The Sophistry of an Objectivist

Oh man, I’m soooo drained.

I just got back from a talk on the Novelist/Philosopher by Dr. Andrew Bernstein (yeah, I looked him up…don’t laugh at me) called “The Mind as Hero”. This was a commentary on Atlas Shrugged, but I think it got a little out of hand in that respect; mostly due to the number of attendees who never read the novel or did not take it too seriously when they did read it (like myself). To be honest, I haven’t heard such fallacious bullshit since I last attended Catholic Mass… and oddly enough, this is by someone who is touting religion as an enemy of America.

I will admit that I went into this lecture as a skeptic. Ayn Rand used the word “evil” too much in her writings for me to really feel comfortable about her. Someone who uses splitting so readily really does make me nervous. However, I was honest with myself about this and really did attempt to give it a chance. When I left, I felt nothing but justified.

ANNNYWAY, this is my counter argument to his objectivist talk.

Ayn Rand, as Dr. Bernstein summarizes, stated that man’s purpose (read: the meaning of life) is to achieve personal happiness whilst retaining the ideal that man’s survival is in everyone (including your own) best interest. He stated that there are no moral dilemmas, but did not elaborate why this is never the case. He merely said that if you run a term by term comparison of the “goods” of a situation, you can derive the proper course of action for any situation.

I would like to note that this is not a new concept. In fact, Ayn Rand says nothing revolutionary. She is merely taking what has already been said millions of times over, rewrapping, repackaging it, and stating it as her own. While this may be ok if she were an actual historian, it appears as though she isn’t giving proper credit to her predecessors.

She states that there is a universal good… a set of actions that benefits all men while which also benefits herself, but doesn’t give a nod to Kantian ethics. She also states that moral dilemmas are able to be quantified by comparing relative goods and evils into their component parts. Of course, no mention of utilitarianism was said.

Objectivism, as Dr. Bernstein stated, contends with the mind/body problem by stating that the two are inseparable. Of course, no mention of materialism was heard… just good 'ol Scientolo… err objectivism. He also made no direct mention of the freewill argument, but did state that man has the right to choose. However, this does not clarify if Ms. Rand is a supporter of soft determinism or full-on free will. I assume free will, but I was left with many questions as to how she could justify this in the face of current deterministic science. Plus, it’s rare to find a materialist who supports freewill. Reductionist principles of materialism really seem to require a deterministic stance; however I won’t ignore the possibility of the two principles coexisting.

His commentary on Ayn Rand’s portrayal of the hero as a man deserving worship for “doing” is rather interesting. I, like most intelligentsia, am strongly opposed to the concept of worshiping anyone other than myself. In fact, I’m rather baffled that Dr. Bernstein supports the idea of respecting creators at the same time as he’s supporting “egoism in ethics”. It would seem to me that it would be contradictory to practice idol worship and at the same time worship yourself. The two are opposed on the most base subconscious level. If you idolize others, how can you view yourself with any level of worth? For instance, lets say I idolized Bill Gates b/c he has so much money (which, by the way, I do not). Then I would have to have more money than Bill Gates to retain value in myself. If I do not, then I am not the best. If I am not the best, then it is implied that I am inferior. Now, the problem with this is simple, not everyone can be “the best”. As a result, objectivists set in place a set of unrealistic expectations for everyone but the most elite and motivated. This means nothing more than those in power are “philosopher kings”, that those who succeed are “Herculean”, that those who represent the society merely represent the superior minority. Does the part represent the whole? Apparently, in objectivism, it not only does, but it is desired.

There is a complete lack of empathy. See, I have major issues with the Capitalist stance of the Objectivists. The problem with the free-capitalist economy that they stated is that it’s not considering that once one is at the top of what they do, there’s nothing left to do but branch out. Eliminate others, prevent competition, find loop holes, and buy officials. See, when you live in a society where the acquisition of power (remember, knowledge is powerful), then the most powerful man has nothing to do but grow his own power on his own or to acquire the power of others. This is often as the sacrifice of those less powerful. The result is the gradual coalescence of wealth into very few hands. I find this undesirable, as it leads to economic totalitarianism. This makes Capitalism self-defeating. The richest man is not necessarily a philosopher or altruistic, or heck, even a hero. He is more than likely a villain who has no appreciation for the acts of the martyrs he crushes. If you want evidence of this, look at the Capitalist nations in North America, Europe, and Asia.

Speaking of altruism, apparently it’s a bad thing. Go figure. Dr. Bernstein stated that as altruistic principles (apparently supported by ALL subjectivist philosophers, according to him) taught us that acts of kindness were reward in and of themselves. We then began to act nice to an extreme degree. This is, for some reason that I don’t agree with, exceedingly evident in the world today. I wonder how we can convince anyone to fight for our country if they are to be selfish about it. But, I’m sure this is a special application of objectivist principles that I’m missing. All I want to say is that if I’m missing it, there are probably a lot more people who are missing it too. Ahhh, the dangers of philosophy.

I also felt that calling Kant a subjective moralist who was 180 degrees of separation from Ms. Rand’s objectivist ideals showed a great abuse of terms. The objectivist moral system IS the Categorical Imperative. Sure, Kant may not have condoned egoistic ideas that Rand does, but I would hardly call him an out-and-out subjectivist. He, too, stated that rules of morality could be determined by reason. In the process he found that there was a subset of acts that could be determined as good. These were those acts that could be universally proven to be good. He stated that man should ascribe power to reason and that this power is fundamental. From the talk given, and the explanation when queried, the distinction between Rand and Kant was not made crystal clear. If anything, it was clouded more. While I’m sure most people will hear a professor open an argument with a claim such as “Kant is like Rand in so far as they are complete opposites,” and stop there, I did not. Stating that the appreciation of altruism is the difference between Kant and Rand and that egoism is not supported by Kant is NOT sufficient reason to state that they are “complete opposites”. It ignores the very fundamental premises that they both ascribe to, and they both used to derive their answers. These premises are as follows: morality can be known by reason and reason alone, there is an absolute set of ethics that is indisputable with ideal reason, ethical principles are knowable by man because man has the will to reason. It is because of this that I do not agree with the statement that Kant is the “complete opposite” of Rand.

Furthermore, there are major issues with the form of discourse during the question and answer session. Two questions were not answered at all. This is understandable. It is hard to remain on track when speaking publicly. However, almost ignoring a question as though it was stupid is not really something one would expect from a philosopher. For instance, the question posed about moral dilemmas was very good. It was unclear whether or not there is a possible situation where two options had equally distasteful results. If there is, then how do objectivists overcome this? If there is not, then what is the reasoning to explain this? Another problem is the complete lack of arguments against idealism and solipsism. The problem of solipsism may seem stupid to one Dr. Andrew Bernstein, but certain other philosophers that are heroes to many do not agree. I’m sure Sartre didn’t spend so much energy in a (self admitted) failed attempt to disprove the idea if it was “psychotic” and “ludicrous”. Perhaps it is indeed something that those in the “Looney Bin” think, but I’m not quite sure you’re able to prove to yourself that you’re not in a “Looney Bin”. I found that response to be lacking.

