moralist

Is evil rational?

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The video made more sense (dare I say was more rational?) than I expected from Dennis Prager. No one has been able to overcome the prudent predator argument to show that respecting the rights of others is always in one's self-interest. Thus, a man could be both rationally self-interested and a violator of others' rights.

Which underlines that individual rights is not a code of morality. Next thing, "can I get away with it?" will be the only worthy standard.

Actually, the question here is, if egoism is the basis for all subsidiary decisions, then why should the rights of others be given any particular consideration?

You can't have anything like rights under crude egoism. Rand's may be a different story.

"May be a different story", and most certainly is. It is the one (moral, rational and self-accountable individuals) which makes the other (individual rights) essential. The rationally moral must be protected from those who're not, your "crude" egoists - so observing others' rights isn't the basis for a rational morality, in itself. Man's life is the moral standard for Objectivism (and each man's life, the purpose) after which by derivation, men's rights.

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The bad drives out the good.

As I see it, Brant... evil can't drive out good, just as darkness is totally powerless to drive out light. This is because darkness isn't a thing in itself but is only a lack of light. Similar to cold being only a lack of heat.

Evil is just a default condition which can only exist where there isn't any good.

Greg

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From "The Objectivist Ethics" “An organism's life is its standard of value: that which furthers its life is the good, that which threatens it is the evil.”

While I suppose that there may be altruistic or "selfless" predators who place their victims' welfare above their own, what I actually had in mind is the selfish predator who furthers his own life, without regard to the consequences his actions may have on others, including their rights. For example, the man who forges his late mother's will to make himself her sole beneficiary.

To call this behavior "irrational," requires redefining "rationality" to exclude any behavior that is rights-violating, something that even Rand did not attempt. She simply claimed that predators "may achieve their goals for the range of a moment, at the price of destruction: the destruction of their victims and their own." However, such a conclusion is not supported by any survey of history, thorough or casual.

"An organism's life is its standard of value: that which furthers its life is the good..." etc.

Right, but you stopped before the best bit. Which organism? (man) what standards? what are its (his) nature and faculties?

"Rationality" means to live in accord with his nature and that of all existence, as reasoning, volitional, autonomous man - and no, no "redefining" needed.

That type of egoist who must exist at the expense of others - by their minds and actions culminating in their property - is living by others' standards and values -- not by his own and by those standards of man's nature. For this he's called egoistical? But he's as ego-less as it gets. He has surrendered his mind, by Rand's reckoning, a quintessential altruist.

I think that's the self-destruction she meant, but it goes far past the simply material, FF.

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"An organism's life is its standard of value..." etc.

Right, but you stopped before the best bit. Which organism? (man) what standards? and what are its (his) nature and faculties?

Of course. That amoral definition could hold true for cancer cells! :laugh:

Greg

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The bad drives out the good.

As I see it, Brant... evil can't drive out good, just as darkness is totally powerless to drive out light. This is because darkness isn't a thing in itself but is only a lack of light. Similar to cold being only a lack of heat.

Evil is just a default condition which can only exist where there isn't any good.

Greg

More accurate to say it needs the sanction of the good, which is pure Ayn Rand. Your literalized position is the Jews got what they deserved from Hitler. I know you don't believe that. I do half believe you'll try to rationalize away the logic of my statement. The other half is you won't try--nothing, nada, zip.

--Brant

cats don't bark but you frequently try--I do appreciate it when you go "Meow!" if not claw and spit

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The bad drives out the good.

As I see it, Brant... evil can't drive out good, just as darkness is totally powerless to drive out light. This is because darkness isn't a thing in itself but is only a lack of light. Similar to cold being only a lack of heat.

Evil is just a default condition which can only exist where there isn't any good.

Greg

More accurate to say it needs the sanction of the good, which is pure Ayn Rand. Your literalized position is the Jews got what they deserved from Hitler. I know you don't believe that. I do half believe you'll try to rationalize away the logic of my statement. The other half is you won't try--nothing, nada, zip.

