Objectivism Is The Everyman's Philosophy
In the universe, what you see is what you get,
figuring it out for yourself is the way to happiness,
and each person's independence is respected by all
Rand's Philosophy in Her Own Words
- "Metaphysics: Objective Reality" "Nature, to be commanded, must be obeyed/Wishing won’t make it so." "The universe exists independent of consciousness"
- "Epistemology: Reason" "You can’t eat your cake and have it, too." "Thinking is man’s only basic virtue"
- "Ethics: Self-interest" "Man is an end in himself." "Man must act for his own rational self-interest" "The purpose of morality is to teach you[...] to enjoy yourself and live"
- "Politics: Capitalism" "Give me liberty or give me death." "If life on earth is [a man's] purpose, he has a right to live as a rational being"
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Do you think that Capitalism will collapse by the end of the current century? Its becoming more obvious that there are major problems with how resources are allocated and used in the world economy. A "collapse", if it happened, would necessarily be global because of how globalisation has interconnected our economic and political destinies. I realise you could argue it either way- that it is the fault of capitalism, or that it is the by-product of distortions of "crony capitalism" and "corporate capitalism" in free, competitive markets, and that such a collapse would also hurt the non-capitalist countries (debatably, China and North Korea). It is however true that Capitalism can only collapse if people consciously decide to bring it down, whether by social revolution or by breaking the social contract and deciding its better to go our separate ways in anarchy or civil war. the weakening of free institutions, through apathy and cynicism from below, and creeping authoritarianism from above, is not a good sign. here's a few reasons why I think Capitalism may collapse. Climate Change and Environmental Problems: Ultimately, "free" societies are a privilege and a luxury of economies that have attained a sufficiently high level of production that they no longer need to use direct coercion, but can use voluntary exchanges within the market instead. Environmental Problems threaten to bring about an era of food and water insecurity (and if you include peak oil, energy insecurity) and this is not likely to be conducive to political stability at all. Ultimately, this is a major mis-allocation of resources as short-term profits take precedence over the long-term sustainability of maintaining resources and a failure to invest or innovate by new technologies and organisational structures that could address these problems. Consumerism: the irrational nature of expectations in the market means that people and institutions have become "addicted" to growth and consumption. This makes society less adaptable and people more irritable to falls in living standards. So the unrealistic expectations (perhaps "entitlement" if you want to call it that) make political extremism and instability more likely as people value instant gratification over the long-term stability of free institutions. Income Inequality and Corporate Capitalism: Whilst a certain level of income inequality may be healthy, the problem is that its got out of control. It doesn't reflect competition in the marketplace, but the concentration of economic power in the hands of the big banks and large corporations to "reallocate" resources to the wealthy. This is bad news because, it is the Middle Class which provides an economic basis for stability in developed countries. If the middle class begins to crumble, people no longer have an economic incentive to be part of the system. This is particularly true of young people, where opportunities to benefit from capitalism are getting harder and harder to find as social mobility gets lower. The failure of Democracy: the economic power and influence of large corporations means they are able to make democratic governments serve their interests, and hence are resistant to attempts at reform (whether they come from the left or the right). The Media: not sure where to start, but you have the combination of a highly concentrated media ownership with TV, newspapers, etc as sources of information, combined with the disruptive effects of the internet which has, by turning clicks, shares and views into the currency of social media, helped create an environment in which spreading "fake news", sensationalist stories, along with conspiracy theories into a major commercial enterprise. the incentives are there for people who want to make money, and they are rewarded for manipulating the public. Whether its a question of free economic and political institution, having people being badly informed and making less than rational decisions, is highly corrosive. On top of this, is a heavy dose of cultural pessimism that either reflects or perpetuates social decline and serves elites by getting people to stop believing that change is possible. The War on Terror and Religious Resurgence: I'm throwing this one in because I tend to think Capitalism can only work as a secular set of institutions, in which a person's religious beliefs are "private" and not a public/political concern. Both Christian and Islamic Fundamentalism have been on the rise for several decades, and the threat of Islamic Terrorism has been used to strengthen the hand of the state to invade people's lives and other countries (often only making the problem worse). the retreat of secularism isn't very good for capitalism because economic growth relies on the advance of Science, and if science and reason come under attack- capitalism will follow. I could probably think of others, but I think we'll just go with those ones for starters. Any Thoughts?
By Iatan Petru,
So I posted these hypothethical scenarios on different topics, as comments, but I decided to make one about them because I am really curious about the Objectivist approach. There are some hypothethical situations I thought about. So imagine the following : -a friend tries to kill himself because his ex broke up with him (or some other irrational reason) -you see a man torturing his dog (for example, keeping it chained and taking its eyes out) -you see a stranger cutting himself -you see someone beating up a mentally handicapped person (let's assume the handicap isn't curable nor potentially curable) I was trying to bring examples that are emotionally disturbing because I want to make a point about the moral actions you're entitled to here. Of course, most of us would initiate force to stop those people from doing what they're doing, wouldn't we? I mean, let's be really honest here, it is the right thing to do, clearly. But according to Objectivism, should those people we initiated force against take legal action against us, we would be the guilty party. After all, you have the right to kill or harm yourself, and animals who can't use reason (dogs and mentally handicapped people, in this case) have no rights. So maybe I see things in a wrong way, but here are cases where you can do something which is both moral and illegal. How can that be, under a proper Government? I mean, should the Government sanction initiating force in order to stop those actions? Can something be both moral and illegal? And if not, why wouldn't people be able to pay the authorities to also provide services of animal protection, protection for people without rights, irrational suicide prevention etc., which would, however, clearly violate the NAP in such cases?
Though it may still be better than most other countries, as I hold the present-day United States in low esteem due to its rampant violations my rights. Does the U.S. flag mean anything anymore? Should one who has lost all respect for the U.S. as a political entity respect the flag and only detest the voters who have corrupted the government? Am I justified in not wanting to salute the flag or stand for the national anthem, and wanting to remove the flag from the front of my residence?
One of the responses to Climate Change that has had increasing attention is the idea of "engineering" the climate. this is still peripheral to discussions of climate change but may become more important as time goes on as a "techno-fix" if we fail to reduce emissions quickly enough to avert catastrophic climate change. It could be argued that by emitting greenhouse gases we are already engaged in an uncontrolled experiment with the Climate, and that climate engineering is simply trying to take control of something we are already doing. Broadly, Climate Engineering technologies divide into two types; solar radiation management and carbon dioxide removal from the atmosphere. it raises a lot of questions about the impacts of using the technology, how its use is governed internationally, the level of uncertainty in manipulating the earth's thermostat, if climate engineering creates a moral hazard so that we won't actually reduce greenhouse gas emissions as fast as we could and whether this is an emergency measure or is in fact the realisation of an ideal of man's mastery over nature. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Climate_engineering I'm was wondering what people's thoughts are on Climate Engineering and if there are any strong opinions favouring or opposing it?