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Objectivism Today - What do you think ?
Posted: 11 February 2009 06:28 PM   [ Ignore ]
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Thought I would post this in light of this weeks Newsweek cover “We are all Socialists now”
Just raising my hand to disagree
The last sentence is really interesting in reference to the bailouts.


following is a short description of Objectivism given by Ayn Rand in 1962:

At a sales conference at Random House, preceding the publication of Atlas Shrugged, one of the book salesmen asked me whether I could present the essence of my philosophy while standing on one foot. I did as follows:

Metaphysics: Objective Reality
Epistemology: Reason
Ethics: Self-interest
Politics: Capitalism
If you want this translated into simple language, it would read: 1. “Nature, to be commanded, must be obeyed” or “Wishing won’t make it so.” 2. “You can’t eat your cake and have it, too.” 3. “Man is an end in himself.” 4. “Give me liberty or give me death.”

If you held these concepts with total consistency, as the base of your convictions, you would have a full philosophical system to guide the course of your life. But to hold them with total consistency—to understand, to define, to prove and to apply them—requires volumes of thought. Which is why philosophy cannot be discussed while standing on one foot—nor while standing on two feet on both sides of every fence. This last is the predominant philosophical position today, particularly in the field of politics.

My philosophy, Objectivism, holds that:

Reality exists as an objective absolute—facts are facts, independent of man’s feelings, wishes, hopes or fears.

Reason (the faculty which identifies and integrates the material provided by man’s senses) is man’s only means of perceiving reality, his only source of knowledge, his only guide to action, and his basic means of survival.

Man—every man—is an end in himself, not the means to the ends of others. He must exist for his own sake, neither sacrificing himself to others nor sacrificing others to himself. The pursuit of his own rational self-interest and of his own happiness is the highest moral purpose of his life.

The ideal political-economic system is laissez-faire capitalism. It is a system where men deal with one another, not as victims and executioners, nor as masters and slaves, but as traders, by free, voluntary exchange to mutual benefit. It is a system where no man may obtain any values from others by resorting to physical force, and no man may initiate the use of physical force against others. The government acts only as a policeman that protects man’s rights; it uses physical force only in retaliation and only against those who initiate its use, such as criminals or foreign invaders. In a system of full capitalism, there should be (but, historically, has not yet been) a complete separation of state and economics, in the same way and for the same reasons as the separation of state and church.

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“No man who refuses to bear arms in defense of his nation can give a sound reason why he should be allowed to live in a free country”  T. Roosevelt

“The democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those who are not.”  Thomas Jefferson”

“History does not long entrust the care of freedom to the weak or the timid” - Gen Eisenhower.

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Posted: 11 February 2009 06:36 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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I feel this is unfair to many, many people and believe that the government should ban this way of thinking because following it would mean that not everyone would get everything they wished for, hoped for or feel they should have.

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All of life’s problems can be solved by heavy deadlifts.

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Posted: 11 February 2009 07:33 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Bailout = Bad.
Liberation from the Wagner act = good.

Give them freedom, and let them sink or swim.

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Posted: 11 February 2009 07:37 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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I was re-reading “Atlas Shrugged” a few months ago. I struggled to figure out if I was reading the book or the paper some days.

I guess their won’t be a bail out for those of us who studied hard, worked hard, borrowed reasonably, and spent frugally.  Of course, I don’t need one because of those practices, too.

I just wish they would stop spending my money (and my kid’s money) on their wish list.

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FIN’S UP

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Posted: 11 February 2009 08:11 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Shark - 11 February 2009 07:37 PM

I just wish they would stop spending my money (and my kid’s money) on their wish list.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090212/ap_on_re_us/octuplets

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Posted: 12 February 2009 05:08 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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I very much enjoyed doing my taxes this weekend and now seeing that because my wife and I work very hard and have over time improved our incomes we have been rewarded with more taxes and less deductions.  A few years ago we lost the ability to deduct our school loan interest - that made a lot of sense.  Just this year I lost the ability to deduct daycare for my boy because of our bracket.  Thank you may I have another.

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34 Years old - 6’1” and 240 pounds down from low point in life of 270 and goal of 220

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Posted: 12 February 2009 08:32 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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Atlas shrugged should ( obviously) be required reading, for that reason it will be likely to be banned soon.
We wouldn’t want to see a play by play on what is happening and what it will lead to, as that might make us less euphoric
over “change”

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“No man who refuses to bear arms in defense of his nation can give a sound reason why he should be allowed to live in a free country”  T. Roosevelt

“The democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those who are not.”  Thomas Jefferson”

“History does not long entrust the care of freedom to the weak or the timid” - Gen Eisenhower.

