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Default Objectivism & the Republican Party?

August 19th, 2012, 00:41
Originally Posted by Thrasher View Post
Well it seems that you don't appreciate or believe in selfless actions, so there really isn't any argument or definition of morality that will satisfy you.
I most definitely appreciate and believe in selfless actions. And I most definitely believe morality has been defined in respect to philosophy and I 100% agree with the definition. But, unlike you, I know what it is and understand it. But, you are correct if you assume that your personal definition of morality would be meaningless to me; just as your personal definition of epistemology or metaphysics would be.

The debates I would be able to have with you would not be worth having for me. I am willing to have low-brow debates my kids because I have a stake in them being able to think, understand, and reason. Also, I would assume my kids are all significantly younger than you and I will not fail them as a parent. I will not inflect upon the world more wastes of resources capable only of bleating and spewing nonsense. Call it a selfless act if you want, and I might almost agree.
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August 19th, 2012, 02:18
Well your previous comment seems to say that everything we do is based on greed and selfishness, a tenet of objectivism. You're not being consistent.
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August 19th, 2012, 14:59
Sounds more like Psychological Egoism than anything else.
A theory which is moot in respect to ethics as it defines all actions as self-serving and therefore doesn't advice one action before another.

conservative, n. A statesman who is enamored of existing evil, as distinguished from the Liberal, who wishes to replace them with others.

rational, adj. Devoid of all delusions save those of observation, experience and reflection.
-Ambrose Bierce, The Devils Dictionary
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August 19th, 2012, 17:13
Originally Posted by Thrasher View Post
Well it seems that you don't appreciate or believe in selfless actions, so there really isn't any argument or definition of morality that will satisfy you.
Rand's entire philosophy revolves around morality. I would say she was intensely moral, perhaps just in a different way than you. To say she preached immorality or was amoral just demonstrates you have never read anything by her. I would caution people against dismissing something that was "dismissed" by critics and academics. She's clearly had an influence on some pretty important people.

It seems that most people that attack Rand like to start by attacking her personal life (as if they really knew her) or by throwing out unsubstantiated claims like they are facts, like that her writing and/or philosophy is amateur. I haven't seen many solid arguments against the ideas. Rand focused a lot on the definition of greed, I think mostly because the word is always thrown around so loosely. I think if it was used more specifically to describe someone that will cheat or somehow abuse another to gain something for themselves, she would never have had a problem with the definition.
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August 19th, 2012, 18:47
Originally Posted by rossrjensen View Post
Rand's entire philosophy revolves around morality. I would say she was intensely moral, perhaps just in a different way than you.
See the claim in the same light as "Hitler was ammoral" - it wasn't that she was void of morality, it was that the morality she beleived in was the opposite of what most pepole consider to be moral.

Originally Posted by rossrjensen View Post
It seems that most people that attack Rand like to start by attacking her personal life (as if they really knew her) or by throwing out unsubstantiated claims like they are facts, like that her writing and/or philosophy is amateur.
Well, if you start with her analysis of metaphysics: my brother refers to it as "naive objectivism", which I find to be an accurate term. It felt a lot like a rationalization for why what she said was to be taken as gospel - "You just have to look at the world and then think and you'll come to the right conclusiong. IE my conclusion - if you come to some other conclusion you haven't thought rationally enough". Here is an interesting article on the matter.

She also claims the rest of her philosophy follows from her view of metaphysics. Which is another discussion, but I'd say it doesn't really do that either.

So, that's basically the foundation of her theory - a flawed basic premise and a following that doesn't follow from said premise. Which does come off as rather amateurish.

And yes, I'm aware that I never really argue against what she actually said. That's because what she said was really long, which means the answer would have to be really long to explain all the flaws with it. In short the problem with it is that she assumes humans have an accurate view of the world. Our view of the world really is what the world looks like. I always think of LSD when someone brings it up. LSD and disagreement between pepole about what the world is like.

Originally Posted by rossrjensen View Post
I haven't seen many solid arguments against the ideas.
On the other hand, I haven't seen any solid arguments FOR them.

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August 19th, 2012, 19:17
Originally Posted by Ubereil View Post
See the claim in the same light as "Hitler was ammoral" - it wasn't that she was void of morality, it was that the morality she beleived in was the opposite of what most pepole consider to be moral.
Are you comparing Ayn Rand to Hitler? Really? How is a comment like that supposed to be considered legitimate?

Have you ever considered that she didn't care what most people thought, she cared about what is universally right? How is that immoral? That's the absolute height of morality if you ask me. Socrates thought the same way and people praise him for it.

