Excellent points. Ultimately, mankind needs to become more rational about himself but it is a "long and winding road". Objectivism is just one of countless attempts to achieve this.
Infighting is not peculiar to Objectivism; far from it. Infighting can be found in every ideological movement one cares to examine, from early Christianity to Marxism.
Ever spent much time around Marxists? I did in my college days, and Marxists make the infighting among Randians look like a stroll in the park. In the early days of Christianity dissenters were branded as heretics and punished in various ways, including executions.
Why does this seem to be a universal phenomenon? Why are heretics (internal dissenters) typically more hated than infidels (outsiders)? I think there are three major reasons.
First, heretics should know better. Unlike infidels who may be totally unfamiliar with the tenets of a belief system, heretics understand the basic principles but dissent from some of them nonetheless. And there can be no excuse for this. The problem must lie in a willful refusal to accept the truth. Heretics are morally culpable in a way that infidels may not be; they are essentially traitors to a cause. (Thomas Aquinas emphasized this point in calling for the execution of heretics after their second relapse.)
Second, heretics pose more of a threat to an orthodox belief system than do most infidels, for they eat away at the belief system from within -- and they can speak with some authority, given the common framework they share with orthodox members.
Third, heretics create a number of serious problems for the spokespersons of orthodoxy. If a belief system is presented as rigorous and internally consistent, then how are knowledgeable heretics even possible? The very existence of heretics must be explained away by the establishment, and this is often not easy to do. Heretics, moreover, compete for the allegiance of novitiates, so they constitute a threat to the growth of an orthodox movement.
general semanticistMember Since 07 Jun 2007
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