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Old 03-06-2010, 07:39 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Ayn Rand

The more I learn about her the more I like. An atheist, she argued for liberty over collectivism. I'm not sure how well read everyone is on her, but I think some of you would find her very like-minded. She's most well known for her novel, Atlas Shrugged, which I have yet to read. Here are some clips to give you an idea:

Liberty vs Socialism

Faith vs Reason

Objectivism vs Altruism

Rand vs Obama (and a little bit of McCain, too!)

I'd like to discuss agreements and disagreements with her philosophies in this thread.

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Old 03-06-2010, 12:25 PM   #2 (permalink)
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first video: lawzayfair doesn't work i disagree

2nd video: religion and faith is for stupid people I agree

3rd: A harsh view point. It would be interesting to see what our culture would be like with this moral outlook. Right now the attitude is people feel entitled to have what others have but they don't. I society where personal responsibility was emphasized would probably be a lot better once it reached maturity.

However, transitioning to this kind of moral outlook would get very ugly. Poor people and niggers living and dying on the streets. There would be a lot of suffering and maybe even war between the haves vs the have nots. Then again, people who are have nots wouldn't last very long because they'd need someone with personal responsibility to lead them This would make a good movie.

4th video: I don't watch crude cut and pastes

#YOLO

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Old 03-06-2010, 01:12 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I'm in the middle of The Fountainhead now, and have been for about three months. Honestly, since Dominique married Peter Keating on top of being a superbitch the entire novel, it's really hard for me to stay interested.

Psychedelics are illegal not because a loving government is concerned that you may jump out of a third story window. Psychedelics are illegal because they dissolve opinion structures and culturally laid down models of behavior and information processing.

― Terence McKenna

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Old 03-07-2010, 01:03 PM   #4 (permalink)
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She gets better, Blonde.

I read The Fountainhead and am halfway through Atlas Shrugged as we speak. I agree with 99% of what Rand has to say, but as literature the books are only average. Still important that this view of how humans interact be voiced, because in these times her message is very real.


The basis of our governments being the opinion of the people, the very first object should be to keep that right; and were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers, or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter. But I should mean that every man should receive those papers and be capable of reading them.
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Old 03-07-2010, 09:28 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I'm not sure if this is the thread for it, but I'm trying to understand the political situation in the US (and world) on a grander scale lately because it seems that my view is a pretty narrow one. A buddy of mine from AZ is very anti government and i've been communicating with him on facebook on the subject, this is a message he sent me last night, let me know what you guys think...
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Hey Sam, sorry I didn't get back to you before. Until a few months ago I viewed government as a necessary evil, and I believed that we needed it for the rule of law. For this discussion when I refer to “The State” I am not referring to any state in particular, but to the group who is in power and chooses to exercise their will on the general population, be it Federal, State or local.

Firstly, the concept of “The State” is diametrically opposed to the concept of the individual. “The State” is an illusion of “group will” created by democracy, itself a bastardized and unstable form of government. Those who seek power simply convince the people that they should vote for the horse whom the rich and powerful special interests put in the race. They do this by using their money (be it corporate or private) to fund multi-million dollar advertising campaigns. Once the “representatives” are elected, they do the will of their master, forcibly taking money from the productive people working efficiently in the private sector and giving it to those unproductive special interests for whom they work. Our entire Senate is filled with racehorses of this type, all serving the will of special interest groups rather than preserving the best interests of the individual. The banking system is a perfect example, and we see the effect it has had. The dollar is collapsing and the government, rather than cutting spending is taking spending to new levels, further undermining the stability of the US dollar.

On a side note, I would be very interested to hear your perspective on this based on what the people in Korea are saying. I know that Asia is in charge now, they have all the productivity and we have nothing but little green pieces of paper. Real power is always the power to produce.

This is not how our republic was designed to run, we vote too much and so it is the popular face with the advertising dollars who assumes the position of power.

Secondly, we must examine the nature of government. Government necessarily consumes more than it produces, because it produces nothing (with the exception of the now state owned GM, the first example of which I am aware of the Federal Government assuming possession of the means of production, which is by definition communism). The reason for this is simple inefficiency. In the private sector prices are set based on the value a particular good or service is worth to an individual. In government, revenues are extracted by force from the individuals, assigned to projects that will never produce anything (by bureaucrats), and lost in a tale of inefficiency with too many long and sad examples to need my explanation (if the acronym DMV still sounds familiar).

