Objectivism, Complexity, and Layers of Questions

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Dr. Edwin Locke, a psychologist, is the best known Objectivist in the academic world and apparently has been the most successful or at least most influential in his own profession by an order of magnitude. He once said of his lifelong involvement with Objectivism it had been like "peeling an onion".

Each time he peeled one back, there was another layer to explore underneath.

It's true of any sufficiently complex set of ideas that one goes through stages engaging it. It's not like there is a blinding road to Damascus flash all at once. Epistemologically, it isn't (or ought not) be like totalistic religious "revelation" ex nihilo.

I remember once in my early twenties in a long train ride toward New York, asking myself a sequence of questions about whether or not Rand's ideas were -practical-. I had already accepted the philosophy as admirable and desirable. But was the fictional world just a "set up"? Would it work with real people? I remember particularly being concerned with the economic questions back then. Monopolies were a major concern. The chapters in CUI were just too short, so I became more and more familiar with the free-market economists such as the Austrians. That was about the time I sat in on Murray Rothbard courses as well as Peikoff, both at Brooklyn Polytechnic as well as taking the subway uptown to audit Robert Hessen's classes (conceptual foundations of business, business and economic history of the U.S.) at Coumbia's Graduate School of Business.

Over time that level of questions (mostly practical and how-would-it-work-in-society) got resolved and connected to the rest of my knowledge. But those were mostly societal questions - how would America work under Objectivism. The progression wasn't exact, but a few years later two more giant galaxies of questions (even bigger and more complex and challenging) had emerged: The first was self-improvement: the whole personal and psychological domain. The second was activism: persuading people and changing the culture.

[more later, perhaps]

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No one could be elected to a major position in America who is an atheist. Even though a majority claims to be theists they are not true believers in all aspects of their religions. This makes them hypocrites but they don’t see it that way. They won’t vote for the “godless.”

A lot of Americans believe in ghosts, close encounters with aliens or ESP. With no evidence other than hear-say or special affects on the Syfi Network.

Senator Ron Paul, when he was running for office, mentioned that he

agrees with the Objectivist stance that a restaurant owner has the right to refuse to serve someone based upon the color of their skin though he later amended that by saying he would not work to overturn any amendments to the Constitution. Americans would agree with the idea that discrimination is illegal.

Americans want some controls on business. At a minimum they want an EPA that keeps the air and water clean. They think insider trading, or dropping a figurative bomb on a company and then selling short is fraud.

Americans voted for Obama, the most anti-American Marxist ever to run. He could win again. I wonder about the reasoning abilities of many Americans.

I wonder about the reasoning abilities of many Objectivists.


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There is absolutely no correlation between the EPA's budget/regulations that has had any effect in producing "cleaner air," or "cleaner water."

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My first response to the thread was to show that worrying about the purity of Objectivists is fine but the bigger picture is getting Rand’s thoughts out to the majority American view or the “general consensus.” The Tea Party is doing that. “Atlas Shrugged,” the movie is doing that. I DO want Rand’s proponents to know the right stuff and to be consistent Objectivists so that they may persuasively sway. But the internal ARI warfare is moronic.

Adam wrote:

There is absolutely no correlation between the EPA's budget / regulations that has had any effect in producing "cleaner air," or "cleaner water."

end quote

I would not doubt that one bit. We have a “Pocket of Cancer” about twenty miles from where I live, around where the National Cash Register company made cash-registers and old fashioned calculators and buried the chemicals used. The ground water is tested by the EPA periodically in a made-made pond next to the building. They also test a nearby town’s water, but the damage was done back in the 60’s and 70’s.

People voluntarily worked there and made good money. This is not as bad as a John Grisham novel but it is bad enough.

I worked in that building for 11 years to no ill effects other than needing to take a Sudafed pseudophedrine nearly every day that I worked there. Since I retired I am fine: I just jogged four days in a row. The EPA did not help in this situation nor did the free enterprise system. Just try and sue them and prove a correlation in our courts, yet everyone knows there was and still is something wrong because of the cancer rate.

Ah. Dinner is ready. Chicken Parmesan. Bye.


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