The Night Watchman

The only authorized source of the thoughts and opinions of Per-Olof Samuelsson

Reisman vs. Binswanger on "The Real Right to Medical Care"

Back in 1994 George Reisman wrote a pamphlet called "The Real Right to Medical Care vs. Socialized Medicine". The pamphlet is available from The Jefferson School, and an excerpt from it is available on the net in pdf format. For those too lazy to read this excerpt, I will provide some short quotes:

I use the concept of "rights" in the sense in which Ayn Rand uses it, and in which, at least implicitly, John Locke and the Founding Fathers of the United States used it. […] That is, not as an arbitrary, out-of-context assertion of claims to things or to obligations to be filled by others, but as pertaining to the actions an individual must take in order to live – as moral principles defining and sanctioning his freedom to take those actions. The only way in which the individual’s freedom, and thus his rights, can be violated is by means of the initiation of physical force against him […] It should go without saying that in serving his own life, each and every individual is morally obliged to respect the right of others to be free from any initiation of physical force on his part. […] To take some examples, an individual has no right to a job as such. He has a right only to those jobs voluntarily offered by employers. His right to employment is violated not when he cannot find an employer who is willing to employ him, but when he can or could find such an employer and is prevented from doing so by physical force. […] In exactly the same way, the right to medical care does not mean a right to medical care as such, but to the medical care one can buy from willing providers. One’s right to medical care is violated not when there is medical care that one cannot afford to buy, but when there is medical care that one could afford to buy if one were not prevented from doing so by the initiation of physical force. […]

In sharpest contrast, the concept of rights held by the great majority of our contemporaries, especially the great majority of today’s intellectuals, is a concept characteristic of savages, that is, of people who have not grasped the principle of causality and the fact that wealth has to be produced, who believe instead that wealth appears as though by magic, and that they have a claim for it by the mere fact of needing it or wishing for it. […]

This, then, is what George Reisman actually says about the concept of "rights" (and, as I said, anyone interested is free to read the full text from which this was an excerpt). And everyone with a shred of literacy left within him will see that this is precisely the Objectivist view of rights. Or?

Well, not according to long-time Objectivist Harry Binswanger, who calls this a "re-conceptualization" of the concept of "rights". He does so in a memorandum to Michael Berliner (then Executive Director of the Ayn Rand Institute), dated May 26, 1994. (Few people have read this memorandum, but George Reisman graciously sent me a copy of it.) Since Dr. Binswanger is one of the foremost experts on Ayn Rand’s philosophy, his views on this subject should be made known, so here it is:

You have solicited my response to the proposal that ARI promote George's pamphlet, "The Real Right to Medical Care Versus Socialized Medicine and the Clinton Plan." As you know, I have been slow to respond for two reasons. First, my original reaction to George's article was mixed: the article had some very good aspects and some that seemed, on first reading at least, quite misconceived. Second, because of my "recent difficulties" with George and Edith, I wanted to make sure that I was not being influenced in my judgment by emotional considerations.

Having now had time to re-read the relevant sections and to re-think my objections, I have concluded that we should not promote it – at least as it now stands. My reasons are as follows – and you may forward this memo to George.

The basic problem is indicated by its title: the idea that it is a proper conceptualization to speak of a "right" to medical care. Despite the fact that George is careful to say that there is not a right to medical care, or other goods and services, "as such", and despite the fact that he explains his usage in detail, that usage is both wrong and counter to explicit Objectivist definitions.

I was originally "on the fence" about George's usage, because I understand one advantage that his conceptualization seems to offer: it seems to provide a further conceptual weapon to use against government's initiation of force in this area. You recall that I raised George's idea, rather sympathetically, to Leonard [Peikoff] and he immediately and emphatically rejected it. (Incidentally, I think ARI would be wrong to promote the pamphlet until and unless Leonard could be convinced on this point that George's view is legitimate.) On further thinking, however, I am off the fence: the seeming advantage of George's conceptualization is an illusion, for the following reasons.

