Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Induction of the Principle of Individual Rights (Founding Fathers)

Induction of the Principle of Individual Rights (Founding Fathers)

The Founding Fathers studied history, philosophy, economics, political science, and law, among other subjects.  They were all thinkers, and men of action.  In their own ways, they discovered the elements of two literally revolutionary ideas that they intended to finalize and put into practice for the first time on Earth: the principles of individual rights combined with a republican government.  With those two overarching principles in mind, they intended to change history, in a phenomenal way that has never been matched since.  I will focus on the principles and facts underlying the idea of individual rights, from the perspectives of American legends George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Samuel Adams, Patrick Henry, Thomas Paine, Alexander Hamilton, and James Madison, as well as lesser known Founders James Wilson and William Gladstone.

Men are Born with Free Will and Rationality

This is a principle that they understood easily, and has been known for centuries. 

People are born with a variety of mental and physical abilities: the ability of moving limbs, controlling our breath, running, remembering the details of our lives, and countless other powers.  The attributes that the Founders recognized as essential to human nature and the case for the rights of man were free will and rationality.

Free will, as the Founders understood it, was a mental power that allowed people to voluntarily move their bodies as they pleased, and regulate their mental faculties as they wished.  It allows people to shift from preparing food, to relaxing in the sunshade, to reading a book, and to carry out an innumerable number of human actions.  In a few words, it is the power of choice, a potent ability of man that plays an important role in his everyday life.  The Founders recognized the significance of free will when they decided to rebel against Great Britain in order to create a government of their own choice. 

It has been frequently remarked that it seems to have been reserved to the people of this country, by their conduct and example, to decide the important question, whether societies of men are really capable or not of establishing good government from reflection and choice, or whether they are forever destined to depend for their political constitutions on accident and force. (Alexander Hamilton, “The Federalist Papers,” No. 1)

Rationality was the ability to use one’s faculty of reason, what they also called “the understanding.”  The Founders knew much about reason, the understanding; in particular, they at least knew the attributes of reason I discussed in “A second proof that 'Reason is Man's Means of Survival' ”: reason is a mental power that allows us to think, notice cause-and-effect relationships, plan long-range, abstract, draw inferences, generalize, and make judgments.  Perhaps more than any political group in history, these men understood the importance of being born with reason, the power of rationality, and of the revolution that can result from the exercise of that rationality.  With a vision of what “good government” could consist of, formed by many years of research, thinking, and experience in political positions, they challenged the greatest military power in the world at the time, and afterwards constructed two governments (the Articles of Confederation and our current, federal one) through many deliberations, debates, articles, essays, documents, and private letters, all of which depended on reason.

This government, the offspring of our own choice uninfluenced and unawed, adopted upon full investigation and mature deliberation, completely free in its principles, in the distribution of its powers, uniting security with energy, and containing within itself a provision for its own amendment, has a just claim to your confidence and your support. (George Washington, “Farewell Address,” 1796)

Generally, the Founders believed free will and rationality to be gifts that were bestowed by God, their divine Creator, whom they also referred to as the Lawgiver or Legislator of the Universe.  As an atheist, I disagree with this interpretation of the origins of free will and rationality, but they use this belief to justify why the rights of man should not be violated. 

What’s important to note is that the Founders would come to believe that men needed rights precisely to exercise their free will and rationality—to act in accordance with natural laws, and with God.

People Can Choose to Interact with Others in Society

The power of free will gives us the power to decide if we want to interact with people in a society, or strike it out alone, isolated.  This decision of people to interact is crucial to our induction that there’s a need for the idea of individual rights, that individual rights are important.  If people chose to never deal with each other, there would be no point in discussing how a government should be formed, or what rights people should possess—people would simply govern themselves, and protect themselves.

There is a simple reason why people form societies: there are countless benefits and opportunities that can only occur in a human society.

Here’s a small list of things that societies offer that many other environments typically do not: education/knowledge, skills, innovative minds/technology, a division of labor, and a job.  Let’s take a look at each in turn.

