Home  FAQ  Search  Memberlist  Usergroups  KDR  Register  Log in  

Share | 
 

 Ayn Rand Breakaway Discussion

View previous topic View next topic Go down 
Go to page : Previous  1, 2
AuthorMessage
ScoutsHonor

avatar

Posts : 1360
Join date : 2009-10-20

PostSubject: Ayn Rand Breakaway Discussion   Mon 09 Jul 2012, 2:19 pm

First topic message reminder :

mike lewis wrote:
C1 wrote:

Well, not to defend Rand, but according to Goedel's proof on incompleteness, isn't every logical man made construct inconsistent?

No, Goedel says that either a system is consistent or complete, but cannot be both consistent and complete. If it is complete then it is inconsistent, if it is consistent then it is incomplete.
Quote :
For each consistent formal theory T having the required small amount of number theory, the corresponding Gödel sentence G asserts: "G cannot be proved within the theory T". This interpretation of G leads to the following informal analysis. If G were provable under the axioms and rules of inference of T, then T would have a theorem, G, which effectively contradicts itself, and thus the theory T would be inconsistent. This means that if the theory T is consistent then G cannot be proved within it, and so the theory T is incomplete. Moreover, the claim G makes about its own unprovability is correct. In this sense G is not only unprovable but true, and provability-within-the-theory-T is not the same as truth.

Every logic must by necessity reduce down to axioms or premises, if the premises are true and the logic is sound then the conclusions must be true. Objectivism rests on false premises and then proceeds on unsound logic, therefore it is neither consistent nor complete.

Are you aware that Objectivism is largely derived from Aristotle's philosophy and logic. You may be the first person ever to call into question Aristotle's rationality... Lol


Last edited by ScoutsHonor on Tue 25 Sep 2012, 10:54 am; edited 1 time in total
Back to top Go down
View user profile

AuthorMessage
mike lewis



Posts : 190
Join date : 2012-03-22

PostSubject: Re: Ayn Rand Breakaway Discussion   Tue 25 Sep 2012, 5:24 pm

Are you kidding? How about providing a link to the specific text you are making reference to along with posting the relevant portion in the thread?
Back to top Go down
View user profile
ScoutsHonor

avatar

Posts : 1360
Join date : 2009-10-20

PostSubject: Re: Ayn Rand Breakaway Discussion   Tue 25 Sep 2012, 7:41 pm

mike lewis wrote:
Are you kidding? How about providing a link to the specific text you are making reference to along with posting the relevant portion in the thread?

Oops, sorry..
***

Here is the excerpt from the Encyclopedia entry referring specifically to Objectivism as "Aristotelian" in its origins --which was our point of contention, and which you vehemently denied was true ...

"Rand’s philosophy is in the Aristotelian tradition, with that tradition’s emphasis upon metaphysical naturalism, empirical reason in epistemology, and self-realization in ethics. Objectivism is rational self-interest and self-responsibility – the idea that no person is any other person’s slave. The virtues of her philosophy are principled policies based on rational assessment: rationality, productiveness, honesty (in order to rationally make the best decisions we must be privy to the facts), integrity, independence, justice, and pride."

The full Entry on Rand from the Encyclopedia follows below, for your further edification.

http://www.iep.utm.edu/rand/


Last edited by ScoutsHonor on Tue 25 Sep 2012, 8:13 pm; edited 1 time in total
Back to top Go down
View user profile
ScoutsHonor

avatar

Posts : 1360
Join date : 2009-10-20

PostSubject: Re: Ayn Rand Breakaway Discussion   Tue 25 Sep 2012, 7:50 pm

Mod: PLEASE delete, this is a duplicate. Thanks.


Quote :

Ayn Alissa Rand (1905—1982)

Ayn Rand was a major intellectual of the twentieth century. Born in Russia in 1905 and educated there, she immigrated to the United States after graduating from the university, where she studied history, politics, philosophy, and literature. Rand had always found capitalism and the individualism of the United States a welcome alternative to the corrupt and negative socialism of Russia. Upon becoming proficient in English and establishing herself as a writer in the U.S., she became a passionate advocate of her philosophy, Objectivism.

Rand’s philosophy is in the Aristotelian tradition, with that tradition’s emphasis upon metaphysical naturalism, empirical reason in epistemology, and self-realization in ethics. Objectivism is rational self-interest and self-responsibility – the idea that no person is any other person’s slave. The virtues of her philosophy are principled policies based on rational assessment: rationality, productiveness, honesty (in order to rationally make the best decisions we must be privy to the facts), integrity, independence, justice, and pride.

Her political philosophy is in the classical liberal tradition, with that tradition’s emphasis upon individualism, the constitutional protection of individual rights to life, liberty, and property, and limited government.

She wrote both technical and popular works of philosophy, and she presented her philosophy in both fictional and non-fictional forms, the most philosophically complete and popular of which are Atlas Shrugged and Fountainhead. Her philosophy has influenced several generations of academics and public intellectuals, as well as having had widespread popular appeal.

Table of Contents
Life
Rand’s Ethical Theory: The Virtue of Selfishness
Reason and Ethics
Conflicts of Interest
Rand’s Influence
References and Further Reading

1. Life

Ayn Rand’s life was often as colorful as those of her heroes in her best-selling novels The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged. Rand first made her name as a novelist, publishing We the Living in 1936, The Fountainhead in 1943, and her magnum opus Atlas Shrugged in 1957. These philosophical novels embodied themes she then developed in non-fiction form in a series of essays and books written in the 1960s and 1970s.

Born in St. Petersburg, Russia, on February 2, 1905, Rand was raised in a middle-class family. As a child, she loved story-telling, and she decided at age nine to become a writer. In school showed academic promise, particularly in mathematics. Her family was devastated by the communist revolution of 1917, both by the social upheavals that the revolution and the ensuing civil war brought and by her father’s pharmacy’s being confiscated by the Soviets. The family moved to the Crimea to recover financially and to escape the harshness of life the revolution brought to St. Petersburg. They later returned to Petrograd (the new name given to St. Petersburg by the Soviets), where Rand was to attend university.

At the University of Petrograd, Rand concentrated her studies on history, with secondary focuses on philosophy and literature. At university, she was repelled by the dominance of communist ideas and strong-arm tactics that suppressed free inquiry and discussion. As a youth, she had been repelled by the communists’ political program, and now an adult, she was also more fully aware of the destructive effects that the revolution had had on Russian society more broadly.

Having studied American history and politics in university, and having long been an admirer of Western plays, music, and movies, she became an admirer of America’s individualism, its vigor, and its optimism, seeing it as the opposite of Russian collectivism, decay, and gloom. Not believing, however, that she would be free under the Soviet system to write the kinds of books she wanted to write, she resolved to leave Russia and go to America.

Rand graduated from the University of Petrograd in 1924. She then enrolled at the State Institute for Cinema Arts in order to study screen writing. In 1925, she finally received permission from the Soviet authorities to leave the country in order to visit relatives in the United States. Officially, her visit was to be brief; Rand, however, had already decided not to return to the Soviet Union.

After several stops in western European cities, Rand arrived in New York City in February 1926. From New York, she traveled on to Chicago, Illinois, where she spent the next six months living with relatives, learning English, and developing ideas for stories and movies. She had decided to become a screenwriter, and, having received an extension to her visa, she left for Hollywood, California.

On Rand’s second day in Hollywood, an event occurred that was worthy of her dramatic fiction and one that had a major impact on her future. She was spotted by Cecil B. DeMille, one of Hollywood’s leading directors, while she was standing at the gate of his studio. She had recognized him as he was passing by in his car, and he had noticed her staring at him. He stopped to ask why she was staring, and Rand explained that she had recently arrived from Russia, that she had long been passionate about Hollywood movies, and that she dreamed of being a screen writer. DeMille was then working on “The King of Kings,” and gave her a ride to his movie set and signed her on as an extra. Then, during her second week at DeMille’s studio, another significant event occurred: Rand met Frank O’Connor, a young actor also working as an extra. Rand and O’Connor were married in 1929, and they remained married for fifty years until his death in 1979.

Rand also worked for DeMille as a reader of scripts, and struggled financially while working on her own writing. She also held a variety of non-writing jobs until in 1932 she was able to sell her first screenplay, “Red Pawn,” to Universal Studios. Also in 1932 her first stage play, “Night of January 16th,” was produced in Hollywood and later on Broadway.

Rand had been working for years on her first significant novel, We the Living, and finished it in 1933. However, for several years it was rejected by various publishers, until in 1936 it was published by Macmillan in the U.S. and Cassell in England. Rand described We the Living as the most autobiographical of her novels, its theme being the brutality of life under communist rule in Russia. We the Living did not receive a positive reaction from American reviewers and intellectuals. It was published in the 1930s, a decade sometimes called the “Red Decade,” during which American intellectuals were often pro-Communist and respectful and admiring of the Soviet experiment.

Rand’s next major project was The Fountainhead, which she had begun to work on in 1935. While the theme of We the Living was political, the theme of The Fountainhead was ethical, focusing on individualist themes of independence and integrity. The novel’s hero, the architect Howard Roark, is Rand’s first embodiment of her ideal man, the man who lives on a principled and heroic scale of achievement.

As with We the Living, Rand had difficulties getting The Fountainhead published. Twelve publishers rejected it before being published by Bobbs-Merrill in 1943. Again not well received by reviewers and intellectuals, the novel nonetheless became a best-seller, primarily through word-of-mouth recommendation. The Fountainhead made Rand famous as an exponent of individualist ideas, and its continuing to sell well brought her financial security. Warner Brothers produced a movie version of the novel in 1949, starring Gary Cooper and Patricia Neal, for which Rand wrote the screenplay.

In 1946, Rand began work on her most ambitious novel, Atlas Shrugged. At the time she was working part-time as a screenwriter for producer Hal Wallis. In 1951 she and her husband moved to New York City, where she began to work full-time on Atlas. Published by Random House in 1957, Atlas Shrugged is her most complete expression of her literary and philosophical vision. Dramatized in the form of a mystery story about a man who stopped the motor of the world, the plot and characters embody the political and ethical themes first developed in We the Living and The Fountainhead, and integrates them into a comprehensive philosophy including metaphysics, epistemology, economics, and the psychology of love and sex.

Atlas Shrugged was an immediate best-seller and Rand’s last work of fiction. Her novels had expressed philosophical themes, although Rand considered herself primarily a novelist and only secondarily a philosopher. The creation of plots and characters and the dramatization of achievements and conflicts were her central purposes in writing fiction, rather than presenting an abstracted and didactic set of philosophical theses.

The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged, however, had attracted to Rand many readers who were strongly interested in the philosophical ideas the novels embodied and in pursuing them further. Among the earliest of those with whom Rand became associated and who later became prominent were psychologist Nathaniel Branden and economist Alan Greenspan, later Chairman of the Federal Reserve. Her interactions with these and several other key individuals were partly responsible for Rand’s turning from fiction to non-fiction writing in order to develop her philosophy more systematically.

From 1962 until 1976, Rand wrote and lectured on her philosophy, now named “Objectivism.” Her essays were during this period were mostly published in a series of periodicals, The Objectivist Newsletter, published from 1962 to 1965, the larger periodical The Objectivist, published from 1966 to 1971, and then The Ayn Rand Letter, published from 1971 to 1976. The essays written for these periodicals form the core material for a series of nine non-fiction books published during Rand’s lifetime. Those books develop Rand’s philosophy in all its major categories and apply it to cultural issues. Perhaps the most significant of the books are The Virtue of Selfishness, which develops her ethical theory, Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal, devoted to political and economic theory, Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology, a systematic presentation of her theory of concepts, and The Romantic Manifesto, a theory of aesthetics.

During the 1960s Rand’s most significant professional relationship was with Nathaniel Branden. Branden, author of The Psychology of Self-Esteem and later known as a leader in the self-esteem movement in psychology, wrote many essays on philosophical and psychological topics that were published in Rand’s books and periodicals. He was the founder and head of the Nathaniel Branden Institute, the leading Objectivist institution of the 1960s. Based in New York City, N.B.I. published with Rand’s sanction numerous Objectivist periodicals and pamphlets, and gave many series of lectures live in New York which were then distributed on tape around the United States and the rest of the world. The rapid growth of N.B.I. and the Objectivist movement came to a halt in 1968 when, for both professional and personal reasons, Rand and Branden parted ways.

Rand continued to write and lecture consistently until she stopped publishing The Ayn Rand Letter in 1976. Thereafter she wrote and lectured less as her husband’s health declined, leading to his death in 1979, and as her own health began to decline. Rand died on March 6, 1982, in her New York City apartment.

2. Rand’s Ethical Theory: The Virtue of Selfishness
The provocative title of Ayn Rand’s The Virtue of Selfishness matches an equally provocative thesis about ethics. Traditional ethics has always been suspicious of self interest, praising acts that are selfless in intent and calling amoral or immoral acts that are motivated by self interest. A self-interested person, on the traditional view, will not consider the interests of others and so will slight or harm those interests in the pursuit of his own.

Rand’s view is that the exact opposite is true: self-interest, properly understood, is the standard of morality and selflessness is the deepest immorality.

Self interest rightly understood, according to Rand, is to see oneself as an end in oneself. That is to say that one’s own life and happiness are one’s highest values, and that one does not exist as a servant or slave to the interests of others. Nor do others exist as servants or slaves to one’s own interests. Each person’s own life and happiness is his ultimate end. Self interest rightly understood also entails self-responsibility: one’s life is one’s own, and so is the responsibility for sustaining and enhancing it. It is up to each of us to determine what values our lives require, how best to achieve those values, and to act to achieve those values.

Rand’s ethic of self interest is integral to her advocacy of classical liberalism. Classical liberalism, more often called “libertarianism” in the 20th century, is the view that individuals should be free to pursue their own interests. This implies, politically, that governments should be limited to protecting each individual’s freedom to do so. In other words, the moral legitimacy of self interest implies that individuals have rights to their lives, their liberties, their property, and the pursuit of their own happiness, and that the purpose of government is to protect those rights. Economically, leaving individuals free to pursue their own interests implies in turn that only a capitalist or free market economic system is moral: free individuals will use their time, money, and other property as they see fit, and will interact and trade voluntarily with others to mutual advantage.

a. Reason and Ethics
Fundamentally, the means by which we live our lives as humans is reason. Our capacity for reason is what enables us to survive and flourish. We are not born knowing what is good for us; that is learned. Nor are we born knowing how to achieve what is good for us; that too is learned. It is by reason that we learn what is food and what is poison, what animals are useful or dangerous to us, how to make tools, what forms of social organization are fruitful, and so on.

Thus Rand advocates rational self interest: one’s interests are not whatever one happens to feel like; rather it is by reason that one identifies what is to one’s interest and what isn’t. By the use of reason one takes into account all of the factors one can identify, projects the consequences of potential courses of action, and adopts principled policies of action.

The principled policies a person should adopt are called virtues. A virtue is an acquired character trait; it results from identifying a policy as good and committing to acting consistently in terms of that policy.

One such virtue is rationality: having identified the use of reason as fundamentally good, being committed to acting in accordance with reason is the virtue of rationality. Another virtue is productiveness: given that the values one needs to survive must be produced, being committed to producing those values is the virtue of productiveness. Another is honesty: given that facts are facts and that one’s life depends on knowing and acting in accordance with the facts, being committed to awareness of the facts is the virtue of honesty.

