If you are not a fan of Ayn Rand, why are you in the Gulch?
Posted by Mamaemma 8 years, 4 months ago to Philosophy
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And if someone is a fan of Ayn Rand, does that mean that that person understands and agrees with her philosophy?
One day an associate gave me a copy of Atlas and I said "damn, there it is. I am not alone."
I guess his books are what made me such a sci-fi nut...
Not sure which book it was but I think it was Pirates of Venus that talks about living in the trees away from the ground people(Read them over 40 years ago). Isolated from the corruption.
Jan, rescued handsome princes on Mars
Edit to include where princes were
I have actually heard the victory song of the women of Helium sung. (A modern folk artist wrote and sung it.)
We frequently see strawman arguments against "worshipers" or "sycophants" who are said to "agree with everything Rand ever said", demand "loyalty tests", demand to "tell other people what they can think", etc. The strawman typically serves to obfuscate a desire to "have Ayn Rand's philosophy and eat it too" by those promoting contradictions to Ayn Rand's basic principles (through religion, anarchism, variants of hedonism, etc.). And that does not belong here. That versus "believing everything Rand ever said because she said it" is a false alternative; neither is reasonable (and the second is rarely, if ever, found at all).
But being a "fan" of Ayn Rand does not necessarily imply understanding or agreeing with her philosophy in the full sense of that concept. You can't agree with something, no matter how initially attractive, until you know what it is.
There are many reasons people are attracted to Atlas Shrugged, not all of them valid, but people with mixed premises or mistaken views absorbed from everything from education to a life time of exposure to a mixed culture can be and often are attracted to the theme of the novel without at first being able to sort out what made it possible and what contradicts it.
Atlas Shrugged projected a sense of life made possible by Ayn Rand's philosophy, which she had to create in order to project in fiction what she called the "ideal man" (and which she said was her primary reason for writing Atlas Shrugged). The novel illustrated and often made explicit and explained her basic philosophy in various contexts (including the main Galt's speech), but it did not systematically describe in detail her philosophy or show it's hierarchical structure and necessity in a non-fiction form.
For anyone legitimately interested after having read Atlas Shrugged and/or Ayn Rand's other novels, there often are -- and should be -- all kinds of questions about her philosophy not explained or fully explained in the novel; the next major step should to be to find out what Ayn Rand's philosophy of reason _is_. Ayn Rand's philosophy does _not_ just say 'go out and be reasonable' in the name of 'independence'. It has a _content_, with major, logically interconnected positions in all the main branches of philosophy. It answers major philosophical questions that have been debated throughout the history of western civilization, often with disastrous consequences from bad ideas previously spread and for which Ayn Rand provided an antidote.
For that one must read the non-fiction, which has been published in several anthologies. It includes Leonard Peikoff's comprehensive and systematic Objectivism: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand, and his lecture series on Objectivism from the 1970's (at which Ayn Rand was present to answer questions), which is less comprehensive but the basis of the book -- and put it all in context by listening to the Leonard Peikoff lecture serious on the history of western philosophy, which is superbly presented.
Not everyone is interested in learning all the major technical aspects of philosophy (and not everything Ayn Rand expressed on her personal choices is part of her philosophy), but a primary goal of any person serious about Ayn Rand's ideas should be the intellectual ambition to find out out what her philosophy of reason and individualism actually is and why. In the meantime, anyone can be a "fan" of those aspects he genuinely understands. But that is the opposite approach of those who mistakenly decide to "become an Objectivist", full of temporary excitement over partially understood dramatic fiction -- and then proceed to learn what they signed up for as if they had just committed to another sect of a church -- and who invariably wind up throwing off what they never understood to begin with, blaming it with hysterical resentment on Ayn Rand.
There, however, you will find many here who agree with and appreciate much of Ayn Rand's work but who came to it all late in life when their own personalities, morals, and convictions were shaped. So, they find easy agreement with her denunciations of socialism. However, they may not agree with her claim that religion and faith are destructive, both of personality and of civilization; or that an embryo or fetus is not a human being; or that World War II was not noble and glorious; or that Ronald Reagan was not a consistent advocate of freedom; or that a woman should not want to be President of the United States; or that Beethoven's music is malevolent and anti-life; and so on.
