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Who Are The True Objectivists?

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Am I making sense here?

I think you're making perfect sense. An Objectivist isn't someone who's almost got a book out on the philosophy, it's someone's who's integrated the philosophy into their lives. The person who is working on a book on Objectivism would obviously be held to a higher standard than the average Joe who's read VoS and C:UI plus Atlas Shrugged. Honest errors are still possible with the former, but they would indicate a cognitive laziness that doesn't speak well for them.

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While their may be some cases in which people call themselves "students of Objectivism" in order to have a "free pass" as it were to make any sort of contradictory errors in their own philosophy, for the most part I think people refer to themselves as that because they feel that they do not have enough knowledge in order to make the claim that they are an "Objectivist."

When I originally wrote this post, I felt that I did not have enough knowledge of the philosophy to properly refer to myself as an Objectivist. However, at this point in my development, my knowledge has definitely increased. Most importantly, I have come to realize that the core of my own philosophical beliefs is reason and egoism. I have advanced past the point of referring to myself as merely a student of Objectivism.

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Since I've seen some steam occasionally show up in different threads on this site, I decided that perhaps it would be good if the discussion of "anarchism or not in Objectivism" got its own thread. Therefore I suggest that we continue discussing this in the "anarchism vs minarchism" thread in the "Politics and Political Philosophy" section.

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To say that one commits to being rationally self-interested to the best of one's ability is tough stuff.

A commitment to rational self-interest is not the same as the promotion from "student of Objectivism" to "Objectivist." I would say that I was committed to rational self-interest long before I even knew about Objectivism; in fact, the reason I became interested in Objectivism is that I found it would be a useful tool for me in fulfilling my commitment. So I'm a "Capitalism Forever-ist" first and an anything-else-ist only second; myself is the end and philosophy is a means; my commitment to my life is immutable, but my acceptance of a philosophy is contingent on the philosophy being an effective guide to my life.

This is why I prefer to be very careful about completely identifying with any philosophy. To say that I am an _____ist has a profound psychological impact; it affects one's sense of identity, not only in that one accepts the principles of _____ism, but one also begins to feel a sense of adherence to the general tastes and preferences of _____ists, which may have nothing to do with the philosophy's principles. Since this is a subconscious effect, defining "_____ist" as a person who accepts a set of principles does not eliminate it.

So I would say that you should first commit to individual ideas, such as rationality, selfishness, capitalism, romanticism, small-o objectivism, and so on--not because Objectivists tell you so, but because--and IF--you are convinced that these ideas are YOURS; that you can wholeheartedly advocate them, stand for them, and live by them. Studying Objectivism will help you identify and validate these ideas and will motivate you to act on them. Then, after you have lived by these ideas for a while and see their effect on your life, and you have studied Objectivism enough to fully grasp what it means, you can decide whether or not you are an Objectivist.

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Who cares?

I mean, really, do you think that Fransisco or John Galt would sit around wondering about who is a "real" Objectivist? Either someone is good, or they're not, and you determine that by their actions and their character.

There are SO many better ways to spend your brainpower. Like staring at the wall, for example.

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For the record: I consider myself an Objectivist. Though I am by no means an expert, I have read all of Ayn Rand's books and agree with everything. A key part is: I am now consistently applying Objectivism to my personal life.

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My personal take on the word is - an Objectivist is one who applies the principles of the philosophy to his everyday life, though not necessarily with any conceptual knowledge of the principles.

The reason people prefer to call themselves "students of Objectivism" for a time while studying the philosophy and internalizing it is that they originally were applying the principles of some contradictory philosophy to their everyday lives. When one is confident enough in his studies and integration, he will call himself an Objectivist.

Our society in general promotes contradictory philosophies; most people grew up with them and thus must purge themselves and internalize the principles of Objectivism. Such a process takes time. Should society in general be Objectivist, such a thing will generally be unheard of as everybody will be applying the principles of the philosophy, and people will be calling themselves Objectivists (or "normal") from birth.

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The person who we will judge as bad is one who calls himself an Objectivist while acting on and/or advocating ideas that he knows are contrary to those that Ayn Rand believed.