Independence and integrity are also core virtues for Rand’s account of self interest. Given that one must think and act by one’s own efforts, being committed to the policy of independent action is a virtue. And given that one must both identify what is to one’s interests and act to achieve them, a policy of being committed to acting on the basis of one’s beliefs is the virtue of integrity. The opposite policy of believing one thing and doing another is of course the vice of hypocrisy; hypocrisy is a policy of self-destruction, on Rand’s view.

Justice is another core self-interested virtue: justice, on Rand’s account, means a policy of judging people, including oneself, according to their value and acting accordingly. The opposite policy of giving to people more or less than they deserve is injustice. The final virtue on Rand’s list of core virtues is pride, the policy of “moral ambitiousness,” in Rand’s words. This means a policy of being committed to making oneself be the best one can be, of shaping one’s character to the highest level possible.

The moral person, in summary, on Rand’s account, is someone who acts and is committed to acting in his best self-interest. It is by living the morality of self interest that one survives, flourishes, and achieves happiness.

This account of self interest is currently a minority position. The contrasting view typically pits self interest against morality, holding that one is moral only to the extent that one sacrifices one’s self interest for the sake of others or, more moderately, to the extent one acts primarily with regard to the interests of others. For example, standard versions of morality will hold that one is moral to the extent one sets aside one’s own interests in order to serve God, or the weak and the poor, or society as a whole. On these accounts, the interests of God, the poor, or society as a whole are held to be of greater moral significance that one’s own, and so accordingly one’s interests should be sacrificed when necessary. These ethics of selflessness thus believe that one should see oneself fundamentally as a servant, as existing to serve the interests of others, not one’s own. “Selfless service to others” or “selfless sacrifice” are stock phrases indicating these accounts’ view of appropriate motivation and action.

The core difference between Rand’s self interest view and the selfless view can be seen in the reason why most advocates of selflessness think self interest is dangerous: conflicts of interest.

b. Conflicts of Interest
Traditional ethics takes conflicts of interest to be fundamental to the human condition, and takes ethics to be the solution: basic ethical principles are to tell us whose interests should be sacrificed in order to resolve the conflicts. If there is, for example, a fundamental conflict between what God wants and what humans naturally want, then religious ethics will make fundamental the principle that human wants should be sacrificed for God’s. If there’s a fundamental conflict between what society needs and what individuals want, then some versions of secular ethics will make fundamental the principle that the individual’s wants should be sacrificed for society’s.

Taking conflicts of interest to be fundamental almost always stems from one of two beliefs: that human nature is fundamentally destructive or that economic resources are scarce. If human nature is fundamentally destructive, then humans are naturally in conflict with each other. Many ethical philosophies start from this premise – for example, Plato’s myth of Gyges, Jewish and Christian accounts of Original Sin, or Freud’s account of the id. If what individuals naturally want to do to each other is rape, steal, and kill, then in order to have society these individual desires need to be sacrificed. Consequently, a basic principle of ethics will be to urge individuals to suppress their natural desires so that society can exist. In other words, self interest is the enemy, and must be sacrificed for others.

If economic resources are scarce, then there is not enough to go around. This scarcity then puts human beings in fundamental conflict with each other: for one individual’s need to be satisfied, another’s must be sacrificed. Many ethical philosophies begin with this premise. For example, followers of Thomas Malthus’s theory that population growth outstrips growth in the food supply fall into this category. Karl Marx’s account of capitalist society is that brutal competition leads to the exploitation of some by others. Garret Hardin’s famous use of the lifeboat analogy asks us to imagine that society is like a lifeboat with more people that its resources can support. And so in order to solve the destructive competition the lack of resources leads us to, a basic principle of ethics will be to urge individuals to sacrifice their interests in obtaining more (or even some) so that others may obtain more (or some) and society can exist peacefully. In others words, in a situation of scarcity self interest is the enemy and must be sacrificed for others.

Rand rejects both the scarce resources and destructive human nature premises. Human beings are not born in sin or with destructive desires; nor do they necessarily acquire them in the course of growing to maturity. Instead one is born tabula rasa (“blank slate”), and through one’s choices and actions one acquires one’s character traits and habits. As Rand phrased it, “Man is a being of self-made soul.” Having chronic desires to steal, rape, or kill others are the result of mistaken development and the acquisition of bad habits, just as are chronic laziness or the habit of eating too much junk food. And just as one is not born lazy but can by one’s choices develop oneself into a person of vigor or sloth, one is not born anti-social but can by one’s choices develop oneself into a person of cooperativeness or conflict.

Nor are resources scarce in any fundamental way, according to Rand. By the use of reason, humans can discover new resources and how to use existing resources more efficiently, including recycling where appropriate and making productive processes more efficient. Humans have for example continually discovered and developed new energy resources, from animals to wood to coal to oil to nuclear to solar; and there is no end in sight to this process. At any given moment, the available resources are a fixed amount, but over time the stock of resources are and have been constantly expanding.

Because humans are rational they can produce an ever-expanding number of goods, and so human interests do not fundamentally conflict with each other. Instead Rand holds that the exact opposite is true: since humans can and should be productive, human interests are deeply in harmony with each other. For example, my producing more corn is in harmony with your producing more peas, for by our both being productive and trading with each other we are both better off. It is to your interest that I be successful in producing more corn, just as it is to my interest that you be successful in producing more peas.

Conflicts of interest do exist within a narrower scope of focus. For example, in the immediate present available resources are more fixed, and so competition for those resources results, and competition produces winners and losers. Economic competition, however, is a broader form of cooperation, a way socially to allocate resources without resorting to physical force and violence. By competition, resources are allocated efficiently and peacefully, and in the long run more resources are produced. Thus, a competitive economic system is in the self interest of all of us.

Accordingly, Rand argues that her ethic of self interest is the basis for personal happiness and free and prosperous societies.

3. Rand’s Influence
The impact of Rand’s ideas is difficult to measure, but it has been great. All of the books she published during her lifetime are still in print, have sold more than twenty million copies, and continue to sell hundreds of thousands of copies each year. A survey jointly conducted by the Library of Congress and the Book of the Month Club early in the 1990s asked readers to name the book that had most influenced their lives: Atlas Shrugged was second only to the Bible. Excerpts from Rand’s works are regularly reprinted in college textbooks and anthologies, and several volumes have been published posthumously containing her early writings, journals, and letters. Those inspired by her ideas have published books in many academic fields and founded several institutes. Noteworthy among these are the Cato Institute, based in Washington, D.C., the leading libertarian think tank in the world. Rand, along with Nobel Prize-winners Friedrich Hayek and Milton Friedman, was highly instrumental in attracting generations of individuals to the libertarian movement. Also noteworthy are the Ayn Rand Institute, founded in 1985 by philosopher Leonard Peikoff and based in California, and The Objectivist Center, founded in 1990 by philosopher David Kelley and based in New York.

4. References and Further Reading
Binswanger, Harry. The Biological Basis of Teleological Concepts. Los Angeles, CA: A.R.I. Press, 1990.
Written by a philosopher, this is a scholarly work focused on the connection between biology and the concepts at the roots of ethics.
Branden, Nathaniel. The Psychology of Self-Esteem. Los Angeles: Nash Publishing, 1969.
Branden, Nathaniel, and Barbara Branden. Who Is Ayn Rand? New York: Random House, 1962.

This book contains three essays on Objectivism’s moral philosophy, its connection to psychological theory, and a literary study of Rand’s novel methods. It contains an additional biographical essay, tracing Rand’s life from birth up until her mid-50s.
Hessen, Robert. In Defense of the Corporation. Stanford, CA: Hoover Institution, 1979.
An economic historian, Hessen argues and defends from an Objectivist perspective the moral and legal status of the corporate form of business organizations.
Kelley, David. The Evidence of the Senses. Baton Rouge: L.S.U. Press, 1986.
Written by a philosopher, this is a scholarly work in epistemology, focusing on the foundational role the senses play in human knowledge.
Mayhew, Robert. Ayn Rand’s Marginalia. New Milford, CT: Second Renaissance Books, 1995.

This volume contains Rand’s critical comments on over twenty thinkers, including Friedrich Hayek, C. S. Lewis, and Immanuel Kant. Edited by a philosopher, the volume contains facsimiles of the original texts with Rand’s comments on facing pages.
Peikoff, Leonard. The Ominous Parallels: The End of Freedom in America. New York: Stein & Day, 1982.

A scholarly work in the philosophy of history, arguing Objectivism’s theses about the role of philosophical ideas in history and applying them to explaining the rise of National Socialism.
Peikoff, Leonard. Objectivism: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand. New York: Dutton, 1991.

This is the first comprehensive overview of all aspects of Objectivist philosophy, written by the philosopher most close to Rand during her lifetime.
Rand, Ayn. Atlas Shrugged. Random House, 1957.
Rand’s magnum opus of fiction.
Rand, Ayn.Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal. New American Library, 1967.

A collection of twenty of Rand’s essays on politics, history, and economics. Also includes two essays by psychologist Nathaniel Branden, three by economist Alan Greenspan, and one by historian Robert Hessen.

Rand, Ayn. The Fountainhead. Bobbs-Merrill, 1943.
The novel of individualism, independence, and integrity that made Rand famous.

Rand, Ayn. Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology. New American Library, 1979.
Rand’s theory of concept-formation. Also includes an essay by philosopher Leonard Peikoff on the analytic/synthetic distinction.

Rand, Ayn. Philosophy: Who Needs It. Bobbs-Merrill, 1982.
A collection of Rand’s essays on the nature and significance of philosophy.

Rand, Ayn.The Romantic Manifesto. World Publishing, 1969. Paperback edition: New American Library, 1971.
A collection of Rand’s essays on philosophy of art and aesthetics.
Rand, Ayn. The Virtue of Selfishness. New American Library, 1964.
A collection of fourteen of Rand’s essays on ethics. Also includes five essays by psychologist Nathaniel Branden.

Rasmussen, Douglas and Douglas Den Uyl, editors. The Philosophic Thought of Ayn Rand. Urbana, IL: University of Illinois Press, 1984.
A collection of scholarly essays by philosophers, defending and criticizing various aspects of Objectivism’s metaphysics, epistemology, ethics, and politics.

Reisman, George. Capitalism: A Treatise on Economics. Ottawa, IL: Jameson Books, 1996.
A scholarly work by an economist, developing capitalist economic theory and connecting it to Objectivist philosophy.

Sciabarra, Chris Matthew. Ayn Rand, The Russian Radical. University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press, 1995.
A work in history of philosophy, this book attempts to trace the influence upon Rand’s thinking of dialectical approaches to philosophy prevalent in 19th century Europe and Russia. Also an introduction and overview of the major branches of Objectivist philosophy.

Categories: Ethics, Philosophers

++++



Last edited by ScoutsHonor on Tue 25 Sep 2012, 8:17 pm; edited 2 times in total
Back to top Go down
View user profile
ScoutsHonor

avatar

Posts : 1360
Join date : 2009-10-20

PostSubject: Re: Ayn Rand Breakaway Discussion   Tue 25 Sep 2012, 7:51 pm

Quote :

Ayn Alissa Rand (1905—1982)

Ayn Rand was a major intellectual of the twentieth century. Born in Russia in 1905 and educated there, she immigrated to the United States after graduating from the university, where she studied history, politics, philosophy, and literature. Rand had always found capitalism and the individualism of the United States a welcome alternative to the corrupt and negative socialism of Russia. Upon becoming proficient in English and establishing herself as a writer in the U.S., she became a passionate advocate of her philosophy, Objectivism.

Rand’s philosophy is in the Aristotelian tradition, with that tradition’s emphasis upon metaphysical naturalism, empirical reason in epistemology, and self-realization in ethics. Objectivism is rational self-interest and self-responsibility – the idea that no person is any other person’s slave. The virtues of her philosophy are principled policies based on rational assessment: rationality, productiveness, honesty (in order to rationally make the best decisions we must be privy to the facts), integrity, independence, justice, and pride.

Her political philosophy is in the classical liberal tradition, with that tradition’s emphasis upon individualism, the constitutional protection of individual rights to life, liberty, and property, and limited government.

She wrote both technical and popular works of philosophy, and she presented her philosophy in both fictional and non-fictional forms, the most philosophically complete and popular of which are Atlas Shrugged and Fountainhead. Her philosophy has influenced several generations of academics and public intellectuals, as well as having had widespread popular appeal.

Table of Contents
Life
Rand’s Ethical Theory: The Virtue of Selfishness
Reason and Ethics
Conflicts of Interest
Rand’s Influence
References and Further Reading

1. Life

Ayn Rand’s life was often as colorful as those of her heroes in her best-selling novels The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged. Rand first made her name as a novelist, publishing We the Living in 1936, The Fountainhead in 1943, and her magnum opus Atlas Shrugged in 1957. These philosophical novels embodied themes she then developed in non-fiction form in a series of essays and books written in the 1960s and 1970s.

Born in St. Petersburg, Russia, on February 2, 1905, Rand was raised in a middle-class family. As a child, she loved story-telling, and she decided at age nine to become a writer. In school showed academic promise, particularly in mathematics. Her family was devastated by the communist revolution of 1917, both by the social upheavals that the revolution and the ensuing civil war brought and by her father’s pharmacy’s being confiscated by the Soviets. The family moved to the Crimea to recover financially and to escape the harshness of life the revolution brought to St. Petersburg. They later returned to Petrograd (the new name given to St. Petersburg by the Soviets), where Rand was to attend university.

At the University of Petrograd, Rand concentrated her studies on history, with secondary focuses on philosophy and literature. At university, she was repelled by the dominance of communist ideas and strong-arm tactics that suppressed free inquiry and discussion. As a youth, she had been repelled by the communists’ political program, and now an adult, she was also more fully aware of the destructive effects that the revolution had had on Russian society more broadly.

Having studied American history and politics in university, and having long been an admirer of Western plays, music, and movies, she became an admirer of America’s individualism, its vigor, and its optimism, seeing it as the opposite of Russian collectivism, decay, and gloom. Not believing, however, that she would be free under the Soviet system to write the kinds of books she wanted to write, she resolved to leave Russia and go to America.

Rand graduated from the University of Petrograd in 1924. She then enrolled at the State Institute for Cinema Arts in order to study screen writing. In 1925, she finally received permission from the Soviet authorities to leave the country in order to visit relatives in the United States. Officially, her visit was to be brief; Rand, however, had already decided not to return to the Soviet Union.

After several stops in western European cities, Rand arrived in New York City in February 1926. From New York, she traveled on to Chicago, Illinois, where she spent the next six months living with relatives, learning English, and developing ideas for stories and movies. She had decided to become a screenwriter, and, having received an extension to her visa, she left for Hollywood, California.

On Rand’s second day in Hollywood, an event occurred that was worthy of her dramatic fiction and one that had a major impact on her future. She was spotted by Cecil B. DeMille, one of Hollywood’s leading directors, while she was standing at the gate of his studio. She had recognized him as he was passing by in his car, and he had noticed her staring at him. He stopped to ask why she was staring, and Rand explained that she had recently arrived from Russia, that she had long been passionate about Hollywood movies, and that she dreamed of being a screen writer. DeMille was then working on “The King of Kings,” and gave her a ride to his movie set and signed her on as an extra. Then, during her second week at DeMille’s studio, another significant event occurred: Rand met Frank O’Connor, a young actor also working as an extra. Rand and O’Connor were married in 1929, and they remained married for fifty years until his death in 1979.

Rand also worked for DeMille as a reader of scripts, and struggled financially while working on her own writing. She also held a variety of non-writing jobs until in 1932 she was able to sell her first screenplay, “Red Pawn,” to Universal Studios. Also in 1932 her first stage play, “Night of January 16th,” was produced in Hollywood and later on Broadway.

