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STRONGEST Anti-Objectivist Arguments

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With some tangential reservations, I found John42t's video cited above to be correct on tabula rasa. I do believe that John42t did correctly characterize (if not lampoon) such disagreements, based on incomplete understanding. I would not know what Dr. Peikoff has said or would say and I caution against unfairly assuming that he would give the uninformed reply.

Also - again, perhaps a minor point - John42t refers to "faculties" - the rational faculty. This is only a model. In times past, we thought of the brain as a machine. You could be "unbalanced" or "have a screw loose" or "be off your rocker." The terms "crazy" and "crackpot" come from ceramics. Now we speak in terms of computer programming. In the 19th century, one model was the idea of "faculties" such as in a school. It has some use as it seems that some physical places in the brain are dedicated to physical-mental processes.

As for Ayn Rand's views of government, they, too evolved. At root, she lived through a real civil war. Ours was a "war between the states" as the south was not attempting to make itself the national government, but only to secede. On the other hand, in Russia, competing groups were trying to seize the national government. And those groups had widely different ideologies, including philosophies of law. Of course, she rejected that kind of "competing governments."

Like many economists, Murray Rothbard was largely a rationalist. (Rand liked von Mises. So, she glossed over his Kantian foundations.) As a rationalist, Rothbard never bothered to pursue empirical knowledge. As I mentioned on my blog numismatics provides the data to both support and test theories. Rothbard knew nothing about money. And he knew nothing about private security. When I speak of private security, I do not posit "would, should, could, ought" but is.

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As for Ayn Rand's views of government, they, too evolved. At root, she lived through a real civil war. Ours was a "war between the states" as the south was not attempting to make itself the national government, but only to secede. On the other hand, in Russia, competing groups were trying to seize the national government. And those groups had widely different ideologies, including philosophies of law. Of course, she rejected that kind of "competing governments."

Interesting observation about the types of civil wars.

On the competing governments thing: I don't understand how this is supposed to work either. I understand monarchies: Privately owned competing governments on *different* territories.

Like many economists, Murray Rothbard was largely a rationalist.

Rationalist is often the label neo-mystics apply to themselves to fight the religious.

Rothbard was very much a leftist: He thought government is the source of evil, Rand thought hippies are the source of evil (short version). That's why he sought to ally with hippies to bring down government, whereas Rand allied with government to crack down on hippies.

He worried about big business, Rand worried about corrupting influence in schools. It's such a cliche, it's almost comical.

The left-right model works much better than most people think.

And I'm so much with Rand on this. ("Mozart was a red" is funny though.)

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john42t wrote:

I don't know what Peikoff thinks about this, these are my own thoughts about the matter.

end quote

Well said. You got me thinking.

I wrote about what should occur after an error in Objectivism is found and the first component in the fix should be Leonard Peikoff. I wrote:

“Then that understood error would require the acknowledgement that Objectivism is NOT a seamless robe that has no inner contradictions.”

I wanted to talk about my choice of words, “would require.”

By that I meant, if not acknowledged and corrected, then Objectivism would be in a similar class with Creationism, flat earth and other “denying” doctrines, and anti-evolutionism. Already, there are too many things not corrected, which I won’t re-broadcast.

Well, I am wavering on Quantum Mechanics. Objectivism is still the best thing since sliced bread.

Peter

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No system of thought can be rationally very strong while derived from weak foundations. Tossing out the phrase "floating abstraction" does not validate any of the claims, but itself is an example of just that.

No, that's simply not true. You can have an argument that is 100% correct, but ends up with false conclusions because the premises are incorrect. This is what I mean.

Altruism means self-sacrifice.

The truth is a little self-sacrifice is a good thing (think about your mother).

I think it's a blatant false dichotomy to complain that since serving someone else as one's highest purpose leads to self-destruction therefore serving anybody for any portion of ones existence is at best optional, and at worst immoral/evil. This argument absolutely reeks of political motivation and is clearly not based in reality.

I think it's even worse when cornered the vehement anti-altruists resort to the argument of "well, that's not really self-sacrifice because blah, blah, blah...crap".

Bob

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The truth is a little self-sacrifice is a good thing (think about your mother).

One would hope she would rather have loved you.

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The truth is a little self-sacrifice is a good thing (think about your mother).

One would hope she would rather have loved you.

Exactly, the Objectivist concept of loving someone else - "It's still all about me". Weak, very weak.

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The truth is a little self-sacrifice is a good thing (think about your mother).
One would hope she would rather have loved you.
Exactly, the Objectivist concept of loving someone else - "It's still all about me". Weak, very weak.

Therefore love must come at cost to oneself - otherwise it ain't love?

(Seeing as we're doing one-liners.)

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The truth is a little self-sacrifice is a good thing (think about your mother).

One would hope she would rather have loved you.

