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Rubal Sher

How does Objectivism handle public interactions

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20 hours ago, Rubal Sher said:

Ok, I am lost somewhat now. Letz say two neighbors have a smell free barbecue, one cooks beef, the other cooks pork. But they see each other and know what is being cooked by both. One may have a belief that nobody should eat pork, the other may believe that nobody should eat beef (and for the moment, let us just say none of them is religious at all and the reasoning is solely based on their love for the animal). My definition of tolerance is that neither neighbor has the right to force the other to stop cooking. I eat what I like and let my neighbor eat what he likes. 

You seem to be advocating that we all know beef is the right meat to cook for a barbecue and I get a sense you are suggesting that Objectivists would argue for the guy cooking pork to stop in some manner. Now apply the same to nudity or not, for me, both instances are exactly the same. It is personal preference and if anybody comes along with a pre-conceived notion that one is already better than the other, then I just dont see the need for Objectivism or how it differs at all from the current state of the society.

You're going to get us lost in minor examples and counterexamples when you come at it this way. For this reason it's necessary to first think in principles: why men in society need rights in the first place. Societies are complex, but the individual is indivisible, and we know there are a multitude of - potentially -competing ideas and beliefs, moralities and ambitions and types of behavior among several million citizens. Objectivist theory starts with "man" who has the right to life, which by his nature absolutely requires his (thinking and) actions - and so Rand logically derived man's freedom to act - the base of all rights, like property (a type of action) rights, and so on.

Objectively, rights don't demand and specify a single 'right' or 'perfect' way for an individual to think and choose his actions. But what individual rights do implicitly contain, is a principle that each person is effectively the master of his destiny, so to speak. Following that, which moral path he chooses and so what he chooses to do and therefore any just consequences from reality he gains (or at times, fails in, but that's another story) must not be interrupted or interfered with by another individual. His levels of rationality or irrationality at this stage, are less relevant--again, as long as he does not physically impose his irrational thinking or behavior or wishes on anyone else.

"Man's" indisputable right to freedom of action is the starting place, comprehended by each individual as his own essential freedom - as it is everyone else's. This acknowledgment of freedom by most people in a society totally over-rides "tolerance", to my mind, and makes it superfluous. (Could be, precisely when individual rights are scarce and lose ground to Government-implemented 'group rights' and people's 'rights to getting things' and 'public property' - a contradiction pointed out above - and similar aberrations, that "toleration" becomes more highly pressured as a "virtue" on societies, as we're seeing).

In a free society it comes down to: you do what you want  - and if they are "irrational" actions ~and~ physically affecting other's life-acts - which will usually reduce to one and the same thing - you only then run afoul of the law/government (which should exist only to defend rights and contracts.

If you see now that with the basic principles established you can then approach any competing or conflicting real-life scenario, no matter how trivial. (I think the nudity thing and public/private property has been taken care of by David Odden.). Mostly, in a high proportion of situations, it seems to my experience that many individuals are sensible and/or, rational - enough to a). anticipate in advance what behavior can be hurtful or damaging to others, and if they judge it to be gratuitous and inessential behavior, will do otherwise. b). observe results and change their acts during their commission c). respond helpfully to a complainant (neighbor, especially) when the offence has been brought to their attention. and d). If an occurrence on someone's property - just don't look at it. (Constant and repeated intrusions on the other senses, noxious smells and loud noise, are rather different and more serious).

Left alone to work things out, people often do fine. Or have the option to disassociate themselves. When problems are insoluble, and a person is impervious to rational argument comes the time to invoke one's rights and bring in the law. I see some jeopardy to the minimalist government we want, when individuals call the cops at every perceived infringement of rights, thereby bringing about larger police forces and more governance.

(My position is that the freedom to act by a (predominantly) rational individual who understands how the principle arises should be primary - i.e., not be curtailed and narrowed by concerns about others' rights and a possible initiation of force. If one is rational, one acts rationally, and therefore *cannot* by his nature, harm, defraud or coerce others. 