Indeed, I listen to Beethoven; and I think that a woman has as much right and reason to be President as a man. But I still consider myself a fan of Ayn Rand.
So, perhaps Mama Emma, you might explain what you mean by the question.
Thanks for the interesting question in the OP. This thing about takings needs to be defined. Does this mean someone who supports compulsory taxes in any form cannot be a fan of Rand?
UNLESS, the goal is rob citizens of the fruits of their labor (um, social security, medicare, medicade) and keep them in perpetual poverty, ad nauseum.
REMOVE the federal reserve/cabal and hold Congress responsible for issuing coin/money, as they are Constitutionally required and somehow FORCE them to LIVE within the means of genuine taxation, then I will agree with you that compulsory taxation is necessary, but not until then.
If the government were adhering to the constitution, you wouldn't feel compelled to "buy" protection from the government, but might be a lot more willing to contribute voluntarily to secure the protection of the government.
You cherish the "liberty" of jumping into your car, and driving across town, or to the next town for that matter.
There are decent roads that allow you this cherished "liberty".
You paid compulsory taxes for these roads, and my guess is that you aren't complaining.
Consider the scenario where each individual is only responsible for the road(s) that they need, or want....
Societal living has communal, and compulsive, requirements.
Are you ready for a toll booth at every intersection?
Do you actually believe that is cheaper, or even feasible?
"Toto, I've a feeling we're not in Kansas any more."
That's what I ask for...some proof.
How does this technology work?
What is ironic is that you say that you will not agree to a compulsory tax, but you would agree to the road users paying for the roads. You are already paying for the roads (and none road users are not) through the compulsory fees that you pay for your car tags, and gasoline you buy.
You are doing exactly what you both denounce, and promote, at the same time. You got your wish that only road users contribute...but they are doing it without a voluntary tax.
Can you tell me how the road even gets there, if it will eventually get paid for through it's use (tolls)?
The old chicken, or the egg conundrum?
There are many related issues about how government programs could be replaced by markets. Quite a few years ago I ran across a very good book that discusses these issues: "The Market for Liberty by Linda and Morris Tanhill". I think you would find it quite interesting and much better at illustrating how most government run services can be better handled by the market than my simple example of roads above. One can find this "now free" book at: http:/mises.org/library/market-liberty-1
I agree compulsory tax is *not* theft and maybe or maybe not is necessary. I'm open to radical experiments in Gulches with no taxes.
"However, compulsory taxation that takes from one person and gives to another person is theft and the improper use of force."-- Ranter
This leaves us to debate which programs "give to another": Law enforcement, SBIR/STTR grants, building public roads, military, subsidies for the poor, supporting art, national weather service, building rural roads to be used by one particular industry, etc.
I don't understand the philosophical or practical reason for picking a few of these as off-limits. It doesn't guarantee less gov't spending or intrusiveness.
For me the necessary but not sufficient condition for gov't spending is it be for something non-excludable from those who don't want to pay for it.
Public schools, national weather service, etc., are all supposed to be non-rival. I am not sure that that is physically possible. In fact, I even question whether sunsets are always non-rival. But in any case, public goods are supposed to be like that.
I saw this by chance after four months. I'd never thought of non-rival before, so I find it interesting.
"our examples all were supposed to be available to anyone"
Actually, I was suggesting they're in the eye of the beholder. I imagined that for each one, someone could says, "this program is charity for [some group]", and someone else could say, "sure the money is paid to that group, but having that program in the country benefits us all, and we can't turn it off those who don't want to pay for it."
So, too, in a free society, might the soldiers be dressed like Zouves, because the largest donors influence that; but it would not be to anyone's detriment. (Or maybe we would all suffer eye-aches on Independence Day.)
I was thinking before I found this site that this current administration is far too close to her writings as I remembered them. Fifty something years is a long time to remember much of anything, but these books have stayed with me. The major problem we have as I see it is that our Congress will not stand up to Obama and/or are just a collection of boot lickers. They won't honor their oaths and protect this country.
What sticks with me now is how many companies have moved out of our country to another. Maybe not for the same reasons as Ayn wrote about, but the consequences are very close to the same.