Exactly, the Objectivist concept of loving someone else - "It's still all about me". Weak, very weak.

I once gave a close relative of mine my savings for some property investment.

I didn't do it out of love in the Objectivist sense: A feeling of compassion, closeness, gratitude. No, I think I didn't even like that person at the time.

My motivation was the moral code of self-sacrife that you are so fond of. I thought it would make me good person. It would somehow mean something.

The result was hatred, first of that relative, then of myself for feeling that way.

I bet you would never behave like I did. You wouldn't give all you have to a person you don't even like. When you think of self-sacrifce you think of a mother who loves her child. Such a mother would self-sacrifice when she *didn't* care for her child.

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The truth is a little self-sacrifice is a good thing (think about your mother).
One would hope she would rather have loved you.
Exactly, the Objectivist concept of loving someone else - "It's still all about me". Weak, very weak.
Therefore love must come at cost to oneself - otherwise it ain't love? (Seeing as we're doing one-liners.)

Painful memory...it comes back to me that I did that for a while. It cost and it cost, but somehow I convinced myself it was love.

Then when it was over, it cost some more, and I don't mean financially.

No excuses - over confidence, or experimenting, or something - since I knew better.

I'd already read Branden: "In love, the self is celebrated, not denied, abandoned or sacrificed." and, "The purpose of romantic love is, among other things, to celebrate self-esteem, not to create it in those who lack it."

Mmm, "...not to create it in those who lack it".

(Don't talk to me about self-sacrifice.)

Tony

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The truth is a little self-sacrifice is a good thing (think about your mother).
One would hope she would rather have loved you.
Exactly, the Objectivist concept of loving someone else - "It's still all about me". Weak, very weak.

Therefore love must come at cost to oneself - otherwise it ain't love?

(Seeing as we're doing one-liners.)

Again, false dichotomy. Love can be, often is, and perhaps should be, partly self-interested and partly unselfish. Again, you get big problems when you try to operate at the extreme selfish or sacrificial end - otherwise known as "selfish jerk" and "doormat" respectively. The optimal situation is somewhere in the middle. Some of the things I do for my wife I do selfishly - like pick up my socks etc, so I don't hear her complain, while other things I do are completely selfless, like a life insurance policy. Something by definition that costs me, but which I could never enjoy the benefit.

It seems you've had the "doormat" problems in the past. Not good, but the solution is not to remove all selflessness from your relationships. Try it and see how that works out for you if you don't believe me.

This seems rather obvious.

Bob

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I once gave a close relative of mine my savings for some property investment.

I didn't do it out of love in the Objectivist sense: A feeling of compassion, closeness, gratitude. No, I think I didn't even like that person at the time.

My motivation was the moral code of self-sacrife that you are so fond of. I thought it would make me good person. It would somehow mean something.

The result was hatred, first of that relative, then of myself for feeling that way.

I bet you would never behave like I did. You wouldn't give all you have to a person you don't even like.

Stupidity != Altruism

When you think of self-sacrifce you think of a mother who loves her child. Such a mother would self-sacrifice when she *didn't* care for her child.

Hmmm.... So the only criteria for when a mother should care for a child is when she really loves her child?

What about if she only likes it a lot? Or just a little? Or not at all? Or the days the child is misbehaving?

Maybe its not the kind of child you have to feed every day.

Clear, transparent nonsense.

Bob

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Bob:

That was another clanking piece of self destructive behavior that I sensed and did not share with the folks that I met at NBI in the late '60's.

I did not find it a successful pattern to base a long term love relationship, or marriage on.

And, in essence, once again, Ayn did not, apparently, practice what she "preached," if the observers of their marriage are accurate.

This behavior is, of course, typically human and rampant amongst the preacher and philosopher class. Werner Erhart of the est and Landmark Forum movement is a typical example.

Adam

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Bob:

That was another clanking piece of self destructive behavior that I sensed and did not share with the folks that I met at NBI in the late '60's.

I did not find it a successful pattern to base a long term love relationship, or marriage on.

And, in essence, once again, Ayn did not, apparently, practice what she "preached," if the observers of their marriage are accurate.

This behavior is, of course, typically human and rampant amongst the preacher and philosopher class. Werner Erhart of the est and Landmark Forum movement is a typical example.

Adam

I knew someone who did the Landmark thing. Don't know much about it other than the person in question seemed to exhibit some strong 'cultish' behaviour afterward.

But I'm not clear on what you mean by "That was another clanking piece of self destructive behavior that I sensed"

Could you explain?

Thanks,

Bob

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Stupidity != Altruism

So it's a misunderstanding.

You call my behavior stupid, altruism is something else for you, got it.

You agree with me that it was wrong to give this relative money.

That basically means we're in agreement, all we're fighting about is definitions.

Now that we got that sorted, we can both laugh about it and relax. There's no real conflict.

