Marcus

Why Objectivism is Not An American Philosophy

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Marcus    0
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Objectivism is an American philosophy - Peikoff
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On it's face, this statement couldn't actually be any more false. To think a philosophy created by a Jewish woman who was an immigrant with a thick Russian accent as fundamentally American seems absurd. As you look deeper, you find it to be even more untrue.

In America, no matter how many copies of Atlas Shrugged are sold every year, Objectivism is relegated to the status of a fringe philosophy. And despite even this fringe status, it is attacked viciously by both the left and the right in the media on an almost seemingly daily basis. It is not respected, or even properly understood by the average American. If Objectivism is a fundamentally American system of ideas, why so much animosity towards it?

Every indication in America life tells us we are going in the opposite direction to the Objectivist ideal. In economics, the public wants more state interventions in the economy, tariffs on China, monopoly busting and higher taxes on the rich, in politics, it wants the "lowest common denominator" type of person win, i.e. persuasive, popular hucksters or borderline criminals to sell them platitudes and vulgar jingoistic rhetoric, not well reasoned policy. In ethics, it wants some combination or variation thereof of pragmatism or altruism. In metaphysics/epistemology, most Americans believe in God, angels, demons , skepticism/cluelessness, something for nothing, (see economics), racial stereotypes and other silly and irrational concepts not befitting a generally civilized society. Americans believe these things far more than even Europeans do.

If is was not clear to you by that America philosophically is actually one of the furthest countries from Objectivism, (and this has been true for some time) it should be now. America is a country literally held by the "string" of it's original founding documents and legal system, that prevent it plunging face-first into barbarism, poverty and irrationality. In other words, America is a country held on by it's past, not it's future. Objectivism, is not an American philosophy per se and most Americans do not like Objectivism very much. In truth to call Objectivism "American" is far too gracious a statement, Americans don't really have a coherent philosophy. Though it is a "western" philosophy in the tradition of Aristotle. If anything, it's a Russian-Jewish philosophy that was imported to America, like so many other ideas. 

Discuss.  
 

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BaalChatzaf    0
4 minutes ago, Marcus said:

 

 

Americans believe these things far more than even Europeans do.If is was not clear to you by that America philosophically is actually one of the furthest countries from Objectivism, (and this has been true for some time) it should be now.
 

Americans  are very likely to ask  "Philosophy --- who the fuck needs it?"   Americans are a practical and fairly short sighted lot. 

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jts    0

The relationship between the American way of life (the way it was) and Objectivism is like the relationship between GNU and Linux.

In 1983 Richard Stallman began work on GNU (GNU is not Unix). This was a free software replacement for Unix. It included everything except the kernel. In 1991 Linus Torvalds released the first version of Linux. This was a free replacement for the Unix kernel. In 1993 the 2 came together GNU+Linux  and they were a perfect fit and everybody calls it Linux.

The American way of life was good but it was lacking a philosophy. Objectivism is that philosophy. The 2 of them together are a perfect fit.

Ayn Rand was a Russian by birth, an American by choice, and a better American than most Americans who were born in America.

 

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RobinReborn    0
5 hours ago, Marcus said:

 

If is was not clear to you by that America philosophically is actually one of the furthest countries from Objectivism, (and this has been true for some time) it should be now.
 

 

What country is closer to Objectivism than the USA?

 

I'm not sure if it's appropriate to ascribe philosophies to countries, individuals have philosophies, countries don't.  Most individuals don't have coherent philosophies.  The existence of the USA as the world's super power and the speed at which its economy has grown is strong support for the validity of Objectivism.

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Marcus    0

 

50 minutes ago, RobinReborn said:

 

What country is closer to Objectivism than the USA?

 

I'm not sure if it's appropriate to ascribe philosophies to countries, individuals have philosophies, countries don't.  Most individuals don't have coherent philosophies.  The existence of the USA as the world's super power and the speed at which its economy has grown is strong support for the validity of Objectivism.

Going by that logic I guess communist China (a growing superpower) also qualifies as "close to Objectivism"?

Most of the growth in the American economy occurred during its freest period (1800's) which further underlies my point. America is today sailing off of the past. America today is technologically stagnant, with low GDP growth rates, high taxes, and endless state interventions and programs.

Countries have cultures and individuals follow cultural rules and ideas. We don't live in a cultural vacuum devoid of the influence of others. Observing simple trends in society you can get a general sense of what ideas people do or don't accept. It's quite clear that Objectivism is not well liked or accepted within the American ideascape.

