Jump to content
Objectivism Online Forum
Sign in to follow this  
ragnarhedin

ARI vs. TOC

Rate this topic

Recommended Posts

I definitely have a lot of reading to do.  But, one thing I am curious about regarding Tracinski's analysis is his criticism of Kelley's association with the Libertarians.  He also refers to libertarianism as the same in concept to the soviet system, and advocating anarchy.  This doesn't make much sense to me (based on what I've read about libertarianism).  Can anyone tell me where I can read about this aspect of the libertarians?

A good place to start.

http://www.aynrand.org/objectivism/sanctions.html

... why is there not a "Capitalist Party" being formed by or supported by ARI?
I cannot speak for ARI, but I suspect that they recognize it is too early to form such a political alliance. A great deal more work must be done in laying the intellectual groundwork that would make such a party possible. Education in Objectivist ideas is the proper place to focus one's effort at this time, and that is the stated focus of ARI.

It seems as though the rift between ARI and TOC is much less than the rift between ARI and people who consider themselves Democrats and Republicans.

That depends upon what standard you use to measure the distinction. Personally, I can feel more human comraderie with those whom I disagree about ideas, than with those who act to destroy my ideas from within.

(Has anyone ever dicussed, suggested or attempted a "Capitalst Party" in the past?)

Yes, but mostly libertarians. A useless action made possible by a lack of concern for ideas.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

For clarity, it should be noted that "objectivism" was not a proper noun prior to Ayn Rand. It meant, in short, "not subjectivism," and still does in many contexts. After Ayn Rand capitalized the word and made it popular, it came to mean "Ayn Rand's philosophy," including, of course, egoism, capitalism, atheism, her view of concept formation, etc. - all of which is not directly implied by stating that one is not a subjectivist.

The meaning of a word is all about context. Kelley means atheist, capitalist, etc., when he calls himself an Objectivist. That's not right. He ought to call himself a Randian, because that's what he is (in the sense that Rand was an Aristotelian - she borrowed much of her philosophy from him, but didn't 100% agree on all points.) If he only meant by the o-word that he is not a subjectivist, then it would be appropriate.

Keep in mind, of course, that many senses of the word "objectivism" are utterly incompatible with Objectivism.

For myself, I shy away from the word most of the time. More trouble than it's worth, IMOO. (in my objectiv(e/ist) opion, that is :) )

For the record, while I may disagree with the ARI on some things, I think that TOC is worse than useless. The analysis on their site is shallow, their explanations are weak, and it just stinks of a trite "you can be an Objectivist, too! oh, you're religious, well, don't worry, we're tolerant" kind of attitude. I find the same problems with Atlasphere.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Some of these new-age "Objectivists" really crack me up. This is from Sciabarra's AtlasSphere profile:

Health:  Acupuncture, Atkins, Chiropractic, Fitness, Homeopathy, Massage therapy, Meditation, Nutrition, Oriental medicine, Rolfing/structural integration

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
For the record, while I may disagree with the ARI on some things, I think that TOC is worse than useless.  The analysis on their site is shallow, their explanations are weak, and it just stinks of a trite "you can be an Objectivist, too! oh, you're religious, well, don't worry, we're tolerant" kind of attitude.  I find the same problems with Atlasphere.

How can you find the same problems with The Atlasphere? The Atlasphere endorses no philosophy and has no philosophical position. It exists merely to bring together people interested in Ayn Rand. And besides, they pay me to write things. :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I am new to this forum and am ashamed to say that I do not know very much about the schizm between ARI and TOC. Can anybody relay this to me in very simple terms? Sorry for my ignorance but I am somewhat new to Objectvisism.

Regards,

Vicki Rusell

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Vicki,

I'm in the same boat as you. Read the recommended essays suggested by different people in the previous posts on this topic. I'm having a difficult time following their arguments and am getting frustrated. I will probably make a lengthy post regarding my concerns with the different arguments made by both sides, but I'm also tempted to just say "to hell with all of them".

