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Thread: Introducing Objectivism1937 days old

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    Default Introducing Objectivism

    I recently finished reading Ayn Rand's novella "Anthem", which started to remove, if you will, some of my initial misgivings regarding herself and her brain-child "objectivism". I once perceived her as being somewhat of a marginalised figure within the "libertarian" movement, having on all accounts been considered an eccentric figure with a fanbase roughly comparable to extreme anti-statists and egoists. Pardon me for deploying very hasty generalisations, but it seems to be the most convenient way of getting my point across. Anyhow, she was certainly a controversial figure, regardless of whether or not you agreed with her views.
    "Anthem", without divulging too much of the plot, is strangely prophetic vis a vis the gradual erosion of civil liberties across the Western World. While she certainly presents it in a highly exaggerated manner, there is a lot of validity to her overall message- governments are actively infringing upon the freedoms of their citizens, through arbitrary rules and regulations that serve to undermine the sovereignty of the individual.
    Case in point, and bear in mind that this is only applicable in Britain : a tax was proposed that would make any household with a spare bedroom liable to pay more tax. Whilst its proponents argue that it helps prevent waste through incentivisation. From a classical liberal perspective this represents the desire of the State to intervene more readily into the personal lives of its citizens.
    If such a " pro-active" approach continues, then it is certainly plausible to estimate the extent to which the State will have a role in the activities of its supposed beneficiaries. The State certainly should have a role in the lives of its citizens. This is an indisputable fact, but it should be severely limited to preventing any harm being afflicted to them, and establishing the necessary conditions for each individual to fulfill their own acquired potential. While the economy should be left alone,for the most part- the State should not necessarily be averse to intervening, but only when irregularities are apparent. ( Pardon any ambiguities)

    Rand sought to address such a problem through the formulation of an ideology that incorporated elements of egoism, a limited state and personal autonomy, that allows humanity to flourish under his/her own preconditions and not through the imposition of a pre-determined existence, as is becoming increasingly the case.

    This video outlines "objectivism" rather succinctly.


    My question revolves around whether or not such an approach is viable, or does it simply arise from a sense of idealism? Should "objectivism" be given more press time, in essence.

    P.S.-I apologise profusely for any grammatical errors that you may encounter. I can only attribute such to my fatigued state of mind
    Last edited by Dedalus; 2014-03-29 at 18:59.
    "Man is born free and everywhere he is in chains" - Jean-Jacques Rousseau

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    Another interesting video that provides a brief overview of what "objectivism" entails.



    I'm interested to know what people think about the ideology.
    "Man is born free and everywhere he is in chains" - Jean-Jacques Rousseau

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    I do believable capitalism and altruism can exist in harmony. I am a proponent of both. The key for co-existence relies on one's altruism being voluntary and not compelled. So, I can operate in an economic system of capitalism, but have a social conscience whereby I reward my employees fairly, or give some of my profit to causes that promote the common good, i.e., charity. Bill Gates does this on a large scale, among others. While the idea of a higher being probably did not exist in Rand's mind (as it is for many here on this forum), if a higher being exists, or the even just the concept itself, this encourages some of us to balance self-interest and altruism. Self-interest may appear to achieve maximum benefit for the individual, but I would argue this is ultimately superficial , as humans are social beings and most completely self-interested (read self-centered) people don't find real and lasting happiness unless one believes whoever dies with the most "things" wins.
    Last edited by muso; 2014-03-30 at 13:17.