Well, if you start with her analysis of metaphysics: my brother refers to it as "naive objectivism", which I find to be an accurate term. It felt a lot like a rationalization for why what she said was to be taken as gospel - "You just have to look at the world and then think and you'll come to the right conclusiong. IE my conclusion - if you come to some other conclusion you haven't thought rationally enough". Here is an interesting article on the matter.
Your method of debunking her philosophy is calling it a name? 'Objectivism' in itself is pretty clearly about there being one correct world view. You're dismissing the possibility that this is the case?

So, that's basically the foundation of her theory - a flawed basic premise and a following that doesn't follow from said premise. Which does come off as rather amateurish.
You in no way demonstrated how her premise is flawed.

And yes, I'm aware that I never really argue against what she actually said. That's because what she said was really long, which means the answer would have to be really long to explain all the flaws with it. In short the problem with it is that she assumes humans have an accurate view of the world. Our view of the world really is what the world looks like. I always think of LSD when someone brings it up. LSD and disagreement between pepole about what the world is like.
I don't expect anyone to systematically disprove every little thing she ever wrote or said, but the basic premise is pretty simple. Talking about anything other than her ideas is just a distraction.
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August 19th, 2012, 21:00
Originally Posted by rossrjensen View Post
Rand's entire philosophy revolves around morality. I would say she was intensely moral, perhaps just in a different way than you. To say she preached immorality or was amoral just demonstrates you have never read anything by her.
I didn't mean to say she was amoral. I'd say she preached immorality in the context of our long-held Judeo-Christian values.

Originally Posted by rossrjensen View Post
I would caution people against dismissing something that was "dismissed" by critics and academics. She's clearly had an influence on some pretty important people.
Such as? Are these people I respect?
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August 19th, 2012, 21:13
Originally Posted by rossrjensen View Post
Are you comparing Ayn Rand to Hitler?
Nope. I'm comparing the statement "Ayn Rand was amoral" to the statement "Hitler was amoral".

Originally Posted by rossrjensen View Post
Really? How is a comment like that supposed to be considered legitimate?
While that wasn't what I did, now that you mention it: the biggest problem with Hitler's views/ideology from a moral point of view was his hatred for those who don't fit in. And the biggest problem with Ayn's views/ideology from a moral point of view was her hatred for those who don't fit in. And both were pushing for a societal order that would completely screw over those pepole.

There are differences, but this is a problem they both had, at least.

Originally Posted by rossrjensen View Post
Have you ever considered that she didn't care what most people thought, she cared about what is universally right? How is that immoral?
The immoral part was that she was wrong. She thought that she was right? Yeah, well, so did Hitler. And yet pepole don't have any problems writing him off as immoral.

(And Ayn don't need to have actually been wrong for pepole to think she was wrong. In a lot of places in the world I'm sure pepole would view me as amoral for thinking gays ought to be allowed to marry.)

Originally Posted by rossrjensen View Post
Your method of debunking her philosophy is calling it a name? 'Objectivism' in itself is pretty clearly about there being one correct world view. You're dismissing the possibility that this is the case?
The problem here is that Ayn Rand's theory isn't the only theory out there called 'Objectivism'. Like you said, Objectivism is a theory that there is one objective world out there. However, Rand's theory not only states that, it also states what we percieve of this objective world is the objective truth. Our minds are like cameras, so to speak. My brother, who is an adherer of "normal" objectivism (and so am I, by the way) called her verision naive objectivism because, pretty much, those claims are pretty naive - human beings have a very limited perception of the world.

Originally Posted by rossrjensen View Post
You in no way demonstrated how her premise is flawed.
Like I said, I am fully aware of that.

Originally Posted by rossrjensen View Post
I don't expect anyone to systematically disprove every little thing she ever wrote or said, but the basic premise is pretty simple. Talking about anything other than her ideas is just a distraction.
Her basic premise, as described by wikipedia, is two and a half A4-pages. And that's a summary. I gave you a really brief verision, along with two very brief counter arguments. If I am to go beyond that I have to read up more carefully on the theory, which isn't really something I want to do. There's quite a list of things I'd like to read up on, you see.

You want me to argue against what she said? Then it appears you and me want different things from this discussion.

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August 19th, 2012, 21:15
Originally Posted by Thrasher View Post
I didn't mean to say she was amoral. I'd say she preached immorality in the context of our long-held Judeo-Christian values.
I can respect that. I suppose it rejects some commonly held Judeo-Christian values such as altruism. It champions individualism, liberty, and moral self-interest (hence the connection to conservatives).

Such as? Are these people I respect?
I wouldn't presume to know who you respect, but given what I know of your political values I would venture a guess that you don't respect a whole lot of them. Clint Eastwood perhaps?
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August 19th, 2012, 21:41
Eastwood at one time seemed reasonable but seems more recently to have gone off the deep end. Happens often when people's brains age.