"I eat what I like and let my neighbor eat what he likes" (RubalSher). All my explanation is a long way round to validating your simple percept. While I'll claim that you are not in fact displaying "tolerance", as you believe - but recognition for "freedom" of action - you said it.

The Objectivist position on rights and society is absolutely true to man and in fact, a "radical" one, recalling your early criticism of it not being radical enough for you.  Radical: "of the roots".

Edited by whYNOT

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4 hours ago, DavidOdden said:

The reason why rationality is being thrust into the discussion is because this pertains to the fundamental identification of man’s nature made by Objectivism: it is man’s nature to survive by reason. That means, quite literally, that to survive qua man, you must act rationally. I’m afraid that your interpretation of Objectivism in in error. Rationality is more important than “selfishness”, because selfishness is in fact rational self-interest.

The philosophy that says you should do whatever you feel like doing, that philosophy is hedonism, not Objectivism. To quote from “The Objectivist ethics”,

In choosing one action over another, one need principles and especially a purpose: you make a particular choice as a means of achieving your ultimate purpose. Again to quote from “The Objectivist ethics”,

As to the question of whether Objectivists universally “care” about some random other person, they do not. Although we are a decent and charitable bunch, we don’t have the insincere universal “caring” attitude that recognizes neither vice nor virtue. Whether or not many Objectivists would support a person’s decision to jump off a cliff depends on the nature of that person. Probably most Objectivists would support Kim Jong-Un’s decision to jump off a cliff, and would oppose Yaron Brook’s decision to do likewise (assuming that it was indeed an irrational choice). Generally, the attitude would be “That’s stupid”, “it’s no skin off my nose”, and “I have more important concerns”. All Objectivists would, however, support a person’s right to choose to jump off a cliff.

I agree with you when you say that selfishness is rational self interest. I dont disagree with the definition, all I am saying is that not everyone is aware of what is in their rational self interest. So a person is very likely to choose a path which is not in his rational self interest but he believes it to be so, thereby making it a selfish choice. Ergo, selfishness will always be present but rationality may be not and any Objectivist should be fine with this disparity. 

You say in the end that all Objectivists would support a person's right to choose to jump off a cliff, which is exactly what I am saying. 

Having agreed to this, and having understood what you mean by rationality, my question is what exactly do you propose should be done by an Objectivist if he sees a person who is about to jump off a cliff? As long as the rationality argument is not used to encroach on my freedom to jump off a cliff, then I take no issue with it. Trouble is, I am sensing that the rationality argument is in the works to somehow stop people from jumping off cliffs or to make them eat kebabs or to prevent them from being naked. I sense that your version of Objectivism has already decided that being naked is the wrong thing to do and I cannot understand how you even got there. How is being naked getting defined as an irrational choice, something that risks a man's survival according to the definition you provided.

The only reason I take issue is because I have lived in a society where eating meat is frowned upon (as an example). Now, this may look downright silly to you, but the number of people who dont eat meat in India is bigger than the entire population of the US. They can use all the fancy words & definitions that you have used above and believe me, they will cite medical research that shows the harm in eating meat. So, according to them, if rationality (using your definitions) is to be given a legitimate place in the legal discourse, all meat eating will be banned. This may be a bummer to you, but having lived in a society which is far regressive than the US, I am highly wary of anyone else telling me the choices I need to make, rational or not. And this is why, I believe the freedom of choice (what I call selfishness, rational or not) should never be stopped by any argument that cites rationality (because rationality comes in many hues and colors and will always have opposing views).

