Dennis Hardin Posted February 20, 2011 Share Posted February 20, 2011 (edited) X-Ray brought up Nathaniel Branden's article:"In his article "The Benefits and Hazards of the Philosphy of Ayn Rand", Nathaniel Branden wrote: "Ayn always insisted that her philosophy was an integrated whole, that it was entirely self-consistent, and that one could not reasonably pick elements of her philosophy and discard others. "Reading what he wrote here, it is obvious that he mis-interpreted what Ayn was saying. That may have been caused by his exposure to her controlling personality, but these words that he attributes to her and which are repeated else where by her actually make perfect sense. Her philosophy is described as an integrated, non-contradictory philosophy for living on this earth. And it sure looks that way to me. Sometimes posters here say that there are contradictions in Objectivism. But I can't see them myself. I would like to have them pointed out.As to Branden's claim that her statement leads to a religious following by her fans - that obviously happened, but that is more a statement about the fans under Rand's direct influence than about Objectivism. And another thing - Rand herself expected Objectivism to be expanded upon by others. Why is there so much talk about open and closed systems of Objectivism? Of course it is open - all knowledge is open ended.If I could make one wish about the split, it would be that it had not happened - that the players would have worked things out like the intellectuals they were but didn't live up to, and helped each other reach even greater heights - including Leonard.Mary,Heres the full statement by Branden:Ayn always insisted that her philosophy was an integrated whole, that it was entirely self-consistent, and that one could not reasonably pick elements of her philosophy and discard others. In effect, she declared, Its all or nothing. Now this is a rather curious view, if you think about it. What she was saying, translated into simple English, is: Everything I have to say in the field of philosophy is true, absolutely true, and therefore any departure necessarily leads you into error. Dont try to mix your irrational fantasies with my immutable truths. This insistence turned Ayn Rands philosophy, for all practical purposes, into dogmatic religion, and many of her followers chose that path.The example he pointed to was her rabid opposition to a woman president, but check out any of the forum discussions on OL. The number and variety of disagreements is huge. Branden is not endorsing the cavalier fragmentation of Objectivist principles. He is mainly talking about details and applications. Many if not most Objectivists may have some basic agreement on fundamentals, but the details and ramifications are rife with controversy. A classic example of a major disagreement among Objectivists is whether benevolence should be a virtue. (See David Kelley's book, Unrugged Individualism.) Another would be the question of the morality of sexual intimacy devoid of some degree of value affinity. There are countless specific applications of philosophical principles that involve varying degrees of intelligent debate. Scrape the bottom of that barrel and you will find the brain-dead 'Objectivists' who leap to condemn anybody who honestly disagrees with any Objectivist tenet. But the question of when condemnation becomes warranted leaves valid room for discussion.An example of an apparent contradiction within Objectivism is Rands endorsement of both [a] the principle of noncoercion, and the legitimacy of forced taxation in the transitional stages of a free society. In addition to dogmatism, the frequent use of moral condemnation by various Objectivist intellectual leaders (e.g., Peikoff) has served to foster the religious environment you mentioned. The penchant to condemn people who stray from the orthodox party line for spurious reasons was a quirk of Ayn Rands which Peikoff subsequently enshrined as an official Objectivist personality disorder. Peikoff's repudiation of David Kelley for refusing to morally condemn libertarians is a brazen display of such religiosity. The recent incident involving the official denunciation of John McCaskey is another blatent example.Once again, it is Leonard Peikoff, Ayn Rands self-proclaimed intellectual heir, who gets the booby prize for declaring Objectivism to be a closed system and the resulting fall-out. You can follow a related discussion of that issue here.More on Open and Closed System Edited February 20, 2011 by Dennis Hardin Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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