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Article and recent book about Ayn Rand

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Ayn Rand's Legacy of Unifying Social Cruelty

https://truthout.org/articles/ayn-rands-legacy-of-unifying-social-cruelty/

I suggest also clicking on the link within "she advocated a cartoon fantasy of economic "freedom"” about half-way through the article.

The book is Mean Girl: Ayn Rand and the Culture of Greed.

I haven't read the book, but it's likely a screed like the article.

 

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From the interview. How do you set out to describe Rand politically, and what do you consider her relevancy and legacy in the present?

Donald Trump is a Rand villain who thinks he’s her hero; he thinks he’s Howard Roark. But she actually despised his kind of crony capitalism tied with government favors and corruption. She would have hated the way he looks — tubby and vulgar like one of her “losers.” end quotes

What a pack of lies about “Ann" Rand and President Trump.  Trump is the opposite of a crony capitalist. He is against favors and corruption. Remember the politicians she liked or would have liked, from Dewey, Goldwater, to Reagan? What did looks have to do with that?

I think she would have liked Donald Trump, with an occasional criticism. She would not be OK with the ARI positions or Tracinski's. She thought in philosophical and economic absolutes. Trump is for more freedom for the American people. He is for keeping us safer and for legal immigration. He is for a more laissez-fair economy. President Trump usually praises the type of people Rand praised. An occasional gaff, do not a presidency, make. The above quoted reading is so off base it is pathetic.

The Dow has risen by the thousands. Wages are higher. Joblessness is at 3 percent. The future is bright and secure. Rand’s and Trump’s legacy will be sterling. Trump has upset the political machines in both parties. Old Sleepy Joe should have been a shoe-in, big foot size 12, but instead we have a bunch of democrat punks surging in the polls. Peter  

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I might look at this book (which is typical mis-characterization garbage allied to a progressive feminist viewpoint from what I have seen so far), but I'm certainly not going to spend any money on it.

For those who have a Scribd account, I searched on mine and it's there. So you can legally read it without paying anything.

One thing is clear to me at this point, though. In a few years, people are still going to be reading Rand in growing numbers, but I doubt anyone will be reading Lisa Duggan anymore. How many of Rand's critics has this happened to?

How about the vast majority of them? 

:) 

Michael

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Of course it’s a mischaracterization. But, then again, Rand has it coming with all of the mischaracterizing that she did of others. 

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5 minutes ago, Jonathan said:

Of course it’s a mischaracterization. But, then again, Rand has it coming with all of the mischaracterizing that she did of others. 

Jonathan,

Maybe.

But do we have it coming?

After all, Rand can't read anything anymore.

:) 

Michael

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1 hour ago, Michael Stuart Kelly said:

Jonathan,

Maybe.

But do we have it coming?

After all, Rand can't read anything anymore.

:) 

Michael

Zombie Ayn Rand can.

--Brant

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Ayn Rand couldn't adjust to Ronald Reagan (abortion) and also wouldn't Donald Trump (abortion).

Time caught up and flew past her in her own lifetime. She knew this implicitly at least when she announced the closing of her Ayn Rand Letter. (Things were so bad she wasn't going on as an observer and commentator on them.)

Combining philosophy and fiction froze her in fiction time and the world marched on.

Her past went back to pre-revolutionary Russia and she had a justified and natural response to the imposition on the revolution of Soviet communism. But Randian Man as opposed to Soviet (or Nazi) man is just as unreal but in opposite ways.

A proper application of basic Objectivist principles requires a proper (real) unposturing man or woman living a life of integrity. She got the integrity right but not the donkey to pin the tail onto.

A projection of how life should and ought to be is necessary and fine--in her case much more great than not--but this is now the more immediate age and she has temporarily gone shallow and will reappear stronger than ever albeit without John Galt.

Who will replace him? Anyone who lives an intelligent and rational life of courage and integrity--who strives for that. One falls down, picks oneself up and goes at it again. The falling down part is inevitable. That's what adolescents specialise in.