All in all, Dr. Andrew Bernstein is extremely knowledgeable. This much is obvious. However, I do not agree with his arguments for objectivism. I found it to be somewhat naive and extreme. I will even venture to say that Objectivism is to Capitalism what Marxism is to Socialism. While it may sound good, it lacks the proper perspective and understanding of human nature. Sure, if you can convince every single person on the planet to relinquish their dogmatic moral codes and obey reason even when it interferes with their own personal aspirations, great. Until that agreement is made, I don’t plan on forgetting that sometimes people will act selfish independent of human survival. I also won’t shun martyrs for their lack of accomplishments. Despite me being an agnostic with atheistic leanings, I cannot support the idea that Jesus is not a hero because his self sacrifice was shamefully altruistic. I find that, like all objectivists I have ever met (I have not met all objectivists, mind you), Dr. Bernstein was not really as open minded as a true philosopher should be. He seemed frustrated by subjectivism and almost hostile towards the idea that morality is inconsistently applied because it only exists in the mind of the actor. Such is his right, and I’ll defend his right to his arguments to the death, but I do not see the reason behind Ayn Rand. It’s as though it is personal opinion dressed with the word reason and packaged as real philosophy. I will do more research on the matter.

eloquent and concise. great post Raf.

[laughing]

Nice paper, Rafa.

OK, so you don’t like people that claim they can discern between good and evil? But later in your post, you don’t seem to have much problem with Jesus.

I never read or listened to Bernstein, I don’t think I have heard of him.

I disagree here. While every philosopher has their influences and has taken aspects of various philosophies to make their own philosophy (which is what every human being actually does to construct his/her own philosophy, however fully they develop it and regardless of how much they share it or push it on others) Rand did incorporate various “old concepts” with a few concepts that were original to her and constructed her own personal philosophy which was unique. Some people (many actually) liked her philosophy, and thus she became known as a philosopher (everyone is a philosopher, but not everyone creates a philosophy attractive enough that he/she becomes well-known for his/her philosophy). It’s up to an audience to decide if a person “goes down in history” as a philosopher or not. Apparently, Ayn Rand has gone down in history known as a philosopher, regardless of if she acknowledged where her ideas came from and which were her own original ideas (if any).

That sounds very opposing to what she said. She also spent several chapters in one of her books picking Kant apart and showing the errors in his philosophy, so I don’t see why she would “give him a nod.”

You say you’ve read one of Rand’s fiction books, while she wrote some dozen or so books, and thousands of articles and essays. How do you know that she never attributed any of her ideas to utilitarianism or Kant or Aristotle or Nietzsche or anyone else? Typically, philosophers who write fiction books don’t acknowledge other philosophers or philosophies in the middle of a fictional book. She did, however, show that she was heavily influenced by and respecting of Aristotle in the Introduction to Atlas Shrugged. The fact that you have read very little of her work and therefore haven’t seen her acknowledge other philosophers doesn’t mean she did not acknowledge other philosophers.

One of Ayn Rand’s friends described to me Ayn Rand’s feelings/beliefs/rationale on determinism, though I have forgotten how she explained it. She did say Rand knew and “proved” men had free will.

She also believed that smoking was not the danger that science in the 50s and 60s was beginning to show it to be. She believed that the dangers were overblown, part of some attack on big business by the government and other groups. She seemed to think it was just propaganda from a new temperance movement that was aiming to take away something that gives people pleasure, and she had good reasons for that belief (though it wasn’t “just propaganda” in this case. In history, and today, you can see where certain groups have used pseudo-science to to overstate dangers of things/substances to make those things that give people pleasure illegal (alcohol, pot, etc). Apparently when her doctor showed her an x-ray of her lung with a tumor, she immediately quit smoking, and died soon after that, and I don’t know that she ever said anything in print about being wrong on that one, although surely she must have realized she had been. Not every one of her conclusions about life was objectively arrived at, nor could they be, and I do not agree with her opinions regarding free-will even after her reasoning was fully explained to me. I can search my email for that explanation if you are interested in reading it, but I am not going to attempt to explain it now, because I simply don’t remember the whole thing and don’t want to misrepresent her.

I’m really not certain that she was a materialist. I might ponder that.

I really find it quite surprising that the commentator would think any human being is worthy of being worshipped. I am sure Ayn Rand never imparted any such idea. As far as I can remember, Rand implied or even stated that men are deserving of love or admiration for their achievements. Jesus, OTOH, stated that men are deserving of love, regardless of whether they have achieved anything whatsoever, that they are just deserving of love simply because they were born. As Marilyn Manson (probably not going to go down in history as a philosopher even though he does have a unique and interesting philosophy) says, “When you grow up in America things like Christianity waters down your feeling… When you’re taught to love everybody, taught to love you’re enemies, what value does that put on love?” Ayn Rand, IMO, seemed to think love has value, and that has to be earned, and I agree with her on that.

So in your philosophy are you the best? What difference does “being best” make? I don’t worship people, I don’t worship myself, or Ayn Rand or Bill Gates. I admire Bill Gates and Ayn Rand. I think I admire myself, too, although I am not Bill Gates equal in money-making or software-development or numerous other ways. I admire Ayn Rand although I may, taking the aspects of various philosophies that have been shared with me, create an even more accurate and usable philosophy myself. I admire many people, for the achievements they have made, whether nominal achievements or great achievements, and I think Ayn Rand had similar views. I think the idea that only those that are “the best” at something are worthy of admiration for their achievement is very non-Randian. I also think the idea that a philosophy is only viable if it let’s a person view himself as “the best” among all others is ridiculous, but seems to be what you expect from philosophy. You seem to indicate that you are superior to Bill Gates for some reason… because you have Less money.

Nope. If you would poll some objectivists, you’d find that to be inaccurate. Maybe Bernstein said that, maybe not. Maybe you misunderstood what he said. I don’t know - I wasn’t there.

I do not see how you make these conclusions, even with your faulty premise that only the best are any good.

Apparently you don’t understand the reasoning of Objectivists regarding Capitalism and monopolization and freedom. In a free-market, a monopoly is impossible, unless there are officials who create the monopoly. You can’t run a company that sells a product and eliminate all competition and sell the product at an inflated price for any length of time without the aid of the government.

