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The Top 5 Misconceptions About Objectivists

Those mean, cultish, snobby, elitist followers of Ayn Rand.

by
Sunny

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April 4, 2013 - 3:00 pm

4. Objectivists All Like Star Trek.

Ok, well, this one is actually true, too. Some of us like Doctor Who as well, but there is not consensus about Doctor Who among us (stupid show!). Many Facebook threads are devoted to that disagreement, I can tell you, but there is no disagreement about how wonderful Star Trek: The Next Generation is. It is established Objectivist canon, as is a preference for modern architecture, railroads, and steel mills. These are just some of the arbitrary opinions you must adopt, or else the “Objectivist Police” will put your name on a list of people not invited to their birthday parties.

 

“You are invited to the best birthday party in the Galaxy!”

 

3.  Objectivists Blindly Follow Dictates From Ayn Rand and/or Her Appointed Philosopher Kings.

Since Objectivists regard being rational (objective) as the height of virtue, what you are witnessing is not blind following. What you are witnessing are men with CERTAINTY. We KNOW Ayn Rand was right because we have put it to a rigorous and extensive process of thought, backed up by, and I mean this literally, direct perceptual evidence. Therefore we tend to think our ideas are more obvious and commonsensical than they are. It is as though we can say, “See that rock over there? Therefore, Objectivism is totally correct.” WE understand each step to get from “rock” to “capitalism is the only moral social system,” but we’re probably not always great at recognizing that others don’t and so we don’t communicate as well as we might.

“See this rock? Get it? What are you, stupid?”

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Top Rated Comments   
I think you are correct about Rand's view of the military.

Here's the ending paragraphs from her lecture "Philosophy: Who Needs It," which was an Address to the graduating class of the United States Military Academy at West Point back in 1974:

"In conclusion, allow me to speak in personal terms. This evening means a great deal to me. I feel deeply honored by the opportunity to address you. I can say — not as a patriotic bromide, but with full knowledge of the necessary metaphysical, epistemological, ethical, political and esthetic roots — that the United States of America is the greatest, the noblest and, in its original founding principles, the only moral country in the history of the world. There is a kind of quiet radiance associated in my mind with the name West Point — because you have preserved the spirit of those original founding principles and you are their symbol. There were contradictions and omissions in those principles, and there may be in yours — but I am speaking of the essentials. There may be individuals in your history who did not live up to your highest standards — as there are in every institution — since no institutions and no social system can guarantee the automatic perfection of all its members; this depends on an individual's free will. I am speaking of your standards. You have preserved three qualities of character which were typical at the time of America's birth, but are virtually nonexistent today: earnestness — dedication — a sense of honor. Honor is self-esteem made visible in action.

You have chosen to risk your lives for the defense of this country. I will not insult you by saying that you are dedicated to selfless service — it is not a virtue in my morality. In my morality, the defense of one's country means that a man is personally unwilling to live as the conquered slave of any enemy, foreign or domestic. This is an enormous virtue. Some of you may not be consciously aware of it. I want to help you to realize it.

The army of a free country has a great responsibility: the right to use force, but not as an instrument of compulsion and brute conquest — as the armies of other countries have done in their histories — only as an instrument of a free nation's self-defense, which means: the defense of a man's individual rights. The principle of using force only in retaliation against those who initiate its use, is the principle of subordinating might to right. The highest integrity and sense of honor are required for such a task. No other army in the world has achieved it. You have.

West Point has given America a long line of heroes, known and unknown. You, this year's graduates, have a glorious tradition to carry on — which I admire profoundly, not because it is a tradition, but because it is glorious.

Since I came from a country guilty of the worst tyranny on earth, I am particularly able to appreciate the meaning, the greatness and the supreme value of that which you are defending. So, in my own name and in the name of many people who think as I do, I want to say, to all the men of West Point, past, present and future: Thank you."
http://fare.tunes.org/liberty/library/pwni.html
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Hello, I'm going to clarify the Objectivist view of reason, God, and certainty, the topics you objected to.

