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While attempting to identify a source for how many Objectivists there might be in the U.S., I discovered a Facebook page for the Objectivist Party of the United States, which has 1,150 members. I have never heard of this organization previously but now am wondering about efficacy of Objectivists in forming such a party.

For practical reasons, forming a party might be a good idea, since in order to run for officein some states a candidate must declare an affirmative affiliation with a particular registered party. The existence of an Objectivist Party would permit an Objectivist to run for office without having to affiliate with another party which they truly don't belong to.

However, I still wonder whether Objectivists generally think it a good idea to be participative in the political process of a government they know to be unjust. I have seen Objectivists advocate for less than ideal candidates before, however I wonder how this activity, and/or forming their own political party, reconciles with the arguments opposing suggestions that Objectivists join the Libertarian Party which have previously been offered here and elsewhere.

asked Dec 17 '13 at 12:29

MarcMercier's gravatar image

MarcMercier ♦
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edited Dec 17 '13 at 12:47

Greg%20Perkins's gravatar image

Greg Perkins ♦♦
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Yes, I think Objectivists should start a political party.

I don't think it should be called the Objectivist Party, though, because calling it the Objectivist Party would imply that it is not just consistent with Objectivism (which it should be) but that it is limited solely to that which necessarily follows from Objectivism (which it should not be).

(May 15 '15 at 21:06) anthony anthony's gravatar image

The existence of an Objectivist Party would permit an Objectivist to run for office without having to affiliate with another party which they truly don't belong to.

However, I still wonder whether Objectivists generally think it a good idea to be participative in the political process of a government they know to be unjust.

Unless or until America becomes a dictatorship or theocracy, the goal should be to reform the system, not overthrow it or start a new country somewhere else. And a process of reform depends on a consensus on what reforms to implement, how to implement them, and why they would be good to enact.

I have seen Objectivists advocate for less than ideal candidates before, however I wonder how this activity, and/or forming their own political party, reconciles with the arguments opposing suggestions that Objectivists join the Libertarian Party which have previously been offered here and elsewhere.

Ayn Rand's view of Libertarians and on joining ideological groups in general is well stated in the excerpts on the topic of "Libertarians" in The Ayn Rand Lexicon. Here is a sampling, originally from PWNI, "What Can One Do":

Above all, do not join the wrong ideological groups or movements, in order to “do something.” By “ideological” (in this context), I mean groups or movements proclaiming some vaguely generalized, undefined (and, usually, contradictory) political goals. (E.g., the Conservative Party, which subordinates reason to faith, and substitutes theocracy for capitalism; or the “libertarian” hippies, who subordinate reason to whims, and substitute anarchism for capitalism.) To join such groups means to reverse the philosophical hierarchy and to sell out fundamental principles for the sake of some superficial political action which is bound to fail. It means that you help the defeat of your ideas and the victory of your enemies. (For a discussion of the reasons, see “The Anatomy of Compromise” in my book Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal.)

The question mentions an "Objectivist Party":

While attempting to identify a source for how many Objectivists there might be in the U.S., I discovered a Facebook page for the Objectivist Party of the United States, which has 1,150 members.

This appears to be a reference to the Objectivist Party based in New York and headed by Dr. Tom Stevens, judging by a Google search on "Objectivist Party."

What is the meaning of being a "member" of a political party? The main purpose of a political party is to nominate and provide campaign assistance for candidates for political office (and/or ballot measures). The main question for voters is whether or not they consider the candidate or measure worthy of their votes. In order to win votes, a candidate needs to be a total person, not just an advocate of certain political principles. Voters need to understand why the candidate holds the political views that he espouses, and what those views actually mean when implemented fully. I don't see that so far in Tom Stevens' Objectivist Party, at least not on his website. I see only a brief overview of key political principles, but no indication of why those principles are valid and good, why their practical consequences would be something that voters should support, and why he personally supports them. At most, I see only vague references to Ayn Rand and some idealistic quotes from her writings, but little real substance outside of narrow political principles. And even the political principles don't seem to offer much guidance on issues such as Social Security and abortion, for instance. The issue of religion in politics isn't mentioned at all. One will not be able to fight the growth of religious influence in the U.S. today merely by asserting that man has individual rights, or that Ayn Rand or America's Founders said so (for unstated reasons). I don't think it's likely that Dr. Stevens, the Objectivist Party's two-time candidate for President of the U.S., will attract many votes that way. He's already had two chances -- 2008 and again in 2012 -- and has received less than 5000 votes total, nationwide. At that rate, he will be deceased before he begins to do well enough in national elections to be taken seriously. His party may or may not have "1150 members," but so what? For a political party in the U.S., it's votes that matter, not the number of "members."

answered Dec 18 '13 at 22:03

Ideas%20for%20Life's gravatar image

Ideas for Life ♦
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Asked: Dec 17 '13 at 12:29

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Last updated: May 15 '15 at 21:06