You may create a company that sells a product, and does it better than anyone else… it sells a better product for a better price, and the other companies that make that type of product can not compete, and stop producing that particular product since no one buys it. That’s OK, it is optimal market efficiency. However if the company that sells the product then raises their price, as it is the only company marketing that product, other capitalists will see that there is now a chance for them to compete with that company and make a profit, so they will invest capital, and will begin selling the product for a lower price than the company that has the monopoly. Then the monopoly company no longer has monopoly and either reduces it’s price or loses business - the consumer wins. In a free market, that is not heavily regulated, which does not have policies which make it take several years for one with capital to get his company going, which does not incur numerous financial penalties on those attempting to start-up a new compnay, a competing company could be in business in a few weeks or months instead of several years, if the sole provider of a product or service raised its prices.

The current system is not captialist, it is anti-capitalist - it is not anti-monopolist, it is monopolist… because the system was allowed to introduce policies which benefitted the companies at the top, so that they could stay at the top… making it hard, and sometimes impossible, for someone with the money to step into their markets. The US was quite Capitalist when it was founded, however capitalism has been gnawed away at over the 215 years since, and more and more anti-capitalist policies have been put in place for the sole purpose of benefitting the ruling class - and always with a bunch of rhetoric rationalizing how it is “good for the people.”

In essence, it is anyone who is not capitalist who lacks empathy. Empathy for we the people who are unwittingly f*cked over continuously.

Yes, it does, but that can only happen in an unfree market, where the government “controls” (regulates) business. If business is controlled by government (which it is), and government is controlled by the ultra-wealthy (which it is), then of course the ultra-wealthy will make sure their businesses are benefitted by government actions (which they do) and of course that means preventing competition using the government (which they do), which is bad for the consumer and anyone who is not “ultra-wealthy” enough to have some control over the government. The government should not be able to control business (the answer is laissez-faire (hands (of the government) off) capitalism) and that would prevent the ultra-wealthy from controlling markets and business and thus the individuals which comprise our nation.

I am quite sure you are right about the ultra-rich rulers today being villainous types. They also crush the heroes and would-be heroes. It doesn’t make capitalism self-defeating however. It makes the pseudo-capitalism in place in the US a mockery of true capitalism and gives the ultra-wealthy complete control of everyone in the world without much chance of removing that control.

Show me a capitalist nation on any of those continents, and I will gleefully move there.

People do fight for their country(s) for selfish reasons. Fighting to protect your own so-called freedom or your family’s freedom is a selfish reason. Out of 300 million people, you should be able to find enough people who value their freedom enough to fight for it and win, if you can’t then the freedom the people value is apparently not worth that much.

Yes, it does seem like you’ve missed a lot of what Objectivism is about and have misunderstood almost everything you’ve heard about it. Maybe try reading some of Rand’s actual books about philosophy instead of her most common fictional tale. I’d recommend “For the New Intellectual” (I think that is the one where she compares her philosophy to Kant’s - maybe you aren’t the first one to mistakenly think her philosophy “sounds a lot like” his) and “Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal” to gain a better understanding of how Objectivists view capitalism (which is very similar to the way I view capitalism, and very different from how you (and most of the world) currently view it).

Is there any philosopher that is taken seriously besides religious ones (Jesus, Buddha, Mohammed, etc) who don’t have these same “premises”? That’s like saying Rand and Kant aren’t total opposites because they both “believed” humans have the capacity to be rational.

First, I agree, that is a very good question. My answer for it is not from the “Objectivist party line” if there is such a thing. But I think my answer suffices. It is very hard to make an objective decision, very hard to know everything entailed to be sure one is making the best possible (highest valued) decision. It’s very hard to weigh all possible choices without missing some factor that may change the value of each or all of the choices; ideally one can know All the ramifications of each possible choice and assess a value for each choice, but in reality, I don’t know if that is actually possible. It seems very unlikely that there could or would be a situation where the value of choice A would be Exactly the same as the value of choice B, regardless of whether every aspect is known or knowable. The idea of Objective decision-making is a little absurd on the face of it; absurd because making any Objective decision with 100% accuracy would require omniscience. However, this is the crucial part… it is different from (and superior to) subjectivist decision-making where certain factors are automatically dismissed or weighted as higher or lesser valued without a rational cause.

Sorry, I don’t particularly wish to waste my own time with this. You can read this if you’d like one Objectivist’s answer to your question about solipsism - objectivethought.com/objecti … psism.html
My quick personal answer for now is solipsism is just ludicrous and psychotic.

I disagree here. Maybe it is you who lacks the proper perspective and understanding of human nature. I’ve already seen that you completely misunderstand capitalism, venturing that the US is capitalist when it’s far from. If you can, please tell me a country you think is not capitalist and differentiate it from the so-called Capitalist United States.

I don’t necessarily agree or disagree, since I don’t understand this statement, but how does “obeying reason” interfere with one’s personal aspirations?

“Give unto Caesar what is Caesar’s.” That’s altruistic? That’s heroic?

I think it would be worth more of your time to do more research. I agree partly, sometimes Ayn Rand or other Objectivists aren’t entirely Objective themselves. There are inconsistencies and errors here and there in her philosophy, but unlike most philosophers I have read, her arguments are not strewn with gaping defects of logic.

I’ve read at least 17 Ayn rand books, and to my knowledge the only predecessor she acknowledges is Aristotle. She should have given credit to Nietzsche (whom she studied) and Herbert Spencer as well. She failed to admire man the hero in her own life as her novels would have us do.

There is something tenditious, self righteous, and intolerant about her essays (although her novels are good). In addition, her followers invariably recommend the same authors and philosophers that Ayn Rand did and they all (every one i have met) dislike Kant. This alone would qualify the phenomena as a cult. According to ‘The Ayn Rand Cult’ by Jeff Walker, Ayn Rand opposed those who did not accept the objectivist doctrine, even kicking those out who had ‘unauthorized’ books or failed to accept some part of objectivism.

I am familiar with Ayn Rand’s analysis of Monopolies and her stance on blaming all business problems on Government. Her ideas seem to rest more on political themes than on any well-thought out analysis, though.

Umm, yes? I don’t have much problem with Jesus. Nor do I have much problem with Hitler. If it weren’t for Hitler, my grandfather would never have come back from WW2, fucked my gramma, had my Ma, who 29 years later had me.

I think you’re missing the point. Good vs. Evil is speaking in absolutes. It’s removing personal judgements, as is Ayn’s goal. See? While I may not have a problem with Jesus, or Hitler, such is my right. I do have a problem with Steven Rabil down the hall, however. Such is my right… it’s called anthropocentrism.

Such as…?

And, by the way, where is her reasoning? I’m not going to accept what she says just because she wrote a book. That’s what bothers me most about her… she makes claims about how things SHOULD be, but her support isn’t from reason; her support is from her gut. Her gut doesn’t agree with me. In fact, it turns my gut.

Ok, agreed.

Eh, when I wrote this, I was looking into what she said and expressing my distain for the speaker. I’ve since educated myself a tad better. She commented (in letters mostly) about quite a few philosopher’s and their beliefs. She just doesnt refer to them directly for the most part.

