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Why do people hate Ayn Rand?

by noagname
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disregardthat
#19
Jan10-11, 03:25 PM
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AndrewSheldon; I think it is an insult to (the legacy of) Nietzsche to even compare Ayn Rand to him. Nietzsche was a profound philosopher with original and deep insight. Ayn Rand's philosophy on the other hand is generally considered shallow and unoriginal. Her works does not affect philosophy as a field of study, and never has, else only negligibly. This is possibly the reason why it has become of its own choice the counterpart to most other philosophical views, leaning on the ideological thrust rather than sufficient reason. Strawmen is the name of that game.

Apart from her metaphysical and epistemological views which I strongly disagree with, she is interesting to me as a women of her time, but doesn't really have much to offer today.
Jasongreat
#20
Jan10-11, 03:30 PM
P: 75
[QUOTE=mheslep;3075792]Soon after Atlas came out, Bill Buckley, editor of the newly created National Review magazine, did not know quite what to make of it and assigned Atlas for review to the famous Whittaker Chambers who had recently joined NR. In 1957 Chambers was one of the most famous former collectivists, former communists, former spies in the US. Just before WWII, Chambers finally rejected communism, left the communist underground in the US and condemned it, later testifying in HUAC and the courts. Chambers was also a brilliant Columbia educated writer and linguist, with an encyclopedic knowledge of the sweep of history, and who became one of TIME magazine's top editors after jettisoning communism.

QUOTE]

This isnt an appeal to authority?

I enjoyed the article, thanks for giving the link. I did find in it most of the reasons he hated Rands book was it was poorly written, she was trying to get god out of the picture, and that neither the left or the right have a monopoly on the looting mentality or the pro buisiness mentality and that it was based on a fictional idea of what the US was becoming, as he said in the very first paragraph. I think the reason that she is getting a resurgance of popularity is that that fictional US is appearing before our eyes, and has been on the march in that direction since before she wrote the book, which might of even been the reason she wrote her books in the first place.
mheslep
#21
Jan10-11, 03:38 PM
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Quote Quote by AndrewSheldon View Post
Well, it was an appropriate description of what you said...People can refer to your original post...I said 'genius' to sumise your paragraph. You were citing his smear.
A criticism does not a smear make, despite repetition. All this dismissal of her critics as deluded and not self aware is all fallacious nonsense. I cited Chamber's article not to debate Randianism per se but only as I said: to show how and when Ayn Rand's literature stopped gaining serious academic and intellectual attention. His review is alluded to widely by writers on the left and the right as Rand's zenith. If you want to actually engage the points of Chambers article, a different matter, take it up with the article itself.
mheslep
#22
Jan10-11, 03:40 PM
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Quote Quote by mheslep View Post
Soon after Atlas came out, Bill Buckley, editor of the newly created National Review magazine, did not know quite what to make of it and assigned Atlas for review to the famous Whittaker Chambers who had recently joined NR. In 1957 Chambers was one of the most famous former collectivists, former communists, former spies in the US. Just before WWII, Chambers finally rejected communism, left the communist underground in the US and condemned it, later testifying in HUAC and the courts. Chambers was also a brilliant Columbia educated writer and linguist, with an encyclopedic knowledge of the sweep of history, and who became one of TIME magazine's top editors after jettisoning communism.

Quote Quote by Jasongreat View Post
This isnt an appeal to authority?
No, not in the slightest.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Argument_from_authority
AndrewSheldon
#23
Jan10-11, 03:42 PM
P: 16
Quote Quote by jreelawg View Post
Any kind of philosophy which attempts to define human nature and tell us how to live will attract critics.
Yes, it will if we have different views, and if we have a low respect for objectivity or regard for facts. You cannot escape your nature, so living a life which is not consonant with your nature is going to have implications.

Quote Quote by jreelawg View Post
She is clever, she makes some intelligent arguments, but in the end, the area she discusses is still gray.
Yes, clever, makes a lot of clever points, some original, mostly integrating points others have made, and in the process doing a better job integrating, and doing so in simple terms what the layman can appreciate.