Education/Knowledge: Simply being in an area with other people includes the possibility that they know many things you wouldn’t know about.  Fortunately, people in societies or closed-knit groups developed teaching methods for many types of subjects, and this has been the means of transferring knowledge since prerecorded times.  Of course, this benefit overlaps with other benefits, and often leads directly to them.  For instance, education about proper cooking procedures allows you to develop culinary skills, and possibly get a job with a bakery or a restaurant.

Skills: A society thrives on the skills of its populace, and just like knowledge generally, skills can be taught; in this way, they can be preserved for future generations.  In addition to cooking, individuals learn skills like tailoring, manufacturing objects, acting in movies, mechanics (fixing a car or a toilet), piloting an airplane, and flying a spaceship.  Skills are vitally important to a society’s stability and progress, and to the lives and happiness of its people.

Technology: The benefits of technology should be evident to anyone living in a modern society—modern medicine, cars, IPads, cellphones, the internet, and HDTV are just a few of the inventions that have made our lives much easier, faster, and more enjoyable.  (Anyone using a computer in the 90’s can attest to the horrid nightmare of accessing the internet with a 56K connection—thank you, high-speed internet!)  Technology is the result of innovative minds and geniuses, who come along, develop new theories about the world, and show us an entirely new way to live and to be happy.

Division-of-labor: There is only so much that one individual can do in a day, or even in a lifetime.  Societies vastly improve the efficiency of one person by vastly reducing the time and energy required for that person to satisfy his basic needs.  If we lived by ourselves, our need for food, water, clothing and shelter would be an endless struggle, consuming all or most of our waking hours.  Compare with America, where you can acquire food, water, and clothing in a city with a little capital (or for free, if you ask someone or do a little searching), and adequate shelter in public or private buildings (if the owners allow it), or even purchase your own place once you’ve saved enough money.  The reason why we can do these things is that other people have jobs which consist in cooking the food we don’t have time or the inclination to cook, creating the clothes we don’t have the time or patience to make, and the house or building we don’t have the time or strength or knowledge to construct.

Jobs: Jobs allow people the chance to find their true calling in life, or discover a new love, or simply provide the means to pay one’s recurring bills.  By allowing you the opportunity to develop a skill, educating you, and providing you with money, a job is a unifying experience in your life as a member of a society.

Indeed, there are many benefits to be found in a decent society.  However, for the Founders, recognition of these benefits went hand in hand with the realization that there needed to be some kind of protection in place for people, some kind of government structure.

“Our wants, our talents, our affections, our passions, all tell us that we were made for a state of society. But a state of society could not be supported long or happily without some civil restraint.” (James Wilson, “Pennsylvania Debates on adopting the Federal Constitution”)

Governments are instituted to Govern Societies

If society is chocked-full of so many benefits, whence is the significance of a government?  Throughout history, this question was either not asked, or given a weak or mystical answer that hardly anyone contested.

Some of the Founders read a great deal about historical governments.  James Madison was said to have read books sent by Jefferson which described every government that had ever been tried.  Others, like Patrick Henry, used their life experiences in politics to guide their thinking on how the best government could be constructed.  By various methods, they reached numerous inductions and conclusions about governing in general, and how a good government could be properly formed.

As the Founders understood it, virtually all of the world’s governments had been formed through accident or force—hereditary privilege, or unmatchable cruelty and violence.

Force was (and still is) the most pervasive means of installing a government within a region, and the Founders exhaustively studied the usurpations, rebellions, deceptions, and outright assassinations that have plagued the history of governments since recorded time.  They paid particular attention to the rise and fall of Greek and Roman republics, which would serve as great models for their own republic’s formation.  Perhaps more importantly, these early republics and their fall served as powerful warnings of how conspiracies, force-wielders, and enemies of liberty could ultimately undermine and ruin a republic.