George's idea is that we can attack socialized medicine by saying, "No! I have a right to health care, and the government would be violating that right by its interference." But to this the statists would simply answer, "Don't worry, our plan will satisfy your rights-claim by enabling you to get health care – and more cheaply, too." What then is our comeback? It can only be a discussion of the economic reasons why interference in the free market won't, in fact, lead to my getting better and cheaper health care. But this economic argument is precisely what the concept of "rights" is designed to render unnecessary. The parallel here is to Leonard's work on the role of principles in morality: rather than trying to trace out, in advance, all the consequences for one's self-interest of a given choice (e.g., to lie to one's employer), the virtues settle that in principle. Principles are our means of evaluating the long-range consequences of political choices. Rights, not economic laws – even though those laws are true, objectively demonstrable, illuminating, and profoundly valuable in concretizing the rights-based analysis. But to re-conceptualize "rights" as George is advocating would actually be to abandon the moral principle in favor of economic argument, as in the dialogue I gave at the beginning of this paragraph. The "right to things" idea requires us to demonstrate that a given government law would result in an economic loss compared to what the free market would offer. Note that this problem does not arise when we speak (properly) of the right to free exchange. The right to free exchange is violated by government force per se, without anyone having to provide an economic analysis of who would get what at what prices absent that force.

Second, the idea of a "right" to "things", however qualified and re-interpreted, shifts the focus of our attention from the primary victim of government intervention to the secondary victims. The primary victim, the martyred hero whom we must defend above all, is the producer. Yes, it is true that if the producer is not free to produce, then men in their role as consumers have less to purchase. But this is not what Objectivism is all about. Atlas Shrugged is not about how badly Eddie Willers fares under the looters' rule; it is about what happens to the Reardens. The Reardens here are, of course, the doctors. All of the Objectivist writing on medicine has deliberately and valiantly placed the focus on "The Forgotten Man of Socialized Medicine" – the doctors. Talking about the patients' "right" to medical care takes the focus off the doctors.

This shift in focus is indicative of the third major problem with George's article: the failure to grasp or confront the morality of altruism. George does reject "the need-based or wish-based concept of rights", but not on the basis of a rejection of altruism, the code of sacrifice, and not by proclaiming man's right to exist for his own selfish happiness. (His objection to the need-based concept of rights, which is only hinted at, seems to be that it represents a "magical" view of wealth (p. 7).)

In accordance with this failure to appreciate the role of morality – and specifically of altruism – he makes a truly shocking statement on page 9:

"It [medical licensing] is an expression of the mentality that underlies most government intervention into the economic system, namely, the mistaken belief that it is possible to serve one's self-interest by means of the initiation of physical force against others, coupled with a willingness to serve it by such means. Such a policy is irrational and ultimately self-destructive."

I have to restrain my bewilderment and anger as I point out that the truth is precisely the opposite: it is the mistaken belief that it is possible and necessary to serve other's interests that is the fundamental cause of interventionism. Licensing is a good example. Yes, the immediate motive of those particular individuals who sponsored licensing was, in part, the idea that they could gain financially from it. But what permitted them to get away with it? The doctrine of altruism. Medical licensing was put over and is maintained today by nothing but the alleged "needs" of those so stupid, lazy and irrational that they would not be able to distinguish a qualified doctor from a quack.

The same story holds for all the encroachments of the state on individual liberty: the cause is not the "greed" of the profiteers on sacrifice but the morality of sacrifice itself. And what on earth accounts for the desire for the unearned, on such a idea, except for the morality that offers one no choice other than being a looter or a looted victim?

I will hold my peace here and refrain from lecturing further on facts that should be obvious to any reader of Atlas.

Incidentally, I believe that ARI should refuse, on principle, to promote any pamphlet in favor of medical freedom that does not explicitly denounce altruism.

There are other objections that I have to the article, but I think that the foregoing is more than sufficient to explain why it should not be promoted by ARI (or any Objectivist). Again, there is much of value in the pamphlet, particularly in section 5, and if George were open to the required editing, it would be worth re-casting.

Fooled by this reasoning? Then let me help you "unfool" yourself. The following is a letter (with some minor editing1)) that I wrote to Dr. Reisman on December 23, 1994:

I have read your pamphlet and Binswanger's memo concerning it. I believe his memo is fundamentally mistaken. I'd like to give my reasons (more or less off the cuff).

I see four main charges against your pamphlet in this memo, which I would like to comment one by one:

1. It is wrong, or a mis-conceptualization, to speak of medical care "as such", or to speak about a "right to things", and this is even "counter to explicit Objectivist definitions".

The right you defend in your pamphlet is clearly and explicitly the right to that medical care that one is able and willing to buy from willing providers with one's own (properly earned) money. On the face of it, this view is simply true. And it certainly does not contradict the fact that Objectivism opposes the alleged "right" to "free" health care, i.e. health care at somebody else's expense. (If it is not too sarcastic, I would say this is so clear that only a linguistic analyst could miss it.)