--Brant

cats don't bark but you frequently try--I do appreciate it when you go "Meow!" if not claw and spit

Hannah Arendt stated in her 1963 book Eichmann in Jerusalem that without the assistance of the Judenräte, the registration of the Jews, their concentration in ghettos and, later, their active assistance in the Jews' deportation to extermination camps, many fewer Jews would have perished because the Germans would have encountered considerable difficulties in drawing up lists of Jews. In occupied Europe, the Nazis entrusted Jewish officials with the task of making such lists of Jews along with information about the property they owned. The Judenräte also directed the Jewish police to assist the Germans in catching Jews and loading them onto transport trains leaving for concentration camps. In her book, Arendt wrote that: "To a Jew, this role of the Jewish leaders in the destruction of their own people is undoubtedly the darkest chapter of the whole dark story." [Wikipedia]

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Thanks for that reference, not for pulling Greg out of the water. I was sure I was going to drown him.

--Brat

damn it! (my evil don't work, but I'm working on it!)

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The bad drives out the good.

As I see it, Brant... evil can't drive out good, just as darkness is totally powerless to drive out light. This is because darkness isn't a thing in itself but is only a lack of light. Similar to cold being only a lack of heat.

Evil is just a default condition which can only exist where there isn't any good.

Greg

More accurate to say it needs the sanction of the good, which is pure Ayn Rand.

Ah, but the "good" that sanctions evil is NOT actually good.

Whereever there is real good... evil isn't.

Your literalized position is the Jews got what they deserved from Hitler. I know you don't believe that. I do half believe you'll try to rationalize away the logic of my statement. The other half is you won't try--nothing, nada, zip.

I do know that evil can only flourish wherever good isn't.

And speaking of the Jews who I believe are God's chosen people, because they were the vehicle by which the law and salvation came into this world. They have a long history of times they as a whole turned away from God, and by default they lost their moral protection from the evil in this world.

This same principle holds true today:

"Whenever you do what is good... you are protected from what is evil.

Whenever you fail to do what is good... you lose protection from what is evil."

--Greg :wink:

-

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He is dead on correct. Reason and Logic are orthogonal to righteousness and good.

Ba'al Chatzaf

He's dead on wrong. His cheating example evades a clear implication: what stops the cheater from eventually being found out that he in fact is faking his knowledge and skills? This "moral calculus" approach to decision making has already been addressed within Objectivism. This applies to every other example he gave. An action is not "rational" if the actor knows the action is not in his long-term interest.

I thought you guys would've caught that.

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From "The Objectivist Ethics" “An organism's life is its standard of value: that which furthers its life is the good, that which threatens it is the evil.”

While I suppose that there may be altruistic or "selfless" predators who place their victims' welfare above their own, what I actually had in mind is the selfish predator who furthers his own life, without regard to the consequences his actions may have on others, including their rights. For example, the man who forges his late mother's will to make himself her sole beneficiary.

To call this behavior "irrational," requires redefining "rationality" to exclude any behavior that is rights-violating, something that even Rand did not attempt. She simply claimed that predators "may achieve their goals for the range of a moment, at the price of destruction: the destruction of their victims and their own." However, such a conclusion is not supported by any survey of history, thorough or casual.

Rand explicitly stated to violate the rights of others means to forfeit your own rights. The "predator" becomes the "prey".

Furthermore, violating the rights of others is not a neccesary condition of surivival (unless you maybe live in a dictatorship where the concept of "rights" do not apply). Which then leads to another question: Why do you feel the need to violate the rights of nothers in the first place if not required to do so? If life is the standard of morality and life does not require hurting or killing or cheating other men (just the opposite), to take those actions *IS* irrational and hence, immoral.

"Evil", she identified, is a function of a series of mental evasions that lead to false premises. Every example argument the video made are pretty clear examples of evasion. By the looks of things, most of the commenters in this thread have been rather easily mislead by them.

