May 11, 2008
Comments on the piece demonstrate even more profound ignorance of Objectivism.
Some people insist that Ayn Rand is not a philosopher:
She is in NO way a philosopher.This ignores the body of Rand's nonfiction work which presents her ideas largely in essay form. And they usually go on to say things about how no serious philosopher would even consider her, teach her, read her, think about her, or anything. Of course the existence of Objectivist philosophers and the growing body of academic work on Objectivism bears little or no weight against their prejudices.Another favorite genre of comment are the ones that say that Objectivism leads to Hitler.
She batted ideas around in NOVELS, but is in no way a philosopher either in discoursive form or in her rigor of thought. One could say that she adopted a different form for framing philosophical questions, but the problem is that she is either ignorant or ignores all other philosophical treatments of these questions and her form adds absolutely NOTHING.
But this view breaks down when various individuals' rights come into conflict with each other. Then the person with the greatest power ends up with the greatest rights. The logical extension of this thought is Hitler. His might makes right.Isn't there some kind of colloquial rule in internet debate that the first person to invoke Hitler loses?
Her worldview is so weak because there is no guarantee that the monsters will not win.
And before I talk about the relationship of Ayn Rand to Hitler, I'd like to point out that there is no system of ideas that guarantees that monsters won't "win." Dictators do take control, kill people, and steal a lot of things and impoverish millions. Has anyone seen the headlines from Africa in the last decade or so? All the more reason to fight the ideas that allow those horrible people to come to power at all.Does ethical egoism lead to dictatorships? Would Ayn Rand's ideas have empowered Hitler? The answer is an unequivocal no. I'm not even sure how people come to this conclusion after Rand's extensive writing against things like socialism, totalitarianism, and even Hitler.
This isn't to say that just because Ayn Rand acknowledged the obvious evil that was Hitler that her arguments against it are successful. It is certainly possible for someone to oppose Hitler but argue for the very ideas that lead to his rise.
So, what were Hitler's ideas? He argued that individuals should sacrifice their individual good for the good of the master race. He also subscribed to some crazy form of German mysticism. Ayn Rand argued against racism, mysticism, sacrifice, or any form of the "greater good" beyond an individual's ultimate happiness. This isn't the place to present the complete body of Hitler's nor Ayn Rand's ideas, but I think it sufficient at this point to say that they are exact opposites and it is a stretch to argue that in supporting Hitler's ideas (altruism, for instance) one is somehow also preventing its spread and that arguing for its exact opposite is going to create Hitlers all over the place.
Another form of commentary that is ever so cliche is the banal philosophizing that always ends with accusing Objectivists of being members of a cult or calling Objectivism another religion.
Who said that rationality was even possible? Isn't there a large body of research documenting that we are irrational even when we pretend to be rational?It almost causes me physical pain to see or hear someone trying to use reason to show that reason is invalid or that people are incapable of reason.
I realized that Rand's philosophy was another religion, one whose prophet was Ayne Rand, its gospels were Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead, it St. Paul was Leonard Peikoff, its Judas was Nathaniel Branden, etc.
More colorful critics like to compare Ayn Rand to L. Ron Hubbard.
Many of Rand's disciples tend to be much like her. Frustrated, mediocre hacks who also can't hold up their own so-called standards. She's just the Libertarian L Ron Hubbard. How fitting this show debuted on the 58th anniversary of Dianetics appearing.Although, I am amused by the comments that are so blatantly false that one questions the sanity of those making them.
Ayn Rand's "philosophy" may be all right with the selfish, egotistical and ruthless individuals in our midst, but it is not a beneficial doctrine for society as a whole. For several years, nay, decades, this country had been misgoverned and badly administered by people who obviously share Rand's values. Enron, the Katrina disaster and Countrywide are just three examples.I guess what's obvious to some isn't obvious to everyone, particularly when some have gone off their meds. Or this one:
Just like the Shakers the real disciples of Ayn Rand's brand of complete selfishness as godhead are dead or will be soon. Teaching and selfishness are opposites, of course.Just wow.
I wish I could say such remarks are atypical of Rand's critics, but they aren't. Every where you go, when Ayn Rand is brought up, the conversation descends into this sort of crazy. I suppose we could applaud NPR for attracting so many different species of git.
It's just so very tedious.
I rarely comment in threads like that. I try to avoid them. There doesn't seem to be any point in trying to engage those threads.
But in spite of the frustrating amount of garbage in these internet discussions, I am very pleased to see Objectivism taking different approaches to activism and slowly changing minds and disseminating good ideas.
May 08, 2008
Yaron Brook's R's fascinate me. They're not like British R's like James and the Giant Peach --
Look, Mommy! A Rhino, Mommy! It's a Rhino!
-- But they're similar.
His L's are funny, too, but his R's are the most notable to my ear and try as I may, I can't quite imitate it. It's like a French R, but not as far back in his mouth. I think his tongue must be doing something funny and pushing the sound to the front of his mouth.
Is this an Israeli thing or is it a Yaron Brook thing?
Anyway, it's a good video. You should listen to it twice. Once for the message and once for his R's.
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