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Isn't it too late to save the world?

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The title refers to Rand’s character Dominique and her earlier position on metaphysics before meeting Howard Roark. According to the unconverted Dominique, the universe is malevolent and that no matter what, evil will eventually win out. Nevertheless, Dominique acknowledges the existence of man’s ability to create.

For example, every company and individual that benefits the population seems to be under fire, (Wal-Mart, Microsoft, Martha Stewart). Though America has so much potential, it looks as if it’s falling into the left’s relativism and the right’s religious party.

I was just wondering, maybe good cannot succeed into this world. Though there is so much potential to create a beautiful society based on reason, freedom, and the pursuit of happiness, yet it’s constantly denied by the majority. If you were to gather a 1000 random men and women to ask them if “the love of money is the root of all evil,” you’ll probably get a show of 997 hands. I believe in individualism, but how could three succeed over 997?

It’s been this way throughout history. Will it ever change? Whoever said the universe would run a course, ending with an outcome of good?

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Dominique is quite different from the strikers in her reasons...

The strikers withdrew their ability because it was the only hope; Dominique withdrew her ability because she thought there was no hope.

And by the way, if this is what it comes down to, 3 may defeat 997 by refusing to help the 997.

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Dominique is quite different from the strikers in her reasons...

The strikers withdrew their ability because it was the only hope; Dominique withdrew her ability because she thought there was no hope.

And by the way, if this is what it comes down to, 3 may defeat 997 by refusing to help the 997.

Richard Halley

And what exist to show us that there is in fact hope? There's no eternal product that we can look too. Evil yes, it rises up all the time. Then again, it doesn't have to rise, it merely swallows up that which is good.

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Evil can only exist where there is good for it to swallow.  If you see evil, there is always hope: just look and you will find the good.

Sounds more like a zen quote then an example of actual reality Y_Feld. :blink:

Could you give me an example? Or even multiple examples?

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There was a time when 997 out of 1000 thought the earth flat. There was a time when 997 out of 1000 thought the earth was the center of the solar system. One could make a huge list of such statements.

And, there was a time when Rand had not yet existed.

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I was just wondering, maybe good cannot succeed into this world. Though there is so much potential to create a beautiful society based on reason, freedom, and the pursuit of happiness, yet it’s constantly denied by the majority. If you were to gather a 1000 random men and women to ask them if “the love of money is the root of all evil,” you’ll probably get a show of 997 hands. I believe in individualism, but how could three succeed over 997?

It’s been this way throughout history. Will it ever change? Whoever said the universe would run a course, ending with an outcome of good?

The benevolent universe premise doesn't mean that the good will always win. It means the good CAN win. It means the good has a fighting chance. As someone who has been fighting for Objectivism for 42 years and for my own personal values for longer than that, I agree with Ayn Rand that "Those who fight for the future live in it today."

Thanks to Objectivism, I've made good choices, had great successes, made wonderful friends, and am living a very happy and fulfilling life.

I do realize that there are a lot of mixed up unhappy people doing stupid and irrational things out there, but so what? That's THEIR problem, not mine. Thanks to Objectivism, if I see trouble coming, I can deal with it appropriately. That might involve enlisting the aid of rational people, appealing to the rational side of someone with mixed premises, avoiding evil people, not sanctioning bad ideas, getting good legal advice, buying insurance, etc.

As to how three can succeed if they are opposed by 997, don't forget that good rational people have a huge and powerful ally on their side: REALITY. As Thoreau put it in one of my favorite quotes: "One man more right than his neighbors is a majority of one."

As to history, have a good look at it. When reason was even a small force in the culture, men prospered and the men of reason did even better. The only thing the men of reason have lacked is a solid epistemological foundation and, most importantly, a rational morality. They have it now.

In the past 42 years I have watched the growth of Objectivism with delight and amazement. History is changing dramatically for the better and Objectivists are making it happen.

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It's somewhat hard to see any positive change, if anything it seems to be getting worse. They hasn't been any fundamental change in the moral philosophy of most people, even in many of those who have read the works of Ayn Rand, since the mid-twentieth century. Our society seems to be in a stagnant state, one portentous of some future age of gradual or swift decline.

Sometimes it looks like it is too late. Where can you guys see some sign of hope?

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Sometimes it looks like it is too late.  Where can you guys see some sign of hope?

All over the place!

Here are a few items from my CyberNet in just the past month:

An Objectivist Conference in Europe

An Objectivist Conference in Virginia

An Objectivist opening a psychotherapy practice

28 books by Objectivists in the Amazon Top 100K books

10 Objectivists in the Amazon Top 10K reviewers

Several references to Ayn Rand in the media including a UPI syndicated story

19 publications or references to ARI op-eds in the press

Articles and Letters by Objectivists in major publications

An Objectivist with a regular radio show on 30 stations

12 lectures by Objectivists

Yaron Brook appearing on The O'Reilly Factor on Fox News 4/7/04

*** Yaron Brook appearing on Geraldo at Large TONIGHT 4/17/04 ***

And THIS ...

