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The perils of Objectivism
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Author:  giselle [ Fri Nov 30, 2012 6:20 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The perils of Objectivism

johnson1010 wrote:
I suggested that he should have "pants'd" her, then turned on his brights so that everyone could laugh at her.

HA! I see we are thinking along the same lines. Your suggestion is even ruder than mine but similarly would make the point loud and clear! I'll bet this lady would start carrying a shovel about in her van .. Or maybe she'd switch to public transit! Reduce green house gases! Wow, I'm convinced. Think I'll paste a picture of Ayn Rand on my wall right now.

Well, ok, maybe not just yet. But this does bring a question to mind - are 'objectivists' actually nasty, uncivilized, uncaring people so swallowed up in their individualist thinking that even such rude behavior is possible in the name of their ideology? Or is this behavior just a 'put-on' that covers up a kind, tender heart that is fearful of being taken advantage of and so creates a lot of bluster about individualism and so forth to cloak that vulnerability?

Author:  Mr A [ Fri Nov 30, 2012 6:23 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The perils of Objectivism

Interbane wrote:

EDIT - I missed the consequences of your answer. You believe it is okay to let good people die on the street, meanwhile letting millionaires keep money that in many cases, was unjustly acquired. Really?


They certainly are entitled to their money, unless they stole the money, fraud, etc. Otherwise, its theirs, by right. The money I earn working, or aquire through my investments, all mine, by right. As long as those millions were not stolen, or they used fraud or some other use of force against others, it is theirs by right. Those starving people, as there are plenty of them around the world today, hold absolutely no claim to a single solitary penny of mine or a millionaires.

Author:  JamesALindsay [ Fri Nov 30, 2012 7:19 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The perils of Objectivism

Mr. A, a primary point that you seem to be missing is that the reason the money you earn is all yours, by right, is because of the social contract that makes that construction possible. Since this whole diversion seems to have arisen around "what claim does anyone else have on your property?" this is imminently relevant. That is not the same thing as saying that they have absolutely any claim to be able to walk up to you and say, "Mr A, you have too much money, and the value of that money--and the property that it represents--is secured by a social contract in which I'm a part, so give me some." You seem to think that the opposition to your point is that people just get to come in and demand that you give them "your" money. That's embarrassingly juvenile.

The reality is that the money and property you possess is secured by a social contract made up of everyone in the society (and, as I noted before, a legal architecture that arises from the government that exists as an extension of the people in the society--now that we've invented democracies). Therefore, that society collectively through the actions of the government has a claim on putting restrictions on what you can and cannot do with that money, and they also possess the ability (even the right, since it's a socially agreed-upon aspect of the social structure you make your living in and thus are beholden to) to request that their corporation, if you will allow the slight abuse of language, the government, can establish laws, taxes, and regulations that regulate how you can use your money and how much of it you pay back into society to build the collective enterprise.

It seems that if you cannot get your head around this point that you're probably not worth continued discussion, though, because it is the central key to understanding the phenomenon of a society upon which your Objectivist dreams rest. The main problem with Objectivism is that it simultaneously wants to benefit from the social contract while asserting that it is independent from it--rather like a surly teenager that loves to pretend that Mom and Dad aren't enabling their entire surly adventure.

Author:  JamesALindsay [ Fri Nov 30, 2012 7:40 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The perils of Objectivism

I am thinking I should add that however much you don't like the social contract of your society, you are a part of it and beholden to it. You're welcome to complain about it (now that we've invented free speech as a part of the social contract) and welcome to try to change it (now that we've invented democracy and the right to a vote and active part of the political process), and, if you happen to possess the opportunistic freedom, if you don't like it, you're welcome to leave and choose a different social contract to live under, specifically by choosing to live under a different governmental system. Liberia and Somalia are particularly close to the Objectivist ideal, if you're looking for any that subscribe to that sort of philosophy. The Western democracies, however, do not subscribe to that philosophy. As I said, complain or try to change it, but do not expect that the social contract doesn't apply to you. You live in this society, and you benefit hugely from living in this society, and thus you are beholden to the prices (taxes, regulations, etc.) that have actually succeeded in making this society worth living in. In that way, though, all of us possess some claim upon you and your property because it's only by our mutual agreement that you can call your property yours and that you have any in the first place.

