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Brandon

Galt's Gulch and the Producer Revolution

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Wow, that sounds awfully emotional and insecure for someone who is supposed to be operating on purely rational reasoning.

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Really?

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You guys? I only speak for myself.

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Really?

Okay, the period of initial shock is over. Mr. Robertson, it's time for you to study some Objectivism and to understand what the purpose of this forum is. You have yet to show that your have any agreement with or understanding of Objectivism. In terms of the latter, your failure to be able to answer your own questions indicates to me that you simply don't understand the nature of the philosophy, and why it is not like ordering from the Chinese takeout menu. Very simply, you insist on embracing contradiction, which is completely and non-negotiably the antithesis of Objectivism. All of this fake emotional surprise is intellectually dishonest, and it serves only to distract from the central fact, which is that you and your ilk on the Mormon forum in fact have more in common with the National Coalition of Churches than with the philosophy of Ayn Rand.

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A difference of opinion? The matter of something existing or not existing is NOT a matter of opinion. Reality is what it is, without contradiction. A is A. This is exactly the kind of primacy of consciouness thinking which causes so much destruction.
Yes, a matter of opinion. You take the evidence given you by your senses, you weigh it in the balance of reason, and then you jump to the irrational conclusion that the absense of evidence is the evidence of absense. In other words, you take a handful of hay from the haystack and because you don't find the needle, you conclude the needle isn't in the haystack. That is far different from the person who remains open-minded, even hopeful in finding a needle in the haystack.

Entertaining the arbitrary is a rejection of man's only means to knowledge.
Not quite. Affirming the arbitrary as fact is the rejection. Merely entertaining the arbitrary in the absense of conclusive evidence is requisite for progress. If you learned algebra and then closed your mind to the idea that there was anything more to learn in the realm of mathematics, you'd be missing out on calculus and more. If the mind is closes itself to possibility, it has declared itself finished learning, finished growing, closed-minded, and typically the human ego kicks in and the individual becomes proud, and self-righteous.

Yes, condemned. Exactly how is moral condemnation an initation of force? It is not as though someone suggestion the person ought to be stoned.
What is the basis of your "moral" condemnation? I.e., what "good" have they violated with their liberty? And yes, condemnation is an initiation of force. It is the sentence which precedes execution. If condemnation has no force implied behind it, then the person or actions are not condemned, they are merely described or labeled. But it was stated that the person (not even the action) was to be "condemned", not "identified", not "differentiated', not even "pitied". Condemnation implies the justification of unkindness, even cruelty toward an individual.

Rejecting reason is NOT an "innocent indulgence in fantasy."
When rejecting reason becomes a crime, Liberty is destroyed. Freedom of thought and the liberty to express our thoughts and ideas, even if those thoughts and ideas are deemed irrational by one or all, is the most precious right we enjoy. If you are advocating condemning people for "thought crimes", perhaps you should change your name from Objectivism Online to the Ministry of Love.

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It's utterly disgusting to view even this implication that there is something similar between rational folk who want justice served on Saddam and these evil Shia who just want to be bigger thugs than he. It's disgusting to see evil people. It's disgusting to think that they attempt to associate themselves with one's own cleanliness. If you wish to call that disgust "insecure", ...whatever; throwing out words at random doesn't mean they make sense. It's not "insecure" to pull leeaches off one's body.
Are you viewing yourself as "clean" and all non-Objectivists as "unclean"? That sounds awfully like religious self-righteousness. Perhaps I'm missing something here?

As for it sounding "emotional", this appears to be another part of that elusive 10% of Objectivism that you do not understand.
Passion for the ideals of Objectivism I can understand. It is the apparent disgust and loathing for those who do not share your beliefs which I find rather diconcerting and disturbing.

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You have yet to show that your have any agreement with or understanding of Objectivism.
My apologies for not making my understanding of objectivism clear in my previous posts.

In terms of the latter, your failure to be able to answer your own questions indicates to me that you simply don't understand the nature of the philosophy, and why it is not like ordering from the Chinese takeout menu.
Really? Are you suggesting that the ONLY philosophy is Objectivist philosophy?

Very simply, you insist on embracing contradiction, which is completely and non-negotiably the antithesis of Objectivism.
Where have I embraced contradiction? In my hopeful skepticism? In my unwillingness to decide that absense of evidence is evidence of absense the way you have? Or was there some other position I have taken which you suppose to be contradictory?

All of this fake emotional surprise is intellectually dishonest, and it serves only to distract from the central fact, which is that you and your ilk on the Mormon forum in fact have more in common with the National Coalition of Churches than with the philosophy of Ayn Rand.
It is not a Mormon forum despite the fact that the individual most responsible for its existence is Mormon. To characterize it as such is to mischaracterize it. Surely an indivdual who prides themselves on logic and reason wouldn't want to mischaracterize something. That would be intellecutally dishonest and only serve to distract, right?