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    Quote Originally Posted by muso View Post
    I do believable capitalism and altruism can exist in harmony. I am a proponent of both. The key for co-existence relies on one's altruism being voluntary and not compelled. So, I can operate in an economic system of capitalism, but have a social conscience whereby I reward my employees fairly, or give some of my profit to causes that promote the common good, i.e., charity. Bill Gates does this on a large scale, among others. While the idea of a higher being probably did not exist in Rand's mind (as it is for many here on this forum), if a higher being exists, or the even just the concept itself, this encourages some of us to balance self-interest and altruism. Self-interest may appear to achieve maximum benefit for the individual, but I would argue this is ultimately superficial , as humans are social beings and most completely self-interested (read self-centered) people don't find real and lasting happiness unless one believes whoever dies with the most "things" wins.
    Being compelled to be altruistic completely contravenes one's intentions entirely- I strongly differentiate therefore between voluntary and coerced altruism. In fact I would go so far as to argue "compelled altruism" to be but a form of insincerity and thus someone who succumbs to this should not be considered " magnanimous"but rather a serf to the whims and desires of an overbearing state.
    What many overlook is that genuine altruism is actually engendered by the free-market, which you have mentioned rather accurately. Paying dividends one's workers can, for example, serve as an incentive to increase production levels. Hence, the hypothetical businessman has killed "two birds with one stone", so to speak- their conscience has been indulged and their business output increases. Altruism is inherently self-centered, otherwise no one would practice it. Behind the smokescreen of idealism, our actions are inexorably linked with the dividends we anticipate will arise from performing such actions. Even "objectivism" stresses a rational outlook, many of its characteristics can be applied within the realms of theism. Perpetuating the discussion of altruism, one need not look far to notice the strongly asserted promise of self gratification, in conjunction with doing "good "deeds. Without casting a generalisation, many religious people will be altruistic because they are under the impression this will lead to good things happening to them, in return. In several religions, this is embodied in the promise of an afterlife, for example. However, when confronted with this truth there is almost a compartmentalisation apparent, causing many to refute such an allegation whilst subconsciously knowing this to be the case.
    It is interesting to see that you believe self-interest to be a relatively short-lasting phenomena, therefore I assume necessitating the need for continual self gratification. I concur, to a degree. Humans, while being social creatures, are nonetheless incredibly self-absorbed and superficial. The need to indulge oneself is inherent in our species, and the effects of such can be tangible and long lasting but our acquired sense of kinship ultimately inhibits us from fully achieve a state of "climax".
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dedalus View Post
    Being compelled to be altruistic completely contravenes one's intentions entirely- I strongly differentiate therefore between voluntary and coerced altruism. In fact I would go so far as to argue "compelled altruism" to be but a form of insincerity and thus someone who succumbs to this should not be considered " magnanimous"but rather a serf to the whims and desires of an overbearing state.
    What many overlook is that genuine altruism is actually engendered by the free-market, which you have mentioned rather accurately. Paying dividends one's workers can, for example, serve as an incentive to increase production levels. Hence, the hypothetical businessman has killed "two birds with one stone", so to speak- their conscience has been indulged and their business output increases. Altruism is inherently self-centered, otherwise no one would practice it. Behind the smokescreen of idealism, our actions are inexorably linked with the dividends we anticipate will arise from performing such actions. Even "objectivism" stresses a rational outlook, many of its characteristics can be applied within the realms of theism. Perpetuating the discussion of altruism, one need not look far to notice the strongly asserted promise of self gratification, in conjunction with doing "good "deeds. Without casting a generalisation, many religious people will be altruistic because they are under the impression this will lead to good things happening to them, in return. In several religions, this is embodied in the promise of an afterlife, for example. However, when confronted with this truth there is almost a compartmentalisation apparent, causing many to refute such an allegation whilst subconsciously knowing this to be the case.
    It is interesting to see that you believe self-interest to be a relatively short-lasting phenomena, therefore I assume necessitating the need for continual self gratification. I concur, to a degree. Humans, while being social creatures, are nonetheless incredibly self-absorbed and superficial. The need to indulge oneself is inherent in our species, and the effects of such can be tangible and long lasting but our acquired sense of kinship ultimately inhibits us from fully achieve a state of "climax".
    In regard to altruism, you may be right. It is the proverbial question, "which came first, the chicken or the egg," or in other words, cause and effect. So, if one has been raised since he/she can remember to consider others and "do" for them, it is probably ingrained to the point that they believe they are genuinely acting out of concern for the other, rather than self interest. In the end, who can really judge one's intentions? Of course, one can be altruistic for the purpose of self-interest, i.e., to be liked or appreciated. That is why I have always appreciated those who do things anonymously. Once again, I am a proponent of capitalism, most definitely.
    Last edited by muso; 2014-03-31 at 01:41.