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Posted: 12 February 2009 09:23 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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radiosound - 11 February 2009 08:11 PM
Shark - 11 February 2009 07:37 PM

I just wish they would stop spending my money (and my kid’s money) on their wish list.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090212/ap_on_re_us/octuplets

this is child abuse in the most egregious form. “oh look! jon and kate plus 8 got a huge tv deal! lemme have 14 kids without a husband or a job and make the media pay for their care”

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“estne volumen in toga, an solum tibi libet me videre?”
Translation: Is that a scroll in your toga, or are you just happy to see me?

“catapultam habeo. nisi pecuniam dabis, ad capitem tuum saxum mittam.”
Translation: I have a catapult. Give me all of your money or I will throw an enormous rock at your head.

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Posted: 12 February 2009 11:12 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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Man—every man—is an end in himself, not the means to the ends of others. He must exist for his own sake, neither sacrificing himself to others nor sacrificing others to himself.

I reject this based on evidence at hand to the contrary. It is clear to me that man is hard-wired as a social animal, requiring interaction with others in order to feel fulfilled. Suggesting that man is an end in himself is to ignore our basic DNA.

The story of the the scorpion and the frog recognized this centuries ago. A scorpion asks a frog to carry him across a river. The frog is afraid of being stung, but the scorpion reassures him that if it stung the frog, the frog would sink and the scorpion would drown as well. The frog then agrees; nevertheless, in mid-river, the scorpion stings him, dooming the two of them. When asked why, the scorpion explains, “I’m a scorpion; it’s my nature.”

If man was an end in himself, the community aspect of Crossfit and BrandX would not exist. It is clear to me that part of our nature is the enjoyment of associating with others, helping others and seeing them succeed. (Part of our nature also starts wars, but that’s for another discussion.)

Mike Mentzer was an Ayn Rand-ian objectivist and a big proponent of HIT training. Mentzer became a nut job and ultimately a failure as a strength coach. I think the two are related.

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Posted: 12 February 2009 12:04 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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Lincoln,
That is funny- that the two may be related. Watch me closely as I may become a nut job.

I do not agree entirely with all objectivist thought either - just so you know. 


I think service to others is and should be a large part of peoples lives, but importantly, never at the expense of self, or at the direction of others.( or government for that matter)

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“No man who refuses to bear arms in defense of his nation can give a sound reason why he should be allowed to live in a free country”  T. Roosevelt

“The democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those who are not.”  Thomas Jefferson”

“History does not long entrust the care of freedom to the weak or the timid” - Gen Eisenhower.

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Posted: 12 February 2009 12:32 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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What about troops having to take an objective knowing there will be casualties?

What about a fireman going into harms way to save a child?

What about a police officer going undercover to crack a crime ring?

What about a parent who sacrifices many things to raise their child properly

All are very selfless services and necessary ones.  Sure, all three get a paycheck, and I can’t speak for the police or fire fighters, but as an ex soldier that was in harm’s way I never used the paycheck as the reason for performing my assigned duty.  And as a parent and husband, I am expected and would not hesitate to lay my life down to protect my wife or child.

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34 Years old - 6’1” and 240 pounds down from low point in life of 270 and goal of 220

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Posted: 12 February 2009 03:37 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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Devotion to self and devotion to others can reach extremes. A balance is necessary in order serve both our needs for self-preservation and social instincts.

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Lincoln Brigham
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http://www.gryphon-sc.com
51M/6’1”/170-ish

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Posted: 13 February 2009 10:52 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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Jack Daniels / Lincoln

I would do any/all of those things if the opportunity arose.

I think the essence of the disagreement is in the definition of self or selflessness,
and personal responsibility rather than social responsibility ( as defined by others)
and the decision to act or not to act being made by each individual, never by force
of the will of another.

Lincoln agreed, but the tricky part is
How do we define those extremes ? When is it extreme ?
Who decides… the majority ? or the individual ?

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“No man who refuses to bear arms in defense of his nation can give a sound reason why he should be allowed to live in a free country”  T. Roosevelt

“The democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those who are not.”  Thomas Jefferson”

“History does not long entrust the care of freedom to the weak or the timid” - Gen Eisenhower.

