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Posts posted by TruthSeeker946

  1. 8 hours ago, Harrison Danneskjold said:

    Potentially, but IQ is also a double-edged sword in a certain way.

    There are three basic methods of mental functioning: rational, truth-oriented thinking, drifting (or "going with the grain") and evading.  Both the rational and evasive forms of thought are "active" and their effectiveness is at least partially mediated by IQ.  So although it's true that someone with a higher IQ could potentially be more effective at the proper cognitive method (like John Galt) they could also be more effective at evasion and self-delusion (like Robert Stadler).

    Right but you agree that IQ is an example of genetics influencing human behaviour? Do you know of any Objectivist writings on evolutionary psychology? This is a burgeoning field and I think Objectivists are too dismissive of 'hard wired' biological biases in human behaviour. As we've agreed, it doesn't mean incompatibility with Objectivism. Reality is what it is. That is what an Objectivist seeks to know.

    8 hours ago, Harrison Danneskjold said:

    Well, we can't just ban everyone on Earth who calls themselves a "Muslim"; as with any other religion there are plenty of "Muslims" who get drunk, have sex with random strangers and simply are not a threat to anything except logical consistency.  If half of the "Muslims" in the UK believe that homosexuality should be illegal then that also means that the other half do not

    It actually doesn't. The study found that 52% disagreed that homosexuality should be legal while only 18% agreed.

    But does it matter? 52% is huge compared to the population at large, which is 5%, the same study found. That is a massive disparity. And the population of British Muslims is rapidly growing in size. Plus, legality is the bare minimum, attitudes on the morality of homosexuality would be even worse, which has its own cultural influence.

    The study also found that 23% support the introduction of Sharia Law and 39% agreed that 'wives should always obey their husbands' compared to 5% of the pop at large.

    The list goes on and on. The bottom line is the rapid expansion of the Muslim population likely means the rapid expansion of these attitudes and the growth of a serious threat to western civlisation (as this is happening across the west).

    8 hours ago, Harrison Danneskjold said:

    Now, it's a different question as to whether or not such people should really count as Muslims, but as long as they don't believe in the parts of Islam that would truly make them dangerous they have the same freedom of movement as anybody else.  What we really want our screening process to look for are basically those individuals who believe that infidels and blasphemers deserve to be murdered.

    Yes I agree we could implement more detailed screening processes. Right now it is political suicide to speak of the drawbacks of the growth of the Muslim population and the need for discriminatory migration policies based on values.

    8 hours ago, Harrison Danneskjold said:

    While I tend to agree with the sentiment I'm really not sure it's as cut-and-dry as that.  What about native Muslims who were born here and wouldn't be willing to personally harm anyone at all, but who would vote for Sharia law if they ever could?  What about Communists, antihumanists or "people" who talk in movie theatres?  What you're proposing is that the government should get involved in policing certain ideas, and although I'm also uncomfortable with the prospect of having neighbors that support Sharia law (or Communism) we should only continue down that line of reasoning with extreme caution.

    I agree it requires extreme caution but mostly what the government needs to do is simply protect our rights to allow critics to undermine Islam. Hate speech laws are doing just the opposite. But this must be combined with restricting immigration to be more effective, considering the Muslim population is already growing rapidly even without further immigration, due to their birth rates.

    8 hours ago, Harrison Danneskjold said:

    If you're worried about the voting tendencies of immigrants, though - who said they should automatically be given a vote as soon as they arrive?

    Good idea. How long would you leave it?

    8 hours ago, Harrison Danneskjold said:

    Also you misspelled favor.  :P

    Haha I don't think so!

    8 hours ago, Harrison Danneskjold said:

    If they are a threat.  I suspect they wouldn't bother making the journey to your country if you'd stop giving them all free houses, free money and free reign with your daughters.

    Yes this is an important factor of course. Subsidising their breeding is literally a suicidal policy.

    8 hours ago, Harrison Danneskjold said:

    No.  Free societies originally developed in the West but they've since taken root all over the place.  Were Australia and Hong Kong not free societies until just last year?  Certain people all over the world do actually get it (like the Nepali-American couple I mentioned) and certain others don't.  Responding to the latter by giving up on the very freedoms on which such societies are based (including the freedom of movement) would be like trying to cure COVID by administering drain cleaner.

    Not as much 'taken root' as having been transplanted. You'll notice those British colonies where freedom 'took root' most successfully is actually mostly those colonies that were literal British offshoot societies, meaning the British people themselves physically settled in those colonies, bringing their culture with them. The US, Canada, Australia, NZ in particular.

    An actual transplantation process from one peoples to another is a much slower process, though I agree it is possible. The longer the process is attempted, the more successful it is going to be. Hong Kong was a British colony for 156 years. The recent attempts to spread democracy and freedom in the Middle East with only a few years of occupation was laughable. It didn't stand a chance.


    8 hours ago, Harrison Danneskjold said:


    Despite such ideas I'm personally quite fond of Jordan Peterson.  Many of his other ideas are correct and a few of them mesh quite nicely with Objectivism.  But despite the fact that chemicals and hierarchies are an aspect of human biology, you can't adequately describe human behavior in those terms; it's like trying to explain how an internal combustion engine works in terms of individual molecules.

    Adequately, no. In the nature vs nurture debate, few would claim it is all nature. But that doesn't mean it isn't significant. And there is a lot of evidence that it is significant. Any philosophy has to account for it:

    Lincoln said:

    "It is to deny, what the history of the world tells us is true, to suppose that men of ambition and talents will not continue to spring up amongst us. And, when they do, they will as naturally seek the gratification of their ruling passion, as others have so done before them. The question is, can that gratification be found in supporting and maintaining an edifice that has been erected by others? Most certainly it cannot"

    Is it not an aspect of human nature to some degree, originating perhaps in the evolution of power dynamics, that man tends to seek power and tear down those on top? (Again, not saying free will and rational thought cannot overcome this on an individual basis).

    So one justification for the American system of government is that it exists to constrain that tendency through the balance of powers, making it as difficult as possible for that tyrant to surface. That is a rational response to what may be an innate tendency of man.

    That is a political philosophy based on human beings as they tend to behave, as opposed to human beings as we would like them to behave.

    8 hours ago, Harrison Danneskjold said:


    Maybe it won't.  That changes neither the fact that it is the truth nor that every single person would benefit from learning about it.  Shouldn't we advocate for the truth regardless of whether anyone else wants to hear it or not?

    I agree we should, but we should also understand the limitations of that approach and subscribe to a philosophy that takes account of that reality.

    It's all very well for Objectivists to preach about how the world ought to be and how humans ought to behave (and it is a vital service) but someone has to get on with the business of dealing with the world as it is and how humans actually behave, which means confronting the reality of certain 'tendencies' which don't seem to be dissipating any time soon.

  2. 11 hours ago, Eiuol said:


    But why? I doubt that it is true, but even if it is, we don't have to suppose that the reason is because they are immigrants. Why would it be that a foreign culture that they are only exposed to at home exerts more cultural pressure than the culture they see everywhere else?

    Because they grow up under the influence of their parents and the surrounding community which is dominated by Islam, and in many cases this includes the Islamic schools they go to. So it isn't just the home, though the home alone is a significant influence.

    Their lives predominantly exist inside these communities, which revolves around the local mosque, which is a significant influence too, local muslim run businesses, restaurants, shisha bars etc which dominate the street and they do it surrounded by fellow Muslims, who also form their friendship groups. Have you ever visited one of these areas? I'd recommend it. It's like entering another world.