Rand had been working for years on her first significant novel, We the Living, and finished it in 1933. However, for several years it was rejected by various publishers, until in 1936 it was published by Macmillan in the U.S. and Cassell in England. Rand described We the Living as the most autobiographical of her novels, its theme being the brutality of life under communist rule in Russia. We the Living did not receive a positive reaction from American reviewers and intellectuals. It was published in the 1930s, a decade sometimes called the “Red Decade,” during which American intellectuals were often pro-Communist and respectful and admiring of the Soviet experiment.

Rand’s next major project was The Fountainhead, which she had begun to work on in 1935. While the theme of We the Living was political, the theme of The Fountainhead was ethical, focusing on individualist themes of independence and integrity. The novel’s hero, the architect Howard Roark, is Rand’s first embodiment of her ideal man, the man who lives on a principled and heroic scale of achievement.

As with We the Living, Rand had difficulties getting The Fountainhead published. Twelve publishers rejected it before being published by Bobbs-Merrill in 1943. Again not well received by reviewers and intellectuals, the novel nonetheless became a best-seller, primarily through word-of-mouth recommendation. The Fountainhead made Rand famous as an exponent of individualist ideas, and its continuing to sell well brought her financial security. Warner Brothers produced a movie version of the novel in 1949, starring Gary Cooper and Patricia Neal, for which Rand wrote the screenplay.

In 1946, Rand began work on her most ambitious novel, Atlas Shrugged. At the time she was working part-time as a screenwriter for producer Hal Wallis. In 1951 she and her husband moved to New York City, where she began to work full-time on Atlas. Published by Random House in 1957, Atlas Shrugged is her most complete expression of her literary and philosophical vision. Dramatized in the form of a mystery story about a man who stopped the motor of the world, the plot and characters embody the political and ethical themes first developed in We the Living and The Fountainhead, and integrates them into a comprehensive philosophy including metaphysics, epistemology, economics, and the psychology of love and sex.

Atlas Shrugged was an immediate best-seller and Rand’s last work of fiction. Her novels had expressed philosophical themes, although Rand considered herself primarily a novelist and only secondarily a philosopher. The creation of plots and characters and the dramatization of achievements and conflicts were her central purposes in writing fiction, rather than presenting an abstracted and didactic set of philosophical theses.

The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged, however, had attracted to Rand many readers who were strongly interested in the philosophical ideas the novels embodied and in pursuing them further. Among the earliest of those with whom Rand became associated and who later became prominent were psychologist Nathaniel Branden and economist Alan Greenspan, later Chairman of the Federal Reserve. Her interactions with these and several other key individuals were partly responsible for Rand’s turning from fiction to non-fiction writing in order to develop her philosophy more systematically.

From 1962 until 1976, Rand wrote and lectured on her philosophy, now named “Objectivism.” Her essays were during this period were mostly published in a series of periodicals, The Objectivist Newsletter, published from 1962 to 1965, the larger periodical The Objectivist, published from 1966 to 1971, and then The Ayn Rand Letter, published from 1971 to 1976. The essays written for these periodicals form the core material for a series of nine non-fiction books published during Rand’s lifetime. Those books develop Rand’s philosophy in all its major categories and apply it to cultural issues. Perhaps the most significant of the books are The Virtue of Selfishness, which develops her ethical theory, Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal, devoted to political and economic theory, Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology, a systematic presentation of her theory of concepts, and The Romantic Manifesto, a theory of aesthetics.

During the 1960s Rand’s most significant professional relationship was with Nathaniel Branden. Branden, author of The Psychology of Self-Esteem and later known as a leader in the self-esteem movement in psychology, wrote many essays on philosophical and psychological topics that were published in Rand’s books and periodicals. He was the founder and head of the Nathaniel Branden Institute, the leading Objectivist institution of the 1960s. Based in New York City, N.B.I. published with Rand’s sanction numerous Objectivist periodicals and pamphlets, and gave many series of lectures live in New York which were then distributed on tape around the United States and the rest of the world. The rapid growth of N.B.I. and the Objectivist movement came to a halt in 1968 when, for both professional and personal reasons, Rand and Branden parted ways.

Rand continued to write and lecture consistently until she stopped publishing The Ayn Rand Letter in 1976. Thereafter she wrote and lectured less as her husband’s health declined, leading to his death in 1979, and as her own health began to decline. Rand died on March 6, 1982, in her New York City apartment.

2. Rand’s Ethical Theory: The Virtue of Selfishness
The provocative title of Ayn Rand’s The Virtue of Selfishness matches an equally provocative thesis about ethics. Traditional ethics has always been suspicious of self interest, praising acts that are selfless in intent and calling amoral or immoral acts that are motivated by self interest. A self-interested person, on the traditional view, will not consider the interests of others and so will slight or harm those interests in the pursuit of his own.

Rand’s view is that the exact opposite is true: self-interest, properly understood, is the standard of morality and selflessness is the deepest immorality.

Self interest rightly understood, according to Rand, is to see oneself as an end in oneself. That is to say that one’s own life and happiness are one’s highest values, and that one does not exist as a servant or slave to the interests of others. Nor do others exist as servants or slaves to one’s own interests. Each person’s own life and happiness is his ultimate end. Self interest rightly understood also entails self-responsibility: one’s life is one’s own, and so is the responsibility for sustaining and enhancing it. It is up to each of us to determine what values our lives require, how best to achieve those values, and to act to achieve those values.

Rand’s ethic of self interest is integral to her advocacy of classical liberalism. Classical liberalism, more often called “libertarianism” in the 20th century, is the view that individuals should be free to pursue their own interests. This implies, politically, that governments should be limited to protecting each individual’s freedom to do so. In other words, the moral legitimacy of self interest implies that individuals have rights to their lives, their liberties, their property, and the pursuit of their own happiness, and that the purpose of government is to protect those rights. Economically, leaving individuals free to pursue their own interests implies in turn that only a capitalist or free market economic system is moral: free individuals will use their time, money, and other property as they see fit, and will interact and trade voluntarily with others to mutual advantage.

a. Reason and Ethics
Fundamentally, the means by which we live our lives as humans is reason. Our capacity for reason is what enables us to survive and flourish. We are not born knowing what is good for us; that is learned. Nor are we born knowing how to achieve what is good for us; that too is learned. It is by reason that we learn what is food and what is poison, what animals are useful or dangerous to us, how to make tools, what forms of social organization are fruitful, and so on.

Thus Rand advocates rational self interest: one’s interests are not whatever one happens to feel like; rather it is by reason that one identifies what is to one’s interest and what isn’t. By the use of reason one takes into account all of the factors one can identify, projects the consequences of potential courses of action, and adopts principled policies of action.

The principled policies a person should adopt are called virtues. A virtue is an acquired character trait; it results from identifying a policy as good and committing to acting consistently in terms of that policy.

One such virtue is rationality: having identified the use of reason as fundamentally good, being committed to acting in accordance with reason is the virtue of rationality. Another virtue is productiveness: given that the values one needs to survive must be produced, being committed to producing those values is the virtue of productiveness. Another is honesty: given that facts are facts and that one’s life depends on knowing and acting in accordance with the facts, being committed to awareness of the facts is the virtue of honesty.

Independence and integrity are also core virtues for Rand’s account of self interest. Given that one must think and act by one’s own efforts, being committed to the policy of independent action is a virtue. And given that one must both identify what is to one’s interests and act to achieve them, a policy of being committed to acting on the basis of one’s beliefs is the virtue of integrity. The opposite policy of believing one thing and doing another is of course the vice of hypocrisy; hypocrisy is a policy of self-destruction, on Rand’s view.

Justice is another core self-interested virtue: justice, on Rand’s account, means a policy of judging people, including oneself, according to their value and acting accordingly. The opposite policy of giving to people more or less than they deserve is injustice. The final virtue on Rand’s list of core virtues is pride, the policy of “moral ambitiousness,” in Rand’s words. This means a policy of being committed to making oneself be the best one can be, of shaping one’s character to the highest level possible.

The moral person, in summary, on Rand’s account, is someone who acts and is committed to acting in his best self-interest. It is by living the morality of self interest that one survives, flourishes, and achieves happiness.

This account of self interest is currently a minority position. The contrasting view typically pits self interest against morality, holding that one is moral only to the extent that one sacrifices one’s self interest for the sake of others or, more moderately, to the extent one acts primarily with regard to the interests of others. For example, standard versions of morality will hold that one is moral to the extent one sets aside one’s own interests in order to serve God, or the weak and the poor, or society as a whole. On these accounts, the interests of God, the poor, or society as a whole are held to be of greater moral significance that one’s own, and so accordingly one’s interests should be sacrificed when necessary. These ethics of selflessness thus believe that one should see oneself fundamentally as a servant, as existing to serve the interests of others, not one’s own. “Selfless service to others” or “selfless sacrifice” are stock phrases indicating these accounts’ view of appropriate motivation and action.

The core difference between Rand’s self interest view and the selfless view can be seen in the reason why most advocates of selflessness think self interest is dangerous: conflicts of interest.

b. Conflicts of Interest
Traditional ethics takes conflicts of interest to be fundamental to the human condition, and takes ethics to be the solution: basic ethical principles are to tell us whose interests should be sacrificed in order to resolve the conflicts. If there is, for example, a fundamental conflict between what God wants and what humans naturally want, then religious ethics will make fundamental the principle that human wants should be sacrificed for God’s. If there’s a fundamental conflict between what society needs and what individuals want, then some versions of secular ethics will make fundamental the principle that the individual’s wants should be sacrificed for society’s.

Taking conflicts of interest to be fundamental almost always stems from one of two beliefs: that human nature is fundamentally destructive or that economic resources are scarce. If human nature is fundamentally destructive, then humans are naturally in conflict with each other. Many ethical philosophies start from this premise – for example, Plato’s myth of Gyges, Jewish and Christian accounts of Original Sin, or Freud’s account of the id. If what individuals naturally want to do to each other is rape, steal, and kill, then in order to have society these individual desires need to be sacrificed. Consequently, a basic principle of ethics will be to urge individuals to suppress their natural desires so that society can exist. In other words, self interest is the enemy, and must be sacrificed for others.

If economic resources are scarce, then there is not enough to go around. This scarcity then puts human beings in fundamental conflict with each other: for one individual’s need to be satisfied, another’s must be sacrificed. Many ethical philosophies begin with this premise. For example, followers of Thomas Malthus’s theory that population growth outstrips growth in the food supply fall into this category. Karl Marx’s account of capitalist society is that brutal competition leads to the exploitation of some by others. Garret Hardin’s famous use of the lifeboat analogy asks us to imagine that society is like a lifeboat with more people that its resources can support. And so in order to solve the destructive competition the lack of resources leads us to, a basic principle of ethics will be to urge individuals to sacrifice their interests in obtaining more (or even some) so that others may obtain more (or some) and society can exist peacefully. In others words, in a situation of scarcity self interest is the enemy and must be sacrificed for others.

Rand rejects both the scarce resources and destructive human nature premises. Human beings are not born in sin or with destructive desires; nor do they necessarily acquire them in the course of growing to maturity. Instead one is born tabula rasa (“blank slate”), and through one’s choices and actions one acquires one’s character traits and habits. As Rand phrased it, “Man is a being of self-made soul.” Having chronic desires to steal, rape, or kill others are the result of mistaken development and the acquisition of bad habits, just as are chronic laziness or the habit of eating too much junk food. And just as one is not born lazy but can by one’s choices develop oneself into a person of vigor or sloth, one is not born anti-social but can by one’s choices develop oneself into a person of cooperativeness or conflict.

Nor are resources scarce in any fundamental way, according to Rand. By the use of reason, humans can discover new resources and how to use existing resources more efficiently, including recycling where appropriate and making productive processes more efficient. Humans have for example continually discovered and developed new energy resources, from animals to wood to coal to oil to nuclear to solar; and there is no end in sight to this process. At any given moment, the available resources are a fixed amount, but over time the stock of resources are and have been constantly expanding.

Because humans are rational they can produce an ever-expanding number of goods, and so human interests do not fundamentally conflict with each other. Instead Rand holds that the exact opposite is true: since humans can and should be productive, human interests are deeply in harmony with each other. For example, my producing more corn is in harmony with your producing more peas, for by our both being productive and trading with each other we are both better off. It is to your interest that I be successful in producing more corn, just as it is to my interest that you be successful in producing more peas.

Conflicts of interest do exist within a narrower scope of focus. For example, in the immediate present available resources are more fixed, and so competition for those resources results, and competition produces winners and losers. Economic competition, however, is a broader form of cooperation, a way socially to allocate resources without resorting to physical force and violence. By competition, resources are allocated efficiently and peacefully, and in the long run more resources are produced. Thus, a competitive economic system is in the self interest of all of us.

Accordingly, Rand argues that her ethic of self interest is the basis for personal happiness and free and prosperous societies.

3. Rand’s Influence
The impact of Rand’s ideas is difficult to measure, but it has been great. All of the books she published during her lifetime are still in print, have sold more than twenty million copies, and continue to sell hundreds of thousands of copies each year. A survey jointly conducted by the Library of Congress and the Book of the Month Club early in the 1990s asked readers to name the book that had most influenced their lives: Atlas Shrugged was second only to the Bible. Excerpts from Rand’s works are regularly reprinted in college textbooks and anthologies, and several volumes have been published posthumously containing her early writings, journals, and letters. Those inspired by her ideas have published books in many academic fields and founded several institutes. Noteworthy among these are the Cato Institute, based in Washington, D.C., the leading libertarian think tank in the world. Rand, along with Nobel Prize-winners Friedrich Hayek and Milton Friedman, was highly instrumental in attracting generations of individuals to the libertarian movement. Also noteworthy are the Ayn Rand Institute, founded in 1985 by philosopher Leonard Peikoff and based in California, and The Objectivist Center, founded in 1990 by philosopher David Kelley and based in New York.

4. References and Further Reading
Binswanger, Harry. The Biological Basis of Teleological Concepts. Los Angeles, CA: A.R.I. Press, 1990.
Written by a philosopher, this is a scholarly work focused on the connection between biology and the concepts at the roots of ethics.
Branden, Nathaniel. The Psychology of Self-Esteem. Los Angeles: Nash Publishing, 1969.
Branden, Nathaniel, and Barbara Branden. Who Is Ayn Rand? New York: Random House, 1962.

This book contains three essays on Objectivism’s moral philosophy, its connection to psychological theory, and a literary study of Rand’s novel methods. It contains an additional biographical essay, tracing Rand’s life from birth up until her mid-50s.
Hessen, Robert. In Defense of the Corporation. Stanford, CA: Hoover Institution, 1979.
An economic historian, Hessen argues and defends from an Objectivist perspective the moral and legal status of the corporate form of business organizations.
Kelley, David. The Evidence of the Senses. Baton Rouge: L.S.U. Press, 1986.
Written by a philosopher, this is a scholarly work in epistemology, focusing on the foundational role the senses play in human knowledge.
Mayhew, Robert. Ayn Rand’s Marginalia. New Milford, CT: Second Renaissance Books, 1995.

This volume contains Rand’s critical comments on over twenty thinkers, including Friedrich Hayek, C. S. Lewis, and Immanuel Kant. Edited by a philosopher, the volume contains facsimiles of the original texts with Rand’s comments on facing pages.
Peikoff, Leonard. The Ominous Parallels: The End of Freedom in America. New York: Stein & Day, 1982.

