Jump to content
Objectivism Online Forum
Dormin111

What are YOUR criticisms of Objectivism?

Rate this topic

Recommended Posts

I don't see any adequate reason as to why sex is such a revered task that can never be done casually. To me, that is the equivilent to saying, "it is immoral to eat at MacDonald's when you could be eating filet mignon at a fancy restaurant." While of course I would prefer to always eat filet mignon, maybe some times I cannot afford it, or the restaurant is far away, or I just want something convienent.

This isn't the best thread to discuss it, and we can discuss more in another thread of your choosing (I will respond), but I'll mention some things. I think the quotes you offer are very representative of Rand's viewpoints and ideas, but there is a lot to be said about 1) what is meant by approaching sex casually? 2) what exactly does promiscuity mean? Also, just to add, food isn't a great comparison, since we're talking about human relationships. I would say friendship is important enough to never treat casually or lightly, as an example, although many people may interpret any friendship to be casual since it's not a romantic relationship.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Wait a minute, are you actually saying that raping a woman is wrong only because the Government forces you to not do it?

Not only because the government forces one not to. It can also be because she certainly can say that it is not okay to fuck her, touch her, or whatever. Plus one can also think that it wouldn't be right to just do that to her too, due to their ethics, religious beliefs, feelings of empathy, etc. This goes with other shit too, like stealing. If you, whoever, or how many, have enough might to say that it is wrong, then you just made it so. If you don't have enough might to do so, then your wrong another makes it their right through their might.

Edited by intellectualammo

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
If you, whoever, or how many, have enough might to say that it is wrong, then you just made it so. If you don't have enough might to do so, then your wrong another makes it their right through their might.

So, we're basically pack-animals, not much better than gorillas or lions?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So, we're basically pack-animals, not much better than gorillas or lions?

Dead right. It's rare to see such a measure of anti-intellectualism in this place.

Thankfully.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Might, whether used aggressively or defensively - either way, can be very well be stronger at times than the other. For a short time, for a long time. All depends on how much might, power, will, forcer, enforcers, supporters, etc. that either have. And when they do, they say what is right and what is wrong.

I think that this is ultimately contradictory with this:

Not only because the government forces one not to. It can also be because she certainly can say that it is not okay to fuck her, touch her, or whatever. Plus one can also think that it wouldn't be right to just do that to her too, due to their ethics, religious beliefs, feelings of empathy, etc. This goes with other shit too, like stealing. If you, whoever, or how many, have enough might to say that it is wrong, then you just made it so. If you don't have enough might to do so, then your wrong another makes it their right through their might.

I don't know whether you're backing off from a wholesale advocacy of rape or not (or intentionally if you are), but if she says "that it is not okay to fuck her, touch her, or whatever," I don't see how that matters if "all depends on how much might...that either have." The sentiment of your first quote, after all, seems to be that if I'm powerful enough to rape a woman (i.e. "mighty"), then that makes it "right" for me to do it, should I choose, whether she says that it's okay or not (and surely she says that it's not, else there can be no "rape").

Might makes Might

For what it's worth, I think that this is true.

Might, which we might also dub "power," is the capacity to effect one's will... is it not? As in potency versus impotency -- if I'm potent (powerful, mighty) -- then I will be able to achieve my ends. Which is fine, might making might. But what's at issue is: having great power does not tell me what ends I ought to strive to achieve.

This is where "right" comes into play. "Right" is the recognition that, though I may be powerful enough to do anything, that will not help me decide what I should do. Just as it's untrue that "Right makes Might" (Might makes Might), it's also untrue that "Might makes Right" (Right makes Right).

Insofar as Objectivism argues that certain ends are proper for man to strive to achieve, we are better off when our might is in service to that which we judge to be right.

Edited by DonAthos

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Not only because the government forces one not to. It can also be because she certainly can say that it is not okay to fuck her, touch her, or whatever. Plus one can also think that it wouldn't be right to just do that to her too, due to their ethics, religious beliefs, feelings of empathy, etc. This goes with other shit too, like stealing. If you, whoever, or how many, have enough might to say that it is wrong, then you just made it so. If you don't have enough might to do so, then your wrong another makes it their right through their might.

Let's say there's a planet somewhere, where no one ever does anything about crime. Furthermore, no one considers it wrong to commit crimes. Might, guilt, shame, they have all been eliminated from the equation.

What do you think will happen next (what will be the consequences of this decision to consider crime moral), and what will be the fundamental cause of those consequences? (hint: could it be some property of nature, that will doom this planet's population to misery?)

[disclaimer] this hypothetical is the subject of a sci-fi story I read as a kid, not my original idea - I wish I knew the title of the thing

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Dead right. It's rare to see such a measure of anti-intellectualism in this place.

Thankfully.

Anti-intellectualism?

I don't know whether you're backing off from a wholesale advocacy of rape or not

If you don't know, then let me make it explicitly clear then - I'm most certainly not advocating rape. Only thing I have said I support therefore advocate, is a system that has outlawed such a thing, thus making it wrong, and using might in order to enforce, impose, subordinate others to that and punishes those that do choose to rape. This is why I support laissez-faire capitalism, even though the moral base and philosophical defense of LFC, is just blah, blah, blah to me now. Objectivists are in support of LFC because they think it's moral, cool, I'm pragmatic about it myself though, as I am concerned about it in practice and how to get more towards such a society.

Edited by intellectualammo

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Only thing I have said I support therefore advocate' date=' is a system that has outlawed such a thing[/quote']

So, faced with the choice of supporting anti-rape laws, you are saying that "Yes" is the right choice, and "No" is the wrong choice?

Is that what you're telling us?

Edited by Nicky

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Why?

I am concerned about the how's. How am I going to get that system in place that will be able to subordinate people to rule of law? I would focus solely on the practical aspects of it, without any lipservice to morality.

"Would you like a system in place that makes it wrong for people to take that which you have earned? Would you like a system in place that would make it wrong for a man to make unwanted sexual advances towards a woman?" and on and on.

Best way to get to LFC right now I think at least, is not by a bloody revolution, but being voted in. Argue from practical aspects on economic issues and so forth. "If you would like to support us, we who are for making it legal for a woman to have an abortion, legalizing drugs, legalizing prostituion, work towards the abolition of [whatever], then please do." You have to rise to power in that way and then get the use of the military, courts, local police to be able to enforce whatever it is you want to make legal, illegal. Trying to overthrow the government as is, is fucking ridiculous undertaking. All you simply have to do is gain voter support, supporters, as such. Like today, it's more a numbers game, and how to get those numbers.

So, faced with the choice of supporting anti-rape laws, you are saying that "Yes" is the right choice, and "No" is the wrong choice?

I'm not going to address whether or not it's the "right" or "wrong" choice for a person to make, but it is one that I would like them to make along with me, so that we can make it so. I support anti-rape laws, and would like others to support it as well, so that we can such laws in place, thus making rape wrong. I am in support of making it wrong of the government or anyone to take any percentage of what I earn and for it to be redistributed to those that did not earn it, and would like to find others that support it, in order to help make it wrong. See.

Edited by intellectualammo

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What I honestly don't understand is how do you know it is right?

You want the Government to pass a law to make rape illegal or stop the redistribution of wealth since these are either right or wrong. But if they are made right by government force (might) then on what basis do you choose to push the government do such a thing? If might makes right you still need to know where you are pointing that might, an act which presupposes a decision on right.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What I honestly don't understand is how do you know it is right?

It is only made right or wrong by us.

But if they are made right by government force (might) then on what basis do you choose to push the government do such a thing? If might makes right you still need to know where you are pointing that might, an act which presupposes a decision on right.

I don't need to be right in the sense you use it, all one needs is to make it so - on their own, along with others, etc.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm not going to address whether or not it's the "right" or "wrong" choice for a person to make, but it is one that I would like them to make along with me, so that we can make it so. I support anti-rape laws, and would like others to support it as well, so that we can such laws in place, thus making rape wrong. I am in support of making it wrong of the government or anyone to take any percentage of what I earn and for it to be redistributed to those that did not earn it, and would like to find others that support it, in order to help make it wrong.

Why? Why do you want to make something that isn't wrong, wrong?

Edited by Nicky

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This isn't the best thread to discuss it, and we can discuss more in another thread of your choosing (I will respond), but I'll mention some things. I think the quotes you offer are very representative of Rand's viewpoints and ideas, but there is a lot to be said about 1) what is meant by approaching sex casually? 2) what exactly does promiscuity mean? Also, just to add, food isn't a great comparison, since we're talking about human relationships. I would say friendship is important enough to never treat casually or lightly, as an example, although many people may interpret any friendship to be casual since it's not a romantic relationship.

I will start a new thread.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If you don't know, then let me make it explicitly clear then - I'm most certainly not advocating rape.

Well that's fine. Good, even.

If I may make an observation? Please forgive me if this is presumptuous, but I suspect that it's important for you to disavow any advocacy of rape, because you ultimately agree that rape is wrong. For the rest, I feel like you would like to preserve the "house" while saying that the foundations which support it are unimportant; that we can work to rid society of rape (and other ills) without any moral justification for what we choose to do. I think this a poor strategy.

Anti-intellectualism?

Though I was not the one to accuse you of such, allow me to note that some of what you've said does seem... a touch anti-intellectual. Consider this:

This is why I support laissez-faire capitalism, even though the moral base and philosophical defense of LFC, is just blah, blah, blah to me now.

In my late adolescence I felt torn between what I believed to be the practical advantages of capitalism versus the moral claims of more "liberal" approaches. If I had asked of Rand (or anyone else) about the moral/philosophical defense of capitalism, and she'd answered, "blah, blah, blah," I don't know whether that would have done much for me. It would have seemed anti-intellectual to me, and not really worth a full hearing. Fortunately, Rand made a compelling argument that capitalism is not only a practical system, but the only moral system (and in the process disabused me of the notion that there's a real difference between the practical and the moral).

If the argument comes down to capitalism, practical with no particular moral base, versus other systems with varying degrees of practicality but a claim to morality, I don't much like capitalism's chances.

Only thing I have said I support therefore advocate, is a system that has outlawed such a thing, thus making it wrong, and using might in order to enforce, impose, subordinate others to that and punishes those that do choose to rape.

Echoing others' questions, am I to believe that you support a system which outlaws rape... just because? Or do you have a good reason for wanting rape outlawed, and theft outlawed, and etc? A couple of other questions:

Without a moral basis for supporting some particular organization of society, what would be your answer when someone claims that a violation of capitalism is necessary for some (supposedly) practical reason, like eminent domain, or a draft, or etc.?

If might makes right, and if the government has the monopoly on the use of legitimate force -- the police, the army at its disposal -- won't this lack of moral guidance necessarily regress such a society to despotism; the caprice and whims of the governors, whether they agree with you or not on which particular items ought to be illegal?

Objectivists are in support of LFC because they think it's moral, cool, I'm pragmatic about it myself though, as I am concerned about it in practice and how to get more towards such a society.

I think a place to start is to try to educate people on what ethics are, and why they're necessary (which would demonstrate why things like rape and theft are wrong), leading to a discussion of how best to implement them in society -- I think that's the truly practical/pragmatic solution. Contrarily, if I were to wave a magical wand and transform our country overnight into a fully capitalist system, I expect that people would rebel on "moral" grounds and quickly re-institute something similar to what we currently have (or honestly, probably something worse).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Why? Why do you want to make something that isn't wrong, wrong?

Because of self-defense. LFC, to me, is self-defense writ large. It uses right might in order to subordinate others to it's rule of law, it's laws of which, I am all for. It creates an environment that makes it wrong for anyone to initiate the use of force against another. It uses might in a defensive manner. They pass a law which all are held to as they have the right might and means in order to force it upon everyone - You may not rape a woman in this country. If you choose to do so, then these are the possible consequences. You may not steal from others in this country, if you choose to, then these are the possible consequences to your decision to steal.

Why do I want to make it wrong - in my own self-defense and others. I don't want her to be raped, neither does she, I don't want her money stolen, neither does she - and so we would want a system in place in order to make it so that raping and stealing are not allowed, that they are made to be the wrong actions to take towards others.

Edited by intellectualammo

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

But intellectualammo, do you not think that you're starting from 'the ideal',

and trying to track back from there? I am only reiterating what DonAthos

has stated: implementing the 'ends' will be an improbability without a rational

morality, making necessary at the very least, forceful persuasion, if not direct force.

