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Michael Stuart Kelly

Objectivism Upside Down and Inside Out

4 posts in this topic

Objectivism Upside Down and Inside Out

Here is a post from another thread that is self-explanatory.

Why are people still posting endlessly week after week (and repetitively) on these topics full of negativity...is this the best use of a site and of people's time? Does it change any minds or improve the world?

Phil, this is much too general. What topics? What threads? You do most of your serious postings on SOLOP and then you come here with this?

Right. In contrast to the Solomoron forum which is an intellectual desert, there are countless excellent threads on this forum. Instead of making positive contributions to some of these discussions Phil only comes here only to tell us again and again what is wrong with this forum and how it should be run in his opinion. I'd suggest he creates his own forum which he can organize exactly as he wants and with exactly those discussions he wants. The response can hardly be less than on the forums he now criticizes.

Several people have suggested that Phil start his own forum, and since he hasn't taken them up on it, it got me to thinking that maybe he needs a little help. So instead of being critical and negative, I took the positive step of opening up a Yahoo! group for Phil called "ObjectiVision," and I even spent a few minutes creating a logo for him:


Phil, I'm sending you a private message which includes the group ownership e-mail address and password. It's all yours. I've already joined and look forward to some great discussions.



I went to the link to check it out. There were no messages as of yet. As much as I like Phil, however, the rest of this post is not about him. I merely included this opening post to register where the idea for this thread came from.

Although there were no messages in the Objecti-Vision forum, there is a part called "Yahoo! Answers" that was given, and a subsection followed: "Questions in Arts & Humanities > Philosophy." I found a question there that prompted my curiosity, so I clicked on it. I had to read it and the answer that was chosen to believe it (it is now a "resolved question" and no new answers are being accepted). Here is the link and the quotes are below:


"forthelove" (member who asked)

Could someone please explain objectivism to me?

I have recently read a few works by Ayn Rand and have become intrigued with this philosophy any information would be appreciated.


"mezizany" (member who answered)

Best Answer - Chosen by Asker

stay clear of it because it forgets (or ignores) that every word is a prejudice. meaning... a mind-independent reality has no meaning independent of engagement by consciousness. Her falacy lies in the premise that the mind is separate from the physical body/universe. She has a false perception of "is-ness", of what being is. We are beings, thru language, we give meaning to the things-at-hand (Rand's objects). Without our engagement thru language, objects are nothing. They are there, present-at-hand, but they have no name, no purpose, no action, no motivation, they don't ... Reality is not these non-meaningful things-in-themselves, but rather reality is grounded and exists only by an engaged assignment of meaning to these things-in-themselves, erupting the physical thereness into existential, meaning relationship with is-ness. A tree is not a tree if we don't assign it the name and meaning of tree. That is reality. For Rand, the physico-chemico-biological make up of the particles we call tree is her reality. But see the mistake she makes is that without us naming the tree and without naming the physico-chemico-biological particles, without naming the tree first, we cannot discover/uncover/realize/make real/comprehend/talk about/interpret the tree. The tree becomes (be/is) a tree ONLY after we name it.

Thru engagement of consciousness and language alone does the universe become real. Otherwise, it is nothingness that we cannot talk about, discuss, discover, interpret, have knowledge of, and therefore, it doesn't exist.

That is not to say that it is not there. It has there-ness. but without a name, it cannot BE. Her interpretation of "is" lies on the premise that BE is physical. BE cannot precede in the physical that which needs signification in order to BE and signification must precede the physical.



"forthelove" (member who asked)

Asker's Rating: * * * * *

Thank you very much, your answer was very informative. I appreciate your viewpoints.


I don't know which is worse, the religious approach to Objectivism that adheres to (and preaches) Rand's weakest points as gospel, thus watering down the impact of the fundamental principles, or something like this, which gets Objectivism so wrong that it is comical. Obviously the intent of the author was not to describe Objectivism correctly, but to try to sell another philosophy by distorting Objectivism beyond recognition.

I suppose with the Atlas Shrugged movie on the way, we should brace ourselves for more of the same.

As I come across blatant distortions of Objectivism, I will be adding to them here. If anybody else comes across any, please feel free to chip in. This thread is sort of a horror file on getting it all wrong.

I don't want to get into organized and well-developed critiques of Objectivism here, nor any silly business promoted by the orthodoxy like blaming the Brandens (or Kelley, or Sciabarra, or whoever) for all the public relations problems with Objectivism (and, of course, evil evil evil thrown in to boot).

I think it might be fun to collect the boneheaded descriptions of Objectivism out there, like the one above. I fear that there may be no lack of examples.


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Here's an interesting post from freerepublic.com claiming that the murderous drug kingpin Pablo Escobar is a Randian hero. :hmm:

To: Colonel Kangaroo

I suppose the New Orleans chaos is an interesting subject for Rand fans to apply their favorite philosophy.

Another interesting parallel is Mogadishu.

Although there are problems, Mogadishu has somewhat recovered economically. The free trade in the absence of a government means there are no taxes and doing business is relatively cheap. Businessmen hire security to deal with gunmen and violence is becoming less common.

Frankly, my idea of "utopia" isn't some kind of "peaceful" free market imposed by the private armies of feuding warlords.

And as long as we're looking for real life examples, Pablo Escobar would be another capitalistic "hero" of the Randian atheists. At the height of his empire, Escobar was estimated by Forbes magazine to be the seventh-richest man in the world, with his Medellín Cartel controlling 80 percent of the world's cocaine market. And his "objectivism" carefully crafted a Robin-Hood image among the peasantry so that he could derive his just powers from the consent of the governed. Yes, ol' Pablo was highly successful until the federal regulators stepped in.

IMHO, the economic darwinism that's worshipped by the Rand cultists is a vicious extremism that should be avoided.

29 posted on 09/05/2005 7:47:37 AM PDT by Willie Green (Go Pat Go!!!)

[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies ]


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To: Colonel Kangaroo

Pablo Escobar would be another capitalistic "hero" of the Randian atheists.


Notice that they singled out, as if it were the most vital part of Objectivism, atheism. You can imagine the sneer that they inculcate in their voice when pronouncing "atheist," probably several times more venomous than Rand committing an excommunication at 'that time of the month' on several doses of amphetamines (now THAT would be a show!).

I think that we all agree the most infamous distortion of Ayn Rand was Whittaker Chambers 'review' of Atlas (which he probably did not read, given he botched a main characters name), in which he accused Rand of being a fascist (!) and a philosophical materialist (in Atlas, materialists are given more insults than the spiritualists!).

Ahh well, its obvious by now that conservatism is a hopeless intellectual cesspool (even W F Buckley Jr. conceded that it had no real ideology) populated by Jesus Fascists, medievalists, closet-case-homophobes (see Father Ted for an example), anti-science irrationalists, social-enginnering Straussians and that funny yet belligerent barracuda bitch Ann Coulter.

As for distortions, I found a few very vicious ones when debating with some monstrous anticapitalists on the Richard Dawkins forum (which I do not visit any more), one really poisonous prick in particular stated "Objectivism is the belief that one thousand Objectivists in the North Pole will grow more mangoes than one thousand communists on a tropical island."

Another when dealing with a woman here in real life, said she hated Ayn Rand because she allegedly advocated leaving old people to die (???).

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The neo-Heideggerian blast that you quoted above doesn't uniquely apply to Rand. It applies to anyone who doesn't believe that reality is constituted by human language. I.e., to the vast majority of human beings.

So of course Rand played no significant role in that response.

Robert Campbell

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