Some of my best friends are communists

Posted by $ MikeMarotta 7 years, 1 month ago to Culture
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What makes a "good" person or a "bad" person is (no surprise) personal: within the individual. That is usually hidden from external view and judged only by actions and words in the world. That judgment is also personal: it depends on the person making it.

Consider John D. Rockefeller. Most people who care to know anything about him dislike him. Objectivists admire him, but dislike his having been a church-going Baptist. Would Rockefeller have been a better person as an atheist? You only have to look at Edison to think more than twice about that question.

That is not to say that "one hand washes the other." I believe that the final balance is, indeed, a balance, of admirable qualities versus failures.

What is the essential characteristic?

A productive person will admire the productivity of others. Consider Thomas Edison, Sandra Lerner (Cisco Systems), or Martha Stewart. Edison was not a nice guy, but that is not the essential judgment. None of them were or are paragons of Objectivist virtues - some producers seem to have had no special virtues outside of their work. Consider how we wring our hands over Bill Gates. Yet, Microsoft cannot be denied. I admire
George Soros for his success as a trader. Haters take a different view.

You can find producers and haters in any population, just like short and tall people, no matter how short or tall the group. It is an assumption in social science that however defined, differences _within_ groups are greater than differences _across_ groups. Thus, I have had many friends who were political progressives and born-again Christians, while I have suffer through many libertarian or Objectivist meetings.


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  • Posted by overmanwarrior 7 years, 1 month ago
    Interesting commentary. What makes a person bad? If they impose themselves on others in relationships that are not in recognition of individual value. For instance, to take my property tax money to care for the children of other people who do not share my values is an imposition of this kind. The premise is that all children are valuable to society and that the collective values of that society are more important than my individual values. I may spend considerable time teaching my children to be exceptional while the society does not care to perform at that level. So the expectation that my children, or my intentions should be lowered to yield to the collective will is what makes a situation and the people behind it bad.
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    • Posted by CircuitGuy 7 years, 1 month ago
      There's nothing that bad in someone's expectation that you will teach your kids a certain way. The bad comes when they try to use force to make you comply with their expectations.
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      • Posted by $ sjatkins 7 years, 1 month ago
        Their system says you have no right to freely choose to teach your kids differently or live your life differently. There system requires and explicitly says it requires force and lots of it.
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  • Posted by mccannon01 7 years, 1 month ago
    It's a good thing to have a wide variety of friends, but it's also important to not take the kum-by-ya stuff too far. Scorpions and rattlesnakes are fascinating creatures, but I don't want them in my bed.
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    • -2
      Posted by rlewellen 7 years, 1 month ago
      Don't take the worship of money too far either. Oh if you could see how all of this is in the Bible. I am here amongst you, would you vote me out of existence.
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      • Posted by $ sjatkins 7 years, 1 month ago
        Read Francisco's money speech and call me in the morning. :)
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        • Posted by Macro 7 years, 1 month ago
          Gotta love that one! I used to think money was 'the source of all evil' before reading it.

          How stupid I was...
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          • Posted by Robbie53024 7 years, 1 month ago
            Actually, the actual quote is "the LOVE of money is the root of all evil." I think that still stands. Anyone who places money above all else is likely to corrupt oneself. One must retain a basic morality that often succumbs to the love of money.
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            • Posted by Robbie53024 7 years, 1 month ago
              Corrupt oneself in pursuit of money. Money, as Francisco said brilliantly, is not itself evil. However, those who make acquiring it at all costs - and at the corruption of their morality - have succumbed to evil.
              Some want to take the Francisco speech and say that any pursuit of money is moral. Then what about Bernie Madoff? That was his pursuit and he was clearly evil.
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              • Posted by LetsShrug 7 years, 1 month ago
                Madoff lied and stole. Making money, earning it, exchanging value for value is moral. Thieving is not. There is no comparison here. Nice try.
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                • -1
                  Posted by rlewellen 7 years, 1 month ago
                  Oh but come on you call selfishness a virtue. Bernie traded a perceived value for intrinsic value, what is it in Objectivism that doesn't match that?
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                  • Posted by khalling 7 years, 1 month ago
                    Rational self interest. R, I challenge you to read a chapter of one of Rand' s non fiction books for everytime you want to make a point about christianity vs Objectivism. You're getting lots of Objectivism concepts wrong and so your arguments become a strawman. As well consider starting with some Atlas Society youtube videos.
                    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qYJtHd28B...


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                    • Posted by Robbie53024 7 years, 1 month ago
                      When you insist on putting the modifier "rational" in front of "self interest" you are no different than the religious that those here often decry as being mystics.

                      Why do you get to limit your descriptions to those who behave "rationally?" If self interest is the virtue, then why isn't it so if taken to the extreme? And in this context, Madoff merely took his own self interest to an extreme point. Yes, he lied and cheated, that's what it took for him to realize his self interest.

                      This is where I think that Objectivism fails. You cannot say that a little self interest is good, but a lot is bad. It is either good or bad.

                      Nobody here wants to answer the BAOTB postulate. If my self interest is good, then what stops me from just trampling over everyone else's liberty to get whatever I want? My self interest is paramount.

                      I hear this retort - "because the only way to ensure one's own liberty is to recognize the liberty of others" - Why? What universal axiom makes that so? I have provided countless examples of individuals throughout history that have not behaved according to that maxim. Some of them died of other than old age because of it, but so what? Is the Objectivist ultimate objective merely to die of old age? So those people ultimately were killed by a Badder ass, so what? They lived and did what they wanted in their own self interest. We still remember, hell, study many of those people - Alexander the Great, Cleopatra, Hitler and Stalin. I posit that those people made a bigger impact on the world - for good or evil - than any 10 Objectivists ever will.

                      As I'm often told - check your premises.

                      Not a rant against you, kh, merely a rant.
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                      • Posted by khalling 7 years, 1 month ago
                        self interest is about man qua man. Others can convert self interest into a hedonistic orgy. Which has nothing to do with man qua man. This is an ethical system-which must apply to EVERY individual. Algebra applies to everyone. I have a system that is only true when I'm using it-fails. Thus, I put in the qualifier *rational* so I do not have to address the hedonistic illogical-which is NOT an ethical system and converts man qua man into ME.
                        "You cannot say that a little self interest is good, but a lot is bad. It is either good or bad. "
                        As long as the system is based on man qua man-there is no limit. The more self interest the better.
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                        • Posted by Robbie53024 7 years, 1 month ago
                          Check your premise. When has the world ever been "man qua man?" History shows that this is not true, thus to base your ethical system on a fallacy is illogical. That is my entire point.
                          Now, you can dream up this fantasy in which everyone is going to behave "rationally". But isn't that just as full of mysticism as one in which there is a deity?
                          I can show you innumerable examples (and have) of where one man has not behaved as you propose. This is the nature of humanity.
                          I totally accept that humans will work to achieve their self interest. Most will do so without infringing on the interests of others "too much." Counting on that to occur as a basis of a system of ethics is irrational, as that is not the nature of mankind.
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                          • Posted by khalling 7 years, 1 month ago
                            whenever you tell me to check my premise-I go back and look at yours. ;)
                            "When has the world ever been "man qua man?" History shows that this is not true, thus to base your ethical system..."
                            This is your first mistaken premise. We are not discussing History-we are discussing an ethical system. Ethical systems are about what should be. Is absolutely necessary to measure against what is. This is the same argument the marxists used against Locke. All we can hope to have is no better than what we've had before?
                            The more free the society with strong protections for property rights, the more individuals pursue virtuous endeavors. How did the US grow in a short 150 years from its infancy to the most powerful nation in the world?
                            Christianity had over 1800 years and we were still in the malthusian trap. That means death and starvation. That means not prospering, not inventing cures, etc. In under 150 years, under a system of natural rights, the US went from a new nation to the most powerful and prosperous on Earth. Rand developed Objectivism in the middle of the last century. Let's give it a little time before we call me pollyanna.
                            The nature of reason is volitional. You can choose reason. The fact that many do not, does not stand against the validity of the premise. Just because most people do not study physics does not mean we are aren't better off with Physics.
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                            • Posted by Robbie53024 7 years, 1 month ago
                              Basing an ethical system on a premise that counters human nature seems foolish.

                              And you really want to blame Christianity on roughly 1200 years of societal stagnation? What about the lack of progress in Africa, Australia, and North and South America? Wouldn't those areas have flourished and advanced at a much more rapid pace if it were merely a function of Christianity holding back progress?