The people of America are nowhere near close to Objectivism. The constitution and early founding documents which we rely upon to run our society is. That is the difference and the only reason America is still a relatively wealthy, functioning country. 

 

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Brant Gaede    1

Will someone write something I can agree with?

--Brant

I just did so don't say I didn't

(more to come when I can come)

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BaalChatzaf    0
9 hours ago, Marcus said:

 

The people of America are nowhere near close to Objectivism. The constitution and early founding documents which we rely upon to run our society is. That is the difference and the only reason America is still a relatively wealthy, functioning country. 

 

The pre-civil war Constitution did nothing to prohibit Slavery.   It took 650,000 dead  and 1.5 million maimed  to finally put an end to Slavery. 

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Peter    0

Address To The Graduating Class Of The United States Military Academy at West Point, New York - March 6, 1974 . . . . In conclusion, allow me to speak in personal terms. This evening means a great deal to me. I feel deeply honored by the opportunity to address you. I can say--not as a patriotic bromide, but with full knowledge of the necessary metaphysical, epistemological, ethical, political and esthetic roots--that the United States of America is the greatest, the noblest and, in its original founding principles, the only moral country in the history of the world. There is a kind of quiet radiance associated in my mind with the name West Point--because you have preserved the spirit of those original founding principles and you are their symbol. There were contradictions and omissions in those principles, and there may be in yours--but I am speaking of the essentials. There may be individuals in your history who did not live up to your highest standards--as there are in every institution--since no institutions and no social system can guarantee the automatic perfection of all its members; this depends on an individual's free will. I am speaking of your standards. You have preserved three qualities of character which were typical at the time of America's birth, but are virtually nonexistent today: earnestness--dedication--a sense of honor. Honor is self-esteem made visible in action.

 

You have chosen to risk your lives for the defense of this country. I will not insult you by saying that you are dedicated to selfless service--it is not a virtue in my morality. In my morality, the defense of one's country means that a man is personally unwilling to live as the conquered slave of any enemy, foreign or domestic. This is an enormous virtue. Some of you may not be consciously aware of it. I want to help you to realize it.

 

The army of a free country has a great responsibility: the right to use force, but not as an instrument of compulsion and brute conquest--as the armies of other countries have done in their histories--only as an instrument of a free nation's self-defense, which means: the defense of a man's individual rights. The principle of using force only in retaliation against those who initiate its use, is the principle of subordinating might to right. The highest integrity and sense of honor are required for such a task. No other army in the world has achieved it. You have . . . .

 

Ayn Rand, "What is Capitalism" Capitalism: the Unknown Ideal, p. 19

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

 

The recognition of individual rights entails the banishment of physical force from human relationships: basically, rights can be violated only by means of force. In a capitalist society, no man or group may initiate the use of physical force against others. The only function of government, in such a society, is the task of protecting man's rights, i.e., the task of protecting him from physical force; the government acts as the agent of man's right of self-defense, and may use force only in retaliation and only against those who initiate its use; thus the government is the means of placing the retaliatory use of force under objective control. end quote

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Marcus    0
1 hour ago, BaalChatzaf said:

The pre-civil war Constitution did nothing to prohibit Slavery.   It took 650,000 dead  and 1.5 million maimed  to finally put an end to Slavery.

Slavery is an evil institution that should have never occurred in this country. But it did tragically. Slavery aside, the constitution is the foundation on which the unity and prosperity of America is built. The "people" get in the way half of the time. The other half doesn't care.

 

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Peter    0

Marcus wrote: Slavery is an evil institution that should have never occurred in this country. But it did tragically. Slavery aside, the constitution is the foundation on which the unity and prosperity of America is built . . . . end quote  

Thank goodness. We should have followed the moral lead of former slave owning country, England, who we are most like. Consider what is now called the Free World. It is smaller, though more prosperous than the Un Free World, even if China and Russia are added into the unfree column. I really thought the internet would have freed more countries by now and loosened up the totalitarianism in China and Russia. Are more countries becoming freer as time passes? What is the trend? How can we Objectivists improve our efforts?  

I was once discussing with someone what would have happened if the Civil War had not happened? What would have happened if The South had won? How long would slavery have continued? Would it be around today?

My own speculation, is that if The Civil War had not occurred or if The South had won, slavery would have been abolished around the time women gained their lawful right to vote. However, I can also conclude that black folks would not have equal rights “under the law” today if history had been different. It is possible the separate but equal law would be the general law of the land.

