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Re: [humanism-174] Re: Objectivism

From: Mikkel F.
Sent on: Tuesday, June 23, 2009 1:46 AM
5) the only social system consistent with this morality is full respect for individual rights, embodied in pure laissez-faire capitalism (highly debatable, of course- here is where Objectivism really polarizes)  This is particularly ignorant.  I got the impression from everything I read that her support of laissez-faire capitalism was more of a reaction to the extreme measures taken by communism and socialism in Europe; she does not address the history of laissez-faire capitalism, which was initially unfettered, and whose abuses and atrocities where so endemic that the Western governments were forced to intervene.

She would argue that period of time didn't satisfy her conditions. The theory is that everyone has their own standard of morality and value system, and that exchanging goods and services as a reflection of those is the way to go. The key is that it has to be done without force or pressure. In those early days they definitely were corrupt and forced will onto others.

The problem with this (and also much of traditional economic theory actually) is that people have to work in order to have a place to live/food to eat/clothes to wear/health care/etc. Homo economicus, the abstract fully rational human that they use as the basis of their theories, can afford to sit around and refuse to work if the bids are too low...it has no biological necessities. The idea that we can all sit around and make a rational choice about whom we associate with and reward is all fine and dandy if you assume that the default state of being has all the basic needs met and you can just choose to opt out.  (I just got your next email and see you made this same point.) I'm not sure there is anything wrong with her conclusion philosophically just as there isn't anything with communism on the ideal philosophical level; but the assumptions in both are terribly unrealistic and open up the actual implementation to all sorts of abuse. 


From: MichaelV <[address removed]>
To: [address removed]
Sent: Tuesday, June 23,[masked]:26:45 AM
Subject: Re: [humanism-174] Re: Objectivism

Thank you Mark for giving me the simplest explanation of Objectivism I have yet come across.  Now, for my two cents.

1) reality exists independent of consciousness (Check! This is a very simple concept- yet so few understand it, or want it to be true)  I agree 100%. 
 
2) individual persons are in contact with this reality through sensory perception (Check!)  No objection here.  
 
3) human beings can gain objective knowledge from perception through the process of concept formation and inductive and deductive logic (Check!)  Sounds good so far.
 
4) the proper moral purpose of one's life is the pursuit of one's own happiness or rational self-interest (hmmm... does this attempt to justify negative selfish/self-centered behavior?)  This is where she loses me.  A proper and purposful morality?  By whose standard?  Unless she can present a code of morality that can be acted on, the only reasonable interpretation of morality is that every person's moral code is unique to them; in this case, the 4th point is meaningless.  
 
5) the only social system consistent with this morality is full respect for individual rights, embodied in pure laissez-faire capitalism (highly debatable, of course- here is where Objectivism really polarizes)  This is particularly ignorant.  I got the impression from everything I read that her support of laissez-faire capitalism was more of a reaction to the extreme measures taken by communism and socialism in Europe; she does not address the history of laissez-faire capitalism, which was initially unfettered, and whose abuses and atrocities where so endemic that the Western governments were forced to intervene.
 
6) the role of art in human life is to transform man's widest metaphysical ideas, by selective reproduction of reality, into a physical form���a work of art���that he can comprehend and to which he can respond emotionally (that's part of it, but does art always have to be that deep? What about art for pure visual or audio appeal to the senses, like at Parade the Circle?)  I agree with Mark here.  Art certainly has the ability to excel, but it remains a subjective experience.  It is almost contradictory to the nature of artistic expression and appreciation to force into categories of crap, bad, poor, okay, good, great, and masterpiece.  Individually we may do so, but to do so collectively would completely undermine the purpose behind art.

Michael


From: Mark Tiborsky <[address removed]>
To: [address removed]
Sent: Monday, June 22,[masked]:53:01 AM
Subject: Re: [humanism-174] Re: Objectivism

Hi, Jason!
 
I read The Fountainhead 25 years ago- I found it to be very interesting, yet it was hard for me to get through because it goes way off on tangents (like much other deep philosophy).
 
Some principles of Objectivism: (with my 2 cents)
 
1) reality exists independent of consciousness (Check! This is a very simple concept- yet so few understand it, or want it to be true)
 
2) individual persons are in contact with this reality through sensory perception (Check!)
 
3) human beings can gain objective knowledge from perception through the process of concept formation and inductive and deductive logic (Check!)
 
4) the proper moral purpose of one's life is the pursuit of one's own happiness or rational self-interest (hmmm... does this attempt to justify negative selfish/self-centered behavior?)
 
5) the only social system consistent with this morality is full respect for individual rights, embodied in pure laissez-faire capitalism (highly debatable, of course- here is where Objectivism really polarizes)
 
6) the role of art in human life is to transform man's widest metaphysical ideas, by selective reproduction of reality, into a physical form���a work of art���that he can comprehend and to which he can respond emotionally (that's part of it, but does art always have to be that deep? What about art for pure visual or audio appeal to the senses, like at Parade the Circle?)

Mark T.
 
On Mon, Jun 22, 2009 at 9:46 AM, Jason <[address removed]> wrote:

Having dabbled in Libertarian circles I have found many that idolize Rand.  So in short they share a lot in common.

 

Interestingly enough though, many of the Libertarians I run into are entrenched prolife Christians.  I find this is contradiction to the rest of their freedom of choice and self reliance political stances.  Rand on the other hand was an atheist and pro-choice.  I have found many of Rand's comments on religion insightful & thought provoking.  I have found Rand's fiction to be just that.  Not completely applicable to the real world, but none the less interesting and relevant.  I agree that reading The Fountainhead is a good starting point.








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