The University of South Carolina's Moore School of Business just

received $1 million from BB&T to set up a faculty position to teach

and research the moral foundations of capitalism.

In addition to creating the BB&T Chair for the Study of Capitalism,

the donation will fund undergraduate and graduate courses to study Ayn

Rand's _Atlas Shrugged_, establish a speaker series on capitalism and

add an Ayn Rand reading room to the business school's Springs

Library.

JOHN ALLISON, CEO and chairman of BB&T, announced the grant yesterday

(3/24/04). The news appeared in The State (Columbia, SC)

<http://tinyurl.com/yu8e9>, the USC student newspaper

<http://tinyurl.com/3ethv>, and syndicated by the Associated Press

<http://tinyurl.com/2hqzv>.

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When I first attended a speech by Ayn Rand in the late sixties, the room was full of girls wearing capes and the like. At the time, there weren't any qualified professors of philosophy who were Objectivists. Her arguments didn't enter into any serious discussion about politics, ethics, etc. I was called a cult follower, and by the looks of many of those in the audience at that lecture, I could understand why they thought that. When Ms. Rand was still alive, many who followed her were just that -- followers. Even Miss Rand encouraged certain practices that gave people cause to point their fingers and accuse, and though I admire Dr. Peikoff greatly and think that he has done more than anyone to further the study of Objectivism, there is still that tendency to excommunicate people who disagree with one point or another. Rationalization is a danger to Objectivists, and I've seen it among those at ARI as well as Kelley's bunch.

But, none of this matters. Her philosophy will outgrow personalities -- it already has to a certain extent. Her ideas are too powerful not to be recognized as a major shift in philosophic thinking, and it is the ideas that matter in the end, not any personality quirks, or personal flaws, or even the mistakes made in certain conclusions made by Miss Rand herself. She said it herself once; she stated that she had given the tools necessary to correct whatever mistakes she herself made, and she was right.

You can't imagine how much things have changed just in my lifetime. In the beginning, the only thing one might read about Miss Rand was a scathing review of her fiction!

Betsy is right. Don't dispair because that will only cut your own enjoyment of life; the only duty you have is to yourself and the life you live. While you may feel discouraged when you see what is happening in the world, remember that we do not live ahistorically and the changes we advocate are profound. We are doing battle against the most broadly entrenched ideas in the history of mankind, ideas so widespread that they seem self-evident to most people. No change comes overnight, but every life lived in reason cuts into the lifespan of these false ideas. We won't live to see a virtuous society, but our own virtue will help to build it.

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Even Miss Rand encouraged certain practices that gave people cause to point their fingers and accuse, and though I admire Dr. Peikoff greatly and think that he has done more than anyone to further the study of Objectivism, there is still that tendency to excommunicate people who disagree with one point or another. 
Although I agree with much of what you wrote, I was in New York during the NBI days and I must take issue with this. Some people were intimidated by Ayn Rand, but that had more to do with who they were than with what she was. I thought she was delightful! Anyone who wants to know the Ayn Rand I knew has only to read _Letters of Ayn Rand_ or _Facets of Ayn Rand_.

Cultishness was a problem in the NBI days, but that was Branden's doing, not Ayn Rand's. I had my run-ins with Branden and his followers, but I am not easily intimidated. I'm sure some of them would like to have "excommunicated" me, but how can you excommunicate an Objectivist? Confiscate his brain? Here it is four decades later and Branden and his followers are long gone. So are Kelley and his minions. Most of the people I have known from Objectivism have abandoned Objectivism. I'm still here. :angry:

Rationalization is a danger to Objectivists, and I've seen it among those at ARI as well as Kelley's bunch.

Rationalization and other undesirable things are not just Objectivist problems. They are human problems you will find everywhere. The problem with certain Objectivists is that before they were Objectivists they were people.

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I was not fortunate enough to have met Miss Rand personally, but I did manage to personally attend two lectures at the Ford Hall Forum (nine years apart). I fell in love with her as I did her philosophy. The woman saved my life in the most literal sense possible. Because of her, I've been able to make a very difficult life, not just bearable, but enjoyable. That is no small feat.

I thought that it was probably Brandon's influence that brought out the nuts. I saw him lecture once just so that I could see for myself. I found him to be insufferably charming, in the way a con man is charming, with the self-absorption of a child in place of the ego of an adult. Had I been younger and without the experience to recognize a bum in a suit, I might have fallen for his schtick. It is easy to understand how things got so out of hand with such a personality.

I didn't mean to imply that only Objectivists are prone to rationalization. I'm sorry if that was the impression I gave. Since I was speaking about Objectivists, it came off as a criticism specifically against them. I don't know of anyone who hasn't been caught at it, including myself! It is something that everyone must guard against.

