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From ARIwatch.

Ayn Rand on Organized Objectivism


The following two extracts from The Objectivist were written by Ayn Rand in 1968. The publication month is nominal because the journal was several months behind schedule at the time.  The first article quoted has the date September 15, 1968 printed at the end.
 

From  “To Whom It May Concern” (The Objectivist, May 1968)  about her break with N. Brandon and NBI:


“I never wanted and do not now want to be the leader of a ‘movement’.  I do approve of a philosophical or intellectual movement, in the sense of a growing trend among a number of independent individuals sharing the same ideas.  But an organized movement is a different matter.”


From “A Statement of Policy” (The Objectivist, June 1968):


“I regard the spread of Objectivism through today’s culture as an intellectual movement – i.e. a trend among independent individuals who share the same ideas – but not as an organized movement. … Objectivism is not an organized movement and is not to be regarded as such by anyone. … I shall not establish or endorse any type of school or organization purporting to represent or be a spokesman for Objectivism.  I shall repudiate and take appropriate action against any attempt to use my name or my philosophy, explicitly or implicitly, in connection with any project of that kind or any organization not authorized by me.”

 

Nonetheless these days we have the “Ayn Rand Institute,” created three years after her death.

 

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1 hour ago, anthony said:

From ARIwatch.

Ayn Rand on Organized Objectivism

 

The following two extracts from The Objectivist were written by Ayn Rand in 1968. The publication month is nominal because the journal was several months behind schedule at the time.  The first article quoted has the date September 15, 1968 printed at the end.
 

From  “To Whom It May Concern” (The Objectivist, May 1968)  about her break with N. Brandon and NBI:


“I never wanted and do not now want to be the leader of a ‘movement’.  I do approve of a philosophical or intellectual movement, in the sense of a growing trend among a number of independent individuals sharing the same ideas.  But an organized movement is a different matter.”


From “A Statement of Policy” (The Objectivist, June 1968):


“I regard the spread of Objectivism through today’s culture as an intellectual movement – i.e. a trend among independent individuals who share the same ideas – but not as an organized movement. … Objectivism is not an organized movement and is not to be regarded as such by anyone. … I shall not establish or endorse any type of school or organization purporting to represent or be a spokesman for Objectivism.  I shall repudiate and take appropriate action against any attempt to use my name or my philosophy, explicitly or implicitly, in connection with any project of that kind or any organization not authorized by me.”

 

Nonetheless these days we have the “Ayn Rand Institute,” created three years after her death.

 

Thank you, Anthony. Wow, I can't believe I've never read this, before. (Actually, I may have read the first one, but not the second, which is more explicit.)

(But then, it's not something I'd expect the ARI to advertise loudly, either...but still, I'm surprised Peikoff would defy her that way...)

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21 hours ago, ThatGuy said:

... but still, I'm surprised Peikoff would defy her that way...

TG,

Do you think it's merely a coincidence that Peikoff published The Ominous Parallels only after her death? Notice: shortly after her death?

Who knows if she had given her approval for publication?

Well... we kinda do, don't we? She did not give it.

But once she was gone, it was time to get the motherfucker out! This is one case where I sympathize with Peikoff on something in the shadows.

:) 

To be fair, Rand did publish some of The Ominous Parallels in The Objectivist and later in The Ayn Rand Letter. But recall that she stopped publishing The Ayn Rand Letter in 1976 and she died in 1982. That's six long years...

Michael

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OK.

I decided to check into this business of ARI having a predecessor or not. And what Ayn Rand both said and did about an Objectivist movement.

I spent the morning going through old OL threads, looking at a ton of stuff on the Internet and flipping through my bound copies of The Objectivist and The Objectivist Forum. I came up with some good stuff, too.

What's more, I discovered that I do not have copies of The Objectivist Calendar edited by Barbara Weiss that came out sporadically after The Ayn Rand Letter closed. It shut down before Ayn Rand passed away.