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    Quote Originally Posted by muso View Post
    In regard to altruism, you may be right. It is the proverbial question, "which came first, the chicken or the egg," or in other words, cause and effect. So, if one has been raised since he/she can remember to consider others and "do" for them, it is probably ingrained to the point that they believe they are genuinely acting out of concern for the other, rather than self interest. In the end, who can really judge one's intentions? Of course, one can be altruistic for the purpose of self-interest, i.e., to be liked or appreciated. That is why I have always appreciated those who do things anonymously. Once again, I am a proponent of capitalism, most definitely.
    The internalised benefits of altruism are largely dependent on the manner in which one has been brought up. With regards to your hypothetical specimen, then from an objective stance he is acting with little regard for his own wellbeing. Hence, one could cogently argue he is being "genuinely" altruistic by helping others solely for the benefit of others. Whilst, from an external perspective engendered by own views on morality he/ she is certainly to be commended, but from an objectivist stance he/she is certainly acting to the detriment of fulfilling their own personal destiny, which is immoral, objectively speaking.
    I attribute it to my own cynicism, but I always find "do-gooders" to have an ulterior motive, even those who do so purportedly anonymously.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dedalus View Post
    The internalised benefits of altruism are largely dependent on the manner in which one has been brought up. With regards to your hypothetical specimen, then from an objective stance he is acting with little regard for his own wellbeing. Hence, one could cogently argue he is being "genuinely" altruistic by helping others solely for the benefit of others. Whilst, from an external perspective engendered by own views on morality he/ she is certainly to be commended, but from an objectivist stance he/she is certainly acting to the detriment of fulfilling their own personal destiny, which is immoral, objectively speaking.
    I attribute it to my own cynicism, but I always find "do-gooders" to have an ulterior motive, even those who do so purportedly anonymously.
    I too think many do-gooders do have ulterior motives. Perhaps the best most selfless example is that of a parent doing some act detrimental to their own good, for the sake of their child. Even some in the animal world have this instinct to preserve their offspring, even at a cost.

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    Quote Originally Posted by muso View Post
    I too think many do-gooders do have ulterior motives. Perhaps the best most selfless example is that of a parent doing some act detrimental to their own good, for the sake of their child. Even some in the animal world have this instinct to preserve their offspring, even at a cost.
    But from an objectivist stance such a "selfless" act can surely be rationalised as being beneficial in the long run? A child, whilst temporarily being unable, could eventually reciprocate this.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dedalus View Post
    But from an objectivist stance such a "selfless" act can surely be rationalised as being beneficial in the long run? A child, whilst temporarily being unable, could eventually reciprocate this.
    True. I guess the ultimate sacrifice is when one gives their life for their child or a loved one. I imagine one could argue that this person is looking for a reward in the after-life, but I believe this act, especially when it occurs during a crisis situation, is likely instinctual, without much rationalization. There are stories of such acts within societies that have no concept of an rewarded after life.

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    Quote Originally Posted by muso View Post
    True. I guess the ultimate sacrifice is when one gives their life for their child or a loved one. I imagine one could argue that this person is looking for a reward in the after-life, but I believe this act, especially when it occurs during a crisis situation, is likely instinctual, without much rationalization. There are stories of such acts within societies that have no concept of an rewarded after life.
    I fully concur, acts of genuine altruism do occur in some situations. However, one should not forget the context in which they are performed- crisis movements in which all rationality is suspended, and thus is not representative of how the human mind would usually function (not under duress). Expounding this premise, one could perhaps infer that in normal situations humans would be far more reluctant to be "self sacrificial", which is certainly consistent with "objectivism".
    Last edited by Dedalus; 2014-04-01 at 23:34.
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