    The idea that they are 'only exposed to at home' the Islamic culture and that the world outside that home is western, as if these families are living like isolated islands in westernised streets is very far from the reality of actual migrant settlement.

    11 hours ago, Eiuol said:

    Like above, I doubt this is true and I don't know how you could simply know that the area was 90% Muslim just by walking by. But even if it is true, you have to ask why it developed into a microcosm, and to what extent the microcosm has adopted or significantly mixed with the local culture. China Towns across the US are a microcosm but they are extremely capitalistic and possibly even more so than the average American. 

    I can assure you 90% is accurate. It was home time so most of the children and their parents were gathered outside in the playground where the children are picked up. I didn't see single white kid/family. Everyone had brown skin and they were all wearing Islamic-style clothing and this was deep inside a Muslim dominated area as described above.

    Why it developed into a microcosm? Because that's just what people do. Maybe it's human nature, maybe it isn't. But the facts are the facts. Immigrants tend to concentrate in areas and set up their own communities, propagating their own culture. That's just what happens. The "local culture" is their own culture, because they create their own local communities. The same phenomenon happened with European migrants to the US, whether Italian or Irish. However, European migrants shared Judeo-Christian roots so the differences are not as pronounced as with Muslim immigrants.

    But there are strong cultural differences between different areas of the US even within that general Judeo-Christain background. That is the legacy of immigration. It isn't random. The cultural practices and attitudes of particular areas can be traced back directly to the immigrants who settled there, carrying their cultures with them.

    I'd recommend Sowell's culture trilogy for an indepth study of this. It is true that some cultures are more open to influence than others. The more dogmatic, the less open. Islamic culture is of the less open types (of course there are variations within Islamic culture itself), which isn't surprising for anyone who has studied Islam.

    As for the Chinese, they are still very different.

    11 hours ago, Eiuol said:

    And for the sake of argument, we could even suppose that the microcosm failed to assimilate, perhaps as far as to advocate for sharia law. I would characterize the situation as the chickens coming home to roost. The problem is not the nature of the immigrants and the nature of the country where the immigrants come from. The problem is the culture of the UK. The culture of the UK always seemed weak to me and doesn't exert much influence. I mean, sure, I like some British TV, and there are some regional quirks that I find funny. But really there isn't much to it. Not to mention even on the level of government, the UK is kind of... Nothing. On top of that, it was heavily imperialistic for so long, so there isn't much people really seek out from the UK. You should hardly be surprised when the UK barely exerts cultural pressure on immigrants. It won't matter how many Muslims you prevent from entering the UK, the societal decline you are concerned about will still be going on.

    If you fix the cultural problems, the rest will follow. 


    I agree, the behaviour of the host country can be a significant factor but since we are advocating a free society here, the most a host country can do to change cultural behaviours is to protect freedom of speech and other rights, allowing the Muslim culture to be held under the spotlight in the media and criitcised for its barbaric attitudes and practices, and ensuring the rule of law reigns supreme.

    What do you mean by 'exert culture pressure'? I agree there are more authoritarian measures we could take, including regulating and/or banning mosques and Islamic schools, forcing Muslims to go to schools that aim to westernise them etc.

    But a free society cannot stop immigrants congregating the way they do, nor can you do much to make a culture more open or to stimulate fundamental change within that culture, at least not in the short term without violent conflict, especially when religion is involved. Those things can take hundreds of years. It took that long for Christianity to reform. The larger the Muslim population, the bigger this problem becomes and the harder it is to manage.

    To 'modernise' Islam comes at a great cost. We are essentially importing that problem to the west, the same problem we resolved at great pains, over a long period of time, with Christianity.

    Limiting Muslim immigration is a simple, effective and practical measure to restrict the rapid growth of Muslim communities and therefore the rapid growth of an alien, hostile culture.

  3. On 2/18/2021 at 5:50 PM, MisterSwig said:

    I don't believe Rand's philosophy is mine to revise or expand upon. I have, however, criticized her position regarding public property. And so I think her definition of capitalism is mistaken and partly accounts for some of our rifts when it comes to politics. 

    Thanks. Rand revised and expanded on Aristotle. I'm not saying it necessarily has to still be called Objectivism. It depends how big the changes are.

    19 hours ago, Doug Morris said:

    We have the power to choose rationally.  To the extent that instead we let our emotions do our thinking for us, we leave ourselves very vulnerable to the subconscious and/or genetics/biological processes.

    I agree. The problem is very few people choose to think, to be rational, and even among those who attempt it, there is fierce disagreement.

    We know that it takes a deliberate, conscious effort to focus and think rationally, which can be a draining process, and most people simply 'go with the grain' so to speak, meaning to avoid the burden of thinking for oneself in large areas of their lives and having faith in established patterns of thought and action, passed down over generations, essentially allowing them to econmise on the time and effort that goes into thinking everything through rationally on their own.

    But also to 'go with the grain' in the sense of those biological processes we are referring to. Perhaps those processes themselves exert a 'bias' or incentive against thinking too much. An obvious example, which may be just the tip of the iceberg, is the painful sensation one feels when focusing over a prolonged period. Another is IQ. The higher the IQ, the easier it probably is to spend the same amount of time focusing and thinking rationally, so the lower the incentive to 'switch off'.

    15 hours ago, dream_weaver said:

    How do you propose to alter human nature? Are you proposing that others need to be managed since self-management mysteriously leads to your rights being severely restricted, as is the current state of affairs?

    I don't propose altering human nature, though in the future this may be possible with new technology, and may be the only way for humans to ever behave on a mass scale in the way Rand had advocated.

    I understood 'manage themselves' to include politics. It's not particularly mysterious why my rights are severely restricted. We live in a democratic system where people can vote away my rights/resources.

    15 hours ago, Eiuol said:

    Do we? If you mean first-generation adults, perhaps. If you mean the children of that first-generation, not really, they will assimilate just as well as any other child. Carnegie was born in Scotland by the way, it is not as if some standout Americans that we think of as Americans are never immigrants.

    By the way, the example you gave of ethnic minorities voting for Trump doesn't have anything to do with adapting to a culture. On top of that, not all ethnic minorities are immigrants... 

    What kind of limitation are you thinking of? 

    I suppose we would need to be more specific about what we mean by assimilate and of course it varies depending on the immigrant group.

    In the UK, Muslims are extremely out of step with the average on attitudes toward women and gays. For example, a recent study found that half of all British Muslims think homosexuality should be illegal. I disagree that the average child of Muslim immigrants will assimilate to British culture just as well as the average child of indigenous Brits.

    The problem is that immigrants tend to concentrate in particular areas so that the area becomes a microcosm of their homeland to an extent. I was in one of those areas recently, which is dominated by Muslims. I walked past a school in the area and it was about 90% Muslim.

    Limitations based on values essentially. Discriminatory immigration policies. Perhaps a cap on Muslim immigration to stem the flow. The larger and faster particular immigrant groups grow, the more self-sustaining their culture is and the more resistant to outside influence.


    10 hours ago, Harrison Danneskjold said:

    Fundamentally, each of us has a right to the freedom of movement (including international movement) so long as we're not doing so for any nefarious purpose (such as terrorism).  There are no two ways around that.

    I fear you are right.