Because we have a society which has become so dependent on the nanny state, there would be a great deal of commotion caused by eliminating government from the current system. For example, if we suddenly fired all the cops, there would be a period of time in which “crime” (as defined by the state) would go up. Since the police spend most of their time committing the crimes of a police state (taking private funds by force and using them to chase down people who have done nothing to hurt anyone else) rather than protecting individual liberty and protecting personal property rights, the period of time which followed the elimination of the police force would necessarily incur an increase in some crimes. Theft and Vandalism would probably go up, but suddenly crimes that hurt nobody would be utterly meaningless. The revenues paid to police forces (extorted by the state with the threat of prison time if you don't pay) would be kept in the productive private sector. This is a huge decrease in theft which would result instantly from the abolition of police forces.

Currently the upper class is involved in a war waged against the middle class using the State as their army. They over tax and over regulate the middle class and upcoming small businesses in order to gain special privilege and maintain the status quo.

If we did not have public police, what we would have is HOA's which offered private security to deter theft, and we would have private detectives to investigate crimes. While vigilante justice may sound a little wild west, assuredly it would cause less harm and less death than the “mob rule” of Democracy and the attempts of the state to control the individuals and the economy. Prosperity would skyrocket, and sites like Yelp and Amazon would take the place of government regulations. Investment would be done using the principles of logic rather than having faith in the FDIC, which can only create inflation. Government has done only harm for this country, but they call it good and the sheeple listen.

It is never in an individuals own economic best interest to go to war. For this reason the freedom of the individual and it's associated Lassiez Faire system are the only means to producing a nation free from the huge cost associated with war. If attacked, the private citizens would arm themselves and defend themselves against invasion. If left alone, they would continue to prosper at a rate unheard of in highly regulated economies such as the one we have now. We experienced this to a much greater degree in the late 1800's and early 1900's, up until the Federal Reserve was implemented, excessive government controls were instituted and our boom and bust economy was born, running faster than its feet due to inflation and then toppling over in a fit of disappearing money.

The bottom line is, the government is collapsing under it's own weight. All government necessarily grows parasitically, smothering the efficient and productive private sector economy which tries to keep it afloat. We have a closed system with only two parties. This is nothing but the illusion of choice.

There may be an ideal of small government and minimal regulation, in any event the current system is not this ideal, and that is why the laboring masses in the private sector economy can no longer support the millions of inefficient, zero production government workers.

For further info, Ayn Rand has written extensively on the subject and I find her views to be in line with my own 95% of the time.

The Ayn Rand Center for Individual Rights: "The Nature of Government", by Ayn Rand

Psychedelics are illegal not because a loving government is concerned that you may jump out of a third story window. Psychedelics are illegal because they dissolve opinion structures and culturally laid down models of behavior and information processing.

― Terence McKenna

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Old 03-08-2010, 12:11 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Your friend has the right general ideas, but his examples are pretty bad.


The basis of our governments being the opinion of the people, the very first object should be to keep that right; and were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers, or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter. But I should mean that every man should receive those papers and be capable of reading them.
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Old 03-08-2010, 12:26 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Well don't just say they're bad, give better ones.

Psychedelics are illegal not because a loving government is concerned that you may jump out of a third story window. Psychedelics are illegal because they dissolve opinion structures and culturally laid down models of behavior and information processing.

― Terence McKenna
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Old 04-21-2010, 11:37 PM   #8 (permalink)
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This is a dialogue from near the end of The Fountainhead. I spent some time yesterday typing it out. It's worth the read.


---------------------------------------------------------
What have you been thinking about these past weeks?

The principle behind the dean who fired me from Stanton.

What principle?

The thing that is destroying the world. The thing you were talking about. Actual selflessness.

The ideal which they say does not exist?

They're wrong. It does exist--though not in the way they imagine. It's what I couldn't understand about people for a long time. They have no self. They live within others. They live second-hand. Look at Peter Keating.

You look at him. I hate his guts.

I've looked at him--at what's left of him--and it's helped me to understand. He's paying the price and wondering for what sin and telling himself that he's been too selfish. In waht act of thought of his has there ever been a self? What was his aim in life? Greatness--in other people's eyes. Fame, admiration, envy--all that which comes from others. Others dictated his convictions, which he did not hold, but he was satisifed that others believed he held them. Others were his motive power and his prime concern. He didn't want to be great, but to be thought great. He didn't want to build, but to be admired as a builder. He borrowed from others in order to make an impression on others. There's your actual selflessness. It's his ego he's betrayed and given up. But everybody calls him selfish.

