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Objectivism In A Counter-Culture

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After I completed Anthem it was a turning point in the way I lived my life.

When I completed Atlas Shrugged I became so enraptured with the heroes in the story.

Currently, I've read all of Rand's work (and some of Peikoff's) and I know I can identify with this philosophy more than any other I had currently been presented.

I stumbled upon this site knowing there were like minded people and I have enjoyed reading the topics over the last few months.

I have gained some clarity to some questions I had, but I have some other, more specific, questions to ask.

Since the age of thirteen I have been actively involved in the punk/hardcore scene of Southern California. I love this music with a passion and I always loved the messages within the music.

At such a young age the content always spoke to me.

However, I have come to find that the people of this counterculture have a very personal and serious vendetta against Objectivism as a whole and any form of capitalism.

Maybe I am just confused and I'm receiving the wrong message, but honestly whenever I speak of Ayn Rand or her work, I would get replies along the lines of: "She's crazy, she's greedy, I can't believe you read that garbage."

I'm just trying to understand the hatred and curious if there any of you involved in the same type of music scene and how you respond to people who so critically bash your philosophy.

Thank you for taking the time to read this, and I look forward to any response you might have.

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Welcome to the forum.

Sometimes kids who appear the most rebellious in clothes and music, etc. have completely bought into the philosophy of their parents and teachers, and see themselves as holier than those who taught them those things. Not sure about the particular genre you mention, so my observation is a general one, across genres.

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I'm just trying to understand the hatred and curious if there any of you involved in the same type of music scene and how you respond to people who so critically bash your philosophy.

I would first recommend that you go back to Philosophy: Who Needs It. It is the 2nd to last chapter, I believe, in which she talks about how to discuss philosophy, and one of the things she says is that one should not attempt to jam it down anyone else's throat. (I'm paraphrasing here, of course). You can not force another's mind, just as no one can force yours, and when you try you will only foster resentment.

The proper approach to discussing Objectivist philosophy is, therefore, simply to speak up at EVERY opportunity, in an appropriate manner. When someone says, "Well that may be true for you but its not true for me", just say, "I don't agree". If they want to know why, then you can talk about metaphysics and epistemology (but using small words for the audience ;) ). If they don't, then say no more. If they become unilateral, and say things like, "Oh I suppose you think that truth is universal!", and ask closed ended, yes or no questions, answer with yes or no answers. Wait for the "Why?", and respond accordingly, but make them give you permission to discuss it at length, otherwise just "I don't agree" or something like that.

Now - with that in mind, what would you conclude has caused the hatred and resentment and bashing among the general population?

I submit for your consideration, my hypothesis that a large part of it among those who do not actively study philosophy is resentment at how someone (maybe you maybe not) has tried to shove objectivism down their throat.

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Well, I am not a member of the " Punk " scene, but I do enjoy the music and goto shows. I'm far too much of a loner to be part of a scene, and I find a lot of people in it undesirable, whether they be drug-laden nihilists or straight edge Anarchists or hardcore tough guys.

I think you'll find that there aren't many people in that world open to reason, because they don't believe in anything like " progress " in the real sense.

I think the punk rock scene would have great prospects for the " rugged individualist " types. One of the founding ethics of the punk " culture " was the DIY ( Do it yourself ) mentality. Unfortunately, the kind of individualism you find in some punks is more along the lines of a Nietzsche-Egoist.

If you're discussing Objectivism with someone from that world, I would try to focus on the self-ownership aspect to engage them. I think most punks are just taking the Socialist/Anarchist line because that's what they've been told is the rebellious thing to be, but it's easy to believe in theft and destruction.

Make them aware that no prominent politician is working towards a laisseiz-faire society. If there's one thing most punks have in common, it's a disdain for government. Unfortunately normally it's " Why don't they give us any money ".

Also, I belong to a site called www.conservativepunk.com

It was founded by Nick Rizzuto, Michale Graves and some other punks back in 2004. While I don't like the term " Conservative ", there are a lot of good guys over there on the forum. It's got a couple of Objectivists, and mostly " pro-war Libertarians ". If you're interested in talking to some people who are sick of the constant Left-wing, altruistic punk scene, I'd go check those guys out.

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Many Punks I have known fall into the "Opposition of all establishment" class. It doesn't matter what "it" is, if "it" was written, devised or advocated by anyone who could be remotely classified as established then "it" was garbage. Philosophy, any and all philosophy would fall into that "established" category.

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One of the first statements from "Philosophy: Who Needs It",

The men who are not interested in philosophy need it most urgently: they are most helplessly in its power.

I think this is especially relevant. You obviously seem to have some ability to see abstract concepts, and are open to philosophic ideas. Your friends, and the "counter culture" kids however may, or may not. They superficially are rebellious, but do they care against what, or who, or what ideas, and why? Do they wear a certain hairstyle because they think it's unique, original, and they like it? Or is it because they think they'll score cool points, or they saw someone else do it? Ultimately all that matters is what you think. Do you think they have a good argument, or no?

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I grew up in a similar scene. The younger people seem to just pick up their philosophy passively. As my friends and I grew a few of us took to Ayn Rand and left the punk scene. From my experience, older people in the punk scene are almost all Marxists. Many of them are well read and know what they are talking about (in a manner of speaking). I still enjoy bands like Bad Religion, but mostly for the individualist message.

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Bad Religion have very few " Individualistic " overtones.

They never succeed at presenting, or even approaching, a rational foundation for individualism; I don't know of many musicians who do. In fact, Bad Religion have plenty of crap songs about socialism and environmentalism. But musical rebuttals to religion are few and far between, and they have some good ones. The individualism is wedged into many of these songs, often presenting a conflicting message, but also making some of the songs palatable. I don't know which songs you listen to, but I didn't really post here to debate the philosophically confused signals of Greg Graffin and the rest.

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I'm just trying to understand the hatred and curious if there any of you involved in the same type of music scene and how you respond to people who so critically bash your philosophy.

Thank you for taking the time to read this, and I look forward to any response you might have.

The punk scene has been intellectually dosed with communists, and other forms of statist radicals (such as anarchists) from the beginning. The Clash is a good, typical example (they were outspoken communists).

But before that, the various countercultures emanating from the New Left since the 1960's shared a hatred for the individual and for capitalism. For Ayn Rand's analysis of some of the relevant cultural events of the 1960's with occasional insights into her views of the countercultures and the culture in general, I recommend her book: The New Left: The Anti-industrial Revolution.

The punks in the 1970's rejected some elements of the hippie culture and accepted others. But, in my opinion, once the 80's came, and especially as the various scenes evolved around punk in America, one can't pin it down to any one particular, ideologically directed, countercultural movement. Not even in any one city, really. It's just fashion, at that point. It's too disparate.

Still, some of the statist elements of the earlier punks (such as The Clash) continue to inspire those sheep-like scenesters who want to be "genuine" by mimicking the ideas of those who mimic the ideas of those who were mimicking someone's statist ideas at the time punk became a mass media phenomenon.

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