"Independent Individualist" and Randian Objectivism: Good or Bad?

OK, take a look at this link http://theautonomist.com/iindv/jrnl.php and read a few articles from a few of the contributors before you make any comments or posts. Then tell me what you think of the tenor of the site, and specifically what you think of the personal views of its founder, Reginald Firehammer.

I'm very interested in what the secularists here have to say about this.

Thanks.


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Wow, this Reginald Firehammer lives in a fantasy world. And his personal views could be summed up in this short sentence: there will be a Revolution, as prophesied in Atlas Shrugged.

Quotes --

The novel, Atlas Shrugged, is enjoying a great resurgence in popularity, mostly because it so perfectly illustrates what happens in a country taken over by the kind of tyrannical collectivists and socialists now infesting every aspect of today's American government. ["so perfectly", that's right: everyone knows dozens of American scientists and entrepreneurs are disappearing each week]

The reason this [the Revolution] will work is because most medical professionals know what a disaster for their profession, and for the whole field of medicine, government intrusion already is, and how destructive these new measures are going to be. In one sense, they have nothing to lose by going on a strike that is not going to be taken away from them anyway. Many of them are going to quit, too, when all they have lived and worked for is destroyed before their eyes—why not strike first. [it's so obvious, I guess it happens fullscale already]

Strikes are not the only methods the new revolution can use. Some of the methods cannot be publicly disclosed. Those will be communicated to verified patriots by secure methods. Those secure methods, and other strategies for carrying out the new American Revolution will be covered in subsequent articles. [that's very wise from you, the FBI probably won't notice this announcement anyway]

While very grateful Mr. Small thought to invite me, he perhaps does not really know me. I am a radical independent individualist—I do not join anything [not even the Revolution you're planning?]

The revolution at the conclusion of Atlas Shrugged is an individualist revolution, but unlike any individualist revolution in history, that revolution is a change in political authority. Individualist revolutions do not bring down regimes; the one in Atlas Shrugged did. One mark of a really great writer is the ability to include elements, which standing alone would seem implausible or even impossible, but skillfully woven into the fabric of a story's plot, such elements are not only plausible, but perfectly natural. [gotcha - Rand was a really great writer, so 'the revolution' is perfectly natural - it can and will happen]

In the end, the revolution that will bring real freedom to any part of the world, or the world itself, will come, but it will come only because of those rebels who choose to seek their own cause, their own freedom, and their own life. The revolution that will free the world will be a byproduct of their rebellion, just as every benevolent revolution in the world has always been. [so said Reginald the Prophet]


Jesus John Galt exists because the Bible Atlas Shrugged says so.
I'm actually a member of the site's forum and was posting there for a bit during my Ayn Rand phase up until a few years ago.

The members' views, including Regi's (Reginald Firehammer) are kinda nutty. There's some doubt of evolution at least by forum member Cass, one of Regi's friends (and an atheist, too!). If I remember correctly the exchange between her and myself, she was arguing that the theory of evolution is insufficient to describe life's history, and I think she said something about life or certain forms of life having "always" existed. She's an atheist, so this puzzled me.

I no longer subscribe to libertarianism, which is what their philosophy and Rand's are instances of. I think that "ethical egoism" is wrongheaded, that Rand's philosophy can apply to what she wants it to and what she explicitly doesn't want it to (due to ambiguity and equivocation), and that their conception of rights--or at least what rights there are--is flawed (at least to the extent that it is similar to "natural rights"). Her phrase "man qua man" is used to indicate multiple things and often obscures the errors in reasoning that are going on when she and they are trying to say what the "proper" life of a human being is.

To see something similar, look for the site "The Rational Argumentator", by G. Stolyarov II. He's an inactive member of The Autonomist forum. He decided to leave the forum after people started to dislike him and his philosophy (at one point, he published as an article on his site something I had written in a forum post of mine, and he altered part of it without my permission, changing part of my meaning; I objected, and he changed it back, but only after I got pissy with him about it). You can find also find him on YouTube under his name.
Where is the love?
Even though I don't agree with everything Ayn Rand believes, I honestly think that she would be disgusted by the bigotry and close minded behavior of Reginald Firehammer. I also think that she would probably be angry at all of his irrational remarks that imply questionable blanket statements about the Middle East and how Christianity is somehow superior to all other religions coming from an individualist point of view. This is obviously false due to the fact that Christianity boasts of giving away all that you make for yourself so you can be rewarded in heaven which is not a very Randian statement at all.
My initial impression is that the site in not very representative of Ayn Rand. But, it's been so long since I read any of her work, I'm not sure.

I do know that Ayn Rand was an atheist and would have no sympathy for religious based thinking. She was also and unapologetic individualist and would have argued that an individual's religious beliefs are his own damn business and we are under no obligation to correct his thinking. Religion is dangerous only when it is organized or collectivized. Then it should be stopped. She was staunchly against collectives of any kind; religious, political, economic or otherwise. I don't care much for her work, mostly because of style, not content, but she does demonstrate how one can be a politically conservative, anti-communist, anti-fascist, capitalist atheist. For those members of this site who are not reactionary "progressives", she is worth a read.
Worth a read? I think not. I don't care much about her views, everyone has a right to their opinions. I do care, however, about her flaky logic. You can't claim ultimate rationality for yourself and mass-produce straw men at a rate that would have Henry Ford die from jealousy.
My response to your attrition with "reactionary 'progressives'" can be found here http://www.atheistnexus.org/forum/topics/its-not-that-simple if you're interested.

As for Ayn Rand and her philosophy, I've read Anthem, For The New Intellectual, The Fountainhead, and only the first 3rd of Atlas Shrugged (my opinion is that Atlas was just a rehashing of Fountain, and so I couldn't finish...also, her injection of her philosophy, whether I agree with it or not, ruins her prose, which is tragic, since she had so much potential). When Firehammer so copiously lauds Christianity, he DOES quote directly from Rand, though we all know that "context" is often the amorphous whore of rhetoric. Point is, everyone interprets, so just how representative Firehammer and his site contributors are to Rand's philosophy is based in your own judgment.

I'll just keep it in this comment to respond to Jaume's second response about reading Rand: Every philosophy, every point of view, is worth a read. ESPECIALLY the ones you disagree with.
Every philosophy, every point of view, is worth a read. ESPECIALLY the ones you disagree with.

Agreed. And I did actually read some Rand (not the novels). But flamboyant rhetoric built on debatable premises using faulty logic does not qualify as philosophy in my book. As I said, my gripe is not with Rand's views, but with the manner she presents them. I'd rather direct people to a short summary of Objectivism than to her works.

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