A scholarly work in the philosophy of history, arguing Objectivism’s theses about the role of philosophical ideas in history and applying them to explaining the rise of National Socialism.
Peikoff, Leonard. Objectivism: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand. New York: Dutton, 1991.

This is the first comprehensive overview of all aspects of Objectivist philosophy, written by the philosopher most close to Rand during her lifetime.
Rand, Ayn. Atlas Shrugged. Random House, 1957.
Rand’s magnum opus of fiction.
Rand, Ayn.Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal. New American Library, 1967.

A collection of twenty of Rand’s essays on politics, history, and economics. Also includes two essays by psychologist Nathaniel Branden, three by economist Alan Greenspan, and one by historian Robert Hessen.

Rand, Ayn. The Fountainhead. Bobbs-Merrill, 1943.
The novel of individualism, independence, and integrity that made Rand famous.

Rand, Ayn. Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology. New American Library, 1979.
Rand’s theory of concept-formation. Also includes an essay by philosopher Leonard Peikoff on the analytic/synthetic distinction.

Rand, Ayn. Philosophy: Who Needs It. Bobbs-Merrill, 1982.
A collection of Rand’s essays on the nature and significance of philosophy.

Rand, Ayn.The Romantic Manifesto. World Publishing, 1969. Paperback edition: New American Library, 1971.
A collection of Rand’s essays on philosophy of art and aesthetics.
Rand, Ayn. The Virtue of Selfishness. New American Library, 1964.
A collection of fourteen of Rand’s essays on ethics. Also includes five essays by psychologist Nathaniel Branden.

Rasmussen, Douglas and Douglas Den Uyl, editors. The Philosophic Thought of Ayn Rand. Urbana, IL: University of Illinois Press, 1984.
A collection of scholarly essays by philosophers, defending and criticizing various aspects of Objectivism’s metaphysics, epistemology, ethics, and politics.

Reisman, George. Capitalism: A Treatise on Economics. Ottawa, IL: Jameson Books, 1996.
A scholarly work by an economist, developing capitalist economic theory and connecting it to Objectivist philosophy.

Sciabarra, Chris Matthew. Ayn Rand, The Russian Radical. University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press, 1995.
A work in history of philosophy, this book attempts to trace the influence upon Rand’s thinking of dialectical approaches to philosophy prevalent in 19th century Europe and Russia. Also an introduction and overview of the major branches of Objectivist philosophy.

Categories: Ethics, Philosophers

++++
http://www.iep.utm.edu/rand/

Back to top Go down
View user profile
mike lewis



Posts : 190
Join date : 2012-03-22

PostSubject: Re: Ayn Rand Breakaway Discussion   Tue 25 Sep 2012, 9:29 pm

You neglected to provide the identity of the article's author. The article is a propaganda piece written by a leading Objectivist, which makes its author anything but objective, and your appeal to this particular 'authority', particularly fallacious.


Author Information
Stephen R. C. Hicks
Email: shicks@rockford.edu
Rockford College
U. S. A.

1996 Salvatori Fellow, The Heritage Foundation, Washington, D.C.

1999-2000 Senior Fellow, The Objectivist Center, New York.

2007-present Executive Director, Center for Ethics and Entrepreneurship.

Hicks is also the co-editor, with David Kelley, of a critical thinking textbook, The Art of Reasoning: Readings for Logical Analysis (W. W. Norton & Co., second edition, 1998).

David Kelley is founder and senior fellow of The Atlas Society.

http://www.stephenhicks.org/biography/
Back to top Go down
View user profile
ScoutsHonor

avatar

Posts : 1360
Join date : 2009-10-20

PostSubject: Re: Ayn Rand Breakaway Discussion   Wed 26 Sep 2012, 9:48 am

mike lewis wrote:
You neglected to provide the identity of the article's author. The article is a propaganda piece written by a leading Objectivist, which makes its author anything but objective, and your appeal to this particular 'authority', particularly fallacious.


Author Information
Stephen R. C. Hicks
Email: shicks@rockford.edu
Rockford College
U. S. A.

1996 Salvatori Fellow, The Heritage Foundation, Washington, D.C.

1999-2000 Senior Fellow, The Objectivist Center, New York.

2007-present Executive Director, Center for Ethics and Entrepreneurship.

Hicks is also the co-editor, with David Kelley, of a critical thinking textbook, The Art of Reasoning: Readings for Logical Analysis (W. W. Norton & Co., second edition, 1998).

David Kelley is founder and senior fellow of The Atlas Society.

http://www.stephenhicks.org/biography


Thanks :-) for posting the author's credentials -- you have made my argument for me. lol.

This MAY be one of the lamest, most childish responses to a serious argument I've ever heard. It consists of: No! No! No! I won't accept reason, proof, reality if it clashes with my wishes (I am a brainless denier, but I don't care)

PS. You wouldn't know an Appeal to Authority if it bit you in the ass...



Back to top Go down
View user profile
mike lewis



Posts : 190
Join date : 2012-03-22

PostSubject: Re: Ayn Rand Breakaway Discussion   Wed 26 Sep 2012, 12:36 pm

ScoutsHonor wrote:



Thanks :-) for posting the author's credentials -- you have made my argument for me. lol.

Your argument being that objectivists think objectivism is great? I'm not contesting that. I'm sure that scientologists think scientology is great, and mormons think mormonism is great, but it doesn't really mean all that much when a cult gets an endorsement from one of its own cult members.

ScoutsHonor wrote:
This MAY be one of the lamest, most childish responses to a serious argument I've ever heard.

There was no serious argument presented, there were a few vague lines in an encyclopedia article mentioning that objectivism is somehow connected to the Aristotelian tradition in some unspecified way , and this according to the objectivist author mind you. That's not a serious argument, it's no argument at all in fact, all it is is an unsubstantiated claim.

ScoutsHonor wrote:
It consists of: No! No! No! I won't accept reason, proof, reality if it clashes with my wishes (I am a brainless denier, but I don't care)

(sic)


ScoutsHonor wrote:
PS. You wouldn't know an Appeal to Authority if it bit you in the ass...

You don't seem to know much about philosophy, or logic. You did appeal to authority, this is a matter of fact. The only question is whether your appeal was valid or fallacious, and I have demonstrated that it was indeed fallacious.




Back to top Go down
View user profile
mike lewis



Posts : 190
Join date : 2012-03-22

PostSubject: Re: Ayn Rand Breakaway Discussion   Sun 30 Sep 2012, 12:40 am



ScoutsHonor wrote:

"Rand’s philosophy is in the Aristotelian tradition, with that tradition’s emphasis upon metaphysical naturalism, empirical reason in epistemology, and self-realization in ethics.

ScoutsHonor wrote:
a serious argument

Indubitably.
Back to top Go down
View user profile
mike lewis



Posts : 190
Join date : 2012-03-22

PostSubject: Re: Ayn Rand Breakaway Discussion   Tue 16 Oct 2012, 3:27 pm


"one of the chief problems for the critic of Objectivism is the complexity of Objectivism's confusions!"
The Essential Subjectivity of Objectivism

Quote :

"Ayn Rand and the Is/Ought Problem"
Over at Mises.org we find Patrick M. O'Neil's detailed breakdown of Objectivist ethics, and despite Rand's claims to the contrary, exactly how it fails to overcome Hume's problem. The result is what he calls the "essential subjectivity of Objectivism.":

"...It is at this stage in her argumentation, at the very point of seeming triumph over subjectivity, that Rand loses the battle. She takes aim at the Humean disjuncture of the prescriptive from the descriptive and fatally wounds the pretentions to objectivity of her own systematic ethics: "The fact that a living entity is, determines what it ought to do. So much for the issue of the relation between 'is' and 'ought'"("The Objectivist Ethics"). In these two sentences, Rand reveals a serious misconception of the nature of the Humean is-ought gap and introduces a dangerous potential for self-contradiction into her own ethical system.

In his work A Treatise of Human Nature, the Scottish philosopher David Hume challenged the basis of all objective systems of morality:

"I can not forbear adding to these reasonings an observation, which may, perhaps, be found of some importance. In every system of morality, which I have hitherto met with, I have always remarked, that the author proceeds for sometime in the ordinary way of reasoning, and establishes the being of a God. or makes observations concerning human affairs: when of a sudden I am surprised to find, that instead of the usual copulations of propositions, is, and is not. I meet with no proposition that is not connected with an ought or an ought not. This change is imperceptible; but is, however, of the last consequence. For as this ought, or ought not, expresses some new revelation or affirmation, 'tis necessary that it should be observed and explained; and at the same time that a reason should be given, for what seems altogether
inconceivable, how this new relation can be a deduction from others, which are entirely different from it."

Clearly, Rand thinks that Hume denied a connection between facts and systems of morality. This error is not uncommon, and forms the basis for A. C. MacIntyre's revisionist reinterpretation of Hume's famous paragraph. Claiming that Hume could not have meant to establish a total divorcement of facts from values because Hume uses facts in his own ethical system, MacIntyre interprets Hume to be assaulting only theologically-based morality. In fact, there is nothing in the Humean formulation of the problem which hinders the simple integration of facts and values. The sole difficulty arises over the derivability of values from facts...In conclusion, then, Ayn Rand's system of Objectivist ethics does not provide the basis for a solution to the Humean dilemma of the is/ought gap; nor have attempts by a new generation of natural law ethicians to rework her system succeeded in subduing that central ethical difficulty. Since no ethical system has been demonstrated to have solved the is-ought problem, it may be thought a minor flaw in Rand. It is her specific claim to have overcome this difficulty that magnifies its importance in regard to her system."
http://aynrandcontrahumannature.blogspot.com/2007/12/ayn-rand-and-isought-problem.html


http://home.sprynet.com/~owl1/rand5.htm
Back to top Go down
View user profile
mike lewis



Posts : 190
Join date : 2012-03-22

PostSubject: Re: Ayn Rand Breakaway Discussion   Wed 17 Oct 2012, 6:42 pm

Scientology & Objectivism Are 2 Equally Crazy Cults!

There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old's life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs ~ John Rogers, a screenwriter who resides in Los Angeles CA.

For many, Rand's Objectivism was a way station between L Ron Hubbard's Dianetics and Werner Erhard's est... not only has the Objectivist movement been a classic cult as defined in the dictionary, it may arguably be viewed as a destructive psychotherapeutic-religious cult ~ Jeff Walker, author of "The Ayn Rand Cult" (a quote from his 1998 book).


"Who is John Galt?" A two dimensional character in a third rate novel written by Alan Greenspan's dominatrix.~Inventor on Daily Kos.

Ah, yes, Alan Greenspan. This is where the post turns a little more serious. The late Paul Samuelson had the following to say about him:

And this brings us to Alan Greenspan, whom I've known for over 50 years and who I regarded as one of the best young business economists. Townsend-Greenspan was his company. But the trouble is that he had been an Ayn Rander. You can take the boy out of the cult but you can't take the cult out of the boy. He actually had instruction, probably pinned on the wall: 'Nothing from this office should go forth which discredits the capitalist system. Greed is good.'

Yet again the similarity between Objectivism and Scientology appears, and not in a funny way, either.

Greenspan also makes a cameo in Maureen Dowd's comment on Atlas Shrugged, along with Paul Ryan.

Congressman Ryan has said the reason he got involved in public service was “by and large” because of Rand, and he has encouraged his staffers to read “Atlas Shrugged.”

You’d think that our fiscal meltdown would have shown the flaw in Rand’s philosophy. She thought we could derive morals from the markets. But we derived immorality from the markets.
...
What Rand and acolytes like Alan Greenspan failed to realize is that if everyone acts in self-interest and no one takes into account the weakness to the entire system that occurs when everybody indulges in the same kind of risky behavior, the innocent and the guilty are engulfed.

Ms. Dowd brings me to the serious point of this post (gloating is not a serious point), Objectivism is a philosophy that is contributing to our problems. Worse yet, it is becoming a response to our problems, making them even worse.

What, you say, Objectivism causes collapse? Yes. It's all there in the manual. But that's the subject of Part II.


Brad Hicks on LiveJournal had the following to say about "Atlas Shrugged."

Atlas Shrugged, for those of you who never read it, can be summarized entirely fairly as follows. Unknown to our viewpoint characters at first, an inventor named John Galt has invented a "free energy" machine, a motor that runs on ambient static electricity and the Earth's own inertia and puts out enough electricity in a fairly small unit to power almost anything, including vehicles, force field generators, energy weapons, even an invisibility cloak if you use a big enough unit. He invented this while working at a company where his contract gave them rights to stuff he invented on the clock, like most professional engineers and inventors, but he assumed that as the inventor, he was entitled to all of the profits from this fabulous new invention. The company's management and other employees, though, saw just how much resentment would happen if one company owned the monopoly on an invention this valuable, and started making plans for how to invest some of the profits into charitable ventures, so they wouldn't get the whole thing taken away from them via eminent domain. John Galt, outraged that anybody would even suggest that he or the company he worked for owed anything to the nation that provided his education, protected him from infectious disease outbreaks, protected him from Communist invasion, built the roads that got him to work each day, provided the police that kept him safe, and provided the court system that protected his property rights at all, sabotaged the Galt Engine, so nobody could have it.

Then he went further and, in a fit of offended pique, promised to "stop the motor of the world," to kill 90% or so of Earth's population by intentionally wrecking the economy. Which he then did. How? By finding every other competent engineer or manager in the US and persuading them to be just as selfish as him, just as unwilling to pay back or protect their country; he declared a covert "strike of the mind," as he called it. He hid them all in a secretive compound in the Rocky Mountains, protected by force field and invisibility cloak, and waited for the US economy to collapse, which, obligingly, it did -- because John Galt had carefully sabotaged the bridges and railroads that made it possible for fuel and seeds to make it from the coastal cities to inland farms, and make it possible for food grown on inland farms to make it to the coastal cities. And as chaos was breaking out, he and his fellow inventors hijacked every radio transmitter in the US to broadcast his manifesto: You all deserve to die, for asking us to pay you back even one nickel, because we are all so selfish we don't consider any of the things you all paid for out of your taxes and that you did with your labor to have been at all helpful to us as entirely self-sufficient brilliant inventors and managers. So die.

I told you. Deliberately engineered collapse in the service of Objectivist goals is all there in the manual. Furthermore, John Galt, the mastermind behind this plan, is someone that Objectivists think is a hero. Lovely.

Furthermore, George Monbiot noted that efforts to prevent collapse, especially environmental collapse, absolutely enrage Objectivists.

A new movement, most visible in North America and Australia, but now apparent everywhere, demands to trample on the lives of others as if this were a human right. It will not be constrained by taxes, gun laws, regulations, health and safety, especially environmental restraints. It knows that fossil fuels have granted the universal ape amplification beyond its Palaeolithic dreams. For a moment, a marvellous, frontier moment, they allowed us to live in blissful mindlessness.

The angry men know that this golden age has gone; but they cannot find the words for the constraints they hate. Clutching their copies of Atlas Shrugged, they flail around, accusing those who would impede them of communism, fascism, religiosity, misanthropy, but knowing at heart that these restrictions are driven by something far more repulsive to the unrestrained man: the decencies we owe to other human beings.

Furthermore, they have elite help as Stranded Wind stated on Daily Kos.

How did we get here? You’ll find the Friedmanite free market ideology, lacking in merit for many of the situations to which it has been applied, yet its followers continuing howling that we ought to let the market decide, marketwide credit constipation be damned. The handmaiden of this foolishness, Rand’s objectivism, provides the ideological zombie virus that created many of the Freidmanite ideology’s true believers.

