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The perpetual conflict between the individual and the collective continues




(Lone Cypress Workshop) While I would consider this an essay in essence, it might be more appropriate to characterize it as a rebuttal or a commentary on the debate that took place in 1984. The date is, of course, serendipitous, and yet with a hint of prophetic, sardonic, amusement. The question is not 'will' we ever learn, but moreso, will we ever even listen.

I found both sides at fault with their comments, straying from an actual debate in many instances, but in the interests of full disclosure, it must be presented that my perspective is somewhat biased towards the capitalist positions. Not completely, mind you, and yet my allegiance lies with America, and with Objectivism. Capitalism is but a component, although from the bulk of the comments made, it may seem that it is the primary target for the debate.

The real allure of this debate was in the supposed focus of the ‘morality’ of the socialistic tendencies versus those of the capitalistic persuasion. The distinctions that inadequately attempted to deflect the responsibility of socialism by re-branding it ‘democratic’ socialism was somewhat disingenuous. Socialism is collectivism, and that is where the debate needs to be centered. Capitalism is not the foil of socialism, but as stated, simply an economic aspect of the greater ideology, and in this case that can only really be compared to Objectivism and its tenets to completely explain exactly why capitalism not only can work, but has been working consistently for quite some time.

I am not really interested why socialism has not been allowed to bloom and realize its potential because it has never been ‘given the chance’ to do so. I have heard that from the communists, and from socialists and even fascists as well. It is empty rhetoric. It doesn’t work because the people that constitute the systems are completely incapable of explaining and implementing the system, and the ‘community’ does not believe in the foundational concepts that define the ideology itself.

Capitalism has much the same challenges when it comes to being defined and implemented. While the socialists refuse to accept the words and actions of those that represent their own philosophy around the world as valid, they continue to live an existence of fantasy, denying that what they believe has ever actually been allowed to exist. Capitalism can say much the same thing, but they have been put into the paradigm that they have to accept responsibility for each and every instance where capitalism was used, in any form whatsoever, and the ramifications of the events, even when they are completely perverted and manipulated for the benefit of a very specific few.

While in actuality there is some grossly misrepresented version of capitalism in effect at these times, they do not represent the historical fundamentals of an intellectual capitalism, but one that has been hijacked and often used as a weapon against the very people that were meant to benefit from the theory. Socialists, on the other hand, accept no responsibility for any version of socialism, and only pick and choose various instances where it can be used to illustrate the imagined success of the ideology. And that is both suspect and amusing, since socialism, whether democratic socialism or some other label, has never been able to enjoy any level of definable achievement or benefit to the population without the presence of some form of capitalism to generate the wealth necessary to drive the socialistic imperative.

My perspective in relation to this ‘debate’ will be primarily one of collectivism as opposed to Objectivism in the philosophical sense.

Objectivism is something specific, and any attempt to pervert and misinterpret it by the players will be dealt with harshly. While I acknowledge the ability of collectivism to in fact be an alternative, I find it difficult to recognize it as a viable one. More on that later.

I am fascinated by the concept of dueling moralities, and would like to focus on that concept as the primary function of the debate, which never really materialized, to demonstrate the essential differences between the two schools of thought. On to the debate.

Introductions: The Players
October 31, 2021 at 7:43am
Today we have four speakers to entertain us, five if you include my comments. Dr. Jill Vickers and Dr. Gerald Caplan will speak for the socialist view, while Dr. Leonard Peikoff and Dr. John Ridpath will lend their perspectives ... [Read more]
The Debate
October 31, 2021 at 8:30am
The debate was conducted at the University of Toronto in 1984, with the date being somewhat ironic, in context. Morality is an elusve concept, at times being as much subjective as objective. The fundamental question? Which is moral? ... [Read more]
Opening Statements: Dr. Leonard Peikoff
October 31, 2021 at 9:19am
What is morality? What is the ethical standards we use to judge a political system? the answer will not be given to us, rather we need to discover what that is. This demands that we think. Man is defined by his mind and his nature ... [Read more]
Opening Statements: Dr. Jill Vickers
October 30, 2021 at 12:54pm
Self-described feminist and socialist. Socialism can only be moral when built upon a moral base, and it is impossible for women to achieve in a system based on selfishness or laissez-faire capitalism. Morality is a matter of human choice ... [Read more]
Opening Statements: John Ridpath
October 30, 2021 at 1:26pm
A moral social system defines the proper society for man. Freedom is essential for mankind to thrive, the freedom to think and to be free from the initiation of physical force. Government is a cooperative organization and not a charity ... [Read more]
Opening Statements: Gerard Caplan
October 30, 2021 at 1:33pm
Morality simply means how real people live in the world. Socialism began as an unbounded faith, a vision, almost a religion. Socialism is what a human being is capable of, and traceable from the old testament, the diggers, and the utopians... [Read more]
Rebuttal: Dr. Leonard Peikoff
October 30, 2021 at 1:41pm
There is no reason why any man should be equal to any other except equality before the law. Social justice is gaining what you have earned, and no man deserves another mans' property. Communal ownership is a negation of all rights ... [Read more]
Rebuttal: Jill Vickers
October 30, 2021 at 1:53pm
Property is not an aspect of human dignity at all. There exists a morality to social welfare and education, health, and housing are 'owed' to those in need simply because of that need. We are one community and exist for that alone ... [Read more]
Rebuttal: John Ridpath
October 30, 2021 at 2:02pm
The sadness at the lack of engagement from the socialists is palpable. He questions the socialist position to the initiation of force in the disposition of some beautiful society and asks if the state, in socialism, is a coercive one? ... [Read more]
Rebuttal: Gerald Caplan
October 30, 2021 at 2:12pm
I'm sorry, but he really has nothing to say. The invective and ad-hominems are beyond the pale. The words reek of immaturity and ignorance, and not the thoughtful or insightful comments of a scholar. Irrational and sad ... [Read more]
Closing Statements: Dr. Leonard Peikoff
October 30, 2021 at 2:19pm
One cannot shackle those able to function in the name of helping the weak. True compassion requires the efforts of those with answers, our welfare state is not the result of capitalism but the interference of government ... [Read more]
Closing Statements: Jill Vickers
October 30, 2021 at 2:28pm
I believe by our deeds shall you be known. Human beings that believe only in reason cannot be entrusted with government or the teaching of students, we must reason just how much self-interest we can be 'allowed' to assert ... [Read more]
Closing Statements: Gerald Caplan
October 30, 2021 at 2:33pm
He believes capitalists think the rights of capital take precedence over those of humanity and that selfishness, however sophistically defined, is morally superior to a humanist egalitarian ethic, we reject it. No questions. Just hubris ... [Read more]
Audience Questions & Responses - ( I thru V )
October 30, 2021 at 5:52pm
Capitalism is a more productive and honest system and socialism more humane. Capitalism is neither moral or rational. We (socialists) offer a benevolent form of capitalism. The morality of sacrificing the fruits of my labour to another ... [Read more]
Audience Questions & Responses - ( VI thru XI )
October 30, 2021 at 6:04pm
We presume that socialism is what it's supposed to mean. I'm here simply for the morality of it. The issue of inherited wealth, Not sure he is entitled to the fruits of his fathers labour. socialism attempts the greatest equality ... [Read more]

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