This was based on the speech, if you recall. I asked for support and was given the run around. This philsophy professor did nothing but make me feel more resistant to what she had to say than anything.

How the hell does one forget proof of his own free will?

I want to see this proof. If she solved a problem that man has been contending with since he could consider the idea of determinism, I want to friggin hear it. If it’s more along the lines of “well it would be stupid to act as though you have no free will,” then I really don’t care. That’s not philosophy, that’s beliefs.

Please do. I’m very interested. If she deserves her own fucking institute of study, I wanna know why in as deep of sense possible.

I really think that fits from what I understand of her… of course my attention has since been diverted and you know MUCH more than I on the subject.

I don’t see the difference in what the commentator said and what Ayn did. Like I stated, he’s putting emphasis on man for “doing”…in other words, the person who created the new kind of steel (I’m very bad with names, sorry) was held in very high regard amongst his colleages in Atlas Shrugged for his business savy as well as his technical expertise. That’s kinda what he was saying…and what you were saying…

You’re damn skippy I am. I’m the only person I can trust, I’m the only person responsible, I’m the only person who can benefit no one other than myself. I’m the only person I know is even real. So yes, indeed, I AM the best.

The idea is that if you worship the accomplishment, (“Most intellegensia are against hero worship. I find this …upsetting. I, in fact, think we need MORE hero worship.” - Dr. Bernstein, “The Mind as Hero”) is the same as worshipping the person who accomplished something. For instance, raising Bill Gate’s accomplishments to the top of capitalistic goals and standards leave billions of entrapraneurs in a “less than Bill Gates” state. This means they are inferior. It’s the same as raising the man himself to higher standards. What is a person’s place in society if not his accomplishments? You have martyr’s and villains and the grey in between. You have to worship both the Martyr and the Villain to be absolutely objective… Ayn fails the test here.

No, because I’m in control of myself. I don’t worship apparations. Wouldn’t it be funny if you raised Bill Gates to higher standards because he has more money…only to find out he’s an android built by the Republicans in a conspiracy to hoarde as much capital into one place? You would be worshipping the puppet, wouldn’t you? It’s the same as worshipping God. Wouldn’t you feel foolish if he didn’t exist?

Worship yourself first and foremost. This way you’d never be let down to find that your object of worship was nothing more than a moniker for your failings.

Please elaborate.

I fail to see how my premise is faulty.

Soooo…ummm… looking at the real world as it is today… the government gave Microsoft the monopoly? What kind of free economy relies on anything other than the worth of money? That’s not a free economy, man.

Ohhh, this is where the computer scientist in me is screaming a thousand screams.

What, pray tell, is soooo superior about Windows? It’s been PROVEN to be inferior… The problem is they have the people, the businesses, and worst of all, the government by the balls. As a result, they are extorting TRILLIONS from the people every day. And from what? An inferior product that has become the industry standard.

No no, I’m sorry. You’re dead wrong. Raising the price on a product isnt the only problem. Rockafeller didn’t raise the price on oil. In fact, prices went down. The problem was with his branching and the fact that he eliminated competition by selling TOO low. He had tooooo much control. If you look at the analogous relationship between Standard Oil and Microsoft, it’s amazing. What new device did Rockefeller have control over by controling oil? What new device does Bill Gates have control over by controling operating systems?

Kinda see the dilema. Remember, money is a representation of POWER. When one man becomes more powerful than the entire government, we’ve got a MAJOR problem.

That’s not the problem at all. Bill Gates doesn’t even friggin NEED those benefits. He made several key contracts which made it difficult for various systems to talk to each other, he became the lowest bidder at a solution to this problem, he lied cheated and extorted his way to the top. The current system may be anti-capitalist as it doesn’t punish monopolies, but it was capitalist principles that caused the worst monopolies. In a free economy, Standard Oil would never have been broken up.

No no no, it was the capitalist policies that caused the problems in the first place. You mean to tell me that you trust business to turn down free money? That’s what happens when one person controls over 50% of an essential market material or service. It becomes like being given free money. bleh, well, this is besides the point. I’m a staunch socialist. I doubt we’ll see eye to eye.

You’re really going to have to support this one better, buddy.

Are you sure of that? I’m not. A free economy, in my mind, is one step above anarchy and a million steps below what we have now. Look at Roman Empirical economic systems. It’s very similar to what you’re talking about. It resulted in an Aristocracy that morphed into an Oligarcy.

Don’t be decieved by greed posing as philanthropy.

Let me ask you… WHY are we in the state we are if we started out as a capitalist nation?

I can tell you… when money is your only aspiration, and you find that you’ve aspired all there is to aspire for, you stop looking for the money, and start looking for what the money REPRESENTS. Money is power. When they stop wanting money, they start wanting power. The result? Whatever economy you think we have now. It’s a slippery slope but it’s proven itself true time and time again.

That was actually me taking a stab at his speech. I commented on the villainy of capitalism and he got upset and sited where the power lies…“in those capitalist nations in North America, Europe, and Asia.”

I don’t see fighting for your family and friend’s freedom as being “selfish” in the conventional sense. It’s hard to be selfish when you’re DEAD.

Ummm k… I’ll be sure to do that in a few years.

You’re fighting a straw man. The part in bold is the key. I see Randian ethics as a mere extention of the Categorical Imperative. I cannot see anything that is in the CI that would not be in the Randian ideal. The only difference is where you place your emphasis… is it goal-oriented or more just a state of being. In either case, it has very little impact if any on the ideations of right/wrong good/evil in their value systems.

UMMM WHAT? Rational cause? They all defined what rational cause was and then used that as a method of determining right or wrong. What is Randian rational cause and why is her rational cause superior to anyone else’s. That’s what I’m missing.

For instance, Mills defined evil in an act as that which brings pain. Kant did it as that which can be universally proven to be self defeating or contradictory. Neitzche said it was that which a man defines to be evil. Marx as that which society defines as evil… the point? Why is her evil and good better? I don’t see the REASON behind that… because EACH AND EVERY ONE of these men used REASON and had a RATIONAL CAUSE for their values.

Heh. Idealism, then?

Nuh uh, you’re just as naive as him.

But…for a country that is not capitalist that is different than the United States? Great Britain. North Korea. Canada. You have a strong socialist nation, then a strong communist nation, then a weak socialist nation. How do they differ? The government is the most powerful body in their closed economic system… unless you want to count Microsoft :wink: .

I dream of becoming a pop super star. I cannot sing or play an instrument or write. Reason would say, I am not supposed to be a pop star… I would be the LEAST qualified. However, through various reasons…chance…networking… nepotism… I have the opportunity to do so. Should I do it? Reason says no, in my opinion. If I do this, then what’s to stop an unqualified moron who is just the son of a powerful man or historical figure from becoming president of the U.S. or the CEO of a company or owner of a baseball team? Would those be “good”? Would those benefit the people below this person who may even be more qualified than him?