And my own conviction is that today or after the 1970’s, black folks have had equal rights in America. Disparities in arrest rates have to do with actions not policies or racism. Segregation in housing is voluntary. And segregation in housing is due to income disparities because of IQ, education, and the drive to succeed so it is not really segregation at all.

Any perceived or experienced racism today is constantly being dispelled by black commentators like Thomas Sowell and Walter Williams as well as by people in positions of authority as are found on school boards, other governmental entities and businesses.

Peter   

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Marcus    0

^ Hey look guy, dispense with the race/IQ nonsense. This is not the thread for that and no one asked you to bring it here. You think you can slickly insert your racist narrative where it is neither needed nor wanted. I don't care about your opinion of blacks, slavery or anything not related to this thread.

 

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RobinReborn    0

@Marcus, China has adopted more freedoms in the past 20 years which has increased its superpower status.  Still its population is about four times that of the US and historically it has been a superpower in the past so I don't see how you can take my comment as endorsing China.

 

Still, you can't name a country which is closer to having an Objectivist philosophy than the USA.  In the grand scheme of things Objectivism is a marginal philosophy which has never had much success in any country, but has been somewhat successfully practiced by some individuals.

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Brant Gaede    1
9 hours ago, Marcus said:

^ Hey look guy, dispense with the race/IQ nonsense. This is not the thread for that and no one asked you to bring it here. You think you can slickly insert your racist narrative where it is neither needed nor wanted. I don't care about your opinion of blacks, slavery or anything not related to this thread.

 

Why do you think you own this thread?

If you object to a post quote it and object.

I assume you're chasing Peter with your broom. Personally, I take issue with his last paragraph.

--Brant

"race/IQ nonsense" isn't nonsense (I think it's greatly cultural for blacks and that their average IQ  would now be much higher except they're still the victims of [modern] slavery instigated by the Democrats with their 1960s "Great Society" and continued by both parties in somewhat different ways today now coming for us all)

the average IQ is 100--the average IQ of Jews is 110

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Brant Gaede    1

 

On 7/31/2017 at 3:53 PM, Marcus said:

 

On it's face, this statement couldn't actually be any more false. To think a philosophy created by a Jewish woman who was an immigrant with a thick Russian accent as fundamentally American seems absurd. As you look deeper, you find it to be even more untrue.

In America, no matter how many copies of Atlas Shrugged are sold every year, Objectivism is relegated to the status of a fringe philosophy. And despite even this fringe status, it is attacked viciously by both the left and the right in the media on an almost seemingly daily basis. It is not respected, or even properly understood by the average American. If Objectivism is a fundamentally American system of ideas, why so much animosity towards it?

Every indication in America life tells us we are going in the opposite direction to the Objectivist ideal. In economics, the public wants more state interventions in the economy, tariffs on China, monopoly busting and higher taxes on the rich, in politics, it wants the "lowest common denominator" type of person win, i.e. persuasive, popular hucksters or borderline criminals to sell them platitudes and vulgar jingoistic rhetoric, not well reasoned policy. In ethics, it wants some combination or variation thereof of pragmatism or altruism. In metaphysics/epistemology, most Americans believe in God, angels, demons , skepticism/cluelessness, something for nothing, (see economics), racial stereotypes and other silly and irrational concepts not befitting a generally civilized society. Americans believe these things far more than even Europeans do.

If is was not clear to you by that America philosophically is actually one of the furthest countries from Objectivism, (and this has been true for some time) it should be now. America is a country literally held by the "string" of it's original founding documents and legal system, that prevent it plunging face-first into barbarism, poverty and irrationality. In other words, America is a country held on by it's past, not it's future. Objectivism, is not an American philosophy per se and most Americans do not like Objectivism very much. In truth to call Objectivism "American" is far too gracious a statement, Americans don't really have a coherent philosophy. Though it is a "western" philosophy in the tradition of Aristotle. If anything, it's a Russian-Jewish philosophy that was imported to America, like so many other ideas. 

Discuss. 

What is the country closest to Objectivism?

--Brant

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Marcus    0

@Brant Jews are not a race thus you cannot really measure their IQ accurately as a group. If Jews are a race does that make Hispanics a "race"? No proper definition is ever given of exactly what constitutes a "Jew" whenever anyone makes any claims about "Jewish IQ".

There are Jewish groups from all over the world, including black Ethiopian Jews.

