Marcus

Objectivists should come off as charming and charismatic

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This thread assumes that we all have the same meaning for what is entailed by the word "charismatic."

I am a trial lawyer, and have been one for 26 years. Trial lawyers are supposed to be charismatic, right? Some (maybe even most) of the most effective trial lawyers I have seen would not qualify as "charismatic."

The best trial lawyers are more authentic than they are charismatic. Power comes from authenticity, not mere "charisma".

I suspect this principle applies to both trial lawyers and real human beings. :laugh:

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Is this premise of this post flawed?

Why should an Objectivist "come off" one way or another? Shouldn't our hypothetical Objectivist more or less simply "be"?

Worrying about how one comes off seems like sort of a Peter Keating-like thing to do.

Now, if you are asking why so many self-proclaimed Objectivists "come off" as douche-bags, then that is an entirely separate question, and one that, unfortunately, involves the fact that many of them are trying to "come off" like a character in a novel, written at least 50 years ago, by a lady from Russia.

This too is, ironically, a Peter Keating-like thing to do as well.

I just graduated from charisma school (and have $523,173.47 in student debt). Now what can I do with all this charisma?

--Brant

nuts!--now I have to go to second-hander school (or do I?)!

Ha!

if you already graduated from charisma school, no need for you to also attend second-hander school, as only second-handers would go to charisma school in the first place.

I only went there to study the second-handers. The charisma rubs on in that environment. It's not my fault if I'm now charismatic. Shit happens.

--Brant

at least now I can save the world: Follow Me!

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It's worth noting that being an Objectivist is hard! For example, it requires that one not only be an atheist, but to condemn all people of faith as evil. Evil! As in, depraved, foul, vile, sinful, dishonorable, corrupt, bad, wicked, villainous. It also requires that one denounce altruism in every form. We're faced with Ayn Rand saying if she had to choose between the life of her husband and the life of her child, she'd choose her husband. Objectivism is a tough pill to swallow, much less sell to someone else to swallow. It's easy to be charismatic when you're espousing free health care to everyone yay! On the other hand, it's hard to say out loud that sometimes the orphans will just have to take care of themselves.

I really hope that was some sort of satire.

Is it really "rational" to condemn as "evil" an otherwise honest and decent religious person? You have to take things on a case-by-case basis and excercise common sense.Telling orphans to "take care of themselves" wtf? You've basically brought up the two worst possible scenarios and used them as examples to make your point.

I agree with the second paragraph of your post, but jeez lets not talk about killing kittens and clubbing baby seals can we?

Objectivism, as I have said before, has a PR problem. You have examples (as posted above) all around you.

Folks this is a not about changing your fundamental ideas, but presenting them in such a way in that they inspire minds as opposed to turning them off. You want a more rational society to live in? That takes tact and persuasiveness. You have to *sell* ideas like anything else. It takes for lack of a better way to put it: Charisma and charm.

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I admit, your reply is good enough for government work. That's a big step up from "motel quality."

--Brant

no comment here from me about the business world

Well it seems like you have worse than no comment. It probably would have been better had you not made the comment.

You are contributing effectively nothing intellectual to this thread. Just more drive-by, incoherent, Ayn Rand bot-like, copy-and-paste derailments.

We could do without that thank you.

What exactly is your point/stance/anything? If you could atleast clarify that it would be a step in the right direction.

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This thread assumes that we all have the same meaning for what is entailed by the word "charismatic."

I am a trial lawyer, and have been one for 26 years. Trial lawyers are supposed to be charismatic, right? Some (maybe even most) of the most effective trial lawyers I have seen would not qualify as "charismatic."

The best trial lawyers are more authentic than they are charismatic. Power comes from authenticity, not mere "charisma".

I suspect this principle applies to both trial lawyers and real human beings. :laugh:

That's more like it! A 'first-handed' connection:

Authentic("of undisputed origin")connoting integrity and esteem for truth. Guaranteed to also evince charisma.

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I admit, your reply is good enough for government work. That's a big step up from "motel quality."

--Brant

no comment here from me about the business world

Well it seems like you have worse than no comment. It probably would have been better had you not made the comment.

You are contributing effectively nothing intellectual to this thread. Just more drive-by, incoherent, Ayn Rand bot-like, copy-and-paste derailments.

We could do without that thank you.

What exactly is your point/stance/anything? If you could atleast clarify that it would be a step in the right direction.

You simply don't know enough about me to properly evaluate my posting style and where I'm coming from. You have certain premises about Objectivism and the world you are determined to maintain bringing us knowledge and enlightenment. Well, I'm no cheer-leader, so suck it up.

