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Objectivism Today - What do you think ?
Posted: 17 February 2009 04:04 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 16 ]
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Normal people are boring.

Not with Ayn on the faith issues either, agreed on the messed up personal life (unfathomable !)

It is easy to misunderstand the “man as an end in himself” statement as selfishness, unless you have read it, and read it again.
It is her Anti Industrialist and economic writings that I find so compelling right now.
She had both personal experience and historical perspective as well as intellect beyond the grasp of most (including myself here)

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Posted: 19 February 2009 01:40 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 17 ]
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I’ve been pondering some of the ideas here and just want to say a couple of things and ask a question or two in no particular order and with no agenda beyond hearing others’ thoughts.

I agree with Lincoln that humans are hard wired to socialize, and I’d add to that we are also driven to hierarchize as well.

I think we can ultimately choose who we associate with and defer to, but I also think, under many circumstances, and no matter the system, we are forced into relations and actions we’d just as soon avoid.

I’m of the opinion that proponents of capitalism and socialism can debate the virtues of their chosen ideology all they want. These systems are flawed because humans are flawed (or not, perhaps it’s less imperfection than biological hardwiring).

I found The Fountainhead not only a better novel than Atlas Shrugged, but one that better communicated to me Rand’s notions of “selfishness” (I haven’t read her in years, but I believe she actually uses this term—please correct me if I’m wrong).

More and more the reason vs faith dichotomy seems a fallacy. I’m as secular as they come (even at rep 20), but it often feels like much of what passes for reason, as indicated by the media, politicians, other elites, relies as much on faith as any religion.

This may seem pedestrian, but is there any room for genuine altruism in objectivism?

What do objectivists make of rational choice theory?

This question is directed at Gonzo and anyone else in the military, where it seems that there is a fundamental subordination of the individual to the collective, from someone with no military experience (so please forgive me if this is ignorant sounding): How do you reconcile these beliefs with the prospect that you might be forced to compromise them in the service of your country? Understanding that you’ve made the choice to sacrifice on many levels as a warrior, what happens if you are given an order that as BBoJ might put, imperils your definition of self or integrity, ie, there’s no benefit to you, these questionable actions have been chosen for you by another, etc.

Do objectivists reject democracy given the prospect of “tyranny of the majority”? Is this then where libertarianism has been linked to objectivism? What form of governance does an objectivist prefer?

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Posted: 19 February 2009 03:55 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 18 ]
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unforgibbon - 19 February 2009 01:40 PM

This question is directed at Gonzo and anyone else in the military, where it seems that there is a fundamental subordination of the individual to the collective, from someone with no military experience (so please forgive me if this is ignorant sounding): How do you reconcile these beliefs with the prospect that you might be forced to compromise them in the service of your country? Understanding that you’ve made the choice to sacrifice on many levels as a warrior, what happens if you are given an order that as BBoJ might put, imperils your definition of self or integrity, ie, there’s no benefit to you, these questionable actions have been chosen for you by another, etc.

In the book “Lone Survivor” the author, Marcus Luttrell contemplates this point while under desparate circumstances.  He and three other Navy SEALs must decide between making a morally and militarily-correct decision (freeing Afghan goatherds that stumbled upon their position) or facing almost certain death (resulting from the goatherds informing the Taliban of their presence). 

They ultimately release the goatherds.  Luttrell is the only survivor of the decision.  One of the casualties is Lt Michael Murphy—“Murph”.  Crossfit hero “Murph”.

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Posted: 20 February 2009 11:19 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 19 ]
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Unforgibbon,

How do you reconcile these beliefs with the prospect that you might be forced to compromise them in the service of your country? Understanding that you’ve made the choice to sacrifice on many levels as a warrior, what happens if you are given an order that as BBoJ might put, imperils your definition of self or integrity, ie, there’s no benefit to you, these questionable actions have been chosen for you by another, etc.

Compromising is a fact of life.  You have to weigh and choose the lesser of two evils as the situation dictates.
At the end of the day, you can beat yourself up for sacrificing your beliefs, or you can revel in the fact that you performed your job to the best of your abilities.  This choice will always satisfy your rational self-interest.

This may seem pedestrian, but is there any room for genuine altruism in objectivism?

I don’t readily wan’t to label myself an objectivist, or anything for that matter, but NO. Altruism is suffering for the sake of others.  Objectivism is living for self-interest.

What do objectivists make of rational choice theory?

Rational Choice Theory and Exchange Theory, although I’ve yet to see any other link besides economic similarities, seem to be tracking with objectivism. 

Do objectivists reject democracy given the prospect of “tyranny of the majority”?

That’s a catch-22… I would say that certain items should be left off of the table for vote.  The “majority” voted to lift the term limits for the Venezuelen president.

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Posted: 21 February 2009 05:47 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 20 ]
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That’s excellent, Gonzo. Thanks a lot.

(And with you on the labeling thing…)

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Kramer, Seinfeld (1993)

“And in jazz, every moment is a crisis and you bring all your skill to bear on that crisis.” Wynton Marsalis

“This is punk rock, b@#%h - I’m a spectacle.”
(hed) pe, Represent (2004)

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Posted: 21 February 2009 08:44 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 21 ]
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Gonzo - 20 February 2009 11:19 PM

This may seem pedestrian, but is there any room for genuine altruism in objectivism?

I don’t readily wan’t to label myself an objectivist, or anything for that matter, but NO. Altruism is suffering for the sake of others.  Objectivism is living for self-interest.

In some of the non-canonical works Rand points out the difference between a person going to his neighbors and asking for contributions to help someone in need, and everyone forced to give money for that person in “need”. 

To me, needs are unlimited and once someone has a claim on you, enforceable through fiat, you’ve got precious little left. 

Then again, you’re talking to the guy who thinks the 17th amendment was a stupid idea.  I’m not sure I’m the one to ask . . . .

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