Edited by Rubal Sher

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2 hours ago, whYNOT said:

You're going to get us lost in minor examples and counterexamples when you come at it this way. For this reason it's necessary to first think in principles: why men in society need rights in the first place. Societies are complex, but the individual is indivisible, and we know there are a multitude of - potentially -competing ideas and beliefs, moralities and ambitions and types of behavior among several million citizens. Objectivist theory starts with "man" who has the right to life, which by his nature absolutely requires his (thinking and) actions - and so Rand logically derived man's freedom to act - the base of all rights, like property (a type of action) rights, and so on.

Objectively, rights don't demand and specify a single 'right' or 'perfect' way for an individual to think and choose his actions. But what individual rights do implicitly contain, is a principle that each person is effectively the master of his destiny, so to speak. Following that, which moral path he chooses and so what he chooses to do and therefore any just consequences from reality he gains (or at times, fails in, but that's another story) must not be interrupted or interfered with by another individual. His levels of rationality or irrationality at this stage, are less relevant--again, as long as he does not physically impose his irrational thinking or behavior or wishes on anyone else.

"Man's" indisputable right to freedom of action is the starting place, comprehended by each individual as his own essential freedom - as it is everyone else's. This acknowledgment of freedom by most people in a society totally over-rides "tolerance", to my mind, and makes it superfluous. (Could be, precisely when individual rights are scarce and lose ground to Government-implemented 'group rights' and people's 'rights to getting things' and 'public property' - a contradiction pointed out above - and similar aberrations, that "toleration" becomes more highly pressured as a "virtue" on societies, as we're seeing).

In a free society it comes down to: you do what you want  - and if they are "irrational" actions ~and~ physically affecting other's life-acts - which will usually reduce to one and the same thing - you only then run afoul of the law/government (which should exist only to defend rights and contracts.

If you see now that with the basic principles established you can then approach any competing or conflicting real-life scenario, no matter how trivial. (I think the nudity thing and public/private property has been taken care of by David Odden.). Mostly, in a high proportion of situations, it seems to my experience that many individuals are sensible and/or, rational - enough to a). anticipate in advance what behavior can be hurtful or damaging to others, and if they judge it to be gratuitous and inessential behavior, will do otherwise. b). observe results and change their acts during their commission c). respond helpfully to a complainant (neighbor, especially) when the offence has been brought to their attention. and d). If an occurrence on someone's property - just don't look at it. (Constant and repeated intrusions on the other senses, noxious smells and loud noise, are rather different and more serious).

Left alone to work things out, people often do fine. Or have the option to disassociate themselves. When problems are insoluble, and a person is impervious to rational argument comes the time to invoke one's rights and bring in the law. I see some jeopardy to the minimalist government we want, when individuals call the cops at every perceived infringement of rights, thereby bringing about larger police forces and more governance.

(My position is that the freedom to act by a (predominantly) rational individual who understands how the principle arises should be primary - i.e., not be curtailed and narrowed by concerns about others' rights and a possible initiation of force. If one is rational, one acts rationally, and therefore *cannot* by his nature, harm, defraud or coerce others. 

"I eat what I like and let my neighbor eat what he likes" (RubalSher). All my explanation is a long way round to validating your simple percept. While I'll claim that you are not in fact displaying "tolerance", as you believe - but recognition for "freedom" of action - you said it.

The Objectivist position on rights and society is absolutely true to man and in fact, a "radical" one, recalling your early criticism of it not being radical enough for you.  Radical: "of the roots".

I saw this after I replied to your other post and I pretty much agree with everything you have said here. Looks like, we may be saying the same thing. You are obviously much more educated on the subject matter and I am just a novice and it is possible that I am not yet able to grasp fully some of the things that are being discussed. In any case, thank you for your time and patience in replying to me.

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12 hours ago, Rubal Sher said:

which is not in his rational self interest but he believes it to be so, thereby making it a selfish choice.

Ayn Rand has redefined selfishness, you are using the definition of selfishness that is used by the majority of society, originating when mystics accused the self as the source of all evil.  When a person acts against their rational self interest it is a loss of self that they experience.  This confusion and disorientation happens to everyone, clarity and fog, integration and disintegration.  Humans learn concsiousness by putting attention into returning to the path of rationality.  

