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Found 7 results

  1. Really the full title of this message should be "If God Doesn't Exist, Then "Objective Reality" Is Really Nothing More Than a Cosmic Fart, So Why Do Objectivists Have Such Deep Reverence for It?" But that would be too long for the forum system. Getting down to brass tacks though, at the end of Atlas Shrugged, after the blowout of Project F, James Taggart, one of the villains, his brain just basically "snaps" and he sits down on the floor of the Project F room and he becomes basically this empty blubbering shell of a man, he reaches this dejected low point that is as abjectly low as a man can go. And this isn't because of sorrow at moral evil (moral evil according to the conventional non-objectivist definition that most people go by), it's because of his supposed inability to accept objective reality, his supposed incompatability with objective reality. Objectivism's atheism seems incompatable with Objectivism's deep reverence for "objective reality". Jim Taggart's downfall, in which he becomes this blubbering empty shell of a man, would be understandable if he were a character in a theist novel who discovered that he had been dissing God this whole time by dissing God's Creation, God's Reality. If he became this blubbering "repentant sinner" down on the floor at that point, in a theist novel, that would be understandable. But in an atheist framework, I just don't see it. At best, Objectivists are telling people to "love the one they're stuck with" even though it's admittedly no more than a cosmic fart that is no more deserving of any reverence than a fantasy world that somebody has built inside their head. Thoughts?
  2. It seems to be implied in Objectivism that there is going to be this giant catastrophe like in Ayn Rand's novel Atlas Shrugged that is going to force human society to go from Subjectivism to Objectivism. I can personally remember during the Great Recession, whose worst years were approximately from 2008-10, at least some Objectivists saying "this is it! this is Atlas shrugging!" But that didn't happen. Here we are in 2016, the world got back on its feet and "Subjectivism" has kept on rolling. Also, the "doers" and "makers" according to Objectivism, such as Bill Gates, are not "Going Galt". I cannot even think of one single major entrepreneur who has "Gone Galt" because they're fed up with the "Subjectivist society" (please correct me if I'm wrong). So my question is what happens if this big catastrophe that is supposed to force society to become Objectivist never indeed happens?
  3. I'm currently rereading Atlas Shrugged with an eye toward certain questions that have nagged at me. Among them is this: Why do good things happen to bad people? Is slavery profitable? How does a looting elite maintain itself? Ayn Rand struggled with this question. Her answer is generally described as the sanction of the victim. Throughout the novel, Dagny, Hank and others are constantly sideswiped by politicians. They are willing to move mountains to stay on schedule when building the Rio Norte line and related promises, but are ignorant of politics and regard it as beneath them. And, needless to say, there is never an armed insurrection. But, interestingly, neither do we see any jackbooted thugs. There is no mention of taxes, confiscatory or otherwise. To some extent this is merely artistic license. Rand has a story to tell and she guides events and characters toward a designed climax. But as Rand was not merely a fictiin writer and as this was her magnum opus, I wanted to open a discussion to explore Rand's thoughts and to better understand how the world works. I'm trying to sort out Rand's artistic license from her philosophical and political views on the question. Any assistance would be welcome.
  4. Help With Atlas Shrugged Quote

    Hello, I am writing a paper on philosophy and I remember something from Atlas Shrugged to the affect of: Study two things, philosophy to know how the world should be and physics to know how it is. or We study philosophy so that we may know how to think, and we study physics so we may know what to think. Can anybody help me find where the quote comes from? I can't find it anywhere.
  5. My grand plans for a series of posts died from lack of time. My last post was more than 6 months ago. I'm going to take a more bite-size approach now. So, the topic asks my basic question: Should there be limits on ownership rights related to natural resources, including land, forests, oil, etc.? To focus the topic, let's think about "Wyatt's torch" from Rand's Atlas Shrugged. Wyatt was an oilman who developed highly effective technology for getting oil from difficult places. He owned land and drilled for oil on it. Time and again, he suffered when the "looter" government made unreasonable demands on him, compromising his property rights. Wyatt decided to "disappear". But before he did, he set fire to his oil wells, creating "Wyatt's torch" which the government was unable to ever put out. So, the concrete question is: Did Wyatt have a right to torch the oil on his land? Do ownership rights go so far that the owner of natural resources is able to prevent others from using them forever? Last, a few related issues I don't intend to raise here: First, I am assuming that Wyatt got his property rightfully in the first place. (Perhaps, I will delve into this topic later - how does one rightfully get ownership in land in the first place?) Second, I am assuming that Wyatt has every right to destroy the technology he developed (e.g., all technical documents, all equipment he built, etc.). Third, I don't want to discuss whether Wyatt's actions were legitimate as an "act of war" in the battle between John Galt and the outside world. That is, let's discuss whether people would have a right to destroy natural resources in a Objectively perfect world. I am eager to hear what you all think!
