Re: the charity thing. Richard North raised a similar concern on the EU Referendum board—I include his sentence and my reply.That [Ayn Rand] opposed private charity as well is a separate issue and one on which I part company with the lady.
OK, I have only read Atlas Shrugged, but as a manifesto of beliefs it is pretty comprehensive.
From that, I would not say that Rand opposed private charity, but that she opposed charity for certain reasons. You should give to charity if you yourself take value from the act of giving; however, it is incumbent upon you to assess those who you are giving charity to. If you give them charity because the person to whom you are giving demands your charity as a right, and they are unwilling to stir themselves but are merely content to live off alms, then it is wrong to give to them. It is wrong to give to those in these circumstances, regardless of your personal motives, because your charity will trap them in a cycle of evil because they will then never have to bestir themselves to live by their own talents and hard work -- a situation that Rand believed to be absolutely immoral.
If, however, your charity will improve their lot or you give because that person has given you value (they are a friend, or have performed some past service), then you can give to them -- as long as you wish to do so. You should not do so because you feel guilty about it, but because your charity will help them to reclaim their lives and to make more of themselves through their own efforts.
That, at least, is my reading of her views; and, given the amount talked and written about, for instance, the Benefits Trap, it seems an entirely reasonable stance to take.
Furthermore, you admit that the act of "helping people out often is in your own self interest- what better way to get the community to see you as a good person".
What Rand argued, as I understand it, was that you should not do it purely for your own interest. It might make you feel better to support someone on charity, but they then cannot get a job because they have been on support for so long (a big gap in working is one of the prime reasons for CV rejections) and you have thus impoverished yourself and harmed the other person by denying—or at least facilitating—their wasted potential.
As for the idea that Rourke court speech was a defence of patents... That's bollocks. Like Rearden, Rourke had actually made something and, when it was defaced, he destroyed it.
You might not understand this concept—I find that those who are not artists usually don't. However, I like to consider myself an artist in my vainer moments, and I would be seriously upset if someone took one of my pieces of work and bastardised it.
This is actually why, in many cases, artists tend to support IP instinctively: not because of the money factor (you'll find that it is the artists' backers, the music companies, etc. who squeal most about that), but because the idea of someone taking your carefully crafted work and then ruining it is painful.
The above is not, of course, an argument for IP—but you should not dimiss IP without considering it. That goes for you too, Charlotte [Gore—who also left a comment]: how would you feel if I copied your blog design absolutely but, instead of cats with glowing eyes, I put cats with glowing vaginas? And put signs in their hands saying "Rape is fun!" And kept the name "Charlotte Gore" at the top of the blog?
In application, IP is a difficult one to apply—I had a long discussion about it with a new member of LPUK on Saturday. But, since you are talking in practicalities, there is nothing wrong with the state protecting IP—just as there is nothing wrong with the state protecting physical property. As I said to you on Twitter, why is it wrong to steal a computer, but not wrong to steal the ideas that made it possible?
If you say it is because society gets richer, you are acknowledging the practical can override the philosophical and then your objection to state protection of property is on shaky ground too.
I could go on although, as I also said on Twitter, this is one of those subjects on which I have to be convinced either way. But I'll let you respond first...
Posted here for reference: I shall also post any reply. However, IP is a tricky one, I think—and a subject that I have had a number of conversations over in the last few weeks...