--Brant

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2 hours ago, Brant Gaede said:

One falls down, picks oneself up and goes at it again. The falling down part is inevitable. That's what adolescents specialise in.

Brant,

This inevitability is the weak link in the chain of pure Objectivism--and all utopic ideologies for that matter (including communism). They claim that man is perfectible. In order to claim that, one has to know what perfection for homo sapiens is. And, the only people who can do that are not yet perfected homo sapiens.

After a certain point in Objectivism, after becoming morally perfect, you are not supposed to morally fall down anymore. But there's a catch. Morality, according to Rand, is a code of values to guide man's choices. But, if perfection is to mean anything concrete and not just a floating abstraction, being morally perfect means no longer having to choose, that is, the perfect moral alternative in any choice will automatically suggest itself and one will automatically act on it.

No wonder Rand had difficulty accepting the reality of evolution. If something is perfect, no more evolution is possible. In other words, if a perfect being still evolves, that means it is not yet perfect.

What to do? I say reject this contradictory premise and stop with the process of deducing fundamental reality from projections dressed up as axioms and principles. Get principles from observation and go on from there instead of the contrary. Perfection is not observable. What is observable is that the universe is dynamic, not static.

What will human beings look like a thousand years from now? In the perfection view, they will not evolve, they can't and still be perfect by definition. That means they will look exactly like what they do now (presuming any "perfect" ones can be found).

That's an ill-formed opinion, not reality.

Objectivism, for the most part, rocks without this poison kernel. In my view, it doesn't need imperfect people to decree human perfection to be an excellent frame for living in peace on earth and using one's brain in a deeply satisfying way (albeit the family part and some of the psychology is weak, not to mention a booby-trap or two for neurotic people :) ).

Seriously, instead of one molding oneself to Objectivism, it is far better to use Objectivism as a foundation--a great one at that--to build on. The way I practice it is to add empathy (after all, oxytocin is real out there in reality :) ) and some other missing elements to the intellectual frame Objectivism provides.

In other words, I am one who often falls down, picks myself up and goes at it again with my best shot. And life like that is more than OK for me. Also, I don't know, nor do I want to know in advance, the end point of my own growth. (I'm not able to know it anyway--it's a reality thing :) .)

So screw human perfection, especially since nobody knows--nor can they know from a human perspective--what it is. They need to be God to do that and in Objectivism, God doesn't even exist. (I, myself, don't know any hard facts about God's existence except the knowledge that the universe is vastly bigger and vastly smaller than me--i.e., I only know things within the limitations of being human--and that's OK, too.)

I already know I have to die. That's information overload as it is. So I prefer to keep growing in the direction of wherever my own human potential takes me and learn about the different destinations as I arrive. Great achievements are possible on that path and I am working on a few. Nothing is stopping me. Besides, I like pleasant surprises. :) 

Michael

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God exists like reality exists, epistemologically, if they are one and the same--albeit, to be respected, not worshipped.

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13 hours ago, Michael Stuart Kelly said:

 

So screw human perfection, especially since nobody knows--nor can they know from a human perspective--what it is. They need to be God to do that and in Objectivism, God doesn't even exist. (I, myself, don't know any hard facts about God's existence except the knowledge that the universe is vastly bigger and vastly smaller than me--i.e., I only know things within the limitations of being human--and that's OK, too.)

I already know I have to die. That's information overload as it is. So I prefer to keep growing in the direction of wherever my own human potential takes me and learn about the different destinations as I arrive. Great achievements are possible on that path and I am working on a few. Nothing is stopping me. Besides, I like pleasant surprises. :) 

Michael

The last I like, which somewhat contradicts the first paragraph, Michael. Perhaps you already know what "human perfection" constitutes, while decrying it in the abstract? Generally, it appears one needs to dissolve all those prior, usually religious or socially-given (in others' perception), notions one inherits of "perfection". It is not something supernatural, societal or ubermensch. At bottom, man is already "perfect": look at a sparrow or an ant, how does one "improve" on the perfection of what each is? Like other living things, man also has given capacities which he must utilize to live and fulfill himself, but unlike them, he hasn't instincts - 'foreknowledge'. Unlike them , he knows he hasn't unlimited time. To the extent and in his time-frame that the individual discovers and uses the reach of his powers, with fearless certainty, while accepting he will make (correctable) errors, is already fulfilling his capacity and is 'perfect', I think. 