What have we all learned here most of all? This is why persuasive rhetoric must never fall into the wrong hands haha.

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what stops the cheater from eventually being found out that he in fact is faking his knowledge and skills?

No one who decides to cheat believes he will be found out.

If he did believe he would be found out, he would not choose to cheat.

Greg

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what stops the cheater from eventually being found out that he in fact is faking his knowledge and skills?

No one who decides to cheat believes he will be found out.

If he did believe he would be found out, he would not choose to cheat.

Greg

Therein lies the source of the problem: irrational beliefs.

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. An action is not "rational" if the actor knows the action is not in his long-term interest.

This is debatable in more than one way. My only point is most things definitely addressed by Objectivism have not been. Objectivism, in fact, addresses nothing. Never has and never will. I know you are speaking in shorthand, but it's obscuring that it was Rand or Branden or Peikoff that did the addressing. You here in support of this statement have turned the philosophy into an argument from authority.

--Brant

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Hannah Arendt stated in her 1963 book Eichmann in Jerusalem that without the assistance of the Judenräte, the registration of the Jews, their concentration in ghettos and, later, their active assistance in the Jews' deportation to extermination camps, many fewer Jews would have perished because the Germans would have encountered considerable difficulties in drawing up lists of Jews. In occupied Europe, the Nazis entrusted Jewish officials with the task of making such lists of Jews along with information about the property they owned. The Judenräte also directed the Jewish police to assist the Germans in catching Jews and loading them onto transport trains leaving for concentration camps. In her book, Arendt wrote that: "To a Jew, this role of the Jewish leaders in the destruction of their own people is undoubtedly the darkest chapter of the whole dark story." [Wikipedia]

Excellent Wolf.

Been a big Arendt fan for decades because she had the courage to tell the truth about her own culture.

After graduating from high school in Koenigsberg in 1924, Arendt began to study theology that fall with Rudolf Bultmann at the University of Marburg. Also on the faculty was the young philosopher Martin Heidegger, whose lectures, which would form the basis of Sein und Zeit [being and time] (1927), were already inspiring allegiance to and interest in the emerging Existenzphilosophie. Her brief but passionate affair with Heidegger, a married man and a father, began in 1925 but ended when she went on to study at the University of Heidelberg with Karl Jaspers. A psychiatrist who had converted to philosophy, he became her mentor.

Ah, socialism is so much fun...

As the National Socialists grasped power, Arendt became a political activist and, beginning in 1933, helped the German Zionist Organization and its leader, Kurt Blumenfeld, to publicize the plight of the victims of Nazism. She also did research on anti-Semitic propaganda, for which she was arrested by the Gestapo. But when she won the sympathy of a Berlin jailer, she was released and escaped to Paris, where she remained for the rest of the decade. Working especially with Youth Aliyah, Arendt helped rescue Jewish children from the Third Reich and bring them to Palestine.

http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/biography/arendt.html

One of my reasons why I respect her was her zeroing in on Nazism and Stalinism:

No book was more resonant or impressive in tracing the steps toward the distinctive twentieth-century tyrannies of Hitler and Stalin, or in measuring how grievously wounded Western civilization and the human status itself had become. She demonstrated how embedded racism was in Central and Western European societies by the end of the nineteenth century, and how imperialism experimented with the possibilities of unspeakable cruelty and mass murder. The third section of her book exposed the operations of "radical evil," arguing that the huge number of prisoners in the death camps marked a horrifying discontinuity in European history itself. Totalitarianism put into practice what had been imagined only in the medieval depictions of hell. In the 1950s, The Origins of Totalitarianism engendered much doubt, especially by drawing parallels between Nazi Germany and Stalinist Russia (despite their obvious ideological conflicts and their savage warfare from 1941 to 1945). The parallelism continues to stir skepticism in some readers, especially because of the unavailability and unfamiliarity of Russian sources when the book was researched and written. But Arendt's emphasis on the plight of the Jews amid the decline of Enlightenment ideals of human rights, and her insistence that the Third Reich was conducting two wars—one against the Allies, the other against the Jewish people—have become commonplaces of Jewish historiography. Much of her book is stunningly original, and virtually every paragraph is ablaze with insight. More than any other scholar, Arendt made meaningful and provocative die idea of "totalitarianism" as a novel form of autocracy, as springing from subterranean sources within Western society, but pushing to unprecedented extremes murderous fantasies of domination and revenge. An expanded edition of The Origins of Totalitarianism was published in 1958, taking into account the Hungarian Revolution of two years earlier.