I'm in the middle of reading Naomi Klein's "Shock Doctrine," in which Milton Friedman's free market ideology plays a starring, albeit villainous, role, so I found the juxtaposition of Friedman and Rand particularly striking. When I finish the book, I promise to blog about it. I just hope it doesn't take seven months.

Of course, what comes around goes around. One of the quotes collected on Mike Huben's site comes from Bob Black, "Smokestack Lightning" and is most apt.

As it happens there is light to be shed on the libertarian position on breathing. Ayn Rand is always inspirational and often oracular for libertarians. A strident atheist and vehement rationalist -- she felt in fact that she and three or four of her disciples were the only really rational people there were -- Rand remarked that she worshipped smokestacks. For her, as for Lyndon LaRouche, they not only stood for, they were the epitome of human accomplishment. She must have meant it since she was something of a human smokestack herself; she was a chain smoker, as were the other rationals in her entourage. In the end she abolished her own breathing: she died of lung cancer.

Enough seriousness. Time for some fun tomorrow.

Atlas Shrugged: A movie this demented ought to be against the law

Charlie Jane Anders — Every cult needs its own wacky trainwreck of a movie. Scientology got Battlefield Earth, and now the cult of Ayn Rand gets Atlas Shrugged, Part 1. But how does Atlas stand up to Battlefield Earth?

I have an entire canned list of quotes on the similarities between Objectivism and Scientology, but this isn't the post for me to regurgitate all of them. I'll just post this one.

Wasn't Ayn Rand a pseudonym of L. Ron Hubbard?~Mike Huben

I think this is the post for me to regurgitate my canned quotes about he similarities between Scientology and Objectivism. Here goes.


I have a "from the sublime to the ridiculous" comparison of Scientology and Objectivism.

First, there is also a book, "The Cult of Ayn Rand" by Jeff Walker that compares Objectivism and Scientology. In it, Walker makes the following connections between Objectivism and L Ron Hubbard/Scientology (quotes from holysmoke.org, an anti-Scientology site).?

There have been other Ayn Rands, before and after Ayn Rand. throughout this book I draw attention to the striking parallels between Rand and such figures as Mary Baker Eddy, Edward Bellamy, Count Alfred Korzybski, L Ron Hubbard, Werner Erhardt and Bhagwan Rajneesh. The phenomena she represents are common and recurring ones that say a great deal about the nature of individuals and society." (page 4)

"Most of the star gurus, certainly Reverend Moon, L Ron Hubbard, Rajneesh and Werner Erhard were partly innovative and partly syncretic, all to a significant degree breaking with traditional religion, but all offering doctrines which were amalgams of pre-existing traditions...bits and pieces of Objectivism have been around for ages before her (Rand). Rand's - and Branden's - contribution was to select them, string them together and package them for mass consumption." (page 68)

"For many, Rand's Objectivism was a way station between L Ron Hubbard's Dianetics and Werner Erhard's est...not only has the Objectivist movement been a classic cult as defined in the dictionary, it may arguably be viewed as a destructive psychotherapeutic-religious cult..." (page 98)

"Ayn Rand was not the first to propound an ethics for the masses based on survival as a rational being. That honor goes to fellow novelist and cult leader L Ron Hubbard (1911-1986), the science-fiction writer who founded Dianetics and the Church of Scientology. Dianetics preceded NBI's start-up by eight years and the Objectivist ethics by 11 years. Dianetics groups formed on campuses during the 1950's, much as Ayn Rand clubs would in the 1960's. Many who flocked to Objectivism in the 1960's had previously had some contact with Dianetics or Scientology. Dianetics used reasoning somewhat similar to Rand's about the brain as a machine. Hubbard's 'analytical' versus 'reactive' mind has its equivalent in Rand's system. Both have a higher mind reprogramming the rest of the mind. Hubbard and Rand were both extremely intelligence- and survival oriented, in the interest of a rational man. They counseled the uprooting of irrational premises (or 'engrams'). Both contended that the resulting enhanced rationality leads to greater capacity for healthy emotion. Perceptual data is immaculate for both. Both regard our often being unconscious of incoming data as the real problem. After many years of working at it, the student of Dianetics becomes a 'clear,' while the student of Objectivism becomes a full-fledged Objectivist...Both Dianetics and Objectivist psychology draw fire from the psychiatric establishment. The philosophy of each relates immorality to decreasing one's survival potential. Each claims to be science- and logic-based. Both share a benevolent universe premise...Hubbard and Rand are very much against all rule-by-force. Both assert that rational men have no real conflicts of interest. Each deplores social complexity being wielded as an excuse for introducing government regulations when it is the latter that generates the former in a vicious cycle...Each was lambasted by biographers for serious personality problems. And both figures have been denounced by former associates who claim that the leader had feet of clay and the doctrine is detrimental to its adherent's health.

Because Hubbard and Rand shared a number of quirks and basic ideas, it does not follow that their complete philosophies are essentially similar - that is hardly the case. What we can see is that those basic ideas were circulating within the culture of mid-century America and that both figures exemplify the growth of a cult preaching 'rationality'."

Next, and starting the descent into the ridiculous, here the video at this link from Netroots Nation.

At about 6:00 in, Hale "Bonddad" Stewart interrupts his description of Alan Greenspan's part in creating the credit crisis with, "If you thought Scientologists were weird, Ayn Rand devotees are just bizarre." Greenspan was a personal follower of Rand during the 1960s. At 27:45 in, Representative Brad Miller (Democrat, North Carolina) remarked that it was reassuring that Bernanke didn't go home and read and re-read "Atlas Shrugged" every night, unlike his predecessor. At both points, the liberal audience responds with mocking laughter. To them, Ayn Rand is an object of scorn; they think the same thing of Rand that conservatives think of Marx.

I'll have more to say about Alan Greenspan and his relationship to Rand and Objectivism later. In the meantime, I'll leave you with this quote from Paul Samuelson.

"But the trouble is that he [Alan Greenspan] had been an Ayn Rander. You can take the boy out of the cult but you can't take the cult out of the boy."

Descending farther into the ridiculous, TVTropes has a "Just Bugs Me" page about "Atlas Shrugged."

What about the plan in general? Inferred Holocaust and Moral Dissonance if I've ever seen it! One hundred odd people bring about the end of the mixed economy as we know it without actually doing anything, countless are dead, the infrastructure is shot... and our protagonists act like they will be national heroes, and that the country will be up and running in a month or so. If any semblance of civilization managed to survive, then it would take a good hundred years to get the country back to its current size and strength.

The fact that they "didn't actually do anything" is the point. Galt's plan depended upon getting all of the right people to go on strike and turn their back on the society that leeched off them while condemning them. For them to actually do anything to that society would have diluted the "moral purity" of their stand.

Also, they're clearly willing to take that hundred years to rebuild as long as it's on their terms. Even with Galt's perpetual energy device, the Gulch's residents were excited about one of them finally assembling a single tractor to help them farm.
...
It is an interesting exercise to compare Ayn Rand's forward to Atlas Shrugged (she claims that she is the only novelist in history to write about a new idea) with L. Ron Hubbard's forward to his Mission Earth series (he claims that if you don't find it uproariously funny your'e obviously exactly the sort of shumck he was trying to ridicule, and no, he's not kidding). I am quite sure the two were never in the same room together, as the Universe would have collapsed from the accumulated hubris. On that note--"

Fountainhead Earth on Uncyclopedia

Uncyclopedia advertises itself as content free. This article lives down to the description, which completes the descent into the ridiculous.


Back to top Go down
View user profile
mike lewis



Posts : 190
Join date : 2012-03-22

PostSubject: Re: Ayn Rand Breakaway Discussion   Sat 20 Oct 2012, 10:37 pm

Ayn Rand (born Alisa Zinov'yevna Rosenbaum, February 2 [O.S. January 20] 1905 - March 6, 1982) was a Russian-born philosopher and individualist, founder of the school of objectivism. Objectivism is a popular political philosophy in the American classical liberal tradition.

Ayn Rand herself is a controversial figure, being the only known example in history of someone who was completely self-made.

She didn't need anybody at all.

Ever.

For anything.

Ayn Rand gave birth to herself in Czarian Russia, just to show that she was tough enough. Born at the age of zero, Ayn immediately set about teaching herself Russian-- considered a difficult task at any age. At first, Ayn subsisted on milk stolen from local cattle before moving on to directly killing them. The local farmers referred to her as "el asesino pequeños," the "cattle hacker." Or something.

Ayn was known for her ability to make her own clothes from raw materials. At the age of 2, she was able to not only make the blanket she was coddled in, but to coddle herself: the beginning of a destructive life-long habit. Living far away from civilization, Ayn began her tutelage under Ayn Rand, the Russian-born philosopher and individualist, founder of the school of objectivism.

Ayn's solitary life came to an end when she was forced by the new communist government to share her individuality with the state. Ayn did not like this.

She did not like this at all. And by "this" I mean sharing.

Sharing is something learned by the time a normal child enters kindergarten.

Ayn was granted a visa in 1925 to visit her relatives in Chicago and never returned to Russia. The "flying contraption" she created over that weekend out of sticks, held together by borscht, to fly the 10,000+ miles was the prototype used for our stealth bombers today.

Early Fiction

Rand decided to enter the world of writing in her early 20's without ever having actually talked to a human being. Her early fiction, especially her second novel, "YES," was centered around the ideas of Ayn Rand, but was also semi-autobiographical. Most of her early works used ideas made by herself and shared by no one else.

Ayn's early writings made basic assumptions about humanity, such as their weaknesses and their base habits. She only needed to study humans for a month before she began using them in her stories. Her fiction began to take on a life of its own after that point.

Political Activism and Objectivism

Rand, who did not believe in democracy, was unwillingly pulled into it. In the 1940s, after allowing a man to marry her, she wrote her first true novel, "the Fountainhead," a story about a guy who kills people living in the houses he himself constructed because the government said they couldn't be as kewl as he wanted them to be. The novel also features clues to the whereabouts of Rand's twelve murder victims.

Rand, who still survived off the land and lived in a cave during this time, started the philosophical movement called "objectivism": So called because it is objective and level-headed... not like those OTHER philosophies. Ayn Rand herself thought of objectivism as the responsible son in a family of "total retards. Just... just total retards."

Ayn did not like retards.

Rand's objectivist utopia, exemplified in her best known novel, Atlas Shrugged, revolves around "John Galt," a middle manager who rose through the ranks at a local television station without any help from anyone, ever, at all. The novel was written before television became irrelevant, and modern objectivists usually replace "television station" with the more contemporary "internet station."

Galt and the others at the station are being taxed for creating exceptional programming such as "Child Doctor," "Child in Charge," and many other blockbuster child-themed shows.

The dystopian vision of a government which provides a social safety net for the poor is the central contention in the book. John Galt continues his rise through the ranks until he becomes rich... or something... and then he blows up some houses.

The book is interspersed with 8-page diatribes, popular with jackasses.

Ayn appreciated diatribes and jackasses.

Sharing

Ayn Rand believed people who enjoyed sharing would also enjoy complete slavery. In Atlas Shrugged, the punishment for sharing was instant and complete slavery. According to Rand, because sharing actually lessens the amount of a good available to you, it is bad.

Sharing means less good.

It bad.

Bad, sharing! Bad.

Poverty is a punishment from society for being lazy. Rand herself said, "Why are those poor people so lazy? Look at me, I'm rich, white, and I have no mental handicaps, all because of what I've accomplished."

When Ayn first came to America, her first sight was of the New York skyline: a testimony to the capitalist spirit of America. At the time of construction, it was possible to send one's children through college by being a construction worker.

Thank god THAT'S not true anymore.

Rand's "family" traditionally worshipped the Peloponnesian god of luaus, Big Papa Ono. Leaving behind the idea of constant flower necklaces and suckling pigs, Rand was an atheist her entire life. "Religion," Rand said, "was dumb. Dumb, dumb, dumb. You're stupid."

Every single member of congress who purports to be an objectivist is a Christian.

Don't worry about it. Nobody cares.

Objectivism is a close relative of libertarianism. Libertarianism, however, is less interested in aggressive international politics and atheism. They also want to smoke way more pot.
During the first Republican Primary debate in 2011, Ron Paul, a famous libertarian, mentioned "heroin" an astonishing eighty times. He was basically screaming it over and over again at a bunch of old, white people.
Ron Paul's son, Rand Paul, changed his first name to Ayn Rand's last name. If he had changed his first name to her middle name, he would be called Ann Paul.
Objectivism plans to be around for another forty thousand years before retiring with all the cash in the world to the Cayman Islands.

http://uncyclopedia.wikia.com/wiki/Ayn_Rand
Back to top Go down
View user profile
mike lewis



Posts : 190
Join date : 2012-03-22

PostSubject: Re: Ayn Rand Breakaway Discussion   Sat 20 Oct 2012, 10:40 pm

Back to top Go down
View user profile
ScoutsHonor

avatar

Posts : 1360
Join date : 2009-10-20

PostSubject: Re: Ayn Rand Breakaway Discussion   Sun 21 Oct 2012, 11:52 am

Something to cheer you up, Mike



cause it ain't hate that makes the world go round..

Smile
Regards.
Back to top Go down
View user profile
mike lewis



Posts : 190
Join date : 2012-03-22

PostSubject: Re: Ayn Rand Breakaway Discussion   Sun 21 Oct 2012, 7:35 pm

ScoutsHonor wrote:
hate



Quote :
Now, I don't care to discuss the alleged complaints American Indians have against this country. I believe, with good reason, the most unsympathetic Hollywood portrayal of Indians and what they did to the white man. They had no right to a country merely because they were born here and then acted like savages. The white man did not conquer this country. And you're a racist if you object, because it means you believe that certain men are entitled to something because of their race. You believe that if someone is born in a magnificent country and doesn't know what to do with it, he still has a property right to it. He does not. Since the Indians did not have the concept of property or property rights--they didn't have a settled society, they had predominantly nomadic tribal "cultures"--they didn't have rights to the land, and there was no reason for anyone to grant them rights that they had not conceived of and were not using. It's wrong to attack a country that respects (or even tries to respect) individual rights. If you do, you're an aggressor and are morally wrong. But if a "country" does not protect rights--if a group of tribesmen are the slaves of their tribal chief--why should you respect the "rights" that they don't have or respect? The same is true for a dictatorship. The citizens in it have individual rights, but the country has no rights and so anyone has the right to invade it, because rights are not recognized in that country; and no individual or country can have its cake and eat it too--that is, you can't claim one should respect the "rights" of Indians, when they had no concept of rights and no respect for rights. But let's suppose they were all beautifully innocent savages--which they certainly were not. What were they fighting for, in opposing the white man on this continent? For their wish to continue a primitive existnece; for their "right" to keep part of the earth untouched--to keep everybody out so they could live like animals or cavemen. Any European who brought with him an element of civilization had the right to take over this continent, and it's great that some of them did. The racist Indians today--those who condemn America--do not respect individual rights.

Quote :
Rand's one explicit statement about homosexuality, however, came in 1971 after a public lecture in Boston. She made it clear that her philosophy of personal rights and limited government required that homosexuality be decriminalized, an enlightened view for the time, but then went on to say, "It involves psychological flaws, corruptions, errors, or unfortunate premises .... Therefore I regard it as immoral ... And more than that, if you want my really sincere opinion. It's disgusting."