Personal aspiration vs. reason. Reason does not say that I should go for my personal aspirations if my personal aspiration is to be unreasonable, or uneducated.

“Smoking does not cause lung cancer.” That’s objective reason at work?

Jesus was a man with a set of good ideas. You’re preaching that I shouldn’t judge Ayn by her cover, but it appears as though you’re willing to commit the same sin.

What are they strewn with? I see ZERO logic? I see claims lacking sufficient support. “This should be this way, you should do this, this would be best, this is evil, this is good, this is right, this is what a hero is, this should be your personal aspirations, this is wrong, this is right, blah blah blah”. Where’s the meat… where’s the potatoes.

The problem I’ve had is that every philosopher I’ve read about… those are the first things they cover, but they are also ANSWERED easily. Kant’s ethics, answered in 10 minutes of reason, Neitz, 5 minutes of reason, Marx, 30 minutes of reason… and so on. The problem with Rand is she’s all conclusion and no premise.

Like Kant, she critiqued Nietzsche; showed her differences from Nietzsche. I would say that showing aspects of other men’s philosophies that she agrees with or disagrees with is “acknowledgement” of their work. If I remember correctly, Rand “approved” of Aristotle, meaning she had no division of opinion with the philosophical framework he constructed. It seemed as though she thought his philosophy was faultless (maybe she wrote otherwise somewhere, but I don’t recall it).

I do see some faults in his philosophy, just as I have said I see some faults in hers (her subjective opinions that were not logically, Objectively reached or proven). I think a lot of Objectivists regard Rand as faultless just as she regarded Aristotle as faultless. I think a lot of Christians regard Jesus as faultless in much the same way, and Marxists regard Marx as faultless, etc. However, Objectivism (Rand) teaches to “check your premise” and after the “honeymoon period,” I think most Objectivists begin to see the flaws in some of Rand’s ideas, whereas other philosophers or religious figures taught the opposite.

I’ve read a lot about Ayn Rand’s so-called Cult. Additionally, I have studied the phenomena of cults extensively. She had parties at her house (soirees). She hand-picked, chose who was welcome to those soirees. Since the purpose of those soirees was to discuss and thereby further define her philosophy, it was impractical to invite people who were totally at odds with her philosophy, and especially those who were totally at odds with her as a person. Essentially, she picked her friends and that is certainly no crime nor is it a “feature” of a cult.

Nor is the fact that many of those who read her books develop a certain pronounced loyalty to Rand or zealousness for Objectivism a feature exclusive to cults. That is a feature of a cult, but it is not exclusive to cults, it’s an irrational tendency of human nature to have irrational loyalty for something or someone one likes, admires or loves. Just as some people can’t dispute any of the dogma of their political party, due to their inability to be rational, doesn’t mean their party is cult. In other words, some of Rand’s self-proclaimed “followers” exhibit behaviors similar to behaviors of known cult members but this does not equate to Rand being a cult leader.

For the most part, I still dislike Kant, but not in the same way as I did after reading her dice up his philosophy. I can recall having this “Kant is the root of all evil” feeling after reading her comparison of her philosophy with his, which is something I think many Objectivists “feel.” I wasn’t being objective at that time, was reacting to emotionally to what she had said about him, rather than objectively and logically. Was that her fault or my own? I’m not sure. However, eventually, I decided I should desiminate Kant myself, which I did, and I found that I disagree with a great deal of what he says, and that as Rand implied, his major additions to philosophy were a step backward in the overall evolution of philosophy.

As for her capitalist ideas not being based on any thought out analysis, I disagree. They are based on [Istarted this reply before I went to the bar on sturday night and now it is early in the morning…]

well… hmm. based on the idea that two wrongs don’t make a right

If it is wrong (and I think it is) to use brute force to compel (force/coerce)one other person to produce for someone else (i.e. for me to force someone else to produce for Me, or for Me to produce for someone else rather than for myself), then it is wrong for an entire society to use brute force against the producers to produce for the non-producers. That might not be really technical or philosophical, but sometimes when you break things down to what they really mean, it makes a lot more sense than anything else.

Yeah, she had big problems with Christians and (:lol:) non-smokers. Good article on Objectivism as a cult.

shrugs I still don’t feel satisfied with your reply. I feel as though you’re either holding back opinions or information that I and many other could benefit from or you’re just completely bullshitting. Either way, I would definetly appreciate it if you elaborated on ALL aspects of my concerns EVEN more than you have.

I’d like to comission you to write a formal response to my concerns on Objectivism… because I’d like to hear it.

I disagree with you on Capitalism for the reasons I’ve already stated.

I agree with you on Kant… he is the soil that feeds the root of all evil.

Ayn Rand is the rain that feeds the soil that feeds the root of all evil, though.

But that’s just my opinion on evil.

Hello Rafajafar, (what does your name mean, if anything?)

I don’t blame you, since I haven’t replied to you yet! I replied to Marshall McDaniel, the post above yours. Sorry for the confusion.

Actually, I began reading your reply to my post last night (Saturday night). I had plans and had to hop in the shower and leave about 1/3 of the way through reading your post. Iwas out until 3 or 4 AM and worked at 9 AM, and haven’t had the opportunity to reply to your lengthy post just yet, haven’t even had much time to think about it, and it does require some thought. Some of your questions were very important questions, IMO. At other times you did as I do at times, went off on tangents that showed your views but did not “prove” them or even back them up very well. Anyway, I’ll have to sift through it and answer the most pertinent questions as well as I can.

And how much will this pay?!

“Because I hate capitalism and I think it’s all wrong” is not a valid reason IMO and it doesn’t actually indicate your reasons but only your opinions/feelings. You said something about capitalism being the cause of big bad monopolies like The LEGO Company, which holds over 99% of the US market share of plastic building bricks, but have failed to show how that is either “bad” or the fault of capitalism. You have said something about certain people having “too much money” and erroneously stated that money equals power, when money equals wealth, and wealth can only be viewed as potential buying-power. It seems to me that the ruler of China has both too much money and too much power, and hopefully you can explain how that is capitalism’s fault, too. Although you haven’t explained your reasons for disliking capitalism very well, I can see them: because you dislike justice and fairness; because you expect unproductive people to have anything that productive people can have. (you said - Don’t be decieved by greed posing as philanthropy. - not to worry, I wasn’t deceived by you.)

Actually, I didn’t say that is how I view Kant, now. I said that was a feeling I had for Kant after reading Rand’s critique of Kant’s contributions to philosophy. Much like your feeling for Rand, however misguided and subjective it is.