    10 hours ago, Harrison Danneskjold said:

    While we should have "open" borders that allow any civilized person to live wherever the Hell they want, it does make sense for us to have some sort of screening process to ensure that potential immigrants are, in fact, civilized people who aren't planning on manufacturing sarin gas or instituting Sharia law as soon as they arrive.  And since we should be trying to constrain the welfare state as much as we possibly can, it seems prudent to also say something like no immigrant can ever qualify for any sort of government handout, for example.  Once we had something like that in place we could then start trying to talk about whether we should really be giving handouts to anyone at all.

    I agree so where do we draw the line on this? Perhaps there is a rational case to impose discriminatory immigration policies based on values.

    You say institute Sharia law as soon as they arrive. What about simply being in favour of it? Of wanting to see it in the host country? Such a person is an enemy. There must be a rational case against immigrants who want to come here and violate our rights/don't recognise those rights, pledging allegiance to Allah, the Quran and sharia law etc.

    10 hours ago, Harrison Danneskjold said:

    The Objectivist position on borders is that they should be open - within reason.

    Incidentally, I wouldn't say that you can't still call yourself an Objectivist if you disagree with that position - just that you're currently wrong.  :P  But that happens to us all.

    Do we know that, though?

    I once knew an immigrant couple from Nepal who, despite not speaking the best English, acted like some of the most American people I've ever met.  The one time I made the mistake of referring to them as Nepali-Americans I was swiftly told on no uncertain terms that they were full-fledged Americans like myself.  That couple took about two years to become almost entirely integrated (with the exception of some slight accents that I'm sure they've ditched by now).

    I bring them up, not to say that transplantation is quick, but simply to point out that it depends on whom we are talking about transplanting.  Some people drag their feet while others are eager to get it out of the way ASAP.

    Yes it depends on the people. Ultimately, those who already share similar fundamental values will assimilate quicker than those who don't (but then is it really assimilation?). So those that drag their feet are the ones we ought to limit, if they are a threat to a free society.

    10 hours ago, Harrison Danneskjold said:


    And those who drag their feet about it, and set up little miniature versions of their respective homelands - do they actually want to BE American (or British)?  If not then what we should really be asking about are their motives for trying to enter our countries in the first place.  I also know a number of Somali immigrants to my area who have no intention of ever integrating, learning English or getting a job; they came to America for the handouts.  Handouts which should not exist in the first place.

    Exactly. This is the issue that the west is currently facing. The development of free societies grew out of a small corner of the world by a group of very particular peoples. It has never developed anywhere else. It is surely playing with fire to allow peoples from all over the world to pour in and risk crushing that precious development, on the belief that they will 'get it' and recognise and defend human rights.

    10 hours ago, Harrison Danneskjold said:

    Could you elaborate on what you mean by that?

    See my response to Doug above. I will add the question I asked Reidy earlier; what do you make of Peterson's point about human beings tending to form hierarchies and that there are deep biological causes of this which he shows is shared with other animals and therefore has deep evolutionary origins?

    Now I'm not necessarily saying that humans cannot use their freewill and reason to overcome any biological 'bias' toward forming hierarchies but do you think that bias exists, generally speaking? And that there are many other biases at play that 'push' or provide incentives for humans to behave in particular ways which helps explain particular behaviours and trends that we can observe throughout human history, common to all cultures and races?

    I also don't think Objectivism is necessarily incompatible with this stuff. Ultimately we have to take reality as it is. The issue I have is the reality of human nature is far from well understood due to these biological processes that we don't fully understand.

    And surely if we know, or think it is highly likely, that society will never be filled with mostly Objectivists on a mass scale, then the political philosophy of Objectivism is inadequate as a prescription for the world as it is, and more suitable for the world we would like to see, that is, a world where most people subscribe to Objectivism and respect human rights. I want that world but I don't see it happening perhaps ever.

  4. 8 minutes ago, Eiuol said:

    If we are talking about immigrants rather than refugees, most immigrants come to the US because they see US society is better than where they came from. They are already open and wanting to gradually change their viewpoint to one consistent with America. And then their children are pretty much as American as anyone else. All that this means is that if the culture is healthy and strong, immigrants will come because they seek that health and strength. If the culture is unhealthy and weak, and the immigrant's culture is by comparison stronger, then of course the immigrant's prior culture will take over instead.


    Agreed. There is more than enough evidence to conclude that culture can be transplanted from one people to another, including from one race to another. Thomas Sowell's example of black American ghetto culture originating with white southern rednecks who came from Scotland and Ireland is a good one.

    Another good example is the increase in the ethnic minority vote for Trump.

    On the other hand, we know the transplantation is a very slow process. The ethnic minority vote for Trump was still only a very small percentage of the total ethnic minority vote, despite the increase.

    So, if we know these things, is it possible to create an objective, if not Objectivist, case to limit immigration based on the likelihood that without that limit, our relatively free society will be destroyed?

  5. 30 minutes ago, dream_weaver said:

    You start with yourself and let others manage themselves.

    I appreciate the sentiment but letting others manage themselves means my rights being severely restricted. That is the current state of affairs.

    30 minutes ago, dream_weaver said:

    It would not be an Objectivist case. It would only be an objective case were I so inclined.

    Please do share it.

    30 minutes ago, dream_weaver said:

    Consider, too, the role compulsory education contributes as an obstacle going forward.

    Yes, as a temporary step, do you support the 'infiltration' of the education system? If we cannot privatise it currently, the least we can do is wrestle it back off the leftists.

    30 minutes ago, dream_weaver said:

    If you're still intent on changing the world (or even just standing up for America) consider the advice provided in the hidden comment by William McRaven:

      Reveal hidden contents


































































































    Great advice. I'm all for self-improvement and I'm a big fan of motivational speakers.

  6. 52 minutes ago, 2046 said:

    That was the best part of Atlas Shrugged when John Galt had to convince the majority before doing what he wanted

    I assume this is sarcasm? Please could you be more specific about the point you are making? I am referring to the politics of entire countries, not a small group of Objectivists practicing Objectivist politics in a valley.

    I cannot do what I want here in the UK. My rights are severely restricted.

  7. 58 minutes ago, Reidy said:

    Empirical psychology is not exactly a part of philosophy, but the Objectivist writings make several assertions in this field without providing more than intuitive or anecdotal evidence:

    Personality predicts sexual attraction.

    Sexual attraction predicts personality.

    Artistic taste predicts personality.

    Personality predicts artistic taste.

    Childhood literary exposure predicts adult character.

    Philosophical training and belief predict intellectual efficacy.

    This is not to say that one couldn't test these claims, only that I haven't seen such tests.

    You've touched on one of my ongoing issues with Objectivism here. I am concerned that the philosophy leaves insufficent room for the complicated nature of psychology and how the subconscious and/or genetics/biological processes affects decision making/human behaviour.

    You may have noticed I posted another question asking for any Objectivist writings on heuristics.

    If my concern is misplaced, please could you or anyone explain why?

    Sexual attraction is a good one. The Objectivist position on this has changed over time. Before, homosexuality was simply a case of holding the wrong premises. Now it is one's nature.

    Even if it is true that ultimately we have free will and we have the final say on our actions, it seems to me that certain biological processes exert a bias on human behaviour; the pain of hunger exerting an incentive to eat food, orgasms to have sex, endorphins influencing behaviour, all the biological processes resulting from evolution and natural selection etc.