Second blacks are not really a monolithic group either. They come from various tribes and a geneticist will tell you they are the most diverse subset of humanity. If IQ has a genetic basis you will get wildly different scores and results. Can you compare Nigerians who seem to make up X percentage of Harvard with a Congolese and then lump them all into the same group?

So in short, yes, it's nonsense. Done speaking on this as this is not the topic of this thread.

 

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Marcus    0
53 minutes ago, Brant Gaede said:

 

What is the country closest to Objectivism?

--Brant

 

If I had to choose one country I would say Hong Kong (not China). Consistently ranked in the top 5 on every freedom index every year, low rates of religiosity, tremendous work ethic. By every conceivable metric they are far closer to Objectivism than Americans are. Whereas Americans seem to be getting lazier, dumber, more entitled and less free every year they seem to be going in the opposite direction.

After that maybe Australia or Switzerland.

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Brant Gaede    1
6 hours ago, Marcus said:

 Done speaking on this as this is not the topic of this thread.

I'll respect that.

--Brant

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Let's start by identifying where the Peikoff quote came from.

I'm not in the habit of defending Leonard Peikoff, but if one is going to bash him, it would be a good idea to bash what he wrote and not something made up or gleaned from someone else.

I started by typing the following phrase into Google in quotes since the OP presented this as an exact quote from Peikoff: 

"Objectivism is an American philosophy"

Guess what? The phrase does come up and so does Peikoff's name. But look where--a libertarian blog with a discussion of Peikoff's book, Objectivism: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand). See here:

20140621 OBJECTIVISM

The blogger does not give his name (or if he did, I couldn't find it). But he did say on his "About Me" page that he is not young and is a Russian immigrant, and even served in the Soviet army at one time. He declared great love of America, but the point is, English is obviously not his original language. Look at the entire paragraph where the quote came from. The blogger is summarizing "Epilogue: The Duel Between Plato and Aristotle" from OPAR.

Quote

The final thought is that Objectivism is an American philosophy and being country without precedent America may eventually embrace it creating prosperity much greater the ever before.

In other words, discounting the English mistakes, these are not Peikoff's words. They are the words of a blogger summarizing his understanding of Peikoff.

Since that is the only Google result giving the phrase, "Objectivism is an American philosophy," and it is about Peikoff's book, it's a pretty good guess that this is where the OP's quote came from.

Now let's look at what Peikoff actually wrote in his Epilogue:

Quote

Objectivism is preeminently an American viewpoint, even though most people, here and abroad, know nothing about it. It is American because it identifies the implicit base of the United States, as the country was originally conceived.

That makes hash out of the OP's critique. And that also means that the OP attributed words and an idea to Peikoff that are not his, then bashed Peikoff for it, then postured as if he runs this place.

Gimme a break!

Come on, Marcus.

You can do better than that.

Take a deep breath, get a grip, then use your brain. You have a good one, so use it.

Michael

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Brant Gaede    1
6 hours ago, Marcus said:

 

If I had to choose one country I would say Hong Kong (not China). Consistently ranked in the top 5 on every freedom index every year, low rates of religiosity, tremendous work ethic. By every conceivable metric they are far closer to Objectivism than Americans are. Whereas Americans seem to be getting lazier, dumber, more entitled and less free every year they seem to be going in the opposite direction.

After that maybe Australia or Switzerland.

This is a libertarian metric with the central libertarian economic-political focus. Objectivism focuses on morality/ethics--that's its center.

I'd say millions of Americans have absorbed (this) Objectivism from reading Atlas Shrugged. It has helped them in their private lives. In the novel the philosophy is implicit since the term was apparently launched post publication with "Nathaniel Branden Lectures" (NBL) in 1958, soon re-named NBI.

You are actually complaining about libertarianism, not Objectivism.

Libertarianism is an American philosophy--?

--Brant

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Brant Gaede    1
On 7/31/2017 at 3:53 PM, Marcus said:

If is was not clear to you by that America philosophically is actually one of the furthest countries from Objectivism, (and this has been true for some time) it should be now. America is a country literally held by the "string" of it's original founding documents and legal system, that prevent it plunging face-first into barbarism, poverty and irrationality. In other words, America is a country held on by it's past, not it's future. Objectivism, is not an American philosophy per se and most Americans do not like Objectivism very much. In truth to call Objectivism "American" is far too gracious a statement, Americans don't really have a coherent philosophy. Though it is a "western" philosophy in the tradition of Aristotle. If anything, it's a Russian-Jewish philosophy that was imported to America, like so many other ideas.

