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Objectivism is truly great and was invented by the pure genius Ayn Rand. That said.....

I don't really like reading about moral and political theory. Rather, I come up with my own ideas based on daily observation.

Philosophy isn't for everyone. It isn't always interesting and helpful. And most philosophies, now and always, are empty talk or double talk that does you no good. Indeed, it fools you, confuses you, and leads you astray and towards unhappiness (maybe forever).

My fiancee is an Objectivist. Her brother and his significant other are also both Objectivists. So I hear about it quite often.

I pity you, in a way.

When I talk about being a Libertarian, any Objectivist around immediately says that they hate Libertarianism because it has no basis and no definition of morality. This I do not understand, because it seems to me the primary outcome of both Libertarianism and Objectivism are one and the same, which is the protection of individuals' rights.

Why do I have to define my morals from anywhere? Why should it even matter? It troubles me because it is reminiscent of conversations I had with really religious no-compromise people. They told me that even if a person lived moral, ethical life and was a good person, they would never get into heaven simply because they didn't believe in Jesus.

Libertarianism and Objectivism differ in that one is a political system while the other is a far more ambitious philosophical system.

Your no-compromise comment is perceptive. Even the best Objectivists tend towards a kind of religiosity, frankly. It isn't fun to say. But it is true.

My advice? Study philosophy and Objectivism to whatever extent it interests and profits you. But keep your independent mind and spirit at all costs!

Edited by Wotan

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Philosophy isn't for everyone. It isn't always interesting and helpful. And most philosophies, now and always, are empty talk or double talk that does you no good. Indeed, it fools you, confuses you, and leads you astray and towards unhappiness (maybe forever).

And that's why philosophy is for everyone. In the way ers describes himself, philosophy just isn't for him in the fashion that he would be satisfied doing a hard-core study of it, but it is crucial for him regardless. People are, after all, the most vulnerable to bad philosophies when they're ignorant of them.

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I can definitely agree with this. Some of the Objectivists I know attend lectures where they visit places that Ayn Rand gave speeches. One particular Objectivist, when I asked her about her philosophical ideas said something along the lines of "For years I was a Christian but then I came to know the way of Ayn Rand." When she uttered those last two words, she literally had *stars* in her eyes- the kind of blank, scary look that religious people get when they talk about how god speaks to them. Very creepy and unsettling.

This can be said of any role models. Think of the way people react when seeing the Pope, Brad Pitt, the President of the United States. Some people idolize someone so intensely that seeing that individual, or even speaking of that individual invokes some very deep emotions. If you knew me in person, you'd see that my appreciation of Beethoven becomes almost religious in it's emotional intensity. (indeed, this little bit gets me a little choked up every time I read it).

Hero-worship is something encouraged in Objectivism. Not in the religious sense, but in an extreme form of admiration. Many Objectivists would count Rand as one of their heroes, and there's no doubt that many would get "starry eyed" when talking of Objectivism, just as, as a boy, I used to get starry eyed talking about Michael Jordan (I still hold a great deal of admiration for him).

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Your no-compromise comment is perceptive. Even the best Objectivists tend towards a kind of religiosity, frankly. It isn't fun to say. But it is true.

You should clarify what you mean by "religiosity" here, because otherwise this is an invalid and unjustified cheap shot. The word "religiosity" suggests a recurring refusal to appeal to reason. Is this what you mean? If not, how does your concept of "religiosity" differ from rational conviction? Who are some of the "best Objectivists" who exhibit such tendencies? Can you provide examples of them doing so?

If you simply wished to articulate that there is a non-trivial number of fans of Objectivism who embrace major principles of the philosophy as if they are self-evident truths, instead of principles that can be derived inductively from reality, then I would agree with you. Dr. Peikoff calls this mistaken outlook the "intrincist approach to Objectivism". However, I would hardly call such individuals who make this serious error the "best Objectivists".

Edited by DarkWaters

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You can find people in any movement with this kind of attitude [i.e. religiosity]. Really, it's almost orthogonal to belief system. Look at the libertarian supporters of Ron Paul, or the left-wing supporters of Barack Obama. (There are reported instances of the latter actually fainting at his campaign appearances because they were so overwhelmed by emotion.) Often, religious people who discover Objectivism adopt the content of the philosophy but don't change their way of thinking. They pick up Objectivism as a new system of dogma to replace their old religion. Fundamentally, that's a problem with them, not with the philosophy. I don't assess the truth of ideas by looking to the personalities of individuals who claim to accept them.

Khaight -- You make many good points above. I don't really dispute any of them. Your observations about Ron Paul and Barack Obama seem especially mathematically acute (and not at all "orthogonal" ;) !). But relative to other political and philosophical groups and movements, the problem with religiosity and cultism in Objectivism is especially bad.

I truly wish Rand had presented and argued for Objectivism in the manner of Aristotle. Failing that, I wish Peikoff had exploited Rand's death in 1982 to radically renew Objectivism by taking it in this more scholarly, philosophically-standard, new and far better direction. But it never happened. If anything, he repeated or amplified her elements of religiosity, cultism, and intrinsicism -- and without her pure genius to leaven and uplift it.

Still, the Objectivist Movement is ever-so-slowly becoming more normal, healthy, rational, and philosophic -- especially with the post-February 2006 ARI attitude and approach. We seem to have less appeals to authority and implicit demands to take things on faith. There are fewer claims that opponents are being cowardly and intellectually dishonest.