Governments have been created in various forms throughout history: democracy, monarchy, theocracy, aristocracy, republican.  Some governments “governed” in the sense that they abused their powers and siphoned the wealth of their nations to benefit themselves.  Other political leaders succeeded in making their rule perpetual, such as Julius Caesar.  With no restraints, a government could become a person’s worst enemy, “in its worst state, an evil that can’t be withstood,” as Thomas Paine remarked in his work, Common Sense.  Where excess of power exists, James Madison observed, “[n]o man is safe in his opinions, his person, his faculties, or his possessions.” (National Gazette, 1792) Cruel and unusual punishments, torture, expropriation of property, slavery, blasphemy laws, excessive taxes, and countless other negatives are within the government’s power when no principle or force exists to check its officials.  The Founders saw these kinds of government abuses as tyranny

Government tyranny was a fundamental concern for the Founders, but it was not their only one.  Individuals were capable of just as much cruelty as any government official.  People can steal, kidnap, rape, torture, enslave, and kill others.  Generally, they can oppress other individuals just as efficiently as the government can.  In addition, as in the case of Socrates, the people can use their political system to legally vote away the life of another person, if they so choose.  Oppression of individuals by other individuals was just as reprehensible as government tyranny, and Jefferson concurred with that view when he wrote that, “[t]he majority, oppressing an individual, is guilty of a crime.” (Letter to Pierre Samuel Dupont de Nemous, 1816) Likewise, they were concerned about a powerful minority oppressing the majority, such as in monarchies and aristocracies.

The Founders were wary of unchecked government, power concentrated in the few, and democracy (rule by the people) because of their wariness towards political power.  People loved power in the same way that governments did, and have found occasion to abuse it as much as any government official.  Power was something that the people and governments would not easily give up, and they would resort to force to maintain their oppressive practices rather than surrender that power.  Power corrupts those who possess it; it can cause people to oppress others while aggrandizing themselves with illegitimate perks, privileges, and kick-backs.  The prospect of acquiring more power and of exercising it to further one’s supposed interests are potent incentives for people to act immorally and abuse power.

This possibility of human immorality is the reason why governments are instituted in the first place. 

“Why has government been instituted at all? Because the passions of men will not conform to the dictates of reason and justice, without constraint.” (Alexander Hamilton)

But what is government itself, but the greatest of all reflections on human nature? If men were angels, no government would be necessary.” (James Madison, Federalist 51)

…Government, on the other hand, originates from our wickedness, promotes happiness negatively by restraining our vices, creates distinctions, and is a punisher… If men were perfect, with clear consciences, then there would be no point in a government… The start of government, and its rise, is due to the inability of moral virtue to govern the world; the end of government is freedom and security. (Thomas Paine, Common Sense)

The Founders expounded on an Enlightenment-era theory that had yet to be fully practiced in a society.  This theory would integrate their views on man, society, and power with their political ideals of restraining both individuals and government officials from oppressing individuals.  It was the theory of individual rights.

Rights as the Solution to the Problem of the Oppression of Individuals by Individuals and by the Government

Historically, the Founders did not originate the theory of individual rights.  Their most substantial influences for these ideas were philosopher John Locke’s Two Treatises of Government, and the English “Bill of Rights.”

Largely due to their previous citizenship under the English crown, the Founders were well aware of their rights.  The most prominent among them were the rights to life, liberty, property and the pursuit of happiness.  In order to present and defend these rights, the Founders had to expand on the theory of rights to clarify what they were, and what they guaranteed to people.

In no particular order, here are some of the principles that the Founders developed in their theory of individual rights:

1.      A right is a freedom to act a certain way, not a guarantee of an object or service

"[Art.] 2. [Natural Rights.] All men have certain natural, essential, and inherent rights - among which are, the enjoying and defending life and liberty; acquiring, possessing, and protecting, property; and, in a word, of seeking and obtaining happiness.” (“New Hampshire State Constitution,” 1784)

Rights define and specify in what way we are free to take certain actions in regard to our own persons. 

The right to life means the right to take whatever action is necessary for living your life, as well as nourishing and protecting it.  It is the right to engage in human self-preservation.

John Adams defined liberty as “a self-determining power in an intellectual agent” and believes that it “implies thought and choice and power; it can elect between objects, indifferent in point of morality, neither morally good nor morally evil.” (Quoted in John Adams, p. 378) “Of liberty,” Jefferson remarks, “I would say that, in the whole plenitude of its extent, it is unobstructed action according to our will. But rightful liberty is unobstructed action according to our will within limits drawn around us by the equal rights of others.” (Thomas Jefferson to Isaac H. Tiffany, 1819) Liberty is the freedom to take the actions necessary to live one’s life without the intervention of other people, which implies that one must allow the liberty of others in the process.

