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

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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?

 

Edited by Szalapski

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2 hours ago, Szalapski said:

Shouldn't a philosophy be convincing and persuasive and not just right?

What a disastrous dichotomy. 

A man who knows what is right cannot simply choose to ignore his knowledge of it simply because he cannot convince or persuade others of its truth.

What you choose to do in the company of those who will not be persuaded or convinced of the truth might be any one of a great many possible actions, but certainly your choice should not be to cripple your own mind and reject and evade the truth.

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5 hours ago, Szalapski said:

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?

This is something you would need studies to establish. The work I've seen done on public opinion seems to indicate that it generally acts sensibly, although there are different theories about why this is. The public pays attention to the arguments politicians and public figures make and responds to them. If people were so stupid that they couldn't grasp critical, life saving ideas and vote based on them, democracy would have crashed and burned centuries ago.

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2 hours ago, StrictlyLogical said:

What a disastrous dichotomy. 

A man who knows what is right cannot simply choose to ignore his knowledge of it simply because he cannot convince or persuade others of its truth.

What you choose to do in the company of those who will not be persuaded or convinced of the truth might be any one of a great many possible actions, but certainly your choice should not be to cripple your own mind and reject and evade the truth.

It isn't a dichotomy, and this isn't a matter of deigning to choose an acceptable lie over a rejected truth--rather, I see much truth in Objectivism, but I also see flaws, and it does strike me as a flaw that its core tenets are simply anathema to the vast majority.  I don't think there is a lack of sufficient persuasion, or a lack of charisma, or a lack of people who will wake up, or the curse of tradition or culture--no, the core beliefs of Objectivism will always be rejected by a large majority.

Edited by Szalapski

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50 minutes ago, William O said:

This is something you would need studies to establish. The work I've seen done on public opinion seems to indicate that it generally acts sensibly, although there are different theories about why this is. The public pays attention to the arguments politicians and public figures make and responds to them. If people were so stupid that they couldn't grasp critical, life saving ideas and vote based on them, democracy would have crashed and burned centuries ago.

There's some truth to that, but it strikes me that we are so far short of ever considering Objectivism as a competitive worldview.  For example, take an issue like health care in the United States--I think persuasion, education, and discussion by different people than we have now could result in some kind of repeal and replace of Obamacare, or it could result in maintaining the status quo, or it could result in moving closer to single-payer socialized health care. On the other hand, the idea that we might phase out Medicaid is laughed out of the room.  Do we need to advocate for some ideas that we can actually move toward and make some progress?

Edited by Szalapski

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6 hours ago, Szalapski said:

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?

So volunteering the teaspoon from the silverware is alright, so long as they forcibly take a teaspoon from everyone else too?  Last I checked, neither teaspoons, insurance, nor medical care are provided by Mother Nature. I don't find this very persuasive, rather the matter has just been made more complex by mixing in so many nonessential ingredients over and above what the batter calls for.

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45 minutes ago, Szalapski said:

Do we need to advocate for some ideas that we can actually move toward and make some progress?

I don't really keep with what is happening at the Ayn Rand Institue, but I searched and found this:

http://dailycaller.com/2017/07/24/the-government-is-not-structured-to-do-health-care-says-president-of-ayn-rand-institute/

And I am aware that many Think Tanks, who engage in lobbying for a variety of issues, do have people that have been influenced by Objectivism, and credit as much on their websites.

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3 hours ago, dream_weaver said:

So volunteering the teaspoon from the silverware is alright, so long as they forcibly take a teaspoon from everyone else too?  Last I checked, neither teaspoons, insurance, nor medical care are provided by Mother Nature. I don't find this very persuasive, rather the matter has just been made more complex by mixing in so many nonessential ingredients over and above what the batter calls for.

I'd agree that we can make a moral argument for zero taxation for the public good.  But so few will accept it as to render such an argument fruitless, and I am saying that this rejection is not one of style or superficial aspects, but one of the very substance of the Objectivist position--so much so that there is no hope of gaining ground.  Most people simply find a degree of taxation obviously good and desirable and they just won't buy it no matter how persuasive and charismatic the Objectivist "movement" becomes. 

In other words, it's not "all right", but it isn't even up for consideration.

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3 hours ago, New Buddha said:

I don't really keep with what is happening at the Ayn Rand Institue, but I searched and found this:

http://dailycaller.com/2017/07/24/the-government-is-not-structured-to-do-health-care-says-president-of-ayn-rand-institute/

And I am aware that many Think Tanks, who engage in lobbying for a variety of issues, do have people that have been influenced by Objectivism, and credit as much on their websites.

Right, and these people are considered the fringe and not taken seriously.  I'm afraid by advocating this we aren't even getting a seat at the table.

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33 minutes ago, Szalapski said:

Most people simply find a degree of taxation obviously good and desirable and they just won't buy it no matter how persuasive and charismatic the Objectivist "movement" becomes. 

The "Objectivist movement" is not about charisma. Persuasion is not either. What is right, is right, on it's own merits. Polls merely obfuscate the matter by allowing those who permit and insist that the nonessential to be considered as relevant, be considered relevant.

