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"Are you a Rand Cultist" quiz

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Recently I was asked to take this quiz by one of my classmates, which I found horrible and insulting. I’m just starting to learn Objectivism, so I couldn’t give him a good reply without somehow admitting he is right. I’m not interested in giving him a response, and despite being called a coward and some other things, I didn’t give him any. However, I do want to know what others who are more experienced would say about it. This isn’t intended to be trolling, I honestly want to know if these questions are somehow dishonest, invalid, legitimate, etc. and what an appropriate response to them would be. Here it is:

"Give yourself a point for every statement you agree with.

1) Ayn Rand is the greatest human being who has ever lived.

2) "Atlas Shrugged" is the greatest human achievement in the history of the world.

3) Ayn Rand, by virtue of her philosophical genius, is the supreme arbiter in any issue pertaining to what is rational, moral, or appropriate to man’s life on earth.

4) Acceptance of Objectivist epistemology is essential to mankind's future survival on earth.

5) Immanuel Kant is the most evil person who has ever lived.

6) Immanuel Kant deliberately set out to cause the Nazi Holocaust.

7) Nathaniel and Barbara Branden are only slightly less immoral than Immanuel Kant.

8) James Valliant's book "The Passion of Ayn Rand's Critics" is a profound, brilliantly argued expose of the above.

9) Modern physics, such as Einstein's theories, are philosophically corrupt and must be urgently replaced by a new physics based on Ayn Rand's epistemology.

10) Words have "true" meanings that are only available to superior Objectivist philosophers, whose job it is to inform those in lesser disciplines, such as scientists, of these true meanings. Where these special true Objectivist meanings clash with conventional dictionary meanings, those conventions are false and corrupt.

11) Ayn Rand invented a new, Objectivist super-logic which incorporates the standard bi-valent logic formalised by Aristotle, yet dramatically improves on it, solving among other issues Hume's problem of induction.

12) Ayn Rand is the only true Objectivist that ever lived, and will ever live. Everyone else is merely a student of Objectivism.

0 points = Congratulations, you are an Ayn Rand fan who while rightly inspired by her vision of productivity, reason, and human achievement is nonetheless sensible enough to have avoided her various cultic incitements.

1-6 points = Amber light: definite Randroid tendencies. However, this may be avoided by taking a suitably hard-nosed approach to her work, especially in epistemology and human nature where her defective theories are most evident to the critical eye.

7-12 points = Ultra-Randroid, and proud of it. You are welcome to debate with us here at the ARCHNblog (despite the fact you would be giving your sanction to our evil by doing so) but to be honest you'd be better off talking to a deprogrammer."

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If you collect 12 points in that quiz you're not an objectivist, but a parody of it. Seriuosly, who would see Atlas Shrugged as the biggest human achievement? It probably was the biggest Ayn Rand's achievment, but not many other humans had any part in it.

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This just yet another example of so-called critics that don't honestly grapple with what they are critiquing.

1) Ayn Rand is the greatest human being who has ever lived. By the standard used with regard to Kant, no. The raw quantity of lives she has affected is still very small.

2) "Atlas Shrugged" is the greatest human achievement in the history of the world. No, based on the lives affected standard. Speculatively, the Objectivist philosophy as a whole is better than Atlas.

3) Ayn Rand, by virtue of her philosophical genius, is the supreme arbiter in any issue pertaining to what is rational, moral, or appropriate to man’s life on earth. No, see her own essay "Who is the Final Authority on Ethics?"

4) Acceptance of Objectivist epistemology is essential to mankind's future survival on earth. Hasn't been in the past, why would it be in the future? That is, if subsistence agriculture is the standard for surviving. If you want something better, Objectivist epistemology will be of value.

5) Immanuel Kant is the most evil person who has ever lived. Very possibly, if you pile all of the 20th century atrocities on his doorstep.

6) Immanuel Kant deliberately set out to cause the Nazi Holocaust. Nope. But that doesn't excuse him.

7) Nathaniel and Barbara Branden are only slightly less immoral than Immanuel Kant. Not even close to Kant. Stupid question.

8) James Valliant's book "The Passion of Ayn Rand's Critics" is a profound, brilliantly argued expose of the above. Haven't read it

9) Modern physics, such as Einstein's theories, are philosophically corrupt and must be urgently replaced by a new physics based on Ayn Rand's epistemology. Physics is based on observations and logic, and logic comes from epistemology. But perhaps what physics really needs is more observations, more context, more obvious unexplainable problems like the old "ultraviolet catastrophe." This is not a philosophical issue.