                              And do you really want to ascribe the advances of the American nation to atheism? I will point to insurmountable evidence that demonstrates that is not the case. It might not be due to faith, but it certainly is not because of rejecting faith.
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                              • Posted by khalling 7 years, 1 month ago
                                1. Objectivism is based on human nature. Man is man. His only significant faculty is his ability to reason.
                                2. Not blaming Christianity -saying it has not solved these problems.
                                3. Atheism is not important to the argument-nor was it made. Natural rights and property rights and the system of Capitalism is important and successful
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            • Posted by Rozar 7 years, 1 month ago
              Who are you quoting?
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              • Posted by Robbie53024 7 years, 1 month ago
                1 Timothy 6:10

                Oh, that's right, it's from the Bible, so the Objectivists wouldn't know the actual quote.
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                • Posted by $ sjatkins 7 years, 1 month ago
                  Francisco covered that. To love something is to know and deeply value its nature. You still don't seem to get it. Better read it again. :) And why the hell is someone quoting scriptures at me here of all places. There are a lot of pretty evil things in the bible.
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                  • Posted by $ stargeezer 7 years, 1 month ago
                    Since about 1/3 of the Bible is history, evil goes with the territory. I hope you aren't contending that just because a book deals with religion or touches on religious stories that concepts related in it are verboten? Surly that would not be in keeping with being open minded or free expression.
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                    • Posted by rlewellen 7 years, 1 month ago
                      People turned politician always trying to kill the religious people that didn't agree. They do it here every day with their little down vote, or the up vote of only those that agree with them
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                  • Posted by Hiraghm 7 years, 1 month ago
                    And this is not true. Otherwise, every abused housewife would never have married her abusive husband. People fall in love with their subjective vision of a person, an object, or even a philosophy all the time. One can't point at someone and say, "well, what they love isn't really the way they think it is, so they're not really feeling love". Well, one can, but s/he'd be arrogantly wrong.
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                  • Posted by rlewellen 7 years, 1 month ago
                    And this is not true. Otherwise, every abused housewife would never have married her abusive husband. People fall in love with their subjective vision of a person, an object, or even a philosophy all the time. One can't point at someone and say, "well, what they love isn't really the way they think it is, so they're not really feeling love". Well, one can, but s/he'd be arrogantly wrong.
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                • Posted by Rozar 7 years, 1 month ago
                  Hmm nifty. I didn't know that was in the Bible. I wonder if it originated there? It's possible to love money above all else and not be evil though.
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                  • Posted by khalling 7 years, 1 month ago
                    What about happiness? Is it in on's rational self interest to say pursue having more money to the detriment of all else?
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                    • Posted by Rozar 7 years, 1 month ago
                      If it makes you happy and you aren't infringing on others rights than yes. If you love something it will make you happy.
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                      • Posted by khalling 7 years, 1 month ago
                        Money is a means to an end. What are some ends? Food, shelter, long term financial security, invest in new and exciting enterprises...BUT if eliminate the ends-money is just pieces of paper or a computer entry somewhere. To love money above all else is a definition of insanity.
                        So what you really love is something else: building a business, travelling, rewarding yourself with a sportscar.
                        Personally, I think the one that comes closest to rational self interest that seems like you wanted unlimited money-is the desire to build interesting projects(I want to build the space ship that will carry humans to Mars or beyond, cure cancer) etc.
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                        • Posted by Rozar 7 years, 1 month ago
                          Who determines the end? If it's the individual, why can't his end be "as much money as possible." Maybe they view it like the high score on a video game.
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                  • Posted by Robbie53024 7 years, 1 month ago
                    It's possible, but unlikely. If you love money above all else, you are likely to do whatever it takes to attain any money - even at the expense of their own morality.
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                    • Posted by Rozar 7 years, 1 month ago
                      I suppose just as a man who is in love with a woman will commit evil to attain her. However there are more examples of loving relationships that don't contain evil acts just as the majority who love money do so innocently. Your case seems to denounce love as the root of all evil, regardless of what the object is.
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                • Posted by $ 7 years, 1 month ago
                  The Greeks had a word for it: philargyrion: the love of silver. That is a catch-phrase or by-word, "the Greeks have a word for it..." The classical Greeks were famous for inventing words, i.e., creating new concepts. That is perhaps the untold story of the _real_ "golden age of Greece." It is likely that not before then, and then not until Middle English, was such an explosion of new words known. Other expansions of concepts had been experienced, but they were slow by comparison. The evolution of "5" from "2-2-1" to "5" took about 2000 years. Be that as it may, if you want to understand the New Testament, you need to at least approach it in the Greek. Otherwise you become an object of scorn for Catholics who chortle that for Protestants "the King James Version was good enough for Saint Peter and it is good enough for me."
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                  • Posted by Robbie53024 7 years, 1 month ago
                    Well, the KJB isn't the only version, nor is it the final word. Nor are any versions created by man. The word of God, sadly, has been manipulated by man from the beginning to time.
                    One must find the truth of God in one's own heart.
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                    • Posted by Hiraghm 7 years, 1 month ago
                      Dad blast it. I can't give you a thumbs up without you losing a point. This is a major league bug. Someone tell the healthcare.gov website designers they have another bug to fix...
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                    • Posted by rlewellen 7 years, 1 month ago
                      Yep Ayn did it too.
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                      • Posted by $ stargeezer 7 years, 1 month ago
                        Lets agree that she found a answer she was happy with. not a answer I would accept and not a path I would follow, but it worked for her.
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                        • Posted by Robbie53024 7 years, 1 month ago
                          That would be a fair statement.
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                          • Posted by $ stargeezer 7 years, 1 month ago
                            Now we must conclude that Ayn, being happy in her rejection of God, but being an open minded person, would never persecute a person because they are a Christian. Certainly, a person who had fled Russia in order to experience freedom of speech would never tell another that they can't speak about a subject. Even if she disagreed with them. Yet some seem determined to make the gulch a "God Free Zone".
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                            • Posted by Robbie53024 7 years, 1 month ago
                              I've found atheists to be much less tolerant of discussion of faith than the faithful are of discussions of the possibility of a non-deity universe.
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                              • Posted by ShruginArgentina 7 years, 1 month ago
                                Well, Robbie,

                                As a former Christian turned Objectivist, I welcome the discussion of faith.

                                Have you kept track of the number of atheists that are intolerant, or are you generalizing?

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                                • Posted by Robbie53024 7 years, 1 month ago
                                  Impression based on comments on this forum. Totally unscientific. Merely based on my observation of comments that I have read. If you want to present data, and it proves me wrong, I'm willing to accept. My feeling, based again on my observations here, are that you won't be able to find that data. But it's certainly up to you.
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                      • Posted by Lucky 7 years, 1 month ago
                        rl
                        I agree, sort of, but is this- Many a true word spoken in jest?
                        Or is it 'in sorrow'?
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                        • Posted by rlewellen 7 years, 1 month ago
                          Lot's of light bulbs going off. Enlitenment is a positive.
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                          • Posted by rlewellen 7 years, 1 month ago
                            I saw the truth about the respect for individualism not practiced here. Sad in a way, I will stand up for anyone's right to speak and their rights to their beliefs. When I realized the deal with why I couldn't get a point most of the time, I started looking at this as nothing but communism on a grand scale. This just puts business in charge to a point that is far beyond what the United States Constitution limited government to.
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      • Posted by mccannon01 7 years, 1 month ago
        Worship money? Not a chance. Money is just a convenient representation of what I worked for or gained by trade that I can use to obtain what I need/want for myself or my family. I have no problem saying I believe in God and Jesus Christ, but have a problem with religions.
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        • -5
          Posted by rlewellen 7 years, 1 month ago
          Would you trade one religion for the religion of money to create a global empire that cares only about one right, money.?
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          • Posted by MattFranke 7 years, 1 month ago
            You should quit while you' re not to far behind. You don't understand what you're talking about. Please remove cranium from rectum and go actually read Ayn Rand before telling all us Ayn Rand fans what she was about; when you obviously have no clue.
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            • Posted by rlewellen 7 years, 1 month ago
              I read Atlas Shrugged and her lexicon.She says there is only one real right property
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              • Posted by MattFranke 7 years, 1 month ago
                She says that rights derive from property. Property, or money, is only a reflection of a man's right to his life and the effort of it. You are trying to look at the bigger picture of a puzzle by over-analyzing a single piece.
                I will say it again. If you are really interested in it, at the very least, I would recommend that you read Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal if you want a better understanding of the rights of man, the role of government, and why true capitalism is the only just system for man to live under, according to Rand.
                The Lexicon is nice, like a dictionary of ideas. However it lacks the hierarchal structure necessary to comprehend those ideas in a proper context. In order to do that, you will have to do more than to read the cliff-notes of Objectivsm.
                Check out the gulch store( link at the top of the page) for most all of her books.
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                • Posted by Hiraghm 7 years, 1 month ago
                  Holy crap; they fixed it. I was able to give you a thumbs up (last time I tried to give someone a thumbs up, the thumbs up took a point away).

                  anyway, I gave you a thumbs up for adding, "according to Rand".

