride or ignore rights. The principle of force by which states operate dictates the outcome. There is no reason to suppose that an Objectivist state would be any

different. In fact, the demise of rights in Objectivism has already been presaged in the essays of Objectivist Murray Franck, whose rationalisation of taxation eviscerates the concept of property rights. (20) Somewhat paradoxically, there is a sense in which rights were created by the state, but it is entirely negative: the full formulation of natural rights was due to the growth of state oppression. Indeed, the concept of rights might never have been formulated if customary law had not been crushed by state power and forcibly replaced by legislated, fiat law. What philosophers such as Locke were looking for was a moral principle by which men could oppose the encroachment of the state (which had begun in England in the late Anglo-Saxon period and accelerated rapidly after the Norman conquest.) (21) Lockean rights did hold back the statist onslaught somewhat, but the sword is always mightier than the pen when wielded first, and the threat to their existence which the concept of rights presented caused states to redouble their self-justifying efforts during the 18th and 19th centuries. Locke's bold defence eventually came to nought. Sooner or later, no doubt, someone will introduce the Objectivist shibboleth, intrinsicism, and say that my view of rights as integral is intrinsicist. Indeed, the correspondent who informed me of this new 'Objectivist' position, also advised me that, "Objectivists see Lockeanism as 'nice try' intrinsicism." Well, perhaps it is. (22) But, if rights cannot be integral without being intrinsicist, concepts such as 'life,' 'consciousness,' 'volition,' 'reason,' etc, must also be intrinsicist. They, too, refer to faculties and characteristics which are rooted in, integral to, and solely dependent upon actual living beings. Intrinsicism concerns conceptual realism; i.e., attempts by philosophers such as Plato, Hegel or Bergson, to establish existents where there are only human abstractions. E.g., the concept 'consciousness' is abstracted from observation of conscious beings but doesn't exist apart from those beings. Is consciousness intrinsicist? I think rather that it is those who maintain that rights come into existence with the state who may be intrinsicist. First, they appear to see state and/or society as entities, whereas both terms are merely collective nouns - like bureaucracy or herd - which refer to groups of individuals and have no actual existence apart from those individuals. Second, they see rights as distinct from individuals. On their premise, rights are principles and principles alone, which operate only where there is 'a state,' the latter, as already seen, being evidently a real entity. In sharp contrast, I assert that rights pertain only to individuals and that discussion of them apart from individuals is meaningless. Objectivists pride themselves on the extent to which their philosophy overcomes traditional dichotomies. I fear that if they adopt the position that rights only come into existence with the state (or with society), Objectivists risk creating a new dichotomy of their own - between the individual and his rights. I would like to conclude this discussion by quoting the famous 19th century British legal commentator A. V. Dicey, who said "the state is one's neighbours," thus putting things in their proper perspective. For my own rights are the last things I would go looking for amongst the gallimaufry with whom I share this overcrowded island. Finally, I should point out that my friend M has bluntly dismissed my view of rights as "incoherent". Obviously, I disagree. I therefore thought I might seek the judgement of a wider group of peers. If my views are indeed erroneous I hope someone will explain to me why. I don't mind being proved wrong, I just want to know what's right. Rand's precept, "Judge, and be prepared to be judged" has long been my personal motto. ***************************************************************************

Nicholas Dykes is a British-Canadian writer currently living in England. He is the author of Fed up with Government? (1991), the manifesto for a putative British 'Libertarian Party;' A Tangled Web of Guesses (1996), a critical assessment of the philosophy of Karl Popper; Mrs Logic and the Law (1998), a critique of Ayn Rand's view of government; and Debunking Popper (1999), a critique of Karl Popper's Critical Rationalism, published in issue no. 24 of the US journal Reason Papers. *************************************************************************** NOTES 1. Private letter, 12 November 1997. The author does not wish to be named owing to plans to write about the issue. 2. The Virtue of Selfishness [VOS], paperback edition, p. 94. 3. VOS, p. 110. 4. Ibid. 5. Ibid, the italics are Rand's. 6. Murray N. Rothbard, For a New Liberty (New York: Libertarian Review Foundation, 1978), p. 231. 7. Bruce L. Benson, The Enterprise of Law (San Francisco: Pacific Research Institute for Public Policy, 1990), p. 15. 8. This is not accurate as far as I could see from a quick look at Peikoff's book. He wrote: "If a man lived on a desert island, there would be no question of defining his proper relationship to others .... the issue of rights would be premature." But 'premature' is a far cry from asserting that rights come into existence with the state. See Leonard Peikoff, Objectivism: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand (New York: Dutton, 1991), p. 351, and Ch. 10 passim. 9. Although these points were not made in quite this way by Ayn Rand, they seem clearly implied in "The Objectivist Ethics": "... every human being is an end in himself, not the means to the end or the welfare of others ... therefore ... man must live for his own sake, neither sacrificing himself to others nor sacrificing others to himself" (VOS, p. 27). 10. Douglas Den Uyl and Douglas Rasmussen Liberty and Nature (Lasalle, Illinois: Open Court, 1991). See also their "`Rights' as MetaNormative Principles" in Liberty for a 21st Century, Tibor Machan and Douglas Rasmussen eds., (Lanham, Maryland: Rowman and Littlefield, 1995), p. 59ff. 11. Apologies to Zenith Corp, whose 1980s advertisement I am paraphrasing. 12. Ronald E. Merrill, The Ideas of Ayn Rand (Lasalle, Illinois: Open Court, 1991), p. 117. 13. For the New Intellectual, paperback edition, p. 182. Thanks to Harry Binswanger's Lexicon, loc cit, for the reference. 14. VOS, p. 94. 15. Ibid, p. 93. 16. Nicomachean Ethics, Bk 1, Ch 13, 1102a 31. 17. Ibid, Bk 1, Ch 5, 1095b 32. 18. Ibid, Bk 2 Ch 1, 1103a 31. When Rand said "the source of rights is man's nature" (VOS, p.94) it seems evident to me that she was not talking solely about the social context of rights. 19. Contrary to what some may think, the word 'inalienable' does not imply intrinsicism. It merely

means "that which we may not take away, suspend, infringe, restrict or violate - not ever, not at any time, not for any purpose whatsoever." Ayn Rand, Textbook of Americanism, in Harry Binswanger, The Ayn Rand Lexicon (New York: Meridian, 1986), p. 211. 20. Taxation is Moral by Murray I. Franck; in Full Context (Troy, Michigan, USA: The Objectivist Club of Michigan) Vol. 6, #10; June, 1994, and in subsequent issues. 21. Benson, op cit, Ch. 3. 22. I question the accuracy of this. I haven't studied him recently, but Locke certainly did not strike me as a Platonist when I read the Second Treatise.


Copyright Nicholas Dykes Full Context Vol. 12, No. 4 (March/April 2000)
Author: Bruce L. Benson Title: The Enterprise of Law: Justice without the State Publisher: Pacific Research Institute for Public Policy (San Francisco), 1991 397 pages, ISBN 0-936488-29-8.

The longest running debate in Libertarian/Objectivist circles, and at times the most heated, has been between proponents of limited government and those of anarcho-capitalism - more succinctly, between minarchists and anarchists. In 1997/98, for instance, a "Great Anarcho-Capitalist Debate" raged inconclusively for months on the Internet discussion group (mailing list) Objectivism-L, now renamed Objectivism@WeTheLiving.com. One reason for this inconclusiveness is the hypothetical nature of much of the debate: discussions of the likely or unlikely behaviour of imaginary 'defence agencies' in societies which have never existed are hardly persuasive. It is therefore surprising that the debaters have not had more recourse to The Enterprise of Law by Bruce Benson<1>, a treatise packed with evidence about societies which have existed and defence agencies which currently do exist. Dr Benson mentions neither minarchists nor anarchists, yet his book bears directly on their debates. Dr Benson's Introduction begins: "Anyone who would even question the 'fact' that law and order are necessary functions of government is likely to be considered a ridiculous, uninformed radical ... But even though most academics do not question the logic of government domination of law and the maintenance of order, large segments of the population do. Surveys and polls indicate growing dissatisfaction with all aspects of government law enforcement." and, in consequence, "privately produced crime detection, arbitration and mediation are growth industries in the United States." (1) It is thus time, asserts Dr Benson, "to question the presumption that law and order must be governmentally provided."(5) Part I of The Enterprise of Law is devoted to showing that, in fact, "our modern reliance on government to make law and establish order is not the historical norm"(2). The historical norm was customary law which, spontaneously created and voluntarily obeyed, provided law and order in all early societies. Since customary law had precisely the same status and served the same purpose as the state-created law we take for granted today, the commonly-held belief that law and government develop together is mistaken. As an illustration of a stateless, customary law society, Dr Benson refers us to the Kapauku of New Guinea, who were studied in depth by the anthropologist Leopold Popisil in the 1950s (15ff). The Kapauku had no government, yet enjoyed a prosperous and largely tranquil existence based on horticulture. All property was private, even strips of forest, and individual rights were clearly recognised. Personal protection was provided by kinship groups, and disputes were settled by prominent and wealthy men called tonowi. The tonowi had no authority. They maintainedtheir judicial role solely through respect garnered from wise decisions, effectively competing with one another. However, competition did not make the administration of justice haphazard or arbitrary. All legal

proceedings followed well-established rituals and had to accord with memorised precedents. The non-governmental legal system of the Kapauku was remarkably similar in its guiding principles to that of Anglo-Saxon England (21ff). Among the Anglo-Saxons, protection was provided by kindred or neighbourhood groups called "tithings" whose members had reciprocal agreements to help each other in times of trouble and to join the hue and cry in pursuit of thieves, murderers, etc. Groups of tithings formed a "hundred" in each of which was a "hundredsman,' a respected individual who was informed of wrongdoing and who organised the hue and cry; and a court presided over by a judicial committee drawn from the men of the tithings. There were separate shire courts for disputes between members of different hundreds. Anglo-Saxon customary law was primarily concerned with protection of individuals and their property, and with restitution to victims, and/or their families, in the event laws were broken. Offences were treated as torts - wrongs to be righted by compensation - and there was an elaborate system of fines covering the appropriate payments for homicide, wounding, rape, indecent assault, theft, etc. Persons who refused to accept the judgement of the court were declared outlaws and could be killed and their property taken with impunity. This powerful sanction was sufficient to inspire acceptance of court rulings in most cases. The Anglo-Saxon system was voluntary: no one was forced to join it nor taxed to pay for it. However, everyone was involved, and the system was respected and sustained, because customary law successfully provided both protection and arbitration at minimum cost. It evolved spontaneously, without state involvement, for the simple reason that there was no state. Another commonplace of modern thought is that government is necessary to create a level playing field for trade and commerce. In point of fact, government involvement in commercial law is quite recent. The collapse of the Roman Empire after 400 AD virtually extinguished European commerce. When trade began to revive, a separate system of customary law arose spontaneously to facilitate local and international commerce (30ff). Merchants set up their own courts to resolve their disputes; effective procedures were copied; and gradually a common, entirely private and entirely objective Law Merchant spread, and was recognised, throughout Europe and beyond. All the basic principles of modern commercial law, national and international, are derived from the medieval Law Merchant. The Law Merchant was also universally obeyed. Firstly, the judges were merchants themselves who were intimately familiar with the kind of cases they ruled upon: their judgements were sound. Secondly, no one would deal with a trader who refused to abide by the decision of a merchant court. The judges had no means to enforce their decisions, but the boycott sanction was so effective it removed any need for coercion. The Law Merchant thus "shatters the myth that government must define and enforce the 'rules of the game.'" (30) Why, given the effectiveness of customary legal systems, asks Dr Benson, have nation-states taken on such a substantial role in the creation and enforcement of law? (36) To answer this, Dr Benson takes us back to the origins of kingship in Anglo-Saxon England. Kings were originally temporary war leaders. But because Anglo-Saxon England was in a virtually constant state of war, kingship gradually became a permanent institution. To support it, and to pay for war, kings needed money. Customary law fines were a very visible source, and Dr Benson shows how the British monarchy, particularly after the Norman conquest, and using a carrot and stick approach involving both inducement and force (coupled with the heavyweight backing of the Church) - though not without considerable resistance - gradually pushed its way into the fields of law-making and justice and slowly replaced Anglo-Saxon torts with 'crimes against the state' so that fines went to the crown, not to the victim. The monetary objective of state involvement in law is shown most clearly by the royal legal invention of 'theftbote,' which made it a crime to settle an offence privately - and thus deprive the crown of its

profits (62) - a concept still with us. In later centuries the crown also forced its way into commercial law (c. 1600 AD) and, finally, but not until the 19th century, took over policing as well. For those who might dismiss customary law as ancient history, irrelevant to the modern world, Dr Benson draws attention to white settlement of the American West, in which customary law preceded state law, and which modern scholarship has shown to be much more peaceful than is usually thought: "some long-cherished notions about lawlessness, violence, and justice in the Old West are nothing more than myth." (312) What emerges most clearly from Dr Benson's account is that the evolution of state involvement in law had nothing to do with lofty goals of promoting justice for all, preserving freedom, or protecting citizens: it was entirely concerned with raising money to pay the upkeep of the state, which in turn rested upon a royal imperative to wage war. War isn't just the health of the state, as Randolph Bourne observed; it is the state's raison d'être<2>. Dr Benson's survey of the transition from customary to authoritarian law takes up less than a quarter of the book. In Part II, he examines the actual functioning of state provision of law and justice in the USA today. Using public choice analysis, he describes this as a 'political market.' In Part III, he examines resurgence of private policing and arbitration in the face of widespread failure by the state to provide either. Part IV looks at topics such as logical deficiencies in arguments for the state monopoly on law; and the corruption of state law enforcement officials, including judges: "organised crime cannot function without organised justice." (161) The study concludes (Part V) with speculation about an entirely private system of law in which Dr Benson echoes David Friedman's observation that "the most effective way to demonstrate that these things can be done privately is to do them." (344) It is not possible in a short review to comment on all the challenging ideas and observations in The Enterprise of Law. Every section of the book is enlightening, supported by solid evidence, and closely reasoned. Part II does seem especially important however, for here Dr Benson shows that state lawmaking invariably turns into a political process; one dominated by pressure groups and self-serving bureaucracies whose prime motivations diverge sharply from their ostensible purpose of protecting the public. The oft-lamented inefficiency, tardiness and callousness of state legal proceedings are shown to be, not accidental, but systemic. The selfsame political process also creates powerful incentives and disincentives for law enforcement officials which either have little to do with justice, or work actively against it. For example, police success is measured by arrest rate. (131) This gives officers a strong incentive to focus on 'soft' targets such as vice and drugs - where arrests are numerous and easy (136) - and to avoid the vastly more important field of crime prevention, which yields no arrests at all. Similarly, state attorneys are rewarded on the basis of successful prosecutions. This has led them to rely more and more on plea bargaining which, while often allowing villains to get off more lightly than their offences warrant, takes much less time and effort and hence produces the politically desirable or careerenhancing statistics more rapidly. (137ff) Virtually all the incentives and disincentives driving the state legal system work against the original subject of law, the wronged victim, who has to "fend for himself every step of the way." (147) Chapter 12 is a good illustration of the logical power of the book. It begins: "Two conflicting monopoly arguments are presented to justify state provision of police, courts, and law. First, a single law-andorder firm will naturally emerge to monopolize the entire industry, which means that this firm will be able to dictate citizens' behaviour. A benevolent government monopoly, therefore, is presumably necessary to preserve freedom. Second, there must be a single centralized authority of last resort (e.g., a

supreme court) to prevent the development of the conflicting (competing) systems of law and the inefficient duplication of services that privatization would generate. If one argument is correct, then the other cannot be - privatized law and order either leads to a monopoly or to a competitive arrangement." (291) Dr Benson then proceeds to demonstrate that "neither argument is valid" but this review will not spoil the reader's pleasure by revealing how. Problems with the book are few and minor. There is no bibliography, which makes chasing up references difficult. Rather, citations are given anew after each chapter. Since many sources are quoted frequently, this results in much needless repetition. At least 30 pages could have been cut from the book by a single set of notes and/or a bibliography. Dr Benson also adopts the academic practice of referring to his peers as if they were household names: "Peltzman observed ... Hirshleifer pointed out." (91). Such references would be more persuasive with some personal information: e.g., 'Harvard sociologist Peltzman,' 'noted legal scholar Hirshleifer' (or whatever they may be); for when one does come across a reference such as "Lawrence Sherman, director of the Police Foundation" (134) the gentleman's position, and his achievement in reaching it, immediately lend weight to his quoted remarks. The only other problems with the book are occasional lapses into jargon. When he is describing facts, or reasoning from facts, Dr Benson's writing is concise, and his meaning crisp and clear. However, as soon as he starts to explain fact by means of economic theory, clarity fades. Even after three readings this reviewer still has difficulty understanding "multivariate analysis reinforced the zero-order correlation results" (108) and a scattering of similar statements. As already noted, though, such minor inconveniences do not diminish the overall power and importance of the work<3>. The implications of The Enterprise of Law are at least as intriguing as its content<4>. For example, the origins of the USA appear in quite a different light. The country did not spring fully formed from the brows of the Founding Fathers, but is rather the result of a gradual process of state creation which began with the Norman Conquest of England. Most of the governmental institutions and legal principles hallowed by the various US constitutions were devised long before 1776 or 1787: not by Jefferson or Madison, but by British monarchs, Parliaments and state-appointed judges; and not to secure liberty, but to preserve or extend state power. Unsurprisingly therefore, the growth of state power has continued as relentlessly in the New World as it did, and does, in the Old. Other reinterpretations spring to mind. One is Ayn Rand's insistence on the importance of philosophical ideas in human history. For instance, she asserted that in the Middle Ages, "Wealth was not earned on an open market ... wealth was acquired by conquest" (For the New Intellectual [FNI] p. 13), and that "The prelude to the Renaissance was the return of Aristotle via Thomas Aquinas." (FNI, p. 23) But when one examines the medieval era more closely, it becomes plain that it was the recovery of trade and the spontaneous creation of the Law Merchant which was the prelude to the Renaissance. Private trade, protected by private law, created the wealth which generated the 'great rebirth.' It was rulers who acquired their wealth by conquest, not merchants. The merchants' wealth, and the Renaissance it led to, had much more to do with private law than with Aristotle. Similarly, Rand maintained that the Industrial Revolution (IR) was the result of Aristotle's influence. (FNI, p. 23) In so far as it can be shown that science and conscious devotion to reason played a part in 18th century industry, her assertion may be partly true; although very indirectly, and although many historians and philosophers of science would dispute it. In point of fact, however, the IR came about due to a happy accident. The Norman invaders of England had grabbed all the land, because at that time land was the prime source of wealth. Later, as trade grew more important, the Norman state moved to control and profit from this new form of wealth with regulation, tariffs and monopolies. Thus the IR did not begin in London, because trade in the capital

was governed, and innovation stifled, by state regulation and state-sanctioned guilds (as it was all over Europe). The IR began rather in English villages like Birmingham, and in small towns like Manchester and Glasgow, because the tentacles of the growing British state had not yet reached them. Their factories created another new form of wealth, one unknown to the state, and hence not yet exploited by it. The cotton millers and metal bashers, and the nail makers made famous by Adam Smith, were not following Aristotle, they were simply free! It is self-evident that philosophical and other ideas do influence history, but not always in the manner Rand thought. Human needs are constant, regardless what intellectuals may think or say, and the need for freedom is born again with each generation regardless what tyranny men may suffer under. What Dr Benson's book leads one to realise is that freedom under customary law is man's true natural condition. Here one can indeed quote Aristotle: "For men of pre-eminent virtue there is no law - they are themselves a law." (Politics 1284a13) Any study of stateless societies reveals the truth of that, for only in a genuinely stateless society is each individual truly sovereign. It is not until states and organised religions arise to curtail freedom<5> that the kind of intellectual influence Rand had in mind comes to the fore. Locke's Treatises, for example, were written to defend individuals and their property against the growing power of the British state. But Locke's efforts would have been thought most curious by 10th century Anglo-Saxons, Medieval Irishmen and Icelanders, 16th century Iroquoians, or the 20th century Kapauku, for all of whom individual rights and private property were as natural and necessary as breathing, and for all of whom domination by a state lay in the future. Rand's evocative analysis of history using the symbols Attila and the Witch Doctor is fascinating and important, but its prime concern is with political and religious power. There are wide and equally vital areas of social, economic and legal history, and of anthropology, for which her analysis is not germane. Rand also spoke of "the rise of Statism in the Roman Empire" (FNI, p. 23, her italics). In point of fact, the whole history of Rome is about the growth of a state, Rome was always statist. And it thrived, as states always have, on wealth taken by force from its citizens and neighbours. When that wealth ran out, the Roman state collapsed. But Roman concepts of state-imposed law and empire - whether copied from Ancient Greeks or homegrown - were preserved by the Roman Church, reinforced with the notion of Divine Right, then re-introduced when powerful warriors such as Charlemagne and William the Conqueror began to emulate their Roman predecessors. What reflection on Dr Benson's book makes clear, is that modern Western political history consists of a series of re-runs of the history of Rome, on larger or smaller scales. The Roman state was reborn in various guises in the Middle Ages and later, and each modern clone has grown through exploitation of its citizens and neighbours in exactly the same manner as its ancient progenitor. The genius of modern wealth creation has thus far outstripped state growth, so the fate of Rome is unlikely to be repeated soon (although it has been in the British and communist Russian empires). But if state power continues its present (domestic) acceleration, one can reasonably predict the collapse of the USA and other countries in the not-too-distant future. Like causes produce like events. The Enterprise of Law is challenging reading for proponents of limited government. For when one has digested the historical facts that stateless societies were once the norm; that law and order, including commercial law, arose spontaneously without state involvement; that this customary law was clearly objective; and that the origin of states was war: it becomes difficult to maintain that the state's purpose is to protect rights; that only a state can create objective law; or that a state is essential. *************************************************************************** Nicholas Dykes is a British-Canadian writer currently living in England. He has been an Objectivist

since 1963 and is married with two teenaged children. He is the author of Fed up with Government? (1991), the manifesto for a putative British 'Libertarian Party;' A Tangled Web of Guesses (1996), a critical assessment of the philosophy of Karl Popper; Mrs Logic and the Law (1998), a critique of Ayn Rand's view of government; and Debunking Popper (1999), a critique of Karl Popper's Critical Rationalism, published in issue no. 24 of the US journal Reason Papers. He is currently working on a screenplay about the first political execution in Canada. ***************************************************************************

<1>. From Laissez-Faire Books, San Francisco, paperback, $14.95. Numbers in brackets in this review refer to pages in the 1991 hardback edition. <2>. Cf Franz Oppenheimer, The State: "The State ... is a social institution forced by a victorious group of men on a defeated group ... [for] no other purpose than the economic exploitation of the vanquished by the victors. No primitive State known to history originated in any other manner." (San Francisco: Fox and Wilkes, 1997), p.9. <3>. All these problems have been eradicated in Dr Benson's later book, To Serve and Protect: Privatization and Community in Criminal Justice (New York: NYU Press, 1998) which amplifies Part III and other aspects of The Enterprise of Law. The later book also contains a fascinating account of the spontaneous emergence of customary law in Old West mining camps, pp. 102-7. <4>. A more detailed examination of the ramifications of Dr Benson's ideas, and of other topics touched upon in this review, will be found in Nicholas Dykes, Mrs Logic and the Law: A Critique of Ayn Rand's View of Government, Philosophical Notes # 50 (London: Libertarian Alliance, 1998), available at http://www.ifi.uio.no/~thomas/po/misslogic.html. <5>. "There is nothing to take a man's freedom away from him, save other men." Ayn Rand, Anthem.

By Lance Klafta Anarchy: A Journal of Desire Armed no. 34 (1993) The political controversy of the late 19th century was: • whether socialists (all those who believed in the individual's right to possess what he or she produced) should engage in the political process, seize control of the state, and use the state apparatus to achieve liberation; • or, whether a worker's state was inherently contradictory, counter revolutionary, and would only lead to the creation of a new ruling class whose interests would still clash with those of the ruled - that the state should be abolished allowing for no transitional stage of any kind during which power may have the chance to reconsolidate itself. The situation has recreated itself with amazing similarity almost exactly a century later. Non-libertarian parties the world over (those who see authoritarian centralization as the bulwark of civilization) are bankrupt, economically and intellectually. The only viable intellectual current today falls under that ambiguous term - "libertarian." Today there exist beneath this umbrella as many splinter groups as there were a hundred years ago under the umbrella of socialism. Two distinct trends, a right and a left if you will, are clearly discernible. One group, clearly the largest with a hierarchical organization modeled on the other political parties, believes, like most Marxists, in constitutional parliamentary republican democracy. They believe that the state is a necessary guarantor of individual safety and the product of the individual's labor, and in gradual progress toward a free society through participation in the political process. The other group, much smaller and far more splintered, rejects the state as necessarily a tool of class domination and exploitation. This group believes that what Bakunin said a hundred years ago is as true today, "If you took the most ardent revolutionary, vested him in absolute power, within a year he would be worse than the Czar himself." The first group is in all fairness a direct inheritor of the ideals of the American Revolution. In modern times, however, it has only two roots: (1) the Austrian school of economics represented by Ludwig Von Mises; (2) the philosophy of Ayn Rand. Von Mises never considered the libertarians. He answered the Marxists and the Keynesians and defended laissez-faire capitalism at a time when no one else would. His justification for capitalism was empirical - the greatest good for the greatest number. Ayn Rand, however, attempted to offer a moral justification of capitalism by substituting the word `capitalism' for the libertarian meaning of the word "socialism." She then attributed all of the ills of capitalism to government interference with the market and all of the world's wealth to the minds of the men whom the world considered the robber barons. The contrast between Ayn Rand's "Objectivism" and libertarianism is deeper than mere substitution of terminology, however. Several of her propositions or axioms place her clearly outside of the libertarian tradition. Her justification of the state is derived from a Hobbesian state of nature theory: ... a society without an organized government would be at the mercy of the first criminal who came along and who would precipitate it into chaos and gang warfare.... [The Virtue of Selfishness, 152; pb 112] If a society provided no organized protection against force, it would compel every citizen to

go about armed, to turn his home into a fortress, to shoot any strangers approaching his door - or to join a protective gang of citizens who would fight other gangs, formed for the same purpose, and thus bring about the degeneration of society into the chaos of gang rule, i.e., rule by brute force, into perpetual warfare of prehistoric savages. [Ibid., 146; pb 108] Ayn Rand's belief in the inherent depravity of human nature which renders us forever incapable of living without rulers and not descending to the level of `savages', clearly places her outside of the libertarian tradition which views human nature as essentially good, capable of indefinite improvement through the experience of freedom and the exercise of reason. Her knowledge of anthropology is as embarrassing as her understanding of history. For example, in regards to her conception of who are the savages, she describes America as, "...a superlative material achievement in the midst of an untouched wilderness, against the resistance of savage tribes." [For The New Intellectual, 58; pb 50] To Rand, the essential characteristic of the state is that it possesses a monopoly on the use of retaliatory force. How does she justify this monopoly or national sovereignty? She accepts it as a given, something not requiring a justification, and demands that an-archy, the negation of the proposition, justify itself. Her concept of national sovereignty is then something transcendental, existing separate and apart from individuals, and beyond the right of the individual to accept or reject according to his or her own reason. These propositions clearly place Ayn Rand's philosophy closer to Hobbes, Hegel, and Marx, than to libertarianism. The state, according to Miss Rand, must hold a monopoly on the enforcement of contracts and the settling of disputes between individuals, at least whenever this arbitration is not accepted by both sides voluntarily. She fails to consider that the enforcement of contracts by the state fundamentally alters the nature of free agreements. Agreements are made on terms which otherwise might not be, because they are justiciable. The terms of "free agreements" under law are titled in favor of lenders over debtors, landlords over tenants, employers over employees, in a way which would not exist in a "free market." This leveraging of power is not `objective' at all. Depending purely on legal convention, creditors may have debtors imprisoned, tenants may be evicted without notice and their effects confiscated, one human being may own another or the land on which another lives and works, all to varying degrees. To understand Ayn Rand's psychology it is helpful to know her background. She was born to a wealthy St. Petersburg family in 1905. The position of her family in Czarist society must have been considerable. At a time when the lives of most Russians had changed little since feudalism, her family was wealthy enough to afford a French Governess and take regular vacations to the Crimea. It should be noted that wealth in Czarist society was almost wholly a measure of one's favor with the government. There were few if any Horatio Alger stories about individuals who lifted themselves out of serfdom without the patronage of the Czar. At the age of twelve, she must have been very upset when those nasty workers took over her father's business. Her family fled St. Petersburg for the Crimea and the protection of the White Army. This experience rendered her forever incapable of seeing land reform or any struggle of oppressed and exploited people as anything more than hatred for the good and lust for the unearned. She shared with Marx the bourgeois ideology that only a few people were capable of running things. The masses ought to be happy to have a job working for bosses. Any suggestion that an enterprise could be run by the employees without having someone in charge was to her absurd. She shared with Godwin and Kropotkin the belief that the individual is born tabula rasa - a blank slate, and all human knowledge is derived from sense experience. She then proceeded, however, to

completely dismiss environment and socialization as the determining factor in the development of character. People were to her good or evil, brilliant or indolent, depending solely on their volition. People should be judged by their actions with equal severity regardless of their condition. Though she insisted that the United States was not and never had been a completely free country, she granted no such thing as extenuating circumstances when judging an individual and had no qualms upholding the power of the state to inflict capital punishment. A far more sinister legacy of Ayn Rand to libertarianism is that of a moralizing autocrat who gathered about her an inner circle which she ironically called, "The collective." Outwardly, this collective professed egoism and individuality. They were to be the vanguard of an intellectual renaissance. The price of admission to this group, however, was slavish conformity of one's life and professed philosophy to Ayn Rand's whims and eccentricities. For example, she did not like men who wore facial hair or listened to Mozart, and if you didn't give them up you were unfit for Rand's inner circle. This is particularly sinister if one considers that Karl Marx, believed by millions to be the very symbol of liberation, was also an autocrat who, though professed to be the ultimate champion of democracy, resorted to extraordinary means to maintain control of the International Workingmen's Association. He even moved its headquarters to New York to exclude the libertarian influence. Today Ayn Rand is gone, but like Marx a century ago, hers is the primary influence on the largest libertarian organization existing. Even the pledge which all Libertarian Party members must sign is taken directly from her admonition, "I hereby certify that I do not believe in or advocate the initiation of force as a means of achieving political or social goals." In spite of their pledge to non-violence, many libertarians are frustrated with election laws and media censorship. An argument which circulates among libertarians of the right is that, if they were more threatening, the government may take steps to accommodate them as it did the black civil rights movement. Ayn Rand's writings are not entirely consistent on the point of non-violence either. In The Fountainhead, Howard Roark resorts to the use of dynamite. In Atlas Shrugged, Ragnar Danneskjold engages in piracy on the high seas and even shells a factory which has been nationalized. In a clandestine rescue mission, Dagny Taggart shoots a guard who stood in the way of her desired end. In the event of economic upheaval, ruined by unemployment and inflation, tenants and home owners may refuse to make rent and mortgage payments. The unemployed may seize vacant land and begin to farm, and factory workers may realize they can run things without stock holders. It would not be at all surprising if there were to emerge within the libertarian right, groups committed to direct action and counter revolutionary violence, even a coup d'etat. Imagine a charismatic and autocratic personality at the center of such a group and you have the Objectivist Lenin. Like the Marxists and right libertarians, Lenin and the Objectivists are professed republican democrats. Lenin and the Bolsheviks promised that if given power, they would immediately convoke a constituent assembly. When they realized, however, they would not hold a majority in such an assembly they turned against the idea of such an assembly. Can anyone doubt that the cultist mentality which characterizes most of Miss Rand's followers could lead to the creation of a group of self-appointed avengers of the capitalist class? That they would suppress strikes, demonstrations, and factory take overs? That they would not execute people for crimes against the libertarian state? Ayn Rand believed in a republican form of government with a cleverly constructed constitution which would deny the majority of the power to infringe on the rights of a minority as she conceived them. If the majority supported a general strike against rents and mortgages and supported the factory

takeovers, would not the clandestinely organized Objectivist libertarian party be tempted to dispense with democracy in order to enforce what they conceived of as the rights of the dispossessed bourgeoisie? In all fairness it must be admitted that Ayn Rand herself would never sanction such actions, but the same argument is made everyday by western Marxists that Marx would probably not have sanctioned many of Lenin's actions and would certainly not take credit for the Soviet Union. Lenin and the Bolsheviks won power by promising, "Land to the peasants!" "Factories to the workers!" When they took power, however, they immediately set about liquidating the factory committees and nationalizing the land. They crushed work place democracy by installing armed guards in the factories, and even returned former owners to their positions as employees of the worker's state. Leon Trotsky stopped the practice of soldiers electing their officers from their ranks and even restored former Czarist officers to their ranks in the Red Army. When the Russian Revolution began few people clearly understood the gulf which separated the state socialists from the libertarians. Many dedicated libertarians like Alexander Berkman, rallied to the Bolshevik cause, willing to give them the benefit of the doubt in hopes that seizing state power would only be a transitional stage toward the development of the stateless/classless society. Many sincere lovers of liberty now flock to the standard of the Libertarian Party, as they did the Bolsheviks, completely ignorant of the history of the last century. As Santayana said: "Those who forget the mistakes of the past are doomed to repeat them." What should be done? It should be obvious that government enforcement of private contracts is not libertarian any more than is taking state power to set people free. Libertarianism is and always will mean socialism - the self-emancipation of working people. Libertarians must stop courting the Republican right and return to their intellectual roots. By standing outside of the political process we deny the state legitimacy, and like the state torturers in Atlas Shrugged, they will come and beg for libertarians to take over. Remembering the experience of the Spanish libertarians, and heeding the advice of John Galt, libertarians must refuse state power even when begged. The state can never be a tool of liberation. Only its complete and utter collapse will allow for the emergence of non-statist institutions, libertarian coops, communes, and free markets, to flourish and displace the political state once and for all.

Copyright Savaka Sukhothaia (June 2001) "The wise man who by watchfulness conquers thoughtlessness is as one who, free from sorrows, ascends the palace of wisdom and there, from the high terrace, sees those in sorrow below; even as a wise strong man on the holy mountain might behold the many unwise far down below on the plain." - The Buddha The Dhammapada 28 This is an unusual suggestion to Objectivist and Randian communities, but I ask you to consider it and to please try to be objective. I am here offering to you the shocking consideration that Objectivists and Randians should reach out to the Buddhist portion of humanity. Some Buddhists are closer to you than you might imagine, regardless of highly touted tenets of Buddhist 'doctrine' that would make you think otherwise. I am a Buddhist - a Theravada Buddhist. I do not believe in the supernatural, nor in a god or gods of any kind. I first read Ayn Rand's fiction because a Buddhist friend told me that her heroes were sages of advanced Buddha-like characteristics. For instance, one of her greatest heroes exhibited a face that was without the trace of "pain, fear, or guilt". That is the face of the Buddha as we in Buddhist cultures have always imagined him and have portrayed him in art. You name him "John Galt". Howard Roark is also in possession of great self-command, detachment from pain, and serenity. Andrej Taganov reminds one of a samurai warrior, does he not? And what of Ragnar Danneskjold, that ideal champion of justice? When considering the Western Tradition, Buddhism reminds me a lot of Stoicism, i.e., accepting one's Fate while controlling one's attitude toward that Fate. Didn't the Stoics also come up with Natural Law, an incredible philosophy of tolerance (also very Buddhist-like)? Ayn Rand starts her essay, The Metaphysical versus the Man-Made, with a quasi-Stoic quote: "God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference".

This is vintage Greek and solidly Objectivist, but it is also classically Buddhist. Balance, perspective, wisdom, and that Greek-like poise of a confident mind.... A Buddhist might see Aristotle as a friend. His eudaimonia is quite interesting, his megalopsychia quite familiar. I really do not expect, or even desire, that any of you Objectivists will become Buddhists. If I were a Mahayana Buddhist, I might try to proselytize, but I am essentially in the Theravada school and recognize the beauty of the individualist path. Rather, I believe that we in the East need the influences of a modern, rational, freedom oriented philosophy such as Objectivism. You can teach my culture much and are more similar to us than you can conceive. Buddhists will not often completely throw away their entire tradition and they will nearly always identify themselves primarily as Buddhists, but they often can modernize, learn, adjust, and synthesize. A dialectical conversation is necessary to orient the East toward the future - and the stars. We Buddhists love the moon. Ayn Rand's Apollo 11 is still my favorite of her writings, for it celebrates the event of representatives of the human race actually setting foot on the moon - and making it safely back to earth. What a triumph of mind! If you want complete 100% conversion to "dogmatic" Objectivism, you will forever be an unnoticed minority on this planet (and beyond, some day). But Objectivist ideas are fecund, vital, uplifting, and hopeful. In the technological future, Objectivism's grounding of human rights is humankind's great hope of freedom. You are secular and universal. You can enrich, ennoble, and inform many segments of humanity. Few of you probably realize what a natural ally you have in Buddhism. It is ethical but is not interested in theological dogma. It is radically individualistic (especially in its Theravada form). Its trappings, stories, and doctrines are old. They echo antiquity, but there is a kernel of noble wisdom there. Also, many in the West are turning to Buddhism because of disillusionment with Christianity and with much of modern Western philosophy. Some among the practitioners of Buddhism are natural advocates for freedom and dignity. The plight of Buddhists in Tibet and elsewhere in the empire of the Peoples Republic of China are examples of high profile tyranny against peaceful peoples, and many are united by their revulsion when freedom is denied. But, you must never ask them to accept Objectivism as a dogmatic religion/philosophy. They abhor such simplemindedness. In sum, you can befriend Buddhists, if you parley like honest seekers of the truth. The East needs to update itself with reason, science, business ethics, the politics of individual rights, and completely free enterprise. And maybe you could benefit from a jolt of wisdom from aspects of the dharma. After all, do you folks know everything? (Please take this last remark in good humour.) Seriously, Buddhists can be powerful allies to Objectivism. After all, we are both on an ethical crusade for - among other things nobility, serenity, and integrity, are we not? With the utmost metta ("loving kindness"), Savaka Sukhothaia June 2001


Thomas Gramstad: A Few Notes Towards Buddhjectivism http://folk.uio.no/thomas/po/buddhjectivism.html Paul Hibbert: Objectivism and Zen

http://www.solohq.com/Articles/Hibbert/Objectivism_and_Zen.shtml Mudita Forum: http://www.zader.com/mudita-forum/index.html (A moderated discussion group at wetheliving.com for individuals with an interest both in Ayn Rand's philosophy of Objectivism and in the consciousness-raising practices associated with Eastern thinking.)


Introduction to Buddhism http://www.ncf.carleton.ca/dharma/introduction/buddhism.html The Dharma Tree http://www.saigon.com/~anson/ebud/ebdha034.htm (Another introduction to Buddhism) What is Theravada Buddhism? http://www.accesstoinsight.org/theravada.html (An introduction to Theravada Buddhism) The Rise of Mahayana Buddhism http://www.infoplease.com/ce6/society/A0857054.html The Three Movements in Buddhism http://www-relg-studies.scu.edu/netcours/rs013/buddhism/ Theravada.net http://theravada.net/ Dhammapada http://www.accesstoinsight.org/canon/khuddaka/dhp/

Copyright Thomas Gramstad 2003 This article suggests a few exploratory notes of comparison between Objectivism and Buddhism, a potentially fruitful territory hitherto uncharted.<1> These notes are not intended to be conclusive. Rather, they suggest a few points of departure for future comparisons, explorations and developments in a Buddhist- Objectivist dialogue, primarily in the fields of ethics, epistemology and psychoepistemology. INTRODUCTORY GENERAL SIMILARITIES Buddhism seems to have several general similarities with Objectivism. It is about making the best out of one's life here on earth, there is nothing supernatural (or if there is, it is considered unimportant) and little or no interest in any afterlife. Buddhism is about self-improvement. Buddhists perceive the founder of their religion as nothing more than a human being, although one with an exceptionally clear and developed mind, a spiritual genius. This perfect human being often becomes a house god for the atheist Buddhist, revered with the help of statues, pictures and books. This too seems more than a little similar to the average Objectivist reverence for the genius of Ayn Rand and the interest in Rand paraphernalia. But are there more specific similarities and commonalities than these general ones? PREVIOUS ENTANGLEMENTS OF BUDDHISM AND OBJECTIVISM I did combined web searches on Objectivism and Buddhism, Rand and Buddha and soforth. I was able to find one reference - to a lecture about Buddhism given by Susanna Fessler at the 1997 IOS summer conference. That's kind of weird, because I was at that conference, but I don't think I attended that particular lecture. The conference program contains a summary description of the lecture: Why has Objectivism not spread in East Asia? Susanna Fessler, assistant professor of East Asian Studies at the State University of New York at Albany, will explain how the core beliefs of Buddhism contradict Objectivism theory. Because Buddhism lacks even the partial individualism of western Christianity, effective dissemination of Objectivism in East Asia would require a different focus than in the West. Prof. Fessler is a specialist in Japanese culture, language, and literature.<2a> There is also a post-seminar report, that describes this lecture: Susanna Fessler initiated the "History and Culture" program by raising and answering a question that has surely occurred to many Objectivists: If the East Asian states are developing dynamic capitalist economies, will their populations become more receptive to Objectivism? According to Fessler, prospects are dim, owing to the region's tradition of Buddhism, a religion that holds egoism is the source of suffering. Nevertheless, Fessler said, some hope is offered by a sect known as Pure Land Buddhism and certain developments within that sect that encourage a focus on materialism.<2b>

HIERARCHICAL CONTEXT DROPPING The Fessler lecture summary doesn't exactly lool like an invitation to dialogue, does it? How can anyone believe that the anti-reason and slave morality mentality of Christianity is more conducive to individualism and an independent mind than the first-hand independent psycho-epistemology that Buddhists exercise and cultivate on a daily basis? I believe this is an example of a fallacy fairly common among Objectivists, one I refer to as hierarchical context dropping - the mistaken belief that an idea from a theoretically more fundamental discipline is always more important or more influential on an individual than any idea from a theoretically less fundamental discipline. In this case, an "individualist" metaphysics (the Christian doctrine of individual souls surviving death and continuing as saved or condemned individual entities after death), combined with epistemological and psychoepistemological subservience and dependence is believed to be more rational and individualist than an individualist epistemology and psycho-epistemology combined with metaphysical beliefs about deep similarities and connections between all humans (and even all life) - just because "metaphysics is more fundamental than epistemology". I would also argue that the Christian soul metaphysics is atomist rather than individualist, but I digress. Let us consider some areas of intersection between Buddhism and Objectivism. BUDDHIST ETHICS AS VIRTUE ETHICS In his paper, Buddhist Ethics as Virtue Ethics,<3> comparative philosophy scholar Nick Gier compares Buddhist ethics with Aristotelian ethics, noting several similarities due to the fact that Buddhist ethics as well as ancient Greek ethics in general and Aristotelianism in particular all are virtue ethics<4>. Gier also suggests one significant difference. In his open letter (see note 1), Savaka Sukhothaia says that "Aristotle's 'megalopsychia' is familiar". Gier argues that this is in fact an important difference between Buddhism and Aristotelianism: the Buddhist emphasis on modesty or humility as opposed to Aristotle's emphasis on the "great-souled man" and pride. In fact, pride is considered a sin, or opposed to dharma (one's moral code) in Buddhism - except that, strictly speaking, Buddhism doesn't have any concept of sin, only of making mistakes (another similarity with Objectivism), so what Buddhists call pride would be considered a mistake in one's moral code and conduct. While Gier does not address Rand or Objectivism, his argument can easily be transposed to Objectivism versus Buddhism. Objectivism advocates the ego and its development and expression, as the fountainhead of creativity, values and progress. Buddhism advocates and works towards freedom from the ego and nullification of the limits of ego. These sound like diametrically opposed positions. PRIDE AND EGO VS. HUMILITY AND MODESTY However, there is a possible way out of this dilemma: Buddhism and Objectivism don't have the same ego concepts, so they are talking about (somewhat) different things. The Buddhist concept of ego seems to have similarities to the psychoanalytic one, referring mostly to internalized limitations, habits, tastes, conventions, taboos and soforth that have been automatized and learned by social osmosis from childhood and on. These are self-reproducing and self-maintaining limitations on everyone's cognitive and behavioral functions, preferences and values, preventing people from living consciously and firsthand. Also Objectivists and Randians are opposed to such limitations. Processes and functions that Objectivists consider cognitive aspects of an independent, self-made value-based ego are differently conceived by Buddhists, as processes and functions that liberate an individual from a more static or locked ego created and maintained by involuntary social conditioning.

Similarly, when Buddhists criticize pride, they seem to be mostly referring to what Aristotelians would identify as conceit, boastfulness, and a lack of sensitivity, rather than nobility and the great soul. Once one starts speaking about what nobility consists of and what capacities and characteristics a great soul must possess, previously obscured similarities between Buddhism and Objectivism may emerge. HUBRIS AND ATTACHMENT One such example is the Buddhist emphasis on ending dukkha, or "craving" or "attachments". Most Buddhists do not advocate putting an end to all wishes and desires. While different Buddhist schools differ in what cravings and attachments they want to end, one common Buddhist understanding of dukkha that is compatible with Objectivism is the one that perceives dukkha as wishes and cravings that cannot be obtained or realized because they are incompatible with the nature of the individual in question. In this view, the nature of dukkha is false wishes or self-destructive values that are not rooted in reality. Attachment to dukkha will lead to unhappiness and unfulfillment of the individual. The concept of dukkha also seems to have similarities to the ancient Greek concept of hubris. In Objectivism, this part of reality is addressed by two different concepts. The first is identified as a type of context dropping, evading one's own nature, especially one's own limitations. Some Objectivists have actually argued for introducing "humility" as an Objectivist virtue.<5> Personally, I find that the term "humility" calls forth the image of Christians, kneeling and crawling on dirty floors an idolization of self-abasement. Hubris and humility (aka debris and debility :-) are both at odds with Objectivist virtue. Instead, context sensitivity, or even just sensitivity, sounds much better and accurately reflects a Randian virtue. The second Objectivist concept is the distinction between the metaphysically given and the (hu)manmade. While theoretically clear, this distinction is notoriously difficult to apply to human nature and one's individual nature: which parts of oneself can be changed, and which cannot? There are different answers to that question both within Buddhism and within Objectivism/Randianism. Even though Buddhism and Objectivism apply somewhat different concepts, it is clear that they address the same aspect of reality, and that they agree both about the basic layout of that reality, and about the effects of faking it. So the Buddhist dukkha is a self-image that may be static or it may be locked in a self-destructive dynamic pattern of repetitive attachments. Dukkha is a result of mental passivity and of a second-hand approach to one's life. It would seem that Objectivism and Buddhism agree about the nature and effects of this phenomenon.<6> Is it the case that Buddhists often emphasize and concentrate on avoiding negative states of mind, while Objectivists emphasize and focus on attaining positive states of mind? If so, what consequences does this difference in orientation lead to? SPIRITUAL TITANISM Another related topic of interest is Buddhism's and Objectivism's relationships to what has been called spiritual titanism. According to Gier: "Titanism is an extreme form of humanism in which human beings take on divine attributes and prerogatives."<7> An example of Objectivist titanism is ascribing too much "concrete reality" to Rand's fictional heroes and heroines, and being too literal and too eager to emulate them in real life. Titanism, as the concept is explored in Gier's book, suggests an atomist and anti-social form of individualism, unlike the zoon politicon of Aristotle, and unlike the social virtues frequently practiced by Rand's heroes. Yet social virtues are underrepresented and underemphasized in Rand's explicit philosophy<8>, and a danger of titanism seems to be present. Buddhism seems to have

better inbuilt ways of defeating titanism, and maybe Objectivists have something to learn here. The same goes for atomism, since Buddhists do not have an atomist self concept. While some Objectivists seem to fall prey easily to atomist tendencies, perhaps being influenced by a Christian culture in general and Christian soul metaphysics in particular. BUDDHIST CLARITY AND OBJECTIVIST FOCUS The primary goal of Buddhism is the attainment of enlightenment or awakening - a mental state of clarity, alertness and undistorted perception. Objectivism aims for an active, first-hand mind, with a clear focus and rational purpose, and without evasion, the greatest sin in Objectivism and the opposite of mental clarity. How similar is Buddhist clarity to Objectivist focus? Do they reflect the same kind of psycho-epistemology, and the same ideal of living consciously? Is Buddhist awakening and the Objectivist art of living consciously<9> essentially the same thing? Even if that is the case, their methodology seem to be different. Objectivism advocates the use and training of logic and cognitive skills of reasoning, while Buddhism employs and trains non-rational skills related to conative, affective and perceptual aspects of the mind, through meditation and other mental techniques. Are these different emphases, methods, goals and skill sets incompatible, or are they complementary so that they may supplement, support and balance each other? DIALECTICS AND INTEGRATION In his works Chris Sciabarra has identified the importance of dialectics in Rand's thought.<10> Buddhism has dialectics too, including one logical form that is very rare, if present at all, in classical Western philosophy: the neither/nor dialectic.<11> The Zen master Shunryu Suzuki provides an example: Our body and mind are not two and not one. If you think your body and mind are two, that is wrong; if you think that they are one, that is also wrong. Our body and mind are both two and one. We usually think that if something is not one, it is more than one; if it is not singular, it is plural. But in actual experience, our life is not only plural, but also singular.<12> In this quote, Suzuki uses neither/nor dialectic to reject a false alternative ("not two, not one"). Then he integrates the mind and the body, they are a unity. But they can also be experienced as two (or more) separate parts of that unity. So the neither/nor dialectic is a method for rejecting false alternatives and then integrate the true aspects of each alternative. One of Buddhism's strongpoints is relational thinking and real or apparent paradoxes associated with it. Note how this methodology leads Buddhism to the same view of the mind-body relationship as Objectivism - and this is a rare position indeed. This view of the mind-body relationship also naturally leads to an inclination towards perceiving questions about "life after death" or "reincarnation" as pointless or meaningless, a position held by many Buddhist traditions. Also, while Objectivism is virtually alone<13> to reject the is-ought dichotomy in the Western tradition, Buddhism rejects it too. How much common ground do these two important and rare agreements lend to Objectivism and Buddhism? THE FUTURE: RECOMBINANT MUTANTS? While I don't particularly believe in creating recombinant mutants or hybrids of Buddhism and Objectivism, and certainly not - Earth forbid! - a singular and official such hybrid, I still can't help myself from coining a term for such an imagined entity: Buddhjectivism. I'm not sure whether it's the

natural heretic in me looking for a good way to ruffle dogmatic feathers in both traditions, or the writer looking for a captive headline, or if it's just the punster, but there it is. In any case, I do think that dialogues and comparisons between the two systems, noting similarities as well as differences, and enhancing the one where the other is stronger or unbalanced, is a possible, interesting and potentially fruitful prospect. Most people interested in such an endeavor (and there are a few; perhaps one might talk about Buddhjectivists rather than Buddhjectivism) seem to prefer to create disjunct mental spaces for the two systems: one for politics (O) and one for spirituality (B); one for individualism (O) and one for awareness/mindfulness (B); or even one for the "left hemisphere" (O) and one for the "right hemisphere" (B), and so on. This approach is supported by the fact that Objectivism and Buddhism employ and train different parts and functions of the mind, different aspects of human consciousness. These efforts and the techniques supporting them are rightly perceived as complementary, both on the philosophical and practical level: it's difficult or impossible to successfully do both at the same time. Nevertheless, the individual is a unity, and also there is one, common, objective reality hiding somewhere underneath all the subjective experiences, realities, purposes and perceptions overlaying it. So if both Objectivism and Buddhism contain truth and value, there must be an interface between them, beyond the practical, encompassing (at least some) philosophical aspects. That's the fledgling theme I've been trying to explore in this article. The creation of mutant strains, followed by the intermingling of these with old strains is a common theme in the history of ideas (indeed, this is one of the hallmarks of a living philosophy). Such developments have not only happened within Buddhism, but is already happening within the much younger Objectivism: different strains or schools separate out from the main branch, and then they start to influence each other and intermingle again. This can also happen between different traditions and philosophies, not only within them, something that is accelerating in a world going more and more global. This can be an exciting and fruitful process to engage in for an active, independent mind. It is my hope that dialogue may continue between Buddhists and Objectivists/Randians in various fora. NOTES <1> I'm indebted to Savaka Sukhothaia's open letter to Objectivists and Randians calling for an outreach to and dialogue with Buddhists for the inspiration to engage in this investigation. See Savaka Sukhothaia: A Call to Objectivists and Randians For Dialogue With Buddhists. Open letter, June 2001. http://folk.uio.no/thomas/po/buddhists-and-objectivists.html <2a> Objectivism: Theory and Practice. IOS 1997 summer seminar program, available at http://ios.org/ events/seminars-sem97.asp, and <2b> Summer Seminar Brings "Academical Village" to Life, http://ios.org/center/news/news_sumsemacademic-village.asp. <3> Nick Gier: Buddhist Ethics as Virtue Ethics, http://www.its.uidaho.edu/ngier/307/buddve.htm. <4> There exist some strains of Buddhism advocating duty ethics rather than virtue ethics, such as Christian-Buddhist hybrids that interpret buddhist dharma in accordance with Christian duty and slave morality. See for example the Church of the East, http://church-of-the-east.org/welcome.shtml. <5> Karen Minto: Can Sacrifice Be Rational?, in Full Context Vol. 9 No. 10, 1997. <6> Breaking out of destructive, repetitive or locked patterns is also a frequent theme in Nathaniel Branden's works. <7> Nick Gier: Spiritual Titanism: Indian, Chinese, and Western Perspectives. State University Of

New York Press, 2000. http://www.its.uidaho.edu/ngier/steab.htm <8> See: David Kelley: Unrugged Individualism. The Objectivist Center, 1996. http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1577240006/qid%3D994212989/102-6811221-6858530 Nathaniel Branden: The Benefits and Hazards of the Philosophy of Ayn Rand (1984), http://www.nathanielbranden.net/ayn/ayn03.html. <9> The Art of Living Consciously: The Power of Awareness to Transform Everyday Life is the title of one of Nathaniel Branden's books, reviewed by Carolyn Ray in Navigator Vol. 1 No. 10 under the heading Sleepers, Awake!, see http://enlightenment.supersaturated.com/essays/text/carolynray/sleepersawake.html. <10> http://www.nyu.edu/projects/sciabarra/ <11> See Nick Gier: Dialectics: East and West (1983), http://www.its.uidaho.edu/ngier/307/dialectic.htm. <12> Shunryu Suzuki: Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind. Weatherhouse, 1988. http://www.sfzc.com/Pages/Library/zmbm.html <13> Apparently Epicurus rejected the is-ought dichotomy too. See Ray Shelton's two articles (1995), Epicurus and Rand, in Objectivity Vol. 2 No. 3, http://folk.uio.no/thomas/po/epicurus-and-rand.html (web version forthcoming), and Parallel Metaethics, in Objectivity Vol. 2 No. 4, http://folk.uio.no/thomas/po/parallel-metaethics.html.

Chapter 4 FEMINISM

THEIR VALUES, DISVALUES, AND SIGNIFICANCES Copyright Bryan Register As a libertarian capitalist who celebrates western culture, science, and the technological mastery of nature, Ayn Rand is the sort of woman many contemporary feminists might want to call a traitor to femininity.(1) Before we ratify this assessment, though, it may be of interest to try to situate Rand's writings on sexuality within feminist discourse. This reading, marginalized by Rand's followers and by the feminist establishment alike, is hardly supported by Rand's intentions. Nevertheless, in this paper, I will investigate Rand's views from the perspective of Glennon's ideal-type analysis of feminist discourse. On the one hand, I will consider and reject the claim that Rand is a synthesist, and argue that Rand's critique of contemporary gender roles is an instrumentalist critique. But on the other hand, I will investigate the darker underside of Rand's bizarre sexual ontology, finding elements of Aristotelian biologistic polarism propping up the theory and practice of the oppression of women. Finally, I will propose that Rand thus keys us in to the dangers of polaristic feminism. LOIRET-PRUNET'S SYNTHESIST INTERPRETATION I want to start by discussing the proposal that Rand is a theorist of synthesis. French linguist Valérie Loiret-Prunet has argued that Rand's novels, especially her first semi-autobiographical novel, fit well within Glennon's synthesist ideal type.(2) To evaluate this, I will assume that Rand fits some feminist type; I will question this assumption below. But it seems that Loiret-Prunet's assessment of Rand's feminism has not followed Glennon's discussion well. What Glennon calls 'synthesist feminism' is specifically a synthesis of what she calls 'instrumentalist' and 'expressivist' feminism.(3) Instrumental feminism (hereafter IF) is feminist discourse which argues that human authenticity stems from instrumental rationality, action, and autonomy, while expressivist feminism (hereafter EF) is discourse which suggests that human authenticity stems from expressive modes of action, especially communal activities and sympathetic or helping activities. Both IF and EF argue that contemporary gender assumptions are mistaken and that there is a mode of authentic living for human beings as such, regardless of sex. Loiret-Prunet proposes that Rand is a synthesist (hereafter SF) because she employs dialectical modes

of thought; specifically, such modes are on display in the style and characterizations of Rand's novel We the Living. Loiret-Prunet's claim about Rand's dialectical tendencies is a safe one.(4) What she is mistaken about is whether SF is neutrally dialectical; it is not. Rather, SF tries to work a specific synthesis of instrumental and expressive elements of human activity; such elements as linear rationality and spontaneous emotionality. Not just any dialectical thought is an SF approach. Rand rejects two proposals which are key to SF. The first is a proposal about the relationship, within the individual, between instrumental and expressive features of the self. SF will claim that, within oneself, the relationship between reasoning and emotionality is one of dialectical, mutual influence. The second is a proposal about gender and culture. SF will claim that a synthesis of instrumental and expressive components of the self is key to authentic human existence for persons of any sex. Masculinity's association with instrumentality, and femininity's association with expressivity, are evidences of the fracturing dualities of modern culture; cultural reform or revolution will eliminate the dualities and thus eliminate arbitrary sexual differentiations. Regarding the first proposal, the crucial relationship to consider is the one between a person's articulate reasoning and her spontaneous expressions of emotionality. Rand, as an Aristotelian, proposes that emotions are judgments.(5) But emotional judgments for Rand are non-cognitive epiphenoma of reasoning. The individual, through reasoning about which things are good and bad, will adopt criteria, often tacit, by which to evaluate phenomena in the world. Emotions are spontaneous evaluations or judgments. The relation here is a reductive one: emotions stem from, but have no effect on or autonomy from, reasoning. This is not a dialectical synthesis of two related phenomena, but rather a monistic reduction of the emotional aspects of human nature to the instrumental aspects. Rand has a similar response to the second proposal, and one which displays her ominous gender essentialism. I want to delay looking at the details of this point. RAND'S INSTRUMENTALIST CRITIQUE In fact, when Rand is read as a feminist she must be read as an IF. Rand's critique of contemporary sexual interaction fits well with Glennon's description; Glennon says that "Instrumentalism is the embodiment of the extremes of modern consciousness: rationalistic, self-interested, emotionally managed. It stresses the work orientation of human activity."(6) When IF criticizes modern sexual interaction, it argues that "...present-day society is far from 'modern' in its definition and treatment of women because it prevents women from becoming fully instrumental by forcing them into the inferior expressive mold.... [Instrumentalists] deplore the present situation because females have not been given the opportunity to become instrumental. For them, the male monopoly on instrumental behavior must be broken if females are to enter the human species as full-fledged members."(7) A few passages from Rand's most well-known novel, Atlas Shrugged, should establish the validity of this reading. The main female character of the novel, Dagny Taggart, is the daughter of the owner of a transcontinental railroad. In the novel, Rand writes that, "Dagny Taggart was nine years old when she decided that she would run the Taggart Transcontinental Railroad some day.... She was fifteen when it occurred to her for the first time that women did not run railroads and that people might object. To hell with that, she thought - and never worried about it again."(8) We may take it that Dagny's reaction is appropriate from Rand's point of view. In Rand's novel, Dagny breaks the glass ceiling by pure talent, systematically violating sexist expectations about the limits on a woman's instrumental abilities. But moreover, Rand's novel encompasses a critique of traditional marriage and its exploitative nature. Two marriages are depicted which are of interest: one between Taggart Transcontinental heir, Dagny's brother James Taggart, and working-class clerk Cherryl, and one between rags-to-riches steel magnate Henry Rearden and his New York socialite wife Lillian.

James Taggart inherits his presidency of the railroad while his sister Dagny has to work her way up from night operator of a small station; the injustice of their relative merits and positions suggests a critique of the good-ol'-boys' network by which masculine authority is preserved. James spends most of the novel in cynical fascist power brokering, propping up corporate welfare and exploiting those without the ability to manipulate the reins of power. This power structure is replicated in his marriage. James finds naive, working-class Cherryl the perfect target for his abuses. James shows her around elites for the amusement of watching her be humiliated by her ignorance of high-society etiquette. As she learns the ways of this new world, he makes veiled accusations that she is embarrassing to him in ways that she cannot understand. He encourages her to think that she had married him for his money, inculcating guilt. As she learns about his political manipulations, and challenges him, he suggests that she has obligations to him as his wife not to question his actions, saying, "Have you thought of my feelings? ...You should have considered my feelings first! That's the first obligation of any wife - and of a woman in your position in particular!"(9) James Taggart is here appealing to the notion of a sexual hierarchy, wherein women are natural caretakers of the emotions of others. He also implies that her working-class background makes her doubly beneath him, replicating class hierarchy. What's most important, though, is that the notion of woman as natural caretaker becomes in traditional marriage an excuse for men to suppress the critical consciousness of their wives. As Cherryl acquires her authentic sense of James's nature, primarily through discussions with workers, James tries to warp her awareness by his appeal to wifely duties to remain silent in the face of a husband's actions, even if they are ethically questionable. The notion of sexual hierarchy becomes a means of psychological abuse, and Cherryl eventually commits suicide. Rand's depiction of high-society sexism as excuse for psychological torture can easily be extended. A similar picture might hold for men whose assault on their wives is physical and deadly, but who excuse their crimes by appeal to a woman's obligations to silence. And no extension is even necessary to grasp the function of a rule that women must docilely serve the feelings of men: silencing women is a means of preventing critique of power structures. This is the context from which the other marriage, between Henry and Lillian Rearden, must be understood. Lillian Rearden embodies the exploitative practice drawn from the experience of high-class sexism. Lillian, recognizing the tacit power struggles intrinsic to traditional marriage, does not intend to be the target of psychological abuse. But she is unable to subject the practice to radical critique. She is able, at best, to reverse the line of abuse, and victimize her husband. Moreover, Lillian has, unlike Dagny, accepted severe limits on instrumental abilities as constitutive of femininity. For Rand, these instrumental abilities are the core of an authentic human existence. For Lillian, a character in Rand's novel, there is no alternative mode of authentic human action. She is thus filled with envy for men, who have high levels of instrumental ability. This envy leads her to take as her goal damaging her husband, who is unusually talented. So the character of Lillian is an expression of two elements of traditional sexual relations: the power struggles and psychological abuses endemic in traditional marriage, and the sexual conflict induced by ideological limitations placed by men on women's instrumentality. Lillian fights back with the weapons at her disposal: other features of the very sexual relations she is repressed by. Just as James appeals to the notion of female obligation in his psychological assault on his wife, Lillian appeals to the Madonna-whore stereotype and sexist notions about men's compulsive and simplistic sexuality in her assault on her husband. Lillian's strategy is one of sexual self-repression for psychological advantage. Her practice is described as follows: She had never objected [to his sexual advances]; she had never refused him anything; she submitted

whenever he wished. She submitted in the manner of complying with the rule that it was, at times, her duty to become an inanimate object turned over to her husband's use. She did not censure him. She made it clear that she took it for granted that men had degrading instincts which constituted the secret, ugly part of marriage. She was condescendingly tolerant.... "It's the most undignified pastime I know of," she said to him once, "but I have never entertained the illusion that men are superior to animals."(10) Her goal is to use her husband's sexuality as a hook to induce destructive guilt in him. Just as men have traditionally been known to insult, as 'loose', women with whom they have sex, Lillian insults Henry, as not in control of himself and as sexually exploitative. Henry, whose self-esteem is based in the notions of self-control and fair dealing which constitute the capitalist ethic, is deeply wounded by the prolonged allegation. The very same sense of obligation prevents him from expressing to her his anger at the harm she is doing him. These neurotic power struggles are caused by traditional sexism. The standard stereotypes all come into play: women are to be docile and emotionally supportive, are incapable of instrumentality, and are to be purified of sexual desire; men are incapable of emotional expression and have a simplistic sexuality without connection to personality. These stereotypes are excuses generated for psychologically abusive behavior, but they also cause just the psychological problems which lead to and channel the abuse. Rand's contrast between Dagny and Lillian is her IF critique of the sexual traditions. Dagny serves as an example of a fully instrumental, authentic human being who is also a woman. Lillian serves as an example of the victim/victimizer who produces and is produced by the sexual traditions, which refuse women the alternative of instrumental activity and stifle their authentic humanity. We are showed both the possibility and nature of women's liberation and the contradictions and destructive tendencies of the present, sexist, society. In the next section, I want to take a more critical view of Rand and draw an ultimately negative lesson from her. But I think that Rand ought to be of positive interest from a feminist point of view, as well, because she combines radical critique of existing society with a libertarian political view, providing an alternative to the traditional association of radical critique with the left. An engagement between socialist and libertarian radical critics of contemporary society (and contemporary gender relations) could produce a fascinating and fruitful dialogue. RAND'S POLARIST TENDENCIES Shall we assimilate Rand to the IF tradition? The move would be hasty, because Rand also subjects the sexual tradition to a polarist critique. Polarism (hereafter PF) is the last of Glennon's ideal types. This variety of feminist discourse agrees with the tradition that men are, by nature, instrumental, and women, by nature, expressive. And PF tries to ground its claim with reference to biological differences between men and women, especially women's capacity to give birth and care for children. According to Glennon, PF is not just the tradition warmed over; she says that [Polarism] takes the position that the instrumentality and expressivity males and females act out in their present sex roles are distorted forms. True femaleness and true maleness are hidden beneath today's sex roles and must be rediscovered and allowed to flower without social interference.... the instrumental-expressive dichotomy is identical with the male-female one only if we remember that the versions of the two pairs we see today are shams.(11) Rand certainly agrees that the male-female dichotomy that we get from the sexual traditions is a sham. James Taggart's use of other people as tools and Lillian Rearden's emotional manipulations of her husband are the twisted forms of male instrumentality and female expressivity yielded by the present

society. But moreover, Rand agrees that femaleness and maleness are biologically polarized. I want to investigate the polarization which Rand proposes. (This will also constitute my argument that Rand is not a synthesist at the cultural level.) Rand is credited by her biographer and long-time colleague Barbara Branden with the following obscure claim: "Man... is defined by his relationship to reality; woman - by her relationship to man."(12) Such a suggestion is difficult to make sense of, but its implications are obvious and startling. Rand believes that the most authentic human mode of being is the instrumental mode, and the instrumental mode is dedicated to the rational awareness of the world and to practical activity to produce desired effects. But it is men who are defined in relation to reality, with the relation being the instrumental one. If women, insofar as they are human beings, must relate to the world instrumentally, but insofar as they are women need not seek relations with the world but only with other people (men), then femininity is a defect in authentic humanity. This may be the saddest expression of Rand's Aristotelianism, because Rand's view seems to parallel Aristotle's theory that the female is a defective and ill-formed male.(13) For Rand, the definition of a category ought to state the most causally significant features of the members of the category. If the category of women, then, is to be defined with reference to the category of men, then femininity must be something which is radically dependent on masculinity for its meaning and activities. In what way, then, ought women to relate to men? Rand is blunt: "For a woman qua woman, the essence of femininity is hero-worship - the desire to look up to a man."(14) This isn't fully clear, but I want to suggest that what it is to 'look up' will be clarified by seeking out the justification for this notion. Rand does not provide it herself, but her colleague and lover Nathaniel Branden, during the time of his association with her and in a journal over which she exercised strict editorial control, made the following argument: "Physically, man is the bigger and stronger of the two sexes... Sexually, his is the more active and dominant role; he has the greater measure of control over his own pleasure and that of his partner; it is he who penetrates and the woman is penetrated..."(15) The idea seems to be as follows. In sex, a man penetrates a woman from above her. Since he is above her, he is exercising the greater physical control. Thus he is dominant. Rand seems to draw the bizarre conclusion that "men are metaphysically the dominant sex..."(16) Men are the dominant sex because of the missionary position, apparently.(17) It's important to follow the logic. Rand and her followers are reading a normative claim about the relative ontological merit of the sexes from a cultural artifact: the compulsory adherence to a particular style of intercourse. Unable to distinguish between nature and culture, Rand raises an arbitrary feature of culture to the level of sign of basic metaphysical relation. Before discussing the implications of Rand's argument, I want to trace out the direction she takes her conception in Atlas Shrugged.(18) At a point in the novel when fascists have taken control of her railroad, Dagny Taggart resigns in protest and leaves New York City, seeking refuge in a country shack her father had owned. She gives herself the purpose of repairing a path which had become overgrown: The work of cooking a meal was like a closed circle, completed and gone, leading nowhere. But the work of building a path was a living sum... A circle, she thought, is the movement proper to physical nature, they say there's nothing but circular motion in the inanimate universe around us, but the straight line is the badge of man.... It is not proper for man's life to be a circle, she thought...(19) The key symbolism here is the comparison between lines and circles. Certain features of this are obvious; the phallic lines are human, the vaginal circles are subhuman; women, with their menstrual cycles, become natural and sink from humanity. But moreover, Rand selects what has traditionally been considered a kind of woman's work, cooking, as her example of an activity whose cyclical nature renders it a mere instrument. A human life which was essentially cyclical and consisted of patterns of

activity such as cooking a meal would be an inadequate, inauthentic existence. Later in the novel, Dagny is involved in a plane crash in the hidden utopian valley created by the novel's hero, John Galt. For reasons which are not relevant, Dagny decides to work as Galt's cook and housemaid. She thinks that she would rather do this "than anything else in the world."(20) Such a switch seems odd. Earlier, Dagny had thought of cyclical tasks as subhuman and as not constituting a human mode of existence, while now she thinks of them as ideal for her to undertake. The switch is explained, I think, in Dagny's reflection on housework: There is reason, she thought, why a woman would wish to cook for a man... oh, not as a duty, not as a chronic career, only as a rare and special rite in symbol of... that which gave it meaning and sanction... [:] the meeting of two bodies in a bedroom...(21) Housework, then, is an authentic mode of being for a woman in virtue of her femininity, because it somehow symbolizes her worshipful sexual feelings for the man for whom she is doing the housework. This is true despite the fact that housework, being cyclical, is not an authentic mode of being for a human being as such. So femininity, again, shows up as a defect to be defined in relation to the proper expression of humanity, which is masculinity. AGAINST POLARIST FEMINISM My argument thus far has been that Rand's discourse on sex combines an IF critique of traditional sexual norms with a PF projection of ideal femininity as subject to ideal masculine domination. The IF critique may be a positive move and has historically helped to undergird individualist feminism. But the PF projection has, in the history of the movement of Rand's followers, been one means of the suppression of women. Nevertheless, since it projects alternatives to traditional sex relations, it is a form of feminism. Rand's followers, unfortunately, have sometimes found Rand's polarism plausible. This is because it was presented as grounded in timeless biological gender essences. But Rand's followers, acculturated to male sexual dominance and female domestic service, were inclined to accept the claim that these features of their culture were actually expressions of a natural ontological distinction between the sexes. There is, unfortunately, nothing like a database of sociological research on Rand's followers, who call themselves Objectivists; something like that would be valuable from the perspective of the study of cults and subcultures. But there does not exist an account of the Objectivist movement which does not discuss the sexual confusions of Objectivists from the top down.(22) Moreover, I can speak from the experience of many dealings with Objectivists.(23) In explicit discussions of issues of sex, there is an unusual number of people who call themselves 'patriarchalists' or who otherwise adhere to Rand's views on sexuality. I have anecdotal data suggesting that Objectivist heterosexual relationships are more dysfunctional than the norm. I conclude that Rand's views on sex are alive and well in the minds of many of her followers; these views have been damaging people's lives for decades and will continue to do so in the foreseeable future. The argument with which I wish to conclude is that Rand's PF projection should key us in to the dangers of PF theories. Gender essentialism, based on alleged biological facts, is now fairly common among feminists in various fields - I am taking Gilligan's ethic of care as a paradigm case of a sophisticated PF which seeks empirical grounding. But, as Rand's biologism shows, it is all too easy to mistake the contingent and cultural for the necessary and biological. We should be especially careful in drawing normative conclusions from biological premises when the biological premises are the same ones appealed to by the tradition for the suppression of women, and when the conclusions seem

ominously like those of the tradition. So on the one hand, I want to suggest that any polarism is liable to be false. But on the other hand, polarism aids the tradition in setting up a matrix of discourse which makes it necessary to characterize the sexes as opposed. The biological differences proposed by polarism have always been used as ideological props to support some kind of sexual suppression. But polarism, once its biological essentialism has become foundational for the justification of power relations, allows for only two options: for the dominance of men over women, or for the dominance of women over men. So polarism supports the status quo of sexual suppression; even the advocacy of matriarchy tacitly supports patriarchalism by agreeing that someone must be dominant. Taking Rand as my example, I've shown how one version of polarist feminism plays into the hands of the suppression of women. I want this to serve as a cautionary tale for other polarists, that they may have taken a side in a power game which no one ought to be playing at all. NOTES 1. For this assessment, see Brownmiller. 2. Loiret-Prunet supports this interpretation in Gladstein and Sciabarra, pp. 83-115. Glennon herself mentions Rand as an example of instrumentalist thinking in Glennon, p. 46. 3. Glennon discusses synthesism in Glennon, pp. 97-119, but drawing on pp. 46-96. 4. The dialectical interpretation of Rand is defended in Sciabarra, which is easily the best discussion of Rand's philosophy yet written. 5. For Rand's view see Rand 1964 esp. p. 27. for discussions of Aristotle, see Nussbaum chapter 3 and Register 1999 chapter 3. 6. Glennon p. 46. 7. Glennon pp. 48-49. 8. Rand 1992 pp. 54-55. 9. Rand 1992 p. 817. 10. Rand 1992 p. 155. 11. Glennon p. 120. 12. Branden, Barbara p. 18. 13. For a discussion of Aristotle's view of the sexes, see Allen ch. 2. 14. Rand 1990 p. 268. 15. Branden, Nathaniel p. 386. 16. Rand 1975 p. 175. 17. Gramstad makes a similar point in Gladstein and Sciabarra, pp. 349-350. 18. An alternative interpretation of these passages appears in Michalson. 19. Rand 1992 p. 569. 20. Rand 1992 p. 707. 21. Rand 1992 pp. 720-721.

22. I have in mind here the biography by Barbara Branden, Nathaniel Branden's memoir, and such critical accounts as Walker and Rothbard. See also the sad tale of Lissa Roche, discussed in Vincent 2000. 23. I've moderated Objectivist discussion lists which discussed feminism and other topics and have attended several Objectivist events. These experiences have led to a number of personal dealings with members of the movement; it's private discussions about individuals' relationships, as well as public discussions about issues of sexuality, which have generated the anecdotal evidence I'm relying on. But my claims should not be confused with anything which a social scientist would find acceptable as evidence. WORKS CITED Allen, Prudence. 1985. The Concept of Woman. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans. Branden, Barbara. 1986. The Passion of Ayn Rand. Garden City: Doubleday. Branden, Nathaniel. 1968. "Self-Esteem and Romantic Love, Part II" The Objectivist, January. Brownmiller, Susan. 1999 [1975]. "Ayn Rand: A Traitor to Her Own Sex". In Gladstein and Sciabarra, pp. 63-66. Gilligan, Carol. 1982. In a Different Voice. Cambridge: Harvard UP. Gladstein, Mimi, and Sciabarra, Chris, eds. 1999. Feminist Interpretations of Ayn Rand. University Park: Penn State Press. http://www.nyu.edu/projects/sciabarra/femstart.htm Glennon, Lynda. 1979. Women and Dualism: A Sociology of Knowledge Analysis. New York: Longman. Gramstad, Thomas. 1999. "The Female Hero: A Randian-Feminist Synthesis". In Gladstein and Sciabarra, pp. 333-362. Loiret-Prunet, Valérie. "Ayn Rand and Feminist Synthesis: Rereading We the Living". In Gladstein and Sciabarra, pp. 83-114. Michalson, Karen. "Who is Dagny Taggart? The Epic Hero/ine in Disguise". In Gladstein and Sciabarra, pp. 199-219. Nussbaum, Martha. 1994. The Therapy of Desire. Princeton: Princeton UP. Rand, Ayn. 1992 [1957]. Atlas Shrugged. New York: Signet. -. 1975. The New Left. New York: Signet. -. 1990. The Voice of Reason. New York: Meridian. Register, Bryan 1999. The Logic and Validity of Emotional Appeal in Classical Greek Rhetorical Theory. Thesis composed to meet the honors requirements for the degree of bachelor of science in speech communication, Spring 1999. http://www.olist.com/essays/text/register/thesis/index.html -. 2000. "Should Ayn Rand Have Been a Feminist?" Navigator, April. Rothbard, Murray. 1987. "The Sociology of the Ayn Rand Cult". (Pamphlet) Port Townsend: Liberty Publishing. Sciabarra, Chris. 1995. Ayn Rand: The Russian Radical. University Park: Penn State Press. http://www.nyu.edu/projects/sciabarra/randstar.htm Vincent, Norah. 2000. "The Polecat Makes a Comeback." Village Voice, March 15-21.

http://villagevoice.com/issues/0011/vincent.shtml Walker, Jeff. 1999. The Ayn Rand Cult. Chicago: Open Court.

Copyright Thomas Gramstad Copyright Pennsylvania State University Press Published in the essay anthology Feminist Interpretations of Ayn Rand, edited by Mimi Reisel Gladstein and Chris Matthew Sciabarra, Pennsylvania State University Press, 1999.

"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." (Ayn Rand, Appendix to Atlas Shrugged)

"Heroism is the only alternative." (Phyllis Chesler, Patriarchy: Notes of an Expert Witness)

Ayn Rand formulated and presented a new vision of human being. She achieved a wide-ranging integration of mind and body, a unified conception of love, sex, self and relationships. She viewed love as a response to values, and romantic love as a unity of reason and emotion, virtue and desire, admiration and passion, human pride and animal lust. Sex, for Rand, is an expression of self-esteem - a celebration of oneself and of existence. A relationship provides a trade of spiritual values, offering psychological visibility (and thereby spiritual growth) through the perception of oneself as an external reflection in another self. And yet, despite this achievement, Rand made a mistake - a mistake that limits the range of her achievement, and undercuts the scope of her integration, a mistake that preserved elements of Platonism and collectivism in her integration of love and sex. Rand maintained a Platonic view of gender, which translates into gender-role collectivism. The goal of this article is to identify these elements and their effects, to establish how and at what levels they contradict more fundamental ideas

in Rand's philosophy, and finally to suggest an extended Randian<1> position that incorporates gender individualism and Feminist insights, thus providing the foundation for a Randian-Feminist synthesis. I hope to unleash a hidden potential in Rand's thought - a potential from which a conceptual foundation for The Female Hero can be established. AYN RAND'S VIEW OF GENDER What exactly was Rand's view on gender? A careful analysis of the Randian canon reveals that Rand had a view that remained unchanged - one is tempted to say unchallenged - throughout her entire life. This view permeated the fabric of her thinking, surfacing at irregular intervals both in her fiction and non-fiction. For example, there is this description of Dagny Taggart, the powerful heroine in Atlas Shrugged (136):
[I]t was astonishing to discover that the lines of her shoulder were fragile - and beautiful, and that the diamond band on the wrist of her naked arm gave her the most feminine of all aspects: the look of being chained.

For Rand, a person's physical appearance expresses his or her gender, and Rand operates with distinct and separate bipolar gender roles (masculinity and femininity) linked to the person's biological sex (maleness and femaleness respectively). Hence, the look of being chained is associated with femininity, and femininity is seen by Rand as the psychological expression of biological femaleness. There is also this description of Dominique Francon, the heroine of The Fountainhead ( [1943] 1986 , 262):
She stood leaning back, as if the air was a support - solid enough for her thin, naked shoulder blades. ... She seemed too fragile to exist; and that very fragility spoke of some frightening strength which held her anchored to existence with a body insufficient for reality.

One finds that all of Rand's heroines are of very slender - or fragile - build. This also includes Kira in We The Living, Karen Andre in Night of January 16th, and the various heroines in The Early Ayn Rand. The sex in Rand's novels is always described as a combat of wills, and sometimes as a physical combat, such as the notorious "rape" scene in The Fountainhead<2>, and Bjorn Faulkner's "rape" of Karen Andre in Night of January 16th (Rand 1968, 82-83). To a lesser degree this also applies to Dagny Taggart's sex scenes in Atlas Shrugged, especially the one with John Galt (956-957). This combat is not a combat of equals, and the woman is never the aggressor. The man is always superior in both mental and physical strength.<3> Here is another description of Dagny Taggart that illustrates this ideal (154):
She stood as she always did, straight and taut, her head lifted impatiently. It was the unfeminine pose of an executive. But her naked shoulder betrayed the fragility of the body under the black dress, and the pose made her most truly a woman. The proud strength became a challenge to someone's superior strength, and the fragility a reminder that the challenge could be broken.

Several other examples of male dominance may be found in the pieces of fiction compiled in The Early Ayn Rand, e.g., "Kira's viking", and "Vesta Dunning".<4> Interestingly, the editor of this collection, Leonard Peikoff, identifies a development in Rand's writing whereby the early fiction, with dominating heroines, rather quickly turns into the male domination typical of Rand's mature fiction (in Rand, 1984, 4). Peikoff, in further describing the Randian heroine's feelings for her hero, calls her "the opposite of a feminist" (34), and in yet another instance he offers this description: "The hero, who now has primacy over the heroine, is a completely recognizable Ayn Rand type" (259).<5> A discussion of the nature of sex in Atlas Shrugged, aimed at explaining the integration of mind and body, love and sex, evaluation and desire, and often repeated in Rand's non-fiction (Rand [1961] 1968 ; Binswanger 1986), also carries with it strong gender-role implications:

A man's sexual choice is the result and the sum of his fundamental convictions. Tell me what a man finds sexually attractive, and I will tell you his entire philosophy of life. Show me the woman he sleeps with, and I will tell you his valuation of himself. ... He will always be attracted to the woman who reflects his deepest vision of himself, the woman whose surrender permits him to experience - or to fake - a sense of self-esteem. The man who is proudly certain of his own value, will want the highest type of woman he can find, the woman he admires, the strongest, the hardest to conquer because only the possession of a heroine will give him the sense of an achievement, not the possession of a brainless slut. (Rand 1957, 489-490)

Just as Rand's heroines are slender/fragile and feminine, her female villains are often athletic or large, and unfeminine or masculine, such as Eve Layton in The Fountainhead<6>, or Comrade Sonia in We the Living.<7> There seems to be a pattern in which heroes are masculine, heroines are feminine, female villains are unfeminine or masculine, and male villains are unmasculine or feminine. Rand seems to engage in the "gendering" of evil, in that characters whose gender identities and/or gender expressions are considered inappropriate to their biological sex, are portrayed as evil. This tendency is apparent in Rand's fiction and non-fiction. GENDER IN RAND'S NON-FICTION According to Rand: "Men are metaphysically the dominant sex" (Rand 1975a). What exactly does it mean to be a "metaphysically dominant sex"? The answer may be found in an article in The Objectivist written by psychologist Nathaniel Branden (1968), Rand's close associate for eighteen years, and the founder and former leader of the first Objectivist movement:
The difference in the male and female sexual roles proceeds from differences in man's and woman's respective anatomy and physiology. Physically, man is the bigger and stronger of the two sexes; his system produces and uses more energy; and he tends (for physiological reasons) to be physically more active. Sexually, his is the more active and dominant role; he has the greater measure of control over his own pleasure and that of his partner; it is he who penetrates and the woman who is penetrated (with everything this entails, physically and psychologically). ... [M]an experiences the essence of his

masculinity in the act of romantic dominance; woman experiences the essence of her femininity in the act of romantic surrender.<8>

Here Branden describes man as the romantic initiator and aggressor, and woman as the challenger and responder to the man.<9> Throughout the Randian canon, this formulation is not merely a preference, but a natural law. It is fair to say that this is a part of Rand's philosophy, even though "sexual psychology" is not strictly a part of any of the five major philosophical disciplines.<10> But the errors that Rand make concerning gender are philosophical in that they contradict or entail philosophical principles and positions. Moreover, Rand's gender credo is a part of Objectivist culture. But the credo itself is unsupported by scientific knowledge and logically incompatible with the larger context of Objectivism as a philosophical system. Furthermore, it is both anti-individualist and antifeminist. Since the substance of Rand's claims are addressed throughout this article, it is worth quoting at length from her important essay "About a Woman President":
For a woman qua woman, the essence of femininity is hero-worship - the desire to look up to man. "To look up" does not mean dependence, obedience, or anything implying inferiority. It means an intense kind of admiration; and admiration is an emotion that can be experienced only by a person of strong character and independent value judgments. ... Hero worship is a demanding virtue: a woman has to be worthy of it and of the hero she worships. Intellectually and morally, i.e., as a human being, she has to be his equal; then the object of her worship is specifically his masculinity, not any human virtue she might lack. ... Her worship is an abstract emotion for the metaphysical concept of masculinity as such ... It means that a properly feminine woman does not treat men as if she were their pal, sister, mother - or leader. ... To act as the superior, the leader, virtually the ruler of all the man she deals with, would be an excruciating psychological torture. It would require a total depersonalization, an utter selflessness, and an incommunicable loneliness; she would have to suppress (or repress) every personal aspect of her own character and attitude; she could not be herself, i.e., a woman; ... she would become the most unfeminine, sexless, metaphysically inappropriate, and rationally revolting figure of all: a matriarch. This would apply to the reigning queen of an absolute monarchy, but it would not apply to a woman in any field of endeavor other than politics.<11> (Rand [1968] 1988 267-69)

Rand mentions Joan of Arc as the most heroic woman - and the most tragic symbol - in history, not primarily because she was burned at the stake, but because she had to assume the role of leader in order to revive the fighting spirit of the soldiers.<12> It is interesting to compare Rand's view of Joan of Arc with her penchant for gendering characters. Rand's view seems to be that the heroism of Joan of Arc is not due to military actions and achievements, or to opposition and resistance to torture. Rather, it resides in Joan's alleged rejection of femininity. This is a forceful illustration of the natural law-like status that Rand ascribes to her own conceptions of the masculine and the feminine in sexual psychology.

RANDIAN ALTERNATIVES TO RAND'S VIEWS OF GENDER An obvious alternative interpretation of the sexual act, namely that who conquers and who surrenders need not be predetermined either in fact or by gender, that the sexual power transactions may shift, change and reconfigure themselves over time (and that this shifting and uncertainty of outcome itself may be a part of the sexual tension and build-up), is not addressed neither by Rand nor by other Objectivists. The Randian version of erotic combat seems monotonous compared to the rich natural variation of expression in human sexuality - even when limiting oneself to consider rough and passionate sex only. The lack of awareness of alternatives may be rightly interpreted by feminists as an example of what Riane Eisler ( [19... ) calls "the dominator model" at work, whereby human interaction is always interpreted as instances of corresponding domination and submission. This is distinct from what Eisler calls "the partnership model", whereby human interaction is interpreted as a voluntary exchange between equals (xvii). Replacing power hierarchies (especially gendered power hierarchies) with equality and choice has always been a major (perhaps, and ideally, the major) concern of feminism, and a discussion of this aspect of feminism is essential for understanding the tensions between Rand and feminism. Interpreting Rand with Eisler's terminology, one may argue that Rand's general philosophy as well as her heroic characters upholds "the partnership model", which is the only moral basis for human interaction and transactions, what Rand calls "the trader principle". Yet, the literary images of human sexuality projected by Rand, as well as several of her explicit non-fiction statements are written in the language of "the dominator model". This is an inherent contradiction in Rand's writing, and a feminist rereading of Rand must address, and if possible, resolve it. There are three interaction style alternatives to male conquest and the domination of women: "women conquering men", "switching between submission and conquest", and "equality without power difference fetishism". Are these alternatives compatible with Rand's philosophy? Or does her philosophy contradict her own position on gender, which entails a restrictive and limited view of human psychology and sexuality? The alternatives above are underemphasized in Rand's work, because of her gender restrictions. Indeed, if Rand's gender style preferences are viewed as universal gender-role prescriptions, the alternatives would be rejected in toto by any ardent Objectivist. This would indeed be a strange and tragic outcome for a philosophy that started out as a highly integrated vision of love, sex, self and relationships. GENDER LENSES OR ESSENCES? Sandra Bem (1993), a leading psychologist and researcher on gender and gender roles, identifies three "lenses of gender" - three main categories of deep, hidden cultural assumptions of gender that are embedded in cultural discourses and social institutions as well as in individual psyches:
The first lens ... is androcentrism, or male-centeredness. This is not just the historically crude perception that men are inherently superior to women but a more treacherous underpinning of that perception: a definition of males and male experience as a neutral standard or norm, and females and female experience as a sex-specific deviation from that norm. It is thus not that man is treated as superior and woman as inferior but that man is treated as human and woman as "other".

The second lens is the lens of gender polarization. Once again, this is not just the historically crude perception that women and men are fundamentally different from one another but the more subtle and insidious use of that perceived difference as an organizing principle for the social life of the culture. It is thus not simply that women and men are seen to be different, but that this male-female difference is superimposed on so many aspects of the social world that a cultural connection is thereby forged between sex and virtually every other aspect of human experience, including modes of dress and social roles and even ways of expressing emotion and experiencing sexual desire. Finally, the third lens is the lens of biological essentialism, which rationalizes and legitimizes both other lenses by treating them as the natural and inevitable consequences of the intrinsic biological natures of women and men. (2)

While Rand was not a biological essentialist (even though several of her positions on gender would seem to require a basis in biological essentialism), she favored androcentrism and gender polarization, both incompatible with her Objectivist philosophy. In my view, Rand's Objectivism logically entails "metaphysical equality" of women and men (not androcentrism) and gender nonessentialism (not gender polarization). Nonessentialism, in the context of gender and social science, does not mean a denial of identity of consciousness, as Rand's supporters might fear. It means a rejection of biological determinism specifically, it means a rejection of the idea that biological sex alone determines or delimits human behavior. It means that environmental and cultural factors, as well as individual choice, will always be a part of the picture, and that they may override, direct or redefine the expression of genetical or biological tendencies at any time. So the term 'essentialism' means one thing in philosophy (a universal and immutable Platonic essence), and something else in the social sciences (where 'essence' is translated into an assumption of a transcultural, transindividual biological determinism). According to Rand and Objectivism, on the other hand, consciousness has a particular identity.<13> However, this identity is the same for men and women. In fact, this is the only gender position compatible with Objectivism.<13b> The idea of a gendered identity of consciousness is not only unsupported; there are many indications against it, including the empirical fact of human variety with overlap between men and women, the fact that no characteristic isolated to one sex only has been found, and the fact that the variety of characteristics within each sex is actually larger than it is betweenthe sexes.<14> The idea that the identity of consciousness is gendered is incompatible with a key idea of Objectivism, namely that people are born tabula rasa, that is, without inborn ideas, i.e., their mind is a "clean slate".<15> This means that all of an individual's ideas and actions are open to rational evaluation and may be changed volitionally. The idea of a universal "gender essence", upon which the idea of a gendered identity of consciousness rests, is a Platonic construct. Both this construct itself and its implementation in the form of biological determinism are totally at odds with Objectivism. SEX VERSUS GENDER Starting with the biological dichotomy of male and female,<16> does it exist, and do we need a corresponding psychological dichotomy of masculine and feminine? The terms "masculine" and "feminine" presuppose that there is a similar psychological dichotomy, on the same level of reality as the biological one, that is, as something given and determined by nature. The implicit claim is that men

normally are or should conform to an approved list of psychological characteristics perceived or defined as "masculine", and that women normally are or should conform to a complementary list of psychological characteristics perceived or defined as "feminine". And, as an immediate and unavoidable implication of this, that the not-masculine man and the not-feminine woman are abnormal or immoral. The "gender-deviant" boy or girl may be subjected to psychiatric treatment against his or her will, including incarceration, drugs and electroshock.<17> Such implications seem to be inherent in the terminology. But is there really a sex-gender link? Sandra Bem (1971) demonstrates the existence of two widespread, fairly specific polarized stereotypes or notions of gender in our culture, assigned to men and women respectively and exclusively. This bipolar view on gender assumes that "masculinity" and "femininity" are opposite ends of a scale. However, this view is false. "Masculinity" and "femininity" are two independent variables. An individual may have much of the one and little of the other ("masculine") or little of the one and much of the other ("feminine"), or much of both (which is called "androgynous") or little of both (which is called "undifferentiated"). Since about 50% of men and women describe themselves as androgynous, gender stereotypes are wrong at least half the time and have poor predictive power. In our culture, the good part of "masculine" characteristics centers on "instrumentality" or mastery, e.g., being strong, enduring, independent, verbally accurate, competent in making and using tools, persevering and excelling in one's activities, and in the ability to organize and lead. In contrast, the bad part of "masculinity" includes being cold, emotionally repressed, focused on beating others rather than on self-improvement (aggressive competitiveness), unable to admit and deal with doubt or failure, and compulsive in one's inclinaton to dominate and control others. The good part of "femininity" centers on expressivity: emotional openness, the ability to listen and nurture, being cooperative, easygoing, warm, loyal, playful, adept at non-verbal communication skills, and able to identify and express emotions. The bad part of "femininity" includes passivity, helplessness, submissiveness, repression of "aggressive" feelings, and lack of self-assertion, of independent action, of systematic pursuit of goals, and of structure. Western culture, however, often downplays feminine characteristics altogether, equating moral virtue with maleness. By contrast, the androgyny model challenges those who would privilege the masculine alone as virtue. More importantly, it sees no automatic link between maleness and "masculinity", nor between femaleness and "femininity". It assumes "masculinity" and "femininity" are defined with wide differences in different cultures; a characteristic that is considered "masculine" in one culture is considered "feminine" in another. The grouping of characteristics into grab-bags labeled "masculinity" or "femininity" is arbitrary, it is the result of cultural invention, not natural law. In other words, androgyny seems to exempt or disconnect gender from sex. It follows from this that the constituent characteristics of gender stereotypes are arbitrarily joined and assigned; they are not dictated by nature. One's psychological characteristics are not determined by one's reproductive system. Biology is not destiny. This suggests a need to encourage males to acquire those characteristics (or rather the positive part of them) that our culture calls "feminine", not instead of, but in addition to, the masculine characteristics. And females need encouragement to acquire the best of "masculine" characteristics in addition to "feminine" characteristics (that is, the best of both worlds). One effect of encouraging the best of the "masculine" and "feminine" characteristics in everybody, that is, promoting cultural, psychological and ethical androgyny,<18> is that androgyny counteracts the bad parts of both "femininity" and "masculinity". That is, the good parts of "femininity" drive out the bad parts of "masculinity", and the good parts of "masculinity" drive out the bad parts of "femininity". There are no "masculine virtues" and no "feminine virtues", only human virtues that should be

encouraged in everyone. And there are many morally neutral psychological characteristics that should be available to (i.e., socially permissible for) anyone inclined toward them.<19> Being androgynous means having more options to choose from, because one is in touch with a bigger part of one's humanity. Thus one's ability to deal with different situations is better. Androgyny also implies that one will be able - and permitted - to develop in directions chosen by oneself. Androgyny translates into freedom and gender individualism. It encourages the development of a complete and integrated human character and personality, in contrast to the two incomplete half-humans of sex stereotyping. For many, "femininity" and "masculinity" appear to be two vague and yet strangely limiting separate modes of being whose reconciliation is impossible. Consequently, women and men are viewed as so fundamentally different that they may as well have come from different planets. Replacing these two terms with more descriptive and objective ones like "expressivity" and "instrumentality" may be a step toward resolving such conflicts within and between individuals. Warren (1982, 184) notes: "What's artificial is the notion that combining these diverse characteristics is more difficult than separating them." This combination is the goal of feminist androgynists. BEYOND ANDROGYNY The concept of androgyny has been criticized for reproducing the same flaws inherent in "masculinity" and "femininity" - namely, the idea of metaphysically given gender essences (even if coexisting in the same body). If our goal is to liberate virtues, and vices from arbitrary gender categories, why not abandon androgyny, along with femininity and masculinity? There are two reasons to reject this line of reasoning: First, androgyny has served to undermine and expose several flaws in traditional gender views, such as the notion that masculinity and femininity are opposites and cannot coexist in the same person, and the notion that sex determines gender, or that gender expression (as well as sexual orientation) must follow and adhere to sex stereotypes. Second, since it is unlikely that "femininity" and "masculinity" will drop out of popular usage, a strategy is needed to counteract their most damaging collectivist implications. Androgyny is that strategy; it is a concept of a process, the process of transcending the masculine-feminine duality.<20> One may question whether "masculine" and "feminine" are valid concepts at all. Will anything at all remain when all cultural artifacts and restrictions of gender have been overcome? If so, what would be left? If what is left is essentially the same, only habitually referred to as "feminine" when found in a woman and "masculine" when found in a man, then there is no reason to have two concepts for it. One concept will do.<20b> Moreover, since whatever it is that is left is something that will vary in degree and composition between individuals, using the two categories "femininity" and "masculinity" to refer to it will be misleading because such a use would suggest that the degree and composition varies with gender, rather than varying with individuals, and that leads back towards gender stereotypes and away from individual variation and authenticity. So we are faced with two alternatives: Either the terms "masculine" and "feminine" may be used to describe any individual, independent of one's sex, and without any moral component (so that there is no implication of moral degradation in describing someone as a "masculine woman" or a "feminine man"). This alternative translates into the descriptive use of instrumental and expressive characteristics, as described above. The benefit of this approach is that it actually starts with what most people associate with and mean by "masculine" and "feminine", and then there is some hope of making it clear that these words do not refer to unalterable natural or biological characteristics, nor mutually exclusive ones, but to a diverse reality which is changeable, voluntary, volatile and to a large degree cultural and social.

Alternatively, "masculine" and "feminine" may not refer to phenomena that constitute two opposite or separate realms (if they point to anything at all), but to some common aspect of the human condition (for example characteristics related to an authentic expression of sexual orientation, style preferences, and values on a fundamental level common to all humans). But if so, the existence of two opposite categories for the same, one, fundamental reality is misleading - especially so because the categories are construed as opposites. Hence, both terms ought to be abandoned. Besides, a lot of other already existing terms would seem to capture this reality better: authenticity, identity, vitality, life force and soforth. However, I think it unlikely for this to happen (that is, people will not abandon the use of the words "masculine" and "feminine"), so we probably have to live with the first approach for a long time. A problem in the historical and etymological connection between femininity and women and masculinity and men, is that, in a Randian context, it may encourage the unwarranted and harmful conclusion that only men are worthy of hero-worship, and only women are to be granted the privilege of hero-worshiping. Ideally, in the long run, we should abandon the terms "masculinity" and "femininity" altogether, as remnants of a collectivist past. Gender liberation or gender individualism encourages individuals to take pride in and develop their own unique gender identities. Perhaps most or all concepts of androgyny will make themselves superfluous through the creation of a "postandrogynous", or individualist, society. OTHER SEX-GENDER MODELS Androgyny as an empirical fact and a moral ideal is not dependent on nonessentialism. That is, androgyny does not require that there be no connection between (biological) sex and (psychological/cultural) gender. One other possibility is that there is such a connection, but that it is weak and may be overridden or altered. In other words, cultural factors and individual choice may override or modify a sex-gender or biology-behavior link. A third possibility is that there is a large biological component in gender - for example, gender might be conceived as a kind of sex-related sexual temperament or some equivalent thereof. Even this model does not provide validation for or justification of the rigid gender roles and gender polarization of our culture. Cultural anthropology has documented the enormous variation in "gender temperaments" between and within cultures.<20c> Within this model, we would operate with many subcategories of maleness and femaleness, mapping a large continuum of types depending on many variables or dimensions, a situation that would in effect be functionally similar to ethical androgyny. Hence, this model too is compatible with and in fact leads to gender individualism. In other words, biology does not imply collectivism or conformity. Furthermore, biological determinants need not be, and often are not, linked to or determined by sex. There is a lot of genetic variation (from the standpoint of biological evolution, that's the whole point or survival value of having two sexes in the first place), so a prominence of biological factors does not translate into or justify gender stereotypes. Indeed, in terms of genetic variation and natural selection, one could argue that eradicating individual differences and variety, which is the function and purpose of gender-role collectivism, is opposed to our biological nature, because natural selection needs biological variation in order to work. This article is written on the assumption that gender is an ethnicity (a cultural artifact), rather than a temperament - that is, that gender is defined primarily or ultimately by culture and by choice, rather than by biology),<21> since biological claims about human behavior are notoriously uncertain and biased (see note 28). But the choice is not between individual freedom on the one hand, against an alliance of science and gender-role collectivism on the other. Branden (1996) predicts a revival of "animal self-assertiveness" as a factor in a revival of masculinity and femininity. To me, the idea of an "animal gender pride" suggests an image of a unique and personal

gender identity that one experiences as if one is born with it. This may not be what Branden has in mind, but this emphasis on a pristine and unapologetic pride suggests an appealing image of an innocent and undamaged personal pride untarred and untouched by a gender collectivist culture. HEROISM AND WORSHIP AS EXPRESSIONS OF PRIDE This approach means that we must reject Rand's description of a femininity that sees the object of a woman's worship to be specifically a man's masculinity, "not any human virtue she might lack" (Rand [1968... , 268). Rand's claim is too narrow in three ways: First, it posits masculinity as the only object worthy of hero-worship, and second, it only permits women the privilege of hero worship, not men. But Rand's claim is wrong in a third way as well: in its tacit assumption that if one admires or worships some other aspect than masculinity/gender in the other, this can only happen if one does not possess (at least not to the same degree) the trait or virtue in question. And if it is a basic character virtue that one lacks and therefore seeks to find in another person, the relationship must degenerate into Platonic (incomplete in itself) love (examined below).<22> But one can possess a virtue in the same degree as one's lover, and still worship an expression of that virtue in a realm or through skills that one does not possess. For example, I may be as courageous as my lover, but lacking her physical skills and training, I can worship her courage as expressed through her abilities as a skydiver or kickboxer. Possessing a virtue is one thing, skills and arenas for its expression is something else, and it is the latter, the unique embodiment of virtues, skills, characteristics, preferences, experiences, gestures, ideas and beliefs and so forth, that constitute the flavor and style of a unique personality. It is this flavor and style that are the building blocks of a person's sense of life, which, according to Rand, is the main component of a person with whom one falls in love. Being in love implies that two persons' senses of life resonate. So Rand posited an asymmetry between femininity and masculinity, and hence between men and women, and that was a mistake. However, there is an asymmetry here, one not properly addressed or explored by Rand. Hero-worship and heroism/being a hero are asymmetrical a way other than Rand assumed. Being a hero (which, for Rand means having a productive purpose, developing and using one's abilities and creativity to the fullest, and earning pride in the process)<23> is something that one can achieve for oneself, and recognize and acknowledge in oneself through one's self-esteem and pride. But hero-worship requires another, one who is the object and recipient of worship. This constitutes a fundamental asymmetry. On the one hand, developing a fully self-sufficient ego with an independent first-hand 'creator' approach to life is a demanding task. Indeed, it is this task which is the very theme of The Fountainhead. Still, it involves primarily oneself and thus one self. It rests on factors that are in principle available to the individual in the first place, factors within the individual. Finding another self, however - that special other self with whom one has a great deal in common - and developing and maintaining a relationship with this other resonating self, depends on many external factors that may be outside an individual's control. In other words, "finding oneself" is a self-contained task, so to speak, while finding another is not. And this is the asymmetry. The need for hero worship is also outwardly directed. It is the need for connection, the crucial foundation for a love relationship. And since this connection emerges through a process of mutual psychological visibility, the need for a hero to worship in a romantic-sexual context, speaks to the very essence of the relationship. One might say, in this context, that it is even more crucial than the need to be a hero.<24> What each hero needs from a relationship, then, is not primarily the recognition of his or her own heroism, but an outlet for the act of worshiping the other's heroism. Both need to be heroes in the first place, and both need an external source for hero worship.

A romantic relationship with only one hero and one hero-worshiper is dysfunctional; it would reduce the hero-worshiper to a kind of metaphysical parasitism. Rand can easily be read to support and uphold such a position. This is why Rand has never been popular with feminists; and it is certainly a strange position for her to hold, as an individualist.<25> There must be an equality of worth and an equality of "soul trading" in a relationship, and the asymmetry between being a hero and worshiping a hero (between pride and admiration) destroys that equality, unless both lovers do both. However, since Rand equates masculinity with being a hero, and femininity with hero-worship, she obscures our perception of the heroic in women. I have argued for the mutuality, equality and symmetry of these needs in all humans, regardless of gender. The paradox is that my case is based on inferences drawn from a rereading of Rand's own philosophy. This suggests that Rand's personal views of gender are at variance with that philosophy. LOVE: ARISTOTELIAN VERSUS PLATONIC Given this mutuality, this "Randian androgyny" of heroism and hero-worship if you like, how different can two people be and still retain a relationship that is equal and mutual? What about Rand's heroes and heroines? Do they fall short of this standard? Rand's heroic characters, in my view, when examined in isolation, "as individuals", are acceptable, because the author makes it clear that each person is and must be morally complete. The relationship must be its own goal and reward, not a means to some other "higher" end. The key concept here is "moral completeness" (an Aristotelian concept), or in Randian terminology, "the self-sufficient ego". As Rand states through the character of Howard Roark, in order to say "I love you", one must first be able to say the "I" (Rand [19... , 377). Exploring this topic, Allan Gotthelf (1989), an Aristotelian scholar and an Objectivist, introduces the opposing concepts of "Aristotelian love", and "Platonic love":
Aristotelian love is that conception of love according to which love of another human being (I) stems from a fundamental completeness of person - an achieved moral character and its consequence, an authentic self-love; and (II) is aimed at a heightened, and joyous, self-experience, as an end in itself, not a means to some greater end - because there is no greater end for a human being than his own happiness on earth, and such love is a source of profound happiness. Platonic love is that conception of love according to which love of another human being (I) stems from a fundamental incompleteness of person, and (II) is aimed at some higher goal and value beyond the love relationship itself, through which the desired completeness is approached.

Gotthelf identifies six key aspects of the Aristotelian alternative to Platonic love. First, that there is nothing higher or more real than the individual. Second, that completeness of character (moral perfection) is possible. Third, that humans can achieve full virtues. Fourth, that humans take pride in this, and that this is profoundly good. Fifth, that love of others is an expression of love for self. And sixth, that love is an end in itself. Gotthelf also identifies romantic love as a species of Aristotelian love. Rand was an Aristotelian in her conceptions of love and sex, building upon and enhancing foundations laid by Aristotle. Since all of

Rand's heroes and heroines are (or come to be) morally complete, they practice Aristotelian love. However, if one considers their larger context, a gender role pattern emerges. A rereading of the Randian canon reveals a pattern that reflects Rand's personal preferences, rather than a universal prescription to be inferred or derived from her philosophy. GENDER: ARISTOTELIAN VERSUS PLATONIC For Rand, gender is metaphysical, not human-made. Rand is an advocate of what I call "Platonic gender". Platonic gender is the idea that there exist universal ideal forms of masculinity and femininity, forms that all men and all women respectively and separately either share by birth or ought to adhere to by choice. Rand suggests that gender must be chosen by the individual, in accordance with the individual's biological sex.<26> Hence, Rand appears at first glance to be a nonessentialist, insofar as she posits that individuals do not have an inborn gender identity. However, Rand claimed that the woman who is or aspires to be the political leader or ruler of men, will do damage to herself. This is an essentialist claim, since apparently the woman cannot choose away the alleged damage (resulting from her loss of femininity and her alleged psychological masculinization), a damage that cannot happen to a man. So on the one hand, gender is chosen, but on the other hand, it is not. Rand's ideas of gender are in conflict with her general philosophical ideas of free will, universal moral virtues, and women's equality.<27> The idea of Platonic gender runs contrary to Rand's Aristotelianism. In particular, it is incompatible with Aristotelian love, which is the basis for Rand's theory of love. In contrast to Platonic gender, we can formulate an alternative concept: Aristotelian gender. Aristotle's concept of the personal daimon may serve as a basis for this concept: each person is conceived to be constituted of a 'daimon,' a unique personal identity that is the great sum of all an individual's characteristics (inborn, learned, or chosen and comprising personality as well as character traits). The gender daimon is that part of this sum which is related to gender. The daimon concept emphasizes the individual and underscores the empirical fact of human variety and uniqueness. This places primacy on the individual context, rather than on the uniform enforcement of universal rules as suggested by Platonic constructs. Aristotelian gender is entirely unique to the individual. Implicit in this view is that one should not try to impose one's own gender daimon on someone else. Hence, the concept of Aristotelian gender aims (1) to clarify the individuality and variety of gender, and (2) to thwart the uniform collectivism inherent in the traditional, "Platonic" conceptions of gender, masculinity and femininity. Aristotelian gender forms a basis for gender individualism. In a sense, both Aristotelian gender and psychological androgyny are aspects of the same reality. When we examine this reality from the vantage point of Rand and Aristotle, we may call it "Aristotelian gender". When we assume the vantage point of feminism, equality, psychology and cultural anthropology, we may call it "androgyny". GENDER AS HUMAN-MADE My point then, is that the ideas of contemporary feminism concerning the relationship between gender and sex are compatible with Objectivism and individualism, unlike Rand's own personal views of gender. Moreover, these ideas are best supported by empirical findings, unlike research purporting to support biological essentialism, "research" that is usually biased, methodologically flawed, and conceptually ambiguous.<28> So, gender is man-made, not metaphysical;<29> there are no universal gender forms of masculinity or femininity. Gender is Aristotelian; it is personal and unique to the individual. Gender and sex are two

different things.<30> Hence, those who uphold Platonic gender, including Rand,<31> commit the epistemological fallacy that Rand called "package-dealing", treating two different things as if they were one and the same thing. Platonic gender is in conflict with the idea of tabula rasa, that humans have no inborn ideas. Platonic gender is sex as destiny and sex as duty: a rationale for cultural and social enforcement of collectivist gender roles, and for other arbitrary rules regulating the expression of gender and sexuality. The idea of gender roles (and rules) is a form of collectivism, and is incompatible with individualism. The feminist claim that there is no connection, or a weak and breakable connection, between sex and gender<32> is thus not merely an empirical claim, but also a moral imperative. By removing the collectivist restrictions on gender, it becomes possible to treat people as individual humans first, thus liberating them to choose their own path. Ironically, many feminists hold a view on gender roles that is much closer to individualism than are the views of many Randians. When it comes to issues of gender, contemporary feminism is more "Randian" than Rand. According to Rand, "Man is a being of self-made soul" - and so, of course, is Woman. So why should Man (or Woman) let tradition or other group thinking decide their gender expression or sexual preferences? People of course have a right to be anything they want to be, including a right to limit themselves with collectivist stereotypes. Rand developed and advocated a philosophy of enlightened self-interest, with an imperative to "be all you can be". But this striving for one's best self, this "moral ambitiousness", is irreconcilable with the idea of reducing oneself to a stereotype, to an interchangeable unit in a collectivist binary gender machine. THE RICHNESS OF HUMAN SEXUALITY Rand ( [1968... ) tells us "that a properly feminine woman does not treat men as if she were their pal, sister, mother - or leader." But she is inconsistent with her own philosophy. Relationships go through dynamic shifts. They are not always about sex or love-making. Sometimes a relationship is about emotional support. For example, through a difficult moment, during stress or a crisis, one or the other may temporarily assume a role like that of a sister, brother, mother or father, a situation where a sexual emphasis might be inappropriate. And pal? Certainly friendship is a vital and necessary ingredient in any long-lasting romantic relationship. Often a long-lasting relationship begins as a solid friendship. A lover can be a good pal.<33> There are also such things as sexual friendships - friendships that take on a sexual component, without the assumption of a lasting romantic relationship, and without love in the strict sense. Furthermore, sex and love-making are much richer and more complex realms than Rand seems to allow. Let us identify four different main categories of interaction in human sexuality: 1. 2. 3. 4. male domination with active penile penetration female domination with active vaginal engulfment switching roles, sometimes one dominates, sometimes the other equality with neither partner more active or dominating

Since this is a conceptual categorization, the four roles may be combined in different ways, or used alternatively in the same sexual experience.<34> Sciabarra (1995, 200) describes an interpretation of the sexual act as portrayed by Dmitri Sergeyevich Merezhkovsky, a Russian Symbolist poet in the Silver Age era of Rand's youth:

Merezhkovsky had viewed the sexual act as the highest form of unity, since each body is interpenetrated by the other. For Merezhkovsky, true human being involves a synthesis of the womanly aspect in man, and the manly aspect in woman.

Sciabarra further points out that this ideal of an indivisible androgyne goes beyond what Objectivists so far - have accepted, even though some Objectivists reject many culturally-induced gender stereotypes (at least in the intellectual and emotional realms). There are two points that require comment here: First, the ideal of "interpenetration" is an unfortunate term because it is androcentric, evoking the image of penile penetration to the exclusion of vaginal engulfment. A better term might be, for example, permeation. Second, while the idea of a mutual interpenetration (or permeation) certainly is an improvement over androcentric, one-sided active male penetration and passive female reception, it is still problematic. The concept seems to hide a great variety in the reality it attempts to describe, ranging from complete female domination and active engulfment to complete male domination and active penetration. Just as the male penetration-concept excludes the three other main interaction categories, the mutual interpenetration concept seems to overemphasize the "equal roles"-category (and perhaps male penetration as well, due to choice of words). All four sexual-interaction categories are compatible with the feminist "partnership model", as defined by Riane Eisler, only when identified as equally valid personal preferences. None of them would be acceptable or compatible if enforced as a universal prescription. THE FEMALE HERO: A NEW SYNTHESIS OF RAND AND FEMINISM In this article, I have argued that Ayn Rand laid the foundations for a revolution in our philosophical understanding of human sexuality, love and relationships, but that her project has been prohibited from reaching its full potential because of flaws and inconsistencies in her notions of gender. The fundamental contradiction is that, in metaphysics, Rand is a gender nonessentialist (gender must be chosen), while in metaethics, ethics, and esthetics, Rand is a gender essentialist (gender must be chosen correctly). The gender-role restrictions that Rand prescribes as normative universals, and their Platonic underpinnings, undercut the very individualism and revolutionary sexuality inherent in Rand's philosophy. Because we live in a culture that is both androcentric (derived from its ancient Greek roots)<35> and misogynistic (derived from its Christian heritage), we are culturally deprived of symbols and myths of female power, female heroism. While it is equally important that men reclaim their emotional and nurturing sides ("feminine" virtues), cultural deprivation demands that we concentrate on women reclaiming power and mastery ("masculine" virtues). This is where the heroic potential in Rand's philosophy meets feminism. It is my belief that a feminist rereading of the Randian canon can energize and contribute to feminism, by nourishing its individualist aspects. What we need are symbols and myths that integrate female power and sexuality, strength and beauty, courage and grace. What we need is not "heroines" (who are usually reduced to passive prize objects/rewards for male heroes), but female heroes (active heroes who happen to be female). The term "heroine" serves to masculinize what can otherwise be an excellent term for a virtuous person - namely hero - because it prevents women from being subsumed under the category of "hero". This is a prime example of how the male is defined as the norm, the human, and the female as a deviation from that norm or as "other" (see also Hofstadter 1987). So starved are we, that we grope at any sign, any crumb, we can find of the female hero in popular culture. As part of the feminist enterprise, archaelogists, historians and cultural anhtropologists (like Riane

Eisler) are rediscovering, reclaiming and reinterpreting ancient images and myths of female power and female heroism. These images and myths of a "new ancient feminism" (Stone [1979] 1990 ) can be used as vehicles for assessing and interpreting the feminist potential in Rand's philosophy. There is an archetype of female power and heroism that is known in all cultures and all times, even among the most androcentric and misogynistic ones: The Amazon.<36> Heroic Amazon traditions, ancient Greek mythology and philosophy (including androcentrism), and Rand's ancient Greeceinfluenced philosophy have a number of intriguing conceptual and historical interconnections. Rand compared one of her heroines to a Valkyrie, a powerful Amazon feminist symbol (see note <5>). Is there a basis for an amazon feminist interpretation of Rand,<37> and how would such an interpretation relate to the author's explicit androcentrism? AMAZON HEROISM VERSUS ANDROCENTRISM The Amazon archetype may be the most radical and subversive alternative to gender-role collectivism. The heroic image of a strong and proud woman undaunted in pursuit of her goals is an archetypical image of individualism. Such women, real or imaginary, are excellent role models - heroes - for girls and young women. This is where one of the main front lines of the battle for the future of feminism will be: over the ethical, social, political and esthetical meanings and evaluations of Amazon symbols and role models. The popular culture icon of the contemporary female action hero is a relatively new phenomenon in films, but an old trend in myths and literature. Popular culture provides many examples of how Amazon myths are rewritten in order to sunder female power and female sexuality. Red Sonja, a 1985 Dino de Laurentiis movie, based on the character from Robert E. Howard's Conan stories, is one such example. Red Sonja is a strong and capable Amazon warrior, and she has sworn not to make love to any man that has not beaten her in a sword fight. As a result of her prowess and ability, she is a virgin. This is an old idea; we also find it in Goethe's story about Siegfried and Brunhilde, where Brunhilde is far too strong to be conquered, and so Siegfried cheats her into believing that he has actually conquered her. But Brunhilde is chaste; she does not use her power to get a lover, as a man would do. There are several ancient Greek myths with similar motifs, such as the myth of Atalanta, an Amazonian huntress and the best athlete in Calydon, who could outrun any man, and would only marry a man who could outrun her. She was beaten when she was tricked into stopping to pick up three golden apples dropped by one of her suitors. The message remains that a woman must renounce her power, if she is to have a lover, or to exist as a sexual being. The idea that Amazons are chaste or asexual beings stems from the conception of sexuality as an act of conquest by which the male subdues a passive female and makes her surrender. In this frame of mind, the act of sex is always interpreted as penetration - and, hence, domination - even if it is initiated and lead by a female giant interacting with a male dwarf. Sex is penetration, and penetration is domination. Thus, the male has, by his (biological) nature, the role of domination as an active agent or subject; and the female has, by her (biological) nature, the role of submission as a passive object. But a strong, autonomous, female hero is not submissive, and has not surrendered. Conventional wisdom wants us to believe that such a female denies her own femininity and sexuality; that she is and must be virginal. However, the original meaning of the term "virgin" is a woman who is whole unto herself, not controlled by a male (Naisbitt and Aburdene 1994). She has a self-contained identity, or in Rand's terminology: a self-sufficient ego. Artemis and Athena were called virgins, even though they took

lovers, because their myths are not defined by family members; theirs were self-contained identities. The literal meaning of virginity is not sexual celibacy or abstinence, but the state of being unmarried. Larson (1995, 100) writes:
The virgin, because purity was a kind of freedom from the sexual claims of any man, was theoretically more free than the wife. This conceptual freedom was translated into the power of virgins in myth. Virgins were associated with the wild and untamed; hunters were often required to maintain chastity. The verb damazo, "tame", referred to the taking of a wife.<38>

This is a powerful illustration of the cultural sundering of female sexuality and female power. In order to be a sexual being, a woman must be accessible to a man, available for conquest and penetration. If she is not, she cannot have a sex life, and a sexuality, because these are given to her by the man. She cannot take them on her own; she cannot herself win or conquer a man, and take him into her, engulfing him - or so this mythology will have us believe. Hence, as a result of this monotonous over-emphasis on the first sexual-interaction category, male domination and conquest, the powerful woman is widely imagined as virginal, and perhaps even sexless. Rereading Rand's "Woman President" essay in this context is illuminating. Rand describes the woman in power as "totally depersonalized", "utterly selfless", "incommunicably lonely", "unfeminine", "metaphysically inappropriate", and "rationally revolting". Rand's supporters often cite her defense of women as the intellectual, emotional, moral, and political equals of men. While this claim about equality is largely true if one emphasizes Rand's meta-ethics and ethics rather than her views on gender and sexuality,<38b> Rand's view of gender is part of an old, ignoble canonical tradition stretching back to the androcentric society of ancient Greece. Walker (1983, 1051) notes, about virtue:
Latin virtus was derived from vir, 'man', and originally meant masculinity, impregnating power, semen, or male magic, like Germanic heill. Patriarchal thinkers defined manliness as good and womanliness as bad, therefore virtus became synonymous with morality or godliness along with other synonyms hinting at male sexuality: erectness, uprightness, rectitude, upstandingness, etc."

Rand speaks of the "excruciating psychological torture" of women who are allegedly defeminized, masculinized and made sexless by being powerful and rise to a leadership position over men. What about the girls who stumble and languish in their search for a worthy role model, a vision of female heroism? How can young girls know what they should be looking for? What about the boys who are longing for the vision of a female hero, perhaps without even knowing what they are longing for? Some girls find both inspiration and role models through identification with male heroic characters, and that's fine, but we should not have to rely on literary or artistic crossdressing. Then again, how could it be different in a culture whose very concept of moral virtue is equated with maleness? MEN ARE FROM EARTH, WOMEN ARE FROM EARTH The pernicious combination of androcentrism and gender polarization has sundered female power and female sexuality, thus depriving us all of female heroes. This whole approach corrupts and degrades the female, in fact and on principle. A new fusion of female power and female sexuality is needed, a new vision of the Female Hero. The archaic and stale androcentric monopoly on interpreting the meaning

and scope of human sexuality must be broken by those who have long since outgrown it. The Western Canon has for too long been starved for integrated symbols of female power and female sexuality. Dagny Taggart at her best is a glaring exception - a railroad-running Randian protagonist of Amazonian proportions. But Amazon myths, images and stories have often been repressed, obscured, rewritten in an androcentric image. Still they persist, return and resurface. At this time, a revival seems to be under way in popular culture. Amazon heroes are coming (or coming back) in art, books, magazines, TV-series, comics, music.<38c> A few years ago, Wonder Woman, The Bionic Woman, Modesty Blaise and Pippi Longstocking were rare examples of popular female action heroes. There is an increasing interest in real life female heroes such as lifeguards, fire-fighters, astronauts, and athletes. Women are gaining access to professions and positions traditionally associated with masculinity, including traditionally "masculine" sports. Female martial artists excel in power, skill and self-confidence. Female bodybuilders, sculptors of living flesh, are using the body as a vehicle to express determination, power, beauty and sexuality, an integration of mind, body and spirit (Frueh, Fierstein and Stein 2000; and Ian 1991). Any woman getting serious about such an athletic pursuit is engaging in an inherently feminist and heroic act, insofar as she is taking control of her own body, building physical as well as mental strength, rejecting femininity as subservience, passivity and weakness (Burton Nelson 1994). Such strong women threaten not men, but male privilege and masculinity. They challenge and change the very assumptions of androcentrism and gender polarization. They constitute a new "Power Feminism for the 21st century" as advocated by the new feminists (Wolf 1993). The cultural revival is expressed further in the explosive popularity of the larger-than-life TV-actionfantasy-series hero Xena, who has sky-rocketed into the American consciousness. Xena is a role model for many young girls. Other cinematic examples can be found in the Alien movies, Terminator 2, and in the fantasy & science fiction work of feminist writers in the heroic fiction tradition.<39> Perhaps the long winter is drawing to a close, as it is realized that female-hero deprivation in the culture is a problem for both girls and boys, women and men. Indeed, to the extent that men are responsible for androcentricity and gender polarization, they have also punished themselves. They deprive and drain their own existence of the inspiration, zest and color that only a female hero can bring. A master-slave relationship among men and women entails mutual dependency. As Rand ( [1943] 1986 , 691) observed, "[A] leash is only a rope with a noose at both ends". A master may be as rigidly confined to his role as a slave. Both the master and the slave could benefit greatly from breaking out of a gender role prison. They would lose their separate role perks, but they would collaborate in the process of dismantling the polarization that has crippled them. This is the potential in Rand's vision - and in its synthesis with feminism. Rand limited herself to the task of projecting Man the Hero, the ideal man. The time is ripe for Woman the Hero, the ideal woman - woman as equal and woman as conqueror. Those who wish to carry forth Rand's legacy should take it upon themselves to uphold "Randian androgynes" - a fully realized heroism that extends to female and male heroes equally. It is a synthesis that clears Rand's philosophy of androcentric and Platonic gender ideals, while clearing feminism of any vestige of collectivism and victimology. This is what a synthesis of Rand and feminism can achieve: heroism for everyone, human virtues for everyone (no "feminine" or "masculine" virtues, only human virtues), and the possibility of morally neutral personality options for everyone. The future belongs to the androgynes and postandrogynes.

NOTES <1>I use the terms "Randian" and "Randianism" as broad terms describing the philosophy and philosophers influenced by and building upon Rand (on a par with Aristotelian, Kantian etc.). Hence "Randian" is a broader term than "Objectivist" (but narrower than "Aristotelian", if one agrees that Randianism is a tradition within Aristotelianism). <2> See Rand ( [1943] 1986 ), 219-221. I do not mean to suggest that these scenes imply or advocate rape. There is a distinction between rape and physical force, and the two must not be confused. The essential characteristic of rape is non-consensuality (Amsden 1983b). The use of physical force need not be part of rape, because it can be consensual. Erotic combat is a valid and moral preference. If one of the lovers has a distinct physical prowess and "superiority", this can be a resource for sexual playfulness and a basis for hero worship in action. Just as there can be physical force without rape, there can be rape without physical force. Having sex with an unconscious person is rape. Sex coerced with threats is rape, even if no actual physical force is exerted. <3> One might argue that Dagny Taggart was mentally superior to Hank Rearden and that, in spite of this, they had a love affair. But this love relationship was a temporary one - it was over the very moment that Dagny set eyes on John Galt. At that point, Galt became the center of Dagny Taggart's romantic-sexual life. Both Rearden and later Francisco D'Anconia immediately accept Galt as the winner of Dagny's love. Hence, the Rearden-Dagny Taggart relationship is not an exception to Rand's general ideal of male superiority, but a particular way to illustrate how this ideal is supposed to work. <4> Consider also Rand's reply to Peikoff concerning Think Twice: "Do you think that I would ever give the central action in a story of mine to anyone but the hero?" (1984, 333). <5> While Dagny Taggart is usually perceived to be the mature and most fully realized Rand heroine, a case may be made that in the context of feminism, gender and sexuality, Kira Argounova of We the Living may in fact be a better candidate. See Valérie Loiret-Prunet's essay in this volume. Since We the Living is an early work of Rand, the male hero has not yet gained primacy over the heroine. Kira is in fact stronger than both Andrej and Leo, and profoundly determines the course of their lives, even though she chooses the pose of submitting to them. The descriptions of Kira underscore her strength and power, her heroism (3, 4 and 26-37). She is contrasted both to her stereotypically feminine sister Lydia and to the masculine Communist Comrade Sonia, and she may in many ways be perceived as androgynous. She is also compared to a Valkyrie (27) - a symbol of female power and the conqueror of heroes. Dagny Taggart, on the other hand, is subject to the mature Rand's increased literary efficacy with male primacy. <6> Rand [1943] 1986 , 581: "She had the special faculty of making satin and perfume appear as modern as an aluminum table top. She was Venus rising out of a submarine hatch. Eve Layton believed that her mission in life was to be the vanguard - it did not matter of what. Her method had always been to take a careless leap and land triumphantly far ahead of all others. Her philosophy consisted of one sentence - "I can get away with anything". In conversation she paraphrased it to her favorite line: "I? I'm the day after tomorrow." She was an expert horsewoman, a racing driver, a stunt pilot, a swimming champion."

<7> Rand [1936] 1959 , 51: "The young woman had broad shoulders and a masculine leather jacket; short husky legs and flat masculine oxfords; a red kerchief tied carelessly over short straight hair; eyes wide apart in a round freckled face; thin lips drawn together with so obvious and fierce a determination that they seemed weak; dandruff on the black leather of her shoulders." <8> Rand generously condemns the irrationality of Freudianism; yet one of the most bizarre consequences of Rand's views on gender is that she actually provides some rationalization for Freud's concept of "penis envy". After all, if a penis is required in order to be a powerful subject, a seducer, a sexual initiator and aggressor, and a hero, then surely it must be rational to want one? <9> One wonders whether a romantic liaison between a man and a physically stronger, bigger or more energetic woman (or even a woman equal in these respects) would be considered abnormal or immoral; the formulations would seem to favor such a conclusion. <10> Rand divides philosophy into the five disciplines metaphysics, epistemology, ethics, politics and esthetics. <11> Actually, one need only consider Rand's Playboy interview to see a contradiction with her general philosophy:
Playboy: Do you believe that women as well as men should organize their lives around work - and if so, what kind of work? Rand: Of course. I believe that women are human beings. What is proper for a man is proper for a woman. The basic principles are the same. I would not attempt to prescribe what kind of work a man should do, and I would not attempt it in regard to women. There is no particular work which is specifically feminine. Women can choose their work according to their own purpose and premises in the same manner as men do.

This is Rand's general philosophy, and it directly contradicts what Rand says in her "Woman President" essay. <12> For a much more plausible and better-investigated interpretation of Joan of Arc, see Leslie Feinberg (1996), chapter 4 and Walker (1983), s.v. "Joan of Arc". <13> See Rand 1990, 75-82, 154-58 and 193-96, and Peikoff 1991, 48-52. <13b> The idea of two universal and separate gendered identities (a "male" and a "female" consciousness) leads inevitably to polylogism - an idea that Rand was strongly opposed to, and that Objectivist epistemology rejects. <14> See for example Fausto-Sterling 1992; Tavris 1992; Caplan and Caplan 1994; Lenskyj 1987; Rothblatt 1995; Vetterling-Braggin 1982. <15> See Rand [1964] 1970 , 28; 1975b, 190.

<16> Even the assumption of a male-female duality is being challenged, by intersexuals and transgenders as well as by increasing historical and cultural anthropological data suggesting that several, perhaps most cultures operate with more than two sexes/genders. See, for example, Rothblatt 1995 and Feinberg 1996.

<17> See Burke 1996 and Feinberg 1993. <18> By "ethical androgyny", I mean a moral imperative that identifies all virtues (and all vices) as human virtues (and vices). This rejects the idea of gendered (masculine or feminine) virtues (and vices). Ethical androgyny must not be confused with androgyny as a gender expression (androgynous looks, "unisex" clothing etc.), since it assumes all gender expressions to be equally valid, as morally neutral options available to the individual. <19> See Trebilcot 1982. <20> In Randian terminology, we could say that androgyny is a concept of method. <20b> An important principle in Rand's epistemology states that concepts should not be multiplied beyond necessity. <20c> See Mead 1965. <21> Note however, that the sex-gender distinction follows from and depends upon the canon of Western ideas and culture. Other cultures (notably many Native American and African cultures) without a history of gender rigidity and oppression, without androcentrism, biological essentialism and gender/sex dualism, depart from the duality. See Mead 1996, especially chapter 3. [1949] 1975 and Feinberg

<22> In a Randian or Aristotelian context, Platonic love is unhealthy and undesirable for several reasons. First, Platonic love assumes that sex, as opposed to "pure love" (an example of the mind-body dichotomy), is impure and base. Second, it assumes that love has a "higher purpose" than itself, i.e., that love is a means to some other goal, such as moral or religious improvement. Thus, love is not a goal in itself, but is demoted to a lower status. Third, the idea of Platonic love, based upon Plato's metaphysics, rejects the importance of the individual, and the possibility for completeness of character for which an Aristotelian ethics provides. <23> Interestingly, and unfortunately, neither "hero", "heroism", or "masculinity" is explicitly defined in the Randian corpus, and none of these terms are to be found in the index of any of Rand's books, nor in The Ayn Rand Lexicon. Masculinity is, however, implicitly equated with being a hero, since femininity is defined as hero-worship. But notice how this concept of masculinity contradicts Rand's general philosophy - where heroism is understood as a human character trait, as a sum and effect of human life-affirming and necessary virtues. Recently Andrew Bernstein (1998) has addressed the issue of heroism in an online article, discussed by Gramstad (1998). <24> It must be stressed, however, that these two needs are not to be conceived as dualistic opposites, but as relational and as mutually reinforcing, thus constituting an organic unity. Consider Gail Wynand's worship of Dominique in The Fountainhead: "It was a strange glance; she had noticed it before; a glance of simple worship. And it made her realize that there is a stage of worship which makes the worshiper himself an object of reverence." (Rand [1943] 1986 , 509). In other words, the ability to worship is both an expression of a person's heroism and a causal factor in creating and establishing that heroism. In order to become heroic, one must first desire heroic being, and in order to desire this, one must value (or worship) the perceived heroism in another. So heroworship is more fundamental, but the fundamental and the derivative constitute a reciprocal bicausal organic whole. For a discussion of the role and importance of organic unity in Rand's thought, see Sciabarra 1995, especially 17, 117, 128, 138, 145, 256, 269 and 403 n. 5. A relationship with one hero and one hero-worshiper would sunder the organic unity of the

relationship, and create dualistic opposition (conflict). This is why we talk about "opposite" sexes and a "war between the sexes". This feminist rereading of Rand stresses organic unity in its rejection of "opposite" sexes and the gender-role collectivist ideology associated with them. <25> The famous Russian film creator Andrej Tarkovskij has said that when the masculine world and the feminine world meet in a relationship, the feminine must give way and reorient itself according to the masculine. This attitude seems to be very common in Russia, taken for granted even by the Communists. Rand may have inherited this attitude from her environment (see Sciabarra 1995). It was a part of the Russian air she breathed, an aspect of the Russian culture of her youth, and may have been reinforced by Rand's childhood admiration of Hollywood. <26> See Rand <27> See note 11. <28> See for example Fausto-Sterling 1992; Tavris 1992; Caplan and Caplan 1994; Lenskyj 1987; Rothblatt 1995; Vetterling-Braggin 1982. <29> Normally I would say "human-made", not "man-made". However, I use the term man-made at this juncture, because "the metaphysical versus the man-made" is a central motif and a well-known phrase in Rand's philosophy (see her essay by that title in Rand 1982b). Furthermore, the androcentrism, misogyny, gender polarization and biological essentialism in our culture, are to a large degree man-made. <30> For a discussion of the different meanings of sex and gender, see the introduction to VetterlingBraggin 1982. See also Burke 1996 and Bem 1993. See also this popular online source: What is Gender? An Anthropologist From Mars, http://www.chaparraltree.com/raq/whatis.shtml. <31> It is a curious parallel between Rand and Aristotle that neither was able to overcome so many of the poor gender stereotypes of their respective ages, in spite of rethinking and innovating so many other areas of their contemporary thought. Even more curious is the fact that Plato was a gender egalitarian; he did not accept the low and restricted view of women of his day. Aristotle was the one who, in advocating male and female essences, applied Platonic forms to gender. <32> See Vetterling-Braggin 1982, part 4. See also Tavris 1992; Caplan and Caplan 1994; Lenskyj 1987. <33> Rand's novels have many instances of this. For example, Dagny was a pal to Frisco before their love affair ended; after they became "enemies", their relations retained elements of friendship. Hank and Dagny were friendly business associates. <34> There are other dimensions as well, concerning, for example, degrees of tenderness, and of playfulness (Branden 1983). Yet another dimension is the type of activity, such as polymorphous (nongenital) sex. The idea of genital sex as the only worthy form of sex, while anything else is just "foreplay", is another result of the androcentric and gender-polarized view of human sexuality. In order to fully realize its sexual potential, each sexual activity needs to be recognized and perceived as an end in itself, not as a means to some other or "higher" end. Moreover, since the gender of the lovers does not make any difference (there is no such thing as a gender role or a gender duty), the lovers need not be of different sexes. They may both be of the one sex, or the other sex, or one of each sex. Being heterosexual, I frame this whole essay in heterosexual terms, but I do not see any reason to assume that the arguments I make are not equally valid for a gay or lesbian couple. Quite the contrary, unlike many Objectivists, who exhibit antigay sentiment, I say that we don't need to know the developmental origins of homosexuality in order to evaluate its [1968] 1988 . See also notes 15 and 34.

morality. The validity of homosexuality as a neutral moral option (neither a virtue nor a vice) - like heterosexuality - follows directly from these two premises: (1) the "metaphysical egalitarianism" of women and men, and (2) the mutuality of pride and admiration in relationships as I have described. This is in stark contrast to Rand, who perceived homosexuality as "immoral" and "disgusting", a result of "psychological flaws and corruptions" (Rand 1971). One might assume that she would be most opposed to lesbianism, since that, by her own definition, supposedly cannot involve a hero. This assumption seems to be confirmed in Rand's expressed disgust with the Women's Lib movement: "[T]o proclaim spiritual sisterhood with lesbians, and to swear eternal hostility to men - is so repulsive a set of premises from so loathsome a sense of life that an accurate commentary would require the kind of language I do not like to see in print." See Rand (1975a, 175). Rand's antigay sentiment has been softened somewhat by Peikoff (1994). Peikoff's statement is worth quoting at length:
Romantic love is the status of one individual to another when that individual is irreplaceable in the person's life, a profound passion that was not necessarily sexual, but of a completely different order than friendship. ... And [Rand] felt that this was a very profound need of man, to have relationships that have this deeper commitment. ... Now, she did not see any reason why one man could not feel this for another, or for that matter, one woman for another. ... Ayn Rand, as you know, was not a great admirer of women - and I asked her ... if you had a choice, would you have wanted to be born a man? ... And ... she said ... "Oh no, then I would have to love a woman." ... And the idea for her as a woman and as a man-worshiper, having her love object as a woman was just to awful to be contemplated. Now, therefore, she had great sympathy for the idea of Man as the hero and another man seeing that, particularly in a case like Wynand and Roark where they're equals, and yet at the same time Roark has an edge of strength, and Wynand sees that this is what he could have become. It was a setup for two such passionate valuers, one to reply to the other. She told me she even had Roark nude, naked, in front of Wynand, when he, ... came out of the water, on the yacht, and Wynand says to him, "it should have been a statue of you". That's the closest she got to hinting, not that there was a sexual relation, but that Wynand was in love with this man, so profoundly that he even had a special esthetic pleasure from looking at his body.

Peikoff admits that "philosophy as such has [nothing] to say about sexual orientation", but he suggests that Roark and Wynand do not have a sexual relationship, because "essential" to sexuality is "conquest and surrender, or dominance and submission". Rand, he says, saw these roles not as arbitrary, but as having an "anatomical basis. There has to be a reason in the nature of the two bodies why one conquers and one surrenders. Otherwise, she thought it was arbitrary, demeaning and irrational. ... for that reason she believed that homosexuality was improper. Not immoral. ... You could be completely moral and just trapped in an upbringing and conclusions that you didn't understand, but objectively wrong, in that, knowingly or not, it is a defiance of one of the conditions of a mature and healthy sexual relationship. But that is not the same thing ... as this irreplaceable male love relationship", symbolized in the RoarkWynand connection. Given Rand's expressed disgust with homosexuality, and her view of romantic love as an "integrated response of mind and body, of love and sexual desire", as a "profound, exalted, lifelong passion that unites ... mind and body in the sexual act" (1988, 54-56), it is clear that Peikoff has deviated from

Rand's position - even while maintaining her Platonic view of gender. <35> It may be noted that Ancient Greece had its share of strong women, exemplified in pantheons, myths, literature, theater plays and so forth. But the range of choice, expression and societal participation for women was severely limited. According to Larson (1995, 8): "As a general rule, only heroines who lack significant familial ties (i.e., husband or son) can stand alone" - and thus be independent female heroes. <36> The Amazons comprised different peoples living in Asia Minor and North Africa, among whom women were political and military leaders, and soldiers (Bell 1991; Stone 1976, [1979... ; Walker 1983). They are known from Greek legends; the Greeks feared them and they were long believed to be invincible. The term has survived in the vernacular, usually referring to any tall and strong woman - or, more generally, referring to any woman who is vigorous, unafraid, outspoken. Women like this are known in all cultures. But androcentric societies disparage and debase them, and institutionalize social and cultural patterns that suppress and oppress such qualities in girls and women. <37> The soc.feminism terminology FAQ file defines Amazon feminism thus:
Amazon feminism is dedicated to the image of the female hero in fiction and in fact, as it is expressed in art and literature, in the physiques and feats of female athletes, and in sexual values and practices. ... Amazon feminism rejects the idea that certain characteristics or interests are inherently masculine (or feminine), and upholds and explores a vision of heroic womanhood.

(http://www.cis.ohio-state.edu/hypertext/faq/usenet/feminism/terms/faq.html) <38> Modern texts about reclaiming "Wild Woman" archetypes address the same situation. See for example Estes 1995. <38b> But one may ask, if a woman, qua woman, is incapable of being a sexual conqueror and thus of experiencing sexual conquest, can she then be said to be the emotional equal of man? And if the rapture and power of a sexual conquest, caused by the conqueror, is a measure of character strength or virtue, as Rand often seems to suggest, can one then truly say that woman are morally equal to man when it is assumed that she is incapable of (or must be discouraged from) being a conqueror? <38c> Borrowing a phrase from Rand: today we are witnessing "[T]he first of their return". <39> For example Elizabeth Moon, Jessica Amanda Salmonson, Joanna Russ, Marion Zimmer Bradley, Mercedes Lackey, Tanith Lee, Anne McCaffrey, David Weber, James Schmitz, Ingar Knudtsen. REFERENCES Amsden, Diana Avery. 1983a. An Index to Ayn Rand's "Atlas Shrugged". Santa Fe: Diana Avery Amsden. Amsden, Diana Avery. 1983b. Some Observations on Ayn Rand and Her Work. North Hollywood, Calif. Pamphlet. Bell, Robert E. 1991. Women of Classical Mythology: A Biographical Dictionary. New York: Oxford University Press.

Bem, Sandra Lipsitz. 1971. The theory and measurement of androgyny. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 37: 1047-1054. Bem, Sandra Lipsitz. 1993. The Lenses of Gender: Transforming the Debate on Sexual Inequality. New Haven: Yale University Press. Bernstein, Andrew. 1998. The Philosophical Foundations of Heroism. http://www.mikementzer.com/heroism.html Binswanger, Harry. 1986. The Ayn Rand Lexicon: Objectivism From A to Z. New York: New American Library. Branden, Nathaniel. 1968. Self-Esteem & Romantic Love (part 2). The Objectivist 7 No. 1. (Also published in The Psychology of Self-Esteem: A New Concept of Man's Psychological Nature. New York: Bantam Books, Branden, Nathaniel. Bantam. [19... .) . The Psychology of Romantic Love. New York:

[1980] 1983

Branden, Nathaniel. 1983. Love and Sex in the Philosophy of Ayn Rand. Washington D.C.: Biocentric Institute. Audiotape. Branden, Nathaniel. 1996. Interview by Karen Reedstrom, part 2. Full Context (October). http://www.fullcontext.org/people/nb_int2.htm Burke, Phyllis. 1996 Gender Shock: Exploding the Myths of Male and Female. New York: Anchor Books. Caplan, Paula J., and Jerry Caplan. 1994. Thinking Critically About Research on Sex and Gender. New York: HarperCollins. Chesler, Phyllis. 1994. Patriarchy: Notes of an Expert Witness. Monroe, Maine: Common Courage Press. Eisler, Riane. San Francisco: Harper. [1987] 1995 . The Chalice and the Blade: Our History, Our Future.

Estes, Clarissa Pinkola. 1995. Women Who Run With the Wolves: Myths and Stories of the Wild Woman Archetype. New York: Ballantine. Farrell, Warren. 1990. Why Men Are the Way They Are. London: Bantam. Farrell, Warren. 1994. The Myth of Male Power. London: Fourth Estate. Fausto-Sterling, Anne. 1992 Myths of Gender: Biological Theories About Women and Men. New York: Basic Books. Feinberg, Leslie. 1993. Stone Butch Blues. Ithaca, New York: Firebrand. Feinberg, Leslie 1996. Transgender Warriors: Making History From Joan of Arc to RuPaul. Boston: Beacon Press. Frueh, Joanna C., Laurie Fierstein, and Judith Stein, eds. 2000. Picturing the Modern Amazon. New Museum Books. New York: Rizzoli International Publications. Gladstein, Mimi Reisel. 1986. The Ayn Rand Companion. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press.

Gotthelf, Allan. 1989. Love and Philosophy: Aristotelian vs. Platonic. Handout from lecture delivered at the EuroCon Objectivist Conference in Amsterdam, 27 May. Gramstad, Thomas. 1990. Sex vs. Gender. The Mail-men electronic mailing list (October). (Also published in Amazons International no. 19, 1992, http://www.etext.org/Politics/Amazons.Intl/ai.19 ) Gramstad, Thomas. 1992. Red Sonja - a review. Amazons International no. 17. http://www.etext.org/Politics/Amazons.Intl/ai.17 Gramstad, Thomas. 1998. Heroism: Rand's and Bernstein's. Full Context 10, no. 7:4-6. http://www.ifi.uio.no/~thomas/po/heroism.html Heilbrun, Carolyn G. York: W.W. Norton & Company. [1964] 1993 . Toward a Recognition of Androgyny. New

Hite, Shere. 1987. The Hite Report: Women and Love, a Cultural Revolution in Progress. New York: Penguin. Hofstadter, Douglas R. 1987. Metamagical Themas: Questing for the Essence of Mind and Pattern. New York: Penguin. Ian, Marcia. 1991. From Abject to Object: Women's Bodybuilding Postmodern Culture v.1 n.3. http://www.etext.org/Politics/Amazons.Intl/marcia.ian Larson, Jennifer. 1995 Greek Heroine Cults. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press. Lenskyj, Helen. 1987. Out of Bounds: Women, Sport and Sexuality. Toronto: Women's Press. Mead, Margaret. New York: William Morrow. [1949] 1975 . Male and Female: The Classic Study of the Sexes.

Monaghan, Patricia. 1990 The Book of Goddesses and Heroines. St. Paul, Minn.: Llewellyn Publications. Naisbitt, John and Patricia Aburdene. 1994. Megatrends for Women. London: Arrow Books. Nelson, Mariah Burton. 1991. Are We Winning Yet? How Women Are Changing Sports and Sports Are Changing Women. New York: Random House. Nelson, Mariah Burton. 1994. The Stronger Women Get, the More Men Love Football: Sexism and the American Culture of Sports. New York: Avon Books. Peikoff, Leonard. 1991. Objectivism: The philosophy of Ayn Rand. New York: Penguin Dutton. Peikoff, Leonard. 1994. Eight Great Plays. 9 lectures (18 audio tapes), tape 4, 2B. New Milford, Conn.: Second Renaissance Books. Rand, Ayn. Rand, Ayn. [1936] 1959 [1943] 1986 . We the Living. New York: Random House. . The Fountainhead. New York: Bobbs-Merrill.

Rand, Ayn. 1957. Atlas Shrugged. New York: Random House. Rand, Ayn. [1961] 1968 . For the New Intellectual. New York: New American

Library. Rand, Ayn. 1964. Playboy interview with Ayn Rand: A Candid Conversation with the Fountainhead of "Objectivism". By Alvin Toffler. Playboy, March, 35-43. Rand, Ayn. [1964] 1970 New York: New American Library. . The Virtue of Selfishness: A New Concept of Egoism.

Rand, Ayn. 1968. Night of January 16th. New York: New American Library. Rand, Ayn. [19... . About a Woman President. In The Voice of Reason: Essays in Objectivist Thought, edited by Leonard Peikoff. New York: New American Library. Originally published in The Objectivist, December 1968. Rand, Ayn. 1971. The Moratorium on Brains. Oceanside, Calif.: Second Renaissance Books. Audiotape. Rand, Ayn. 1975a. The age of envy. In The New Left: The Anti-Industrial Revolution, 2d rev. ed. New York: New American Library. Rand, Ayn. 1975b. The comprachicos. In The New Left: The Anti-Industrial Revolution, 2d rev. ed. New York: New American Library. Rand, Ayn. 1975c. The goal of my writing. In The Romantic Manifesto: A Philosophy of Literature, 2d rev. ed. New York: New American Library. Rand, Ayn. 1982a. Anthem. Caldwell, Idaho: Caxton Printers. Rand, Ayn. 1982b. Philosophy: Who Needs It. New York: Bobbs-Merrill. Rand, Ayn. 1984. The Early Ayn Rand: A Selection from Her Unpublished Fiction. Edited by Leonard Peikoff. New York: New American Library. Rand, Ayn. 1990. Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology. 2d enl. ed. Edited by Harry Binswanger and Leonard Peikoff. New York: New American Library. Rothblatt, Martine. 1995. The Apartheid of Sex: A Manifesto on the Freedom of Gender. New York: Crown Publications. Sciabarra, Chris Matthew. 1995. Ayn Rand: The Russian Radical. University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press. http://www.nyu.edu/projects/sciabarra/randstar.htm Stone, Merlin. 1976. When God was a Woman. San Diego: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich. Stone, Merlin. [1979] 1990 . Ancient Mirrors of Womanhood: A Treasury of Goddess and Heroine Lore from Around the World. Boston: Beacon Press. Tavris, Carol. 1992. The Mismeasure of Woman: Why Women are not the Better Sex, the Inferior Sex, or the Opposite Sex. New York: Simon & Schuster. Taylor, Joan Kennedy. 1992 Reclaiming the Mainstream: Individualist Feminism Rediscovered. Buffalo, New York: Prometheus Books. Trebilcot, Joyce. 1982. Two forms of androgynism. In "Femininity," "Masculinity," and "Androgyny": A Modern Philosophical Discussion, edited by Mary Vetterling-Braggin. Totowa, New Jersey: Rowman & Allanheld.

Vetterling-Braggin, Mary, ed. 1982. "Femininity," "Masculinity," and "Androgyny": A Modern Philosophical Discussion. Totowa, New Jersey: Rowman & Allanheld. Walker, Barbara G. 1983. The Woman's Encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets. New York: HarperCollins. Walker, Barbara G. 1996. Feminist Fairy Tales. New York: HarperCollins. Warren, Mary Anne. 1982. Is androgyny the answer to sexual stereotyping? In "Femininity," "Masculinity," and "Androgyny": A Modern Philosophical Discussion, edited by Mary VetterlingBraggin. Totowa, New Jersey: Rowman & Allanheld. Wolf, Naomi. 1993. Fire With Fire: The New Female Power and How It Will Change the 21st Century. New York: Random House. Wu, Qingyun. 1995. Female Rule in Chinese and English Literary Utopias. Liverpool: Liverpool University Press. WEB REFERENCES Feminist Interpretations of Ayn Rand web site http://www.nyu.edu/projects/sciabarra/femstart.htm Randian Feminism mailing list http://www.ifi.uio.no/~thomas/lists/randian-feminism.html

A response to Cathy Young's review of Feminist Interpretations of Ayn Rand Copyright Thomas Gramstad (september 1999) In her fruitful and engaging review of Feminist Interpretations of Ayn Rand in the August/September 1999 issue of Reason magazine, available at http://www.reason.com/9908/bk.cy.hear.html, Cathy Young writes that
Gramstad offers a rousing "Randian-feminist synthesis" in which the heroic individualist potential of Rand's philosophy is fully extended to women. Like Brown and some other contributors, however, he is much too uncritical of the feminist dogma that all psychological differences between the sexes are social in origin, and much too inclined to dismiss biological theories of difference by citing ideologically driven critiques.

Not so; I do not deny the importance of biology. Young fails to consider that biological difference does not mean, and cannot be reduced to, sex difference. People are indeed so different, even biologically, that relying on biological averages or statistical tendencies is often misleading and unhelpful and may even be life threatening. A New Scientist article, 14 Nov 1998 pp. 32-36, titled Tailor Made Personal Drugs to Suit Your Genes, illustrates this point. What is good and healthy for one person may be unhealthy or even poison for another. Preferences in food and drinking no doubt have a significant biological component. Other preferences and values may as well. But sociobiologists and social conservatives seem to have misunderstood what conclusions may be drawn from this. The conclusion is not one about averages, uniformity and biology as destiny. On the contrary, the conclusion is one about customization, individuality, and one's unique identity as destiny. One is reminded of Barry Vacker's vital essay (in Feminist Interpretations) and his fundamentally important identification of second wave esthetical paradigms vs. third wave ditto. Now, observe two things. 1. The bulk of human biological difference is not related to sex. Most biological differences between people are not related to reproduction. 2. Emphasizing "group differences" (real or imaginary) always implies deemphasizing, reducing, marginalizing and denying individual differences. I always find it strange and self-contradictory when libertarians and other alleged individualists are eager to run gender collectivist hammerheads into the heads of individuals whose only crime is the expression of non-majority gender or sexual preferences. Anyone may make an argument that biology is important, or that environmental influences are small compared to biological factors in some area or even many areas. Fine, but such a case, even when it succeeds, is not per se an argument for biological or inherent sex roles because of observation no. 1 above. So far this would be just a lack of a connection, a missing link in the chain of reasoning. But now consider observation no. 2: one sees that biology is in fact opposed to sex role stereotypes,

because the former implies individualism and variety while the latter implies collectivism and conformity. "Biological individualism" implies that people are all different, as individuals, and since these differences are inherent, they are hard to change - and why would an individualist feel compelled to change or erase individual differences and promote conformity, anyway? Sex role stereotypes, on the other hand, are based on group identity and enforcement of group rules designed to promote conformity, and on a belief that all men are fundamentally the same and all women are fundamentally the same, and that they are, not different, but "opposites". Of course, all these individual differences would be just as real and inherent/incorporated in the individual if they were the result of early choices or early environmental influences. Neither biology, nor the social sciences and environmentalist theories about humans, support gender collectivist ideas about sex roles. These ideas are ideological, not scientific. The sex role comprachicos don't have a scientific leg to stand on. Space constraints did not allow me to discuss biological individualism in an already densely packed article. I did, however, address the ideological nature and agendas involved in gender and sex research. Young refers to "feminist dogma" and "ideologically driven critiques", but she got it backwards. Sociobiology, for example, is more ideology than science, dogmatic and riddled with bias and hidden agendas. It would be more aptly called sociobiologism. Pointing out patriarchally inconvenient facts like the above inevitably inspire some alleged champions of liberty and individualism to label me Politically Correct... well, I can live with that. In my experience, the PC epithet is commonly used as substitute for argument by those who prefer the secondhander collectivist lifestyle of Patriarchal Correctness and sex role stereotypes. At her best, Rand championed sex as celebration of life, the most intense and ecstatic expression of joy, pride and happiness. In order to realize that ideal, Patriarchally Correct sexuality ("wham bam, thank you ma'am") must be rejected, so that the full scale and potential of human sexuality in all its wonderfully polymorphous, individually unique and artistically diverse glory may be explored and embraced. I have no wish to rob Young of what she describes as "perversely refreshing" ideas of male dominance - as one "natural way of things" among many others. I would like to remind her that each and every natural way is never a universal way. Nature thrives on variety and diversity, which are both preconditions and results of evolutionary change. Natural selection cannot work in the absence of biological variety, and a one-way one-universal-form monoculture is not only evolutionary vulnerable and unstable, it is headed for extinction. How is that for a "biological theory of difference".

Copyright Thomas Gramstad ALF Newsletter # 66, Spring 1998 The phrase Vive la Difference is regularly invoked by social conservatives, on the pretext that it serves to promote individual variation and liberty, in the form of distinct men and women - as opposed to an alleged undistinct soup of ungendered, neuter "human beings". But is it really the case that this phrase serves to promote individualism and diversity? Or is it instead a tool of conformism and oppression? Human beings are not ungendered or neuter beings, and the incorporation of both masculine and feminine psychological characteristics does not produce an undistinct neuter average mix. Just who are these people who allegedly advocate neuter, identical, interchangeable beings? Where are those who allegedly advocate this as an ideal that humanity ought to aspire to? "Unisex" fashion trend setters, psychological androgynists, social constructionists, transgender activists, sex researchers and gender radicals - all these advocate choice, liberty and diversity, not a neutered conformism. Why then, do the advocates of Vive la Difference construct such an enemy image? What purpose does the invention of an enemy image of neutered conformism serve? Is it an innocuous, if misguided, attempt to stress and defend liberty - or is it a sinister blueprint for oppression and intimidating collectivism?

Dichotomy and conformism vs. integration and diversity
Masculinity and femininity are not two antagonistic points of polar opposition. They are not even far ends on a gradual scale. They constitute two separate scales, two independent dimensions. Thus, in addition to being high on one of the scales and low on the other, it is also possible to be high on both scales - to be both masculine and feminine at the same time, which is known as psychological androgyny. Finally, one can be low on both scales, and this is known as undifferentiated, which means psychologically neutered. In other words, androgynous and neuter are opposites. Androgynous people people who combine masculine and feminine characteristics - are whole, complete humans. Traditionally masculine men and feminine women are people who neglect one half of their humanity. They are incomplete; psychologically, they are cleaved half-humans. Masculine men and feminine women are closer to neuter than the androgynes are. Those who are traditionally gendered may be seen as semi-neutered, so to speak. One of the most prevalent and pernicious mistakes in Western Culture is the idea that there exist two separate and "opposite" genders, masculinity and femininity. This gender dualism is not only false, lacking factual or scientific support, but also very harmful. In order to see through and overcome this falsehood one may employ the androgyny model with its two scales, as outlined above. The model shows that the various components of masculinity and femininity may be combined in any number of ways, according individual differences, preferences, traits and needs, leading to and illustrating an enormous amount of diversity and individual variation.<1> The concept here is really very simple: Humanity is like a tree, while each individual is a leaf on the

tree. All the leaves are different, they come in different shapes, sizes, hues etc. No two leaves are alike, even though they belong to the same tree. But some people don't like this. In fact, they hate it so much that they try to cut, mold and fold each leaf to conform to one of two small, distorted forms, and when a leaf cannot be made to fit, they would prefer to see it ripped off the tree and destroyed. The androgyny model is not only a much more accurate description of reality than gender polarization and sex roles, it is also a superior tool in the labor and activism for liberty. Should we then strive for an androgynous, individualist, highly diverse culture?

Integration as a basis for individualism and diversity
Some people think that the androgyny concept doesn't go far enough: because androgyny still reproduces elements of the old false split of femininity and masculinity, it should be abandoned. What we need is not to construct combinations of two false concepts, but to go back to - and forward to - a situation without a split in the first place, a place without a gender dichotomy. Keeping the masculine and the feminine apart and separate is what is difficult and unnatural, while keeping them together is simple and natural. (Meaning that human psychological characteristics and traits may be combined in any number of ways, no combinations are impossible or should be banned, contrary to what gender dualists with their "masculinity" and "femininity" would have you believe.) Thus, androgyny is at best just a small step on the way to healing the unnatural and harmful cleavage of our humanity. What we want is a truly individualist society - and that requires a post-androgynous culture. For many people, "femininity" and "masculinity" appear to be two vague and yet strangely limiting separate entities or modes of being whose reconciliation is impossible, and consequently it seems that women and men are as fundamentally different as if they come from different planets and communication and understanding between them is impossible. Replacing these two terms with more descriptive and objective ones like 'expressivity' and 'instrumentality' may be a step towards resolving such conflicts within and between individuals. One may question whether "masculine" and "feminine" are valid concepts at all. Will anything at all remain when all cultural artifacts and restrictions of gender have been overcome? If so, what would be left? If what is left is essentially the same, only we call it feminine when we find it in a woman and masculine when we find it in a man, then I see no reason to have two concepts for it. One concept will do. Moreover, since whatever it is that is left is something that will vary in degree and composition between individuals, using the two concepts femininity and masculinity to describe it will be misleading because such a use would suggest that the degree and composition varies with gender, rather than varying with individuals, and that takes us back on the route to gender stereotypes. So we are faced with two alternatives: First, the terms masculine and feminine may be used to describe any individual, without respect to the person's sex, and without any moral component (so that nothing immoral or unnatural is implied by describing someone as a "masculine woman" or a "feminine man") - and this translates into the descriptive use of instrumental and expressive characteristics. The benefit of this approach is that it actually starts with what most people associate with and mean by "masculine" and "feminine", and then there is hope to make it clear that these words do not refer to something natural or biological, nor mutually exclusive but to something that is cultural, diverse, volatile, changeable, voluntary. Alternatively, the two words may not point to something that constitute two opposite or separate realms (if they point to anything at all), but to some aspect of the human condition (for example something related to an authentic expression of sexuality or attractivity, something fundamental that is common to

all humans). But if so, the existence of two terms is misleading - and especially so because they are construed as opposites - and thus both terms should be abandoned. However, I think it unlikely that this is going to happen (that is, people won't stop using the words masculine and feminine), so we probably have to live with the first approach for a long time. Given the monolithic gender role uniformity of the culture, we need to take special care to let girls develop "masculine virtues" and boys to develop "feminine virtues". Ideally, in the long run, we should abandon the terms masculinity and femininity altogether, as remnants of a collectivist past. Instead we should advocate gender liberation, or gender individualism, encouraging each individual to take pride in and develop their own unique gender identity. At that point, most or all concepts of androgyny might have made themselves superfluous, upon the creation of a "post-androgynous" or individualist society. "Man" and "woman" are social-cultural categories, not biological ones. Not only psychology, but even biology is a spectrum, with many complex combinations and variations. Biological sex is not constituted of two isolated binary opposites. There is no clear-cut criterion for determination of biological sex. The criteria that have been suggested for such determination may be considered alone, or they may be considered together. When a criterion is considered alone, it often divides people arbitrarily and in a way that causes conflict (cf. sex determination criteria in athletic contests), because the criterion can come in any degree on a continuum, and any dividing point is arbitrary. When the criteria are considered together, they are frequently in conflict with each other (different individuals having different combinations of criteria). Intersexuals (formerly known as hermaphrodites) are a case in point. Few intersexuals are transsexuals, and many intersexuals want to make potential choices about surgery (by which to be designated one sex) themselves, they do not want that choice being made for them while they are infants. The proliferation of intersexual rights activist groups like ISNA (Intersex Society of North America) in the later years testify to this. Many non-operated intersexuals tend to be increasingly satisfied or comfortable with inhabiting the borderland between the gender/sex poles, and report feeling nontraumatically mixed in sex/gender identity. They may be able to shift between several gender expressions, passing as the one or the other sex, as well as deliberately blurring the borders in their gender expression. This trend may be assumed to be further enhanced by the gradual breakdown of gender polarization and a corresponding weakening of the social stigmatization of "gender deviants", contributing to increased individualism and diversity.

A universal dichotomy as a basis for collectivism
Consider again the phrase Vive la Difference. Its literal meaning is Long live the difference - THE difference, the one and only, the exclusive, officially signed and approved difference, the one and only acceptable, universal, invariable and immutable dichotomized difference which is being used as a ram to wipe out human variation. Thus, the phrase in fact serves to deny and erase a lot of difference - big and small individual differences and human variations that must be hidden, marginalized and suppressed, in order to be able to present two essentialist cardboard caricatures as "normal". Thus, Vive la Difference is in fact a collectivist doctrine, whose function is to wipe out individual differences in order to create two social classes, "men" and "women", in strictly confined roles as co-dependent but asymmetrical opposites (man as master, woman as slave), within a self-perpetuating power hierarchy (patriarchy). The Vive la Difference phrase is Orwellian, in that its real purpose and function is the exact opposite of its alleged meaning. Its apparently giddy surface belies the pernicious ideology carried within. If there ever were a successful "split and rule" strategy, gender dichotomy must be it.

Instead of this oppressive phrase, we need an inclusive, multidimensional phrase. One that acknowledges and celebrates the richness and variety of human experience, as well as promotes and expresses the underlying unity, an existential integration, of humanity. Instead of the oppressive and collectivist Vive la Difference!, we may shout and celebrate Vive les Differences! - Long live all the differences, big and small, innumerable and enriching, which form the basis of individual identities, the texture of a free society, and the integration of human nature.

<1> The term "polyandrogyny", rather than androgyny, has been suggested in order to stress the great variety and diversity that androgyny leads to. That is, contrary to the claims of gender dualists, androgyny does not advocate one uniform model for all people, as opposed to the two uniform models of gender dualists. Instead, androgyny rejects the idea of uniformism and celebrates human variety and diversity. See Vetterling-Braggin 1982 for essays and articles discussing different concepts and terminologies of androgyny.

Bem, Sandra Lipsitz (1971): The theory and measurement of androgyny, in: Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 37, pp. 1047-1054. Bem, Sandra Lipsitz (1993): The Lenses of Gender: Transforming the Debate on Sexual Inequality. Yale University Press. Burke, Phyllis (1996): Gender Shock: Exploding the Myths of Male and Female. Anchor Books, New York. Caplan, Paula J. & Caplan, Jerry (1994): Thinking Critically About Research on Sex and Gender. HarperCollins, New York. Fausto-Sterling, Anne (1992): Myths of Gender: Biological Theories About Women and Men. Basic Books, New York. Feinberg, Leslie (1993): Stone Butch Blues. Firebrand, Ithaca, New York. Gramstad, Thomas (1998): The Androgyny and Gender Dialectics Web Page: an online guide to gender diversity. http://www.ifi.uio.no/~thomas/gnd/androgyny.html ISNA: The Intersex Society of North America http://www.isna.org/ Rothblatt, Martine (1995): The Apartheid of Sex: A Manifesto on the Freedom of Gender. Crown Publications, New York. Stoltenberg, John (1980): Future Genders. Omni Magazine, May issue. Tavris, Carol (1992): The Mismeasure of Woman: Why Women are not the Better Sex, the Inferior Sex, or the Opposite Sex. Touchstone, Simon & Schuster, New York. Vetterling-Braggin, Mary (ed.) (1982): "Femininity," "Masculinity," and "Androgyny": A Modern Philosophical Discussion. Rowman & Allanheld Publishers, Towota, NJ.


Description: This chat session, which made the front page on Yack.com, took place on March 19 2000. It is a one hour chat with Thomas Gramstad on warrior/heroine feminists, past, present and future. Xena: Warrior Princess, La Femme Nikita, and Buffy the Vampire Slayer are prominent examples of the new ideals of female heroism. What is their relevance to individualist feminism? Why is our culture fascinated with woman warriors?

This version of the transcript differs from those at Ifeminists.com and Talkopolis.com in the following ways:

I've activated links to all references and URLs mentioned

during the chat. I've cleaned up some typoes and grammatical errors (those that could obfuscate meaning). I lingered in the chat forum for about 15-20 minutes after the formal hour ended. This version of the chat transcript includes those 15-20 minutes as well (see Part 2). This includes some replies to backlog questions from the formal hour.

wendymcelroy (19-Mar-00 7:02:19 PM) Tonight's topic is "The Cultural Phenomenon of Warrior Heroines" as embodied in smash TV shows such as Xena: Warrior Princess, La Femme Nikita and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Why are we so preoccupied with warrior women? Thomas Gramstad - moderator of the Randian Feminism and Libfem e-mail mailing lists as well as fine author - is an expert in this field. Give him your toughest questions. spear What are the age/gender demographics for these shows? wendymcelroy Spear...I suspect the age demographics are quite young for these TV programs. If anecdotal evidence counts, I believe it is about 50/50 in the genders. But Thomas Gramstad is the expert...and I believe he has just arrived. Thomas...is that you? spear I figured the men just want to see the women get it on. sullkitten Xena rocks Thomas Hello everybody, Thomas Gramstad here... About the demographics question - I know a little about this for Xena, which is big among both genders, mostly young people. In Norway, 80 % of viewers are between 17-34 years of age wendymcelroy Tonight, we are lucky to have Thomas Gramstad, author of "The Female Hero: A Randian-Feminist Synthesis" which appeared in "Feminist Interpretations of Ayn Rand". Thomas is an eloquent expert on warrior heroines as I mentioned previously. Please let me turn the floor over to Thomas and let us focus upon tonight's topic. sullkitten welcome Thomas wendymcelroy Thomas, does the warrior heroine date back to Greek mythology or what is the origin in psyche of man/woman that makes it so powerful today? Does it have valid historical roots?

spear In Norway it's xena or cliffdiving. Bookish I must admit I haven't read "The Female Hero." But surely female heroes predate rand? Thomas Have you guys seen my web site - The Amazon Connection? It is a compilation of female hero and warrior sources and references: http://www.ifi.uio.no/~thomas/lists/amazon-links.html Linda Rader Rand would not even say she wrote a female hero, Bookish Thomas Sure Bookish, female heroes predate Rand. I think Rand's contribution is an understanding of what heroism is and how it operates and why it is a human need to have heroes, and to aspire to "heroic being". zinc Is Dana Scully a heroic warrior woman? Surely so. sullkitten Scully is cool hadyn I love Xena! I've seen nearly every episode :-) Bookish I'm looking at your site now, Thomas. This seems to be a rather broad definition of 'amazon'. Wyatt I haven't seen any Xena, but I would single out Buffy as the best show on tv right now Thomas Is "heroine" and "female hero" the same? I think heroine also has connotations of passivity, being the prize of the (male) hero. The term female hero avoids those connotations. sullkitten huh, like "lead female" spear Think there are any lesbian fantasies to Xena? hadyn There's an oft-debated lesbian "subtext" to Xena Linda Rader The terms are getting mixed Thomas. In romance novels they still say heroine, but her activism has changed and she's the female hero. zinc oh it's hardly a subtext. wendymcelroy Remember we have an expert to whom questions can and should be addressed. Thomas, is there any connection between warrior heroines and a sexual preference for dominant women? hadyn It's been a hot topic on Xena lists & sites since the series started Bookish I'm at a disadvantage because I watch very little TV. Can you suggest an example of a female hero from recent films? hadyn Sure - Everafter with Drew Barrymore HRearden Thomas what is your opinion of Joan of Arc as a hero? Thomas Yes, I agree the terms are getting mixed. Still, another thing I like about female hero is that hero shouldn't exclude females; hero shouldn't be a gendered word. wendymcelroy Thomas...what is your personal preference between Xena, Nikita and Buffy...and why? sullkitten I like your point abot the non-gendered word. Then you can just say "hero" when its obvious it's a woman. Linda Rader Then we shouldn't use female hero here, but I would disagree that Rand felt she had a female hero. She purposely tried to write male heroes that women worshiped. Whether we prefer that or not now, it was her take. spear Thomas. How was Xena conceived? What was the point?

zinc it's made by the same folks who do hercules, right? sullkitten I think Dagny is a pretty powerful female character HRearden Hank Rearden thought Dagny was a powerful woman. Bookish I'm not sure where we draw the line for "hero." I'd think Dagny Taggart would qualify. Thomas There is no necessary connection between a liking for warrior women and a preference for sexually dominating women, but in practice I think most sexually submissive males like to see warrior women, heroic women. But they are not the only ones; many non-submissives too like strong women. Many people who want sexual equality like to watch warrior women and heroic women. Wyatt If I remember correctly, the exec producer of Xena and Hercules was the director of the "evil dead" series. He most recently directed "For Love of The Game". His name escapes me, tho. hadyn Rob Tapert, he & Lucy Lawless (Xena) are married with a new baby wendymcelroy Thomas, is Dagny a warrior heroine in the sense you are using the word. What exactly is the warrior part of that term referring to? Doing battle against great odds? BTW, Thomas, pick whichever question intrigue you the most. Everyone wants to get your comments! ;-) spear Knowing the motives of the creators of Xena would help. HRearden I don't see how a dominant woman can respect a submissive man. zinc spear, money!!! Thomas About Joan of Arc: that's a good one. Today's typical picture of her is as a fanatical religious nut case who succeeded partly because the men admired her, partly from luck and partly from tenacity I don't think that's heroic. But the real Joan of Arc, as far as we can tell, was very much pagan, was intelligent and bright, learning military strategy quickly, rejecting gender restrictions of her days - this surely is heroic. See Barbara Walker's book, Woman's Encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets for a good reference of Joan of Arc. Bookish I think the term "sexually dominating women" is ambiguous here. Are we talking domination in the S&M sense or merely in the sense of control? hadyn Another TV heroine might be Laura, the character Stephanie Zimbalist played opposite Pierce Brosnan in "Remington Steele" sullkitten how about emma peel from the avengers? wendymcelroy Creators of Xena, et al are tapping into a zeitgeist, for the want of a better term, and doing it so well that they themselves must be in tune with something. It is like Wonder Women of my childhood x10 in terms of popularity. HRearden Yes. Emma was good. Wonder Woman is my favorite. Perhaps its the costume. wendymcelroy Good point about Joan of Arc, Thomas. Her persona was far better than her myth. Bookish Thomas, what exactly constitutes heroism? In your view. HRearden I was not aware that Joan of Arc was pagan. sullkitten pagans are cool Thomas Bookish: look for movies with Geena Davies or Sigourney Weaver, e.g., The Alien movies. See also Linda Hamilton in Terminator 2 (especially). sullkitten yeah Aliens

zinc linda hamilton was pretty frizzled out in terminator... a reluctant heroine... Thomas I like Xena, Buffy and Nikita as different examples and don't really want to choose between them - I probably prefer Xena because she's more in control of her life, she's an adult in charge of her destiny. Nikita is trapped in an oppressive system, and Buffy is not adult. But Buffy is very smart, very strong, and also I love her sharp wit, the humor in Buffy, so that's a high score with me too. Bookish Thomas, thanks. I thought the character of Ripley in Aliens would be a good example. sullkitten Aliens had another very strong female character .. zinc the alien itself! HRearden Thomas who are the real life female heros living today? sullkitten oh yeah, the alien, but one of the soldiers as well wendymcelroy I thought Linda Hamilton was a perfect warrior heroine in Terminator because she had to overcome herself and she rose wonderfully to confront an almost impossible challenger. zinc i can see that wendymcelroy Thomas...how much historical validity is there to Amazons and other warrior heroine cultures? spear ...what do she and hero have as a purpose in life? sullkitten good question Thomas In Xena you also have other strong women, like the Amazons; I like that thing too, that Xena is not the only strong woman in her universe. She isn't a freak, a deviant. She's a potential in every woman (and man). HRearden I consider female nurses who served in WWII heros. Especially ones who were held prisoner by the enemy. spear Yeah, but what are these people about? Who do they lead and why? Thomas About sexually dominating women - I meant women in control, not necessarily SM. wendymcelroy Thomas...what is the difference between strong women and dominant women? And do you agree with Rand - does a strong woman require a strong man to be actualized? wendymcelroy Remember guys and gals...sending private messages is a good way to communicate more effectively one on one with everyone but our guest. sullkitten Thomas .. to repeat an earlier q by Wendy .. What kinda historical accuracy is there to the Amazon women? Thomas There are women who are physically powerful or skilled, enough to be better fighters, stronger than most men - these could be in control by virtue of their physical prowess. I find that much more interesting than the idea of women being in control because of props (whether a literary prop like Witchblade, or SM props like tying the man etc.). So in fiction I prefer women who have natural abilities and strength that they have honed, not superheroines with some unnatural power, and in real life I prefer powerfully built women, not SM stuff. Linda Rader Adding to Wendy's comment. Does a strong women, or any hero, need a "love object" such as a man or in the case of a lesbian, a woman to be actualized? HRearden Thomas are the members of the womens olympic soccer team heros?

Thomas Linda - I think commercial values of lesbianism is up for two reasons. One, that other groups are more visible now than before, and second, that younger people are more open to alternatives and they are replacing older people. It's just like marketers have discovered that black women are a group with money that they can market things to. White men are not as much a norm for human being as they (we) used to be. spear Of what benefit are these shows to young women in terms of real life? wendymcelroy It is almost the 1/2 hour point and I want to remind everyone to send their e-mail address to mac@zetetics.com to enter the draw for a 1st edition PB of Ayn Rand's "The Romantic Manifesto". The chance to win is high. Last week's winner was login user "arrrrr" HRearden Is Captain Janeway a woman hero? Bookish I'll second spear's question. nskinsella Janeway is a murderer. remember the Tuvox episode. hadyn I think Janeway is bizarre. I was very excited at the prospect of Voyager, but the character seems written in such a way that she makes poor decisions. zinc janeway is a sad imitation of picard Thomas Bookish: on heroism, see my article here: http://www.ifi.uio.no/~thomas/po/heroism.html wendymcelroy Thomas, Do you think that most/many/few fans of shows like Xena and Nikita are also fans of Rand? She would naturally seem to inspire a reverence for dominant women...dominant in the positive sense. Bookish Thanks, Thomas. Thomas: Sullkitten: I'm a big fan of Vasquez in Aliens, even more than I am of Ripley. Did you know that Jenette Goldstein got more fan mail than anyone else in Aliens? wendymcelroy Again, people should check out Thomas' provocative essay in " Feminist Interpretations of Ayn Rand." He is also the moderator of the active e-mail mailing list on Randian feminism. Go Thomas! sullkitten Oh yeah Vasquez! Yeah, she was totally awesome .... Thomas Yeah, G.I. Jane is great. Check out my web page! :-) sullkitten That's interesting she got more fan mail HRearden Thomas do you know if the person who created the Xena character is a Rand fan. zinc ...I think they are clearly a Chase Manhattan fan... sullkitten I think I have some kinda issue with the woman who stars in G.I. Jane - what's her name again? zinc demi moore sullkitten oooh demi moore, yuck wendymcelroy But, why, Thomas. Why the shift in our culture to idolizing buff, warrior women. In the 50's it was Barbie types and preppies. What's different today, fundamentally? HRearden Some have said G.I. Jane is unrealistic. What is your thought? nskinsella Thomas (hope this is not a redundant query), any choices on best actresses to play Dagny in the upcoming Atlas miniseries? How about Kim Kattral.

Thomas Real female heroes living today: anyone who reaches for the best in herself. Anyone who challenges social restrictions such as gender roles that try to keep her from being the best she can be. I particularly like visible symbols like female athletes, actresses etc. HRearden Thomas do you consider Lady Thatcher a hero? nskinsella Hey, she's no lady. Bookish Re. the culture shift (Wendy's question), is this perhaps a result of modern feminism? An unintended consequence, so to speak. Linda Rader or postmodern feminism? spear What can young women get from these shows? Bookish I'd think mid- to late pre-postmodern feminism. :-) spear postfeminine modernism? Thomas Wendy - strong women are a wider class than dominant women. I don't think a strong woman needs a man to be actualized. For example, some women are lesbians and can still be actualized strong women. One can be a celibate and still be strong. But I think other people, including lovers, who share one's values can help and play a very important role. Especially heroes and role models one perceives when one is young. sullkitten Especially in fiction where a romantic interest is very important in holding your audience scruffy I'm working with a few of these ladies, locomotive engineers on our railroad super trains hauling coal. scruffy These women are putting their kids through school and helping maintain a decent standard of living. zinc scruffy, that sounds like you're making women second class citizens scruffy You misread me, they are very much my equal. zinc ok wendymcelroy I think part of what these shows offer young women is a glimpse of incredible physical competence and courage against great odds. Leona I agree. Thomas About "love object" - yes I think you need to love someone or something. That is, heroic desire precedes heroic being, and heroic desire must be awakened by the perception of something or someone heroic. The guy who made Wonder Woman was a psychologist who knew this, he made WW to address this need for perception. hadyn I definitely agree with you, Thomas, about athletes as heros - even tho I am older than many of the best in the WNBA, I still get shivers watching them take command of the floor. zinc uh oh, you can get xena.com email... http://www.xena.com/email/index.html Bookish Is there too much emphasis on physical accomplishment in these shows? Wendy: Linda what does your daughter think of these shows? Linda Rader She never misses Xena or Herc, and Dick never misses Xena Bookish To use a male example, I've always thought of Superman as all brawn and no brains. Hardly a good role model.

zinc a woman is a hero if she can do what most men do Thomas HR - members of women's olympic soccer team can be heroes; at least they can be symbols of heroism by being perceived as such. Janeway is a hero. sullkitten Thomas, you're very good at keeping track of all these questions! Thomas Oh, OK, I haven't seen very many Voyager episodes, not familiar with Tuvox episode. spear Any intellectual models for females? nskinsella That was the one where Tuvok & Neelix were merged by accident into a new being. Janeway forcibly split him back into the other 2, against his will, thereby killing him. Thomas Wendy - hard to say if Xena and Nikita fans are also Rand fans, I don't know the demographics on that one. Would be an interesting study. Linda Rader Any thoughts on the power puff girls? sullkitten power puff girls ?? Thomas HR: Don't know if Tapert & co. are Rand fans. I'll try to find out later! wendymcelroy Greeting armen2 and welcome to the ifeminist chat room. Welcome slow hand. Thomas Wendy: why warrior women today? I think the question is backwards: the real question is: why not in the 50s? And that has to do with gender role socialization as a means to maintain existing power. But gender roles are unnatural, women are just as heroic as men, and men need female heroism just as much as women do, so it had to burst through the restrictions at some point. The life force cannot be contained forever. We are lucky enough to be there when it happens. HRearden The bionic woman might be a hero to some people. wendymcelroy Can a warrior heroine be soft-spoken and polite, and look up to a man tremendously. I feel as though I am being left out of the category altogether! ;-) Thomas HR: I like Bionic Woman, but again, she's the hero type that is a freak, technologically enhanced, so she doesn't really express the potential in real women, not fully. So Modesty Blaise would be better in comparison with Bionic Woman. hadyn So, Thomas, you attribute the increase in warrior-women in film and television to the changes in gender roles since the 1950's? IK No woman that hates other strong women is a hero to me. Of course Thatcher was and is a lady. Unfortunately. That is good about Xena as an idol, she tolerates other strong women. Amazons should be sisters in arms and in life. HRearden Thomas was Mary Wollstonecraft a hero? Don't know the correct spelling. Bookish Returning to - or perhaps rephrasing - Spear's question: are any of these female heroes intellectual role models? Elias Alias Hi....sorry to be late......I'll just lurk quietly :) sullkitten lurk on sullkitten Is CatWoman a hero? She's awesome. Much better than batgirl hadyn IK - I so agree with you about tolerating other strong women. It's such an important part to achieving equality in the workplace and such. HRearden A bad person can't be a hero?

Linda Rader No HR that's a supervillain sullkitten supervillain, thats the nastiest kind of villain!! scruffy Let's go back a little, Harriet Tubbman, good woman I think hadyn Spear - Just so you know, I'm still thinking about your question. It's maybe a great topic for the list? wendymcelroy As we draw near to the top of the hour, remember everyone to send me your e-mail address in order to enter the drawing tomorrow morning for the 1st edition PB of Ayn Rand's "The Romantic Manifesto." - mac@zetetics.com. Last week's winner was login user "arrrrrr." Also...our guest next week is Bettina Greaves to discuss her decades-long association and friendship with Ludwig von Mises. Olaf Talking about girls!! - you should come to Iceland - there we have the first elected woman president - a woman mayor - almost half of the parliament are girls - half of the ministers are girls half of the population and even more than half of my family - gheez what is happening to this world ;-) Thomas Feminism: yes I definitely think that played a role in preparing the ground for warrior women, heroic women, strong women being visible. But I think it is an expression of the life force (which both women and men have). So feminism is an expression of the life force too, when it works for strong women. You cannot contain the life force for too long, that's why the patriarchalists will always be on the defensive. sullkitten Wow cool Olaf HRearden Women baseball players during WWII could be thought of as heros. Linda Rader John, half the people in the United States are women too. Olaf and even in Iceland we have half of prettiest girls in the world ;-) sullkitten Amazing!!! spear And women pass on the surname in Iceland. sullkitten Let's just hope that Hillary isn't president any time soon!!!! HRearden Or Senator. zinc yikes, that's one warrior woman i'd like to forget about Linda Rader Hey, stop with the Hillary bashing Olaf I like Hillary. Hillary came to a woman conference in Iceland and was amazingly good - she spoke 1 hour without any notes - and even made sense ;-) Bookish Finally found this on your page, Thomas: "the four components of heroism: moral greatness, ability or prowess, action in the face of opposition, and triumph in at least a spiritual, if not a physical, form." hadyn HRearden mentioned women baseball players - I'd add in the women who worked in the factories as well. Thomas Bookish: brawn and brain. Yes, I agree, intelligence is important. But for me, and I believe many people, the physical can be a symbol for the heroic. E.g., see ancient Greek sculpture. Heroism is action; the physical is action. That's part of the link. scruffy I had a grand-aunt that was the first deputy sheriff and sheriff in the US. hero yes.

LaffingKat I knew the woman who Geena Davis's character in "A League of Their Own" was based on. I think she met all of Thomas's characteristics for a hero. She was a very smart and very independent lady, but also very caring. Thomas HR: Yes, Wollstonecraft is a hero and an Amazon. Thatcher is not. She's an "anti-amazon" - a woman who was strong, but who served patriarchy and worked against other women (she didn't choose any women to her govt., e.g.) To illustrate this point, I like this quote from a Hercules episode: "It's not blood that makes an Amazon warrior - it's training and preparation and attitude. We need to be able to count on each other - watch each other's back." (Surrie in HTLJ: # 66, Prodigal Sister) The quote shows that amazons are about community, friendship and love as well as single acts of heroism. sullkitten Hillary can go raise her own village zinc i bet bill likes xena Bookish So would the movie Norma Rae (do I remember that correctly?) represent a non-physical female hero? Linda Rader I bet he doesn't Zinc Olaf I say - let the girls take over the government and businesses - so we boys can go more out and have a good time without the stress symptoms - we will even start to live longer wendymcelroy Well...it is the top of the hour. I want to thank Thomas Gramstad for being a wonderful guest. I want to remind everyone again to send their e-mail addresses to mac@zetetics.com for the drawing tomorrow. And y'all come back for Bettina Greaves discussing her decades-long association with Ludwig von Mises next week. zinc ya! this was cool thomas, thanks! Linda Rader Thank you Thomas. And heil Warrior Wendy Bookish Thanks very much for the chat, Thomas. sullkitten Hey, thanks Thomas spear Thanks, Thomas. hadyn definitely! Thanks a bunch to Thomas, Wendy & all you other great chatters :-) Elias Alias Thank you very much. :) And thank you too, Thomas

zinc so thomas what do you teach at university, math? HRearden Maybe Thatcher did not select women to her government because there were few to choose from in her party. wendymcelroy Everyone should feel free to stay for as long as they wish, but I am calling an end to the official portion of the chat room and giving our guest a graceful chance to leave in case he has other matters demanding his attention. scruffy My first chat, thanks all.... Thomas Thanks everyone - I'll hang around a little more and try to catch up with some of the lagging

questions. Leona thanks Linda Rader you did great scruffy wendymcelroy Good night one and all. Have an ifeminist sorta week. Logging off. spear We're Wendyless. Olaf Sounds intellectual! zinc i feel as if my head has been cut off. zinc thomas, is malmo in norway? Olaf sweden zinc oh, ok... hadyn I lost Thomas' website! Please repost! Linda Rader The power puff girls are a nickelodeon cartoon about 3 little girls with super hero powers and all the elementary girls in my "group" wear t-shirts with them on it spear Olaf. Women pass on the surname in Iceland, no? hadyn That sounds really cute. what do you think of it? Bookish http://www.ifi.uio.no/~thomas/lists/amazon-links.html hadyn thanks Olaf (we all keep our own name) Thomas About historical amazons: we don't know for sure that societies existed where women had monopoly on military and leader positions. But we do know that many societies allowed women as well as men as warriors or soldiers. Even in a patriarchal society like medieval Japan there were women warriors. Follow the historical and archaeological links on my web site. spear OK. Olaf but we are sons and daughters of our fathers sullkitten cool Olaf My fathers name is Ragnar - so I am Ragnarsson spear Used to load your airline at JFK. Linda Rader good Randian name Ragnar Olaf My sister is Ragnarsdottir scruffy The powder puff girl I remember drove stock cars... zinc wild. Olaf Ragnar an old norse god HRearden Danneskjold is a friend. Thomas Geena Davis and Angela Bassett are my two favorite actresses. zinc i'd never heard that olaf

Linda Rader I must go....the huns are at the door and my people must be saved. Night hadyn Night Linda! sullkitten night linda Olaf that's why we can track our families 1000 years back spear night Linda. Thomas Not familiar with Norma Rae, sorry. Could you tell me more? Linda Rader Night sully, toot toot Spear B.G. wuz up zinc everyone the transcript of tonight's mosh pit, er, chat, will be at http://www.talkopolis.com/transcripts Bookish It's been years. Sally Field as a union organizer, if I recall correctly. Linda Rader Nice meeting you bookish, and always a pleasure zinc sullkitten i was moshin just last night Olaf and Icelanders are beeing used in genetic research now for it is easy to track the genes and isolate health problems Elias Alias Thank you all. Thomas, got your site bookmarked. Sullkitten, thanks for welcome. Nite all.....see ya next week zinc Thomas, what do you teach at oslo U? spear What's next for female fare, Thomas? Matthew Hello. zinc olaf, are you aware that there is a minor entertaiment industry in the US running off of jokes about scandinavians? sullkitten hi matthew Olaf well guys and mostly gals - nice meeting you - cya later - take care - be the heroines in the future as in the past ;-) Matthew Am I late? Is the conference over? zinc Minnesota Public Radio is at the forefront of this field sullkitten yeah just wrapping up zinc matthew... yep Bookish Matthew, the official part is over, yes. zinc you can read transcript though Matthew Aw... :( hadyn Night all! zinc http://www.talkopolis.com/transcripts sullkitten Ragnar is very cool Thomas I have been called the Ragnar Danneskjold of feminism... I felt very flattered...

zinc Thomas is still here... zinc ask him your question sullkitten Thomas have you heard of a band called Kittie? sullkitten they are very cool Bookish good night, all zinc so are you in the math department Thomas? sullkitten g'nite bookish Thomas what's next - my article the female hero will soon be out on my web site. spear What shows do you think will follow the current heroine thing? sullkitten okay i'm out, later, thanks again Thomas Matthew Who won the door prize? zinc email mac@zetetics.com matthew Thomas I'm sort of multidisciplinary - biology, chem, math, computer science, media, history of ideas, feminism/ws. I work at the university library, where I can find stuff about all my interests. zinc she will make the drawing tomorrow Thomas Not heard of Kitties - tell more? spear Your politics, Thomas? zinc so you are working on your phd? zinc gotta jet. bye all. Thomas Oh, I forgot one of Wendy's questions - about being softspoken and look up to one's male lover? Yes, you can combine "feminine" and "masculine" traits as you like, what matters is that you are true to yourself. That's what heroism really is. scruffy I hear my train a com'in, bye-bye Thomas Not working on phd yet, maybe in time - I need more formal background in the humanities. Studying history of ideas presently. spear Thanks again, Thomas. Night. Thomas See also this "definition" page of woman warrior: http://www.ifi.uio.no/~thomas/1amazon.html Matthew Sorry I missed the conference, Thomas. Perhaps another time. :-) Leona bye Thomas I'm signing off folks - thanks for the chat. Take care, and Leona thanks Thomas Leona bye Thomas STRENGTH TO YOUR SWORD ARM!

A response to Glenn Lamont's article in Free Radical no. 39 (1999) Copyright Thomas Gramstad Free Radical no. 40 (2000) Glenn Lamont claims that feminism is incompatible with Objectivism and an invalid concept. I've never seen a definition of feminism that is incompatible with Objectivism. There are feminists who are not Objectivists, and positions called feminist which are incompatible with Objectivism. But I've never seen a definition of feminism which is at the same time representative of feminism and mutually exclusive with Objectivism. I challenge Lamont or anyone to present such a definition. Definitions of feminism are available in feminist literature and in dictionaries. Neither feminism nor Objectivism/Randianism are monolithic entities. Feminism much less so, for several reasons explored below, one of which being that it wasn't formulated by one person. Even Objectivism, which was formulated essentially by one person, is going through a process of dividing into different groups and interpretations, as Rand's impact and following increases. More people means more positions, more dialogue, more voices, more cacophony. And this is the way the world moves forward, this is the nature of progress. DEFINING FEMINISM The following tripartite definition is from the soc.feminism FAQ file (http://www.cs.uu.nl/wais/html/na-dir/feminism/info.html):
1. The belief that women and men are, and have been, treated differently by our society, and that women have frequently and systematically been unable to participate fully in all social arenas and institutions. 2. A desire to change that situation. 3. That this gives a "new" point-of-view on society, when eliminating old assumptions about why things are the way they are, and looking at it from the perspective that women are not inferior and men are not "the norm."

It does not follow the classical Aristotelian genus-species structure of definitions, yet clearly refers to and identifies an aspect of reality. FEMINISM AS UNION OF IDEOLOGY AND ACTIVISM Lamont laments (no pun intended) the lack of a sharp genus that can define a concept of feminism. His mistake is the presupposition that such a genus must be an ideology. It isn't, and cannot be, for several reasons all connected to the fact that feminism is just as much a social movement as it is a set of intellectual positions. Feminism describes activism and a commitment to action as much as a range of ideas. Feminist ideas are those that lead to social progress concerning gender relations at a given time and place.

As noted, this range of ideas is bigger - and fuzzier - than a corresponding Randian range of ideas. Objectivism was designed in a hierarchical way as a philosophy, including an emphasis on thought and cognition as fundamental and other mental aspects and activities as derivative. Feminism wasn't designed, but grew out of experiences of certain times, places and factors of social organization. ''Correct thinking about the right ideas'' would be sufficient to call oneself an Objectivist, but it is not enough to be a feminist. Without a commitment to action and social change one is not a feminist, even if one holds feminist ideas. So in feminism there is a form of ''equal worth'' between ideas and activism. Feminism is more than an ideology, more than a philosophy. This is why feminism, unlike Objectivism, cannot be defined by a genus which is only an ideology or a philosophy. FEMINISM AS HISTORICAL ENTITY AND PROCESS Feminism is influenced by, sometimes even determined by, its enemies. In some parts of Africa feminism means a fight against female genital mutilation; in the middle ages it would have meant a fight for witches' right to live; in the Western world a hundred years ago it meant a fight for women's right to hold property, to divorce, to vote, to be recognized as adult legal subjects. And in the Western world today it means a fight against tacit and institutionalized collectivist and misogynist beliefs derived from gender roles and other sex-based prejudices. The common thread running through these different periods and places is captured by the definition above. It involves a theory about and a commitment to men and women being equals, in all spheres of life. Equals in standing, possibility, freedom and range of choice. This is the core of all feminist theories. This ''core feminism'' or ''core feminist theory'' doesn't prescribe or presuppose neither differences between men and women nor similarities between men and women, nor does it require excluding men or only furthering women's causes. Feminists, as a rule, assume that there are few if any inherent, unchangeable differences between men and women; only a lot of individual differences and variation. Patriarchalists claim the existence of many universal and immutable differences between men and women, seeking to understate, marginalize and suppress individual differences in an attempt to create two universal gender forms or essences that everybody must be squeezed into. In other words, Lamont's claim that most feminists are polylogists is wrong. Only a minority of feminists are polylogists; but virtually all patriarchalists are polylogists. They follow a schema of rationalizations starting with biological, immutable gender essences that are used to justify polylogist beliefs about men's and women's minds, and from there they move on to justify different treatment and expectations of girls and boys, women and men, pretending that gender roles are natural, inborn and immutable. One typical example is John Gray's Men are from Mars, women are from Venus, which has been concisely and extensively criticized by feminist women and men from Earth (see Kathleen Trigiani, http://web2.airmail.net/ktrig246/out_of_cave/index.html). ADJECTIVAL FEMINISM You may agree with the core theory of feminism without fitting into any branch of feminism you know about. You can believe that women and men should be politically, economically and socially equal for your own reasons and hold your own ideas pertaining to how to make it happen. This freedom leads to the diversity of ''adjectival feminisms''. But at the core, feminism remains a theory that men and women should be politically, socially, and economically equal.
I myself have never been able to figure out precisely what feminism is: I only know that people call me a feminist whenever I express sentiments that differentiate me from a


This quotation - Rebecca West in The Clarion, 1913 - shows that Lamont is wrong when he claims that the term ''feminism'' was not commonly used in earlier times and that the term was retrofitted by feminists in the 1960s and 70s. The early use of ''feminism'' is well documented. The soc.feminism Terminologies file lists 16 different types of feminism. They cover a large spectrum and convey the diversity of feminism. Of these, 7 can easily be embraced by Objectivists and Randians, while 5 are clearly incompatible. A Randian feminism must be individualist. You could use individualist as an adjective (''individualist feminist''). Or - probably better - you can use both as nouns, saying that you are an individualist and a feminist. There is no reason to fear the word feminist. FEMINISM AS THE VANGUARD OF EQUALITY Equality must mean equality under the law, but it must also mean philosophical and social equality of men and women in daily life. The latter cannot be achieved by legislation. True liberation and individualism means that all virtues and characteristics are individual human virtues and characteristics, open to anyone who is inclined to pursue and develop them. There are no virtues or psychological characteristics belonging exclusively to males, or to females. As a feminist, I support closing the gender gap, not widening it - thus clearing the road for a free, individualist and diverse future.

Art Versus Philosophy in Ayn Rand's Writings on Male/Female Relationships
Copyright Charles Wieder Objectivity Vol. 2, #6 (1998) The novel Atlas Shrugged opens with an indigent asking, "Who is John Galt?" The question is directed at Eddie Willers, a character who will come to represent competence, loyalty, and common decency of the noblest sort. The encounter affects Eddie in an unexpected way, far beyond the quite ordinary circumstance of encountering a panhandler on the city streets. The significance of the encounter and of that question is well known to many readers of this journal who are familiar with Ayn Rand's fiction. In the course of events that follow in the novel, Rand creates an image of the human spirit that few artists, literary or otherwise, have attempted to portray. Upon completion of Atlas, Rand devoted the major part of her literary work to explicating the moral significance of the character of John Galt, in a steady outpouring of non-fiction essays, and commentaries, toward the formulation of a philosophy to which she gave the name Objectivism.

What this essay asks is whether the matching of John Galt and the mythological Atlas was meant to stand for a generic human capacity for strength, courage, integrity, etc., or if Rand's choice of this hero icon was based at all on Atlas' gender. In other words, could Atlas Shrugged, in theory, have begun with the question, Who is Dagny Taggart? There is no simple answer to this question of whether Rand would have been less inclined to create a female lead character of the stature of John Galt. For despite her fictional portrayals of among the strongest female images of independence and human achievement in Western literature, Rand utterly disavowed feminism. Feminists - including individualist feminists like myself who are admirers of Rand's work - are understandably perplexed by this apparent inconsistency on Rand's part. In exploring the matter of Rand's opposition to feminism, this essay will hold up one of Rand's foremost female, fictional protagonists, Dagny Taggart, in contrast with Rand's non-fiction writing on the subject of man-woman relationships. In the course of this inquiry a larger question will be raised concerning Rand's method of deriving the philosophy of Objectivism from the themes embodied in her fiction. By this I mean her frequent reliance upon her novels as philosophic source material - i.e., the direct referencing of portrayals of fictional characters and events, offered not merely as metaphorical examples but as substantive philosophic argument and explanation. What I will be arguing is that: 1. Rand's efforts to translate the sexual/romantic imagery of her novels into statements on human psychology and moral philosophy led to inconsistencies regarding women's (romantic) psychology, and 2. that her explication/justification of this fictional imagery, particularly that which relied upon traditional notions of man/woman sexuality, was at odds with respect to her embrace of individualism.

Objectivism: The intersection of rationality and romance
Ayn Rand is not alone as a literary artist who also wrote serious non-fiction. Other novelists and playwrights, ranging from Leo Tolstoy to Oscar Wilde, have done substantial technical writing on such subjects as aesthetics and political philosophy. (Other examples include Voltaire, Dickens, and George Eliot.) And certainly there are numerous examples of individuals whose literary interests have shifted in the opposite direction - scholars, journalists, and scientists who have turned to writing fiction (Arthur Koestler and Carl Sagan are two examples). But where Rand may well stand alone is the extent and comprehensiveness of her philosophical writing after gaining world renown as a writer of fiction. How did these two bodies of Rand's work combine and intersect in the development of Objectivism? - and in her ideas on male-female relationships? As a philosopher and critic Rand embraced rationality as the cornerstone of her method. As a novelist, however, Rand was an unabashed romantic. Her philosophic writing, by and large, was concerned with reconciling the theory with the fiction. In the mid 1950s, during the writing of her magnum opus, Atlas Shrugged, Rand explained why she began to formulate the comprehensive, rather technical, philosophic framework for Objectivism: I had to originate a philosophic framework of my own because my basic view of man and of existence was in conflict with most of the existing philosophical theories. In order to define, explain and present my conception of man, I had to become a philosopher in the specific meaning of the term. (Quoted by N. Branden in Who is Ayn Rand?, p. 74) And in an ad for Atlas Shrugged Rand is quoted describing the undertaking of this philosophical project in order to clarify the wider implications of questions that had been raised in her 1943 novel The

Fountainhead. What was Rand's philosophical method? In her critical-philosophic writing, Rand went to great lengths to define key terms and explicate underlying assumptions, her own as well as those whose work she took to task. This was a key feature of her approach. She endeavored to leave little doubt about her meaning or stand, particularly on controversial issues. She would typically stipulate her usage where she felt a need to redefine terms to clarify common misconceptions and confusions, which she believed permeated an intellectually "bankrupt" American society that had lost its moral bearings. Rationality was one such term. Rationality - "the recognition and acceptance of reason as one's only source of knowledge" - is the premise of Rand's philosophical method and of Objectivism's epistemology and ethics. Rationality is, for Rand, the highest of human virtues. It is said to entail independence of mind and never accepting contradictions; an uncompromising commitment to consciousness and truth as guides to action; and an "absolute" reliance on reason "as one's only source of knowledge." (Binswanger, p. 404; Rand, Virtue of Selfishness, p. 25) Toward reconciling her philosophical rationalism with the romantic imagery of her fiction, Rand defined feeling and emotion as basically derivative of cognition. Denying any necessary dichotomy, Rand argued for the integration of mind and body, much like Ghibran (1970), who spoke of reason and emotion being "the rudder and the sails of [a] seafaring soul." (p. 55) She rejected any and all variations of the traditional Freudian/Platonic notion of an inherent opposition between these two functions of consciousness. (N. Branden, 1983, p. 174) Rand believed that reason was the primary means of achieving psychological integration. (Sciabarra, 1995, pp. 195-196) Particularly relevant here is that for Rand logic and rationality are not a priori, deductive, cognitive processes. They are methods of inquiry based upon sensory-perception and potentially consistent with feeling-emotion. So it would seem that Rand's embrace of rationalism was not irreconcilable with her highly romantic fictional images of individualism. This reconciliation, I believe, proved more difficult than she had imagined, especially when it came to matters of human sexuality.

Dagny Taggart versus (the mythological) Atlas
As a novelist, Rand was an unapologetic romantic and arch-individualist whose fictional characters are free, independent spirits standing apart from and often in defiance of custom and tradition. Her protagonists declare their independence in the spirit of Thomas Jefferson - which leads me to ask: Could her heroic depictions of Galt and Roark have been recast as women? The answer depends on "Who is Dagny Taggart?" Feminists who are sympathetic with the themes of Rand's literary work will say that Rand has indeed created at least one female character on a par with any folk hero or medieval knight in the name of Dagny Taggart, the force behind Taggart Transcontinental Railroad. Gladstein (1984) describes Dagny as "that rarity in American fiction - a heroine who not only survives, but prevails." (p. 685) But even sympathetic feminist readers have difficulty with Rand's seeming to define her female characters in terms of their relationships to their male counterparts. For Rand, femininity was in some sense derivative or dependent, if not subordinate: "For a woman qua woman, the essence of femininity is hero-worship - the desire to look up to man." (Binswanger, p. 166; Rand, The Objectivist, Dec., 1968, p. 1) Sciabarra (1995) explains Rand's notion of masculinity to which femininity yields or defers as a "trace of cultural conservatism" (p. 200). As Barbara Grizzuti Harrison (1978) puts it, Rand created "indomitable, fierce heroines - who...found ecstasy in surrender." (p. 30) As an example, Dagny, as a high school student, is slapped across the face by Francisco d'Anconia. "[T]he ground rocked under her feet," and left a bruise. Albeit, Francisco had acted in response to Dagny's making a self-effacing

remark about playing dumb in order to become more popular at school. Nevertheless, Dagny "felt [a] violent fury... [and] would have killed any other person who struck her" - but at the same time she experienced "as violent a pleasure that Francisco had done it." (Atlas, 1957, p. 100) For the adult Dagny, there are few men (individuals) in the world to whom she could submit or subordinate herself. As John Galt is following her into the long, dark, abandoned, granite tunnel of Taggart Transcontinental Railroad, Dagny chants to herself, "You will follow me." These words silently spoken are more a claim of right than a prayer, more a demand than a wish. Sensing that she is being followed, she moves even faster into the darkness, pulse beating rapidly, but unafraid. And then, despite Galt's "leashed intensity," the "harshness of his lips...down the line of her throat,… [leaving] a trail of bruises...[and] his elbow knocking her head aside," with "her teeth sinking into the flesh of his arm," there is less surrender than "worship of him." (Atlas, pp. 995-996) Are these clear cases of submission? Arguably not. These are better interpreted as instances of "ecstatic surrender," as Harrison (1978) put it, drawn from drama replete with romantic intrigue. To argue that there is ambiguity is to forget that these cases are drawn from works of fiction. How does Rand explain these depictions? The issue, for her, "is primarily psychological... involving a woman's fundamental view of life...." (The Voice of Reason, p. 268) And she goes on to caution that this "hero-worshiping" should not be taken to mean that femininity is a matter of dependence or of sexual passivity or inferiority. Rather, the reference is meant to describe an intense admiration. She states further that "the object of [a woman's] worship is specifically [a man's] masculinity... Her worship is an abstract emotion for the metaphysical concept of masculinity." For evidence we are referred to "the basic motivation of the heroines in [her] novels...." (Rand, The Objectivist, Dec., 1968, p. 1, Voice of Reason, pp. 267-269) One fascinating case in point where Rand's fiction seems to argue against her pronouncements on femininity and female sexuality is Roark's design of the Stoddard temple. For this commission Roark seeks out sculptor Steven Mallory, whom he rescues from a state of drunken despair. Roark, having seen in Mallory's work images of "the heroic in man," wants Mallory to create "a statue of a naked woman..." which the building would be "built around." "[T]he figure must be... [of the] human spirit. The heroic in man... uplifted by its own essence. Seeking God - and finding itself. Showing that there is no higher reach beyond its own form." (pp. 337-341) The source of the apparent tension between Rand's philosophy and her aesthetic imagery, I will argue, is rooted in Rand's philosophical embrace of rationality combined with a rather traditional Western aesthetic icon of human heroism (related to Sciabarra's "trace of cultural conservatism"). In brief, the suggestion will be made that traditional icons of individuality overly influenced Rand's aesthetic theory, icons which have invariably been represented by images of male figures, notably from Ancient Greek mythology. Moreover, there is the longstanding traditional dichotomy posited between romanticism and formal, classical rationalism which, I will be arguing, Rand did not fully transcend.

Gods and goddesses of Ancient Greek myth: a question of parity
In her personal philosophy of human sexuality, Rand might be described as a romantic traditionalist, inspired by images of Ancient male Greek gods. Though she denies that sexual "hero-worship" implies dependence, the view of femininity yielding to a higher, masculine principle of human potential comes far too close to common notions of women as the weaker sex. The idea seems to fly in the face of the value that she places on individuality. Rand spoke of goddess imagery, but to a far lesser extent and in a somewhat different way, referring more to their grace and beauty. She was less fond of the later Hellenistic genre images of goddess figures fixing their hair or slipping into sandals, as in the sculptural relief of Nike on the Acropolis in Athens (circa 410 BC). (Personal notes taken from

Nathaniel Branden Institute lectures.) In her view of human nature and potential, as well as of human sensuality and sexuality, Rand fixated on images of solo adventurers, invariably male, such as Atlas and Prometheus. "Howard Roark laughed," proudly and defiantly, at the opening of The Fountainhead rather than tell a party joke or comb his hair. As in the history of Western art (Rand and her associates had few kind words for "Eastern" visual imagery), images of women standing alone confronting the forces of nature or of human dastardliness have been few and far between. Rand favored the naturalistic individualism of Ancient Greek imagery. But "who is Dagny Taggart?" - one then asks. Contemporary feminist historians like Riane Eisler (1988) have only recently begun to uncover the significance of the female goddess icons that presaged, and may have given birth to, the glorious imagery of Greece's Golden Age. It is a radically different interpretation of the cultural roots of Western imagery and heritage, supported by fairly abundant, newly discovered anthropological evidence. It is a reinterpretation that is entirely consistent with the life-based, romantic naturalism at the core of Objectivism. Consider in this connection Rand's view of femininity as deferring, albeit admiringly, to a masculine principle. That characterization comes very close to Downing's (1981) discussion of how Homer, Hesiod, and the Ancient Greek tragedians recast Greek mythology, subordinating the goddesses who had in the pre-Olympian scheme of things held positions of far more autonomous authority: The goddesses are not only subordinated to the god [emph. added], they are defined as being in their very essence related to men.... Hera [formerly goddess of birth and death] is wife, Athena [once maiden warrior, protector of family, patron of the arts] is father's daughter, Aphrodite [once goddess of love, both noble and earthy] is the responsive beloved, Artemis [once formidable protector of the animal kingdom] is she who shuns men. (pp. 20-21) Goddesses were thus diminished and delimited, according to Downing; Aphrodite's beauty became more sexual and physical, Artemis became a huntress rather than protector. (p. 21) Powers (1991) expresses similar dismay over "The absence of a discernibly autonomous heroine in all of Western literature," (p. 3) an omission she too traces to Greek mythology. Its "revised" message she interprets to suggest that only limited possibilities are open for women: Heroism... appears in myth to be an entirely masculine affair.... The goddesses and mortal women who do appear in myth are mothers, wives, mentors, temptresses, ogresses, and victims... play[ing] supporting roles in the stories of heroes.... Women are props,... functionaries, backdrops. (pp. 3-4; see also the related discussion on pp. 61, 74, 89) Speaking more generally of Western literature, she laments that women are offered "no transcendent models of autonomous affirmation, no daughters of the goddess." (p. 202): "[T]he woman as hero was born... [in the writing of] Ibsen and [Henry?] James some time around 1880. But... [quoting Carol Heilbrun] "By the end of the Second World War, however, the wench was dead. Women characters had become, as they largely still are, events in the lives of men." (p. 145) "[T]he deeply buried divinity of the goddess," Powers says, emerges only as archetypal outlaw, enigma, or survivor. (p. 150) Later she suggests that this has had the effect on women of "internalization of vulnerability, culpability, and secondary status...." (p. 202) Rand's personal aesthetics - in her novels and from accounts of her personal life - explicitly embraced images of the individual standing alone, with the world as backdrop. These images were of the human spirit deliberately set in opposition to such traditional religious icons as those of Madonna and child. Many feminists, from Friedan to Steinhem, would likely be sympathetic with this aspect of her female hero/ines. But where some of them would readily dispense with the pas de deux, few would appreciate

Rand's traditionalist view of Man alone as creator, Man in the image of a god (albeit of the Earthly variety), indeed as the creator of gods and of monuments to the human spirit. Rand's protagonists stand alone in defiance of the forces of nature and human malfeasance. Her idealized icon of the hero leaves little room for the likes of an Earth mother or snake goddess. For Rand the pas de deux is problematic symbolically, more likely because of its "collectivist" connotation. (Sciabarra, p. 199, B. Branden, p. 412) The choice of an aesthetic icon was for Rand between a singular woman or man standing alone.

The artist's sense-of-life in Rand's imagery and aesthetic theory
In Rand's aesthetic theory, art (in the romantic style or not) is defined as the "selective re-creation of reality according to the artist's metaphysical value-judgments." (Binswanger, p. 37; Rand, "The psychoepistemology of Art," Romantic Manifesto, p. 22) An artwork's selectivity of subject matter, its unity of composition and thematic content derives from the basic philosophic beliefs embraced by the artist. The function of art is said to be "communication of a moral ideal," (ibid., pp. 25, 161) by means of a concretization of abstract life-values (ibid., p. 23). "Art gives [one] the pleasure of feeling what it would be like to live in one's ideal world." (ibid., p. 48) However, artists rarely hold such life-values explicitly or in the forefront of consciousness while working in their craft. And rarely are such "philosophic" beliefs made explicit in the works themselves. One could argue that this is true even, let us say, in a scene where a closing courtroom argument is given by the story's protagonist who happens to have degrees in both law and philosophy. (Hypothetically extending a scene from The Fountainhead.) Fictional characters are not to be taken literally as spokespersons for authors. That would render fiction bad autobiography, or make for fictional autobiography. Works of art do not convey their philosophic life-values explicitly. Rand acknowledges this, saying "The concretization of a moral ideal [in a work of art] is not a textbook on how to become one." (Romantic Manifesto, p. 25) Saying that an artist's "philosophy" guided or inspired the creation of a work is one thing; attempting the systematic exposition of that philosophy is quite another matter. The latter requires doing philosophy. (N. Branden has recently made much the same argument in 10S Journal, Feb. 1997, p. 12) Expounding on Rand's view of the relationship between philosophy and art, Leonard Peikoff (1991) concurs that "an artwork does not [explicitly] formulate the metaphysics it represents; it does not (or at least need not) articulate definitions and principles." (p. 418) He goes on to emphasize the relationship between the two, saying that: Man requires the union of... philosophy and art, the broad [philosophical] identifications and their concrete embodiment [in the form of art].... [C]oncepts condense percepts; philosophy... condenses concepts; and art then condenses philosophy returning to the perceptual level, this time in a form impregnated with a profound abstract meaning. (pp. 418-419) Peikoff's discussion of the relationship between art and philosophy focuses on their cognitive complementarity. That relationship is not in dispute. Rather, I am also looking at differences between these two forms of human inquiry and cognition. Few would dispute that philosophic writing differs greatly from the process of artistic creation. Though Rand did both, I am contending, with Branden (1997), that these two endeavors are so fundamentally different that no one could have engaged in both with unimpeachable consistency. Throughout her philosophical writing on art, Rand uses the term "sense of life" to describe the form in which an artist's metaphysical beliefs are held in the process of creation. The metaphysical life-values guiding artistic creation are held implicitly and subconsciously, according to Rand, in the form of affect or emotion. Writing philosophy, however, requires systematic exposition and explication of one's method of inquiry. The process is deliberate and consciously critical, rather than intuitive.

After writing Atlas Rand's life's work shifted to the exposition of the "philosophy" underlying her fiction. Objectivism was, in effect, her attempt to define the meaning of the images of her fictional characters' lives. Their motives and their actions became, in effect, the basis of her ethics. Their intelligence and patterns of thought became the basis of her epistemology. Their manners, relationships, and personal interactions set the groundwork for her social-economic-political philosophy. For her ideas on art, Rand could consult the architects, playwrights, and sculptors she had created. Introspectively she could also study the process of their creation by her, as, in every work of art consciously in Rand's case - the mind and technique of the creator is an ever-present factor. But once her efforts at philosophic exposition had begun in earnest, the writing of novels was done - something she would never concede. Just as our responses to art differ in how we read/experience the moral or axiological content of artworks, so too, there is a basic difference between how artists and philosophers hold and express their "metaphysical" beliefs. One is justified in seeking greater consensus of interpretations of formal statements of philosophy; but aesthetic response entails a personal, emotional reaction to (visual) images or to even less tangible feelings/moods. The process is primarily perceptual and intuitive. Such responding entails the suspension of disbelief. The process is neither critical nor reflective. The acceptance of philosophical doctrine in this manner, however, is fraught with hazard. As Rand notes, "Art is not [properly] the means to any didactic end." (Romantic Manifesto, p. 25) It is for this very reason that, throughout the ages, the lure of religious hymns and icons has relied on the emotional appeal of art to convey political-ethical doctrine to the unwitting. Rand seems aware of this capacity of art: "[Art] conditions or stylizes man's consciousness by conveying to him a certain way of looking at existence." (The Objectivist, Apr., 1971, p. 1) Conjecture regarding conflict in Rand's own life concerning man-woman relationships stemmed partly from her claim that her own marriage was based upon hero-worship. Some of those closest to her have questioned this claim. (B. Branden, p. 88) The truth is never easy to come by in these personal matters. But we can wonder why this champion of egoism in the pursuit of toe-tingling happiness would say that the goal of her writing was to create characters whom she could look up to. Does admiration require that one "look up to" the object of our admiration? And there is also the question of her disavowal of feminism and rejection of the idea of a women American president. ("About a Woman President," The Objectivist, Dec., 1968, p. 1) The latter, I will suggest, was not so much based on critical social theory as it was a position embraced by Rand that was grounded in the aesthetic/romantic symbolism captured so magnificently in the figures of Ancient Greek, lone, male gods. Two of Rand's novels and a play contain (arguably) scenes of rapes of major female characters. John Galt's rough-and-tumble sex with Dagny Taggart in a tunnel of Taggart Transcontinental Railroad has been interpreted by some as rape. Their relationship resumes later in the story with far deeper and gentler intimacy. Roark's [arguable] rape of Dominique in The Fountainhead some would argue was mitigated by compliance on her part, or even provocation, as she had struck the first blow at an earlier meeting. Through fits and starts, their relationship also grows in intimacy following that first encounter. Bjorn Faulkner's rape of Karen Andre in Night of January 16th marks the beginning of their business partnership, and she remains his mistress. If these are acts of rape, none could be called brutal or violent. All are consensual. None entails "objectification" of the woman. Rand described each as acts more of admiration than of assertion or imposition of power, according to Nathaniel Branden (The Virtue of Selfishness, pp. 76-77) Acknowledging that many will find the imagery unpalatable if not offensive, Gladstein (1984) suggests that these are symbolic depictions of ritualized, romantic first encounters. (emph. added, p. 23) Returning to the question of whether Rand's assertion regarding the impropriety of a woman American president was philosophically based or was an extension of her fictional imagery. My belief is that this

was the voice of Rand the artist speaking, not the thought of the philosopher/social critic. Like many historians of the American Revolution, Rand traced America's political-philosophic heritage to classical Ancient Greece. One can conjecture what her image of an American president might have been: If not a dignified version of Apollo, perhaps a more statesmanlike, Jeffersonian version of the character "Mr. Smith" (from the title role of the James Stewart movie). But why in heaven's name disqualify Dagny Taggart? Years ago, I attended a lecture at the Nathaniel Branden Institute (established to disseminate Rand's philosophy) where Rand was asked by an audience member to choose between reason and personal preference as a moral guide. After noting that "personal preference" could be translated to mean "individual judgment," Rand responded that rationality is essentially a matter of individual judgment. Rand then asked if the questioner's intent was to ask which of the two was the more fundamental guide to action, rationality or personal freedom? Before the questioner could respond, she answered: "Rationality." She was unequivocal, making no mention of how she had painstakingly redefined the term rationality in a way that differs radically from traditional usage. Nor was there any mention of the evolution of her own thinking on this question. As noted by David Kelley (1998), in reference to the recent publication of her journals, Rand's thinking is described as moving "from Nietzsche to Aristotle, from an emphasis on will and the passion to live to an emphasis on reason...." (p. 8) Rand held rationality to be a primary moral virtue and an essential component of healthy psychological functioning. Rationality is also at the center of Rand's notion of objectivity. The terms rationality and objectivity were given a meaning by Rand that was markedly different from how these terms were used by the Rationalists of traditional Western philosophy. Whereas traditional Rationalists, for the most part, accepted a dichotomy between logical analysis and empirical experience (the "analytic-synthetic dichotomy"), Rand disputed any such inherent disjunction. On the contrary, as noted earlier, she held that logical methods of reasoning are applicable to and properly grounded upon empirical evidence. Rationality was seen by her as contextual and, in practical application, as action consistent with one's best knowledge of circumstances and relevant, available evidence. Clarity of rational thought grounded in sensory-perceptual experience was, for Rand, the hallmark of integrity. But what of romance and Dagny Taggart?

Problems in deriving philosophy from art
When asked, Rand dismissed the question of whether she was primarily a philosopher or a novelist, claiming that "every novelist is a philosopher...[whose only choice is] whether he holds his philosophical convictions consciously or subconsciously." (For the New Intellectual, p. vii) That difference, between holding one's philosophy consciously or not, I take to be crucial to questions of philosophical method. The discipline of writing philosophy, as noted earlier, differs markedly from that of artistic creation in this very respect. Philosophic inquiry requires critical reflection in checking the accuracy and veracity of statements, in editing and re-editing formulations and verifying underlying assumptions. Yet, advocates of Rand's philosophy have rarely questioned her approach of deriving a system of philosophy from (i.e., relying extensively upon) works of fiction, as N. Branden has recently noted. (lOS Journal, ibid.) This combining of two very different sorts of literary texts, I am suggesting, was a major error in the enterprise that Rand had undertaken in the development of Objectivism. Not only are art and philosophy two very different media of expression, requiring radically different creative approaches, each requires a very different frame of mind on the part of readers/viewers. Historically, these two literary forms have typically been combined for the purpose of proselytizing political or religious doctrine. This is why so-called docudramas often offend our sense of history. I would suggest that it

was this combining of fiction and philosophy that made Objectivism susceptible to charges by critics of overstatement and melodramatic simplification. Fictional depictions are after all, dramatizations: "The myth of Prometheus, martyred for heroism, runs through all of Rand's novels.... [H]eroes are punished, if not defeated, by a corrupt society." (105 Journal, 1996) That lOS Journal report acknowledged that this is how many Objectivists respond to Rand's novels, explaining that this was a theme "driven by fiction's requirements for conflict and drama." (p. 2) Writing philosophy, as well as its study, however, requires a different method - one that does not rely upon caricature and melodrama, which are inherent in the process of artistic selectivity. The values-beliefs embodied in visual as well as literary images are conveyed tacitly. Readers/viewers do not so much grasp the meanings of artworks as they are touched and moved by them. Aesthetic dramatizations of themes can be quite compelling, depending upon how receptive one is - whether or not the respondent is in agreement with the work's "philosophical" message. Indeed, in fiction, virtue and truth are accepted as depicted. As Broudy (1964) explains: "Artistic means can be used to capture attention and to rivet it... [converting] actions into an experience [that is] framed and outlined... pav[ing] the way for intensified feeling and involvement." (p. 42) Infusing aesthetic qualities with a society's rituals, Broudy argues, can transmute barbaric wars into noble crusades and can convert a brutal rape into romantic ecstasy. (p. 42) The more refined one's aesthetic attitude and sensibilities, the more receptive one will be to what a work of art is saying, whether any implicit references to objective reality are factually based or not. It is possible, indeed laudable, to be capable of being deeply moved by a work even when its aesthetic themes conflict with one's conscious beliefs on the subject. Evidence or "proof" should carry little or no weight as far as aesthetic response is concerned. The "truth" of the work is subjective, in the sense that we are experiencing our own values in relation to an artist's image of a world - like to explore or be part of. Aesthetic response predisposes us to accept that world-view rather than "check the artist's [or our own] premises." It is an error, of course, to generalize from aesthetic images, to decide, for example, to become architects for no other reason than one's admiration for the fictional character Howard Roark. Attempting to mimic the sort of independence of judgment for which Roark stood would be foolhardy, if not tragic irony. Enright (1992) concurs with this tendency to emulate a fictional character's "temperamental proclivities," suggesting that "some aspects of [Roark's] personality are not necessarily tied to what makes him a morally great person but perhaps to what makes him a great dramatic character." (p. 89) Though artistic creation and response are recognized by Rand as affective processes of consciousness, which are driven by an individual's "sense of life," Objectivism denies the validity of philosophical subjectivism as a moral and epistemological principle. Yet objectivity - in one's frame of reference and as an intellectual stance - is seen as relational. As noted earlier, truth and goodness are not taken as inherently intrinsic. Objectivity in the Objectivist epistemology refers to a relationship between external (existential) facts/events in connection with prevailing knowledge and the means of acquiring that knowledge. (Binswanger, pp. 345-346; Rand, The Objectivist Newsletter, Feb., 1965, p.7) Ethically, it entails a method of seeking truth and acting honestly based on one's best understanding. In key respects, objectivity was for Rand as much a psychological as it was a philosophical concept. The Western Rationalist philosophical canon (for reasons discussed earlier), has led us to think of elemental methods or principles of rationality as a priori or immutable. Rand disputed this tradition, especially in her emphasis on the application of knowledge to human affairs, which she held requires personal judgment as well as critically questioning one's beliefs. Response to art, however, tends to disarm us critically. This apparent conflict within the philosophy of Objectivism, I believe, requires critical attention.

Objectivism exemplified in John Galt - and Dagny Taggart?
Rand grounds Objectivism upon concrete reality, being studied, as it were, dispassionately by a philosopher-scientist whose observations are honed into primary laws of nature with a passionate objectivity. Little room is allowed for fanciful, poetic excursions. How, then, can the heroes of Rand's novels - male and female - be said to embody these qualities of objectivity? Few would deny how conscientious they are about being true to themselves. The images capture the focused skill of a craftsman carving into rock or creating drawings envisioning new architectural forms. They are not about putting finishing touches on a classroom lecture. The images of the novels evoke a sense of reality where individuals can succeed in their efforts to form matter, rebuild their surroundings, and remake themselves. These are the themes which are implicit in Rand's novels. But in themselves, these themes are not equivalent to formally constructed, philosophical arguments. Returning to our (feminist) dilemma, even though in the history of literature few male fictional characters match the strength and courage of Dagny Taggart, when aesthetic push came to philosophical shove, Atlas alone prevailed. With the one exception noted earlier, Mallory's Stoddard temple statue, Rand's philosophic conception of the human spirit was embodied in images of the male gods of Greek myth, rather than Athena or Hera. And despite the fact that the classical ideal of Ancient Greek art sought a complementary, asymmetrical balance of formal rule and (less formal) spirit, Rand the philosopher thought of her embodiments of Atlas as far more thoughtful than they were willful or passionate - an inference drawn from her embrace of the rational Apollo over the sensual Dionysus. (The New Left, 1971) Taking issue, following Eisler's (1988) lead, I see a natural evolution from the archaic nature goddesses of life-birth to the naturalistic individualism of Golden-Age Greek myths, culture, and philosophy which Rand so admired. The evidence rests in remnants of artifacts featuring strong, graceful, athletic individual female forms just as often embracing snakes as infants. (Refer again to Note 2.) Individualist feminist writers are today redefining feminism along lines which I take to be fully consistent with the spirit and substance of Rand's individualist depictions of women - and men - in her novels. Regrettably, contrary to my claim, Ayn Rand the artist, philosopher, and woman placed traditional male icons of heroism and philosophic rationalism on higher pedestals than the romantic individualism of her inspiring literary creations. A truer synthesis of Rand's art and philosophy can, I believe, come from the searches and researches of contemporary individualist-feminists for what Gloria Fenman Orenstein (1990) calls a vision of a secular spirituality which "affirms both women and men in all [their] life-nurturing, life-supporting capacities" (p. xvi) - a theme underlying Rand's major literary works and the ethics of Objectivism.

1. Harry Binswanger's Ayn Rand Lexicon is comprised almost entirely of direct quotations of statements taken from Rand's more technical philosophic writings. The excerpts range from single sentence definitions to extended passages. The Lexicon is, in effect, an annotated index of the body of Rand's non-fiction writings, also including excerpts from her fiction that she had herself referenced or quoted in her commentaries and theoretical essays. 2. Feminist historians attribute this subordination of the goddess to a cultural transition toward political hierarchy (presaging monotheism and the Roman legal system) and, more ominously, a move away from secular naturalism. Traditional art history texts as well as those authored by contemporary feminist historians have traced the naturalism of classical Ancient Greek imagery to an earlier Archaic period emerging in (Minoan) Crete and Mycenae circa 2,500 to 1400 B.C.E., or earlier. (Eisler, 1987, Chap. 3; Platon, 1966) Archaeologists have in recent decades uncovered sculptures and wall paintings

depicting athletic figures, male and female, engaged in dance, sport, and games. This imagery is seen to be a distinct departure from Ancient Egyptian figures which tended to be geometrically stylized, frontal, and static. In contrast, the Archaic Greek forms are remarkably agile and graceful, moving more freely, often standing with their weight and balance shifted off center. (Much of this same sort of analysis applies to depictions of land and sea animals as well.) The term naturalistic, in this context, refers to imagery based upon careful observation of the natural world, to be contrasted with geometric, iconic, stylized representations. Naturalistic representations in early (Archaic) Ancient Greek visual art indicate careful study of anatomy and biology, revealed particularly in the representation of movement and proportions of figures. This sense of the terms "naturalistic" or "naturalism" is distinct from its use as a reference to a style of visual and literary art depicting renderings of ordinary, everyday (genre) subject matter. 3. In her discussion of the historical origins of myth-making, Powers (1991) offers a (non-technical) definition of the function of art that bears a striking resemblance to Rand's. Human beings are said to be "the only species which has cerebral encounters with abstract issues,... which asks metaphysical questions... [which] are potentially overwhelming.... [From a] drive for life, the species [evolved]... religious rituals and mythmaking. Thus imaginative defenses were created... envision[ing] spirits which they might placate,... and subsequently evolved a conception of divinity... conceptualiz[ing] themselves as heroic, as chosen." (pp. 201-202) And for an excellent summary of Rand's ideas on how art serves a basic human psychological requirement, see M.F. Enright's "Why man needs approval," in Objectivity (1:2), pp. 68-71).

Binswanger, Harry (ed., 1986). The Ayn Rand Lexicon, NY: New American Lib. Branden, Barbara (1986). The Passion of Ayn Rand, NY: Doubleday. Branden, Nathaniel (1962). Who is Ayn Rand?, NY: Paperback Lib. __________ (1983). Honoring the Self, Los Angeles: J.P. Tarcher. __________ (1989). Judgment Day: My Years with Ayn Rand, Boston: Houghton Mifflin. Broudy, Harry (1964). "The structure of knowledge in the arts," in Education and the Structure of Knowledge (S. Elam, ed.), Chicago: Rand McNally. Downing, Christine (1981). The Goddess, NY: Continuum. Eisler, Riane (1988). The Chalice and the Blade, NY: Harper & Row. Enright, Marsha Familaro (1992). "Why man needs approval," in Objectivity (1:2). Gibran, Kahlil (1970). The Prophet, NY: Alfred A. Knopf. Gladstein, Mimi Reisel (1984). The Ayn Rand Companion, London:Greenwood Press. _________(1978). "Ayn Rand and feminism: an unlikely alliance," in College English (39:6). Grizzuti Harrison, Barbara (1978). "Psyching out Ayn Rand," in Ms. Magazine (Sept.) 10S Journal (Inst. for Objectivist Studies newsletter). N. Branden reference in Feb.1997 issue, p. 12; Bidinotto quotation appearing in a summary of his lecture entitled "The case for cultural optimism," June, 1996, p.2. Kelley, David (1998). "The autobiography of an idea," in Navigator, NY: Inst. for Objectivist Studies, Feb.

McElroy, Wendy, ed. (1991). Freedom, Feminism, and the State (2nd ed.), NY: Holmes & Meier. Orenstein, Gloria Fenman (1990). The Reflowering of the Goddess, NY: Pergamon Press. Platon, Nicolas (1966). Crete, Geneva: Nagel. Powers, Meredith A. (1991). The Heroine in Western Literature, NC: McFarland. Rand, Ayn (1994). The Fountainhead, NY: Plume/Penguin. __________ (1957). Atlas Shrugged, NY: Random House. __________ (Nathaniel Branden, co-author, 1964). The Virtue of Selfishness, NY: New American Lib. __________ (1968). Night of January 16th, NY: World. __________ (1968). "An answer to readers: about a woman president," in The Objectivist (Dec.) (or Peikoff, ed. op cit., 1989). __________ (1969). The Romantic Manifesto, Cleveland, OH:World. __________ (1971). "Apollo and Dionysus" (Chapt. 2), in The New Left: The Anti-industrial Revolution, NY:New American Lib. __________ (1989). The Voice of Reason (L. Peikoff, ed.), NY: New American Lib. _________ (1962-1965, with Nathaniel Branden, ed.). The Objectivist Newsletter (vols. 1-4), NY: The Objectivist. Sciabarra, Chris Matthew (1995). Ayn Rand: The Russian Radical, PA: The Penn State U. Press.

Copyright Bryan Register 2001 All Rights Reserved The goal of this paper is twofold. The first goal is to develop a sketch of a libertarian approach to ideology. Ideology, as I see it, exists in a context of class warfare, state power, and hegemonic struggles for control. I develop a libertarian approach to these questions, largely by way of engaging with remarks by Marx and Engels on these questions - Marxism has a set of strikingly sophisticated analytical devices which I hope to appropriate, even while I reject certain key moments of Marxist economic analysis. A political philosophy's understanding of classes and related phenomena will largely determine its theory of ideology. But such a theory should generate specific empirical predictions about the content of the rhetorical acts which inculcate the ideology of the dominant class. Thus the second goal is to look at some rhetorical texts and see whether the predictions of libertarianism are borne out. My samples involve critiques of the rise of so-called 'junk bonds' in finance in the 80's. The reason for choosing these texts will become evident. For reasons of length, several important lines of argument are developed in footnotes.


Marx writes that, "In so far as millions of families live under economic conditions of existence that divide their mode of life, their interests[,] and their culture from those of the other classes, and put them in hostile contact with the latter, they form a class." (Marx in Tucker 1972, 608) A class is constituted, then, by economic conditions that divide it from other classes with which it is in hostile contact, and that lead it to be different in mode of life, interests, and culture from other classes. Elsewhere, Marx had suggested that

Economic conditions first transformed the mass of the people of the country into workers. The combination of capital has created for this mass a common situation, common interests. This mass is

thus already a class as against capital, but not yet for itself.... An oppressed class is the vital condition for every society founded on the antagonism of classes. (Marx in Tucker 1972, 218) The economic relations that divide classes, then, have something to do with the combination of capital (in the sense of means of production). The situation and interests of the mass, or the class against capital (in the sense of the owners of the means of production), is determined by their relation to the means of production. Likewise, one expects, for the situation and interests of the capitalist class. How does one class exploit another by way of economic relations? Here is a brief list, by Engels, of the essential features of capitalist relations of production:

Transformation of industry, at first by means of simple co-operation and manufacture. Concentration of the means of production, hitherto scattered, into great workshops. As a consequence, their transformation from individual to social means of production - a transformation which does not, on the whole, affect the form of exchange. The old [feudal] forms of appropriation remain in force. The capitalist appears. In his capacity as owner of the means of production, he also appropriates the products and turns them into commodities. Production has become a social act. Exchange and appropriation continue to be individual acts, the acts of individuals. The social product is appropriated by the individual capitalist. Fundamental contradiction... (Engels in

Tucker 1972, 716)

Here is how it seems to work. Under feudalism, production and exchange were both individual: the individual tenant farmer worked the land, and likewise individual farmers, merchants, or lords exchanged goods (sometimes by way of appropriation). Under capitalism, due to technological developments, production has become social while exchange remains individual. Because workers exchange their labor for pay, a fundamental distortion is introduced into the distribution of wealth: workers socially produce all of the value in the economy, but they individually exchange some of it away. Thus capitalist relations of production give rise to two classes: the socially producing class, and the class to which this class exchanges some of the value which they produce. The former class is the proletariat, and the latter the bourgeoisie or capitalist class. For Marx, then, capitalist relations of production constitute the owners and workers of capital as opposed groups playing a zero-sum game: any value gained by the owners is of necessity taken from the workers, because the owners do not participate in the social process of production and hence make no productive contribution to the social product (the aggregate wealth of the community). This oppositional relation constitutes workers and owners of capital as different in interests, as well as mode of life and culture. The relations of production become one of Marx's essential analytic tools in coming to understand the nature of capitalist political economy and hence the exploitative social relations to which it gives rise. The libertarian approach to the theory of class which I will present here is modeled on Marx's but seeks to avoid certain key errors which he makes. A core error of Marx's account is his failure to place the individual business concern within its economic context. It is because of this failure that Engels's explanation would continue, moving on to list essential features of the late stages of capitalism like this:

Partial recognition of the social character of the productive forces forced upon the capitalists themselves. Taking over of the great institutions for production and communication, first by joint-stock companies, later on by trusts, then by the state. The bourgeoisie demonstrated to be a superfluous class. All its social functions are now performed by salaried employees. (Engels in Tucker 1972, 717) Engels does not understand the relationship of the owner of capital to the market within which she operates, and hence has failed to correctly grasp the relationship between worker and owner of capital.

Ironically, this is because he has failed to grasp the social character of the productive forces.<1> Here is a very simplified version of what he has failed to recognize. The individual business concern produces goods of some kind which are sold on a market. The owner of that concern must design the concern to maximize her profit. She does this by arranging to produce goods for which there is a relatively high demand relative to supply, and for which cost is low relative to expected income. However, she cannot arrange things in this way without knowing the social relations of supply and demand, and the expected costs and income to be expended and derived from a given arrangement of the productive forces. This information exists in the form of prices: current prices of the good to be produced, as well as the capital and labor required to produce those goods. Without prices, the owner of an individual business concern could make no decisions at all; no investment decision could be any more rational than any other. If we were to, through some form of social action, eliminate the distinction between Marx's classes, such that the owners of the business concern are identical with those who work at it, the problem to be solved would not disappear (nor need it be exacerbated). The owners of a worker-owned business concern would have as their goal (ceteris paribus, of course - homo economicus is a myth) the maximization of their wealth, which would be derived in the form of a portion of the profits gained by their business concern. They would thus benefit from the social information carried by prices, just as the bourgeois owner of the business would have benefited. However, prices can exist only under social conditions of exchange. Only when agents are willing to exchange goods or services with one another is there a price that they are willing to pay for those goods or services which they desire. But if there is no price without exchange, and no exchange without a market, then there can no rational economic decision-making without a market. Engels is wrong to say that the function of the bourgeoisie could be taken over by salaried state employees. It could be taken over by workers who retained the social difference between firms, so that prices could be established on an open market, but it could not be taken over by a single agent (construed as a single person or organization, such as the state) and continue to function. So the existence of a market is crucial to rational economic decision-making, because economic decision-making is typically decision-making in a social context, and crucial information about this social context is carried in the form of prices. But this implies that there must be persons who attend to the market and are empowered to direct capital in those ways most likely to produce a profit. It is quite possible for this agent to be the workers of a firm, organized for mutual advantage in the marketplace. But there are reasons why this arrangement may not be most efficient. Different persons have different levels of skill at understanding market signals,<2> and it is often most efficient that those who have the necessary skill and inclination focus their efforts in this area, even as others focus their efforts elsewhere, often as workers in a business concern owned by one who has the necessary training to direct capital to achieve a profit. Owners and workers each benefit from this arrangement: owners of capital have workers to produce the goods for which the owners have realized there is substantial social demand, while workers' efforts are rendered more efficient and more remunerative by their participation in a profitable concern. The owners are performing a valuable social service and their salaries are not stolen from the workers. Indeed, the crucial labor performed by the owners of capital make possible the rational direction of the business concern and hence create the opportunity of the worker to engage in social production just as the crucial labor performed by the workers make possible the business concern and hence create the opportunity of the owner to engage in rational direction according to signals of social supply and demand. The division of labor here achieved is no more sinister than any other and does not give rise to a division between classes. Obviously, there can be conflicts of interest between owners and workers of capital; for this reason, libertarian social theory recognizes that workers must be empowered to form unions and strike and that

there must be some third party capable of mediating between the two. (These conditions are not met if the 'third party' is the state acting on behalf of the owners, and the form which mediation takes is violence directed against workers.) But it is not plain that such conflicts are necessary or will occur systematically in an unregulated marketplace.<3> Despite the failure of Marxism to grasp the social nature of production (and hence to grasp the relation between the owner and worker of capital), there are important insights to be gained into the nature of classes from Marx's approach. For Marx, a class is a relational group which acquires its identity as a class by its oppositional relations with other classes. These oppositional relations are essentially economic in nature. These relations, furthermore, are key to explaining social and economic phenomena. Libertarian social theory seeks to understand contemporary social relations in terms of class. But Marx's theory of class makes sense only if we have already accepted his mistaken theory of the workercapitalist relation. Libertarian analysts, however, have discovered that there is a cleavage within contemporary society which has much the same effects which Marx thought that the cleavage between worker and capitalist had. Often the very same economic events (such as, crucially, the business cycle) which Marx would have explained with reference to the divide between workers and capitalists can be explained with reference to the divide between the majority of the populace and the owners of banks when they are organized either as a cartel or under the administration of a central reserve bank. (Grinder and Hagel 1977, 64) Grinder and Hagel argue that, as capitalism advances and acquires greater internal complexity,

The bank... emerges as an ultimate decision-maker... since it is directly involved in the allocation of loans to specific industrial and commercial ventures. Its decision-making is explicitly oriented towards production activity and it is this form of decision-making which actively determines the parameters within which the economic system will evolve. Active planning control is thus delegated [by depositors] to the bank as a financial intermediary who exercises it subject to the constraint that the depositor may eventually withdraw his funds.

In the absence of politically imposed barriers to entry, the unhampered competitive market process will act to ensure that financial institutions, just as any other market participants, will be constrained by the prospect of increasing competitive activity if they fail to perform as efficiently as possible. In addition, financial institutions are clearly precluded from establishing a monopolistic control over the commodity with which they deal since money necessarily pervades the entire economy. (Grinder and Hagel 1977, 63)

The argument is this. Some individual depositors wish to defer consumption in return for greater consumption at a later time. They wish to gain the maximum future consumption, that is, the maximum rate of interest. But in general higher-interest investments are also higher-risk investments. The depositor is willing to forego the maximum possible interest in return for a preferable ratio of risk to interest; that is, she is willing to lower her expected return if she can get a higher return with less risk than she would have done otherwise. The bank is the institution which she employs to gain a relatively high return on her investment, and she pays the bank for taking on the risk of her investment by lowering the return which she requires. Moreover, the depositor typically is not an expert on financial matters and thus has greater confidence in the investment decisions made by a bank than she would make herself; alternately, she may simply not wish to spend time acquiring the knowledge of the market which is necessary for wise investment. Thus, the bank becomes the agency which is primary economic decision-maker, in lieu of the individual depositor/investor.<4> Because banks make their money by way of lending money, it will be to their benefit to loan more money rather than less. Thus banks will be tempted to maintain ever-smaller fractions of their depositors' deposits on hand for repayment should those depositors wish to withdraw their funds; that is, they will be tempted to pursue inflationary policies. However, those banks with a lesser fractional reserve will have more difficulty should many of their investments fail and/or should many of their depositors seek to withdraw their money simultaneously. At worst, the less fractional reserve a bank has on hand the more likely it is to fail and thus potentially destroy its depositors' savings. Since depositors wish to avoid such risks, they will tend to gravitate toward banks with relatively high fractional reserves (or even full reserves). Thus there is a market pressure toward higher reserves.

However, it is possible to eliminate this pressure. This can occur if all banks systematically maintain lower reserves. But this cannot be arranged for on the unfettered market, because cartelization on the market creates a prisoner's dilemma: each bank will benefit from defecting from the cartel; knowing that each other bank faces the same temptation to defect, each bank is likely to defect. But that an inflationary banking cartel cannot be created in the unfettered market does not imply that an inflationary banking cartel cannot be created. All that is necessary is fetters:

Banks have historically failed to achieve their inflationary objectives on a free market and, as a result, these financial institutions have ultimately turned to the political means embodied in the coercive state apparatus in order to implement their cartelizing and inflationary monetary policies....

State intervention serves to reinforce considerably the inherent importance of the banking sector both within the capital market itself and within the economic system as a whole.... Most importantly..., cartelization of banking activity permits banks to inflate their asset base systematically. The creation of

assets made possible by these measures to a great extent frees the banking institutions from the constraints imposed by the passive form of ultimate decision-making exercised by their depositors. (Grinder and Hagel 1977, 64-5) Banks can be cartelized only by way of state intervention. If the state creates a bank that backs all individual banks, then each bank may pursue inflationary policies and reduce fractional reserves without fear of failure. Individual banks are aware that the central bank will pay its depositors should

its investments fail, and thus are unmotivated to preserve depositor confidence. To put the point another way, depositor confidence has been placed, not in the bank, but in the state.<5> For libertarian social theorists like Grinder and Hagel, the basic division between classes comes about because of the structurally distortive effects of state action on the economy. State intervention in the banking sector is both spectacularly destructive to the economy<6> and tends to move a certain group of well-placed bankers from a position of responsibility to depositors and adherence to market discipline into a position of economic class dominance. Grinder and Hagel categorize different groups within the dominant class. They aren't quite clear on the nature of the actual ruling class that they distinguish from other groups, but it flows from the logic of their argument to this point that it would stem from the original group of bankers who lobbied for cartelization. I'll call this the state-banking nexus. Additional constituents of the class of beneficiaries of state action include the state bureaucracy by which the ruling class rules, upper echelons of the military and their commercial suppliers (which two groups together constitute the military-industrial complex), the political party elite who are funded largely by the ruling class (and who deliver up the faE7ade of functioning democracy), court intellectuals who take grants from the ruling class and provide them with scholarly justification, and owners of quasi-private corporations which rely on the state for a large proportion of their funding and profit. Grinder and Hagel suggest that organized labor and recipients of welfare are also members of the dominant class, but these suggestions are harder to accept. With respect to organized labor, it might be more to the point to differentiate between labor organizers, who might be able to deliver union support to key members of the ruling class in return for timely political action to support the organizers' bids for power within labor, and workers themselves. The latter might not show any benefits. With respect to recipients of welfare, such persons are often victims not only of structural dislocations in the economy caused by the economic machinations of the ruling class, but of barriers to market entry maintained by those who wish not to face competition. Welfare is the means by which resentment against these effects is kept under control; welfare recipients ought not be looked at as members of a dominant class, but as enemies of the dominant class whose silence is purchased with state handouts.<7> But even if we count out workers and the unemployed, Grinder and Hagel show the relations of power between most of society and a group composed of powerful figures within the state-banking nexus, the military, the political parties, the academy, the managers of quasi-private corporations, and perhaps certain elements of the labor movement.

These groups are not homogeneous, and one group - the state-banking nexus - appears dominant within the system. Thus we should introduce the notion of hegemony. Gramsci explains:

What we can do, for the moment, is to fix two major superstructural "levels": the one that can be called "civil society", that is the ensemble of organisms commonly called "private", and that of "political society" or "the State". These

two levels correspond on the one hand to the function of "hegemony" which the dominant group exercises throughout society and on the other hand to that of "direct domination" or command exercised through the State and "juridical" government. The functions in question are precisely organizational and connective. The intellectuals are the dominant group's "deputies" exercising the subaltern functions of social hegemony and political government. (Gramsci 1971, 12) For Gramsci, class society is not characterized by a dualistic opposition between two classes engaged in a zero-sum game. Rather, there are many 'subaltern' groups who sustain the hegemony of the ruling class but are not strictly members of it. Thus Grinder and Hagel's model becomes clearer if looked at through the lens of Gramsci's notion of hegemony. The true ruling class is the state-banking nexus. But this class must maintain its rule by way of groups other than itself. To do this, it must attract the aid of these other groups; it must invite them within hegemony in order to make them serve hegemony. Politicians, academics, and others are eager to prop up relations of power in return for a cut of the ruling class's profits and other benefits. Thus they constitute hegemony in two ways: first, they are most of its members (outside the state-banking nexus, the true hegemonic class), and second, they sustain it and help determine its nature. Gramsci's final sentence ("The intellectuals are the dominant group's 'deputies' exercising the subaltern functions of social hegemony and political government.") might seem a little odd or be liable to misinterpretation. Gramsci is not using the word 'intellectual' the way it is ordinarily used.<8> For Gramsci, the mark of an intellectual is not having a certain kind of, paradigmatically academic, job, but rather performing tasks which involve a relatively high ratio of mental effort to physical effort:

When one distinguishes between intellectuals and non-intellectuals, one is referring in reality only to the immediate social function of the professional category of the intellectuals, that is, one has in mind the direction in which their specific professional activity is weighted, whether towards

intellectual elaboration or towards muscular-nervous effort. This means that, although one can speak of intellectuals, one cannot speak of non-intellectuals, because non-intellectuals do not exist.... There is no human activity from which every form of intellectual participation can be excluded... (ibid., 9) Libertarian social theory wishes to suggest that certain groups, including especially the militaryindustrial complex, the political parties, the academy, the managers of quasi-private corporations, and perhaps certain members of the labor movement, are the subaltern hegemonic classes, while the true dominant class is the state-banking nexus. By Gramsci's criterion of intellectuality, all of these groups are clearly intellectuals. So there is a neat fit here. Gramsci's subaltern hegemonic classes sustain domination in two contexts: in the state, by way of coercion, and in civil society by way of hegemony. It is important to grasp the relationships between these two contexts of activity. For libertarian social theory, the ruling class is constituted as the ruling class specifically by its relations to the means of coercion, the state. No group of people that does not employ - typically state - coercion to advance its economic interests can qualify as a dominant class.<9> Thus there is a means-ends asymmetry between hegemonic and coercive ways of maintaining relations of domination. For libertarianism, coercion, typically by way of the state, is the relation of domination which is the target of critique. Hegemony, which is the way those intellectuals who serve the dominant class work in civil society to preserve relations of power, is only hegemony in relation to the coercive acts of the state which it serves to sustain and/or legitimate. However, at least in ostensively democratic societies, members of the state itself are often not the primary beneficiaries of statism. Rather, the ruling class exists within civil society and employs the state as a means to distort the workings of civil society, especially the market. In the present case, the state-banking nexus employs the state as a means to its distortive end. But the maintenance of state power requires that the populace acquiesce in state actions. This requires the development of hegemony in civil society. A libertarian analysis of the state-banking nexus, then, must recognize three moments of the relations of power: a hegemonic moment in which statism is preserved by way of various machinations, a statist moment in which certain illegitimate economic behavior within civil society is coercively enforced, and what I'll call the 'terminal moment' in which the illegitimate economic behavior is actually performed and wealth unfairly accrued by unproductive elites. For libertarians, the second moment is what makes the terminal moment possible, and it's the fact that statism is a moment in the wealth-gathering activities of the state-banking nexus that constitute it as a ruling class. The first moment, hegemony in civil society, is a mere means and is objectionable only insofar as it sustains relations of statist dominance. But because the economic manipulations are performed within civil society, this means that civil society can become a location of struggle against the state-banking nexus in two ways: first, in a practical way, in which economic competitors to the state-banking nexus attempt to redirect wealth in ways more appropriate to the actual conditions obtaining in the market (it's to prevent this that the state-banking nexus co-opted the state in the first place), and second, in a persuasive way, in which intellectuals attempt to delegitimate the statist regime.

A similar quasi-symmetry shows up in Gramsci:

The superstructures of civil society are like the trenchsystems of modern warfare. In war it would sometimes happen that a fierce artillery attack seemed to have destroyed the enemy's entire defensive system, whereas in fact it had only destroyed the outer perimeter (ibid., 235)

...it should be remarked that the general notion of State includes elements which need to be referred back to the notion of civil society (in the sense that one might say that State 3D political society + civil society, in other words hegemony protected by the armour of coercion. (ibid., 263)

In the former passage, the state is central and civil society a protective periphery; this is the earlier liberal perspective in which the dominant class is constituted of members of the state and the workings of civil society are a mere instrument by which it secures its state power. But in the latter passage, hegemony is central and coercion a protective periphery; since hegemony is the means by which dominance is secured in civil society, and coercion the means by which dominance is secured in the state, this implies that civil society is central and the state a protective periphery. I take it that this is more like the classical Marxist perspective, in which the dominant class is constituted by its relation to the means of production and the state is a mere instrument by which it secures its economic power. The binocular perspective derived from the synthesis of these two views, however, is eminently libertarian. The libertarian analysis of contemporary society will be similar to Marx's in that it regards state action as caused by the desires of certain actors within civil society, but it will be like the classical liberal approach in that it regards classes within civil society as essentially constituted by differential relations to state power. Thus neither the class divisions between the state-banking nexus and others within civil society, nor the distortive actions of the state, are mere epiphenoma of one another: they relate, dialectically, in a mutually supporting manner.

How, then, do the subaltern classes sustain, through hegemony in civil society, the dominance of the state-banking nexus? Different subaltern groups do so in different ways at different times, but one key way is by way of ideology. In general, the state-banking nexus has taken partial control over a state apparatus which was not designed to serve it and which is legitimated, in the eyes of the populace, not with respect to how well it serves the state-banking nexus but rather with respect to how well it serves the populace. Thus, if the state-banking nexus wishes to sustain its relations of domination to the rest of the populace, it must resort to mystification and distortion: it must make the illegitimate appear legitimate. At this point, libertarian social theory should introduce the concept of ideology.

I want to look at ideology from two points of view. The first involves the neutral conception of ideology as introduced by Higgs:

By ideology I shall mean a somewhat coherent, rather comprehensive belief system about social relations.... Ideology has four distinct aspects: cognitive, affective, programmatic, and solidary. It structures a person's perceptions and predetermines his understandings of the social world, expressing these cognitions in characteristic symbols; it tells him whether what he "sees" is good or bad or morally neutral; and it propels him to act in accordance with his cognitions and evaluations as a committed member of a political group in pursuit of definite social objectives. (Higgs 1987, 37) Higgs argues that ideology in this neutral sense is important for historical explanations. History is at least partly driven by forms of mass or group action, in which many people coordinate action to achieve some goal. But whenever there is group action, there is a prisoner's dilemma: no one participant in the action will have a significant effect on the success of the action, but the success of the action requires that there be many participants. Each participant will thus be tempted to defect and become a free rider. But since this does not occur, something other than an individual's own expected effect on the outcome of the group action must be at least partially motivating each member of the group (unless all group action relies on mass irrationality, which is obviously not the case). Higgs

suggests that an additional motivation for participants in group action is a sense of identification with the cause which satisfies a basic desire for solidarity with appropriate others. Which others are appropriate for a person is decided by her on the basis of her ideology. Thus ideology in Higgs's nonpejorative sense helps explains group action. Ideology in this sense is surely necessary for the imposition of relations of domination or for their removal or replacement with other relations of domination. Persons will participate in the imposition of such relations because they experience some kind of solidarity - including, I imagine, class consciousness - with the class which they wish to see made dominant. Persons will participate in the removal of such relations because they experience some kind of solidarity with similarly inclined antiestablishmentarians. However, Higgs downplays an essential feature of ideologies (even ideologies construed nonpejoratively). He notes that

...all [ideologies] contain unverified and - far more significant - unverifiable elements, including their fundamental commitments to certain values. In relation to these elements, which are neither true nor false, the allegation of distortion has little or no meaning. Ideologies have sources in the guts as well as the mind, and neither logic nor empirical observation can resolve visceral disagreements. (Higgs 1987, 38)

For Higgs, the essential feature of ideologies is that they are value-systems.<10> Were we to present identical phenomena to persons with different ideologies, they would come away with different evaluations. But this is typically not the case, because we often cannot present identical phenomena to persons

with different ideologies. Ideologies are not only valuesystems, they also involve claims of fact. For this reason, different evaluations of 'identical' phenomena are not to be explained simply with reference to different values, but largely with reference to different beliefs about matters of fact. An example may clarify. Consider the Gulf War. As explained in the popular press of our semi-fascist semi-liberal welfare-warfare state, the Gulf War was in fact a response by western democracies to violent aggression by a dictator. Since the United States and its allies have a moral obligation to preserve democratic institutions, such as those of Kuwait, whenever possible, the Gulf War was clearly appropriate and moral. This is especially so in light of the negligible loss of civilian life caused by US surgical strikes. A socialist or libertarian capitalist critic of the Gulf War probably would not disagree that it is good to fight tyrants and defend democracy, and that there are times when this might be an appropriate action for a democratic state to take. Such a critic would, however, pay attention to other relevant facts of the matter and hence derive a very different evaluation. It's not that stopping tyrants is bad, it's that Hussein's tyranny was really US tyranny; it's not that democratic institutions are bad, it's that Kuwait doesn't have any; it's not that minimal loss of civilian life is bad, it's that US action has caused the deaths of millions of civilians. Because the two ideologies - that of the statist mass media<11>, and those of the libertarian or socialist critic - seek different kinds of factual, explanatory accounts, they might end up giving different evaluations because of their different explanations of how the social world works. But with respect to explanations of social events, there is a matter of fact about how things are. An ideology which lays bare the actual explanations of events is different in kind from an ideology which mystifies or obscures the real world. This is the difference which the pejorative conception of ideology seeks to mark. Thompson introduces such a conception of ideology:

Critical conceptions [of ideology] are those which convey a negative, critical, or pejorative sense. Unlike neutral conceptions, critical conceptions imply that the phenomena characterized as ideology or ideological are misleading, illusory or one-sided; and the very characterization of phenomena as ideology carries with it an implicit criticism or condemnation of


Ideology, according to [a certain Marxist] conception, is a system of representations which conceal and mislead and which, in so doing, serve to sustain relations of domination. (Thompson 1990, 53-54)

Thompson continues to suggest that:

The analysis of ideology... is primarily concerned with the ways in which symbolic forms interact with relations of power. It is concerned with the ways in which meaning is mobilized in the social world and serves thereby to bolster up individuals and groups who occupy positions of power. Let me define this focus more sharply: to study ideology is to study the ways in which meaning serves to establish and sustain relations of domination. (ibid., 56) This has important implications for libertarian social theory. So far, I have tried to introduce the outlines of a libertarian theory of (contemporary US) class relations and a libertarian approach to the issue of hegemony. This should ground a libertarian approach to ideology. For libertarianism, classes are constituted by differential relations to the state. A class, such as the state-banking nexus, which is the primary user of state power to advance its own economic interests, must interest other classes in sustaining its dominance. Thus a hegemonic group of classes emerges

around the central hegemonizing class. These classes sustain relations of dominance directly, by way of state action, and indirectly, by way of their hegemony in civil society. One of their primary goals in civil society is to mask, distort, and hide our understanding of the relations of domination which they wish to preserve. To do this, they must inculcate in the people incorrect beliefs as to matters of fact, including facts about the explanations of events in the social world. The dominance of the statebanking nexus leads to a wide variety of economic dislocations, crises, and gross inequities, which occur because of the differences between how the state-banking nexus relates to the state and how other, oppressed, classes relate to the state. Since the state is supposed to protect the people from oppression and is legitimated with reference to responsivity to democratic demands, the hegemonic classes must prevent the people from discovering that their state is oppressive and radically undemocratic. They do this by way of ideology: by way of preventing the people from understanding how the social world works. Specifically, they inculcate in the people a sense that state action solves problems and does not typically create and/or exacerbate them. Since libertarian social theory holds the opposite view - state action almost always worsens the problems it is designed to solve, and state action almost always sacrifices the interests of some to others - it views any communication, especially rhetoric, which veils the actual effects of state action as ideological. Libertarian ideology criticism, then, will focus on how communicative acts tend to mystify social relations in ways that make state action appear appropriate to the very people who will be harmed by it. Two related tropes, I think, will be among the most common in statist rhetoric. The first is introduced by Barthes as the privation of history:

Myth deprives the object of which it speaks of all History. In it, history evaporates. It is a kind of ideal servant: it prepares all things, brings them, lays them out, the master arrives, it silently disappears: all that is left for one to do is to enjoy this beautiful object without wondering where it comes from.... We can see all the disturbing things which this felicitous figure removes from sight: both determinism and freedom. Nothing is produced, nothing is chosen: all one has to do is to possess these new objects from which all soiling trace of origin or choice has been removed. This miraculous

evaporation of history is another form of a concept common to most bourgeois myths: the irresponsibility of man. (Barthes 1970, 151) Statist ideology - mythology - removes from history and makes natural the causes of negative social phenomena. The ideologist wishes to sustain and/or enhance state power. To do this, she must rhetorically construct the state as solver of problems presented by some non-state factor. But typically the problem occurs in the context of state action. Thus two solutions present themselves: either remove the state action which contributes to the problem, or employ the state as a means of removing whatever else it is that causes the problem. The libertarian chooses the first option because the second option simply leads to more economic distortions and vicious inequalities, while the ideologist is committed to choosing the second because this is the only means preserve her favored relations of power. In order to avoid allowing the libertarian alternative to occur to people, the ideologist must mask the fact that the state could change its mode of action. Ideology, then, takes actions of the state as natural and unalterable. It dehistoricizes them by making them the background against which social phenomena occur, rather than as part of the etiology of those social phenomena. The other master-trope of statist rhetoric is the mystification or even rhetorical obliteration of nonstate action. The ideologist seeks to expand state power at the expense of non-coercive means of action. To do this, she must prevent people from grasping the actual nature of those non-coercive means of action. State regulation of the economy is justified to the degree that the economy has no means of selfregulation. State education is necessary to the degree that there is no agent other than the state which can educate. State welfare is necessary if we are unaware that agents other than the state can aid the poor. And so forth. Statism relies on our systematic ignorance about agents of action other than the state, and means of action other than coercion. The two tropes work together. The degree to which we take the state for granted is the degree to which we cannot imagine social problems being caused by the state. The degree to which we do not believe in non-state agency is the degree to which we will invite the state to solve our problems. But this solution then becomes, rhetorically speaking, part of the background against which the next crisis occurs, rather than, as it is in fact, the partial cause of the next crisis.

Let us assume that the present theory is correct. Then we can predict that the dominant ideology will serve the purposes of the state-banking nexus. Their power is sustained through a complex web of machinations, involving state coercion and hegemony within civil society. All components of this establishment must be defended with ideological mystification, but one component is the core: the partial oligopoly of the state-banking nexus within the financial market. Anyone who transgresses on the statist market distortions put in place by the state-banking nexus, the theory predicts, would become an instant target of character assassinations. At a minimum, her financial methods would be demonized. Beyond that, her mode of business might be regulated out of existence. At worst, that mode of business might be criminalized and she put on trial for violations of ex post facto laws. Here, I want to look at two sample texts which, in the mid-1980's, advocated the regulation of the junk bond market. I'll briefly explain why this is of interest by reference to the 'junk bond king', Michael Milken. Milken headed the high-yield bond division of investment company Drexel Burnham Lambert from the

mid-1970's until he was imprisoned in the late 80's. The 'junk bonds' which he sold were bonds which are not considered 'investment grade' by the state-banking nexus because of the status of the companies which offer them:

...Milken became convinced that the market, particularly ratings services such as Moody's and Standard & Poor's, did not understand the true riskiness of bonds. He believed that, in deciding which firms' bonds were entitled to an investmentgrade rating, these services overrated the importance of historical track record and physical assets and placed insufficient weight on other, more important factors such as talent and the firm's future prospects. If investors only understood that below-investment-grade bonds were less risky than their ratings implied, a big market could be created. (Fischel 1995, 24) Milken, then, aimed to lead investors to place their capital in lines of production which establishment investors wouldn't touch. But this aim was based on the theory that the establishment was misevaluating the investment potential of bonds. He made hundreds of millions of dollars for himself and Drexel by arranging for massive investments in high-yield bonds, but the benefits were not limited to a small coterie:

Drexel's success was accompanied by the parallel success of the companies and entrepreneurs it financed. With Milken's support, whole industries - including gambling, telecommunications, and health care - were financed in significant part with high-

yield bonds. So too were various minority-run business. Reginald Lewis became the first black CEO in the Fortune 500 after Milken financed his $985 million buyout of Beatrice Foods. It is no coincidence that minority leaders and organizations were among Milken's strongest supporters. As outsiders themselves, they were appreciative of someone who gave them a chance. (ibid., 25)

That is, Milken redirected investment on a massive scale, and not in directions that the state-banking nexus was taking. For precisely this reason, his epistemic labor paid off rather better than that of the establishment banks.<12> Cut out of the profits, the dominant class called on the state to eliminate this threat to their economic power. A first step, though, to defending themselves was to demonize the junk bond market. Establishment rhetors stepped into place, advocating regulation. Regulation of the junk bond market represents a barrier to market entry and is hence anti-competitive - but then, competition is what the state-banking nexus organized itself to eliminate. In an April 18, 1985 Wall Street Journal editorial entitled "Junk Bonds and Other Securities Swill", Felix Rohatyn argues for 'intelligent regulation ' of the junk bond market. He opens by claiming that "Hundreds of millions of dollars have been lost by banks, cities, and state agencies under the impression that they were making perfectly safe investments backed by government agencies." He doesn't provide any cases or make any explanations. But moreover, he is foregrounding bad investments at the rhetorical expense of the overwhelming majority of junk investments. Fischel explains that, "In 1989 $8.11 billion of the bonds defaulted, or about 4.3 percent of the total market. In 1990 defaults increased to $18.35 billion, or 10.1 percent of the market. But still, even in 1990, its worst year, 90 percent of the market did not default." (Fischel 1995, 153) Since Rohatyn is writing in 1985, his allegation is a bit ridiculous. Had he actually said that hundreds of millions of dollars were lost out of a market of hundreds of billions, then we would have known to ignore him. By taking the losses out of their context, he creates the impression that junk bonds have been by and large a disaster when they have in fact been by and large a success. He continues to explain that,

The common thread running through such stories is the failure to assess risk on the part of financial institutions and

fiduciaries eager to perform. There'd be no junk bonds - the name Wall

Street has attached to high-yielding, often unsecured, debt securities rated double-B or lower by financial ratings services - if institutions weren't often willing to ignore substandard credit ratings in exchange for higher yields... There'd be no Continental Illinois or Penn Square [sample disasters] if more emphasis were placed on credit and less on growth. For Rohatyn, decisions by financial ratings services are the standard of value of financial offerings. He naturalizes their decisions by treating any disagreement with them as nothing but confusion or ignorance. Someone who, like Milken, actually pursues a different epistemic policy than the ratings services cannot possibly have a reason for doing so. Moreover, his essential conservatism comes through in the final sentence. Credit stems from a company's past behavior and current assets. Growth - what Rohatyn thinks is too risky - is future-oriented. This sort of conservatism naturalizes the status quo by stressing the past and present at the expense of future possibilities. For Rohatyn, the greatest danger of junk bonds and the hostile takeovers they finance is that "Under the banner of deregulation and total faith in the marketplace, we're impairing our greatest of assets: the credibility of our capital markets and the faith in our financial institutions." But two inches to the right, in the next column, he writes that

[The New York Times] reported that Ivan Boesky, an arbitrager who had acquired 8.7% of CBS, might join Ted Turner... to acquire all of CBS for $4 billion. was CBS stock

driven up to more than $110 a share by these speculative stories... Now, our faith in our financial institutions consists in our willingness to make investments in them. If people are eager to invest or hold on to their investments - which is the case if stock prices rise - then our faith in our financial institutions must be high, not low. So Rohatyn has directly contradicted himself. How is he able to do this? Note that the remarks on CBS do not give anyone's motivations for

selling or buying stock at the higher price. In fact, no one seems to be involved at all: CBS stock 'was driven up'. The passivization of stockholders removes agency from the picture. But additionally, Rohatyn wants to prevent us from realizing that the quantitative claim about rising stock prices contradicts his qualitative claim about our confidence in our financial institutions. To generate the incommensurability, he converts the qualitative fact about our rising confidence in our financial institutions into a quantitative claim about CBS's stock prices, which we can no longer contrast with the qualitative claim. Barthes notes that, "By reducing any quality to quantity, myth economizes intelligence: it understands reality more cheaply." (Barthes 1970, 153) But Rohatyn runs against Barthes's expectation that the dominant ideology will involve "a weighing operation, the essences... placed in scales of which bourgeois man will remain the motionless beam." (ibid., 155) Rohatyn is, as Barthes suggests, making the financial world all too easy to understand, but the misunderstanding which he seeks to produce requires that the quantitative data be unintegrable with his qualitative claims. Rohatyn seeks to make it impossible to weigh the claims against the data. Rohatyn's next move is to again obscure motives: "The interest rates [junk bonds] carry are mostly higher than the rates of return the underlying businesses are likely to earn in periods of economic downturn. These securities are therefore based on the ability of new management to sell assets in order to service debt." But such restructuring was often the point of the takeovers, not an accidental sideeffect of their failures. Fischel explains that

...inefficiently run firms, particularly conglomerates that had grown too large by acquiring other firms in unrelated lines of business, were another prime source for restructurings. Firms... needed a major shake-up, a fundamental change in business strategy. Restructurings facilitated such fundamental change by altering target firms' organizational and financial structure. Reorganized firms typically had much more concentrated ownership and higher leverage than before... and Streamlining

cutting back on unprofitable business lines also became more attractive as an option. (Fischel 1995, 17)

By neglecting to mention why takeover artists take over, Rohatyn has obscured the presence of human agency in the market. However, he does continue, in conservative vein, to suggest that restructuring might be impossible: "Whether such sales will be possible in a period of recession is questionable. Whether large corporations can be treated like artichokes and simply torn apart without any regard for employees, communities, or customers, solely in order to pay off speculative debt, is a further question for public policy." The artichoke image suggests that large corporations are organic wholes. This dehistoricizes their current structure by treating them as just as naturally put together as an artichoke is. But moreover, Rohatyn is still ignoring the goals of takeover artists. Under what circumstances is it profitable to promise high returns to investors? Lowering production is not such a circumstance. Rohatyn appears to be unaware that value does not appear in the world simply as a consequence of the production of consumable objects, but as a consequence of matching such production to actual social demand. Rohatyn concludes with calls for regulation: "The answer to these excesses is intelligent regulation, as opposed to total deregulation or over-regulation." Here, Rohatyn avails himself of what Barthes calls 'Neither-norism', which "...consists in stating two opposites and balancing the one by the other so as to reject them both. (I want neither this nor that.) ...We find again here the figure of the scales: reality is first reduced to analogues; then it is weighed; finally, equity having been ascertained, it is got rid of." (Barthes 1970, 153) Rohatyn wants neither fascism nor freedom in financial markets. He wants just enough financial freedom to sustain the pretense that the US has a free market<13>, with just enough state control to sustain the power of the state-banking nexus. That this is his actual goal is made clear by one of his proposed regulations: "Federally and state-insured and regulated financial institutions should be sharply limited in their ability to invest in obligations carrying below-investment-grade credit ratings." Those credit ratings are determined by the state-banking nexus's ratings services. Rohatyn's goal is to have the opinions of the state-banking nexus written into law, further enhancing its control over economic decision-making and doing severe damage to the junk bond market. To be sure, Rohatyn is suggesting this line only with respect to state-backed lending institutions. But that he does not entertain the possibility that such institutions should lose their state backing and be subjected to market discipline dehistoricizes the state's backing of banks, which is precisely the source of the state-banking nexus's power.<14> A similar story can be told with respect to another Wall Street Journal editorial, this one on May 14, 1985, by Pete Domenici (Republican senator from New Mexico and chairman of the senate budget committee as of the writing), entitled "Fools and Their Takeover Bonds". Domenici wants to argue that there should be a moratorium on and eventual regulation of the junk bond market. Domenici says that junk bonds should be regulated because of "the recent and growing role of federally insured lending institutions and government-backed pension funds in purchasing junk bonds" and the fact that, "Since 1981, more than one thousand federally insured thrifts have been merged or liquidated." While he does not argue for the point, the reader infers that 'over 1000 federally insured thrifts have been merged or liquidated' because of 'the recent and growing role of federally insured lending institutions... in purchasing junk bonds.' Moreover, the market should be regulated because of "the use of junk bonds to circumvent the Federal Reserve's margin requirement [which] provides that loans for stock purchases cannot exceed 50% of the value of the stock being bought." Junk bonds can be used to circumvent this rule because the sale of junk bonds is not (as of 1985, at least) considered in the law as a form of borrowing. So an agent could sell junk bonds to raise money for a stock purchase in which borrowed money, including money gained from the sale of junk bonds, constituted more than 50% of the value of the stock being bought. He says that the margin requirement "is written in the blood of 1929", appealing to the common belief that the overinvestment which was responsible for the Great Depression was made possible by a lax regulatory

regime and hence implying that a lax regulatory regime with respect to junk bonds might trigger some future economic downturn.

Domenici discusses the case of Metromedia Inc.:

Metromedia sold $1.3 billion of junk bonds in two hours... last year, even though the prospectus admitted: "Based on current levels of operations and anticipated growth, the company does not expect to be able to generate sufficient cash flow to make all of the principal payments due on the notes..." It goes on to state, "Based on current levels of operations, the company's cash flow would be insufficient to make interest payments...." Domenici notes that Metromedia sold seven of its TV stations to help make debt payments which it accrued during the $1.3 billion sale of junk bonds. Like Rohatyn, Domenici has backgrounded the epistemic agency of investors. He seems to be suggesting that Metromedia made a mistake in its bond issue and that purchasers made a mistake in their bond purchases. But he drops the context in which such bond offers and purchases make sense. Purchasers would buy bonds only if they had some reason to expect that they would make a return on their investment; Metromedia surely had some financial incentive to offer the bonds. By dropping this context, Domenici treats the sale and purchase of junk bonds in a vacuum. By abstracting the junk bond market from the reasons for its existence and the motivations of those who engage in the sale or purchase of junk bonds, Domenici rhetorically constructs the market as a machine in which human intention plays no part. Indeed, he concludes this section by quoting the chair of the Securities and Exchange Commission, who said, "The more leveraged takeovers and buyouts today, the more bankruptcies tomorrow." This quote constructs the market as a machine which takes takeovers and buyouts as inputs and gives depressions as outputs. Junk bond advocates have also argued that leveraged takeovers improve the economic efficiency of the firms which are taken over. But Domenici says that "Talk of improving management is a smoke screen for the raiders' scorched-earth tactics..." But the substance of Domenici's argument seems to come here: "[Corporate raiders] are looking for targets with two characteristics: strong cash flow and little debt. The quality of management is irrelevant. ...court documents also undercut any contention that the raiders are concerned with the long-range health of the target company." Here, Domenici rhetorically constructs corporate raiders as short-term profiteers, who destroy companies and make a lot of money in the process. But again, Domenici has abstracted market processes from the context of human

intentions within which they make sense. The junk bond market, as with all financial markets, can only exist in a context in which purchasers of financial offerings expect to benefit from their purchases. Since junk bonds, as used in takeovers, amount to a means of taking out loans, junk bond buyers those who are loaning the money to allow the seller to perform a takeover - expect the sellers to repay the purchase cost of the bond with interest. But money is not made from destroying capital; it comes from making capital produce goods which sell on the market at a profit. Corporate raiders are able to make their profits from their restructuring of their takeover targets such that greater economic efficiency is the result. Buyers of junk bonds expect sellers to perform this task. Domenici, however, rhetorically constructs corporate raiders as acting in a vacuum, in which the intentions of junk bond purchasers do not exist. Domenici concludes by obscuring the nature of markets and hinting that the real intelligence at work in markets is always state action:

Market theorists love to rhapsodize about the wisdom of markets. But part of this wisdom consists of dealing harshly with fools who believe that good times are without end. Market theorists love to rhapsodize about the wisdom of markets, because such theorists realize that markets are (essentially?) a means of communicating information about economic phenomena and are the product of many distinct decisions made by persons with divergent interests and knowledge. Thus they propose that regulation of markets typically blocks the flow of economic information and prohibit decisions which persons would have made. But Domenici has systematically suppressed this context, by treating corporate raiders as the only agent of action in the junk bond market and hinting that junk bond purchasers behave mechanically, without attention to their own financial interests. Thus the source of market wisdom has been suppressed. No wonder, then, that Domenici provides an alternative source of wisdom: the harsh dealings of the regulators.

In this paper, I have sought to, by way of engaging with the closely related Marxist tradition, sketch out a libertarian approach to the theory of class. Grinder and Hagel have proposed that the dominant class in contemporary society is what I've called the state-banking nexus, a cartel of banks which employ their command over the state regulatory apparatus to limit competition within their own field. Other groups perform and legitimate the coercion of the state-banking nexus. Thus this class is not simply a dominant class, but the center of a complex hegemony. Introducing the pejorative notion of ideology, I then made some basic empirical predictions about what the dominant ideology of contemporary society should be if the libertarian theory about the state-banking nexus is correct. If libertarianism is correct, then certain tropes ought to show up in the rhetoric of defenders of the statebanking nexus. Finally, I briefly examined two such rhetorical artifacts, one written by an investment banker and one by a Republican senator, both in the allegedly pro-market Wall Street Journal. Both behaved as expected. They both obscured the epistemic action of investors and others in the market, and both dehistoricized the status quo of bloated corporations and state intervention in financial markets. Of course, two pieces of confirming data will hardly prove a theory. But hopefully this paper has

presented a sample of what mature libertarian rhetorical analysis will look like, and has suggested a plausible line of research.

Thanks to Dana Cloud and Chris Matthew Sciabarra for their comments on a draft of this paper.

Barthes, Roland. 1970. Mythologies. New York: Noonday Press. Domenici, Pete. May 14, 1985. "Fools and Their Takeover Bonds." Wall Street Journal. p. 28. Fischel, Daniel. 1995. Payback. New York: HarperBusiness. Gramsci, Antonio. 1971. Selections from the Prison Notebooks. Quintin Hoare and Geoffrey Nowell Smith, eds. and trans. New York: International Publishers. Grinder, Walter E. and John Hagel III. 1977. " Toward a Theory of State Capitalism: Ultimate Decision-Making and Class Structure". Journal of Libertarian Studies 1:1, 59-79. Higgs, Robert. 1987. Crisis and Leviathan. Oxford: Oxford UP. Long, Roderick. 1998. "Toward a Libertarian Theory of Class". in Paul, Ellen Frankel, Fred D. Miller, Jr., and Jeffrey Paul, eds. 1998. Problems of Market Liberalism. Cambridge: Cambridge UP. Marx, Karl. 1986 [1849]. Wage-Labor and Capital. with an introduction by Frederick Engels. Chicago: Charles H. Kerr. Rohatyn, Felix. April 18, 1985. "Junk Bonds and Other Securities Swill." Wall Street Journal. p. 30. Thompson, John. 1990. Ideology and Modern Culture. Stanford: Stanford UP. Tucker, Robert. ed. 1978. The Marx-Engels Reader, 2nd Ed. New York: W. W. Norton & Co.

<1> Why does Marx fail to grasp the social nature of production? I suspect that it has something to do with his commitment to the labor theory of value. For Marx,

...the fluctuations of supply and demand always reduce the price of a commodity to its cost of production. It is true that the actual price of a commodity is always either above or below its cost of production, but the rise and fall reciprocally balance each other, so that within a certain period, if the ebbs and flows of the business are reckoned up together, commodities are exchanged with one another in accordance with their cost of

production and thus their price is determined by the cost of production. (Marx 1986 [1849], 29)

This claim is not true. Marx is correct to say that prices are determined by supply and demand, that profit level of a business concern is determined by the ratio between the supply and demand of the goods produced by that concern, and that investment is determined by profitability. Thus capital is invested in those lines of production the demand for the products of which currently most outstrip supply of them. However, a line of production need not overproduce to lose investment. It can simply be less profitable than other lines of production. The average price of goods is not equal to their cost of production but is higher. This is the case because the quantity of wealth in the economy is not fixed but continually rises; hence, all lines of production can be profitable at the same time, though perhaps not to the same degree. Marx moves from the claim that the value of a good is determined by its costs of production to list the two factors the costs of which compose the costs of production:

The determination of price by cost of production is the same thing as its determination by the labor-time required for the manufacture of a commodity; for cost of production consists of (1) raw materials and wear and tear of implements, that is, products of industry whose manufacture has cost a certain number of days' work, and which, therefore, represent a certain amount of labor-time, and (2) direct labor, which is also measured by its duration. (ibid., 30) So the costs of production are costs of plant and equipment, which is ultimately determined by labor, and costs of labor. For Marx, the owner of capital adds nothing to the value of the goods produced by her business concern. But this, too, is false. There is a third factor in value, which is that it meets a demand. A little example might help. Assume that two persons make snow machines - machines that manufacture artificial snow - and that they perform identical labor in so making. One of the two takes her machine to Alaska, where there is snow aplenty. The other takes her machine to Texas, where snow (let us say) sells as a novelty item. They then place an equal amount of water into their machines and perform an equal amount of labor to create equal amounts of snow. Why does one of them make a

profit, while the other does not? Because there is a demand for snow in Texas, but not in Alaska. The Marxist theory would predict that the two piles of snow have equal value, because an equal amount of labor went into the production of each pile. But the two piles have different values. There must, then, be a third factor in the creation of value. We create value not just by creating physical objects which can in principle be objects of consumption by others, but by seeing to it that the creation of such objects meets some demand. This task is not mechanical, but epistemic. It consists (essentially) of monitoring the market to note ratios between supply and demand of goods and directing investment into lines of production in which demand substantially outstrips supply. Marx is aware that capital moves from less profitable to more profitable lines of production: "...what is the result of a rise in the price of a commodity? A mass of capital is thrown into that flourishing branch of business..." (ibid., 28) Note the phrasing: capital 'is thrown'. Marx is employing the rhetorical trope Thompson calls 'passivization', which "occurs when verbs are rendered in the passive form, ...[which tends to] focus the attention of the hearer or reader on certain themes at the expense of others. They delete actors and agency and tend to represent processes as things or events which take place in the absence of a subject who produces them." (Thompson 1990, 66) By backgrounding the process by which capital is thrown into more profitable lines of production, Marx rhetorically annihilates the agents who do the throwing, owners of capital. The employment of this trope at this place in Marx is not accidental. Were Marx to own up to the fact that owners of capital move capital around, then we might ask why they do this and what the effects are. But then the importance of the owner of capital would become apparent. When owners of capital change lines of investment, they do so to enhance the profitability of those investments. But this happens only when they invest in lines of production with relatively high profits. And high profits are achieved when demand had previously outstripped supply. That is, when owners of capital make investments of capital, they are striving to cause supply to meet social demand. Without someone performing this function, demands could be met only in a happenstance way. But if value is created not in the creation of possible objects of consumption, but of actually desired objects of consumption, and owners of capital decide which goods are to be produced, then the investment decisions of the owners of capital are crucial to the creation of value. If we accept that labor alone creates value, then we must include the epistemic labor of the owner of capital in the equation. If this is not something which we regard as labor, then the labor theory of value is mistaken. The argument here has not been the familiar one about different persons having different levels of ability or different kinds of labor having different values. Rather, the point is that for anyone's ability or labor to be socially valuable, it must be directed toward meeting social needs. Such needs constitute demands for goods, and such demands determine prices of goods. Those who redirect capital to fulfill such needs are not parasites; to the contrary, without their labor, most other labor would be dramatically less valuable. <2> I don't attempt to explain this fact here. But it is a fact about persons' economic skills, not about their levels of wealth. Wealthy people can lack the essential skills necessary to make successful investments - that is why they turn to the state. And those of modest background can certainly attain these skills (hence the persecution by the state-banking nexus of its competitors). <3> Historical argumentation to the contrary would need to take into account the political situations in which rational labor unrest has occurred. Much historical evidence ostensively linking conflicts between labor and management to free-market capitalism in fact links conflicts between labor and management to statism ('state capitalism'). <4> This is not to deny that the depositor is an economic agent. Depositors are consumers of financial offerings by banks and are hence essential members of the market to which banks must be responsive.

They choose between banks and they choose between different financial offerings at various banks; indeed, they choose whether or not to invest at all, and if so how much. Nevertheless, the depositor hires the bank to make particular decisions and take certain risks for her , and her investment would not have been a good one if she were not relieved of a substantial burden of decision-making. <5> Moreover, cartelization constitutes a barrier to market entry. Those banks which originally pushed for the cartel will have substantial power over the new regulatory apparatus which governs the cartel, and will thus find it possible to set up a regulatory regime hostile to market entry. But moreover, the very fact that no bank is required to hold a high fractional reserve constitutes a barrier to market entry because entrants to the market cannot compete with established banks on the issue of level of reserve; the issue no longer exists. <6> The cartel's power is not an academic point. The banks' greater capacity to lend brings with it a greater capacity to lend poorly. Systematic overinvestment by the banking cartel can lead to periods of intense capital development. However, during the inflation, prices do not reflect social demand. Because the quantity of money available for investment and consumption is not what it would be on the unfettered market, but the quantity of capital and consumption goods remains unchanged, the apparent wisdom of given investments is not what it would be on the unfettered market: it becomes difficult to tell a good investment from a bad. Thus banks will tend to systematically malinvest in lines of production for which the social demand, as communicated by prices, is not as high as it would appear given the distorted prices. Eventually, stockholders cannot help but discover the malinvestments and seek to reinvest in other lines of production which will be actually, and not merely apparently, profitable. The sudden attempt to liquidate and reinvest within the inflated market triggers a massive drop in the value of stock. Stockholders (including, indirectly, depositors) lose money on a vast scale as the actual social value of their investments makes itself known. Incidentally, when Engels provides a list of features characterizing a middle stage of capitalist development that looks like this: "...unheard-of development of productive forces, excess of supply over demand, over-production, glutting of the markets every ten years..." (Engels in Tucker 1972, 716), he is discussing a business cycle brought about by state intervention in the banking sector as I've discussed not a cycle innate to the unfettered market. During such crises, it is typical for the state to attempt to soften the blow. But because the bankers' cartel has such power within the apparatus designed to regulate it, the true cause of the downturn, the banks' inflationary policy, is never dealt with. Rather, the state typically seeks to increase regulation and control over economic activity. Because of the banks' substantial power over economic decisions, the state may find it difficult to control economy activity in ways not approved of by the cartel and its allies - worse, it can just follow the orders of the cartel. Thus the decision-making power of the cartel's members is even further enhanced. <7> With respect to alleged impoverished oppressors, Grinder and Hagel seem to have slipped into an error Long thinks of as typically conservative:

For a conservative Lib[ertarian]Cap[italist], the paradigmatic example of a special interest advancing its interests through government favoritism is that of impoverished welfare

recipients - an unlikely candidate for a ruling class! (Long 1998, 325)

LibCaps, especially conservative-leaning ones, can be too quick to see existing capitalism as an approximation to the free market they cherish, and to defend it accordingly. When LibCaps blame the government for harming the poor, they are all too likely to use the conservative argument that handouts create a welfare mentality and a culture of dependence, without the distinctively libertarian supplement that government regulations actually prevent the poor from rising out of poverty. (ibid., 332) <8> "This way of posing the problem has as a result a considerable extension of the concept of intellectual, but it is the only way which enables one to reach a concrete approximation of reality." (Gramsci 1971, 12) <9> An issue worth considering in this context is the relation between the libertarian and the Marxist theories of the state. For Marxism,

As the state arose from the need to hold class antagonisms in check, but as it arose, at the same time, in the midst of the conflict of these classes, it is, as a rule, the state of the most powerful, economically dominant class, and thus acquires new

means of holding down and exploiting the oppressed class. (Engels in Tucker 1972, 753)

For libertarian theory, the state can never be a new means of oppression; rather, it is the only means specific to oppression. Everything else done by the dominant class by way of maintaining its power is either an offshoot of statist coercion or something which, were it not somehow tied to statism, would not count as oppressive in the political sense. For non-anarchist libertarians (such as myself), the government is not intrinsically an agent of coercion or class warfare. Rather, the government has the legitimate function of protecting the rights of its citizens from violation by force or fraud, foreign or domestic. Libertarians typically distinguish between a government - which does nothing but protect the rights of its citizens - and the state, which is a government once it has become a tool of class warfare. So libertarians would expect class warfare to arise within a society when a certain group seizes control of the government and converts it into a state (and themselves into a class), whereas Marxists would expect class warfare to arise without the presence of a state. However, it's not clear just what the difference is, because Marxists and libertarians seem to use the term 'state' the same way. Engels says of formation of the Roman state: "The victory of the plebs burst the old gentile constitution asunder and erected on its ruins the state..." (ibid., 751). He cannot possibly mean that at a certain point in Roman history, after the 'old gentile constitution' had been 'burst asunder', that a first Roman government came into being. Likewise, when he says that the formation of a society's state "...is the admission that this society has become entangled into irreconcilable antagonisms..." (ibid., 752), he cannot possibly mean that societies form governments only after they have found themselves enmeshed in some kind of fundamental class conflict. Rather, he has to mean that within a society which has some form of public administration which we can call 'government', classes arise and then take control of the (or form a new) government, at which point in time they constitute that government as a state, since it is now a means of economic class exploitation. Now it looks as though the difference between the libertarian and Marxist theories of the state turn on the concept of a class. For Marxists, classes are defined by reference to their relations to the means of production, while for libertarians, they are defined by reference to their relations to the means of coercion - the state. But the dispute looks almost semantic. Marxists agree that the state is important to class warfare. If this 'important' can be given a strong reading - as 'essential' or 'necessary' in the strong modal sense - then the Marxist would agree that without the state there can be no classes. Libertarians will surely agree that there is something distinctive about the group which is about to seize state power even before it has done so; they simply don't wish to call this group a 'class'. But it is clearly a proto-class or potential class even on a libertarian account. If Marxists were to agree that something important has happened to the nature of the dominant class at the moment that it assumed state power, and libertarians were to agree that a proto-class is importantly related to a class, then the dispute might well shrink to one about whether to call a group of people who haven't yet but are on their way to take state power a 'class'. But this analysis turns on the question of whether the Marxist would in fact agree that the state is essential for class warfare; if I'm wrong on that point, then the dispute is substantive after all. <10> Unlike Higgs's, my own libertarianism at least hopes to be ethically cognitivist. So from my point of view, his political economist's value-neutrality itself sounds ideological.

<11> Why 'statist'? Because (if the present libertarian theory is correct) the corporate mass media is directed, ultimately, by the interests of the state-banking nexus; those interests are, largely, in the preservation of statism. <12> Establishment ideology would have it that junk bonds are intrinsically bad, and that that's why the state-banking nexus wouldn't deal with them. But in fact traditional banks did deal with them, just not as well as Drexel:

Overall, Drexel's share of defaults of the total number of all high-yield bonds underwritten between 1977 and its guilty plea at the end of 1988 was 43.6 percent, slightly less than its market share of 46.8 percent. In contrast, Salomon Brothers' share of defaults (18.3 percent) was three times higher than its market share (6.1 percent), First Boston's share of defaults (18.5 percent) was 2.3 times its market share (8.1 percent), and Lehman Brothers' share of defaults (3 percent) was 1.4 times its market share (2.1 percent). Drexel's "junk" was better than the products of many of its jealous rivals. (Fischel 1995, 153) <13> This is a bit like the 'two-party system', which maintains the minimum number of nominal parties necessary to sustain the illusion of democracy. <14> Incidentally, the real joke of the Rohatyn editorial comes in the by-line: "Mr. Rohatyn is a senior partner of Lazard Freres & Co." He's a member of the state-banking nexus which he seeks to defend.

Copyright Kirsti Minsaas

Note: This letter was written by Kirsti Minsaas to Harry Binswanger, at the time when the Peikoff-Kelley split took place in 1989, after Peikoff's publication of his article, Fact and Value, and before Kelley's publication of his monograph, Truth and Toleration. It is published here because it addresses the philosophical issues of the dispute clearly and succinctly. Also, the issues are addressed in a timeless way, that is, in a way that continues to hold relevance and interest beyond the specifics and

particulars of the Peikoff-Kelley dispute. Dear Harry, I regret to tell you that I have written a letter to Dr. Buechner in which I inform him that I've taken a stand siding with David Kelley in his dispute with Dr. Peikoff. Since, however, I fail to see that Kelley's paper represents ''a repudiation of the fundamental principles of Objectivism'', as Peikoff states, and since I know that my stand will jeopardize my standing with the Objectivist movement, I ask you to consider my reasons. First of all, I wish to make it clear that, ideologically, I have no sympathy with the Libertarian movement. As I've had no affiliation with the movement, however, I feel that I lack sufficient knowledge to pass judgment on the intellectual honesty of its individual members, or to decide whether or not it's appropriate to speak for libertarian groups. Consequently, I want to bypass this question and restrict my discussion to the philosophical issues. First, the relationship between fact and value. In principle, I subscribe to Peikoff's view that a proper understanding of Objectivism lies in grasping the concept of objectivity, both in its application to cognition and evaluation. But I'm not convinced that his own interpretation of the proper application of this principle is the right one. Nor am I convinced that he's fully right in his analysis of the schisms that have plagued the Objectivist movement. His contention that Objectivists who become champions of tolerance are people who have failed to grasp the concept of objectivity, causing them to swing from intrinsicism to subjectivism, may apply to some (I have, in fact, made a similar reflection regarding the Brandens), but I fail to see that it's true of Kelley. Judging him from his paper, my conclusion is that Kelley too seeks objectivity, both with respect to cognition and evaluation, but that he find its application a much more complex issue than does Peikoff. In my judgment, then, the dispute between them boils down to differences regarding interpretation of the concept of objectivity - differences that lead them to irreconcilable positions, with Peikoff accusing Kelley of subjectivism and Kelley accusing Peikoff of dogmatism. Instead of giving my opinion of who is or is not right in this kind of labeling, I find it more fruitful to offer my standpoint on some of their philosophical arguments. One important point of argument concerns the question of moral evaluation of ideas. On this point I agree with Peikoff that an idea can be evaluated morally on the basis of its implicit causes and effects, but I do not share his view that one can infer from the truth or falsehood of an idea to the virtue or vice of its advocates. In this respect, my position is closer to Kelley's. My reason is that knowledge is contextual and that consequently the causes and consequences logically implicit in an idea exist merely as a potential; the actual causes and consequences will vary with different individuals - depending on their particular intellectual context. Accordingly, if we are to judge a person morally for his ideas, we must consider his context and the specific causes and consequences they give rise to in his individual case. To judge him for his convictions in the abstract, ignoring his context, may, in my opinion, easily result in gross injustices. Part of this context, for instance, will be a person's sense of life - in consideration of which Ayn Rand could say of Victor Hugo that she shared his sense of life although she disagreed with most of his conscious ideas. Obviously, sense of life affinity was, in this case, more important to her than philosophic agreement. My position, then, is that objective evaluation implies contextual evaluation and that consequently we cannot judge a person morally merely on the basis of his ideas - not even in the cause of clearly irrational ideas. There is always the possibility of extenuating circumstances. In consequence of this view, I agree with Kelley that we must consider differences of degree in our moral evaluations. In his discussion of the moral evaluation of ideas, Peikoff largely brushes such differences aside, trivializing some important distinctions - both with respect to the causes and the

consequences of ideas. In regard to causes, he trivializes the distinction between error and evasion. Arguing that honest errors are self-correcting and short-lived, he restricts their relevancy to the very young, making it safe, in an adult context, to infer from the irrationality of a movement to the evasion of its adherents. This, in my opinion, is a gross simplification, and not very consistent with Ayn Rand's fictional use of this distinction in her novels, where a number of characters, Gail Wynand and Hank Rearden most notably, struggle with serious errors well into their mature years. Although clear enough in principle, the errorevasion distinction is not always that easy in application. Take, for example, the case of Thomas Mann who, shortly before his death, acknowledged his own role, as a leading Weimar nihilist, in paving the way for the Nazis. Would his be a clear-cut case of evasion? Similarly, in regard to consequences, Peikoff trivializes the question of whether or not a person acts on his own ideas. Although I do concede his point that the advocacy of an irrational philosophy is ''a form of action'', I do not see that we can evaluate a person morally on this basis alone - for the same reason that we cannot judge a person morally on the basis of his actions alone. Again, we have to consider certain contextual factors; in particular, we have to consider a person's motivation and interpretation. In considering motivation, or intention, we have to ask whether a person advocates irrational ideas with the deliberate purpose of destroying other people (like Toohey), or whether he does so out of misguided idealism, in ignorance of the harm he may cause (like Andrei) - to take two extreme examples. Just as we cannot assumethat advocacy of the irrational necessarily implies evasion, we cannot assume that it necessarily implies evil intent. I am, for example, not convinced that Kant was deliberately evil the way Toohey is, although I believe him guilty of evasion; nor am I sure that Toohey's evil is rooted in evasion the way it is in James Taggart. There is a distinction here between deliberate evil and evasion that never was made explicit by Ayn Rand, and that needs further exploration. In considering interpretation, we must bear in mind that a philosophy, however inherently irrational, will be interpreted in different ways by different people, and that consequently the effects of the philosophy will vary - both regarding the enactment of its ideas and the nature of its influence on other people. Consider the case of Friedrich Schiller, for example, who was an avowed Kantian. Yet, in his case, the result was not nihilism but the passionate moral idealism we find in his plays. It would be bloody unfair to condemn him on a par with a modern non-objective artist; and it would be equally unfair to hold him responsible for the later atrocities caused by Kant's philosophy - particularly since he tried to uproot some of the worse aspects of this philosophy. It's on the basis of such reflections that I sympathize with Kelley's view on the question of moral evaluation of ideas, and, by implication, with his appeal to tolerance, or benevolence, in the cognitive realm. In his article, Peikoff rejects the concept of tolerance, as used by Kelley, on the ground that it's rooted in subjectivism and scepticism and hence incompatible with Objectivism. Instead, he upholds the virtue of justice. But Kelley's argument is not based on subjectivism; it's based on contextualism. He does not say that we can never know whether a man is irrational (this is Peikoff's inference); what he says is that ''we should assume that people are rational until we have evidence to the contrary''. I think this is a sound principle and fully compatible with justice, even integral to it. In fact, I believe that Peikoff here is creating a false dichotomy between justice and tolerance (as well as compassion and kindness). One of the things that attracts me to Ayn Rand's heroes is that they combine qualities that are normally held to be contradictory - such as selfishness and kindness, ruthlessness and compassion, justice and benevolence. The benevolence we find in Hank Rearden, for example, is expressive of his passionate sense of justice, his fear of judging people without having sufficient evidence. Judging from his paper, I believe that Kelley's appeal to tolerance arises from a similar fear of injustice. In my view, then, his

tolerance is not the result of a dichotomy between cognition and evaluation, but of a wish to integrate the two, to base evaluation on cognition. It's a recognition of the principle that evaluation must be suspended, though not evaded, until we have established certainty in the cognitive realm. Such demand for cognitive certainty does not spring from scepticism, but from conscientious willingness to consider all relevant facts before passing moral judgment. Another point on which I sympathize with Kelley is in his appeal to independent thought. As I see it, independent thought is the mark of the creative thinker and hence of the true Objectivist. In his article, Peikoff states that the authentic Objectivist is a ''valuer'' - a statement I readily support. But, again, I take exception to his interpretation. In Peikoff's view, the valuer is primarily a moralist; in my view, he is primarily a creator. This view is derived from my interpretation of Ayn Rand's heroes. Invariably, the passionate dedication to values we find in the Randian hero is expressed through his single-minded pursuit of a productive or creative goal, not through constant preoccupation with moral judgment; his overriding concern is with his work, his own self-fulfillment, not to fight a moral crusade to change other people or the world. To the extent he spends time and effort judging, fighting or persuading people, it's of secondary importance, a part of his struggle to attain his creative goals. I have often wondered why it's so rare to find such dedication among Objectivists, why, indeed, Objectivism seems to inspire so little true independence and creativity, which to my mind is what Objectivism is all about. One reason, no doubt, is the stifling effect of rationalism and dogmatism on all creative impulse. However loyal to Ayn Rand's ideas the dogmatic Objectivist might be, he will, in a deeper sense, betray the spirit of her philosophy by closing his mind shut to any first-hand knowledge of reality; he will become a second-hander, living through and for Objectivism, making it an end rather than a guide and inspiration to become a thinker, producer, creator in his own right. I don't know whether similar reflections underlie Kelley's statement that Ayn Rand's philosophy is ''not a closed system''. Since he does not specify what exactly he means by this statement, I'm a bit uncertain about how to interpret it. I agree with Peikoff that the essence of the philosophy, its basic principles, is immutable and cannot be changed. The problem is that this essence tends to branch out so that every statement ever uttered by Ayn Rand is held up as indisputable truth, stifling any urge to question, develop or correct the philosophy in its wider implications and applications. If it's this kind of closed system Kelley wishes to oppose, I sympathize with him on this point as well. For this reason, I'm a little dubious about the implications of Peikoff's statement that ''a proper philosophy is an integrated whole, any change in any element of which would destroy the entire system''. If what he means is that a philosophy, as defined by its author, is not changed by its interpreters, I agree. If, however, the implication is that a philosophy has to be accepted or rejected in toto, I disagree. It's perfectly legitimate to take a selective approach to a philosophy, to extract from it what's good and to use that as a basis for new integrations - as Aristotle did with Plato and Ayn Rand did with Aristotle. It's true that in the process one may change the philosophy, even develop a new one, but if these changes are for the better, this is the approach to take. In the long run, any philosopher, however great his achievement, is best served by such discrimination. This goes for Ayn Rand, too. Revolutionary as her philosophy is in its scope of truth, it is neither exhaustive nor infallible; it needs systematization and expansion, as well as correction - although not in its basic principles, where it stands firm and should be left intact. But it is meaningless, even dangerous, to demand complete adherence to the whole system, to not only its fundamental base but to all aspects touched upon by Ayn Rand concerning its wider implications and consequences, the way Peikoff seems to be doing. This is to invite a dogmatic approach to Objectivism - an approach that will freeze the philosophy into rigid dogma and stifle creative independence. It's this fear of dogmatism and its consequences which is my primary reason for siding with Kelley in this dispute. Not only does he have my sympathy, but I regard him as an authentic Objectivist. His

benevolence, his will to consider the context of other people before judging them, his independent and questioning mind are, in my opinion, qualities that are desperately needed in the Objectivist movement, qualities that serve as a valuable antidote to the dogmatism that has plagued the movement. The fact that he now is being ostracized for these very qualities is very saddening. What Objectivism needs is more of his kind. I hope that in writing this letter I have not excluded myself from the Objectivist movement. As Objectivists and advocates of reason we should try to solve the issues raised in this dispute, not let them split us into irreconcilable factions. Let us leave that kind of thing to our enemies, to those who advocate irrational philosophies. Let us show that reason works in solving conflicts and disputes. If we cannot show it, how can we preach it? Cordially, Kirsti Minsaas

by Raymie Stata February 1, 1990

Kelley in San

Objectivism as a philosophy and a movement

Copyright 1990 by Raymie Stata Permission to copy and distribute granted provided that copyright notice appears on copies. On January sixth, 1990, David Kelley delivered a talk entitled "Objectivism: the philosophy and the movement." Kelley first discussed why he sees Objectivism as an open system and why he disagrees with Leonard Peikoff's position on the issue. Kelley went on to discuss a tribalist element he detects in the Objectivist movement and presented his own vision of what an Objectivism movement should be like. This was Kelley's first public appearance since the printing of Leonard Peikoff's essay "Fact and Value", in _The Intellectual Activist_ May 1989. Kelley only touched on one of the issues Peikoff raised; namely, Objectivism as a closed system. The rest, he said, will be covered in his forthcoming pamphlet _Truth and Toleration_, which will be available from Uncommon Sense book service when it is finished.

OBJECTIVISM AS AN OPEN SYSTEM The question of Objectivism as open or closed involves two issues, Kelley said: identity and completeness. "What gives Objectivism its identity," he asked, "and how complete must that identity be?" According to Leonard Peikoff, the writings of Ayn Rand, and only those writings, give Objectivism its complete identity. As such, there is no room for change, and any person who expresses disagreement is outside the system. Kelley disagrees. Historically, he said, no school of philosophy has had the characteristics Peikoff ascribes to Objectivism. Schools include positions that the philosophy's original author did not hold, and even include contradictory positions. Kelley pointed out that Aristotelianism includes both theist and atheist variations. Also, many individualists -- Ayn Rand included -- are Aristotelians even though Aristotle did not advocate an individualist politics. As another example, Kelley pointed out that while most philosophers have disagreed with most of what Kant actually wrote, many of these are still considered Kantian. Structurally, continued Kelley, Objectivism is far from complete. Ayn Rand herself said that a full understanding of the concepts "reality," "reason," "egoism," and "capitalism" would require volumes of thought. Extracting Miss Rand's philosophy from her political commentary, however, Kelley said that he counted only enough pages to fill a single volume. There is still work to do, he concluded. Kelley rejected the idea that the concept "Objectivism" refers to a body of writing. He said that "Objectivism" refers to a system of philosophy, and like all concepts it must be open-ended, allowing for new observations, deeper understanding, and, if necessary, corrections. Kelley was outspoken against the notion of an authoritative text, saying that such a notion was inconsistent with Objectivism. We must be concerned with the question "Is it true?" he said, not "Is it consistent with Ayn Rand?" But, he continued, the alternative to an authoritative text is not to rewrite Objectivism at whim. Instead, one must _define_ it in terms of its essential points and the connections among them, especially those points and connections that serve to distinguish Objectivism from other philosophies. Kelley went on to present his own definition of Objectivism. He started with the list Miss Rand made while "standing on one foot:" objective reality, reason, egoism, capitalism. He said that this is the level of detail that the man on the street will hold Objectivism if it ever reaches culture-wide influence. However, he added, if this is all that Ayn Rand said, she would have to be counted as a late born enlightenment thinker rather than as the creator of a new philosophic system. A technical definition of Objectivism must include Ayn Rand's original and distinctive insights defending her positions. Given this, Kelley proposed the following definition: 1. Metaphysics. - Primacy of existence: the absolutism of facts (i.e., consciousness as metaphysically passive), consciousness as veridical awareness. - Identity and causality as axioms which determine the proper method of logic. Kelley said that the connection between logic and fact is important and distinctive to Objectivism. 2. Epistemology.

- Reason: the senses as its base, logic as its method, and conceptualization and abstraction as its form of function. stressed Miss Rand's distinctive emphasis on universals.


- Miss Rand's distinction among the objective, intrinsic, and subjective approaches to concepts. Kelley said that this is crucial since it provides Objectivism's fundamental answer to Kant. - Reason as volitional. Kelley stressed Miss Rand's distinctive theory of free will and its connection to ethics. 3. Ethics. - Relation between value and life, Miss Rand's answer to the "is-ought" problem. - Rationality as the primary virtue. - Independence as the key link among epistemology, ethics, and politics. - The centrality of production in human life, of shaping the world in the image of values. Kelley identified this as the essence behind Miss Rand's view of man as a heroic being. - Explicit rejection of altruism and the mind/body dichotomy. 4. Politics. - Connection between capitalism and individual rights. For the first time in history, said Kelley, Ayn Rand brings together capitalism and individual rights. - The call for a _moral_ defense of capitalism. - Rights as the right to action, and force as the only means to violate them. - Need for government ruled by objective law to maintain capitalism. Kelley said that these points and connections, when properly understood and integrated, are the essence of Objectivism, and anyone in agreement with them is an Objectivist. Other issues he said, such as the theory of measurement omission and the rest of the virtues, are technical issues raised in elaboration or defense of the essentials, and a person who disputes them can be in the Objectivist school. Kelley said that while he feels that he can prove why exactly those points he listed define Objectivism, this itself is open to argument. He returned to his point that "Objectivism" should be treated as any other concept by saying that its definition needs to be proven, allows for borderline cases, and can change with growing knowledge. Kelley rejected the view that one can dismiss a person who disputes a point of Objectivism on the grounds that "if you reject this, everything else falls." This begs the question: the person is disputing the point because he denies that everything else will fall and, to the contrary, that the point in question actually contradicts the rest of Objectivism. While Objectivism is an integrated whole, Kelley said, its connections are not intrinsically revealed but must be discovered. Thus

the proper approach is for Objectivists to argue over disputed connections, not legislate them out of existence. OBJECTIVISM AS A MOVEMENT Kelley said that he detects an element of tribalism in some quarters of the Objectivist movement. Mixed with much that is good, he said, leading figures and institutions in the movement encourage this element. Tribalists experience their identity as part of a group, he explained. Tribalism has social and epistemological manifestations. The tribalist tends to seek friendships only within the tribe, to shun outsiders, and to adopt an "us vs. them" attitude. And since the tribalist fears expulsion, he avoids questioning. Kelley defended his position by pointing out symptoms of tribalism in the Objectivist movement. A rational person approaches other people with benevolence and the expectation of rationality, he said. Many Objectivists, on the other hand, have a negativeness and exaggerated pessimism about the world; they speak of "an Objectivist world" and "enemies of Objectivism" and generally regard outsiders with suspicion, thus cutting themselves off from society. While a rational man feels sadness when confronted with the need for moral condemnation, Kelley said, many Objectivists have a relish for it. Kelley contrasted Roark's contempt for social climbing with the deep social hierarchy of the Objectivist movement. And while the rational man expects occasional disagreement when dealing with other independent minds, Kelley noted that many Objectivists consider it a big "problem" if an intellectual disagreement doesn't disappear in short order. The tribal element manifests itself most overtly as purges, he said. The purges are an irrational way of dealing with what are often real problems. In these purges, the need to hear both sides, an elementary principle of disputes, is regularly overlooked. Also, he said that the purges bring personal disputes into the public forum but only half-way, leaving the public guessing. Kelley also feels that the tribal element leads to idolatry -- worshiping a concrete symbol instead of the truths it represents. The idol, of course, is Ayn Rand; flaws in her are equated with flaws in her ideas. He saw idolatry as the root of the upheaval caused by Barbara Branden's book. Kelley does not have much hope for change within existing circles of the Objectivist movement, although he said that he would love to be proven wrong about this. Meanwhile, he is forming his own vision of an Objectivism movement, drawing from history, in particular the Enlightenment. Kelley listed three characteristics of intellectual movements. First, movements are widespread, spanning many people and lots of time. Second, movements foster technical discussion and debate. Third, movements generate an impulse of ideas that flow through thousands of channels, including art, educational reform, and political reform. Socially, Kelley said, movements are characterized by dense networks of personal connections and collaborations. He said that movements have no central leader, although some people in the movement distinguish themselves. Movements have no central direction either, because there cannot be automatic, unorganized agreement. He pointed out that movements often have bitter rivalries and enmities; for example, many of the heroes of the enlightment were not on speaking terms. In regards to his own disputes, Kelley summed up his attitude as "I used to work with certain people, but now I don't -- that's the way movements work." Kelley said that there is vast potential for a widespread Objectivism movement and that he is optimistic. "But we can't wait for people to come to us -- a movement won't be built purge by purge," he

added. We have to encourage independence, which means that we have to expect -- even welcome -- disagreement within the bounds set by a proper definition of Objectivism. And we have to practice quality control not on people, but on ideas. Kelley announced the founding of _The Institute for Objectivist Studies_ by himself, George Walsh, Walter Donway, and Murray Franck, with Kelley serving as executive director "for as short a period as possible." He said that the institute's main mission will be to encourage scholarly work on Objectivism, especially work aimed at new knowledge. Details were not given, but the institute will do a mailing soon, and Kelley indicated that activities would be underway by the summer. --------NOTE: This summary is a journalistic report, not an interpretation or an endorsement. This summary borrows from Eyal Mozes' earlier summary. David Kelley has _not_ seen this summary; I take full responsibility for its accuracy.


Copyright Nicholas Dykes

Objectivism: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand by Leonard Peikoff New York: Dutton, 1991 cloth, 493p., $30.00 ISBN 0-525-93380-8

Previously published in Free Life, the journal of the UK Libertarian Alliance, no. 21 (November 1994). AD 1993 saw some notable anniversaries, from Queen Elizabeth's 40th as a powerless monarch to "Whitewater Bill" Clinton's first as the world's most powerful elected official.

In the less grandiose but nonetheless powerful world of publishing, another milestone was reached: the 50th anniversary of The Fountainhead, the novel which established Ayn Rand as a major literary figure and which contained the first statement - albeit in embryo - of her challenging philosophy, Objectivism. (A fuller statement arrived in 1957, with her novel Atlas Shrugged.) As a novelist, Rand achieved enduring success. The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged not only remain in print but sell upwards of 100,000 copies a year, nearly 20 years after their author's death. For Rand the philosopher, however, reception was distinctly mixed. Among students, she quickly acquired a wide following; among their professors, she was usually either ignored or scornfully dismissed. Since over a quarter of a century has elapsed since the heyday of the "Objectivist Movement" it is worth noting some of the reasons for the latter reaction. In the first place, from the beginning of her career, Rand made no secret at all of her scorn for "modern philosophers" (and with few exceptions, she was not renowned for tact). Little wonder "modern philosophers" responded in kind. Secondly, Rand was an atheist who rejected out-of-hand all religions and virtually every other philosophy from Platonism to Existentialism; specifically any brand of scepticism, subjectivism, determinism, pragmatism, or positivism; and all forms of altruism. She also maintained that most "problems" in philosophy - such as the analytic-synthetic dichotomy and the is-ought problem - were either false or easily resolved. Since the above just about covers the syllabus for a philosophy degree, Rand's acerbic veto was unlikely to win friends in, or influence, the professoriat. Nor did Rand broadcast her ideas in the forms or outlets used by other philosophers. Eschewing academic journals, she expressed herself at first in novels; later in essays, articles, pamphlets and speeches most of which she initially edited and published herself. Media of this kind do not normally excite much interest in philosophy departments. Lastly, though an avowed system-builder, Rand's approach to philosophy was anything but systematic. Her views are scattered among her novels and essays, and the closest she came to a philosophic treatise - her Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology (1971) - is, while eminently worthy of study, barely 70 pages long and covers only one philosophical topic, the theory of concepts. Rand often spoke of a "future book on Objectivism" but never wrote it. For anyone interested in Ayn Rand's philosophical ideas, therefore, Leonard Peikoff's Objectivism should be a welcome arrival. It is the first full treatise on Rand, the first time her philosophy has been presented in its entirety in a single volume. Dr. Peikoff's book has several virtues. It is clearly written and easy to follow. In effect, the book continues the exceptionally high standard of clarity set by Rand herself, who invariably said exactly what she meant, and meant exactly what she said. The work is also well organised and moves easily and logically from Rand's first premises in metaphysics and epistemology to her final conclusions in ethics, politics, and aesthetics. Dr. Peikoff begins where Rand begins, firmly and positively in reality, in this world. He expounds her founding axiom "existence exists", and its corollaries: that one exists possessing consciousness - the faculty for perceiving existents - and that to exist, to be, is to be some thing, hence the law of identity, and its corollary, the law of causality. He then elaborates Rand's insistence on the primacy of existence over consciousness; the crucial role of reason in man's life; her view of man as a being of volitional consciousness; and her stress on objectivity, hierarchy and context in determining what constitutes knowledge. These and other topics take up most of the first half of the book. An objection at this point is that Dr. Peikoff spends less time than one might have wished on Rand's innovative theory of concepts. Rand described the core of the theory herself in a highly condensed summary in the aforementioned Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology:

The process of concept formation consists of mentally isolating two or more existents by means of their distinguishing characteristic, and retaining this characteristic while omitting their particular measurements - on the principle that these measurements must exist in some quantity, but may exist in any quantity. A concept is a mental integration of two or more units possessing the same distinguishing characteristic(s), with their particular measurements omitted. Other lacunae in the book are the absence of any discussion of the "problem" of induction, and of the "is/ought" controversy. Since Rand offered resolutions for both, this is surprising. (Dr. Peikoff's disclaimers, on p. 74 and p. 186, do not suffice.) Having dealt with Rand's metaphysics and epistemology, Dr. Peikoff proceeds to her most controversial contribution to thought: her egoistic ethics, with its adamant rejection of altruism. Rand maintained that, far from being bound in duty to others, each human life is an end in itself, not a means to any other end, and that therefore each human being has a right to live for his or her own sake, neither sacrificing themselves to others nor others to themselves. For Rand, the ultimate goal for humanity on this earth is each person's own life; the ultimate beneficiary of action, each person's own self. Dr. Peikoff concludes his presentation of the Objectivist ethics with a chapter on happiness, which Ayn Rand held to be the "only moral purpose" of one's life (p.325). The chapter closes with Rand's movingly exalted view of sex: ...the moment when, in answer to the highest of one's values, in an admiration not to be expressed by any other form of tribute, one's spirit makes one's body become the tribute, recasting it - as proof, as sanction, as reward - into a single sensation of such intensity of joy that no other sanction of one's existence is necessary. (p. 348). From the sublime, Dr. Peikoff brings us sharply back to earth with Rand's politics; explaining her dedication to individual rights; her identification of the initiation of force as the one real political or social vice (pp. 310-23); and her view of government as a purely retaliatory institution existing solely to protect the individual against internal or external aggression. This leads naturally to Rand's ringing endorsement of capitalism as mankind's only proper form of social organisation. But not the "mixed" economy which poses as capitalism today, rather: a full, pure, uncontrolled, unregulated laissez-faire capitalism - with a separation of state and economics, in the same way and for the same reasons as the separation of state and church. Dr. Peikoff ends his study with Rand's aesthetics, this, the last, actually being one of the better chapters in the book. However, virtually all sections cover their material comprehensively and Rand's ideas are presented cogently throughout, with ample quotations and careful annotation. Thus, in many ways, Dr. Peikoff's work is both excellent and useful and will no doubt take its place as required reading wherever Objectivism is studied. The reader may be wondering by now about my title. In brief, despite the credit I have tried to give to Dr. Peikoff, I was not at all happy with his book. From Preface to Epilogue I was troubled by errors, gaps and flaws, many of which I found so annoying that I had to put the book aside, often for long periods. Seventeen months elapsed between purchase and completion of an initial reading. The first egregious error comes at the end of the short Preface, where Peikoff describes himself as Rand's "best student and chosen heir" (p. xv). Leaving aside the questionable taste of such a pronouncement, Peikoff's assertion is fanciful to say the least. Anyone who knows anything at all about the short history of Objectivism knows that for nearly twenty years Nathaniel Branden was quite obviously Rand's "best student", just as he was for ten years her publicly proclaimed heir. After her

break with Branden, Rand changed her Will more than once, it appears, and it is more than likely that the main reason Peikoff was eventually "chosen" was that he was Hobson's Choice, as the English say, or no choice at all. He was the only early member of Rand's erstwhile "Inner Circle" to stick with her to the end. In my day, students, even the best of them, were taught: a) be accurate; b) avoid self-congratulation. My second problem is that I found Peikoff's tone far too polemical for a philosophical work; too reminiscent, one has to say, of Rand at her worst. There are the same sudden switches from exposition to harangue; the same sweeping generalisations, caustic dismissals, and frosty denunciations. Even Rand's over-use of pejorative jargon terms is emulated - although her favourite, "whim", is leavened by the addition of "caprice", and her fiendish "whim-worshipper" is partially displaced by a new jabberwock, the dreaded "intrinsicist". These stylistic irritants grate because Rand's lapses were usually forgivable: most of the time she rewarded the reader with new, forcefully expressed and compelling insights. Dr. Peikoff by contrast, however worthy, has little of Rand's discernment, brilliance at condensing, or relentless pursuit of the essential. Although admittedly Rand would be a hard act for anyone to follow, we are nevertheless left with the impression of the journeyman who apes his master; producing, after immense labour, something much better in the original. My third problem is that from beginning to end I did not notice a single word of criticism of Ayn Rand. Peikoff writes as if everything she uttered was beyond reproach. But this is not the case. As even friendly critics have pointed out - e.g., Ronald Merrill, David Kelley, and others - there is both imperfection and incompleteness in Rand's thought. There are also many areas of concern to philosophy about which she had little or nothing to say; and even where she was most thorough, few philosophers, friendly or otherwise, would accept her ideas as fully worked up in a philosophical sense. Peikoff's uncritical acceptance of Rand, warts and all, makes one doubly aware of another serious flaw in the book, that Peikoff writes as if he were alone in the world. Many contemporary toilers in the vineyard have addressed the issues Rand addressed yet, with the exception of Peikoff's colleague Dr. Harry Binswanger, who is cited once (p. 191), the only practising philosophers referred to in the text both disparagingly - are John Rawls (p. 122) and W. Gerber (p. 140). This rather glaring deficiency may of course be due to Peikoff's unfortunate decision to perpetuate Rand's anti-academic stance, which he advertises with a gratuitous insult in his Preface (p. xiv). Disregarding the self-defeating consequences of such a posture, the obvious snag with it is that a significant number of professional philosophers, including other Randians, have raised issues, objections and problems which bear directly on Peikoff's subject matter. Their studies, several important and interesting, cannot simply be ignored, nor should they be. As the noted Aristotelian scholar Henry B. Veatch observed, when reviewing Peikoff's book for Liberty magazine: Had he taken cognizance of what various of these contemporary critics have said ... it would have rendered his own presentation ... far more sophisticated and illuminating. But the greater difficulty with Dr. Peikoff's myopic one-sidedness is that it makes the work unconvincing - even to an Objectivist of thirty years such as myself. The book would have been much stronger, for example, if Dr. Peikoff had devoted some space, even just a few pages, to rebutting some of the better-known criticisms of Rand. Indeed, it is difficult to understand how he managed to resist a swipe at the knock-kneed straw man set up by Robert Nozick in his Personalist article On the Randian Argument. Douglas Den Uyl and Douglas Rasmussen had a field day blowing it to bits, why not Dr. Peikoff? These considerations lead naturally to my major criticisms of Dr. Peikoff's book: his seriously

inadequate, sometimes non-existent presentation of opposing points of view; and his corresponding failure to fit Objectivism into the context of Western philosophy. Dr. Peikoff is certainly aware of such requirements. His pages are peppered with the names of dozens of other philosophers, from Socrates to Wittgenstein (although only six are deemed worthy of inclusion in his Index), and every once in a while he lifts his approving gaze from the Randian corpus for a brief, and usually withering, survey of other ideas. (For examples, see: re metaphysics, pp. 30-35; epistemology, 142-49; reason, 182-85; ethics, 243-49; and politics, 369-77.) The crux of my criticism, and a grave charge in my view, is that those whom Dr. Peikoff (or Peikoff/Rand) disagrees with so vociferously are not allowed anything like a proper say. His surveys are mostly composed of generalisations about "mystics", "sceptics", "subjectivists" "determinists", and our friend the "intrinsicist"; or are based on equally vague allusions such as: "We hear on all sides..." (p. 22); "The monist insistence that..." (p. 35); "Kant-inspired attacks..." or "according to Kantians" (p. 49); "The followers of these schools, who are legion..." (p. 80); "For centuries, rationalist philosophers have..." (p. 90), etc, etc. When particular philosophers are treated at all, their views are presented either in briefest summary or in paraphrase - there is an extraordinary paucity of non-Randian quotations. Most irritating of all, on those rare occasions when another philosopher is actually quoted, there is no reference. Of 400 footnotes, only seven refer to non-Objectivist works. As to the bibliography, it is one of the shortest I have ever seen, confined entirely to Rand's own main works and one or two posthumous collections of her essays. The three philosophers who are presented in some detail, Plato, Aristotle and Kant - villain, hero, villain - fare no better. Quotation is scant or absent. Platonic dialogues are mentioned twice by name, and two of Kant's critiques, but there are no edition or page references for either. Aristotle does receive mostly favourable treatment throughout the book, but only two references to his work are provided, both in the last chapter, and both from De Poetica, which is hardly the sum and substance of peripatetic philosophy. I have already referred to Peikoff's polemical tone. This is most noticeable when he deigns to consider opposing viewpoints, his manner quickly becoming terse, flippant, sarcastic, or dismissive. The following off-handed, parenthetical aside about Hume is typical: the worst offenders philosophically are not the primitives who implicitly count on causality yet never discover it, but the modern sophisticates, such as David Hume, who count on it while explicitly rejecting it. (p. 15) Another typical passage is this treatment of "materialists" (p. 33), which is, if I recall correctly, all the attention they receive in the book: men such as Democritus, Hobbes, Marx, Skinner - champion nature but deny the reality or efficacy of consciousness.... [which is] either a myth or a useless byproduct of brain or other motions....Ayn Rand describes materialists as "mystics of muscle"....[According to materialists, man] is essentially a body without a mind. His conclusions, accordingly, reflect not the objective methodology of reason and logic, but the blind operation of physical factors, such as atomic dances in the cerebellum, glandular squirtings, S-R conditioning, or the tools of production moving in that weird, waltzlike contortion known as the dialectic process. There are two issues to consider here. The first is convincing the reader. Labelling Hume a "paralyzed skeptic" (p. 54), or Kant "the world's greatest subverter of the conceptual faculty" (p. 109), may be entirely just; but if one's case is not demonstrated it is mere opinion or, worse, abuse. Nowhere in the book is there any documentation or clear evidence to justify Peikoff/Rand's revulsion for Kant. All is

assertion or paraphrase. It is simply not enough to instruct the reader, "For evidence...consult The Critique of Pure Reason" (p. 109), particularly when one has just implied that the Critique is so badly written as to be unintelligible (pp. 108-9). Nor does it suffice, on such serious matters, to refer readers to one's own earlier work, as Peikoff eventually does (p. 451). His first book, The Ominous Parallels, does indeed document a (partial) case against Kant, but couldn't we have had a few of the juicy bits reiterated here? To be convincing, a writer must make a case there and then, not pack the poor reader off to the library to do the job himself. The second issue here is that when Ayn Rand is treated for hundreds of pages with solemn respect, while all other philosophers are skimped over in hasty or dismissive pastiches (even Aristotle takes his share of knocks), the reader fairly soon comes to question the objectivity of the writer. Thus when we read of Rand's "unprecedented and pregnant identification" (p. 91); or her "landmark discoveries" (p. 151), even an Objectivist sympathiser is reaching for the salt. The most peculiar thing about this book on Objectivism is, alas, how subjective it is. Throughout his book Dr. Peikoff treats Objectivism as if it had sprung, fully formed, pristine, and almost entirely original, from the forehead of Ayn Rand. This is partly true, Rand was neither a scholar nor a reader, she worked out her ideas herself. Nonetheless, Objectivism inevitably had roots and origins and influences. The reader would like to know what these were. For example, Rand frequently acknowledged her debt to Aristotle, but Dr. Peikoff does not attempt the all-important task of showing exactly how Objectivism dovetails with Aristotelianism. A further deficiency concerns Locke. The great man does get his name dropped a couple of times, but since he anticipated a substantial part of Rand's politics he surely deserves more than that. Another "missing person" is Nietzsche. Ronald Merrill demonstrated a Nietzschian influence on the younger Rand in his book The Ideas of Ayn Rand, yet the enigmatic German gets no more attention from Dr. Peikoff than Locke does, even though Rand herself reported her youthful attraction without too much reticence. In fact no biographical information about Rand is provided whatsoever. Her education during and after the Bolshevik revolution in Russia; her carefully contrived escape; her arrival in the United States as a penniless immigrant with barely a word of English; her bitterness at the lack of respect accorded her by the American intellectual establishment after her dramatic success: all these experiences coloured her thought, style and behaviour, and should therefore feature in a discussion of her ideas. Similarly, the evolution of Objectivism into its final form surely merits attention in a treatise on Ayn Rand's philosophy. Nobody, no matter how brilliant, reaches Rand's level of insight and abstraction without decades of trial and error, false leads, blind alleys, formulation and reformulation, and long years of refinement. Dr. Peikoff has had better access than anybody to Rand's Philosophic Journals. Even if he intends to publish them later, a summary and a few extracts would not have been amiss in this book. In a philosophy which lays such emphasis on context, gaps of the kind I have been discussing are not merely mystifying, they are serious sins of omission. I have been very critical of Dr. Peikoff's treatment of opposing points of view. I would like to conclude this article with a look at his discussion of anarchism (pp. 371-73), which I found so unacceptable that it made me wonder whether my judgement elsewhere had been too lenient. The discussion occupies a bare one-and-a-half pages in Dr. Peikoff's chapter on Rand's concept of

government. Now, it is true that Ayn Rand dismissed anarchism in her own brief look at the nature of government, and certainly she had no sympathy or patience with modern "anarcho-capitalists". But I do not believe that the following accurately represents her thinking: "Anarchism...amounts to the view that every man should defend himself by using force against others whenever he feels like it, with no objective standards of justice, crime, or proof". (pp. 371-2) "'What if an individual does not want to delegate his right of self-defense?' .... The question implies that a "free man" is one with the right to enact his desire, any desire, simply because it is his desire, including the desire to use force." "Anarchists in America pretend to be individualists.... however... as its main modern popularizer, Karl Marx, makes clear, anarchism is an expression of Utopian collectivism." "...anarchism does not recognise that honest disagreement and deliberate evil will always be possible to men; it does not grasp the need of any mechanism to enable real human beings to live together in harmony.... the theory has no place for real human beings..." (p. 372). "The immediate result of anarchy...has to be gang rule/or the rule of a strongman." "Anarchism is merely an unusually senseless form of statism..." (p. 373). I do not think it is necessary for me to spell out - in a review which is already long enough - the inaccuracy, contradictions, misrepresentation, smear by association, argument by intimidation, disregard for history, and twisted reasoning evident in the above passages. It is hard to believe an Objectivist author wrote them. Where are context, hierarchy, and objectivity? Gang rule? Strongmen? What happened to Objectivist man: to reason, purpose, self-esteem; to rationality, productiveness, pride; to honesty, independence, integrity, and justice? Where is the "benevolent universe" Rand so often upheld? Who said "There are no conflicts of interest among men of goodwill"? Who invented Galt's Gulch - the haven with neither government nor dispute? Was it all just a dream, then? Men can not, after all, be entrusted with liberty? Must we ignore all history, all experience, all the overwhelming evidence that power corrupts and, when all is said and done, bow to the inevitable statist claim that freedom and happiness really do depend upon government? One last problem with this problematic book is that in it Dr. Peikoff tells us nothing new. Every important point he makes was made previously by Ayn Rand. Contrast Nathaniel Branden in psychology, say, or David Kelley in epistemology, who have taken an Objectivist foundation and built upon it substantially. Dr. Peikoff merely repeats what Rand said. He is always looking over his shoulder, never at the road ahead. I take no issue with his intention to present Rand's system systematically, but there are enough open spaces in her philosophy, or areas she did not touch, that one would have thought that any philosopher worth his salt would have seized the Randian ball and run off joyously into parks and pastures new. Instead, Dr. Peikoff seems so overwhelmed by the marvellous inheritance which fell into his hands that he remains welded to the spot he was occupying when probate was granted in 1982. Regretfully then, for I was really looking forward to this book, my conclusion is that Objectivism: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand, while from an Objectivist point of view it is worth reading, from the perspective of philosophy in general it is far from "the definitive statement" that Dr. Peikoff imagines it to be (p. xv). Tom Paine said that a king could just as well be born an ass as a lion. Something similar can be said of chosen heirs, who often fail to live up to their inheritance. No doubt Objectivist "true believers" will continue to uphold Leonard Peikoff as a lion, but with this narrow-focused and intemperate book I am afraid he has made himself appear a bit of an ass.

Copyright Thomas Gramstad Nordic Artificial Intelligence Magazine No. 2 1991 This article introduces some of the basic ideas behind a deductive database based on Aristotelian logic. The database was created by Eyal Mozes and is the basis for his doctoral thesis, completed at the Weizmann Institute in Rehovot, Israel. Aristotelian logic is the area of logic which is concerned which is concerned with rules for reasoning from general premises to specific conclusions, i.e., deductive logic - an area that was founded and almost singlehandedly developed by Aristotle. Today it is common among philosophers and mathematicians to regard it as a special case of predicate calculus. This view, however, is severely mutilated, if not killed, by the latest gadget from the Aristotelian Philosophy Defense Department. Why use Aristotelian logic in a database? Aristotelian logic is concerned with actual human thought. This gives the database some unique features: It can give natural-language explanations for its deductions; it can volunteer information, in answer to yes/no questions, if a stronger or weaker version of the "yes" answer can be proven; it can point out likely (but unprovable) possibilities; it can suggest "missing rules" (i.e., new rules that would allow a "yes" answer); and it can even suggest instances in which nondeductive forms of reasoning (e.g., analogy, induction) may be useful. There is, however, a deeper motivation for the use of Aristotelian logic. In agreement with H.B. Veatch, the author of Intentional Logic (Yale University Press 1952), Eyal Mozes criticizes modern mathematical logic for confusing real relations - the relations among different objects and between objects and their properties - with logical ones. Thus, general facts used in deduction are referred to as "deductive rules" when they are contained in a deductive database. However, stresses Eyal Mozes, they are not rules guiding the deduction - they are premises of the deduction.

Aristotelian logic, created for the purpose of understanding and practically guiding actual human thought, studies the relations of identity on which human knowledge and thought are based, their possible forms, and their use in inference; this study is the theory of the syllogism. ... Previous work on deductive databases was based on mathematical logic, and therefore did not recognize the role of the logical relation of identity as the base of knowledge and of inference; instead, database relations which represent real relations - were treated as if they are logical relations. That is why general facts about these relations were treated as if they are deduction rules, and the four possible types of general facts were not recognized. One result of this is that the various distinctions and classifications made in Aristotelian logic - such as the classification of syllogisms into figures, and the classification of the fallacies - which are relevant to human thinking and allow implicit reasoning about knowledge, and the resulting capabilities of the user interaction, were not possible. (Mozes, p. 21) The thesis consists of 9 chapters. The introductory chapter describes the goals of the thesis, the basic features of the database, and projects the historical influence of traditional philosophical logic vs. modern, mathematical logic. The second chapter provides an overview of the structure of the database as seen by the user, and the third chapter describes the deductive procedures; this chapter may serve as a brief introduction to Aristotelian logic. Chapter 4 compares the thesis to other works on deductive databases, and other works on Aristotelian logic. Chapter 5 provides examples of how the database works. Chapter 6 discusses the philosophical motivation behind the database. Chapter 7 considers the use of Aristotelian logic as an extension of the usual procedures of deductive databases, and provides a system of rules for valid inference and a partial formal semantics. Chapter 8 describes the implementation of the prototype system, including its general architecture and the major algorithms. Chapter 9 contains conclusions and suggestions for future research. Finally, an appendix lists the valid moods and figures of the syllogism, and another gives examples of runs with the deductive algorithm. The database demonstrates the advantages of Aristotelian logic and suggests two broad areas to which it can be applied: 1. Applications in which interactions with human users are important. 2. Simulations of human thought, especially AI applications dealing with induction and the suggestion of possibilities. Eyal Mozes may be contacted at eyal@cloud9.net. His thesis is available for free from: Department of Applied Mathematics Weizmann Institute of Science Rehovot 76100 Israel carol@wisdom.weizmann.ac.il (Carol Weintraub) Ask for Technical Report CS87-18 A Deductive Database Based on Aristotelian Logic


Copyright Gary McGath Nordic Artificial Intelligence Magazine no. 2 1991. This article is based on a lecture originally presented to the Prometheus Forum on September 12, 1987. An earlier version of the article was published in the electronic magazine Atlantis # 2. Computer scientists, working in the field of artificial intelligence, often claim that they will someday create a combination of computer hardware and software that thinks, and even that activity on the borderline of thought has already been achieved in computers. The question which we have to ask in response to this claim is a scientific one: is thought possible in computers? But the key issue in dealing with this question is not so much one of accumulating and weighing the evidence, but one of the methodology used. This is an issue of philosophy of science: A certain method is being used to arrive at a conclusion. Is that method valid? Philosophy of science pertains to the methodology of science, not to its specific conclusions. It can offer a criticism of the way a conclusion was reached; it can affirm or deny the validity of a scientific argument based on the available data; but it can't replace the process of assessing evidence, observing the facts, and building a conclusion of what is happening, has happened, or will happen based upon that information. Suppose, to take a crude example, that someone claimed that bicycles experience emotions, and supported his claim by means of numerology. One could ask scientific questions about his approach; the validity of his calculations could be checked. But before going to this level, it would be necessary to ask a more basic question: is the method valid? Does numerology deserve to be considered as a method for arriving at any conclusion? If it isn't, then running a program to re-check his calculations would only cause the computer unnecessary grief. Often the method by which people reach a conclusion isn't stated outright. Most people simply assume the epistemology which they use, rather than explaining its basis and methods. As long as the epistemology is valid, this approach is reasonable; people would rather get on with reaching conclusions than constantly re-examine the method which they use to reach them. The methodology by which computer scientists propose to establish that a computer thinks is fairly straightforward. It consists of testing the machine's ability to converse, to reach conclusions from data, to deal with human languages, to process images - in brief, to engage in the kind of actions which are associated with reasoning in human beings.

The best-known version of this method is the test proposed by A. M. Turing in his 1951 article, Computing Machinery and Intelligence. In this article, he proposed letting an interrogator communicate with a computer and with a human being solely by means of data terminals. The interrogator starts out not knowing which terminal leads to which subject; he may ask any questions he wants of the subjects in an effort to tell which is which. If his determination of which one is the human is no better than random guessing would give, then the computer is considered to be thinking. For example, if I were the interrogator, I might ask the computer to write a sonnet. It could respond by giving a sonnet, or it might simply say, as in Turing's example, "Count me out on this one. I could never write poetry." After all, that is a perfectly plausible human response. Various criticisms of Turing's "imitation game" have been made, but there is still broad support for his principle: if a machine can give responses which would be respectable from a thinking being, it is regarded as thinking. THE BLACK BOX FALLACY In order to judge whether this approach is appropriate, we have to step back and see what the broader method implied in the approach is, and what assumptions it relies on. This is where we ask if the methodological principle is correct; this is where we are dealing in philosophy of science. The methodological principle which is used here could be stated in colloquial terms as, "If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, and swims like a duck, then it is a duck." More technically, we can call this the operational method. Its premise is that an entity's characteristics may be presented in terms of a model, and that correspondence to a model implies essential similarity. The duck-model consists of certain modes of appearance, locomotion, sound, and so forth. The model for thinking is one of dealing with information in certain ways. The question of what prior conditions result in correspondence to the model is considered secondary and unimportant. Obviously, this method isn't totally contrary to reason. If you can construct a set of characteristics for a duck, or a human being, and something meets those characteristics, chances are it is a duck or a human. If it walks and eats, it is very likely alive. If it conducts an intelligent-sounding conversation with you, the possibility that it thinks is bound to come to mind. However, the operational methodology contains a serious fallacy. This fallacy is present in the usual approach to the question of whether computers think. It is also present in the way other areas of science - notably quantum physics - are treated. This fallacy has not been widely recognized, and the lack of its recognition is a danger to science. This can be called the black box fallacy. It consists of the implicit idea that as long as we don't see what is happening inside a box, all that counts is what comes out of the box. Or we could call it the black hole fallacy, since black holes are the ultimate black boxes. A black hole is a region of collapsed matter and energy in space, so dense that its gravitation keeps anything whatsoever from escaping. Any light radiated in a black hole literally falls back in. Actually, this isn't quite true; because of the uncertainty built into quantum physics, some energy can escape from a black hole. Because black holes let nothing out except this random spillover, physicist Stephen Hawking has demonstrated that what comes out must be completely random and uncorrelated. Jerry Pournelle, a generally rational science fiction writer, tells us this means that "we don't know anything and can't know anything; that causality is a local phenomenon of a purely temporary nature; that time travel is possible; that Chtulhu might emerge from a singularity, and indeed is as probable as, say, H. P. Lovecraft." (Jerry Pournelle, A Step Farther Out, Ace, 1979, p. 184.)

At best, Hawking's conclusion is the physical equivalent of saying that if enough monkeys type randomly long enough, they will produce the complete works of H. P. Lovecraft. But because these particular monkeys are in a black hole, they are taken as undermining the very fabric of reality with their unknowability. The error of the black-box fallacy lies in neglect of the hierarchy of knowledge. In observing reality, we do not merely collect a host of particular data to be collected into a model. We also discover the preconditions of observation, the facts which make such concepts as science and knowledge possible. This example shows where the outer limits of the black-box fallacy lie. But for all its ludicrousness, it is exactly the same type of fallacy which lies behind the claims that computer programs can think; and the inversion of the hierarchy of knowledge is just as fundamental. In Turing's test, both the computer and the human subject are black boxes to the interrogator. All that may be tested is their input-output behavior; if they are the same, then they fit the same model, so the processes producing them are assumed to be the same. The Turing double-blind as a strict limitation on testing for intelligence isn't popular with computer scientists today; they claim that they are concerned with what is going on inside the box. But they still think in terms of models and limit themselves to what can be observed from outside. The difference is that they deal with the structure of the model, rather than only its input-output behavior. Anything which can't be observed from without and made a part of the model is dismissed as mysticism and religion, just as Pournelle grants that Lovecraftian demons may be waiting to pop out of black holes. Notice this correlation very carefully. The advocates of thinking computers regard what is inside the black box as mystical and treat it with scorn. Pournelle treats what is in black holes as mystical and regards it with fear and awe. But only the evaluation is different; the relegation of the unseen to the realm of non-identity is the common principle in both cases. What the promoters of thinking computers regard as observable is information and the organization thereof. The AI model of the human mind is an informational model. Information is present in minds and computer programs alike, not in the sense that one can open either one up and point to the information lying inside, but in the sense that the presence of information can be established by objective tests which an observer can run. By answering certain questions, I can demonstrate that I possess information about people, about computers, about the Boston area, and so on, and that I can make certain kinds of use of this information. What is not observable is that I am aware of these facts and of what I am doing with them, and that I can choose to deal with one set of facts or another or to dismiss them all from my mind. No external test can demonstrate my consciousness, as opposed to my merely claiming to be conscious. Thus, this is inside the black box and excluded from operational-scientific consideration. But excluding consciousness from scientific consideration is an inversion of the hierarchy of knowledge just as fundamental as Pournelle's claim that a scientific observation invalidates all our knowledge. For what is it we are saying when we claim to be thinking? We are saying that we are aware of some fact, and relating it to other facts of which we are aware. Without the concept of consciousness, the concept of thought has no meaning. To say that consciousness must be excluded from consideration of whether a device thinks is to say that we must not consider the basis of thinking in dealing with thought. To say that we should define consciousness in terms of information is to leave the concept of information without any basis; the root of the hierarchy of cognitive concepts has been moved out to the branch. If the advocates of thinking computers admit the issue of consciousness, they allow it to be inferred only from the observable behavior of an entity. If a computer acts, as far as we can observe, just like a

human being, then it is supposedly human chauvinism to doubt that the machine is also conscious. This claim involves an even cruder version of the operational fallacy, one which requires ignoring what was put into the black box in judging what comes out of it. We do not have to assume that only beings with two arms and two legs can think; but when we have a sufficient explanation of an entity's behavior which does not make reference to thought, it is entirely superfluous and arbitrary to suppose that it is thinking. The explanation which we can offer, in the case of all existing computer programs that produce quasi-intelligent behavior, is the program itself. A program is a complete specification of the way a computer will act when it is run, nitpicking about compiler differences, random number generators, and the like aside. If a computer acted in a way which could not be accounted for by its programs, then we might have a phenomenon worthy of investigation. (Usually, though, such a phenomenon is known as a hardware bug. This is worthy of investigation, but only so that it can be fixed.) The conventional approach to artificial intelligence relies entirely on the visible effects of a model, without regard to what lies behind that model. It does not even take into account whether an entity can tie its model to reality. A typical computer "knowledge base" consists of a collection of relationships among various primitive objects and attributes, organized in "frames" which permit effective handling of exceptions and contexts. The results are often very impressive; but these primitive objects are ultimately undefined and unrelated to any perceptual data. A knowledge base could contain various relationships about objects, such as "The toe bone is connected to the foot bone," attributes of bones in general, such as being breakable and filled with marrow, and exceptions to these attributes where appropriate. But it contains no perceptual basis for the concept of bone. AI programs do not build up concepts as we do from experience. They are given descriptions in terms of data relationships. When humans understand things only in this way, it is regarded as a very poor sort of understanding. The student who can rattle off answers to quiz questions but has no idea what the subject matter is really about falls into this category. This is not, in fact, understanding at all, since it can be based on false premises as easily as true ones. One could imagine, for instance, an AI program which gave thoroughly correct answers on Tolkien's Middle Earth, but had no idea that its "knowledge" was not about reality. Here I should mention neural nets as a different approach, one which does build up descriptions from elemental data. The idea of a neural net was proposed early in the study of artificial intelligence, dropped largely because of the lack of sufficiently powerful computers to obtain interesting results, and revived within the past few years. It consists, in broad terms, of building up relationships among incoming data without any pre-imposed structure, by trial and error, so to speak. This approach is much closer to a model of human thinking, though it is still actually programmed manipulations of data. All its actions are explainable in terms of its program, although this program may be quite small compared with its accumulated information structures. The AI view of intelligence equates thinking with information processing. But this is another inversion. Information is a teleological concept. Apart from an imputed purpose of relating one set of events to another, there is no way to distinguish information from noise. Regularities alone do not constitute information; a sine wave is one of the most regular things there is, but it conveys very little information at best. The term information has a scientific meaning, which is more quantitative than the everyday notion of information; it can specify the exact amount of information conveyed in a given message. It does not escape association with a purpose, though. The scientific concept of information requires an implicit context in which information is distinguished from redundant signals and noise; this ultimately requires a purpose, such as knowledge or action, by which we judge what information is. Thus, defining thinking in terms of information puts things backwards. Only because there are thinking

beings does the concept of information make sense. A machine that processes information is one which deals with data which are meaningful to a thinking being, or conducive to some human purpose. An information-processing machine, however powerful it may be, is not a thinking machine. A CHOICE OF METHODOLOGIES I want to stress the methodology here. The conclusion that a computer can't think isn't very exciting in itself. It would be more exciting if I could have demonstrated that computers can think. But in order to advance knowledge, in order to achieve new discoveries and inventions, we have to use the correct methodology. An incorrect one may provide lots of exciting promises, but will not provide many results. The operational method of thinking, with its stress on models, encourages thinking by analogy. Operationally, if two things act alike, they are alike. For some purposes, analogies are very useful; seeing a similarity between a new situation and a previously understood one can lead to a valuable insight. However, it is also necessary to understand when to break away from analogies, when to form a new conceptual framework. Being unable to do this leads to stagnation. Regarding computers as thinking machines is, in fact, such a path to stagnation. It can distract one from identifying the role which computers can and do in fact play, as adjuncts to human thought rather than as thinkers. And in fact, virtually all the advances in the use of computers have come from people who have not clung to the idea that a computer is a low-grade human mind. This includes many of the advances in artificial intelligence itself, which have resulted from backing away from models of thought and instead approaching specific problems. The real key to computers is contained in the term information processing. The basic action of a computer is to accept information of some kind, and produce information of another kind. A word processor creates formatted text from keystrokes. A data base manager creates responses from queries and from its data base. A game creates visual or verbal effects from its internal data and the player's input. Thinking in these terms, and not in terms imitative of humans, is the key to creativity. For example, Apple Computer's HyperCard deals with units of textual or graphic information called cards, organizes these in stacks, and allows user input to affect the progression from one card to another. The spreadsheet - VisiCalc and its thousand imitators - is another example; its creators thought about what people needed and how that need could be met in terms of the computer's information-processing capability. People don't think like spreadsheets; they don't think like stacks of cards; but they use both of these as tools. An analogy from the tools people use, transferred to the new context of information processing, was the key to both of these creations. But in addition, elements were introduced which were not possible without the computer; a "sheet of paper" in the middle of which new rows and columns can be created, and which calculates formulas automatically; cards that have areas on them which reach out directly on request to other cards. The idea of information processing can be extended in many directions. I have been very interested in the idea of interactive fiction, of a story whose progress changes according to the "reader's" choices. Whoever thinks of and devises the next widely useful application of information processing will be in a position to make a lot of money. The possibilities are limitless, if we don't restrict our concept of the computer to less than it can be. And this, ironically, is what is wrong with regarding computers as thinking machines: not that it is too much to expect of a computer, but that it is the wrong thing to expect, and therefore ultimately limiting. Discarding false concepts keeps the future open for new discoveries, and perhaps for computers doing

things much more amazing than any robot science-fiction has ever suggested. Gary McGath is a software-consultant in Penacook, New Hampshire.


Copyright Thomas Gramstad Objectivity Vol. 1 no. 6 (1993) I enjoyed Gary McGath's clear and concise exposition of the errors and weaknesses of the Turing test. However, I do think McGath overstates the "jurisdiction" of Turing's ideas. That is to say, not all ideas about artificial intelligence presupposes Turing's assumptions, and refuting Turing is not the same as refuting the possibility of artificial intelligence as such.

McGath claims that having a computer "wake up", like Mike in Heinleins's The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, is no more plausible than a beautiful statue waking up, and that there is no objectively valid reason to consider the former more plausible than the latter. I disagree. There is such a reason. Anyone can observe a proportional relationship between, on the one hand, the increasing complexity of the nervous system in the animal kingdom, and on the other hand, a corresponding incremental increase in their mental or cognitive capacities. From observing this correspondence in many independent and diverse instances (i.e., species) one is justified in concluding that there is a necessary link, a causal connection, between the degree of complexity of the physical support structure and the possibility for, origin of, and degree, scope and intensity of consciousness. This is further supported by the observation that damaging specific parts of a brain damages specific or corresponding parts of the organism's mental or cognitive capacities. Given that consciousness is not some mystical Cartesian substance, it must exist as an integrated part of the system that constitute the organism as a whole, and co-develop synergistically and bi-causally with the physical support structure. This is what we observe, phylogenetically and ontogenetically. It follows that given the right kind of physical support structure, awareness will emerge. Consciousness is an emergent property. "Awakening", that is, reaching a conceptual identification of the self, constitutes the final stage of the emergence of consciousness, namely self-awareness.


McGath correctly identifies the Turing test as an instance of the Black Box Fallacy; the implicit assumption that a model of a process is the full equivalent of the process which it represents; the view that the map is the territory. However, it seems that he would be inclined to classify all ideas in favor of artificial intelligence as instances of the Black Box Fallacy. Yet the Black Box Fallacy does not apply to those situations where the copy or simulation is better than the original. A perhaps trivial example of this would be old books or paintings which are copied with modern computer-graphics technology, producing copies that are better than the originals ever were; clearer, brighter, more detailed and so on. Computer simulation technology is moving at an accelerating pace along the path of creating virtual or "hyperreal" environments. Maybe it is wrong to classify such copies or simulations as models - maybe they should be regarded as originals in their own right, as new territory rather than maps. Since the possibility of creating an artificial physical structure that may support consciousness has not been ruled out in principle, we must be prepared to recognize such an entity as a new original, not a model, even if models of human cognition went into the effort of its creation, and the Black Box Fallacy would not apply to it. The assumptions of the Turing test should not be confused with the perfectly plausible idea that consciousness need not necessarily have a carbon-based support structure; that what matters is not the building materials of the support structure per se, but their organization and architecture, the nature of the structure; its complexity, the type and number of connections and so forth. This is not to say that consciousness is independent of a physical basis, since the structural demands restrict what building materials may be used. However, it is inappropriate to conclude from one observed instance (human beings) that only one support structure for self-awareness or a conceptual consciousness is possible. This is the inductive fallacy of premature generalization, or "jumping to conclusions". There is simply no basis for such a generalization. Similarly, there is no evidence for the belief that only one type of physical structure may support and give rise to perceptual consciousness, and it seems hopelessly parochial to hold such a belief.

How did consciousness originate in humans? At some point there must have been some sort of "awakening". So awakening is a real phenomenon, and we're back at the unsettled question about the necessary properties of the physical support structure of consciousness and their interaction with the emerging consciousness. This question is a scientific one, not a philosophical one. McGath has neither shown that noncarbon-based conscious life is impossible, nor that creating such a being artificially is impossible. Hence he has not demonstrated that the pursuit of a noncarbon-based artifial mind or intelligence is a "holy grail" (i.e., an impossibility). What he has shown is that The approach of the Turing test (and so a lot of today's AI research) is going in a misguided and unfruitful direction. This does not prove that there are no other approaches that may lead to the creation of artificial life or minds. One methodology that comes to mind, and that to my knowledge does not depend on The assumptions of the Turing test, is neural nets or connectionism. Others are organic computers, and nanotechnology. Incidentally, Heinlein's Mike seems to be based upon something resembling connectionism. The counterargument to Heinlein would be to prove that the parts that his "machine" were made of could not possibly give rise to consciousness by any kind of reshuffling, or rearrangement, of them in their current form. That is an easy task with any of today's computers, which is one important reason, I

assume, that Heinlein invented some new terms, like neuristors, to describe the building blocks of his machine. In one sense, the question "Can a computer think?" is as easy to answer with a resounding "No!" as the question "Can an amoeba think?". And if they could think, they would no longer be computer and amoeba respectively. The historical fact remains that something that started out in as primitive a form as an amoeba evolved and eventually ended up giving rise to complex physical forms able to support consciousness, namely, the higher animals. Today's computers are silicon amoebas. Neural nets may give rise to the first silicon animals. While the Turing test skips the question of necessary physical preconditions for consciousness, refuting it and its assumptions do not preclude the possibility of an evolution from simple physical structures into complex physical structures capable of supporting consciousness, and even a conceptual, selfaware consciousness. After all, this has already happened at least once (when human consciousness originated), and the main guide of that develoment was The Blind Watchmaker of random mutations and natural selection. One may expect that systematic changes and rational selection by purposeful and goal-directed human minds will enable a much faster completion of an artificial version of this process. In terms of fruitfulness it would be a terrible waste not to pursue the creation of an artificial mind if the creation of such be possible.

Copyright 2000 Richard M. Stallman Verbatim copying and redistribution of this entire article are permitted in any medium provided this notice and the copyright notice are preserved. Printed in Communications of the ACM, March 2001. In 1997, Communications of the ACM published a science fiction story of mine called The Right to Read, which described a world, fifty years hence, in which it was illegal to lend your books to a friend. Faster than I anticipated, this is coming to pass. You may have noticed a great deal of hype about e-books in 2000. The reason for it was surely because the publishers are eager to establish the new world of their dreams. In that world, you no longer have the freedom to buy a book from a used book store, to lend it to a friend, to borrow it from a public library, or even to buy it without leaving a record in a corporate data base stating your identity and what book you bought. (The thorough surveillance that the FBI longs for, but dares not ask for, will be established for it in the name of copyright enforcement, and meanwhile used also for telemarketing.) Reading books on a computer does not have to threaten our freedom, but the publishers are using ebooks as an opportunity to take it away. The publishers would like to simply abolish these freedoms for all books, but that would be too blatant and arouse too much opposition. So they have a more intelligent strategy: to launch e-books as a "new" medium in which these freedoms have "never" existed, then over subsequent years gradually eliminate most paper books in favor of e-books. Using encryption and watermarking systems, publishers hope to connect every copy of a book with a

known person, and prevent anyone else from reading it. The publishers hope that some people will find "advanced technology" so exciting that they will willingly give up their freedom to use it. Meanwhile they are recruiting business partners to pressure other people, perhaps not so willing, into accepting ebooks with their restrictions. For example, a dental school has already made plans to require its students to get their textbooks in this way. If we readers value advanced technology, or convenience it might give us, more than our freedom, we will presently lose our freedom. The other alternative is to reject e-books that give us less freedom than a printed book. That is what I am going to do. Join me, and speak out to condemn the publishers' plans, and we may manage to preserve our freedom. In July 2000 a writer asked to write a profile of me, for publication as an e-book. The publisher hoped to issue this e-book early in order to boost the acceptance of e-books. I agreed to cooperate, provided it would be published in a way that would respect the readers' freedom; the writer expected to be able to achieve this and made it a commitment. But when it came time to work out the details, no agreement could be reached. The publisher was determined to publish an encrypted, watermarked, trackable e-book, and offered only the concession of publishing the text in another less-fancy form which would not be restricted. I concluded that only making the actual e-book visibly and markedly less restrictive than what is generally planned could make my participation a positive act; so I declined. Strange to say, the publisher's representatives, despite knowing full well what my views are, were surprised that I planned to base a real decision on them. Apparently they expect criticism of business practices to be a purely theoretical matter--not to be reflected in personal decisions, and not to be applied to their activities.

Copyright Thomas Gramstad Laissez Faire City Times Vol 4, No 23, June 5, 2000

[W]hat are we supposed to be about, Sma? Culture?

What is the

What do we believe in, even if it hardly ever

is expressed, even if we are embarrassed about talking about it? Surely in freedom, more than anything else.

A relativistic, changing sort of freedom, unbounded by laws or laid-down moral codes, but - in the end just because it is so hard to pin down and express, a freedom of a far higher quality than anything to be found on any relevant scale on the planet beneath us at the moment. The same technological expertise, the same productive surplus which, in pervading our society, first allows

us to be here at all and after that allows us the degree of choice we have over what happens to Earth, long ago also allowed us to live exactly as we wish to live, limited only by being expected to respect the same principle applied to others. [...] It is the embedded achievement of that oft-expressed ideal that our society is - perversely - rather embarrassed about. We live with, use, simply _get

on_ with our freedom as much as the good people of Earth talk about it; and we talk about it as often as genuine examples of this shy concept can be found down there. - Iain M. Banks, The State of the Art

In his science fiction novels, British author Iain M. Banks projects a future human society that seems to embody all the essential virtues of Objectivist social theory, while at the same time suggesting how two widespread and major shortcomings of current Objectivist thought may be corrected. The Culture is a machine-symbiotic human society. There are artificial intelligences and other mechanical persons enjoying individual rights. Biological persons (humans) are enhanced genetically and biotechnologically, they have a lot of extra glands and add-ons that expand volitional control of body functions and mind states. This includes the ability to change sex back and forth by will, or to have both sexes (intersexuality) or no sex. The Culture is an abundant society, with no scarcity economy. One Culture adage is, Money is a sign of poverty, meaning that money only has a function in a scarcity economy, and therefore its existence betrays a pre-abundant (poor) society. The Culture is a stateless society, continually expanding its size and accumulated knowledge. Erik Vasaasen has described 'The Culture' as Star Trek without the Prime Directive. When the Contact branch of the Culture encounters dictatorships or religious-militaristic civilizations, or other societies that violate the Cultures code and sense of human dignity, liberty and individual rights, it neutralizes, subverts, educates and transforms them. My purpose in this article is not to perform a detailed discussion of the probabilities or the specifics of the evolutionary path towards a society like the Culture. Rather, I seek to achieve three goals: (1) to present the big picture, and incite people to read Banks' books and others like them, (2) to impart that a society like the Culture is the goal and ideal we should have in mind and strive for, and that this must influence our priorities and strategies today, and (3) to indicate a few areas of cultural difference from our present society and their consequences.

EPICUREAN ANARCHY AND AUTARCHY Living in an abundant society without scarcity means that people are free to spend all their time anyway they want to. People with creative urges or passions have a maximum degree of freedom to pursue these wherever they may lead them. Or, one can pursue other interests, like play or having fun. This may sound more Epicurean than Objectivist, and it probably is. But then again, Epicurus had a more developed conceptual apparatus for understanding joy and pleasure than Rand ever did<1>. Which leads to the first shortcoming of Objectivist social theory of today. Everything Rand wrote about economics, politics and social theory assumes an economy of scarcity. She assumes a second-wave<2>, industrial civilization. Her followers seem to take this premise for granted as well. Given this premise, all subsequent social reasoning and conclusions focus on exclusive property rights, how to achieve and apply just principles for establishing them, money, and the industrial social organization. But we are already in the process of transcending that kind of society, heading into a third-wave, post-industrial era. In the not too distant future, we can already see a glimmer of an abundant society. A few key technologies are necessary for establishing abundance. In particular: nanotechnology, biotechnology, genetic engineering, further advances in electronics and computer technology, and further expansion into space including the establishment of microgravity industrial production facilities. All these are well underway, and they could have advanced far enough to completely penetrate society within the next 50 years. Artificial Intelligence would be nice too, and would establish mechanical persons. But perhaps cybernetic extensions and add-ons to the human body would come first; cyborgs may arise earlier than artificial intelligences. This would be slightly different from Banks' the Culture, where cyborgs are not emphasized. MATERIAL AND IMMATERIAL AUTARCHY If all or most of these things happen, human society would have become much like the Culture. And, if that happens, Objectivist social theory and practice would need to be updated. Why not be proactive? We live in an age in which there is a widespread fear of the future. The idea of progress is being questioned or attacked openly by pre-modernists and postmodernists. Defending the future, crusading for Progress, ought to be a primary concern and goal for Objectivists. But in order to do so effectively, Objectivists need to cast off their conservative clinging to second-wave ideals, concerns and mental habits. Taking some cues from modern Epicureans as well as from hitech developers, visionaries and post-industrial esthetes like K. Eric Drexler, Michael Rothschild, and Barry Vacker<3>, Objectivists could become a vanguard for progress. I would like to see Objectivists and Randians promote thirdwave post-industrial abundance, rather than getting stuck in second-wave, industrial procedures for dealing with scarcity. Scarcity is a concept that covers a wide range. There is a big difference between today's industrial wealth and a pre-industrial scarcity of resources. And yet the principal difference between abundance and scarcity is bigger and more fundamental than the difference between the extreme ends of scarcity. What will a culture of abundance be like? Abundance depends on the success and penetration of nanotechnology. The thing about nanomachines is that once they arrive, they will also be capable of building new nanomachines, like a controlled reproduction. This means that we'll leap-frog into an abundant society. There have been some cultural anthropological studies comparing social groups living in abundance the international jet set, indigenous native tribes of pleasant climates, and the Open Source community where hackers produce software without any economical need to do so. These different social groups show some remarkable similarities<4>. Productivity, respect, reputation and status are still important in these groups - and the means to achieve them is to give things away. The more you can produce and

give away, the more you establish yourself as an abundant producer and boundless creator. This is radically different from the frugality and preoccupation with exclusive property rights associated with industrial second-wave civilization. One way to understand this difference, is to think of it as a trade involving immaterial currency. There is material abundance on the personal and consumer-related levels, since everyone can have their nanomachines produce whatever they want. Instantly and endlessly reproducible material objects and resources have no market value or function as they would in a scarcity economy. What does have value? Recognition of one's virtues, skills and achievements. That is the currency of post-industrial civilization. Such recognition is "scarce" because it must be earned, therefore it becomes the currency in a materially abundant culture. Much of today's ideological and cultural conflicts can be seen as a conflict between two incompatible currency systems: the traditional industrial, material currency system, and the emerging post-industrial immaterial currency system. The conflict between these two systems will continue to grow deeper (until we leap-frog into abundance), and it is already a more important and fundamental societal conflict than the traditional left-right or socialist-conservative conflict which belongs within the industrial paradigm. Everyone who claims allegiance to progress and the future should embrace the emergent post-industrial paradigm, and promote choices, practices and policies that will further and hasten its arrival. This includes stepping out of the industrial paradigm and stop wasting time and energy on outdated concepts like «left-wing» and «right-wing». BIOLOGICAL ANARCHY AND AUTARCHY The second major shortcoming that I would single out for criticism in contemporary Objectivist thought and praxis, and again due to social conservatism, is the whole area of sex and gender relations, and Objectivism's relationship, or lack of such, to feminism. Many Objectivists advocate unsupported and reactionary beliefs about an alleged naturalness of universal gender roles and Platonic ideals of gender identity and sexual preferences. There have always been dissenting voices though. Especially after the initiation and establishment of Objectivist online forums, this topic has surfaced again and again in Objectivist discussions. With the recent publication of Feminist Interpretations of Ayn Rand<5>, a major step has been taken towards bringing Objectivism into the 21st century in this area. My own contribution in that volume, entitled The Female Hero: A Randian-Feminist Synthesis, discusses this topic at length. As indicated above, the Culture provides a fresh and illuminating perspective also on this issue. In the Culture people have been biogenetically altered and enhanced to such a degree that they can change and choose sex by will, surely the ultimate application of social constructionism to sex relations. In the Culture, there is no institutional prejudice on the basis of sex, gender, sexual orientation, race, class etc., and an individual expressing such prejudice would be seen as a primitive savage. I see no reason for Objectivists, Randians and libertarians (or indeed, anyone) not sharing this sentiment. Yet apparently many do, and seem to long for a return to the fifties, an alleged golden age with clear gender roles, and clear social roles in general, in an apparently simple and stable culture (this was the very theme of libertarian president candidate Harry Browne's recent campaign). Perhaps full sexual and biological autarchy (as in voluntary and reversible control over/change of one's sex organs) is required in order to achieve a society like the Culture, free of sex- and gender-based bigotry and prejudice. If so, it is worth noting that this idea, also known as automorphism, doesn't only exist in the imaginative minds of science fiction writers, but is actively pursued by scientists today, and may actually be realized within a decade or two<6>.

THE GOLDEN AGE IS NOW Many Objectivists claim a lost Golden Age, a static and ideal state the eclipse and decay of which, so reminiscent of the Christian concept of the Garden of Eden and Man's Fall, they seek to return to or recreate. For some it is the fifties. Or the 19th century. Or ancient Greece. I think this mindset is not only factually wrong (ignoring very real limitations and bad aspects of those periods), but wrong on principle as well. I like a lot about 2000 Earth culture. There's a lot I don't like, or even hate, and want to change. But I wouldn't trade this period for any previous period in human history. The Golden Age is now. This is what the idea of progress really means. «The Golden Age is now», as a principle, is implied by Objectivist epistemology, ethics and esthetics. I exist in a context, not as an atom. I am what I am in part because of my place in time, space and history, and my time is the best time. When some alleged Objectivists claim a previous period in history as a Golden Age much better than the present and as a goal that one should return to, they have seriously misunderstood the spirit, if not the letter of Rand's legacy. Rand's philosophy is anti-nostalgia, on principle, because it looks ahead, from the now into the future. In the words of Ayn Rand: Anyone who fights for the future, lives in it today. But which future? With his books about the Culture<7>, Iain M. Banks has presented a powerful, persuasive, optimistic and fun vision of what humans can accomplish. His vision captures and integrates the most important and beneficial philosophical, political, cultural and technological developments of our time. If you know anyone who needs a «progress boost» or a cure for nostalgia, pessimism and fear of the future - or just a reminder that liberty must be lived, not only talked about look no further. NOTES <1> For a comparison of similarities of and differences between Epicurus and Rand, see Shelton, Ray: Epicurus and Rand, in Objectivity, Vol. 2 No. 3 and subsequent debate in Vol. 2 No. 4. http://bomis.snap.com/objectivity/abstracts.html#EPICURUS <2> By «second-wave», I refer of course to Alvin Toffler's concepts of the first, second and third waves of civilization, known from Toffler's numerous books, in particular The Third Wave (1980). Recently, Toffler has begun using the term «supercivilization» rather than «wave». See for example the Tofflers' Encyclopedia Britannica article, entitled Supercivilization and its Discontents, at http://www.britannica.com/bcom/original/article/0,5744,5364,00.html. <3> See Barry Vacker's forthcoming book, Chaos at the Edge of Utopia, http://www.ifi.uio.no/~thomas/po/chaos-edge-utopia.html Also, various books by Drexler and Rothschild, respectively. Web searches on transhumanism, nanotechnology and extropianism will yield interesting results as well. <4> For a discussion and comparison of these social groups, see Eric S. Raymond's essay, entitled The Magic Cauldron, at http://www.tuxedo.org/~esr/writings/magic-cauldron/ <5> Gladstein, Mimi & Sciabarra, Chris: Feminist Interpretations of Ayn Rand, Pennsylvania State University Press 1999. See also http://www.nyu.edu/projects/sciabarra/femstart.htm <6> See for example Natasha Vita More's essay, The Future of Sexuality, at http://www.natasha.cc/sex.htm <7> Banks also writes mainstream novels, and occasional science fiction not about the Culture. Books about The Culture include the following titles: Consider Phlebas; The Player of Games; The State of the Art; Inversions; Use of Weapons; Excession. The State of the Art describes The Culture's

discovery of and meeting with Earth 2000 culture. POSTSCRIPT After writing and publishing this article, I have been made aware of several web sites dedicated to Iain Banks in general, and to the Culture in particular, including Culture Shock at http://www.phlebas.com/. The site contains a lot of information, including a bibliography, a FAQ, a link collection of relevant articles and interviews, a news service, a lot of trivia, a mailing list, an article by Banks himself about the Culture (A Few Notes About The Culture, http://www.phlebas.com/text/cultnote.html), and much more. LINKS Culture Shock http://www.phlebas.com/ Iain Banks bibliography http://www.phlebas.com/text/bib.html A Few Notes on the Culture, by Iain M Banks http://www.phlebas.com/text/cultnote.html Link page to interviews, articles and FAQ http://www.phlebas.com/text/banks.html The Culture mailing list http://www.core.no/culture/ Iain Banks' Culture novels http://www.gen-mars.freeserve.co.uk/books/banks/index.htm War and Culture http://www.strangewords.com/archive/use.html Hamish Sinclair: Iain M. Banks' "Culture" references in Bungie's Halo http://www.marathon.org/story/halo_culture.html SFbook.com's Iain M. Banks page http://sfbook.com/?authorid=6 Iain (M.) Banks Resource Page http://www.purge.freeserve.co.uk/banks.htm Slipstream http://www.rossyb.dabsol.co.uk/slipstream/frameset.html The web pages for the alt.books.iain-banks newsgroup http://members.tripod.com/a.b.i-b/ Iain Banks web ring http://www.rossyb.dabsol.co.uk/banksie/ 'The Wasp Factory' web site http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Forum/1027/index.html

A RESPONSE TO STEPHEN HICKS Copyright Svein Olav G. Nyberg Objectivity Vol. 1 no. 6 (1993) In Objectivity Vol. 1 no. 4 (1992), Stephen Hicks wrote an article, Would Immortality be worth it? I disagree with his conclusion, which I think rests on two false premises. The first is the philosophical impossibility of infinities, and the second is the assumption that boredom will necessarily come - and come as a good reason to end life - after one has lived for sufficiently many years.

Concerning infinity, I recognize that from present science there is much corroborative evidence that the amount of matter is finite. It is not true, however, that philosophy by itself can support the claim that everything is finite. The argument for the position that existence must be finite, is in essence that what is infinite is thereby indefinite. But this argument always consists in an equivocation on infinite in one respect, versus infinite in all respects. While it is true that what is unbounded in all respects is indefinite, that which is unbounded in just one respect is not. There would be nothing indefinite about a rod that just went on and on in one direction. The argument conflating the infinite and the indefinite is fallacious. There is one other, more clever, argument that is raised to "prove" the impossibility of the infinite: by reference to concept formation. The argument goes that what exists must exist in some quantity, but may exist in any quantity. The concept existence is formed by omitting measurements of entities, which again must exist in some but may exist in any quantity. Finite quantity is a redundancy. Infinite quantity is a contradiction in terms. This is clearly a confusion of epistemology and metaphysics; what Harry Binswanger has called the Positivistic fallacy. Though we might only be able to grasp and measure what is finite, that we be able to grasp and measure X should never be taken as a criterion for X existing. To demand that nature

should conform to such a degree to human powers of cognition errs also by the fallacy of the primacy of consciousness. It remains for me to answer the rightfully asked question "What do you mean by infinite then, if you cannot grasp it?" The concept infinite cannot be made as a concept of an actuality. But it can be one of potentiality. Now, to say that there might be an infinite number of entities in the Universe would then be to say that if we started a process of counting the entities in the universe, it would never stop. To claim that the universe is finite, would then be the same as the claim that a process of counting the entities of the universe would by philosophical necessity have to stop somewhere. This, philosophy cannot establish.

The other defective premise was the inevitability of boredom. Why should this be inevitable? Ayn Rand states that emotions are the product of thoughts. To phrase in Rand's terms: Which thoughts give rise to this boredom? As far as I can see, Hicks has not provided such linkage to reality. Rand says life is selfsustained, self-generated action. In contrast, Hicks claims that life is essentially growth. While within a limited context the two are equal, in that flourishing consists in actualizing one's potential, they differ in the estimation of what will happen once the potential is fully realized. While I would rejoice and enjoy my total self-actualization, Hicks seems to find this perfection an unattainable goal which, if reached, should be abandoned in favor of death. So, since perfection is both desirable and attainable, Hicks' analysis is wrong.


Copyright Karen Reedstrom and Thomas Gramstad Full Context Vol. 9, No. 5 (February 1997) Kirsti Minsaas is a Norwegian literary scholar who has lectured on Ayn Rand as a literary artist both in Europe and the U.S. She was formerly a stage actress, but is now a doctoral candidate in English literature at the University of Oslo, preparing a thesis on Aristotle and Shakespearean tragedy. She is also writing a book discussing Ayn Rand's fiction. One of her major interests is the relationship between ethics and literature, two disciplines she believes have been too rigidly compartmentalized by academia. Minsaas presented two lectures at the Institute for Objectivist Studies' Summer Seminar in Philosophy in 1995. Q: Where did you grow up and what kinds of ideas or events influenced your life? Minsaas: I grew up in Oslo, Norway, in the fifties. My father was a musician, working in the theaters, so music and theatre were important ingredients of my early years, and the area that I initially staked out for my own future life. But academia took over. Q: Why did you decide not to pursue theater and go into academia? Minsaas: Let me say it like this. When I first decided that I wanted to be an actress (in the early sixties), it was because I went to the theater and said to myself: "I want to be part of this world". When I decided that I wanted to quit (in the late seventies), it was because I went to the theater and said to

myself: "Thank heavens I am not in this play". When I went into academia, it was more as an escape than as a positive alternative. But it turns out that I have been able to pursue many of the same interests that drove me into the theater. So it was a good choice. Although I miss the theater sometimes, its dynamics and the versatility of life it offers. Q: How did you become interested in Ayn Rand? Minsaas: Through my brother. He had read Atlas Shrugged and recommended it to me while I was still in high school, but I did not actually read it until I was given a school assignment to write an essay about the relationship between a brother and a sister in a novel. So my career as a literary critic on Ayn Rand started very early you could say. But little did I dream then that this was something I would end up doing professionally. That was very far from my mind or my ambition. Q: What sort of literature in Norway would you consider "romantic" or "heroic"? Minsaas: Nothing much, that I can think of. You have to go back to the Viking sagas for that. There is Henrik Ibsen, of course, but his plays are neither romantic nor heroic. Generally, he is considered the father of realism, and in many of his plays he takes a clear critical stand against heroic and romantic sentiments. This is why I find it a bit curious that NBI had Ibsen on their book lists, because there is a lot in Ibsen that should upset Objectivists. In The Master Builder, for example, you have an aging architect protagonist who is driven to his death by a young hero-worshipping woman who makes him climb to the top of one of his buildings with the result that he falls down. And in Ghosts you have a young artist hero who dies from syphilis, a disease he has inherited from his father, suggesting the idea that he dies as a punishment for the sins of his father. This is not to deny Ibsen his rightful place as a great dramatist. As a craftsman he was superb, and his plays are wonderful examples of how ideas can provide material for interesting dramatic conflicts. But his world of ideas is a far shot from Objectivism. Q: What is the Objectivist "scene" in Norway or Scandinavia in general? Minsaas: Well, there has always been a strong interest in Ayn Rand in Norway, more so here than in other Scandinavian countries, I believe. But it is largely underground; as in the U.S. she is not part of the public debate. Yet, it is a fact that her novels have been selling well for years in popular bookstores. We have also had an Objectivist campus club since the early seventies. But its activities were seriously disrupted because of the Peikoff-Kelley split. Personally, I am not involved any more, since it chose to take an official stand for Peikoff and ARI. Q: How do you find academia in Europe, what is their opinion of Rand or Aristotelian ideas? Are they more relaxed and open-minded than in the U.S.? Minsaas: On the whole, I believe that the academic climate in Europe is much more relaxed than in the U.S., in the sense that it is more devoted to scholarship and less to ideology. The political correctness movement seems to me to be very much an American phenomenon, although it has had some repercussions here too, but not in the same way. But I don't think this has resulted in any greater receptivity to or interest in Ayn Rand. Rather, there might be some hostility precisely because of this, since many will be alienated by her strong ideological slant. Yet, I believe that if a European student wants to write a thesis on Ayn Rand, philosophical or literary, chances are that he or she will meet with less resistance than in the U.S. as long as the approach is scholarly and not ideological. Q: You are writing a doctoral thesis about Shakespeare. How do Shakespeare and Rand compare? Minsaas: Well, for me they are both examples of creative genius, having the power to amaze me with the incredible mental power that must have gone into their work. Q: Are there any important similarities and differences?

Minsaas: The strange thing is that, different as they may seem to be, they are yet very similar in that they deal with the same fundamental issues regarding human existence, particularly on the moral level. Perhaps this has to do with the fact that they are both deeply steeped in ancient philosophical traditions. I am not here thinking only of Aristotle, although he certainly is important in both cases, but also of schools such as Stoicism and Epicureanism and even Platonism. What we find in the literary works of both Shakespeare and Ayn Rand are fictional explorations of the questions that concerned these ancient philosophical traditions, like: how should one live? what is the good life? what is the role of evil in man's life? why do men fall into tragedy? what is the nature of happiness? But their way of doing this was of course very different. Generally, apart from the fact that Shakespeare wrote dramas and Rand novels, I would say that Shakespeare was a much more openly inquiring writer than Ayn Rand, less dogmatic, closer to Aristotle in fact, less concerned with teaching a doctrine and more concerned with inspiring and provoking the reader to think for himself. Q: A lot of Objectivists think tragedy in art is automatically bundled with a malevolent sense of life. But I look at a play such as Romeo and Juliet and do not see a tragic sense of life but the author's warning to future parents of warring families whose children may fall in love. Do you think that tragedy can have the purpose of making people grieve about third party characters and shock them into rethinking their own actions in life? That some tragedy is an effort to inspire the audience through the emotion of grief to become better people? Minsaas: Yes, I believe these are things that tragedy, good tragedy, may do. But more important, perhaps, from an Objectivist perspective, is the fact that a tragedy, to achieve these effects, indirectly must be strongly value affirmative. It is because we sympathize with the young lovers in Romeo and Juliet, because we identify with their youthful and passionate romance, that we get mad at the parents and the feuding families. In this, the story is in fact very much like We the Living. Q: Why do you think Rand characterizes tragedy this way? Was it limited knowledge or some spiritual bias on her part? Minsaas: Both perhaps. Obviously she found art that presented the negative aspects of life either very boring or very depressing, preferring art works that gave her the kind of spiritual fuel she made essential in her esthetics. I think we can understand this better if we think of the enormous value such art must have had for her in her own struggle to survive the ordeals of life in Soviet Russia. But then she proceeded to make this into a question of metaphysics, reducing art experience to an opposition between a "benevolent" or uplifting art and a "malevolent" or depressing (or even evil) art and ignoring other possibilities. Hence she came to believe that art should present only positives (virtue, achievement, happiness, success), while the presentation of negatives (evil, failure, misery and defeat) was appropriate only for contrast, as a foil. But the mere fact that an art work presents negatives does not necessarily entail a bad metaphysics. Even such a horror story as Shakespeare's Macbeth (which definitely has nothing uplifting to commend it) does not project a malevolent philosophy but shows us the self-destructiveness (both spiritually and existentially) of crime. It even ends with the good characters triumphing over evil. So the universe it presents is in many ways just, but not inspiring. Like Dostoevsky's Crime and Punishment the play is first of all a brilliant study in criminal psychology, showing us that crime has self-defeating consequences. So, before we jump to the conclusion that a negative slant in an art work necessarily entails an evil metaphysics, we must ask, what function does it serve? Only in some cases, like for example the plays by Samuel Beckett, do we actually have deliberate attempts to present an absurd or meaningless universe. In other cases, there might be some other reason - as in the Shakespeare-plays. Q: In what way can an appreciation and understanding of Shakespeare add to one's understanding of

esthetics? Of ethics? Minsaas: The supreme value of Shakespeare, I think, lies in his mastery of translating philosophical ideas into drama, of turning different ethical codes into the stuff of dramatic conflict, experienced by thinking, feeling, living human beings. But to fully appreciate this, one has to have some knowledge of both ancient and Renaissance philosophy. Leonard Peikoff has complained about Shakespeare that his characters are not motivated by ideas but by passions, springing up from nowhere. But this is not true at all. Generally, his characters are embodiments of some ethical code or value system. Brutus, for example, in Julius Caesar, is a Stoic, who is destroyed by a rather rigid moral idealism incapable of dealing with the complexities of political reality. And Hamlet was probably meant to represent the code of the courtier that played such an important role in the Renaissance conception of the ideal man and that was popularized through Castiglione's famous book. The Book of the Courtier. What Shakespeare does with him, however, is that he places him in a situation where he comes under pressures that put his code seriously to the test and force him to readjust it to the demands of reality. Thus, Shakespeare's tragedies dramatize in different ways what it means to live an ethical ideal in actual reality, put up against the demands of sometimes complex and shifting social pressures. This, I think, should be of great interest to Objectivists - at least to Objectivists interested in living the philosophy rather than just preaching it to other people. Q: Each year 500 new works about the philosophical issues in Shakespeare's works are published, but none, even among Objectivists, are doing work on philosophical issues in Rand's novels. Considering what gold mines Rand's novels are, what do you think is the reason for this neglect? Minsaas: First, let me say that not all these works are about philosophical issues: some of them deal with more purely formal or esthetic issues. But your point remains: why is there so little commentary on Ayn Rand's novels? I believe there are many answers to this question, but a major one is probably that Ayn Rand is in a way victim of her own dual role as a philosopher and a novelist. The reason why there has been so much Shakespeare exegesis is that his philosophy, or his thinking, is contained in his works; there is no shortcut to the meaning of his plays through philosophical essays summing it all up for us. In Ayn Rand's case, those interested in digging deeper into her thinking are tempted to turn from the novels to the essays or to the work done by her philosophical heirs and followers. The result is the neglect of the novels as rich and complex and valuable sources to Ayn Rand's philosophical thought (and also to her style of thinking). There are so many things in the novels never even covered in the explicit philosophy. Take for example the question of tragedy. This is a topic that has been discussed by a number of major philosophers, like Plato, Aristotle, Hegel, Kierkegaard and Nietzsche; but it is not considered an important philosophical topic in Rand. The word is not listed in Binswanger's Ayn Rand Lexicon; it does not occur in the index for The Romantic Manifesto, nor in Peikoff's Objectivism: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand. And yet, it is so central in her novels and the philosophical vision they convey. In my view, it is only when you start looking into issues like this that you get in touch with Ayn Rand's thinking and come to realize that her vision of life is much richer and much more complex than what is conveyed through the essays or the speeches. As she once answered when asked whether she considered herself primarily as a philosopher or as a novelist: "I consider myself as both - primarily". She could not separate the two activities. Maybe we too should regard her as both - primarily. Instead, we have split her up. Q: You are writing a book about Ayn Rand. Can you tell us about the topic, scope and progress of this work? Minsaas: Well, the book will in part be based on the lectures that I have given, but I want to integrate them into a coherent presentation of Ayn Rand as a literary artist, emphasizing in particular the

romantic qualities of her writing, both in terms of style and content. Also, I want to discuss the relationship between literature and philosophy in her works. There seems to be a general tendency, even among Objectivists, to downgrade Ayn Rand's literary achievement as compared to her philosophical achievement. My own view is that she was a greater artist than philosopher. In fact, I think her philosophy is in many ways reductive of her own thinking, that her ideas, as presented in the novels, through the characters and events and not just the speeches, are much richer and more fertile than her explicit philosophizing. Or to put it differently, I like her better as a literary philosopher than as a theoretical philosopher. This is something I want to emphasize very strongly. Moreover, as a literary scholar, rather than a philosophical activist, I am more interested in showing her power as a novelist than in proving the truth or significance of her philosophy. Q: What do you think of Chris Sciabarra's thesis in Ayn Rand: the Russian Radical that Rand's type of novel writing comes from the Russian tradition of Dostovesky, Tolstoy, and the symbolist poets? Minsaas: I think he is probably onto something. He refers, for example, to the importance of organic unity in her writing, a point I have made too. But I attributed this more generally to her Romanticism, since it was a central idea in Romantic esthetics. It was also important in Aristotle. So there are a number of sources that may have influenced her here. And I do believe (like Sciabarra) that she really was influenced by others, that she did borrow ideas from different writers and thinkers and then synthesized them into her own unique vision. This is not to detract from her originality. It is only to recognize that genius does not work in a vacuum but in a context. Q: Some people think that there is a big discussion emerging about the nature of virtue, that this is a topic not sufficiently covered by Rand. Can you comment on this? Minsaas: I think she covered it all right, but again, more as a novelist than as a philosopher. In fact, her heroes are walking embodiments of virtue. And this is why we take interest in them. Several Objectivists have lately emphasized the primacy of value over virtue in Ayn Rand's ethics, but if you look at the novels, it is obvious that she saw virtue as in many ways an end in itself, the source of one's own self-esteem and the source of the admiration we may feel for another human being. When we take pleasure in contemplating the character of Howard Roark, for example, it is primarily because of the virtues he embodies and not because of the values he achieves. And if we consider Ayn Rand's admiration for Cyrano de Bergerac, it seems evident that she regarded greatness of soul as more important than existential success. Conversely, I think that she would have found the story of a man achieving external success but at the cost of virtue as not only boring but morally revolting. But this much being said, there is obviously a lot more to be said about virtue than Ayn Rand ever covered either in her fiction or in her non-fictional writing. Like the contribution of writers and thinkers before her, hers is only a limited, even if important, one. Q: How does Rand's ethics fit in with traditional subdivisions of ethics in the history of ideas? Minsaas: I am not quite sure what you mean by this question, but one thing that strikes me is that hers is a curious blend of virtue ethics and principle ethics. The first she may have taken from the Aristotelian tradition, the second from the Kantian tradition. And if she sometimes seems to lapse into duty ethics, I think it is because of the principle orientation rather than the virtue orientation. Q: I thought Rand was against duty ethics as Kantian. Can you elaborate on your assertion and why you think she tended in this direction? Minsaas: Yes, I think that although her ethics must be seen as basically belonging in the Aristotelian tradition of virtue ethics, there were two important points in Aristotle she ignored, or failed to understand: his idea of virtue as a habit and his doctrine of virtue as a mean between the vices of excess and deficiency. The first involved a recognition of the fact that virtue is something that must be

acquired through practical exercise, by doing; the second involved a recognition of the fact that virtue is contextual, that it must be related to considerations of time, place, manner, motive and so forth. The idea of the mean is not, as many believe, a doctrine of moderation or compromise; it is Aristotle's notion of excellence. If you think of athletes, this becomes clear. To win they always have to steer clear of the twin dangers of a "too much" and a "too little". How to compute this? Well, that is the art of living, and in part contingent upon a not too highly honored word among Objectivists, experience. Ayn Rand neglected all this. The result was that she ended up translating virtues into principles, into categorical imperatives in fact, to be rigidly adhered to as absolutes rather than as habits practiced in a context. I don't mean to imply that she in any way absorbed this from Kant. But in many ways she seemed to share the same inclination to make morality into an absolute. What she objected to was his altruism (probably taking her cue from Nietzsche), his separation of ethics from personal ends and desires. But even selfishness can be pursued in a spirit of cheerless duty, with an attitude of "price no cost". And there is a certain danger of this in Ayn Rand. But all these are questions that need to be worked out by future Objectivist scholars. This is why I think it is so important to place Ayn Rand's ethics (and the rest of her philosophy) in a historical context and not discuss it as a self-contained system. Q: Can the nature of virtue be completely addressed and explored through philosophy, or is literature a necessary means in order to fully grasp what virtue is? Minsaas: I definitely think that literature has an important role to play in showing the nature of virtue, in making it fully graspable, because only fiction can show us what virtue is on a concrete level. And Ayn Rand herself certainly believed this, of course. It was a major reason why she wrote her novels. But somehow, there does not seem to be very much interest in this particular aspect of her writing. Many Objectivists seem to think of ethics merely as the logical base for politics, as something you can use to defend capitalism rather than as a guide for how you choose to conduct your life. Q: In the last (1996) IOS summer seminar Nathaniel Branden gave an argument saying that many of Rand's heroes are repressors of their emotions. Do you find this is a valid criticism? If so, what aspects of repression do you see in her characters? Minsaas: Yes, I do find it a valid criticism, but only up to a point. Primarily the tendency toward repression pertains to negative emotions. You have for example the description of Galt's face as being without pain or fear or guilt, as if experiencing such emotions somehow detracts from one's spiritual perfection. It suggests a moral ideal not far from the Stoical wise man, an ideal of rational selfsufficiency unperturbed by passion. Yet, if we consider the character of Hank Rearden, we see a liberating growth that in many ways involves a process of derepression as he comes to recognize the legitimacy of his own passions both for Dagny and for his mills. That is, he becomes free to accept and enjoy his own deepest values, without repressing or suppressing them in any way. So I think we have to make this distinction between positive and negative emotion, since the first certainly was permissible in Rand's moral psychology. It was only the latter she denied. Unlike the Stoics, she definitely encouraged a life of passionate value commitment. The problem is that she did not seem willing to accept that such a life is not just conducive to joy and pleasure but is also vulnerable to the pains of loss and disillusionment, that positive and negative emotions are frequently closely intertwined, so that if you want a full life you have to accept both. Q: Rand has been criticized for not addressing the issue of moral redemption in her novels. That if a character does "turn around" such as the Wet Nurse in Atlas Shrugged he dies afterwards. This is not too inspiring. What is your opinion? Minsaas: I am not sure this is really true. I believe Dominique can be seen as a case of redemption, at least as someone who undergoes a profound moral awakening that, unlike the case of Gail Wynand,

gives her a new start. But I think questions like this have to be considered by reference to the context of the novels; that is, we have to ask what function does the tragic ends of the Wet Nurse or Gail Wynand or Robert Stadler serve in the novel's overall conception. Through the Wet Nurse, for example, Ayn Rand gives us a devastating critique of the American college system by showing us its detrimental effects on the mind of a basically bright and decent young boy. This critique would not have been as effective if she had let the boy survive. The scene where Rearden picks him up after he has been shot is one of the most moving in the whole novel. To have him redeemed and then following Rearden to Galt's Gulch would have been terribly banal. It would simply have diverted us to the idea that if only you reform yourself you will be saved. Ayn Rand was desperately concerned to show, through fiction, that ideas have practical consequences, that even if you 'come round' as you say, it may sometimes be too late - as it is for Wynand but not for Dominique. Q: Is The Code of the Creator a universal ethics that everybody can follow and adhere to? Minsaas: To some extent I would say yes, since we all have to be producers in order to survive. But this does not mean the same thing for all people. One's hierarchy of virtues must to some extent be adapted to one's specific situation, to one's choice of profession, or one's age, or the conditions of one's society. This is something Ayn Rand does not allow for. Her virtue hierarchy, therefore, tends to be too rigidly fixed, too universalistic. I believe Objectivism has a lot to learn from Aristotle here, who is much more flexible in his account of the virtues, opening up for individual differentiation. The precise set of virtues, for example, will necessarily be different for a soldier or a nurse than for an architect. And it will be different for a young person than for an old person. This is not relativism but simply a recognition of the fact that virtues are contextual. There is a tendency in Ayn Rand to make the producer in a very narrow sense an absolute paradigm of virtue. Also, she totally neglects what we can call social virtues, restricting herself to justice. David Kelley, of course, has tried to set this right through his emphasis on benevolence as a major Objectivist virtue. But again I think we should not be too eager to generalize. There are situations in life that might call for the kind of brutal ruthlessness that Ayn Rand to some extent seems to extol, for example in situations of war or as a necessary quality in the creative genius. Q: Aside from Aristotle, do you see any other philosophers or writers who could open up for a better understanding of individual differentiation? What about Nietzsche and Stirner, for example? Minsaas: I think you will have to search primarily in the Aristotelian tradition for the kind of individual differentiation that I have in mind. Although Nietzsche and Stirner are philosophers of egoism, they are not concerned with the problem of relating virtue to one's individual situation the way Aristotle is. Also, it is very useful to trace the history of virtue ethics before Rand, to see how her system compares with earlier attempts to establish virtue hierarchies - beginning with Homer and the Greeks and then proceeding through the Stoics and the Epicureans, the Chivalric codes, the Renaissance ideal of the Courtier to the virtue hierarchies of Benjamin Franklin and Jane Austen. (Alasdair MacIntyre's book After Virtue is a good guide here.) I find this much more illuminating than engaging in endless debates about abstruse technicalities. Q: Do you think that this tendency in Objectivism could be caused by an over-emphasis on structure and a corresponding underemphasis on process; hierarchy downplaying context, facts or beliefs downplaying method, perfection downplaying growth - or if you will, too much Apollo and too little Dionysos? Minsaas: No, I don't, since it would imply a conversion of Aristotle into Nietzsche. Q: In Rostand's play Chantecler the author makes the point that if heroes are ridiculed society breaks down for the worse. It seems to me the play was a warning for the future. This play was written almost a hundred years ago. What was going on culturally then that needed such a warning?

Minsaas: I don't know. There was, of course, a rather dark mood at the time, a sense of fin de siécle decay and decadence, that was extended into this century and strengthened by the atrocities of World War I. But one may very well ponder why the heroic has come under such attack in our century, particularly from the intellectuals, since times of decay or decadence may equally well breed a desire for the heroic, as a counter movement. Why has this not happened? - except perhaps in the rather perverted form of the Nazi movement. (This by the way is something we should recognize as a major reason for the popular appeal of the Nazi ideology, its attack on entartete Kunst, and its cult of an idealizing art that bears a slightly disconcerting resemblance to the Objectivist esthetics. I here refer to the cinematic work of Leni Riefenstahl. This is a fascinating chapter in Nazi history that Peikoff overlooks.) Q: I believe the same point could be made about revolutionary communist art and esthetics, idealizing the worker as hero, which is similar in sense and style to the Nazi art. Could this be a phenomenon similar to what Rand says about Salvador Dali: that he has a great style and a terrible content; and that perhaps there exist some universal stylistic elements that have to be present in order for some work to appear heroic - and that some of that appearance will remain as long as those elements are present, even if they are combined with a terrible content? Minsaas: No, not really, since what Rand meant to say about Dali was that he had a brilliant psychoepistemology but a revolting metaphysics. In the case of Nazi and Communist art, neither is true. The heroism we can observe in their art is (in most cases) marked both by a primitive conception of the heroic and an appalling lack of style or true artistic merit. Leni Riefenstahl is an exception here, and might perhaps be taken as an example of the view you are trying to express, since her heroic appeal definitely has to do with certain stylistic qualities, particularly in regard to selective emphasis. Hers is, we could say, a brilliantly stylized heroics. But it also has to do with content, with her choice of subject. Her most famous film, the documentary from the Olympics in Berlin, 1936, is in many ways completely non-political and all focused on showing great athletics. It was only used by the Nazis for propaganda purposes that were not, I think, intended. So it would be absolutely false to say that her style is beautiful but her content terrible; her great error was that she, probably out of a certain political blindness (it is still uncertain whether she actually was a Nazi) placed her considerable talents in the service of Nazi propaganda. This is the reason why she is still a cult figure and why she is so hotly controversial. Had she been of the mediocre caliber typical of other Nazi artists, she would merely have passed into oblivion. Q: Do you think that heroic literature (and arts in general) is dead or do you see something of the heroic tradition continuing today? If so, where and in what form? Minsaas: It is, of course, still continuing in the popular arts, as Ayn Rand pointed out. But in serious literature it seems to be virtually dead. It seems either to be dismissed as unserious, something you outgrow once you are past your adolescence; or it is associated with the Nazi perversion and with Nietzsche's superman. In either case, we need to do some scholarship in this area, to show that the heroic represents an important aspect of moral life and that hero worship represents an important psychological need. But it has to be done with a little more sophistication than has been the case in Objectivist debate so far. Q: Victor Hugo wrote about average men becoming moral giants. We can see Jean Valjean make choices and go from a petty thief, to an ex-con with a bad attitude, to a morally redeemed entrepreneur who rises above his own selfish needs to save the life of his adopted daughter's lover. We see an ignorant hunchback become a hero, we see a black slave lead a rebellion for freedom in Jamaica. With Hugo's heroes anyone can say "I can be a hero too, he did it and he was no better or even less than I". Victor Hugo was nationally revered in his own time. He lived to see a street named after him. On the other hand, Rand's heroes seem to be ready made geniuses, not the kind of people to appeal to, or

inspire, the average man. Do you think that is why there are no streets named after Rand as there was for Hugo? That she doesn't appeal to average Americans? Minsaas: You may have a point there; yet Ayn Rand does have a large popular appeal, far beyond what you would expect given the intellectual level of her novels. The reason why she has not been generally recognized, I believe, has more to do with resistance from the intellectual and cultural elite, an elite that is not too appreciative of Hugo either. So in many ways, they are in the same boat; only the times have changed. But I do agree that Rand's novels may not have the same power to inspire a will to change, to choose a better life course, as is the case with Hugo's novels. And this is reflected in her esthetics too. What she emphasized there was the kind of art that would appeal to a rational man in need of fuel to sustain his ambition. She did not consider the role of fiction in inspiring such ambition by showing how men may change and improve for the better. Which may have to do with a conception of human perfection as something static, as something largely inborn in fact. Q: What do you think of Rand's portrayal of the average man in the character of Eddie Willers? At the end of the book we see him stranded in the middle of nowhere. The "prime movers" are all gone and the average man is left helpless without them. Is this a fair characterization? There is ample proof in reality that the average man can take care of himself in times of disaster. A good example of this is the failure of massive bombing of cities during WWII. Average people quickly adapted and innovated to meet the challenges of their disrupted lives. Military experts were surprised that the spirits of the populations were not destroyed but actually rose to the occasion. The bombing tactic was a failure. What do you think of Rand's view of the average man? Did she underestimate him? Should Willers have joined his friends in the Gulch? Minsaas: I don't think we should regard Eddie Willers simply as a symbol of Ayn Rand's vision of the average man. Again, we have to consider his specific function in the novel. As I see it, the clue to Eddie is the image Ayn Rand paints of him as a captain going down with his ship. He is the man of absolute loyalty and commitment who chooses to perish rather than be saved. Ronald Merrill has suggested, rightly I think, that Ayn Rand was here thinking of men like her father who chose to stay in Soviet Russia in spite of having an opportunity to get out. They simply could not imagine beginning all over again in another world. Q: Still, none of the "average" decent characters make it to the valley, they all die (Eddie, Cherryl, The Wet Nurse), and in the valley there are only giants, no average decent persons; and the blurb of Atlas Shrugged, presumably approved by Rand and Peikoff, states that the book is about the men who are the motors of the world, also referred to as prime movers in the book. So isn't it accurate to say that one of Rand's messages is that the life and existence of ordinary men depend on great men (a message also repeated in The Fountainhead), and that they will perish without the great men? Many people read Rand as a defender of elitism, a point that is further enhanced if one assumes that differences between people are largely inborn. Minsaas: Yes, I grant that the novel may convey the impression of a questionable elitism. But we have to dig a little deeper into this. The "average" but decent characters that you mention do not perish because they are useless, but because they do not have the resources to survive in times of hardship or faced with evil. They might even be seen as peculiarly vulnerable, precisely because of their decency, as in the case of Cherryl Taggart. Her death does not merely demonstrate the point that average people cannot survive without the superior men; it shows us something about how evil operates and functions in this world, how it may succeed, short-term. In this way it adds a valuable dimension to the novel's complex of ideas. Ayn Rand needed some tragic casualties to show the evils of the altruist-collectivist system she wanted to attack. So we could see these characters as a continuation of the theme in We the Living that dictatorship kills even the best. The reason why the very best, the giants, are permitted to survive in Atlas Shrugged, has less to do with elitism and more to do with Ayn Rand's belief that she

had discovered a weapon with which they could fight: her moral code and, through this code, the withdrawal of any moral sanction of the system that is exploiting them. Also, it has to do with Ayn Rand's struggle to liberate herself from a tragic sense of life. So I believe the tragic lot of the average characters in Atlas Shrugged involves much more than just an elitist philosophy. Q: What do you think of the writers of the realist school such as Steinbeck, Tennessee Williams, or Somerset Maugham? While Objectivists have panned them as not heroic, can it be argued that they give us heroes that inspire us for everyday life? While their characters are not shaking the world with their achievements, they are struggling with and finally facing very difficult inner dramas. For example in the play Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Tennessee Williams has his characters struggle with lies they have been living with and the agony it is causing them. In the end they overcome their fears and look at the truth. I find this very inspiring and heroic. Ayn Rand and Objectivism seem to look for heroes to build skyscrapers and slay pirates. Since all of us mostly live in the everyday, do you think this viewpoint is a shortcoming? Minsaas: I think we must remember here that Ayn Rand did have room for everyday heroics, but it is something she reserved for minor characters. Cherryl Taggart, for example, is fighting a very heroic even if tragic battle to face up to the truth about James Taggart. So she could appreciate this kind of heroics. The problem is that she did not see it as fit material to carry the major plot of a novel. Of course, this was her privilege as far as her own writing was concerned. But it becomes a shortcoming when universalized into an esthetic principle binding on all literature, a norm that excludes the kinds of literature that you refer to where the prime focus is the inner struggle toward truth and self-acceptance that take place in more ordinary people. As consumers of art, we need different types of literature that can hold up to us different views of the world and of human existence, and that may serve different needs in different individuals in different situations and at different times. (Again I adopt what is essentially an Aristotelian viewpoint). Q: You speak and write English as a second language. Rand and the author Rafael Sabatini wrote in English as a second language very successfully. Can you tell us how great a feat this is since English is supposed to be harder to learn and every language has its own nuances and untranslatable contexts and concepts? Minsaas: As far as academic writing is concerned I don't think that writing in English as a second language represents any particularly great feat, especially not today where most non-English countries are bombarded with the English language because of the revolution in the communications industry - to the point of threatening a person's ability to master his own language. But from this to write English well in creative writing is, I think, a truly great feat, particularly for someone like Rand who did not know all that much English when she arrived in the U.S. Q: What's your take on feminism? Was Rand an individual feminist? Are you? Minsaas: I guess I am, in the sense that I consider a woman as a man's equal intellectually, and worthy of equal rights. But I don't hold this as a fighting position, since I have never felt myself seriously discriminated against in any way. Many feminists seem to me a bit paranoid, and I think that a lot of what has been going on in the feminist movement is embarrassing and in fact harmful to women. As regards Rand, I think she probably felt very much the same way. The intellectual equality of women to men was so self-evident to her that it did not require emphasis. Q: In what ways does Rand represent a step forward or a step backward for women? Minsaas: I hardly see how she can represent a step backward given the unusual caliber of her heroines. I can't think of any heroines in world literature that can compete with Dagny Taggart in terms of intellectual power and moral strength and integrity. She is really my favorite of all of Rand's characters,

including the males, partly because she is both heroic and believable as a human being without being flawed the way Rearden is. The mere fact of having created such a woman should make her the spearhead of the feminist movement. But it has not, which suggests something about the feminist movement that I don't like to think of. Q: What is the importance of comedy in art? Is it as important as drama or tragedy or is it regulated to a lower place? Minsaas: I definitely think it is important in the sense that it serves a legitimate function and satisfies needs not covered by other genres - such as the release of laughter, satirical ridicule, and the pleasure of contemplating a satisfactory solution to the ups and downs of wooing. The reason why it is frequently regarded as inferior to tragedy or serious drama has primarily to do with the fact that it does not and cannot offer the same opportunity for exploring the great philosophical issues of human existence, the life and death issues. Its aim is primarily entertainment. Q: What do you think of the novels of the early 19th century women writers such as Jane Austen and Charlotte Brontë, and why do you think the revival in movies of these books is taking place? Minsaas: I enjoy both, particularly Austen. I am not too sure about the movie revival, but it might have to do with the fact that many people (both audiences and people in the industry) are tired of the mindlessness and the value vacuum of many contemporary movies and simply go back to great literature for more substance. Q: Who are your favorite woman characters in literature and why? (Non-Rand) Minsaas: Let me restrict myself to one: Hester Prynne in Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter because of Hawthorne's ability to invest in this sensual and sinful woman a moral purity absent in the Puritan society in which she lives. And because of her proud defiance of its mores. Q: Who are your favorite male characters in literature and why? (Non-Rand) Minsaas: Again just one: Hamlet - because of what one critic calls his moral beauty, and because of the quality of his mind, his lonely searching and questioning, his sardonic wit, his earnest desire to do right in a situation where this is practically impossible. He is probably the greatest intellectual hero of world literature; and unlike Ayn Rand's intellectual heroes, we are permitted to share his thoughts, to look into his mind, and not just contemplate him from the outside. Q: What books or movies can you recommend that our Objectivist audience may not be familiar with? Minsaas: None in particular, but I do recommend Objectivists to spend more time on classical writers (besides Hugo and Dostoevsky) like Shakespeare, Ibsen, Hawthorne, or Austen because there is so much to be had out of these writers in terms of philosophical thought. Like Rand, and unlike most modern writers, they are profoundly concerned with moral issues and conflicts, and explore these issues fictionally in a way that provides valuable philosophical insight. In some cases, they also provide a valuable corrective to Rand. Q: Could you give an example or two about how Hawthorne and Austen provide a corrective to Rand? Minsaas: Let me restrict myself to Austen. In Austen's works, we find an emphasis on prudence, involving a fear of excessive romanticism. Yet she was not hostile to romantic values; she only wanted them kept within the bounds of reason. This is very clear in Sense and Sensibility, where one of the sisters is lacking in romantic passion, the other one having a little too much of it. In the ups and downs of their search for a spouse, they finally meet in the middle and win the right man, having learnt to combine sense and sensibility. Not very exciting, perhaps, but yet commendable, and a useful reminder of the dangers of excessive passion. Surely Dominique's and Kira's stormy love affairs are more suited

to capture our romantic imaginations, but they are hardly to be recommended as representing the most rational ways of finding a partner in life. Q: Are there any contemporary philosophers you would like to recommend? Minsaas: Yes, I strongly recommend Martha C. Nussbaum, since she has done some wonderful work in uniting philosophy and literature as academic disciplines on an Aristotelian basis, arguing for the value of literature as a concretizer of moral philosophy. In fact, she is doing the kind of scholarly work I would like to see more Objectivists do, observing academic rigor while steering clear of academic pedanticism, empty jargon and fads. For anyone interested in both literature and philosophy she is a must. Both Love's Knowledge and The Fragility of Goodness would be good starters. Q: Do you have any hobbies or interests other than your profession? Minsaas: Yes, music (particularly vocal music), ballet, opera and theater - in short, my old profession. And then I am addicted to cats, and I love skiing. Q: Do you do any creative writing of poetry or stories yourself or do you just study what has already been written? Minsaas: I just study what has already been written, although the reason why I started doing this was that I wanted to learn in order to write myself; I had no intention of making an academic career out of it. But that, it seems, is the way it has turned out. But I haven't quite given up the idea of writing creatively myself. But first I have to finish my dissertation and my book. Q: What has been your biggest lesson in life so far that you can share with us? Minsaas: That you become a true objectivist the day you begin to question the absolute truth of Objectivism.

A discussion of the nature of heroism instigated by Andrew Bernstein's article Copyright Thomas Gramstad Full Context Vol. 10, No. 7 (March 1999) Heroism is a crucial topic, both philosophically and artistically in Objectivism. From a sense-of-life point of view, heroism is indeed the essence of Objectivism. Yet this topic is not only underemphasized, but underdeveloped in Objectivism, with only a few scattered remarks here and there in the Randian corpus. The terms hero and heroism have not been defined explicitly, and there are no entries about them in the Ayn Rand Lexicon.

However, with Andrew Bernstein's article, The Philosophical Foundations of Heroism<1>, this has changed. The following is an examination of and comment on Bernstein's article. In general, this is an excellent article. It brings various Objectivist insights and positions on heroism together, presenting and building a full-bodied explication of the Randian theory of heroism, in logical sequence, providing many examples. It identifies the key elements of heroism, explaining their relationships. Last, but far from least, the article also identifies and explains what courage is (a severely underemphasized virtue in the Objectivist corpus). However, there are also some problems with the article. ACCIDENTAL ELEMENTS The first problem is that here and there, the article reflects the personal attitudes and style of certain Objectivists (like ARI), rather than Objectivist philosophy. For example, Hillary Clinton is compared to Hitler (and Ellsworth Toohey and Iago) early in the article, without any justification, and without any motivation or relevance to the article. It might have been acceptable to compare the Clintons' statist policies with those of Nazists in a rhetorical piece about politics. But this is not such a piece; the aim and language of the article is scholarly, not polemical, and it is about heroism, not about politics. And no comparison is being made, it's just a juxtaposition of H. Clinton and Hitler in the same sentence. It serves no function, except alienating parts of the readership. More than a few women consider Hillary Clinton to be a successful and powerful female role model - a hero, as it were. That doesn't make her one, but the issue here is - not for the first time - certain Objectivists' ability to alienate readers without good reason. Another example of odd, unexplained juxtaposition occurs later in the article, when Bill Clinton, the Pope, Mother Theresa, and Madonna are put in the same group, a sub-hero or anti-hero group, without explanation. Objectivists will understand that Clinton, the Pope and Mother Theresa are put together because of their altruism and collectivism. But this point would require explanation for any nonObjectivist reader. Why Madonna is included in the group is anyone's guess - maybe Bernstein felt a need to say something about his musical (dis)tastes. Another unmotivated element. Bernstein's perfunctory dismissal of Hamlet as a "pathetic figure" who is a perfect literary expression of the mind-body dichotomy, a "brilliant philosopher-intellectual who excels in the theoretical realm but is helpless to deal with the practical", may reflect Rand's personal tastes or perhaps ARI's official policy. For most other people, Hamlet represents a moral hero of great stature, struggling to incorporate his principles and knowledge with a complex and difficult reality. DEFINITION BY ESSENTIALS Bernstein quotes and harshly criticizes a dictionary definition of a hero:
Webster's Ninth Collegiate Dictionary defines "hero as: a) "a mythological or legendary figure often of divine descent endowed with great strength or ability, b) an illustrious warrior, c) a man admired for his achievements and noble qualities, d) one that shows great courage."

According to Bernstein, this "attempt at" definition is "woefully inadequate". However, his "woefully inadequate"-comment is overstated. While he does indeed add clarity and philosophical depth to this definition, his own definition nevertheless leans heavily on the dictionary definition:
A hero is ... an individual of elevated moral stature and

superior ability who pursues his goals indefatigably in the face of powerful antagonist(s). Because of his unbreached devotion to the good, no matter the opposition, a hero attains spiritual grandeur, even in he fails to achieve practical victory. Notice then the four components of heroism: moral greatness, ability or prowess, action in the face of opposition, and triumph in at least a spiritual, if not a physical, form.

Both definitions identify the same four key components, but Bernstein's is the more philosophical, his definition is "essentialized" and therefore superior. Webster's definition can be seen as a pop version of a philosophical definition, so they are really closely related. Therefore the dictionary definition cannot be "woefully inadequate"; even though Bernstein's definition is a substantial improvement of it, the dictionary definition too is true and identify the four key elements. INTEGRATION AND SYMBOLISM Bernstein goes on to claim that the mind-body dichotomy, caused by Plato and Christianity, is the cause of what he considers an over-emphasis on action-heroes (rather than intellectual heroes) in Western culture:
Such a mind-body split is the necessary application to the theory of human nature of the belief in two-world, metaphysical dualism. As long as men are taught a religious metaphysics, they will hold that the spirit is a hyper-sensitive, hand-wringing weakling too fine for this world-and that only brute bodily means are efficacious and practical. Therefore, as long as men retain sufficient rationality to value their own lives, they will necessarily celebrate the distinctively--physicalistic attributes of man despite paying lip service to religion. If only physical prowess is efficacious, then their lives depend on it--and it is the body they will venerate.

I disagree. First, there are issues of symbolical action and symbolical-esthetical representations of the body to consider. To be a hero is to do something specific (action). And a highly functional body, a body with athletic strenght, agility and dexterity, is a universal, transcultural symbol of heroism. This leads to the second point, which is that Bernstein's claim is historically inaccurate or uninformed. The first heroes in history were warrior-heroes who protected their clan, community or city against invaders. This is the historical origin of the coupling of heroism with action<2>. In other words, the coupling of heroism with action existed long before Plato and Christianity, and it also exists in cultures without Plato and Christianity. It is still possible, of course, that the mind-body dichotomy (MBD) can influence the coupling in an unhealthy way, e.g., by causing an overemphasis on it. But the point is, contrary to Bernstein's claim, the MBD didn't cause or originate the coupling; the requirements of human survival in pre-industrial societies did. Therefore, the MBD cannot be used to discredit a strong connection between heroism and action. The connection was a historical existential necessity - and even today the connection is essential, because human survival requires the integration of thought and action. And the esthetical-symbolical issues related to heroism, inspiration and heroworship have not changed. But how to express and present images of thought-action integration and heroic grandeur? Heroism involves a moral character, and a moral character is integrated with its expression in action. A

"theoretically good character", which is not expressed in action, is not heroic - and would not even be considered to be a good character. While the intellect, or "intellectual heroism", certainly is important, and certainly is underemphasized in the culture, it doesn't lend itself so easily to symbolical expression, by itself. First, because it is possible to have a great intellect without having a moral character. Secondly, because it is difficult to portray a thought process itself as heroic and exciting: someone sitting and concentrating on a chair, someone sitting and looking into the air in an office - these are not powerful images. But the end result of the thought process - the action that it leads to - lends itself easily to symbolic expression of heroism. Just as creation is an integration of intellect and action, so must heroism be. Bernstein knows this, he makes it one of his key points. But the actual degrees of intellect and action, mind and body, in the mix, and their style of expression, can vary greatly. While the culture underemphasizes the intellectual aspects of heroism, Bernstein errs in the opposite direction, he demotes the physical aspects of the symbolic expression of heroism too much. Such a demotion will also cause an attenuation of the esthetical aspects of heroism. ELITISM VS. HUMAN NATURE My last disagreement is with Bernstein's elitism:
Heroism is a moral concept. By its nature it is reserved for the man set apart--for the select few who tower above the rest. It is a sparsely populated classification. To attain this status one must reach the zenith of human morality--an undeviating commitment to rational values, in action, in the teeth of opposition that would dismay a lesser man. ... It is from observation of these men that the concept "hero" is formed; it is for these men that the special designation of "hero" is reserved. ... [T]here are a special few who take on all comers to achieve their ends. The designation "hero" is a moral approbation reserved for this elite.

Bernstein presents "hero" as a concept interchangeable with "moral genius". I do not question the existence of moral geniuses, or the value of recognizing and praising them. But I cannot accept this bereavement of heroism from humanity at large. Neither rational selfishness nor morality nor courage (the building blocks of heroism) are elitist concepts. Everyone can be an egoist, a moral person, or a courageous person. The degree can and will vary, as is the case with all forms of competence and achievement. I do not accept that the upper end of the scale shall be cut off and placed in a superhuman realm, inaccessible to and separate from humanity at large. Instead, I propose an unbreached, continuous scale of heroism. Heroism, as it is depicted in art and literature, as well as in life, comes in a large continuous range of degrees and dimensions. Here I will focus on the two extreme ends of the scale. I call these the Everyday Hero and the Epic Hero. The Everyday Hero is the more or less ordinary person who gets into trouble, probably not by his or her own choosing, and who rise to the occasion, actualizing the best of their slumbering and unknown potentials in the process. The Everyday Hero seems familiar and realistic in that s/he could have been one of the neighbors, and because we are told about her or his confusion, conflicts and development. An example of this would be Harrison Ford in one of his I'm-an-ordinary-and-decent-person-but-don'tpush-me-movies. The Everyday Hero is positive and inspiring through his familiarity and through the description of a gradual personal development that may provide one with clear ideas about steps to take in order to become heroic, to realize one's possibilities. The Everyday Hero is the role model.

The Epic Hero, by contrast, is out of this world, larger than life. An extraordinary person in extraordinary situations and difficulties, but handling it all apparently without any serious problems. The Epic Hero goes or rather flies through life with panache, grandeur and in big-time style. The Epic Hero is positive and inspiring through the images and emotions being evoked, the impossible dream that suddenly becomes real and concrete. S/he is not really a role model, but rather a fertilizer that will prepare the ground so that role models may find a place to take root - an image that evokes the desire for heroic being. The issue is a balance between, or rather an integration of, realism and symbolism. Realism is the vehicle you make that will carry you in the direction you want to go. Symbolism is the stars in the sky that can tell you the direction. We need both; the symbolism and the realism, the Epic Hero and the Everyday Hero. We don't need both in each text or each work of art, but we need a diet that contains both, and we need to identify their fundamental connection, as constituents of the same structure, points on the same scale. Without the latter we will become escapists; and without the former we will become buried in the nitty-gritty of everyday life and lose the perspective and the emotional fuel that help us keep going. The problems of Bernstein's article are more or less small in comparison to its virtues, but nevertheless annoying. Luckily they are easy to remove in one's mind, and they do not damage the case for the philosophical doctrines of Randian heroism. Bernstein identifies and explains the Objectivist theory on the nature of heroism. But heroism is a part of human nature, not the exclusive property of an elite<3>. Rand's legacy has the potential to aid everyone of us to reclaim and develop this part of our humanity - a part which is both common (species identity) and unique (individual identity) to all human individuals. NOTES
<1> Bernstein's article is available at http://www.mikementzer.com/heroism.html. <2> I owe this point to Kirsti Minsaas, and to the discussion by Stephen Cox and David Kelley of different concepts of heroism in their The Fountainhead: A Fiftieth Anniversary Celebration pamphlet (1993), published by and available from The Objectivist Center. <3> See also Will Thomas' analysis of and contrast of Richard Taylor's elitist conception of pride with the Randian conception of pride in Navigator Vol. 2 No. 13 (October 1999) for a similar discussion.

This is a release from the Tiddlywink Graduate Center. Source of inspiration: http://www.dailyobjectivist.com/Spir/SpirFeat/Dialectical/dialectical.htm Copyright Thomas Gramstad (november 1999) All rights reserved The specter of doom and destruction is hovering over civilization as we know it, in the form of the horrible y2k total breakdown threat. But fear not. Rationality will prevail: the solution is as simple as it is elegant. Due to pervasive irrationality, our calendar is based on the birth of some irrational religious collectivist cult leader. But in realizing this, the solution to our dilemma presents itself with thundering clarity: replace Jesus calendars with Rand calendars! By founding our calendars on the birth of Rand rather than the birth of Jesus, we will buy ourselves another 2000 (1902 to be exact) years to prepare for and solve the y2k problem. And by that time it won't matter, because there won't be any computers anymore anyway, we will all be using various forms of self-directed quantum-cognitive thought materialization and matter transmission processes. But, you say, current society will not accept replacing Jesus with Rand? My point exactly. While the rest of the world collapses under the weight of irrationality and religion, we, the Keepers of Reason, shall retreat to a remote resort or gulch or something, where we create a new society based on the new calendar. I mean, can you say Apollo Shrugged? (or whomever) Now, this plan, simple and elegant as it is (ahem) may appear drastical and highly radical - indeed, utterly Randical. Therefore we need to ground it properly in our present reality, which we may accomplish only by considering the total context in all its dynamic, cohesive, and spatio-temporal intermingling ramifications. As Zen Triadbarra established in his seminal work, Ayn Rand: The Etruscan Rascal (Zensylvania State of Mind Press, 1995), the essential aspect of Rand's methodology was a fundamental adherence to contextual totality achieved by sophisticated technologies involving dialectical engineering, triadic recombination, and small microscopical entities. A domain to be further explored in his forthcoming work: Total Combustion: Triad By Fire (an extensive study of spontaneous syllogistic self-combustion, the ultimate form and expression of materialistic reductionism).

While it remains highly doubtful that this genuinely randical work will be accepted, appreciated or even abbreviated by The Clergy, in particular its esteemed leader, His Rational Highness, Pope of Reason, Peon Leakoff I, one must keep gently but firmly in mind that each and every important truth started out in the form of eccentric speculation, radical ruckus and bio-organic waste products generated by and excreted from the gastrointestinal tracts of very large mammalian animals. Therefore, the fertility quotient and truth value of any new idea is and must be determined by the idea itself and by an intransigent, no-holds-barred application of TCA (Total Context Adherence, aka grokking) as indicated above, and cannot be settled by acts of obedience or submission to The Clergy. Only thus may The Fiery Triad (Reality, Truth, and Dialectics) prevail. So, as you can now clearly see for yourself, the y2k problem can and must be solved by the R2k. However, I urge you to consider that time is short. The R2k solution must be implemented immediately, or else Jesus and the computers will cook us all. In order to help establishing the R2k solution, you must copy and forward this article to all your friends immediately, and ask them to do the same. Do your du.., eh, serve your self-interest today! This iron chain of Reason and Progress must not be broken! Pump the iron chain NOW! HURRY UP!! Go! Go! One more! Thomas Gramstad is the World Authority on synthetic and applied randicalism.

Post-Notes This may be updated in the near future, but that will be dependent if any more essays are added to the website. -Laissez Faire!, Leo T. Magnificent

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