10) Words have "true" meanings that are only available to superior Objectivist philosophers, whose job it is to inform those in lesser disciplines, such as scientists, of these true meanings. Where these special true Objectivist meanings clash with conventional dictionary meanings, those conventions are false and corrupt. No, Objectivist philosophers use ordinary words, but it is not always possible to craft a careful argument with ordinary meanings of words due to the problem of equivocation. Many(most?) words have multiple meanings.

11) Ayn Rand invented a new, Objectivist super-logic which incorporates the standard bi-valent logic formalised by Aristotle, yet dramatically improves on it, solving among other issues Hume's problem of induction. No.

12) Ayn Rand is the only true Objectivist that ever lived, and will ever live. Everyone else is merely a student of Objectivism. No.

So I score 1 point due to the "Kant is evil" question. Yay?

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What if you reply by making a "Are you an quiz cultist" quiz. It just needs one question "Do you think quizes determine who people are?"

1) Ayn Rand is the greatest human being who has ever lived. By the standard used with regard to Kant, no. The raw quantity of lives she has affected is still very small.

Isn't it collectivist to judge the value of other human beings by the ammount of lives they affect?

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Isn't it collectivist to judge the value of other human beings by the ammount of lives they affect?

Grames mentioned the standard used for Kant.

"10) Words have "true" meanings that are only available to superior Objectivist philosophers...."

Don't forget that many words are anti-concepts and therefore invalid. In addition to this, many words have been deliberately misdefined into tools of philosophical war, meant to confuse, obstruct and equivocate. A good example is the word "justice" in Swedish, which has been conflated with "fair", which in turn has been conflated with "equal". Thus justice = equal. How does this fit in with egalitarianism, collectivism etc? Indeed.

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Maximus of course is right: this is pure crap.

The proposition is an insult to you and Ayn Rand as is every question and thus deserves no reply.

If your "friend" has a question to ask, then let him ask it politely.

Interesting to note this proposition:

10) Words have "true" meanings [...]

The implication is that words do NOT have true meanings. If that were the case, then knowledge and communication would be impossible. So you might just say to your "friend" that you don't understand anything that is coming out of his mouth.

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4) Acceptance of Objectivist epistemology is essential to mankind's future survival on earth.

My answer to the above would be "Irrelevant."

I don't care what's essential to mankind's future survival on Earth. I care what's essential to my survival on Earth, the rest of mankind can figure it out for themselves.

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I considered and answered each question to myself, but I don't see any value in communicating those answers to someone who would present the questions in such a way. It was intentionally inflammatory; a text-based slap in the face.

But, for honest and polite people, the greatest human ever may very well be Norman Borlaug.The man shows up a little after 1:50.

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But, for honest and polite people, the greatest human ever may very well be Norman Borlaug.The man shows up a little after 1:50.

"I drew Norman Borlaug, so it looks like I win. Actually, we all win."

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Notice that he didn't give you a page of any actual critiques of Objectivism, just a page of statements, ridiculous or not, that are to be regarded, without any further judgment, as false, with the implication that it's the stance of Objectivism, and, to top it off, if you don't answer it, you're "a coward." This is classic argument from intimidation. It's not an appeal to reason, but an appeal to second-handedness.

He doesn't want you to judge a statement to be true but to doubt a statement for being uncommon. A common theme is prevalent throughout the whole paper: the destruction of self-esteem. Every sentence might as well have written before it: "Who are you to judge that: ". In fact, all of those sentences are simply a guise to hide one question: "Who are you to think?" Your classmate's goal was to stop you from thinking and to abscond with reality, whether he knows it or not. He's probably quite the burgeoning Toohey.

This paper is a scare tactic and is to be treated as such.

I would stop talking to the person who handed you this.

To read up more on this behavior, get The Virtue of Selfishness by Ayn Rand and read the essay The Argument from Intimidation.

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Notice that he didn't give you a page of any actual critiques of Objectivism, just a page of statements, ridiculous or not, that are to be regarded, without any further judgment, as false, with the implication that it's the stance of Objectivism, and, to top it off, if you don't answer it, you're "a coward." This is classic argument from intimidation. It's not an appeal to reason, but an appeal to second-handedness.

I think the quiz was intended by its original author to be a bit of humor aimed at people who act as if they're in a cult when it comes to Ayn Rand and Objectivism. If it doesn't apply to you, then there's nothing to be upset about.

As for actual substantive critiques of Objectivism, my personal view is that those who are interested in promoting or advancing Objectivism should have reached a point long ago where they began to openly face criticism of Objectivism, politely answer it, admit to errors in the cases where the criticism can't be answered, and to contemplate how Objectivism might have to change in order to correct any errors.

I think that venues like the ARCHN blog should be seen by Objectivists as a great opportunity to engage in polite argumentation with informed, intelligent critics of Objectivism in an environment where Objectivists don't have the option of resorting to banning opponents, moderating them, or using similar methods which can artificially discourage critics from participating while giving the false public impression that informed criticism hasn't been offered and that Objectivists have easily won the debate.