Pretty strong string.

When you screw up parallel parking what's the best thing to do?

--Brant

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Brant Gaede    1

The Objectivist philosophy commonly understood and accepted is primarily cultural, not intellectual. Rand created her own culture and threw it at the American culture and so far the inertia of the latter still prevails. Her conceit was Objectivism is primarily intellectual and accepting its basics meant dumping the old philosophy and putting in the new. It doesn't work that way for mature adults. It does for young adults and the older adolescents--some of them, with questionable benefits (over time).

--Brant

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anthony    0

Objectivism couldn 't have gotten a firm foothold anywhere else, than the USA, I think. But I've been fascinated by the identity and internal spread in a nation (and "the 'West"), of this thing called "a culture". Of course the distance from the individual to millions of individuals is too vast to take in without abstracting it. All one can induce is a predominant characteristic from many sources and observations. And events can be changing and out-dating the aggregate all the time one is identifying it. E.g. Australia was mentioned. From what I know and hear from some over there, that traditional perception of the tough, self-responsible individualist Australian is on its way out. The complaint is of the growth of another Euro-style nanny State, as the average Aussie seeks less hard work, more regulations and welfare.  

To look at how an ideology/philosophy/culture transfers and is absorbed, shaping individuals in the process, I think (and without being mutually exclusive) the broad picture might be roughly reduced to a). 'Passing on', of religion through generations within families or b). 'Copy-catting' , the secular Leftists, and conforming /fitting in with others to display their 'noble, moral credentials'. 

After considering those mass movements, I have to smile to hear of anyone querying why Objectivism isn't competing on that stage. By its nature, the philosophy is only reached by each individual's intellectual recognition, effort and conviction* - that is, by one person at a time. In relative numerical growth, for the foreseeable future it doesn't stand a chance - however - quality always over quantity, I say.

*{and also to a lesser extent,  libertarianism in the US}

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RobinReborn    0
23 hours ago, Brant Gaede said:

 

the average IQ is 100--the average IQ of Jews is 110

 

It is now, but it hasn't always been

 

Surveys in the 1920's of mental‐test studies of immigrants from southern and eastern Europe, such as Italians, Poles and Greeks, showed their average I.Q.'s to be in the 80's, occasionally in the 70's. Data on Jewish‐Americans were harder to find, because the early researchers, during the controversies over immigration laws, focused on nationality groups. However, the U. S. Army tests showed soldiers of Polish and Russian ancestry scoring consistently at or near the bottom of the list of European ethnic groups, and it was known then that half or more of the Polish and Russian immigrants were Jews

 

http://www.nytimes.com/1977/03/27/archives/new-light-on-black-iq.html

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PDS    0
21 hours ago, Michael Stuart Kelly said:

Let's start by identifying where the Peikoff quote came from.

I'm not in the habit of defending Leonard Peikoff, but if one is going to bash him, it would be a good idea to bash what he wrote and not something made up or gleaned from someone else.

I started by typing the following phrase into Google in quotes since the OP presented this as an exact quote from Peikoff: 

"Objectivism is an American philosophy"

Guess what? The phrase does come up and so does Peikoff's name. But look where--a libertarian blog with a discussion of Peikoff's book, Objectivism: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand). See here:

20140621 OBJECTIVISM

The blogger does not give his name (or if he did, I couldn't find it). But he did say on his "About Me" page that he is not young and is a Russian immigrant, and even served in the Soviet army at one time. He declared great love of America, but the point is, English is obviously not his original language. Look at the entire paragraph where the quote came from. The blogger is summarizing "Epilogue: The Duel Between Plato and Aristotle" from OPAR.

In other words, discounting the English mistakes, these are not Peikoff's words. They are the words of a blogger summarizing his understanding of Peikoff.

Since that is the only Google result giving the phrase, "Objectivism is an American philosophy," and it is about Peikoff's book, it's a pretty good guess that this is where the OP's quote came from.

Now let's look at what Peikoff actually wrote in his Epilogue:

That makes hash out of the OP's critique. And that also means that the OP attributed words and an idea to Peikoff that are not his, then bashed Peikoff for it, then postured as if he runs this place.

Gimme a break!

Come on, Marcus.

You can do better than that.

Take a deep breath, get a grip, then use your brain. You have a good one, so use it.

Michael

Thank you.  Well said.  

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