A...

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In Soviet Russia, the tyrant was not Stalin; it was millions of citizens who chanted slogans and perished as a consequence of their own folly. Thirty million British trade unionists, doctors, butchers, bakers and candlestickmakers democratically cut their own economic throats in the 1970s with the same Marxist slogans. Harold Wilson did not "force" them into penury, and Margaret Thatcher did not "force" the British to wake up and smell the bank statements. We the people do these things to and for ourselves. [Laissez Faire Law, p.37]

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From "The Objectivist Ethics" “An organism's life is its standard of value: that which furthers its life is the good, that which threatens it is the evil.”

While I suppose that there may be altruistic or "selfless" predators who place their victims' welfare above their own, what I actually had in mind is the selfish predator who furthers his own life, without regard to the consequences his actions may have on others, including their rights. For example, the man who forges his late mother's will to make himself her sole beneficiary.

To call this behavior "irrational," requires redefining "rationality" to exclude any behavior that is rights-violating, something that even Rand did not attempt. She simply claimed that predators "may achieve their goals for the range of a moment, at the price of destruction: the destruction of their victims and their own." However, such a conclusion is not supported by any survey of history, thorough or casual.

"An organism's life is its standard of value: that which furthers its life is the good..." etc.

Right, but you stopped before the best bit. Which organism? (man) what standards? what are its (his) nature and faculties?

"Rationality" means to live in accord with his nature and that of all existence, as reasoning, volitional, autonomous man - and no, no "redefining" needed.

That type of egoist who must exist at the expense of others - by their minds and actions culminating in their property - is living by others' standards and values -- not by his own and by those standards of man's nature. For this he's called egoistical? But he's as ego-less as it gets. He has surrendered his mind, by Rand's reckoning, a quintessential altruist.

I think that's the self-destruction she meant, but it goes far past the simply material, FF.

I realize that there are some predators who live by others' standards and values. For example, a few years ago my house was burglarized, and my DVD collection cleaned out. It is certainly possible that the burglar watched my copy of The Fountainhead and, as a result, started living for himself and letting his own judgment be the highest authority.

However, the prudent predator I had in mind is not particularly interested in the standards and values of his victims. For example, he might loot a devout Christian's bank account, and, instead of following the Third, Fourth and Fifth Commandments, he might go to a gambling den on Sunday, then come home and swear at his mother.

Or consider the predator who forges a check belonging to a vegetarian and then uses the proceeds to buy a steak dinner.

And, while I'm sure there are more than a few predators who are egoless, care far more about the well being of others than themselves, and devote their energies primarily to improving the condition of the less fortunate, the predator I had in mind doesn't give a second thought about anyone but himself and perhaps a few people in his circle of friends.

Yes, I suppose there are predators who are quick to surrender their minds and become the unthinking servants of powerful masters. But what I had in mind was the lone wolf who answers to no higher authority.

That is what I meant by the prudent predator.

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And, while I'm sure there are more than a few predators who are egoless, care far more about the well being of others than themselves, and devote their energies primarily to improving the condition of the less fortunate, the predator I had in mind doesn't give a second thought about anyone but himself and perhaps a few people in his circle of friends.

Yes, I suppose there are predators who are quick to surrender their minds and become the unthinking servants of powerful masters. But what I had in mind was the lone wolf who answers to no higher authority.

That is what I meant by the prudent predator.

Timothy McVeigh?