My view is that Objectivists should read books like Ayn Rand Contra Human Nature and any other piece of informed criticism of Objectivism that they can get their hands on, and they should be eager to publicly refute it, point by point, if they think they can. More importantly, they should be eager to directly confront the author when possible (and it's possible on the ARCNH blog) with their arguments so that he, and those who share his views, may respond in kind, rather than just preaching to the choir about how wrong he is -- the choir isn't going to fight back or try to back up his arguments with evidence and reasoning.

J

Edited by Jonathan13

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Jonathan raises a valid point here. In theory, I agree with facing down one's opponents - it can only strengthen one's own arguments.

Providing one can use the "I don't agree with you" exit line when they become too irrational.

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From the context that the paper was handed to the topic poster, I regarded it as a simple smear. I wasn't getting worked up about the fact that 'someone dare question Objectivism.'

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Recently I was asked to take this quiz by one of my classmates, which I found horrible and insulting. I’m just starting to learn Objectivism, so I couldn’t give him a good reply without somehow admitting he is right. I’m not interested in giving him a response, and despite being called a coward and some other things, I didn’t give him any. However, I do want to know what others who are more experienced would say about it. This isn’t intended to be trolling, I honestly want to know if these questions are somehow dishonest, invalid, legitimate, etc. and what an appropriate response to them would be. Here it is:

"Give yourself a point for every statement you agree with.

1) Ayn Rand is the greatest human being who has ever lived.

2) "Atlas Shrugged" is the greatest human achievement in the history of the world.

3) Ayn Rand, by virtue of her philosophical genius, is the supreme arbiter in any issue pertaining to what is rational, moral, or appropriate to man’s life on earth.

4) Acceptance of Objectivist epistemology is essential to mankind's future survival on earth.

5) Immanuel Kant is the most evil person who has ever lived.

6) Immanuel Kant deliberately set out to cause the Nazi Holocaust.

7) Nathaniel and Barbara Branden are only slightly less immoral than Immanuel Kant.

8) James Valliant's book "The Passion of Ayn Rand's Critics" is a profound, brilliantly argued expose of the above.

9) Modern physics, such as Einstein's theories, are philosophically corrupt and must be urgently replaced by a new physics based on Ayn Rand's epistemology.

10) Words have "true" meanings that are only available to superior Objectivist philosophers, whose job it is to inform those in lesser disciplines, such as scientists, of these true meanings. Where these special true Objectivist meanings clash with conventional dictionary meanings, those conventions are false and corrupt.

11) Ayn Rand invented a new, Objectivist super-logic which incorporates the standard bi-valent logic formalised by Aristotle, yet dramatically improves on it, solving among other issues Hume's problem of induction.

12) Ayn Rand is the only true Objectivist that ever lived, and will ever live. Everyone else is merely a student of Objectivism.

0 points = Congratulations, you are an Ayn Rand fan who while rightly inspired by her vision of productivity, reason, and human achievement is nonetheless sensible enough to have avoided her various cultic incitements.

1-6 points = Amber light: definite Randroid tendencies. However, this may be avoided by taking a suitably hard-nosed approach to her work, especially in epistemology and human nature where her defective theories are most evident to the critical eye.

7-12 points = Ultra-Randroid, and proud of it. You are welcome to debate with us here at the ARCHNblog (despite the fact you would be giving your sanction to our evil by doing so) but to be honest you'd be better off talking to a deprogrammer."

Wa' hoppen?? I didn't get more than 3 and that's by random luck or from stuff I picked up elsewhere or figured out by myself. I think Rand would either laugh herself silly or feel sorry for the fools who came up with this. I can just picture her saying "Dawn't give dzis test to my humband".

Any test where 1 or 2 is an "amber light" and the other half are "ultra ..." was designed by a person who flunked Tests and Measurements. This lookslike something some lefty students came up with during a drinking binge or pot party. The thing doesn't even reach the level of parametric statistics.

The individuals who came up with this gem look to be psychological firsts: the only persons who would flunk a personality test.

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The implication is that words do NOT have true meanings. If that were the case, then knowledge and communication would be impossible. So you might just say to your "friend" that you don't understand anything that is coming out of his mouth.

Could you elaborate on this a bit? I was having a discussion with a friend about this and we were wondering which meaning is the true meaning; that is, is the Randian version correct or the "accepted version". For instance, which definition of arrogance is correct? The "accepted" one (conceited prickishness) or the Randian one (a complete belief in yourself).

Thanks

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Actually, this test proves the old adage that "There are only two kinds of people in the world..."

In this case; Objectivists and those who wish they were.

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