2 Moral Questions and 1 Scientific


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(Sort Setup) These are some of my issues with the philosophy:

First, this Selfishness vs. Altruism thing: I know what Rand considers true altruism, and I agree that 0 reward mindset is wrong, to suppress compassion and good feelings for the sake of selflessness goes against what makes us human. But on the flipside selfishness can be just as destructive; someone psychotic would be a selfish individual. So how come Altruism is the root of all evil in the world? What I see is two mindsets that if taken to the extreme, can be very destructive while here it's only one.

Second, everyone that disagrees with Ayn Rand is either immoral or stupid?: This is the one that truly bothers me, I’ll use this Objectivist Podcast ‘Rational Public Radio’ that I listened to. I listened to a full years-worth of their archive and for the most part it goes like this: Democrats Evil, Obama Evil, Muslims Evil Stupid Evil Stupid, Evil, Nazi’s, Nazi’s Nazi’s. One of the hosts of this show even went so far as to say that anyone supporting a socialist party deserves to die if a nutcase highjacks it. I actually know one of those evil socialists and she isn’t all that bad. When I talk with her at work her philosophies almost never come up, but without knowing much about her beliefs she seems like a decent person, I wouldn't consider her any dumber or evil than she is now regardless of wether she was a Communist or a Capitalist. I tend to reserve the word 'Immoral' for people that are knowingly and gleefully hurting others, not someone who wishes society should be run a certain way.

Third, this whole Global Warming Thing: Ok this point annoys the shit out of me, because I assume as ‘Rational Individuals’ an Objectivist SHOULD have a leg to stand on when he claims everything we’re being fed about man-made global warming is a pack of lies. This one hurts me rationally. I know enough to trust Science as our collective understanding of truth in the world. The trouble is Objectivists tend to be smart individuals and it’s hard for me to write them off along with the guy I see at work every day claiming the The New World Order built the Hotel across the highway to ‘spy on us’. Yet apparently theirs a Global Warming conspiracy and a lot of evil Bio scientists our there. Whats the ratio of the correct scientists that agree vs disagree that global warming is man made, and if disagree is higher why?

(and Finish) I'd like to here some responses to them, am I characterizing Objectivism correctly when I ask or am I missing something?

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Steven:

Welcome to OL.

A question or three for you:

First, who are these "Objectivists" that you have listened to? By name, I mean.

Second, have you read Ayn's original works? If so, what did you, as an individual think about them?

Third, is a truth subject to a vote of the interested parties?

Thanks.

Out of curiosity, what do you do for a living?

Adam

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(Sort Setup) These are some of my issues with the philosophy:

First, this Selfishness vs. Altruism thing: I know what Rand considers true altruism, and I agree that 0 reward mindset is wrong, to suppress compassion and good feelings for the sake of selflessness goes against what makes us human. But on the flipside selfishness can be just as destructive; someone psychotic would be a selfish individual. So how come Altruism is the root of all evil in the world? What I see is two mindsets that if taken to the extreme, can be very destructive while here it's only one.

(and Finish) I'd like to here some responses to them, am I characterizing Objectivism correctly when I ask or am I missing something?

Hi and welcome!

I have some interpretations of Rand's thoughts on this question, since I wrestled with it for a while..

1. Mistaken mutual exclusion - to be rationally selfish does not negate compassion and humanity.

2. Impossibility - with all the best intentions it just cannot be done to live permanently as altruist. It would eventually lead to sacrifice of one's sanity and life.

3. Hierarchy - the highest value to an Objectivist is Life, with his own life supreme of that value. Plainly, without it he can neither experience nor enjoy 'Life'. Those he loves, cares about, respects, and so on - fall within his hierarchy - consciously.

4. Advocacy - above anything, it has been mostly the forced ideology of altruism that has enslaved men for millenia; the idea that they are subordinate or duty-bound to others has always been evil, self-evidently.

5. Man's nature - self-directing and metaphysically alone, his is the responsibility, and only his, to think; his mind is his only tool to survive and thrive. His volition, (e.g. to come to the aid of his fellows) is dependent on that.

It's critical to distinguish between 'rational selfishness' (or egoism) and the "selfishness" of the self-indulgent, "psychotic" kind - they are complete opposites.

Also, in the components above you will notice some practical and others ethical. Objectivism holds that the moral and the 'do-able' are synonomous.

Hope it helps.

Tony

Edited by whYNOT
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(Sort Setup) These are some of my issues with the philosophy:

So how come Altruism is the root of all evil in the world?

Second, everyone that disagrees with Ayn Rand is either immoral or stupid?

Whats the ratio of the correct scientists that agree vs disagree that global warming is man made, and if disagree is higher why?