As to my understanding of Ayn Rand's philosophy, let me be as succinct as I can be about it. Ayn Rand's philosophy begins with the foundational premise of existence, or as she put it, "Existence exists." She followed this with the law of identity and its corrolary, the law of non-contradiction applied to existence. These are the foundation of logic. A = A and A != -A. From this starting point all of what is traditionally regarded as "informal logic" is also inferred. Her third premise of metaphysics is the axiom of consciousness: to be concious is to be conscious of something other than self. Rand, and Objectivism hold to the notion of the primacy of Existence, that is, that consciousness is dependant upon existence, and not the other way around as some religious teachings contend.

Where many professing atheists depart from reason and logic is when they jump to the conclusion that the absense of evidence for the existence of God is logically equivalent evidence of the non-existence of God. If an objectivist is rational by definition, then an objectivist cannot hold an affirmative belief in the non-existence of God. On the otherhand, one can hold an affirmative belief in the non-existence of an irrationally conceived or otherwise logically impossible God. This is what Rand's Primacy of Existence philosophy asserts while ignoring the possibility of a God which is likewise dependent upon existence rather than the creator of everything material ex nihilo as many, perhaps most, religious traditions teach.

There are in fact other conceptions of God which are not logically contradicted by Rand's Primacy of Existence argument. To assert otherwise merely demonstrates the ignorance of those who close-mindedly assert that an Objectivist is by necessity an atheist.

Shall we go on?

Namaste,

John

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Where many professing atheists depart from reason and logic is when they jump to the conclusion that the absense of evidence for the existence of God is logically equivalent evidence of the non-existence of God. If an objectivist is rational by definition, then an objectivist cannot hold an affirmative belief in the non-existence of God. On the otherhand, one can hold an affirmative belief in the non-existence of an irrationally conceived or otherwise logically impossible God. This is what Rand's Primacy of Existence philosophy asserts while ignoring the possibility of a God which is likewise dependent upon existence rather than the creator of everything material ex nihilo as many, perhaps most, religious traditions teach.

It's one thing to believe that the absence of evidence is not the evidence of abscence and think that unicorns may exist, and quite another to think that the absence of evidence is not the evidence of abscence and buy unicorn repellant.

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There are in fact other conceptions of God which are not logically contradicted by Rand's Primacy of Existence argument. To assert otherwise merely demonstrates the ignorance of those who close-mindedly assert that an Objectivist is by necessity an atheist.

Ayn Rand's philosophical positions, right or wrong, ARE Objectivism. Ayn Rand says that Objectivism is atheistic, so (whether she was right or wrong on the subject of atheism), all Objectivists are atheists. You cannot pick and choose which parts of Objectivism you agree with, and then still call yourself an Objectivist.

Why don't you give an example of a god that is not contradictory?

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and then you jump to the irrational conclusion that the absense of evidence is the evidence of absense

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Not quite. Affirming the arbitrary as fact is the rejection.

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If the mind is closes itself to possibility, it has declared itself finished learning, finished growing, closed-minded,

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What is the basis of your "moral" condemnation? I.e., what "good" have they violated with their liberty?

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If you are advocating condemning people for "thought crimes", perhaps you should change your name from Objectivism Online to the Ministry of Love.

No, it is not evidence of absence. The aribtrary is not the same as the false. The arbitrary is not the same as the possible. The abitrary is outside of the field of human cognition.

"Closed-minded" is an anti-concept.

The good is "all that which is proper to the life of a rational being. All that destroys it is the evil." You are missing the distinction between the criminal (poltics) and the immoral (ethics).

I never said thoughts could be criminal. You just made that up.

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Do you agree with this?
Some, but not all. The notion that every "is" has an "ought" thus making values objective truths is falacious. Values are subjective. It is not objectively true that one ought to endure excruciating pain to live another year; nor is the converse objectively true that one ought to end their suffering rather than live another year in excruciating pain. The determination of an objectively true value simply cannot be found.

While it is demonstrable and almost certainly true that most of mankinds values are similar and may be commonly derived from objective facts, e.g., the desire to live is a survival trait genetically passed on to us by our ancestors, etc., such commonality does not prove the assertion that every "is" implies an "ought", and to assert the "good" of self-preservation as proof that every "is" implies an "ought" begs the question.

Another aspect that I find worrisome if applied to individuals and groups as a whole rather than specific actions taken by them is the following:

Thus the mandate of justice: identify the good (the rational) and the evil (the irrational) in men and their works—then, first, deal with, support and/or reward the good; and, second, boycott, condemn and/or punish the evil. (One aspect of this second policy is the principle of not granting to evil one's moral sanction.)
Note how the author talks about identifying the good or evil in men and their works and rewarding or punishing the behavior, not the individuals; yet it seems to me that many here are intent on condemning the individuals rather than the irrationality.