I’ve a thick skin, so fire away, but make it mostly educational.
hold that a member of, say, the Gulch, *must* take
a vow and voluntarily agree to pay for any central
services mutually agreed on by the members, else
they must leave. . this includes maturing children,
say, at 18 or so. . you take part as a member, or bye-bye.
and charity is voluntary, NONE of it handled by
the state. . mutual defense is voluntarily paid by
members. . everything must be voluntary, or it
will not work, long-term. -- j
But the devil is in the details and the details of this boggle my brain: How do you keep it from being an oath under duress? Do you export your criminals when they turn 18? (If not, maybe you should slap a cop the day before your 18th bday.) Do people who eschew cars have to pay for highways? Do they pay less? (After all, even if they walk to the supermarket, their food gets to the market via roads.)
So I think that either a flat rate payment (ahem = tax) or a government ownership of some profitable utility by which it can earn a living sounds better. Have pity on the bookkeepers!
I think it is time for me to get another copy now. Thanks for the reminder.
comes to slippery slopes! -- j
which would obviate welfare-state and central-
control-state crap like that;;; yes? -- j
anarchy or the "rule" of an oath of loyalty to a list of
freedoms held absolute? . it is a challenging thought
experiment!!! -- j
but that presumes integrity;;; as soon as I think of
enforcement, there's that word "force" and I get
wary or apprehensive or scared of the whole line
of thought. -- j
Before I reverse this childish act, I will use this event to summarize where I am coming from: I am an avid "fan" of Ayn Rand, until my zeal makes me be rude to those that don't agree with everything that she wrote, and they are making sincere points of debate. Then I am ashamed, and don't think that being a rabid fan is all that much to be proud of.
Food for thought....
Other times I just ignore him.
A couple of days ago I was making fun of him on that Jeff Sessions thread I started.
Today I feel moved to +1 give him #3 (just to have it known in case that point count goes up or down).
Tomorrow I may be calling him a troll.
Is this place fun or what?
So, yes, it would be wrong to be a concentration camp guard -- unless your ulterior motive were to help people escape.
Ayn Rand's understanding of the kind of society we live in and how to apply her ethics was not based on equivocation.
Mama Emma asserted: "But I think , as an example, that a person who believes it is ok to take from one man to give to another is not a fan of Rand." However, that bald statement lacks context. The easy agreement already from Robbie is evidence of the emotion. The fact remains that the CONTEXT is not defined. As Ayn Rand pointed out via Ragnar Danneskjoeld, that the real Robin Hood (if there was one) took from the thieving rich and gave to the productive poor.
So, it can be perfectly moral to take from one man and give to another.
If a man is running down the street carrying a pink purse and I trip him, take the purse, and give it back to the littleoldlady he stole it from it is a different matter than if I were to clobber an innocent pink-purse-carrying man, wrench his beloved purse from his grasp and then toss it to some old woman who 'I' decided deserved to have it.
Yeah, I'm an old retired dino who came in late. Rand completely turned me around on how I viewed philosophy.
Way back in the early 70s (at Troy State on the GI Bill) I studied and respected ground breakers like Plato and Aristotle but cane to later generally regarded any so-called philosopher on TV as a chin-rubbing windbag good with big words.
I had earned my Journalism degree by learning how to communicate with the masses, not with any pseudo-intellectuals--as I then tended suspiciously view anyone who called him or herself a philosopher. Still do, I guess.
But I discovered and quickly warmed up to Ayn Rand when the AS movies first appeared.
I don't have a prob with Beethoven or Chuck Berry's "Beethoven Roll Over" song for that matter.
Ronald Reagan is my 20th Century political hero.
As for a woman as president--which woman?
Oh, IMO, abortion is murder. A Planned Parenthood assembly line abortion mill makes me think of a death camp for millions of slaughtered unborn babies.
But my compassion and tolerance levels goes way up when a pregnant lady is told giving birth may kill her or there is something really wrong with the unborn baby. I feel that's a tragic situation I should not stick my nose into.
I don't like the fetus word even if it is scientifically accurate.. I think it has become a PC dehumanization device.
That's all. I could go on and on.
I am dino.
Hear me roar.
This leaves participants frustrated and often those conversations stop. What is your definition?
"His goal is"
Assigning a malicious goal to me is just an ad hominem insult. It's really nonsense because I'm willing to talk in longer posts or e-mails if something's confusing and you're really interested.
