January 2019
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Update on The Antistatism Series and Universals

A recent comment on “It’s Ours To Lose” has inspired me to write up a brief progress report on my Antistatism Series. I’ve been considering posting a progress report for … years … now, but I’ve had other things on my mind.

First, since this may not have been clear, the series is not complete. I estimate it is no more than half written, and probably less. Some long-planned, long-delayed posts include:

  • “Dark Matter” — a post about the supposedly inert masses Objectivism blithely assumes will follow the New Intellectuals into Atlantis.
  • “The Progressive Tax on Virtue” — Objectivism argues that men of lesser ability benefit more from capitalism than do the greatest producers. Objectivists have perhaps not realized just how right they are.
  • “The Finance Argument” — mum’s the word, for now.
  • “Consent of the Governed: Anti-concept” — self-explanatory.
  • The following posts are less likely to make it in to the series:
    • “Ayn Rand’s Cartesian Politics” — my notes on this one are too sparse, and I’ve forgotten what the post was going to be about. (Though I’m sure it had something to do with Objectivist politics being rationalistic.) I mention it just in case …
    • “How Newton Made America” — ideas move history in more complex ways that I have seen Objectivists appreciate. Nietzsche had important things to say about this. I think Newton had more to do with the founding of the United States than anyone has recognized thus far.
    • “Objective Law in One Sentence”
    • “Dear Prudence” — not how the Objectivist politics is wrong, but why it is.

Second, the overarching thesis of the series is that the Objectivist politics is the best attempt at justifying the state ever put forth, but that it is still rationalistic, i.e., detached from reality, therefore there exists no justification for the state. Antistatism, or complete skepticism about the state as an institution, will be substantiated inductively by the end of the series. The planned structure of the argument is: define antistatism; show that politics must be justified inductively; contrast the Founders’ extensively inductive, clever, and subtle statecraft with the pie-in-the-sky, hand-wavy statecraft of Objectivism (and this is where I’ve left off); identify fatal lacunae in Objectivism’s extant and implied statecraft; universalize and essentialize these criticisms so that Objectivists are not tempted to filibuster with post-hoc revisionist interpretations of their own politics; account for how a philosophy as subtle and powerful as Objectivism made such profound errors when it reached politics; and, finally, review the argument and consider the implications for anarchism.

Third, readers should keep in mind that the series, like everything on this blog, is a “live rough draft.” I expect to revise extensively. Still, my live rough drafts are pretty damn good, I think, and definitely worth reading and considering carefully despite their inchoate state.

Regarding universals: I am nowhere near done with “The Solution to the Problem of Universals.” Nor am I done here. I have much revision work to do, and I haven’t forgotten it.

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