    How does Objectivism approach these issues? For exmaple, what do you make of Jordan Peterson's point about the biological determinism, or at least bias, toward the creation of hierarchies?

  8. 51 minutes ago, necrovore said:

    Why would the "applicability and practicality of Objectivism" have anything whatever to do with what the "vast majority of people" think or do?

    Because the political application of the philosophy depends on what the majority think.

    51 minutes ago, necrovore said:

    It's usually impossible to consider a single political issue in isolation because "controls necessitate further controls." Closed borders will often appear necessary because of other bad government policies, such as welfare statism, or failure to fight wars of self-defense. In order to open the borders, the other bad policies have to be unwound first; then, closed borders would no longer be necessary. I do think it would be suicidal to open the borders without unwinding those bad policies, though.

    I agree. But what about the cultural impact. The anti-freedom mystics are already breeding at a much faster rate than even the consequentialist freedom lovers, let alone the rights based ones. 
    Importing more anti-freedom mystics in their droves gives a free society little chance of survival does it not?

    51 minutes ago, necrovore said:

    Anybody can propose a new philosophy, but I don't see the need. I don't think there are any issues with Objectivism.

    There are issues with people, though -- they reject the philosophy for incorrect reasons, or sometimes they accept it for incorrect reasons, or sometimes they advocate it incorrectly, or apply it incorrectly.

    There are also issues that are simply complicated, and it might take a lot of work to apply Objectivism to those issues.

    Which complicated issues come to mind? Perhaps biology related ones?

  9. 1 hour ago, dream_weaver said:

    I don't tackle mass immigration or open borders. I can advocate for or against them.

    When it comes to Objectivism, as a philosophy, it is a philosophy for individuals to live by. Fixing the politics is merely a fortunate side-effect that will come from successful implementation of the moral aspects outlined and advocated in your own life. As a living example of being able to successfully deal with the world, identify essential issues from inessential ones, surrounding yourself with what you value leaving no space for what is not a value to you.

    In short, it is a philosophy that has be embraced by those who choose to embrace it. It cannot be imposed on a macro scale. Man's nature forbids it to be imposed.

    The politics will only be fixed though if the moral aspects are successfully implemented by a significant portion of the population. That’s the issue. How do we reach that stage?

    Please could you put forward your Objectivist case against open borders? I’d love to hear it. 

    My biggest fear regarding open borders is not the welfare state related arguments but the cultural impact and potential instability resulting from a multiracial/cultural society. I do not see how a free society can survive the cultural onslaught that would come from Arab and Asian nations in particular. 

  10. I am semi-convinced by the philosophy and I keep coming back to it because I support its fundamental premises regarding metaphysics and epistemology. 

    Ultimately, all with have is our minds and our senses to know reality. I get that. 

    However, what is an Objectivist to do when the vast majority of people refuse to think, refuse to exercise reason?

    So my problems are more with the applicability and practicality of Objectivism on the macro scale in the real world.

    Take mass immigration and/or open borders. 

    It is obvious that open borders today would destroy western civilisation. Perhaps it is true Objectivism logically leads to the advocacy of open borders but it is also suicidal in the current circumstances. 

    So please share your issues with the philosophy and what you think the solutions are? 

    Clearly I am directing this more toward people who think the philosophy can be revised or at least expanded upon.

  11. The Objectivist definition of a value is “that which one acts to gain and or keep”. 

    However, one must first identify that which one would like to gain before one can act to gain it. 

    If one wants to live, one must eat food. The food must be recognised as valuable before action is taken to gain it. 

    But the Objectivist definition implies the food only becomes valuable during the action and not before.

    If this is the case, what motivates the initial action if the food is not perceived as valuable prior to action taken to gain it?

  12. 23 hours ago, Eiuol said:

    You said "as opposed to his nature", so I'm saying that how his ideas shape the world and himself (which of course relate to how these ideas come to form, which relates to how this occurs neuroscientifically and biologically) is the same as asking how his nature affects these things. I'm not sure why you even phrase it this way, Rand talks about man's nature so often. Psychological limitations are perfectly fine to talk about. Same with biological limitations. The problem is that the way you talk about these things is vague enough that they sound like objections without saying anything about how they prevent, deny, or stand against rational thinking. Before I explain how psychological biases can be used properly and reason doesn't have to falter, I want to see what you think about this part first.

    My apologies, you’re right, it was unnecessarily confusing. 

    I’m in agreement here, though I would say the psychological limitations are ultimately biological limitations and I want to stress that my concern here is the expression of these limitations as an average since these limitations will be different for different people.


    There isn't any research of biological bias towards accepting premises.

    Not only that, what even is a biological bias?

    There are psychological biases, sure, but they aren't deterministic (lacking cognitive influence).

    Psychological biases are more like common errors that are easy to fall into because of the way the mind works, rather than mental events that you can't help from occurring that helplessly result in an action.

    I'm fine if you call them biological factors. You'd be hard-pressed to find any evidence that the biology alone biases your action, partly because you're talking about complex decisions that require deliberate conscious thought for them to even occur. 



    Yes, there are known genetic factors to homosexuality, and sure this probably creates a tendency toward certain actions (because who knows, maybe it influences the way neurotransmitters are released), but says nothing at all about decision-making. 

    Yes ultimately the homosexual has to take action on the sexual desires himself so his decision has the final say. 

    But the decision to act or not to act is affected by the biological factors in the sense that the homosexual desires are acting as a pressure toward the decision to act, even if he can overrule those pressures. By overrule I mean ignore them/suppress them. Or more broadly, we can apply this to everyone’s desire to have sex. 

    In other words, as you say, “biological factors create a tendency toward certain actions”. 

    And this is what I mean by a “biological bias”. Or another way of describing that is “temptations” 

    Now you might say “yes we can use reason to not only ignore the desires/temptations and resist acting on them but ALSO to actually eliminate them or change them.”

    And this is clearly the case BUT to different degrees of ease for different people for different desires ranging from easy to impossible. With sexual desire for basically everyone it’s either extremely difficult or impossible. Which essentially means the human species has an innate tendency toward having sex. 

    But with other things like the desire for nicotine/the act of smoking, it’s slightly easier. I did it myself from reading Allen Carrs brilliant book “the easy way to stop smoking” and I’m not just resisting the temptation, I’ve actually eliminated it. 


    The limits of reason as a method for dealing with curing addicts isn't to say all we are left with is brutishness or lying. 

    So what are the limits of reason in changing human behaviour? How effective could reason be in maintaining law and order if we removed punishments? 

    As far as I’m aware there’s been tons of study regarding biological bias toward action. (And perhaps this is what I need to study in depth) Jordan Peterson famously compared lobsters to humans in arguing that humans are essentially hardwired to organise themselves into hierarchies. 

    So perhaps you could pick out what you’d like to respond to and then expand on your conception of psychological limitations. 

    And remember the wider context here is that our opinion on the existence or extent of existence of the biological bias toward a variety is human behaviours, or more extreme, hardwiring (determinism) of human nature, fundamentally shapes our philosophy and our politics, and it is a deep understanding of this area that I think Objectivism lacks, and consequently places too much emphasis on the power of reason leading to an overly optimistic view of man. 

