Package Deals

Package deal kings
Flickr, Zelda Richardson

Having discussed integration in my previous post, a related concept Ayn Rand talks about is the package deal.

It’s related because a package deal is a failure of integration.

A note in Ayn’s book, Philosophy: Who Needs It, defines the related concept of package dealing (though she may not have written the note):

“Package-dealing” is the fallacy of failing to discriminate crucial differences. It consists of treating together, as parts of a single conceptual whole or “package,” elements which differ essentially in nature, truth-status, importance or value.

The Metaphysical Versus the Man Made
Philosophy: Who Needs It

Life is full of examples of package deals.

1 Conflating capitalism with evil

While bad things have been done by businesses, these acts aren’t capitalism.

In the terminology of Max Weber, capitalism is an ideal type, or a description of key features of a system, whereas for Ayn Rand it was this but more: a moral ideal, as yet unrealised.

As an analytical tool or moral ideal, capitalism isn’t hateful, reckless or destructive. On the contrary, Ayn Rand defined it as just the opposite:

Capitalism is a social system based on the recognition of individual rights, including property rights, in which all property is privately owned.

Her emphasis was on rights and property, based on the understanding that property is central to implementing other rights, since if people can’t own things, they can’t own themselves or what they produce.

2 Equating democracy with freedom

Certainly, democracy is a step up from monarchy, for example, but it still represents rule by the majority.

The freedom that a true democracy offers (rather than one just in name), is a freedom to choose among the alternatives that a political party has decided on behalf of the majority that voted for them.

A freer government, though, would be one that supported people’s choices, and kept out of most of the areas that democracies are involved in.

It wouldn’t intervene in the economy, health, sports, culture and so on, but would leave all these things to individual choice.

The only time a government would step in would be when one person initiates force against another or some other conflict of rights arises.

In this scenario, government would operate only three services: the police, the military and the law.

3 Considering economic and political power as essentially the same

This example is from Ayn Rand herself:

What is the basic, the essential, the crucial principle that differentiates freedom from slavery? It is the principle of voluntary action versus physical coercion or compulsion.
The difference between political power and any other kind of social “power,” between a government and any private organization, is the fact that a government holds a legal monopoly on the use of physical force.

America’s Persecutred Minority: Big Business
Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal

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