In your long post, you ended with “where’s the meat? Where’s the potatoes?” I think I told you already her meat and potatoes are in her books and you said you’d read them in a few years - that’s practical! I’ll try to answer your long post as quickly and adequately as possible, I may break my reply down into several posts depending on length. Meanwhile you could crack open one of her books, or simply type the questions you asked me, or whatever questions you have about Rand’s philosophy, in the amazing google search box and see what it finds. Or try yahoogroups or wetheliving.com objectivism mailing lists/groups if you really want people to answer your questions from an Objectivist viewpoint.

“There is a principle which is a bar against all information, which is proof against all arguments and which can not fail to keep a man in everlasting ignorance - that principle is contempt prior to investigation.” - allegedly Herbert Spencer

You seem to have that “contempt prior to investigation” (understandably, as Rand’s views are seemingly very opposite of yours) as you have admitted that you haven’t read any of her philosophy. Here is something Ayn Rand wrote, to answer a question similar to yours:

I think that line “Which is why philosophy cannot be discussed while standing on one foot” is appropos.

Another quote, which can answer the accusation that Rand runs a cult, about why she was nit-picky over who could or could not label themselves as Objectivists…

I don’t call myself an Objectivist (I am much too conceited to allow such a label attached to me).

Hence why I never just said that.

Yeah, but who makes the plastic, who makes the chemicals for plastic. The idea is with control over natural resources and essential materials for production. Your example doesn’t apply, and you damn well know it.

When’s the last time you built a Sherman tank or a nuke outta legos?

When’s the last time you built an intel infrastructure off of Quicken Pro?

Your example is a bad analogy. I never once said all monopolies are bad. I believe my final statement was that no company or group of companies should have what I deem to be undue influence over the internal workings of the government.

And every man has his price. Heh. I don’t think it’s erroneous at all. How much does it costs to kill you? About ten thousand dollars, actually. Luckily, I can’t afford a hitman. Wealth is the power represented by money. It’s the same damn thing. Money is a representation of wealth, wealth is a representation of power, money is a representation of power.

It’s not. It’s the dictatorship’s fault in conjunction with Communism. I’m a socialist republican (Chomskian Socialist). Know the difference.

Does your sophistry know any bounds?

I dislike UNFAIRNESS. Capitalism is not a merit based system…although it poses as one. You ever know that guy who got the job just because he was friends with the boss? You know how he screws up and everyone below suffers? Capitalism works out to be corporate dictatorship… one person becomes powerful, hires good people below him who may have earned their merit, but he reaps the benefit from being either social, born into it, or in the right place at the right time. It’s actually more like Feudalism in structure than anything else…economically speaking of course.

Riiiigghhhhttt. I expect unproductive people to have only what they deserve to have. You, on the other hand, expect that the people at the top are the smartest, most educated, most experienced, or most capable. looks at his president You’re living in a dream world. That just does not happen. Like I said, you’re naive.

So…let me get this straight. It’s ok for you to feel subjectively upset with Kant, but HOW DARE I express any subjective discomfort with Ayn Rand’s ideals? She is not right. End of story. There is no objective morality, there is no goal. She, and now you, are failing to prove anything other than the fact that if you write enough books, you’re going to start a following.

If you cant sum up her philosophy in three posts, then you’re inadequate and should reread her books probably. More than likely, she could sum it up in two paragraphs. I’m sorry if this is such a massive task for you to undertake, but I have managed to state what Neitzche, Kant, and Marx believed in three sentences. If you cannot do that… maybe you’ve been told you were alive but were drowned by words years ago.

I already have. Guess why I asked these questions? It’s called PROBING… Why am I probing you? So you can see the cancer that’s growing inside. I’m sorry if you get soooo upset by this. Perhaps you should just leave this post.

Seriously, I’m starting to get this odd feeling about people who read too much Ayn Rand. They all have this weird sense of, “How dare you contradict, how dare you question me” about them. It’s odd… I mean, this is the same feeling I got from Dr. Bernstein. I was very much put off by it… it’s not very open… it’s so closed minded and dogmatic. I feel the same way talking to Christians, oddly enough.

Remember, YOU responded to ME. I don’t even know who YOU are… or care. For all I know, you could be this speaker in disguise.

I assure you, my contempt came up only after investigation. In fact, it was when I talked to a few objectivists that I started to feel sick about the whole thing. You assume too much. Not very objective of you.

I never said that. In fact, I’ve said that since my post, I’ve read quite a bit of her writtings. However, I also said that I wasn’t impressed, that I easily countered her arguments because she doesn’t use reason to really derive ANY of them, and that I find her flawed and inadequate. I think her misplaced use of quotes in her favor and ONLY her favor (not showing the opposite side) is misleading, I find that, if anything, she is a propagandist more than a philosopher.

I already read this. Where? Here… yeah… Rand as a Cult. Everytime she comes up, this page pops up, too. This was already posted earlier in this thread… What? Did you assume I didn’t read it? I’ve got to assume that or I have to assume you didnt read this Rand as a Cult page.

I’m somewhat well read, I tend to be open, and I hear both sides. I’m sure it’s shocking for someone to disagree with the divine reason of Ayn Rand, but I do.

I’m not so sure you really know her reasonings, though. You play with words and fight straw men most of the time. You claim I’m not supporting my arguments… but I think I’ve done a great job considering this post is not an attack against Randian ethics… it’s attack against one Dr. Andrew Bernstein. Randian ethics are only a small part of it.

Well, wait a minute. Isn’t that kinda like Pyrrho getting upset because I same I’m skeptical about your motives? I’m sorry if she does not find anything she says up for debate or of different interpretation from her own, but oh fucking well, right? How absurd.

She’s a Capitalist…show me her Trademark or Copyright and I’ll respect it. Otherwise, she needs to stop her whiney little bitching. I think that for someone not used to conceit, she’s amazingly concieted.

Yeah, no doubt you sure as hell are.

And software is a natural resource? I saw you crying about Bill Gates terrible unfair monopoly that he connived, killed, and bribed to form. That is the monopoly you brought up, a company that produces a product which doesn’t require any special resources besides human brains, i.e. for software development, marketing, sales and implementation. My comparison of The LEGO Company to your Microsoft is completely applicable to what you were arguing, and hopefully though doubtfully you see how ridiculous your argument is. You’re saying it’s OK to have a monopoly on a product and to make gobs of money in true capitalist fashion, as long as the product is not something you are interested in buying, but if it happens to be something you are interested in buying, something you use personally, then it’s unfair and bad and unethical for someone to have a huge market-share (though not a true monopoly - Gates has tens of thousands of Successful competitors in the software-development business).

I’ve never built a Sherman tank (they’re a little dated) or a nuke outta anything.