On reason: You're correct about Aristotle. Though keep in mind that in the "Posterior Analytics" he points out that induction (inductive reasoning) is how you establish first principles. Objectivism states that we gain knowledge in 2 ways: with the awareness of the senses, and the processes of reason that build on what the senses provide us, and this includes forming concepts, logical thought, induction and deduction, expanding your knowledge, etc. The philosophy notes that other alleged forms of knowledge like intuition, ESP, revelation, etc. really just amount to the emotions and feelings of the person. And rather than emotion being another means of gaining knowledge, Objectivism views emotion as the result of our ideas being internalized by our subconscious, which means that emotions are rapid expressions of our value-judgments--our ideas--in a given scenario, whether real or imagined. Only after making those points does it deductively conclude that reason is the *only* means of gaining knowledge, since the other candidates offer no concrete means and merely reduce to emotions, which are themselves not a means to gaining knowledge. (This doesn't mean that emotions can't tell you things: they certainly can, about yourself. But they are not means of systematically recognizing and dealing with the facts of the world, but reason is.)
http://aynrandlexicon.com/lexicon/reason.html
http://aynrandlexicon.com/lexicon/induction_and_deduction.html

On God: Rand never explicitly offers a proof against God's existence. She endorsed the "Onus of Proof" principle, that he who asserts something must produce the proof of it, the burden is not on the person who denies the claim, until the evidence is produced. She built Objectivism on certain concepts and formulations that she thought a philosopher *had to* start with, and reached a conclusion that God (and many other deities and supernatural beings) contradicted those principles in her view of metaphysics, and rejected them on that basis. But that still is not a disproof. Her view is that "God" and certain other ideas are "arbitrary," devoid of evidence and thus not worthy of being classified as either "true" or "false," proved or disproved. She's an "atheist" because the belief in God is a very popular and historical position in philosophy, and so it became necessary to state where she stood on this issue. She's also a-ghost, a-Satanist, and many other things, but they are not significant enough to warrant attention in an actual philosophy.
http://aynrandlexicon.com/lexicon/god.html

On Certainty: Objectivism acknowledges that we have free will, and that means that we are fallible, that we can err and make mistakes and be wrong. But it insists that when you've analyzed the evidence available in your context of knowledge, and you reach a definite conclusion based on everything you know, you have the prerogative to proclaim certainty on that issue. Acknowledging that a new factor may arise that may change your mind, you still should be certain of your conclusions based on what you know. The philosophy advocates certainty--within a context. It does not endorse blind adherence to some conclusion or burying one's head in sand and ignoring conflicting evidence--that's a misuse of reason and an act of evasion, which is contrary to Objectivism. If you've reasoned to the best of your ability, the result ought to be certainty, not bewilderment.
http://aynrandlexicon.com/lexicon/certainty.html

I hope this clears things up or offers a different perspective at least.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
One of the important differences would be our definition of "perfectible creature," which relies on an implicit or explicit standard of the good.

While Marxism, Fascism, and other forms of leftism might talk about perfectibility, they're still thinking in terms of collectivist/altruist premises, which are not demonstrable in reality (reducible to perceptual evidence), and end up leading to forced sacrifice at a minimum and mass slaughter of the best among us when taken to the extreme.

Objectivism's standard of the good IS based in reality: "All that which is proper to the life of a rational being is the good; all that which destroys it is the evil." This itself is based on a specific view of man and of values, which themselves are based on a specific view of knowledge and basic unfalsifiable axioms. When Objectivists think about perfection, they're thinking about moral perfection, that is, always making honest, rational choices, using the full context of one's knowledge, to the fullest benefit of one's life and values. They are not basing perfection on something unattainable, like omniscience, infallibility, or anything of the sort. They are also not basing it on self-sacrifice (the most extreme result of which, of course, being death).

Objectivism's advocacy of moral perfection also cannot lead to violence in the way many other codes can, because one of the primary Objectivist virtues is independence. As many Christian fusionist scholars have also noted, the good cannot be forced. The good must be chosen. The only moral way to deal with other human beings is through reason, persuasion, trade, etc. and when things don't work out you should just walk away. There could never be an "Objectivist dictatorship" that tries to force people to be rational, honest, integrated, productive, independent, proud, and just. That just wouldn't make sense.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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All Comments   (81)
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"If you want to write a novel and your day job means you can only write on Sundays and you take Sundays to go feed the homeless instead, that’s sacrificing your productive purpose, your long term happiness, to a stranger’s full belly. That’s bad."