EDIT: That we have this social contract that enables property rights creates a strong motivation for all of us to ensure that those rights are used responsibly, in a way that does not impact our negative liberties (as they are actually defined, not the warped Objectivist redefinition of that term) more than we can stand. Since essentially no individual has the power to stand up to a highly wealthy person or, more notably, a corporation of people, we use government as the collective enterprise of "the people" (remember those "We the people, in order to form a more perfect Union..." words?) to protect our individual liberties. For example, we might want to protect our liberty to clean air and water and thus regulate the way industrial capitalists (and individuals) can behave with their property.

The key point here, though, is that because we live under a social contract that defines the very society that we live in, each of us is compelled to act through the legal architecture of that society (legislative, executive, and judicial, in this case) to push for our representation in your property rights, i.e. that you essentially cannot misuse your property to our detriment beyond the agreed-upon boundaries laid out by our society (we call them laws).

Author:  Mr A [ Fri Nov 30, 2012 9:27 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The perils of Objectivism

James wrote: Mr. A, a primary point that you seem to be missing is that the reason the money you earn is all yours, by right

I am not missing the reason, as I am not missing the reason man has rights in the first place:

http://www.theobjectivestandard.com/iss ... rights.asp
http://www.aynrand.org/site/PageServer? ... d_writings

Author:  JamesALindsay [ Fri Nov 30, 2012 10:52 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The perils of Objectivism

You might as well have linked to the bible. Immediately we see her three categories are strawmen, and then we later see that her entire construction relies upon the notion of free will, which is not established (rendering it at the least question begging) but more entirely an illusion. What then? Her entire "demonstrably true" construction falls right back into one of her two other categories--God-given or "natural," both of which she debunks herself. You'll notice that Rand identifies three categories of rights being "given," by God, by government, and by "nature" as her three strawmen.

The "government-granted" strawman is pretty close to reality but isn't it. It's actually a societal agreement among its members that is secured and enforced by the government as an extension of the people (at least in democratic governments). Your links demonstrate for me that you actually do not get the reason and have redefined it according to a strawman. Would you like to elaborate on your own position, or will you just post more links now?

Author:  JamesALindsay [ Fri Nov 30, 2012 10:56 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The perils of Objectivism

For future reference, so long as you see government as a "them" instead of as a willful extension of "us," then you'll never, ever understand any of this.

Author:  Mr A [ Fri Nov 30, 2012 11:11 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The perils of Objectivism

Your links demonstrate for me that you actually do not get the reason and have redefined it according to a strawman.

Strawman? How so?

Author:  JamesALindsay [ Fri Nov 30, 2012 11:15 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The perils of Objectivism

Pardon my lack of precision there. You have redefined the concepts of rights according to an argument that proceeded from a strawman. I already explained that Rand's view concerning the role of government in the rights of people is a strawman of the real way in which those rights come into existence and are secured.

Author:  Mr A [ Fri Nov 30, 2012 11:46 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The perils of Objectivism

Then we will remain in disagreement about rights, role of government, and morality then.

Author:  Interbane [ Sat Dec 01, 2012 10:42 am ]
Post subject:  Re: The perils of Objectivism

Quote:
They certainly are entitled to their money, unless they stole the money, fraud, etc.


You forgot one. Undue leverage. Which is what I've been trying to tell you is just as immoral as the other methods you mention. When someone uses their position to leverage compensation away from another person in a legal manner, that is unethical. Yet we see it everywhere, at all levels of society. Objectivism would open the floodgates for this method.

What it looks like in practice is a person busting their butts for minimum wage, while their direct supervisor sits at a computer doing very little and making 3 times as much.

Objectivism protects the "right" of using leverage against one another by doing nothing to offset the leverage on behalf of the working class. The class rift would widen drastically in lock-step with inequality, and society would fall apart. The answer to Communism isn't the opposite extreme MrA. The extremes, on both ends of the spectrum, have their evils. As usual, the best path is somewhere in the middle.


I've wanted to get into a discussion about pollution. Perhaps another thread?

Author:  JamesALindsay [ Sat Dec 01, 2012 10:58 am ]
Post subject:  Re: The perils of Objectivism

Interbane, specifically Objectivists have an oversimplified definition of coercion (usu. limited only to physical force or any actions they don't like when performed by the government--even though that's a mistake as in a democratic society, government action, however much we might disagree with it, is the collective action of the will of the people in that society and thus a mutual agreement that one is beholden to simply for being a member of that society, not a form of coercion from an external entity). Particularly, they don't see wage-slavery as a form of coercion, nor do they see misleading marketing endeavors as coercion.

As I pointed out before, it is primarily because they operate from an incomplete understanding of "liberty," however useful that misunderstanding is to their philosophy. As Mr. A just pointed out, they also operate from a fundamentally flawed understanding of what rights are, where they come from, and how and why they are secured.

You are completely right, though--the environment is absolutely incapable of defending itself against misuse, in the sense we all mean when we say that, and short-term profit motive would break the system long before any "natural" (read: profit-motivated or market-motivated) behavior-corrective phenomena (if they exist) would be able to correct the problem. Indeed, even without Objectivist psychosis in place, we're likely to have already valued short term over long term too significantly. NASA predicts a global economic collapse by around 2030 due to the estimated $180T in damages that global warming will produce, and a more recent study by an arctic ice (and methane) team is predicting a high likelihood of a global extinction exceeding 95% of species by 2050 if we don't take extremely drastic measures very, very soon. Individualist philosophies cannot, absolutely cannot, deal with that.

I wonder if Objectivists and Libertarians generally understand that socialism and communism were only pushed for as hard as they were as a knee-jerk against the (obvious) abuses of laissez-faire capitalism. If purely capitalist models in the early Industrial Age (and into the Gilded Age) hadn't been so overwhelmingly abusive to most of humanity, it is unlikely that the communist revolutions ever would have happened and equally unlikely any of us today would know who Eugene Debs and Karl Marx are.

Author:  johnson1010 [ Sat Dec 01, 2012 12:39 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The perils of Objectivism

This undue leverage is what i was calling the glitch in the simplistic idea of un controlled free markets.

Author:  Interbane [ Sat Dec 01, 2012 6:38 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The perils of Objectivism

Quote:
I wonder if Objectivists and Libertarians generally understand that socialism and communism were only pushed for as hard as they were as a knee-jerk against the (obvious) abuses of laissez-faire capitalism.


Centuries long ping-pong matches from one extreme to the other, and back again. Reactionary and all too human. It's sad that advocates are so vocal in their extremism. I didn't know that about the roots of communism, thanks.

Quote:
Indeed, even without Objectivist psychosis in place, we're likely to have already valued short term over long term too significantly. NASA predicts a global economic collapse by around 2030 due to the estimated $180T in damages that global warming will produce, and a more recent study by an arctic ice (and methane) team is predicting a high likelihood of a global extinction exceeding 95% of species by 2050 if we don't take extremely drastic measures very, very soon.


This is scary. A wisdom of addiction applies here I think; the downward spiral is too weak to be seen before it's too strong to be stopped. Our massive population seems to be near the crest of a cycle that is about to regress to the means. :cry:

Quote:
This undue leverage is what i was calling the glitch in the simplistic idea of un controlled free markets.


Yeah, and I'm not sure if it's even the right term, but it seems to fit. In the category of undue leverage are rents and monopolies, but also less obvious things such as hefty interest rates and part-time only workforces(to fall below insurance requirements). I'm sure the list would fill a book.

Author:  Mr A [ Sun Dec 02, 2012 1:40 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The perils of Objectivism

Interbane wrote:
Quote:
They certainly are entitled to their money, unless they stole the money, fraud, etc.


You forgot one. Undue leverage.


No, I didn't forget one, as that is not one in laissez-faire capitalim.

Again, we continue to remain in disagreement.

Quote:
What it looks like in practice is a person busting their butts for minimum wage, while their direct supervisor sits at a computer doing very little and making 3 times as much.


Absolutely nothing wrong with that. If they have a problem with their pay scale, they can try to seek employment elsewhere. In laissez-faire capitalism, the government would not be allowed to use force against the employer to raise or lower anyones wage/salary, create a minimum wage, or maximum wage/salary, force employers to 'negotiate' with unions, etc. The use of force is barred from human relationships. Force cannot be used against employees either, as in the government could not force them to workfor a minimum amount of pay an hour, an employee can work for 9.00 or for 4.00 an hour for any amount, the government could not change that amount at all.

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