Then, what does Binswanger mean when he says that your usage is counter to explicit Objectivist definitions? He does not state this explicitly, but from his reasoning one has to conclude that he is referring to the fact that Objectivism stresses that rights are rights to action, that the right to life (in Miss Rand's words) is "the right to engage in self-sustaining and self-generated action – which means: the freedom to take all the actions required by the nature of a rational being for the support, the furtherance, the fulfillment and the enjoyment of his own life", and that the right to property is the right to use and disposal, i.e. to actions. Thus, to speak of a right to things, rather than to actions, would be a departure from Objectivism. (This is the only way I can make sense of his objection.)

What happens to this idea, if I concretize it? Suppose I have a few coins (properly earned) in my pocket. Those coins are things, so do I have a right to them? Suppose I go up to an ice-cream stand and exchange the coins for an ice-cone. The ice-cone is a thing, so do I have a right to it? The obvious, common-sense answer is: yes. Of course, this right consists in the right to use and dispose of the coins or the ice-cone. If I have the right to the coins, this means that I have the right to carry them in my pocket and to make my own purchases for them. If I have a right to the ice-cone, this means that I have the right to eat it, or to give it to an accompanying kid, or to throw it away (if I don't like the taste). Since this is what the right means, it makes no sense to try and pry apart the ownership of things from the right to use and dispose of these things. Again, only a very tricky modern philosopher (of the linguistic analyst school) could come up with such an objection. (Medical care, by the way, is not even a "thing", but a bundle of actions, so the objection makes even less sense in the context of the subject matter.)

There is another angle on this. It is a basic tenet of Objectivist concept theory that a concept is not equal to its definition. A concept stands for the non-defining characteristics of its referents as well as for their defining characteristics. (E.g.: "man" does not merely stand for "animality plus rationality", but for everything that is true about men.) To equate a concept with its definition is to divorce the concept from reality and to make it into an "empty shell". This error leads one to all the variants of the analytic-synthetic dichotomy. Now, "the right to the medical care one can buy for one's own money" is certainly not a defining characteristic of the concept "right" (it is far too narrow for that), but it is one of the innumerable instances that fall under the concept. If one is a champion of rights, then one obviously has to be a champion of every concrete right that falls under the abstract concept (including the right to an ice-cone in my example above). But Binswanger seems to imply that this would be counter to the "explicit Objectivist definition". (Again, I am trying to make sense of his objection, and this is the only sense I can find. Binswanger accuses you of "re-conceptualization", but I only find objections to your wording of points that should be obvious to every Objectivist.)

2. By arguing the economic case for capitalism, you are not arguing in principle, but pragmatically; if one argues for capitalism on the principle of rights, economic arguments are rendered unnecessary.

On this point I think Binswanger implicitly endorses a moral-practical dichotomy. Just as there can be no dichotomy between the moral and the practical, so there can be no dichotomy between the moral and the economic case for capitalism. (The only thing there can be is the proper intellectual division of labor between the moralist and the economist – and ideally, the moral and the economic case for capitalism should be presented together, with the connections clearly shown. If an economist claims that morality has nothing to do with economics and should be kept out of economics – as I believe is Milton Friedman's view – then that is another thing. That should be denounced.)

As I see it, Binswanger is making two interconnected errors with regard to this point. I will try to sort them out and counter them one by one.

a) He seems to say that if one is making the economic case for capitalism, one is not arguing the case for capitalism in principle, but is stepping out into the pragmatic quagmire. The only principle one can argue from (on his view) is the principle of rights; arguing from economic laws is pragmatic per se, since those laws (however true and objectively demonstrable) are not principles.

The first and obvious answer to this is that economic laws are principles. (A principle, by a slightly informal definition, is simply a big truth on which lesser truths depend. Every subject has principles – or should have, one would have to say in today's chaos.) Furthermore, there is no contradiction between economic and moral principles (given, of course, that we are speaking of the right, rational principles, not of some Keynesian concoctions). Thus, making the economic case for capitalism is palpably non-pragmatic.

Furthermore, the main principles you are applying in your pamphlet are "the harmony of interests among rational men" and "the evil of initiating force". Those principles are thoroughly grounded in Objectivist morality.

Binswanger argues that the purpose of the principle of rights is to render economic argumentation unnecessary. But this would make sense only on the premise that economic arguments, by their very nature, are unprincipled and pragmatic. But this simply contradicts his own concession that economic laws are (or at least could be) "true and objectively demonstrable", for what is true and objectively demonstrable cannot at the same time be just a pragmatic rule-of-thumb. Furthermore, if all economic laws were "merely pragmatic", then they would be useless even to concretize any rights-based principles. (Binswanger's whole reasoning here is a mess of contradictions.)

b) Binswanger also argues that making the economic case for capitalism is to subscribe to the "trade-off" view of ethics. This is really a gross equivocation.