--Brant

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It's worth noting that being an Objectivist is hard! For example, it requires that one not only be an atheist, but to condemn all people of faith as evil. Evil! As in, depraved, foul, vile, sinful, dishonorable, corrupt, bad, wicked, villainous. It also requires that one denounce altruism in every form. We're faced with Ayn Rand saying if she had to choose between the life of her husband and the life of her child, she'd choose her husband. Objectivism is a tough pill to swallow, much less sell to someone else to swallow. It's easy to be charismatic when you're espousing free health care to everyone yay! On the other hand, it's hard to say out loud that sometimes the orphans will just have to take care of themselves.

I really hope that was some sort of satire.

Is it really "rational" to condemn as "evil" an otherwise honest and decent religious person? You have to take things on a case-by-case basis and excercise common sense.Telling orphans to "take care of themselves" wtf? You've basically brought up the two worst possible scenarios and used them as examples to make your point.

I agree with the second paragraph of your post, but jeez lets not talk about killing kittens and clubbing baby seals can we?

Objectivism, as I have said before, has a PR problem. You have examples (as posted above) all around you.

Folks this is a not about changing your fundamental ideas, but presenting them in such a way in that they inspire minds as opposed to turning them off. You want a more rational society to live in? That takes tact and persuasiveness. You have to *sell* ideas like anything else. It takes for lack of a better way to put it: Charisma and charm.

It was not satire. You're preaching to the choir, and if you don't see this as a serious issue for Objectivism then you haven't been around very many Objectivists. These may be the worst possible examples, but I can assure that it is, in fact, the worse possible examples that will be used when some charismatic and charming leader puts himself in front of a mob to espouse Objectivism. It would be extremely difficult to remain charming under that kind of scrutiny.

No, in my opinion it is not rational to condemn as evil an otherwise honest and decent religious person. But Ayn Rand did, and to call yourself an Objectivist many believe that you must also. That is a fundamental idea of Objectivism, and when you ask an Objectivist to temper that, you are asking them to stop being an Objectivist.

Note that I am making a distinction between an (O)bjectivist and an (o)bjectivist. I think the term MSK uses is "objectivish." I challenge you to take this inquiry to other forums where the population is less of the -ish.

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It's worth noting that being an Objectivist is hard! For example, it requires that one not only be an atheist, but to condemn all people of faith as evil. Evil! As in, depraved, foul, vile, sinful, dishonorable, corrupt, bad, wicked, villainous. It also requires that one denounce altruism in every form. We're faced with Ayn Rand saying if she had to choose between the life of her husband and the life of her child, she'd choose her husband. Objectivism is a tough pill to swallow, much less sell to someone else to swallow. It's easy to be charismatic when you're espousing free health care to everyone yay! On the other hand, it's hard to say out loud that sometimes the orphans will just have to take care of themselves.

I would argue that there are a great many charismatic and interesting leaders who subscribe to many of the elements of Objectivism, but who, for whatever reason, don't call themselves Objectivists. It will be those leaders who make the most impact, whether it be in business, in politics, or in their everyday lives.

Hard choices are hard choices irrespective of any philosophy. If you had to choose, you chose. Objectivism, properly understood*, is no harder to sell than rationality and if rationality is too hard to sell that's too bad. That's the hard pill to swallow.

--Brant

*not the philosophy of Ayn Rand, BTW; she took that to her grave; there are pale imitators, but they are outside this conversation

Exactly!

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The Objectivist movement actually existed once. It had charismatic leaders, especially Nathaniel Branden and Ayn Rand. Rand was the most important but Branden made it all work. I once described him here as "the entrepreneur of Objectivism." It blew up in 1968 and the remnants--movement remnants--slowly died over the next two decades with Leonard Peikoff driving a stake into its heart in 1986.

The movement had two basic aspects, intellectual and cultural with the latter being dominant. The former lacked critical thinking so it couldn't sustain the latter for long after 1968. Essentially the movement was a cult. Feeding and maintaining that cult was the real purpose of NBI. I was a witness to all this. I saw these people in action. I saw the consequences of people whose lives were lived inside Atlas Shrugged--how it twisted and distorted personally and intellectually. That said, what happened in this cult in the 1960s was appropriate for the times respecting what was going on in the country. It was like a battering ram against the intellectual blackout of the left, but it had its time and effect and 1968 was a good year for moving on after that tremendous shock, only it took years to really move on. In my case it was like a Russian sleigh ride as I threw off item after personally contra-individualism destructive item in my life and in my mind and psychology. It's been quite an education.