In the end, however, I respect Leonard Peikoff's plea to those he refers to as "anti-Objectivists". As I cannot agree with the premise that values are objective when my every experience proves to me otherwise, I will remember never to refer to myself as an Objectivist, despite my agreement with what I believe to be somewhere close to 3/4ths if not 9/10ths of her ideas and philosophy. I can appreciate the desire to keep one's organization "pure" as it were, by excommunicating the heretics or at the very least, silencing them. My love of the Constitution and Declaration of Independence, or more precisely, the ideals and principles upon which they are founded reminds me of the precious right of free association and tells me that no matter how much I might wish to create and exchange the product of my mind with others, it is their perogative to accept or reject my offer. I must not force it upon them.

On this note then, unless there are protests that I respond further, I shall bid you all a pleasant and happy life.

Namaste,

John

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Really? Are you suggesting that the ONLY philosophy is Objectivist philosophy?
No, but I am asserting that the purpose of this forum us to facilitate trade among Objectivists and students of Objectivism. It is not a general-purpose philosophy chat-room, and it is contrary to the function of the forum to spread ideas contrary to or unrelated to Objectivism. For that, a forum such as HPO is more appropriate. The bottom line here is Objectivism, and you should assume it as your working framework, even if you don't actually accept it.
Where have I embraced contradiction?
First and primarily, in suggesting that you accept Objectivism but then you don't accept it. Second, in your apparent acceptance of religion and the existence of god (which contradicts the premises of Objectivism and also is an inherent contradiction, because god is a contradiction so accepting the claim that god exists -- even considering it to be "possible" -- is a acceptance of contradiction.
In my unwillingness to decide that absence of evidence is evidence of absense the way you have?
My positive conclusion that god does not exist is simply the fact that god is a contradictory concept. However, in lieu of a shred of evidence for the existence of god, your willingness to even consider god's existence as "possible" contradicts the nature of man's method of gaining knowledge. I assume you understand Objectivist epistemology well enough to understand why the arbitrary is anathema to Objectivism and reason.
It is not a Mormon forum despite the fact that the individual most responsible for its existence is Mormon.
Okay, it's true that the forum has no vision and no purpose (that's a publicly obvious fact), so I did not mean "in an official sense". I am also referring only to the rather restricted sub-parts of the forum that have to do with philosophy, not the various get-rich scheme sub-fora. It is very obvious that it is a religious forum, but it may be that the overtly Mormon (as opposed to some other cult) participants like "latterdayconservative", "timcharper", "jbond". "Dlyons", "spalmer", "littlenemelka", "joyler", "rkoerber", "EllisWyatt", "spiffy3", "pogp", oh, and also that lion guy, who seem to drive the philosophy of the site are "not representative". Maybe I got distracted by the Principles of Prosperity which seems to be a fundational assumption of that forum. Were it the case that I misunderstand the nature of that forum, I would retract the statement that it is a Mormon forum. For me to do so at this point would be irrational.
Where many professing atheists depart from reason and logic is when they jump to the conclusion that the absense of evidence for the existence of God is logically equivalent evidence of the non-existence of God.
That may be, but Objectivists don't make that mistake. First, an arbitrary claim should not be considered, since that contradicts the basis of man's knowledge; second, we know directly that god does not exist because god is a contradictory concept.
If an objectivist is rational by definition, then an objectivist cannot hold an affirmative belief in the non-existence of God.
What is an "objectivist"? You keep referring to these people, and I have no idea who you're talking about. I do know about Objectivism and Objectivists -- these are proper names with definite references, referring to the philosophy of Ayn Rand. (Since Burgess left the building, I feel I need to take responsibility for making this point). Assuming that you are unaware of the fact that this forum is designed for trade among Objectivists and that arguments about "objectivists" would be irrelevant since they don't apply to anybody here, let me point out that "true by definition" veritably reeks of the primacy of consciousness POV. Objectivists by definition adhere to the philosophy of Ayn Rand. Part of what that identifies is primacy of existence, and eventually we get to the logic part, namely that logic is the art of non-contradictory identification -- or existence. So I think you've gotten your primaries messed up. Anyhow, an Objectivist can not believe in the existence of god, and cannot give any consideration to the existence of god; whether they grasp the reason why god actually does not exist or simply reject the question up front depends on whether they've considered the contradictory nature of the anti-concept "god".
There are in fact other conceptions of God which are not logically contradicted by Rand's Primacy of Existence argument.
That's at best questionably so, if applied to those cargo-cult versions of "god" which aren't really philosophical in nature, but rather they simply represent primitive man's awe of technology. But in this context, we're talking about the standard major-religion version of god, and such a thing cannot exist.

I think though that you're starting to grasp the fact that your beliefs are incompatible with Objectivism, which is good, and maybe you can persuade you fellows over there to get it that they really have nothing at all to do with Objectivism.

Values are subjective.
Thanks. That does clarify how totally you repudiate Objectivism.

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Brandon, you're committing the typical fallacy committed by both christians and atheists alike, but you're doing it deceptively. The fallacy is implying you must be a strong atheist because you were raised christian. That you somehow overcame christianity to become the "fire-breathing objectivist (athiest)" you are today.

(I was born and raised a Mormon in Utah, though I'm now a fire-breathing Objectivist, and therefore atheist.)

Of course the reverse is also a fallacy.. I was raised an athiest, and am now a strong christian.. so somehow that makes you a better christian.

Not only do you commit this falacy, but you mislead us by saying here you were raised LDS then in the galtsgulchforum you say:

"And I'm not hurt or whatever from my religious upbringing. Actually, my parents were pretty much inactive. My dad went to church like twice a year, usually for the Christmas party, and my mom went about ten times a year, when she was really active. They were (are) terrific parents. There was never violence or meanness or cruelty in my home."

http://www.galtsgulchforum.com/viewtopic.php?t=1494

Please explain...

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Wow I've just read a post on the site from a guy talking about all the stuff he owns and how it was ok to get rid of it because they were no longer giving him value and that it was selfish (in the utilitarian sense where thats a bad thing) to hold on to them when they could be giving value to someone else!

So so many things wrong with that.

However, I haven't stopped laughing yet so I made read some more posts!

And now I've just read one sating that they didn't get how the government could limit people to only one company and that couldn't Rearden have just made a huge conglomerate?

they really have read the book have they?

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I have to hand it to these people – they're extremely industrious and great at activism. They have their own radio show/podcast, they run their own private university ("American Founders University"), they've made a deeply moving (though unfortunately also flawed) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8O6eOFzSobM, they have a very professional portal/newssite, they have numerous study circles where they read Ayn Rand, they've recruited thousands of members on Facebook, they got both Rudy Giuliani and Ron Paul to speak at their convention in Utah, they've got a multitude of successful entrepreneurial projects which funds their cause... they're clearly very dedicated at what they're doing. Of course, this all makes it all the more horrible that they're largely religious.

I've noticed that Yaron Brook has become a supporter of their "FreeCapitalist Project" on Facebook (which is listed as a "cause"). He's also listed as a friend of Rick Koerber, the leader of the organization. I suppose Brook's support of the FreeCapitalist cause may be an honest mistake, since the cause says nothing about it being a religious one, but rather that it "rejects mysticism". Still though, it's weird that he would support a cause without doing a little bit of research on it first.

Edited by JMartins

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What exactly did Yaron Brook do to show his support for these guys again? Is there an actual endorsment on his official webpage or a page belonging to ARI? (or a video or audio of him endorsing them directly?)

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What exactly did Yaron Brook do to show his support for these guys again? Is there an actual endorsment on his official webpage or a page belonging to ARI? (or a video or audio of him endorsing them directly?)

I didn't say he's endorsed them, but that he's added himself as a supporter of the FreeCapitalist cause on Facebook. It's listed on his profile, under "causes" (along with "Objectivism" and "Capitalism"). Like I said though, it's probably an honest mistake. Most likely someone invited him, and he accepted after briefly reading through the cause description, which seems to be pro-Objectivism (it says nothing about Mormonism).

Edited by JMartins

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I can't load the site. It saying it doesn't exist or something. Do I need a proxy or is the site down?

Their official website is located here.

Their media website is located here.

I have no trouble accessing either of them.

Looks like they've done a Podcast on how you can be an Objectivist and a Mormon at the same time. That ought to be good. B)

There's no denying that they hold some good values however.

Edited by JMartins

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I didn't say he's endorsed them, but that he's added himself as a supporter of the FreeCapitalist cause on Facebook. It's listed on his profile, under "causes" (along with "Objectivism" and "Capitalism"). Like I said though, it's probably an honest mistake. Most likely someone invited him, and he accepted after briefly reading through the cause description, which seems to be pro-Objectivism (it says nothing about Mormonism).

I invited Mr. Brook, and I do not believe it was an accident. I've been to ARI and visited with him and Alex Epstein. I consider both of them superb advocates for Ayn Rand and Objectivism and enjoyed the visit tremendously. I support ARI and invited several ARI folks to support the Project. While I am religious and a large number of my supporters are religious we are building a movement to advocate the moral revolution for capitalism - and Ayn Rand is highly influential in our movement. I know it opens the door to obvious questions but the goal is worth taking the effort to look into. Read my most recent article, "The Betrayal of Ayn Rand" before getting all obnoxious with us God-believers. I'm open and willing to talk. But, I don't frequent online discussion boards nearly as often as most of you - so the conversation will likely be slower than some of you would like. You can also participate at RickKoerber.com and FreeCapitalist.com

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