The "trade-off" view of ethics (which Objectivism properly rejects and denounces) is that one can put a wrongful action in one scale and weigh it against the seeming advantages of taking the wrongful action. Therefore, his objection would make sense only on the fantastic premise that all economic calculation is inherently wrongful. The Objectivist analysis of this issue also says that, once the morality of an action is settled, then it is perfectly proper to calculate. If two possible courses of action are both moral, then one would have to chose between them by tracing out their consequences. It is only when one course of action is immoral that one would have to rule it out with no further consideration of its possible "benefits".

Furthermore, what does it actually mean to settle a choice by reference to moral principle? Does it really have nothing to do with "tracing out consequences"? Does it mean that "thinking in principle" is something opposed to "tracing out consequences"? If so, there would be no difference between Objectivism and Kantianism.

Let's look at Binswanger's own example, "lying to an employer" (and we have to suppose that it is not lying in self-defense). What does it mean to settle such a choice in principle? Certainly, one would not have to trace out the consequences of the lie in detail, since one would know one thing in advance: whatever the consequences will be, they will be bad.2) They would not be conducive to one's self-interest. One would know (if one knows the principle of honesty at least in its barest essentials) that this one lie cannot be contained, that one lie would merely lead to another lie and eventually to a complete break with reality (in effect, to psychosis). One would know that, on this policy, one's only ally would be other people's stupidity and gullibility, and that their intelligence and rationality would be threats of exposure; one would know that this policy dooms one forever to deal with only the stupid, the dishonest, the irrational. And one would know that one never has anything to gain from such people. Now, this certainly does not entail working out in detail what this one lie would lead to (nobody is clairvoyant enough to do this anyway), but it does entail considering consequences. It does not mean: "Thou shalt be honest. Why? Because thou shalt."

Binswanger would certainly never explicitly endorse such an absurdly intrinsicist view of principles, and would certainly check his premises if he found that he was endorsing it implicitly. But such is the view he is implicitly endorsing in his memo.

Now, there is a very peculiar thing about his memo: when he originally considered your pamphlet, he saw some "seeming advantages" in it, some "weapon" that could be used against the statists. Then, when he rejected it, he did so on the basis that the statists have a "come-back". Leaving aside the fact that he can hardly have read your pamphlet very carefully if he takes this "come-back" seriously, the oddity is that this is a "trade-off" view. If your pamphlet is fundamentally wrong, there could be no advantages to it; if it is fundamentally right, then the advantages are too obvious too be "weighed" against any disadvantages; and the fact that the statists would have a "come-back" would be utterly irrelevant (they will have "come-backs" to everything we say, anyway).

3. You are shifting the focus from the primary victims of socialized medicine (the doctors) to the secondary victims (the patients).

On this point I think Binswanger is reading Atlas like the Devil reads the Bible. Atlas is very much about the fate of Eddie Willers. It is certainly not what it is all about, but it is part of the book's message. Otherwise, there would be no justification for giving Eddie the space he is actually given in the novel; neither would there be any justification for the famous stranded-on-the-train scene at he end of the novel.3)

To digress on this point for a moment, you must have seen, as I have, the kind of hostile reviews that claim that Miss Rand is totally indifferent to the "average man" and who then, with reckless irresponsibility, equate her views with those of Hobbes, Nietzsche, Spencer and other sundry so-and-sos. My reaction to this kind of reviews is a kind of helpless indignation: the reviewers would have to blank-out big chunks of information to reach such a conclusion. Not only would they have to blank out Eddie, but also Cherryl, Jeff Allen, Bill Brent, to name the most obvious characters. Then, what would Binswanger answer those hostile reviewers? That they are perfectly right? (End of digression.)

Now, if Binswanger merely wants to make a causal connection here – if he means to say that the fate of the average man (or the patients) rests on the fate of the creative geniuses (or the doctors), then he would be right. But he goes a step farther: he claims that even mentioning and defending the self-interest of the average man is wrong – since it "shifts the focus". But that means that if Atlas (or Objectivism) is about the fate of the creative geniuses, then it cannot be about the fate of the average man, and vice versa. And this is an obvious false dichotomy.