  6. Big news on the "Atlas Shrugged: Part 2" movie today. “Atlas Shrugged: Part 2″ will be released on October 12, with a proper amount of print and broadcast advertising, contrary to the approach used to promote its predecessor, which relied mostly on word-of-mouth and endorsements from conservative commentators. The production costs on “Atlas Shrugged: Part 2″ were reportedly $5 million less than the first film, perhaps to free up the extra money to market. According to THR, producer Kaslow says they will spend 10 times more money on the P&A for this one. Lots more info in the full story at this link.
  7. I am here seeking intelligent discussion. On the spectrum of individualism to collectivism, I lean toward collectivism. On the spectrum of objectivism to relativism, I lean toward relativism. I am a fervent atheist and anti-militarist. I read Atlas Shrugged (AS) in the summer of 2011 and was fascinated. Saddened by the state of public discourse, which has been debased ever since the polar opposites of Goldwater and Reagan taught self-styled conservatives that they can achieve their objectives better through misdirection and bombast than through reason and civility, I am thrilled to find a community like this one. Rather than talking to the converted at Daily Kos, here I can test my assumptions and see other perspectives. At least at first, I probably will not comment on others’ posts, but rather will start a series of threads laying out what seem to me to be the faults or inadequacies of objectivism. I look forward to reasoned responses. By way of background, I was born in Southern California in 1963 to a Catholic mother and agnostic father. I was raised Catholic and participated in Boy Scouts, which largely shaped my father’s moral code. Before I was 10 years old, I began questioning Christianity and theism in general … first on logical grounds and later on moral grounds, disagreeing with teachings on sexuality and other issues. Later, as an adult, I tried evangelical Christianity and studied the Bible more closely. This cemented my atheism as I was appalled by the Bible’s sanction of genocide and other atrocities. My own moral code was nonetheless strongly influenced by the teachings of Jesus, including his skepticism of wealth, his rejection of violence and his emphasis on altruism. Driven by reason and justice rather than mysticism or fear, I was naturally drawn to communist ideals. I went to Berkeley in the early 1980’s, where I studied impractical humanities and protested Reagan’s illegal wars in Central America. Over time, I came to realize that true communism is impossible outside of a small community setting. As Ayn Rand showed clearly with AS’s Twentieth Century Motor Company, it creates harmful incentives and is inherently prone to corruption. As a youth, although I appreciated the idealism in the maxim “from each according to his ability, to each according to his need”, I realized that it pessimistically assumed there would be no surplus created. My view at the time was that the surplus should, in theory, be distributed in proportion to the extent to which each person achieves his potential. Obviously, this could only be theory since it would require godlike insight to implement and therefore is certain to be applied incompetently or corruptly. I came to understand that capitalism was a powerful engine of prosperity that harnesses human nature (what I believe objectivists call egoism) and realistic incentives. However, I continue to believe that capitalism must be tempered by fairness and redistribution is necessary to reduce the major roles played by luck and happenstance. While there is no perfect and incorruptible system to do this, I believe multiparty democracy is better suited to the task in the long run than any alternative. After a few years doing computer programming, in the early 1990’s, I first went to Columbia University where I got a law degree (JD) and then went to New York University for a masters in taxation (LLM). I practice international corporate tax law at a major accounting firm, having worked for the IRS for several years. Given my radical and progressive roots, my practice paradoxically includes helping companies move intellectual property offshore. I am able to do this with a clear conscience since I do not believe in the corporate tax, which is economically distortive and has an unknown incidence. From a tax policy perspective, I believe in a strongly progressive tax on individual income or consumption. My name, Swerve of Shore, comes from the first line of Finnegan’s Wake by James Joyce. For professional reasons, I cannot share my real name at this time – perhaps, when I retire.
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