 

12 hours ago, Rubal Sher said:

support a person's right to choose to jump off a cliff

It is painful, I would be horrified to witness that in person, and would probably have nightmares about it.  In that moment it is in my self interest to do everything in my power to rationally talk them out of it.  I cried once when I saw a video of a large man grab the back of this small girls sweater and pull her off of a ledge of the Golden Gate Bridge.  I honestly can't say I think he was wrong.  She appeared young and healthy, the possibility of her discovering a value worth living for is there.  In another context some people suffer for years with chronic pain making it impossible to really live, if there is no hope of recovery, why force them to continue suffering?  

 

12 hours ago, Rubal Sher said:

Objectivism has already decided that being naked is the wrong thing to do

As an artist, I think the human body is beautiful, and have enjoyed nudity in a safe family friendly hot springs.  I think of a similarity with taxes.  Objectivists believe tax is theft, but we still pay our taxes, because we live in a society still largely dominated by mystics.  It is a process of development.  With greater rational freedom and responsibility nudity would become safer and more common.  Women are at risk of being raped even when they wear cloths, the risk would increase when there is no physical barrier.  

 

12 hours ago, Rubal Sher said:

a society where eating meat is frowned upon

It is a management of available resources.  Humans are omnivorous.  Where population density increases the incidence of vegetarianism increases, in some places the higher classes would ban eating meat in order to reduce competition for that resource.   The further north you travel, the less vegetation available, the more dependent on meat those cultures are.  

 

12 hours ago, Rubal Sher said:

I believe the freedom of choice (what I call selfishness, rational or not) should never be stopped by any argument that cites rationality (because rationality comes in many hues and colors and will always have opposing views).

A rational argument will not stop the irrational.  Crimes happen every day that can not be stopped.  Irrational selfishness has a way of creating enemies, and you risk retaliation.  Objectivism is a philosophy chosen through self respect, if you want to be rational.  

Edited by Tenderlysharp

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Given the principle that force may not be initiated to override the choices of another, even when those choices are irrational, then there is clearly no room to use force to prevent suicide, eating lamb or cow, being naked, or jumping off a cliff. There is room in an emergency to use force to defend yourself against the initiation of force, and there is room to seek protection via government force of your rights under the law, which includes your property right to control your property. Your right to be irrational is precisely and narrowly circumscribed: you may be irrational up to the point of violating my rights.

I understand the problem that “I don’t like X” easily turns into a law “You may not X”. Within the past 50 years, the concept of individual rights and limited government have substantially eroded in the US. The solution to this problem is not to prohibit persuasion, it is to try to restore the concepts of limited government and individual rights. So if a half a million people want to forego the joy of a good lamb kebab, that is their right. It is likewise my right to try to persuade them to lighten up. Or, to put the matter the other way, it is also the right of the vegan down the road to try to persuade me that animals have the same rights as humans and we should only interact with them if they give informed consent. Even though ethical veganism (or vegetarianism) is irrational, that irrationality is their right.

So let me recapitulate: Objectivism does not support using force to prevent irrational behavior.

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When it's only "non-initiation of force" that prevents one from stopping, say, a pedestrian walking in front of a car - or someone leaping off a bridge - then I have a strong objection to this injunction. This is where applying IOF becomes out-of-context, and as I said, "a stretch". I have heard the arguments from a libertarian, and he finally came around to agreeing that the fundamental behind NIOF is: the principle of freedom of action. 

For the pedestrian, the simpler scenario is that he's unaware of danger--so you aren't diverting him from his chosen actions. But it's crazy to envisage oneself as going through a mental conflict first about having to use "force" to stop a man, woman or child from unintended harm - just because it would require your force/restraint. That's when some libertarians look quite irrationally dogmatic, by taking a derivative principle concerning force-to-others as their rigid guide to action, i.e., as a morality. What not to do, rather than "what to do" will tend to stifling and limiting one's free action which will be against moral self-interest . 

