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Author Topic: Ayn Rand  (Read 4890 times)
Gordonium
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April 24, 2013, 02:13:26 PM

I think any sane person is frightened of the collapse of the state - it almost always leads to massive violence due to a power vacuum.

"Randians" don't wont collapse the state, just to make goverment limited in power. Actually Randian fiscal policy would save state from collapsing.

Even in the event that an attacker gains more than 50% of the network's computational power, only transactions sent by the attacker could be reversed or double-spent. The network would not be destroyed.
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April 24, 2013, 02:23:33 PM

I think any sane person is frightened of the collapse of the state - it almost always leads to massive violence due to a power vacuum.

"Randians" don't wont collapse the state, just to make goverment limited in power. Actually Randian fiscal policy would save state from collapsing.

Not to mention that he's assuming there would be a power vacuum in the first place. If the state collapses due to a libertarian evolution in political thinking, it will be because those in "power" no longer had that power. Thus, no power vacuum.

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April 24, 2013, 03:02:59 PM

I agree with many of the premises of objectivism in how they relate to society, government, and forced collectivism.  I reject it as the highest moral goal, since I believe there is some good in altruism and sacrifice that is done voluntarily.

If you do it willingly, it's not sacrifice. You're giving up one value - generally money, sometimes time - for something you value more: the knowledge that you have helped someone else. It's only sacrifice if you give up a greater value for a lesser, which necessarily requires coercion.

That people generally see the idea of not giving up a greater value for a lesser as rejecting helping others speaks poorly of them, not Rand.

Why should every action be decided based on a "value judgement"? How are those bars in that mental prison of yours? Are you still on the outside and managing to keep those evil ideas safely locked-up? Wink
The "value judgment" need not even be conscious. If you've ever walked past a goodwill kettle without dropping a coin in while your pockets were not empty, you've made the decision that you value whatever you would have to forgo in exchange for making that donation more than you value the feeling you would have gotten from donating.

Perhaps I can ask the question better this time.

Assume someone aggresses against me.  I'd be well within my rights to defend myself, but I can choose not to.  I can put someone else's self-interest above my own out of love for them.

As I understand objectivism, I would be acting immorally since I am not acting in my own self-interest, but I see it otherwise.
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April 24, 2013, 03:21:09 PM

Assume someone aggresses against me.  I'd be well within my rights to defend myself, but I can choose not to.  I can put someone else's self-interest above my own out of love for them.

As I understand objectivism, I would be acting immorally since I am not acting in my own self-interest, but I see it otherwise.

Well, if they use force against you, and still you offer them what they wanted willingly, then I wouldn't say you're acting immorally. Perhaps unwisely, unless you make it clear to them that you're giving them what they wanted not because they forced you, but because you want to (don't want to encourage them).

For instance, the scene in Les Misrables where the priest gives Jean the silver, even though he had stolen it originally. That act of kindness enabled him to make a new life for himself. And the priest made him promise that he would use it for just that purpose.

Now, I don't know how Ayn Rand would have viewed that exchange, but I look at it as the priest giving up some silver (which the church surely has no shortage of) in exchange for saving a man's soul (to say nothing of his life). Both I, and assuredly the priest, view that as a worthwhile exchange. It all comes down to why you give up what you're giving up. If it's because you want to, that's not sacrifice. If it's because you're forced to, that is sacrifice, and immoral.

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April 24, 2013, 04:16:30 PM

I'm not entirely sure why her supporters on this forum want to disavow those of her devotees that got elected or that got appointed to government.  If the board members of the Ayn Rand Society aren't "pure" enough, then the whole thing seems a little pointless.

I don't think anyone here is disavowing anyone. On the contrary. The argument isn't, "yeah, there are a lot of Randians in government, but they're not "true Randians," the argument is that there are few (very few) Randians in government, not many, and not enough.

We can add Paul Ryan to her list of devotees (he had to backtrack during his campaign because of the atheism brand).
Ron Paul's son is named after Ayn Rand.  Did we get to "many" yet?

We got to 3. Out of 541 members in house and senate, and 7 members of the Board at the Federal Reserve. I'm sure the actual number is more than 3, since a lot of them likely stay quiet, but I doubt it's much more than 3, or anywhere near "many." Especially since Democrats don't like Randian ideas because they are decidedly pro-capitalist/anti-socialist, and Republicans don't like her ideas because they are decidedly anti-religious/anti-corporate cronyism. Democrats need to keep getting elected by pushing more social programs, and Republicans need to keep pushing god, and getting corporate kickbacks and  lobbying.