Further, if we even arrived there, sustaining it would be a total impossibility.

I believe the opposite, that better not do it at all, than do it so badly.

(But this is an interesting exercise, for all that.)

It proves conclusively that one can't selectively pull out a 'good' political ends,

and an epistemological means - while ignoring or playing-down the other two: the metaphysics

and ethics. A perceived value is a value to whom? And why?

Otherwise, it is simply a decree.

In fact, I think you've found the formula for utilitarianism.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I am only reiterating what DonAthos

has stated: implementing the 'ends' will be an improbability without a rational

morality, making necessary at the very least, forceful persuasion, if not direct force.

And I am saying, that even with Objectivist's ethics to provide what they think is the moral base and philosophic defense of LFC, what you need is might, power, will of the people, etc. in order to subordinate and impliment that code of morality onto others, regardless. You can think you are right all you want to, like any others think that they are right with their codes of morality that they have, but unless you have might, the power to subordinate others to what you make rights and wrong , then... those that do have the might, power, the will of the people - will.

You can get together with others to make a contract, with rule of law, and the government's purpose is made in that contract to be to protect and uphold what we make and call our individual rights in that particular social setting. We make it wrong for people to violate those rights, rights of which we make all have that are within that particular social setting. We are able to enforce, impose it because we are 'right'? NO, because we have the might to make it so. Either rising to power through the democratic process we have in place today, by revolution, and so on. Moral codes in such a political-economic-social setting need might in order to subordinate all those that don't agree with it or violate it within that particular social setting. Without such might, your moral code, your rules of the road, will not be able to be able to be forced upon others. Those that do have the might, will be able to for as long as they are able to. You won't be able to make your rights and wrongs and subordinate others to it, without might, without power, without the use of force. Whether or not what's in the contract is right or wrong is irrelevant. It can be based upon Objectivist ethics, based upon bibilical crap, whatever the case may be, you have to have the might in order to make it so. That contract is the start where you just made rights and wrongs, now you have to go about subordinating others to it. They might willingly subordinate themselves to it, willffully comply with it, which is fantastic, as many will have no fucking problem at all not raping a woman, not stealing for whatever reasoning they have as to not having problems with it - but some perhaps will as we can see today with women getting raped and people stealing. They choose not to subordinate themselves, they choose not to follow the rules of our road, and so we have consequences that we will most certainly try to impose upon them by force as well, by finding them, arresting them, putting them on trial, sententing them. We make the rights and wrongs, we make the consequences, we have the might in order to do all of that, the choice however is yours to make whether or not you will subordinate yourself willingly, willingly comply in not violating what we have make as individuals rights, if you do, we have made consequences for having done so in that particular social setting.

Might by pen and/or by sword. Might makes rights and wrongs and it is might that can subordinate others to them if there is enough might in order to. What was penned might be enough. Boy wouldn't that be nice and easy.

Edited by intellectualammo

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Because of self-defense. LFC, to me, is self-defense writ large. It uses right might in order to subordinate others to it's rule of law, it's laws of which, I am all for. It creates an environment that makes it wrong for anyone to initiate the use of force against another. It uses might in a defensive manner. They pass a law which all are held to as they have the right might and means in order to force it upon everyone - You may not rape a woman in this country. If you choose to do so, then these are the possible consequences. You may not steal from others in this country, if you choose to, then these are the possible consequences to your decision to steal.

Why do I want to make it wrong - in my own self-defense and others. I don't want her to be raped, neither does she, I don't want her money stolen, neither does she - and so we would want a system in place in order to make it so that raping and stealing are not allowed, that they are made to be the wrong actions to take towards others.

I think I've already asked a number of questions that might require some further reflection... but if they leave you cold, here are a few more to consider:

Not all crimes are caught/punished. Would you say that the criminal who is "mighty" enough to commit crimes, and get away with it, is "right" to do so? Is there anything "immoral" about a murderer who is skillful enough to avoid detection? Or does the man who is powerful enough to flout law thereby create his own, personal morality?

