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We finally found one person who is NOT willing to appropriate the word "libertarian" for herself!

7 Jul

Objectivism Versus Libertarianism

Q&A Radio: Sunday, 9 June 2013, Question 1

I answered a question on Objectivism versus libertarianism on Philosophy in Action Radio on 9 June 2013. You can listen to or download the podcast segment below – or check out the whole episode.

Are Objectivism and libertarianism allies in the struggle for liberty? Libertarians have long claimed that Ayn Rand’s philosophy of Objectivism (or just its politics) is a form of libertarianism, but Objectivists rejected that. More recently, however, notable Objectivist John Allison assumed the presidency of the thoroughly libertarian Cato Institute with the support of the Ayn Rand Institute, and he claimed that “all objectivists are libertarians, but not all libertarians are objectivists.” Is that true? What is the essence of libertarianism? When, if ever, should Objectivists ally or collaborate with libertarians?

My Answer, In Brief: Objectivists are not libertarians: the libertarian movement is premised on philosophical relativism and merely wanting “smaller government.” Objectivists should work with libertarians just as they do with liberals and conservatives – meaning, on an ad hoc basis.

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Objectivist philosopher Diana Hsieh on Libertarianism

31 Mar
On today’s “Philosophy in Action” internet radio show, Objectivist philosopher, blogger, and radio talk show host Diana Hiseh answered questions on gay marriage and buying goods from China, and also one on whether Randian John Allison is now a bad “open Objectivist” because he is consorting with Libertarians and calling Objectivists “Libertarians.”

Hsieh answers that Allison is not a bad guy, but that he is, like many Objectivists, mistaken about the evil nature of libertarianism, especially its anarchists, and that she will be blogging about that in the near future.  She also opined that Allison’s waywardness hardly matters, given that the “Objectivist movement has imploded anyway.”

On Sunday’s Philosophy in Action Radio, Greg Perkins and I will answer questions on replying to intrusive inquiries, changing minds on gay marriage, dealing with overzealous ideologues, buying from Chinese companies, and more. I thought that the question on changing minds on gay marriage might be of particular interest. That question is: 

How might social conservatives be convinced to support gay marriage? Rob Portman, a Republican Senator from Ohio, recently decided to openly support gay marriage after his son came out to him and his wife. What can be done to help other conservatives see gay marriage in a new light – as a matter of liberty and individual identity?


This episode of internet radio airs at 8 am PT / 9 MT / 10 CT / 11 ET on Sunday, 31 March 2013, in our live studio. If you miss that live broadcast, you can always listen to the podcast later. 

To join the live broadcast and its chat, just point your browser to Philosophy in Action’s Live Studio a few minutes before the show is scheduled to start. By listening live, you can share your thoughts with other listeners and ask us follow-up questions in the text chat. 

If you miss the live broadcast, you’ll find the podcast from the episode posted in the archive: Radio Archive: Q&A: Protecting Privacy, Gay Marriage, Chinese Goods, and More. It will be posted on Monday morning, if not sooner. You can automatically download that and other podcasts by subscribing to Philosophy in Action’s Podcast RSS Feed:


I hope you join us on Sunday morning! 

Philosophy in Action Radio applies rational principles to the challenges of real life in live internet radio shows on Sunday mornings and Wednesday evenings. For information on upcoming shows, visit the Episodes on Tap. For podcasts of past shows, visit the Show Archives.

— Diana Hsieh (Ph.D, Philosophy) 
    Philosophy in Action

Recriminatorium – Another Post-Election Recrimination

23 Jan
So we’ve seen a lot of post-election recriminations, mainly different Republicans attacking each other, or attacking Libertarians for daring to exist and for running against them, to explain why they lost.  (With Democrats laughing at them from the sidelines.)

Whatever these recriminations are worth, no one from either major party seems to see them in the context of both Obama and Romney each getting both a minority of the vote – Obama 30% of registered voters and Romney 29% of them – and each getting several million fewer voters than their parties did in 2008.

This is not my recriminatory question.  Though I do have questions about this:  How far will the Democrats and Republicans go to violate the First Amendment to suppress any new parties that appeal to the 40% of voters who left the presidential slot blank or stayed home altogether?  What would happen if some day the Republican actually ran and talked again and again about individual rights being the touchstone for a policy of reducing government power?  And what would happen if a GOP candidate, of whatever gender, had produced a majority of their campaign ads using the fantastic line up of female talent on display briefly at their convention?

My question is instead for our frequently bilious and often holier than thou cousins, the Objectivists and their acolytes, the students of Objectivism, who mainly liked Gary Johnson when he was a Republican, then decided in some cases to support him even after he became a Libertarian (emphasizing that they were only supporting his candidacy and not the party or any of its other candidates).  I am primarily thinking of Dr. Diana Hseih and her website and podcasts.  Ultimately Hsieh threw her support to Romney, on the entirely reasonable grounds that Obama should not be allowed to appoint anyone else to the Supreme Court.  (I myself  didn’t spend any effort arguing that people worried about this should vote for Johnson in swing states, and I was a Johnson Elector in a non swing state.  Though I also pointed out to GOPsters attacking Libertarians that they should be trying to set up a vote exchange where they would get two Republicans to vote for Johnson in non swing states in exchange for a Libertarian to vote for Romney in swing states.)