What if he acts on and/or advocates ideas that are contradictory to the ideas of Objectivism--but he doesn't know it?

Either A is A, and Objectivism is what it is, or not.

Objectivist doesn't mean "basically rational".

Objectivism is a proper noun. It is the name Ayn Rand gave to her body of ideas. It is a matter of intellectual honesty to use the name only when appropriate.

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My personal take on the word is - an Objectivist is one who applies the principles of the philosophy to his everyday life, though not necessarily with any conceptual knowledge of the principles.

"A clock is something that currently indicates the correct time, though not necessarily because its hands rotate at the right speed."

Sorry, a stopped clock does not tell time, not even twice a day.

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"A clock is something that currently indicates the correct time, though not necessarily because its hands rotate at the right speed."

Sorry, a stopped clock does not tell time, not even twice a day.

A clock thats 5 minutes slow isnt actually a clock?

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A clock thats 5 minutes slow isnt actually a clock?

If you know that the clock is always 5 minutes slow, and the clock consistently remains 5 minutes slow, then you can use the clock to tell the time. But if the clock has stopped, you can never use it to tell the time; even though it happens to display the correct time twice a day, you don't know when it does so.

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How can you apply principles you don't have?

I dislike fictional examples, but take Hank Rearden in Atlas Shrugged to understand how this can be done. I think Rand would have called it a 'sense of life' versus 'conscious philosophy' thing or something, I dunno.

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I think that if we utilize the basic principles of Objectivism, without abusing them, that means that we basically believe that we agree with most of Ayn Rand's philosophy.

Am I stating that I agree with every single minute detail of Objectivism? No. I don't think that it is possible.

I have values. While someone may share and respect some of the same values I do, doesn't mean that we value those values in the same priority.

I like money. Why? Because I do. I realize that it plays a big part in making me happy in life. Does that mean I value money more than anything? No. It is just one of the many values that I value. I value some things more than money- and some things less. It is with these values that I establish my morals and immorals (not sure if this is a word). We all share common morals such as rational laws that protect human rights. We also share common immorals. Some of these include rape, murder, theft, or whatever we disagree with. Why? Because these immorailities take something that we value away from us or from others as well (whose rights we should respect.) All of these things are established by me, my utilization of the principles of Objectivism, and my utilization of volition- no one else. To imply otherwise suggests that volition is non-existent, and furthemore, suggests that I have no brain.

I have noticed a great majority of posts in this forum- mine included, that ask for answers. That's fine. However, most of us check Ayn Rand's philosophy before coming to a conclusion. That's fine too. By asking qusetions about something we have no knowledge of is the easiest way we gain that knowledge which we seek. But I do have one question. Some possibilities exist now that did not exist when Ayn Rand was alive. Who do we turn to now to answer our questions, figure out what makes us tick, and decide how we should live? To think that someone else with no Objectivist principles and aside from myself has to dictate my present day life, within the boundaries of nature that we must obey(things that are impossible to change)- and how I live that life is disasteful to say the least. Especially when I apply Objectivist princliples to my life.

Or can we still consult her? I think so. By properly utilizing her principles, and possessing the appropriate knowledge for the task that I want to accomplish, I think I solve whatever problem I need to solve. So, if I'm not an objectivist because I don't use and agree with every single minute detail of the philosophy of Ayn Rand, then what am I? If I'm not an Objectivist, I'm not going to get bent out of shape by that fact. It would do no good, because doing so would not change the fact that am or am not indeed an Obejectivist. Well, if I can't be an Objectivist, then I guess I'm just myself. To disagree with that statement,implies that I am not myself, have no identity, and do not exixt- which would make me a slave.

"In a nut shell," I won't take what's offered, I'll take what I choose.

Also, as a sidenote, I've heard people ask that if Ayn Rand expresses the virtue of selfishness then why did this brilliant woman give her philosophy to the world for utilization? My answer is this: She didn't just give it. Philosophy is a way of live, so it is definately a requirement for everyone. And, it's not without cost. We had to choose to give up whatever our past philosophy was in order to agree to, and apply, her philosophy to our life.