If anyone has copies, would you scan them and send them to me? There are no digital copies from what I have seen. I would definitely owe you one. There are only 20 issues and they are short.

 

So, back to point. Let's do this. 

1. Rand was not as consistent as the orthos and her words say regarding her not endorsing an official Objectivist organization.

2. The Foundation for the New Intellectual was, in essence, although not formally, the precursor of ARI.

 

The Objectivist Calendar

The Ayn Rand Letter's last issue was February 1976. Rand passed away on March 6, 1982. Right before (1980), she became a kind-of advisor to The Objectivist Forum where she wrote a doozy of a disclaimer. You can get hints of that here and there, but if you can, try to find "To The Reader" in the first volume dated February, 1980.

Before her role at The Objectivist Forum, Barbara Weiss edited The Objectivist Calendar to simply not abandon all of the fans and customers from The Ayn Rand Letter. As Robert Campbell wrote (see here:

Quote

Appendix C: Answers that Ayn Rand Edited 

From June 1976 through June 1979, Barbara Weiss, who had been Ayn Rand’s personal secretary since 1964, put out on a roughly bimonthly basis a publication called The Objectivist Calendar. Each of its 20 issues consisted of a few pages of offset-printed typescript. As the title indicates, the Calendar’s principal function was to announce public appearances by Rand and members of her circle, as well as the availability of taped lecture courses.

Between the closure of The Ayn Rand Letter in 1976 and the launch of The Objectivist Forum in 1980, there was no other published source for such listings and notices. The Calendar carried an occasional short article or book  review and, under the title “Questions and Answers,” Weiss published edited transcripts of some of Rand’s answers from the Ford Hall Forum. 

. . .

Weiss’s preface to the first such answer gave a succinct description of their purpose:

From time to time, I intend to publish part of the question-and-answer period that followed Ayn Rand’s lecture at the Ford Hall Forum in April, as they might be of topical interest to our readers. The questions will not necessarily be published in the order in which they were asked. The following is a portion of that question-and-answer period. Miss Rand has edited the answers grammatically, but the content is essentially unchanged.

I left in the second part above to show that the Calendar was essentially authorized by Rand since she edited her work published there.

This short-run periodical also gave information on some of the goings on in O-Land, such as information on the Foundation for the New Intellectual.

 

As I said, I don't have a copy of these periodicals. We even mentioned them here on OL 16 years ago. It was part of the auction Barbara Branden and Robert Hessen did.

On 12/3/2006 at 7:24 AM, Michael Stuart Kelly said:

Barbara Weiss, The Objectivist Calendar, Numbers 1-20, June 1976-June 1979 (additional copies of 5, 11, 17 and 18) [Robert Hessen collection]

Once again, if you have copies, please see how I can get a copy of them. Much gratitude in advance.

 

 

Ayn Rand's Position on an Objectivist Movement and Objectivist Organizations

Frankly, Rand was a bit inconsistent on this. On one hand, she said no way José, but on the other, she had the Foundation for the New Intellectual in her back pocket.

You can read direct quotes of her views here at AriWatch, although the part about the Foundation is further below:

Ayn Rand on Organized Objectivism

Quote

The following two extracts from The Objectivist were written by Ayn Rand in 1968. The publication month is nominal because the journal was several months behind schedule at the time.  The first article quoted has the date September 15, 1968 printed at the end.

From  “To Whom It May Concern” (The Objectivist, May 1968)  about her break with N. Brandon and NBI:

“I never wanted and do not now want to be the leader of a ‘movement’.  I do approve of a philosophical or intellectual movement, in the sense of a growing trend among a number of independent individuals sharing the same ideas.  But an organized movement is a different matter.”

From “A Statement of Policy” (The Objectivist, June 1968):

“I regard the spread of Objectivism through today’s culture as an intellectual movement – i.e. a trend among independent individuals who share the same ideas – but not as an organized movement. … Objectivism is not an organized movement and is not to be regarded as such by anyone. … I shall not establish or endorse any type of school or organization purporting to represent or be a spokesman for Objectivism.  I shall repudiate and take appropriate action against any attempt to use my name or my philosophy, explicitly or implicitly, in connection with any project of that kind or any organization not authorized by me.”