Right?

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The truth is a little self-sacrifice is a good thing (think about your mother).
One would hope she would rather have loved you.
Exactly, the Objectivist concept of loving someone else - "It's still all about me". Weak, very weak.
Therefore love must come at cost to oneself - otherwise it ain't love? (Seeing as we're doing one-liners.)
Again, false dichotomy. Love can be, often is, and perhaps should be, partly self-interested and partly unselfish. Again, you get big problems when you try to operate at the extreme selfish or sacrificial end - otherwise known as "selfish jerk" and "doormat" respectively. The optimal situation is somewhere in the middle. Some of the things I do for my wife I do selfishly - like pick up my socks etc, so I don't hear her complain, while other things I do are completely selfless, like a life insurance policy. Something by definition that costs me, but which I could never enjoy the benefit. It seems you've had the "doormat" problems in the past. Not good, but the solution is not to remove all selflessness from your relationships. Try it and see how that works out for you if you don't believe me. This seems rather obvious. Bob

Life insurance is selfLESS? "So I don't hear her complain" is selfISH?

You don't get selfishness at all.

There is the big picture (which admittedly is not always in full focus, for anyone, I think).

The big picture is celebrating your mutual 'selves'.

Now look at your examples and rethink.

What appears a compromise between two extremes to you, is merely day-to day- negotiation, or short term pragmatism. And entirely necessary, when we lose sight of the 'big picture' for a few moments.

And no, per my example, the first loss of self led me on a slippery slope - it was unending and destructive... there's no compromise.

Tony

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Bob:

That was another clanking piece of self destructive behavior that I sensed and did not share with the folks that I met at NBI in the late '60's.

I did not find it a successful pattern to base a long term love relationship, or marriage on.

And, in essence, once again, Ayn did not, apparently, practice what she "preached," if the observers of their marriage are accurate.

This behavior is, of course, typically human and rampant amongst the preacher and philosopher class. Werner Erhart of the est and Landmark Forum movement is a typical example.

Adam

But I'm not clear on what you mean by "That was another clanking piece of self destructive behavior that I sensed"

Could you explain?

Thanks,

Bob

Sorry about not being clear what I was referring to in your post.

Again, false dichotomy. Love can be, often is, and perhaps should be, partly self-interested and partly unselfish. Again, you get big problems when you try to operate at the extreme selfish or sacrificial end - otherwise known as "selfish jerk" and "doormat" respectively.

I was referring to what I highligted above in your post. I have had close friendships with a number of women from those NBI days that had really awful relationships with Objectivist men because of their rigidity in terms of the give and take of relationships.

Additionally, according to the women, they sucked in bed.

Now I grant you that my sample is selectively skewered, but I noticed that about way too many NBI accolytes from that era. Unfortunately, it seems to still exist in the community and frankly, it has retarded the spread of Ayn's great insights into both philosophy and human behavior.

Adam

hope that clears my comment up

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I have had close friendships with a number of women from those NBI days that had really awful relationships with Objectivist men because of their rigidity in terms of the give and take of relationships. Additionally, according to the women, they sucked in bed. Now I grant you that my sample is selectively skewered, but I noticed that about way too many NBI accolytes from that era. Unfortunately, it seems to still exist in the community and frankly, it has retarded the spread of Ayn's great insights into both philosophy and human behavior. Adam hope that clears my comment up

Adam,

It took an insightful psychologist with "The Psychology of Romantic Love" to clear up Rand's over-exploration into the subject.

Still, you notice, NB solidly constructed his thinking on the Self, and selfishness.

Tony

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I was referring to what I highligted above in your post. I have had close friendships with a number of women from those NBI days that had really awful relationships with Objectivist men because of their rigidity in terms of the give and take of relationships.

Additionally, according to the women, they sucked in bed.

People suck in bed when they've got little self-worth - which is exactly what you would expect if they had been former altruists.

It's not the fault of the medicine that mostly sick people take it, and it is not to be expected that they recover only from reading Atlas Shrugged or live in the vicinity of Rand.

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I have had close friendships with a number of women from those NBI days that had really awful relationships with Objectivist men because of their rigidity in terms of the give and take of relationships. Additionally, according to the women, they sucked in bed. Now I grant you that my sample is selectively skewered, but I noticed that about way too many NBI accolytes from that era. Unfortunately, it seems to still exist in the community and frankly, it has retarded the spread of Ayn's great insights into both philosophy and human behavior. Adam hope that clears my comment up

Adam,

It took an insightful psychologist with "The Psychology of Romantic Love" to clear up Rand's over-exploration into the subject.

Still, you notice, NB solidly constructed his thinking on the Self, and selfishness.

Tony

Tony:

Yes, of course. I am actually reading Honoring the Self right now which I had never read.

Adam

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Life insurance is selfLESS? "So I don't hear her complain" is selfISH?