In their capacity to ordain what is wrong, are all laws equal? You say that a certain use of force (i.e. rule of law) creates an environment which dictates "morality" -- does that mean that in a slave-holding society, where slavery is enforced by law, that slavery is therefore "moral" and working to circumvent it is "immoral"? Or is there any such thing as an immoral law?

You want capitalism. Yet you (supposedly ;) ) believe that rule-of-law creates morality -- or that "might makes right." Yet (again) you live in a particular society, and under certain laws, that has firmly and clearly embraced a mixed economy; it is clear that certain initiations of the use of force are deemed "moral" by the society in which we live, and that certain actions taken in self-defense are therefore "immoral." So why have you not succumbed to the moral views that the current "environment" would supposedly create?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

And I am saying, that even with Objectivist's ethics to provide what they think is the moral base and philosophic defense of LFC, what you need is might, power, will of the people, etc. in order to subordinate and impliment that code of morality onto others, regardless. You can think you are right all you want to, like any others think that they are right with their codes of morality that they have, but unless you have might, the power to subordinate others to what you make rights and wrong , then... those that do have the might, power, the will of the people - will.

You can get together with others to make a contract, with rule of law, and the government's purpose is made in that contract to be to protect and uphold what we make and call our individual rights in that particular social setting. We make it wrong for people to violate those rights, rights of which we make all have that are within that particular social setting. We are able to enforce, impose it because we are 'right'? NO, because we have the might to make it so. Either rising to power through the democratic process we have in place today, by revolution, and so on. Moral codes in such a political-economic-social setting need might in order to subordinate all those that don't agree with it or violate it within that particular social setting. Without such might, your moral code, your rules of the road, will not be able to be able to be forced upon others. Those that do have the might, will be able to for as long as they are able to. You won't be able to make your rights and wrongs and subordinate others to it, without might, without power, without the use of force. Whether or not what's in the contract is right or wrong is irrelevant. It can be based upon Objectivist ethics, based upon bibilical crap, whatever the case may be, you have to have the might in order to make it so. That contract is the start where you just made rights and wrongs, now you have to go about subordinating others to it. They might willingly subordinate themselves to it, willffully comply with it, which is fantastic, as many will have no fucking problem at all not raping a woman, not stealing for whatever reasoning they have as to not having problems with it - but some perhaps will as we can see today with women getting raped and people stealing. They choose not to subordinate themselves, they choose not to follow the rules of our road, and so we have consequences that we will most certainly try to impose upon them by force as well, by finding them, arresting them, putting them on trial, sententing them. We make the rights and wrongs, we make the consequences, we have the might in order to do all of that, the choice however is yours to make whether or not you will subordinate yourself willingly, willingly comply in not violating what we have make as individuals rights, if you do, we have made consequences for having done so in that particular social setting.

Might by pen and/or by sword. Might makes rights and wrongs and it is might that can subordinate others to them if there is enough might in order to. What was penned might be enough. Boy wouldn't that be nice and easy.

It's true that ultimately, politically, force is required to defend rights. This can happen via personal self-defense, or it can be enacted through law (whether broadly enforced or not), but rights must be fought for. I think that uncontroversial.

But the question of "what ought we fight for?" or "what is right?" is first the province of ethics and then politics. By asserting that "might makes right," you pretend as though these initial questions don't exist/don't matter. That we can somehow achieve the ideal society without any of the preliminary or fundamental work of determining the requisite nature of that society (which is more than simply "what we want," because certainly not everyone wants the same thing).

In sum, you are mistaken when you say this:

You can get together with others to make a contract, with rule of law, and the government's purpose is made in that contract to be to protect and uphold what we make and call our individual rights in that particular social setting. We make it wrong for people to violate those rights, rights of which we make all have that are within that particular social setting.

We do not "make" anything wrong. We punish those who violate rights (or even in a society which has other supposed "rights," like the "right to enslave," we offer punishment for violation of that law), but the punishment itself does not serve to make the issue right or wrong; we punish because we believe the violation to be wrong in the first place.

Or, if not, you leave as a big question mark our motivation for punishing anything at all, to be filled by... arbitrary whim? It would certainly seem so, as you've relegated the philosophical defense for capitalism to "blah, blah, blah." But there's no real way to tell between peoples' whims, is there? You have a whim for capitalism -- you can't defend or justify it (blah, blah, blah), but you want it. Great. Others have a whim for socialism; that's what they want. Why should I follow your plan over theirs? Is it just a matter of people consulting their guts, and going with whatever they feel?