(and Finish) I'd like to here some responses to them, am I characterizing Objectivism correctly when I ask or am I missing something?

Aha! So you have actually four questions! :lol:

1. It demands that one's life should be placed in the service of "others" and this obliterates the ego i.e. the identification that one is separate from others (one is the owner of his life). Altruism is not about helping, it's about letting others be your motive for living.

2. That's certainly false. Ayn Rand is fallible and she never claimed to be otherwise. If you disagree with Rand based on rational, evidence-based, independent judgment then congratulations: you are a moral and intelligent and I believe she would commend you for taking a stand if she were around. "Check your premises." I believe is what she would say in these sort of situations i.e. question man-made facts and do not take it on faith. For all her goodness and greatness, Ayn Rand never endorsed closed-mindedness and intolerance. If literature were correct, you just have to, errr... beat her at intellectual skirmishes (which she is really, really good at!)

3. Dunno. But as far as far as I know, the phenomenon of Global warming is natural (not caused by the activities of man) since this cycle of global warming and cooling has been going on for billions of years which is something that will get you a consensus in the scientific community. If memory serves me right, I've heard that volcanic eruptions produce more carbon dioxide and sulfur dioxide more than all the cars in the world running at the same time for a long period (citation needed).

I also assert the falsity of the environmentalist argument based on my observations and allowing for some variations in weather patterns every 2 to 5 years or so.

4. Imo, you missed the definition of Objectivism by a mile. It is a philosophy that recognizes the essence of man's spirit (being a rational animal), celebrates the achievement of his glory (hero worship) and gives you the vocabulary to fight the good fight i.e. the things that are of value to YOU in accordance to one's nature.

I believe this(entry #15) best sums Ms. Rand's Weltanschauung:

I am not primarily an advocate of capitalism, but of egoism; and I am not primarily an advocate of egoism, but of reason. If one recognizes the supremacy of reason and applies it consistently, all the rest follows.

This—the supremacy of reason—was, is and will be the primary concern of my work, and the essence of Objectivism. (For a definition of reason, see Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology.) Reason in epistemology leads to egoism in ethics, which leads to capitalism in politics.

“Brief Summary,” The Objectivist, Sept. 1971, 1.

Edited by David Lee
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(Sort Setup) These are some of my issues with the philosophy:

First, this Selfishness vs. Altruism thing: I know what Rand considers true altruism, and I agree that 0 reward mindset is wrong, to suppress compassion and good feelings for the sake of selflessness goes against what makes us human. But on the flipside selfishness can be just as destructive; someone psychotic would be a selfish individual. So how come Altruism is the root of all evil in the world? What I see is two mindsets that if taken to the extreme, can be very destructive while here it's only one.

Second, everyone that disagrees with Ayn Rand is either immoral or stupid?: This is the one that truly bothers me, I'll use this Objectivist Podcast 'Rational Public Radio' that I listened to. I listened to a full years-worth of their archive and for the most part it goes like this: Democrats Evil, Obama Evil, Muslims Evil Stupid Evil Stupid, Evil, Nazi's, Nazi's Nazi's. One of the hosts of this show even went so far as to say that anyone supporting a socialist party deserves to die if a nutcase highjacks it. I actually know one of those evil socialists and she isn't all that bad. When I talk with her at work her philosophies almost never come up, but without knowing much about her beliefs she seems like a decent person, I wouldn't consider her any dumber or evil than she is now regardless of wether she was a Communist or a Capitalist. I tend to reserve the word 'Immoral' for people that are knowingly and gleefully hurting others, not someone who wishes society should be run a certain way.

Third, this whole Global Warming Thing: Ok this point annoys the shit out of me, because I assume as 'Rational Individuals' an Objectivist SHOULD have a leg to stand on when he claims everything we're being fed about man-made global warming is a pack of lies. This one hurts me rationally. I know enough to trust Science as our collective understanding of truth in the world. The trouble is Objectivists tend to be smart individuals and it's hard for me to write them off along with the guy I see at work every day claiming the The New World Order built the Hotel across the highway to 'spy on us'. Yet apparently theirs a Global Warming conspiracy and a lot of evil Bio scientists our there. Whats the ratio of the correct scientists that agree vs disagree that global warming is man made, and if disagree is higher why?

(and Finish) I'd like to here some responses to them, am I characterizing Objectivism correctly when I ask or am I missing something?

Answers:

1: Yes

2: Yes

rde

Problems solved.

