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The Problems with Ayn Rand

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posted on Feb, 22 2011 @ 02:26 PM
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Originally posted by madnessinmysoul
Individuals acting solely in their own best interest do not necessarily act in the best interest of society so society at large is often forced to alter the course of action of the individual.


I'm no fan of Rand either but individuals can also force society to change, and have been known to do so.




posted on Feb, 22 2011 @ 06:38 PM
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let us all remember that anything that has ever approached a complete transformative philosophy, has been hijacked/distorted/co-opted by TCOTBIP since time immemorial, Christianity and Nietzsche are 2 examples that come to mind.

Soficrow at the risk of being pecked to death by a fellow Corvid,
i would like to point out that she was acting in her own best interests, no philosophical contradiction there. on the other hand i have to agree that she was a tad bit harsh on the poor and seemed to subscribe to the calvinistic/all god's chillun got shoes/you are poor because you want to be poor idea.

as for her personality in real life, well, i imagine Nietzsche, having spent most of his life in chronic pain may have seemed a tad bit irascible and gruff. that doesn't diminish his "Thus Spake Zarathustra" one bit. [quite the contrary IMO.]

he wasn't even dead yet when his brother-in-law was promoting a form of Proto-Nazism based on a distorted version.

remember, all these different philosophies are the philosophies of X, Y, or Z not ultimate ends in themselves, which would then make them organized religions IMO, as students of Philosophy we are supposed to construct our own, if we take some from here or there is irelevant cause there is no need to be reinventing the wheel,philosophically speaking.



posted on Feb, 22 2011 @ 06:42 PM
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Ayn Rand according to Armageddon Conspiracy


The Old World Order see themselves as the finest specimens the human race has to offer. The world scarcely deserves them, in their opinion. It is only right that they are extravagantly rewarded for their "brilliance". Without them, they say, the world would fall apart. It is the natural order for them to be the masters and for everyone else to serve their needs. They find it inconceivable that anyone would object to their rule and complain about their excessive wealth and power. Their delusions are almost infinite. And behind them stand the ultimate puppetmasters, feeding their egomania and urging them on to ever greater heights of selfishness and greed.

One writer/philosopher released a novel that the Old World Order now view as their supreme intellectual and moral justification. That book is Ayn Rand’s notorious Atlas Shrugged, published in 1957. Any expression of support for this book should be taken for what it is – an explicit endorsement of the Old World Order, of the world of privileged elites trampling over the rights of everyone else.

Ayn Rand (originally Alisa Zinov'yevna Rosenbaum) was born in 1905 in Tsarist Russia to a well-off family. In 1925, she secured a visa to visit American relatives, and never returned to Russia (which had overthrown the tyrannical Tsarist regime in 1917 and brought Rand’s privileged world to an end, to her disgust).

Atlas Shrugged asks the question what would happen to the world if the global elite – the Old World Order (Rand doesn’t use this term, but it’s exactly what she means) – went on strike. Her conclusion is that the world would collapse. The world, Rand maintained, was full of "parasites", “looters” and “moochers” – the people who envy, resent and resist the OWO, and try to take, often by force (allegedly), what rightfully belongs to the OWO elite. Rand’s worldview is so obnoxious that she has been branded as one of the most evil figures of modern intellectual history. That reputation is fully deserved.

Rand was a fanatical advocate of unregulated, unrestrained free markets. "The market is infallible" was her mantra. We know exactly where Rand’s worldview gets us – the financial crisis we are enduring right now. For the last thirty years, the Old World Order have been able to do whatever they liked in terms of the “free market”. No controls were imposed, no brakes applied. We had unregulated markets in full flow – leading to the current disaster that has cost millions of people their jobs and livelihoods: it’s the “parasites, moochers and looters” i.e. the hardworking taxpayers of the world who are picking up the OWO’s tab.

The truth, of course, is the opposite of what Rand says. The Old World Order are not the agents of freedom and well-being but of global collapse. The ordinary people are having their massive potential ignored in order to feed the vanity of the few. Nothing is more unjust and inefficient than rule by narrow, corrupt elites.

Atlas Shrugged ends thus:

"'The road is cleared,' said Galt. 'We are going back to the world.' He raised his hand and over the desolate earth he traced in space the sign of the dollar."

This is perhaps the only book ever written that ends with the word "dollar". This book is nothing but the sanctification of earthly wealth. Rand called herself an atheist but in fact she worshipped Mammon, the god of this earth, the god of riches for the few. She detested the English folk hero Robin Hood who took from the greedy rich to give to the needy poor.

Rand and her supporters are monsters. We do not want these people to go "back to the world." The world is better off without them. Only when the greedy are ostracised can a meritocracy arise and ordinary people get the opportunities they have always been denied by the rich elites that Rand deifies.

It comes as no surprise to us that a group calling itself the “Illuminati Order” has set up a website in which it seeks to recruit freethinkers to Ayn Rand’s philosophy (see illuminati-order.com...) It is because of false groups like this, deliberately created by the enemy to discredit us, that the Illuminati’s reputation has become so sinister in the public consciousness. In Ayn Rand’s philosophy, tyrannical rule by monarchs is replaced by tyrannical rule by the super rich. On their site, the “Illuminati Order” direct interested parties to a collection of Rand’s essays entitled The Virtue Of Selfishness. The title says it all. Selfishness is the antithesis of what the real Illuminati stand for. Grandmaster Weishaupt would be appalled to know his name is being linked to a group that supports everything he fought against.

Rand’s most famous disciple of recent times is none other than Alan Greenspan, former Chairman of the Federal Reserve, leading member of the Old World Order and one of the key architects of the current credit crunch that has wrecked the lives of so many millions.


Some here dare support this monster? Wow, just wow.



posted on Feb, 22 2011 @ 06:45 PM
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Reply to post by Annee
 


You go to an Atheist church?


 
Posted Via ATS Mobile: m.abovetopsecret.com
 



posted on Feb, 22 2011 @ 07:13 PM
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Originally posted by Lemon.Fresh
Reply to post by Annee
 


You go to an Atheist church?


As far as I know - - one Atheist started an Atheist church online - - - and many Atheists are fighting against it.

Atheism - - is lack of belief in a deity.

What is your point in asking the question?



posted on Feb, 22 2011 @ 10:58 PM
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reply to post by Lateralussicksicksick
 


It never fails that whenever some one begins a discussion on Ayn Rand - and the only reason to have such a discussion is to discuss her objectivist's philosophy, or her novels and essays - that a whole slew of people will jump in (either here in ATS, other internet sites, or in the real world) and begin attacking her character. This pointless ad hominem only reveals the inability to reasonably refute her philosophy. You dare call Rand a monster, but instead of using your own reasoning and without making any attempt at critical thought, you instead copy and paste a different persons diatribe about Rand, with you merely following with that pasted diatribe with nine simplistic words. Three of those words being "Wow, just wow."

Of course, in replying to your post, I can not engage with you, since you have nary an original thought to offer this thread, and can only address the ad hominem attacks made by an anonymous blogger claiming to represent "Illuminati ideals:


The Illuminati is an ancient secret society that seeks to bring about a New World Order based on the principle that everyone has it within them to literally become God. This website presents the Illuminati's radical vision for a new humanity and provides a full account of the inner divinity of the human race.

The ten most influential Grand Masters of the Illuminati are: King Solomon the Apostate, Pythagoras, Heraclitus, Empedocles, Simon Magus, Hypatia, Leibniz, Weishaupt, Goethe and Hegel. If these figures are not of interest to you then it would be pointless for you to venture any further into this website.


