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About a Woman President

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The idea that women need to "look up" to men is perpetuates the idea of a "lesser sex" - I know that wasn't Rand's intention AT ALL, but that's the premise such an argument is based on.
Either Rand based her ideas on a premise that she did not intend to, or else you're missing something.

My take on this issue is: I think Rand must have been uncomfortable being in a leadership position within the Objectivist movement, and with being the breadwinner in her marriage. That led her to develop this psychological theory, based on her experience and emotions.

Admit it. You have no idea what Rand was feeling when she wrote what she did, and in any case, you should analyze her ideas by their own merits.

Personally, I have to say a demure woman is boring and unappealing. I don't want to date some clingy, weak girl.  I want someone whose strength of character is equal to mine.
False alternative. Demure doesn't mean weak or clingy, and strong character doesn't mean the opposite of demure (aggressive?)

looking up to men is that which makes women womanly, which I don't buy for a number of reasons, *least* of which is that it sounds appallingly archaic.

It may be "archaic", but then so is courtesy, or integrity.

By their definitions, an inferior is not equal to a superior...

This is the crux of it. We have to nail down what we mean, or else it's endless equivocation. Men are not *morally* superior to women. Both genders are capable of acting with unblemished integrity.

Men are physically stronger, men are not vulnerable, and men do not have the same hormone-driven emotional cycle. Even a man's skin is more resistant to injury from work or play. He is taller, too.

For a woman to look up to a man, she can physically look up to him, being that he is typically about 5" taller than she, and much stronger and more massive.

For a man to say he looks up to a woman, then it would have to be weakness-worship, putting her on a pedestal.

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It was always my thought that the only person fit for that kind of job is the person who doesn't want it.

Now that's a topic on its own right, and I don't want to get into it here, but let it suffice to name George Washington and Thomas Jefferson as counter-examples.

Don't generalize from the Presidents we have these days. If some of them are bad, that doesn't make all of them bad.

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It may be "archaic", but then so is courtesy, or integrity.

Argumentum ad novitam (appeal to the new) has been a favorite trick of feminists ever since the death of Queen Victoria. It is a fallacy, of course--as is the argumentum ad antiquitam, or appeal to the old. Age has no influence on the validity of an idea.

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Argumentum ad novitam (appeal to the new) has been a favorite trick of feminists ever since the death of Queen Victoria. It is a fallacy, of course--as is the argumentum ad antiquitam, or appeal to the old. Age has no influence on the validity of an idea.

Allow me to clarify my meaning with my use of "archaic..." I in no way intended to play the "eww, that's the way people USED to do things" card. :D For the record, I loathe radical feminist ways as much as any rational, truth-seeking person should.

When I wrote "archaic," I was still under the impression that it was the belief of some that what makes a woman womanly to the WORLD was her worship of a man. At this point, I'd like to think I'm beginning to understand Rand's meaning, that is, if she meant that a woman's femininity as it pertains to her relationship to the man that she loves is to look up to him, to worship him as a hero. This is a view that I find much, much more palatable, and more importantly, more compatible with my (admittedly somewhat limited) knowledge of Objectivsm.

Anyhoo, I'm enjoying this discussion very much, as it's helping to clear up several misconceptions I'd had about what Rand meant by some of her statements, especially the ones that seemed to conflict with what she had to say about other things. Thanks, all.

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I in no way intended to play the "eww, that's the way people USED to do things" card.  :D

I'm relieved to hear that. :D

Anyhoo, I'm enjoying this discussion very much, as it's helping to clear up several misconceptions I'd had about what Rand meant by some of her statements, especially the ones that seemed to conflict with what she had to say about other things. Thanks, all.

That's what this forum is there for. :) Although I've always had some sort of intuition on what it means to be feminine and what it means to be masculine, this discussion has helped me make it much clearer and I learned a lot of new things too.

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Today, I was at a meeting of the objectivist club on my campus, and we read something that Ayn Rand wrote explaining why she told McCalls magazine why a woman shouldn't be president. I know that Rand wasn't saying that a woman would be unfit to be president, but "merely" that it would be bad for her mental health. I think she explained this by saying that woman naturally sees man as someone to look up to or admire, and that women are in general more passive (or less "dominant" than men). Just about no one in the room could explain the validity of this view, and it seems as if Rand was simply getting this idea from either a lifetime of living in a society where all women DO look up to men and all women simply accept their subordinate roles, or from the fact that in nature, the male is the one who pursues the female. In either case, her argument loses credibility. If the former is her basis, then she's simply adhering to societal norms. If the latter is her basis, then that makes slightly more sense, but not enough. We are no longer logicless beings who have to resort to physical impulses in order to act, and there's no reason why the dominant male phenonemon should be carried over into our civilized relationships (let alone any other aspect of our lives such as how we view ourselves or who we look up to) if we now have the power of logic.