                  As I've said in another post, "true capitalism" is simply common sense, applied.
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  • Posted by SolitudeIsBliss 7 years, 1 month ago
    What defines 'good person'? Is good person one who wants to help others by taking YOUR hard earned money without YOUR consent? Is a good person he who chooses not to improve his lot in life through hard work and/or education but take govt handouts while extolling virtues? Is a business owner who employs people a good person?
    I define a good person as one who continuously improves him/herself through hard work and education, who takes nothing from anyone else and harms no one. (very short)
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  • Posted by $ don33coupe 7 years, 1 month ago
    Just look at our country today and look at communist countries witch do you want to live in. That is what Rand was all about
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    • -5
      Posted by rlewellen 7 years, 1 month ago
      Actually she was an antichrist anti bill of rights money worshiping ;propagandist set on making everyone replaceable, and indistinguishable.
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      • Posted by Macro 7 years, 1 month ago
        What are you even doing here? Why is someone so anti-Rand here on Galt's Gulch?

        Am I missing something?
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        • -3
          Posted by rlewellen 7 years, 1 month ago
          I just saw it for what it really is the man behind the curtain. People talking about destroying the constitution and one world order where there is no religion well except theirs that worships money above all.
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          • Posted by Macro 7 years, 1 month ago
            For the love of Nathaniel Taggart... What the hell are you talking about?

            Ayn Rand was for the Constitution! She wasn't, legally, against people having their religions! Yes, she could never agree with religions rationally, as she believe this is bad for people psychologically, but she would never force anyone to give up their religion! She would rather die than force all Christians to become atheists.

            Worshiping money? No! Having a purpose in life! Money is merely the result of your work, and passion. It's just the sweat of my brown... And then I use it trade it for the result of the hard work of other people!

            I thought you were a capitalist, but apparently I was mistaken.

            Please, tell me what you are doing here, I'm curious. What do you agree with us on? Obama being awful? Well, that's true...
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            • Posted by rlewellen 7 years, 1 month ago
              Nah she only believed on one right that was property. My constitution has a long list called the Bill of Rights hers is to undermine it mine is to protect it. There may be blood shed or it will get deleted in schools in the minds of children because even today they are inserting politics in children's minds in globallizing the education system. I may not agree with everything on the left or everything on the right but I always liked them struggling against each other in a fair fight rather than becoming indistinguishable.
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              • Posted by MattFranke 7 years, 1 month ago
                You do realize that the Bill of Rights is separate from the Constitution because it was written after the fact right? They basically forgot to put those qualifiers in there, and a couple years later realized, "Hey, this Constitution is nice and all; but it doesn't have any teeth. If people are going to accept it, it will need a more specific declaration of the rights of man." So as I said the other day, if they had written the Constitution right in the first place, there would be no need for a "Bill of Rights", addendum.
                So, if you despise Rand so much, that you must insist on taking her out of context and bashing her philosophy all the time; I, too must ask, "Why are you here?"
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                • Posted by Hiraghm 7 years, 1 month ago
                  You do realize that the Bill of Rights is part of the Constitution? That the first 10 Amendments were made the Bill of Rights because a Bill of Rights had already been promised within the Constitution?
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      • Posted by ShruginArgentina 7 years, 1 month ago
        So what's wrong with being antichrist?
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        • Posted by Hiraghm 7 years, 1 month ago
          There's a difference between being "anti-Christ" and "antiChrist".

          And I'd say you can't be anti-Christ and be pro-Rand. Anti-Christian, as in the various sects of the belief system, perhaps, but not anti-Christ, as in the teachings put forward by Jesus Christ.

          But that's just my opinion.
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        • Posted by $ joy-123 7 years, 1 month ago
          Wonder what you are doing in this group if some of your best friends are Communists!
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          • Posted by rlewellen 7 years, 1 month ago
            Government granted all the power or business granted all the power who is missing in the equation, and what makes that different from communism?
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          • Posted by rlewellen 7 years ago
            I am capable of being friends with people I don't agree with on everything. If you think you can go through life in isolation. good luck. I am a conservative but I don't support globalism. This is just a big scam to make money for a few.
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  • Posted by CircuitGuy 7 years, 1 month ago
    I don't see how you can operate any other way. Even if you avoid politics and religion, eventually you find out. If you livid with people who have a different ideology, it's very hard to get anything done.
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    • Posted by rlewellen 7 years, 1 month ago
      I worked with people that sometimes went off formula but managed to get batches out on time. I worked with people that were good at selling.
      I worked with people that were not quite bright but tried hard to do their job well. I worked with highly intelligent highly creative and highly just barely there but I would never vote them out of existence just because we didn't agree or walk in lock step.
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  • Posted by $ 7 years, 1 month ago
    Thanks for all the comments. Allow me to answer my question. A good person is someone who enhances my life. Having defined my interests from Man qua Man with my life as the standard of my values, I grant a moral sanction to anyone who brings benefit to me. I do so in direct relation to the value they offer. In the shop on the production floor, I value someone who gives their best effort. If they are a communist or a Christian or voted for Obama or Romney, that is irrelevant to the context. I value anyone who has a value to offer in return for the consequence of my own productivity.

    Among friends, I value someone who is consistent, trustworthy, reliable, i.e., someone who keeps the word they give.

    If they are Christian or socialist or Jewish or New Age or just plain muddled and mired, that is their own set of inconsistencies and contradictions to deal with. As long as they are good to me and good for me, I accept that in context.
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    • Posted by $ stargeezer 7 years, 1 month ago
      I'm certain some will/have disagree with that statement, but it is VERY close to what I believe and practice. I can tolerate the individual, private views of anybody, even their public views as long as they don't tell me what I'm allowed to believe.

      One of the oldest principals of liberty, "your freedom begins at the tip of my nose". Give me value as I give you value, and everything else is "to be determined later".
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    • Posted by Lucky 7 years, 1 month ago
      Wrong.
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      • Posted by Lucky 7 years, 1 month ago
        Elaboration.
        MM tells us how tolerant, good natured, and fair-minded he is, and an Objectivist to top it off. Yes, we already know that, the question here is- can you have a best friend who is a communist?

        You can deal with many in the course of business, you can chat with many others socially, but being a best friend requires more than the usual civilities that make life smooth. The affable and amiable are good to deal with at the bar, at child care, the gas station, and in contract negotiation.
        But being 'good to me and good for me' is something else.

        Our parents were good to us (often), the designer of the ring road by-pass around that bad traffic blockage was very good for me. The big swindler may get you onto a good deal, a wife basher may may wave you on at the road intersection. But can that person be your best friend? With best friends you can talk about anything and your values have to be similar on most topics for you both to open up and enjoy the interaction. So I conclude that yes a communist can be your best friend if- you are one as well, or a fellow traveler, or, that politics, philosophy, economics, government, starvation, mass murder and history are subjects outside your range of interest so you have no thoughts or ideas there. I guess that would include few on this forum.
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    • Posted by Rozar 7 years, 1 month ago
      Well said, though you'll have to be aware that the fact that they are sanctioning government intrusion in your life is in the long run very harmful to your well being. It is easier to make changes with friends than enemies, but tolerating beliefs that seek to oppress you will lead to slavery. I hope that when the context shifts from work to more philosophical discussions you stand your ground well.

      I personally withdraw friendship from people after a few months if we don't agree philosophically. The only moral weapon you really have is withdrawing your participation and support of immoral people.
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    • Posted by khalling 7 years, 1 month ago
      "a good person is someone who enhances my life."
      Wha????
      "I grant a moral sanction to anyone who brings benefit to me." double wha??
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      • Posted by Rozar 7 years, 1 month ago
        That's like the definition of objectivism lol.
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        • Posted by khalling 7 years, 1 month ago
          Yes, and based on those two statements-

          "[Objectivist Ethics] holds that the *rational* interests of men do not clash—that there is no conflict of interests among men who do not desire the unearned, who do not make sacrifices nor accept them, who deal with one another as traders, giving value for value."

