Welcome login | signup
Language en es fr
OccupyForum

Forum Post: Occupy Morality? The Real Ayn Rand

Posted 7 years ago on Oct. 23, 2011, 3:12 p.m. EST by Lockean (671) from New York, NY
This content is user submitted and not an official statement

We have Randians here lecturing Occupy about morality. Resurrecting this thread.

http://michaelprescott.net/hickman.htm

This is the author of mainsteam libertarian/objectivist philosophy on the ideal morality. Keep that in mind.

Another piece, which ties in the modern political implications of Rand's philosophy:

http://curezone.com/forums/fm.asp?i=1801436#i

"There's something deeply unsettling about living in a country where millions of people froth at the mouth at the idea of giving health care to the tens of millions of Americans who don't have it, or who take pleasure at the thought of privatizing and slashing bedrock social programs like Social Security or Medicare. It might not be so hard to stomach if other Western countries also had a large, vocal chunk of the population that thought like this, but the U.S. is seemingly the only place where right-wing elites can openly share their distaste for the working poor. Where do they find their philosophical justification for this kind of attitude?

It turns out, you can trace much of this thinking back to Ayn Rand, a popular cult-philosopher who exerts a huge influence over much of the right-wing and libertarian crowd, but whose influence is only starting to spread out of the U.S.

One reason most countries don't find the time to embrace Ayn Rand's thinking is that she is a textbook sociopath. In her notebooks Ayn Rand worshiped a notorious serial murderer-dismemberer, and used this killer as an early model for the type of "ideal man" she promoted in her more famous books. These ideas were later picked up on and put into play by major right-wing figures of the past half decade, including the key architects of America's most recent economic catastrophe -- former Fed Chair Alan Greenspan and SEC Commissioner Chris Cox -- along with other notable right-wing Republicans such as Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, Rush Limbaugh and South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford.

The loudest of all the Republicans, right-wing attack-dog pundits and the Teabagger mobs fighting to kill health care reform and eviscerate "entitlement programs" increasingly hold up Ayn Rand as their guru. Sales of her books have soared in the past couple of years; one poll ranked Atlas Shrugged as the second most influential book of the 20th century, after the Bible.

The best way to get to the bottom of Ayn Rand's beliefs is to take a look at how she developed the superhero of her novel, Atlas Shrugged, John Galt. Back in the late 1920s, as Ayn Rand was working out her philosophy, she became enthralled by a real-life American serial killer, William Edward Hickman, whose gruesome, sadistic dismemberment of 12-year-old girl named Marion Parker in 1927 shocked the nation. Rand filled her early notebooks with worshipful praise of Hickman. According to biographer Jennifer Burns, author of Goddess of the Market, Rand was so smitten with Hickman that she modeled her first literary creation -- Danny Renahan, the protagonist of her unfinished first novel, The Little Street -- on him.

What did Rand admire so much about Hickman? His sociopathic qualities: "Other people do not exist for him, and he does not see why they should," she wrote, gushing that Hickman had "no regard whatsoever for all that society holds sacred, and with a consciousness all his own. He has the true, innate psychology of a Superman. He can never realize and feel 'other people.'"

This echoes almost word for word Rand's later description of her character Howard Roark, the hero of her novel The Fountainhead: "He was born without the ability to consider others." (The Fountainhead is Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas' favorite book -- he even requires his clerks to read it.)"

246 Comments

246 Comments


Read the Rules
[-] 9 points by WatTyler (263) 7 years ago

About 50 years ago, I tried to read Rand as I had heard it championed individualism. I was astonished to find tiresome and virtually unreadable prose having at its heart a philosophy that literally sent chills up my back. The flavor was unmistakable; Nazism, only with the individual rather than the state as cruel and heartless arbiter. I believe I was holding in my hands something truly evil.

[-] 6 points by Lockean (671) from New York, NY 7 years ago

You're absolutely right. Its social darwinist, anti-humanitarian, anti-morality themes are unmistakable. Only Nietzsche can even compare.

[-] 5 points by debndan (1145) 7 years ago

Completely agrees. Then again ayn rand was influenced by nietzsche, as were the nazi's, it's only logical they would follow his nihilism to it's obvious conclusion, genocide, which, in turn, makes me wonder what glenn beck is hopeing for when he keeps preaching about his goddess ayn rand

[-] 3 points by Talleyrand (59) 7 years ago

As a Nietzsche lover, I would take issue with the idea that he was a "nihilist". He feared nihilism. His whole idea of God being dead was an anguished cry that we had lost meaning as a civilization.

Nietzsche did not inspire Nazism. Nietzsche hated German nationalism and anti-Semitism. It was Nietzsche's sister, from whom Nietzsche was estranged, who twisted his words, added and edited things to his writing and brought them to Hitler way after Nietzsche died.

Rand was inspired by a view of Nietzsche before his reputation as a thinker was salvaged by Walter Kaufmann. Nietzsche is on of the greatest minds who ever lived. Rand was a hack who worshipped the rich and powerful because she hated the USSR so much.

Nietzsche was a great writer while Rand was a pale shadow.

[-] 3 points by Lockean (671) from New York, NY 7 years ago

I think, w/regards to Nietzsche as a nihilist, it's a bit of a case of "it takes one to know one." He recognized nihilism so profoundly because it was at his core - and that itself troubled him deeply - read some of the stories about the end of his life. I happen to believe he was (very much unlike Rand) an intuitively and emotionally moral person - deeply compassionate and wracked by what he recognized as the cruel joke that is our existence. However, in terms of his philosophy, he deconstructed morality to the point of oblivion and left the door open for people like Rand. The will to power and superman did not help, either... Or the thing about not looking down...

[-] 1 points by Talleyrand (59) 7 years ago

Definitely, an excellent point.

Nietzsche looked at things from different perspectives. His style of writing in aphorism allowed him to say one thing at one point and a totally different, maybe even contradictory, thing later. His style was his philosophy. Truth and morality are conditional. It was the historian in him I guess. And as an historian he also recognized that history's winners defined the morality of the age.

And then look at the butcher job Ayn Rand did on that idea. She essentially believed that everyone had their own ideas and everyone's ideas were correct to them. The people who are able to dominate are the winners and their ideas are proved superior. She twisted an anguished observation about the human will's struggle against nihilism into a license to brutalize and exploit people.

No wonder our country has become more fascistic. All of our leaders are Ayn Rand acolytes.

[-] 4 points by Lockean (671) from New York, NY 7 years ago

"No wonder our country has become more fascistic. All of our leaders are Ayn Rand acolytes."

Right! Thanks for this, good reading.

[-] 0 points by Thinkdeer (250) 7 years ago

thanks for saving my time. lots of folk seem to critique nietzsche with out ever reading him, or celebrate him without ever really reading him.

[-] 0 points by MeAndWeThePeople (59) from Chicago, IL 7 years ago

Well said. "To succeed in the world, it is much more necessary to possess the penetration to discern who is a fool, than to discover who is a clever man."

[-] 3 points by Lockean (671) from New York, NY 7 years ago

Right. You know him and his ilk would like nothing more than to see NYPD just round up all the protesters, for starters. The way they obsess and fetishize the Nazis anyway...

Ya know, I've been an atheist (secular humanist really) my whole life, and yet basic fundamental morality is just intuitively obvious to me. I don't know what's wrong with these people. Something truly twisted deep inside. To some extent I'm sure society is to blame - only a sick, greedy, apathetic society would leave the door open for someone like Rand, in the angry young minds of her target audience. IMO. Probably over-stating it, but I really see all this at the very core of our problems.

On a semi-related note, how about the freaking pope? I'm just blown away by this: http://occupywallst.org/forum/read-this-objectively/

[-] 2 points by debndan (1145) 7 years ago

I think it's intuitively obvious to most people as well. Weather someone is athieist or religious, we all have a sense of right and wrong. I think it boils down to when people tell themselves, they are not their brothers keeper, and believe it, it starts the road to cain (from cain and able). They would eventually kill their own brothers if it gets them 'their own way'

Also' yeah' saw that about the vatican, that is freakin awsome. Kinda takes the moral ammo away from the shiite right, when the pope says they are f*&$-up

[-] 3 points by Lockean (671) from New York, NY 7 years ago

Agreed.

Of course the vatican thing plays right in to the paranoid comspiracy NWO stuff that they all love to obsess over... Like a conspiracy is even needed to explain it all, rather than simple greed on a global scale. So, the message will be lost and they'll just use it as a new example of how its not unfettered capitalism thats to blame but the evil "powers that be." Oh well. It's still awesome. :)

Bedtime. Thanks for the conversation.

[-] 1 points by Lockean (671) from New York, NY 7 years ago
[-] 3 points by me2 (534) 7 years ago

Tiresome and unreadable. Absolutely. Add to that horribly contrived and completely unbelievable characters which behave like Rand's own marionettes serving only to further her own philosophy with little to no actual human traits.

[-] 2 points by Bomer (58) 7 years ago

At the very least she was just another bitter Russian Oligarch who had lost her wealth and power during the 1907 Revolution.

[-] 1 points by anonwolf (279) from West Peoria, IL 7 years ago

Every day someone comes to this forum and asks "what about Ayn Rand?" Wish they would read through this thread.

[-] 1 points by Rico (3027) 7 years ago

You have come to an interesting conclusion. From the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, "Rand herself thought that she had only one, consistent metaethical view: the ultimate goal is the individual's own survival; the only way to survive long-term, i.e., over a complete life-span, is to live by the standard of man's life as a rational being, which means: to live morally; and happiness is the psychological “result, reward and concomitant” (p. 32) of living thus."

[-] 7 points by squaresphere (39) 7 years ago

I think that in order for you to join the Tea Party or invoke Ayn Rand to defend the 1%, you should first have to invent a revolutionary motor powered by ambient static electricity (readers of "Atlas Shrugged" will get it).

I was an Ayn Rand devotee for a few months in college. Then I realized that the really big inventions are no longer made--and maybe never really were--by single people. Further, although there are some visionaries like Steve Jobs and Richard Branson among them, most of the 1% aren't really in the same league. People moving jobs overseas and then giving poor people crap loans and betting that they'll default... what's visionary about that? At least John Galt built the goddamn motor himself.

[-] 4 points by debndan (1145) 7 years ago

Yeppers, glad this philosophy has been exposed somewhere. This is called nihilism, and is the reason neocons and neolibs do as they do. It's EVIL in the land. The greeks had a word for this, It's called hubris. A violent arrogance that cares not for it's fellow man, and always leads to destuction. It's nothing new. Hubris and nihilism led to facism and communism in early 20th century. Sad to see we've come full circle.

[-] 2 points by Lockean (671) from New York, NY 7 years ago

Agreed 100%. It's an extension of Nietzsche, but more insidious and accessible - in the form of popular novels - to narcissistic minds in their formative years. It's truly terrifying how much pull this philosophy has right now. Objectivism is sold as the ideal philosophy for entrepeneurs and corporate execs everywhere.

Full circle indeed.

[-] 4 points by looselyhuman (3117) 7 years ago

Thanks for this. I only want to add that I'd never heard of Hickman when I came to the conclusion that Rand must be an antisocial narcissist after reading the Fountainhead. It's obvious, and it's obvious that is the sort of worldview she wants to trigger in her reader.

[-] 3 points by Lockean (671) from New York, NY 7 years ago

It all clicks into place though doesn't it? Especially considering the behavior of her followers below...

[-] 1 points by JamesS89118 (646) from Las Vegas, NV 7 years ago

I like how John Gault goes around the country collecting people, forms a Union and goes on Strike. Who is John Gault? He is a Union man.

[-] 3 points by eattherich (14) 7 years ago

Rand was Greenspan's hero as well.

The theory is nice.

Human nature trumps it.

Doesn't work.

Greed rules at the end of the day.

[-] -1 points by Rico (3027) 7 years ago

For a fact based perspective, read the entry discussing Ayn Rand in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy at http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/ayn-rand/ . Reputable sources are FAR more valuable than one man's mad rants.

[-] 4 points by TLydon007 (1278) 7 years ago

"For a fact based perspective"

What he posted is a fact based perspective.

Your decision to ignore the facts mentioned in favor of selective facts only proves everything we think about her fans.

[-] -1 points by Rico (3027) 7 years ago

Are you accusing me of bias because I ignored the "facts" mentioned in an obviously slanted op-ed piece in favor of a reputable entry in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy?

[-] 4 points by TLydon007 (1278) 7 years ago

Now you're claiming you're not biased in the midst of spamming the thread over a dozen times without addressing the FACTS mentioned??

Seriously??

So if you're not biased, you'll readily admit that her relationship with a horrific child-murderer is something anyone reading her books should know about?? Especially given that he, and his actions, were influential in the writing of those books.

[-] 4 points by Lockean (671) from New York, NY 7 years ago

Not simply "influential." Hickman was literally her template for the ideal man, of whom she tries to create a reflection in every impressionable teenage boy that reads her novels. It is a travesty.

[-] -1 points by Rico (3027) 7 years ago

The references to Hickman relate to the development of a character for a book that was never published. In her journals, Ayn said she was trying to develop a character that was like "A Hickman with a purpose. And without the degeneracy. It is more exact to say that the model is not Hickman, but what Hickman suggested to me." She also said in the same journals, "The first thing that impresses me about the case is the ferocious rage of a whole society against one man. No matter what the man did, there is always something loathsome in the 'virtuous' indignation and mass-hatred of the 'majority.'... It is repulsive to see all these beings with worse sins and crimes in their own lives, virtuously condemning a criminal..." A character in a book that was never finished much less published that was to be persecuted for a crime by a society guilty of even greater sin.

So, how do you feel about the assertion, "In the narrow sense, an entity is an object whose unity is independent of our consciousness; Rand compares entities in this sense to Aristotelian primary substances (though without endorsing the details of Aristotle's hylomorphism), and regards them as the basic ontological constituents of reality. In the broader sense, an entity is anything we choose to consider apart from its surroundings, even if it has no more unity than what we give it in so considering it—as when we attend either to parts of entities or to groups of entities. Entities in the narrow sense have their entity status metaphysically, and presumably intrinsically, i.e., as explained above, apart from their relationship to our consciousness (though this is a matter of debate in Rand scholarship: Jilk 2003, Bissell 2007). Entities in the broad sense may have their entity status only epistemologically, i.e., only in relation to consciousness. Their status as existents, however, remains metaphysical. That is, they really exist apart from our manner of considering them, even if they do not exist as entities apart from our manner of considering them; thus their entity status at least remains objective, not subjective—belonging to the relation between the mind and extramental reality, and not to the mind alone."