Yes, that's what I picked up from the Fountainhead. So I do understand Alica "Ayn Rand" Rosenbaum. And reject her philosophy strongly.

BTW, calling yourself an "objectivist" is inherently arrogant and pretentious.

"Rand's" novels were her way of presenting her philosophy to the world. She is wonderful describing the morality of the free market. But otherwise, the characters in the Fountainhead are unbelievable, repellant, and immoral. A PJTV commenter pointed out that none of her main characters had young children, which I think sums it up.

One thing she did for us. She explains why we need God to teach us morality, otherwise we can end up with objectivism.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Okay. No need to study philosophy now.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
You are correct, but she was a little harder to nail down than even those words. What she was not willing to do was have a discussion about an unknowable.

Her discipline allowed, always, a space for new information. But as there wasn't any infomation available beyond the miracle of existence (and it is a miracle) or, in her words the 'metaphysical fact of existence), she would not engage in it. She could not prove or disprove the existence of a prime mover and operated in the realm of the objectively knowable.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
The above was directed to Carson. Thanks.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Start by judging Rand according to her dedication to personal freedom and individual liberty and go from there. Judge her by her dedication to small government and balanced budgets. But, for most people, especially on the right, she didn't put her arguments together in an acceptable fashion, so she's...stupid.

Judging her by anything less than her decidation to freedom is not only doing her a great disservice, it is doing yourself a disservice, as well.

Stop and think, people. For your own sake, stop and think, once in awhile.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Exactly. Whether the glass is half full, half empty or, as the realist said, twice as big as it needs to be, know what's in it and then drink heartily.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
OK. I think she write brilliantly on the morality of the free market. The rest is garbage. There. I drank the good half, and spilled the rest down the toilet.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Unless there was some play on words I missed, you might want to altar your alter... : ); more specifically alter to altar.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I immersed myself in Rand for several years and emerged thankful for the experience and assured that she and I would not come to terms on some things, particularly the abortion debate. In light of PJ's headlines, I find it telling that discussion has not entered this board. Perhaps the "terms of reality" in this case are a little much for those who casually bandy about the term.

I owe much to her memory as it relates to seeing the heart of an issue.
She exhibited spiritual qualities even though she eschewed spiritual discussions.
Sciabbara's "Ayn Rand/ The Russian Radical" probably is as exhaustive and illuminating a document on her origins and the events that shaped her as anything likely to be published.

It is foolish and small to judge Rand by her personal and professional failings.
And if some professed objectivists are less trained on the direction of her thinking and more focused on HER, well, she's hardly to blame.

1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
"She exhibited spiritual qualities even though she eschewed spiritual discussions." @ Terence57

I think she just rejected the theistic definition of the term spiritual. She speaks to that in Anthem:

"Religion’s monopoly in the field of ethics has made it extremely difficult to communicate the emotional meaning and connotations of a rational view of life. Just as religion has preempted the field of ethics, turning morality against man, so it has usurped the highest moral concepts of our language, placing them outside this earth and beyond man’s reach. “Exaltation” is usually taken to mean an emotional state evoked by contemplating the supernatural. “Worship” means the emotional experience of loyalty and dedication to something higher than man. “Reverence” means the emotion of a sacred respect, to be experienced on one’s knees. “Sacred” means superior to and not-to-be-touched-by any concerns of man or of this earth. Etc.

"But such concepts do name actual emotions, even though no supernatural dimension exists; and these emotions are experienced as uplifting or ennobling, without the self-abasement required by religious definitions. What, then, is their source or referent in reality? It is the entire emotional realm of man’s dedication to a moral ideal. Yet apart from the man-degrading aspects introduced by religion, that emotional realm is left unidentified, without concepts, words or recognition.

"It is this highest level of man’s emotions that has to be redeemed from the murk of mysticism and redirected at its proper object: man."
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
You are correct, but she was a little harder to nail down than even those words. What she was not willing to do was have a discussion about an unknowable.

Her discipline allowed, always, a space for new information. But as there wasn't any infomation available beyond the miracle of existence (and it is a miracle) or, in her words the 'metaphysical fact of existence), she would not engage in it. She could not prove or disprove the existence of a prime mover and operated in the realm of the objectively knowable.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
> She exhibited spiritual qualities even though she eschewed spiritual discussions.

