Tuesday, March 23, 2010

A Randian criticism of the Window War.

Received this forwarded from an Irregular, authored by the "pragmatist" who writes the blog Walls of the City. The Irregular wrote in preface:

1) I notice he won't link directly to SSI, but instead through Tony Martin's site.

2) He managed to leave out the part where he vows to shoot people for resisting in a way with which he disagrees.

Odious little toad.

As you will see from his argument, all property is sacred, in all circumstances, regardless.


the substance of things

I was a quasi-/semi-objectivist before I had even heard of Ayn Rand (I thank my parents for that), so this next statement probably will not be that much of a surprise: just as there is no difference between “property rights” and “personal rights” (in that the former is a subset of the latter), there, too, is no difference between “property violence” and “personal violence”.

All of the various materials and items we human beings view as “personal property” did not simply materialize into existance, with your ownership of them stamped on their molecules. No, each and every single one of those items and objects was gathered, bought, traded for, procured, created, fabricated, or otherwise generated through your work or someone else’s. Oh, there might be money involved, but, after all, money is nothing more than a physical and outward sign of someone’s efforts – you worked to receive that money, did you not?

For the sake of argument, let us consider a pane of glass, mounted in some office’s wall. That pane did not simply leap up out of the ground, mount itself in the wall, and remain there until otherwise instructed. Rather, someone had to take the time to figure out how to properly process silica, someone had to perform those actions, someone had to perfect both, someone had to develop the mass production capabilities to crank it out, someone had to work those mass production facilities, someone had to purchase that glass, someone had to install it, and one last someone had to pay for all of that work, all of that effort, all of that “blood, sweat, and tears” necessary to put that one, unassuming pane of glass into place.

Now break that pane of glass – toss a brick through it, take a bat to it, whatever. What have you done? You simply destroyed a piece of material, right? There is hardly any harm in that, right? A new one will be in place tomorrow, and no one will care… right?

Yes, that is part of the answer… but just the beginning. You see, in the act of destroying something, you are stealing something from someone else – something that they can never reclaim, something that they can never recover, and something that they can never replace. You are stealing their time – in effect, you are stealing them. By intentionally and maliciously destroying something, you are robbing that object’s owner of the time it took for him to accrue the money necessary to buy it. By willfully and malevolently demolishing something, you are robbing that item’s creator of the time it took him to take it from bare, unformed, raw materials to the finished object you just shattered.

By sending a brick through a glass window, you are, in effect, retroactively enslaving those who created, installed, bought, and maintained that glass… all for your own personal satisfaction.

That, dear readers, is pure, unadulterated violence, both in terms of the “swift and intense force” necessary to break the window, and in terms of the “unjust and unwarranted exertion of force of power” you are committing to those responsible for the ownership and fabrication of the glass.

As regular readers here have already figured out, I chose my hypothetical item carefully and with malice aforethought – to wit, those who would rationlize this unquestionably-violent, inflammatory, and instigatory “Window War” by playing semantic word games have already exposed how weak and tenuous their position truly is. Worse yet, those who are engaging in this campaign of personal violence at the behest of one individual in particular are making liars out of all parties involved.

Individual rights either extend to the property that individual owns in its entirety, or they do not. I have no use for self-centered, self-righteous fools who would fecklessly suspend such essential notions when that abrogation is convenient to their own pet causes.


angry settler said...

As you will see from his argument, all property is sacred, in all circumstances, regardless.

Except when it's the government taking it and destroying it, like at Waco or Iraq, or 9/11... then it's alright.

Anonymous said...

Amen to the angry settler.

These people put a brick on one side of the scale and this Healthcare abomination on the other and still claim the scale tilts towards the brick.


Carl Bussjaeger said...

So when does my property, my life, get to be inviolable?

Reading that, I immediately got the impression that this is a pacifist at the least, more likely a coward, who hides behind everyone else's sacred property to rationalize not having the courage to fight for his own.

While the use of force/violence against property is a concern, the real question is who initiated the force? Was it the oathbreakers who voted to steal your money, run your children into bankruptcy, and control your life? Or was it the people who threw bricks through oathbreakers' windows, because said oathbreakers refused to listen to reason?

jon said...

"... you are, in effect, retroactively enslaving those who created, installed, bought, and maintained that glass... all for your own personal satisfaction."