Perhaps there are others out there who feel a third camp is in order. They can be called "neo objectivists" or something like that.

I get the impression that both sides appear firmly entrenched. I'm wondering if any individual allied on either side has managed to find ANY fault whatsoever, in either the line of reasoning, or in what their own "leaders'" arguments actually imply?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I am new to this forum and am ashamed to say that I do not know very much about the schizm between ARI and TOC. Can anybody relay this to me in very simple terms? Sorry for my ignorance but I am somewhat new to Objectvisism.

Vicki and Socionomer,

If you're new to Objectivism, it's probably a good idea to study the philosophy on your own some more (by reading Ayn Rand's works) until you have a good enough grasp of it that you can better understand the philosophical differences between the two camps. Then you will be able to better judge for yourself which of them is a better representative of Ayn Rand's philosophy, and which one of them is right.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Vicki and Socionomer,

If you're new to Objectivism, it's probably a good idea to study the philosophy on your own some more (by reading Ayn Rand's works) until you have a good enough grasp of it that you can better understand the philosophical differences between the two camps. Then you will be able to better judge for yourself which of them is a better representative of Ayn Rand's philosophy, and which one of them is right.

That is excellent advice. In a certain way, these sort of conflicts are unimportant when you consider your main allegiance to be towards Objectivism. Objectivism is the philosophy of Ayn Rand, anyone else's interpretation of it not withstanding. I think when you understand Objectivism well-enough, then the issue of any conflict becomes crystal clear, as explicated so well in Peikoff's Fact and Value http://www.aynrand.org/objectivism/f-v.html

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
For clarity, it should be noted that "objectivism" was not a proper noun prior to Ayn Rand.  It meant, in short, "not subjectivism," and still does in many contexts.

That's true.

That's why we call it Objectivism, rather than objectivism without the capital O.

By using the capital O we show that we mean it as a proper noun.

I personally would even use Objectivism® or Objectivism™ to make the issue clearer, if I thought it would help. :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I understend the importance of first understanding the entire philosophy of Objectivism before taking a stance on it. Right now though I am just trying to follow the reasoning behind some of the points the various people are making and what the implications may be.

Thus far I have read Kelley's "A Question of Sanction", Peikoff's "Fact and Value", and Schwartz's "On Moral Sanctions".

Just an example of one argument I am trying to grasp is the one Schwarz makes in regard to the justification for one's belief in "liberty".

He states: "In the absence of any intelectual framework, the zealous advocacy of "liberty" can represent only the mindless quest to eliminate all restraints on human behavior - political, moral, metaphysical."

Just prior to that, in refering to libertarianism, he states: "It repudiates the need for any intellectual foundation to explain why "liberty" is desireable and what "liberty" means."

Now, as far as I'm concerned that argument is fine, so long as he accepts everything that it implies. Over 200 years ago someone wrote in a document that "We hold these truths to be SELF EVIDENT...all men...are endowed...with certain inalienable rights, the right to life, LIBERTY and the pursuit of happiness..."

The implication to me is that these men of old were just as EVIL as he claims the current crop of libertarians to be, because they give no justification for their assertions. In other words the nation in which many of us reside is a LIE, founded on false premises, and "widespread death would be the consequence" (Schwarz's words).

I haven't read anything else that Schwarz has written, so I don't know what he thinks of this country, but if he supports this country (sanctions it in any way, shape or form) then I would say there is a contradiction somewhere here. I would then be tempted to dismiss him as just another hypocrite.

But I am not confident enough in my intellectual abilities to do that just yet. I read the posts of people in this forum and realize I am in the company of people much more intelligent than I am, which is sometimes intimidating and causes me to refrain from commenting on things I don't agree with. I don't mind being wrong, so perhaps someone could explain where I have erred in my analysis of what Schwarz said.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Mr. Schwartz's paper is directed at Libertarians and it is in that context that you must grasp the points that he is making. You cannot take his words out of context and apply them to the Declaration of Independence. I am not saying that you are intentionally distorting Mr. Schwartz's argument, Socionomer, I am just pointing out an honest mistake that you are making.

I cannot speak for Mr. Schwartz but I know enough about him to know that he holds the United States of America in the highest regards. It is true that liberty is not a self-evident concept. But one cannot fault the Founding Fathers for not grasping this fact. The context of knowledge that existed in the 18th century did not allow for a full understanding of liberty and its philosophical roots. In fact, our present understanding is fully dependent on the concept "liberty" as it was understood by the Founding Fathers. So we do not fault them; we give them their due respect.

Libertarians, on the other hand, have perverted the Objectivist concept of "liberty" and it is in that context that they are evil and should be reprimanded. In fewer words, they should know better!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I haven't read anything else that Schwarz has written, so I don't know what he thinks of this country, but if he supports this country (sanctions it in any way, shape or form) then I would say there is a contradiction somewhere here.  I would then be tempted to dismiss him as just another hypocrite.

You need to distinguish between a false foundation for liberty, and the dogmatic insistence that there is no need for one. And you need to distinguish between the knowledge available to the Founders and the knowledge available to men today. If you do that, you'll see that Schwartz was not guilty of a contradiction.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Now, as far as I'm concerned that argument is fine, so long as he accepts everything that it implies. Over 200 years ago someone wrote in a document that "We hold these truths to be SELF EVIDENT...all men...are endowed...with certain inalienable rights, the right to life, LIBERTY and the pursuit of happiness..."

The implication to me is that these men of old were just as EVIL as he claims the current crop of libertarians to be, because they give no justification for their assertions.  In other words the nation in which many of us reside is a LIE, founded on false premises, and "widespread death would be the consequence" (Schwarz's words).

The documents which defined the United States were political documents, not philosophical treatises. (Though one can easily argue that the philosophy contained in those documents far exceeds the tripe which passes for philosophy today.) The philosophical basis for these political documents was already established by John Locke and other Enlightenment thinkers, and the politics implied and reflected that philosophy.

Peter Schwartz' point is that the modern-day libertarians lack a consistent, cohesive, and integrated philosophical base in their advocacy of certain political ideas, and that lack translates into an advocacy of actions more in tune with anarchism than with a morally justifiable political system.

Do you see the difference?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have read over the posts with some interest. One in particular...the notion that Libertarians are "evil" for perverting the notion of liberty. I find that to be a rather strong word. Are people evil for being wrong or incorrect? For having a different opinion? Or, can they be honestly mistaken? How can an entire group of people be labeled "evil" simply because of a difference of opinion on the notion of liberty?

This kind of thinking is what disturbs me when I read about the schizm. Based upon what I've read posted by many who calls themselves "Objectivists", it seems that 99.9% of the world can be called evil.

And the .00001% of the world who are "good" Objectivists are the only good people who exist?

??

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Vicki,

No wonder you are disturbed at my use of the word "evil"! I have never felt compelled to label 99.9% of the world's population as "evil." There is plenty of room in Objectivism for honest errors. I also understand that some people who claim to be Libertarians are honestly mistaken. I would not call them "evil" but I also do not consider them to be Libertarians.

As to why I would choose to use such a strong word, I recommend reading Fact and Value and On Moral Sanctions.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sometimes I like to go to the Objectivist Center and read their FAQs. I find nothing particularly wrong with any of the answers. Is it a David Kelley thing or a ObjectivistCenter thing?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"Libertarians, on the other hand, have perverted the Objectivist concept of "liberty" and it is in that context that they are evil and should be reprimanded. In fewer words, they should know better!"

Libertarians are evil according to you for having perverted the Objectivist concept of "liberty". You said it. I didn't.

As far as the 99.9% thing, I was not referring to your own use of the word evil, but the brandishing about of that word by many Objectivists...your usage being only one small example of same.

I have heard that followers of Ayn Rand are cultists and this type of language leads me to believe it to be true. I like her writings but am confused by this movement. The discussion forums I've joined are filled with bickering, name-calling, and evil, evil, evil. Don't know what to think.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have no problems using the word "evil" and I have no problems applying to people who I see as destructive to something I hold dear, i.e., freedom. Again, I refer you to those two articles for a fuller understanding. I assure you that I am not just throwing out an emotional term by whim.