Arthur Silber who currently writes the engaging "Light of Reason" weblog, summed it up to Sciabarra, "Rand did have an extremely unfortunate tendency to moralize in areas where moral judgments were irrelevant and unjustified. ... especially in ... aesthetics and sexuality."
Back to top Go down
View user profile
mike lewis



Posts : 190
Join date : 2012-03-22

PostSubject: Re: Ayn Rand Breakaway Discussion   Mon 22 Oct 2012, 12:39 am

Quote :
Ayn Rand was a philandering, Russian atheist,[2] the author of vast doorstop-sized tomes like Atlas Shrugged and the ripped-off biography The Fountainhead, and other thick, boring books espousing, essentially, psychotic libertarian themes and ideology.

Rand claimed to be a philosopher, though preferring the title "Objectivist." In fact, her simplistic versions of philosophy were misunderstandings of Aristotelian metaphysical notions formulated thousands of years ago. Whether that makes a philosophy or an excuse for being greedy and selfish is, ironically, subjective.

The Objectivist movement is a movement based on Ayn Rand's personality cult philosophy of objectivism.

Ayn Rand was born as Alissa Zinovievna Rosenbaum in Russia in 1905. During the Russian Revolution her family's business and home were confiscated by the new government and she moved to the USA in 1926, leaving her family behind, where she became, initially, a successful screenwriter. Her novels championed "objectivism," promoting capitalism and the pre-eminence of the individual. A smoker for most of her life, she derided the anti-smoking lobby. Predictably enough, she underwent surgery for lung cancer in 1974 and died of heart failure in 1982.

Ayn Rand fiercely opposed all types of Social Security, including Medicare, but when she and her husband needed Medicare somehow there is a suggestion that all this did not apply to them. Ayn Rand did not consider this hypocrisy because her egotistical philosophy demanded that she keep herself alive. [3] Apparently she signed power of attorney and let someone else do the rest so that she wouldn't have to. RationalWiki is looking for confirmation, though at least two sources have the story.[4]

When Rand was 23 years old (1928), the highly publicized trial of murderer and fraud William Edward Hickman helped to inspire the conscience of her heroes. Hickman would be considered in the modern era to be a psychopath, articulate and cold-blooded. He would put on shows for the press outside the courtroom. When he was convicted and his farcical defense came to an end, Rand wrote, "My Ideal man is very far from him, of course. The outside of Hickman, but not the inside. Much deeper and much more. A Hickman with a purpose. And without the degeneracy. It is more exact to say that the model is not Hickman, but what Hickman suggested to me."[5] What attracted Rand to Hickman was his pithy statements in the newspaper, such as: "I am like the state: what is good for me is right." Other inspirations would later include, Professional Boxer Muhummad Ali for his arrogance in shoving the notion of White supremacy aside saying, "There are two things that are hard to hit and see, thats a spooky ghost and Muhammed Ali.

Rand had an acknowledged open relationship with husband Frank O'Connor, and with her closest "pupil," Nathaniel Branden, from 1957 into the 1960's. This Canadian psychotherapist is best known today as the father of the self-esteem movement. What isn't so well known about his seminal book about his theories, The Psychology of Self-Esteem (1969), is that many of the chapters in the book are merely fleshed-out versions of columns that Branden had written for Rand's newsletter over the previous 18 years. During the affair, Rand found out that besides cheating on his wife, Branden was also cheating on Rand with a model. Upon finding this out, despite the hypocrisy of the whole situation (doubly so for Rand, as she had been cheating on her husband with Branden), she berated and started throwing things at him. She allegedly declared, "If you have an ounce of moral decency, you'll be impotent for the rest of your life!" She then excommunicated him from the Objectivist cult.

Branden later apologized for his part in "contributing to that dreadful atmosphere of intellectual repressiveness that pervades the Objectivist movement."


While Rand considered her philosophies to be so well-reasoned as to be completely objective (and even called her philosophy Objectivism), it is generally agreed that what she really created[6] was a highly moralistic personality cult, which was later complete with shunning of dissenters and highly screwed-up sexual politics.[7] Rand summed up her philosophy with the following principles:

Metaphysics: Objective reality
Epistemology: Reason
Ethics: Self-interest
Politics: Laissez-faire capitalism
Aesthetics: Whatever sort of art Ayn Rand happened to like. Does not include Monet.[8]

...and with the one-liner "To live, man must hold three things as the supreme and ruling values of his life: Reason, Purpose, Self-esteem."

Detractors feel that Rand considered all those properties to be perfectly expressed in herself. Whatever the case may be, Objectivism is essentially libertarianism with hangups, usually disguised as pseudologic. Not every Objectivist is a Rand fanatic, but those that are not are shunned by the mainstream Objectivist movement led by Leonard Peikoff's Ayn Rand Institute.

Most philosophers today would dispute Randroid claims that Rand is a philosopher of any importance. The reason is simple: neither Rand's metaphysics nor her epistemology answer many of the probing questions that philosophers might demand of it. Rand's metaphysics boil down to platitudinous pieties: "Existence exists," "Existence is identity," that consciousness is relational, nothing exists without having some properties and the law of identity applies ("A is A"). These are all perfectly fine positions, but they don't seem to go far enough to satisfy the inquiries of even the most minimally trained student: for instance, Rand's view seems to be incompatible with the traditional Aristotelian substance-attribute view of the relationship between particulars and properties. Similarly, 'identity' as it is used by Rand seems to shift meanings often - between the sort of meaning one might use when describing Leibniz's law of the identity of indiscernibles and the day-to-day meaning ('my identity' etc.).

Similarly, for Rand's epistemology - she claims that "reason" is the foundation. Despite the label, Rand's epistemology is empiricist. The sort of questions which exercise contemporary epistemologists (to pick a few: resolving Gettier problems, weighing up foundationalism and coherentism as a response to the Agrippan trilemma, the closure principle) are given scant attention in Rand.

Rand claims that all of the elements of her philosophy run together - being an Objectivist means accepting all of the five components of the philosophy. Quite what in the perfectly acceptable, if a little unoriginal, metaphysics and epistemology (reality is all there is, don't bother with belief) necessitates acceptance of the ethics and political philosophy, or indeed the aesthetic worship of railway tycoons and large, phallic buildings, is never explained. The existence of many millions of non-Objectivists who hold without too much of a mental struggle either to a broadly naturalistic metaphysics and epistemology without the Randian ethic, or to a Randian or libertarian ethic and a non-naturalistic metaphysics (perhaps some kind of religion, orthodox or New Agey), seems to suggest that the two halves of Rand's philosophy aren't bound by necessity. This seems rather obvious to anyone with a brain, but does bear repeating for the Randroids, who seem to think that anyone objecting to their politics is automatically rejecting all components of their worldview.

As many of Rand's followers have demonstrated, taking the Objectivist philosophy to its logical conclusions often leads to conflicts with mainstream science.

Endorsement of American expansionism

Although Rand denounced racism as the "most crudely primitive form of collectivism" and supported property rights, none of it mattered if you just weren't capitalist enough for her. She caused a pinch of controversy when she said this about Native Americans:
“ They didn't have any rights to the land, and there was no reason for anyone to grant them rights which they had not conceived and were not using. What was it that they were fighting for, when they opposed white men on this continent? For their wish to continue a primitive existence, their 'right' to keep part of the earth untouched, unused and not even as property, but just keep everybody out so that you will live practically like an animal, or a few caves above it. Any white person who brings the element of civilization has the right to take over this continent.[9]


Atlas Shrugged
“ This is not a novel to be tossed aside lightly. It should be thrown with great force. ”

—Dorothy Parker


Actually reading this novel has been compared to pushing one's head through a light-year of refrigerated saltwater taffy (sort of like a libertarian Das Kapital, but for the fact Ayn Rand hated libertarians[11]).

To save you reading over a thousand pages of turgid prose, here is Atlas Shrugged. No "spoiler" alert is necessary:

A dark and lonely handsome 'hero' invents a perpetual motion machine.
When someone mentions the slogan "from each according to his ability, to each according to his need" he and his bazilllionaire 'friends' wail like babies, and flee in a huff to live in the mountains.[12]
All the decent folk who helped them make those bazillions of dollars running trains, forging steel, etc., are left behind to rot.
The world is like North Korea, but quite a bit less fun. Lucky for our heroes, their mountain hideout is a land of colourful plenty.
Everyone in the world is miserable except them, as they are busy driving their trains up and down in their incredible mountain hideaway away from the Gubmint.
They have romance-novel sex with other capitalist boors, but can't commit due to being too busy.
Everyone else is wrong and they are completely correct.
They pop up suddenly in public and punish the miserable hordes by lecturing them in interminably boring speeches that go on and on and on for about one hundred pages and have only one point: "You need me, I don't need you, and I refuse to make bazillions of dollars anymore, so you're all fucked. Ha Ha!"
The world goes to hell in a handbasket, except for them, 'cos they're in their seekrit mountain hideout, which can't be seen from the air, so it's, like, seekrit. And they have trains, after all.[13]
The reader contemplates suicide after over 100 references to the word 'torture.'[14]
The reader falls into a deep coma. The survival rate is estimated at 3%-5%.

A number of conservatives apparently hold Atlas Shrugged in high regard, which is strange, since they've already got a foundational text that is even longer and more boring. Rush Limbaugh frequently refers to it.[15] Glenn Beck started reading it in early 2008,[16] so he's probably halfway through by now but in 2010, it became painfully clear that he had finished only the first few pages and didn't even get those right.[17] It taught these guys "conservative love,"[18] but unfortunately, not how to rap.

The book probably would have been much shorter if ol' Ayn had laid off the speed.[19]



The drooling fans

Generally, the work of Ms. Rand is hugely enjoyed by people with the literary sensitivities of 11 year olds who imagine they have fierce political sophistication. These people, due to their often-slavish devotion to Objectivist principles, are often called Randroids.

Alan Greenspan is known to be one. So is U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan (R - WI), who is unfortunately the chairman of the House Budget Committee now running for Vice President. Outsiders perceive them as greedy, callous wankers with economic OCD. Insiders know they are greedy, callous wankers with economic OCD.

Wikipedia honcho Jimbo Wales once described himself as "Objectivist to the core," and named his daughter Kira after Kira Argounova in We the Living.[21] These facts may clarify a few things for experienced Wikipedians.

Her fan club is founded on the premise that "A is A." Arguing about Aesthetics in an Armchair while Assuming that "Anarchism is Anathema" is Actually the same As Activism.


Her enemies

Basically, everyone. If you like to lie in bed a bit late of a Saturday morning, you're a hater. If you like to tip your waiter (in the US anyway), you're a hater. If you've ever paid any kind of tax without wringing your insides at the injustice of the thing, you're a hater. If you haven't created a global multinational corporation and extracted every last cent of resources, labor and profit from multiple countries, you're a hater. If you don't think children under the age of twelve can do a decent 12 hour day's work and earn their keep, you're a hater. Even if you're a raving lunatic American Evangelical Christian Conservative, you're a hater.[22]


Her drones

Currently, her ideology is being promoted by the Ayn Rand Institute, which describes itself on its website as to be working "to introduce young people to Ayn Rand’s novels, to support scholarship and research based on her ideas, and to promote the principles of reason, rational self-interest, individual rights and laissez-faire capitalism to the widest possible audience." In what must be the greatest note of irony possible, the institute is registered as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit.[23]

http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Ayn_Rand



Quote :
"There was her 30-year use of amphetamines, beginning with Benzedrine in 1942, as she was rushing to complete The Fountainhead, and continuing with Dexedrine and Dexamyl into the 1970s. Until now it has been described as a two-pill-a-day prescription for weight control, but evidence in Heller's book indicates that it wasn't seen that way by everyone. As early as 1945, her then-close friend, journalist Isabel Paterson, was berating her in letters with passages such as, 'Stop taking that benzedrine, you idiot. I don't care what excuse you have — stop it.' Heller presents other evidence that Rand had periods of heavy use in the 1950s and '60s. But the exact extent of her dependence on amphetamines is peripheral here to the broader self-delusion. As anyone who has had the experience knows, a good way to get a really, really distorted sense of reality is to swallow a couple of Dexedrines. If you want to take them anyway, don't go around bragging that you never 'fake reality in any manner.'"
http://theweek.com/article/index/203764/ayn-rand-speed-addict


Back to top Go down
View user profile
mike lewis



Posts : 190
Join date : 2012-03-22

PostSubject: Re: Ayn Rand Breakaway Discussion   Thu 01 Nov 2012, 1:59 am

Why Do Philosophers Ignore Ayn Rand?

Because Ayn Rand was not a philosopher.

When people talk about Rand's "philosophy," they're using that word only as a euphemism. What Rand developed through her books and presented to the world was an ideology, a complex set of beliefs, opinions, metaphysics, and ethics. Philosophy is basically about the appreciation of wise thoughts, not the development of new ones. It isn't simply a set of assertions, no matter how superficially logical.

Internal consistency isn't enough. What's necessary is a rhetorical process that grapples with the philosophical questions of the day and addresses the strengths and weakness of the various solutions. It also requires a literary dialogue with philosophers of the past.

Unlike physics, which exist apart from academia, philosophy is inherently academic. There's a reason that the highest degree granted (in the United States, at least), a PhD, is called a doctorate of philosophy. At a high enough level, all academic work is partially philosophical. When you remove that from the living philosophical tradition stretching back hundreds of years, what do you have? Nothing.

When you dismiss the philosophical establishment altogether to start over with a blank slate, you're not doing it right. Yes, you can say that most of Rand's work was in the field of ethics, but you can say that about Pat Robertson, too. It doesn't make them philosophers. What they have to say is hard to combine with the academic tradition because it's poorly defined relative to it.

Philosophical books, papers, and classes may discuss the contributions of non-philosophers, but they're under no obligation to. Time is limited in every course; space is limited in every book; attentions spans of students are, of course, also limited. Since Rand's ideology is basically self-contained, there's little lost by excluding it from the philosophical curriculum, and little gained by trying to bolt it on.

It might show up in a broad survey course, or on a special class like "Philosophy and Ayn Rand." Otherwise, it won't. And until and unless Objectivists become as prominent in general population as Christians or as prominent in academia as Marxian theorists, I don't see that changing.
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/quora/why-do-philosophers-ignor_b_1994413.html


Atlas Exploited: The Clever Hoax of Ayn Rand
Just when you thought it was safe to wade back into the fiscal waters of a civilized country, Ayn Rand and her school of extremist acolytes is back to take a big bite out of our economic well-being, led by the ideologically entrenched Republican contender for Vice President. We may as well be walking around saying "Who is Paul Ryan?"

But all this is just election year noise. Rand's magnum opus Atlas Shrugged has always been lurking in the shadows of our capitalist society and is almost a canon of conservatism, but its real relevance stems not from the objectivist philosophy it expounds but from the undue credit that we give to Rand herself for believing what she did. What some people refuse to recognize is that Ayn Rand, while being a brilliant writer, was not some exceptional visionary but a deeply insecure person who latched onto a form of financial fanaticism in order to define an identity for herself.

The trouble with Rand's central thesis is that the "virtue of selfishness", other than being pretty shallow from a human perspective, is also mainly an effort to betray the code of civilized society without suffering the consequences. By maintaining that the sole purpose of a person's life is to satisfy their own needs, Rand was trying to justify her own narcissistic nature, hunger for fame, coldness of temperament, and greedy mentality.