          MM's statements were qualified by man qua man-which is essential to survival. My point is how can communist friends meet that standard, regardless of enhancing his personal life and bringing benefit to him-while at the same time actively promoting slavery and the suppression of natural rights either wittingly or unwittingly? The contradiction is inherent in those two ethical values.
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          • Posted by Rozar 7 years, 1 month ago
            The statements he made were correct, the way he applies them is wrong. He is being irrational retaining friends whose mentality is destroying his well being. He thinks they bring benefit to his life, so he befriends them in error.

            Sorry I was just concerned when you questioned the statement and not his action.
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  • Posted by $ sjatkins 7 years, 1 month ago
    No good person can believe in a system that extolls "the dictatorship of the proletariat". No good person can be explicitly communist after communism killed tens of millions - of its own people in countries where it was instituted. It is a thoroughly evil doctrine to anyone remotely sane and intelligent or who is a student of history. Bringing up an unpleasant capitalist as if that is at all the same thing as killing millions by design is itself utterly repugnant. It is no wonder that a person that would try such a ploy is so bereft of responsible reasoning as to befriend communists.
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  • -1
    Posted by $ Maphesdus 7 years, 1 month ago
    I've met a few Communists in my life, and from my own experience, most of them are decent people who just don't understand economics or human nature.
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    • Posted by Macro 7 years, 1 month ago
      I suppose you are right.

      But still, from the moment they agree with welfare policies and the like, I can't really forgive them 100%. They may be good people, but they're siding with the ones who want to take my freedoms away...

      It's really a balance of admirable qualities versus failures, like Mike said. I may not agree with Christians regarding their mystical beliefs, but since they do not want to push their views on everyone else legally, that's not a problem for me to have a friendship with them (well, maybe not the perfect friendship, but a good friendship anyway. Like a vegan having a steak-loving friend). Being friends with a communist is quite the opposite though... I really can't shake this feeling that they are my enemies, as they are making my own life harder.

      If someone does evil because he doesn't know he's actually wrong, should this person be forgiven?
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      • Posted by Hiraghm 7 years, 1 month ago
        Here we go again, attacking Christians.

        This is the real reason I got sent to Conventry. I fought back.

        Why don't you guys go pick on Moslems or Wiccans or Scientologists.... just for a change? This song is getting so old.


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      • Posted by Timelord 7 years, 1 month ago
        @sjatkins: " Being friends with a communist is quite the opposite though... I really can't shake this feeling that they are my enemies,"

        I know exactly what you mean. I had to terminate two friendships because they were such enthusiastic collectivists. The benefits of their friendship didn't even come close to matching the revulsion to everything they stood for.

        I have one other friend I sometimes think I'd prefer not to see any more because of his progressive tendencies but then I remember all his good qualities and I decide to stick with him.
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        • Posted by Macro 7 years, 1 month ago
          Similar situation here.

          I have a cousin who's a member of a group called Anti-Capitalism Youth, so, I can't stand being around him anymore, it's hopeless. And he was such a bright young engineer!
          I can never forgive these people for ruining his mind so badly... And now he's even working for the Landless Workers' Movement as well.

          *sigh*

          But yeah, some friends are worth the effort. If their qualities end up being more important to me than their failures, I don't mind it as much. That's true.
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          • Posted by Timelord 7 years, 1 month ago
            "I can never forgive these people for ruining his mind so badly." It's worse than that. He allowed his mind to be ruined by refusing to reason or recognize reality.

            I remember when I was very young, high school aged in the 70's, I said to someone, "Communism sounds like a great idea in a perfect world," but even then I was half-hearted about it. At the time I was intrigued by a society that ensured people had what they needed.

            Within a couple of years I registered to vote as a Republican. But I wasn't really interested in politics. Reading the second Dune novel really turned me on to politics. Then I saw Harry Browne speak on C-SPAN during the LP National Convention in 1996.

            I immediately recognized that I was a libertarian. I had never heard of them or what they stood for, but I knew that every single policy he mentioned I agreed with. Every criticism he made of the R's and D's and how government worked I agreed with.

            It was nice to find out there were other people who thought like I did. People whose beliefs were consistent instead of seemingly random.
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            • Posted by Macro 7 years, 1 month ago
              It's sad when people make life-changing decisions based on emotion alone. He was having some personal problems and then ended up like that...

              I used to be a liberal myself. I was 'born into it', as everyone around me was a liberal as well. It was only when I read Atlas Shrugged, by chance, that I started to rethink my life... And then I couldn't go back to what I was. Libertarianism makes so much logical sense.

              Yes, it's nice to know that there are more of us around. I'll probably never meet another objectivist in person, but at least there are some libertarians scattered around the country!
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        • Posted by $ Maphesdus 7 years, 1 month ago
          "I never considered a difference of opinion in politics, in religion, in philosophy, as cause for withdrawing from a friend."
          ~ Thomas Jefferson
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        • Posted by $ Maphesdus 7 years, 1 month ago
          Define "collectivists."
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          • Posted by Timelord 7 years, 1 month ago
            If you're hanging out in this forum then you should know what collectivist means.
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            • -3
              Posted by $ Maphesdus 7 years, 1 month ago
              Actually, I don't believe Ayn Rand ever accurately or correctly defined "collectivism." From what I understand, she seemed to think that collectivism automatically equated to Communism, which it really doesn't. Communism is simply one specific type of collectivism. In truth, collectivism is really just a societal outlook in which the natural interdependence which human beings have upon each other is emphasized, and any group with a cohesive set of beliefs could rightly be labeled as "collectivist."

              Even Capitalism can be called a collectivist system, as no one can live in a modern society without depending in some way on the work of others. Tell me, would it be possible for you to be reading this message right now if other people had not invented, designed, and manufactured all the various components of your computer? I doubt it. How many of your material possessions are purely the product of your own effort, and no one else's? If you stop and think about it, and I mean REALLY think about it, you'd probably realize you have absolutely none. Everything you own, and I do mean everything, is produced through the collective effort of human beings interacting and cooperating with one another on a massive scale.

              There's an essay titled "I, Pencil" by Leonard Read, in which the point is made that no one actually knows how to make a pencil because all of the knowledge, skill, and labor necessary to do so is beyond the capacity of any one single individual. From the harvesting of lumber, to the mining of ore, to the refinement of the graphite, to the cutting and shaping of the wood (not to mention all of the tools and machines required to even do these tasks), if you trace the material origin of any pencil back far enough, the amount of work required to produce it quickly exceeds the scope which any individual could ever hope to achieve by acting alone. When Leonard Read wrote this essay, he was not advocating Communism or Socialism. Quite the contrary, his point was to emphasis the absolute necessity of free market trade by categorically describing in explicit detail how even something as simple as manufacturing an ordinary pencil was so incredibly complex that no mortal man could ever hope to even comprehend the entire process, let alone control it.

              The idea that collectivism is somehow antithetical towards the productive forces of a free market system is a laughable claim, as collectivism in fact just as integral a part of Capitalism as it is of Communism. The only difference really is that Capitalist collectivism operates primarily on a horizontal (or egalitarian) axis, while Communist collectivism imposes a more vertical (or hierarchical) axis. Under Capitalism, differences of opinion are permitted. Under Communism, they are not.

              When you stopped speaking to your two friends because they were, as you put it, "enthusiastic collectivists," do you mean to say that they were supporters of socialist ideology and the Communist Party, or was it something simpler like advocating government welfare and gun control? Or do you just mean that they were part of a different group than you, that their opinions were different from yours, and that you were incapable of tolerating anyone who didn't conform to your own authoritative way of thinking? If you refuse to associate with anyone except those who share and reaffirm your own narrow set of beliefs, then who is the real collectivist? Does it even make sense to use such a term as a pejorative? Perhaps "authoritarian" would be more appropriate...

              http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/I,_Pencil
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              • Posted by Timelord 7 years, 1 month ago
                Maphesdus: " collectivism in fact just as integral a part of Capitalism as it is of Communism."

                Nope, that's wrong along with your assertion that "collectivism is really just a societal outlook in which the natural interdependence which human beings have upon each other is emphasized, and any group with a cohesive set of beliefs could rightly be labeled as "collectivist.""

                The feature that distinguishes collectivism is the diminishing of individual rights in favor of group rights.