Since you know that you enjoy the writings of Ayn Rand, I suggest that you put issues like this aside for now and focus on what you are really interested in, namely her ideas. Forget the bickering and the "cult" notion and read her books. If--after you have studied her for some time--there is still any interest in these topics, you will have ample information with which to form the proper conclusion.

As far as your experiences with this forum, I think the discussions are quite mature. The typical discussion board is full of swear words, smears, flames, immature name-calling, and all kinds of trash. The moderators have done a good job of securing this site from that kind of garbage.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My question is why do you have no problem with using the word "evil"? If you describe Libertarians as "evil" because they pervert liberty in your opinion, then you must also consider Republicans and Democrats evil because they pervert the concept even more. This leads me to conclude, and please correct me if I'm wrong, that you consider MOST people evil because most people embrace a "perverted" notion of liberty if one considers Rand's idea of liberty to be the correct concept.

I have read the two articles. You ARE indeed throwing the word evil out rather loosely. You are also being rather authoritarian. Rather than explaining why you do this, you keep referring to the words of the "authorities". This is cult-like thinking and behavior. I suggest you do some reading on the nature of cults. You will find that the word "evil" is used very loosely in cults.

What is YOUR definition of the word "evil"? I suggest that you'd like me to put this aside because you are not adequately defending your own position.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
This leads me to conclude, and please correct me if I'm wrong, that you consider MOST people evil because most people embrace a "perverted" notion of liberty...

You are wrong. I already pointed out that people can be honestly mistaken and they are not the ones who are destroying the concept "liberty."

You are also being rather authoritarian. Rather than explaining why you do this, you keep referring to the words of the "authorities".

Authorities are great. They save me from having to write 5 page papers to answer questions such as the one you posed. You will never catch me saying "it's true because so-and-so said it." It is a common and acceptable practice in philosophy and the sciences to make references to the work of others. One can do this and still be a completely independent thinker. In fact, my suggestion to you has been to read on your own and come to your own decision.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
My question is why do you have no problem with using the word "evil"?

Whoa, man, that is one strange question to ask!

Why do you have a problem with using the word evil? It is a perfectly valid English word, with a well-known set of meanings, among them "morally reprehensible" and "causing harm." In addition, it also has a well-defined meaning as a philosophical term in Objectivism: "All that which is proper to the life of a rational being is the good; all that which destroys it is the evil."

By asking Bowzer why he has no problem with using the word, you are asking him to prove a negative. If you think there is anything wrong with it, the burden of proof is on YOU: unless you give us arguments as to why it is wrong, we simply do not have a basis upon which to consider your contention that it is so.

In other words, it is like asking: "Why do you think apples aren't harmful to your health?"

(Except that it is also self-contradictory to some extent: If nothing is evil, how could there be a "problem" with doing anything, including using the word "evil" ?)

If you describe Libertarians as "evil" because they pervert liberty in your opinion, then you must also consider Republicans and Democrats evil because they pervert the concept even more.
Nobody perverts the concept more than Libertarians do.

This leads me to conclude, and please correct me if I'm wrong, that you consider MOST people evil because most people embrace a "perverted" notion of liberty if one considers Rand's idea of liberty to be the correct concept.

Most people have an unclear concept of what liberty means. That is ENTIRELY different from intentionally perverting the meaning of the word for propaganda purposes!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Nobody perverts the concept more than Libertarians do.