Her definition of morality, which she stated clearly in a seminal interview with Mike Wallace in 1959, is simply to do whatever it takes to achieve your own personal happiness, regardless of the consequences of your actions upon your family, friends, colleagues, nation or the world. By this skewed logic, even Bernie Madoff is a moral man since robbing people blind to build his own fortune made him happy (as long as it lasted), not to mention almost every narcissistic and exploitative figure in history from Henry VIII to Adolf Hitler. On the issue of charity, Rand maintained that it only made sense if it made you happy. In other words, in her bleak world, even charity is nothing more than a way to make yourself feel good, much like eating a good meal or going shopping.

But all this, disturbing in itself, is just the tip of the iceberg, for in writing her novels, what Rand was really trying to accomplish was to recast her ruthless selfishness as a noble philosophy, so that her own belief in exploitation of every kind - economic, social, or personal - could be justified. It was not an accident. Her attitude towards the people in her life, by all accounts, was one of cold calculation and emotional manipulation, but at the same time she could not bear to be accused of those very things. This led her to the act of codifying her beliefs on a grand scale so that her own behavior would come to be "accepted" and even revered, rather than being rightfully criticized.

Unfortunately, we see this same pattern of thought everywhere today, from diehard capitalists who believe in the right of corporations to exploit workers and game the system and politicians who consider the poor to be parasites, to the so-called "spiritualists" who extol self-interest as the ultimate goal of human existence, thereby abdicating the need to be responsible towards anyone or anything; and the trend is undeniably destructive.

It is also important to recognize that it is precisely Rand's philosophy of personal profit at any cost that led to the subprime mortgage catastrophe and the deep recession that followed, that led to the exorbitant payouts of executives at Bank of America, Merrill Lynch, Goldman Sachs, and AIG even while these institutions were shredding the integrity of our financial system prior to 2008, that enables the CEO of JPMorgan Chase to criticize Wall Street reform even after the bank's excessive risk-taking and gross negligence towards its shareholders, and that makes it possible for Mitt Romney to have the temerity to suggest an inhuman economic system like Darwinian capitalism as the right one for America.

There is nothing virtuous about selfishness and there is nothing objective about Ayn Rand's objectivist philosophy, which is little more than a sly attempt to whitewash her own flaws. She claimed that it was the business elite who sustain our existence but in reality it is the world that holds up people like Rand and enables them to pursue their selfish aims despite the harm it may do to everyone else; if anything, it is Rand who should have been more grateful. At the very least, we should ignore her glorious ramblings and finally relegate her ideas to the realm of fiction, which is where they belong.

And as for who John Galt or Paul Ryan are? Really, who the hell cares?
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/sanjay-sanghoee/atlas-unplugged-the-cleve_b_1962635.html

The Insanity of Ayn Rand: The Fountain-Brain-Dead.

Yikes, darlings!

I watch a lot of old movies on TCM, mostly because TCM are my initials. (I'm Tallulah Clytemnestra Morehead) and I just finished watching a doozy of a terrible movie on TCM, one that has to be seen to be disbelieved: the ultra-hilarious piece of right-wing objectivist claptrap, the movie of Ayn Rand's ridiculous novel, The Fountainhead, starring Gary Cooper and Patricia Neal, as glamorous, sexy Fascists, I mean an architect and his best gal.

I'm afraid Juliette's blowing up the H-Bomb on that island on Lost must have screwed up the Time-Space Continuum. This can't be Normal Reality, because this movie is the most absurd piece of twaddle I have sat through since the final season of Roseanne.

Enormously well-hung Gary Cooper plays Howard Roarke, the most brilliant, unpopular, and egotistical architect in the world. The movie is all about how people are always trying to get Howard Roarke to design buildings just like the same ones everyone else designs, but Howard is too great to listen to anyone, even his clients. People are always telling him his designs are too outré, although his houses are all Frank Lloyd Wright rip-offs, and his office buildings are all rectangular glass and steel structures that look exactly like every souless office building clogging the downtowns of every major city in the world, the very style that Jacques Tati spent his great movie Playtime attacking. "We can't take a chance," they always say to him, as though they were gambling their lives building an office tower or a block of flats. Has the designer of Disney Hall in Los Angeles been lynched yet?

The villain of the story is a newspaper architectural critic, who wields tremendous public power. He writes a column of architectural criticism, and his slightest word can bring the city to a halt. What planet is this? When the publisher fires the architectural critic, the staff walks out in support of the critic, and the paper buckles under to the critic, and the publisher shoots himself. Star Trek is more realistic.

Howard does not consider architecture to be a collaborative art. Rather, it's the solitary work of a lone artist, toiling away in an attic somewhere. Making even the tiniest change in any of his designs is intolerable to Roarke.

He means it. When a block of flats he designed are built while he is on a vacation with Patricia Neal, with changes made at the orders of the people paying for it to be built, Roarke dynamites it. He stands trial for blowing up this building he didn't own, in the middle of Manhattan, without so much as a blasting permit. It's a wildly illegal, irresponsible, dangerous, negligent act of overwhelming egotism, an SMD: a Snit of Mass Destruction.

He's found innocent, and the jury and the whole courtroom erupts into applause at this horrific miscarriage of justice. He has admitted committing the crime on the stand. His defense was that he has way better taste than the pigs who paid for it, so he should be able to blow it up. The jury buys this idiocy. The movie paints him as a hero.

The first clue that Howard Roarke has something weirdly wrong with him comes early on. He's going out of business. A friend offers him a loan, and he refuses it. Okay. He has too much pride to take help. That's fine. But he says, "I never ask for nor give help."

What? He never "gives help"? He never helps anyone?

Yup. That's exactly what he means. He's anti-helping his fellow man. In his trial summation, six minutes of Gary Cooper giving a completely unhinged, turgid speech, he actually says, "The world is perishing in an orgy of self-sacrifice ."

Whatever finishes off mankind, it won't be an excess of self-sacrifice. The movie is pro-selfishness and egoism (which is just egotism misspelled), and anti-altruism. It preaches, at length and in a superior tone, that Altruism is Bad. And it means it.

The "love" story subplot is a scream. Patricia Neal is an architect's daughter who hates anything that makes her happy, because her taste is too supurb, and the masses with their bad taste will destroy anything she likes, so she deliberately throws out any stuff she has that she likes (We first meet her dropping a lovely nude statue down an airshaft), and she refuses to marry the man she loves, and instead marries a man she finds creepy, to avoid being happy, so happiness can't be taken from her. She'd rather be miserable, than be happy, and risk being made miserable by the masses. If you can find any sense in that, let me know.

So she's vacationing in a lovely home that adjoins a marble quarry where they dynamite rock all day, every day. Let me repeat this: she is intentionally vacationing in a house next door to a site that is blasting rocks with dynamite all day long, every day. You can't get more relaxing than that.

Her idea of sight-seeing is riding her horse to the quarry and then wandering around, drooling over the hunky, muscular workmen driving pickaxes into walls of granite. This is, in my opinion, the only sensible thing in the whole movie. And her favorite workman is Howard Roarke, who is working there after driving himself out of business with his too-high standards of taste. She first sees him holding a jackhammer, drilling away into into solid rock. She is turned on by the ever-so-subtle sexual implication of his drilling into rock with a jackhammer. She must imagine she has a marble hymen.

Now she can't get him out of her mind. She rides around on her horse, imagining Howard and his drill while she's being jostled in the saddle. At one point she rides up to him and slashes him across the face with a riding crop, which makes him grin, and the unforgettable final shot of the film is her riding up over 100 stories in an outdoor elevator (No elevator can go that far. It takes three to get to the top of the Empire State Building.) to where Howard is standing, on top of his not-yet-finished "Tallest building in the world." The shot tracks in on his crotch as he stands astride his masterpiece, the world's-biggest-phallic symbol.

The movie was written by the novelist-nutball, Russian-American, writer-philosopher Ayn Rand. She promoted a form of highly-anti-communist philosophy called "Objectivism," probably because it is so objectionable.

Being virulently anti-Communism-and-Socialism, she believed that ownership and rights of property were sacrosanct, although when Howard Roarke, her Ideal Man, blows up other people's property because he doesn't like it, it's a righteous act, not a violation of other people's rights of property. Ayn was a hypocrite.

Ayn wrote every word of dialogue, and forbade a word of it to be changed. She was the Howard Roarke of screenwriters. What she was not was a good writer of dialogue, none of which sounds like human speech, and all of which sounds like a lecture from a Fox News lunatic.

Ayn insisted that Gary Cooper say every damn word of her summation speech, which is utterly nuts from beginning to end. Jack Warner, no slouch in the anti-Commie department himself, ended up cutting it down a little. It's still six minutes of Gary Cooper standing in one place, making a completely insane-yet-boring speech, in praise of selfishness, condemning altruism, and stating that there are only two types of humans: "Creators" and "Parasites." That's it. No shades of gray. No middle-management.

When Ayn learned that some slight cuts had been made to her speech, she squawked and hollered, but she did not blow up Warner Brothers, nor set fire to the negative and all prints, nor even beat Jack Warner into paste with a poker (Damn!), which makes her a raging hypocrite. It's what Howard Roarke would have done. It's what Bette Davis would have done.

Ayn is having a small vogue right now (very small, as the country is becoming far less happy with rightwing nutballs), because her magnum opus, Atlas Shrugged, an insane novel that makes The Lord of the Rings seem like a speedy short story, is celebrating its fiftieth anniversary just now. This means that the people who began reading it the day it came out, are nearly through it by now, those that haven't hanged themselves.

Ayn believed in a woman looking up to The Ideal Man, and Howard Roarke is Him. And Ayn claimed she wrote it for Gary Cooper, so he's her sexual ideal. Well, at least she's left Hugh Jackman for me.

Have you ever seen a photograph of Ayn Rand? For a woman who wants strong muscular men to drill her like a jackhammer, Ayn went to a lot of trouble to look like a Bloomsbury literary Lesbian. In fact, she looked rather like a young Rosa Klebb, only not as sexy.

Ayn died the day after John Belushi died, although I don't think she did so to cheer us up again.

Life is too short to spend any of it reading the insane horrors which are the writings of Ayn Rand. Read my book instead.

I'll be back Monday darlings, with my review of The Tony Awards. Until then, Cheers darlings.

To read more of Tallulah Morehead, go to
The Morehead the Merrier.
Back to top Go down
View user profile
ScoutsHonor

avatar

Posts : 1360
Join date : 2009-10-20

PostSubject: Re: Ayn Rand Breakaway Discussion   Thu 01 Nov 2012, 9:37 am

Would you mind posting sources for this garbage you insist on posting? Just common courtesy you know.

Where did you find this ^^ latest intellectual moron/indiscriminate liar? - Need a citation (link) Rolling Eyes
--------
P.S. You really should try to get a life. What would you do with your time if you couldn'tt smear and libel Ayn Rand. *Sad.* GET a LIFE...

P.S. Your hero Kant (Dickens couldn't have picked an apter name!) really set you a good moral example, ....UGH.
Back to top Go down
View user profile
mike lewis



Posts : 190
Join date : 2012-03-22

PostSubject: Re: Ayn Rand Breakaway Discussion   Sat 03 Nov 2012, 4:09 pm

ScoutsHonor wrote:
Would you mind posting sources for this garbage you insist on posting? Just common courtesy you know.

Where did you find this ^^ latest intellectual moron/indiscriminate liar? - Need a citation (link) Rolling Eyes
--------
P.S. You really should try to get a life. What would you do with your time if you couldn'tt smear and libel Ayn Rand. *Sad.* GET a LIFE...

P.S. Your hero Kant (Dickens couldn't have picked an apter name!) really set you a good moral example, ....UGH.

This is the level of reasoning and behavior I have come to expect from randroids. It is no surprise to find that a cultist is incapable of reason or objective analysis.

Quote :
Over the years, some critics have accused the Objectivist movement of being a cult or cult-like, and Rand of being a cult figure. The term 'Randroid' (a portmanteau of 'Rand' and 'android') has been used to evoke the image of "the Galt-imitating robots produced by the cult."

Suggestions of cult-like behavior by Objectivists began during the NBI days. With growing media coverage, articles began appearing that referred to the "Cult of Ayn Rand" and compared her to various religious leaders.[89] Terry Teachout described NBI as "a quasi-cult which revolved around the adoration of Ayn Rand and her fictional heroes," one that "disintegrated" when Rand split with Nathaniel Branden. In 1968, psychologist Albert Ellis, in the wake of a public debate with Nathaniel Branden, published a book arguing that Objectivism was a religion, whose practices included "sexual Puritanism," "absolutism," "damning and condemning," and "deification" of Ayn Rand and her fictional heroes. In his memoirs, Nathaniel Branden said of the Collective and NBI that "there was a cultish aspect to our world […] We were a group organized around a charismatic leader, whose members judged one another's character chiefly by loyalty to that leader and her ideas."

In 1972, libertarian author Murray Rothbard began privately circulating an essay on "The Sociology of the Ayn Rand Cult," in which he wrote:

If the glaring inner contradictions of the Leninist cults make them intriguing objects of study, still more so is the Ayn Rand cult... [f]or not only was the Rand cult explicitly atheist, anti-religious, and an extoller of Reason; it also promoted slavish dependence on the guru in the name of independence; adoration and obedience to the leader in the name of every person's individuality; and blind emotion and faith in the guru in the name of Reason.

Rothbard also wrote that "the guiding spirit of the Randian movement was not individual liberty ... but rather personal power for Ayn Rand and her leading disciples."

In the 1990s, Michael Shermer argued that the Objectivist movement displayed characteristics of religious cults such as the veneration and inerrancy of the leader; hidden agendas; financial and/or sexual exploitation; and the beliefs that the movement provides absolute truth and absolute morality. Shermer maintained that certain aspects of Objectivist epistemology and ethics promoted cult-like behavior:

[A]s soon as a group sets itself up to be the final moral arbiter of other people's actions, especially when its members believe they have discovered absolute standards of right and wrong, it is the beginning of the end of tolerance, and thus reason and rationality. It is this characteristic more than any other that makes a cult, a religion, a nation, or any other group, dangerous to individual freedom. Its absolutism was the biggest flaw in Ayn Rand's Objectivism, the unlikeliest cult in history.

In 1999, Jeff Walker published The Ayn Rand Cult. In one passage, Walker compared Objectivism to the Dianetics practices of Scientology, which is considered by many to be a cult. Both, argues Walker, are totalist sets of beliefs that advocate "an ethics for the masses based on survival as a rational being." Walker continues, "Dianetics used reasoning somewhat similar to Rand's about the brain as a machine. ... Both have a higher mind reprogramming the rest of the mind." Walker further notes that both philosophies claim to be based on science and logic.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Randroid#Criticisms_and_responses
Back to top Go down
View user profile
ScoutsHonor

avatar

Posts : 1360
Join date : 2009-10-20

PostSubject: Re: Ayn Rand Breakaway Discussion   Sat 03 Nov 2012, 7:42 pm

To Mike and his "esteemed" colleague, "Talluljah Morehead":
---
Here is a dissenting opinion from a highly respected source. So respectable that Mike quotes him in support of HIS point of view, ironically..
---

]Why Ayn Rand Won't Go Away: 'Atlas Shrugged,' Part 2 and the Motor of Moral Psychology
By Michael Shermer
Posted: 10/12/2012 12:22 pm

------------

After seeing the Los Angles premiere of Atlas Shrugged, Part 2, the film that opens today based on the 1957 novel by Ayn Rand (and with an entirely new cast and higher production value, a vast improvement over Part 1), a question struck me as I was exiting the theater surrounded by Hollywood types most commonly stereotyped as liberal: Why don't liberals admire Ayn Rand and her philosophy of objectivism, so forcefully presented in this book and film?