Take note how when this anonymous blogger is selling the Illuminati that he relies on Old World Order historical figures to do so, but when attacking Ayn Rand pretends that the Illuminati are "New World Order advocates and that she - even though it is admitted that she never claimed such pretension, but trust this anonymous blogger because he will tell you that this is what she means - is a part of and advocate for the "Old World Order"

Clearly you have trusted this anonymous blogger and it is fairly presumed you have placed your trust in this anonymous blogger because you cannot be bothered to read Ayn Rand's work for yourself. What did you do, take a look at her novels and upon seeing they numbered over 1,000 pages a piece, make the decision that they weren't worth reading and that you could just get the Marxist cliff notes to "inform" you on what those novels are about?

Let's take a further look at what this anonymous blogger of whom you have turned to to do your thinking for you has to say about Rand's philosophy:


Atlas Shrugged asks the question what would happen to the world if the global elite – the Old World Order (Rand doesn’t use this term, but it’s exactly what she means) – went on strike. Her conclusion is that the world would collapse. The world, Rand maintained, was full of "parasites", “looters” and “moochers” – the people who envy, resent and resist the OWO, and try to take, often by force (allegedly), what rightfully belongs to the OWO elite. Rand’s worldview is so obnoxious that she has been branded as one of the most evil figures of modern intellectual history. That reputation is fully deserved.


Branded as "one of the most evil figures of modern intellectual history"? Really? By whom? Well, who knows, since this anonymous blogger has no intent or desire to back up such ad hominem attacks with any thing even resembling facts. No sources provided to support this contention, just the assertion itself made, and you have the audacity to "Wow, just wow" those who have actually read Rand's work and agree with it? Hmmmmmkay.

As to the assertion that Rand as been "branded one of the most evil figures of modern intellectual history", the term "branded" is a gross exaggeration as it was Noam Chomsky in an interview who said:


Rand in my view is one of the most evil figures of modern intellectual history


westernstandard.blogs.com...

It is important to note that Chomsky, a linguist of the highest order, was careful to state that was his view of her, and was not speaking for anyone else other than himself...and of course, maybe you, albeit through an anonymous poster who without any attempt to attribute the quote copy and pasted it in his blog of which you then copy and pasted in this thread. How did you put it? "Wow, just wow."

It is also worth noting that Chomsky, in that same interview, referred to himself as a "libertarian socialist", which it would be fairly surmised that Rand would bristle at Chomsky's use of the word "libertarian" linked with "socialist" and 'Rand clearly saw the socialist as a collectivist, and made no bones about openly showing contempt for the collectivist. It is further worth pointing out that, while it is a fair assumption that you haven't bothered to read the works of Ayn Rand, that Chomsky likely has, so when he calls her "one of the most evil figures in modern intellectual history, he is most likely playing on Rand's own words:


Kant is the most evil man in mankind’s history.


From The Objectivist, 1971.

Let's continue with the anonymous blogger's rant on Rand:


Rand was a fanatical advocate of unregulated, unrestrained free markets. "The market is infallible" was her mantra. We know exactly where Rand’s worldview gets us – the financial crisis we are enduring right now. For the last thirty years, the Old World Order have been able to do whatever they liked in terms of the “free market”. No controls were imposed, no brakes applied. We had unregulated markets in full flow – leading to the current disaster that has cost millions of people their jobs and livelihoods: it’s the “parasites, moochers and looters” i.e. the hardworking taxpayers of the world who are picking up the OWO’s tab.


Here this Marxist "Illuminati" anonymous blogger wants us to believe that the financial crisis we are experiencing is due to unregulated, unrestrained markets when nothing could be further from the truth. I realize that there are multitudes of people on this planet that want to insist that today's market place in the United States and a good portion of the Western World is a "free market", but if it were a free market then the term "deregulation" would have no place in the lexicon of Western economies. Typical of the Marxist idealist who imagines that something can be produced from nothing, and worse, will pretend that the something that has produced is really nothing at all, they also want desperately to believe that contradictions can be reconciled as a part of the whole instead of understanding, as Rand aptly puts it, there are no contradictions.

Rand's advice to those who find a contradiction is to check their premise. The Marxist would never dare check their premise, although Marx himself once famously declared; "I am not a Marxist!", and did so out of a genuine disgust for the pedantry that Marxists adhere to and how they absconded with his theories as a method for controlling people. The Marxist, rather than check their premise, would rather engage in logical fallacies somehow believing that if they can't dazzle people with brilliance that they can baffle them with...

The assertion that "for the last thirty years....We have had unregulated markets in full flow" necessarily ignores the plethora of alphabet administrative agencies that intrude on the market place on a daily basis. The FDA, EPA, FCC, USDA, and countless others have not been stripped of any power these last thirty years, have not been weakened, but instead have grown to monstrous sizes and have willingly and gleefully destroyed the lives of plenty of individuals who dared to produce rather than work for the corporate structure, and dared to compete with that corporate structure, only to discover just how regulated the markets were. In Los Angeles, for example, street vending has been prohibited by Los Angeles Municipal Code 42(b). People who want to sell socks, T-shirts, roses, or other wares in public places are "not allowed" to do so. That is not a "free market" and is certainly not an "unregulated market in free flow".


The truth, of course, is the opposite of what Rand says. The Old World Order are not the agents of freedom and well-being but of global collapse. The ordinary people are having their massive potential ignored in order to feed the vanity of the few. Nothing is more unjust and inefficient than rule by narrow, corrupt elites.


The remarkable pretentiousness of the collectivist knows no bounds. "The ordinary people are having their massive potential ignored..." is a contradiction. Let's check the premise. I, for one, am a firm believer that every single one of us have massive potential, and because I believe this have no compunction to rely on labels such as "ordinary". I would insist that each and everyone of us are extra-ordinary, which is not to say that each and everyone of us have an obligation to be extra-ordinary and if people want to be ordinary then so be it. However, if one wants to be ordinary, it is beyond disingenuous to assert that those who aspire to be extra-ordinary are guilty of ignoring the ordinary "in order to feed the vanity of the few". More times than not it is only the few who aspire towards extra-ordinary behavior and if they are to be castigated for doing so then in all fairness the "ordinary" doing the castigating are no different than drowning people who try to drag down those who would save them from drowning.


Rand and her supporters are monsters. We do not want these people to go "back to the world." The world is better off without them. Only when the greedy are ostracised can a meritocracy arise and ordinary people get the opportunities they have always been denied by the rich elites that Rand deifies.


Here the anonymous blogger's doublespeak is in full swing, and again we find a contradiction. The blogger pretends to be an advocate of meritocracy while simultaneously pretending that this is not what Ayn Rand was advocating - perhaps this anonymous blogger hasn't bothered to read her works either, which would make the irony of you copying and pasting his plagiarisms here just to rich to reasonably digest -- while further complicating the contradiction by insisting that "ordinary" people will get the opportunities they "deserve" in a meritocracy. Of course, it very well may be that the blogger is a linguist of some order himself and he is indeed being honest when he states that in a meritocracy the ordinary people will get the opportunities they deserve, which would mean that ordinary would necessarily be sublimated to extra-ordinary. There are no contradictions. When you find a contradiction, check your premise.




It comes as no surprise to us that a group calling itself the “Illuminati Order” has set up a website in which it seeks to recruit freethinkers to Ayn Rand’s philosophy (see illuminati-order.com...) It is because of false groups like this, deliberately created by the enemy to discredit us, that the Illuminati’s reputation has become so sinister in the public consciousness. In Ayn Rand’s philosophy, tyrannical rule by monarchs is replaced by tyrannical rule by the super rich. On their site, the “Illuminati Order” direct interested parties to a collection of Rand’s essays entitled The Virtue Of Selfishness. The title says it all. Selfishness is the antithesis of what the real Illuminati stand for. Grandmaster Weishaupt would be appalled to know his name is being linked to a group that supports everything he fought against.


It may come as a surprise to the clown who is the anonymous blogger that in Atlas Shrugged it is the "super rich" who have destroyed the world, and characters such as Dagney Taggart, Hank Reardon, and Francisco d'Anconia are surrounded by "super rich" people they can't stand. Characters such as Lillian Reardon, James Taggart, Lee Hunsaker, Betty Pope, Gerald, Eric and Ivy Starnes, and even Hank Reardon's mother are the "super rich" who greatly contribute to the destruction of the world, and do so by so alienating the actual producers of the world that they finally revolt.

When the anonymous blogger rants about The Virtue of Selfishness it is perfectly clear that when he says; "The title says it all", that he did not read the actual essay itself, nor is he even aware that The Virtue of Selfishness is more than just a title to a collection of essays, but is an essay. It is clear he hasn't read it because had he read it he would understand that Rand is not speaking to selfishness as it has come to be defined in the lexicon - generally as a chief concern for ones own interest, especially with disregard for others - but instead addresses the glaring contradiction of that definition and suggests that selfishness is nothing more than a chief concern for ones own interest...period. No qualifications and certainly no contradictions, and the contradiction is that if people are going to have a chief concern for their own interest - and if you don't have your own interest as your chief concern then just who the hell do you think does?- then it is arguably in their best interest to have regard for others, not disregard them. It should come as no surprise that a clown selling the "Illuminati" and a "New World Order" wants you to believe that selfishness is a bad thing. How else will the "Illuminati" convince you to willingly sacrifice yourself when the time comes?


Rand’s most famous disciple of recent times is none other than Alan Greenspan, former Chairman of the Federal Reserve, leading member of the Old World Order and one of the key architects of the current credit crunch that has wrecked the lives of so many millions.


I have said it once in this thread, and I will say it again. Alan Greenspan is akin to Wesley Mouch, and is no John Galt, not even a Francisco d'Anconia, or Hank Reardon and not even the ever likable Eddie Willers. Greenspan is most likely a disinfo agent when it comes to objectivism, and is no doubt a poser.

That said, it is worth speaking to this idea of Rand's followers. This in itself is a dubious notion, although she no doubt did have followers and the questionable Nathaniel Branden is a good example of the problem with followers. Branden has never contributed a damn thing to the world and is as much a poser as Greenspan is. The tragedy of this is that Rand was having an affair with Branden and it does go to show how the messenger can be a tragically flawed individual. Ayn Rand was human, and deeply flawed. Her message is her message and you can accept or reject that message on its own merits or lack of them, but attempting to dismiss the message by relying on logical fallacies such as ad hominem attacks only speaks to your own tragic flaws.



posted on Feb, 23 2011 @ 04:56 AM
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reply to post by Lateralussicksicksick
 


You support the restriction of free markets? You, sir, are the monster. You argue for not allowing people to freely utilize their property. Your god, Stalin, would be proud. He too loved forcing people to confirm to his ideals.

How did you like my ad-hominem?



posted on Feb, 23 2011 @ 08:43 AM
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reply to post by Jean Paul Zodeaux
 


thank you for saving me the trouble



edit on 23-2-2011 by DerepentLEstranger because: (no reason given)



posted on Feb, 23 2011 @ 08:46 AM
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reply to post by Annee
 


It is self-centric, but not in a negative way. The bad guys of Ayn Rand books are the ones who claim to be the collectivists but steal all the money for themselves, that is being negatively self-centered. The good guys, Hank Reardon, John Galt, they help more people than the collectivists in the long run. The statists just destroy the world, the good guys the "self-centered" ones are the ones that rebuild it.
edit on 23-2-2011 by filosophia because: (no reason given)



posted on Feb, 23 2011 @ 04:50 PM
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Originally posted by Jean Paul Zodeaux
reply to post by Lateralussicksicksick
 


It never fails that whenever some one begins a discussion on Ayn Rand - and the only reason to have such a discussion is to discuss her objectivist's philosophy, or her novels and essays - that a whole slew of people will jump in (either here in ATS, other internet sites, or in the real world) and begin attacking her character.


You cannot remove the reality that when you talk about a philosopher and his/her philosophy you will reach a point where you will need to address this persons character. The reason being, it is deeply connected with his/her philosophy and to understand why he/she thinks this way you have to understand his/her character.


This pointless ad hominem only reveals the inability to reasonably refute her philosophy.


I don't understand where you get this thinking, of course in any form of debate you are bound to found "logical fallacies" if you look hard enough, it is inevitable.


Of course, in replying to your post, I can not engage with you.


Well to inform you, you just did.


Clearly you have trusted this anonymous blogger and it is fairly presumed you have placed your trust in this anonymous blogger because you cannot be bothered to read Ayn Rand's work for yourself. What did you do, take a look at her novels and upon seeing they numbered over 1,000 pages a piece, make the decision that they weren't worth reading and that you could just get the Marxist cliff notes to "inform" you on what those novels are about?


You see? You just did one of your so-called "logical fallacies". Who told you that I haven't read Ayn Rand's works? It seems that you are basing all of your thoughts about me on a single falsifiable post I made. As you have said everybody is flawed, so am I.



Branded as "one of the most evil figures of modern intellectual history"? Really? By whom? Well, who knows, since this anonymous blogger has no intent or desire to back up such ad hominem attacks with any thing even resembling facts.


"There are no facts, only interpretations." Friedrich Nietzsche





It is also worth noting that Chomsky, in that same interview, referred to himself as a "libertarian socialist", which it would be fairly surmised that Rand would bristle at Chomsky's use of the word "libertarian" linked with "socialist" and 'Rand clearly saw the socialist as a collectivist, and made no bones about openly showing contempt for the collectivist.


People can call themselves whatever they want, but it will never be a "fact" that they are what they claim to be. Again Rand's words are her words I see no point in arguing what she may think of Chomsky because it is her opinion.


It is further worth pointing out that, while it is a fair assumption that you haven't bothered to read the works of Ayn Rand


You call that a fair assumption? I don't know what made you think that this is a fair assumption.



Here this Marxist "Illuminati" anonymous blogger wants us to believe that the financial crisis we are experiencing is due to unregulated, unrestrained markets when nothing could be further from the truth.


Here you have misunderstood the definition of the "free market" given by the "anonymous blogger".


The meaning of "free" market has varied over time and between economists


I realize that there are multitudes of people on this planet that want to insist that today's market place in the United States and a good portion of the Western World is a "free market", but if it were a free market then the term "deregulation" would have no place in the lexicon of Western economies.




Typical of the Marxist idealist who imagines that something can be produced from nothing, and worse, will pretend that the something that has produced is really nothing at all, they also want desperately to believe that contradictions can be reconciled as a part of the whole instead of understanding, as Rand aptly puts it, there are no contradictions.


Well there are many kinds of "Marxist" and there could be no "typical Marxist idealist". Those people who exploits Marx's ideas cannot be a "typical Marxist idealist".


