Why do people hate Ayn Rand?

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I have read Atlas Shrugged and The Fountain head. I personally believe in them, and many other people that I talk to also believe in them. So why do other people hate the books and her? What train of thought gets them to disliking her work?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ayn_Rand
 
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  • #2
Math Is Hard
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Can you get more specific on the things that you often see criticized? Thanks.
 
  • #3
AndrewSheldon
Can you get more specific on the things that you often see criticized? Thanks.

I think that is the problem. Criticism of Rand is for the most part non-specific and a total smear job by collectivist. People love or hate her. At the end of the day, you have to live by your own judgement, and not substitute others judgement for your own. Physicists have more chance in this regard, but even physicists betray their 'craft', and in a social context will betray rationality because they are morally ambivalent.
Individualists like Rand, collectivists/statists do not. Why do they hate her? Because they are not honest. Knowledge or conflict is a threat to them, as opposed to an opportunity, i.e. a problem to resolve. Their theory of values is a betrayal of their nature as human beings, lest they accept reason as the standard of value. They don't want to acknowledge reasons, laws, but rather to live indulgently by relative or dogmatic standards. i.e. Being loved for being, not for anything they might think or achieve. It is the ultimate form of freedom they want; freedom from humanity. Yet they will describe her as a hater of humanity. All smear! You will have to read for yourself, and address any apparent contradictions yourself. She poses no threat to honest, rational people.
 
  • #4
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For some Rand bashing by an established philosophy professor, see Brian Leiter's blog:

http://leiterreports.typepad.com/bl...nessman-thinks-hack-philosopher-ayn-rand.html
http://leiterreports.typepad.com/blog/2008/10/more-fun-with-a.html

For an article that presents Rand's philosophical ideas, see http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/ayn-rand/. Note that this article simply presents ideas - it is not evaluative and does not present any criticisms or comparison to more widely accepted philosophy. From the SEP article:
Rand does not regard her own novels primarily as vehicles for her philosophy

Even Rand didn't consider her novels to be philosophy... they're literature. You can imagine how academic philosophers can become easily frustrated by those who don't recognize this and refuse to debate the topic within established rules of philosophical discourse.
 
  • #5
arildno
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Criticism of Rand is for the most part non-specific and a total smear job by collectivist.
Most likely because Ayn Rand's criticism is for the most part non-specific and a total smear job of collectivists.

You get what you give.
 
  • #6
HallsofIvy
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I once saw Ayn Rand on a television show. A person in the audience started a question with something like "I used to believe in your philosophy but now I know better" and Ms. Rand simply walked off the stage. Yes, the questioner was being rude, but Ms. Rand, by walking off, was putting down everyone else in the audience, as well as the host of the show.

I certainly wouldn't say there is any reason to "hate" Ms. Rand, by from what I have read about and by her, she was an egotistical, self centered, not very likeable person. Here "philosphy" was basically "get yours and never help other people".
 
  • #7
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The left hates her because of her devastating deconstruction of the foundations of socialism and communism.

The right tolerates her but doesn't like her because she's an athiest.

Simple enough I hope.
 
  • #8
AndrewSheldon
Most likely because Ayn Rand's criticism is for the most part non-specific and a total smear job of collectivists.
You get what you give.
I disagree. She dedicated entire essays to debating issues. If called to give a response in an interview there is no opportunity to present a comprehensive reply. It is a question of 'economy' or context. Perhaps if people looked at her philosophy in my depth, they would see more. I think it could also be argued in the case of her fiction, that their is a 'poetic license'. i.e. A symbolism or romanticism. Having studied her philosophy, she did not discard the context of ideas. She does make mistakes I believe...but her value is profoundly great, particularly her theory of values. She is the 'correct' next step after Nietzsche, who she was influenced by as a youth. Incidentally, his theory of values was likely corrupted by religion, which he came to later repudiated, but not without retaining the underlying collectivist creed. i.e. Christian concept of values. Rand struggled formulating a theory of values in the early years, i.e. Evident in The Fountainhead, where you can see Nietzschean influences.
I consider her 'moralism' to be a product of religion.
 
  • #9
AndrewSheldon
I once saw Ayn Rand on a television show. A person in the audience started a question with something like "I used to believe in your philosophy but now I know better" and Ms. Rand simply walked off the stage. Yes, the questioner was being rude, but Ms. Rand, by walking off, was putting down everyone else in the audience, as well as the host of the show.
Actually, your recollection is not correct. The guest did ask that question...interesting that you could get the quote right, but then say she walked off the show. Implied bias. She argued that she did not think it appropriate to answer her because the show was about her philosophy, and not 'in effect' about the struggles of the guest to understand it. Fair argument - she did not know the person so how can she speak to her issues. She was blunt in reply, but you could argue that she was justified, and also incensed by the question. You can see the interview with Phil Donahue on You Tube, I think there are 3 parts to it.