Aw, so this is what I said above, if it’s something you want, then you deem it “unfair” but if it’s something you could care less about, like LEGO bricks, you don’t. And if a company is really, really successful, for whatever reason, then you deem that unfair, too, because their accumulation of wealth gives them “influence over the internal workings of the government” whether or not you have any particular interest in what that company produces. That’s very typical, every anti-trust case that has occured, occured after the DOJ/Antitrust division propagandized and quite easily convinced the people that the companies they were attacking were evil and were somehow cheating them (the people) by appealing to people’s greed, ignorance and fear. You’ve been propagandized against Microsoft (not to mention every corporation on the planet) for years by the government (and media), at the behest of those with influence over the inner workings of government (and media) (try Chomsky: Manufacturing Consent); you think you are a free thinker, but can’t even see through the propaganda trap that has been set for you. If you take a look at history, the successful companies that get continuously hounded by the DOJ aren’t the old-money companies (the more dire, government sponsored monopolies, where competition truly is impossible due to regulation, that have been happily catering to (ripping off) the American public for years, they’re just the successful companies that have diverted money from the “ordinary flow of wealth” from the bottom (producers) to the top (rulers).

Flow of dollars… everyday billions of dollars worth of wealth are created by human production (labor/work). That wealth doesn’t just sit in bank accounts or stockings, it floats to the top (the rich get richer, and that’s where it ends up staying, except that they find new ways to turn their (billions of) dimes into dollars) - people go out and pay their bills, buy their groceries, buy their meds and see their doctors for whatever ails them, and give a big chunk of the wealth created daily to the government (in “capitalist USA” today, that’s about 50% of the wealth made - in “oh so much more socialist” Europe today, it’s about 50% of the wealth made, too). The primary difference between the socialist European countries and socialist America is how the taxes are spent… in Europe the majority of the redistributed wealth goes to the unproductive and undeserving, the minority going to the productive and undeserving (i.e. welfare to the rich), whereas in the US the majority of redistributed wealth goes to the productive and undeserving (the rich, primarily via the war machine, MIC), with the minority going to the unproductive and undeserving… in any case, the wealth is redistributed from those who produce it to those who don’t deserve it. In both cases it is the socialist principle of “redistributing wealth from the deserving to the undeserving” that is responsible, not the extinct capitalist principle of “the producer of wealth is entitled to the fruit of his own labor.”

Your point is moot. Every man has his price regardless of the economic or political system he is a part of. The whole purpose of government is to, by creating and enforcing laws, protect men from other men using their power in an illegitimate way. It’s your opinion that men “with too much money” should have that money stripped away even if they have not used their power in an illegitimate way, because “they could.” According to your reasoning, if knowledge is power, you should seek to have all the knowledgeable people locked away, so that they don’t use their power in an illegitimate way, because even if they have not, “they could.” Likewise if superior intelligence is potentially more powerful than mediocre intelligence, then all the high IQ people, like yourself, should be locked away, whether they have used their power in an illegitimate way or not, because “they could.” According to you, the govt should “make sure” people don’t get too much money (too much power) and to carry this further in my analogies, the government should make sure that no one gains too much knowledge or is too intelligent, because they may become too powerful.

Also, connections are power. Where it would cost you $10,000 that you don’t have to have me killed, it would cost me the price of a rent a car for a few days, to have you killed. Luckily for you, I have better ways to spend $120. Not to mention that I don’t have any desire to see you dead. Glad you think so highly of me, though. I guess in your Utopia, the ideal government would have everyone who is left after eradicating the rich ones, the smart ones and the knowledgeable ones in little individual cells, unable to make connections, and robots would oversee the whole thing.

Hey, at least we agreed on something! Slow progress. The difference of what? A communist and a Chomskian socialist? The only Chomsky (click it, you’ll like it) I am familiar with is an anarcho-libertarian, very similar to myself.

Oh, connections again. This happens regardless of policital or economic system. You take things that you see as faults of human nature and say they are faults of capitalism (you did it above too, saying everyone has a price). You don’t explain how the sentences just quoted “prove” the following:

This happens regardless of political or economic system. You call me naive but you seem very prone to only seeing what you want to see. Obviously, to you, there should be no reward for “being in the right place at the right time.” The guy who invented the wheel didn’t deserve anything for his discovery, because after all, someone else would have eventually thought of it, maybe 500 years later, maybe 500,000 years later. Also, obviously, to you, a person who is born with money, or has connections, or is in the right place at the right time will indubitably misuse his potential-power in some evil way. Rich people are evil - bible says so.

True, it is similar to feudalism, but “being like feudalism” and “being feudalism” are two different things. Socialism, communism and fascism are in fact forms of feudalism, not merely “like feudalism” - in that the members of the ruled society are considered property of the (rulers of the) society (i.e. subjects (slaves)) verses being autonomous sovereigns who participate with/in society.

Which is what they have produced; which if they are “unproductive” by definition means they have produced nothing, which means they deserve nothing. Which is what capitalism says they are “entitled” to. You claim that they deserve “something” for “nothing.” Your claim is unfair to those who are productive, though you said enthusiastically “I dislike UNFAIRNESS.” Maybe you can not see it, but that is a contradiction. Your purportedly philanthropic view of “giving (something you yourself did not produce) the unproductive (the vague) what they deserve” is greed on your part, wanting to control someone (the person who produced it) else’s property as if it were your own.

I do? I said that? The US claims to be a “meritocracy” but it’s not. The US claims to have a capitalist economic system, but it doesn’t. I did make the mistake of believing those myths at one time… before I finished high school. I expect that wealth is something that can only be generated legitimately by producing something of value to other men - those “at the top” would be those who produced the most value for other men. I recognize that many men “at the top” today are not men who have gotten to their position legitimately - they have used every tool at their disposal, from government policies to communications to funny banking schemes to defraud and enslave the productive people.

Maybe you’ve said it twice, but I only remember this one instance of you calling me naive, regardless, I’m hardly naive. There is very little difference between:
1 - a system of government (political system) where the Church runs the state, and by paying money to monks for a Papal Bull, the wealthy can have governmental policy altered to suit their desires and
2 - a system of government where by paying money to various lawyers/lawmakers the wealthy can have governmental policy altered to suit their desires.

That is a flaw in the system of government (political system), not a flaw of “being wealthy” or a flaw of an economic system such as capitalism or socialism or communism. The “problems” (which obviously do exist) that you ascribe to capitalism are flaws in the political system (e.g. pay money = get law changed to your liking) which is a flaw of every political system that has ever existed. I don’t see you doing anything about that - your only solution is to make sure no single person (or group) acquires enough wealth to exploit that flaw, which is doomed to failure since people will always pool their wealth together to change things to their liking, unless you prevent people from acquriing wealth altogether, which is also doomed to failure, because people like to own stuff and which still, even then, won’t prevent people from utilising the other forms of power (knowledge (or quackery that looks like knowledge, i.e. sophistry) and connections) to alter laws to their liking.