It is not a mystery that the woman who called herself a "radical for capitalism" would be embraced by some conservatives such as Paul Ryan and Ron Paul, but why do liberals not recognize that Rand was also a champion of individual rights, was outspoken against racism, bigotry and discrimination against minorities, and most notably was ahead of her time in championing women's rights and demonstrating through her novels (and films) that women are as smart as men, as tough-minded as men, as hard-working as men, as ambitious as men, and can even run an industrial enterprise as good as if not better than men?

In the teeth of a 2010 study that revealed Hollywood still discriminates against women when it comes to roles in films, most notably the number and length of speaking parts and the continued blatant sexuality in which women show far more skin than men but speak far less, the hero of Atlas Shrugged, Dagny Taggert (played by Samantha Mathis in the new film), has the most speaking roles (and shows almost no skin), runs her own transcontinental railroad, handles with ease both seasoned male politicians and hard-nosed male titans of industry, and embodies courage and character deserving of respect and admiration from women and men, liberals and conservatives.

An answer may be found in the fact that American politics is a duopoly of those who tend toward being either fiscally and socially liberal or fiscally and socially conservative. Rand's fiscal conservatism and social liberalism fits into neither camp comfortably (and is mostly commonly associated with the Libertarian party). As well, the moral psychology behind the political duopoly leads people to either believe that moral principles are absolute and universal or that they are relative and cultural. Rand's implacable absolutism on moral issues, especially her seemingly cold-hearted fiscal conservatism, more comfortably fits into the conservative camp, but even there only barely.

Consider a few correlations from my dataset of 34,371 Americans who took "The Morality Survey" (you can take it yourself here), constructed by myself and U.C. Berkeley social scientist Frank Sulloway and analyzed by my graduate students Anondah Saide and Kevin McCaffree: (1) We found a significant correlation (r=.29) between social conservatism and the belief that moral principles are absolute and universal (and between social liberalism and the belief that moral principles are relative and cultural), so Rand's philosophy does not match that of most Americans. (2) We found a significant correlation (r=.24) between fiscal conservatism and the belief that moral principles are absolute and universal (and the reverse for social liberalism), so fiscal liberals will not embrace Rand here. We also found a correlation (r=.27) between belief in God and belief that moral principles are absolute and universal, and here again Rand is an outlier as an atheist who firmly believed in absolute and universal moral principles (discoverable through reason, she believed). So for liberals, Rand's fiscal conservatism and moral principle absolutism trumps her social liberalism, and even for many on the right her atheism and rejection of faith calls into question her conservative bona fides.

Our duopolistic political system also explains why third parties in American politics -- from libertarians and tea partyers to progressives and green partyers -- cannot get a toehold. Despite Romney's 47 percent gaffe, in point of fact both candidates know that each will automatically receive about that percentage of the vote, leaving the final 6 percent up for grabs. Why are we so politically divided? One answer comes from the 19th century political philosopher John Stuart Mill: "A party of order or stability, and a party of progress or reform, are both necessary elements of a healthy state of political life."

But why would our political life be so configured? A deep evolutionary answer may be found in the moral psychologist Jonathan Haidt's new book The Righteous Mind, in which he argues that to both liberal and conservative members of the other party are not just wrong; they are righteously wrong. Their errors are not just factual, but intentional, and their intentions are not just misguided, but dangerous. As Haidt explains, "Our righteous minds made it possible for human beings to produce large cooperative groups, tribes, and nations without the glue of kinship. But at the same time, our righteous minds guarantee that our cooperative groups will always be cursed by moralistic strife." Thus, he concludes, morality binds us together into cohesive groups but blinds us to the ideas and intentions of those in other groups.

Third parties and outliers like Rand fall into neither group and so are not even taken seriously. But why only two parties? According to Haidt, the answer is in our moral psychology and how liberals and conservatives differ in their emphasis on five moral foundations: (1) Harm/care, which underlies such moral virtues as kindness and nurturance; (2) Fairness/reciprocity, which leads to such political ideals of justice, rights, and individual autonomy; (3) Ingroup/loyalty, which creates within a tribe a "band-of-brothers" effect and underlies such virtues as patriotism; (4) Authority/respect, which lies beneath such virtues as esteem for law and order and respect for traditions; and (5) Purity/sanctity, which emphasizes the belief that the body is a temple that can be desecrated by immoral activities. Sampling hundreds of thousands of people Haidt found that liberals are higher than conservatives on 1 and 2 (Harm/care and Fairness/reciprocity), but lower than conservatives on 3, 4, and 5 (Ingroup/loyalty, Authority/respect, and Purity/sanctity), while conservatives are roughly equal on all five dimensions, although slightly higher on 3, 4, and 5 (you can take the survey here: www.yourmorals.org).

Obama's emphasis on caring for the poor and fairness across all socioeconomic classes appeals to liberals, whereas conservatives are drawn toward Romney's reinforcement of faith, family, nation, and tradition. Libertarians split the difference in being fiscally conservative and socially liberal, but their one-dimensional emphasis on individual freedom above all else (as in Rand's philosophy) leaves them devoid of political support.

So when you see the Atlas Shrugged, Part 2, remember that this is far more than a film or a story about a railroad and a mysterious motor. It is a vehicle to get us to think about which moral principles we value the most, because as Ayn Rand believed, it is ideas that move the world.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/michael-shermer/why-ayn-rand-wont-go-away_b_1961288.html

***
NOTE.
Many interesting comments follow at this site.

Follow Michael Shermer on Twitter: www.twitter.com/michaelshermer
Back to top Go down
View user profile
mike lewis



Posts : 190
Join date : 2012-03-22

PostSubject: Re: Ayn Rand Breakaway Discussion   Sat 03 Nov 2012, 11:30 pm

ScoutsHonor wrote:

Here is a dissenting opinion from a highly respected source. So respectable that Mike quotes him in support of HIS point of view, ironically..
---


By Michael Shermer


Michael Shermer acknowledges that Objectivism is a cult. Shermer is sympathetic to the Randroid ideology and espouses most of its tenets but even he cannot deny that it is a cult.



Quote :
The Unlikeliest Cult in History

by Michael Shermer




How, then, could such a philosophy become the basis of a cult, which is the antithesis of reason and individualism? A cult, however it is defined, depends on faith and deindividuation—that is, remove the power of reason in followers and make them dependent upon the group and/or the leader. The last thing a cult leader wants is for followers to think for themselves and become individuals apart from the group.

The cultic flaw in Ayn Rand’s philosophy of Objectivism is not in the use of reason, or in the emphasis on individuality, or in the belief that humans are self motivated, or in the conviction that capitalism is the ideal system. The fallacy in Objectivism is the belief that absolute knowledge and final Truths are attainable through reason, and therefore there can be absolute right and wrong knowledge, and absolute moral and immoral thought and action. For Objectivists, once a principle has been discovered through reason to be True, that is the end of the discussion. If you disagree with the principle, then your reasoning is flawed. If your reasoning is flawed it can be corrected, but if it is not, you remain flawed and do not belong in the group. Excommunication is the final step for such unreformed heretics.

It is important to note that my critique of Rand and Objectivism as a cult is not original. Rand and her followers were, in their time, accused of being a cult which, of course, they denied. “My following is not a cult. I am not a cult figure,” Rand once told an interviewer. Barbara Branden, in her biography, The Passion of Ayn Rand, recalls: “Although the Objectivist movement clearly had many of the trappings of a cult—the aggrandizement of the person of Ayn Rand, the too ready acceptance of her personal opinions on a host of subjects, the incessant moralizing—it is nevertheless significant that the fundamental attraction of Objectivism … was the precise opposite of religious worship” (p. 371). And Nathaniel Branden addressed the issue this way: “We were not a cult in the literal, dictionary sense of the word, but certainly there was a cultish aspect to our world … . We were a group organized around a charismatic leader, whose members judged one another’s character chiefly by loyalty to that leader and to her ideas” (p. 256).

But if you leave the “religious” component out of the definition, thus broadening the word’s usage, it becomes clear that Objectivism was (and is) a cult, as are many other, non-religious groups. In this context, then, a cult may be characterized by:

Veneration of the Leader: Excessive glorification to the point of virtual sainthood or divinity.
Inerrancy of the Leader: Belief that he or she cannot be wrong.
Omniscience of the Leader: Acceptance of beliefs and pronouncements on virtually all subjects, from the philosophical to the trivial.
Persuasive Techniques: Methods used to recruit new followers and reinforce current beliefs.
Hidden Agendas: Potential recruits and the public are not given a full disclosure of the true nature of the group’s beliefs and plans.
Deceit: Recruits and followers are not told everything about the leader and the group’s inner circle, particularly flaws or potentially embarrassing events or circumstances.
Financial and/or Sexual Exploitation: Recruits and followers are persuaded to invest in the group, and the leader may develop sexual relations with one or more of the followers.
Absolute Truth: Belief that the leader and/or group has a method of discovering final knowledge on any number of subjects.
Absolute Morality: Belief that the leader and/or the group have developed a system of right and wrong thought and action applicable to members and nonmembers alike. Those who strictly follow the moral code may become and remain members, those who do not are dismissed or punished.

The ultimate statement of Rand’s absolute morality heads the title page of Nathaniel Brandon’s book. Says Rand:

The precept: “Judge not, that ye be not judged” … is an abdication of moral responsibility: it is a moral blank check one gives to others in exchange for a moral blank check one expects for oneself.

There is no escape from the fact that men have to make choices; so long as men have to make choices, there is no escape from moral values; so long as moral values are at stake, no moral neutrality is possible. To abstain from condemning a torturer, is to become an accessory to the torture and murder of his victims.

The moral principle to adopt … is: “Judge, and be prepared to be judged.”

The absurd lengths to which such thinking can go is demonstrated by Rand’s pronounced judgements on her followers of even the most trivial things. Rand had argued, for example, that musical taste could not be objectively defined, yet, as Barbara Branden observed, “if one of her young friends responded as she did to Rachmaninoff … she attached deep significance to their affinity.” By contrast, if a friend did not respond as she did to a certain piece or composer, Rand “left no doubt that she considered that person morally and psychologically reprehensible.” Branden recalled an evening when a friend of Rand’s remarked that he enjoyed the music of Richard Strauss. “When he left at the end of the evening, Ayn said, in a reaction becoming increasingly typical, ‘Now I understand why he and I can never be real soul mates. The distance in our sense of life is too great.’ Often, she did not wait until a friend had left to make such remarks” (p. 268).

With this set of criteria it becomes possible to see that a rational philosophy can become a cult when most or all of these are met. This is true not only for philosophical movements, but in some scientific schools of thought as well. Many founding scientists have become almost deified in their own time, to the point where apprentices dare not challenge the master. As Max Planck observed about science in general, only after the founders and elder statesmen of a discipline are dead and gone can real change occur and revolutionary new ideas be accepted.

In both Barbara’s and Nathaniel Branden’s assessment, then, we see all the characteristics of a cult. But what about deceit and sexual exploitation? In this case, “exploitation” may be too strong of a word, but the act was present nonetheless, and deceit was rampant. In what has become the most scandalous (and now oft-told) story in the brief history of the Objectivist movement, starting in 1953 and lasting until 1958 (and on and off for another decade after), Ayn Rand and her “intellectual heir” Nathaniel Branden, 25 years her junior, carried on a secret love affair known only to their respective spouses. The falling in love was not planned, but it was ultimately “reasonable” since the two of them were, de facto, the two greatest humans on the planet. “By the total logic of who we are—by the total logic of what love and sex mean—we had to love each other,” Rand told Barbara Branden and her own husband, Frank O’Connor. It was a classic display of a brilliant mind intellectualizing a purely emotional response, and another example of reason carried to absurd heights. “Whatever the two of you may be feeling,” Rand rationalized, “I know your intelligence, I know you recognize the rationality of what we feel for each other, and that you hold no value higher than reason” (B. Brandon, p. 258).

Unbelievably, both Barbara and Frank accepted the affair, and agreed to allow Ayn and Nathaniel an afternoon and evening of sex and love once a week. “And so,” Barbara explained, “we all careened toward disaster.” The “rational” justification and its consequences continued year after year, as the tale of interpersonal and group deceit grew broader and deeper. The disaster finally came in 1968 when it became known to Rand that Branden had fallen in love with yet another woman, and had begun an affair with her. Even though the affair between Rand and Branden had long since dwindled, the master of the absolutist moral double-standard would not tolerate such a breach of ethical conduct. “Get that bastard down here!,” Rand screamed upon hearing the news, “or I’ll drag him here myself!” Branden, according to Barbara, slunk into Rand’s apartment to face the judgment day. “It’s finished, your whole act!” she told him. “I’ll tear down your facade as I built it up! I’ll denounce you publicly, I’ll destroy you as I created you! I don’t even care what it does to me. You won’t have the career I gave you, or the name, or the wealth, or the prestige. You’ll have nothing … .” The barrage continued for several minutes until she pronounced her final curse: “If you have an ounce of morality left in you, an ounce of psychological health—you’ll be impotent for the next twenty years!” (pp. 345-347).

Rand’s verbal attack was followed by a six-page open letter to her followers in her publication The Objectivist (May, 1968). It was entitled “To Whom It May Concern.” After explaining that she had completely broken with the Brandens, Rand continued the deceit through lies of omission: “About two months ago … Mr. Branden presented me with a written statement which was so irrational and so offensive to me that I had to break my personal association with him.” Without so much as a hint of the nature of the offense Rand continued: “About two months later Mrs. Branden suddenly confessed that Mr. Branden had been concealing from me certain ugly actions and irrational behavior in his private life, which was grossly contradictory to Objectivist morality … . “ Branden’s second affair was judged immoral, his first was not. This excommunication was followed by a reinforcing barrage from NBI’s Associate Lecturers that sounds all too ecclesiastical in its denouncement (and written out of complete ignorance of what really happened): “Because Nathaniel Branden and Barbara Branden, in a series of actions, have betrayed fundamental principles of Objectivism, we condemn and repudiate these two persons irrevocably, and have terminated all association with them … . “ (Branden, 1986, pp. 353-354).

Confusion reigned supreme in both the Collective and in the rank-and-file membership. Mail poured into the office, most of it supporting Rand (naturally, since they knew nothing of the first affair). Nathaniel received angry responses and even Barbara’s broker, an Objectivist, terminated her as his client. The group was in turmoil over the incident. What were they to think with such a formidable condemnation of unnamed sins? The ultimate extreme of such absolutist thinking was revealed several months later when, in the words of Barbara, “a half-demented former student of NBI had raised the question of whether or not it would be morally appropriate to assassinate Nathaniel because of the suffering he had caused Ayn; the man concluded that it should not be done on practical grounds, but would be morally legitimate. Fortunately, he was shouted down at once by a group of appalled students” (p. 356n).


Back to top Go down
View user profile
Sponsored content




PostSubject: Re: Ayn Rand Breakaway Discussion   

Back to top Go down
 
Ayn Rand Breakaway Discussion
View previous topic View next topic Back to top 
Page 2 of 2Go to page : Previous  1, 2
 Similar topics
-
» The Friends of Summer Wine Appreciation Group & Discussion Forums
» VISION & GUIDELINES STATEMENT
» Hearing 1-25-10 - Discussion Thread - CLOSED
» "A Caning" - by Dkellis
» RCAF and RCN to return?

Permissions in this forum:You cannot reply to topics in this forum
WWWS :: Main Forums :: Philosophy-
Jump to: