Welcome to Objectivism Online Forum

Welcome to Objectivism Online, a forum for discussing the philosophy of Ayn Rand. For full access, register via Facebook or email.

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    Objectivism Is The Everyman's Philosophy

    In the universe, what you see is what you get,

    figuring it out for yourself is the way to happiness,

    and each person's independence is respected by all

  • Rand's Philosophy in Her Own Words

    • "Metaphysics: Objective Reality"Nature, to be commanded, must be obeyed/Wishing won’t make it so." "The universe exists independent of consciousness"
    • "Epistemology: Reason" "You can’t eat your cake and have it, too." "Thinking is man’s only basic virtue"
    • "Ethics: Self-interest" "Man is an end in himself." "Man must act for his own rational self-interest" "The purpose of morality is to teach you[...] to enjoy yourself and live"
    • "Politics: Capitalism" "Give me liberty or give me death." "If life on earth is [a man's] purpose, he has a right to live as a rational being"
  • Objectivism Online Chat

    Does contradiction with my flourishing life really make a value immoral?

    By Szalapski,
    I am not sure how life can give values meaning or morality.  I'll start with an Objectivist example as follows. I value eating lots of doughnuts, but pursuit of this value is unhealthy and therefore contradictory to having a flourishing life.  I also value eating lots of lean protein, and pursuit of this value is healthy and generally contributes to a flourishing life. That much is clear.  However, I am having trouble moving from "is" to "ought".  What if I want to indulge the unhealthy value? What if I decide that my short-term enjoyment is better--the emotions and the sensations I get from frequent doughnut treats is worth whatever unknown distant health drawback that might occur?  What makes the pursuit of this value immoral? Is it only that I am doing something that is contradictory to my life? If so, does not subjectivism creep in?  After all, I cannot hope to judge that which is contradictory to my life, but only to judge my own compromised, biased, flawed understanding of what is contradictory to my life.  

    The "unappeal" of Objectivism vs. Collectivized Ethics (TVoS 10)

    By Szalapski,
    In TVoS 10, in response to the question, "In a Objectivist society, what will happen to the poor?", Rand cites Barbara Branden approvingly saying, "If *you* want to help them, you will not be stopped." Rand goes on to say that nature makes no provision for providing basic needs, so neither should the collective "society". Does it matter that more and more people will never find this convincing, that such an argument will never win the day?  In other words, do you admit that, while perhaps Rand is right, it will never matter enough to make a difference? Does it matter that most people are willing to accept the "degree of force" required to sustain a program like Medicare?  That they have made the judgment that giving up 2.9% of their income (for now) is worthwhile so that the old and disabled can have health insurance, as long as everyone else is forced to as well? If so, does the sheer inability of the Objectivist argument to carry the day--the impracticality of it--indicate at all a flaw in Objectivism?  Shouldn't a philosophy be convincing and persuasive and not just right?  

    Reblogged:A Year of Mixing It Up

    Gus Van Horn blog
    By Gus Van Horn blog,
    A headline at Hacker News, "How Is Your Standing Desk Working for You?" has reminded me that I've been using a standing desk in my home office for a little over a year. At the end of a product review for the newly-assembled desk, I gave my initial impression: That has held up, and throughout this time, I have used my standing desk much like others in the thread who alternate between sitting and standing, and probably most closely to one person who threw in reclining. I don't recline, but do I have a reading chair in my office, which affords a third working position. Throughout the day, I find that I alternate among: Sitting to work on my desktop at my original desk, a roll-top; Standing to work with my laptop on the standing desk, which is right behind where I sit for the desktop; and Sitting in my reading chair to read or work with the laptop. I've outfitted both computers with the same software (with one exception) and use Dropbox for active projects, so switching is painless. (The exception is that only the desktop has VMWare, which means that if I have to "do Windows," I have to sit -- or kneel, when that gets uncomfortable -- but I very rarely have to use anything like Word long enough that I need to change anything.) I am satisfied overall with switching around, and it fits well with the twenty-five minutes of work/five minutes of rest routine I typically use.

    Probably the biggest drawback is space. Should we move, I may have to get rid of a desk, but I think a stool alongside the standing desk would likely work for that, based on how I work when I go to a Starbucks with bar stools.

    -- CAV Link to Original

    Objectivism vs. Social Democracy (TVoS 11, 13)

    By Szalapski,
    In TVoS 11, Rand decries both outright socialism, for example in Nazi Germany and the U.S.S.R.  Since her writing, its failure has been made even more clear by the horrible results in the U.S.S.R. and more recently in Venezuela.  She was equally vehement against the failings of the democratic socialism in the U.K. in the 40s and 50s, but Britain's outcomes did not head in the same direction as the Soviet Union's.  Instead, democratic socialism has been firmly established as perhaps permanent in nearly all of Western Europe, especially U.K., France, Germany, and the Nordic countries, but these nations have had nowhere near the same downward spiral as the U.S.S.R. or Venezuela. Far from the disasters that full socialism brings, these "mixed" social democracies seem to have a somewhat sustainable model in place.  At least in the countries with some degree of work ethic and natural resources, they have achieved more than Rand might have predicted.  It hasn't worked in Spain, Greece, or Italy as well, but isn't Sweden is rather capitalist overall even with high government spending and regulation?  Isn't Germany's economy is strong despite pessimism there?  And doesn't Brexit show the strength of the U.K. economy to blaze a middle road with indeed lots of government spending though determined by themselves and not by the community of nations?  In short, it seems that the looters and moochers have found a system that they can at least claim works well and is flexible, unlike the despair and hopelessness found in, for example, *We The Living*. In TVoS 13, Rand claims that all mixed economies are either on the road to freedom or full dictatorship.  Since most countries in the world are in this state, and many are stable, hasn't she been proven wrong?  Or do you really believe that the whole world will eventually be ruled by dictators? So should we continue to make the same doom-and-gloom argument against social democracy that we can more easily make against full socialism?  Or is the current state of Europe one that doesn't quite fit Rand's model, and so we should adjust it?

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