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April 25, 2013, 01:56:00 AM

There are many who enter government determined to destroy it.  
True, but that rather puts the lie to the comment that started this all:

The fact that so many government officials and economists are Randians
just makes her ideas more creepy.

Unless, of course, he is frightened by the collapse of the state?
Did we get to "many" yet?

Many of Rand's supposedly radical ideas can be traced back to Nietzsche.
She dumbed down many of his ideas and used them as starting points for her novels.
No, Rand has a deal of very original thinking.  And where can many of her ideas be traced to?  Aristotle.

...Yet ANOTHER abuse of the "many"...

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April 25, 2013, 02:03:40 AM


Assume someone aggresses against me.  I'd be well within my rights to defend myself, but I can choose not to.  I can put someone else's self-interest above my own out of love for them.

As I understand objectivism, I would be acting immorally since I am not acting in my own self-interest, but I see it otherwise.
Great question.

In Atlas Shrugged, Reardon put his self interest aside when blackmailed and signed his patent over to the evil government. 

How was he blackmailed?  They threatened to make public his affair with Dagney.

Dagney put her self interest aside, in turn, and publicly stated that she had this affair on national radio.

So ... did Rand set this up to show that each of these lovers acted immorally?

(I'm stopping at this point for discussion purposes)

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April 25, 2013, 02:11:39 AM

So ... did Rand set this up to show that each of these lovers acted immorally?

I don't believe so. I think she set that up to show the truth of this quote:

Love is that condition in which the happiness of another person is essential to your own.

― Robert A. Heinlein, Stranger in a Strange Land

Though Atlas Shrugged was published 4 years before Stranger in a Strange Land, so it wasn't intended as a direct example, more as illustrating the same premise.

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April 25, 2013, 02:17:45 AM

Moon is a Harsh Mistress, 1966 IIRC, shows strong influences from AS.
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April 25, 2013, 02:23:14 AM

Moon is a Harsh Mistress, 1966 IIRC, shows strong influences from AS.
I definitely see similarities. It might have been his response to it.

I'll tell you this: Moon definitely influenced me more than Shrugged

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April 25, 2013, 05:39:34 AM

Man, everything I know about Ayn Rand came from watching the 1950s film adaptation of the fountainhead...  The entire movie was 2 hours of people who couldn't deal with their feelings.

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April 25, 2013, 09:55:27 AM

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Well, Myrkul? I take your inability to answer my question as an admission that you're wrong.
You don't usually give up so easily...

You have to understand  Nietzsche to see why there is judgment in the begining of your perception. I will try to make it simple.

One of the big thesis in Nietzsche thinking is this : well before your instinct, your sensation there is a judgment, which mean an operation of the intellect.
Because he is appearing at the begining of the knowledge processus we can state that it's not a conscious judment. We can see it as the condition of possibility for perception to occur.
But how can we say that  such a judment exist? Philosopher just don't throw proposition like that.
You have to come back to Kant.
Usually before him, we thought that we could gain some knowledge about an object, just by studying  it.
But Kant come into play and yield : BULLSHIT if you want to be able to see an object you have to put something from you : which are the intuition of time and space.
We can agree, that time and space are not properties of an object. So they must come from something else, which is the subject.

It's the same for the causation categorie (for example : if a ball (A) touch another ball (B), the other ball will move). To be able to say that A cause B  you have to make the link between A and B, an intellect opration which come from the subject and not from the object.

Now time, space and causation are what Kant call the condition of possibility of experience. Which mean, that before an object appear in your perception, these three things have come to play. They are the intuition that make you able to give you the form of the experience.

These form that are the possibility of experience are what we call an a priori. Which mean something that is independ from the experience, and so are what is really objective in the world.


And then Nietzsche come into play and yield : BULLSHIT there is not such thing as a priori.
What nietzsche is saying when he put critics on the concept of kantian "a priori" it's not that they do not exist. What he can accept, it's there property of a priori. For nietzsche there is not such thing as an objectiv truth, because  everything is in "becoming". This "becoming" is not perceptible without an opration of the intellect which "fixe" (put a limitation in english?) this becoming and give something stable. Here we go the place where the first judgment apply.

You have to understand that this "becoming" threaten the organism. For two reason :
-The sensation in the world of becoming are always new. Which mean that for someone they are essentially unknown
-In order to go away of this unknown, you have to put something that you already knew. To be more clear, if sensation at there first apparition are always new, this novelty is shut down by putiting a sensation you already, know which is less powerful.
This operation is necessary because the world of becoming threaten the organism.