    And perhaps Rand knew this with the fatalism she expressed (as quoted earlier):  

    It does not matter that only a few in each generation will grasp and achieve the full reality of man’s proper stature and that the rest will betray it. It is those few that move the world and give life its meaning and it is those few that I’ve always sought to address. The rest are of no concern of mine. It is not me or The Fountainhead that they will betray, it is their own souls”

  13. 15 minutes ago, whYNOT said:

    The upward trajectory, in the most general terms, is what you say. Which doesn't predict anything about mankind's immediate prospects. 

    It's like the arguments for how much we've progressed due to technology. Such hi-tech can be applied to our downfall as much as to our upliftment. 

    Which leads straight back to the original question. How much influence can this philosophy wield over those who refuse a rational, individualist philosophy? 

    Good point about technology and thank you - I’m glad someone else here appreciates this issue.

  14. 9 hours ago, dream_weaver said:

    To borrow, and paraphrase from the subject matter of your dissertation here:

    Those who're making an effort to fail to understand [Ayn Rand] are not a concern of mine.

    While you might yet demonstrate error on my behalf to this point, so far, you are only underscoring this tactic to me.


    Suit yourself. I’m not going to try to persuade you to engage with the arguments. I’ve put them forward and they stand on their own merit. If you change your mind, I’ll engage with your responses. 

    9 hours ago, Eiuol said:

    Don't interpret that as I have nothing to say. 

    Fair enough. 


    There is no difference here. It is man's nature to operate by his ideas, regardless of how bad those ideas are, and biological and psychological mechanisms are the means in which this happens.

    What do you mean there is no difference? I’m searching for the limits of our nature. I agree these things ultimately manifest themselves psychologically. 


    Having a wrong premise does not necessarily mean that reasoning with them is the correction. Fixing drug addiction can't be done with reasoning, and requires more hands-on manipulation of emotional triggers that an addict sees. Yet the addictive behaviors still originate from that premises ("I can just use a little bit of cocaine and I'll be perfectly fine" his Harley sensible and can be exacerbated by poor ways of thinking as in bad premises). But you aren't being careful enough. The things you're talking about are still psychology. Innate inclinations is a psychological explanation. In other words, you don't know what you're talking about.

    I don’t deny they manifest themselves psychologically. Ultimately one has to mentally process the action of lying, stealing, killing etc before they do it. 

    The point is to what extent are there deterministic elements in man’s nature, or at least a biological bias toward, certain behaviours that then manifest themselves psychologically with the desire to lie, steal, be irrational, choose mysticism etc? And to what extent is reason alone an antidote to these tendencies? 

    Yes the addict says “just a little more, I’ll be fine” and acts on that belief but is there a biological bias toward accepting that premise over other premises? 

    A homosexual ultimately has to make the decision to take part in homosexual activity but there is a biological bias which manifests itself in a desire to take part in those acts. 

    Also could you expand on your explanation about the limits of reason to deal with addicts?. And also to what extent, therefore, is reason alone an effective method for changing human behaviour?


    I don't believe that realpolitik is compromise. It's a version of pragmatic considerations to attain desirable policy goals. If that's not what you mean by realpolitik, then forget I said that. But this is what I'm referring to. By work with, I mean finding if there is any common political ground, without expectation that in the long run they will remain political allies. 

    RealPolitik is definitely about compromise.     But once you find there is common political ground, what ought you do to? I’ll have to see if I can find Rand’s response to this question. 

    7 hours ago, MisterSwig said:

    No, you're not. You're speaking from your general ignorance. History shows mankind, over time, becoming more objective and scientific, more rational and logical, more selfish and good, and more capitalistic and successful. There are periods of terrible mistakes and mass death, but generally we've learned from those dark times and have progressed as a species. We've gone from the cave to outer space, and from grunting to singing our thoughts. And here you proclaim man to be generally irrational. What nonsense!

    In the home of the enlightenment and capitalism, the western world, the 20th century experienced a staggering expansion in the size of government.

    The 80s enjoyed a brief resistance to that trend but it didn’t reverse it. We remain a highly statist world and the 19th century remains the high point for capitalism.

    Of course technology will keep progressing in a semi-free society but imagine where we’d be had we retained the small state of the 1800s. The idea we’re more capitalistic is absurd, certainly for the west. 

    Also religion is growing worldwide and in the west. The more rational part of the human species is dying off, currently being outbred by the more irrational. 

    6 hours ago, 2046 said:

    Umm what? You do realize that Sowell passage is affirming the same point Rand is making about political philosophers premises leading to certain conclusions?

    Yes and there’s nothing wrong with the idea that conclusions derive from premises. But to what extent are we predisposed to favour certain premises? 

    Why do we so often choose short term activities that are harmful in the long run, even though we know it’s harmful? Reason may account for some of this behaviour, but all of it? 

    The passage is pointing out that our conception of the nature of man is fundamental to our conclusions. 

    And I don’t think Objectivism has a strong enough understanding of the nature of man. 

    This can be expressed in two ways:

    1. It has the wrong premises 

    2. It has ignored crucial premises. 

    Consider the following two premises: 

    1. Reason alone is an effective method for changing human behaviour. 

    2. Reason alone is not an effective method for changing human behaviour. 

    These two premises lead to radically different conclusions about how society ought to be run and what philosophy one should advocate. 

    So what’s your view?

    Why do people continually not choose reason, preferring to act on whim and emotion?

    Are temptations to some degree innate? 

    How effective is reason in convincing them to change course?

    Is there a biological bias toward Nietsche’s will to power which manifests itself to different degrees in different people? 

    Sowell also says: 

    “It would be good to be able to say that we should dispense with visions entirely, and deal only with reality. But that may be the most utopian vision of all. Reality is far too complex to be comprehended by any given mind. Visions are like maps that guide us through a tangle of bewildering complexities. Like maps, visions have to leave out many concrete features in order to enable us to focus on a few key paths to our goals. Visions are indispensable—but dangerous, precisely to the extent that we confuse them with reality itself. What has been deliberately neglected may not in fact turn out to be negligible in its effect on the results. That has to be tested against evidence. A vision has been described as a “pre-analytic cognitive act.” It is what we sense or feel before we have constructed any systematic reasoning that could be called a theory, much less deduced any specific consequences as hypotheses to be tested against evidence. A vision is our sense of how the world works.” 


    “No matter what vision we build on, it will never account for “every sparrow’s fall.” Social visions especially must leave many important phenomena unexplained, or explained only in ad hoc fashion, or by inconsistent assumptions that derive from more than one vision. The purest vision may not be the basis of the most impressive theories, much less the most valid ones. Yet purer visions may be more revealing as to unspoken premises than are the more complex theories.”


    “A vision, as the term is used here, is not a dream, a hope, a prophecy, or a moral imperative, though any of these things may ultimately derive from some particular vision. Here a vision is a sense of causation. It is more like a hunch or a “gut feeling” than it is like an exercise in logic or factual verification. These things come later, and feed on the raw material provided by the vision. If causation proceeds as our vision conceives it to, then certain other consequences follow, and theory is the working out of what those consequences are.”

  15. 22 hours ago, 2046 said:

    I would agree appeal to ignorance is a logical fallacy.

    Your rewrite doesn’t not equate to the essence of what I’ve said. 

    21 hours ago, dream_weaver said:

    Correlation, last I checked, is not causation.

    Correct, but it should be cause for pause; for doubt, especially in this case due to the staggering observations in different times and places. 

    I mentioned homosexuality earlier. It’s been observed throughout different ages and peoples, even in animals, and now we know there is at least some substantial biological basis to it. Rand thought it was just down to the wrong premises. She was wrong. 