Edited by LucentBrave

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A clock thats 5 minutes slow isnt actually a clock?

Thanks for this concretization of intellectual dishonesty. I didn't say that a slow clock isn't a clock, and there is no way that you really believe I did.

Am I stating that I agree with every single minute detail of Objectivism? No. I don't think that it is possible.
At the end of the day, there is only one premise that leads to the conclusion that two men can't share the same exact set of beliefs. It goes like this. Reality is the subject of consciousness. There's no way (trust me, I can step outside of reality to tell you authoritatively) that two consciousnesses can dream up the same shit. So therefore, if two men hold the same exact set of ideas, it's because one is a mindless follower of the other.

Check your premises.

It is possible to agree with every premise of Objectivism. Since it's not the Encyclopedia Brittannica(sp?) it doesn't contain "minute details". It is a philosophy, a proper philosophy, and so it contains universal truths.

While someone may share and respect some of the same values I do, doesn't mean that we value those values in the same priority.

Objectivism does not contain a laundry list of values such as love Chinese food, hate pizza, etc. Nor even that one ought to be an accountant as opposed to an insurance broker.

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That does make more sense. Usually when I am trying to prove a point, I get carried away. I only care about getting that particular point across.

And bearster, I see no point in criticizing the way I think. That is how I think. And that is how I live my life. While you can criticize me, that doesn't give you the right to actually do those things for me.truth and validated proof. All you have done is prove that I think differently from everyone else.

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I think that if we utilize the basic principles of Objectivism, without abusing them, that means that we basically believe that we agree with most of Ayn Rand's philosophy.

Am I stating that I agree with every single minute detail of Objectivism? No. I don't think that it is possible.

I think you should seperate agreement with the principles of Objectivist from agreement with the application of these principles. If you define an Objectivist to be someone who agrees with 'every minute detail of Objectivism', meaning everything that Rand at some time or another claimed to personally believe, or belived could be derived from Objectivism (such as 'smoking is good', 'homosexuals are disgusting', 'a woman shouldnt be president', or whatever) then yeah, I doubt anyone could 'be' an Objectivist. However if you treat these things as being applications of general principles, you could still be in full agreement with these principles while also thinking they are being wrongly applied in these specific cases. For instance, I think certain commonly held Objectivist beliefs are irrational, but I believe that this is generally a result of Objectivist principles being misapplied, rather than the principles themselves being flawed.

If you actually disagree outright with any of the basic principles of Objectivism then no, youre not an Objectivist.

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I like your view on that Poohat. I also aknowledge the fact that I was wrong about agreeing with very objectivist detail. It is possible.

You can't really go wrong in life, if you correctly utilize Objectivist principles.

Bearster, I hope I didn't give you the wrong impression that I was attacking you. I stand up for my opinions and what I believe in, until proven wrong. When proven wrong, I can't change that fact. I just accept , that I'm wrong.

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I would say that what differentiates an Objectivist from others is a person's understanding and acceptance of Rand's theory of concepts as set forth in ITOE, which leads directly to the view of objectivity set forth in Chapter 4 of OPAR. In my opinion, Ayn Rand was essentially hinting this conclusion in her June 20, 1958 journay entry (see Journals of Ayn Rand at page 699-700).

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**Please note that Anarchism is a capitalist social organization that involves no government.  IT is not "chaos" or "Disorder" or any of hte other things that people tend to wrongfully conntate that it means. Anarchism is simply the absense of government.  Objectivism, requireing no man to live for another, must be opposed to government.  A simple definition of government is an entity that requires all in its geographic domain to live for its rulers.

Don't confuse government NOW with how government should be. If a government was set up to protect individual rights and do nothing else, I don't see how the people in it's domain could live for it's rulers. How do you live for your rulers in a society where there are no "rulers" and your government officials say "live your own life".

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An idea on the term "student of objectivism". Why? Because I think that term best fits me at this point.

To be properly labeled a christian (according to most denominations) the requirements are simple;

1) You must believe in the lord god almight.