There could be a rationalist, idealist tendency among Objectivists (who wasn't a little prone?) to believing the philosophy would confer instantly-revealed knowledge and instantaneous moral perfection - perhaps, a God on earth. If so, then disillusion and eventual skepticism will set in. The methodology, what O'ism is mostly about, should disabuse anyone of gaining an easy "in". Activating one's mind to use the Objectivist tools isn't automatic, the epistemology, e.g. induction, integration, deduction, etc. need one's continuous work. The "limitations of being human" extend only physically, for each of us. Whereas, the conceptual process and framework *can* take in the contents of what there is in known existence, without limitations. Not of course, every detail - that attempt would drive one crazy - it is the perfect endeavor to know the scope of everything (not all the facts about everything.

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21 minutes ago, anthony said:

Like other living things, man also has given capacities which he must utilize, but unlike them, he hasn't instincts - 'foreknowledge'.

Tony,

This is boilerplate Rand and I disagree with it. When you study neuroscience, you discover this simply isn't true.

Here's an easy instinct. Why do humans instinctually fear snakes and spiders? 

I can give you a lot of things like that. And technical details describing how and why.

21 minutes ago, anthony said:

There could be the rationalist, idealist tendency among Objectivists (who wasn't a little prone?) to believing the philosophy would confer instantly revealed knowledge and instantaneous moral perfection, perhaps, a God on earth. If so, then disillusion and eventual skepticism will set in. The methodology, most of what O'ism is about, should disabuse anyone of an easy "in".

Actually, Rand said to become morally perfect is very hard.

And that leads to a further beef I have with this notion. If being morally perfect is doable, even though hard and you have to choose it, that means man is born morally imperfect. Moral imperfection is his default state until he decides to fix it. Another name for that is "original sin."

:) 

I say trash the whole concept. Objectivism works just fine without it. I prefer terms like excellence, integrity and so on. States of perfection are just too utopic and not reality-based for my view of existence. 

Michael

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Something I wrote back in 2013: . . . You'd think that if the behavior were chosen, the infant would behave differently from time to time given a particular response. The baby does not. The reflex is consistent, depending on the stimulus. You'd also think that if the behavior was chosen, it could be performed at any age, but as noted, most of the reflexes disappear in time.

The proof? Here is a list of reflexes, some observed as early as 1965. [Source: Child Development, 1997, 4th Ed., Laura E. Berk]

Legend: Reflex--Stimulation--Response--Age of disappearance--Function

Rooting--Stroke cheek near corner of mouth--Head turns toward source of stimulation--3 weeks (becomes voluntary head turning at 3 weeks)--Helps infant find nipple. [Note that in making this observation, voluntary behaviors are distinguished from reflexive.]

Sucking--Place finger in infant's mouth--Infant sucks finger rhythmically--Permanent--Permits feeding.

Swimming--Place infant face down in water--Baby paddles and kicks in swimming motion--4-6 months--Helps infant survive if dropped in a body of water.

Eye blink--Shine bright light at eyes or clap hand near head--Infant quickly closes eyelids--permanent--Protects infant from strong stimulation.

Withdrawal--Prick sole of foot with pin--Foot withdraws, with flexion of knee and hip--Weakens after 10 days--Protects infant from unpleasant tactile stimulation

Babinski (my favorite)--Stroke sole of foot from toe toward heel--Toes fan out and curl as foot twists in--8-12 months--Unknown!

Moro--Hold infant horizontally on back and let head drop slightly, or produce a sudden loud sound against surface supporting infant--Infant makes an "embracing" motion by arching back, extending legs, throwing arms outward, and then bringing them in toward body--6 months--In evolutionary past, may have helped infant cling to mother.