Yeah, Darwin’s not right either, say those who oblige themselves to remain ignorant. BTW, you did dare (no one prevented you) to express subjective dislike for Ayn Rand, and I pointed out that it was subjective, just as I pointed out that I had been subjective towards Kant. With raising your viewable voice, it’s implied that I was somehow hypocritical or “wrong” to point out your subjectivity. You make her sound like Jesus, who failed to prove anything, but if enough books are written by/about him, he amassed a following. As it is, I didn’t respond to this thread to “prove Ayn Rand right.” I responded because there were several assertions by you, or that you claim by Bernstein, which were very opposing and different from what Ayn Rand actually wrote and said. I disputed those for your own edification. I also said I would reply to the questions you originally posed to me, but I have not done so yet, I shouldn’t have gotten the posts out of order, but I did.

I’ve already summed up her philosophy, in my own words, and in her own words. Also, your summations of those fellows were oversimplified to the point of meaninglessness.

What makes you think I am upset? Cancer inside? Gee thanks, you’ve really shown me how I am just all wrong and that some disease has the best of me. Besides showing me that you think I am naive and all wrong and quite worthy of insults and that you have a venomous disdain for all things Randian, you haven’t shown me anything, except maybe your personal stubborness and a desire to remain ignorant.

Do I? Are you sure? How dare you say that. Actually I get that not-so-odd feeling around people who read too much of the Bible, too much Chomsky, too much Rand, too much Newsweek, too much Limbaugh, too much of anything if their viewpoint is very narrow and if their ideas are misguided due to lack of life experience and knowledge.

Cave ab homine unius libri (beware the man of one book)

I feel the same way talking to Christians as I do talking to you. I feel the same way talking to any brainwashed, uninformed cult member sap that thinks he knows it all. Maybe the feeling is mutual.

Likewise I don’t know who you are. You said at the end of your essay that you would do more research on the matter. I tried to point out where, in my opinion, you, or that speaker, were misrepresenting Ayn Rand - I thought that would be conducive to your research. I certainly wasn’t trying to defend Bernstein, and not particularly trying to defend Ayn Rand’s personal philosophy but was attempting to show that it had been misconstrued. At the same time, I disagreed with some of your economic ideas and argued those on my own behalf. We have more than one argument going here. I think our argument about capitalism verses other economic systems should move to a topic of it’s own elsewhere, if it’s to continue. I am going to post Ayn Rand’s “proof” of free will in another thread, too, because someone was interested in it. In this thread I am only going to attempt to to answer the questions you pose(d) about Ayn Rand or Objectivism. You responded with a lot of questions that I said it would take me some time to answer, and I provided alternative means for you to get those answers - which I thought might be more useful to you, since those places I mentioned have Objectivists, unlike myself, who “ought” to be much better at answering the questions about their philosophy than I am.

I don’t assume (another word for believe i.e. take on faith) very much at all. You said you’ve only read one of her books… it’s not an assumption to say you have not done much investigation. I’ve listened to some of her speeches, read several of her books, dozens of her articles and essays, as well as several that critique her and several (hundreds) articles/webpages that purport to refute her reasoning, that’s investigation. Marshall said he read 17 of her books, that’s investigation. You said you have read one, which happened to be a fiction book, not a book on philosophy, and that does not constitute a thorough investigation to me. There was no assumption on my part. That’s no reason to jump down my throat or to remind me that I responded to you, which is entirely irrelevant or to suggest that I am Dr. Bernstein, which is also irrelevant.

Apparently I made a mistake, which is not an assumption, and could be considered worse. I thought you said that Atlas Shrugged was the only book of hers you read, and I also did not see that you had read anything by her since - that was probably in the huge post that I skimmed over that I said I would respond to as time permits, and it doesn’t seem to be permitting very much with all this extra dialogue.

I am at a loss as to what you are referring to.

I didn’t assume one way or the other whether you had ever read what I quoted before. I offered it as “something Ayn Rand wrote, to answer a question similar to yours.” I also didn’t assume whether you had read the skeptic’s “cult accusation” or not. I’ve read/skimmed it a few times over the years, and more similar to it, though not since it was posted in this thread.

Well now, that’s a very strange assumption; it’s not shocking at all, it’s extremely common. I have not yet met one commie shitbag that could tolerate Rand in the least or who could agree with her on anything and I have met a lot of commie shitbags. It’s too bad she didn’t make a book called “The Virtue of Not Commiting Suicide.” :stuck_out_tongue:

You never know, but you act like that’s important. You act like “everything Rand says is wrong” because “I don’t see the reasoning behind it” and in good circular fashion, if “this guy can’t show me the reasoning” then that means “everything Rand said is wrong.”

No need to resort to such unseemly language. She didn’t say nothing she says is up for debate, did she? If you can’t read I don’t know if I will be able to help you. I’ll try though - her reasoning is similar to Coca-Cola Co not wanting makers of non-Coca-Cola to bottle stuff and put the name Coca-Cola on the bottle.

Whoa, you really are having reading difficulties… Ayn Rand said, “I am much too conceited.” Not sure where you got the “not used to conceit” from, you must think she is selfless, too. I’m sure everyone of her books is copyrighted, and I am not sure if she was able to trademark the word Objectivism; not many have been able to trademark single words. You don’t mask your vitriol for Ayn Rand very well. That hostility must mean something.

And proud of it! … You’re one to talk :confused:[/url]

I’ll let the cult thing go for now, i really don’t have enough information and the point is not entirely germane.

dictionary.com:
acknowledge
To admit the existence, reality, or truth of.
To recognize as being valid or having force or power.

To express recognition of: acknowledge a friend’s smile.
To express thanks or gratitude for.
To report the receipt of: acknowledge a letter.
Law. To accept or certify as legally binding: acknowledge a deed.

I don’t think using someone’s ideas in print clarifies as acknowledging someone. Even the polemical Nietzsche frequently expressed admiration for people like Schopenhauer, Voltaire, and others in print. Ayn Rand used other’s ideas and tried to pass herself off as the most intelligent woman on earth. Good marketing, but bad for intellectual honesty. But did she attract a lot of hitherto uninterested people to philosophy through this shady tactic.

Do you agree with this, why or why not?

Morality can be known by reason and reason alone- I could agree with that. You can define if someone is good by what he does and why he does it. If it is just then it could be moral, you just have to truly think it over, try to be free of your own biest opinion.

There is an absolute set of ethics that is indisputable with ideal reason- I don’t think I understand that. I never really thought there was an absolute set of ethics. Maybe if you use reason, like he did it to feed his family, then what ever he did was morally correct even if he killed a cow or stole the fish.

ethical principles are knowable by man because man has the will to reason- I don’t think we have the will to reason, saying there’s absolute ethics would be going against objectivism.

Anyways I was having some problem understanding that part, but I think I got it but I disagree because I don’t think we have the will to reason. Maybe not even free will.

“Ahhh, the dangers of philosophy”