You don't get selfishness at all.

Really? Well, the picking up of socks may be a trite example, but life insurance is clear. Life insurance is a cost that I incur now and that I will NEVER benefit. Not calling that selfLESS is just silly wordplay. It is clearly altruistic. One must work for the money that exclusively will only benefit someone else - by definition. You can't weasel selfishness that far.

Now look at your examples and rethink.

What appears a compromise between two extremes to you, is merely day-to day- negotiation, or short term pragmatism. And entirely necessary, when we lose sight of the 'big picture' for a few moments.

Exactly my point! You have to be partially altruistic - "entirely necessary" - or you have a "pragmatic" problem - the big picture gets lost. Ahhhh, yeah....that's what I'm saying...."Compromise", "negotiation" - wordplay.

And no, per my example, the first loss of self led me on a slippery slope - it was unending and destructive... there's no compromise.

Tony

Well, good luck with that...

Bob

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Really? Well, the picking up of socks may be a trite example, but life insurance is clear. Life insurance is a cost that I incur now and that I will NEVER benefit. Not calling that selfLESS is just silly wordplay. It is clearly altruistic. One must work for the money that exclusively will only benefit someone else - by definition. You can't weasel selfishness that far.

People you care about benefit.

Selfish, not selfish, I'm not emotional about the choice of words here.

Unless I suspect I'm dealing with someone who wants me to suffer for people I *don't* care about.

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Bob,

What is most revealing is that you called your wife "someone else"... So, you either have low regard for her, or - I repeat - you don't understand rational selfishness.

An investment in her future is a selfish desire on your part - now. Twist as much as you want, but which is more important to you: the money you spend, OR her long-term security (and your peace of mind)?

Altruism pertains to the unknown, unvalued, anonymous 'someone' - not to child, mother, business partner, friend - or wife. Anybody you value is a selfish value.

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I was referring to what I highligted above in your post. I have had close friendships with a number of women from those NBI days that had really awful relationships with Objectivist men because of their rigidity in terms of the give and take of relationships.

Additionally, according to the women, they sucked in bed.

It's not the fault of the medicine that mostly sick people take it, and it is not to be expected that they recover only from reading Atlas Shrugged or live in the vicinity of Rand.

John:

True to some degree, but I also think that many American men are, frankly, uneducated about the female anatomy.

We had a great thread on this subject on OL a while ago.

I also think that the de-manning of men and the feminization of men has led to a "psychological impotence" in young men.

Additionally, the public growth of "kink" has also added to decay. The largest group in the D/s community, percentage wise are male submissives. Dominixtrixes are growing.

Yet, competent male Dominants are in very short supply.

Additionally, many men lack self discipline which leads to a lack of self control.

A third problem which has emerged in the last twenty years is the negative influence of internet porn on men's erotic stimulation short of bizarre scenes.

A growing number of young, healthy Internet
pornography
users are complaining of delayed ejaculation, inability to be turned on by real partners, and sluggish erections.
Lots of guys, 20s or so, can't get it up anymore with a real girl, and they all relate having a serious porn/
masturbation
habit. Guys will never openly discuss this with friends or co-workers, for
fear
of getting laughed out of town. But when someone tells their story on a health forum, and there are 50-100 replies from other guys who struggle with the same thing. This is for real.

But the problem is much more serious than simply either being good or bad in the sack, it's a physiological issue causing a new generation of men to lose their libidos 30 years sooner than expected.

I just saw an article on this subject in Business Insider, here http://www.businessinsider.com/porn-ruining-sex-life-2011-10 and the reference to Psychology Today, http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/cupids-poisoned-arrow/201107/porn-induced-sexual-dysfunction-is-growing-problem

Wow, poor bastards!

Also, some argue, that access to it reduces rape, see http://reason.com/blog/2009/07/15/does-more-porn-make-society-be

Adam

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Stupidity != Altruism

So it's a misunderstanding.

You call my behavior stupid, altruism is something else for you, got it.

You agree with me that it was wrong to give this relative money.

That basically means we're in agreement, all we're fighting about is definitions.

Now that we got that sorted, we can both laugh about it and relax. There's no real conflict.

Right?

John,

You're getting a bead on Bob. It's all about forcing definitions around.

But if you want to keep peace with him, don't try to use your definition of the term anymore. (That goes for any term, really.) He gets upset when he can't use his own meaning--especially where it doesn't apply and the concept is different.

If you want to see him go dreamy, all you have to do is say his definition is the only one anyone should use, should have used at all times in the past, and, for the future, should use forever and ever amen...

... and that Ayn Rand was an idiot.

You will make his day for many years to come.

:)

Michael

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Well, good luck with that... Bob

Thank you, Bob. It wasn't a life sentence or anything. Only something I could have done without. :rolleyes:

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