That's the pattern most people follow.

yes! And isn't that the root of every despicable action? Not selfishness, but precisely the absence of a self. Look at them. The man who cheats and lies, but preserves a respectable front. He knows himself to be dishonest, but others think he's honest and he derives his self-respect from that, second hand. The man who takes credit for an achievement which is not his own. He knows himself to be mediocre, but he's great in the eyes of others. The frustrated wretch who professes love for the inferior and clings to those less endowed, in order to establish his own superiority by comparison. The man whose sole aim is to make money. Now I don't see anything evil in a desire to make money. But money is only a means to some end. If a man wants it for a personal purpose--to invest in his industry, to create, to study, to travel, to enjoy luxury--he's completely moral. But the men who place money first go much beyond that. Personal luxury is a limited endeavor. What they want is ostentation: to show, to stun, to entertain, to impress Others. They're second-handers. Look at our so-called cultural endeavors. A lecturer who spouts some borrowed rehash of nothing at all that means nothing to him--and the people who listen and don't give a damn, but sit there in order to tell their friends that they have attended a lecture by a famous name. All second-handers.

If I were Ellsworth Toohey, I'd say: aren't you making out a case against selfishness? Aren't they all acting on a selfish motive--to be noticed, liked, admired?

--by others. At the price of their own self-respect. In the realm of greatest importance, the realm of values, of judgment, of spirit, of thought--they place others above self, in the exact manner which altruism demands. A truly selfish man cannot be affected by the approval of others. He doesn't need it.

I think Toohey understands that. That's what helps him spread his vicious nonsense. Just weakness and cowardice. It's so easy to run others. It's so hard to stand on one's own record. You can fake virtue for an audience. You can't fake it in your own eyes. Your ego is the strictest judge. They run from it. They spend their lives running. It's easier to donate a few thousand to chairty and think of oneself noble than to base self-respect on personal standards of personal achievement. It's simple to seek substitutes for competence--such easy subsitutes: love, charm, kindness, charity. But there is no substitute for competetence.

That, precisely, is the deadliness of second-handers. They have no concern for facts, ideas, work. They're concerned only with people. They don't ask: 'Is this true?' They ask: 'Is this what others think is true?' Not to judge, but to repeat. Not to do, but to give the impression of doing. Not creation, but show. Not ability, but friendship. Not merit, but pull. What would happen to the world without those who do, think work, produce? Those are the egotists. you don't think through another's brain and you don't work through another's hands. When you suspend your faculty of independent judgment, you suspend consciousness. To stop consciousness is to stop life. Second-handers have no sense of reality. Their reality is not within them, but somewhere in that space which divides one human body frmo another. Not an entity, but a relation--anchored to nothing. That's the emptiness I couldn't understand in people. That's what stopped me whenever I faced a committee. Men without an ego. Opinion without a rational process. Motion without brakes or motor. Power without responsibility. The second-hander acts, but the source of his actions is scattered in every other living person. It's everywhere and nowhere and you can't reason with him. He's not open to reason. You can't speak to him--he can't hear. You're tried by an empty bench. A blind mass running amuck, to crush you without sense or purpose. Steve Mallory couldn't define the monster, but he know. That's the drooling beast he fears. The second-hander.

I think your second-handers understand this, try as they might not to admit it to themselves. Notice how they'll accept anything except a man who stands alone. They recognize him at once. By instinct. There's a special, insidious kind of hatred for him. They forgive criminals. They admire dictators. Crime and violence are a tie. A form of mutual dependence. They need ties. They've got to force their miserable little personalities on every single person they meet. The independent man kills them--because they don't exist within him and that's the only form of existence they know. Notice the malignant kind of resentment towards any idea that propounds independence. Notice the malice towards an independent man. Look back at your own life, Howard, and at the people you've met. They know. They're afraid. You're a reproach.

That's because some sense of dignity always remains in them. They're still human beings. But they've been taught to seek tehmselves in others. Yet no man can achieve teh kind of absolute humility that would need no self-esteem in any form. he wouldn't survive. So after scenturies of being pounded with the doctrine that altruism is teh ultimate ideal, men have accepted it in the only way it could be accepted. By seeking self-esteem through others. By living second-hand. And it has has opened the way for every kind of horror. It has become the dreadful form of selfishness which a truly selfish man couldn't have conceived. And now, to cure a world perishing from selflessness, we're asked to destroy the self. Listen to what is being preached today. Look at everyone around us. You've wondered why they suffer, why they seek happiness and never find it. If any man stopped and asked himself whether he's ever held a personal desire, he'd find the answer. He'd see that all his wishes, his efforts, his dreams, his ambitions are motivated by other men. He's not really struggling even for material wealth, but for the second-handers delusion--prestige. A stamp of approval, not his own. he can find now joy in the struggle and no joy when he has succeeded. He can't say about a single thing: 'This is what I wanted because I wanted it, not because it made my neighbors gape at me. Then he wonders why he's unhappy. Every form of happiness is private. Our greatest moments are personal, self motivated, not to be touched. The things which are sacred or precious to us are teh things we withdraw from promiscuous sharing. But now were are taught to throw everything whtin us into public light and common pawing. To seek joy in meeting halls. We haven't even got a word for teh quality I mean--for the self-sufficiency of man's spirit. It's difficult to call it selfishness or egotism, the words have been perverted, they've come to mean Peter Keating. Gail, I think the only cardinal evil on earth is that of placing your prime concern with other men. I've always demanded a certain quality in the people I liked. I've always recognized it at once--and it's the only quality I respect in men. I chose my friends by that. Now I know what it is. A self-sufficient ego. Nothing else matters.