Quote Quote by jreelawg View Post
Add to this, that many people take her philosophy as justification of what others believe to be corrupt, immoral, dishonorable, or destructive to our collective environment. By ones own rational self interests, the biosphere could be destroyed the day after they die via nuclear holocaust, without their concern. But some like to say, we're beyond that attitude or above it. How far beyond or above complete and total self interest one is depends on who they are.
Can't understand this reasoning...seems incoherent, but perhaps you are making the point that she demoralises people....which I agree. She uses words like evil. I tend to consider them acting contrary to human nature, immoral, sub-optimal.

Quote Quote by jreelawg View Post
Personally, I think that humans, like many other species are social animals which primarily generate their will, and enjoyment from social motivations. Our human nature/reward systems in the brain, as well, as our success as a population are dependent on relationships with the world around us.
Rand did not disagree with you on this point. She embraced love, trade, friendship, just not on the basis of altruism, which is really a repudiation of those values. Examine love in the collectivist world, and you will find a greater propensity for it to be functional rather than romantic. The Japanese, from external appearance don't divorce, but they were never there for romantic reasons, though they might like the notion, they cannot grasp it in abstract terms. This is a generalisation of course. Some Japanese are more American than Americans...if you follow.

Quote Quote by jreelawg View Post
Still, this is a subjective area in many ways.
Actually, its not...it embodies several sciences called philosophy, psychology, economics, history, law, even physics. Its objective, its knowable, its intelligible, and people would get it if they had more respect for facts, ideas, objectivity, and if they were better critical thinkers....and less specialised.

Quote Quote by jreelawg View Post
Who is to say this is who we are, and how we should live, or that is. I think anyone who thinks they have everything figured out too much has their head up there *** too far.
Well, if you are a scientist, it is your role? If you are a human being, you ought to have a particular interest as well. Philosophy does not say you should live in some specific concrete way, it outlines principles consonant with your nature, i.e. Not that you have to be a physicist, but that you need a sense of efficacy in order to develop a sense of worth. i.e. self esteem. Society, by repudiating egoism, makes that difficult.
Well, we can never have 'everything' figured out, but that is not required to live...so its a straw man you are creating there. We need enough to survive, then more to develop that sense of efficacy we talked about. Since you have a govt coercing you, then you need skills to solve that, or you repress or face conflict. Either is not good. So you grow or suffer.
Your resignation suggests moral scepticism. That is giving up.

Quote Quote by jreelawg View Post
I don't hate Ayn Rand, but reading her work isn't going to affect who I decide to be.
That is a surprising response given that you acknowledged that she had some interesting ideas.
AndrewSheldon
#24
Jan10-11, 03:48 PM
P: 16
Quote Quote by mheslep View Post
You're having some problems with usage. Smear: : a usually unsubstantiated charge or accusation against a person or organization. Here's some help: what you've just posted is a smear: calling Chambers critical book review a smear without substantiation, attributing to me the use of the term "genius" when I did not, suggesting that I ask you to "stop thinking" when I did no such thing and only point out that Chambers had a background with collectivists and was thus likely understood them if anyone did. Then, after putting together your response without the trouble to construct complete sentences you call the debate lazy.
Yes, I get your point...you are suggesting that I am a hypocrite because I am 'apparently smearing you' by sumising your lengthy argument. So why did you cite him....after 50 years, after she has written a great deal of non-fiction. You seem all too prepared to drop the context, and concern yourself with semantics.
AndrewSheldon
#25
Jan10-11, 03:52 PM
P: 16
Quote Quote by mheslep View Post
Yes that is 'appeal to authority' because you cited a 'famous person', otherwise explain why you cited such an old source. You are going back to publication date 60 years ago. Is that how you conduct your science?
jreelawg
#26
Jan10-11, 04:02 PM
P: 450
AndrewSheldon;3075945]Yes, it will if we have different views, and if we have a low respect for objectivity or regard for facts. You cannot escape your nature, so living a life which is not consonant with your nature is going to have implications.
I disagree with your view on objectivity. And if I can't escape my nature, then why does Ayn Rand have to remind us of what it is? Also I don't think science supports your views, in my opinion. As well, I also think that human nature is variable and adaptable in some of it's aspects in this context.