[-] 4 points by TLydon007 (1278) 7 years ago

"The first thing that impresses me about the case is the ferocious rage of a whole society against one man. No matter what the man did, there is always something loathsome in the 'virtuous' indignation and mass-hatred of the 'majority.'... It is repulsive to see all these beings with worse sins and crimes in their own lives, virtuously condemning a criminal..."

So she blames the people that are rightfully outraged as having "worse sins and crimes" as opposed to someone guilty of KIDNAPPING, MURDERING, BUTCHERING, AND RANSOMING A LITTLE GIRL.

For christ's sake, that's freaking sick.

Do you yourself feel that her views of Hickman, his actions as opposed to the crowds, and her choice to model her "ideal man" after him to be grossly misguided??

[-] -1 points by Rico (3027) 7 years ago

She said "A Hickman with a purpose. And without the degeneracy. It is more exact to say that the model is not Hickman, but what Hickman suggested to me." Did you notice that little blurb in there ".. without the degeneracy." and "... the model is not Hickman." ?

[-] 4 points by looselyhuman (3117) 7 years ago

What he "suggested" to her was an ideal Nietzschean superman who gave a fuck about others or society to the point where he was willing to do anything to anyone to get what he wanted. That she would somehow make that mindless antisocial will to power purposeful and less degenerate is just an insight into the propaganda process. Sociopathic handjob all around, including this conversation.

[-] -2 points by Rico (3027) 7 years ago

1) It's about time for you to quote page, paragraph, and sentence numbers from Ayn's journals.

2) You're talking about a fictional character in a book that was never finished or published. Sheesh.

[-] 3 points by looselyhuman (3117) 7 years ago

"[Hickman] was born with a wonderful, free, light consciousness -- [resulting from] the absolute lack of social instinct or herd feeling. He does not understand, because he has no organ for understanding, the necessity, meaning, or importance of other people ... Other people do not exist for him and he does not understand why they should." "The best and strongest expression of a real man's psychology I have heard," (Journals, pp. 27, 21-22)

[-] 2 points by looselyhuman (3117) 7 years ago

Hickman, Renahan - that's the point, they're the same person. Looking through the carnage on this thread, it's obvious the point was made, and you're pissing into the wind.

[-] -2 points by Rico (3027) 7 years ago

The implied [Hickman] is not present in the text. The cited passage is describing a character named Danny Renahan. In three full pages of text developing this character, Hickman's name comes up once and only once in the passage "Hickman said: 'I am like the State: what is good for me is right.' That is this boy's [Renahan's] psychology." In other words she lifted the self justification aspect of Hickman's personality for this character and nothing more. Not once does Ayn Rand even mention Hickman's crimes much less endorse them.

[-] 2 points by TLydon007 (1278) 7 years ago

Actually, it IS Hickman..

Also, other than murdering a little girl, she never mentioned what made her infatuated with him. All she ever addressed was his ability to act without empathy. He wasn't an architect. He didn't design a superior, fictional type of steel. Had she commented on something he did prior to murdering the little girl, there would exist something "without the degeneracy" for her to base her characters on. But as far as she mentions, there isn't.

Also, she only admits it's only "more exact". Ignoring the fact that "more exact" makes no sense whatsoever, she obviously felt it was to an extent, "exact" that it was Hickman. Either that or she's just a moron that twists words too much since "exact" literally means without approximation.

[-] -1 points by Rico (3027) 7 years ago

There you go speaking for Ayn Rand again.

Actually, Ayn specifically said "The first thing that impresses me about the case is the ferocious rage of a whole society against one man." The point was society and justice.

Your twisting of the world "exact" is laughable. She said the character was based on what "Hickman suggested to her." This is not unlike how in my own work, an idea I see in art often "suggests" a design approach.

[-] 2 points by looselyhuman (3117) 7 years ago

'But before we assume that her admiration of Mr. Hickman was merely a quirk of her salad days, let's consider a few other quotes from Ayn Rand cited in Scott Ryan's book.

In her early notes for The Fountainhead: "One puts oneself above all and crushes everything in one's way to get the best for oneself. Fine!" (Journals, p. 78.)

Of The Fountainhead's hero, Howard Roark: He "has learned long ago, with his first consciousness, two things which dominate his entire attitude toward life: his own superiority and the utter worthlessness of the world." (Journals, p. 93.)'

"[Roark] was born without the ability to consider others."

[-] -2 points by Rico (3027) 7 years ago

Characters in books. How do you feel about Rational Objectivism ? Have you read the section of the Standford Encyclopedia of Philosophy I provided ? She had some interesting ideas as a philosopher, and I had never really registered the way she was paying homage to Aristotle with some of her chapter titles. Interesting.

[-] 2 points by looselyhuman (3117) 7 years ago

Her novels were parables, her characters the ideal representations of her philosophy. They, and you, apparently.

[-] -2 points by Rico (3027) 7 years ago

So now you speak for Ayn Rand and speak on her behalf ?

[-] 3 points by looselyhuman (3117) 7 years ago

She said the primary purpose of her writing Atlas Shrugged was to portray her vision of the ideal man.

[-] -3 points by Rico (3027) 7 years ago

Where is Mr Hickman in Atlas Shrugged ? I don't remember any character killing a little girl in Atlas Shrugged. Are you intentionally changing the subject ? Also, please provide a full citation for Ayn Rand's statement regarding her purpose in writing Atlas Shrugged.

[-] 3 points by debndan (1145) 7 years ago

Wow, that is a good link. Too bad it backs up the original post here, and proves it was not a 'mad rant'. As a follower of Nietsche, Ayn Rand, follows nihilism to it's logical conclusion, which is non-government. Or, more better, 'rule of the jungle'. It also should be noted that nihilism led directly to nazism, and ayn rands idealism of the loss of moral moorings, is what led to genocide. The ancient greeks had a word for this philosophy. It was hubris, the violent arrogance of the individual over his neighbor's ability to stop him. The greeks saw this as the anti-philosophy, the destruction of civilization. Kinda funney when these Ideas play out that our society DOES disintergrate. We could learn ALOT from the ancient greeks.

[-] 3 points by debndan (1145) 7 years ago

Hubris is also the common theme to most greek tradegies. The Bible frames it as 'pride comes before a fall' and lists this pride as the first sin in creation.

[-] -1 points by Rico (3027) 7 years ago

You have come to an interesting conclusion. From the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, "Rand herself thought that she had only one, consistent metaethical view: the ultimate goal is the individual's own survival; the only way to survive long-term, i.e., over a complete life-span, is to live by the standard of man's life as a rational being, which means: to live morally; and happiness is the psychological “result, reward and concomitant” (p. 32) of living thus."

[-] 3 points by Lockean (671) from New York, NY 7 years ago

Or:

"My philosophy, in essence, is the concept of man as a heroic being, with his own happiness as the moral purpose of his life, with productive achievement as his noblest activity, and reason as his only absolute."

[-] 3 points by groobiecat2 (746) from Brattleboro, VT 7 years ago

Well, it's not a mad rant if you don't take the same time and effort to repudiate it, is it? Therefore, it's only a rant because you say so, and you want others to go and do your homework for you. Why should we? You go do the work if you want to engage in polemic--but I'm guessing you'd rather not do that, right? I mean, that requires opening yourself up to the possibility that he's right and you're wrong--right? :D

[-] -3 points by Rico (3027) 7 years ago

Actually, if you read my other posts, you'll see I HAVE defended the Rational Objectivist philosophy.

[-] 3 points by groobiecat2 (746) from Brattleboro, VT 7 years ago

ultimately, this is a useless exercise. at its core, the #OWS movement is about creating an environment for equitable distribution of resources and improving the common weal. It's a humanist belief that doesn't have at its core--as the libertarian philosophy does--that people who are down and out or otherwise "unsuccessful" are somehow damaged and shouldn't be helped by the rest of the people who are doing well.

Libertarians and the #OWS movement are really at polar opposites that way. Many of us are successful business people who have no interest in donning gray jumpsuits and flattening the country to an unrecognizable state. But we also don't believe that the government--which is made up of people--is inherently evil. And neither are corporations. Both are incompetent at points, precisely because they're comprised of people. But only one of them has a profit motive, and it's this motive that prevents corporations from providing social services well at all. Are you happy with your healthcare coverage? Or your healthcare premiums. Do you think that calling someone a "bureaucrat" vs. someone who's a "customer service representative" really has any distinction at all?

And lastly, I wonder if libertarians know who our main allies are around the world. They're European countries who follow a very hybrid approach that balances individual success (and there are lots of European success stories and very little wild-eyed marxism) with human need. In fact, all of our western allies are more progressive than we are, and it hasn't seemed to destroy their countries, has it? Finland? Germany? Sweden? All doing fine.

No, a pure ideology of any kind, really, and that has very little place in today's society. And we shall not be moved. The question is, is there any common ground at all?

[-] 0 points by Rico (3027) 7 years ago

Yes, absolutely.

See my post at http://occupywallst.org/forum/one-percenter-ready-to-join-if/ See my proposal at http://occupywallst.org/forum/we-the-people-in-order-to-a-proposal/

We can certainly agree on getting the money out of politics, right?

[-] 2 points by wired815 (4) 7 years ago

wow, never really delved that deeply into Rand's relative psyhe/perspective, that link/data was enlightening.

[-] 2 points by Lockean (671) from New York, NY 7 years ago

Fuck you spamming douchebag. Real constructive and mature. Not surprising from the guy who YELLS in almost every post.

We can see here what happens when priests of the high order of the cult of St. Rand the immoral egoist are backed into a corner using their precious reason.

[-] 2 points by looselyhuman (3117) 7 years ago

I still chuckle @ "priests of the high order of the cult of St. Rand the immoral egoist"

[-] 2 points by Lockean (671) from New York, NY 7 years ago

I was definitely on a roll...

[-] -3 points by Rico (3027) 7 years ago

Wow, All I did was provide folks a link to an entry in the Stanford University Encyclopedia of Philosophy, and you get angry ? I was TRYING to get you and yours to discuss the specific points of the Rational Objectivist philosophy.

For example, would you care to discuss in a civilized fashion the statement, "For Rand the acquisition of knowledge is a process of differentiation and integration—of discriminating among objects of awareness on the basis of their differences, and then uniting the discriminated phenomena into a cognitively graspable whole. The process begins at the perceptual level (Rand accepts the existence of a pre-perceptual form of consciousness which she calls sensation, but does not assign it much of a role in her theory), when entities are differentiated from their surroundings and integrated as unified wholes."

[-] 3 points by Lockean (671) from New York, NY 7 years ago

You and I have not had a single conversation, and you can bet I have no interest in said. Her epistemological ideas are hardly relevant, her moral ones are, and are on trial here. Deal with it. You are not part of the adult conversation.

[-] 3 points by squarerootofzero (81) 7 years ago

Reading Ayn Rand and stopping there, as the highest point of philosophical reasoning, is like climbing a giant ladder up the side of a cliff and when you reach the halfway point you stop because the view is "good enough" from one side. When you could have reached the top of the cliff you would be able to see all the way around. Some modern day Objectivists only hold on to what they want to believe about Ayn Rand's beliefs. They become indignant because they believe that they have climbed "so far" higher above everyone else, philosophically; without realizing that they only climbed halfway, however long it was, to their destination.

[-] 3 points by metapolitik (1110) 7 years ago

The Real Ayn Rand...

...Is in a coffin somewhere.

[-] 3 points by hanalani (6) 7 years ago

this is the new world order, folks..... emotion is too inefficient you see!

[-] 1 points by Lockean (671) from New York, NY 7 years ago

"emotion is too inefficient you see"

Right.

[-] 3 points by PublicCurrency (1387) 7 years ago

Good post. thank you.

[-] 2 points by Lockean (671) from New York, NY 7 years ago

Pleasure.

[+] -4 points by Rico (3027) 7 years ago

For a fact based perspective, read the entry discussing Ayn Rand in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy at http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/ayn-rand/ . Reputable sources are FAR more valuable than one man's mad rants.

[-] 2 points by thrasymachus (20) 7 years ago

Love this thread.

[-] 2 points by MJMorrow (419) 7 years ago

All I want to know is when will Dr. Leonard Peikoff, shed his cover and have a right good light saber duel with Yoda? I bet Darth Shrugged could give the little green fellow a run for his money! While Yoda is clearly a fictional character, I thought that perhaps, since the philosophy of Rand is so rooted in fantasy, Peikoff could reach into the fantasy World, though I have no factual or rational basis for my hunch...[wink]

[-] 2 points by Markmad (323) 7 years ago

Excellent post, thanks for the link.

[-] 2 points by HitGirl (2263) 7 years ago

Hickman could have been a child molester or serial killer and Rand would have seen him as a hero! Just proves how morally bankrupt these right-wing nut-cases are. They are not like you and me. I realize that sounds alarmist... but it's true.

[-] 2 points by savethe99 (33) 7 years ago

OK ... so it sounds like most of us agree that there needs to be more regulation ... not less of it like Ann Rand might promote. So why are we demonstrating on Wall Street? Wall Street does not make regulation. We should be demonstrating at the White House. Only the President and Congress can force the regulatory changes to bring big business in line with the common man. .................... ....................... ............ http://www.savethe99.com

[-] 2 points by StevenRoyal (490) from Dania Beach, FL 7 years ago

Ayn Rand and Greenspan Part I. Humanities capacity for unrestricted greed.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1W8EVczrTyg

[-] 2 points by OurTimes2011 (377) from Arlington, VA 7 years ago

Here, she calls Arabs "animals" and "subhuman."

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2uHSv1asFvU&feature=related

[-] 0 points by Rico (3027) 7 years ago

Yes, and if you look at http://www.archives.gov/exhibits/charters/constitution_transcript.html you can hear our Founding Fathers count slaves as 3/5 a person. You can see from the list of his slaves at http://gwpapers.virginia.edu/documents/will/slavelist.html that George Washington didn't just call a race of names, he OWNED them.

[-] 1 points by OurTimes2011 (377) from Arlington, VA 7 years ago

And he was wrong. The hypocrisy of declaring "all men created equal" while holding millions of human in bondage for the personal comfort of a minority still haunts this country. This is before we consider the morality of the committing genocide against the owners of the land we are on. So much for Christian values, huh? Try answering that.

Still holding onto those outmoded attitudes, are we?

[-] 0 points by Rico (3027) 7 years ago

Nope, I think it was WRONG for Any Rand to use the language she used.

Personally, I don't CARE about Ayn Rand, but I do like much of what the formal philosophy of Rational Objectivism describes (see the entry discussing Rational Objectivism in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy at http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/ayn-rand/ ). I ALSO find it abhorrent that my Founding Fathers owned slaves, yet I DO accept much of what THEY say as well.

I was trying to make the point that we OFTEN have to separate the ideas from the mortal human that uttered them.

[-] 1 points by OurTimes2011 (377) from Arlington, VA 7 years ago

Actions, not words, determine character. The lack of character invalidates much of what you admire about Rand and the founding fathers. The only, and I mean the only, way out is to try to make the world live up to the vision outlined.

This, btw, is what OWS is about.

[-] 1 points by Rico (3027) 7 years ago

Wow, that's quite a standard you're setting! You're essentially arguing that the only ideas worth listening to are those from a perfect man or woman. Jesus may fit that bill, but nobody else I know of.

[-] 1 points by OurTimes2011 (377) from Arlington, VA 7 years ago

You missed the point. Went right by you. The key is humility, knowing the flaws of the idea generators. This means you do not go around trumpeting the ideas of these flawed individuals unless you 1. have sincerely tried to live them yourself and 2. reconciled the flaws.

I repeat, the only, and I mean the only, way out is to try to make the world live up to the vision outlined.

[-] 2 points by thebeastchasingitstail (1912) 7 years ago

Very nice post.

Interestingly, even Greenspan eventually repudiated his strict faith in the Randian religion.

http://motherjones.com/politics/2008/10/alan-shrugged

He has admitted he was wrong about regulation.

[-] 2 points by Lockean (671) from New York, NY 7 years ago

Yep. And I see libertarians and Austrian free marketers now disavowing him as having always been a tool of statism. :)

[-] 5 points by therising (6643) 7 years ago

I'm so glad to see that there is some real pushback against this dangerous ideology.

[-] 4 points by thebeastchasingitstail (1912) 7 years ago

lol, it is truly cult-like tunnel vision that these cats have

I saw someone on this forum a week or two ago discussing how we could have a privately-owned court system in his version of libertarian utopia.

As much as I lurk on libertarian websites, I've never seen anyone take it to that extreme. Simply amazing.

[-] 4 points by therising (6643) 7 years ago

These Ayn Rand lovers really are cultish. It does seem like this ideology is responsible for a lot of the suffering we're experiencing today. 2nd most influential book after the bible?? That is pretty scary.

[-] 4 points by debndan (1145) 7 years ago

yes, they subscribe to the cult of nihilism.

[-] 3 points by Avoice (81) 7 years ago

The bible is a combination of several authors who have different viewpoints of how humans should treat each other. One author believed that "an eye for an eye" is how spiritual justice is best served. Other authors believed that forgiveness must play an important role in making life's decisions. To best understand the overall viewpoint of being born without consideration of others, we would have to dig up 12 year old Marion Parker and get her opinion on Rand's ideology.

[-] 2 points by debndan (1145) 7 years ago

Actually an 'eye for an eye' is not spiritual justice, but temporal, this was a directive to the state, not the individual. Forgiveness is part of the role of the individual, not the state.

[-] 1 points by Avoice (81) 7 years ago

The old testament accepted an "eye for an eye" and I believe that Texas still follows this rule every time it executes someone. Many religious individuals find spiritual comfort in knowing that a life was taken for a life. The new testament accepts forgiveness as the means for finding this comfort. Forgiveness and an "eye for an eye" are at the opposite ends of how we treat one another. Most of us fall somewhere in between regardless of religious beliefs or lack of any belief. The spectrum of forgiveness affects our different laws. Even the slightest difference in the many bands of forgiveness effects our laws that define a sentence of execution or life without parole.

[-] -2 points by Rico (3027) 7 years ago

For a fact based perspective, read the entry discussing Ayn Rand in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy at http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/ayn-rand/ . Reputable sources are FAR more valuable than one man's mad rants.

[-] 4 points by groobiecat2 (746) from Brattleboro, VT 7 years ago

Hey, I know: Go and copy and paste this response to every response that you want to weigh in on. Very efficient! Oh, wait--my bad, you already did that.

[-] 4 points by looselyhuman (3117) 7 years ago

/\ When you can't win, SPAM!

[-] -3 points by Rico (3027) 7 years ago

Better yet, READ FACTS from a REPUTABLE SOURCE rather listen to a blathering idiot with an axe to grind !

As for SPAMMING, I only FOLLOWED you here AFTER you posted the VERY SAME lies and innuendo in ANOTHER forum. You're VERY repetitive yourself.

[-] 5 points by TLydon007 (1278) 7 years ago

It's in her own writings. Go ahead and keep ignoring the facts. Keep calling them lies so people will look it up and find out that you really are a cult. If it weren't a cult, you'd respond accordingly and explain why you worship William Hickman and everything he did. But instead, you flat out deny it because that is nature of a cult member.

[-] -3 points by Rico (3027) 7 years ago

Your attempt to paint me with William Hickman is so amateurish and transparent, anyone reading this will see right through it to your immoral character. Keep posting.

[-] 5 points by TLydon007 (1278) 7 years ago

See through what??

Your failed attempts at dodging the facts about Ayn Rand because it threatens the shame you feel when hearing about it??

I agree.

[-] 2 points by Lockean (671) from New York, NY 7 years ago

"Here." Crybaby. Or is it that your worldview has been shaken? Are you so insecure? That's what happens when you force an ethical structure on yourself that makes your inner child cringe in shame and disgust.

[-] -1 points by Rico (3027) 7 years ago

LOL ! Do you OPPOSE the idea of people reading a Stanford University article on Rational Objectivism or must they ONLY hear your rantings?

[-] 3 points by TLydon007 (1278) 7 years ago

"As I note in another comment, our Founding Fathers owned slaves. Does that repudiate every single idea they promoted about liberty and freedom ?"

It should definitely make you more skeptical of what they say.

However, if the founding fathers all kidnapped little girls, chopped up their bodies, removed internal organs, and returned the body for ransom only for the parents of the child to find her remains, that would discredit them much more as a bunch of sociopaths.

"Should I like Roman Polanski's movies less because he was accused of statutory rape?"

So you compare embracing Ayn Rand's philosophy of absolute selfishness with "enjoying a movie". Even if you do, that says a lot about how much thought you put into it.

"Should I have not enjoyed David Bowie's music because my friends called him gay?"

So now you compare being gay with brutally murdering a little girl?? My god, you people are sick.

"Social Security and Medicare, by the way, were contributory programs up until very recent times."

She sponged off the system while preaching about how evil it is.

[-] 1 points by Rico (3027) 7 years ago

You really should run for politics or maybe lead the anti-Republican swiftboater team. You're actually very good at at twisting the truth. Though it's a bit transparent when folks can actually read what was said at different points in the discussion, your skills would probably be very effective in a visual media like television.

Once again, Ayn was developing a character for a book that was never finsihed or published. In her journals, she described this character as "A Hickman with a purpose. And without the degeneracy. It is more exact to say that the model is not Hickman, but what Hickman suggested to me."

You seem to have a lot of trouble seeing the sections "... without the degeneracy," and "... the model is not Hickman." Worse you are trying to project the mere mention of a name who's situation, not crime, may have inspired a writer to imagine a character into some sort of crime in and of itself.

Lord help us all if you ever get a chance to be on broadcast television !

[-] 2 points by TLydon007 (1278) 7 years ago

I completely support people reading your article... After they read the whole story about William Hickman and also face the fact that Ayn Rand was an illegal immigrant for years that mooched off America by sponging off Medicare and Social Security. Those are the first things everyone should know about the woman that wrote your philosophy.

If historical records proved that a gospel writer worshiped a child-murderer, I'd feel no different about those facts.

[-] 0 points by Rico (3027) 7 years ago

As I note in another comment, our Founding Fathers owned slaves. Does that repudiate every single idea they promoted about liberty and freedom ? Should I like Roman Polanski's movies less because he was accused of statutory rape? Should I have not enjoyed David Bowie's music because my friends called him gay?

Social Security and Medicare, by the way, were contributory programs up until very recent times.

[-] 1 points by debndan (1145) 7 years ago

That's advice people should take with every post you make.

[-] 0 points by Rico (3027) 7 years ago

Of course. I do not presuppose to convince anyone of anything against their will. I expect people to use their own rational intellect to make their own decisions, and I offer my perspective as mine and mine alone. I do at least try to provide references to reputable sources for my perspective so people can form their own opinion.

An unfortunate trend in today's connected world is for people to take the opinion of another as their own without performing any of their own research. We have become a nation of passionate opinion based on little factual material to substantiate those opinions other than "lot's of people agree with me." This characteristic is evident in people of all persuasions, and it's damned hard to get these "opinion repeaters" to spend any time at fact-checking what they hear before accepting mass opinion.

[-] 1 points by debndan (1145) 7 years ago

Naw, you sound like a loon, keep up the good work, I use reason and logic. But you convince people not to believe you simply by your replies.

" 'tis better to kept silent and seem dumb, then speak and remove all doubt"

[-] 0 points by Rico (3027) 7 years ago

Infantile.

[-] -2 points by Rico (3027) 7 years ago

For a fact based perspective, read the entry discussing Ayn Rand in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy at http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/ayn-rand/ . Reputable sources are FAR more valuable than one man's mad rants.

[-] 1 points by thebeastchasingitstail (1912) 7 years ago

I actually appreciate being given the link, I will read it.

[-] 1 points by Rico (3027) 7 years ago

You might also find my post at http://occupywallst.org/forum/to-all-of-those-followers-of-ayn-rand-and-to-those/#comment-206436 interesting (your call, of course ;o).

[-] 1 points by therising (6643) 7 years ago

It takes more to make a point than just copying links. It makes it seem like you can't support your own worldview when you just paste in links rather than explaining in your own words.

[-] 0 points by Rico (3027) 7 years ago

The original poster asked someone to explain. The entry from the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy does a much better job of doing that than ANYONE here can given the limitations in comment length.

Rational Objectivism is a recognised school of philosophy, and you might actually have to read more than a few sentences to develop a well informed opinion.

You guys ARE willing to actually READ a Stanford University publication aren't you? I COULD read it aloud in front of a video camera and post it on YouTube if that's where you prefer to get your information.

[-] 3 points by TLydon007 (1278) 7 years ago

"I COULD read it aloud in front of a video camera and post it on YouTube if that's where you prefer to get your information."

I suggest you do that. But I also suggest you include the facts that seem to bother you so much that you've spammed this thread with the same article.

[-] 2 points by therising (6643) 7 years ago

Yes. Please read it in front of video camera.

[-] -1 points by Rico (3027) 7 years ago

For a fact based perspective, read the entry discussing Ayn Rand in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy at http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/ayn-rand/ . Reputable sources are FAR more valuable than one man's mad rants.

[-] -1 points by barackobummer (0) 7 years ago

They laughed at this and blew it off: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2FIptCAkrcc&feature=share It appears that Barry and Rahm were gay blades in Chicago, frequenting "Man's Country." Google it. You will go directly to the club's web site---which is "adult oriented" and obviously for gay men.

So it would seem that the two photos listed below may be just another piece in the sick, twisted climb to the presidency for the authentic, real life Barack Insane Obama.

Hold me close tiny dancer.

http://www.dancehelp.com/photos/misha2.jpg

http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_DawJTCHuL3c/SdJU0sT55DI/AAAAAAAAAJ8/Mlrni3uu4lc/s400/RAHM+BALLET.bmp Obama: Sex, Lies, Murder and Blackmail - Wayne Madsen Reports www.youtube.com

[-] 1 points by StevenRoyal (490) from Dania Beach, FL 7 years ago

Ayn Rand & Greenspan part 1

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1W8EVczrTyg

[-] 1 points by groobiecat2 (746) from Brattleboro, VT 7 years ago

Not really an admission, so much as the usual slight jog to the side with impenetrable anti-sensical confusatory wordage...

[-] 1 points by JamesS89118 (646) from Las Vegas, NV 7 years ago

Yea, that was the most repugnant moment since '08. A Socialist in the foxhole?

[-] 0 points by sickmint79 (516) from Grayslake, IL 7 years ago

why would one assume free market regulation would work in a market that was anything but free?

[-] -2 points by Rico (3027) 7 years ago

For a fact based perspective, read the entry discussing Ayn Rand in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy at http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/ayn-rand/ . Reputable sources are FAR more valuable than one man's mad rants.

[-] 2 points by sickmint79 (516) from Grayslake, IL 7 years ago

i'm merely pointing out that a system where men in a room decide monetary policy for a country/world is not even remotely representative of a free market.

[-] 1 points by ComeTogetherNOW (650) 6 years ago

How can forget this woman inspires Paul Ryan!!!

And Judge Clarence Thomas.........

http://thinkprogress.org/politics/2012/04/26/471730/paul-ryan-ayn-rand/

[-] 1 points by bigbangbilly (594) 7 years ago

Anyway to counter the objectivist's argument of "Association_fallacy"?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Association_fallacy

I am not a randist!!!

[-] 1 points by Lockean (671) from New York, NY 7 years ago

Sure, point out that people are taking lessons on moral philosophy from a sociopath. It's not about association, it's a question of the legitimacy of their shared "values."

[-] 1 points by bigbangbilly (594) 7 years ago

Thank you very much.

[-] 1 points by Bomer (58) 7 years ago

"It turns out, you can trace much of this thinking back to Ayn Rand, a popular cult-philosopher who exerts a huge influence over much of the right-wing and libertarian crowd, but whose influence is only starting to spread out of the U.S."

I have to disagree with that statement, sorry. Ayn Rand is just another mouthpiece for this attitude. As early as 1907 Jack London was stating in 'The Iron Heel' that these businessmen have revived The Divine Right of Kings for themselves and it wasn't even new then...

[-] 1 points by stuartchase (861) 7 years ago

Here's something all of you can get behind!

http://occupywallst.org/forum/something-to-think-about-part-1/

The Revolution starts here!

[-] 1 points by groobiecat2 (746) from Brattleboro, VT 7 years ago

Wait, so, what's Ron Paul's son's name again? Don't help me with this, I know this one. You know the one--with the strange perm. Dangit. I know I'll get it; just give me some more time...

[-] 0 points by redgar (55) 7 years ago

Randall. According Ron Paul it is not after Ayn. Rand Paul went by Randy for some time, Ron Paul's wife shortened it to Rand. Your point is?