The concept of moral self-interest appears to be a smokescreen to attempt to varnish over base animal instincts.
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August 19th, 2012, 22:36
Not sure I can agree completely with that. Moral self-interest means you do what you can to improve yourself and your situation with a conscientious approach to not screwing others in the process. The type of greed where you will do anything to make a buck at the expense of other people does not qualify. Rand was also incredibly critical of power and those that seek it. To her it was probably was one of the most immoral things a person could do. So to be honest, there is an inherent dysfunction to discussing Ayn Rand in relationship to a politician.

As for Eastwood, you haven't liked some of his more recent movies? Gran Torino, Mystic River, Million Dollar Baby, Flags of Our Fathers, the Sands of Iwo Jima?
Last edited by rossrjensen; August 19th, 2012 at 22:56.
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August 19th, 2012, 23:18
Originally Posted by rossrjensen View Post
Moral self-interest means you do what you can to improve yourself and your situation with a conscientious approach to not screwing others in the process.
But just pursuing self-interests to the exclusion of altruist acts to me is immoral. Thus, I think the use of the adjective "moral" is a non sequitur, and smokescreen for selfish behavior.
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August 19th, 2012, 23:48
Objectivism rejects the existence of pure altruism.
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August 20th, 2012, 05:54
And that's why I think Ayn Rand's version of objectivism is immoral.
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August 20th, 2012, 10:37
I wouldn't call it immoral - just really short-sighted and naive.
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August 20th, 2012, 11:15
And we come full circle!!

If God said it, then that settles it!!

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August 20th, 2012, 15:01
Originally Posted by Ubereil View Post
It felt a lot like a rationalization for why what she said was to be taken as gospel - "You just have to look at the world and then think and you'll come to the right conclusiong. IE my conclusion - if you come to some other conclusion you haven't thought rationally enough". Here is an interesting article on the matter.
Allow me to tune that to something that might hit a little closer to home. "You just have to read a bunch of textbooks and then think and you'll come to the right conclusion. IE my conclusion - if you come to some other conclusion, you're obviously intellectually inferior and lack proper enlightenment." Pretty short step between the two, me thinks.

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August 20th, 2012, 15:33
Originally Posted by Ubereil View Post
While that wasn't what I did, now that you mention it: the biggest problem with Hitler's views/ideology from a moral point of view was his hatred for those who don't fit in. And the biggest problem with Ayn's views/ideology from a moral point of view was her hatred for those who don't fit in. And both were pushing for a societal order that would completely screw over those pepole.
And how does that really differ from the ivory tower intellectual's (or nanny state supporter, for that matter) utter disdain for those that don't blindly worship their textbooks?

Allow me to give you an example. One of the guys I work with would charitably be described as "simple folk". He's most certainly not enlightened and couldn't find an ivory tower with a tourguide. In your world, he needs your help because clearly he's too stupid to make his own decisions. He needs your guidance because, being enlightened and supremely educated, you simply know better. On the shop floor, the guy has the hardest job, physically speaking, in the building because, quite honestly, he probably lacks the mental ability to progress much beyond it. Guy works his ass off, day in and day out. Weak mind and strong back, right? So, now that you've drawn your enlightened opinion, how would you feel if I told you that on the weekends the guy is one of the most respected farriers (I'll save you the trip to the bookshelf- that's a guy that shoes horses) in about 3 states in any direction from here? There are occasional bidding wars for his services between people with enough wealth to get whatever they want. Makes more money each weekend than you'll see in the next few months. The only reason he works at the factory is for the insurance, plus the fact that he just doesn't feel right "being idle".

So, still feeling superior? Do you really want to get into a war of accolades with him? Your enlightened lambskins against his real world accomplishments?
Originally Posted by Ubereil View Post
The immoral part was that she was wrong. She thought that she was right? Yeah, well, so did Hitler. And yet pepole don't have any problems writing him off as immoral.

*snip snip snip*

Her basic premise, as described by wikipedia, is two and a half A4-pages. And that's a summary. I gave you a really brief verision, along with two very brief counter arguments. If I am to go beyond that I have to read up more carefully on the theory, which isn't really something I want to do. There's quite a list of things I'd like to read up on, you see.
Quite amazing that you have the ability to determine something is categorically "wrong" while in the same post admitting that you don't know squat about it. Is that some jedi skill they give you in the ivory tower?

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August 20th, 2012, 16:43
Originally Posted by DArtagnan View Post
I wouldn't call it immoral - just really short-sighted and naive.
Care to substantiate your claim?
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August 20th, 2012, 22:12
It's quite easy to see that her house of cards are wrong, because of errors in basic premises. You can pile a lot bullshit on, including incredibly irrelevant analogies, but the foundation is obviously wrong.
Last edited by Thrasher; August 21st, 2012 at 01:41.
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