If so, I don't like your plan (though I know you think it somehow more pragmatic), because I suspect that the so-called 99% has a few more guts on their side than we do, at present, and probably for the foreseeable future.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Would you say that the criminal who is "mighty" enough to commit crimes, and get away with it, is "right" to do so?

He is not permitted to commit the crime, we have made the action the wrong one for him to take inside that particular social setting. We used might by pen to make a contract and laws that say so, and have might by sword to threaten them with consequences if they choose to disregard what was penned.

Is there anything "immoral" about a murderer who is skillful enough to avoid detection? Or does the man who is powerful enough to flout law thereby create his own, personal morality?

Again morality is still "blah, blah, blah". Inside that particular social setting, we speak in what is legal, illegal, what are actions one cannot take, therefore the wrong actions to take against others. If they do take either action, to steal or not to steal, that is not to imply either is morally right or wrong action, I am not speaking in those terms, only what matters is what is or is not permissable inside that particular social setting - what you are given the right to, or not to, what has been made, termed, said, stated, ruled as being wrong to do inside the particular context.

You say that a certain use of force (i.e. rule of law) creates an environment which dictates "morality"

It uses might in order to tell you what you are are not allowed to do, it dictates all the wrongdoings in it's rule of law.

-- does that mean that in a slave-holding society, where slavery is enforced by law, that slavery is therefore "moral" and working to circumvent it is "immoral"?

The law doesn't make it moral or immoral, but legal or illegal, etc.

Slavery, human trafficking, can only be made right or wrong, as it is not inherent in itself - just as slavery, human trafficking is not legal or illegal except inside of whatever social setting one is in. Is it right or wrong of someone to enslave another? Is it right or wrong of someone stealing from another? Only the person can make it right or wrong action towards them, either on their own in the wilderness, in the tribe/society they are a part of or subordinated by. Their use of self-defense, is saying it's the wrong action to take towards them, by threatening to use force against you if you do, by using force against you if you do, by being a part of a society that is that person's self-defense writ large that says it's the wrong action to take towards them since they do not want you to.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It's true that ultimately, politically, force is required to defend rights. This can happen via personal self-defense, or it can be enacted through law (whether broadly enforced or not), but rights must be fought for. I think that uncontroversial.

Right.

But the question of "what ought we fight for?" or "what is right?" is first the province of ethics and then politics.

I'm not concerncerned with A, only B and how to get it.

Example: I want to make it illegal to steal. I have various supporters, from various moral codes that can all work for me towards the goal I want. The ballot numbers matter, if a voter agrees on religious ground, like it's one of the Ten Commandments of their God so they want to make stealing illegal too, or because the person wants it to be made that way because of the Objectivist ethics they practice. It gets me the NUMBERS I need in order to MAKE it so.

Or, if not, you leave as a big question mark our motivation for punishing anything at all, to be filled by... arbitrary whim?

By whatever.

you've relegated the philosophical defense for capitalism to "blah, blah, blah."

Yep.

You have a whim for capitalism -- you can't defend or justify it (blah, blah, blah), but you want it. Great. Others have a whim for socialism; that's what they want. Why should I follow your plan over theirs?

Because you want it too, for whatever reason you want it too.

Look at our system's political parties today. They say whatever, and if it is what you want if it's what you agree with, then you vote them into office if you want to. If they want to work towards the abolition of taxation and entitlement programs with such and such plan, legalize drugs and sex for hire - and you want that to, then you can vote in order to make it so.

Edited by intellectualammo

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The law doesn't make it moral or immoral, but legal or illegal, etc.

Starting here, because this much is true (and I believe stands in contrast to much of what you otherwise have been maintaining).

The law (might) doesn't make it moral or immoral (right). The morality or immorality of slavery is an issue apart (and antecedent) from whether it's recognized as legal, or whether people commit their might to its defense or abolition. And this is true for any other issue as well.

Again morality is still "blah, blah, blah".