[-] 1 points by savethe99 (33) 7 years ago

OK ... so it sounds like most of us agree that there needs to be more regulation ... not less of it like Ann Rand might promote. So why are we demonstrating on Wall Street? Wall Street does not make regulation. We should be demonstrating at the White House. Only the President and Congress can force the regulatory changes to bring big business in line with the common man. .................... ....................... ............http://www.savethe99.com

[-] 1 points by MattLHolck (16833) from San Diego, CA 7 years ago

Childhood's End is a 1953 science fiction novel by the British author Arthur C. Clarke. The story follows the peaceful alien invasion[1] of Earth by the mysterious Overlords, whose arrival ends all war, helps form a world government, and turns the planet into a near-utopia.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Childhood%27s_End

[-] 0 points by Frankie (733) 7 years ago

I, for one, welcome our new alien overlords.

[-] 0 points by Farleymowat (415) 7 years ago

Thanks? Reality is. Bitch.

[-] 0 points by henrycameron (34) 7 years ago

Excuse me for posting in spanish. Actually I’m “trolling” in order to grasp which is the influence of Ayn Rand’s statements in other cultural contexts.

En mi opinión, en Atlas Shrugged, la Rand se cuestiona a sí misma a través de una profunda paradoja. Ésta es que en el final de la novela, Galt, epifánico por sus logros políticos, “le regala” a la humanidad el fruto máximo de su gran sabiduría tecnológica: una fuente eterna y gratuita de energía (a partir del aire). Ni el más haragán de todos los vagos de todo el mundo y de todos los tiempos, se hubiese atrevido a soñar algo más altruista, más colectivista o más socializante. Con un recurso tal, todo, desde los alimentos hasta los bienes tangibles, podrían ser obtenidos sin esfuerzo alguno (esto se puede demostrar). La humanidad podría, finalmente “vivir del aire”, dejándole al lector crítico la sensación de haber leído inútilmente cientos de páginas y decenas de pomposos discursos.

Se podría objetar que se está ante una ficción literaria. Si como tal se la considerara, debiera entonces leerse esta parte del relato como una metáfora a través de la cual la escritora, tal vez sin quererlo, reconoce la inconsistencia y futilidad de su propia propuesta ideológica. En todo caso, la Rand no nos explica por qué su gesta de heroicos emprendedores necesitaba este final.

De las lecturas que admite esta paradoja resulta atrayente la sicoanalítica. Como alguien dijo en este debate, el Atlas es un texto capciosamente orientado a catalizar pulsiones represoras de intelectos inmaduros. La generosidad final de Galt, sería entonces como si su “super-yo” viniera a equilibrar tanto odio al otro en desgracia producido por su propio y desaforado “ello”.

Atlas Shrugged (1957) es la última de las novelas de Rand y se diferencia notablemente de la inmediatamente anterior The Fountainhead (1943) y de las más tempranas We the living (1936) y Anthem (1938). En sus tres novelas previas a Atlas, la Rand honra su nacionalidad literaria no sin cierta calidad estilística y profundidad sicológica. Su Roark, el héroe de The Fountainhead, es un moderno Raskolnikov con título universitario y otros problemas. 14 años después, en Atlas, la escritora cambia drásticamente tanto el estilo de escritura como la jerarquía narrativa. Si sus tres primeras novelas podían ser consideradas como dentro del género “de aprendizaje”, Atlas pasa a ser un burdo panfleto. Sus personajes, lejos de las sutilezas de los de The Fountainhead, son ahora estereotipos absolutamente inverosímiles, patéticos fundamentalistas instrumentales al propósito ideológico del relato. Con unos pocos retoques esta novela podría haber sido proclamada por Stalin como ejemplo del mejor Realismo Socialista. Otra divertida paradoja dado el rabioso anticomunismo de la Rand.

[-] 1 points by Lockean (671) from New York, NY 7 years ago

"Con unos pocos retoques esta novela podría haber sido proclamada por Stalin como ejemplo del mejor Realismo Socialista. Otra divertida paradoja dado el rabioso anticomunismo de la Rand."

Ha. True.

"The Fountainhead (1943) y de las más tempranas We the living (1936) y Anthem (1938). En sus tres novelas previas a Atlas, la Rand honra su nacionalidad literaria no sin cierta calidad estilística y profundidad sicológica. Su Roark, el héroe de The Fountainhead, es un moderno Raskolnikov con título universitario y otros problemas."

I find the ideological message to be present in the character of Roark but it's more insidious in that he, at times, does seem to have glimmers of doubt. However he's portrayed to be living up to his potential - the Randian ideal - only when he discards his doubts and acts without conscience. The message that he should remain true to the child that "was born without the ability to consider others."

All in all, for the same reasons you describe, I think The Fountainhead is the more dangerous work - Atlas Shrugged is a blunt instrument that seems to be preaching to the choir or perhaps winning some weak-minded converts. I think it's exactly the subtlety of The Fountainhead that makes it more effective as "un texto capciosamente orientado a catalizar pulsiones represoras de intelectos inmaduros."

Anyway, I'm glad other cultures are looking at Rand to gain an insight into the psychology of egoism, which is key, I think, to understanding the neoliberal status quo and why it's acceptable to many Americans, in particular.

Finally, "En todo caso, la Rand no nos explica por qué su gesta de heroicos emprendedores necesitaba este final."

I think this goes to the conjecture that "freely" given charity is acceptable, and also commonplace, amongst the supermen... I agree it does seem suspiciously altruistic when stated this way.

[-] 1 points by henrycameron (34) 7 years ago

Estimado Lockean (for John?), puede ser que The Fountainhead sea más insidioso que Atlas Shrugged. Esto, en mi opinión, se debe, entre otras razones, a que TF se apoya en una sólida contextualización histórico/arquitectónica, estética/filosófica y hasta tecnológica, lo que prestigia la obra y da credibilidad a su héroe. AS, en cambio, intenta legitimarse sobre unas pocas y malas fantasías de ciencia ficción barata.

Sin embargo en TF no se propone una praxis social. El individualismo de Roark es tan metafísicamente perfecto que jamás le hubiera permitido emprender una acción política o cualquier otro proselitismo. Esto hubiese implicado tener en cuenta al prójimo. Galt si lo hace, lo que agrega otra demostración de la incoherencia del paradigma randiano.

Pero creo que más importante que lo anterior es que en TF no se establece ninguna conexión determinista entre el individualismo y la riqueza. Asunto que es central en AS. De hecho los ricos de TF son más bien personajes ridículos.

Para la Rand de TF la única riqueza legítima era la que podían captar aquellos que con su inteligencia o con su trabajo agregaban valor a una cosa transformándola en otra de mayor funcionalidad y/o belleza, o aquellos otros que prestaban los servicios inmediatamente necesarios a estas transformaciones. Para la Rand de TF toda otra forma de captación de riqueza era robo.

En AS la escritora se malversa a sí misma. Sus héroes dejan ser centrípetos y se integran ahora en una paradójica y perversa “clase de los individualistas”. Pertenencia ésta de la que emerge un supuesto derecho moral, no sólo a la apropiación no creativa de la riqueza (los banqueros de hoy) sino también al poder, y al “shrug” a la hora de relocalizar puestos de trabajo en otros países.

[-] 0 points by Ral (0) 7 years ago

For piece on Rand, who despised conservatism and voted for FDR, and what Libertarians are actually doing in deveoping voluntary alternatives, see http://www.Libertarian-International.org

Rand was one of many figures at the time who was disturbed by the lynch mob mentality against blacks and in that case, Hickman, at the time, and which we still see today. Since Libertarians are active in many OWS actions, you have to wonder where this article is coming from.

[-] 0 points by Ral (0) 7 years ago

For piece on Rand, who despised conservatism and voted for FDR, and what Libertarians are actually doing in deveoping voluntary alternatives, see http://www.Libertarian-International.org

Rand was one of many figures at the time who was disturbed by the lynch mob mentality against blacks and in that case, Hickman, at the time, and which we still see today. Since Libertarians are active in many OWS actions, you have to wonder where this article is coming from.

[-] 0 points by OWSNewPartyTakeNY2012 (195) 7 years ago

Objectivisum is ok. Atlas Shrugs is a horrible book though.

[-] 0 points by thoreau42 (595) 7 years ago

If I ever need to cite an example of confirmation bias, I'm going to cite this post.

[-] 2 points by Lockean (671) from New York, NY 7 years ago

Whatever you need to tell yourself. If you don't get that someone telling you that selfishness is the only valid morality - if you don't innately KNOW that is wrong - then obviously no amount of evidence as to the twisted nature of the author is going to change your mind.

I don't think Thoreau would agree with it though.

[-] 0 points by thoreau42 (595) 7 years ago

I am familiar with what Thoreau might think, so save yourself the embarassment.

All I'm saying is that things need to be taken within a certain context, of which this whole rant does not. Ayn Rand had some horrible ideas but she also had some brilliant ones. But, anytime you can throw the baby out with the bathwater, you pretty much have to, right?

[-] 2 points by Lockean (671) from New York, NY 7 years ago

It's all dirty, stinky bathwater. It's all premised on her nihilistic definition of morality. Every idea hinges upon it. You can't justify any Randian position without accepting that the individual's sole purpose is self-interest. She's like Nietzsche without his (cynical and pessimistic as it is) insight into actual human motivation - and we've seen what happens when political ideology is based on Nietzsche...

So, please, tell me about the great philosophy in Mein Kampf, Godwin and all.

[-] -1 points by thoreau42 (595) 7 years ago

"There are nowadays professors of philosophy, but not philosophers. Yet it is admirable to profess because it was once admirable to live. To be a philosopher is not merely to have subtle thoughts, nor even to found a school, but so to love wisdom as to live according to its dictates, a life of simplicity, independence, magnanimity, and trust. It is to solve some of the problems of life, not only theoretically, but practically. The success of great scholars and thinkers is commonly a courtier-like success, not kingly, not manly. They make shift to live merely by conformity, practically as their fathers did, and are in no sense the progenitors of a noble race of men."

I'm sure you can guess who wrote this.

[-] 2 points by Lockean (671) from New York, NY 7 years ago

And how do you believe Walden relates to Rand?

Does she espouse simplictity, magnanimity, and trust? I must have missed that.

Is it independence and non-conformity? You don't have to go to Rand to defend those qualities. I happen to find them admirable and virtuous.

What would Rand think of:

"By avarice and selfishness, and a grovelling habit, from which none of us is free, of regarding the soil as property, or as the means of acquiring property, the landscape is deformed, husbandry is degraded with us, and the farmer leads the meanest of lives."

[-] 0 points by thoreau42 (595) 7 years ago

I think Thoreau is a thousand times greater than Ayn Rand.

I stick by my original statement, which was the purpose. There's a certain amount of context that should be taken, none of which was considered in the original post. It's easy to pick one or two or three things you hate and then paint the whole canvas that color. Small minds do it on a daily basis. Doesn't make it right, and doesn't make it true.

[-] 2 points by Lockean (671) from New York, NY 7 years ago

You're saying context but I think what you really mean is that her ideas should be considered as a whole, and in the abstract - i.e. don't focus on her character in this one example.

Moral philosophy is a particular thing. I'd say it's an imperative to consider the character of the philosopher. Morality is not just concepts that can be described and defined by reason alone - how many volumes did Kant write and still not feel satisfied with the categorical imperative and synthetic a priori?

Morality is partly reason, but it's also partly an emotional, intuitive, intangible thing. Does a moral philosophy translate into right action? Does it value the right things when applied practically? Should the behavior of a follower of a particular philosophy then be part of that determination? Perhaps their views on someone like Hickman, whom Rand describes as nearly ideal?

I get what you're saying, but it seems like you're making the same mistake as most Rand admirers - depending on reason alone to defend a moral position. Is objectivism moral, "not only theoretically, but practically"?

[-] 0 points by thoreau42 (595) 7 years ago

I think you absolutely have to look at the body of work as a whole. Can you proclaim a great artist by looking at one painting? (Maybe in the case of Schmid or Sargent, you could) But certainly, I agree that the rubber has to meet the road (and this is where Thoreau is a giant among philosophers). A person is entirely good or entirely bad? Certainly, if you can string all these sentences above together, then you know better than this.

I think it is the behavior of the philosopher only. Take Bruce Lee, as an example. He described his philosophy as "Jeet Kune Do", and said "Again let me remind you Jeet Kune Do is just a name used, a boat to get one across, and once across it is to be discarded and not to be carried on one's back." and now we have his followers who have their own schools of Jeet Kune Do where they teach specific principles and methods. According to his original philosophy, and his life, this is impossible.

Rands personal life is pretty underwhelming.

I've read some of the replies on this thread, including the ones giving more insight to her thoughts on Hickman, and I'm amazed you can type a reply like the one above, yet not be able to read what she's written. She admired certain qualities about the man, such as "with a consciousness all his own." So then you're either equating liking anything about the man to liking his serial killing, or you have the naive assumption that the serial killing automatically makes every single thing about the man reprehensible.

I realize you hate her. That's fine. You don't like her views, you hate her philosophy, fine. I would even say with some good reason. But why go off the deep end? You come off as either stupid or naive. What I'm saying is context. Everything has a time and place in which it occurs. If you cannot consider what her words mean, and in the time and place in which she means them, then you can go around quoting whomever you want to mean whatever you want, right?

I don't have to explain context, right? I don't have to explain why a person isn't entirely good or entirely bad, right?

[-] 2 points by Lockean (671) from New York, NY 7 years ago

Not really interested in this, but you seem to be ignoring the only point I really care to make.

People I know on this very forum are taking moral advice (indeed defining themselves to her moral specifications) from a woman who thought that a sociopath -- someone with a complete lack of anything traditionally recognized as morality -- represents a nearly ideal human being. "The best and strongest expression of a real man's psychology I have heard."

[-] 1 points by thoreau42 (595) 7 years ago

Roark doesn't blow up a building until hes about 40 or so. I'm only 29. Blowing up buildings wouldn't do me any good anyway. I would also say that there's not much materialism in her philosophy. Roark, as an example, hardly owns anything. There's not much greed either. Self-centeredness, definitely. There's a difference between being withholding and aggressively taking.

It's not that there's parasites holding onto me. They explain in the book how, if you want to destroy art, you don't say that good art is bad, and that bad art is good. What you do, is you say that all art is good. Nobody will be able to tell the difference. Then you've automatically destroyed good art by bringing it down to the level of bad art. And this is the world. Ask anyone what is art, you'll get two different answers per person. I've spent so much time working on getting good, on trying to do good work, and now that I've got decent work, I've realized that few care about the quality of the work.

[-] 2 points by Lockean (671) from New York, NY 7 years ago

Ha.