. . .

When Harry Binswanger began publishing a bimonthly journal The Objectivist Forum in 1980 Rand supported it but took care to write in the inaugural issue that it was not “the official voice of Objectivism ... [or] my representative or my spokesman.”  And neither is the (misnamed) “Ayn Rand Institute.”

Harry Holzer (Rand's lawyer way back when) went further in The Objectivist, June 1968 (p. 473 in the bound issues).

Quote

In the former policy statement (The Objectivist Newsletter, April, 1965), Ayn Rand gave her approval to the use of her name for study groups, in a form such as "The Ayn Rand Society,"  or "The Ayn Rand Study Club." As the context indicated, this was intended exclusively for college groups, but it is led to other and totally inappropriate uses of Miss Rand's name. Therefore, Miss Rand hereby withdraws the permission to use her name in connection with any group or organization of any kind. She suggests that legitimate study groups use names like "Students of Objectivism," "Objectivism Study Club," "Society of New Intellectuals," etc., to indicate their philosophical context without implying any formal connection with her.

Of course, he then went whole hog and practically said nobody could use any word Rand uttered. :) (That's hyperbole, but not by much. It's quite a statement, prohibiting this and that, including the names of her fictional characters and so on.)

 

In terms of trademark and copyright laws, OK. But allowing Rand to get into my own head and tell me what I may or may not call myself is going too far.

I haven't seen Shayne Wissler for a long time, but I did come across a fairly recent article by him that is relevant. He says the quiet part out loud.

(What's more, Shayne is true to his own style. After all, why make a point when you can do that and insult every goddam person on the planet at the same time? :) But I like Shayne. We actually got along offstage for a time.)

The problem with Objectivism

Quote

... in the real world, nobody is going to honestly confuse Ayn Rand’s literal words with someone enunciating his own interpretation of what she had to say. It is true that when someone is reporting on what you said and then gets it wrong, it can be incredibly frustrating. It can be an outright injustice – they might be purposefully misrepresenting you. However it is an available fact to anyone that this happens all the time, and that in any given case, if you want to know what was really said then you have to go to the source.

Who is actually going to take Ayn Rand’s advice and not speak on their own belief of what she said? Certainly not her opponents. So she’s gagging her friends and leaving her opponents free to speak. This is only damaging to the spreading of her own ideas.

Here in O-Land, people want to control others or not be controlled so much, they all miss this point. At least, I never hear anyone mention it.

And it's an important one. Do not hogtie your supporters in a fight while letting your enemies enjoy freedom.

Granted, there is fake news these days and they just make stuff up and say you said it. But that always gets exploded after a while.

I get it that Rand did not want people to speak in her name unless she authorized them to, but man, was she off base in terms of how humans do this.

To use myself in an example here on OL, I am a devoted supporter of Donald Trump. And he doesn't know me from Adam. Does anyone think there is any danger of me damaging him and his ideas because people will believe I speak in his name when I call myself a Trump person and write about him, his acts, deeds, words, and writing? Of course, nobody would ever think that. I speak for me, one man who supports him. What's more, that's what the world sees.

:) 

Out in the real world, that's just the way it works. So why did Rand get this wrong? I think it was because she was only looking at colleges and teaching young minds. (And her own little bubble.) In that context, it's pretty easy to do the charlatan thing as a false spokesperson and confuse people. Out in the rest of the world, it's a lot harder.

And nowadays, in the Internet age, it's near impossible. Anybody can check you and call you out.

 

Foundation for The New Intellectual

Now, about consistency. As I said above, after her break with Nathaniel and Barbara Branden, Rand blasted organized Objectivist movements, organized Objectivist organizations, etc. But she had the Foundation all along. It came into being during the Branden days, a year or two before the break, and was only extinguished some 12 years or so after ARI was founded.