Rand's advice to those who find a contradiction is to check their premise. The Marxist would never dare check their premise, although Marx himself once famously declared; "I am not a Marxist!", and did so out of a genuine disgust for the pedantry that Marxists adhere to and how they absconded with his theories as a method for controlling people. The Marxist, rather than check their premise, would rather engage in logical fallacies somehow believing that if they can't dazzle people with brilliance that they can baffle them with...


I loathe followers that distorts the ideas of whom they are following the same as you do. But instead of fighting with them over the internet I try and avoid them unlike you.


The assertion that "for the last thirty years....We have had unregulated markets in full flow" necessarily ignores the plethora of alphabet administrative agencies that intrude on the market place on a daily basis. The FDA, EPA, FCC, USDA, and countless others have not been stripped of any power these last thirty years, have not been weakened, but instead have grown to monstrous sizes and have willingly and gleefully destroyed the lives of plenty of individuals who dared to produce rather than work for the corporate structure, and dared to compete with that corporate structure, only to discover just how regulated the markets were. In Los Angeles, for example, street vending has been prohibited by Los Angeles Municipal Code 42(b). People who want to sell socks, T-shirts, roses, or other wares in public places are "not allowed" to do so. That is not a "free market" and is certainly not an "unregulated market in free flow".


A simple google search would help you sir, the term "free market" is used differently by economists throughout our "history".


Here the anonymous blogger's doublespeak is in full swing, and again we find a contradiction. The blogger pretends to be an advocate of meritocracy.


The "meritocracy" definition that you have given here is not the same as those with the website I have given.
Better to look here than make assumptions.


while simultaneously pretending that this is not what Ayn Rand was advocating


Perhaps this really isn't what Rand is advocating when you have read their (the given website's) views on what Meritocracy would be.


Perhaps this anonymous blogger hasn't bothered to read her works either, which would make the irony of you copying and pasting his plagiarisms here just to rich to reasonably digest -- while further complicating the contradiction by insisting that "ordinary" people will get the opportunities they "deserve" in a meritocracy.


Perhaps the irony here is you making assumptions on what this "anonymous blogger" (to use your own words) is pointing out without you making further research on this subject.


Of course, it very well may be that the blogger is a linguist of some order himself and he is indeed being honest when he states that in a meritocracy the ordinary people will get the opportunities they deserve, which would mean that ordinary would necessarily be sublimated to extra-ordinary. There are no contradictions. When you find a contradiction, check your premise.


You have to see this idea from all sides to understand it, which I assume you haven't done yet.



It may come as a surprise to the clown who is the anonymous blogger that in Atlas Shrugged it is the "super rich" who have destroyed the world, and characters such as Dagney Taggart, Hank Reardon, and Francisco d'Anconia are surrounded by "super rich" people they can't stand. Characters such as Lillian Reardon, James Taggart, Lee Hunsaker, Betty Pope, Gerald, Eric and Ivy Starnes, and even Hank Reardon's mother are the "super rich" who greatly contribute to the destruction of the world, and do so by so alienating the actual producers of the world that they finally revolt.


I see that Rand has helped you with your anger management issues. (ad hominem)



When the anonymous blogger rants about The Virtue of Selfishness it is perfectly clear that when he says; "The title says it all", that he did not read the actual essay itself, nor is he even aware that The Virtue of Selfishness is more than just a title to a collection of essays, but is an essay. It is clear he hasn't read it because had he read it he would understand that Rand is not speaking to selfishness as it has come to be defined in the lexicon - generally as a chief concern for ones own interest, especially with disregard for others - but instead addresses the glaring contradiction of that definition and suggests that selfishness is nothing more than a chief concern for ones own interest...period. No qualifications and certainly no contradictions, and the contradiction is that if people are going to have a chief concern for their own interest - and if you don't have your own interest as your chief concern then just who the hell do you think does?- then it is arguably in their best interest to have regard for others, not disregard them.


It should also come as no surprise that people like you will try to do everything to discredit someone without looking hard enough to understand this person's point of view. It would also come as no surprise that you won't understand the views by the website given that you are a judgmental person.


It should come as no surprise that a clown selling the "Illuminati" and a "New World Order" wants you to believe that selfishness is a bad thing. How else will the "Illuminati" convince you to willingly sacrifice yourself when the time comes?


This is a misunderstanding in your part, someone would not sacrifice themselves for others without being selfish. Take for example a kid will be hit by a car and his dad pushes him away so the dad can take the hit, the dad is being selfish because he cannot bear to see his son get hit by a car, he has shoved the kid for his own selfish reason.




I have said it once in this thread, and I will say it again. Alan Greenspan is akin to Wesley Mouch, and is no John Galt, not even a Francisco d'Anconia, or Hank Reardon and not even the ever likable Eddie Willers. Greenspan is most likely a disinfo agent when it comes to objectivism, and is no doubt a poser.


How are you so sure that Greenspan is akin to all of Rand's characters? There are two kinds of messages: the explicit and the implicit message. When you understand that then you will understand the reason I hate Rand's works. Also if you are a fan of Rand (I'm assuming that you are) then there will be no doubt that you will defend her against all those who try to discredit her such as Greenspan.


That said, it is worth speaking to this idea of Rand's followers. This in itself is a dubious notion, although she no doubt did have followers and the questionable Nathaniel Branden is a good example of the problem with followers. Branden has never contributed a damn thing to the world and is as much a poser as Greenspan is. The tragedy of this is that Rand was having an affair with Branden and it does go to show how the messenger can be a tragically flawed individual. Ayn Rand was human, and deeply flawed. Her message is her message and you can accept or reject that message on its own merits or lack of them, but attempting to dismiss the message by relying on logical fallacies such as ad hominem attacks only speaks to your own tragic flaws.


I agree with some of her message so to speak, I am a fan of dialectical thinking and in no way am I dismissing her messages, what's important when it comes to philosophers such as Rand is to segregate what you think is important and to throw away the garbage in her philosophy.

I am well aware of my own tragic flaws and the difference between me and a deeply flawed human as you have said it is I try and take my flaws as my strengths.

Again I hate arguing over the internet so I see no point in doing this. Also take note that English is not my native language, before you judge someone and make "fair assumptions" you should at least give the person a chance to defend himself before you make your "fair assumptions."

And to clear it up to you, I have read Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged. I have no plans on re-reading it any time soon, and that's the reason I choose the given site to express my thoughts. You are right on one thing, I should have given it some time to reformulate my thoughts and do my own comments about Rand, but what's done is done.
____________________________________________________________________________________
reply to post by 547000
 


You should be take note that the "free market" I'm talking about is not the same as you think it is.

Ganging up on me won't do you no good.

I see your one of them too? And how did you know that I see Stalin as my god?
Take your delusions out of here.
edit on 23-2-2011 by Lateralussicksicksick because: Saturn ascends.



posted on Feb, 23 2011 @ 05:49 PM
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The Parable of "The Good Samaritan" is a good example of the superiority of Christian thought to the purely "rational self interest" espoused by Ayn Rand. In it, the travelling merchant Samaritan did a number of things for the beaten and robbed man, none of which were in his own personal interests, no, he was simply moved by compassion for his fellow man, nothing more nothing less. Within the context that Jesus told this little parable, it can be seen that the hypocrisy and the selfishness of his audiance, who wanted to show him up, served as the foil against which the higher truth was illuminated. I just love it how Jesus gave it to them, while forcing the aspiring lawyer to admit that it was the Samaritan of all people (an "undesireble" from their POV) who was the man's true neighbor, and then he says, get this - "go, and do likewise!" Awesome!

