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

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Replies to This Discussion

I don't know about Ayn Rand's philosophy. I never researched her. I only agree with her quote:

“Reason is not automatic. Those who deny it cannot be conquered by it. Do not count on them. Leave them alone.” Ayn Rand

Good ideas can come from the most beastly person. I recommend we keep the good ideas.

Ohhhhhh, well if you're just sniping the quote, then no worries.  The direct attribution of a quote to a well-known person usually implies some sort of endorsement of that person, although that may not always be the case.  When you look a little further, in the case of this quote, I can't help but feel that it acquires a bit of irony, when you hear more about what she thinks is reasonable.

 

To put it another way, Hitler (I'm calling Godwin on myself, right now) had many quotes that were well thought out and meaningful.  However, when you quote him and state that it's his quote, people are going to wonder what the hell you're really getting at.  Gotta watch your sources for added baggage.

I was not interested in researching Ayn Rand due to your illustration above. I am more apt to become interested if the information is in video format, so when elsewhere in this discussion someone posted a video of Mike Wallace interviewing Ayn Rand, I became curious to find out how fiendish she really is. Now that I know a tiny bit about her, I am more interested in finding out more, so I will in time read this whole discussion and gage whether I should seriously research Ayn Rand.

I like what you're saying Joseph P. People too often in public and private life judge what is said by the person who says it.

Hmm, that's a point.  I didn't think too deeply into that sentence.  Those people can also vote.
So anyone who has actually studied and thought about what Ayn Rand wrote , and not just in passing , would know that the last thing she ever wanted was blind agreement . The very core of her philosophy is that first each man or woman must think for themselves . Leaving it at that as you put it just denigrates a remarkable and incredible mind not to mention her whole body of work .  In what way and or fashion can you refute anything she said ? Be specific and base your responses on actual facts and reality please . No emotion and / or fuzzy thinking need be written . Well that's my two cents for the moment .

And I've thought about what she wrote ... and I disagree with almost all of her socio-political conclusions.

 

She goes wrong in statements such as The Virtue of Selfishness.  Too many bald assertions that I don't agree with.

In that wikipedia article, she is quoted as defining the term selfishness as simply "concern with one's own interests."

Are you disagreeing with her because of her definition, or because of your definition of selfishness?

I don't have a real opinion yet, but I find her ideas on the face as intriguing. I am of the opinion that you don't have to take the whole of her works. That you can take some of her works. No one is perfect, so I don't expect her to get everything right nor do I expect her to get everything wrong.

It's not her definition of 'selfish' that's the problem.  Everyone's a bit selfish, and it benefits people to look out for their own self-interest.

 

It's where she runs off to with it.  She's very simplistic in her reasoning.  It's one of those situations in which you have an amateur (in this case, political scientist) who knows just enough to be dangerous, since she can speak the lingo well enough to fool people into thinking she knows what she's talking about.

This is why I compare Objectivism/Libertarianism to Communism.  They're both designed by naive people who ignore the details and base their grand societal plans upon a simplified social structure which explodes the moment you insert real people into the society.

It's the reason I view most Republicans with complete disdain, since they vote and legislate based upon what they think people should be, rather than what people actually are.

 

Rand also idolized a sociopathic serial-killer during her formative years.  When that's her idea of an ideal man, I'm terrified of anything she's likely to come up with.

I happen to be reading Atlas Shrugged and saw the movie today on DVD. 

My thought is that the principles of Objectivism tend to work on a small scale . . . as an entrepreneur, for example, I find the idea of capitalism appealing.  That said, humans are humans and will generally try to screw one another over.

Rand's group actually became cult like toward the end of her life, and her philosophical heir does not tolerate any dissent in the ranks.

Kind of funny for people who also call themselves "Individualists."

Years ago I stumbled upon the term Objectivism and searched it online.  I started to read the website, and came to the part where it rejected any form of altruism.  This pretty much ended any positive interest for me.

Later I frequently encountered Rand followers in atheist communities. They tend to be persistent and dogmatic.  As far as I'm concerned, Rand's Objectivist religion along with right-wing libertarianism is a poison that is helping to destroy the basic cooperative fabric of society. 

The argument that "Rand's Objectivist religion" is helping to destroy altruism and the "cooperative fabric of the society" sounds just like the argument that Science is helping to destroy the Christian religion.

 

It doesn't say anything about the worth of what is being destroyed.

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