Does anyone here have any way of explaining what Rand's reasoning with this was, or if I'm missing anything in my argument?

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At this point, I'd like to think I'm beginning to understand Rand's meaning, that is, if she meant that a woman's femininity as it pertains to her relationship to the man that she loves is to look up to him, to worship him as a hero.  This is a view that I find much, much more palatable, and more importantly, more compatible with my (admittedly somewhat limited) knowledge of Objectivsm. 

I believe that's what she meant. If someone is the Commander in Chief of the greatest country in the world, who could she look up to? Even for lesser countries, there is a _psychological_ issue for a woman leader. Miss Rand saw both Golda Meir and Joan of Arc as tragic figures.

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Geoff27, I completely agree with you on the term "archaic". People tend to forget (especially after listening to Peikoff's course on logic, more specifically, logical fallacies), that just as you can't determine an assertion's truth by the TIME it was proposed, you cannot claim that by using the alleged fallacy, your opponent proves that you're right. It is absurd.

Archaic, is an excelent term in this context because any discrimination between a man and a woman on their value judgements has no basis.

It is true that men and women have metaphysical differences. Most of the male's sex organs are external. But HERE is where the difference ends. All one has to do in order to see how wrong was Rand's notion regarding the act of conquering, is to observe any relationship among consenting adults.

And what about homosexual relationships? what happendes their? Ayn rand simply dissmissed the idea as an abnormal behaviour *(!) - Again, just look around you.

The fact is that rational values are detemind by far more than just physical appearence. Sexual attraction is one of the highest of ones value judgments and is composed of his mind AND his body.

Regarding the president's job, I will reffer you to the following excerpt:

The source of the goverment's authority is "the consent of the governed." This means that the government is not a ruler, but the servent or agent of the citizens; it means that the govenmet as such has no rights except the rights delegated to it by the citizens for a specific pupose.

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Inspite what is commonly considerd, a president is only a head of a mechanism, of a robot (the govenment) which has only one purpose and only one moral justification for its existance: to serve its citizens.

No, it is to protect the rights of its citizens. "Serve" is what a communist thinks the government should do.

Protecting the rights of the citizens requires strength, moral judgment, integrity, and confidence. A Protector is everything BUT a robot; he is everything BUT servile. If he is to deal with criminals successfully, he must definitely be the kind of person you look UP to, not down on.

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It is true that men and women have metaphysical differences. Most of the male's sex organs are external. But HERE is where the difference ends. All one has to do in order to see how wrong was Rand's notion regarding the act of conquering, is to observe any relationship among consenting adults.

Oh, really? All we need do is observe "any" relationship among consenting adults and we will automatically reach your conclusion? I do not know how old you are, or where you live, but I wonder how many people you know well-enough to discern such an intimate part of their relationship?

But, even so, perhaps your limited observations skew your judgment because of the sort of people you befriend. Perhaps your limited observations skew your judgment because of the particular culture in which you reside. However, regardless of how limited or significant your observations may or may not be, since when did how some people act become the standard of what is right or wrong, good or bad?

If you actually have an argument to make, one which intrellectually, not emotionally, jusifies your view of the man-woman relationship, then do so from the perspective of ideas. Present the philosophical ideas related to your understanding of the nature of man and woman, the scientific ideas related to your understanding of their physical nature, the psychological ideas related to your understanding of their psycho-epistemology. Do that instead of your original "her arguments in it are so weak that it doesn't take a genius to indetify all the cracks... just read it" and your now just "observe any relationship among consenting adults."

If you actually have ideas which justify whatever is your view of the man-woman relationship, then present them. Until then your unsupported opinion has no serious intellectual status.

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Protecting the rights of the citizens requires strength, moral judgment, integrity, and confidence. A Protector is everything BUT a robot; he is everything BUT servile. If he is to deal with criminals successfully, he must definitely be the kind of person you look UP to, not down on.

I think you got this a little wrong. The president and the government act according to objective rules. In an Ideal situation, personal judgment on their behalf would be almost entirly irrelevant. I think this is the point, and this is why they are compared to a mechanism. Do you disagree?

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I think you got this a little wrong. The president and the government act according to objective rules. In an Ideal situation, personal judgment on their behalf would be almost entirly irrelevant. I think this is the point, and this is why they are compared to a mechanism. Do you disagree?

