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    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"
  • Objectivism Online Chat

    How near are we to socialized medicine?

    By happiness,
    Could it very likely be only a few years away? The thought is frightening. And what will it look like? Will there be a new tax on everyone to fund it?

    Reblogged:Medieval Cynicism

    Gus Van Horn blog
    By Gus Van Horn blog,
    Image via Wikimedia Commons. Over at Aeon is an article (that doesn't take one to read) about how trial by ordeal was actually used. This in no way legitimizes the practice, but it does answer a practical question faced by the mystics in charge: Essentially everyone believed in eternal damnation for the unrepentant, but that wasn't always an effective deterrent to actual crime. At the same time, a perceived inability on their part to render reliable verdicts would cast doubt on them as cognitive and moral authorities. The Church needed a way to achieve some level of certainty about innocence or guilt, but the priests knew on some level that they weren't going to get any help from their imaginary friend. What to do?

    Capitalize on ignorance and rig the result:
    The piece goes on to elaborate on how the instruction manual for the priest who ran the "trial" should proceed:
    So the Church found a way to both preserve its credibility by delivering a fair verdict often enough for that purpose -- and yet to maintain complete control over the result of any given trial. Even if, as the author claimed, this yielded "improved criminal justice," it served its true purpose, of maintaining the power of the Church over society, far better. The superstitious rabble were kept from utter lawlessness and any uppity heretics were put on notice, too, even if they saw through the ruse. Clever.

    -- CAV Link to Original

    Determinism and free will

    By epistemologue,
    Someone asked: "is determinism (or causation, I may be mixing the two up if they're different) not the way all logic and science works when talking about anything? ... studies that seem to indicate that free will may be more of an illusion" The reductionist materialism of the "scientific worldview", does embrace determinism and the idea that free will is an illusion. Logic does not dictate this, though, actually the reductionist worldview is incoherent. Without free will, morality or ethics would be a meaningless science, people will act strictly according to prior causes, and can't change their behavior based on a morality. So there would be no "good" or "bad", no right or wrong, no justice, nothing. These terms would be essentially meaningless. If behavior is determined, then what people do, just *is* what they do, there's no alternative to compare it against, it wasn't right or wrong, or better or worse, it just *happened*. Worse than that, if reductionism is true, then all that exists in a metaphysically basic sense are millions of identical particles, behaving according to simple mathematical rules, a la Conway's game of life. There is no real line you can draw around one group of particles and think of it as a person, that would be a purely subjective choice that doesn't actually mean anything in reality. The things that you think you see around you aren't real. There are no men or women, there isn't even a self. Furthermore, statements or propositions you make don't have any meaning in the sense of true or false either since the concepts that make them up don't mean anything, and therefore neither does logic hold. So in this materialist worldview there is no justice, no morality, no truth or reason or logic, or even self. These concepts are all contradicted by the nature of reality. They are essentially meaningless and impossible. Yet despite all of this, they will still continue to speak as if these were true. They will talk about what you ought to do for your well-being, how you should be rational, use reason, seek truth, be logical, and speak as if people are real, that things around them are real, that they matter, and that there is meaning in life. All of this is contradicted by their own philosophy, and so they are being incoherent, and engaging wholesale in the fallacy of the stolen concept.

    Is it time, is the hour striking?

    By dream_weaver,
      One withstands or resists the invasion of armies; one does not withstand or resist the invasion of ideas. — Victor Hugo This may have been inspired, perhaps, by the earlier written: There is something more powerful that the brute force of bayonets: it is the idea whose time has come and hour struck. — Gustave Aimard   Ayn Rand is the first to have given a rational, objectively demonstrable, scientific answer to the question of why man needs a code of values. At the same time she shines reason’s light into and thus dispersing altruism’s shadow revealing the vampire haunting Western culture. She describes altruism not as a morality—even though she refers to it as the morality of altruism—rather a negation of morality. Even though she wields reason as a weapon, and calls upon reality as an invincible ally, ideas do not invade; rather they are passed around. One can see and rather easily grasp the invasion of armies and even readily resist. Without first having learned to distinguish the nature of ideas, it is much more difficult to recognize, much less resist the brightly colored fruit coming from the deadly yew tree. It is the idea whose time has come and hour struck that determines whether the brute force of bayonets is resorted to, and whether it is utilized in the more efficacious deployment of self-defense or the less efficacious employment of the initiation of physical force. A question that often arises within those familiarizing themselves with the various writings of Ayn Rand is: Is Ayn Rand right? In “The Objectivist Ethics” in “The Virtue of Selfishness”, Ayn Rand writes the following: If you wonder why the world is now collapsing to a lower and ever lower rung of hell, this [altruism] is the reason. If you want to save civilization, it is this [the altruistic] premise of modern ethics — and of all ethical history — that you must challenge. Quibbling over whether this borderline case or that borderline case falls inside or outside the Objectivist guidelines may be a good intellectual exercise for developing clarity for some. Squabbling over whether Johnny’s interpretation or Jimmy’s interpretation or Joey’s interpretation of Ayn Rand’s wording is ludicrous at best. Being objective is not about hermeneutics or interpretations.  The question remains: Is she right? Leonard Peikoff, in Objectivism: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand isolates this crucial tidbit: To understand man, or any other human concern, one must understand concepts. One must discover what they are, how they are formed, and how they are used, and often misused, in the quest for knowledge. Harry Binswanger, in one of his lectures points out: If you want to understand reason, understand concepts. If you want to study reason, study concepts. Concepts are where we store reason. If civilization is at stake, it is an altruistic notion of concepts that must be swept aside. In her article: “Global Balkanization” in her book “The Voice of Reason”: [T]o the tribalists, language is not a tool of thought and communication. Language to them is a symbol of tribal status and power—the power to force their dialect on all outsiders. This appeals not even to the tribal leaders, but to the sick, touchy vanity of the tribal rank and file. To wrap this up on another note that Miss Rand saw fit to comment on: the whole of Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology applies, while in particular this isolates an essential ingredient: It is worth noting, at this point, that what the enemies of reason seem to know, but its alleged defenders have not discovered, is the fact that axiomatic concepts are the guardians of man's mind and the foundation of reason—the keystone, touchstone and hallmark of reason—and if reason is to be destroyed, it is axiomatic concepts that have to be destroyed. If your axiomatic concepts, like existence, are indestructible, then you have nothing to worry about. Ayn Rand put it succinctly. As Leonard Peikoff put it in Fact and Value, as paraphrased: The “official authorized doctrine” of Objectivism was stated and validated objectively by its discoverer and author, Ayn Rand.

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