Palmar grasp (something I observed as a young child when interacting with infants)--Place finger in infant's hand and press against palm—Spontaneous grasp of adult's finger--3-4 months--Prepares infant for voluntary grasping.

Stepping--Hold infant under arms and permit bare feet to touch flat surface--Infant lifts one foot after another in stepping response—2 months--Prepares infant for voluntary walking.

From Dennis May back in 2001. Bill Dwyer insisted these were mostly if not completely “learned” responses. Fear of snakes, spiders. Deep terror created by the sounds of some predators. Face recognition/beauty. Sexual attraction related to scents. Other aspects of sexual attraction. Fear of heights [some people genetically don't have it]. Infants sucking. Revulsion/attraction to certain tastes and smells   and their changing nature with age or pregnancy. Blinking when an object approaches. Fear of inhaling fluids [some man-made fluids can  be breathed].

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I think I wrote this on a thread back in 2001 or 2003, in opposition to Rand's position that a baby wasn't a human baby and a person until it was born. And of course, thanks to, to, Obi Wan . . . er I mean Roger Bissel's expertise that I am parroting in part. 

I want to hammer this home: the personality is there even at this beginning stage of cognitive development. Once the person comes into existence it is always the same person until it dies. The beginning of human consciousness is the beginning of personality and it is the beginning of what we call a “Person.” It is wrong to kill it without the due process of law. To Tim Hopkins and all other Objectivists who refuse to concede the obvious. I think that the evasion inherent in saying that a fetus is part of the mother’s body and its only “important” attribute is that “Thou shalt not infringe upon the rights of the Mother,” is something tacked onto Rand’s politics to support abortion rights no matter what the facts of reality may actually be.

The Mother is not an entity with four arms, four legs, and two brains. The fetus has separate DNA. When it becomes conscious, it is a separately thinking being living inside the mother. I GRANT YOU THAT THIS IS A UNIQUE SITUATION, BUT WHERE ELSE DOES RAND SAY A “GROUP” HAS RIGHTS EXCEPT IN THIS ONE CASE OF A GROUP CONSISTING OF A MOTHER AND AN “ONBOARD CHILD?” And where does Rand, Peikoff, or Kelly say that the strongest member of a group has the right to terminate the weaker members? There is no conflict between the rights of a Mother and a Conscious Child. Location does not define identity.

Tim wrote: In ITOE, identity presupposes "entity".  In the context of the abortion debate, this presupposition becomes all the more relevant.  Rights presuppose a physically separate, independent (not necessarily socially self-supporting) being.  A part of another person *can* be considered as an entity for purposes of abstraction, as long one does not confuse its metaphysical status.  What I've seen here on the part of some, is the tendency to conveniently skip over the issue of whether the fetus is a separate entity because it inconveniently delays discussion about it's identity. End quote

Tim, you are the one who is conveniently skipping over the facts. Metaphysically, we are talking about two individuals, not one. The “fact” that it exists inside the mother and is dependent upon her for its life, and that she is responsible for its well being is the same “fact” of dependence and responsibility owed the newborn, and to all children because that is the nature of this process of life. IT IS A METAPHYSICALLY SEPARATE BEING physically attached to the mother. This  does not mean that it does not exist.

You need to change your wording in your last sentence to something like: “What I've seen here on the part of some, is the tendency to conveniently skip over the issue of whether the fetus is a separate though dependent entity living inside another separate entity, its mother, because it conveniently delays discussion about whether the fetus is a separate person.” Semper cogitans fidele, Peter Taylor

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One more oldie. Was Rand inexperienced about children? Yes. Was she close-minded? You be the judge after reading the following letter from Roger Bissell. Yeah I think she was close-minded. She was so pro individual rights, so much a feminist about abortion, so for a mother‘s rights over all else . . . that she walled off all other evidence and a sense of decency. Peter  

From: PaleoObjectivist To: atlantis Subject: ATL: Fwd: How Babies Think: The Science of Childhood Date: Sun, 19 Jan 2003 21:37:30 EST. I have written previously about the need for Objectivists to keep informed about the specifics of reality, in order for their policy pronouncements to be valid. Any application of Objectivism is going to be one part theory (principle) and one part fact -- and if a spokesman for Objectivism is not willing or able to verse themselves in the factual details of what they opine about, they are going to be embarrassed (or embarrassing to the rest of us).

