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Thoughts on Ayn Rand's Objectivism? Watch

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    I've been watching and reading about Objectivism recently (mostly because it's the political thought behind the Bioshock series), and I'm not sure what to think of it.

    What are your thoughts? I'd be interested to hear.
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    Much like the purest forms of left wing ideology the political ideology cannot really work, although I would say that's the direction to go in. IT has to be remembered that there is a ethical aspect of the ideology too, which can actually work in practice, at least with individuals.
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    it's pretty good
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    (Original post by sleepysnooze)
    it's pretty good
    How do you reconcile your collectivist ethno-nationalism with her staunch individualism?
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    (Original post by Onde)
    A subjective personality cult that places no value on altruism.
    I admit that she defines altruism in a peculiar fashion but the reasoning behind her rejection of altruism as a value is not insane.
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    (Original post by Onde)
    It isn't insane in the sense that benefiting from the altruistic actions of others while offering nothing of your own may arguably be in your self-interest, but as a system for everyone to follow, it would do a net harm to the individual and society.
    As I said, Rand defines altruism in a very specific way. If you benefit from an act, she doesn't consider it an altruistic act. Even if you think you're being altruistic, you derive some form of selfish pleasure from most acts. A purely altruistic act would be one which you took no interest in performing and you only did it for the sake of someone else.

    IMO, it's an ethics based on evolutionary biology and ppl shouldn't discard it that easily because of Rand's difficult personality.
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    Insofar as it led her to support free market capitalism, I think it was a good thing. She had a very odd view of human relationships though. It's worth noting that there are no children in Ayn Rand novels (I never finished Atlas Shrugged but I believe that's the case, and there were none in the Fountainhead). Rearing children is thankless, expensive, miserable and yet people do it anyway. Children repudiate her total opposition to altruism.

    That said, I'd take her over most other utopian philosophers.
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    I can sympathise with some of the basic starting points, but the conclusions Objectivism makes I disagree with strongly.

    For instance I agree that freedom and reason are joint and that violence or force are opposed to the individuals reason and hence freedom.

    I cannot then understand why you would then support a capitalist economic system, which has in all occasions shown to be a system full of violence, force and oppression.
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    (Original post by mojojojo101)
    I cannot then understand why you would then support a capitalist economic system, which has in all occasions shown to be a system full of violence, force and oppression.
    Wrong, wrong and wrong. An economic system predicated on the free exchange of goods and services is the only economic system that adequately reflects the key value of individual freedom. Free markets are neither violent, nor forceful, nor oppressive.
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    (Original post by Onde)
    Her position on various forms of government is such that the idea of all individuals in a society acting together for a "net good" is an anathema to her, unless each act can be measured in pounds and pence and somehow not be coercive against the will of any one individual. Apart from her focus being nauseatingly self-centred,she doesn't present her case at all well or with any sense of novelty. I'm not aware that she took any particular inspiration from evolutionary biology - her views were more of a counter to the practices of the Soviet Union and wanting to seem uber-rational and independent from the interference of others.
    Just to be clear: what you argue for here, namely, a form of political utilitarianism ("all individuals in society acting together for a 'net good'" is rejected by most political philosophers. It's not just Rand.

    Rand does want individuals to act together but only voluntarily and so long as no one initiates force on anyone else.

    What you call "net good" is rejected because she's a moral individualist and doesn't think that harm done to some (a minority or 40% or even one or two of those individuals you speak of) is made good by some "net" gain. In fact, such talk of "net good" is rejected as dangerous doubletalk. What you have is some people gaining and others losing. Period.
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    I really like a lot of it but think it should be a lot more pragmatic- especially concerning some very few areas where the state should kick in.

    (I should add I've never read the novels only read various articles on their site plus some videos)
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    (Original post by Onde)
    Those are not necessarily my views, just a straightforward denunciation of what she stands for. (I wouldn't consider her a political philosopher).
    I didn't really say it's your view but rather I said it's what you argue for in this post (whether or not it's your view, it doesn't matter. Most pol. philosophers are not in favour of aggregating goods and finding some "net good" without regards to individual liberty or other such incommensurate goods)
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    (Original post by Davij038)
    I really like a lot of it but think it should be a lot more pragmatic- especially concerning some very few areas where the state should kick in.