"retroactively enslaving." you heard it, in effect, here first, folks.

note how the "objectivist" logically and scientifically decides for us all what the brick-thrower's entirely subjective intent actually is.

i bet if you identify yourself as rothbardian and present this argument to yet another objectivist he'd call you a crazy subjectivist or some such thing.

good lord i hate randians.

Anonymous said...

I have one yardstick whereby I measure my response to government's actions: What would the Founding Fathers Do?

Anonymous said...

Hey Jon!
Don't hate me! I consider myself a Rand-ian. But this barking moonbat IS NOT a Rand-ian. He forgets (as others earlier pointed out, as I was thinking as I read his half-logical rant) who started stealing from whom first. When the Gub'ment picks my pocket, and has been doing so, more and more, with each succeeding year, then it is time to strike back. First a warning shot across the bow (broken window) before the Real Thing. When does MY property become as equally protected as his window?

B Woodman

Anonymous said...

I'm sure all the windows in these district offices were somehow paid for with taxpayer funds. So they are actually ours....

Anonymous said...

This was actually kind of funny. He sounds so serious!

Anonymous said...

It's a douche bag peace-nik trying to justify in his own mind how lightly the chains will rest around his neck.

Ayn Rand would most likely say something like "first you have to be free from tyranny."


Anonymous said...

Do they think we get personal satisfaction out of throwing bricks at risk of being thrown in jail? Do I not have better things to do with my life than look for ways to engage in civil disobedience? Had they applied the same logic to my own property rights (including the money I work so hard to earn) I would not have to resort to using a louder form of persuasion to get their attention. Hello?! Anyone out there? If you take something that belongs to me without my consent then I will do the same to you. Get it yet?

Unknown said...

Randian says,"Individual rights either extend to the property that individual owns in its entirety, or they do not."
I agree completely, the feral government has taken my personal property by force with the threat of violence for three decades of my life. My hard earned money represents my direct time, my blood, sweat and tears. It is stolen, never to be reclaimed, never to be recovered, and something I can never replace.
Randian then says, “ I have no use for self-centered, self-righteous fools who would fecklessly suspend such essential notions when that abrogation is convenient to their own pet causes.” What a beautiful description of the feral government and my feelings toward them, couldn’t have said it better myself.
At least with a broken window, it creates jobs. Jobs that are needed. There will be the cleanup, the manufacturer, and the installer that will all benefit. The feral government has stolen my personal property, I just a soon have them use my stolen property for replacing the window that was broken than to pay for their free rides on air force one.
It’s the circle of life, they steal my money, my personal property, we break their personal property, they take our money to pay us, the producer, to put the window back. So in a sense, we are just getting our stolen money back, albeit with our hard work, effort and time. But we won’t complain.
You think you are so erudite, you are but a fool looking through collectivist lenses, not seeing what is reality. And I fear that violence will eventually erupt into this reality if this window war gains momentum but fails to get its message across, or, if it loses momentum. Either way, trouble looms, can't ya smell it?

Anonymous said...

"no difference between “property violence” and “personal violence”.

So by that logic, when the government begins to wage war on our property, they are waging war on our person. I'll accept his premise which would conclude with John Locke's premise on the rights of the people over the government.

Benefessor Aequitas said...

I look at it as creating or saving hundreds of jobs for brick makers, glaziers, truck manufacturers, property insurance agents et al.

The poor schmuck probably cannot enjoy a movie or even a TV show because he cannot see the symbols, shadows, meanings or representations on the screen... so he would stare blankly ahead, seeing only glass and plastic in his living room.

And when I look at a boat tailed jacketed hollow point round, I see the labors of those who formed the brass, those who manufactured the primer, the many who perfected and then made the propellant, those who made the equipment to combine the components and seat the bullet.

I also see the freeing of the oppressed, the breaking of shackles, the demise of tyranny, the sweat-drenched fear of the quislings, and a nation, free and sovereign, under God, with liberty and justice for - NOT a ruling class of self anointeds - but for all!
Hmmm.... kinda Zen, eh?

Anonymous said...

"By sending a brick through a glass window, you are, in effect, retroactively enslaving those who created, installed, bought, and maintained that glass… all for your own personal satisfaction."

By sending a mandatory health insurance bill to the President for his signature, this politician is, in effect, enslaving all those who would have preferred making their own health care choices.

Which is the greater crime?

Evidently, Randroids have no observable purpose in life other than articulating arcane theories of property absolutism. Blecch!


Anonymous said...

This is the bottom line in this matter.