Psychedelics are illegal not because a loving government is concerned that you may jump out of a third story window. Psychedelics are illegal because they dissolve opinion structures and culturally laid down models of behavior and information processing.

― Terence McKenna
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Old 04-22-2010, 10:17 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Your friend seems pretty contradictory Blonde; if you randomly read a short selection from there it stands about a 50% chance of looking like he is trying to be socialist but he tries to shoe-horn his ideas into being about personal freedom. Any good and coherent thoughts he have seem to be quite by accident; for him to claim that his thoughts line up with Ayn Rand 95% of the time is just downright insulting to her.

This general idea of considering successful people "evil fat cats" and what have you, it is just tired and annoying; you can't talk about wanting freedom in the objectivist sense and then talk about how horrible it is that people spend money to advertise, the two go hand in hand. Same for special interests really; people use that term as a horrible slander, in reality it is the most effective voice for many free market ideals.

His bit on taxes seems to be pretty close to right, not particularly eloquent, but much better than the rest of his ramble.

The idea that the upper class is overtaxing the middle class is just baffling, first off it is factually hard to reconcile with the fact that the top 5% of earners pay half of all taxes while the bottom 50% pays something like 3%. The people voting for the insane tax rates are not the people actually making money, that is quite clear.

It isn't the productive people of the world who vote for socialism, it is those who wish to take what those people have earned, those who want to buy votes by what boils down to armed robbery of the productive members of society to pay off the moochers.

He keeps harping on how easy it would be to get rid of the justice system; forgetting for a moment the problems that brings for peoples personal freedoms and liberty, it just reeks of naivety in terms of application. If you look at things like the drug business or protection/extortion shakedowns, you will realize that certain people are always going to become quite powerful and become at least as oppressive as any police force.

The statement that it is "never" in anybodies best economic interest to go to war again shows a pretty naive understanding.

Oh god, he uses the word "sheeple," is he 12? It is increasingly hard to take this guy even remotely seriously.
More than likely this is just his flavor of the week in terms of personal belief, I'm sure fairly soon he will stop performing coat hanger abortions on Objectivism and go back to being really pissed off at the cop at school who caught him smoking.

Next he moves on to talking about how what the government calls "regulation" is bad for business, which along with being an affront to personal freedom it certainly is. While he is talking about business there seems to be an undercurrent talking about how businesses are too big, that only physical production is real business, and things of that nature, maybe I am reading too much into it though. If he is trying to say that modern business, that isn't necessarily based on making "things" or physical goods, is bad, it is just another example of saying he wants freedom but not actually meaning it.

The guy quite clearly doesn't have any real understanding of what he is talking about, just a bunch of random statements that don't really fit together and don't actually fit the ideals he claims he supports.
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Old 04-22-2010, 10:54 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Yeah, I wrote him back after he sent me that, not able to take it apart to the level as some of you guys did, but a few things in that message (mainly the abolition of law and police forces) didn't really rub me the right way.

Psychedelics are illegal not because a loving government is concerned that you may jump out of a third story window. Psychedelics are illegal because they dissolve opinion structures and culturally laid down models of behavior and information processing.

― Terence McKenna
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Old 04-23-2010, 10:59 PM   #11 (permalink)
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I do think that part of it is interesting to think about though; weighing the idea of being as free as possible, which presents an issue of how do you not take away peoples freedoms but also not allow other parties to interfere with those freedoms.

For me it really comes down to consent and, strangely, geography. Ideally people would be able to live in whatever sort of society they want, but the trick is obviously keeping one society from interfering with another, and a problem that obviously comes up is that there is only so much physical space. People would also face the question of change in society vs a change of society.
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Old 04-24-2010, 02:15 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Beebs View Post
I do think that part of it is interesting to think about though; weighing the idea of being as free as possible, which presents an issue of how do you not take away peoples freedoms but also not allow other parties to interfere with those freedoms.