If true, not quite sure why that's a mark in her favor. All spirituality is, is religion minus the accountability.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Well, that's an interesting take, an interesting assertion. I had to read through some of your other posts to grasp why you would make that assertion. As for accountability, Reality will account for all of us, as will God. There is no room for such as I, a Christian, in your world any more than as an objectivist in theirs.

Gotta love the backhanded ad hom
directed to anyone who would recognize a generically applied observation derived from Rand's writings and biographers of her work.

You also said earlier on,
"Sounds to me like an awful lot of verbiage has been thrown here just to underscore the point that your definition of virtue is circular. Be good because it helps your life. That which helps your life is good. It sounds so noble and exalted, but the test of a moral principle is whether you will perform a moral act even if it harms your life."

Actually, the test of a moral principle is whether or not it is morally sound.
The test of a moral person is whether or not he is able to act on that principle and accept the consequence. Aristotle again. We become courageous by acting courageously. We are WHAT we are and WHO we are. The Law Of Identity is not circular reasoning, it is an axiom.

1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
> Gotta love the backhanded ad hom
directed to anyone who would recognize a generically applied observation derived from Rand's writings and biographers of her work.

Which ad hominem are you talking about? I'm not denying I did it necessarily, just want to know which remark I made that you're talking about so I can judge for myself.

> Actually, the test of a moral principle is whether or not it is morally sound.

I would agree that I may have garbled my thoughts here, but you're not helping much. Based on what I've read here, Rand's ethics are those principles which help us to better live our lives. Therefore, that would seem to preclude from morality any principles that would harm our lives. And it would seem to admit any principle that helps us to better live our life.

Let's take a thought experiment. Let's say that I see someone drowning in a lake and I'm the only witness. Let's also say that my own swimming skills are not very good and that if I try to save this person, I'm at great risk of drowning myself and not doing any good at all for either of us. I have a choice: jump in and try to save this person, or don't. If I jump in and drown, then the Objectivist can argue that I was true to my personal ego -- courage and respect for others -- and therefore it was the right thing to do. If I don't jump in and simply watch the person drown, then the Objectivist can argue I was true to my personal ego -- not sacrificing myself for a stranger -- and therefore it was the right thing to do.

Either way, I can justify what I did, or did not, as moral, depending on how I see what is good for me. And therefore this tells us nothing.

To understand a moral choice, it must be granted that one can make a correct moral choice which has the capability of harming one's life. This is the opposite of what Rand says.

> The Law Of Identity is not circular reasoning, it is an axiom.

Oh come on. I'm not the one arguing that ethics can be derived from reason; that's a Randist perspective, not mine. Therefore, Objectivists are not allowed to simply make an moral axiom out of thin air. They must reason us to that point. That follows from their position, not mine. All I'm doing is pointing out that Randists point to reason as their authority but they're really only making assumptions.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
"If you want to write a novel and your day job means you can only write on Sundays and you take Sundays to go feed the homeless instead, that’s sacrificing your productive purpose, your long term happiness, to a stranger’s full belly. That’s bad."

So in other words...happiness is fixed, rigid, and based on what Objectivists value rather than what the individual values.
Who's to say that one will not find greater happiness in helping the poor using their own resources?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Did Rand write that? Wow.

To be a Christian means having to try to live according to God's will. Apparently, to be a Randist means living according to Rand's will. Who said Objectivism isn't a religion? It wasn't me.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I quoted the author.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
You say: "Objectivism is a closed and complete system of thought, so agreement is actually possible."

Agreement is only possible in a closed system under that system, IOW, you must agree with the system's precepts. That is rather stiff and inflexible which is what most critics of Rand's suppose. In logic closed systems cannot change and adapt. Open systems are not complete nor closed and can adapt to the changes that seem to keep cropping up in the world.

The example is mathematics, there exist closed systems but they seem to keep running into real situations they cannot account for and fail. An open mathematical system can adapt and adjust.

Just sayin'.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
> Just because we are the Intellectual Super Heroes of the world (too much?) doesn’t mean we wouldn’t like to be better understood, and even appreciated.

Well, I may or may not understand Objectivism, but it seems you've got it down. At least the self-congratulatory part.