The communist parasites are threatened by that fact that their hosts are not going to lay still for them. The communist parasites must demonize those who have the will and means to resist. As an American I did not surrender my right to live as a free man. I will resist all forms of tyranny.
I will not bow to a government just because the communist parasites say so.
I will defend my freedom and the intent of the original Framers of the Constitution by any means necessary. I know that this really wrinkles the panties of the communist parasite basement dwellers. I don't care!!!
To the communist parasites I ask the following question. Why send in the military to do your dirty work???? Why don't you change out of your pajamas and walk up to our front doors and do the deeds yourselves????? I guess the answer is that communist parasites are spineless gutless wannabe's who lack all courage to do anything!!

Newark, Ohio

Temnota said...

To quote William Daniels in "1776", "This is a revolution, dammit, we're going to have to offend SOMEBODY!"

pdxr13 said...

Obviously, no one is "retroactively enslaved", notwithstanding the collectivist and objectivist ability to turn back time (or re-write history, which is almost as good).

Why doesn't the Randian recognize that a brick and a note tossed through a pane is among the most gentle nudges that might be noticed? Window Warriors prefer an easily-replaced pane be broken and notice taken than for mothers and fathers to become ghosts and their children orphans, because that is inevitable 4 or 5 more steps down this path. Yes, there is some cost and some risk, but much restraint is used by the side with the training and arms.

I've been to places where there has been internal and external war. It takes decades to repair the physical signs, and at least 3 generations of forgetting for folks to begin getting along as a nation rather than victor and vanquished. Nothing wrecks property like war, so let's just get along and not demand "Islamic peace" (surrender, dhimmitude) from the loyal opposition.

I have a feeling that these folks never have played with or on a team where they could have learned the difference between an "opponent" and an "enemy".


Anonymous said...

This guy can't be serious.

He just [b]CHEAPENED[/b] human life down to the equivalent of a window.


kylben said...

First, thank your for calling it "Randian" rather than "objectivist".

Being the latter myself, perhaps I can point out the flaw in these Randian arguments, from their own supposed premises.

Violence against property is violence against life, in that, as they say, property is an extension of one's life. One has to trade some portion of his life - his labor, his time, other resources produced by his labor and time - in order to justly obtain property. Having made such a trade, the property is every bit as much a part of one's life as his left hand, except that property can be replaced.

At this point, the flaw in their application of that principle to this concrete example should be glaringly obvious to anyone not blinded by some Lightgiver's magnificent radiance.

Gabby Giffords did not expend time, labor, or resources to acquire her window. She "retroactively enslaved" others to obtain it. That window is not an extension of her life, it is an extension of somebody else's life. The moment she took it, it stood irrevocably severed from the life of he who created it (or created the resources to acquire it).

It is no longer "property" in any sense that matters. It is so only on paper, and only in the imagination of socialists and Randians.

Joel said...

If he's a Randian who opposes all property damage, how does he explain Ragnar Danneskjöld?

Anonymous said...

Geeze - at what point is it ok to defend yourself and by what method? This bill represents a gun in your face telling you that you have to buy a particular product just because you breath air.

Biden and Oblablah told you that this represents a fundamental shift in the American way of life.... You know -away from freedom.

I know it's reaaly admirable that John Galt didn't put up a fight under the torture by his captors but let's ask how well that worked out for Rand's former countrymen back in the Soviet Union.

I am not going to be starved and enslaved in my own country under the jackboot.


ΛΕΟΝΙΔΑΣ said...

When the government convicts you of violating an unjust law what does it do? It deprives you of your property as in fine, incarceration or execution. For example if you harm no one by failing to use a seat belt while operating a vehicle or electing to forgo the purchase of health insurance the government unjustly deprives you of your property. Those who would utilize the force of the government for unjust purposes should not be surprised when they experience retribution.

illspirit said...

Playing devil's advocate (no pun intended) for a moment, Linoge does have a point.

While our cause is just, using force to destroy property in order to further our agenda is mechanically the same as the collectivists taking our property to further theirs. Being that we are through the looking glass here, it could be argued that this is an appropriate reaction to the state's implicit death threat.

However, any argument that taking/destroying property somehow isn't force is an argument which lends legitimacy to the collectivist's endeavor.

thedweeze said...

Randian sophistry aside, he's got a basic difficulty with language:

1) Throwing and striking a Congresscritter with said brick is indeed 'violence'.

2) Breaking the window(s) at their office is 'vandalism'.