I've claimed that might has to do with one's capacity to effect change, but it provides no information on which changes we ought choose to effect; that deciding what to do with our power is the province of ethics and ethical reasoning. Since this is all in the context of a discussion of Objectivism, I think it's important to consider Ayn Rand's argument regarding life (i.e. the good life) being the source of value, and how to reason ethically from that. How errors in ethical reasoning is tantamount to choosing death.

Do you disagree with that? And if so, on any reasonable basis? Or should "blah, blah, blah" be read as a refusal to engage on the subject entirely?

Example: I want to make it illegal to steal. I have various supporters, from various moral codes that can all work for me towards the goal I want. The ballot numbers matter, if a voter agrees on religious ground, like it's one of the Ten Commandments of their God so they want to make stealing illegal too, or because the person wants it to be made that way because of the Objectivist ethics they practice. It gets me the NUMBERS I need in order to MAKE it so.

You would make common cause with "various supporters, from various moral codes" to achieve certain political ends, but I wonder what would happen when you've passed your law "to make it illegal to steal" with the Ten Commandment folk, and they then demanded some compulsory tithe, or declared eminent domain over "your property" or such, or taxed you at the rate they saw fit, to fund whatever projects, and termed it "not stealing"...?

Would you demonstrate to them the fundamental philosophical nature of what constitutes stealing (which depends on a certain theory of property, which in turn depends on a certain theory of man's nature and rights)? And if they said in response, "that's all blah, blah, blah," what then?

By dismissing the philosophical foundations for what you would pursue, and casting your lot with "numbers" and arbitrary interest and might, you've removed rational discourse from the arena. You've reduced everything to a physical fight. (And there are many many more of "them" then there are of you; you're going to lose.)

And this in the name of practicality? When in practice, you already have the system that you claim that you want. Everyone (nearly) fights for "liberty," and against "theft," and etc. But because the philosophical and moral basis for "liberty" differs so greatly among those who advocate it, we vary equally in our actual applications. Because you refuse to acknowledge that there's anything underlying capitalism, or your specific interpretations of these ideas, you're unlikely to win many (or any) converts to your side; what do you have to say to them except, "go with your gut"? So really, you've already lost and have no plans likely to win. Though you've made quick (albeit dismissive) reference to "bloody revolution," so... I guess there's always that?

I'm not concerncerned with A, only B and how to get it.

I understand.

But to me, this is like a math student saying, "I'm not concerned with knowing how to add or subtract, only with getting right answers."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The morality or immorality of slavery is an issue apart (and antecedent) from whether it's recognized as legal, or whether people commit their might to its defense or abolition. And this is true for any other issue as well.

Right.

I've claimed that might has to do with one's capacity to effect change, but it provides no information on which changes we ought choose to effect; that deciding what to do with our power is the province of ethics and ethical reasoning.

One must decide whether to use might in self-defense or in aggression. Which is right which is wrong? Neither is inherently right or wrong. Nothing can place such a value judgement upon it, but us, and make it so. If I want to tell you it is wrong that you should not steal what I say is mine, I am making the action you are taking towards me, the wrong one for you to take towards me. The only way to make anything right or wrong is through the use of might. Someone can say that God makes it wrong to steal, or another that Ayn Rand says it's wrong to steal until both are blue in the face, because all I am hearing is "blah, blah, blah" to such lipservice to morality - I'm making it so, simply because I want to, since stealing, as such, is not inherently right or inherently wrong. Someone or something has to make it that way. A tree cannot make it wrong of me to take it's fruit and eat it. A man has to make it wrong if someone picks fruit from their tree and eats it, or else it isn't. It is then just an action.

Edited by intellectualammo

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

One must decide whether to use might in self-defense or in aggression.

True. One must decide this. On what basis is one to decide?

Which is right which is wrong? Neither is inherently right or wrong. Nothing can place such a value judgement upon it, but us, and make it so.

It's true that nothing can place a value judgement on our decisions but man (that is, a consciousness, without which value judgements are neither possible nor necessary), but that is not the same thing as saying that such a value judgement "makes it so." Also possible: our value judgements are either right or wrong, depending on the facts of the matter, and in recognition of them. Which is to say that it is possible to be objective.