Yes, clever, makes a lot of clever points, some original, mostly integrating points others have made, and in the process doing a better job integrating, and doing so in simple terms what the layman can appreciate.
Clever doesn't imply something one should appreciate. I can make clever points in about any direction one could think of, so what.

Can't understand this reasoning...seems incoherent, but perhaps you are making the point that she demoralises people....which I agree. She uses words like evil. I tend to consider them acting contrary to human nature, immoral, sub-optimal.
I think it was pretty clear. Let my response to this be the same thing I already said.

Rand did not disagree with you on this point. She embraced love, trade, friendship, just not on the basis of altruism, which is really a repudiation of those values. Examine love in the collectivist world, and you will find a greater propensity for it to be functional rather than romantic. The Japanese, from external appearance don't divorce, but they were never there for romantic reasons, though they might like the notion, they cannot grasp it in abstract terms. This is a generalisation of course. Some Japanese are more American than Americans...if you follow.
Back to the last point. Should you be concerned if the biosphere were to be destroyed a day after you die?

Actually, its not...it embodies several sciences called philosophy, psychology, economics, history, law, even physics. Its objective, its knowable, its intelligible, and people would get it if they had more respect for facts, ideas, objectivity, and if they were better critical thinkers....and less specialised.
Or maybe they would be convinced if they had a looser and more selective interptation of facts.

Well, if you are a scientist, it is your role? If you are a human being, you ought to have a particular interest as well. Philosophy does not say you should live in some specific concrete way, it outlines principles consonant with your nature, i.e. Not that you have to be a physicist, but that you need a sense of efficacy in order to develop a sense of worth. i.e. self esteem. Society, by repudiating egoism, makes that difficult.
Well, we can never have 'everything' figured out, but that is not required to live...so its a straw man you are creating there. We need enough to survive, then more to develop that sense of efficacy we talked about. Since you have a govt coercing you, then you need skills to solve that, or you repress or face conflict. Either is not good. So you grow or suffer.
Your resignation suggests moral scepticism. That is giving up.
What does any of this have to do with physics?

That is a surprising response given that you acknowledged that she had some interesting ideas.
I never said interesting, I said clever, or intelligent. Hitler was also clever, so was Jim Jones, so was L. Ron Hubbard, so was Stalin etc, etc. I find Ayn Rand's philosophy an abuse of cleverness. The less clever layman is easily confused by such people. It may take someone clever and intelligent to realize they are full of it.
mheslep
#27
Jan10-11, 04:09 PM
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Quote Quote by AndrewSheldon View Post
Yes, I get your point...you are suggesting that I am a hypocrite because I am 'apparently smearing you' by sumising your lengthy argument.
I did not suggest, I stated that you were confused about the definition of a 'smear": no it is not something old, no it is not simply a criticism. As to hypocrisy you'll have to decide for yourself.
AndrewSheldon
#28
Jan10-11, 04:16 PM
P: 16
Quote Quote by mheslep View Post
A criticism does not a smear make, despite repetition. All this dismissal of her critics as deluded and not self aware is all fallacious nonsense. I cited Chamber's article not to debate Randianism per se but only as I said: to show how and when Ayn Rand's literature stopped gaining serious academic and intellectual attention. His review is alluded to widely by writers on the left and the right as Rand's zenith. If you want to actually engage the points of Chambers article, a different matter, take it up with the article itself.
Well, collectivists are experts at smear....it goes disguised in all manner of backhanded ways. It strikes me as cowardice to not form one's own ideas, but to cite other people. But then maybe you have not read her books, and might be better advised to not comment at all...until you have done so.
So why the repetition? Why from the 1950s?
Proton Soup
#29
Jan10-11, 04:23 PM
P: 1,070
Rand is polarizing. she takes the most extreme individualist position on the spectrum from individualism to collectivism. that's fine, so Rand is an extreme individualist. but that doesn't mean that humans are by nature extreme individualists. if most people disagree with Rand, then the logical conclusion is that most humans are by nature at least somewhat collectivist. and this is not surprising, as there are other collectivist species on the planet. i don't think we are bees, but we're hardly wolverines, either.