So Objectivists, how did that work out for you?

Hsieh was not alone.  Someone who does a not invaluable looking Objectivist blog SelfishCitizenship, rightly took Johnson to task for spending too much time complaining about not being in the debates, and not enough time talking about crucial issues.  This blogger doesn’t show any cognizance of how this works, but I am sure Johnson’s real failure was to not take control of the narrative.  He was being asked why he wasn’t doing better and how he could win, and complained that the system was set up to exclude him – when he should have rejected the journalist’s question and spoke about issues instead.  The blog author (Jim?) argues that if Johnson can’t run a competent campaign how could he be a competent president?  Do the Objectivists realize this question applies to the GOP and Romney?  Who run people every year and don’t seem to learn?  And who don’t run state governments as well as Johnson did.

Here’s Hsieh on Johnson back in 2011:

GQ published an excellent article on the only presidential candidate that I could possibly support, namely Gary Johnson. Here’s a tidbit:

A few things you need to know up front about Gary Johnson. There is nothing he will not answer, nothing he will not share. For six straight days, we spent virtually every waking hour together, which might have had something to do with the fact that there wasn’t another reporter within ten miles of the guy. Or that when you’re polling in the low digits and your campaign fund is less than Mitt Romney’s breakfast tab and your entourage is Brinck and Matt, you tend to be more forthcoming. But in fact, Johnson is fundamentally incapable of bullshitting, which is one of the many, many things that make him so unusual for a presidential candidate. (When a reporter asks him, after he gushes about how great New Hampshire voters are, if he says the same thing in Michigan, he replies, “No, Michigan’s the worst.”) He finds presidential politicking of the sort we’ve grown accustomed to—slick, scripted, focus-grouped, how-does-the-hair-look—to be “absolutely phony.”

Johnson is not just determined to eliminate the budget deficit by immediately cutting the budget by 43%. He’s also pro-choice, pro-immigration, pro-marijuana-legalization, and more. He’s not as hawkish on foreign policy as I’d like, but he’s opposed to altruistic foreign wars. You canread about his positions here.
In my view, Gary Johnson is a far better candidate than I thought possible from the GOP. And I’ll be damned if I’ll sit on my hands while something that good passes us by — particularly when our alternatives are wild-eyed Jesus freaks, slimy pragmatists, and economy-killers. Hence, I’ve donated a few hundred dollars to his campaign — and I’d urge others to considerdoing the same.
If you’re not able to do that but you like what you see, please pass on the GQ article (or this blog post) to friends and fellow free-market activists.

Objectivists survey the candidates Sunday

9 Dec
In my live Philosophy in Action Webcast on Sunday morning, I’ll host a special episode focused on the Republican primary, offering my view of Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich, Ron Paul, and Gary Johnson. Please join us for this hour of lively … but infuriating … discussion at http://www.PhilosophyInAction.com!
* What: Live Philosophy in Action Webcast
* Who: Diana Hsieh (Ph.D, Philosophy) and Greg Perkins
* When: Sunday, 11 December 2011 at 8 am PT / 9 am MT / 10 am CT / 11 am ET
* Where: http://www.PhilosophyInAction.com/
Here are the questions that I’ll answer this week… yes, they’re all the same, albeit with an extra question about Gary Johnson running as Libertarian.
* Question 1: Mitt Romney for US President: Should I support Mitt Romney for US President?  What’s the proper evaluation of his principles and record on the budget, health care, national defense, immigration, the drug war, abortion, and gay marriage? Does Romney deserve the vote of advocates of individual rights in the primary or the general election?
* Question 2: Newt Gingrich for US President: Should I support Newt Gingrinch for US President? What’s the proper evaluation of his principles and record on the budget, health care, national defense, immigration, the drug war, abortion, and gay marriage? Does Gingrinch deserve the vote of advocates of individual rights in the primary or the general election?
* Question 3: Ron Paul for US President: Should I support Ron Paul for US President?  What’s the proper evaluation of his principles and record on the budget, health care, national defense, immigration, the drug war, abortion, and gay marriage? Does Paul deserve the vote of advocates of individual rights in the primary or the general election?
* Question 4: Gary Johnson for US President: Should I support Gary Johnson for US President? What’s the proper evaluation of his principles and record on the budget, health care, national defense, immigration, the drug war, abortion, and gay marriage? Does Johnson deserve the vote of advocates of individual rights in the primary or the general election?  Also, should supporters of Gary Johnson vote for him on a Libertarian Party ticket?
After that, we’ll do a round of totally impromptu “Rapid Fire Questions.” 
In the meantime, be sure to check out the Webcast Archives – http://www.PhilosophyInAction.com/archive/ – where you can listen to the full webcast or just selected questions from any past episode.  You can also subscribe to the podcast and other RSS feeds: http://www.PhilosophyInAction.com/rss/
Don’t forget to submit and vote on questions for upcoming webcast episodes in the Question Queue: http://www.PhilosophyInAction.com/queue/
I hope to see you on Sunday morning!
— Diana Hsieh (Ph.D, Philosophy)
http://www.PhilosophyInAction.com