> What it means to be an Objectivist, is that you philosophically understand and accept that reason is your only means of knowledge, and you resolve to honestly use reason and logic to the best of your ability in and for your life. That’s pretty much it.

Unfortunately, you left out all the interesting stuff. Like, what gives logic and reason and *honesty* their transcendence, that is, their position of moral arbiter of man's thoughts and deeds?

Why must they be served?

Are they simply tools? They help us get what we want? Well, then, they must serve us, not the other way around... and that makes it sound more like we transcend them, not the other way around.

But that viewpoint certainly doesn't fit the overblown rhetoric, does it? Are reason, logic, and truth something that exist apart from man? Or are they simply the products of man's mind? If the former, where are they? Lying around in between the rocks? Sitting on planet Jupiter? Are they part of Nature, like man? If so, then why do they stand in judgment of us? If they are greater than man and worthy to be our judges, what gives them their authority?

If they are simply the products of man's minds, then why should we bow down to them? If God didn't make us, why should we then make gods? As Humpty Dumpty said, the question is, who is to be the master? And if they can't compel our reverence, then why the big show? Why not simply exploit them when we find it helpful and bury them with the kitty litter when we don't?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Reason is our faculty for forming concepts and (together with sensory perception) our only means of gaining knowledge. Is is our basic means of survival, and our only proper guide to action.

Logic is the most important method of reason, the method of identifying proper chains of reasoning without contradiction.

Truth is the recognition of reality. Objectivism endorses the "Correspondence theory of truth," in which people can form propositions, and it is these propositions that are judged in relation to the facts: if the statements track reality, they are true, and if not, they are false.

At the heart of your message is: why be principled? Why be rational, logical, or honest?

The short answer is that you should be principled if you want to remain in reality and succeed in it and be happy.

Reality is complex. And we have no automatic means of making the right decisions because we have free will, and thus we can err. We live by thinking, and applying our reason to the issues that confront us. Also, there is no short-range, impulsive method of determining what you should do with your children's future, the direction of your career, and your financial situation over the next ten years. We have no automatic method for taking actions with the future in mind, but we need some kind of method, because we have to know in some terms what the consequences of our actions will be. Thinking long-range is a necessity for a rational person, because it is how we judge the potential results of our actions in the future, and how they might impact us.

Our minds are simply too limited to deal with all of these different factors, goals, and actions without using our method of conceptualization. The Objectivist morality is formed by conceptualizing certain kinds of actions into moral principles that are designed to serve a person's life. These actions are: being rational, being honest, being independent-minded (instead of focusing primarily on other people), having integrity, being just, being productive, and being morally ambitious (being proud of yourself).

Why be rational? Because without it, you won't know what things are, who you are, what to do, or what the future will hold. Reason is our tool, our best tool, and it serves us. There is nothing to gain in abandoning reason, and everything to lose, including your life.

Why be logical? Because without it, we have no way of assessing the validity of our thoughts and conclusions, and thus no way of knowing if our thoughts will allow us to succeed in reality. Refusing to be logical will necessarily destroy your ability to be rational, because one of reason's key abilities is to integrate material to reach an identification, and our identifications can be mistaken. But without logic, you'll have no means of correcting your mistakes, and no reason to not evade some knowledge you don't want to know, as you don't see the need having a method of pointing out contradictions.

Why be honest? Because pretending that reality is something other than what it is doesn't change the facts. Lying puts you at war with reality, a war that only reality can win. The virtue of honesty is recognizing the utter futility of lying, and renouncing all of its forms, including evasion, distortion, misrepresentation, or outright fabrication. Being honest is selfishly necessary, because it allows a person to face reality directly, and to deal with the facts rationally. This improves his chance to overcome obstacles and gain happiness.

Another point: No one is irrational, illogical, and dishonest *all of the time*. If they were, they would die fairly quickly. Irrational people are only irrational on some occasions, in certain issues. Illogical people only throw away logic every once in a while, as it "suits" them. Dishonest people only say a few whoopers or deceive a limited number of people, to get something they want. These people supposedly believe that they are benefiting from this behavior, but Objectivism holds that they are courting great harm.