For me it really comes down to consent and, strangely, geography. Ideally people would be able to live in whatever sort of society they want, but the trick is obviously keeping one society from interfering with another, and a problem that obviously comes up is that there is only so much physical space. People would also face the question of change in society vs a change of society.
wouldn't work, the socially irresponsible and poor people would join one society, everyone else the other

#YOLO
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Old 04-25-2010, 12:43 AM   #13 (permalink)
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What wouldn't work? I'm not really proposing anything.
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Old 04-25-2010, 02:19 AM   #14 (permalink)
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Old 05-21-2010, 04:56 PM   #15 (permalink)
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I like Rand okay as a writer. As a philosopher, not so much.

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Old 05-22-2010, 03:14 PM   #16 (permalink)
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I like Rand okay as a writer. As a philosopher, not so much.
Strange, not in the sense that you're necessarily wrong to disagree with her, but I find her writing a bit long-winded from a literature point of view.
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Old 05-23-2010, 08:20 AM   #17 (permalink)
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I like Rand okay as a writer. As a philosopher, not so much.
Complete opposite for me.


The basis of our governments being the opinion of the people, the very first object should be to keep that right; and were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers, or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter. But I should mean that every man should receive those papers and be capable of reading them.
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Old 05-24-2010, 12:35 PM   #18 (permalink)
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I'll explain.

As a philosophy I thought her "objectivism" pretty much just borrowed from others wherever it suited her. I thought Atlas was kind of like a Freshmen level Ethics Survey Course with different characters playing different theories with a few twists put in. The most obvious was Rand's criticism of Kant through James Taggart. The long winded speeches were kinda necessary to to club the reader over the head in what theory she's spelling out, like Francisco's "money is good" and Galt's spiel that sums up the whole objectivism.

I'm in the camp that really doesn't buy Objectivism as a philosophy as put forth in some of her works like "virtue of selfishness." But that doesn't mean I don't like her stuff. For the most part I think she's right on in some areas. I begrudgingly accept that Cantor is correct on his theorem of diagonalization. However, I never want to fucking reading a work of fiction about anti-diagonals. I did like her fiction in that it took the different philosophical theories and played them out with characters. The Fountainhead and Atlas were pretty cool in that regard.

I also really need to point out that I'm not trying to bash Rand. To do so is akin to the throwing the baby out with the bath water. There are a large number of commentators on philosophy of various types. To me Rand is one of the best commentators. You know where she's coming from, you get the idea of what she's conveying, and she puts it into perhaps the most possible interesting package.

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Old 12-07-2010, 05:44 PM   #19 (permalink)
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I recently read Atlas Shrugged. What I liked about it was she really breaks down the arguments to their fundamentals and by the end, you know exactly why you agree or disagree with her. I happen to agree (so far). I liked her simplified 3-role government. Protect citizens from foreign, domestic, and legal enemies (military, police, and courts), having absolutely nothing to do with individual morality. And the rapey sex was just chicken soup for the deployed man's soul.
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Old 12-08-2010, 01:32 PM   #20 (permalink)
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I was just talking about Atlas Shrugged yesterday... I was reading it when this semester started and had to stop. I was only about 200 pages in, but it was pretty good up until then. I suppose I'll have to find some time for it soon.

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Old 12-08-2010, 03:10 PM   #21 (permalink)
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It's a really frustrating book to read, because it takes the long way around so many times that what should have been a large book becomes an absurdly large book. The points could have been just as well made without making it bible-thick.

I mean, it's good writing, but I don't want to watch a ten hour movie either.
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Old 12-08-2010, 10:55 PM   #22 (permalink)
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I like Atlas okay. But then again I reread Fountainhead again earlier this year for the first time in forever. Until this year I thought Fountainhead was a good bridge between Atlas and Anthem, now I think Fountainhead is a piece of shit. I kinds wanted to kick Roark in the teeth for being such a sanctimonious pussy.

I imagine I'd hate Atlas at this stage of life. I'd probably want to blow up the train that Dagney and Reardon are on. I don't give a fuck who John Galt is by the time she gets to him or dropping out of society on strike. So I'm not gonna reread Atlas. It's one of my all-time favorites.

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Old 12-09-2010, 01:07 AM   #23 (permalink)
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I never did find out who that cocksucker is.

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Old 12-09-2010, 01:08 AM   #24 (permalink)
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Related note; Rand sure was a big fan of rape fantasies.
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Old 12-09-2010, 02:37 PM   #25 (permalink)
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So is mr. Blonde. Albeit youngish Asians girls seem to his thing.

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