2) You have to believe that god sent his only begotten son to this earth to die for our sins, and that he is your only path to god.

That's it. If you have an epiphany, it can take all of 5 minutes to suddenly properly declare yourself a christian. You needn't seek further knowledge, because it is sufficient to accept those premises "as a child would".

I think the mere idea of being an Objectivist requires much more thought. As a person who has grown up in a predominently christian environment, accepting Objectivism requires an "overhaul" of my beliefs. I believe that to some degree, I have been "tainted" by the judeo-christian value system that is so pervasive around me. Therefore, I have to review many of the things I believe to ensure that I believe them for the right, rational reasons. This cannot be done quickly or lightly. Also, there is a great deal written about the philosophy that establishes the basis on which it stands. It is important to understand that foundation and build on it. In my mind, this CANNOT happen by way of a short simple epiphany.

It is for that reason that I say I'm a student of Objectivism. When I'm secure in my understanding of the philosophy, as well as understand the basis for my beliefs and that they are rationally derived, then I will call myself an Objectivist.

VES

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I have never understood the fuss over this.

I agree with ChrissyCrunch.

I think if a person agrees with substantially most of the teachings of the Catholic church but does not really understand certain teachings and does not agree with certain others, that does not make them non-Catholic. Otherwise, we end up at: "There was only one Christian, and he was Christ".

As for abortion, one can make the case that abortion is against religion, in the sense that it is against the idea that God wills life into being, and it is sinful to destroy it. However, by the same reckoning, one could say that this view means that anyone who takes a non-fatalist view of life, anyone other than a monk shut up in a monastery, is not religious.

This classification is not useful to me. I find it useful to classify a person as "Catholic" if they substantially follow most of Christianity's fundamental teachings.

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I think the question "Who deserves the title of Objectivist?" is invalid.

"Deserve" is an evaluation. It means that the title "Objectivist" is something good about the person who holds it, that it is an achievement or a value he has earned. It isn't. It is a description. It simply means someone who advocates the philosophy of Ayn Rand.

In my 40+ years involved with Objectivism, I have seen the people who want to use it as evaluation, try to paste it on themselves as a title of honor, a badge of accomplishment, etc. that none of them has really earned. It's as if, when other people call them an "Objectivist," their worth is acknowledged and they are superior to those who are not. For some people, sorting out the "Objectivists" from the "non-Objectivists" is a major obsession.

Those who see it as a description couldn't care less about putting that label on themselves and others. Their real concern is whether they and others are in sync with reality and whether they are on track to achieve their values. That's where a person's real worth comes from.

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"Deserve" is an evaluation. It means that the title "Objectivist" is something good about the person who holds it, that it is an achievement or a value he has earned. It isn't."

You've been an O'ist, or student of O'ism, for 40+ years, and you're not proud of it? That's what it sounds like you are saying. Perhaps I misinterpret your remarks.

I am proud of being an Objectivist, or "student of Objectivism", precisely because it IS an achievement. It requires hard work to learn the philosophy, study it, and integrate it consistently in one's life. That is *exactly* why there aren't more Objectivists! Don't you agree?

"Their real concern is whether they and others are in sync with reality and whether they are on track to achieve their values. That's where a person's real worth comes from."

That's true as far as it goes, but a person who has the explicit understanding of how and why they are "in synch with reality" (an Objectivist), is far more valuable/admirable (to me AND to themselves) than one who lacks that understanding. Without that understanding, one CANNOT defend oneself morally, in public OR in one's own mind. The way I see it, to be an Objectivist is a virtue, not merely a "description".

In other words, if I know someone who is a pleasant, inoffensive person but not "an Objectivist" and who has, let's say, only minor inconsistencies compared to most "non-O'ists", they might be pleasant to behold, and even admirable in their accomplishments and character - but if they aren't explicitly aware of what is right and wrong, and why, and they aren't therefore able to defend it and advocate it explicitly, then I CANNOT value them as much as someone who does possess that knowledge.

I think Objectivists are superior people, in moral terms. Taking the time and making the effort to understand objective reality in a consistently principled manner warrants pride and praise.

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