--Brant

many members of Congress?

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Hannah Arendt stated in her 1963 book Eichmann in Jerusalem that without the assistance of the Judenräte, the registration of the Jews, their concentration in ghettos and, later, their active assistance in the Jews' deportation to extermination camps, many fewer Jews would have perished because the Germans would have encountered considerable difficulties in drawing up lists of Jews. In occupied Europe, the Nazis entrusted Jewish officials with the task of making such lists of Jews along with information about the property they owned. The Judenräte also directed the Jewish police to assist the Germans in catching Jews and loading them onto transport trains leaving for concentration camps. In her book, Arendt wrote that: "To a Jew, this role of the Jewish leaders in the destruction of their own people is undoubtedly the darkest chapter of the whole dark story." [Wikipedia]

Thanks for supplying a historical example of turning away from God (or away from doing what's objectively right if you're secular) and the consequence of their moral failure was losing their protection from evil.

Greg

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From "The Objectivist Ethics" “An organism's life is its standard of value: that which furthers its life is the good, that which threatens it is the evil.”

While I suppose that there may be altruistic or "selfless" predators who place their victims' welfare above their own, what I actually had in mind is the selfish predator who furthers his own life, without regard to the consequences his actions may have on others, including their rights. For example, the man who forges his late mother's will to make himself her sole beneficiary.

To call this behavior "irrational," requires redefining "rationality" to exclude any behavior that is rights-violating, something that even Rand did not attempt. She simply claimed that predators "may achieve their goals for the range of a moment, at the price of destruction: the destruction of their victims and their own." However, such a conclusion is not supported by any survey of history, thorough or casual.

"An organism's life is its standard of value: that which furthers its life is the good..." etc.

Right, but you stopped before the best bit. Which organism? (man) what standards? what are its (his) nature and faculties?

"Rationality" means to live in accord with his nature and that of all existence, as reasoning, volitional, autonomous man - and no, no "redefining" needed.

That type of egoist who must exist at the expense of others - by their minds and actions culminating in their property - is living by others' standards and values -- not by his own and by those standards of man's nature. For this he's called egoistical? But he's as ego-less as it gets. He has surrendered his mind, by Rand's reckoning, a quintessential altruist.

I think that's the self-destruction she meant, but it goes far past the simply material, FF.

I realize that there are some predators who live by others' standards and values. For example, a few years ago my house was burglarized, and my DVD collection cleaned out. It is certainly possible that the burglar watched my copy of The Fountainhead and, as a result, started living for himself and letting his own judgment be the highest authority.

However, the prudent predator I had in mind is not particularly interested in the standards and values of his victims. For example, he might loot a devout Christian's bank account, and, instead of following the Third, Fourth and Fifth Commandments, he might go to a gambling den on Sunday, then come home and swear at his mother.

Or consider the predator who forges a check belonging to a vegetarian and then uses the proceeds to buy a steak dinner.

And, while I'm sure there are more than a few predators who are egoless, care far more about the well being of others than themselves, and devote their energies primarily to improving the condition of the less fortunate, the predator I had in mind doesn't give a second thought about anyone but himself and perhaps a few people in his circle of friends.

Yes, I suppose there are predators who are quick to surrender their minds and become the unthinking servants of powerful masters. But what I had in mind was the lone wolf who answers to no higher authority.

That is what I meant by the prudent predator.

...and even the most prudent predator can never escape being preyed upon as he preys upon others. For there will always be greater predators within that self inflicted hell.

Greg

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...and even the most prudent predator can never escape being preyed upon as he preys upon others. For there will always be greater predators within that self inflicted hell.

Greg

And the greatest of the greatest--God?

--Brant

or do I have that ass backwards?

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...and even the most prudent predator can never escape being preyed upon as he preys upon others. For there will always be greater predators within that self inflicted hell.

Greg

And the greatest of the greatest--God?

--Brant

or do I have that ass backwards?

Verily! and He demands sacrifices.

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