Jefferson also stated that “a right to property is founded in our natural wants, in the means with which we are endowed to satisfy these wants, and the right to what we acquire by those means without violating the similar rights of other sensible beings. . . .” (Letter to
Pierre Samuel Dupont de Nemours, 1816.)  The right to property is the right to take actions to earn, acquire, use, buy, sell, and dispose of property as an individual sees fit in order to support one’s life.

The right to the pursuit of happiness is the freedom to take the actions needed to live a full, virtuous, enriched life.  It is the freedom to find one’s own purpose in life and to carry out the actions one believes will fulfill that purpose.

These rights were universally applied to individuals.  Each and every person has the right to life, liberty, property, and the pursuit of happiness.  (Historically, the Founders did not fully implement this, but that is not the concern here.)  Further, it is important to note that they meant that one is free to take certain actions on your own behalf, not that you are guaranteed certain results, objects, or even success.  The right to life does not mean that you must further and preserve the lives of everyone else, or that others must act as serfs for your own benefit.  The right to property does not mean the freedom to take or claim objects created and owned by someone else as your property.  The right to liberty does not mean that one can engage in license, a freedom unrestrained by rights in which one can murder, steal, enslave, or do anything that one wished; license is the “freedom” of tyrants, whereas liberty is freedom with due respect for the freedom of others.  The right to the pursuit of happiness does not mean others must guarantee that your pursuit will succeed, or that you may force others to fulfill your version of happiness.


2.      Rights are moral and political principles

The Founders firmly believed that morality is deeply intertwined in politics and in society.  They believed that virtue, good morals, was one of the foundations for a good government, and that without it, a government would surely descend towards a vicious and oppressive character.  Virtue must reside in the people of a society as well, or a tyrannical majority (or powerful minority) would destroy the rights of others and the advances in freedoms made by a better government.  Moral virtue did not govern the world, as Thomas Paine remarked, but the Founders believed that without it, all human attempts at government would fall into fear, despotism, and anarchy.

The Rights of Man were ideas that combined morality and politics.  It is morally right for a person to choose how he wants his life to proceed; it is right for him to think and to act on his conclusions, and to disagree with others when his thinking persuades him to do so; it is right for him to keep what he earns by his effort, and to trade, use, or dispose of it as he sees fit; it is right for him to determine what will make him happy in life and to pursue that.  Anyone, whether a government official or another citizen or a foreigner who prevents a person from exercising these rights is morally wrong.  If this is the case morally, the Founders believed, then politically, an individual should be protected from other individuals, groups, and even the government so that he may exercise his rights without interference.

This integration of rights with morality and politics permeated the American system.  John Adams wrote extensively on how a virtuous government is a balanced government, with separated powers and checks placed on its branches.  The government’s Constitution, Bill of Rights, and Declaration of Independence all explained in detail as to how the law and legal action would apply to Americans.  The Declaration accused Great Britain of breaking laws, violating the colonists’ rights, and of causing their justified rebellion against unjust British rule.  The Constitution applied to the field of law the moral and political principles that the Founders believed would best promote the rights of Americans and the efficiency of government.  The Bill of Rights furthered fleshed out in law what the government could and could not do morally and politically in regard to individuals, as well as the states.

3.      All men are created equal in regard to rights and law

" We hold these truths to be sacred and undeniable; that all men are created equal and independent, that from that equal creation they derive rights inherent and inalienable…” (A statement from Thomas Jefferson’s early draft of the “Declaration of Independence.”)