I have guessed at other people's goals on this site, and I don't feel that great about it. Maybe I'm right, but there are a few times when I thought I had guessed someone's goals, and I was wrong.
I remember writing a nasty message (this is IRL) to someone who served with me on a board of an organization. I thought he was undermining something I was trying to do, and I turned out to be 100% wrong. I apologized. He said he felt bad I even thought that. He said he was under an incredible amount of stress with his divorce and business. He supported what I was trying to do. I had been completely wrong. Then he died of a heart attack at age 60 shortly after.
The heart attack part is not at all relevant to this at all, but it's just a little true story from two years ago. My point is I really resist the urge (don't always succeed) to write a narrative explaining others' behavior.
Regarding the part about emails, I was just saying in other forums I would have more room to share ideas.
Regarding this stuff about me being tricky, I don't get it. Policy is strictly an avocation for me. I go through periods of not reading the papers, depending on what's going on. You've come up with this narrative that I'm in the world of selling policies, and it's just not true.
There are people who have acted as trolls on this list - short comments, lots of unpleasant labels, and no discussion. You are not short on the quality of 'being willing to discuss' so I do not consider you a troll.
But if you are not a troll, but your communication style makes people you find interesting repeatedly think that this is your goal, then you might wish to take that under advisement.
Yes. Not hard to find, for sure.
"But if you are not a troll, but your communication style makes people you find interesting repeatedly think that this is your goal, then you might wish to take that under advisement."
If we're taking the impression of other people's goals under advisement, let me speculate on why people might think I'm malicious: "But wait, Rand is about dividing people into group identities and asking all members of the group to agree on everything. You either accept the list of pre-agreed-upon conclusions as a whole, or you're being tricky. You cannot think for yourself in this group, but you must pretend to."
We do not need to take these guesses under advisement. We should just stick to the actually topics.
I actually am from Madison. I was born in Madison General hospital, the same place my wife and two kids were born. She lived in DC working at Arnold and Porter. We moved back within a few years of each other and met at a bar (technically it was a "young professionals" event) downtown. :)
We are independent-minded, none of the stuff you say. My wife knows Hillary Clinton only through a colleague. I think if she got involved in the sausage making, she'd get disgusted. I am in no way close enough to any politicians to know which stories about shenanigans are true.
Our neighbors have chickens. I heard you can't have roosters b/c of the noise. One of our kids is nicknamed the rooster b/c he makes a lot of noise first thing in the morning.
This labeling immediately discredits and halts discourse , dialog and ultimately reason and objectivity. It is used to be dismissive of an alternate viewpoint. Certainly not curtious or thoughtful.
Sun Tsu, "The Art of War" , "Know your enemy and know yourself and you will always be victorious."
When the "Enemy" i.e. emotion enters and starts to debate, they will lose, since emotional arguments are based neither on reason nor fact. I personally encourage any left leaning liberal to provide an actual debate on the topic without trying character assassination or name calling.
Once the thread degrades to name calling, the one party has lost since that is not reason.
Edweaver asked also how can a fan of Ayn Rand vote progressive. The answer to me is simple, and can equate to Religion or any other firmly held "belief." The question is answered with another question.
"How much do you believe, or ascribe to?"
LIke many "false Christians" they pick and choose only the parts of the Bible that appeal to them and justify those they do not agree with by claiming that particular part is outdated.
MUslims are the same way, how much of their Quran do they REALLY believe, and does that make them a "good" Muslim if they do not follow 100% of their self-proclaimed belief?
Ayn Rand followers can also be the same way. Some pick and choose only those parts they like while disregarding the rest.
Some like the story are a fan only for the sake of the quality of the stories not for the actual practice of being an Objectivist.
Ironically and from my understanding the "true" Objectivist is exceptionally tolerant of any and all opposing or different views provided they do not prevent me or you from believing and practicing according to our reasonable understanding. Very much similar to a fundamental Libertarian.
Anyone who enters I encourage to use reason, thought and FACT to make the point, and provide some semblance of PROOF when making an argument and avoid the "emotional" responses.
I really enjoyed Ayn Rands interview with Phil Donohue. She remained logical, while Phil became emotional and lost his argument at every turn. The same thing happened in his interview with Milton Freeman.
