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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But private altruism never got the job done.  Before Social Security and Welfare, we had a poverty level amongst the elderly which was just disgraceful.  Yes, there are people who cheat the system, and we could use some reform ... but you can't dismantle the social safety-net entirely.  The only entity with a track record for sufficiently taking care of people is the government.
I do not disagree, Joseph. The social net established by that great Altruist, the very rich Franklin Delano Roosevelt, was long over due, and the Philosophy of Objectivism would have no room for such governmental interference in the affairs of the poor, downtrodden and aged, hence the inherent flaw in it. Two people, exercising Reason, can reasonably disagree on methods and objectives. There never is just One Rational Answer, unless you happen to be in possession of total and complete knowledge...which to the best of my recollection, there has not yet been One, and of course I include the mythical Jesus of Nazareth in that bunch.

You know I wish everyone on this site would read more history . Before the government stepped in there was charity available as there still is today . Ayn Rand never had a problem with charity . So according to the only dictionary I have altruism is defined as the unselfish concern for the welfare of others . I posit that this is impossible . All concern must first be for one self and only then can you turn to assist others . The way Ayn Rand defined it it was Sacrificing your best to the worst in others . Penalizing ability for being ability and sacrifice for the sake of sacrifice . Also if the government hadn't been draining our wealth for decades by over printing money and sucking our wages out in taxes each individual could have saved and invested that money in his/her own future . Do any of you truly believe it is your personal responsibility to care for and provide for the food , health care , housing and clothing of everyone else on the planet?

From each according to his ability to each according to his needs? This has proven over and over again to fail miserably and tens of millions of people have died because of this particular piece of vicious nonsense. Show me one example where it hasn't ended in bankruptcy and destruction if you can .

> Do any of you truly believe it is your personal responsibility to care for and provide for the food , health care , housing and clothing of everyone else on the planet?

Obviously not, but the original safety net was just for old people, just in this country.  At a time when most people died before age 70 and there were 10 workers to fund each retiree, it made more sense.

> if the government hadn't been draining our wealth for decades by over printing money and sucking our wages out in taxes each individual could have saved and invested that money in his/her own future .

I am skeptical about that.  Again, at the time SS was enacted (acronym pun intentional), there were people who dug ditches and washed floors for a living.  Those people never had a hope of saving enough for a dignified retirement.  The norm was for them to work until they dropped.  SS provided a dignified year or two at the end for everyone - a little more of a boost for those who never prospered, and a little less of a boost for those who did well.

Now, though, programs have been added and expanded, and our country is top-heavy with old people about to retire.  Immigration laws force younger workers into undocumented, noncontributing roles.  If the system survives the next 20 years, it will be a credit to the resilience of America.  In my opinion, of course.

As far as Ayn Rand is concerned, I think she did not worry about such issues.  This kind of thing is outside the scope of Objectivism, which is another reason why that philosophy is too limited to guide a large and complicated population, IMO.

Before the government stepped in there was charity available as there still is today.

But never enough.  Private charity never got the job done.

I flatly stated in my previous post that there were private charities.  They were just insufficient for the task.

 

You should vote for Herman Cain in this next election.  He thinks that we should do away with Social Security and Medicare and let old people beg for charity at churches.

 

So according to the only dictionary I have altruism is defined as the unselfish concern for the welfare of others.  I posit that this is impossible.

And according to many dictionaries, we atheists are, by definition, immoral.  And according to many dictionaries, a theory is an untested idea or opinion, synonymous with a hypothesis (although I've discovered some better, more thorough ones, recently).

Step outside of the rigid dictionary definitions of absolutes, and use the word how it's actually used.  Your definitions of 'altruism' and 'unselfish' are also far too narrow.  I found, with a simple dictionary.com search, that altruism can mean 'the philosophical doctrine that right action is that which produces the greatest benefit to others'.  Not so impossible, is that?

 

The way Ayn Rand defined it it was Sacrificing your best to the worst in others.

Which I consider to be a grotesque distortion of altruism.

 

Penalizing ability for being ability and sacrifice for the sake of sacrifice.

And who the fuck do you hear proposing sacrifice for the sake of sacrifice?  Major strawman you have going there.

We sacrifice for the sake of goals and societal health, not sacrifice itself.  Where do you learn this crap?

 

Also if the government hadn't been draining our wealth for decades by over printing money and sucking our wages out in taxes each individual could have saved and invested that money in his/her own future.

Just like people did before the government set up social welfare programs?  Which fantasy world are you living in?

 

From each according to his ability to each according to his needs?

Which is Communism, not Socialism.  Communism is a fairytale system as well, just on the opposite side of the spectrum from Libertarianism.  I already said so, elsewhere in this thread.  You're strawmanning, again.

Two people, exercising Reason, can reasonably disagree on methods and objectives.  There never is just One Rational Answer ...

Yet, you can study historical trends.  Even in the present day, more socialist countries have a much better standard of societal health.  There are ways to study results and expose some opinions as dogma, claiming outcomes that are impossible.

 

There are often multiple ways of solving a problem.  That doesn't exclude the possibility of solutions that are just wrong and counterproductive.

