This makes a lot of sense to me, as Objectivism is at its core a capitalist philosophy, however, it also supports pro-choice and drug legalizations involving marijuana, which liberals today tend to champion. Could Objectivists be considered in the center of the political spectrum? Michelle Cabruso Cabrera speaks about fiscal conservatism and social liberalism in her book, "You Know I'm Right," where she admits that she herself follows these principles. I found her book to be very interesting regarding immigration.
This is meant to be an incomplete answer, as I'll let others more eloquent to answer in full. A brief note before I continue; I assume Collin1 is using the term "liberal" in the modern American sense relating to leftist/progressive ideologies and not the historical sense of liberalism which is individualistic in nature. My answer will follow Collin1 in using the former sense of "liberal". But I digress.
Whereas conservatism and liberalism are political ideologies, Objectivism is a philosophy which sets a foundation of concepts towards which political decisions are derived. Objectivism is neither conservative, nor liberal, regardless of the overlap in policy prescriptions with both ends of the political spectrum.
Neither is Objectivism "in the center of the political spectrum" which measures political positions in relation to the positions of tyrants on either end. As you pointed out, Objectivism shares some positions with conservatives, liberals, and even libertarians, but to bridge the gap between such positions would associate Objectivism with a whole host of other "moderate" or libertarian positions that it rejects.
Simply put, the common political spectrum inadequately defines the parameters for which to observe Objectivism in the jungle of political ideologies and philosophies.
answered Jan 12 '12 at 17:59
JK Gregg ♦
At a very shallow level, I would say that yes, basically Objectivists are fiscally conservative and socially liberal.
However, going deeper, there are very important differences between the Objectivist positions on these issues and the traditional conservative and modern liberal positions. On economics, most conservatives think that we should be generally capitalist because it is a practical wealth generator. However, unlike Objectivists, most conservatives do not believe that capitalism is moral, and therefore they also hold many contradictory positions such as belief in a heavy-handed regulatory state and the idea that the generated wealth should subsequently be redistributed.
On the social side of things, Objectivists draw a clear distinction between what is moral for an individual and what is moral for the state to dictate to an individual, or in other words, what laws the state is allowed to make and enforce. So, a socially liberal position in terms of the state not outlawing drugs does not imply that Objectivists believe that it is moral to do drugs (to take only one example). Since doing drugs is generally a harm to one's own life, it is not moral. But the purpose of the state is not to legislate morality, but only to employ retaliatory force e.g. if the drug user decides to steal in order to support their habit. This is a socially liberal position in terms of the state's involvement, but not in terms of what is right or wrong for an individual.
Objectivism is a consistent philosophy, from its roots to its tips. The general fiscal conservative and socially liberal positions held by Objectivists are the tips, but to really understand why Objectivism holds those positions and where and when Objectivists will differ from the common understanding of them, one needs to delve deeper.
answered Jan 13 '12 at 09:40
Raman Gupta ♦