I certainly wouldn't say there is any reason to "hate" Ms. Rand, by from what I have read about and by her, she was an egotistical, self centered, not very likeable person. Here "philosphy" was basically "get yours and never help other people".
She did not defined these words the way you do. She did not consider use the word 'egotistical', she used the word 'egoism' to convey that a person should be primarily self-interested, as is implied by the concept of a trader (capitalist) who exchanges value for value. If you don't 'get to give' (implied caution), then you 'give to get' (confidence) in a trade context. She did not repudiate charity; she thought it was a side issue. i.e. She should have welcomed Warren Buffett's motives, but probably not a liberal like Bill Gates, who appears to be more motivated by the 'altruistic' desire to be a showman. But that is my interpretation. She does have 'unpleasant' aspects to her, but then they are personality issues, like tragic and moralistic, which I don't see as required by her philosophy. I personally don't use the word 'evil', or 'irrational', so I think there are mistakes. But her theory of values is very special.....she provides a correction to the flaws in Nietzsche, no doubt because she was able to greatly repudiate the religious impact on philosophy. I say thank you.
 
  • #10
AndrewSheldon
The left hates her because of her devastating deconstruction of the foundations of socialism and communism.
The right tolerates her but doesn't like her because she's an atheist.
Simple enough I hope.
Not quite. Both dislike her because she provides a coherent conceptual framework where they offer moral skepticism, or as you imply theistic dogmatism. This makes them feel 'fundamentally' insecure or vulnerable, so they are inclined to minimize or repudiate the significance of her work, or to totally smear and misrepresent her.
People don't like to be changed fundamentally...they tend to like slow incremental change. She shows that people need a total overhaul, and its a lot of work, and they don't have time for it...particularly since they realise any overhaul would place them in conflict with the rest of the world, so we seem destined to change over the long term...even if there are people who got her on their first reading. That is the power of democracy....to sabotage progress. Incidentally, she did not repudiate democracy...but only I think because she thought it could deliver minimal govt. I personally disagree. Democracy is merely legitimatised collectivism. Reason is not the standard of value....so she made mistakes. Sadly I don't get the sense with the Ayn Rand Institute has moved on much...they paradoxically seem to threat her like a god. Strategically inept I would say....bless their hearts. :)
 
  • #11
Jasongreat
Here "philosphy" was basically "get yours and never help other people".

I would describe it as "get yours and in doing so you will help other people".

Great ideas never come from the masses, they always come from the individual and in placing everyone in a collective, it robs both the individual as well as the masses. From time to time you will get individuals who will produce while in a collective, not because they are in a collective but in spite of being so, but more often the individual will sit back and allow the collective to produce for them, thereby robbing both themselves as well as everyone else of what their full potential could bring.

I think people hate her because they are too relient on others, which isnt neccesarilly a bad thing we all rely on others. Even the great individuals rely on others to build or buy their products, but those choices are voluntary. Those on the left hate her because their concept of helping others requires them to take resources from the masses(social theft) to give to the individual. Those on the right that hate her it is because they require the masses to live the way they feel is right(moral theft) so they, an individual, can live the life they want. Both beliefs seem more self centered and selfish to me than anything expoused by Ayn Rand.
 
  • #12
AndrewSheldon
I would describe it as "get yours and in doing so you will help other people".
The problem with that is that people might interpret 'others as being the end', i.e. She repudiated utilitarianism. Helping others was secondary, even if inherent in any trade. i.e. A person trades if their is ultimately some benefit to them.

Great ideas never come from the masses, they always come from the individual and in placing everyone in a collective, it robs both the individual as well as the masses. From time to time you will get individuals who will produce while in a collective, not because they are in a collective but in spite of being so, but more often the individual will sit back and allow the collective to produce for them, thereby robbing both themselves as well as everyone else of what their full potential could bring.
I agree. I am currently reading the History of Science, and its remarkable how just a few people really did a lot, how a great many scientists said 'You should do this experiment', and just how healthy the pursuit of objective facts makes people. Why is why engineers and geologists are more prone to accept Rand than say physicists perhaps because they are more likely to rationalise.

I think people hate her because they are too relient on others, which isnt neccesarilly a bad thing we all rely on others. Even the great individuals rely on others to build or buy their products, but those choices are voluntary. Those on the left hate her because their concept of helping others requires them to take resources from the masses(social theft) to give to the individual. Those on the right that hate her it is because they require the masses to live the way they feel is right(moral theft) so they, an individual, can live the life they want. Both beliefs seem more self centered and selfish to me than anything expoused by Ayn Rand.
I think you are legitimately drawing a point of differentiation, though I don't think the issue is voluntarism. Conditionality is the issue. They want to depend on others, as opposed to being 'traders' as Rand indicated. They want to be loved for subjective (i.e. moral relativism) or intrinsic (i.e. for being), not for reasons, i.e. things they do.
Actually, you are conveying my earlier point...she repudiated your conception of selfish. That selfish is doing as you please....as the collectivist defines it. There is an objective measure of value. Two step process:
1. Act in your self interest or for others
2. What constitutes your self-interest - respect for facts, God or subjective indulgence
The fact that they are 'selfish' as you say is if they are more desperate, in the sense that their values do not serve them. In such cases, if its moral to give, its practical to take. The trader cannot make that rationalisation, unless he thinks values are subjective, as Nietzsche did....and he grew up in a religious family. I think if you did an empirical study, you would find natural scientists would commit fewer crimes than other areas of academic achievement. Because of respect for facts and objectivity...even acknowledging the moral conflict. I think they would happily compartmentalise their lives.
 
