Ayn Rand accepting government aid was not hypocritical
Debate Rounds (3)
Hypocritical :ofthenatureofhypocrisy,orpretenseofhavingvirtues,beliefs,principles,etc.,thatonedoesnot actuallypossess2) Do NOT post any arguments in round one. 3) Failure to comply with these rules means automatic loss for my opponent.By accepting my debate you accept my terms.
For all of you who don't know the background of this; Ayn Rand was against all forms of government social programs and welfare. However, Ayn accepted social aid herself. I will be arguing this is not hypocritical.
Ok, I accept
At first glance, someone who accepted social aid while simultaneously decrying it as pure evil seems utterly hypocritical. The fact that Ayn Rand accepted government aid is often seen as an 'Ahah! Got you' by Ayn's opposition. The 'logic' in this estimate is complete nonsense, though. I will even go as far as saying it would have been hypocritical of Ayn to not accept said government aid. One does not have to believe in the philosophy of Ayn Rand to see that her actions were not hypocritical to her own belief.
Ayn Rand was vehemently opposed to collectivism, altruism; and most importantly, the force used by the government to create programs with the aforementioned being used as ideas of virtue. She was opposed to the act of force e.g. taxing someone to help another. However, Ayn was not opposed to the isolated 'good' that this capital would do (she would not be opposed to healing the sick if a machine was invented that could only heal the sick and did not draw upon the fruits of another's labor). The world is not a vacuum, though. Taxes are always redistribution, not the intrinsic creation of wealth. Ayn Rand paid her taxes; something she strongly resisted. She did not do so out of charity, but out of necessity. Accepting government aid really is no different. Ayn Rand was against taxes, but would pay them when she had to (or face the harsh consequences), and Ayn Rand was against government assistance, but accepted it when handed to her (or face the senseless hardships faced by paying taxes AND not getting anything out of it).
Not accepting government aid would have been hypocritical of Ayn Rand, who supported the notion that one should act in one's best interest if it does not inhibit others to do the same. Accepting government assistance was in Ayn Rand's best interest, or even easier to defend: Ayn Rand thought it was in her best interest. Ayn Rand paid into the system, why would she refuse the any benefit from it if she opposed altruism and supported acting in one's self interest?
In conclusion, Ayn Rand accepting government assistance was not hypocritical, but merely how one would expect someone of Ayn Rand's philosophy to behave. If Ayn Rand had not accepted government, what would that mean? One of two things: one, that Ayn Rand thought the public was too illogical to see that doing so was not hypocritical, and it was in her best interest to keep as many followers (which really is a valid point! But does not ever lead to the conclusion that she was hypocritical); or two, that Ayn Rand had abandoned her philosophy completely and wouldn't accept government aid so there would be more for the others.
Interesting arguments from my opponent. However, even an outsider unfamiliar with Ayn Rand such as myself knows that Ayn Rand's actions are hypocritical.
1. the idiom; Put your money where your mouth is.
Remember the quote, “There can be no compromise on basic principles. There can be no compromise on moral issues. There can be no compromise on matters of knowledge, of truth, of rational conviction.” ~Ayn Rand
Well Ayn Rand had the choice to put her money where her mouth was and she clearly didn't. That's where critics go "Ahah! Got You". So how is it complete nonsense if the logic of the "Ahah!" was put your money where your mouth was? If Ayn Rand was committed to her ideals like what my opponent states, then she would've followed through with her philosophy.
2. Receiving government aid through secrecy
Lets take issue with the secrecy that Ayn Rand took to receive Social Security and Medicare benefits which she strongly condemned. In the Washington post article it states, "An interview with Evva Pryror, a social worker and consultant to Miss Rand’s law firm of Ernst, Cane, Gitlin and Winick verified that on Miss Rand’s behalf she secured Rand’s Social Security and Medicare payments which Ayn received under the name of Ann O’Connor (husband Frank O’Connor). As Pryor said, “Doctors cost a lot more money than books earn and she could be totally wiped out” without the aid of these two government programs. Ayn took the bail out even though Ayn “despised government interference and felt that people should and could live independently… She didn’t feel that an individual should take help.” But alas she did and said it was wrong for everyone else to do so. Apart from the strong implication that those who take the help are morally weak, it is also a philosophic point that such help dulls the will to work, to save and government assistance is said to dull the entrepreneurial spirit." (http://www.huffingtonpost.com...)