This Foundation was important, albeit not so public. For instance, look at this article by Harry Binswanger:

Objectivist Workshop Participants Identified

Quote

The Workshop comprised five meetings from 1969 through 1970 during which professionals in philosophy and related fields had the extraordinary opportunity to question Ayn Rand in great detail on her Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology.

The tape recordings of those sessions, which were hosted by the Foundation for the New Intellectual (now terminated in favor of the Ayn Rand Institute), supplied the basis for the 200 page Appendix I edited for the 2nd edition of ITOE.

Rand developed ITOE there. Not the original essays, but the rest.

Incidentally, here on OL, years before Binswanger's 2020 article came out, back in 2006, Ellen Stuttle identified the anonymous participants in the workshop since her husband, Larry Gould, was one of those participants (see here). 

 

So what was this Foundation?

Back to Henry Holzer in The Objectivist, March 1968 (p. 430 in the bound issues):

Quote

ANNOUNCING: FOUNDATION FOR THE NEW INTELLECTUAL

From time to time during the past several years, Nathaniel Branden Institute has been approached by students who have wished to make gifts to it and/or to name the INSTITUTE as beneficiary in insurance policies and wills.

Since NBI is a profit-making organization corporation, it's practice has been to discourage such donations.

Early in 1968, the nonprofit FOUNDATION FOR THE NEW INTELLECTUAL was organized to engage in philosophically-oriented educational and other activities which are outside the purview of NBI and its affiliates--such as sponsoring philosophical and scientific symposia; organizing historical and cultural research projects; providing scholarships and other forms of financial assistance to talented students, writers, artists, etc.; providing aid to experimental theater projects and other artistic undertakings; disseminating philosophical ideas as they bear on significant contemporary events; and other projects subsequently to be announced.

The foundation is governed by two Trustees: Nathaniel Branden (who is also Executive Director), and Professor Leonard Peikoff.

The address of the FOUNDATION is 350 Fifth Avenue, New York, N.Y. 10001.

The FOUNDATION has been ruled a tax exempt organization pursuant to Section 501 (c) (3) of the Internal Revenue Code.

All contributions to the FOUNDATION in cash or other property, during the lifetime or upon death, are tax deductible.

Henry Mark Holzer, Esq.
General Counsel and Administrative Director

This foundation and its activities are also mentioned in the bound copy of The Objectivist, pp. 864, 896 and 976. Maybe there are more citations. I found these the hard way by turning pages and looking, so I could have missed some.

From what I can insinuate, it sure looks like this Foundation--Rand-blessed and all--was a precursor of ARI. If so, that would partially explain Peikoff's willingness to ignore Rand's words and set up ARI.

 

Important things went on there. For instance, here is part of the bio of Paul Nathan, a well-known libertarian  (see here) :

Quote

Nathan began writing on monetary and economic matters in 1968 while studying under Ayn Rand and Alan Greenspan at the Foundation for the New Intellectual.

Ellen Stuttle consolidated a series of OL posts where the Foundation was mentioned (see here), including one post mentioning that Edith Packer and Michael Berliner were co-directors.

On 7/8/2010 at 6:54 PM, Ellen Stuttle said:

Something further concerning the Foundation for the New Intellectual -- I've included as background all the posts so far on the thread mentioning the Foundation to have them in one reference glump. I've separated them sequentially instead of using nested quoting...

On 7/5/2010 at 12:25 PM, Reidy said:

In addition to NBI there was the Foundation for the New Intellectual, a non-profit. Holzer announced its creation in The Objectivist and, a year or two later, Nathaniel Branden's resignation as trustee.

 

On 7/8/2010 at 12:02 PM, Robert Campbell said:

In 1977, there was a little notice in The Objectivist Calendar giving a new address for the Foundation, and announcing that Allan Blumenthal was "no longer associated" with it.

I wonder how much longer it lasted.