                I don't know where you get the idea that Rand never defined collectivism or why you think she equated collectivism with communism.
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                • Posted by $ Maphesdus 7 years, 1 month ago
                  The diminishing of individual rights in favor of group rights is one of the tenets which distinguishes Marxist collectivism. Other forms of collectivism do not necessarily posses that characteristic.
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                  • Posted by Robbie53024 7 years, 1 month ago
                    From Merriam-Webster:
                    Collectivism

                    1: a political or economic theory advocating collective control especially over production and distribution; also : a system marked by such control

                    2: emphasis on collective rather than individual action or identity

                    So, no, just a grouping does not make it a collective. It is the intentional aggregation of control to the collective instead of by the individual. Thus, capitalism is not collective in its essence. Communism, by virtue of centralization of all resources and centralized control, is inherently collectivist.
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              • Posted by mccannon01 7 years, 1 month ago
                IMHO, I believe you are confusing collectivism with cooperation. Your own example with the pencil is a cooperative effort presumably with willing participants. Collectivism has an element of force at play where the individual is always made subservient to the many. A capitalist society views it's members as sentient individuals with inherent rights and liberties yet those individuals can agree to cooperate with each other to accomplish a common goal, which does not make them collectivists. A collectivist society views it's members as though they were ants in an ant colony. Each is expendable and has no individuality, except for the queen ant, of course.
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                • Posted by $ Maphesdus 7 years, 1 month ago
                  I'm not "confusing" collectivism with cooperation. I'm outright saying that all cooperation is a form of collectivism. The word "collective" simply means group. Therefore, all groups are inherently collectives, regardless of what sort of values they hold or what rules they operate under.

                  In her writing, Ayn Rand only ever uses the Marxist definition of collectivism, which is not the only definition the word can possibly have. The fact that Ayn Rand ironically named her group of followers "The Collective" tells me that she was at least aware of this on some level, even if she never explicitly stated it.
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                  • Posted by mccannon01 7 years, 1 month ago
                    Context, Maph, context. Many English words have multiple meanings or even different shades of the same meaning. Check out the word "run". With a little empirical application one develops a decent command of meaning in context. Just as if I ask one of my grandsons to run down to the store for a loaf of bread he doesn't confuse the word "run" with a little stream in a farmers field, as in Bull Run, or the word "loaf" as take a nap. When you enter the Gulch, the words collective, collectivist, collectivism have their contextual meanings and to convince this forum they mean something else is Orwellian. Good luck.
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                  • Posted by Timelord 7 years, 1 month ago
                    It may be that collective simply means group however it is more correct to say that collective CAN simply mean group. Your statement implies that when we use a word we mean all of its definitions at the same time when clearly we do not, or that the listener can choose the definition that he prefers over what the speaker means.

                    [Collectivism is any philosophic, political, religious, economic, or social outlook that emphasizes the interdependence of every human. Collectivism is a basic cultural element that exists as the reverse of individualism in human nature ]

                    This is an objectivist forum, so it should be obvious when we use the word collectivism that we are referring to those forms that suppress individual rights in favor of group rights.
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              • Posted by Hiraghm 7 years, 1 month ago
                This would depend upon one's definition of "collectivist", of course. What you initially describe I would define as "tribalism" more than "collectivism".

                This is why it's important to be able to define our terms. There have been times when I've used a term, been asked to define it, and when I tried to do so, learned that it didn't mean what I thought it meant, and had to change to other, more accurate terms.

                "Inconceivable!"
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      • Posted by $ Maphesdus 7 years, 1 month ago
        Christians don't want to push their beliefs on everyone else legally? Are you sure about that...?
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        • Posted by Macro 7 years, 1 month ago
          Oh, my bad! Let me rephrase that:

          "As long as Christians do not try to impose their beliefs on me legally, there's no problem."

          That's more accurate. Thanks for pointing that out.
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        • Posted by Hiraghm 7 years, 1 month ago
          No, they don't. They just want to be able to openly exercise their religion, as protected by the 1st Amendment.

          Exposure to an idea isn't the same thing as having that idea imposed on you.
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          • Posted by Macro 7 years, 1 month ago
            Uh, no.

            It's fine if Christians want to openly exercise their religion, as long as they don't interfere with my life through the government. Do you want to teach children that evolution is a lie (in your private christian school)? Fine. Do you want to believe that gay people are sinful? Go on.

            Just stay out of my life and we're good.
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          • Posted by $ Maphesdus 7 years, 1 month ago
            So Christians never try to make anyone conform to their beliefs about certain issues like abortion or same-sex marriage, nor do they ever try to force students in public schools to recite their prayers?
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      • Posted by rlewellen 7 years, 1 month ago
        Isn't it their right to choose their government and destroy it anytime it becomes the enemy of the people?
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        • Posted by $ sjatkins 7 years, 1 month ago
          There is no "right" to enslave people to the "dictatorship of the proletariat". There is no right to act against and destroy the very concept and basis of rights.
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          • -1
            Posted by rlewellen 7 years, 1 month ago
            Notice rights are only a concept .
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            • Posted by MattFranke 7 years, 1 month ago
              "Only a concept" ?!?!?
              Do you have a problem with concepts? Does conceptual thinking make you nervous? Human existence depends on concepts and further, on abstractions based on those concepts.
              Have you any concepts of your own; or do you simply get them pre-fabricated by others??
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              • Posted by rlewellen 7 years, 1 month ago
                I don't have a problem with concepts, We have a Bill of rights, We only lose the concept of a right when we try to take rights away from others. . He said they are only a concept. No they are not they are the first 10 amendments to the constitution. They were added before the states ratified the constitution.
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            • Posted by Timelord 7 years, 1 month ago
              Yes, of course, rights are only a concept. Just like freedom, slavery, money, civilization, hunger, pain, joy and love are only concepts. What's your point?

              Anything that's not a concrete is a concept. BUT, even concretes have to be backed up by a concept. For instance, one particular chair is a concrete. But for a person to recognize that object as a chair, and other similar but not exact objects as chairs, the mind must have first formed the concept of a chair.

              Rand wrote about that in "Introduction to Objectivist Epistomology." Maybe you should read it.

              Or maybe not because then you might actually learn what Objectivism really means instead of that fantastical version you have in your mind.
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              • Posted by Hiraghm 7 years, 1 month ago
                "Rights" are a convenient fiction used to regulate the interaction of members of a society.

                You have no "right" to anything.
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        • Posted by Robbie53024 7 years, 1 month ago
          That would be the very essence of the Declaration of Independence.

          "That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security."
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    • Posted by Timelord 7 years, 1 month ago
      @maphesdus: "most of them are decent people who just don't understand..." Those are the stupid, or maybe uninformed communists. They can maybe be forgiven. But the smart ones, the ones who know what they're doing, they cannot be forgiven.

      As a libertarian who loathes both GW Bush and Obama people have asked me which one I dislike more. I reply, "Obama." They ask why and I reply, "Bush did bad things but he was a dope and was greatly influenced by others, but Obama is smart and knows what he's doing. That makes him more evil than Bush."
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      • Posted by j_IR1776wg 7 years, 1 month ago
        If you think Obama is smart, I've got some ocean-front property in southern CO you might be interested in buying.
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        • Posted by Timelord 7 years, 1 month ago
          I do believe he's smart. Smart people can believe lots and lots of silly things, especially things that come from a philosophical viewpoint.

          I met a man recently and I would bet that his IQ is quite high. He was also extremely well informed when it came to national and world events, and he's over 80 so he has a lot of history under his belt. Also very well traveled, all over the world. In spite of those things he's an enthusiastic, vocal and influential progressive. He actually said, right to my face during after-dinner conversation, that he wanted government to force people to take care of people that couldn't care for themselves. He absolutely loves Obama and Obamacare and he's unrepentant about any of the problems.

          THIS man is evil!

          But he also donates hundreds of hours doing pro-bono legal work for the poor. At over 80 years old he just started a new law firm that does nothing but pro-bono work. Only the para-legals and non-lawyer staff will get paid, but not by the clients.
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          • Posted by j_IR1776wg 7 years, 1 month ago
            If Obama is so smart why hasn't he released his college records? Why hasn't he published his lectures from his ten years as a lecturer in Constitutional Law? Why would he hide his brilliance?
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            • Posted by Timelord 7 years, 1 month ago
              I have wondered the same thing. I don't know the answer. But B's and C's on a xcript, if that's what's there, don't mean he isn't smart.

              I don't want people to get hung up believing that I think Obama's brilliant. I said I think he's smart and I stand by it. I also disagree with every progressive idea that he has and I believe he is willingly destroying mankind.