Real Objectivism is breath-taking in that it's so simple and easy to understand: reality plus reason plus rational self interest plus laissez-faire capitalism (freedom-individual, rights). It is not Atlas Shrugged. Objectivism a la Rand and Branden was. There is no is left there today. You cannot take the corpse and make a movement out from it much less visit the situation with "charisma" with any discernable effect. You cannot make Objectivism, the philosophy of Ayn Rand, into a Zombie even, but that's all you can try to do.

--Brant

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It's worth noting that being an Objectivist is hard! For example, it requires that one not only be an atheist, but to condemn all people of faith as evil. Evil! As in, depraved, foul, vile, sinful, dishonorable, corrupt, bad, wicked, villainous. It also requires that one denounce altruism in every form. We're faced with Ayn Rand saying if she had to choose between the life of her husband and the life of her child, she'd choose her husband. Objectivism is a tough pill to swallow, much less sell to someone else to swallow. It's easy to be charismatic when you're espousing free health care to everyone yay! On the other hand, it's hard to say out loud that sometimes the orphans will just have to take care of themselves.

I really hope that was some sort of satire.

Is it really "rational" to condemn as "evil" an otherwise honest and decent religious person? You have to take things on a case-by-case basis and excercise common sense.Telling orphans to "take care of themselves" wtf? You've basically brought up the two worst possible scenarios and used them as examples to make your point.

I agree with the second paragraph of your post, but jeez lets not talk about killing kittens and clubbing baby seals can we?

Objectivism, as I have said before, has a PR problem. You have examples (as posted above) all around you.

Folks this is a not about changing your fundamental ideas, but presenting them in such a way in that they inspire minds as opposed to turning them off. You want a more rational society to live in? That takes tact and persuasiveness. You have to *sell* ideas like anything else. It takes for lack of a better way to put it: Charisma and charm.

No. It is not rational to condemn an otherwise decent religious person as evil. Their faith may be wacky (i.e.m Raulians or Scientologists) or even flat out wonky (i.e., New Age religions and Theosophy), but there is absolutely no justification whatsoever to call them names.

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Brant: Those NBI days... There was a time I would have envied you being at the centre of it all in New York back then, but by all reports (yours mainly) I've since realised it could not have suited me. That adulation of (we can not forget) two brilliant and charismatic (but authoritarian) thinkers would have got under my hide. I was always a stubborn s.o.b. and think I'd have walked away from all of it for many wrong reasons as well as the few right ones. Ah, well. Whatever didn't happen, I still partially slipped away from Objectivism for a long time, anyway. I appreciate your insights.

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Brant: Those NBI days... There was a time I would have envied you being at the centre of it all in New York back then, but by all reports (yours mainly) I've since realised it could not have suited me. That adulation of (we can not forget) two brilliant and charismatic (but authoritarian) thinkers would have got under my hide. I was always a stubborn s.o.b. and think I'd have walked away from all of it for many wrong reasons as well as the few right ones. Ah, well. Whatever didn't happen, I still partially slipped away from Objectivism for a long time, anyway. I appreciate your insights.

I read AS in the summer of 1963. I read most of the extant corpus when I was in the army (1965). In the spring of 1966 I visited NBI at 120 E. 34th St in my summer khaki uniform and a woman, must have been Elayne Kalberman, took me down for a subscription to The Objectivist. I think Barbara Branden was on a world cruise. Two years later, after Vietnam, I was back, living in northern Bergen county, NJ and going to NBI lectures. On September 20, 1968, only months later, I went into NYC to see a movie at NBI to find it being closed down. Barbara was at the front desk and I approached her and asked what had happened.

As you can see I was exposed to NBI for only a relatively short period of time. Considering my psychology then and my age I'd probably have tolerated it all for a few more years. So the break was for me a good thing overall. I still went to Boston seven years straight for Rand's Ford Hall Forum appearances ('68-'74). The last year was in a new building and I only listened to it on my station wagon radio. I was terribly pissed when the radio station didn't stick around for the Q & A, always the best part.

NB, in response to an eMail from me a few years ago, stated that the break in '68 was one of the best things that ever happened to him.

--Brant

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No, in my opinion it is not rational to condemn as evil an otherwise honest and decent religious person. But Ayn Rand did, and to call yourself an Objectivist many believe that you must also. That is a fundamental idea of Objectivism, and when you ask an Objectivist to temper that, you are asking them to stop being an Objectivist.