I consider Objectivists to be the most "human" of all human-beings, if you know what I mean.

I have my own ideas about why people would drop Objectivism, but I would be very interested to hear yours.

(By-the-bye, I've been an Objectivist for 35 years. I haven't been able to participate as actively as I would have wished, but I've worked at it.)

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Betsy,

You are so right about "The Letters of Ayn Rand". I'm about two thirds of the way through it and my admiration for her grows with each page. Her generous nature is reflected in her responses to some unknown fans with lenghty letters explaining her novels or philosophy in more depth if she thought they were sincere in their inquiries.

One also shares in her emotional joy and disappointment upon discovering a new intellectual allly only to discover years later that they had betrayed her through a lack of integrity, courage, or adherence to inexcusable contradictions.

I highly recommend it as well.

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I have my own ideas about why people would drop Objectivism, but I would be very interested to hear yours.

OK. Here's ....

Betsy's Guide to Ex-Objectivists (copyright 2002 Betsy Speicher)

In the 40 years that I have been associated with Objectivism, I have

seen 80-90% of the people I went to lectures and conferences with, and

considered my best friends and teachers, drop out. I have watched and

studied them so carefully that I now know what to look for and I can

pretty accurately predict who will eventually drop out and why.

Most of the people who drop out of Objectivism were once sincerely

devoted to it. Their problem was that, in one way or another, they

were seeking something from Objectivism that it could not give them.

What did they want? Many different things. There are as many wrong

reasons to affiliate with Objectivism as there are wrong answers to

the problem 2 + 2 = ?. Still, there are some common goals and

personality types among the dropouts.

THE REBEL

The Rebel is attracted to Objectivism because of what it is AGAINST:

the authorities and standards that he wishes to reject. Objectivism

intimidates his parents, stymies his teachers, and grosses out his

minister -- and that's why he loves it. "Who does [Dad, Rev. Mills,

the boss, etc.] think he is, telling ME what to do?" is his battle cry

as he takes up Objectivism with a vengeance.

Eventually, he discovers that Objectivism is FOR something.

Objectivism has standards. Objectivists _expect_ him to actually be

and do something specific. "Who does [Ayn Rand, Peikoff, Schwartz,

etc.] think they are, telling ME what to do?" he cries as he drops out

and becomes a libertarian.

THE LOST LAMB

The Lost Lamb just wants to belong and to be loved. He's been

rejected by the Peter Keatings, so he seeks validation and acceptance

from the people who reject the Peter Keatings: Objectivists.

He tries to fit in by espousing all the right ideas and participating in

all the appropriate activities. It does work for a while until someone

disagrees with him or doesn't give him enough attention and approval.

Then he's shattered.

It's all _their_ fault, he decides. Those Objectivists are too damn

_judgemental_. He drops out and looks for a place to belong and someone

who will accept and tolerate him no matter what he is or does.

He may find David Kelley.

THE TRUE BELIEVER

Eric Hoffer wrote about the man who looks for a Great Cause to give

meaning to his otherwise meaningless life. It has to have an

Infallible Leader whom he can follow and who will shield him from

personal responsibility.

A True Believer can be the most dedicated and zealous Objectivist you

ever saw. He constantly defends US -- Ayn Rand, Leonard Peikoff,

ARI, etc. -- against THEM -- theists, libertarians, any Lost Lamb he

suspects of straying from the Objectivist fold, etc.

True Believers stick tenaciously until they discover, to their horror,

that their Infallible Leader may have made a MISTAKE. What did Ayn Rand

say about a woman President? Peikoff likes Beethoven? Objectivist

leaders are disagreeing with each other?

He doesn't know what to believe or who to follow, so he just gives up

and drops out. Great Causes are interchangeable, so you never know

where he'll turn up next.

THE EXPLOITER

An Exploiter is attracted by the fact that Ayn Rand was a strong and

famous personality with many loyal supporters -- and he wants a piece of

the action. The Exploiter seeks followers and paying customers from

among the ranks of Objectivists.

Exploiters have included some knowledgeable and intelligent former

Objectivist teachers, leaders, spokesman, and wannabe spokesmen,

people with a political agenda, as well as the totally clueless

proponents of get rich quick schemes and "Objectivist" countries in

Costa Rican jungles.

Since Objectivists don't like being exploited, Exploiters don't have

to drop out. They are eventually ignored, sued, ridiculed, or kicked

out.

----

The Rebels, Lost Lambs, True Believers and Exploiters drop out.

The good news is: the real Objectivists STAY.

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HA! Beautifully said. Since I've never been among a group of people espousing Objectivism (at least, for any longer that it took to run a lecture series), my experience is much more limited than yours. I've known an individual of each type, however, excepting the Exploiter.

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