What about Communists? A hungry man is not free...that's pretty perverted.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think that Sciabarra is terribly misunderstood, and it is too unfortunate. In terms of 'his' Dialectical method, I cannot see how anybody could know both Rand and understand what Sciabarra means, yet deny that Rand is a great dialectical thinker. There is no attachment to Marx, Hegel, or any other philosophy that comes with this. This is not some crazy ontological acceptance of contradictions, or transcendence into another world, this is a methodological orientation, and the most important one for ~anybody~, nevermind Objectivists and Libertarians and Marxists and blahblah. I think the easiest description of it he gives is on this page: http://www.nyu.edu/projects/sciabarra/rad/...ws/rossres.html

I have introduced Dialectics to somebody on another site, and also just wrote myself up a quick paper giving an analogy between methodological orientations and the first problem in philosophy (Being and Becoming), and if anybody has ~sincere~ interest in understanding Dialectics, I'd be glad to share them through personal email, although I would much rather suggest actually reading Chapter 4 of "Total Freedom" and of course "Ayn Rand: The Russian Radical" to learn of it, and if anything using me to get an idea of it. I'm not sure how many who have talked here would feel that they were morally free to read it, so I'll leave it up to you.

As for whether or not Objectivism is closed or open, I think both sides may have misunderstood the issue to some extent. Of course Rand's philosophy of Objectivism, if it is considered ~her~ philosophy frozen as is, must be closed off and kept in a box to remain ~her~ philosophy. But that automatically makes huge issues when it comes down to others accepting it, including us. You can say that Rand's texts can fit into one volume, but that doesn't mean she can be understood that easily. Her rhetorical way of writing is just too easy to misunderstand, and the amazing layers of integration that take place are really difficult for a contemporary mind to grasp, especially with her completely different understanding of a great many ideas and issues. The fact of the matter is that she will be misunderstood, and even on the 'other side', others that we are quick to judge as liars, evaders and idiots may have a lot more positive to say (in different systems, so to speak) than we realize. Rand is going to slowly blend into seriousness in academic circles (as she already is) through vantage points like those of Sciabarra, and forever most of you blame people like him for doing something as noble as he has in giving her scholarly recognition. And it is to my opinion that he got Rand right, and I stand by that.

This is a developing idea, but I believe that Objectivism (or some other name if you want to give a frozen distinction of the philosophy she created to the philosophy that will become the academic philosophy) has to be taken as a "revolutionary paradigm" (to paraphrase Kuhn), and the goals of all who want to keep it 'alive' should not be to open it up until you cannot tell what the hell it is, but rather guard the foundations, not merely in the principles but in all of the integrity that takes place between them, and keep focus on the inessential issues (for example, some good ones, I believe, are brought out in Mack's essay "Problematic Issues in Rands Ethics"--or something like that, in the most recent Journal of Ayn Rand Studies), in order to not only keep them from destroying the core, but also to help make the core stronger. First of course Objectivism has to become the revolutionary philosophy, and until that happens, the goal of those of us who want to spread it should be to communicate with the honest people left in academia, and you know what, that requires tolerance. I do not mean moral relativism, as most seem to take it, nor bifurcating the fact/value dynamics (I do believe ideas have moral status, but for the reasons I'm about to say after this parenthesis, intellectually honesty--the standard I use in judgment--is not very easily discovered in most cases), but the willingness to accept the fact of most people's psychoepistemology, completely different meanings of many of our terms, and other factors (like dualistic methodological orientation) that to me are commonsensically goign to make the process of communication more difficult. I HAVEN'T READ KELLEY'S BOOK, so don't pin me down for it, and blame me for everything I said above, not any group. I have seen what people who's works I highly respect have gone through, and to me the clear misunderstanding, yet willingness to give such broad pronouncements (that require actual reading and understanding), is just plain evil. I don't know if this is going to get me banned from the site, because I know I'm unavoidably offending, but be assured that I have no other motives but to give my personal position as a student of philosophy who is highly influenced by Rand's philosophy, and takes it very seriously as the best philosophy. I also am of the knowledge that because of my positions, I probably should not be welcome into ARI's side, according to Peikoff's essay and the way others I respect are disrespected, denounced, etc., so I understand if I'm not considered an Objectivist by most.

-Dominic

p.s. BTW, I subscribed to Betsy's Cybernetter (in an above post) for a couple years, and thought it was outstanding, so I highly suggest checking it out.

-Dominic

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
Sign in to follow this  

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...