As to neither "might in self-defense or in aggression" being "inherently right or wrong," that's true as far as it goes. If neither life nor death is sought -- without any values or goals to speak of -- then it doesn't much matter what one decides to do, or his rationale. It's neither right nor wrong for you to pursue capitalism in the manner you've been advocating, so long as nobody cares whether it ever actually happens, or cares about anything else.

However. If a person desires some actual outcome, then it's possible to assess alternatives -- either "right" or "wrong" -- with respect to achieving that outcome.

In ethics, we may speak of life or "the good life" as being the source of value (and Ayn Rand did so, I believe compellingly in "The Objectivist Ethics"). Thus it is with respect to achieving the good life that we should make our decisions ("good" being that which promotes such life, and "bad" being that which destroys it), and on that basis that we could judge self-defense or aggression or etc.

Someone can say that God makes it wrong to steal, or another that Ayn Rand says it's wrong to steal until both are blue in the face, because all I am hearing is "blah, blah, blah" to such lipservice to morality [...]

Is this really your impression of Rand's arguments -- "blah, blah, blah"? And is it really your opinion that Objectivists generally adhere to these opinions because "Ayn Rand says"? Not that there's even any coherent argument with which you disagree, and can show faulty? All that I'm saying to you comes across as "blah, blah, blah," without rhyme or reason?

A tree cannot make it wrong of me to take it's fruit and eat it. A man has to make it wrong if someone picks fruit from their tree and eats it, or else it isn't. It is then just an action.

While it's true that trees don't have much in the way of volition, that doesn't necessarily mean that it's neither good nor bad to eat the fruit of a particular tree. Some fruit will be better to eat than others, and some fruit may be poisonous. It's therefore not "just an action" if there are any values at stake, such as, say, life. We have the capacity to assess such things, relate our actions to them and our values, and decide accordingly. Should one want to succeed at his decision-making, the better to pursue his values/his ends, like his life, certain virtues will be required (such as rationality). This is ethics, and what you would dismiss.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

While it's true that trees don't have much in the way of volition, that doesn't necessarily mean that it's neither good nor bad to eat the fruit of a particular tree. Some fruit will be better to eat than others, and some fruit may be poisonous. It's therefore not "just an action" if there are any values at stake, such as, say, life.

I was speaking of the picking of the fruit, not the eating of it.

But since you did bring up eating, yes, there are things I eat that can sustain my life, but there are some that are known that can most certainly lead to the ending of it. If I want to remain alive, then I won't drink down a bottle of Lye like Vachel Lindsay did, down a hemlock drink like Socrates did, because both of what they drank, put an end to both their lives, the former drank it to commit suicide, the latter to make a point instead of escaping. I choose to eat that which will not only help to sustain my life right now and what things I eat now is also selected in what foods I eat now may affect me later in life as well. So I would then want to drink WATER, instead of the drinks that they had chosen. Is it wrong or right of me to choose to drink plenty of water instead? If I want to die, drinking the piosonous drinks is the way to go. But this isn't what we have been discussing.

Back to it:

Picking the fruit from a tree, picking fruit from a tree that belongs to someone.

I am not allowed to go near the tree that belongs to someone, since it's on property where there is a sign on it that indicates that one is not allowed to trespass the orchard, therfore pick the fruit from the trees, etc., but is it right of me to still pick and eat it, or wrong of me to still pick and eat it? That guy just made it the wrong action to take for me using his pen, he made it so, might by pen with threat of consequences. I can still take that action, take that fruit when I definately know he is not around and no one is around to snitch on me, no one to enforce the sign, or see me pick that which I am forbidden by pen to pick. It was made wrong by him to pick from that tree, to trespass on his property. That tree did not make picking it's fruit the wrong action to take, the guy did. Would it be wrong of me, if say, I went ahead and picked it, ran, and ate it? I wouldn't do it, I would just buy it from their store if I wanted a fruit. i'd respect their sign, respect the property, respect that which is not mine, not because I'm scared of getting caught (since I think I'd have a good chance of getting away with it), not because of an application of Objectivist ethics to the situation, but simply because I choose to, want to, thought about it and decided to not do it, and just buy a fruit when their store opens.

Edited by intellectualammo

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now


  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×