Edited by dream_weaver

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6 minutes ago, dream_weaver said:

What is right, is right, on it's own merits. Polls merely obfuscate the matter by allowing those who permit and insist that the nonessential to be considered as relevant.

I am concerned you could be right but no one will listen to you. 

I'm also concerned that the fact that no one listens to me may indicate that I am not as right as I think.

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50 minutes ago, dream_weaver said:

If I am right, what does it matter if some one listens to me?

If no one listens to me, and yet I am right. are you not back to the previous statement here?

I want my righteousness to have an impact.  Don't you?

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8 hours ago, Szalapski said:

I want my righteousness to have an impact.  Don't you?

No.  First, I want to know the truth about reality, i.e. to hold the correct philosophy.  Secondarily, I would want others to also know the truth about reality and hold the correct philosophy (it would make life better for me).  Merely having "an impact" of any kind as such has no value... it is only the particular kind of impact that might result which matters.  If everyone already knew the truth and had the correct philosophy I would not be pining and wishing to have an impact on someone.

You imply by your OP and other posts that either A) the philosophy is incorrect/erroneous, or that B ) the philosophy is correct but people are inherently flawed and cannot accept it.

You then admonish us to action of one sort or another, which make little sense. 

An individual surely must seek out the truth and on the evidence he/she should accept a correct philosophy and reject a false one, and insofar as possible and when it is in his self interest to do so, to teach what he knows to others, thereby increasing their potential spiritual and economic value to him.

If A) is the case, then only by evidence and reason can a person be shown that A) is the case.

If B ) is the case, then a person who knows the truth can either try to convince others, or simply refrain from doing so.  Since you seem to indicate that people just don't accept it, you imply it is futile to attempt to convince others. 

I see you are already trying to show why A) is the case (in other threads).  If you are implying the philosophy is wrong, I take it you are proceeding in the attempt to show that. 

If B ) is the case, then logic would dictate from your premises, that since it is futile, one should not try to convince others.  Which is odd, because at the same time you state we should "want" to convince others.  All I can think is that maybe B ) is that case, but not all people are impervious to the truth (after all there are people who have heard the evidence and accepted the philosophy) and hence attempting to convince others, although difficult, is not futile.

The point of your OP and your ensuing argument, if there is one, is elusive.  Please be more succinct if you would like a direct answer.

 

 

Edited by StrictlyLogical

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20 hours ago, Szalapski said:

.. 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?

 

Do you think there's a flaw?  What is it?  What should we do about it?

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14 minutes ago, Craig24 said:

Do you think there's a flaw?  What is it?  What should we do about it?

Yes, I think one flaw is that the core ideas of Objectivism are extreme and beyond the pale for so many.  Individuals would be better off if we could be 80% Objectivist, but since Objectivism teaches no compromise or moderate adoption, it perhaps will remain a freak sideshow in the market of ideas, and thus most remain altruists, looters, and moochers. 

Edited by Szalapski

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50 minutes ago, Szalapski said:

Yes, I think one flaw is that the core ideas of Objectivism are extreme and beyond the pale for so many. 

This is not a flaw.

A flaw would be an indication that the philosophy is somehow incorrect.  With reference to reality as evidence, what are the flaws in the philosophy (assuming you understand it)?

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3 hours ago, Szalapski said:

Individuals would be better off if we could be 80% Objectivist, but since Objectivism teaches no compromise or moderate adoption, it perhaps will remain a freak sideshow in the market of ideas, and thus most remain altruists, looters, and moochers. 

What would the other 20% be, and why would that be better? I mean, I guess you think more people would be persuaded to something nice, but I don't know to what. To be mixed a capitalist economy by compromising on freedom of choice? Being aggressively authoritarian to force laissez-faire by compromising on non initiation of force?

On 7/25/2017 at 0:22 PM, Szalapski said:

"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? 

Rand's response is pretty bad because the question is wondering what systems might exist in lieu of safety net programs. There are good responses to that. "Feel free to help" avoids the issue.

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Szapalski,

Check your premise. Your claim that Objectivism is somehow flawed has not been supported with substantive argument. This is because you have no argument.

From everything I've read so far, your argument is as follows:

1) Objectivism does not specifically address the shortcomings of the welfare-state, it does not offer statistics supported with exploratory data. For example your rationale:

14 hours ago, Szalapski said:

I'd agree that we can make a moral argument for zero taxation for the public good.  But so few will accept it as to render such an argument fruitless, and I am saying that this rejection is not one of style or superficial aspects, but one of the very substance of the Objectivist position--so much so that there is no hope of gaining ground.  Most people simply find a degree of taxation obviously good and desirable and they just won't buy it no matter how persuasive and charismatic the Objectivist "movement" becomes.

or...

18 hours ago, Szalapski said:

There's some truth to that, but it strikes me that we are so far short of ever considering Objectivism as a competitive worldview.  For example, take an issue like health care in the United States--I think persuasion, education, and discussion by different people than we have now could result in some kind of repeal and replace of Obamacare, or it could result in maintaining the status quo, or it could result in moving closer to single-payer socialized health care. On the other hand, the idea that we might phase out Medicaid is laughed out of the room.  Do we need to advocate for some ideas that we can actually move toward and make some progress?