On 7/8/2010 at 12:38 PM, Brant Gaede said:
I wonder if the foundation ever did anything to speak of, especially post-break.
On 7/8/2010 at 2:40 PM, Reidy said:

I believe the Foundation sponsored and organized the 1969-70 philosophical Q&A sessions that are in ItOE.

 

In the material from Richard and Gen LaGreca Sanford which I described in post #96, there's mention of the Foundation:

Quote
from:

Letter addressed to "Dear Objectivist,"

September 7, 1996,

by Richard F. Sanford, Ph.D.,

Page 5

[The material includes the statement, on Page 2, "Please feel free to make copies of these documents and to distribute them to interested parties."]

[sanford is listing and discussing charges against Packer and Reisman. Under the heading "3. Dr. Packer made the lives of the Directors of ARI miserable since the founding of ARI.," he writes:]

[....]

It is revealing that Dr. Berliner demands that Objectivists who were not involved in the ARI-Reisman dispute side with ARI and condemn the Reismans as immoral, and yet Dr. Berliner to this day continues to work with Dr. Packer as one of the two codirectors of the Foundation for the New Intellectual, established by Miss Rand. This business association undermines Dr. Berliner's assertion that Dr. Packer is immoral and impossible to deal with. By Dr. Berliner's own standards, he should break with Dr. Packer by resigning from the Foundation.

Ellen

 

A controversy sometimes comes up in O-Land about whether Rand was a formal part of Foundation for The New Intellectual. An OL member back then (who has not been here in a long time) posted the following--right after Ellen's post, in fact:

On 7/8/2010 at 7:29 PM, Reidy said:

I don't believe she "established" it or had any official connection at all, just as she had none to NBI. Sounds like another piece of mythmaking by the people who make her the founder of ARI and Peikoff her "intellectual heir." Here we go again.

I think Wikipedia, of all places, has the best take on this controversy--in Ayn Rand Institute.

Quote

During her lifetime, Rand helped establish The Foundation for the New Intellectual to promote Objectivist ideas. The Foundation was dissolved some fifteen years after her death, having been made redundant by ARI. Although Rand objected to Objectivism becoming an organized movement, she supported like-minded individuals working toward a common goal. Peikoff, her legal heir, was convinced to start the organization after businessman Ed Snider organized a meeting of possible financial supporters in New York in the fall of 1983. Peikoff also agreed to be the first chairman of the organization's board of directors.

Rand HELPED establish Foundation for the New Intellectual--and supported it, much in the same way she helped establish NBI and supported that.

 

Just one final thought. Removing sex and power, what is the one thing that accounts for schisms? I mean throughout ALL of human history?

Money.

This Foundation has been in the background a hell of a long time. Nobody in the general public hardly knows anything about it. Yet, to me, everything that is available screams (in between the lines) that money--at least some money--was going through it certain people did not want others to see.

Was Foundation for The New Intellectual a front organization, at least some of the time, for some righteous money monkey shines?

Well, there have been some weird schisms amongst the insiders along the way...

Hmmmmm...

:)

Michael

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6 hours ago, Michael Stuart Kelly said:

But she had the Foundation all along. It came into being during the Branden days, a year or two before the break, and was only extinguished some 12 years or so after ARI was founded.

Damn. Thanks for the info, Michael. I wish the internet existed back then. I pretty much followed / heard, what came in the mail. 

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We have a new episode where we interview Michael Niren, a longtime Objectivist from Canada. One of his college professors was John Ridpath. We talk a bit about Ridpath, but the focus is on Objectivist rhetoric, how Rand used words like "selfish" and "sacrifice" in unconventional ways. We also talk about strategies for outreach to non-Objectivists. Check it out!

 

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On 3/25/2022 at 12:22 PM, Michael Stuart Kelly said:

In my view, if you want Rand's ideas to spread for real--population-wide--in different countries all over the world, ARI is not going to do much. Neither is TAS for that matter.

One thing will help, though. Get the community qua community thing straightened out and you will be able to watch it grow.