One of the goodness things about our language is that Modern English comprises nearly 400,000 words: there is almost always a specific word to descibe something.

Whenever you see someone conflating meanings, you need to grab a tarp, as this almost always means that there is some manure being shoveled about.

Anonymous said...

Look there is objectivism and then their is retardism. This is retardism. All kidding aside I am more libertarian than most and even I find this asshat ignorant.


Anonymous said...

I agree with his premise. Really. It is very libertarian and in line with the Philosophy of Liberty (see it on youtube). But I believe my property (the product of my work as he asserts) is equal to 'their' property. I want someone to stand up for mine if I'm not supposed to do it myself.


Anonymous said...

The guy needs to go back and re-read "Atlas Shrugged". Those who no longer regard the property of others as a sacred institution, are no longer worthy of having the same grace extended to themselves. The same holds true of the Democratic party.

At any rate, has anyone considered sending a bullet to your Liberal congress person? Just a bullet with a note attached - "You might need this."

-D. McKee

Anonymous said...

I get where the writer is coming from, but he misses a crucial element of the situation.

The brick thrower is not initiating force; he is responding to force in kind.

It is they, the members of Congress that voted for this bill, that have initiated force. Their decision to infringe on our rights, backed up by the full force of government, and ultimately, the barrels of the many guns they hold, that set this off.

Rand herself, speaking through John Galt:

"If there are degrees of evil, it is hard to say who is the more contemptible: the brute who assumes the right to force the mind of others or the moral degenerate who grants to others the right to force his mind. That is the moral absolute one does not leave open to debate. I do not grant the terms of reason to men who propose to deprive me of reason. I do not enter discussions with neighbors who think they can forbid me to think. I do not place my moral sanction upon a murderer’s wish to kill me. When a man attempts to deal with me by force, I answer him-by force.

“It is only as retaliation that force may be used and only against the man who starts its use. No, I do not share his evil or sink to his concept of morality: I merely grant him his choice, destruction, the only destruction he had the right to choose: his own. He uses force to seize a value; I use it only to destroy destruction. A holdup man seeks to gain wealth by killing me; I do not grow richer by killing a holdup man. I seek no values by means of evil, nor do I surrender my values to evil."

Anonymous said...

Oh puhLEASE!! So some taxpayer money went to the dump in the form of some disassembled congealed silica wafers and shards. Was this really waste?

Heck no! It's STIMULUS!! Thinks about it, 'tard! Now some guy gets to pull a plate out of inventory and load it up on a truck. Some guy gets to drive it out and install it. Some gal gets to file the insurance claim. Some cop gets to write a report. JOBS! JOBS! JOBS!

The only thing that makes me upset about this is that some of our taxes will go into this at some point.

III more than them said...

MALTHUS wrote..... so well :9

""By sending a brick through a glass window, you are, in effect, retroactively enslaving those who created, installed, bought, and maintained that glass… all for your own personal satisfaction."

By sending a mandatory health insurance bill to the President for his signature, this politician is, in effect, enslaving all those who would have preferred making their own health care choices.

Which is the greater crime?"


III more than them said...

"throw a brick through my window and you will be killed. no doubt about it. dead as hell."

Another peace-loving leftist. Sheesh! No one's going after your window. No one's considering attacking your home, or even you. But having made that comment of yours, I gotta wonder if you really do mean to deny an attacker his right to a Miranda reading when the police show up after you dutifully obey the law and call for them. After all, it IS illegal to fire on someone that is not on your property, or intending direct harm. Heck, if we have to let an intruder leave without harm, if he shows his back and attempts to run from the house, we certainly have to let window breakers run away unharmed, also.

You DO understand this, don't you?

You DO desire to at least be equitable in force, right?

You must see that when you..... ah heck..

Why do I feel this is a meaningless exercise in typing skills???

Anonymous said...

"I've got my Glock21 45 caliber waiting for one of you dumb asses."

I strongly suspect you went to the Glock website, and randomly picked a model that you thought sounded cool.

I prefer the G17 myself, and own three, with a 4th Gen on order. 33-round sticks can provide enough firepower to either get to my rifle, or get to a dropped weapon.

That all probably sounds like Greek to you, of course.

jselvy said...

Destruction of my own property, which I bought and paid for (however unwillingly) is not and cannot be a crime.
Any Congress persons office is paid for from the receipts of the taxes I am forced to pay. Furthermore as a government "of, for and by the people", and me being a "people" the government's property is my property (and yours too) and is mine to dispose of.