This is why the essence of the world for Nietzsche is suffering, and the essence of the superman (i hope it how you said it in english ^^) it's the man who can bear a lot of suffering.
The world of the becoming make men suffer because it's just to intense for the organism to bear it. To reduce this suffering, men have to logicise the world. Reduce the unknown to the known. Put old thing on what is always new. The will to power is essentialy this. Not some kind of domination bullshit, but the power to see a lot of new sensation. Sensation that transcends the sensation of the everyday life which have been drain from there intensity.

To come back to the kantian critics. The "a priori" have been a way for the organism to stabilise the "becoming" to reduce his power. Here is why we say later, that Nietzsche accept the "a priori" as something which put form to the becoming. But they are totallu empiristic.

So here what we got :
"Time, space and causation are what we use to be able to fixe the world of the becoming
They are not a priori because for them to become, they have to make there proof for the conservation of the organism. If they weren't able to maintain the organism, the way we shape your experience would be totally diffrent.
So something as to decide that the things are good for the organism to live.
So something judge these category as good.
And if the category are what your intellect is using to shape the experience.
There is a judgment at the begining of the experience. Before you know it.

(it's more complex because in those judgment there is all the history of manking coming into play.)

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April 25, 2013, 01:57:38 PM

Well, Myrkul? I take your inability to answer my question as an admission that you're wrong.
You don't usually give up so easily...

I answered your question. Every decision is an economic one. "Is it worth it?" Including your "decision" to not pay enough attention to the donation kettle to determine what it is. Just because you don't like the answer, doesn't mean I haven't answered you.

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April 25, 2013, 02:34:46 PM

Actions speak louder than words.  Ayn Rand may have put on appearances of free-thinking and libertarianism, but the "cult" she organized around her was authoritarian and relied heavily on group think (insofar as, you were OUT if you didn't tow the randian line).  For further reading I'd direct you to this short and entertaining Murry Rothbard essay: http://www.lewrockwell.com/rothbard/rothbard23.html

(also Hannah Arendt>Ayn Rand)

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April 25, 2013, 02:44:42 PM

Actions speak louder than words.  Ayn Rand may have put on appearances of free-thinking and libertarianism, but the "cult" she organized around her was authoritarian and relied heavily on group think (insofar as, you were OUT if you didn't tow the randian line).

It's not really authoritarianism if you just don't want to associate with people you don't have much in common with. For example, the group of friends I hang out with doesn't include white supremacists or religious nutcases.

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April 25, 2013, 02:46:20 PM

I see. So the reason why every action should be decided based on a "value judgement", is because... you gave an example of walking past a donation kettle and making an economic decision.

Since every decision is economic in basis, I guess there's no such thing as non-economic decisions.


I'd like to hear your side of this. What do you believe decisions that are not economic/value-judgement type are based on?

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April 25, 2013, 02:57:12 PM

I see. So the reason why every action should be decided based on a "value judgement", is because...

Because if you, and a long line of ancestors back to the simplest single-celled organism didn't make decisions in this manner, you wouldn't be here to argue this with me.

Every decision is an economic one, even those you claim aren't.

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April 25, 2013, 02:59:26 PM

Actions speak louder than words.  Ayn Rand may have put on appearances of free-thinking and libertarianism, but the "cult" she organized around her was authoritarian and relied heavily on group think (insofar as, you were OUT if you didn't tow the randian line).

It's not really authoritarianism if you just don't want to associate with people you don't have much in common with. For example, the group of friends I hang out with doesn't include white supremacists or religious nutcases.

It goes far beyond merely "picking who you hang out with".  She cultivated an organized form of group-think around her.  READ the essay... it's short and entertaining  Smiley.

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April 25, 2013, 03:00:32 PM

Has anyone read We the Living?   Personally, I think that is her best work considering where she was when it was written and WHEN it was written.    Atlas seemed more like an attempt to explain the same concept over and over and over again because she assume people are so stupid they need to read the same point 1000x to just begin to "get" it.    

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April 25, 2013, 03:38:29 PM

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Well, Myrkul? I take your inability to answer my question as an admission that you're wrong.
You don't usually give up so easily...

You have to understand  Nietzsche to see why there is judgment in the begining of your perception. I will try to make it simple.

EPIC post from the new guy!  Smiley

(and yes, bermensch translates to superman. In fact, the Superman comic was almost a very different thing...)

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