Well, matierialism and greed were not explicitly espoused (unrealistic spin IMO) but they naturally follow from two aspects of her philosophy 1.) obviously, self-interest, and 2.) rejection of any transcendent meaning; the reduction of everything to material "value." This quote: "My philosophy, in essence, is the concept of man as a heroic being, with his own happiness as the moral purpose of his life"

I never bought that what critics said about art determined its impact on individuals, or value to society at large. Art is intensely personal on one level (as you say everyone's got a different definition) and culturally significant on another, and I don't see this little cabal of critics as all that important -- at least long-term -- in either realm. Sure there's a whole culture of art tools that swarm around and groupthink about art (probably doing exactly what you/Rand say), but, why do they matter, really? Are there no individuals who perceive art with their own eyes? Does not society eventually lift up great art almost organically? If it's just about money, and the critics control the purses of big collectors, well, idk what to say...

[-] 1 points by thoreau42 (595) 7 years ago

Fair enough. I don't find a person going against society to be a problem, especially when society has some obviously sick points of view. I think you gotta look at each ball as it lies.

Being an artist myself, spending so much of my time actually working to improve my skills and do good work, you might be alarmed to know how similar my experience has been to Roarks. Not because I'm anti-social. But because I don't have a marketing team, hype, and pull. The situations presented in the book are more real than many people would imagine and our society is much the worse for it.

[-] 2 points by Lockean (671) from New York, NY 7 years ago

I don't disagree with going against society, and you're right - society is sick. Funny though, I blame greed and self-centeredness, materialism and immorality... things I find in Rand's philosophy, which is more popular than ever... I understand we disagree.

Going against society is not the same IMO as determining you're superior and therefore have the right to dominate others, as Rand's heroes do. I know you'll say they're trying to not be dominated, but they make a point of setting themselves above everyone else. It is hubris. Being a rebel should involve some expectation of difficulty; you don't expect to be loved for spitting in society's face.

I'm more Thoreau, honestly. Pretty unique person, but in a lot of ways would be considered a mediocre specimen by Rand, not because I'm incapable, but because I don't feel a need to do great things. I'm comfortable fading away after some time here on earth. I don't care if I'm remembered or have a huge impact on society, I don't want much, I try to have a light footprint...

We're probably not that different. I'm a naturally-talented computer guy but have not had the easiest time all in all. I'm not particularly social as a function of being shy and awkward. I do my own thing, and don't depend on anyone, and only a couple cats depend on me. I don't feel that as an intense source of pride though. It's really just kinda sad.

I do take that your experience has been similar to Roark's with a grain of salt. I can imagine what you mean but have a hard time picturing a bunch of parasites glomming on to you as an artist and trying to hold you down for their own selfish purposes. Probably just a matter of perspective. Have you blown up any buildings?

[-] 1 points by thoreau42 (595) 7 years ago

Have you read The Fountainhead or Atlas Shrugged?

[-] 2 points by Lockean (671) from New York, NY 7 years ago

Yes, The Fountainhead, which I found deeply disturbing. Roark is a sociopath, man.

[-] 0 points by thoreau42 (595) 7 years ago

I got the point. It's just a weak one.

If you've read "Civil Disobedience" by Thoreau, then you know that his moral advice is hardly in line with anything traditionally recognized as morality as well. This argument as come full circle, with you telling me that you need to toss the baby out with the bathwater. Whatever man. Just don't be surprised when somebody who understands a lot about Ayn Rand, even disagrees with her on many things, thinks you're just being ridiculous. You at least have to entertain the possibility that you are.

[-] 2 points by Lockean (671) from New York, NY 7 years ago

That is not true at all. Thoreau is deeply moral in his concern for justice, humanity, the greater good... I don't believe he would have accepted an argument on the virtue of selfishness, or that greed is good, etc. No way he would stand for an outright rejection of altruism, or morality itself -- which is basically what Rand comes down to. By this I mean she had no interest in people doing what they thought was "right" - only what they thought was good for themselves. You can't accept this as the basis for anything without losing your soul. So yes, baby, bathwater, whatever.

You are only defending her because she and Thoreau arrive at similar conclusions about government. It's very small of you. Don't denigrate a man like Thoreau by associating him with the likes of Rand. I don't happen to agree with Thoreau on government, but I know his cause was just and moral and he has my full respect. I don't think he was he right in his broader conclusions but his philosophy is certainly a worthy one.

[-] 0 points by SmallBizGuy (378) from Savannah, GA 7 years ago

I will assume that Mrs. Rand's literary works keep you up at night. She would have liked that. Just a small reminder....it's all "fiction". Now put down the book....and go to bed.

[-] 0 points by Rico (3027) 7 years ago

The references to Hickman relate to the development of a character for a book that was never published. In her journals, Ayn said she was trying to develop a character that was like "A Hickman with a purpose. And without the degeneracy. It is more exact to say that the model is not Hickman, but what Hickman suggested to me." She also said in the same journals, "The first thing that impresses me about the case is the ferocious rage of a whole society against one man. No matter what the man did, there is always something loathsome in the 'virtuous' indignation and mass-hatred of the 'majority.'... It is repulsive to see all these beings with worse sins and crimes in their own lives, virtuously condemning a criminal..." A character in a book that was never finished much less published that was to be persecuted for a crime by a society guilty of even greater sin.

[-] 0 points by redgar (55) 7 years ago

There is much to love in Rand's writings and much to hate in her personality. I think she was indeed a sociopath, but her philosophies still can teach us a lot. Atlas Shrugged, while being way too wordy, is a really good book filled with valuable lessons. Both the worshipers of her and those who hate her are extreme in their thinking. She was a philosopher, sometimes right, sometimes wrong, but often with some valuable lessons to teach.

[-] 0 points by barackobummer (0) 7 years ago

They laughed at this and blew it off: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2FIptCAkrcc&feature=share It appears that Barry and Rahm were gay blades in Chicago, frequenting "Man's Country." Google it. You will go directly to the club's web site---which is "adult oriented" and obviously for gay men.

So it would seem that the two photos listed below may be just another piece in the sick, twisted climb to the presidency for the authentic, real life Barack Insane Obama.

Hold me close tiny dancer.

http://www.dancehelp.com/photos/misha2.jpg

http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_DawJTCHuL3c/SdJU0sT55DI/AAAAAAAAAJ8/Mlrni3uu4lc/s400/RAHM+BALLET.bmp Obama: Sex, Lies, Murder and Blackmail - Wayne Madsen Reports www.youtube.com

[-] 0 points by HowardtheRoark (4) 7 years ago

How is Ayn Rand's idealization and idolization of William Edward Hickman any different from you all's idealization and idolization of Che Guevara?

That was short and sweet. BTW,

Rand also wrote, "The first thing that impresses me about the case is the ferocious rage of a whole society against one man. No matter what the man did, there is always something loathsome in the 'virtuous' indignation and mass-hatred of the 'majority.' … It is repulsive to see all these beings with worse sins and crimes in their own lives, virtuously condemning a criminal…"

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Edward_Hickman#Ayn_Rand.27s_The_Little_Street

Sounds familiar, you lynch mob?

Now for some of your fleabagger sound bites:

"There's something deeply unsettling about living in a country where millions of people froth at the mouth at the idea of giving health care to the tens of millions of Americans who don't have it, or who take pleasure at the thought of privatizing and slashing bedrock social programs like Social Security or Medicare."

Yeah, how dare those who are forced at gunpoint to pay for those programs to froth at the mouth.

"It might not be so hard to stomach if other Western countries also had a large, vocal chunk of the population that thought like this, but the U.S. is seemingly the only place"

So if all Western countries have a democratic vote on it, it's OK, whatever it is?

"where right-wing elites can openly share their distaste for the working poor."

One thinks that if the "working" poor gang up to loot, distaste is the least they deserve from productive individuals. So you'd like us better if we concealed our distaste?

"It turns out, you can trace much of this thinking back to Ayn Rand,"

Who had the temerity to tell productive individuals that they have a right to the wealth they produce.

"One reason most countries don't find the time to embrace Ayn Rand's thinking is that she is a textbook sociopath."

Newspeak for individualist = sociopath. And of course Rand isn't popular in the socialist peoples' states.

"…including the key architects of America's most recent economic catastrophe…"

The key architects of the "recent economic catastrophe" are you, the looters and moochers, who clamored for and got free money from criminal governments Republican and Democratic.

[-] 1 points by looselyhuman (3117) 7 years ago

Thanks for providing a case in point to us parasites.

[-] 0 points by OurTimes2011 (377) from Arlington, VA 7 years ago

Not even close to the second most popular book: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_best-selling_books

[-] 1 points by Rico (3027) 7 years ago

Atlas Shrugged was listed as the #2 most influential book in peoples lives in the 1991 Survey of Lifetime Reading Habits, conducted for the Book-of-the-Month Club and the Library of Congress' Center for the Book. Confirm at http://www.englishcompanion.com/Readings/booklists/loclist.html or http://belleofthebooks.wordpress.com/2008/07/18/books-that-shaped-peoples-lives/ or anyone of a number of other sites.

[-] 1 points by OurTimes2011 (377) from Arlington, VA 7 years ago

1991? You're kidding, right? And what references. You are truly deluded. Keep trying. And try living in reality, not this Rand/Paul fantasy world.

[-] 2 points by Rico (3027) 7 years ago

I was only citing some facts. I didn't offer a position, and I'm NOT a Ron Paul supporter by ANY means ! He seems like a well intentioned guys, but his positions are naive in my personal opinion.

[-] 1 points by OurTimes2011 (377) from Arlington, VA 7 years ago
[-] 2 points by Rico (3027) 7 years ago

I didn't say it was best selling, I said it was listed #2 as the most influential book in peoples lives according to a 1991 survey conducted by the Library of Congress' Center for the Book and the Book of the Month Club.

[-] 1 points by looselyhuman (3117) 7 years ago

I had read that too and I think it was on a yearly basis for 2009 - 200,000 copies or something.

[-] 1 points by Rico (3027) 7 years ago

Atlas Shrugged was listed as the #2 most influential book in peoples lives in the 1991 Survey of Lifetime Reading Habits, conducted for the Book-of-the-Month Club and the Library of Congress' Center for the Book. Confirm at http://www.englishcompanion.com/Readings/booklists/loclist.html or http://belleofthebooks.wordpress.com/2008/07/18/books-that-shaped-peoples-lives/ or anyone of a number of other sites.

[-] -1 points by betuadollar (-313) 7 years ago

Such statements are as foolish as assuming Chomsky could influence an OWS - get real, it's life experience that influences in point of action. Philosophy is but an attempt to understand those actions.

[-] -1 points by Individualist7 (0) 7 years ago

Man's Rights

If one wishes to advocate a free society—that is, capitalism—one must realize that its indispensable foundation is the principle of individual rights. If one wishes to uphold individual rights, one must realize that capitalism is the only system that can uphold and protect them. And if one wishes to gauge the relationship of freedom to the goals of today’s intellectuals, one may gauge it by the fact that the concept of individual rights is evaded, distorted, perverted and seldom discussed, most conspicuously seldom by the so-called “conservatives.”

“Rights” are a moral concept—the concept that provides a logical transition from the principles guiding an individual’s actions to the principles guiding his relationship with others—the concept that preserves and protects individual morality in a social context—the link between the moral code of a man and the legal code of a society, between ethics and politics. Individual rights are the means of subordinating society to moral law.

Every political system is based on some code of ethics. The dominant ethics of mankind’s history were variants of the altruist-collectivist doctrine which subordinated the individual to some higher authority, either mystical or social. Consequently, most political systems were variants of the same statist tyranny, differing only in degree, not in basic principle, limited only by the accidents of tradition, of chaos, of bloody strife and periodic collapse. Under all such systems, morality was a code applicable to the individual, but not to society. Society was placed outside the moral law, as its embodiment or source or exclusive interpreter—and the inculcation of self-sacrificial devotion to social duty was regarded as the main purpose of ethics in man’s earthly existence.

Since there is no such entity as “society,” since society is only a number of individual men, this meant, in practice, that the rulers of society were exempt from moral law; subject only to traditional rituals, they held total power and exacted blind obedience—on the implicit principle of: “The good is that which is good for society (or for the tribe, the race, the nation), and the ruler’s edicts are its voice on earth.”

This was true of all statist systems, under all variants of the altruist-collectivist ethics, mystical or social. “The Divine Right of Kings” summarizes the political theory of the first—”Vox populi, vox dei” of the second. As witness: the theocracy of Egypt, with the Pharaoh as an embodied god—the unlimited majority rule or democracy of Athens—the welfare state run by the Emperors of Rome—the Inquisition of the late Middle Ages—the absolute monarchy of France—the welfare state of Bismarck’s Prussia—the gas chambers of Nazi Germany—the slaughterhouse of the Soviet Union.

  • Ayn Rand
[-] 0 points by Individualist7 (0) 7 years ago

(continued - 3)

To violate man’s rights means to compel him to act against his own judgment, or to expropriate his values. Basically, there is only one way to do it: by the use of physical force. There are two potential violators of man’s rights: the criminals and the government. The great achievement of the United States was to draw a distinction between these two—by forbidding to the second the legalized version of the activities of the first.

The Declaration of Independence laid down the principle that “to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men.” This provided the only valid justification of a government and defined its only proper purpose: to protect man’s rights by protecting him from physical violence.

Thus the government’s function was changed from the role of ruler to the role of servant. The government was set to protect man from criminals—and the Constitution was written to protect man from the government. The Bill of Rights was not directed against private citizens, but against the government—as an explicit declaration that individual rights supersede any public or social power.

The result was the pattern of a civilized society which—for the brief span of some hundred and fifty years—America came close to achieving. A civilized society is one in which physical force is banned from human relationships—in which the government, acting as a policeman, may use force only in retaliation and only against those who initiate its use.

This was the essential meaning and intent of America’s political philosophy, implicit in the principle of individual rights. But it was not formulated explicitly, nor fully accepted nor consistently practiced.

America’s inner contradiction was the altruist-collectivist ethics. Altruism is incompatible with freedom, with capitalism and with individual rights. One cannot combine the pursuit of happiness with the moral status of a sacrificial animal.

It was the concept of individual rights that had given birth to a free society. It was with the destruction of individual rights that the destruction of freedom had to begin.

  • Ayn Rand
[-] 0 points by Individualist7 (0) 7 years ago

(continued -2)

Thus, for every individual, a right is the moral sanction of a positive—of his freedom to act on his own judgment, for his own goals, by his own voluntary, uncoerced choice. As to his neighbors, his rights impose no obligations on them except of a negative kind: to abstain from violating his rights.