basically, i think that Rand sets herself up at odds with most of humanity. she has some good points, as individualism is important for us. but it's not the only thing, and we are somewhat collectivist, too.
Evo
#30
Jan10-11, 04:29 PM
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Quote Quote by AndrewSheldon View Post
Well, collectivists are experts at smear....it goes disguised in all manner of backhanded ways. It strikes me as cowardice to not form one's own ideas, but to cite other people. But then maybe you have not read her books, and might be better advised to not comment at all...until you have done so.
So why the repetition? Why from the 1950s?
Andrew you haven't even addressed the content of the review, you seem afraid to for some reason. Do you actually have anything to say about the content of the review that mheslep posted? If not, move along.
AndrewSheldon
#31
Jan10-11, 04:32 PM
P: 16
Quote Quote by jreelawg View Post
I disagree with your view on objectivity. And if I can't escape my nature, then why does Ayn Rand have to remind us of what it is? Also I don't think science supports your views, in my opinion. As well, I also think that human nature is variable and adaptable in some of it's aspects in this context.
Good point. You can't escape your constraints unless your force others to assume them or members of society to accept them. She opposes coercion. In what sense does science not support my view...admittedly their are specific scientists who argue a great number of things...any specifics?

Quote Quote by jreelawg View Post
Clever doesn't imply something one should appreciate. I can make clever points in about any direction one could think of, so what.
Actually appreciation implies value. Cleverness is one form of value. Perhaps you mean she has a great imagination.

Quote Quote by jreelawg View Post
Should you be concerned if the biosphere were to be destroyed a day after you die?
Silly to answer that question out of context. Context makes all the difference.

Quote Quote by jreelawg View Post
What does any of this have to do with physics?
Well, philosophy is underpinned by science. Values are derived from facts, whether its the nature of existence or human nature, i.e. A Christian might argue there is a god who created the earth. Physics is useful for invalidating the 17th century proposition that the earth was created in 6000 years.

Quote Quote by jreelawg View Post
I never said interesting, I said clever, or intelligent. Hitler was also clever, so was Jim Jones, so was L. Ron Hubbard, so was Stalin etc, etc. I find Ayn Rand's philosophy an abuse of cleverness. The less clever layman is easily confused by such people. It may take someone clever and intelligent to realize they are full of it.
Yes, I said 'interesting' as a general statement, thinking it implausible that anyone could find them clever. I have not read Jim Jones though. Have you read 'Mein Kampf', Hitler is incoherent. Well, I'll leave you to your reading list of 'cleverness', its not mine. Their depravity is interesting to understand. Clever? Ok, you go with that.
AndrewSheldon
#32
Jan10-11, 04:49 PM
P: 16
Quote Quote by Proton Soup View Post
Rand is polarizing.
Yes, she is...that is the implication of holding principles, people either accept or reject them. Conflict is a point of debate...it is how we grow if we don't bury our heads in the sand, or evade those questions raised.

Quote Quote by Proton Soup View Post
She takes the most extreme individualist position on the spectrum from individualism to collectivism. that's fine, so Rand is an extreme individualist.
Since when is 'extreme' a basis for assessing the morality worth of a proposition? Extremely what? Coherent, intelligent, rational? You are extremely unprincipled by arguing for a compromise. It is not a plausible standard.

Quote Quote by Proton Soup View Post
... but that doesn't mean that humans are by nature extreme individualists. if most people disagree with Rand, then the logical conclusion is that most humans are by nature at least somewhat collectivist. and this is not surprising, as there are other collectivist species on the planet. i don't think we are bees, but we're hardly wolverines, either.
Having answered your issue of 'extremism' above, I reject the idea of an 'extreme nature'. Moral absolutism is not a new concept. Christianity is based on it. The problem is that its dogma detached from reality. How can you be a physicist and not accept universal laws? Are they extreme as well? No, they are absolutes that apply in a specific context.
Yes, most people are at least partially collectivist, and also individualist...because they have to have some element of 'worth' otherwise they would be dead. If they were so lacking in initiative to not get off the ground to feed themselves they would be dead. The question is - by what theory do you accept a compromise between individualism and collectivism? Why the middle ground?
I don't think you can argue that animals are 'collectivist' per se....and I don't think the way humans are defines how we should be....so any comparison is moot.