I'd not ever wish to have to make the decision to not interfere with an adult (as distinct from a minor, who should be prevented) and his choice to take his life. Who can tell, it may yet happen, with anyone , a stranger or a very sick friend. However, I think the abiding principle is - only - that person's freedom of action, free mind and choice, and you, the onlooker's recognition/respect for his freedom. That would decide me to hold off. Not the fear of initiating force.

Edited by whYNOT

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4 hours ago, DavidOdden said:

So let me recapitulate: Objectivism does not support using force to prevent irrational behavior.

And that is what works for me. I can live with that.

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5 hours ago, Tenderlysharp said:

Ayn Rand has redefined selfishness, you are using the definition of selfishness that is used by the majority of society, originating when mystics accused the self as the source of all evil.  When a person acts against their rational self interest it is a loss of self that they experience.  This confusion and disorientation happens to everyone, clarity and fog, integration and disintegration.  Humans learn concsiousness by putting attention into returning to the path of rationality.  

According to you, what does Ayn Rand mean by selfishness and how does she know she has made all the right rational decisions? If selfishness is tied to rationality, then no human being has ever been truly selfish because being rational is an endless journey of learning. Every single human being who has walked the earth has been irrational at some point, knowingly or not, and continue to do so. 

5 hours ago, Tenderlysharp said:

With greater rational freedom and responsibility nudity would become safer and more common.  Women are at risk of being raped even when they wear cloths, the risk would increase when there is no physical barrier.    

You are making the argument that the mullahs make, women all across the world should be covered in burqas.

 

5 hours ago, Tenderlysharp said:

A rational argument will not stop the irrational.  Crimes happen every day that can not be stopped.  Irrational selfishness has a way of creating enemies, and you risk retaliation.  Objectivism is a philosophy chosen through self respect, if you want to be rational.  

Why in an Objectivist world will I worry about retaliation or how others view my choices. I am guaranteed that I will have all choices available for all time to come, and as long as that is the case, I can pretty much decide for myself what is rational or not. You may be better at rationality than I am, but there is nothing in an Objectivist world that gives you the right to choose for me. I can live with that.

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6 hours ago, Rubal Sher said:

According to you, what does Ayn Rand mean by selfishness and how does she know she has made all the right rational decisions?

The Virtue of Selfishness is a 173 page book.  According to me... It means self esteem, self respect, trusting myself, introspection, keeping my own counsel, doing the best I can, calling myself out on my own BS, learning.  I don't always know if I made an irrational decision, when I notice or when someone I respect points it out, and I agree, then I correct it.  

Your self is your body/consciousness/memories, a sum total of everything you are and have been.  I believe I am a Self first, the -ish follows.  If I want to value rational values it is my self that chooses, and I gain confidence on that path.  

6 hours ago, Rubal Sher said:

You are making the argument that the mullahs make, women all across the world should be covered in burqas.

I don't agree with mullahs.  Every woman I know has had their body trespassed upon by a man at some point.  Having been inappropriately touched by strange men several times in my life brings painful clarity.  In theory it is true that it is the man who needs to correct his behavior, not the woman who needs to cover up.  But I won't risk my body to prove that point.  I choose the level of protection I need for a given situation.  Sometimes a bikini, sometimes layers and a weapon.  A woman wearing a Burqa believes it is a symbol of honor, it ought to be her own choice, I wouldn't force her to wear it, nor tear it off of her.  

7 hours ago, Rubal Sher said:

Why in an Objectivist world will I worry

I believe in this world, as an objective reality, an orange is an orange and not my imagination.  This reality contains irrational people and mystics who believe in other worlds. An Objectivist forces no one, but if forced, will respond with force.  

http://aynrandlexicon.com/lexicon/selfishness.html

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