              My original point was that because he's smart enough to know what he's doing, it makes him evil.
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              • Posted by j_IR1776wg 7 years, 1 month ago
                Insofar as one person can harm another in only one of two ways viz. by accident or on purpose and Obama is trying to destroy America and Americans, I agree he is evil. I tend to assign "smart" to my heroes and heroines. When I compare Obama to Aristotle and Jefferson and Rand, he comes off as dumb as W ever was.
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                • Posted by Timelord 7 years, 1 month ago
                  "I tend to assign "smart" to my heroes and heroines." OK, but that can be a very serious mistake. Intelligence is not determined by whether or not a person's views match your own.

                  The guy who shovels my walk seems to agree with my positions but he's most definitely on the very low end of the intelligence scale. On the other hand, the 89+ year old man that I described in another post is extremely intelligent but a hardcore progressive.
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                  • Posted by j_IR1776wg 7 years, 1 month ago
                    Point well taken.
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                    • Posted by Timelord 7 years, 1 month ago
                      I fall into this trap myself, but more out of verbal laziness than actually thinking that (possibly) smart people are really dumb. In conversation it's so easy to say, "Aaargh! (Politician X) is such a moron; how can one person possibly be that stupid?!"

                      Stupid is such a convenient place-holder for a wide range of more accurate adjectives!
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    • -2
      Posted by Hiraghm 7 years, 1 month ago
      psst... I would say most Objectivists don't really understand human nature...
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      • Posted by Macro 7 years, 1 month ago
        What the...? Again, am I missing something? John Galt was an Objectivist, so, what are you doing in Galt's Gulch?

        You would not be allowed in the real one if it existed, I suppose. Maybe you guys just like to bash Obama? That's OK, I guess...
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        • Posted by Hiraghm 7 years, 1 month ago
          John Galt is a fictional character created by Ayn Rand to tell a story and make a point.

          Here, let me explain it in an analogy you can salivate over:
          "psst... I would say most Christians don't really understand human nature..."

          In the real world, John Galt wouldn't be up against straw men.


          What *am* I doing here? Hmm... look for a posting titled "Apologia", you might figure it out.

          So, the gulch is just an echo chamber, or is it Jonestown, Colorado?


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        • Posted by rlewellen 7 years, 1 month ago
          . I don't care for the new world order.
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          • Posted by Macro 7 years, 1 month ago
            What is the New World Order?
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            • Posted by rlewellen 7 years, 1 month ago
              Globalism import people all over the world to destroy the local wages and culture by limiting speech, water down the vote, then move to jobs to the next country when profits go down. Midas owned the Gulch (Midas owned the country and the bank)-the only bank - Federal Reserve
              Galt Proxy (someone to vote for the owner of the country and the bank someone you might have to sacrifice- legislature)
              Fransisco wealthiest company singular
              Ragnar CIA KGB he works offensively not only attacking at sea and air but nearby cities he gets the authority via a license
              Reardon regulations and Supreme Court or States rights?
              Dagney the person that finally surrendered The people temporary status visas. I have debated whether this was in the book or not.
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              • Posted by MattFranke 7 years, 1 month ago
                That comment is complete jibberish and totally incoherent. In no way did you answer Macro's question of 'what is the new world order.' Seems to be your style; evasive, non-committal, distracting. Most of us in the Gulch are here because we are tired of defending Rand's ideals to people who refuse to think all the time. It drives me crazy to have to do it here. I might as well go back to freakin' MSNBC if I wanted to argue with willfully ignorant people.
                You seem to have no concept of Rand or Objectivism, and if you dislike it so much, again I ask, "Wtf are you doing here?"
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                • Posted by Hiraghm 7 years, 1 month ago
                  This is getting to be an old argument; someone points to a flaw or fallacy in what someone here thinks is Objectivism, and it's not a fallacy or flaw; the one making the point just doesn't "get it".

                  Check out the posts "What is Objectivism?" and "The Blind Men and the Elephant".
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                • Posted by Macro 7 years, 1 month ago
                  Well said, Matt. It's truly exhausting to talk to people here who do not understand Objectivism well... The way she talked about money is probably enough evidence to conclude that she didn't even read Francisco's Money Speech.

                  But still, help me out here for a moment: I see a contradiction.

                  Why would she become a Producer... Why would she fund a movie that's going to show the world more of this ideology she doesn't agree with? Isn't Ayn Rand just a 'money-worshipper antichrist', for her? This is a bit confusing.
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                  • Posted by Hiraghm 7 years, 1 month ago
                    Well, if you understand it so darn well, go to the post "What is Objectivism?" and GIVE ME A DEFINITION.

                    Don't cop out and tell me to read the thoughts of other people. Don't cop out and tell me I don't 'get' Objectivism. I 'get' the parts that are based in common sense. I don't 'get' the parts that taste like a cult of personality. I don't 'get' the parts that are used to make some people feel superior. I don't 'get' where people who refuse to think all the time condemn others for not thinking all the time. I don't 'get' why people who on the one hand want Objectivism to be the dominant philosophy in the world wanting to isolate themselves from the world on the other. I don't 'get' why they think the world can be Objectivist without including all those who can't or don't agree with Objectivism, or who can't or don't think all the time.

                    ""Through centuries of scourges and disasters, brought about by your code of morality, you have cried that your code had been broken, that the scourges were punishment for breaking it, that men were too weak and too selfish to spill al! the blood it required."

                    Are you planning on killing or just letting the rest of humanity who doesn't 'get' Objectivism die off? Who's going to bury all those billions of bodies?

                    "At our last meeting, Ivy Starnes was the one who tried to brazen it out. She made a short, nasty, snippy little speech in which she said that the plan had failed because the rest of the country had not accepted it, that a single community could not succeed in the midst of a selfish, greedy world—and that the plan was a noble ideal, but human nature was not good enough for it."

                    Btw, the criticism represented by the quotes cited above aren't criticisms of Objectivism... they're criticisms of people right here in the gulch.
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              • Posted by ShruginArgentina 7 years, 1 month ago
                If you are capable of writing in complete sentences and try (at least) to use correct grammar and puncuation, your posts might become somewhat intelligible.
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                • Posted by rlewellen 7 years, 1 month ago
                  Ah the old practice of trying to direct attention in another direction
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                  • Posted by mccannon01 7 years, 1 month ago
                    Not really, rlewellen. I'm often interested in what you are trying to say, but just as often your sentence structure sucks and I can't make out your point.
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                    • Posted by ShruginArgentina 7 years, 1 month ago
                      Thee's a TV commecial here for "openenglish.com."

                      It features a bafoon who syas "comonmymany"

                      in a western movie seting.

                      The correct line would have been, "Make my day."

                      My suggestion to rlewellen is that if English isn't your "first language" please get some help...

                      Intelligent individuals can only have an intelligent discussion with others who ae capable of expessing themselves in an intelligible manner.
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                      • Posted by Hiraghm 7 years, 1 month ago
                        "Intelligent individuals can only have an intelligent discussion with others who ae capable of expessing themselves in an intelligible manner. "

                        Sometimes not even then. You sound so much like the Democrats who proclaim every one of their candidates, no matter how stupid, to be "intelligent".

                        So, I figure it's a safe bet you wouldn't be interested in talking to Stephen Hawking?

                        Seriously, it's annoying when one tries to talk down to people.
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    • -3
      Posted by rlewellen 7 years, 1 month ago
      On the last day of your life it'll be much nicer to hug someone you love rather than a pile of money. alone in the dark. I got your +1
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      • Posted by Macro 7 years, 1 month ago
        Why not both? Do people have to choose between being productive or having loved ones?

        I couldn't really make a choice like that. I would not give any of these aspects of my life up!

        Dying without money, but with loved ones, would probably mean I didn't choose my friendships very well. Who would love a guy with no career or purpose in life? I don't want pity! This reminds me of that poor girl who died in Atlas Shrugged.

        Money is just the result of your work, your purpose, right?

        Dying with money, but no loved ones? I'm not sure, but I suppose that, if you're really great at something, there will be people who will want to be by your side, and respect you, if you look for them in the right places.
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        • Posted by rlewellen 7 years, 1 month ago
          I would walk with God.
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          • Posted by $ Maphesdus 7 years, 1 month ago
            I get the feeling you may enjoy this book:
            http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0940931...
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            • Posted by Robbie53024 7 years, 1 month ago
              I'll be addressing Ms. Rand's misconceptions of the teachings of Christianity soon. Still gathering info. But, as many of the Objectivists are fond of saying, check her premises - they are wrong. Stay tuned.
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              • Posted by $ Maphesdus 7 years, 1 month ago
                I think she had a lot of misconceptions as well, primarily in her belief that Christianity (or any other religion for that matter – she also implied a lot of negative things about Buddhism), inherently leads to Communism and/or Socialism. It's kind of funny, because many Christians insist on the exact opposite – that a lack of religious faith leads to Communism. But really, Communism is just collectivized ownership over property and the means of production, and I personally don't see how religious faith (or lack thereof) would lead to any conclusions about property rights one way or another.