Don't you think the free books to teachers, the essay contests, and campus clubs are important programs that help spread Objectivism? Part of developing a community is getting people interested in discussing the principles defining the community. As an intellectual movement, it's the ideas that form the backbone of any Objectivist community. This doesn't require that we all move to Austin and raise babies together. But we do need forums like this one to exchange ideas and support each other in our missionary activities wherever we might live.

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4 hours ago, MisterSwig said:

Don't you think the free books to teachers, the essay contests, and campus clubs are important programs that help spread Objectivism?

MS,

Sure.

But let's do a reality check.

Jehovah's Witnesses do all of those things. Mormons do all of those things. (Need I go on?) Look at the difference in number size of adherents between them and Objectivism. 

Hell, different and countless woke NGO's do all of those things. 

 

Let me tell you what is appealing to Objectivists about the things you mentioned as opposed to the other stuff I talked about.

Armchair laziness.

Sometimes it's just that simple. And I speak from years of experience interacting with others here in O-Land.

The lazy can sit back in their armchairs, debate on how many floating abstractions can fit on the head of an evasion pin and pretend like they are saving the world. They get their neurochemical payoff (especially dopamine and serotonin mixed with a little adrenalin) and make not one damn bit of difference in the world.

The last I looked, a bioweapon was unleashed on humanity, a fraudulent US presidential election was stolen right out in the open, a literal invasion keeps being attempted at the southern border of the US, one ploy after another for endless war for profit keeps surfacing, etc. etc. etc. and what has Objectivism done to stop or fix any of it?

Nothing. That's what.

Well, it does give away free books to teachers, stage essay contests, help along a few campus clubs and do lectures at times...

 

Even Glenn Beck, who I became disenchanted with a long time ago, got his people together to sponsor sending airplanes to Afghanistan to do the military's evacuation job during Biden's cut and run.

These people go to the problem that bothers them and do something about it.

And here in O-Land?

Well, we discuss... And we snark at each other... We do schisms...

:) 

And here's another reality check. I say all that as one who owns and runs a private O-Land discussion forum.

 

One cannot correctly evaluate something without identifying it correctly first. At least not consistently. This is how I understand reason.

But I see a hell of a lot of misidentifying here in O-Land. Want a quick example? How about "free trade" with China? What was free about that rigged game other than insiders getting a crapload of free money through government insider corruption? But that identification was a big thing in our neck of the woods before Trump. What's worse, it was hailed as Rand's philosophy winning in the world.

Heh...

There are countless things I can mention, but I learned that complaining without doing anything about the problem one complains about is whining...

Someday, if it should come up, I can talk about a few of the things that I. Michael, am doing about the problems that bother me. For now, let's just say I run a forum rather than use big tech (that hates everything Rand stands for) for free. Also, should I live long enough to complete it, my fiction-based project will be my main contribution and achievement, but more on that elsewhere.

Ultimately, though, that's what Rand did. And she made a huge difference by shining a mainstream light on the foundations of several problems and their solutions. And it spread her ideas like crazy.

Notice, I said "mainstream." She learned how to write a frigging story--a bestselling story--before she tried to save the world. She even went to Tinsel Town and lived there--the world's center of story techniques for making bestsellers. And she learned it right. 

She was not lazy.

Michael

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1 hour ago, Michael Stuart Kelly said:

For now, let's just say I run a forum rather than use big tech (that hates everything Rand stands for) for free.

MS,

Just to be fair, I, too, use free resources from crony big tech companies (crony meaning in bed with the government with a group of insiders on both sides controlling the money and power).

I mean, the resources are there, so why not use them? Right?

My issue is that I am sure I will not change the world towards anything good on those platforms. So when I want something serious, I do it elsewhere.

The only person on the good-guy side I have seen use big tech to do massive change was Trump on Twitter. He had hogtied those in control with their own rules and philosophy so they couldn't get rid of him, that is, until they were sure he would no longer control government monies and other crony corporatist goodies. But until that happened, he was changing America on Twitter by exposing the woke authoritarian assholes for what they were--or better, he was goading them into exposing themselves. 

