Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Geoff Metcalf -- When rule breakers become rule makers:

“Solutions to epic problems can usually be found in an objective return to basics.
Ayn Rand once clearly restated an intrinsic reality, “…it cannot be repeated too often that the Constitution is a limitation on the government, not on private individuals --that it does not prescribe the conduct of private individuals, only the conduct of the government --that it is not a charter for government power, but a charter of the citizen's protection against the government."


Burgess Laughlin said...

Metcalf's article presents disturbing puzzles. First, what does he mean by "restated an intrinsic reality"? For me, a caution flag goes up. What happened to an objective reality?

Later he says: "Frankly, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights do not give us ANYthing…those documents simply acknowledge God given, inalienable rights, that no one and no institution grants OR can take away…ever."

The fantasy of "God given" rights rings an alarm.

As Peter Schwartz pointed out in his excellent lectures on context (available from the ARI Bookstore), context determines meaning. Even if I like someone's conclusion, considered momentarily in isolation, I must reject that conclusion if it is based on a false--or, worse, arbitrary--premise, in this case that rights come from God as a gift.

In a particular argument, a conclusion is no better than its premises. Faith-based conclusions are arbitrary.