                I'm not completely, one-hundred percent sure about this, but I have a theory that Ayn Rand actually bought into a lot of the Communist propaganda of her time, some of which declared that Communism was the logical and moral outgrowth of the Christian faith – a tactic which many Communist groups used to try and justify their economic theories, as well as to recruit faithful churchgoers to their cause. If Ayn Rand believed them, then that would explain why she felt she had to attack Christianity in order to attack Communism. In her mind, the first would always inevitably lead to the second, just as surely as the number one precedes the number two.

                However, in "The Communist Manifesto," Karl Marx mentions how incredibly easy it is, in his opinion, to give Christian philosophy a Communist veneer. But if he calls it a veneer, that implies he didn't think it was inherent in Christianity to begin with, but rather that it was something being added onto it.

                As Ludwig von Mises discusses in his book, "Socialism: An Economic and Sociological Analysis," there are some verses in the Bible which could be interpreted as supposedly supporting Socialism, but there are also other verses which could be interpreted as being against it, and people who have an agenda to push will typically pick out the verses that support their agenda while ignoring the ones that contradict or conflict with it. And because there are Christians on both sides of the argument, Christianity and the Bible are made to simultaneously fight both for and against Socialism and Communism. Therefore, Ayn Rand's belief that religion automatically leads to Communism cannot be called rational or logical, which is ironic, considering how much she trumpeted those values.

                In his book which I linked above, John W. Robbins points out how there are several ways in which Ayn Rand had actually unwittingly accepted and internalized many of the tenants of Communist philosophy, in spite of the fact that she hated and despised it. But given that Ayn Rand had attended high school and the University of Petrograd during a time when the Communist government controlled Russia's entire educational curriculum, it really shouldn't be surprising that Communist ideas would become so deeply embedded into her mind that she could no longer recognize them as being of Communist origin. One of the remarkable aspects of human psychology is that once we have thoroughly internalized an idea, given enough time, we eventually tend to forget where the idea came from – we will believe it to be our own. In the words of John W. Robbins, "Ayn Rand escaped the Soviet Union physically in 1925. She never escaped it intellectually."
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                • Posted by khalling 7 years, 1 month ago
                  let's start with this one on which we will all agree. The basis of capitalism rests in the foundational principle: I own myself. Rand said it slightly different, but that's how it boils down. In most religions, a belief in God starts from the foundational principle that you do NOT own yourself. Everything you are or have comes from God. In some religions, including Christianity, you have volition. It doesn't matter whether you agree to that or not-it just is. So, when from owning oneself to owning one's labor of their mind, which is the next step, leaves one with the dilemma- is may labor mine or God's? This is the first step which I find logically inconsistent. Somewhere in there I switch from God giving me my life to fully owning the product of my labor. It is completely logically consistent to go from owning oneself to owning the product of their labors to having natural rights. But again, if God gave you natural rights, how come God doesn't protect them for you?
                  If I am alive, in order to be alive I must do certain things to promote life. Anything else, like promoting slavery, is promoting death. In order to promote life, I must protect natural rights and by extension property rights. A society or a society's rights (in communism) is illogical and does not exist. A society is made up of a group of individuals-all who have rights and politically decisions are made how to best protect those rights. Capitalism is the best system under which those rights are most voraciously protected-the ONLY system. The concept of God is not needed to logically derive that conclusion. Communism is, on the other hand, an evil system which actively promotes slavery, which means they are actively promoting death. Refusing to look at the consequences of one's actions does not absolve one from their actions.
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                  • Posted by $ Maphesdus 7 years, 1 month ago
                    Here's a selection from the Bible which could be interpreted as being against Communism and Socialism:

                    Proverbs 1:10-19
                    ----------------------------------------
                    10 My son, if sinners entice thee, consent thou not.
                    11 If they say, Come with us, let us lay wait for blood, let us lurk privily for the innocent without cause:
                    12 Let us swallow them up alive as the grave; and whole, as those that go down into the pit:
                    13 We shall find all precious substance, we shall fill our houses with spoil:
                    14 Cast in thy lot among us; let us all have one purse:
                    15 My son, walk not thou in the way with them; refrain thy foot from their path:
                    16 For their feet run to evil, and make haste to shed blood.
                    17 Surely in vain the net is spread in the sight of any bird.
                    18 And they lay wait for their own blood; they lurk privily for their own lives.
                    19 So are the ways of every one that is greedy of gain; which taketh away the life of the owners thereof.
                    ----------------------------------------

                    Notice how these verses say that people who have one collective purse are evil, and that such people have a desire to kill and loot for their own personal gain. This definitely seems to indicate that collective ownership is not a good thing, and that those who possess wisdom will turn away from collective holdings of money and profit. And of course the only alternative to collective ownership is private ownership, which naturally means everyone should own the produce of their own labor. The book of Proverbs actually has many anti-collective messages all throughout its verses, and a few wealthy Christians have said that Proverbs is the most pro-capitalist book in the entire Bible, and that adhering to the principles it contains has helped to strengthen their business practices and make them more financially successful.

                    This disparity between the book of Acts versus the book of Proverbs demonstrates how the messages contained within the Bible work simultaneously to both promote and condemn Socialism.
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                    • Posted by rlewellen 7 years, 1 month ago
                      What book of acts are you referring to?
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                      • Posted by LionelHutz 7 years, 1 month ago
                        No doubt he is referring to things like
                        Acts 2:44-45
                        "All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need."
                        Acts 4:32-35
                        "All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of their possessions was their own, but they shared everything they had. <snip> ...there were no needy persons among them. For from time to time those who owned land or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales and put it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to anyone who had need."
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                  • Posted by $ stargeezer 7 years, 1 month ago
                    "k" - That's just wrong from the onset. In the Christian faith, the smallest relationship is between man and God. That relationship starts from the foundation that man is an independent creation and has complete free will to accept or reject God.

                    Nowhere in the Bible does it say that the gain on my labor belongs to God. It does say that the blessing of the ability to prosper comes from a loving God who wants us to prosper. That's also why we give back to God in our offerings. On the most simplistic level a argument can be made that since we, the world, the universe, are his creation, we provide value to him in our existence. That's perhaps one view of John 3:16 "For God so loved the world that he sent his only begotten son........" We have value to him.

                    When we labor, the fruit of our labors are ours, not Gods - what need does he have of our earnings? We give back a portion to the church to further the work of the local church. We not bot give offerings to god in order to win his favor.

                    God does gift us with life, God is not the "sky daddy" protecting his children as long as they follow him like puppet and see him like a marionette pulling strings of a puppet. Absurd.

                    The supposed link between communism and Christianity arises from the way that the early church had to function. Due to persecution of anybody who claimed to be a Christian, they were discriminated against and were not allowed to work or to earn money and as the result the church gave everyone a place to gather all their belongings together so that none of them would starve. Nowhere is the case made that this was to continue to be how the church and Christians were to function. In fact, the apostle Paul earned his living by being a tentmaker. Where ever he traveled he EARNED his way by making tents. Offerings were given to him from various churches for his travels, but that was because he had given them something of value too.
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                    • Posted by khalling 7 years, 1 month ago
                      In defining a logical system, if God can give you life and so therefore the ability to think-why stop there? Free will is poorly defined, in my opinion. It can't mean freedom from reality. If I have to face reality to live, why do I have to "give back" anything to a deity? why do I have to acknowledge a blessing of my life to a concept that has no volition in my life? If grace follows the devout, why is that grace selective?
                      In Objectivist epistemology, no such abstraction are needed to validate the original premise of I own myself.
                      The communism/Christian tie in is just noise to me. I am more interested in beliefs as a control-which can lead to slavery and death. I am not saying Christians actively promote such, at all.
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                      • Posted by $ stargeezer 7 years, 1 month ago
                        Not hard to answer and again the problem is that you assume you KNOW what my religion is and that your view is universal, it’s not. Here we go.