  • #13
mheslep
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I have read Atlas Shrugged and The Fountain head. I personally believe in them, and many other people that I talk to also believe in them. So why do other people hate the books and her? What train of thought gets them to disliking her work?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ayn_Rand

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 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Whittaker_Chambers" [Broken] 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.

At the time of the book review Buckley was creating the coherent intellectual foundations of the conservative right in America, and negotiating with various intellectual bents including libertarians, rejecting some of nuttier ones such as the http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Birch_Society" [Broken]. Though Rand was gaining a following at the time, I think it fair to say that it was this review that stopped her momentum, or at least ended her chances of gaining further serious intellectual respect.

http://www.nationalreview.com/articles/222482/big-sister-watching-you/flashback" [Broken], Whittaker Chambers, NR, December 1957.
 
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  • #14
AndrewSheldon
Though Rand was gaining a following at the time, I think it fair to say that it was this review that stopped her momentum, or at least ended her chances of gaining further serious intellectual respect.
Having argued already that Rand is often smeared....you take it upon yourself to dig up smear from the 1950s. Should we stop thinking because you acknowledge this person as a genius....thus falling for a popular fallacy...argument from authority. Citing smears must be the lowest form of debate....or the laziest?
How can you argue that she was not taken seriously...since the 1950s her two most popular books have never been out of print. That feat is performed by the bible (her nemesis) and a few others. Not that it is important. It is true to say that she was not taken seriously by 'serious philosophers', but that is less so today, and like any philosopher, it takes time to change values. It does not help that philosophers are mostly academics detached from the real world, and that they hold deep seated contradictions in the realm of epistemology. It does not help that they are govt funded, so pursuing a govt agenda from the start. It would be miraculous to expect 'serious philosophers' to take her seriously.
Ask yourself why lay persons take would prefer to read her books than philosophers. Dare I say she is more coherent and relevant. He is not representative of them all, but having attended a lecture by a specific philosopher a month ago, its not uncommon to hear philosophers acknowledge that they are really just wasting your time. They have nothing to contribute to the issues...that they are sorry they ever became a philosophy...it was just an opportunity that come up when they met an academic at the pub. But its an income...so at your cost they will happily recite/critique other philosophers. That is what you are doing, and offering no value in the process.
 
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  • #15
mheslep
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Having argued already that Rand is often smeared....you take it upon yourself to dig up smear from the 1950s. Should we stop thinking because you acknowledge this person as a genius....thus falling for a popular fallacy...argument from authority. Citing smears must be the lowest form of debate....or the laziest?
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.
 
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  • #16
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Ask yourself why lay persons take would prefer to read her books than philosophers.
Because like dime store novels escapism sells, in this case to secret mountain fortresses.
 
  • #17
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Any kind of philosophy which attempts to define human nature and tell us how to live will attract critics.

She is clever, she makes some intelligent arguments, but in the end, the area she discusses is still gray.

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.

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.

Still, this is a subjective area in many ways. 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.

I don't hate Ayn Rand, but reading her work isn't going to affect who I decide to be.
 
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  • #18
AndrewSheldon
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 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 background with collectivists and 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.

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. He attacks her work of fiction as if it was her philosophy. 'Stop thinking' is implied by citing smear, when there are more credible/factual/interesting things to cite....a litany of them. It says something about your sense of objectivity. But you can digress with 'letter of the law' interpretations of what I write, and drop the context, that is your liberty. You assume that collectivists are self-aware...they are not. They repudiate science at its root - objectivity. Actually, I suggested two alternates....one was lazy.
 
  • #19
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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.
 
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  • #20
Jasongreat
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 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Whittaker_Chambers" [Broken] 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.
 
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  • #21
mheslep
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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.
 
  • #22
mheslep
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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 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Whittaker_Chambers" [Broken] 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.


This isnt an appeal to authority?
No, not in the slightest.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Argument_from_authority
 
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  • #23
AndrewSheldon
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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.
 
  • #24
AndrewSheldon
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.
 
  • #25
AndrewSheldon
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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.
 
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  • #27
mheslep
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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.
 
  • #28
AndrewSheldon
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?
 
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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.
 
  • #30
Evo
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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.
 
  • #31
AndrewSheldon
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?

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.

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.

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.

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.
 
  • #32
AndrewSheldon
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.

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.

... 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.

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.
 
  • #33
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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.
 
  • #34
Evo
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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.
 
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  • #35
AndrewSheldon
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. :)
 

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