The right to life is the source of all rights—and the right to property is their only implementation. Without property rights, no other rights are possible. Since man has to sustain his life by his own effort, the man who has no right to the product of his effort has no means to sustain his life. The man who produces while others dispose of his product, is a slave.

Bear in mind that the right to property is a right to action, like all the others: it is not the right to an object, but to the action and the consequences of producing or earning that object. It is not a guarantee that a man will earn any property, but only a guarantee that he will own it if he earns it. It is the right to gain, to keep, to use and to dispose of material values.

The concept of individual rights is so new in human history that most men have not grasped it fully to this day. In accordance with the two theories of ethics, the mystical or the social, some men assert that rights are a gift of God—others, that rights are a gift of society. But, in fact, the source of rights is man’s nature.

The Declaration of Independence stated that men “are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights.” Whether one believes that man is the product of a Creator or of nature, the issue of man’s origin does not alter the fact that he is an entity of a specific kind—a rational being—that he cannot function successfully under coercion, and that rights are a necessary condition of his particular mode of survival.

“The source of man’s rights is not divine law or congressional law, but the law of identity. A is A—and Man is Man. Rights are conditions of existence required by man’s nature for his proper survival. If man is to live on earth, it is right for him to use his mind, it is right to act on his own free judgment, it is right to work for his values and to keep the product of his work. If life on earth is his purpose, he has a right to live as a rational being: nature forbids him the irrational.” (Atlas Shrugged)

  • Ayn Rand
[-] 0 points by Individualist7 (0) 7 years ago

(continued -1)

All these political systems were expressions of the altruist-collectivist ethics-and their common characteristic is the fact that society stood above the moral law, as an omnipotent, sovereign whim worshiper. Thus, politically, all these systems were variants of an amoral society.

The most profoundly revolutionary achievement of the United States of America was the subordination of society to moral law.

The principle of man’s individual rights represented the extension of morality into the social system—as a limitation on the power of the state, as man’s protection against the brute force of the collective, as the subordination of might to right. The United States was the first moral society in history.

All previous systems had regarded man as a sacrificial means to the ends of others, and society as an end in itself. The United States regarded man as an end in himself, and society as a means to the peaceful, orderly, voluntary coexistence of individuals. All previous systems had held that man’s life belongs to society, that society can dispose of him in any way it pleases, and that any freedom he enjoys is his only by favor, by the permission of society, which may be revoked at any time. The United States held that man’s life is his by right (which means: by moral principle and by his nature), that a right is the property of an individual, that society as such has no rights, and that the only moral purpose of a government is the protection of individual rights.

A “right” is a moral principle defining and sanctioning a man’s freedom of action in a social context. There is only one fundamental right (all the others are its consequences or corollaries): a man’s right to his own life. Life is a process of self- sustaining and self-generated action; the right to life means the right to engage in self-sustaining and self-generated action-which means: the freedom to take all the actions required by the nature of a rational being for the support, the furtherance, the fulfillment and the enjoyment of his own life. (Such is the meaning of the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.)

The concept of a “right” pertains only to action—specifically, to freedom of action. It means freedom from physical compulsion, coercion or interference by other men.

  • Ayn Rand
[-] -1 points by OldDucker (23) 7 years ago

Ayn Rand was a zionist jew. Clearly the OP is anti-semitic.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2uHSv1asFvU

[-] -1 points by Rico (3027) 7 years ago

Lies, mis-truth, and innuendo.

For a fact based perspective, read the entry discussing Ayn Rand in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy at http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/ayn-rand/

Reputable sources are FAR more valuable than one man's mad rants.

[-] -1 points by flober (-1) 7 years ago

More disinformation and guilt-by-association. She researched a murderer? For a novel? Do writers do that? No! Hers is a truly moral philosophy, and you fear it. http://amzn.to/-atlas

[-] 5 points by looselyhuman (3117) 7 years ago

You're right, I do fear it.

You shouldn't have to fear a moral person. You can trust a moral person to do the right thing. We can only trust you to do the right thing for yourself with no regard for others. Your "morality" can be distilled down to the joke about not having to run faster than the bear, only faster than the other guy. Real morality is trying to help the other guy too, maybe working together with him to sharpen some branches into spears or climb a tree or distract the fucking bear or anything other than looking out for #1. That thinking is the definition of immoral.

[-] 2 points by JamesS89118 (646) from Las Vegas, NV 7 years ago

Morality is not a component of Capitalism. Capitalism is an economic system, not a social one. Morality is a component of what?

By shutting the EPA and corrupting the FDA, Capitalists have overturned the rule of law for a faith-based Capitalist culture. And since Capitalism in NOT a culture, we're now in this mess.

[-] -2 points by JosephZ (-1) 7 years ago

The Rand-Hickman stuff is a red herring. You're also plagerizing by not showing that your post is mostly from the linked article. Just as many articles that counter this lie can be found on the Internet. Here's one:

http://objectivish.blogspot.com/2010/03/on-ayn-rand-and-william-hickman-twice.html

The fact is you hate Rand and her ideas and will do anything to discredit her as you've shown in numerous post on the subject.

[-] 3 points by Lockean (671) from New York, NY 7 years ago

Yes, everybody please click the link to see the lengths to which people will go to rationalize immorality.

[-] 1 points by therising (6643) 7 years ago

You have the most deluded worldview where the unregulated market will take care of everything. Guess what? That's what got us in this mess. So all you Ayn Randy's need to realize that it was your worldview that created all this suffering. And now you want to create more? Doesn't that bother you? Oh wait...I forgot. You don't care about anyone but yourself. Does that include not caring about what happens to your grand kids and mine? Should they be able to breathe clean air?

[-] 1 points by Lockean (671) from New York, NY 7 years ago

Hey. I'm with you. I was talking about JosephZ's link. I'm the one that created this thread, and I think you're right on in everything you're saying.

[-] 2 points by therising (6643) 7 years ago

Sorry about that. I get a little fired up by this stuff. Thanks so much for the posting you did. You set me straight on some things. You're absolutely right that this Ayn Rand stuff has played a larger role than we'd like to think in a good chunk of our citizens coming to despise the government (even though the government is us).

We gotta find a way to counter this. I really want OWS to light up the world with a positive alternative viewpoint to the Ayn Randian dystopia. What scares me is that I actually don't think most of the supporters of Ayn Rand viewpoint realize they're stuck in a cultish mindset. What I'm suggesting is that they're victims really of a charismatic compelling leader. / author who gives them an easy fantasy world to live in wherein they're the hero and all others are trying to keep their herodom from being recognized. These Ayn Randy's are victims just like the Wall St guys are victims of a system that would ultimately lead to them being bad no matter how hard they tried.

What I'm suggesting then is that OWS find a way to dig deep and go at the root cause here. Attacking the zombies does some good but ultimately, we need to get rid of the failed system that has made their rise a foregone conclusion.

[-] 0 points by RandalV (1) 7 years ago

Speaking as an Objectivist, I would argue that you've created a straw man version of Rand. I suggest taking a look at her non-fiction, especially from Capitalism:the Unknown Ideal. The issue is not "giving benefits to the working poor" but rather taking those benefits by force from someone else (through taxation among other methods). If you care about the poor, then by all means give to charity or better yet build a successful company and then give to the poor (a la Bill Gates or any number of large corporations). But it is immoral and destructive to force others to conform to your wishes. Keep clear in mind that the political issue for an Objectivist is always freedom versus force, and today's mess is what happens when government force is interjected so thoroughly into the economy.

[-] 2 points by therising (6643) 7 years ago

You're a linguistic contortionist. What you're saying is, hey - let me live in your society, drive on your roads, benefit from your court system and rule of law, benefit from your education system (both for my kids and community), etc..... you want to live in the American community and have all those benefits but you reject having any responsibilities. You don't want to pay to educate anyone's kids but your own because you, in your shortsightedness, can't see the benefit of an educated community. You complain endlessly about school taxes and support candidates who will slash school funding although you as an employer constantly whine that the workforce doesn't have enough education. You want the benefits but you don't want any responsibilities. You Ayn Randy's don't sound like responsible citizens. You sound more like 4 year olds. Listen to yourself: "Give to me, give to me, me me me me me. But I don't want to participate in the very society that I benefit from.". That take a ton of nerve.

[-] 1 points by looselyhuman (3117) 7 years ago

And on and on it goes. It's like they don't even know the extreme ideology they're defending. He sounds so reasonable below, but Objectivism and Rand are absolutely opposed to public education, not to mention anti-trust laws, minimum wage, child labor laws, environmental protection, etc. It makes you wonder why people would defend an ideology they apparently don't even support - at least here and now for this audience...

[-] 0 points by Individualist5 (0) 7 years ago

I am a very reasonable person. A person doesn't have to agree with everything a writer says to realize the merits of their argument. I don't agree with Ayn Rand on everything, but I agree with her on many things.

Think about this:

Thomas Jefferson owned slaves and didn't free them on his death. Should we throw out the Declaration of Independence?

George Washington owned slaves, should we wipe out his accomplishments and Presidency from the history books?

Roman Polanski sodomized a 13 year old girl, does that mean Chinatown is an evil movie?

No one's character or life is perfect, but that doesn't mean they don't have talent or good ideas.

[-] 1 points by looselyhuman (3117) 7 years ago

The entire ideology is premised on a moral/ethical philosophy holding the central tenet that self-interest is morality. This post began as pointing out that people are taking moral and ethical advice, and formulating policy positions, on advice from a sociopath. If you want to distance yourself from that, do so. Instead you're defending it, so I have to assume you're as reasonable as Ayn Rand - pure reason. The cold, calculating reason of a killer.

And yeah, I think anything Jefferson has to say on natural rights and liberty does have to be taken with a serious grain of salt.

[-] 0 points by Individualist6 (0) 7 years ago

Rand was not a sociopath - a person that has a pattern of disregard for or violation of the rights of others. She was a champion of individual rights. Hickman was a sociopath and a murderer. Rand never murdered anybody. The original post was an attempt to demonize her, she wasn't perfect, but she wasn't a demon either.

Many philosophers, thinkers and writers valued the idea of reason above all else, that is their opinion, not an absolute.

[-] 1 points by looselyhuman (3117) 7 years ago

Noun: A person with a personality disorder manifesting itself in extreme antisocial attitudes and behavior and a lack of conscience.

Fits my understanding perfectly. It's at her philosophical core. Unfettered egoism without regard for others is different from sociopathy by degree, if at all.

Reason as a means to understanding epistemological and ontological concepts is different than cognitivism, which few philosophers advocated to the degree she does, and none to such extremes coupled with blatantly antisocial ideological and ethical prescriptions. Even Nietzsche, who found his way to a similarly evil conclusion, incorporated the non-rational (will to power) into his philosophy.

[-] 0 points by Individualist4 (0) 7 years ago

I don't see him complaining about property taxes for schools or gas taxes for transportation infrastructure. Once again, you're putting words into people's mouths. There are legitimate functions of government and no one's complaining about paying for those things. It seems to be you that's screaming "Give me, give me, give me..." or rather "Take, take, take..." for whatever you think the government should be doing.

[-] 1 points by looselyhuman (3117) 7 years ago

He's defending Rand & Objectivism:

"Rand opposed taxation as she considered it theft and an endorsement of force over reason"

"Objectivists have also opposed a number of government activities commonly supported by both liberals and conservatives, including antitrust laws, the minimum wage, public education, and existing child labor laws."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Objectivism_(Ayn_Rand)#Politics:_individual_rights_and_capitalism

[-] 0 points by Individualist5 (0) 7 years ago

Many OWS supporters oppose a number of government activities commonly supported by both liberals and conservatives. It's not enough to throw bombs. What are the Objectivists arguments on these issues? Do they have merit? If not, why not?

[-] 2 points by therising (6643) 7 years ago

That was a weak response. You're backing away from a key component of Ayn Rand philosophy because you realize it's indefensible. It's OK if you want to just admit it. I'd have more respect for you. Just say "Hey man, I want good schools for my kids and my community and I want nicely paved roads for my Porsche but I don't want to be the one paying for these. I want other people to pay for those. Because if I have to pay for them, I'll only be able to afford a Porsche Cayman instead of the Porsche 911. Just be honest. Just say. "The Cayman just isn't enough of a car for me so I need to take food out of other people's belly's so I can have a cooler car."

I know quite a few people who would actually be that blunt and I respect them a hell of a lot more than I respect you hiding behind some fanciful ideology written by a self-centered psychopath.

[-] 0 points by Individualist7 (0) 7 years ago

Put this above, just wanted to make sure you got it.

There you go again - distortion, supposition, blather, blather, blather, accusation, condemnation, name-calling. Repeat. Repeat.

You are sad, angry and immature.

[-] 1 points by looselyhuman (3117) 7 years ago

The only government force you recognize is the force to keep the parasites at bay, we get it.

You don't know morality. Morality is shared responsibility and sacrifice. Not total sacrifice but not total self-interest. Charity. Sure, if charity could perform needed stimulus, protect the environment, regulate unethical business, and help the vulnerable without exploiting them, etc - which it has proved it cannot, because those things are not a priority for the successful, driven as they are by greed...

You use liberty as a cover for aristocratic privilege. We have the liberty to disagree and restore the social contract. Democracy sucks huh - even in the form of a republic.

To promote the general welfare.

[-] 0 points by RandalV (1) 7 years ago

Apparently I'm an immoral linguistic contortionist who worships a sociopath. I sound pretty awful. I was hoping to have a real conversation here about the serious issues at play, but that doesn't seem possible. I will leave simply by clarifying my position for you to do with as you will. Freedom did not get us into this mess; government force did, specifically in the form of Fed manipulation of interest rates and the moral hazard of the Too Big to Fail policy. Keep square in your mind that the bailout was actual forced on healthy banks as cover for unhealthy banks. The OWS group and Keynsian economists have acted as if we have had unregulated capitalism for the last thirty years, which is just absurd. There is more to the story, and if you want to know it, I suggest reading Austrian School economist Peter Schiff. The OWS group is looking at a real crisis and drawing the wrong conclusion, blaming the free elements of our economy rather than the massive government interference. We need a separation of government force and economics, not the destruction of whatever traces of freedom and accumulated wealth are keeping us all alive.

[-] 1 points by looselyhuman (3117) 7 years ago

First, the following are NOT Keynesian:

  • Bank bailouts
  • Deficits across business cycles in the form of tax cuts, military deficit-spending, etc, in the boom phase.

These more closely map to Reaganomics, but the bailouts are something else entirely. Wall St. plutocrats holding government and the American people hostage.