Where do you get the idea that Rand did that? The analysis of "the soul of the mystic" in Galt's Speech I think implies condemnation of everyone who's ever believed in a god or gods, but Rand in practice didn't condemn "otherwise honest and decent" religious people she knew, and I'm unaware of any context in which she explicitly said what you describe as "a fundamental idea of Objectivism."

Ellen

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NB, in response to an eMail from me a few years ago, stated that the break in '68 was one of the best things that ever happened to him.

--Brant

At last, confirmation of a long speculation of mine. Liberated to be himself.

An extraordinary man.

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The main problem with Objectivism is not so much intellectual as cultural. Unlike conservatism, Objectivism, however you consider it--my way or your way or any way--has little or no gravitas. The gravitas of conservatism comes from Christianity. Objectivism is not ready for prime time no matter how much you add in charisma and charm. It's not lipstick on a pig; that's lipstick on almost nothing. The philosophy needs a religion, a religion of reason, not faith, and its God (god?)--the number one thing--is Reality. An Objectivist should be a pantheist and say so, not an atheist. The first is positive, the second negative--that is, should think of himself and his philosophy that way. Atheism is a parasitical term denoting lack of belief in a Supreme Being. This makes Objectivism parasitical on monotheistic religion. Reality is the supreme thing, but existing only as particulars, interacting things. Instead of faith, critical, scientific-like thinking.

--Brant

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The philosophy needs a religion, a religion of reason, not faith, and its God (god?)--the number one thing--is Reality. An Objectivist should be a pantheist and say so, not an atheist. The first is positive, the second negative--that is, should think of himself and his philosophy that way. Atheism is a parasitical term denoting lack of belief in a Supreme Being. This makes Objectivism parasitical on monotheistic religion. Reality is the supreme thing, but existing only as particulars, interacting things. Instead of faith, critical, scientific-like thinking.

--Brant

Way I tend to see it, the early Jews made a courageous attempt at formal understanding: They looked at reality and personified it in a Creator. Then worshiped existence through him. They had identified the axiom of existence.

Something was lacking, and the later Jews/Christians supplied it: the glory of man, personified by the son of god. They had isolated the axiom of consciousness.

Strip away all the mysticism, myth and fables, history and cultures - that seed of philosophy is what's left, and where Objectivism begins.

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The philosophy needs a religion, a religion of reason, not faith, and its God (god?)--the number one thing--is Reality. An Objectivist should be a pantheist and say so, not an atheist. The first is positive, the second negative--that is, should think of himself and his philosophy that way. Atheism is a parasitical term denoting lack of belief in a Supreme Being. This makes Objectivism parasitical on monotheistic religion. Reality is the supreme thing, but existing only as particulars, interacting things. Instead of faith, critical, scientific-like thinking.

--Brant

Way I tend to see it, the early Jews made the first courageous attempt at formal understanding: They looked at reality and personified it in a Creator. Then worshiped existence through him. They had identified the axiom of existence.

Something was lacking, and the later Jews/Christians supplied it: the glory of man, personified by the son of god. They had isolated the axiom of consciousness.

Strip away all the myth and fables, history and cultures- that seed of philosophy is what's left, and where Objectivism begins.

I think you're reading too much into it.

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As for being " charming, persuasive and interesting"--those are not the words that leap to mind when I think of Greenspan. Even in his Objectivist days Rand referred to him as "the undertaker."

Actually, Greenspan is known as being very charming, persuasive and interesting. One doesn't have a career like his without being a master of persuasion.

J

For me, at least, he has never come across that way on a TV screen--and I'm not speaking of his appearances before Congress.

However, I think your central point is sound. Ideas are important, but a leader with good looks, a way with words and the ability to connect with crowds is essential for a popular movement.

How do you know these are "essential"? I'm including "leader" in my question.

--Brant

I suppose there may be an exception or two, but all great social movements of the past were spearheaded by a leader who was charismatic and resolute in purpose. Love them or hate them, they include Jesus, Martin Luther, Cromwell, Napoleon, Lenin, and M.L. King.

The American Revolution is a perfect illustration of the key role that persuasive leaders play in changing the course of history.

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ff, only the roundest head could find Cromwell charismatic. Resolute, yes.

John Wesley might be a better example.

Caroline

Jacobite

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Conceded, absolutely. That is a charisma niche, though. Persuading both men and women to throw themselves into a new way of life, takes something more.

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We should never underestimate the importance of a commander's personality in convincing men to throw themselves into the heat of battle. In that regard, Cromwell was brilliant.

Unfortunate. Cromwell was a bad general who wasted a the lives of his own people unnecessarily.

Ba'al Chatzaf

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