Here's a good little overview.

www.jesuswalk.com...




edit on 23-2-2011 by NewAgeMan because: edit



posted on Feb, 23 2011 @ 07:43 PM
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reply to post by Lateralussicksicksick
 





You cannot remove the reality that when you talk about a philosopher and his/her philosophy you will reach a point where you will need to address this persons character. The reason being, it is deeply connected with his/her philosophy and to understand why he/she thinks this way you have to understand his/her character.


First of all, and before questioning the dubious statement you made above, we cannot remove the reality that you did not talk at all about the philosophy of Ayn Rand and just attacked those who defend her philosophy and called her monster. Your reliance on a blog to "talk about" Rand's philosophy says far more about you than it does about Rand.

Secondly, it is often speculated that Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle were engaged in pedophilia, but whenever I reference Aristotle - of which I do fairly regularly - no one comes back to refute that reference by pointing out this speculation.

Frederich Nietzsche was diagnosed with syphilis, and it is speculated that this syphilis was what led to his mental illness, but I rarely, if ever, find refutations of Nietzsche's philosophy and it is not disputed that this man was mentally ill.

Martin Heidegger was a Nazi and strong supporter of Adolf Hitler, and yet his book Being and Time is one of the most influential philosophical books of the 20th Century, and his influence has permeated artificial intelligence.

Karl Marx couldn't feed his own family while he wiled away theorizing about the economic problems of Europe, and while some of his detractors will point to this fact, few do, and even fewer people care that he failed to provide for his own family, determined to believe that his philosophical work was more important.

Each of these philosophers that I have listed have philosophy's well worth discussing and what they did in their own lives has no bearing on the validity or lack thereof of their philosophy's. Indeed, where Ayn Rand declared Immanuel Kant the most evil man in the history of the world, by all accounts this guy was a really good guy, a straight arrow, the kind of neighbor anyone would be content to have. Rand was not talking of Kant's personal character when she made this statement, she was talking about his philosophy.




I don't understand where you get this thinking, of course in any form of debate you are bound to found "logical fallacies" if you look hard enough, it is inevitable.


It appears as if there is much you don't understand. I have no doubt that in any debate you take on logical fallacies will abound.




Well to inform you, you just did.


The uninformed are in the least likely position to be informing anyone. Indeed, where you presume that my last post was me engaging you, it was not. I am engaging you now, but that is only because you have bothered to take the time to engage yourself instead of copy and paste some other writing to presumably represent your thoughts. What I did in my last post, just to inform you, was engage with that which you copied and pasted.




You see? You just did one of your so-called "logical fallacies". Who told you that I haven't read Ayn Rand's works? It seems that you are basing all of your thoughts about me on a single falsifiable post I made. As you have said everybody is flawed, so am I.


What logical fallacy have I fallen prey to? If you carefully read my words you will see that what I said was that it was fairly presumed that you placed all your trust in an anonymous blogger because you cannot be bothered to read Ayn Rand's work yourself. By using the word presumed, even with the qualifier fairly before it, I have not done anything fallacious and have only spoken to the fact that you yourself refused to offer any substantive refutation of her works, which placed all who read your post in the unenviable position of presumption. That said, given that you had such a hard time reading the paragraph I wrote that led you to respond by asking me who told me that you haven't read Ayn Rand's work, it remains fairly presumed that you haven't. You have not, of course, claimed otherwise, and only asked me who told me that you hadn't read her works.




"There are no facts, only interpretations." Friedrich Nietzsche


In light of your assertion that discussion of a philosophy will reach a point where where that philosophers character will need to be addressed, I wonder if you can see the rich irony of citing Nietzsche. Probably not, but maybe so.

That said, let us take a look at Nietzche's assertion that there are no facts, only interpretations. If it is not the facts that are being interpreted, then the question becomes what is being interpreted? Is it merely observations that are being interpreted? What then is being observed, and if we are discussing and interpreting what is being observed, that phenomenon of which we are observing has a shared experience, even if it might be subject to interpretation. This means that shared observance is something we can agree upon in its existence, and as such is a fact.

Do you see how I did that? Without relying on attacking Nietzsche's character in an attempt to refute his assertion I was able to simply ask valid questions regarding this assertion and reach a conclusion. It matters not whether my conclusion is right or wrong, what matters is that I was able to discuss it without bringing up Nietzche's character.




People can call themselves whatever they want, but it will never be a "fact" that they are what they claim to be. Again Rand's words are her words I see no point in arguing what she may think of Chomsky because it is her opinion.


And yet, when you offered you opinion of Ayn Rand as being a monster, you felt compelled to first support this contention with some blogger's plagiarism of Chomsky. Of course, it makes sense that you now wish to argue that there are no facts, which then let's the blogger guilty of plagiarism off the hook, since...well, since there are no "facts"...and since there are no "facts", would it be possible for me to give you a five dollar bill and get change for a twenty? That would be more than greatly appreciated.




You call that a fair assumption? I don't know what made you think that this is a fair assumption.


And yet, and conspicuously so, you still avoid claiming that you have read her works, which only makes the fair assumption less presumptive.



Here you have misunderstood the definition of the "free market" given by the "anonymous blogger".


You have linked a Wikipedia article that begins as such:


A free market is a market in which there is no economic intervention and regulation by the state, except to enforce private contracts and the ownership of property. It is the opposite of a controlled market, in which the state directly regulates how goods, services and labor may be used, priced, or distributed, rather than relying on the mechanism of private ownership. Advocates of a free market traditionally consider the term to imply that the means of production is under private, not state control as well. This is the contemporary use of the term "free market" by economists and in popular culture; the term has had other uses historically.


The first sentence claims that the free market is where there is no intervention and regulation by the state, except to enforce private contracts and the ownership of property, which only supports my argument of what a free market is, not refute it. You hope to rely on a single sentence from that Wikipedia in order to defend the blogger you relied so heavily upon, and interestingly follow that with a quote from me that acknowledges that, so how is it then that you figure I have misunderstood anything at all?




Well there are many kinds of "Marxist" and there could be no "typical Marxist idealist". Those people who exploits Marx's ideas cannot be a "typical Marxist idealist".


Actually, if we are to take your reasoning seriously at all, we would have to understand that in order for there to be Marxists at all this would have to be one of those annoying facts that you don't believe in, so based on your own reasoning not only can a Marxist not be typical, they can't even be a Marxist, as that would bring too many facts into play.




I loathe followers that distorts the ideas of whom they are following the same as you do. But instead of fighting with them over the internet I try and avoid them unlike you.


Of course you do, that is why you haven't posted in this thread, because you have no interest in fighting with followers who distort ideas of whom they are following, in fact, based on your philosophy, it is not a fact that you have posted in this thread, only an interpretation.




A simple google search would help you sir, the term "free market" is used differently by economists throughout our "history".


Ah, and for one who does not believe in facts, the multitudes of interpretations on the term "free market" is a good thing and any one who "misunderstands" what is meant by "free market" need simply Google the term to read up the various interpretations of the term "free market" throughout history to clear up any confusion. Uh - huh. There is a reason Ayn Rand was such a big fan of Aristotle, and that is because Aristotle had no tolerance for such nonsense, and instead would insist that A is A. That, of course, is nothing more than rhetoric, but for you, I suppose it would be too rooted in facts to be understood. For you A can only be interpreted.




The "meritocracy" definition that you have given here is not the same as those with the website I have given. Better to look here than make assumptions.


The definition I provided comes from a respected lexicographer not from an Orwellian blogger who engages in doublespeak. You have made it quite clear that meanings of words should not be fixed and understood, so why waste our time with your buddies doublespeak?