A key example is Ayn Rand's goofy claims about children being on the sensation level of consciousness when they are born – and only later managing to learn how to integrate sensations into percepts (then later into concepts, of course). We now know differently. Babies are born already capable of auditory perception and able to focus their eyes on objects close to them (frequently, if not in all cases) immediately after birth. When Rand espoused her sensation-at-birth viewpoint in the mid-60s, medical science had not yet officially acknowledged this fact, but any reasonably intelligent, observant parent ~knew better~. No Objectivist bothered to speak out and correct this howler in Rand's epistemology, when my first child was born in 1978, obviously capable of focused visual perception right out of the "barrel" (so to speak). But I did not need to exercise complex logic or high abstraction in order to note the fact -- just an open eyes and an open mind.

Why wasn't Rand able to recognize and acknowledge such a basic fact of human experience? I suggest that there were two reasons. (1) She was inexperienced. By choice, she remained childless and thus missed the opportunity to observe and learn about infant cognition first-hand. (2) She was close-minded. Babies were mewling, squirming little burdens (this was her bias; she wanted a writing career, not the responsibility of caring for helpless, demanding creatures), not an opportunity to learn about human nature and perhaps to grow as a person in the process. (NB's description of Rand's vigorous denial of the validity of hypnosis is another example of her close-mindedness. It would be funny, if it weren't so alarming and so sad.)

Post-Rand, we have only recently revised Objectivism's scientific base by acknowledging that babies are born able to perceive. Nevertheless, we are told, they are still born "tabula rasa," i.e., "blank slate," with no conscious contents from before birth, no "innate knowledge" of any kind, just senses and a nervous system ready to kick in once they are born. Well, this is not true either. Much study has been done during the past 20-30 years that establishes pre-birth learning by babies during the third trimester of pregnancy -- it is mainly auditory perception that is occurring, but experiences ~are~ registered in the conscious awareness and memories of the pre-born babies. (Whether this also qualifies them for legal protection as conscious human beings -- and thus legal limitations on partial-birth abortions -- is another matter I'm not trying to stir up here.)

Bearing that in mind, I thought list members would be interested in the following post from the evolutionary-psychology@yahoogroups.com discussion list. Best 2 all, REB

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21 hours ago, Michael Stuart Kelly said:

Jonathan,

Maybe.

But do we have it coming?

After all, Rand can't read anything anymore.

:) 

Michael

What I meant was that Rand's reputation or rating as a serious thinker has it coming. She did it to herself.

And, sure, you could say that we have it coming. ObjectiKarma. Those of us who value the things she got right -- enough to defend her -- will have her stupid shit thrown back in our faces. She made the task of defending her views hard enough that I think it's generally easier to avoid even mentioning her name, and to just stick to discussing ideas. Dropping her name opens up a whole a can of shit that's not usually worth the effort to sort through.

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33 minutes ago, Jonathan said:

What I meant was that Rand's reputation or rating as a serious thinker has it coming. She did it to herself.

And, sure, you could say that we have it coming. ObjectiKarma. Those of us who value the things she got right -- enough to defend her -- will have her stupid shit thrown back in our faces. She made the task of defending her views hard enough that I think it's generally easier to avoid even mentioning her name, and to just stick to discussing ideas. Dropping her name opens up a whole a can of shit that's not usually worth the effort to sort through.

If you drop her name, do you mean omit or bring her name into the conversation? I think you mean include. And it can open a can of worms onto the discussion table. Like Freud she was a profoundly creative person but being human she was wrong about some things. I have always been intrigued by putting her thoughts into logical or mathematical propositions though I wouldn't know where to start now other than her A is A proposition. I remember taking logic in college and having severe difficulties after the first three of her and Aristotle's basics. ergo. therefor. if then. equals. doesn't equal. a can of worms is not a plate of spaghetti.   

