First off I would like to thank you Didymos and AmericanPop for such a comprehensive collection of thoughts and I will get to them all if i can at some point, but it might take me a bit lol. I hardly get much challenge from opponents in situations where i am given a decent amount of time to formulate my response. I see all of your points very clearly (i believe lol) and can understand the reasoning just fine.
The topic of monopolies is, as you pointed out, barely touched on in Atlas Shrugged. She may have talked in other writings about it but i'm not very sure at the moment. Regardless, I personally agree with you to a point. I feel that businesses should be fair but you cannot necessarily expect it or trust them. I don't have a solution to the monopoly problem, but I am sure it would not be too incredibly hard to deal with. The government should still play some role in regulation of very large corporations and companies who are in the position to have a monopoly, but only to a point. What that point is i'm not sure myself, this is just what i believe is possible for humans to deal with.
I know very little about the economic status of China and can therefore not provide any points relating, but you said:
How can governments ensure a peaceful environment for production and trade when:
a- mobile technology ensures the internationalization of organized crime?
b- bio-technology gives any wacko with a chemistry set the opportunity to blow up important financial centres?
c- small adversarial governments like North Korea are increasingly capable of acquiring nuclear weapons?
I think Rand would have found those to be arguments that have no real importance to her philosophy because they are things that must be dealt with when they occur as would any natural disaster or normal crime problem. Crime, accidents, and evil must be expected and dealt with, but I believe she would consider it more harm to more people if her ideas of the economic system were unused because of a couple kinks in the rope. You may believe that they are more dangerous than i make them out to be, but if you were to change your ideas based on threats then it's like negotiating with terrorists IMO.
Perhaps in doing so you would learn greater respect for that which others value, and maybe even a little about what you value and why you value what you value.
It seems to me that what we value changes - our values are not static. Perhaps clinging to these values isn't so healthy.
Perhaps, but I have no reason to respect what others value, unless the other is a value to me. I mean, I wouldn't show disrespect, but i would be indifferent. I feel it is better to determine what i value based on my interactions with people more than my self sacrifice for people because it is a true, trusting, and balanced relationship as opposed to a relationship that may be balanced, but may only be balanced from one perspective and allows for less disagreements (though i guess that idea is arguable).
While values may change, it is generally based on needs or wants in the life of the individual. The individual should have the insight and self control to understand not to hang on to values when they have lost their value to them would be the argument of Rand I believe.
Disagreements of moral philosophy are not so easily explained away by saying we all view things a little differently (the subjective nature of our experience). For instance, Rand suggests that self interest is moral, and selflessness immoral. To suggest the reverse, that selflessness is moral, selfishness immoral, is a bit more substantial than glass half full/empty disagreements.
I did not mean pre-fundamental ideas that i disagreed with, nor did I intend to mislead (not that you're saying i am, i'm just pointing it out). I meant more issues that are derived from the fundamental points of the moral philosophy. But they are not necessarily worth discussing. I merely meant that I do not agree with everything she ever said.
We could agree that no man should be forced to do another's work and still fundamentally disagree with Rand's ethics. We could agree that no man should be forced to do another's work while one of us suggests that self is entirely illusory.
That's one of my problems with her style of philosophy - either you agree with her, or you think all men should be slaves, ect. She shows absolutely no respect for any variety in human perspectives - except for Aristotle.
I can totally agree with you here. She was very narrow minded about taking other people's opinions very seriously at all. I feel it is very important to get a wide variety of ideas and take the good from all (though i am guilty of being close minded about philosophies from time to time)
If the details are unimportant, they should not have been included. That is one of my criticisms - Atlas is terribly, unnecessarily long. The book can be enjoyed; I enjoyed the book for the most part. But airport romance novels can also be enjoyed, yet they are hardly examples of good literature.
I see your point and will concede that it can be enjoyed on varying degrees or levels...or unenjoyed for that matter, hah.
Which brings me to my next criticism. Rand somehow manages to tie human emotion in with human rationality, as if the former were merely a byproduct of the latter. Despite granting her characters spurts of rapture every time they indulge in the righteousness of their own reason, this supposition receives little rational justification in the book. Transforming mind into matter is a good feeling indeed, but to call it bliss is almost laughable.
I disagree with her on this point too. I find it more realistic to think that humans should try to control their emotions with reason rather than that they are the byproduct of reason. The rational justification for the righteousness of their own reason is the fact that it is righteous, lol. To clarify it's because they know that they have understood what is meant to be for balance and fairness.
Again thanks for taking the time to really have some good responses.