    I think we should seriously consider the possibility that man has biological “inclinations” in other areas too, lying, stealing, irrational selfishness, irrational aggressiveness, favourably responding to collectivism, mysticism, the religious impulse etc. 

    Yes we may ultimately have volition, but the desires, or bias toward these behaviours may be too powerful for reason alone to constrain them (i.e trying to rationally convince them that 1. Stealing is wrong and 2. Not to do it) and that other methods are more effective like the threat of punishment.

    (Yes, they are employing reason to determine that theft is not worth the punishment but this is different because it is only being used as a means to discovering the end; punishment in the real world - prison, fine etc - whereas the former has no real world consequence)

    (As quoted earlier, Rand herself expressed doubt about the power of reason regarding the rehabilitation of criminals)

    Also mentioned before were the differences between men and women and the biological basis for masculinity and femininity. Men on average are more aggressive and disagreeable. The trends of behaviour in both sexes is not just down to their premises.

    I’m sure the biological basis for behaviour varies wildly from individual to individual but collectively the result is specific trends of behaviour which continually appear in whichever age or peoples we look at. 


    Far from futile. Humans act according to the philosophy they accept.

    To the extent that that’s true, I am arguing that due to certain biological factors, man has within him a bias toward certain philosophies over others resulting in the trends we see all around us. 

    Man has to choose reason, he has to choose to focus. That is a fundamental starting point for Objectivism. And yet, in swathes of his life throughout time he chooses not to reason. Why? Objectivism has no answer. It just is. 

    And even when he does choose reason (by this I mean choose to exercise it to a substantial degree in his life, including of course in deciding his philosophy), he comes to wildly different conclusions to other men who also exercise reason. 


    This too, is addressed adequately in Atlas Shrugged:

    [W]e will move to reclaim this country once more from the impotent savages who never discovered its nature, its meaning, its splendor. Those who choose to join us, will join us; those who don't, will not have the power to stop us; hordes of savages have never been an obstacle to men who carried the banner of the mind.

    Have you stopped to consider why the words "once more" were selected to express this otherwise trivial observation?

    Yes but the problem is Rand has an overly idealistic vision of the foundation of the US. Many of the founders had a fatalistic view of man, like Madison, and it wasn’t much of a radical revolution, more of a preservation and continuation of British freedoms and principles (separation of powers). It didn’t descend into chaos like it did with the French partly because of the continuation of customs, institutions, chains of command etc that were established in the US before the revolution and imported from Britain. The French sought to tear everything up and start again. The Americans sought to preserve. 



    21 hours ago, Eiuol said:

    We can also talk about the ideal political society, which I thought this topic was about. I think it's important to distinguish which part you want to be talking about. 

    I’m essentially talking about the fatalistic view of man and how Objectivism inadequately accounts for the extent to which man is biased toward certain behaviours. I’m wondering if Objectivists share this concern. See my comments above for a fuller understanding of my perspective. 

    Im also wondering if Objectivists honestly believe the masses will ever adopt the philosophy and if they won’t then clearly it cannot be the right philosophy for society to function. You say you’d support RealPolitik and supporting cons and libs for smaller state policies but that view itself is a particular way of seeing the world and if it is the right course of action then it must be incorporated into your philosophy. It says that compromise can be good, that your enemy’s enemy can be your friend etc... 

    21 hours ago, Eiuol said:

    Besides that, all we have is a perhaps pessimistic expectation, written in a time when she did view things more pessimistically.That final quote I'm not sure when Rand said it, but just expresses doubt about people who have chosen to do something criminal.

    She wrote it 25 years after she released The Fountainhead. She must have been in her mid 60s. She’s clearly expressing a fatalistic view of the masses here. And does again for criminals. 

    21 hours ago, Eiuol said:

    I don't know what you mean. What suggests that? You're being too loose with the word biological. "Rationality is not the norm, therefore people on average are controlled by noncognitive biological events" 

    I’ve expanded more in my comments above to dream weaver. I’m suggesting biology plays a role, asserts a certain bias resulting in powerful inclinations or desires. I also address the lack of reason - why don’t people choose reason? Objectivism has no answer. It can’t because reason is the starting point. But if most people will continually not choose it then perhaps a proper political philosophy must accommodate mass unreason, irrational selfishness etc. Leo Strauss for example advocates the concept of the “noble lie” from political leaders to the masses. 

    21 hours ago, Eiuol said:

    "What works" is still a premise, and in that sense, a nonbiological explanation. "Wrong premises" still works out here as an explanation of why rationality is not predominant. I'm not aware of Rand saying anything about careful or meticulous persuasion towards various views as the singular reason for philosophical trends.

    How does it work out? Choosing reason is the starting point. She heavily implies it, as does Peikoff does in his lecture series on the history western philosophy. But she also expresses fatalistic views of man so perhaps she was confused on this. 

    And if one does not believe it is the singular reason then to what extent is it the reason? This is a fundamental question. It really is so crucial. To what extent do ideas, as opposed to his nature, shape the world and man? How constrained is he by his nature? What are his limits? 

    21 hours ago, Eiuol said:

    You seem to be still looking for a psychological answer by taking into account biology. But that is what Objectivism seeks to do. Perhaps you think the answers are wrong, the problem is you didn't give even one sentence about why the answer must be biological.

    Yes because of the astonishing history of man to continually behave in similar ways throughout the ages. 

    Yes exactly, I believe Objectivism is inadequate here. “The wrong premises” isn’t good enough. It implies that man just needs to be reasoned with and his behaviour will be corrected. If this isn’t so, then to what extent is it not so? Observations of man in the real world suggest it isn’t so to quite a large degree. That leaves biology, innate inclinations expressing themselves in different people to different degrees which produce general trends. 

    21 hours ago, Eiuol said:

    Political action is one area in Objectivism which doesn't get a lot of attention. If laissez-faire ideals are to be built up, radical forms of action are required. My personal view is that some combination of realpolitik and willingness to work with political radicals of all kinds (sometimes that might even mean socialists, or whatever radical political affiliation you can think of). 

    But then you’re endorsing a specific worldview in which compromise, realpolitik etc is right and proper. And that the ends justify the means. It’s a departure from Objectivism which is what I believe is the inevitable outcome since Objectivism just doesn’t appear to be adequate for accommodating the real world. At least as it currently stands. (Rand was very clear about not supporting conservatives and libertarians who were pro-free market for their own reasons. She is asked the exact question in “Answers”. I have the book on audible but can’t remember where she’s asked the question) 

    I’ll leave a passage by Thomas Sowell to conclude: 

    5 hours ago, DavidOdden said:

    I do not believe that it will ever come to pass that the majority of the adult population in some society will have that level of understanding and acceptance of Objectivism. Or even 10%: I do not believe that more than 10% of the population will ever have a deep intellectual understanding of any philosophy. I allow that it could be true in a strange circumstance, where a ship full of Objectivists travel to uninhabited planet (asteroid) Galt’s World. Since there’s no mechanism for voting to determine “what Objectivists believe” especially w.r.t. such a specific and non-essential question, all I can do is apply Objectivist principles to the question and conclude that you should not believe that under normal circumstances, all humans will become advanced philosophers (of any kind). Even after they have invented robots to do all the plowing, laundry, and programming.