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History with Objectivism: I was introduced to the Philosophy through Terry Goodkind’s novels many years ago. I was of mixed emotion about it, I agreed for the most part about Selfishness vs. Selflessness, what I didn’t like was some of his cut throat ideas on the rest of humanity. For those who read that book, I took away a few ‘never answered’ assumptions from certain parts; For example how Cyrilla was treated made me think Goodkind pretty much considered people dead if they became irrational, add that to the fact that he was pretty good at making people CARE about his characters and it got a bit depressing. Also Richard playing Drefan, a serial killer, up while leaving the murders unsolved because he was a decent guy. There were other things and I found myself getting angry at Goodkind for, it felt like he was beating up strawmen – I liked his Objectivist Heroes, I disliked how all of his enemies could be summoned up as Rapist/Communist/Pedophile save ONE guy in Soul of the Fire.

After reading the book I was interested in Objectivism so I looked into it further. I liked most of what Rand had to say, but cringe a little when it sounds like the ‘perfect man’ doesn’t even care about those close to him. I don’t have any objections to her political ideas that I’m aware of; this has always been a morality issue for me.

I wanted to learn more about the Philosophy so I decided to look up ‘Objectivist Podcasts’ and found Rational Public Radio. The show’s rundown went like this: Democrates evil, socialists, evil, Obama evil, Muslims, evil, stupid, evil, stupid, evil, nazi’s. Which brings me to that issue I mentioned in the OP, I think what I consider evil and what the Objectivists I’ve been listening to consider evil are too very different things. I wouldn’t consider someone evil, immoral or stupid for an opposing view, I’m more interested in how they treat other people and if they try to enforce their opinion on others or not. Back to RPR, I lost interest in listening to them again when they wrote a report asserting that Muslims were responsible for all rape in a certain city – I didn’t immediately go “Not PC!” and drop them, if it was true then I wouldn’t have had a problem, but I actually looked at the report and found it didn’t have a leg to stand on. http://www.rationalpublicradio.com/rational-public-radio-podcast/

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History with Objectivism: I was introduced to the Philosophy through Terry Goodkind's novels many years ago.

Interesting. I have not read the novels. Ayn's ideas would be filtered through that author's projections through the characters and do not reflect, accurately her ideas.

After reading the book I was interested in Objectivism so I looked into it further. I liked most of what Rand had to say, but cringe a little when it sounds like the 'perfect man' doesn't even care about those close to him.

Where does this "perfect" man not "...even care about those close to him?" Might you provide me with three examples of those characters please?

I wanted to learn more about the Philosophy so I decided to look up 'Objectivist Podcasts' and found Rational Public Radio.

Just reading the section "about us" on the Rational Public Radio website, I would be reticent to believe that they have the remotest clue as to Ayn's ideas. However, I will reserve final judgment on that conclusion.

Finally, have you read her non fiction?

Adam

Edited by Selene
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Just reading the section "about us" on the Rational Public Radio website, I would be reticent to believe that they have the remotest clue as to Ayn's ideas. However, I will reserve final judgment on that conclusion.

The guy behind it posted a few times here. I listened to about 5 minutes of one of the podcasts, I couldn't believe what inane drivel it was. In case he reads this: You and you're drinking buddy aren't funny. Not even remotely.

If you look at the sites he lists as favorites, I think we can conjecture why he so quickly stopped posting here: He got the memo. No great loss, I mean look at the crap he has there: "Muslims responsible for ALL rapes in Oslo". Just what OL can do without, another nutter.

http://www.objectivistliving.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=10771&view=findpost&p=136703

Edited by Ninth Doctor
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... to suppress compassion and good feelings for the sake of selflessness goes against what makes us human. But on the flipside selfishness can be just as destructive; someone psychotic would be a selfish individual.

You should find and read the works of Ayn Rand as primary expositions, rather than taking second-hand approximations from "Rational Public Radio" or the fiction of Terry Goodkind. Rand devotes clear exposition on why you value other people, and which "other people" you properly do value.

The essence of the problem is that just whatever you happen to want is not "selfish." To discover your self-interest requires the coordinated and consistent use of your senses and your reasoning both to identify your values and how to achieve them. Easily, a psychotic cannot be selfish by defintion because that person is divorced from reality.

Second, everyone that disagrees with Ayn Rand is either immoral or stupid?: This is the one that truly bothers me, I’ll use this Objectivist Podcast ‘Rational Public Radio’ that I listened to. I listened to a full years-worth ...

"Scott Connery - RPR Host ... He read Atlas Shrugged 10 years ago, and never looked back. ... Jeffrey K. Meek ... began reading and studying the works of Ayn Rand while still in his teens. ... Etsel Skelton ... Radical for Capitalism, RPR Co-Founder..."

http://www.rationalpublicradio.com/about-us.html

Laudable as their effort may be (or not), these three guys are no better or worse at Objectivism than anyone else here. Adam Selene, Jeff Riggenbach, and I could all make the same claims, except that for us, our teenage years take us back before these RPR guys were even born. I just threw out a pair of shoes older than they are. They may be right, of course, or not, but they do not speak for Objectivism, though they may speak from it.