If she truly felt that her actions weren't hypocritical wouldn't you think she would have said so when she was alive?
3. World is not a vaccuum
My opponent is right the world is not a vaccuum, but Ayn Rand's choices ultimately forced her to violate her philosophy. She was a heavy smoker who did not believe smoking caused lung cancer, and was eventually afflicted by lung cancer in an ironic twist. She knew that the costs of doctors for lung cancer treatment were more than her earnings from her books, and she was faced with a choice of bending her philosophy or sticking through with it. Considering how she was already accustomed to violating her philosophy by paying her taxes "reluctantly" to fund government programs that she was disdainful of, the choice may have been easy.
4. Give and take necessity
My opponent states, "Ayn Rand was against taxes, but would pay them when she had to (or face the harsh consequences), and Ayn Rand was against government assistance, but accepted it when handed to her (or face the senseless hardships faced by paying taxes AND not getting anything out of it)."
The argument may seem compelling, but her taxes were used by the federal government in defense, medicare, social security, infrastructure, education, and other programs like with any other citizen's taxes. Her taxes were used to fund part of the nuclear weapons arsenal of the US to deter the Soviet Union during the Cold War, fund NASA's programs, and build new roads, city buildings. Her taxes were used to provide safe consumer goods, and fund the education of the Nation's future. If that wasn't hypocritical to Rand's philosophy then I don't know what is, since she clearly got a lot indirectly or directly from paying her taxes.(http://www.wheredidmytaxdollarsgo.com...)
The resolution is a clearly a put your money where your mouth is debate, and Ayn Rand clearly failed...
I now pass it back to my opponent.
I thank my opponent for his response! He presented a very compelling case that Ayn Rand accepting government aid was hypocritical. However, the resolution is still valid. I will start this round with a rebuttal via quoting my opponent's arguments directly, and then move onto some additional arguments.
1.Him: "'There can be no compromise on basic principles. There can be no compromise on moral issues. There can be no compromise on matters of knowledge, of truth, of rational conviction.”~Ayn Rand
Well Ayn Rand had the choice to put her money where her mouth was and she clearly didn't. "
Me: Ayn Rand advocated individuals their pursuing self interest. She held the conviction that one ought to have the freedom to live one's life with their own happiness as the highest virtue, as long as it does not hinder other to do the same. From this, one can conclude that Ayn Rand was against compulsory taxes, and thus against government aid. However, one has to remember that when Ayn accepted government aid, the act had already happened. Ayn Rand was a staunch supporter that private citizens should keep what they earn. It is foolish to think that Ayn would be against giving back a stolen car to the owner, so why isn't it equally foolish to think Ayn Rand would be against receiving government aid after she had paid into it for years? The reason that the latter is under dispute is because people are confusing two things: one being government aid via compulsory taxes, and the other being the act of government aid itself. Ayn Rand would not have been against the government giving aid if it could somehow do so without drawing upon the fruits of another's labor (and in this case, Ayn's 'fruits' were being used because she had paid her taxes for years)
2. Him: “Doctors cost a lot more money than books earn and she could be totally wiped out” without the aid of these two government programs. Ayn took the bail out even though Ayn “despised government interference and felt that people should and could live independently…"
Me: Ayn Rand would favor a situation in which one is taxed but also provided for by the government, as opposed to a situation in which one is taxes but not provided for. The latter would be the worst of both worlds, and Ayn was not foolish. She saw that she was not hypocritical by accepting government aid; it's just a shame that so few others do, too.
3. Him: "She was a heavy smoker who did not believe smoking caused lung cancer, and was eventually afflicted by lung cancer in an ironic twist. She knew that the costs of doctors for lung cancer treatment were more than her earnings from her books, and she was faced with a choice of bending her philosophy or sticking through with it. Considering how she was already accustomed to violating her philosophy by paying her taxes "reluctantly" to fund government programs that she was disdainful of, the choice may have been easy."
Me: First of all, Ayn Rand was not in violation of her philosophy by paying taxes. Do you really expect that she go to jail for the rest of her life to make a point -- and a futile one at that? Does that sound like the actions of someone who supported the notion that one's own happiness is the greatest virtue of one's life?