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Posted: 13 February 2009 11:22 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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I just read Atlas Shrugged last month.  I wish I had read it sooner, as it put into words what I felt for a very long time. 

I am a social animal because it benefits me, not because I am forced too.  My friends are those that I like, and not those I do not.  If I choose to be charitable, it is because it is what I feel is right, not because I am morally or legally obligated. 

My worth is based on my ability to succeed.  My success is based on how well I perform my job.  Currently, my job is to be in service to our country, and I will sacrifice my life, not because I am morally or legally obligated, because it is my choice. 
Lincoln pointed out Cross and Brand X community.  This is a valid point, but I think it also has to do with mans ability to share knowledge so they can improve on their on products (their programming, or themselves).  It is also a means of validity.  To see the success of others based on your advice, proves your worth, and makes you a better trainer. 

JD, if I choose a job to be in service to the public, to uphold the law or protect property/lives, I would do all that you mentioned.

If I saw someone getting mugged, robbed, or beat up, would I help?  Yes.  There is nothing worse in this world than looters, moochers, and thieves.

A good example of this is when the men at Hank Reardens mill banded together to fight off the looters.  When Francisco went out of his way to protect him.  No one forced these men to fight, and no one would have thought otherwise if they walked away… they did it because they protected something they loved, and protected their livelihood.

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Posted: 14 February 2009 07:29 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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It would be my definition of self, my integrity, that would be in jeopardy if I did not step up or help when it was needed.
So my act would be charitable as well as in service to self.

If instead, the collective were allowed to decide when and if I or anyone else were to be compelled to sacrifice, that could be considered tyranny.

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“No man who refuses to bear arms in defense of his nation can give a sound reason why he should be allowed to live in a free country”  T. Roosevelt

“The democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those who are not.”  Thomas Jefferson”

“History does not long entrust the care of freedom to the weak or the timid” - Gen Eisenhower.

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Posted: 17 February 2009 07:08 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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What a great discussion! Mikki, you are a nut job, but the world needs more such nut jobs. I love you. Thank you for raising your hand to disagree with Newsweek, which in my experience makes a dandy bird cage liner.

Like some other people have already said, I take Ayn Rand with a grain of salt. I’m with her when she rejects totalitarianism in any form, calls man an end in himself, and exalts the free market. I snicker when she defends “capitalism,” not because I don’t like money, but because the label itself is a Marxist sneer—Marx and Lenin coined the term (see Das Kapital) as shorthand for the kind of allegedly unscientific materialism that their socialist utopia was supposed to displace in the name of “the people.” What’s ironic is that “capitalism” has always been better at customer service than “socialism,” although you might guess otherwise if all you had to go on were the labels.

My problem with Rand rests in another kind of “ism,” her atheism, which is not always explicit, but does explain statements like this one:

Reason (the faculty which identifies and integrates the material provided by man’s senses) is man’s only means of perceiving reality, his only source of knowledge, his only guide to action, and his basic means of survival.

Bueller? Anyone? Anyone?

What Rand leaves out of her worldview is faith, which is (per a long list of thinkers going back at least as far as Paul of Tarsus) a legitimate means of perceiving reality, and—in my religion, at least—a complement to reason.

Rand does get points for walking her own talk, but really, her life was a mess. Self-interest as a guiding principle only gets you so far.  To borrow from something I wrote two months ago, we’re all lying in the mud, but some of us are looking at the stars.

I like Mikki’s point about how personal integrity may fuel altruism or self-sacrifice, which I take as a gallant attempt to rescue Rand’s thesis from the perils of contrary examples provided by people like LincolnB and Jack Daniels. I think that point about integrity is right. But I also think it’s rare, and would suggest that only people who’ve actually thought this stuff through can explain self-motivation that way. Plus it’s one thing to say that a personal code compels good behavior or generosity, and another to explain how that personal code came to be forged on the anvil of experience. We all draw on the moral and intellectual capital of the traditions in which we are raised, and while there were ancient Greeks and Romans who had a lot of integrity, they were amazed (with good reason) at the example of early Christians in their midst.

Just my two cents.

Off topic, the “Jack Daniels” handle reminds me of the scene in Scent of a Woman where Al Pacino asks for a “John Daniels,” and young Chris O’Donnell says “Don’t you mean Jack Daniels?” To which Pacino growls the classic reply: “Son, when you’ve known him as long as I have, you can call him anything you want.”

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Because "viriliter age" has to mean something in English, too.

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