    This means you have a fatalistic view of man regarding his ability to choose to reason. He never will live up to that. Fair enough. I think that’s reasonable based on man’s track record. The problem with the boat full of Objectivists is that as soon as they have children, their children also have to choose to reason and I imagine at some point some of the children will rebel and reject Objectivism but that is due to my somewhat pessimistic conception of man’s nature. I would have a little more hope for a rational world if it didn’t keep introducing new human beings into it. With each generation there’s the constant pressure to ensure they grow up properly and learn how to behave civilly which itself is no guarantee. 

    5 hours ago, DavidOdden said:

    It’s much more plausible that people will act like Objectivists on a mass scale, where “mass” is counted as at least 20% of the adult population. The problem is knowing whether that has happened. It’s easy to detect the signs that a person isn’t acting like an Objectivist, e.g. when they lie, cheat, steal, and vote for expanding the welfare state. Self-sacrificial ethics may in some cases be obvious, but I think it is actually difficult in most cases to tell whether a person is acting in a certain way because they feel it is their duty to subordinate their lives to others, versus whether they are acting benevolently and in a rationally self-interested way. But still, the question is whether it is reasonable to think that we will ever achieve that level of rationality in some society. I don’t expect that to happen in my lifetime, or my grandchild’s lifetime. Or in a millennium.

    I’m not sure they can really act like Objectivists if they don’t have a decent grasp of the philosophy. But I take the general point they might act more rationally overall and I agree there is room for that certainly. The question is where is the limit? How far can we really go with it? How constrained is man’s nature? I appreciate your honesty regarding your expectations of the future. 

    5 hours ago, DavidOdden said:

    However, Objectivism is not a political philosophy, it is an integrated philosophical system. Before asking your question, I suggest looking deeper into the question of what aspects of the philosophy relate to political predictions and actions. The hardest thing for people to “get” is that one should chose one’s actions based on a moral code that puts your living as your central purpose. I would then divide that into the more intellectual art of understanding the nature of reason, and the more emotional / psychological art of acting as you know you should. Objectivism does not say that either of these things can be accomplished trivially. Objectivism does not say how you cause yourself to understand what “reason” is, it just says what reason is. If Objectivism were wrong about what reason is, then indeed Objectivism would have “failed”: but it’s not wrong, and it hasn’t failed on that front. Objectivism doesn’t exactly have a philosophical principle that explains why people follow emotion rather than reason, though it does tell you that it has something to do with treating emotion as a source of knowledge.

    Yes this is a good point. I mentioned something similar earlier. Objectivism doesn’t address why people choose reason. It is the starting point. A fundamental choice. 

    5 hours ago, DavidOdden said:

    My own analysis, not a doctrine of Objectivism, is that people make a fundamental choice very early in life, regarding how they relate to society. Basically, you learn what you should do by analogy to what others do. If everybody says that recycling is good and you should recycle, then you don’t need to think about it, you just recycle. If everybody argues by saying “You wouldn’t want X” (pollution, death, slavery, unregulated economic exchange…), you can go with the crowd and impute to others your emotional reactions to facts, and tell people to trust my emotions.

    Yes I agree this goes on but within the constraints of man’s nature that asserts a certain bias toward certain behaviours. I discussed my views on this further up. 


    I will finish this pretty big post with a passage from Thomas Sowell: 

    “Social visions differ in their basic conceptions of the nature of man. A creature from another galaxy who sought information about human beings from reading William Godwin’s Enquiry Concerning Political Justice in 1793 would hardly recognize man, as he appears there, as the same being who was described in The Federalist Papers just five years earlier. The contrast would be only slightly less if he compared man as he appeared in Thomas Paine and in Edmund Burke, or today in John Kenneth Galbraith and in Friedrich A. Hayek. Even the speculative pre-history of man as a wild creature in nature differs drastically between the free, innocent being conceived by Jean-Jacques Rousseau and the brutal participant in the bloody war of each against all conceived by Thomas Hobbes. The capacities and limitations of man are implicitly seen in radically different terms by those whose explicit philosophical, political, or social theories are built on different visions. Man’s moral and mental natures are seen so differently that their respective concepts of knowledge and of institutions necessarily differ as well. Social causation itself is conceived differently, both as to mechanics and results...” - A conflict of visions.

  16. 2 hours ago, Eiuol said:

    What world is this? The closest thing I can think of that you're referring to is Galt's Gulch, but that wasn't a version of the world she envisioned. I can't think of anything she wrote saying a specific idea way that the world ought to look, only the principles that people ought to operate by in the political systems that are best for man's nature. 

    Good point. I assume it to mean a world numerically dominated by Objectivists and the application of the political prescriptions she described. 

    In the introduction to the revised edition of The Fountainhead, referring to her husband, she said: 

    “The essence of the bond between us is the fact that neither of us has ever wanted or been tempted to settle for anything less than the world presented in The Fountainhead. We never will.” 

    I haven’t read The Fountainhead (please no spoilers) but whatever she’s referring to here, it’s interesting she used the word “world”. 

    And yet, at the end of the same introduction she says: 

    “It does not matter that only a few in each generation will grasp and achieve the full reality of man’s proper stature and that the rest will betray it. It is those few that move the world and give life its meaning and it is those few that I’ve always sought to address. The rest are of no concern of mine. It is not me or The Fountainhead that they will betray, it is their own souls” 

    And in Ayn Rand Answers she says: 

    “It is not society’s duty to rehabilitate criminals even if we knew how which nobody knows and I highly doubt whether it can be done”

    This final quote suggests that she herself believes reason is limited. The quote beforehand suggests an almost deterministic view of the masses and that Objectivism really is and always will be the philosophy of the few, of the great men. 

    And yet she talks of this future “world” and offers radical political prescriptions but these prescriptions would require a society with a very large proportion of Objectivists (more on this later)


    Even if I granted you that every civilization so far has been on average irrational to a significant extent, why does this mean the answers must be biological in nature? The answers could still be psychological in nature (as in, determined by one's philosophical premises rather than biologically predetermined modes of thinking). .

    It doesn’t mean that but it suggests it. The evidence of human behaviour towers over us. Civilisations on opposite sides of the world throughout history seem to embrace collectivism. I just don’t think Objectivists should be so quick to rule out the very real possibility that we are, as a species, stuck with certain inherent aspects of our nature which express themselves in certain behaviours.  

    Perhaps the reason some ideas have taken such a stranglehold on mankind for so long is not because people were persuaded by the ideas and then adopted them, but rather the ideas were at least partly caused by observations of man in reality and were articulated expressions of man’s nature and so they stuck because they most accurately and conveniently accommodated for man’s nature. In other words “what worked”


    I agree, but which methods of political action are you talking about? I agree with figuring out new ways to go about doing political action and determining a theory of political action that can convince emotionally-minded people. Generally, the Objectivist ideal isn't a world filled with or dominated by Objectivists. That might be preferable for the communities we pick, but the ideal structure of society would be a laissez-faire capitalist society and probably a constitutional republic. This presupposes a basic level of rationality. There is still a lot of room for figuring out how to get there.

    I guess I’m talking about RealPolitik. The UK was recently on the brink of the most left wing government in its history. And Socialism is still very popular. Objectivism would have been useless for Boris Johnson in winning the election and now in maintaining the newly won working class seats. He also may secretly prefer a private healthcare system but has to elevate the NHS to sacred status, at least for now. 

