Reading the "Public Use" clause

Alexander R. Cohen miscsubs at arclights.net
Fri Jun 24 18:29:14 PDT 2005


  If the jacket of /Anarchy, State and Utopia/ called it a statement of 
Rand's philosophy, it was wrong. Rand's defense of liberty is based on a 
very different argument from Nozick's. For Rand, who rejected the title 
of libertarian, her political views grow out of her ethics; she sees 
capitalism as the system that recognizes the objective facts of reality 
and frees man to realize his heroic nature. Nozick takes people's 
desires, whatever they happen to be, as given; this makes him in a 
fundamental respect closer to Rawls than to Rand. Rand and Nozick do 
largely agree as to what the government ought to do and not do, but that 
merely gives them the same political goal, not the same philosophy.

But with all due respect, I doubt that the jacket said that. Nozick 
wrote an article, /On the Randian Argument/, the stated intent of which 
was to clear away what he regarded as a bad argument in order that those 
sympathetic to the political goal he shared with Rand might find better 
arguments to support that goal.

Alexander R. Cohen, J.D.
Adjunct assistant professor of government, John Jay College of Criminal 
Justice
Doctoral student in philosophy, CUNY Graduate Center
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