Furthermore: if Binswanger is concerned about "the martyred hero whom we must defend above all" (which he certainly should be), then where is his concern for the martyred free-market economist who finds himself trapped in an environment of Marxists and/or Keynesians, and whose views are scorned, denigrated, silenced? What about the economist in the valley "who couldn't get a job outside, because he taught that you can't consume more than you have produced"? Isn't he one of the martyred heroes who should be defended above all? And – to "shift the focus" – what will happen, long-range, to the average man, if he is not defended? If his views are never allowed to reach the public? (Binswanger himself has acknowledged that you are one of the greatest economists of all time. In an OSG posting a couple of years ago, he wrote: "From where I sit, it looks like George Reisman will end up being the most important economist of the 20th century (with von Mises second). His views are revolutionary." Now, he does not want your views promoted.)

(Incidentally, I am curious as to what Binswanger would say about your integration of the "pyramid of ability" principle with the law of comparative advantage. I was impressed by this integration.4) But on Binswanger's view, it would have to be rejected – since it says that the geniuses have something to gain from the average men and not only vice versa.)

I agree with your observation that Binswanger's view is "Nietzschean".5) Objectivism certainly holds that the pursuit of self-interest is proper for everyone – not only for some certain class of people. (It is proper even for a moron – insofar as a moron is capable of such pursuit.)

4. You fail to grasp and confront the morality of altruism.

Since your pamphlet only speaks of the pursuit of self-interest (and the harmony of self-interest between doctors and patients), and since you do reject the altruist view of rights, you are certainly not endorsing altruism, not even implicitly.

I disagree with the example Binswanger gives. The truth is that both those views are wrong. One cannot serve one's own self-interest by the initiation of force; and neither can one serve others' interests by the initiation of force. The initiation of force is evil, and thus can only have evil consequences for everyone involved. (As to the question which side of this false coin is a motivating factor in supporting e.g. medical licensing, this is a psychological question on which I have no view – I don't know enough psychology to have a view.)

Binswanger's reasoning seems to imply that the support of doctors for licensing represents egoism ("greed"), while his version ("it's for the alleged good of the consumers") represents altruism (and thus, this would be an example of your failure to "grasp or confront" altruism). I disagree with that. Both views rest on the view that someone necessarily has to be sacrificed. If the second view is "altruism", then the first view is merely the other side of the false altruist coin: it is the "Nietzschean" view of egoism.

I certainly agree with Binswanger when he says that the morality of sacrifice "offers one no choice other than being a looter and a looted victim". But it is completely unfair to use this fact against you.

On the basis of the above, I must say that Binswanger's memo is completely wrong and even an implicit departure from Objectivism.

Mind-body integration is one of the cardinal tenets of Objectivism, and as a corollary Objectivism rejects every single variant of the mind-body dichotomy. Thus, it rejects every dichotomy between concepts and their referents (this is just a variant of the concepts-percepts dichotomy); it rejects the "prying apart" (except for purposes of analysis) of aspects that in reality belong together; it rejects every dichotomy between principles and their actual-life applications; it certainly rejects any dichotomy between principles and consequences; it rejects every variant of the moral-practical dichotomy, which includes any dichotomy between morality and economics; it rejects the idea that one man's self-interest is in conflict with other men's interests, which includes the corollary dichotomy that self-interest is only for some certain class of people. All of those dichotomies are present in Binswanger's memo. True, they are only present implicitly (and Binswanger would certainly reject them out of hand, if they were stated explicitly). But they are there; and they are certainly close enough to the surface for me to see them.

Then why is Binswanger blind to them? Well, he says that he "wanted to be sure that [he] was not being influenced in [his] judgement by emotional considerations". He certainly cannot have freed himself from such considerations, when he wrote his memo. Actually, he is trying to derive the facts from a previously formed value judgement. And this, of course, is the opposite of the right method – which is to derive values from facts, not the other way round.

Post scriptum 2007: To pass moral (as opposed to merely intellectual) judgement on Dr. Binswanger’s memo, one has to take his own context of knowledge into consideration. Had this been written by some "newbie Objectivist", it would still have been wrong, even stupid, but it would at least be barely excusable. But Harry Binswanger is not only one of the foremost experts on Objectivism, he is in particular a foremost expert on Objectivist epistemology. This is why I stress that he should have rejected his own memo "out of hand". The epistemological mistakes in it are not innocent. His memo is simply dishonestly motivated – the motivation is one of "cheap revenge". And his assertion that he wrote it after "freeing himself from emotional considerations" has to be taken as a bald-faced lie. This, by the way, goes for the memo as a whole. Talk about "turning Objectivism into a pretzel"!

