By Thomas M. Miovas, Jr.
I seem to be getting quite a few friendship requests after taking a stance against certain aspects of the checkingpremises.org essays and statements as presented on their website -- especially after posting the following to several friend's wall posts:
"I think you guys [Chip Joyce et al] have a ways to go to present your case. Yes, there are people who claim all sorts of nonsense is compatible with Objectivism, but when I asked you via FaceBook to give three examples of what you were referring to -- no one came up with three examples. You didn't even point to Libertarianism, Kelley, and Brandon and what they say that is contrary to Objectivism, and hence a mere "belief" in the words of Chip Joyce's "Subjectivist Objectivists." That essay needs to be fleshed out more if you expect the rational student of Objectivism enquirer to understand what your point is -- especially if you are trying to reach the modern day Objectivist student who may do an internet search and come across CP. I mean, there are copious examples out there, such as anarcho-capitalism, the Christian-Objectivist, the determinist-Objectivist, etc...but you would have to show how holding onto these ideas is a form of subjectivism. You didn't even state what subjectivism is and why a belief without facts is a form of subjectivism, nor how a rationalist method and conclusion can lead to a type of subjectivism. John Kagebein's more recent essay is much better in that he referred to specific facts about DH that lead him to his conclusion that she is incompetent to present Objectivism."
So, I think I need to clarify my position, least it seems that I am for what he claims to be against. I think he is on to something in his identification of the "subjectivist objectivist" -- only, I wouldn't call it that, as it is a contradiction in terms, and I would have made the case clearer as to what I was actually against. Yes, insofar as there are people out there who seem to cherry pick their ideas from Objectivism on a personal like basis -- i.e. I like Ayn Rand's views on capitalism, but insofar as she disregards God, I cannot be for Objectivism as she presented it, so I am a Christian-Objectivist -- this is an act of subjectivism; of making a decision based on emotions, rather than reason. There is more to subjectivism than that as a methodology, but I am trying to keep this brief. I am definitely and wholeheartedly against those types of people.
The problem is that Chip is claiming that the Libertarians, David Kelley, Nathaniel Brandon, and Diana Hseih are acting in a similar manner with regard to "applications of Objectivism that Miss Rand never talked about." But he didn't make his case. He presented no evidence from which he drew his supposed inductive generalization in his essay. Yes, they tend to pick and choose among Objectivist principles -- applying them in a hash-hazard way -- but does this make them subjectivists? Are they doing this based on their emotional reactions to statements that Miss Rand and Dr. Peikoff have made? Not in my experience of dealing with their issues and having discussions and arguments with their followers. I see their primary problem as a lack of Objectivity and integration, and making arguments based on arguments, based on arguments, but never touching the ground in the process. In other words, a form of rationalism. Now, if one holds onto a rationalistic argument that can be shown to be unconnected to reality and therefore not true based upon an emotional attachment to one's mis-generated ideas, then yes, this would be a form of subjectivism. In that regard, Chip is on to something. But he would have to demonstrate this by a reference to the facts instead of merely asserting it. So, while I think I agree with him, after thinking it through a bit with some help from John K on FaceBook, he didn't present the issue very well. So, I am not against the idea (aside from it being presented in a contradiction in terms), just the execution.
So, be forewarned if you are friending me because you think I am for what Chip is against, because you would be friending me on the wrong terms.
Edited by Thomas M. Miovas Jr., 04 February 2012 - 06:08 PM.