Quote Quote by Proton Soup View Post
basically, i think that Rand sets herself up at odds with most of humanity. she has some good points, as individualism is important for us. but it's not the only thing, and we are somewhat collectivist, too.
Agreed, she is an oddity in a collectivist world, but that is not the point. Individualism was an oddity 300 years ago. Ask yourself why individualism is good? You say we are 'somewhat collectivist'....I would challenge yourself to break down what you mean by that. Do we mean we subjugate our values for others? If so, why? Should you marry a woman because she needs you? Rand does not repudiate society...she thinks its very important...merely she rejects altruism....which is not kindness....its slavery/servitude.
Proton Soup
#33
Jan10-11, 05:01 PM
P: 1,070
i'm not going to argue with you andrew. the only thing i mean by "extreme" or polar is that i think she sits on one end of a continuum between collectivist and individualist views. in fact, i had no idea that someone would find that assertion controversial.

if evangelism is your goal, then you'll have to go elsewhere. i read atlas shrugged several years ago and gained some inspiration from it then. so i can see things from her point of view. now, as a more experienced human, i no longer think she's completely right.
Evo
#34
Jan10-11, 05:05 PM
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This thread has been active with relatively little content. Let's try to have a worthwhile discussion without disecting whole thoughts into single sentences and put some actual thought into the responses please.
AndrewSheldon
#35
Jan10-11, 06:15 PM
P: 16
Quote Quote by Proton Soup View Post
i'm not going to argue with you andrew. the only thing i mean by "extreme" or polar is that i think she sits on one end of a continuum between collectivist and individualist views. in fact, i had no idea that someone would find that assertion controversial.
if evangelism is your goal, then you'll have to go elsewhere. i read atlas shrugged several years ago and gained some inspiration from it then. so i can see things from her point of view. now, as a more experienced human, i no longer think she's completely right.
I agree with all your points as you have clarified them. When I first read Rand, I pretty well accepted it all, but now have issues where I disagree with her....like lack of regard for empathy...but as I say, she doesn't repudiate it. But she is against slavery, sacrifice, welfare statism, etc. What has changes is that know knowledge has advanced and my critical thinking skills. I think she still offers a lot of value....but I have outgrown her....as you appear to have well. I cannot dismiss her value as some would...and I think she is the best introduction to a philosophy of individualism at this time...though I don't know those others mentioned as 'Objectivists' at Wikipedia. They might be better.
Sorry, if I sound pedantic, but that is the nature of philosophy. It entails being a stickler for detail, context, definition, etc.
I will end my contribution with that summation. :)
Proton Soup
#36
Jan10-11, 07:01 PM
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Quote Quote by AndrewSheldon View Post
I agree with all your points as you have clarified them. When I first read Rand, I pretty well accepted it all, but now have issues where I disagree with her....like lack of regard for empathy...but as I say, she doesn't repudiate it. But she is against slavery, sacrifice, welfare statism, etc. What has changes is that know knowledge has advanced and my critical thinking skills. I think she still offers a lot of value....but I have outgrown her....as you appear to have well. I cannot dismiss her value as some would...and I think she is the best introduction to a philosophy of individualism at this time...though I don't know those others mentioned as 'Objectivists' at Wikipedia. They might be better.
Sorry, if I sound pedantic, but that is the nature of philosophy. It entails being a stickler for detail, context, definition, etc.
I will end my contribution with that summation. :)
sure, there is value there. i think we're talking about why people "hate" her, though. maybe we could think of it as conflict instead. as you say:

and I don't think the way humans are defines how we should be
and that i think is a basis of conflict, to change a majority of people from something that they are, into what someone else thinks they should be. right or wrong becomes a matter of religion/philosophy, and even the rational self-interest of how much you have to gain or lose by adopting that philosophy.


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