The Founders completely rejected the “Divine Right of Kings,” a doctrine which basically asserts that a monarch is granted his position by God’s will and thus answers to no earthly law and no being except for God—in practice, this means that he is legally immune from blame, punishment, or recompense.  They denied the divinity of any king, and stated that God created all men equally in regard to rights and the respect for law.  No man or king could make others subservient to him without negative consequences.  Every man has the rights to life, liberty, property, and the pursuit of happiness inherent in being human, and other people and even supposed nobles must respect their rights.  The implication of this is that even a king is answerable for his crimes, because he was supposed to observe and respect the equal rights of his subjects and simply failed to do that.

Note that they did not mean that everyone is equal in regards to talent, height, weight, beauty, age, or intelligence, etc.  (John Adams in particular wrote a scathing criticism of that nonsensical version of “equality.”)  Current ongoing debates about “income inequality” should keep in mind that the Founders knew well enough that there is no way to create an equality of property.  People will be born in different circumstances, and choose to exercise their liberty in different ways: some will be industrious, hard-working and creative, and others will be lazy and unproductive (or simply be a victim of tragic accidents), and this will result in unequal amounts of property and income amongst people.  I’ll add that Thomas Jefferson once warned, “To take from one because it is thought that his own industry and that of his father’s has acquired too much, in order to spare to others, who, or whose fathers, have not exercised equal industry and skill, is to violate arbitrarily the first principle of association—the guarantee to every one of a free exercise of his industry and the fruits acquired by it.
” (Thomas Jefferson: Note in Tracy's Political Economy, 1816)

4.      Rights are inalienable

The Founders emphasized that the Rights of Man cannot be voted away by a majority, or stripped away from people by the decrees of a an aristocracy or King; rights are not privileges held due to the benevolence of a magistrate or some other sort of political authority.  They do not even depend on the documents the Founders constructed to present and defend their views.  These rights are inherent within people as an expression of human nature, and cannot be taken away from them; rather, the only thing another person or noble can do to give up one’s rights is violate the rights of individuals.

“Those rights, then, which God and nature have established, and are therefore called natural rights, such as life and liberty, need not the aid of human laws to be more effectually invested in every man than they are; neither do they receive any additional strength when declared by the municipal laws to be inviolate. On the contrary, no human legislature has power to abridge or destroy them, unless the owner shall himself commit some act that amounts to a forfeiture.”  (Sir William Blackstone, Commentaries on the Laws of England, 1765)

5.      Rights arise from God and human nature, not a political authority or law

We must remember that the Founders were mainly deists (and a few Christians),  and as a result, they defended the theory that God gave us life, reason, will, and the rights to exercise our faculties and live our lives.  "Under the law of nature, all men are born free, every one comes into the world with a right to his own person, which includes the liberty of moving and using it at his own will. This is what is called personal liberty, and is given him by the Author of nature, because necessary for his own sustenance." (Thomas Jefferson: Legal Argument, 1770)

This God for them is the God of nature, the Being who created and watches over the operations of the universe, not actually the “God of the Bible.”  Due to this, they believed that no earthly king, aristocracy, majority, law, or vote could destroy their declaration of their rights.  "A free people [claim] their rights as derived from the laws of nature, and not as the gift of their chief magistrate." (Thomas Jefferson,
A Summary View of the Rights of British America, 1774)

6.      Rights are inseparable

The Founders easily deduced that the rights they were defending formed a logical whole, and could not be sundered or torn apart.  Each one is implied in the definition and articulation of the others.

“[The right to life, liberty, and property] are evident branches of, rather than deductions from, the duty of self-preservation, commonly called the first law of nature.”(Samuel Adams, The Rights of the Colonists, 1772)


Implicit in the right to life is the right to take the actions necessary to live, which include thinking and acting on one’s conclusions, meaning the right to liberty.  Implicit in the right to liberty is the right to work, earn material objects and money, use those objects as needed for survival, and generally dispose of them as the individual sees fit—the right to property.  The right to property is the right to pursue material values, such as the homes and technology which can comprise a part of the happiness that we all have a right to pursue.  (Honestly, I wouldn’t know how to pursue happiness without the internet.)

