Sorry, this is a bit of a ramble here. I'm rubbish with philosophy, hence the poor structure of this post. Both in terms of my actual knowledge about different approaches, and my fluid ability to consider aspects of each.
But it's always interesting to encounter philosophically relevant issues arguments in the real world. I spotted on another forum, the other day, an otherwise reasonable-sounding chap espousing the idea that people of certain races shouldn't be allowed to in certain restaurants at the owner's discretion, and that Governments should have no legal precedent to step in on these things. This came out of a debate about the smoking ban: the idea that it's wrong for the government to legislate on what happens privately owned property, all that stuff. His argument was that market forces should self-regulate, in that the 'users' of a market create a kind of bottom-up system of morality, rather than a top-down one created out of ideals.
Obviously, he took a lot of flak for this. He was called a racist, scum, an idiot. He was using arguments from philosophical systems I was completely unaware of: objectivism and libertarianism. Unlike most people you could class as typical 'racists,' who generally (I presume) have ill-considered, emotional reactions to people of other races, he was expressing racially-dubious ideas about the world drawn from a wider phiosophy. Is this possible? Can you have a 'rational' racist in this day and age? I don't think so; I would imagine that if my 'chosen' belief system led me to these ideas, I would want to change it. Your emotions have to sync up with your beliefs, so to speak.
I think I deserve a fair few tl;dr posts for this, but it gets me thinking: I class myself as fairly liberal, very individual-psychology/personal-development-minded person, but I find many of the other aspects of Objectivism repulsive. Is it enough that I have my own mish mash of principles, or do you 'follow' a system of beliefs?