Anonymous said...


You're now officially famous/infamous as the Daily Kos-style screed from Anonymous @ 7:23AM & the growing number of similar ones on other topics attends. Congrats, open an appropriately well mannered Mouton-Rothschild & celebrate! And when the crew @ MSNBC starts going after you, wellll, it's time to break out an ebullient Dom Perignon, put on the rainbow clown wig & big pink sunglasses, & take a quick turn around the front yard in the nude while cackling maniacally!

Tally Ho!

P.S.: If your notoriety continues to burgeon, can we expect to see a merchandise line like those from Prof. Limbaugh, His Imperious Majesty O'Reilly, Sean "Pretty Boy" Hannity, & Glenn "Mahatma" Beck?


Cassandra (of Troy)

Anonymous said...

Well you clowns did SOMETHING, you got on the news for your misguided views. You really think your bunch can take on the US military or even your local police force?

We ALL pay taxes in this country for the commons FOR us all. I feel your pain, but the good old days AIN"T coming back, get used to it.

Elliot said...

I didn't see the word "sacred" in his remarks. That seems to be your word, not his. I would use a more common phrase: property rights are inalienable, like the rights to life and liberty.

But inalienable doesn't mean "in all circumstances" nor do I glean from his words that he makes such an argument. Again, those appear to be your words alone.

In addition, I don't see the objectivist argument as "pragmat[ic]" at all. It's the opposite: taking principles to their logical conclusion, instead of abandoning them when convenient (the hallmark of the pragmatist). Don't misconstrue what I just said. I'm not accusing you or brick throwers of abandoning principles. The objectivist author has made some assumptions about your motive, and ignored the theft by government which started it all.

Furthermore, unless the objectivist author has elsewhere expressed a desire "to shoot people for resisting in a way with which he disagrees," it's dishonest to put those words in his mouth.

I want to address some particulars, like the difference between "inalienable" and "in all circumstances."

If some crack head breaks into my house, he is violating my rights, thus his rights are superseded. That's one "circumstance" in which that man's rights don't apply--as a direct consequence of his choice.

It's all about context.

As for violence against property and violence against a person, I think he is correct that it is wrong to draw a moral distinction between the two. Suppose some arsonist burns down the house of an old lady. Take insurance and charity away. The consequence of violence on mere property is that she will die of starvation or exposure. That is effectively violence against her.

If you assert your moral right to do violence against the property of others, you thus assert the right to do violence against their person. For one obvious reason, the property owner may use deadly force against you if he sees you on his property with a brick. By your choice to do violence against his property, you have opened the door to the possibility that you will need to do violence to his person as a consequence of your choice.

Thus I would argue that you don't have cause to do harm to someone's property unless you have cause to do harm to him. That you draw a distinction between the two and decide that you'll do one and not the other, is a tactical decision, a personal value judgment. In effect, you decide to risk your life or liberty to inflict property damage, because you calculate that escalating would do harm to the message you want to send.

In other words, if you assert the right to do harm to the people who have done harm to you and your neighbors (via intolerable acts), but choose to limit your response to property as a tactic and a personal value judgment, you have not abandoned the principle of private property, assuming that your assertion is well-founded. If you consider what the Dems have done to be an initiation of force (by threat and by proxy), then your window breaking would be a reaction, not the initiation of force.

My ancestors fought in the American Revolution, with far less provocation. Personally, I think the Rubicon was crossed long ago and that only the strength of American individualism has proverbially kept Caesar's army from taking Rome until recent years.

More here,
and here.

Unknown said...

Wow. You guys to be some of the most politically intelligent folks with whom I've come across on the web. Randian has it 95% right so you have to give him/her credit. Surely he/she would readily concede that a window of an unnecessary gub't bureaucracy is one financed with stolen goods....

One note though, and please think carefully about this - jobs can NOT be a good reason to justify (even stolen) property destruction. Jobs should be thought of strictly as employment of human resources to *productive* purpose. Capitalism's elegance and beauty derives from its ability to optimally deploy resources (capital, wealth, human resources) to their most productive use. A 'job' therefore should only be thought of as the employment of an individual within an opportunity offering her challenge approximating the limit of her ability that creates the maximum possible objective value.

It is by overlooking this beautiful principle that good libertarian thinkers (the only intellectuals) are often lead astray along with the ignorant socialists.