Jefferson makes the point that, “The god who gave us life, gave us liberty at the same time: the hand of force may destroy, but cannot disjoin them.” (A Summary View of the Rights of British America, 1774) Force exercised on individuals may very well eradicate their lives and liberties, but the force-wielder cannot maintain a contradiction.   If he destroys a life, then he perforce destroys that man’s liberty as a natural consequence.  If he enslaves a man and obliterates his liberty, he reduces the man to the sad, miserable state of a slave, whom lives by permission of the slave master, not by right.  A man who lives and works, but is allowed no property for his efforts is also a slave without a right to life or liberty.  The same point applies to a man who is allowed to live, think, act, and have a semblance of property, but officially his ultimate goal must be to fulfill the happiness of another person, or a government official, or the whole government body; As a matter of course, this means that the person’s life, liberty, and property entirely depend on the “happiness” of the man’s oppressors.

"As a man is said to have a right to his property, he may be equally said to have a property in his rights.  Where an excess of power prevails, property of no sort is duly respected.  No man is safe in his opinions, his person, his faculties, or his possessions."  (James Madison, National Gazzette, 1792)

Rights are inseparable.  None can be secured and protected while others are ignored and violated.

7.      People can be restrained and Governments can be overturned if they violate rights

“No man has a natural right to commit aggression on the equal rights of another; and this is all from which the laws ought to restrain him.” (Jefferson to F. W. Gilmer)

Legislation in a free society should be directed towards the protection of people in exercising their rights without interference.  This means that human actions that violate the rights of others should be prosecuted as criminal offenses, and the offenders should be brought to court, whether they are ordinary citizens, or government officials.  By threatening potential acts of aggression with retaliatory force by the government, it can properly protect the rights of individuals, and ensure the proper functioning of society.

A more costly price is paid by a government which systematically violates the rights of its citizens.  If the scope or scale of their oppression and abuses moves beyond merely impeaching and serving justice to the political officials responsible, then the Founders believed that individuals had a natural right to openly rebel.  (They were heavily influenced by John Locke on this conclusion.) The noble purpose of the rebellion would be to take down the oppressive government, and install a new one, one which will be better suited to protecting the citizens’ rights.

Rights, and their protection, were the solution to the problem of political oppression as such, whether by the government, or by private aggressors.  In this, the Founders readily agreed.  What took years to work out and finalize was the important question: “what sort of government is best suited to protect the rights of men?”

Conclusion: Republican Government as the Means of Securing Rights

"It is to secure our rights that we resort to government at all." (Thomas Jefferson to Francois D'Ivernois, 1795)

The fact therefore must be that the individuals themselves, each in his own personal and sovereign right, entered into a compact with each other to produce a government: and this is the only mode in which governments have a right to arise, and the only principle on which they have a right to exist. (Thomas Paine, The Rights of Man)

The Founders were unanimous in their decision to create a society based on the protection of rights.  The question they spent many meetings, conventions, letters, and other gatherings trying to answer was: “what kind of government can actually protect rights?”

They had objections to the most common sorts of governments in existence: monarchy, aristocracy, and democracy.  Monarchies and aristocracies had power that was far too concentrated in the hands of one or only a few political officials, thus easily inviting corruption which would transform into complete despotism and oppression.   Aristocracies were unjust, “rule of the wealthy,” and the Founders knew that it was the corruption inherent in such governments that had ruined the nations of Europe, and would threaten America.  They especially were opposed to hereditary monarchies (like England), which unfairly stripped away the power of future generations to determine whom their political leader would be.  Democracy, too, was a threat because the majority could be corrupted by clever manipulators and their own biases, consequently using their political power to oppress a helpless minority.

Their solution was to install what was considered to be a combination of those three kinds of government: a republic.  A republic is a government of laws, and not of men.  Its key features in the American system are consent of the governed, equality of men before the law, representation of citizens in political institutions, federalism, separation of powers, checks and balances, and limited government.  These principles were believed to be absolutely crucial to the proper protection of the populace’s rights; however, explaining why that would be the case would take another essay in itself.

The Founders had developed a powerful rebuttal to political tyrants with their theory of rights, and in many ways, they completed the theoretical work of past philosophers that was needed to actually create a society based on this theory.  We all owe them a great debt.  Hopefully, at least writing this essay and a separate essay on the inductions of Republican Government will go some way towards repaying them.