I don't see the problem as government power. I see it as government priorities, twisted away from benefitting its citizens by the mountains of cash allowed into the process. Corruption is the problem, not government. I want government to be able to perform real fiscal stimulus - not bailouts and tax cuts for the rich, when that money is needed to get the economy churning again. We will disagree on this but you have to remember Keynes is not about building up debt. The idea is to pay debt down during booms. Keynesian deficit spending is only to increase aggregate demand and is the only proven macroeconomic theory for advanced capitalist economies. Austrian econ is heterodox for a reason. It is based on theory, not borne out by historical evidence - i.e. the Gilded Age.

Anyway, your positions are not invalid - wrong, but not anywhere as extreme as the philosophy you're defending. You don't need to depend on or defend the immoral antisocial elitism of Ayn Rand to be against the Fed, too big to fail, etc. You only need Rand to defend a consistent position against the safety net, public education, any form of taxation, etc...

[-] 0 points by RandalV (1) 7 years ago

Looselyhuman,

A few things:

1) Bailouts are not intended by Keynsianism, but they are the necessary consequence of the last century's Keynesianism. Once the government starts manipulating the economy, they inevitably become responsible for it. If you read "Too Big to Fail," you'll see that Paulson didn't want to bail out the banks, but he had to because of how involved the Bush administration was in the banking industry. Better to just stay the hell out from the beginning, and we should be advocating for the government to slowly divest itself of the economy. Of course, that's not what OWS stands for.

2) Reaganomics was not free market. The issue is fundamentally spending, and spending still rose across the board under Reagan. I actually think that more good happened for the free market under Carter than under Reagan (deregulation and high interest rates, though the latter is a weird quasi-free market action).

3) If Austrian economics is considered heterodox at a time when our economy is going crazy, isn't that argument in itself for reconsidering it? I would completely disagree that free markets are nice in theory, not in reality. See Soviet Russia vs. America, mainland China vs. Hong Kong, etc. East Berlin vs. West Berlin is like a laboratory experiment in what happens in a highly restrictive vs. a highly free society.

4) I have read Rand pretty thoroughly, and at this point, I agree with her on a fairly consistent basis (sometimes after very serious disagreement. I went to a fairly liberal college.). If you think I'm coming off as more reasonable, perhaps it's been a while since you've read her? I thoroughly suggest "Capitalism: the Unknown Ideal."

Randal

[-] 1 points by looselyhuman (3117) 7 years ago

1.) Wrong. They are a consequence of deregulation - specifically Glass-Steagal and the neutering of the SEC - and allowing them to grow into trusts/monopolies. The Austrian theory agrees with you but the facts do not.

2.) Reagan followed Friedman in a more free market direction, and so did Bush, Clinton, Bush and now Obama. Neoliberalism.

3.) Hypothetical absolutely free markets compared to byzantine interweaving between market/government is not a useful thought exercise. It does not follow that a little freer is good so therefore absolutely free is ideal. There's a balance to be struck, and we struck it for 40 years between the mid 30s and mid 70s. Germany has also found this to be true, as have the Nordic countries. That said, the fact that mainland China is kicking our butts is something to consider, not that I perceive their mercantilist model as a good template.

4.) You're apparently practicing cafeteria objectivism, which does a lot for your reasonability factor. Unless you do agree that all taxation is theft and public schools and environmental regulations are intrinsically evil?

[-] 1 points by RandalV (1) 7 years ago

1) Well, you're going to claim Glass-Steagall repeal, and I'm going to claim interest rate manipulation and the government push for subprime mortgages through Fannie and Freddie. You have to sort out for yourself what you conclude, but I obviously disagree. There's been a lot said about this, but honestly, which seems like the more fundamental issue: cheap money, bad investments, and overleveraging or insurance against the same (CDSes)?

2) I get that I'm making a controversial point here, and I'm overstating a little. I just find it notable that the majority of the deregulation happened under Carter and spending actually increased under Reagan. I don't need to push the issue. We have much bigger differences.

But I would very much disagree that Bush W the "Compassionate Conservative" and Obama were in any way free market. For the former, I would cite Sarbanes-Oxley and the massive increase in Medicare through the prescription drug benefit. For the latter, I honestly have no idea what you're pointing to.

3) My point is that there's a consistent correlation between degree of freedom and economic prosperity, and yes, I do think the lesson is that freer is better. Your specifics would take longer to untangle than I want to spend now (especially the bizarre mix of freedom and fascism that is China), so I'll leave this one alone.

4) Well, I guess I'm about to go off the deep end here then because I do agree with everything you've said here. But I understand that they are hard arguments to make, and I won't go into them here.

Time for me to move on from this conversation. Last word is yours. Thank you for the conversation.

Randal

[-] 0 points by tesn1 (212) 7 years ago

First let me say that this problem is not liberal or conservative, democrat or republican but it is a common problem we all share. One key point must be stressed we are all affected by the issue at hand.

The basis of the problem is the laws that have enabled and perpetuated the problem. If you look at the fall of the exchange in 1929, its cause and the reaction by the government you will find most of the problem. In 1929 only ~10% of all businesses were public and the remainder was private. ~2% of the population were involved in trading stocks and most of the individuals we very heavily leveraged (They bought on credit).

Next the market dropped, individuals lost their ability to pay off their margin accounts and wiped out the capital overnight in the banking system, Couple that with the hysteria of the people running on the banks to get there gold out and you have a recipe for disaster.

For most they were not initially affected by the falls of the exchange in 1929 but when banks failed they felt it. Businesses lost credit to operate, accounts were wiped out and small private business failed. No fault of their own but the fault of the overzealous banks. Individuals found there savings wiped out alongside the private businesses and the world plunged into the abyss.

The reaction to this was FDR and the 1933 securities act and the 1934 securities and exchange act. What these two pieces of legislation did was strip the ability of the small private business (who did not cause the market collapse) to raise capital in a traditional form, Bonds. Direct investment was for many years the mainstay of the entrepreneur. It put the restrictions on who could invest (Qualified institutional investor) and how the investments could be sold. It stripped the ability of the individual to invest and make the high returns they became accustomed to and placed all of it into the hands of the very few 1%.

Today if you are a business owner there is a glass ceiling of about $3 million dollars where a business could potentially get debt to expand, retool, or modernize. The Wall Street and Banks prefer an Equity offering. How often do small business owners sell the majority share of the company they own under a public offering or private sale (sale to high net worth’s) to raise the capital they need. The horror stories of this arrangement are very clear. They give up control, get voted out of the company and the new share holders shut them down move the product manufacture to China to maximize the return to the High Net Worth investor (new owner).

The laws perpetuate the problem. Now remove the Glass-Steagall Act and it becomes a high net worth orgy.

Focus, access the laws, and fix the system that perpetuates the behavior.

FIX THE LAWS

Some laws and regulations hurt enterprize and the 99%, others are desiged to protect against the orgy of wall street. No matter how you look at it where there needs to be a objective solution.

[-] 0 points by Rico (3027) 7 years ago

For a fact based perspective, read the entry discussing Ayn Rand in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy at http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/ayn-rand/ . Reputable sources are FAR more valuable than one man's mad rants.

[-] 2 points by therising (6643) 7 years ago

Joseph, why are you so obsessed with being separate from everyone. If you wall yourself off in the isolation of a gated community, you only live half a life. There's no doubt that individualism is an important part of life but most thinking and feeling adults also realize that to be truly fulfilled as a human being, we must also live in community with others, care for others and participate in a dynamic and nurturing society.

Since your viewpoint doesn't make rational sense, I can only attribute the obsession you and others have with the rather boorish Ayn Rand to either some deep seated unmet need in childhood or some sort of cult phenomenon.

I know that the other appeal Rand's outlook has for you and others who obsess over her is that it let's you off the hook. You don't need to care about anyone but yourself. You have no obligations. You have no morality. You can be lazy.

Please help me understand rather than attacking me the way those who have a Rand fixation often do. I'm honestly trying to understand why you feel it heroic to cast aside morality, reneg on your obligation to others and, most of all, lose out on all the benefits of community. Did you simply hate the home or community that you grew up in so much that you can't even envision a dynamic nurturing community.

Together, my friend, we are greater than the sum of our parts. You'll enjoy life much more, make your mark on this world and lead a much happier and more fulfilling life if you come out of the shadows, lay down your fear of others and open your heart. Life is waiting. And the fear is really only in your head. You thrive on it, that fear of others. But it is a fantasy. You fantasize about being one of Rand's heroes but what you're really doing is wasting your life by basing your entire outlook on the delusions of a sociopathic person who celebrated not giving a shit about anything but herself.

Why do you waste your life so? Step out into the warmth of the sun, into the warmth of community and LIVE. Life's too short to be stuck in an invented narrative.

[-] 3 points by looselyhuman (3117) 7 years ago

Agreed.

[-] 2 points by groobiecat2 (746) from Brattleboro, VT 7 years ago

Excellent post. What I'm finding here is that "we" are much more willing to do the work of discourse. I hate to say this, but the Randian acolytes seem to be, well, lazy. There is no countenancing alternatives--Finland largely eliminated homelessness! They're wealthy! They're some of the happiest people on the planet! So, why not identify people as the main source of all strength, and help those in need?

Because, in addition to laziness, there is the much more sinister view at work: those who are in need are somehow "damaged," or otherwise "flawed." The logic goes like this: If someone is not doing well, it must be due to some personal defect or weakness of character--and no one should have to accommodate or make up for that weakness.

It's the entire underlying assumption of conservatives. And as I read his reply now, you can see that there is no interest in discourse, civil or otherwise. And this, my friend, is why the Ron Paulians will never be a part of the #OWS:

The core philosophical beliefs are directly polar opposite. Progressives believe in the common weal, and libertarians belief, simply put, in every man for himself.

The fact is, rare will be the occasion that you are able to get through to these people--remember, you are the "other" and that entity is not important...

[-] 2 points by therising (6643) 7 years ago

I agree completely. And they need that "other" to fight against. It's the whole reason they come here. To fulfill their narrative of being misunderstood geniuses with the weak ones clawing at their heels. They come out of their basements like moles and find exactly what they want to find. Of course they did, because they were wearing their Ayn Rand colored glasses so the whole world miraculously fit that narrative. Then they come back home feeling very superior? "Yup. Just as Ayn told me. I'm great but they're holding me back."

I don't want them to not feel good about themselves. I just want them to feel good about themselves in an authentic way, because life is good. They base their whole worldview on the idea that life sucks. No surprise then that it's true for them.

[-] 3 points by groobiecat2 (746) from Brattleboro, VT 7 years ago

Yes. And your last paragraph tells the endgame: at some point, there must be a way to bridge that gap. Logic doesn't work. Civilized discourse doesn't work. There has to be a way that makes it, well, "safe" for them, for lack of a better term. Conflict resolution is very much like this: both sides need to feel safe. Not an easy thing to do, obviously, but at some point, that duty will probably fall to us.

I have been able to make some progress with a few moderate libertarians, by acknowledging their main fear, to wit: the government is not a panacea and needs more transparency and oversight. But your "throwing the baby out with the bathwater" is dead-on; it's all or nothing, right or wrong, and very little, if any, gray area.

Again, Michele Bachmann and Newt Gingrich said again recently that we should basically hold bake sales to help sick people. Mentioning that successful countries like Finland and Germany--who have robust social services programs and are incredibly successful--doesn't seem to help. They ignore this. Why? Because it doesn't fit with their narrative.

I believe the country is witnessing cognitive dissonance on a scale not seen since the rise of the 3rd reich. Not that there are other similarities, per se, but the willingness to ignore contrary is really pretty extraordinary.

I'm sure you're familiar, but I wrote a blog piece about why it's so hard to get through to conservatives here:

http://groobiecat.blogspot.com/2011/07/ever-wonder-why-it-seems-so-hard-to-get.html

Seems that the "fear center" (the amygdala or "lizard" part) of the brain is much larger for some reason...

[-] -1 points by Rico (3027) 7 years ago

For a fact based perspective, read the entry discussing Ayn Rand in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy at http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/ayn-rand/ . Reputable sources are FAR more valuable than one man's mad rants.

[-] 1 points by therising (6643) 7 years ago

For a real fact based perspective, emerge from your basement lair and take a walk outside in the cool crisp air. See the stars. Hear the sounds of the night. Let the thoughts chattering in your head subside and remember what it's like to be real. Solid. Free. You're stuck in the stories in your head man. Let go and you'll have the freedom right here right now that you've been searching for so hard on this forum. Seriously man. I hate to see you suffer this way. Honestly.

[-] 1 points by Rico (3027) 7 years ago

LOL ! THAT was a lot better ! There's a real sense of condescension that you haven't been able to muster up in your prior efforts.

By the way, I made over $75,000 in the markets today ! Yahoo ! Now the family will be able to visit Sweden and Denmark for Christmas. This on top of the Hawaiian vacation and Alaskan cruises we already took earlier in the year. It's been a very good year for us capitalists, as long as you know how to pick 'em. ;o)

[-] 2 points by therising (6643) 7 years ago

Keep laughing. It reminds us of pur progress. As Gamdhi put it, "First they ignore you. Then they laugh at you. Then they fight you. Then you win.". In just a little over a month we've captured the world's attention (and a lot of yours apparently. So we've made it through phase one rather quickly. As evidenced by your posts, we're deep into phase 2.

PS - love your little fantasy about being a 1%er. I imagine that's why you defend them...because you fantasize so much about being one of them. I know a number of them quite well. They're not any happier than you or I. Happiness comes from ending your identification with all the thoughts that jump around in your head. Let go of your stories of past and future. All you have is right now and you're human and free. Celebrate instead of maintaining your prison. You're stuck in your head man. You believe everything you think. It keeps you from really seeing the world as it is in all its vividness and beauty. Emerge from your slumber man. Wake up.:)

[-] 0 points by Rico (3027) 7 years ago

I thought I was a 1%'er but I confused with being included in Obama's proposed tax hike as being in the 1%. I subsequently found out I'm actually a 5%'er.

Sure OWS has captured my attention. Most of it was initially negative, but I don't trust "media impressions," so I came here to engage with some of the members and get educated. As I noted in my http://occupywallst.org/forum/one-percenter-ready-to-join-if/ post, I like a lot of what I learned, and I respect many of the people I've engaged here. I support the level-headed folks of OWS but not the radicals operating with too much hatred and too little fact.