Post scriptum 2: A perceptive young man of my acquaintance observes that Objectivists in general do not shy away from using economic arguments on the grounds that "the principle of rights make them unnecessary". As one example, he gives the following quotes from Harry Binswanger's own article Immigration Quotas vs. Individual Rights. (This article is a good example of what Binswanger is capable of, when he is not dishonestly motivated.)

One major fear of open immigration is economic: the fear of losing one's job to immigrants. It is asked: "Won't the immigrants take our jobs?" The answer is: "Yes, so we can go on to better, higher-paying jobs."

The fallacy in this protectionist objection lies in the idea that there is only a finite amount of work to be done. The unstated assumption is: "If Americans don't get to do that work, if foreigners do it instead, we Americans will have nothing to do."

But work is the creation of wealth. A job is a role in the production of goods and services--the production of food, of cars, computers, the providing of internet content--all the items that go to make up our standard of living. A country cannot have too much wealth. The need for wealth is limitless, and the work that is to be done is limitless. [Emphasis added.]

My friend asks (rhetorically) from where Binswanger got this specific idea. Yes, indeed, where did he get it? The point that the need for wealth has no fixed limits is the subject matter of Chapter 2, "Wealth and Its Role in Human Life", in Capitalism: A Treatise of Economics. So what we have here is another instance of Reisman Insights without George Reisman.

Another quote from the same article:

Unemployment is not caused by an absence of avenues for the creation of wealth. Unemployment is caused by government interference in the labor market ... What is the effect of a bigger labor pool on wage rates? If the money supply is constant, nominal wage rates fall. But real wage rates rise, because total output has gone up ... The protectionist objection that immigrants take away jobs and harm our standard of living is a solid economic fallacy.

Again, where did Binswanger get this point? Well, this point about the relation between nominal and real wages - and the fact that our growing standard of living shows up primarily in lower prices - is one stressed repeatedly in Capitalism. So to whom is credit due for this point?

A careful reader will certainly object to the above and say that Binswager has done nothing but "concretizing the rights-based analysis" with his economic arguments. This objection would be true, but it would miss the point: because so does George Reisman in his health care pamphlet. Anyone who has read Reisman's pamphlet and denies this would be simply lying. And this is precisely the lie of which Binswanger is guilty in the memo I quoted.

To quote George Reisman (in a different context): "Shysterism in any form is always slippery."6)

Post scriptum June 2012: The full text of Reisman's essay can now be read at the Mises Institute's web side.

1) A few lines have been cut out, because they were unnecessary concessions to Binswanger.

2) Footnote added in June 2008: By the way, while surfing the net I came across the following quotation which makes this point in a very succinct way: “When a right is violated, you may not be able to trace out in advance the destructive consequences that will come, but you know that they will come.” The quote was attributed to none other than Harry Binswanger! Does this mean I was attacking a strawman? I don't think so. After all, the main theme of this article is that Binswanger is arguing against his own better knowledge for no better reason than that he wants to "get at" George Reisman.

3) What Binswanger writes – "Atlas Shrugged is not about how badly Eddie Willers fares under the looters' rule; it is about what happens to the Reardens" – also runs counter to Ayn Rand’s own words. Read her first notes on Atlas from January 1, 1945, in Journals of Ayn Rand, p. 390ff. Just one short quote: "The first question to decide is on whom the emphasis must be placed – on the prime movers, the parasites, or the world. The answer is: the world." Eddie Willers is neither a prime mover nor a parasite, so he has to be taken as a representative of "the world". – Perhaps Dr. Harry Binswanger ought to read the novel a little more carefully, before he proceeds to give authoritative advice on how it is to be interpreted.

4) I develop this point in an essay called George Reisman: Why Do We Need Him, part 2. (Sorry, foreigners: only in Swedish.)

5) George Reisman had written to me: "I cannot refrain from saying that I believe that [Binswanger’s] memo implies that people of average ability should be asked to accept the case for capitalism without regard for their own self-interest, which the advocates of capitalism should not feature in explaining the case for capitalism, but out of a kind of mystical, Nietzschean regard for the rights of the men of superior ability. I would be interested to learn of you too reach this conclusion." Yes, I do agree with this.

6) Capitalism, p. 958. - The context here was the 100% gold standard vs. "fractional money".

Published by : Per-Olof Samuelsson, Drakensköldsgatan 3, SE- 632 25 Eskilstuna, Sweden
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