6 comments:

  1. I hope you run for President of the United States someday. You'll have my vote, and that makes ONE!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Here is a project that you might be interested in:
    http://volokh.com/2012/03/17/context-crowd-sourcing-james-madisons-notes-of-the-convention/

    copy and paste!

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  3. Good effort. What is this doing in the Objectivist Roundup? It primarily touts Deist points of view and I see no departure from them. On a personal level, as a radical for capitalism I take offense at what can only be in logic an equivocation of conservatism with advocates of Ayn Rand's ideas. Speaking from an egoists standpoint, a career as an engineer might have been my choice because my father is an auto mechanic. The fact that he owns a business still had no bearing on my choice to take ideas seriously and fight human irrationality through philosophy. I think the author does not take ideas seriously and could use training in Objectivist logic and principles, such as how to choose a career and to learn to introspect as to the Why? and What for?

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    Replies
    1. 6thumbs: Thanks for your input. I'll tackle your points to clarify my position on them, for myself as well as yourself and others.

      "What is this doing in the Objectivist Roundup?"

      To my understanding, the "Objectivist Roundup" is a weekly collection of articles by Objectivist bloggers for specifically Objectivist readers. The only requirement is that the blogger submitting a post must be an Objectivist. Diana Hsieh from Noodlefood makes a similar point whenever she announces a new Roundup: "The Objectivist Roundup is a weekly blog carnival for Objectivists. Contributors must be Objectivists, but posts on any topic are welcome." Seeing as I've studied the philosophy for 5 years, and considered myself an Objectivist for 3 years, I think I'm qualified to submit posts of interests to other Objectivists.

      "It primarily touts Deist points of view and I see no departure from them."

      I stated my disagreement with the Founders' Deist views briefly in the first induction: "As an atheist, I disagree with this interpretation of the origins of free will and rationality..." I did not dwell on this point because my purpose was to present their views, not to select which aspects I agree with, or argue as to why the Deist position is incorrect. My basic view is that Gods do not exist, no has ever successfully proved that they do exist, and even if they did, God-given rights reduce to "divine permissions" that could be revoked whenever God wills it. Rights have to be independent of any law, person, government, or being, including any purported deities.

      "On a personal level, as a radical for capitalism I take offense at what can only be in logic an equivocation of conservatism with advocates of Ayn Rand's ideas."

      That's a false conclusion that you've reached. I'm attempting to induce the principle of individual rights. The Founding Fathers created many of the main elements of the theory of rights, or accepted them from other philosophers of the past (e.g. John Locke), so I attempted in this essay to present the issues and inductions they had to confront and develop to arrive at a theory of rights. In the future, I'll consider the new insights and advancements that Ayn Rand made in the theory of rights, so I consider this essay to be a good starting off point for that future work.

      I did a similar thing with my "induction of Objectivity" posts, which were the result of my notes from Dr. Leonard Peikoff's course, "Objectivism Through Induction." I started with Aristotle's theory of induction, and worked my way up to Ayn Rand's advancements in her theory.

      "Speaking from an egoists standpoint, a career as an engineer might have been my choice because my father is an auto mechanic..."

      These following two sentences are confusing to me. Why bring up your father? My post is primarily about the Founding Fathers of the U.S., and their ideas regarding the foundation of their new country.

      "I think the author does not take ideas seriously and could use training in Objectivist logic and principles, such as how to choose a career and to learn to introspect as to the Why? and What for?"

      Thank you for the input, but I respectfully disagree. I believe I take ideas very seriously, to the point where I've studied the methods of thinking, induction and deduction, for the past two years now, and have worked hard to understand and incorporate Objectivism into my own life.

      Delete
    2. 6thumbs again:

      I suppose that you do not know me, but you should look me up sometime. My name is Roderick Fitts, and it should be easy to find comments by me on google. My posts on this blog, posts from my user profile "Acount Overdrawn" (spelling error is intentional) on "Objectivism Online," facebook groups, and various websites where I've submitted comments should provide enough evidence to help you reach a conclusion either way.

      Have a good day, and thanks for commenting.

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  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

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