I entirely sympathize with the basic creed of Objectivism: the study of Reality. The participants of this forum are by far the most level-headed (in general) and willing to discuss ideas - even though they may not particularly agree with them - of any I have found on the Internet. Do we sometimes disagree on the nature of Reality? Yes, as is to be expected. If everyone conformed, it would mean that either there was no value (values are, after all a choice of utility between two things - one of lesser and one of greater return) or that every participant had perfect knowledge and saw everything the same way! I also enjoy the mental stimulation provided by those who see things differently because there is nothing more scientific than approaching the same problem from a different angle to verify that the hypothesis still holds up under scrutiny. And people are the biggest curiosity in the universe to me: the study of agent behavior to me is downright fascinating.
As a victim of Enron I am intimately aware of a company willing to do anything for whatever rings their bell. I just can’t come to a clear understanding of how a Person such as Ken Lay for one, who was a multi millionaire could steal from others. As used to be said about the University of Oklahoma, “How much rice can a Chinaman eat?”
How do you see Cronyism being "allowed" in the constitution? I only see it being allowed by those "interpreting" the constitution. What gives?
In actuality, the US Constitution does say that the US gov't can take from its citizens - it's called taxation which is authorized in Article 1, Section 8 and subsequently in the 16th Amendment.
Words and definitions matter.
tr.v. re·dis·trib·ut·ed, re·dis·trib·ut·ing, re·dis·trib·utes
To distribute again in a different way; reallocate.
This whole "redistribution" thing is unclear and becomes a way to condemn programs someone doesn't like.
I do not agree with "strict Objectivists" that atheism is the only "rational" perspective of life. As such, I will not be cowed in my perspective by those who demand such fealty. I think some here would be surprised at the number of others who quietly have a similar perspective, but refuse to express so publicly for fear of denunciation.
There's another thread in which a fellow poster expresses a desire to initiate a real Gulch. If some here had their way, I wonder what kind of "purity test" they would demand, and how many of us would be allowed admittance?
"Godwin's law applies especially to inappropriate, inordinate, or hyperbolic comparisons of other situations (or one's opponent) with Nazis – often referred to as "playing the Hitler card". The law and its corollaries would not apply to discussions covering known mainstays of Nazi Germany such as genocide, eugenics, or racial superiority, nor, more debatably, to a discussion of other totalitarian regimes or ideologies, if that was the explicit topic of conversation, because a Nazi comparison in those circumstances may be appropriate, in effect committing the fallacist's fallacy."
Yes, but dbhalling's use is not Godwin's Law worthy b/c he's just using it to mean being fastidious about something, which to me is fine.
"The grammar nazi calls out every time I confuse less and fewer." is not Godwin worthy for me.
"The nazis began being strict with grammar before they outlawed all dissent" is Godwin's-law worthy.
The think the fastidious-about may have come into the language via Seinfeld and the Soup Nazi.
I know you're just joking. I don't mean to be a Godwin nazi.
What other reason would there be to be a fan of Ayn Rand? A fan should agree with her philosophy to the extent that he understands it. It's the understanding that can be difficult.
I've often called Atlas Shrugged the greatest book ever written even though it contains one-dimensional main characters and a number of other literary flaws. AR made those characters one-dimensional for a reason, though. They stood as archetypes. The greatness wasn't in any single aspect of the characters or the writing, it was in the message that was so well delivered - the introduction of Objectivism to the general populace.
I submit that, without the underlying message of Objectivism, AS isn't a compelling book. I'm going to take a LOT of dren for this, I expect, but purely as a novel the plot and characters aren't top-notch. (Stop, don't shoot, PLEASE!) Based on that I'd say that it's likely that a fan of AR is a fan of her message, the philosophy, and less a fan of the more superficial aspects of her novels.
To quote Dennis Miller, "That's just me. I could be wrong."
It's possible that there's a tenet of Objectivism that is trivial enough that one could oppose it and still call one's self an Objectivist. It's possible but I can't think of one.
I suggest that this 100% agreement requirement is neither unique nor uncommon, however, when it comes to belonging to self-defined groups. For instance, can you be a Catholic if you don't subscribe to 100% of the church's dogma?