This rhetorical listing of random libertarian policies is coupled with an acceptable generalization that, 2) these policies are unpopular.

1) Objectivism is a philosophy, not a registered political party. If you wish to debate the pros and cons of taxation or Medicaid, there are other threads addressing specific policies.

Specific to your primary concern, 2) What difference does it make if an idea is popular or not, as long as it's right? Being popular is for politicians, not philosophy.

Speaking for myself, I'd much rather be right than be popular. It's even better when I have the strongest argument. If I needed to persuade (for the sake of my personal satisfaction), I might switch tactics to meet the understanding level of my interlocutor. Whether I persuade them or not, it's not my fault that some people are incurable altruists or some other reality-denier. So, go ahead and reject Objectivism, but you'll be struggling for a long time trying to prove that its flawed.

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14 minutes ago, Eiuol said:

Rand's response is pretty bad because the question is wondering what systems might exist in lieu of safety net programs. There are good responses to that. "Feel free to help" avoids the issue.

Rand's response is not bad

It is right on point

Forcing people to help others is immoral, all people ARE free to help. 

ANY question regarding "what about X" where X is not within the proper function of government in a free society, is exactly answered by pointing out "Yes, what ARE you going to do about X? You are free to do so!" 

If doing something about X is a value to you and other people (perhaps a large number) make no mistake about the fact that you somehow must take responsibility (with the others who value doing something about X) to work towards doing something about X.  FORCE is not the answer.

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51 minutes ago, StrictlyLogical said:

Rand's response is not bad

It is right on point

Forcing people to help others is immoral, all people ARE free to help.

I didn't say it was wrong that you would and should be free to help. This is true as far as it goes. I mean that it is at best an incomplete answer to those who would want to know what would happen to the poor. Bad reply as in it's not a persuasive reply.

EDIT: Persuasion does better when offering examples or ideas, not just "you can do what you want about it".

Edited by Eiuol

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1 minute ago, Eiuol said:

I didn't say it was wrong that you would and should be free to help. This is true as far as it goes. I mean that it is at best an incomplete answer to those who would want to know what would happen to the poor. Bad reply as in it's not a persuasive reply.

I disagree, strongly.

A persuasive reply is one which is based on proper premises and viable values and proper standards of morality.  It is an appeal to what is right and correct.  That is what makes it objectively persuasive.

IF a person is so warped of mind and philosophy that they believe the ends of helping the poor are more important than individual rights and a moral society THEN providing a response which is true but happens to be UNPERSUASIVE to that particular person, is a VERY GOOD reply... its TRUE and its rejection by the wicked forms a sort of proof by "stamp of disapproval".

Although not a perfect standard, rejection of an ethical argument A by the morally corrupt or irrational is a pretty good indication that A is a good ethical argument.

The case here is a perfect example of this.

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Just now, StrictlyLogical said:

IF a person is so warped of mind and philosophy that they believe the ends of helping the poor are more important than individual rights and a moral society THEN providing a response which is true but happens to be UNPERSUASIVE to that particular person, is a VERY GOOD reply... its TRUE and its rejection by the wicked forms a sort of proof by "stamp of disapproval".

Sure, but then your aim wasn't to persuade that person.

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6 hours ago, StrictlyLogical said:

This is not a flaw.  A flaw would be an indication that the philosophy is somehow incorrect.  With reference to reality as evidence, what are the flaws in the philosophy (assuming you understand it)?

Hmm, I think it is a flaw.  I guess you can call me a 1% pragmatist if you want.  I'll save other flaws for other threads.

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3 hours ago, Repairman said:

This rhetorical listing of random libertarian policies is coupled with an acceptable generalization that, 2) these policies are unpopular.

1) Objectivism is a philosophy, not a registered political party. If you wish to debate the pros and cons of taxation or Medicaid, there are other threads addressing specific policies.

Specific to your primary concern, 2) What difference does it make if an idea is popular or not, as long as it's right? Being popular is for politicians, not philosophy.

Speaking for myself, I'd much rather be right than be popular. It's even better when I have the strongest argument. If I needed to persuade (for the sake of my personal satisfaction), I might switch tactics to meet the understanding level of my interlocutor. Whether I persuade them or not, it's not my fault that some people are incurable altruists or some other reality-denier. So, go ahead and reject Objectivism, but you'll be struggling for a long time trying to prove that its flawed.

With regard to Medicare and Medicaid, I cite them as examples because Medicare was the exact example Rand gave in TVoS 10 that started this thread.

I think we will have a better world, with things better set up for the self-interest of all involved, if the people move a few steps closer to Rand's position.  I'm concerned that absolutism and the stand on "being right" prevent that from happening.

It's really the same argument that some use against capital-L Libertarians: you want to legalize heroin, meth, and pimping, and you wonder why no one takes you seriously?  I find this argument hard to refute.

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