I tend to reserve the word 'Immoral' for people that are knowingly and gleefully hurting others, not someone who wishes society should be run a certain way.

Well, this ties to the "global warming" thing. Michael Crichton drew an analogy between the global warming people today and the eugenics movement of the previous century (late 1890s to early 1920s). Read about eugenics, including their advocacy of forced sterilizations to safeguard society from a rising tide of genetic imbeciles and morons. They wanted a better world. Were they evil? It's a tough call when we are not talking about some unnamed collective ("eugenics advocates" or "global warming activists") and instead we are talking about your friend whom you like as a person.

Ayn Rand to some extent, and Nathaniel Branden in more depth, explained how good people can have bad ideas - and how to separate the one from the other in your mind and in your relationships.

Third, this whole Global Warming Thing: ... I know enough to trust Science as our collective understanding of truth ... Whats the ratio of the correct scientists that agree vs disagree that global warming is man made...

You can't do it like that. Numerical polling is not the path to truth. Richard P. Feynman had an excellent Cal Tech address on "Cargo Cult Science." You have to be ruthless with yourself, not to fool yourself, not to believe what you want the data to show, but to ask how you know the data are independent of your wishes. It's hard. And you might be wrong. But polling scientists will not remove the error. Just for one thing, global warming is so political that among the scientists who do question it in public, many are retired. They no longer depend on funding, so they are free to speak the truth. ... or so they say ... Again, you have to find the facts for youself and come to your own conclusion. It cannot be done for you.

Just off hand, without looking it up, let me ask you:

1. When was it proved that the Earth revolves around the Sun?

2. When was it proved that the Earth rotates on its axis?

(Take your guesses, then go look it up. And those are easy.)

... I was introduced to the Philosophy through Terry Goodkind’s novels ...

Alfred Korzybski's theory of general semantics is supposedly the basis for A. E. van Vogt's science fiction novels, The World Null-A and The Player's of Null-A. Poul Anderson's Tau Zero is about time dilation in general relativity. Robert Heinlein ran through half a dozen or more major theories some of which he contradicted in other works. The best novels that speak to or of Objectivism are the works of Ayn Rand herself. Anything elss is filtered, derived, and transduced by the author.

... Back to RPR, I lost interest in listening to them again when they wrote a report asserting that Muslims were responsible for all rape in a certain city ... but I actually looked at the report and found it didn’t have a leg to stand on.

Just goes to show, you have to rely on your own judgment. That is probably the central theme of Objectivism.

I am not primarily an advocate of capitalism, but of egoism; and I am not primarily an advocate of egoism, but of reason. If one recognizes the supremacy of reason and applies it consistently, all the rest follows.

"Introducing Objectivism," The Objectivist Newsletter, Vol. 1, No. 8. August, 1962. p. 35.

Edited by Michael E. Marotta
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Your responses have all been more reasonable than my assertions. It seems to understand Objectivism fully I must read Atlas Shrugged. Today I ordered it along with TG's new book. With my limited research so far being what it is, I realized last night asking you all to defend the positions of other Objectivists I disagree with is like the same misinformation and blanket statements that I found offensive at Rational Public Radio. I should have both books in two weeks, I'll come back and comment on them long after this post is forgotten (Next month), to remind you and tell you all how it went. Sorry this post short and I left some questions in the air, but I don't feel right commenting on Objectivism any further until I've actually read Atlas Shrugged.

However I don't see this as a mistake because it prompted me to BUY the book.

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Your responses have all been more reasonable than my assertions. It seems to understand Objectivism fully I must read Atlas Shrugged. Today I ordered it along with TG's new book. With my limited research so far being what it is, I realized last night asking you all to defend the positions of other Objectivists I disagree with is like the same misinformation and blanket statements that I found offensive at Rational Public Radio. I should have both books in two weeks, I'll come back and comment on them long after this post is forgotten (Next month), to remind you and tell you all how it went. Sorry this post short and I left some questions in the air, but I don't feel right commenting on Objectivism any further until I've actually read Atlas Shrugged.

However I don't see this as a mistake because it prompted me to BUY the book.

Steven:

Glad you are going to read Atlas. However, not posting here is not necessarily a proactive decision. In your own self interest, get involved in threads that interest you, ask questions. You might even want to start a thread of your own on your reading journey through Atlas.

I for one, have been re-reading Atlas because it is replete with fertile thought and images that are just as relevant today as when I first read it some four and a half decades ago.

Re-think your decision, please and continue to post.

Adam

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