I would suggest that you cannot. The leaders of the Catholic church have the absolute right to define what the church believes in, how the Mass will be delivered, what will be said and the content of religious instruction for every parish, worldwide. If you want to be catholic but you use birth control, or don't believe in the transubstantiation, or don't believe in Confession, or any one of hundreds of other rules and regulations passed down from the Vatican, then I believe that you are *not* a Catholic. I think it's a winner-take-all proposition.
Levels of enemy / evil status:
3) Being ignorant and lazy but willing to trash Objectivism based on what you heard, think your heard or just plain made up.
2) Sincerely but incorrectly thinking that you understand Objectivism and arguing against it using false arguments.
1) Actually understanding Objectivism but willfully twisting logic and reality to "prove" it wrong, introducing straw men and red herrings into your arguments. Outright lying about Objectivism in an attempt to instill extreme animosity toward it in people who know nothing about it.
My brother, 3 years my junior, is very smart and very good at his job. He used to be a libertarian and sounded objectivist. I'm pretty sure he read Atlas Shrugged but I wouldn't testify to it in court. But over the last 2 or 3 years he's begun spouting the collectivist line, chiding me for calling the ACA Obamacare, sending me what he considers proof of anthropogenic global warming, sticking up for some collectivist state and federal programs.
The sad part is that when you try to have a conversation with them and lay out a clear, logical, step-by-step argument for or against X, they make leaps of absurdity in the other direction. Even if you say, "For the sake of argument, let's assume A" and they agree - before long they're shouting, "NOT A, NOT A!"
It's always a bit jarring when someone illustrates to you with irrefutable logic and reason something contrary to what you believe. But if you are to remain a rational being, and I don't see any other way to live, then you must adjust your belief. It may be hard and you may have to work at it and remind yourself that what you used to think is wrong, but it has to be done.
So I agree with you, but I wish (against reality) that there were more rational people in the world!
One last thing, you mentioned common sense. I shudder at the phrase. The Timelord sayeth, "I've only ever met two people with a lick of common sense, you and me. And I'm not too goddamned sure about you!" I'm not the first one to express the sentiment, "there's nothing common about common sense (who?)", but I like my sound bite the best. If I could ever see that published in a book of 101 Pithy Sayings then I'd be pretty happy.
To me "beauty" and "common sense" have a lot in common.
most people do not start from foundations when they develop "beliefs" and so with each new concept they approach, they develop a feeling (hunch) then they go from there often leaving reason behind in the dust. and it's really bad for all of us, when scientists do that.
I guess the boss figured it was a small item in the grand scheme so he didn't bother to interfere. I got along with him great because we turned out to have a lot in common, both hardcore libertarians and both atheists. I'm guessing that he's an Objectivist, too, but that was before my own introduction to AR. He sold the company; I was a manager who the venture capital guys deemed "redundant" so I sought other employ, but the former owner and I have stayed in touch for nearly 15 years so far.
Ayn Rand's philosophy is not just common sense. Common sense is good if you have it, but the philosophy is much, much more.
In reality, however, what I wrote was completely tame and civilized and even began by sincerely agreeing with the premise of the article. Where I crossed the line, apparently, was in my assertion that Nixon's enemies list was benign compared to Clinton's and Obama's.
I'm not going to shout mia culpa, and what are the odds that there's a site administrator I can contact to review the post that was flagged and decide for himself if I broke the rules? (My only transgression was in not being a collectivist.) My guess is, slim to none, with a further sneaking suspicion that the administrator of such a site would be indistinguishable from Schrödinger's Cat..
I had to pass civics in high school, and support the few states that are trying to bring this course back.
Is there anything there that peaks your interest? What would you consider a compelling enough advantage to signing up as a Producer? Are you a newsletter subscriber? Daily digest subscriber?
I enjoy all the comments and the conversations here, and even "produce" by way of my own comments and thread starters now and then. So in a sense I am a producer of the site, but not in the legal term.
I have found much information in the discussions in the Gulch. ( I do not think I can use them to convert the liberals around me because they will not actually listen. )
This forum is more elaborate with its own forum software.
I was going to try and figure out how to sell some of my 'good' karma. But then it occurred to me that that might cost more in other ways! Besides, I would probably then need to buy some somewhere in order to offset my dogma.
Why am I here??
Because I enjoy the company and interesting discussions.
Even with the ones I disagree with the most...
I love Beethoven and also Offenbach, (which I'm told she enjoyed).