                        ***In defining a logical system, if God can give you life and so therefore the ability to think-why stop there?***

                        Who said that because I recognize that life is the gift of God, that it follows that I believe that God controls the ability to think?? I already said the God did not create puppets and he is not a marionette. We can follow whatever path in life we want, follow God or claim God does not exist – it only matters to the individual. I do believe that God after making a sacrifice for man is disappointed when one of us completely turns their back on him, but God will not force anyone to follow him. We exercise free will, and God will be the judge which is right. If you choose (and it is a choice) to reject God, as disappointing as that choice may be, it’s your choice.

                        **** Free will is poorly defined, in my opinion. It can't mean freedom from reality.****

                        It’s a choice thing – you don’t believe and I do believe – your OK, I’m OK – free will, no puppet strings. I never said it was freedom from reality - you did and I disagree. There is plenty of evidence for any who seriously seek it - and it's hid from those who reject it.

                        **** If I have to face reality to live, why do I have to "give back" anything to a deity? why do I have to acknowledge a blessing of my life to a concept that has no volition in my life?*****

                        Again, WHO said you must give back??? Who did I say to give back too??? When I donate to my church, I am supporting the ministries of that group of believers. As a trustee I can assure you that there is no “God Tap” into our bank account. No mystic money transfers, Nothing other than paying the light bill and gas for the lawn mower. Guess what? God does not require you to give. Not one penny. A person can come in, enjoy the service and leave and not one penny is going to be asked of you. Not hard for a smart person to understand.

                        *****If grace follows the devout, why is that grace selective? ****

                        Because the devout follow the father. If you don’t, you can’t expect to share in grace. That’s a very objectivist concept, why are you having trouble with it? The unbeliever has not paid the toll of believing.

                        John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

                        Simple. Believing is the toll paid by the faithful. Value for value.

                        ***In Objectivist epistemology, no such abstraction are needed to validate the original premise of I own myself. ***

                        Not challenged in Christianity. We are our own, we are individually responsible for working out our own salvation. We need salvation because at some point in our lives we reach a understanding that we’re not perfect and have done wrong that saying “I’m sorry” is not enough to gain forgiveness for. We come to a realization that there is a God who loves and cares for us apart from anything we can offer him EXCEPT our belief that he is. It’s a higher price than some can pay.


                        ****The communism/Christian tie in is just noise to me. I am more interested in beliefs as a control-which can lead to slavery and death. I am not saying Christians actively promote such, at all. *****

                        Not a Tie-in, it’s historical reference. Knowledge. It has it’s own value too.

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                        • Posted by khalling 7 years, 1 month ago
                          I did not say Christians believe God controls their thoughts. I said it is based on the premise of God gifting life-therefore logically it would follow that God gifts the ability to think.
                          Objectivism need no extra step to proceed logically. I reject the *gift* of natural rights. They exist because you must think in order t survive. Therefore all rational systems of politics and economics which protect those rights are virtuous. Systems which fail in protecting natural rights are not virtuous and will fail at some point.
                          You are watching it right now in the Ukraine, Argentina, and Venezuela. Earlier in Egypt. It is why Iraq and Afghanistan are not progressing even after the overthrow of evil govts. A system of govt was allowed to be put into place that does not value natural rights. It is doomed to fail and the people will not thrive.
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                          • Posted by $ stargeezer 7 years, 1 month ago
                            ***I said it is based on the premise of God gifting life-therefore logically it would follow that God gifts the ability to think.***

                            No. God gives life. That's it, finish, 30, over and out, nothing follows, end of story. We think because we have life. It's the way God made us.

                            When I build a computer and switch it on, I expect it to function because of the way it is made. Had I wanted a toaster, I wouldn't have needed a hard drive. Form follows function.

                            We agree in everything after who pushed the "ON" button. You seem to think it was some galactic accident and I see a order to the process.
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                      • Posted by rlewellen 7 years, 1 month ago
                        Your system has you give to yourselves while you take and take. Your system has 7 year olds making tee shirts 14 hours a day.
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                        • Posted by Rozar 7 years, 1 month ago
                          The quick write off on that is two fold

                          1: Most likely there is government interference behind why children are working in sweatshops.

                          2: Without our system those 7 year olds would be starving to death trying to find a way to make a living.

                          Sorry my answers are vague but so was your statement.
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                    • Posted by $ Maphesdus 7 years, 1 month ago
                      Ludwig von Mises has an entire section of his book dedicated to analyzing the versus in the Bible which have been used to support Communism and Socialism, specifically the following verses:

                      Acts 4:32-35
                      ----------------------------------------
                      32 All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of their possessions was their own, but they shared everything they had.
                      33 With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And God’s grace was so powerfully at work in them all.
                      34 Neither was there any needy persons among them. For those who owned land or houses sold them, and brought the money from the sales,
                      35 and put it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to anyone who had need.
                      ----------------------------------------

                      In analyzing these versus, Mises points out that these early Christians were essentially practicing what he called a Communism of consumption, rather than a Communism of production. That is, the means of production were not collectively owned, but rather only the profits which were produced from those means. And it is collective ownership over the means of production which is the definition of Communism and Socialism.

                      Now of course even a collective commune as practiced by the early Christians could not last forever, and it was never meant to, as they believed that the second coming of Christ was imminent, and they only needed to briefly provide sustenance for themselves until then. Of course as time wore on, and it became increasingly evident that Christ was not going to be returning any time soon, the way in which they organized their societies had to change so that they could be self-sustaining for an indefinite amount of time. This eventually led into the artisan guilds of the middle ages, in which an apprentice would learn a particular craft or trade from a master, and then use that skill to earn a living for himself and his family, while paying a tithing to the church, which is entirely sustainable.
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                      • Posted by Lucky 7 years, 1 month ago
                        Your last point is the answer in that the social system has to fit the conditions and the time frame over which it is to survive.
                        Recall the story of the Mayflower, the migrants first set up a commune. They froze and starved then changed to individual ownership and responsibility, then prospered.
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                      • Posted by rlewellen 7 years ago
                        Don't overlook the fact that they had an opportunity to listen and commune with the greatest of all. It was so important to them that selling what they had was a small in comparison to what they were contributing to and their trust in God would get them through, not thier trust in mman.
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                    • Posted by Robbie53024 7 years, 1 month ago
                      Well said.

                      I would add that the church is comprised of humans, who are fallible and corruptible. This has lead to atrocities and inconsistencies in practice over time. This should not be used as proof positive that all tenets of a faith are thus null and void - as one Objectivist who does not obey all tenets in lock-step is not proof that Objectivism is invalid (there are lots of other ways, but that's not one of them).
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                  • Posted by Hiraghm 7 years, 1 month ago
                    Prove that people have natural rights.

                    Where you go wrong is that "belonging to God" equates to being His slave. One belongs to God the same way a rock belongs to God, or your book belongs to you. He made it; it's His universe, like it or not. You own your book... but you wouldn't even think of tracking down every copy and changing the wording or erasing notations people made in the margins, would you? Even if you were capable of doing so, it would be rather pointless.

                    And we get back down to the old "Why does God let bad things happen?" question.

                    This is not the Garden of Eden. The world operates based upon a set of laws. In addition to giving us "rights", He gave us "free will". It's not up to Him to protect our "rights" any more than it's up to Him to protect our lives. And even if He does so, he must do so through the laws He created. Pendulum of Justice would kind of suck if, in the middle of the most dramatic action sequence, Superman suddenly appeared and mind-melded with the antagonist and made him give in.

                    I tend to think of the universe as an MMORPG, with God as the designer. Sure, theoretically He can step in and "fix" things... but doing so almost always would screw something else up (or screw a PC).

                    Just as the animals and monsters and city guards and other NPCs in an MMORPG exist to give the game flavor and interest, so, too, in the real world we have wild animals and unimportant people (by the billions) to give reality flavor.

                    This analogy caused me, awhile back to start dividing people into two categories; PCs and NPCs. For examples of PCs you have Gates, Ron Howard, Obama, and you & db, and some examples of NPCs would include people like me, and the burger flipper at McDonald's and the guy you pass on the expressway with the stalling and sputtering car.

                    So far, this philosophy is working best for me...

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                    • Posted by $ stargeezer 7 years, 1 month ago
                      Hiraghm - **Prove that people have natural rights***

                      OK, Take a DEEP breath - You proved 1. A person has a natural right to life. Sorta blows the abortion crowd away, but without a right to life, nothing else matters.

                      There are several more, I'll let others list those, or you could look at the Bill of Rights. Those old white guys got things pretty much right and the collectivist types have been tearing it apart for 230(?) years.
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