You presume to know my life and what's inside my head. You're wrong. Furthermore, I never said money can buy happiness. It can't. Money, however, CAN buy freedom; freedom to choose what I want to do, freedom from worry that flat tire is going to throw me and my family into economic crisis, etc. The ultimate freedom will come when I get to jump off the treadmill via early retirement at age 55. You'd be surprised at how bohemian my plans are ;o)

[-] -3 points by JosephZ1 (-2) 7 years ago

How arrogant it is of you to think that you know anything about me. How arrogant it is that you think you know what is in the minds of "most thinking and feeling adults" or that you have the answer to realizing what it means to be "truly fulfilled as a human being". I will decide those things for myself. Obviously you and those that think like you are the only ones whose viewpoint makes "rational sense", and those that don't think like you are socially or psychologically unbalanced, or perhaps obsessed with the worship of Ayn Rand. You are an Elitist.

I suppose I should let you tell me what my moral obligations are without question. That the government is a benevolent force. That you and the OWS crowd are all acting in everyone else's best interest, with malice towards none.

Don't be condesending and don't lecture me!

[-] 4 points by therising (6643) 7 years ago

I think I get it now. You don't see government as being the people, the citizens (which is what it is). You see it as some evil other. You say government can't solve all problems so it should solve none. You throw the baby out with the bath water.

I own a company. I built it from the ground up and in the process of doing so, I've dealt with a lot of business people. A lot of them are selfish, self centered, only in it for themselves. They're shortsighted. They don't realize that what might be a sacrifice in the short term might be best in the long run.

But it's worse than that. They want to privatize the profits and socialize the losses. They and their companies are also are externalization machines: they'll pollute (because the right environmental equipment is a cost and why pay the cost when you can get away with letting the public deal with the problem, right?

I know how this stuff works. I have owned a successful company for almost fifteen years. Earlier in life, I worked for my congressman on Capitol Hill. And It is simply a fact that unregulated corporations and unregulated business people do bad things. Bad things that aren't in the best interest of the general population, bad things that aren't good for the integrity of the financial markets and bad things that aren't even in their own interests or the interests of their children or grandchildren.

So that's point number one. Ask the son of a former slave sold on the auction block in Mississippi if the free market can do no harm. Regulated capitalism can work. Unregulated capitalism is ruthless and leads to a dismal world. To ignore this is to misunderstand human nature and give way too much credit to those George Carlin called "the business assholes". Many of them would sell their own mothers or buy yours if it would make 'em a buck. You call them horoes and suggest the market will somehow punish or reward them as appropriate. I know it won't. The sandbox needs rules. You want to let brute force win. And I'm saying no fuckin' way. That's not the world I want my family, my grandkids to live in.

Point 2 is this. Many of you Ayn Randy's say you'll feed your neighbor because his hunger is your danger. First of all, leaving that to individuals or the church is a total fuckin cop out no matter how you slice it. Deep down you know that. C'mon. Get real.

Capitalism is always going to have some carnage. You, sir, seem willing and ready to cheer when people without health insurance die for lack of care. You're ready to let the old ladies eat cat food and wiill probably have some wacky reasoning for why that's the best thing for society.

Government is the people. And the people need a system to take care of the downtrodden so they're not dying in the streets. The people need a system that will help improve education for all, including the downtrodden so they can improve their lot (a benefit to society by the way).

One other thing I'd say about your philosophy of "I feed my neighbor because I'd be in danger if he was hungry: I think you and your fellow Ayn Randy's are just plain not being honest here. You feed your neighbor because you have compassion. And if you have compassion, you don't stop there. You work with other people to have a system (government) whereby the needs of the downtrodden are not left to the chance kindness of strangers or neighbors. How do you want your daughter treated if she ends up poor and alone at age 80?

I also think this is an unnecessarily negative code of ethics you all are espousing based on fear. You're saying you only help people out of fear. So you base your life on fear?

Additionally, it seems you philosophy is trapped in a materialistic viewpoint. For you it seems to be about who has what stuff and you assume that people with more stuff or comfort are better off. I think you and I both know that ain't the case. As a matter a fact, quite often it's the opposite.

[-] 3 points by thebeastchasingitstail (1912) 7 years ago

Applause!

[-] 2 points by looselyhuman (3117) 7 years ago

Literally brought tears to my eyes. Thank you. Government is just us. It's as corrupt as we are, as apathetic as we are, as good as we are, as strong as we are, as compassionate as we are... It's our choice. Withdrawing from it is abdicating responsibility to the worst of us, who only use it for profit - it's where we are now, out of cynicism and apathy. It wasn't always this way. I go back to the New Deal - government at its best, because the people projected all of their aspirations and hopes onto the system and the system became something great. It is what it is now because we all became small-minded and self-centered and materialistic...

It's difficult to put it into words, but you've managed it. Thanks.

Just a reminder that this is why we're here, to re-engage and make it a force for good again: http://occupywallst.org/article/where-do-we-go-here/

[-] 3 points by therising (6643) 7 years ago

I am in 100% agreement with you. We need to crystallize this message into op eds, speeches and sound bites and spread it far and wide. What you're saying here is so wise. Thank you.

PS - We need a term for the current system that's as good as " the death tax". We need to capture the essence of situation where 1% rule and exploit the other 99%, where corporations own the politicians. The term "Plutocracy" is good but not in the supremely effective category of " death tax". We need something that sticks and then we need to HAMMER that message relentlessly. That, among a thousand and one other things :)

[-] 1 points by debndan (1145) 7 years ago

United States of Ayn rand?

[-] 1 points by debndan (1145) 7 years ago

how 'bout Greedistan?

[-] 1 points by debndan (1145) 7 years ago

ooh I know... maybe the IMMORAL minority?

[-] 1 points by looselyhuman (3117) 7 years ago

I wish I could think of something. We're not as good at propaganda as the other side...

[-] 2 points by therising (6643) 7 years ago

We need our own good version of Karl Rove.

[-] 2 points by groobiecat2 (746) from Brattleboro, VT 7 years ago

YES! I have suggested this to many people and not gained any traction. I think that a collectivized "blogosphere" would help drive the narrative. I would be interested in growing something like that. Currently, there are blogs that do this by accident, but there's--to my knowledge anyway--no blog collective.

"I know how this stuff works. I have owned a successful company for almost fifteen years. Earlier in life, I worked for my congressman on Capitol Hill."

Good lord, it's nice to read this. This is me, as well. People assume that I'm a student with no experience, but I started my own consulting company and, oddly enough, also worked on capitol hill, for about 10 years, actually. Heh.

"Government is the people. And the people need a system to take care of the downtrodden so they're not dying in the streets. The people need a system that will help improve education for all, including the downtrodden so they can improve their lot (a benefit to society by the way)."

Of course, what's ironic is that today's government--for those who know (we do)--is actually comprised of a lot of corporate contractors!! And ultimately, neither is perfect, but which one has no profit motive to undermine its service to the common good? Guys like JosephZ don't get this quiz right at all.

One last point: With few exceptions, I've found it very difficult to engage in any kind of polemic with the "true believers." (see previous response to your post by me). There's no real interest in engaging in dialogue, for the most part--just an interest in co-opting your viewpoint--and ad hominem attacks.

Very frustrating, but common weal isn't for everyone, apparently, because they have to categorize it as a threat. Fear, as you correctly point out, is their motivating factor....

If you're of a mind, please check out my blog here:

www.groobiecat.blogspot.com

[-] -1 points by Individualist2 (-1) 7 years ago

Your arrogance is unparalleled on this site, and that's saying quite a bit. You put words in people's mouth and then argue against yourself. You misinterpret and lie about people’s views and then condemn them for it.

Unregulated Capitalism can be abusive, so can unlimited government. Rand was against the use of brute force and thought one of government’s purposes was to protect people from brute force and provide them freedom. Government is the only power in a free society that is allowed to use physical force, and only to protect the rights of individuals. Because of that fact, government force must be used in a very limited manner. Charity is not charity if it is obtained at the point of a gun, whether that charity takes the form of a welfare payment to an individual, a corporation or a foreign government. No one wants to see people unable to meet their own needs and the government can help educate and promote those causes. But, a person, or a corporation or a foreign government ultimately has the responsibility to make and live with their decisions, and the government shouldn't continually take from those that made good decisions to support those that made bad decisions. This isn't a negative code of ethics, it is equal, fair and just. My way of thinking takes nothing away from anybody. People like you, and me for that matter, are free to give to whatever person, group, cause, political candidate or foreign government they choose. Using the government to force me to support one of these things, against my will, regardless of my own circumstances, robs me of my liberty and property. There can be no moral justification for that.

By the way I don't fear anybody and my philosophy is based upon what I believe is the proper relationship between citizens and their government.

[-] 2 points by therising (6643) 7 years ago

The logical conclusion of the outlook you've cribbed from Ayn Rand is a dark world indeed. It is this very mindset that is largely responsible for the anti-government sentiment that exists today. The government is US. Rather than disengaging and retreating, we must engage in our government, support our government for it is us. The every man for himself philosophy of Ayn Rand leads people to disengage from their communities and their government. You're breeding a bunch of loners sitting blankly at their computer screens, surrounded by empty pizza boxes and dog eared copies of Atlas Shrugged.

The world is shrugging my friend. Right now. Right here. It's shrugging to cast off the empty every man for himself worldview. Fasten your seatbelt.

[-] 0 points by Individualist3 (-1) 7 years ago

To the contrary it is a very bright world. Where each man is treated equally and is capable of taking care of himself. This isn't an anti-government philosophy, it's a pro-limited-government and anit-unlimited-government philosophy. The government isn't US, it's the agent we employ to protect our rights, not provide for our needs. Do I sound disengaged?

Atlas is shrugging, he was Greek you know, and America will probably soon look like Greece if we follow your ideas.

[-] 2 points by therising (6643) 7 years ago

We've already tried your way. Your every man for himself philosophy helped land us in the mess we're in today.

[-] 0 points by Individualist4 (0) 7 years ago

To the contrary, it is your philosophy that has landed us in the mess we're in today. Massive government, massive taxation, massive debt, massive government corruption, massive abuse of government power, massive denial of individual rights. It's been tried over and over again and it always fails. Just ask the Soviets.

[-] 2 points by therising (6643) 7 years ago

You can keep writing the word "massive" all you want. You know full well that the U.S. has some of the lowest tax rates in the world. Taxes are the price we pay for living in a civilized society. You demand all the benefits of society (roads, bridges, education etc) but you've decided that, although others pay their fair share to support this, you're going to opt out. Wow, that's mighty unneighborly of you. You must be that hermit that lives down the street who barely emerges from his house and stays away from others. Ayn Rand is so popular because she gives her readers a hero narrative wherein they are the powerful hero and any shortcomings are easily blamed on the weak who are clawing at your brilliant ankles. If only you could kick them free, right? Then you'd be the fully realized hero. Rugged individualist? Ha! You're blaming everyone else for your problems. You remind me of the Harley Davidson corporation. Their entire carefully controlled image is one of rugged individualism. They have an every man for himself mystique they've carefully cultivated. And yet every 10 or 12 years they reach out and demand a handout from the government (the people). They threaten to move their plant unless they get millions upon millions of dollars in incentives to stay. You're a lot like them. You want everything handed to you while you wear your leather jacket and pretend to be a rugged individualist.

[-] 0 points by Individualist5 (0) 7 years ago

You keep talking about my situation, and everyone elses, as if you know them. I pay a "massive" amount of taxes, just like a lot of other people. When you add together my federal, state, county, and local sales taxes, I pay between 40-50% of my income in taxes every year. I'm not blaming anybody for my problems. I've never asked anything to be handed to me. I simply believe in very limited government for the reasons I've already discussed.

[-] 2 points by therising (6643) 7 years ago

All I hear you talk about is "me, me, mine, me mine, my". Even second graders eventually begin to see the benefits of helping others and living in community with others. You whine and whine and whine about this big bad government that is holding you back so much. Holding you back from what? Being an even bigger asshole?

Jesus dude. What the hell are you going to do with this money that you're going to rip out of the hands of seniors living on fixed income? It sounds like you need it real bad. What are you going to do with it? You're probably going to buy more Ayn Rand books and guns and a fancier computer to play even more mindless video games.

And how did you make that money? Have you ever really asked yourself how you have really made your money? Where did it come from? Did it have any connection to some of the suffering out there in the world right now? Take take take. You're a taker. You want all the benefits but you want to opt out of the responsibility. That is truly lazy and dickish.

[-] 0 points by Individualist7 (0) 7 years ago

@therising

There you go again - distortion, supposition, blather, blather, blather, accusation, condemnation, name-calling. Repeat. Repeat.

You are sad, angry and immature.

[-] 1 points by looselyhuman (3117) 7 years ago

So, why so defensive?

It's mean-spirited and far from fair to characterize the assistance of the vulnerable as force, in a society that has assisted those who have wealth and comfort. Nobody is an island. No market exists without a structure, no society without a government, no profit without externalized costs. The social contract is more than protecting the rights of individuals. It is the sacrifice of some liberty for the benefit of living in society, and you do not get to act as if you're the king of your own little domain.

Voluntary charity is bullshit. Throughout history charity of the privileged to the vulnerable has consisted of exploitation and abuse.

That is not what we agree to.

You're talking about coercion on the opposite side. The force to protect the accumulation of wealth from a society that wouldn't otherwise bear it, because it is outside the implicit social contract for one to live in luxury without paying something back, to support those who are suffering and bear the burden of our shared costs as a society. Your system is no different from feudalism. A force of knights to protect the property of nobility from the desperate serfs. It is not what we've agreed to in this nation. It is also not the path to continued shared prosperity.

There is plenty, and nobody is talking about taxing the rich until there are no rich. There was a 1% doing very well when marginal tax rates were 91% and there was a safety net that wasn't full of holes. Your philosophy is tearing this nation to shreds and destroying government's ability to do anything but protect the profits and wealth of the few. It's a mean, cold world you want, and society does not agree. Leave, John Galt, if you don't like it. That's the way out of the social contract.

[-] -1 points by Individualist3 (-1) 7 years ago

Please show me the social contract because I don't think I got a chance to vote on that. Was that in the Constitution, because I must have missed it? Are you talking about that pesky General Welfare clause? What about the rest of the Bill of Rights? Is that how our society and government work, with "implicit" contracts about how we must live?

My philosophy isn't mean nor is it tearing this country apart. People, politicians, and yes even corporations that want to use the currently unlimited power of government to take what is not rightfully theirs is what is tearing the country apart. It's time we return government to its rightful place.

[-] 1 points by looselyhuman (3117) 7 years ago

"that pesky General Welfare clause"

You'll have to consult Rousseau and Locke, among others.