    (I should add I've never read the novels only read various articles on their site plus some videos)
    Don't read Atlas Shrugged. It's too big and too dense. The characters aren't particularly compelling either.

    I liked the Fountainhead though.
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    (Original post by Onde)
    Those are not necessarily my views, just a straightforward denunciation of what she stands for. (I wouldn't consider her a political philosopher).




    That would hardly be less preferable than society being comprised solely of individuals who each want to run their own little republics, and each doing what they think is a "net good" for themselves.
    Rand is in favour of a government that protects individual rights and more specifically, the right not to be coerced physically by force.

    But she doesn't justify the state in terms of a "net" good.

    The difference between the view you put forward above and Rand's view is not that you're supporting the existence of a state and she doesn't. Rather, it's the different reasons why you think a state ought to exist.

    The view you put forward basically says this: the state is justified because although it harms some people, it helps more people and on net that is positive and we should be okay with it.

    Rand's view is that the state prevents people from initiating force on each other and that is justifiable and moral. She doesn't accept that such a state does anybody wrong.
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    (Original post by RainbowMan)
    Rand is in favour of a government that protects individual rights and more specifically, the right not to be coerced physically by force.

    But she doesn't justify the state in terms of a "net" good.

    The difference between the view you put forward above and Rand's view is not that you're supporting the existence of a state and she doesn't. Rather, it's the different reasons why you think a state ought to exist.

    The view you put forward basically says this: the state is justified because although it harms some people, it helps more people and on net that is positive and we should be okay with it.

    Rand's view is that the state prevents people from initiating force on each other and that is justifiable and moral. She doesn't accept that such a state does anybody wrong.
    "The only proper, moral purpose of a government is to protect man's rights, which means: to protect him from physical violence -to protect his right to his own life, to his own liberty, to his own property and to the pursuit of his own happiness"

    Ayn Rand, 1961

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    (Original post by Jammy Duel)
    "The only proper, moral purpose of a government is to protect man's rights, which means: to protect him from physical violence -to protect his right to his own life, to his own liberty, to his own property and to the pursuit of his own happiness"

    Ayn Rand, 1961

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    I said more or less the same thing. Not sure why u quote her to me.
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    (Original post by RainbowMan)
    I said more or less the same thing. Not sure why u quote her to me.
    For the specific quote on the matter.

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    (Original post by RainbowMan)
    How do you reconcile your collectivist ethno-nationalism with her staunch individualism?
    my support for ethno-nationalism isn't via statism, it's via looking at communities of the world as if they were non-state individuals. some of those "individuals" are better than others. although, obviously, I only make the comparison and acknowledge the existence of collectives because it's a fact of reality, and some collectives/communities are simply more accommodating to individual liberty.
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    (Original post by sleepysnooze)
    my support for ethno-nationalism isn't via statism
    ...unless you're saying that it is impossible to be an individual and have a border policy? because that's ridiculous.
    It's that ethno-nationalism is fundamentally opposed to the idea of individualism, because you're regarding people as part of their ethnic groups rather than as individuals. It's collectivism, and it's exactly what was wrong with Soviet Union and the Third Reich.
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    (Original post by jape)
    It's that ethno-nationalism is fundamentally opposed to the idea of individualism, because you're regarding people as part of their ethnic groups rather than as individuals. It's collectivism, and it's exactly what was wrong with Soviet Union and the Third Reich.
    no, look, like I already said, I don't *literally* look at people as if they are confined to their respective groups. I am simply acknowledging that collectives of all varieties *do* happen to exist, and are socially constructed. some accommodate liberty more than others. also, such groups compete with each other in the same way individuals do. but that's not particularly literal but more loose, because it's a generalisation. I'm not saying people deserve something inherently via their group membership. I am saying that members of certain groups are usually "better", not "more entitled". it's based on facts, not ideology, unless you count the ability to recognise subjectivities of group quality as "ideology"?
 
 
 
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