Twitter runs on audience and he sure gave them a prime-time show. :) 

So use the modern version of big tech if you wish.

I mean, hell, free is free. Right?

Just don't think anything of lasting significance will ever get done there other than promoting the modern version of big tech. Especially anything Randwise.

The best you can hope for is getting a sporadic person here and there interested. But there is no way to grow that.

 

Incidentally, you might be interested in that free thing.

Here's a post I made a while back when we were discussing Yaron Brook praising the fact that big tech gave away so many free resources.

On 1/9/2021 at 11:45 PM, Michael Stuart Kelly said:

... according George Gilder in Life After Google, the Google business model is Marxist with a small twist.

They start by giving you everything for free (rather than after the revolution), then take everything of value from you that they wish (starting with your data). 

Brook is thankful for the Marxist service he uses because it's free.

Heh...

I doubt Ayn Rand was thankful for the schooling and stuff she got when the communists took over in Russia because it was free.

With that one comment, Brook showed he never truly understood what Ayn Rand was about at the premise level.

Hell, throw Watkins in there, too.

He wants the turkey to be grateful for all the food, shelter and care it got for free at morning in Thanksgiving.

If you are interested in big tech's implementation of Marxism, here's a direct quote from Gilder.

On 7/7/2019 at 2:43 PM, Michael Stuart Kelly said:

Here's a 2018 book for ya': Life After Google: The Fall of Big Data and the Rise of the Blockchain Economy by George Gilder.

Gilder is the guy who correctly predicted a bunch of important stuff about big tech and even the Internet back during the television years. And he's been right over and over since. You might be interested to know that the view of human nature of the Google folks is essentially Marxist (and, by extension, this applies to other big tech folks as well, but not as much as with Google). I'm going to push the bounds of fair use and provide some  relevant quotes from Gilder's book.

Quote

... Silicon Valley seems to have adopted what can best be described as a neo-Marxist political ideology and technological vision. You may wonder how I can depict as “neo-Marxists” those who on the surface seem to be the most avid and successful capitalists on the planet.

Marxism is much discussed as a vessel of revolutionary grievances, workers’ uprisings, divestiture of chains, critiques of capital, catalogs of classes, and usurpation of the means of production. At its heart, however, the first Marxism espoused a belief that the industrial revolution of the nineteenth century solved for all time the fundamental problem of production.

The first industrial revolution, comprising steam engines, railways, electric grids, and turbines—all those “dark satanic mills”—was, according to Marx, the climactic industrial breakthrough of all time. Marx’s essential tenet was that in the future, the key problem of economics would become not production amid scarcity but redistribution of abundance.

In The German Ideology (1845), Marx fantasized that communism would open to all the dilettante life of a country squire: “Society regulates the general production and thus makes it possible for me to do one thing today and another tomorrow, to hunt in the morning, to fish in the afternoon, rear cattle in the evening, criticize after dinner, just as I have in mind, without ever becoming hunter, fisherman, shepherd or critic.”

Marx was typical of intellectuals in imagining that his own epoch was the final stage of human history. William F. Buckley used to call it an immanentized eschaton, a belief the “last things” were taking place in one’s own time. The neo-Marxism of today’s Silicon Valley titans repeats the error of the old Marxists in its belief that today’s technology—not steam and electricity, but silicon microchips, artificial intelligence, machine learning, cloud computing, algorithmic biology, and robotics—is the definitive human achievement. The algorithmic eschaton renders obsolete not only human labor but the human mind as well.

All this is temporal provincialism and myopia, exaggerating the significance of the attainments of their own era, of their own companies, of their own special philosophies and chimeras—of themselves, really. Assuming that in some way their “Go” machine and climate theories are the consummation of history, they imagine that it’s “winner take all for all time.” Strangely enough, this delusion is shared by Silicon Valley’s critics. The dystopians join the utopians in imagining a supremely competent and visionary Silicon Valley, led by Google with its monopoly of information and intelligence.