Joseph what is societal health ? Define it for me . And if you all continue to take things out of context and engage in ad hominen attacks this conversation will end at least from my side as I will cease to bother.

Societal health is less a simply defined word and more a list of things: average education, physical health, happiness, crime rates, income disparity, along with many others.

 

So, one joke about Herman Cain, and you refuse to respond to anything in my post?  Christ.

I couldn't care less if you continue the conversation.  I notice you avoided responding to a single point I made.  I'm beginning to think it's a waste of my time.  Funny how often I get that feeling, when I talk to Libertarians.

Please relist your points. as I seem to have missed them. And I'm not a libertarian . I am an indivualist who is for liberty and against government control of our lives. Beyond the minimum required by the police ,the court system using objectively interpreted laws , and the military to defend us from outside invasion. Any thing else is simply an intrusion into our lives and against the very nature of each individual man or woman and a rational view of mankind's nature and requirements. This is how I see things . So if we continue from that starting point fine .

 

I really didn't care about the Cain thing . Actually I think it would be funny to have a President named Cain . But so far of all the Republican candidates he is the least offensive.

 

As to there being more than one solution to any given problem . You are right in that . Please keep in mind that for any given problem there will be an optimal solution that fits the best given the information available . As to premises . Any premise not based on a real world view of things is doomed to failure as time will tell . Please refute any of this as you see fit . If you can.

My objection was not to your refutation of my points but to the labeling of them and the use of vulgarity when it is unnecessary . As to socialist societies having a better standard of "societal health " well consider Sweden a socialist constitutional monarchy with the highest rape statistics per ca-pita of any European country . They even beat the good old U.S.A in this . And if health care is so awesome in England , a socialist county , then why are all the doctors and scientists moving here as soon as the ink is dry on their doctorates ? As to income disparity why is this so important a slogan to every socialist I have ever talked to under a socialist society there is no income disparity this is true . Because everyone is equally broke . What incentive is there for some person to increase his or her own productivity when the harder he or she works the more money he/she loses? The incredibly high tax brackets in England to pay for the welfare state and the graduated taxes in this country give good evidence of exactly this. Also true socialism is government ownership of all the property and all the businesses and therefor even England isn't a true socialism but like the U.S.A. a mixed economy .

 

My objection was not to your refutation of my points but to the labeling of them and the use of vulgarity when it is unnecessary .

I pulled out the specific ending line that I was directly addressing, in each case.  It clarifies exactly what I was commenting on.  You can consider the sentences prior to that to be part of what I was responding to.

Vulgarity and profanity (more the latter, in my usage here) are useful exclamation points.  If you follow what I say in other groups and other threads, you'll see that I use them sparingly and almost always for effect.

 

As to socialist societies having a better standard of "societal health " well consider Sweden a socialist constitutional monarchy with the highest rape statistics per ca-pita of any European country . They even beat the good old U.S.A in this .

Pat Condell (you'd like him; he's conservative) addressed this directly:

 

 

It's not the natives who are raping women.  It's the ultra-conservative, Muslim immigrants who are doing it.  Yes, Sweden has a bit of a mess to clean up right now, but the root cause of it is them being a prosperous and socially-healthy society, which is attractive to immigrants ... then not sufficiently controlling immigration.

 

They even beat the good old U.S.A in this . And if health care is so awesome in England , a socialist county , then why are all the doctors and scientists moving here as soon as the ink is dry on their doctorates ?

And yet, England has better average healthcare outcomes, despite the US bleeding off their doctors and scientists.  What does this tell us about the two systems?

America is better for the doctors.  England is better for the patients.  Which system would you rather live within?

 

to every socialist I have ever talked to under a socialist society there is no income disparity this is true .

That's not even vaguely true.  Again, you're confusing Communism with Socialism.  There's a huge difference.  Communism is at best a discrete subset of Socialism, and even that is stretching it a bit.

There is less income disparity within a socialist society though, yes.  Just look at Europe.  They're doing better than we are, right now, even taking Greece and a few others into account.

 

What incentive is there for some person to increase his or her own productivity when the harder he or she works the more money he/she loses?

That plateaus off when you hit the highest tax bracket.  Once you hit a couple hundred thousand a year, you don't pay a higher percentage on additional income you make.

You know how the tiered tax system work, right?  Warren Buffet pays the same percentage on the first $50,000 he makes that I do.  He only pays a higher percentage on the money he makes above the next tier level.

Why don't you ask Warren Buffet why he continues to work so hard, when he pays so much in taxes?  Last time I checked, he was begging the government to raise his taxes, because he wasn't paying what he felt was his fair share.

 

Also true socialism is government ownership of all the property and all the businesses and therefor even England isn't a true socialism but like the U.S.A. a mixed economy .

Which is why, elsewhere in this thread, I said that I don't support pure Socialism, either.  The best system is usually somewhere in the middle, well away from any absolute.

Additionally ... no, socialism is not the government ownership of all property.  Even at its most extreme, Socialism is only the government ownership of vital means of production (surely you remember that from the slogans that Communists like to throw around), not all property.

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