Perhaps this really isn't what Rand is advocating when you have read their (the given website's) views on what Meritocracy would be.


Uh-huh. Perhaps you should take a hard look at that site and see what they have posted in the introduction section of the "Meritocracy Party" page. If you take the time to scroll down after their brief description of what this party advocates you will find in bright red letters two words. What are those two words?


The Facts




Perhaps the irony here is you making assumptions on what this "anonymous blogger" (to use your own words) is pointing out without you making further research on this subject.


Right. It is not enough that I have read the vast majority of Rand's work. It is not enough that I read that anonymous blogger's attack on Rand in its entirety. Now you think I should research that website more thoroughly in order to refute what that site had to say about Rand and her philosophy, and of course, the irony is that it is still fairly presumed that you haven't a read a thing written by Ayn Rand.




You have to see this idea from all sides to understand it, which I assume you haven't done yet.


By "see this from all sides" do you mean to be objective? Dear God the irony just keeps getting richer and richer.


I see that Rand has helped you with your anger management issues. (ad hominem)


Uh - uh. I suppose all you got from that entire paragraph you quoted of me was the word clown. Your a real piece of work sport. Welcome to ATS, and get used to these spankings. Critical thinking is indeed respected in this site, and ignorance not tolerated much at all. It is buffoonish to pretend that Ayn Rand in Atlas Shrugged did not roundly criticize those super rich who were not actual producers, and it is buffoonish of you to quote me pointing out this fact and then to narrow in on one word and attempt to use this as an example of an ad hom. Sigh.




It should also come as no surprise that people like you will try to do everything to discredit someone without looking hard enough to understand this person's point of view. It would also come as no surprise that you won't understand the views by the website given that you are a judgmental person.


Never mind the fact that in order to declare me a judgmental person you yourself have to be judgmental in order to do so, let's go back to your original post and reexamine the nine words you posted there:




Some here dare support this monster? Wow, just wow.


If you choose to take my assertion of your buffoonery as an ad hom, all I can say is, if the shoe fits, wear it.




This is a misunderstanding in your part, someone would not sacrifice themselves for others without being selfish. Take for example a kid will be hit by a car and his dad pushes him away so the dad can take the hit, the dad is being selfish because he cannot bear to see his son get hit by a car, he has shoved the kid for his own selfish reason.


If you or that blogger had bothered to read Rand's essay The Virtue of Selfishness the both of you would know that this is the precise argument Rand makes. Precise argument, I believe the example she gives is a husband who can't swim jumping into the ocean to save his drowning wife, but the principle is the same.




How are you so sure that Greenspan is akin to all of Rand's characters?


Yet another example of your unwillingness to read. I said what I said and did not say what I did not say. Go back and actually read what I said. Sigh.




There are two kinds of messages: the explicit and the implicit message. When you understand that then you will understand the reason I hate Rand's works. Also if you are a fan of Rand (I'm assuming that you are) then there will be no doubt that you will defend her against all those who try to discredit her such as Greenspan.


Still you avoid claiming that you've read Rand's works and for anyone who has, you have given no reason to believe that you have. I suggested Greenspan is a disinformation agent not because he tries to discredit Rand, and if you knew what you were talking about you would know that Greenspan claims to be a supporter of Ayn Rand's philosophy.




I agree with some of her message so to speak, I am a fan of dialectical thinking and in no way am I dismissing her messages...


Uh - huh. What did you just say earlier?




When you understand that then you will understand the reason I hate Rand's works.


I guess in a world without facts contradictions come with the territory.




what's important when it comes to philosophers such as Rand is to segregate what you think is important and to throw away the garbage in her philosophy.


None of which you've bothered to do in this thread, and worse, you take Randian principles and ascribe them to a blogger who attacks Rand.




I am well aware of my own tragic flaws and the difference between me and a deeply flawed human as you have said it is I try and take my flaws as my strengths.


It is, at least in this thread, not working out for you sport. Your tragic flaws remain weakness not strength.




Again I hate arguing over the internet so I see no point in doing this.


Then why did you, or is that not really a fact and just an interpretation?




Also take note that English is not my native language, before you judge someone and make "fair assumptions" you should at least give the person a chance to defend himself before you make your "fair assumptions."


Defend yourself against what if not my fair assumptions? Poor English skills is not an excuse for poor critical thinking skills.




And to clear it up to you, I have read Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged.


Finally! Okay, so you've read Atlas Shrugged. Then you should know that Rand does not praise the "super rich" in that book and only praises the producers. Further, is this all that you have read of Rand's work, because you know you have declared that you hate her works?




You are right on one thing, I should have given it some time to reformulate my thoughts and do my own comments about Rand, but what's done is done.


What's done is done is pretty resolute for one who sees no facts and only interpretations. You could have reformulated your thoughts and did your own commenting about Rand in this post instead of arguing with me, of which you claim to hate doing over the internet, but oh well, what's done is done.

One final thought. You're English is fine. It is your critical thinking skills that is lacking.



posted on Feb, 23 2011 @ 07:48 PM
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reply to post by NewAgeMan
 





The Parable of "The Good Samaritan" is a good example of the superiority of Christian thought to the purely "rational self interest" espoused by Ayn Rand. In it, the travelling merchant Samaritan did a number of things for the beaten and robbed man, none of which were in his own personal interests, no, he was simply moved by compassion for his fellow man, nothing more nothing less.


That compassion is rational self interest. If only you could show enough compassion to Rand and her works to actually read them. You can claim you have, of course, but had you read them, how is it you don't understand that compassion is rational self interest?



posted on Feb, 23 2011 @ 08:37 PM
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reply to post by Jean Paul Zodeaux
 

It is compassionate self interest ONLY to the degree that we all share the same ground of being and becoming in God.

Her version and that used by many of her adherents, is something else altogether, and the good Sameritan in that parable doesn't fit with that conception. He dressed the man's wounds, paid for his stay at the inn and then some, returning to pay anything else that was required ie: going the extra distance. There was nothing "in it" for him at all, it was complete selfless altruism born of compassion, not self-interest in the traditional sense, and certainly not the way Rand's satanist fans concieve of it, that's for sure.

P.S. Compassionate altruism is rational self interest in the sense that when done for the right reasons, authentically, it results in an expansion of our authentic self. No one performing acts of compassion, for the right reason, motivated by love of neighbor as self, can be hollowed out or made less as someone else had suggested.

Everything else is just "stuff" and means very little in the grand scheme of things, and so "rational self interest" as a justification for amassing wealth for selfish gain, is little more than a guise really, for selfishness ie: me me me, or, I do this for you, but only with my own interest in mind, which isn't really giving freely anything at all, since there are strings attached.




edit on 23-2-2011 by NewAgeMan because: edit



posted on Feb, 23 2011 @ 08:58 PM
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reply to post by NewAgeMan
 





Her version and that used by many of her adherents, is something else altogether, and the good Sameritan in that parable doesn't fit with that conception. He dressed the man's wounds, paid for his stay at the inn and then some, returning to pay anything else that was required ie: going the extra distance.


You have just describe Hank Reardon. Even more importantly, you are fully and grossly misusing Jesus to criticize a philosopher of which you have most likely not read. Here is a quote from Ayn Rand directly on compassion of which I will use to compare to my own views on compassion and how you have deigned to place Christianity as "superior" to others views, while ironically addressing compassion.