Your "Ideal situation" is impossible and illogical; hence, "ideal" is the wrong word for it. Laws are broad and general, encompassing a potentially unlimited number of particular cases.

To determine whether a law applies to a given particular case, to evaluate the evidence, the testimony, the character of the persons invovled, even the legitimacy of the law itself--take rational judgements no computer is capable of.

Objective laws are not algorithms.

To determine the proper methods and means of executing the laws, the proper foreign policy, the proper military strategy, the proper forceful response to rebellion, invasion, or any other threat to national security, takes rational judgement no computer is capable of.

Objective laws are not algorithms.

I could go on,...but CapitalismForever pretty much summed it up: "Protecting the rights of the citizens requires strength, moral judgment, integrity, and confidence. "

to which I will add "...that no computer is (or will ever be) capable of."

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In an Ideal situation, personal judgment on their behalf would be almost entirly irrelevant. I think this is the point, and this is why they are compared to a mechanism. Do you disagree?

I do, and I refer you to Tom Rexton's post for the rationale. He has explained everything pretty well.

BTW I have deleted your reply to Stephen--if there is anyone who needs to relax, it's you.

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I'm not interested in fighting with you. Obviously you don't either. I'll keep my respect for you and won't respond to your attacks. If I'm that "limited" in my "observations", I believe that you won't feel an urge to respond to my posts in the future.

First, if you continue to make unsupported remarks about Ayn Rand and her philosophy, or, for that matter, remarks absent of rational argument about anyone or anything that I value, I reserve the right to identify your remarks for what they are, if I choose to do so. You do not get to choose for me what I will respond to, nor do you get to prescribe my actual reasons for doing so.

Second, your comment "If I'm that 'limited' in my 'observations'" strongly indicates that you did not get the points I made. I would suggest that you reread my post and, if you can offer any rational arguments which contradict what I said, feel free to do so.

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As I continued to think about Ayn Rand's article, I managed to understand what was it that she was wrong about. Instead of discussing the consequences, I'll go to the basis of my argumant. Rand's mistake consists of two essential basic flaws:

1. Regarding the president - Not differentiating between the concept of 'President' and of 'Leader'.

2. On the essence of famininity vs. masculinity - Accepting the invalid concept (invalid on the basis of definition by non-essentials) of 'Musclinity'.

Is this clear or should I explain?

(I'm not going to sink down to a level of personal insults, I'll only respond to rational argumants.)

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About the concept of 'Masculinity'- I think the problem is that it is being used to distinguish men, or to describe a manly attribute.

If you don't know what is the percise definition of this concept and you try to build it according to the concept formation rules of definitions, you would get the following:

Masculinity(noun)-

A physical quality(genus), describing the attribute of possessing strong muscles(differentia).

(I'm not sure about the words 'quality' and 'attribute', English is not my native language and these two are the best I found, I hope you understand what I mean)

This is what I think Tomer means by definition by non essentials. The concept has nothing in it to describe something exclusivly manly.

I know that the wrong definition and the wrong association are well routed in our culture and it has been for a long time. In all the dictionaries I opened, it is described as manly. I assume you know that any woman(if she wishes to) can be stronger than any man(despite of evolutionary differences that make us weaker to start with and more vulnerable).

This is my main point- the association with men is wrong and non essential.

I think what should be the disscudsion is Manliness and Femininity, leaving 'Masculinity' aside.

(Then you will discover that the differences are strictly physical, and that all else is due to individual personalities)

------

About the president not being a leader. I'll tell you what I think, tell me if this is what you meant(Tomer).

The president is the leader of every other governmental employee, but he is not the leader of the citizens. The president(and all of the governmental institute) is to work for the citizens as their bodyguard(I suggest to those who disagree to read again "The Nature of Government" by AR). AR calls it the "agent" or "servant" of the citizens. She summarize the role of the government in one sentence-

A government is the means of placing the retaliatory use of physical force under objective control (The Nature of Government)

Now think of your bodyguard- You want him to be strong, intelligent, brave, rational, HE SHOULD DEFINITLY NOT BE A MAN YOU LOOK DOWN ON. After you hire him, you don't bother him with his work(perhaps, after giving him the guid lines). You know he's trained and you trust him to come up with the best defense tactics and you leave to him the professional considerations(and of course, if he slacks at the job, you replace him). But he is not your leader. He does not lead you just like a president does not lead you.

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But he is not your leader. He does not lead you just like a president does not lead you.