Ayn Rand paying taxes wasn't in violation of her philosophy for an even simpler fact; Ayn was against the implementation of tax because it contrasted with her philosophy that one should act in one's own best interests, and the pursuit of one's individual happiness is the greatest virtue. Going to the jail for EVER seems like 'at least' as much of a impediment to one's life as paying taxes. It was not hypocritical of Ayn to pay taxes because Ayn would not have expected everyone to go to jail for the rest of their life, either. How can one be hypocritical if one never expects anyone else to do it?
Second, if Ayn didn't think smoking caused lung cancer, why would she expect to become a burden to the tax payer any more than if she didn't? This is an invalid point.
4. Him: The argument may seem compelling, but her taxes were used by the federal government in defense, medicare, social security, infrastructure, education, and other programs like with any other citizen's taxes. Her taxes were used to fund part of the nuclear weapons arsenal of the US to deter the Soviet Union during the Cold War, fund NASA's programs, and build new roads, city buildings. Her taxes were used to provide safe consumer goods, and fund the education of the Nation's future. If that wasn't hypocritical to Rand's philosophy then I don't know what is, since she clearly got a lot indirectly or directly from paying her taxes.(http://www.wheredidmytaxdollarsgo.com......)
Me: I can tell you have not read nor are familiar with Ayn's work because you site examples of government programs (excluding military, low-courts, and police), that Ayn explicitly said should be left to the free market. Don't expect Ayn to be grateful for the things you mentioned. She'd much rather use the money she had taken from her that funded the social programs you mentioned and used it to pay for the things she wanted. Ayn Rand even went as far as to say all infrastructure should be left to the private market (yes that means roads). One does not have to believe in the philosophy of Ayn Rand to see how ridiculous this is.
Analogy to Ayn Rand accepting government aid (to make it more concrete). Also note that this situation is from Rand's perspective, because that of any one else would be irrelevant) :
- Imagine ten people are to pick and process their own food on a farm, and Ayn Rand is one of them. No one has any obligation to anyone else, but can choose to give another food if he or she chooses. Along comes the government, and decides that 20% of the food people produce will be complied together and distributed amongst the rest of the people when one does not have enough food. Over the course of a week, Ayn is taxed 20% of all the food she makes (totaling 50 lbs), and receives 30 lbs from the pool. Ayn Rand is strongly against this, and tells everyone that the taxes are wrong and should be repealed. One day, Ayn gets sick, and cannot work for a week. The government offers to give her food to keep her going, and she accepts. Everyone calls her hypocritical for taking the food -- I mean, she did express her strong disapproval of it. Ayn Rand laughs at the others, because she knows her actions are not hypocritical.
In conclusion, Ayn Rand was only against others advocating that they should get government aid, not against people accepting it once it was already taken from them. She paid into the system for years, so why would she refuse to get any of it back if she advocated that she should have kept all of it in the first place.
And thus, the resolution is proved.
I thank my opponent for debating with me!
Like I said before Ayn Rand had a choice to put her money where her mouth was, but she didn't.
She used the very same government programs she denounced using her married name Ann O'Connor, which my opponent hasn't responded to. Plus it wasn't food that she got, it was medical care for her cancer. However, her hypocrisy does show she is human after all self preservation would supercede philosophy. I must also point out that self preservation is different self interest which my opponent blurs.
Ayn Rand's actions have shown that her actions were hypocritical in her belief as she accepted government aid through secrecy.
Thank You and Vote Con
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by KroneckerDelta 3 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Conduct to Pro because I think Con gave a cop out in the last round. I think they should have made a little more effort to summarize the state of the debate. I think Con makes compelling arguments that Rand's actions were indeed hypocritical. Pro's only rebuttal is that accepting aid was in Rand's self interest. Even if it was, it was hypocritical to her decrying government aid. The sticking point is that Con pointed out that Rand herself must have thought it was hypocritical by going through such extremes to hide that she got aid in the first place (Pro did not contest this argument). I would have liked to see the smoking vs. cancer fleshed out more by Con, I think this too would have presented a compelling argument that her accepting aid (because she DID get lung cancer) is hypocritical: she did not live with the consequences of her actions, but as such, Con did not really make this argument.
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