I regard compassion as proper only toward those who are innocent victims, but not toward those who are morally guilty. If one feels compassion for the victims of a concentration camp, one cannot feel it for the torturers. If one does feel compassion for the torturers, it is an act of moral treason toward the victims.


www.ellensplace.net...

I disagree with Rand on this point and would argue that the torturer deserves as much compassion as the tortured and quite frankly, I believe this is far closer to the teachings of Jesus than what you have offered in this thread. Your insistence that Christianity is "superior" to a philosophy you clearly know nothing about reveals your profound lack of compassion. Of course, what do I know, I am merely a Catholic, of which too many Christians like to insist is not Christian. More of that Christian compassion for ya.



posted on Feb, 23 2011 @ 09:12 PM
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reply to post by Jean Paul Zodeaux
 

You got me, I haven't read it, no. Simply going by what I've seen in terms of people's interpretations of it, and the use of the phrase "rational self interest", which I've always felt, was never "rational" in the first place, not in the way it was being used. So at some point, a while back, I formed a very negative view of Ayn Rand's philosophy, as being somewhat at odds with this notion of the love of neighbor as self as the highest expression of the law of life and love, amid the dissolution of a strongly held me-you distinction leading to a me-first inclination ie: selfishness.

You're coming on pretty strong as well I might point out, eh?



posted on Feb, 23 2011 @ 09:28 PM
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Originally posted by NewAgeMan
reply to post by Jean Paul Zodeaux
 

You got me, I haven't read it, no. Simply going by what I've seen in terms of people's interpretations of it, and the use of the phrase "rational self interest", which I've always felt, was never "rational" in the first place, not in the way it was being used. So at some point, a while back, I formed a very negative view of Ayn Rand's philosophy, as being somewhat at odds with this notion of the love of neighbor as self as the highest expression of the law of life and love, amid the dissolution of a strongly held me-you distinction leading to a me-first inclination ie: selfishness.

You're coming on pretty strong as well I might point out, eh?


Coming on pretty strong to a person who has not read any of the philosophical works he willfully deigns to criticize? Coming on pretty strong to the person who assumes that the adherents, (a misnomer in objectivist philosophy if there ever was one), of objectivism lack compassion, and only because he thinks his own personal bias and contextual understandings based upon people who vilify Rand and objectivism is more than enough to pass judgment. Coming on pretty strong to a guy who thinks is own lack of compassion is excusable because it is shielded by the claims of Christian dogma?

Judge not lest ye be judged yourself.

I am prepared to be judged, am oftentimes judge, and will judge as well. I do not speak for Christianity, but I will proudly offer my understanding of Jesus' teachings and suggest you are behind the curve and have much study to do, brother. If you want to be compassionate, then be compassionate. If you do not want to be compassionate, then do not hide behind compassion to judge those whom you know nothing about, and by that I mean Rand, and her "adherents" whoever they are.



posted on Feb, 24 2011 @ 01:46 PM
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reply to post by Jean Paul Zodeaux
 

My "bias" if you will formed though an ongoing debate I was involved in years ago in the usenet newsgroups with people calling themselves "satanists" and almost to a one they were avid Ayn Rand fans or "adherents" who just loved the term "rational self interest". While this doesn't imply by any means that people who like Rand's philosophy are "satanists", it was odd how her works and philsophy was being used by these people to bolster their staunch and hardened individualistic POV. They were a rather hard hearted lot to say the least. Other than her, they were into Allistair Crowley and Anton Lavey, and Nietzsche, perhaps because he said "God is dead"..

I wish that people instead of hanging their personal hat on "rational self interest" might instead come to realize the supreme value of what might be called an "enlightened mutual best interest" in recognition that we all share the same ground of being and becoming, and that for the most part, everyone is doing the best that they can what the resources that are available to them, and some could use help, oftentimes, in matters of the heart.

So all I've ever encountered, seemingly even to this very day, when dealing with lovers of Ayn Rand's philosophy, is hard heartedness, and coldness, not warmth or compassion, and for the record I am well aware of my own capacity for compassion, and I am a compassionate person, just have a bit of a hard time with some who've locked themselves into a certain style and fixed way of being which makes little or no room for love and mutality. That said, some of the satanists I was debating did end up breaking free of the hard-hearted darkness they were into, and some even thanked me for being willing to take a stand on their behalf much to my dismay.


edit on 24-2-2011 by NewAgeMan because: typo



posted on Feb, 24 2011 @ 04:12 PM
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I wandered from the video in the OP to other videos related to Ayn Rand, and found this old Phil Donahue interview.




Another one where she talks about religion:




There are a bunch of interviews on there.

Some of it I agree with, some of it I don't. Like a lot of other things I guess...
edit on 24-2-2011 by bsbray11 because: (no reason given)



posted on Feb, 24 2011 @ 08:42 PM
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reply to post by NewAgeMan
 


Whatever excuses you have for being ignorant of Ayn Rand's work while forming a recognizable bias against it are just that, excuses. It is hard to buy that you have any interest at all in practicing what you preach regarding mutual best interest while you continue to cling to your bias even after admitting you haven't read her works. You merely assume that rational self interest and enlightened mutual best interest are mutually exclusive. However, if you bother to take the time to consider the two, you might discover that they are not contradictory of each other, and are inextricably bound to each other.

First, you would have to clearly define the terms you are dealing with. What is meant by rational self interest? Obviously, Ayn Rand felt compelled to qualify self interest with the adjective rational. What she is advocating is self interest by careful consideration and reason. Now let's be clear on what is meant by enlightened mutual best interest. I cannot know what you mean by the term, but if you are at all interested in behaving rationally, it is fair to assume that by enlightened you mean what the word generally means within the lexicon. Since you have left us in a position where all we can do is assume what you meant by enlightened mutual best interest, lets assume that by enlightened you mean spiritual knowledge. Let assume that by mutual best interest you mean that which is good for the group, state, planet, and universe.

Who decides what is in our mutual best interest? Between you and I, rationally speaking, we can come to an agreement on what that is, but who decides what is in the mutual best interest of all members here in ATS? One could argue that the owners of this site have made that decision, and to some degree that is exactly what has happened. The owners of this site produce this site, and obviously each member who joined the site did so because they felt it was in their best interest to do so. Because it is a site where each member acts in what they believe to be their best interest, rational or not, the owners saw a need to create terms and conditions of membership in an attempt to assure that mutual best interest, enlightened or not, is obtained. Now, this being a conspiracy site, and conspiracy sites being attacked the way they are, it could be argued that there is a larger group, or at the very least another group that believes this conspiracy site is not in the mutual best interest of internet users in general. If so, would this belief be an enlightened belief, or less than enlightened? Who decides?

Who decides what is in the enlightened mutual best interest of "society"? The enlightened? In the United States, many claiming the mantle of enlightened seem to be adherents to science with a particular atheistic bent. Such an understanding of enlightenment seems to contradict the notion of spiritual knowledge. Of course, one can be an atheist and spiritual as well. Was Ayn Rand spiritual? Who knows? She would know best, and if she is a spirit, of which I am inclined to believe she is, then she is no longer Ayn Rand. The interesting thing about Rand and her atheism was her own particular bias and how that diminished her own objectivity. I was reading an essay of her's once that was railing against Zen. She declared that Zen meant "no thought". It is understandable, given this translation of the word Zen, why Rand would balk at such a notion. However, her lack of objectivity in the matter was clear. She had obviously not bothered to study Zen much, nor had she bothered to clarify the translation of Zen she was operating under.

