This is to continue the discussion of Objectivism from the front page. Some basic info:

Ayn Rand (1905-1982) (wikipedia) was a Russian immigrant, author, screenwriter and creator of the philosophy called "Objectivism", which advocates selfishness as a virtue and denounces altruism. 

Among her writings are The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged, both of which have been turned into feature films.

Despite her atheism, Rand is popular among Tea Party conservatives because of her anti-tax stance.  

Former Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan was a personal friend of Rand.

Tags: ayn rand, capitalism, objectivism, selfishness

Views: 1039

Replies to This Discussion

Altruism has been central to the development of species during biological evolution. Besides, it does not cause much harm to me or other living beings, hence I don't need to quit.

 

In what fashion has altruism been central to the development of any other living being than man?

 

By it's very nature a theory of human behavior such as altruism assumes humans involved and therefor by definition can apply to no other species .

 

  It doesn't cause harm to you ? Fine . But others , come on you can't really believe that let's examine that question for a moment the 70 to 80 year experiment in the U.S.S.R was pure Marxist dogma with everyone's interests sacrificed to the interest of the state and that led to a totalitarian government that killed ten's of millions of it's own people largely through purges and starvation . Nazi Germany was all about a combination of two separate altruistic creeds the so called Will to Power or anything for the people and Hitler himself instituted policies that encouraged blood and muscle over thinking . He wanted all for the people all sacrificed to all . All under the banner of an altruistic creed . England voted itself into socialism where the highest income tax rate is at 90% or higher to pay for their huge welfare state all in the name of altruism . How many more examples do you need ?  Let's not forget the altruistic wars this country has involved itself in over the last 60 years . Vietnam and Korea anyone ? We as a county had no legitimate worries over there. What do we care if one more county with an inadequate military base self destructs ? Altruistic wars with no firm goals and look at the end result . How many of our people were forced to fight in those wars take your opion and talk to a Vietnam veteran and see how far you get. There you go .

There is a lot of revisionism these days about the Nobility of the VietNam war.  I don't know how many of the revisionists are actual veterans, but since Iraq started they have been very vocal about how we tried to help those people fend off a brutal dictatorship, and how it would have worked if not for those durn hippies.

I don't quite follow the connection from altruism to Nazism or Stalinism, but I think animal kingdom altruism occurs when the herd circles around the young in the face of predators.  Adults protect young other than their own.  I think I have also seen nature shows where orphan young have been adopted by other adults in the group.

This Wikipedia page, Taxation in the UK:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taxation_in_the_United_Kingdom#Income_tax

shows a top level of 50%.  A lot to be sure, but not 90%.

Keep it coming, Jason.  Fact checking your claims is fun.

This Wikipedia page, Taxation in the UK:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taxation_in_the_United_Kingdom#Income_tax

shows a top level of 50%.  A lot to be sure, but not 90%.

Keep it coming, Jason.  Fact checking your claims is fun.

Heh, I knew that sounded like total crap, but I figured I would read through the rest of the comments before looking that up.  Nice.

Great link to Altruism in Animals, thanks so much.

It makes me think of the Cooperation and Competition speech in A Beautiful Mind, but I'm not going to start posting links to game theory.  I think you made the point pretty well.

I have it - cells in a body.  Only when Altruism breaks down do you have true Growth.
Sounds like the metastasis of cancer.

In what fashion has altruism been central to the development of any other living being than man?

Every other pack species on the planet.

 

By it's very nature a theory of human behavior such as altruism assumes humans involved and therefor by definition can apply to no other species .

That's just a silly statement.  Behaviorists work to find analogs between human behaviors and that of other species all the time.  Humans do not exist and behave in a manner that's completely different from every other species on the planet.

 

But others , come on you can't really believe that let's examine that question for a moment the 70 to 80 year experiment in the U.S.S.R was pure Marxist dogma with everyone's interests sacrificed to the interest of the state and that led to a totalitarian government that killed ten's of millions of it's own people largely through purges and starvation .

Which is why I don't support any absolutist position.

 

Vietnam and Korea anyone ?

Holy shit.  You really think Vietnam was altruistic?  It was a proxy war between the USSR and us.

 

What do we care if one more county with an inadequate military base self destructs ? Altruistic wars with no firm goals and look at the end result .

You're creating a false comparison here by jamming two unrelated characteristics together.

A war with no firm goals ... yeah, that's sounds like a really freaking bad idea to me too.  An altruistic war isn't necessarily one with no firm goals, though.

Recent discussion of Rand on NPR's All things Considered:

On Capitol Hill, Rand's 'Atlas' Can't Be Shrugged Off

 

'Ayn Rand is best known for her novels The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged. The ideas behind them — her philosophy — have sunk so deeply into our political thought, most people don't even recognize them as her ideas anymore.

 
But Rand does have important admirers, like House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis., and former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan. Recently, House Speaker John Boehner channeled Rand when he said, "Job creators in America basically are on strike."'

 

Linked video interivew:

Ayn Rand Mike Wallace Interview 1959

 

 

 

 

The point of the story of course is how surprisingly influential she is on US culture.  I wish she could just be shrugged off.  Watching this video, I find her detestable.  I wouldn't care if she didn't have millions of followers repeating and propogating her rhetoric.

@Fil Salustri and anyone else who would like to be entertained.
You deleted the following conversation. I wonder why?
To illustrate what you did, I have copied to here the conversation from the emails I recieved containing your replies. I have copied them without editting them and as a whole.

I made this post in reply to JosephP: http://www.atheistnexus.org/xn/detail/2182797:Comment:1749412

Fil Salustri replied with (which he deleted for some reason):

 

Cane,
Your reply is what I'd expect from a theist, who's always demanding proof for things that are amply covered in readily available sources.
You might start with google scholar.  Try this search (http://scholar.google.ca/scholar?q=impact+of+altruism&hl=en&...).

 

I replied with:

 

Thank you very much for calling me a theist. I am always wrong and stupid.

 

 He replied with:

 

I didn't call you a theist.  Oddly, twisting one's words is another theist strategy.

 

I replied with:

 

Everywhere I go on this website, I get called stupid, or theist. If 100 people tell you you are a theist, or stupid, it must be true, right? I'm beginning to believe it!

 

and this:

 

One more thing. What if I asked to be educated not for my benefit, but for the benefit of those afraid to be called theist and stupid. Thanks for being so kind as to insult me as you help me.

 

To which he replied with:

 

You're welcome.

 

Fil Salustri, in his infinite wisdom, deleted those responses.


I would like to make some points about this exchange.

1) As entertaining it was for at least Fil, it shows that his denial of insult was hollow.

2) In his point of view, asking a question about, or asking to be educated on, something that is freely and easily obtainable, is a theist attitude. So, if I ask about Calculus, which I know of at least one website that offers free classes on the subject, I shouldn't ask the question, but I should go answer my question myself by searching the internet.

3) I have no respect for Fil. He blatantly insulted me for a reason that only he can articulate.

 

And for those interested in free classes on all kinds of subjects, I offer you this prestigious website:

http://ocw.mit.edu/index.htm  MIT OpenCourseWare - Free Online Courses

 

What is?

Sounds more or less accurate. Growing the company pays off eventually. Stripping the company of its value and laying off 20,000 employees pays right now.

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