AI is believed to be redefining what it means to be human, much as Darwin’s On the Origin of Species did in its time. While Darwin made man just another animal, a precariously risen ape, Google-Marxism sees men as inferior intellectually to the company’s own algorithmic machines.

 

Even though we keep talking about Google, this applies to most all of big tech on the Internet, especially social media companies like Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, and so on where the user gets bait-and-switch freebies.

Want some irony to chew on?

It's all modeled after Karl Marx, yet in the beginning and early days, Silicon Valley was inspired by Ayn Rand.

:) 

That's a reality that needs some serious looking into. And it won't go away by wishing...

Michael

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On 4/6/2022 at 12:33 PM, Michael Stuart Kelly said:

But I see a hell of a lot of misidentifying here in O-Land. Want a quick example? How about "free trade" with China? What was free about that rigged game other than insiders getting a crapload of free money through government insider corruption? But that identification was a big thing in our neck of the woods before Trump. What's worse, it was hailed as Rand's philosophy winning in the world.

I can certainly agree with you here. The term "free trade" is being abused to include trade with dictatorships that don't respect free trade, and so it's inherently a corrupt practice. But some Objectivists try to spin it as good for us because we get cheap products from countries like China. 

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We got to talk with Robert Tracinski about his journey from being a young Kantian to developing into an independent Objectivist intellectual. We also ask him about his involvement in the movement and his latest article about schisms. Check it out!

 

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28 minutes ago, MisterSwig said:

We got to talk with Robert Tracinski...

MS,

I actually watched this one this morning, before you posted it here.

I am surprised at Tracinski and his openness to discussing with people who do not agree with him, specifically about Trump.

I have stayed away from him for years because his writing comes off as if his positions are fixed in stone. Since I did not agree with many of those positions, I thought to myself, why bother? 

But I like what I saw.

 

With one proviso, or better, caution (for me). Tracinski has a bug up his butt about Christianity that transcends simple reasons. His hatred runs deep (sort of like those with TDS). 

In an idea I have for later, that could be useful because I fully agree with him that when certain types of Christians get power, they become extremely authoritarian. My idea is that I see a huge market for wedding Christianity and Objectivism, not philosophically, but in terms of making some kind of space where people from both sides could interact and respect the views of the other enough to not devolve into trolling and brawling. 

Should I (or someone else) crack this nut, I have no doubt it will become very popular. And when the audience becomes huge, that's when the authoritarian assholes show up. :)

So a negative, but respectful, view of Christianity, especially based on a fear of authoritarianism as Tracinski holds, would be useful. (Ditto for the contrary, to be frank.)

I'm not saying I would involve him. That would be up to him if he ever gets interested (and so long as he is respectful within my kind of flexibility). But I definitely see where someone like him would be a good check and balance. 

The purpose of such an organization would not be to preach, but instead to seek (for instance, seek answers to questions that don't have easy answers). And, of course, to be politically active in promoting freedom and fundamental American values. Including family life.

I definitely see a market...

And no, it's not like that guy who hired Roark alongside other architects who specialized in other forms of architecture in order to make Franken-buildings. :) 

 

At any rate, I will now look deeper into Tracisnki due to your interview.

 

And as a wild thought that just came to mind, have you noticed that ideologies that promote abortion end up changing drastically within about 15-20 years? That's simply because those who don't value making children don't have a next generation. Kinda obvious... :) 

That's what is happening to the woke generation(s) right now. I see a problem with this, though. As this generation(s) gets older, there will be no young (or very few) to carry the woke torches. At that point, O-Land people--but mostly Christians since Objectivists are not known for replenishing the species--will feel that their ideological side won the ideological battle.

And that would weaken the ideological foundations by introducing an identification inaccuracy if the cause were more simple than that--that there were just not many people left to think woke thoughts since the elders did not reproduce a next generation of any substance.

Woke crap certainly cannot stand on its own without indoctrinating subjects from their early years. 

Michael

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