Washington Metro Objectivism Discussion (WMOD) October 1996 Meeting Objectivism and Political Parties Since it is the season for politics, the Wednesday October 16 meeting of WMOD will focus on Objectivism and political parties. We will play an audio tape of David Kelley's 1988 talk "Objectivism and the Struggle for Liberty". Kelley discusses the necessary and sufficient intellectual conditions for a free society, and the proper foundations for a political party. After the tape we will have an open discussion on the implications of these ideas for the Libertarian Party (LP). Objectivist criticism of the Libertarian Party is legendary, but few suggestions for party reforms have been advanced other than en mass conversion to Objectivism. One implication of Kelley's talk is that the LP Statement of Principles (LPSOP) could be modified to incorporate a proper foundation for individual rights, and to eliminate the implication that subjectivism is an acceptable basis for rights. As a starting point for the WMOD discussion I have drafted revised LPSOP based on my understanding of Kelley's arguments. The current Statement of Principles advocates individual rights, but it does not give any basis for the idea of rights. It begins: "We, the members of the Libertarian Party, challenge the cult of the omnipotient state and defend the rights of the individual. We hold that all individuals have the right to exercise sole dominion over their own lives, and have the right to live in whatever manner they choose, so long as they do not forcibly interfere with the equal right of others to live in whatever manner they choose." The remainder of the LPSOP does not go any deeper into the idea of rights. As written it would probably be acceptable to subjectivists who hold that no further justification is necessary or even desirable, other than feelings or revelations. While those folks are only a fringe element of the LP, Kelley makes a good argument that it unwise to welcome them into any alliance. Kelley argues that an understanding of rights is based on a view of man, and this suggests that the LPSOP could be a more powerful and convincing document if it included a view of man. Kelley argues that a proper support for rights requires a defense of 3 principles: the validity of reason, the propriety of pursuing one's self interest, and the rejection of the mind/body dichotomy. With this in mind, the second paragraph of the LPSOP might be rewritten as follows: We hold that man's rights arise from the recognition that man needs freedom to act on reason in pursuit of his life and happiness in this world. Therefore all individuals have the right to exercise sole dominion over their own lives, and have the right to live in whatever manner they choose, so long as they do not forcibly interfere with the equal right of others to live in whatever manner they choose." This minimal formulation of Kelley's 3 principles has the following advantages: 1. Rights are founded on the nature of man and reality, not subjectivism or intrinsicism. 2. Non agression is not an axiom, but is based on the idea that man must be free to act to use his mind. 3. These changes in the LPSOP are small enough and general enough so that the revised version might have a chance of acceptance by the LP. Of course, the attendees at the October 16 WMOD meeting will probably be able to improve considerably on this formulation. When and Where is the WMOD Meeting? Join us on Wednesday 10/16. You can either join us for dinner at 7 pm and/or for the discussion at 8:15 pm at the Fortune Chinese Restaurant at Baileys Xroads, VA on Route 7 between 7 Corners and Columbia Pike (5900 Leesburg Pike 703/998-8888). You can take METRO to the West Falls Church stop and then take METRO buses 29A or 29B East on Route 7 toward Baileys Xroads. The Fortune is on this route. After the meeting we can give you a ride back to a METRO station. WMOD has arranged for a $15 fixed price dinner (including tax and tip). Or you can order from the menu. Please RSVP to WMOD (703) 820-7696 before noon Wednesday 10/16 so that we can tell the restaurant how many tables to set up. CALENDAR Future of Freedom Foundation (FFF) "Vienna Coffee Club Talks" at Sheraton Premier, 8661 Leesburg Pike (Rt 7 at Dulles Tollway), 6 p.m. dinner ($25), 7:30 p.m. talk ($5 talk only) RSVP to 703/934-6101. * October 10: Victor Neiderhoffer, chairman of Neiderhoffer Investments and international speculator will talk on "Music and Speculation". FFF - The Untouchables Lecture Series * November 21: Doug Bandow of Cato and FFF will talk on "Repealing, not Reforming Social Security" 6-8 pm at the National Press Club, 529 14th St NW, Washington DC No reservations required, free admission. Lyceum International - Doubletree Hotel, Pentagon City * October 19: Ellen Kenner will speak on "Objectivism As A Guide to Self Change", $55 till October 14, register at 360/479-4765 or http://www.olympus.net/lyceumintl/ or firstname.lastname@example.org WMOD Contact Information The WMOD newsletter is $10/yr, email newsletter is free. Contact: Dave Saum WMOD PO Box 8007 Falls Church, VA 22041 Email: DSaum at infiltec.com, Phone: 703/820-7696, FAX: 703/671-9350 Web: http//www.infiltec.com/wmod.htm ----------- "Sapere aude" (dare to know) -------------------
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