When I read that essay, (and the title of that essay escapes me now), my understanding of the translation of the word Zen was "the way of the small thought". This is a completely different idea than "no thought". Indeed, had Rand been given the translation I had found, it is arguable that she might have come to a different conclusion regarding Zen. "The way of the small thought" is akin to focus. A discipline of the mind, where the spirit controls the thoughts that run around in the mind. Such a discipline, it seems to me, would be something Rand would admire, not castigate. When Howard Roarke is sitting on the fire escape of his office the night before losing that office due to lack of rent, he smoked his last cigarette without any sense of self pity, or worries. Such a state of mind suggests a disciplined mind that would not allow useless thoughts to consume him. This is, for all intents and purposes, a Zen state of mind.

Take note how I address Ayn Rand's own seeming lack of objectivism regarding the word Zen, and how I do this without attacking her character, and instead suggest that her attitudes regarding Zen come down to a simple misunderstanding of a word. If Rand developed a decidedly non-objective attitude regarding Zen over a misunderstanding of a word - and of course, it is arguable that she also allowed her bias against religion to play into that misunderstanding - then it is possible, even probable that her attitudes against Christianity and God also come down to misunderstood words. There is an irony in this as Rand has titled a section of Atlas Shrugged "A is A", which is to say that words mean what they mean and this is important...but, I digress.

I think one of the complaints about Rand's philosophy can be illustrated by the fate of Eddie Willers in Atlas Shrugged. Eddie represents the "everyman" of this world. He is the first major character of the book of whom we come to know, and Eddie is not just a likable man, his is lovable. He is honest, sincere, hard working and loyal. This is important to understand because Eddie is very intentionally representative of "everyman" in Atlas Shrugged which suggests that this is how Rand views most people, as honest, sincere, hard working and loyal, but beyond that, she views them as not creative enough to create their own society, and too honest and sincere to survive in a world created by looters and moochers. They are caught in between the world of the villains and the world of the heroes.


Eddie Willers walked on, wondering why he always felt it at this time of day, this sense of dread without reason....It's the twilight, he thought: I hate the twilight.


This sentence is from the very first chapter of Atlas Shrugged and in many ways sets the tone for the book. The sense of dread that Eddie is feeling and blaming on twilight is the sense of dread that many are feeling in this twilight of a society destined to fail. By the end of the book, Eddie, who was fiercely loyal and protective of the protagonist of the story, Dagny Taggart, is left all alone in the desert, seemingly abandoned by Dagny and John Galt. Eddie also had befriended John Galt without knowing it was John Galt he had befriended. It makes perfect sense that Galt befriended Eddie, particularly because Galt was in love with Dagny and it was a love from afar, since Dagny had no idea who John Galt was, and when she came to know who he was, where he was, or even if he truly existed. Like all mythological heroes, Galt is not only a mythic hero for the reader, he was mythic to the world he lived in.

Some readers finish reading the book and are disturbed because it seems that Eddie was abandoned by those he loved and admired. The truth is that Eddies fate is left a mystery. We do not know if Galt and Dagny ultimately saved Eddie, or if Eddie saved himself, or if he succumbed to his own traps and perished. There are, however, clues as to what Eddie did:


Then suddenly he felt the blinding surge of a desperate, righteous anger. He leaped to his feet, seizing the throttle. He had to start this train; in the name of some victory that he could not name, he had to start the engine moving....Don't let it go! his mind was crying....He was pulling at coils of wire, he was linking them and tearing them apart....He heard himself crying soundlessly – Dagny, in the name of the best within us...I must now start this train!


"I must now start this train!" Perhaps a little too late, as was often the case with Eddie, he comes to realize that it is up to him. Whether he steps up and does what is necessary to save himself is left up to us, the reader, to decide. So, when those who criticize the novel because they believe that Eddie was heartlessly abandoned, they have made up their minds on Eddies fate. Perhaps some come to the conclusion that Dagny, or Galt save Eddie, and this is just as a fair an assumption as the one where Eddie is left abandoned. I personally tend to believe that Eddie stepped up and did what was necessary to save himself.

As a literary device, it is a good one, to leave the fate of Eddie a mystery. Rand is clearly leaving the fate of ordinary people a mystery, and as such is not passing any judgment on them, but leaving it up to them. She does not look down her nose at ordinary people and insist they need saving by heroes, nor is she insisting they are doomed to perish under the heels of villains. She is leaving their fate up to the reader to decide.

That Ayn Rand had an affection for Eddie should not be in doubt. She clearly loved Eddie and invested in him many virtues. What he lacked was ingenuity. Rand is arguing that it is not enough to be honest, sincere, hard working and loyal. She is arguing that we must be more! This is not a heartless point of view, it is a compassionate one. So compassionate is she that she allows you the reader to decide the fate of Eddie. She clearly wants you, and I and all readers to be John Galt, but if we are Eddie, then she expects us to do more! There was only one John Galt. Hank Reardon was not John Galt, but he was not Eddie either. He had stepped up. Francisco d'Anconia was not John Galt, and while he was a childhood friend of Eddies, he was not Eddie, he had stepped up and done more. Dagny too had stepped up, unlike her brother James, who Rand clearly does not like.

What does James Taggart think of Eddie? In Chapter 1 of the book James calls Eddie a "feudal serf". This is James Taggart's compassion. James will give money to a pauper, but not out of compassion, he does it out of some twisted sense of obligation. This twisted sense of obligation is an underlying characteristic of James, and in many ways explains why he undermines Dagny's efforts at every turn. While James Taggart is the President of the railway that the Taggarts own, it is Dagny who runs the business, and James is only in charge on paper. Eddie's loyalty is to Dagny not James, and he doesn't understand James, and even fears him. Eddie understands Dagny, and loves her. However, just because he understands Dagny and Galt, he doesn't know how to be like them. This is his tragic flaw, and by extension it is humanity's tragic flaw.

How many Christians admire the perfection of Jesus, but in the end shrug their shoulders and say; "We all fall short of the Glory of God"? How many comic book fanboys admire Batman but themselves fall prey to physical weakness, and even to some degree mental weakness? How many people admire Joe Montana but never leave their couch long enough to comeback from a losing game and walk away victorious? We can understand Jesus, Batman, or Montana, we - as in the ordinary person - just don't understand what it takes to be extra-ordinary.

Like Rand, I am of the belief that if we are to wear "the hat" of an enlightened soul so that we may act in the mutual best interest of all, then we must necessarily step up and go from being ordinary to being extra-ordinary. This is what it means to be enlightened, because the ordinary are not enlightened. Part of being enlightened means understanding that in a mutual best interest your own interests matter. Sacrifice is unacceptable. It is insane. Sacrifice, by definition, is giving up something of a higher value for something of a lesser value. If, as the example was given in another post, you place yourself in front of a bullet to protect a loved one, it is arguable that no sacrifice was made. If that loved one means more to you than your own life itself, then you acted accordingly, and no sacrifice was made.

Such actions as placing oneself in front of bullet to save a loved one, are for the most of us, hypothetical situations. For the soldier in war it is less hypothetical, but for most ordinary people living peacefully, it is a hypothetical that will never come up in real life. Philosophy, and even religious dogma are not about hypothetical situations, they are doctrines designed to guide us in real life. The crux of Rand's philosophy might be simplified down to this:


I swear, by my life and my love of it, that I will never live for the sake of another man, nor ask another man to live for mine.


John Galt - Atlas Shrugged

I would suggest to you, my brother, that if we were all to adopt such a principle, we would be wearing the hat of enlightened mutual best interest.
edit on 24-2-2011 by Jean Paul Zodeaux because: (no reason given)



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