So the immediate future looks somewhat bright! Still, this incredibly defiant and revolutionary thought-system known as Objectivism truly got off on the wrong foot, in my humble view, and we're still wrong-footing a lot of it to this day. :lol:

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You should clarify what you mean by "religiosity" here, because otherwise this is an invalid and unjustified cheap shot. The word "religiosity" suggests a recurring refusal to appeal to reason. Is this what you mean? If not, how does your concept of "religiosity" differ from rational conviction? Who are some of the "best Objectivists" who exhibit such tendencies? Can you provide examples of them doing so?

If you simply wished to articulate that there is a non-trivial number of fans of Objectivism who embrace major principles of the philosophy as if they are self-evident truths, instead of principles that can be derived inductively from reality, then I would agree with you. Dr. Peikoff calls this mistaken outlook the "intrincist approach to Objectivism". However, I would hardly call such individuals who make this serious error the "best Objectivists".

DarkWaters -- My comment was a bit loose. The very best Objectivists indeed aren't religious in attitude, approach, argumentation, outlook, comportment, personality, character, etc. But I think I addressed most of your points in Post 25. However your mentioning of Peikoff -- the utter leader of the religious contingent (for an appalling quarter-century) -- is more than a little ironic. :lol:

Edited by Wotan

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DarkWaters -- My comment was a bit loose. The very best Objectivists indeed aren't religious in attitude, approach, argumentation, outlook, comportment, personality, character, etc. But I think I addressed most of your points in Post 25. However your mentioning of Peikoff -- the utter leader of the religious contingent (for an appalling quarter-century) -- is more than a little ironic. :P

Suffice it to say that I do not agree with your assessment of Dr. Peikoff. I think I've listened to most of his major lectures and courses, and the desire to combat rationalism and intrinsicism in the Objectivist movement has been one of the recurring intellectual leitmotifs of his career.

With reference to your post 25, I am curious as to what you identify as having changed in February 2006? I think ARI has made great strides under Yaron Brook's leadership, but he took over significantly before that.

(Peikoff, incidentally, has great respect for Dr. Brook. He toasted him at the closing banquet of last year's OCON, with the statement that "I wish that Ayn Rand could have known him, because he would have restored her faith in mankind." High praise indeed, and it suggests that Peikoff heartily approves of what ARI has been doing under Dr. Brook's leadership.)

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DarkWaters -- My comment was a bit loose. The very best Objectivists indeed aren't religious in attitude, approach, argumentation, outlook, comportment, personality, character, etc. But I think I addressed most of your points in Post 25. However your mentioning of Peikoff -- the utter leader of the religious contingent (for an appalling quarter-century) -- is more than a little ironic. :P

Suffice it to say, this is not worth addressing since it is simply assertions without some sort of proof.

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However your mentioning of Peikoff -- the utter leader of the religious contingent (for an appalling quarter-century) -- is more than a little ironic. :P
Suffice it to say that the baseless flinging of insulting accusations against Objectivism and a leading Objectivist intellectual is unacceptable.

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This can be said of any role models. Think of the way people react when seeing the Pope, Brad Pitt, the President of the United States. Some people idolize someone so intensely that seeing that individual, or even speaking of that individual invokes some very deep emotions. If you knew me in person, you'd see that my appreciation of Beethoven becomes almost religious in it's emotional intensity. (indeed, this little bit gets me a little choked up every time I read it).

Hero-worship is something encouraged in Objectivism. Not in the religious sense, but in an extreme form of admiration. Many Objectivists would count Rand as one of their heroes, and there's no doubt that many would get "starry eyed" when talking of Objectivism, just as, as a boy, I used to get starry eyed talking about Michael Jordan (I still hold a great deal of admiration for him).

I can completely relate to the woman who gave this speech. I was once a Christian myself, one of the "logical" theists (which I now find to be a contradiction in terms). My life before and with Objectivism, summed up quickly: Fifth grade: I was clinically depressed; I did not know why. I was on an intense amount of medications with sometimes terrible side effects. The doctors (I must have gone through a dozen in three years) gave more and different reasons for every comment I made. When I entered high school, the summer reading was Fahrenheit 451, Ender's Game, and Anthem. I read this book, and I thought it was great. I did not even begin to grasp her philosophy (still had never heard the word 'Objectivism' in my entire life), so I did some online research. It was then that I started to see it. I heard, during my research, that Atlas Shrugged was her magnum opus. I picked up the book at Borders. First thought: WOW is this a big book. I read it about chapters at a time in the beginning. Something told me not to drop the book, however. After I reached Part II, I read it avidly. I finished the last third of the book in a 2 day weekend. By the time I had finished the book, I, who has never cried over physical pain, was in tears. All my life, I had suffered, I had seen my family suffer (my dad is a very successful doctor and entrepreneur with his own private practice), and I could finally answer the question that I ask every doubt I may have: "why?" No longer was I lying on my bed for hours, idle, after being yelled at for my 'laziness' in school, or after my best friend/girlfriend (who never gave a damn about me) and I got into a fight about whatever. I knew why. I knew why I was yelled at, not the cheap plastic answers they gave me, but truth. I knew that my life did not depend on Lisa, and that she was ingrateful for everything I did. What reason did I have to stay? Why? I am not ashamed to speak the truth about my life, I was not far from suicide when I picked up Anthem. To conclude it: Atlas Shrugged changed my life. I strive every day to be like John Galt: The man without pain, or fear, or guilt.

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