    Okay I can get behind your conception of the Objectivist ideal described there but the problem is you would presumably support free market libertarians and/or conservatives? And yet Rand explicitly rejected any such idea. It’s got to be Objectivists building the Objectivist world.



    This guy and the other guy you linked offer some very common criticisms. They also seem to both be non-Americans based on their spelling of certain words. But that's all we have to really go on here. 

    I’ve already happily admitted it was me. You must have seen that? I don’t see what the fuss is all about. And yes I’m from the UK.

    But do you really expect me to believe he remembered a post from over a year ago and noticed a similarity in this new thread. I must have made some really powerful arguments ;) I assume you log IP addresses and can spot alt accounts that way yes? 

  17. 7 minutes ago, MisterSwig said:

    Yes, I mind. I'm not going to help you escape detection in the future. Would you mind providing a full list of your alts on this forum? Here's mine:

    1. MisterSwig

    I have no intention to “escape detection” and it wasn’t why I made a new account, as I’ve explained. 

    Well done, give yourself a pat on the back - I couldn’t care less how many accounts you have. I care about discussing/debating ideas. 

  18. 13 minutes ago, MisterSwig said:

    Uh huh.

    Because when your ideas get smashed by Objectivists on one thread, you create another alt and try again on a different thread, hoping we won't notice and continue wasting our time on you. If you admit to who you are, then we can determine if you're just a troll or not.

    You sound ridiculous. Grow up. Log in with your real account.

    That’s not a “real” account. It consists of one thread over a year ago, it’s not my real name and I don’t even remember the email attached to it. So I made a new account, what’s the big deal? 

    I am certainly not a troll. I’m a genuine truth seeker and as I mentioned in that previous thread I really do want Objectivism to work. I have returned to it over the last month, giving it another chance.

    I come on this forum with the intention of throwing my strongest arguments at Objectivists to see the responses I get, and also to share my thoughts. I truly believe any theory should be vigorously attacked from all angles. One should actively search for weak spots. It’s the scientific method. 

    And I strongly disagree that my ideas on that previous thread were “smashed”. The family remains a serious problem for Objectivism to work in the real world, as it does for other enlightenment/reason-focused philosophies. 

    Finally, do you mind explaining how you knew that previous thread was me? 

  19. 39 minutes ago, MisterSwig said:

    You. Log in with your real account and tell us how the world will never embrace our ideas.

    1. I don’t have a ‘real’ account. 

    2. Ideas stand on their own merit, what’s the obsession with who I am? 

    3. Why so defensive? Have you seriously never considered this most crucial question? Take sex and gender. Studies have clearly shown the differences between men and women, their behaviour, their masculinity and femininity having some serious biological basis. Or does Objectivism hold that gender is a social construct? Just a matter of the wrong premises? 

    Rand thought homosexuality was a matter of wrong premises. Now the evidence suggests at least some significant biological basis. 

    The point is that man’s behaviour is to some degree constrained by his biological make up. Or if not constrained, his biology makes him biased toward certain behaviour. The sort of behaviour an Objectivist would describe as irrational or anti-life etc. The extent of these constraints are probably different to different degrees for different people. There’s so much we don’t understand about our brains and based on the evidence of man’s behaviour, it seems to suggest we have certain inclinations, since certain behaviour continually appears in all times and places, like for example, what an Objectivist would describe as “irrational selfishness”. 

    I’m interested in the existence and extent of influence of these inclinations. They are the absolute key. They drastically alter one’s political philosophy. The views about the potential, limitations, determinism of human nature etc are at the root of the left right political divide. 

  20. 1 hour ago, 2046 said:

    Well let's hope they don't "behave like Objectivists" because most people running calling themselves that are dumb as hell. But it's not really clear what the question is. There's like 5 or 6 different questions in there. 

    One thing is, it doesn't really follow from "the world is nothing like X, and never has been" to "mankind can never achieve X." That's just bad reasoning. It's not really clear what we're supposed to be inferring here. It's also not really valid to use a premise about how many people are rational or irrational from the armchair. Unless you're just speaking anecdotally, you're going to need some social science research.

    Industrial societies haven't been around that long. Individualism is still pretty widespread. More people are being lifted out of poverty and ignorance than ever. There was once a time when all "great" countries were monarchies. There was once a time when slavery was widespread in every country. The Soviet Union used to control half of Europe. What got these things to change was, partially, people changing their ideas and seeing what worked and didn't work. I mean if we're going to say everyone is just in principle irrational and can do no other, then no political philosophy is going to be acceptable.

    Another approach would be to figure out why people believe what they believe, and do the things they do, and try to then account for that, and that's part of what we do in political philosophy and poli sci, economics, etc.: Finding workable solutions to political problems that takes into account what human beings are actually like and what motivates them.

    But overall, I mean, modern democratic liberalism is pretty good as a political system, if you ask "compared to what" in human history. Markets and peaceful cooperation brought about by liberalism didn't happen by an absolute monistic conception of politics that the Western world overnight suddenly read a single book and then decided to adopt. Liberal institutional arrangements are themselves spontaneous order mechanism that facilitate discovery processes to the things that make human flourishing possible. And things change on the margin, little by little, for the most part. You're not going to beat people over the head with Atlas Shrugged, silly.




    I should specify I don’t think mankind can never achieve X (widespread Objectivism) rather that Y (the evidence of our actual behaviour) suggests it is very unlikely without biological manipulation.

    I’m speaking from my general knowledge about history. Everyone is rational to some degree but nowhere near to the degree Objectivism demands. Surely you would agree that the primacy of emotion, tribalism, irrationalism and mysticism is widespread and always has been? I don’t think this is very controversial. 

    Yes, ideas do matter and can change the world. My concern here is about the limit of ideas, the limits of reason. These limits being defined by the nature of man, which doesn’t seem to clearly reveal itself but surely the long history of man’s behaviour provides some clues. 

    Yes what you’re saying in the last two paragraphs is edging close to a Burkean conception of the world. Societies adapt and change slowly (so long as revolutionaries are kept at bay) and adjust to “what works”. But “what works” appears to be what accommodates the desires, irrationalities, reason and passions of man. 

    When, if ever, will Objectivism prove to be “what works”? 

    One of the biggest issues of the 21st century is mass migration. It’s a problem which is only growing in intensity with rising populations and improving transport technology. 

    The result of this multicultural experiment appears to be rising tribalism and identity politics. What does Objectivism have to offer here? Free movement? Reason? Most of these people simply don’t want to reason their way out of the growing tribalism. 

    So just to clarify, the question I’m getting at is do you honestly believe reason is so powerful, that man’s mind is so malleable, that reason could likely convince the masses to behave like Objectivists? 

    And, furthermore, what do we do now, in today’s world? A prime minister or president cannot espouse and practice Objectivism. They must rule by some other method. They need a guide to action in today’s world. Objectivism is inadequate here. 

  21. 13 minutes ago, MisterSwig said:

    Resist the black pill. You're projecting your own inadequacy onto others.

    Identify what's true and good, and fight for it. Don't waste your time trying to demoralize others.

    If you think Objectivists should have a different philosophy, then be honest and fight for those ideas, like we're fighting for ours. 

    Really? Projecting my inadequacy? Straight in with the ad hominem from you then...

    I am simply observing reality, that is, the behaviour of human beings today and throughout time falling well below the standards Objectivism demands. One has to seriously consider if those standards are simply unachievable on a mass scale. 

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