David R. Henderson  

Objectivist Attacks Property Rights

Why We Have Freddie and Fannie... Expectations, Once Again...

Sometimes it seems as if the world has turned upside down. Check out this debate between Pamela Geller, an Objectivist who likes the work of Ayn Rand [her blog is www.atlasshrugs.com] and Ibrahim Ramey of the Muslim American Society.

Ms. Geller claims (at about the 1:50 point) that the building that some Muslims want to tear down to build a mosque "should be given landmark status." In other words, the owners, according to her, should not have their property rights recognized.

Then Mr. Ramey says (at about the 2:40 point) that "we reject the notion of collective guilt."

So the Objectivist attacks property rights and the Muslim defends individualism. Oy! I realize that these aren't quite equivalent. In the case of Ms. Geller, she really does contradict the principles that Ayn Rand advocated; in the case of Mr. Ramey, his objection to collective guilt goes against what may just be a mistaken stereotype that many Americans hold about Muslims.

HT to Justin Raimundo and Steve Chapman.

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CATEGORIES: Property Rights

COMMENTS (14 to date)
MernaMoose writes:

Interesting, but

in the case of Mr. Ramey, his objection to collective guilt goes against what may just be a mistaken stereotype that many Americans hold about Muslims.

You can't mean this. Or are we going off on a "stereo types are wrong and mistaken and meaningless and there's always exceptions" bender? In which case, have fun.

Tim Worstall writes:

The thought that Pam Geller is an objectivist is an interesting one. Yes, of course, she says she is but that's rather different from actually understanding what Objectivism is.

[Comment edited.--Econlib Ed.]

Vake writes:

Having read Anthem, The Fountainhead, or Atlas Shrugged, I find very little that Rand has to say on immigration, cultural divides, etc. Perhaps her other works. It's sad that a xenophobe like Gellar can spoil Rand's ideas by co-opting the name of her most famous book for a completely unrelated blog.

David R. Henderson writes:

What does the word "may" mean to you?

Mperry writes:

Both Leonard and Amy Peikoff have also argued the government should stop the mosque.



There's nothing "mistaken" about those 'stereotypes.' Stereotypes always have grains of truth in their core. The question is, how distorted or unrealistic is a specific stereotype? In the case of Islamic societies, crude stereotypes are very accurate, sorry to say. Extreme and rampant religious oppression against non-Muslims, medieval morality (killing of homosexuals, adulterers) etc is very very MAINSTREAM and PREACHED by mainstream Islamic religious authorities.

David R. Henderson writes:

Could be. But you didn't address what I discussed. I was wondering whether the collectivist stereotype applied. Does anyone have data?

Doc Merlin writes:

@David R Henderson:
Actually collective shame over ancestral misdeeds is a big part of muslim culture. This can be seen in the ritual of the Day of Ashura in Shia, and the blame for killing Ali that Sunnis place on Shia (and hence the violence that often happens on that day).

Pierre writes:

The mosque may be all the horrible things that it has been accused of being, and the Imam may be a Jihadi looking to spread hatred, and the purpose of the mosque may be to signify "conquest" because of 9/11, and none of that matters. If the mosque builders own the land, or are renting it from someone, or otherwise have the legal right to build on the property they've proposed, they should build the mosque.


Nykos writes:

Geller may call herself objectivist, but in practice she isn't one. Her endorsements of hardline conservative theocrats is definitely not something Ayn Rand would advocate - even when confronting an ideology like Islam.

Even though I disagree with Geller on a lot of things, people like her are needed as long as free speech is under threat by both Islam and the useful idiots pandering to it. Unfortunately, she doesn't realize that her fundamentalist friends are not much better.

The mosque shouldn't be allowed to be built as long as Islam promotes values that are contrary to freedom of and from religion, freedom of speech, equality under the law for both sexes and all religions, etc. However, if the owners of the property and the future imams and preachers sign a written statement that they will not oppose these elements of Western civilization, and are periodically checked to see that they respect this agreement, only then should the construction and continued functioning of the mosque be allowed.

Note that my position refers to all mosques, I don't really make a distinction between the one at Ground Zero and the ones located elsewhere. I don't really care about the sanctity of any location, as long as the mosques are not centers for indoctrination and hatred, or raising funds for global jihad.

johnleemk writes:

Should churches be subject to the same requirement, Nykos? The Mormons were influential in California's Prop #8 -- from a libertarian standpoint, we'd be better off had they had their hands tied with regard to such sociopolitical issues.

How about neo-Nazi organisations? The Ku Klux Klan? Radical groups like the Black Panthers? Shouldn't they all be forced to sign similar agreements?

shecky writes:

If by "Objectivist", you mean "rabid anti-Islamic bigot", then sure, an Objectivist can indeed attack property rights without contradiction. And more.

There is nothing "bigoted" about reading and finding out about Islam's own teachings from the Qu'ran to the Sunnah (Muhammad's example) to what is taught in ALL MAINSTREAM schools of Islamic law TODAY, and have not changed in centuries.

Yes, of COURSE religion depends on the people who claim to be followers. And since most people of this ideology are ignorant of many of its tenets, they are merely (like most religious people) following it out of filial piety, community, ethnicity etc.

But reading Islamic scholars' own words, thru centuries, till today expounding on Islamic doctrine makes it clear that all these 'conspiracies' are basically true...yes, crazy I know, but I have myself *ANECDOTE ALERT* seen grown, middle class, comfortable Muslims in the Middle East discuss how Everyone-will-be-Muslim-one-day. Of course to them its benign, to us not so much.

So even though anti-Muslim bigotry has a huge overlap with anti-Islamic sentiment, this is only due to crude heuristics that evolution has rendered for us to use. Most people don't care to be (or can't be ) sophisticated enough to distinguish the ideology from the people purporting to carry it. Thats unfortunately humanity.

BTW I read the Raimondo article. This Peikoff person is insane. Hard to believe that he can call himself a follower of Ayn Rand. If these are the representatives of Objectivism in our time, then I don't blame the Lefties at all for their foaming @ the mouth hatred of what they believe to be Ayn Rand's positions/philosophy.

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