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Was it in "Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology," where she may have realized some of her shortcomings and had a bunch of professors discuss the issues? It has been so long. Was Peikoff one of the professors? I don't remember but I don't think Cousin Lenny had a phd back then. Rand's reputation was also tarnished by some of the Truths that came out after the breakup of Rand and the Brandens. I never saw her interact live or on camera with Nathaniel so what was obvious to those in the audience was not noticed by me. I was shocked when I heard about the affair, and Barbara and Nathaniel's *truer* version of the split. WTF does not begin to describe my thinking and walking around in a fog after that. Peter      

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2 hours ago, Peter said:

If you drop her name, do you mean omit or bring her name into the conversation?

By saying "dropping her name," I meant as in "name-dropping," as in using her name, referring to her, citing her. I meant that I generally don't bring her up, because mentioning her name only bogs the conversation down. It ends up focusing on the dumbest things that she said, and characterizes her as being limited to and equally those dumbest things.  It opens a can of shit which becomes a massive waste-of-time distraction.

2 hours ago, Peter said:

Like Freud she was a profoundly creative person but being human she was wrong about some things.

As was Kant, and several other people whom she mischaracterized and upon whom she stupidly shat.

2 hours ago, Peter said:

If you drop her name, do you mean omit or bring her name into the conversation? I think you mean include. And it can open a can of worms onto the discussion table. Like Freud she was a profoundly creative person but being human she was wrong about some things. I have always been intrigued by putting her thoughts into logical or mathematical propositions though I wouldn't know where to start now other than her A is A proposition. I remember taking logic in college and having severe difficulties after the first three of her and Aristotle's basics. ergo. therefor. if then. equals. doesn't equal. a can of worms is not a plate of spaghetti.   

I said can of shit, not can of worms.

J

 

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3 hours ago, Peter said:

Was it in "Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology," where she may have realized some of her shortcomings and had a bunch of professors discuss the issues? It has been so long. Was Peikoff one of the professors? I don't remember but I don't think Cousin Lenny had a phd back then. Rand's reputation was also tarnished by some of the Truths that came out after the breakup of Rand and the Brandens. I never saw her interact live or on camera with Nathaniel so what was obvious to those in the audience was not noticed by me. I was shocked when I heard about the affair, and Barbara and Nathaniel's *truer* version of the split. WTF does not begin to describe my thinking and walking around in a fog after that. Peter      

There are always going to be superficial disagreements about Rand the person. My view is that she sincerely tried to do too much: 1.she became over-aware of herself as the public image and exemplar of her philosophy 2. over-extended herself in having to answer to every topical problem put to her, where she may have been lacking facts. 3. burned herself out in her last novel. But what an energetic career she had. Who will doubt that. Modern times are ruthless on our philosophers. The old days, they put out papers which were read by a few other philosophers, then to their students and other intellectuals and gradually disseminated to the society, then to other countries. Their influence might never be noticed for 50 plus years, and who gave a damn about dead philosophers' personal lives, lovers, angry tiffs, etc.? Now we expect our answers in a hurry and the philosophers to be visibly heroic on Youtube. If a philosophy needs to age like a wine, this one is still short of maturity.

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21 hours ago, Michael Stuart Kelly said:

Tony,

This is boilerplate Rand and I disagree with it. When you study neuroscience, you discover this simply isn't true.

Here's an easy instinct. Why do humans instinctually fear snakes and spiders? 

I can give you a lot of things like that. And technical details describing how and why.

Actually, Rand said to become morally perfect is very hard.

And that leads to a further beef I have with this notion. If being morally perfect is doable, even though hard and you have to choose it, that means man is born morally imperfect. Moral imperfection is his default state until he decides to fix it. Another name for that is "original sin."

:) 

I say trash the whole concept. Objectivism works just fine without it. I prefer terms like excellence, integrity and so on. States of perfection are just too utopic and not reality-based for my view of existence. 

Michael

Michael, I think this comes back to your earlier "...instead of one molding oneself to Objectivism..."

Most certainly! Not even debatable. In "molding" is the fault, not of Objectivism, but of its proponents. (Sometimes or often)

Rationalism.

The philosophy, simply, is an excellent, probably unbeatable, tool to knowing reality and about living a good life. Objectivism should be accomodated to and by the individual who fully wants to explore and enjoy "reality", not used as a way of escaping it. Which I believe is rationalism. Pie in the sky, theorizing without a strong base in perceptable facts. If reality is too hard to take, then so will be the philosophy. The standard is always reality, and where one at times goes wrong is not O'ism's error, but mistakes in one's understanding derived from reality, and in application of one's principles back to reality. 

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12 hours ago, anthony said:

There are always going to be superficial disagreements about Rand the person. My view is that she sincerely tried to do too much: 1.she became over-aware of herself as the public image and exemplar of her philosophy 2. over-extended herself in having to answer to every topical problem put to her, where she may have been lacking facts.

Yeah. Hubris. Celebrity. Bluff.

All of which has hindered the appreciation of her good ideas. And her acolytes copy her mistakes, adding fuel to the pyre.

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2 hours ago, Jonathan said:

Yeah. Hubris. Celebrity. Bluff.

All of which has hindered the appreciation of her good ideas. And her acolytes copy her mistakes, adding fuel to the pyre.

You haveta separate her substance from her foibles. You believe she was bluffing, I'd like to take you on at poker. Bring plenty moolah.

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"Astute" - observes (who else?) the New York Times, of "Mean Girl: Ayn Rand and the Culture of Greed".

Good, getting free publicity, there will be people who wonder what the fuss is about. And that if the NYT and a clearly Leftist author disapprove of this woman, then it follows Rand must be onto something. (hey, my "greed" to make as much as I want and need, and not let anyone take away what's mine, might be a good thing!)

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18 hours ago, Jonathan said:

By saying "dropping her name," I meant as in "name-dropping," as in using her name, referring to her, citing her. I meant that I generally don't bring her up, because mentioning her name only bogs the conversation down. It ends up focusing on the dumbest things that she said, and characterizes her as being limited to and equally those dumbest things.  It opens a can of shit which becomes a massive waste-of-time distraction.

As was Kant, and several other people whom she mischaracterized and upon whom she stupidly shat.

I said can of shit, not can of worms.

J

 

I was attempting to be nicerly vulgar. Sorry Jonathan, it was not an attempt to misquote you.  

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17 hours ago, anthony said:

There are always going to be superficial disagreements about Rand the person. My view is that she sincerely tried to do too much: 1.she became over-aware of herself as the public image and exemplar of her philosophy 2. over-extended herself in having to answer to every topical problem put to her, where she may have been lacking facts. 3. burned herself out in her last novel. But what an energetic career she had. Who will doubt that. Modern times are ruthless on our philosophers. The old days, they put out papers which were read by a few other philosophers, then to their students and other intellectuals and gradually disseminated to the society, then to other countries. Their influence might never be noticed for 50 plus years, and who gave a damn about dead philosophers' personal lives, lovers, angry tiffs, etc.? Now we expect our answers in a hurry and the philosophers to be visibly heroic on Youtube. If a philosophy needs to age like a wine, this one is still short of maturity.

Well and thoughtfully said. Lucky for us, that she spent her time expounding on her philosophy and not on another novel. For her philosophy to age like wine it needs to be reviewed by each generation. And her novels are the gateway to the philosophy. I think the concept of little "o" Objectivism is valid and necessary to distinguish between a philosophy conceived by Rand and "improvements" on the philosophy but that idea is old news.

Does anyone know if universities are now teaching Objectivism along with other philosophers like Aristotle? If not then the philosophy will still be known but not as respected. To be respected as a philosophy for living on earth, it needs to be expanded, and discussed. I used to have a list of "celebrities" who divulged that they were respectful of Ayn Rand, and that can't hurt. And a list of universities that respect Rand would be interesting to see. Peter   

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