OK, but he's a man! :dough:

And, regardless of whom he leads--the nation, or just the armed forces of the nation--he does need leadership qualities.

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This is what I think Tomer means by definition by non essentials. The concept has nothing in it to describe something exclusivly manly.

Yes. this is an excellent way to describe my argument against the concept of 'Masculinity'.

When defining 'Masculinity', the concept of 'Man' is not essential to it; when considering the concept of 'Man', masculinity is not its exclusive atribute (although each and every man posesses that atribute).

(Then you will discover that the differences are strictly physical, and that all else is due to individual personalities)
Precisely!

AR calls it the "agent" or "servant" of the citizens

I actually quoted her when I used the term 'Servant' -

The source of the government's authority is "the consent of the governed." This  means that the government is not the ruler, but the servent or agent of the citizens...
(CUI 332).

HE SHOULD DEFINITLY NOT BE A MAN YOU LOOK DOWN ON.

I totally agree with that. A rational president has to be a great individual, one who will have all the qualities mentioned before in order to do a better job than anybody else.

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Now think of your bodyguard- You want him to be strong, intelligent, brave, rational, HE SHOULD DEFINITLY NOT BE A MAN YOU LOOK DOWN ON. After you hire him, you don't bother him with his work(perhaps, after giving him the guid lines). You know he's trained and you trust him to come up with the best defense tactics and you leave to him the professional considerations(and of course, if he slacks at the job, you replace him). But he is not your leader. He does not lead you just like a president does not lead you.

I'll rephrase:

Now think of your bodyguard- You want him/her to be strong, intelligent, brave, rational, HE/SHE SHOULD DEFINITLY NOT BE A PERSON YOU LOOK DOWN ON. After you hire him/her, you don't bother him/her with his/her work(perhaps, after giving him/her the guid lines). You know he's/she's trained and you trust him/her to come up with the best defense tactics and you leave to him/her the professional considerations(and of course, if he/she slacks at the job, you replace him/her ). But he/she is not your leader. He/she does not lead you just like a president does not lead you.

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As I continued to think about Ayn Rand's article, I managed to understand what was it that she was wrong about. Instead of discussing the consequences, I'll go to the basis of my argumant. Rand's mistake consists of two essential basic flaws:

1. Regarding the president - Not differentiating between the concept of 'President' and of 'Leader'.

That is an assertion, not an argument.

2. On the essence of famininity vs. masculinity - Accepting the invalid concept (invalid on the basis of definition by non-essentials) of 'Musclinity'.

That too is an assertion, not an argument. Unsupported assertions carry no intellectual weight.

Is this clear or should I explain?
When the rest of us criticize another's ideas, no less those of Ayn Rand, we usually do explain, by presenting rational arguments rather than unsupported assertions.

(I'm not going to sink down to a level of personal insults, I'll only respond to  rational argumants.)

Perhaps you confuse the latter, for the former, since you have continually failed to offer any arguments at all, much less rational ones, in your criticism of Ayn Rand.

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About the concept of 'Masculinity'- I think the problem is that it is being used to distinguish men, or to describe a manly attribute.

About the president not being a leader. I'll tell you what I think, tell me if this is what you meant(Tomer).

There are two genders -- male and female. What, pray tell, is the "problem" with forming two concepts, masculine and feminine, which designate their respective genders and identify characteristics and attributes associated with each?

If you don't know what is the percise definition of this concept and you try to build it according to the concept formation rules of definitions, you would get the following:

Masculinity(noun)-

A physical quality(genus), describing the attribute of possessing strong muscles(differentia).

Perhaps that is what you "would get," but not me. Nor, dare I say, would the Oxford English Dictionary form such a definition.

i](I'm not sure about the words 'quality' and 'attribute', English is not my native language and these two are the best I found, I hope you understand what I mean)

This is what I think Tomer means by definition by non essentials. The concept has nothing in it to describe something exclusivly manly.

Please do not blame us for your poor definition.

This is my main point- the association with men is wrong and non essential.
All you have demonstrated is that your definition is "wrong and non essential," not the one used by Ayn Rand.

I think what should be the disscudsion is Manliness and Femininity, leaving 'Masculinity' aside.

I read this three times, and I simply cannot make it sensible. I have no idea at all what you mean.

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...If someone is the Commander in Chief of the greatest country in the world, who could she look up to? Even for lesser countries, there is a _psychological_ issue for a woman leader.  Miss Rand saw both Golda Meir and Joan of Arc as tragic figures.

Why couldn't a woman who was the political leader of a country still look up to a man in a different field--say, a great businessman or philosopher (or both, like a John Galt type)?

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