There is no way to decide, sight unseen, that being honest in scenario X is good for you in the long run, but being dishonest in scenario Y will get you what you really want. There is no cost-benefit analysis that could be performed to show that it's in your interest to sometimes be logical, and to sometimes flout it. Certain actions characteristically lead to long-range survival and happiness, and Objectivism says that you should live by those types of actions. So if you can make the connection between the virtues and life and happiness, then the scenarios about giving up your virtues just once to gain something you allegedly want hold no sway over you. You'll see too clearly that giving up your principles is a sure way to court disaster in any and all realms of your life, whether it's family, career, finances, or health.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
> Why be honest? Because pretending that reality is something other than what it is doesn't change the facts.

Hold on there. Being honest with myself and being honest with others are two different things. I might tell you something not because I believe it, but because I'm hoping you will. If doing so makes my life better, give me a reason why I shouldn't?

> These people supposedly believe that they are benefiting from this behavior, but Objectivism holds that they are courting great harm.

Of course it could turn out badly –- so could taking any risk. But it might turn out nicely. And *not* doing it could turn out badly as well.

This all sounds more like religious faith than reason to me -- more in line with karma or the Christian version of it, "Whatsoever a man sows, that shall he also reap." But as an Objectivist, you are not allowed to borrow from my Christian premises to make your ethical universe work. By your own statements, you are required to reason us to that place. But as you admitted, you can't point to a cost-benefit analysis. So you must be invoking some other form of "knowledge" here. Maybe instinct. Maybe a residue left over from Christian culture. Either way, apparently, reason isn’t the only way to grasp knowledge.

> The virtue of honesty is recognizing the utter futility of lying

Sorry, but this is just silly. *Lots* of people have lied, and in doing so made their lives *better*. Rand herself found it helpful to her happiness to exchange wedding vows with some poor dude and then cheat on him -- so we don’t have to speak in the abstract to show that dishonesty can help someone’s life.

> Another point: No one is irrational, illogical, and dishonest *all of the time*. If they were, they would die fairly quickly.

I didn’t suggest that. Even a liar has to tell the truth sometimes, if only so others believe his lies when he really needs them to. But if the proposition is that something is good if it makes our lives better, then lying can be good. That doesn’t follow from my beliefs, but it seems to follow from Rand’s.

Sorry, no, despite Rand's claims, we can't reason our way to virtue. What I’m seeing here are definitions masquerading as arguments. I'm supposed to surrender my belief in God, because it isn’t reasonable to believe something for which I have no concrete proof -– but then you turn around and invoke karma. Moreover, we don’t have proof of any transcendent principle. You can’t prove reason is valid without using reason -- but we’re supposed to believe in it anyway? Why do Objectivists believe in things they can’t prove but then insist Christians shouldn’t?

Christians define the good as doing the Lord's will. Are we supposed to serve Rand’s will? Is she god? No, she's dead, and I serve the living God.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
> Reason is our faculty for forming concepts and (together with sensory perception) our only means of gaining knowledge.

What about experience?

> At the heart of your message is: why be principled? Why be rational, logical, or honest?

Not the same thing. Why embrace *certain* principles such as honesty?

> The short answer is that you should be principled if you want to remain in reality and succeed in it and be happy.

That's an assertion, and so far in this discussion an unsubstantiated one. Reason me there. I suspect the opposite. There are plenty of people on this rock who are selfish, perverse, and sociopathic. In fact, I suspect that's all of us, depending on when you happen to catch us. What makes such people happy may have nothing whatever to do with being principled.

> The Objectivist morality is formed by conceptualizing certain kinds of actions into moral principles that are designed to serve a person's life.

What if immoral principles serve my life better?

> These actions are: being rational, being honest, being independent-minded (instead of focusing primarily on other people), having integrity, being just, being productive, and being morally ambitious (being proud of yourself).

So if I have an opportunity to make my life better by eschewing integrity and being unproductive, what should I do?

Sounds to me like an awful lot of verbiage has been thrown here just to underscore the point that your definition of virtue is circular. Be good because it helps your life. That which helps your life is good. It sounds so noble and exalted, but the test of a moral principle is whether you will perform a moral act even if it harms your life.





1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
The sex in her novels is often sadomasochistic, and I prefer to read her in context. She was going against the collectivism of her time. I wrote three blogs on Rand after rereading her major work and some biographies. See http://clarespark.com/2011/04/16/index-to-ayn-rand-blogs/.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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