Please turn on javascript in your browser to play chess.
Debates Forum

Debates Forum

  1. 04 Mar '10 16:37
    It seems to me that Ayn Rand didn't actually claim that you have the right to own land, water or air,
    but the result of your own production. Now, before you go sprouting froth in your eager attempt to
    overvoice me with your constitutional rights and what not, let me make clear that this statement
    should be read from an objectivists point of view, and viewed in the light of: "What if society was built
    entirely on objectivism?"

    As I understand it, if I produce food from a piece of land, I own the food I've produced, not the land
    on which I produced it. If George on the corner decides that he too will produce food on this
    piece of land, he has the right to do so. He too, will own the production of his hard work. And he can
    choose to do with it as he sees fit.

    Though I can't find any such statement in Rand's writings (or what I've read so far), I rest on the
    basic corollary on her view on human rights. She's saying that all rights stem from the one most
    basic right: the right to your own life. Anything you do in order to protect that right while not
    depriving another person his/her right to the same
    , is morally defensible (or so I've
    (mis?)interpreted it):


    A “right” is a moral principle defining and sanctioning a man’s freedom of action in a social context.
    There is only one fundamental right (all the others are its consequences or corollaries): a man’s
    right to his own life. Life is a process of self-sustaining and self-generated action; the right to life
    means the right to engage in self-sustaining and self-generated action - which means: the freedom
    to take all the actions required by the nature of a rational being for the support, the furtherance, the
    fulfillment and the enjoyment of his own life. (Such is the meaning of the right to life, liberty and the
    pursuit of happiness.)


    If, for George, the only way to stay alive and happy is to farm the land that I've previously farmed
    then he has the right to do so, and I cannot prevent that by waving a "land property right" in his face.
    That is, I can't prevent it if I am to be consistent with the basic meaning of rights from my own
    objectivist point of view
    .

    So, what happens if the only suitable piece of land within reach can't support both me and George
    and we both have the right to farm it? I own the production of my own hard work, and subsequently
    the right to distribute it at will (in trading or given away as welfare). He has the same right. Is it the
    first to the mill that counts here? What if next year, he's the first to sow the seed? Then the land is
    temporarily his?

    Or, do we in fact need some kind of social rule that states we both have the right to farm that land,
    and that we must split it equally between us?

    Is it any more inconsistent with a liberal mindset than the thought that one person can "own" land,
    even more land than is needed for his/her survival?
  2. Subscriber AThousandYoung
    It's only business
    04 Mar '10 16:56 / 1 edit
    It seems to me that Francisco d'Anconia was considered justified in shutting down or even actively sabotaging his copper mines at whim, no?
  3. 04 Mar '10 17:07
    try farming in a vacuum in lunar orbit.

    try farming and having some yahoo come along the month after you planted, ripping up the soil and planting his own seed.
  4. Subscriber AThousandYoung
    It's only business
    04 Mar '10 17:23
    Originally posted by zeeblebot
    try farming in a vacuum in lunar orbit.

    try farming and having some yahoo come along the month after you planted, ripping up the soil and planting his own seed.
    ...try farming and having some yahoo come along the month after you planted, ripping up the soil and planting his own seed.

    "Objectively", this counts as vandalism of the first farmer's belongings (the plants he planted).
  5. 04 Mar '10 17:32
    Originally posted by AThousandYoung
    ...try farming and having some yahoo come along the month after you planted, ripping up the soil and planting his own seed.

    "Objectively", this counts as vandalism of the first farmer's belongings (the plants he planted).
    OP claims no right to belongings.
  6. Standard member joneschr
    Some guy
    04 Mar '10 17:39 / 1 edit
    I believe Ayn Rand would say that there would be government to encorce rules of social conduct. So, the government would say what "objectively" good social conduct is to share the field between the two farmers - and the government would have power to enforce that conduct.

    Neither farmer would "own" the land, but would use the rules of social conduct to decide when and where they can plant their seeds.

    "This is the task of a government—of a proper government—its basic task, its only moral justification and the reason why men do need a government."
  7. 04 Mar '10 18:30 / 1 edit
    Originally posted by Jigtie
    It seems to me that Ayn Rand didn't actually claim that you have the right to own land, water or air,
    but the result of your own production. Now, before you go sprouting froth in your eager attempt to
    overvoice me with your constitutional rights and what not, let me make clear that this statement
    should be read from an objectivists point of view, and vi ne person can "own" land,
    even more land than is needed for his/her survival?
    So basically, you would have to have collectivist farming. Stalin would've been so proud of her.
  8. Standard member adam warlock
    Baby Gauss
    04 Mar '10 18:35
    Originally posted by Melanerpes
    So basically, you would have to have collectivist farming. Stalin would've been so proud of her.
    Are you for real?

    Ayn Rand's philosophy has nothing to do with collectivism. Unless, of course, the individuals want it that way.
  9. Standard member adam warlock
    Baby Gauss
    04 Mar '10 18:38
    Originally posted by joneschr
    I believe Ayn Rand would say that there would be government to encorce rules of social conduct. So, the government would say what "objectively" good social conduct is to share the field between the two farmers - and the government would have power to enforce that conduct.

    Neither farmer would "own" the land, but would use the rules of social conduct to ...[text shortened]... basic task, its only moral justification and the reason why men do need a government."[/i]
    So, the government would say what "objectively" good social conduct is to share the field between the two farmers
    I think that in Rand's philosophy the role of the government isn't to say anything to the individuals. The role of the government is to uphold what the individuals have decided/chose.
  10. Standard member joneschr
    Some guy
    04 Mar '10 19:58 / 1 edit
    Originally posted by adam warlock
    [b] So, the government would say what "objectively" good social conduct is to share the field between the two farmers
    I think that in Rand's philosophy the role of the government isn't to say anything to the individuals. The role of the government is to uphold what the individuals have decided/chose.[/b]
    Well, yes that's right. The government does "say" what proper social conduct is, by publishing objective laws. But yes, those objective laws are collectively decided upon. I believe she advocated a democratic process still.
  11. 04 Mar '10 21:28 / 1 edit
    Originally posted by adam warlock
    Are you for real?

    Ayn Rand's philosophy has nothing to do with collectivism. Unless, of course, the [b]individuals
    want it that way.[/b]
    I'm just going by what was stated in the OP - that if a person only has a right to that which resulted from their own production, there's no way anyone would be allowed to "own" land.

    If you start with the idea that no individual can own land - then anything that is done on that land has to involve a collective decision by all the people who live on that land.

    It's very likely that those individuals would be interested in setting up some kind of farm to produce food. If everyone's philosophy banned individuals from owning their own land, the logical result would have to be some sort of a collective.
  12. Standard member adam warlock
    Baby Gauss
    04 Mar '10 21:43
    Originally posted by Melanerpes
    I'm just going by what was stated in the OP - that if a person only has a right to that which resulted from their own production, there's no way anyone would be allowed to "own" land.

    If you start with the idea that no individual can own land - then anything that is done on that land has to involve a collective decision by all the people who live on t ...[text shortened]... from owning their own land, the logical result would have to be some sort of a collective.
    Funny how Rand disagrees with you.

    Here's a little start on her thought:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s1RxKW-P5V8&feature=related
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=viGkAZR-x8s

    After this very short introduction be sure to read what she thought
  13. Standard member joneschr
    Some guy
    04 Mar '10 21:43 / 1 edit
    Originally posted by Melanerpes
    I'm just going by what was stated in the OP - that if a person only has a right to that which resulted from their own production, there's no way anyone would be allowed to "own" land.

    If you start with the idea that no individual can own land - then anything that is done on that land has to involve a collective decision by all the people who live on t from owning their own land, the logical result would have to be some sort of a collective.
    You're making a big assumption that "everyone's philosophy would desire to ban individuals from owning land". I seriously doubt it would play out that way. People like privacy. They like having a home for instance. They like having the freedom to decide what crops to plant. I doubt everything would be so collective. It's more likely to me that the collective decision would be one which grants ownership to the land.

    There is no "right" to ownership - but that doesn't mean there's no ownership in the form of rules of social conduct.
  14. Standard member adam warlock
    Baby Gauss
    04 Mar '10 21:47 / 1 edit
    Originally posted by joneschr
    I believe she advocated a democratic process still.
    To tell you the truth I don't know how to answer that. She appeared to have a skewed notion of democracy that I don't quite understand.

    Anyway I think her ideas are a big pile of dog poo.
  15. 04 Mar '10 22:51 / 1 edit
    Originally posted by joneschr
    You're making a big assumption that "everyone's philosophy would desire to ban individuals from owning land". I seriously doubt it would play out that way. People like privacy. They like having a home for instance. They like having the freedom to decide what crops to plant. I doubt everything would be so collective. It's more likely to me that the co ip - but that doesn't mean there's no ownership in the form of rules of social conduct.
    I'm going by the OP's assumption that everyone would agree that land isn't something that anyone can own. Everyone would then have to come up with some sort of collective decision about what to do with the land that didn't involve anyone "owning" it individually

    Obviously, in the real world, most people don't worry about these sorts of assumptions.

    In the real world, the guy with the biggest muscles or the best weapon would soon take over the land and make everyone else his slave. If anyone claimed that Ayn Rand wouldn't approve of this, they'd find their copy of Atlas Shrugged stuffed into their esophagus.