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TheEgoist
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Pre-Objectivist Political views  

91 members have voted

  1. 1. Where were you on issues of political economy?

    • Left (more government control)
      19
    • Right (less government control)
      54
    • Other
      5
  2. 2. Where were you on the politics of so-called "social issues"?

    • Left (less government control)
      66
    • Right (more government control)
      9
    • Other
      3


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So someone in another topic started by myself claimed that most people who come to be advocates of Objectivism generally fell to the Right side of the political spectrum (I know simple Left and Right isn't the best way to judge political views).

Where would you say, if you were politically aware before Objectivism, did you fall in the political spectrum? Left? Right? Center? What kind of Leftist or Rightist were you? Typical Dem, Typical Republican, libertarian? All that jive.

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So someone in another topic started by myself claimed that most people who come to be advocates of Objectivism generally fell to the Right side of the political spectrum (I know simple Left and Right isn't the best way to judge political views).

Where would you say, if you were politically aware before Objectivism, did you fall in the political spectrum? Left? Right? Center? What kind of Leftist or Rightist were you? Typical Dem, Typical Republican, libertarian? All that jive.

I first encountered Rand when I was 16, so my formal political views weren't fully formed. I suspect I would have wound up some form of "Reagan Republican" had I been left to my own devices, so I'd probably have wound up on the Right.

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To me the left, right wing dichotomy really annoys me. Mostly because of how relative it's nature is. Some people consider John Adams to be the first Conservative, even though Thomas Jefferson supported smaller government than him. In the late early 1800's the Republicans represented a Mercantilist system with heavy infrastructural investments, while the democrats were pro-business Classical Liberals. The Democrats have actually had a longer history of supporting limited government than the Republicans until William Jennings Bryan excommunicated the Classical Liberals from the Democratic party around the turn of the century and replaced it with Progressivism and Populism, leaving the neglected individualists resorting to allying themselves with the former Mercantilist party that became more limited government, and non-interventionist oriented by Warren G Harding and Calvin Coolidge. Progressivism only became more popular among the Democrats through out the depression. In the fifties, the Republican non-interventionism began to be replaced with a more pragmatic, big government oriented philosophy with a strong national defense by Eisenhower until Barry Goldwater in the 60's came out with his rugged individualist ideas of combining small government at home with a strong national defense along with strict alliances with NATO to fight communism which encouraged the Democrats to emphasize their newly adopted non-interventionist foreign policies to stand as the opposition against. The more you examine the majority party system threw out American history, the more you find out how many times parties have traded planks to make up a new platform. If there is any consistency in all of this, I guess you can say that they're all consistent in standing opposed to one another with the specifics of what being relative. I think before you ask were somebody stands on the political spectrum, it would help to specify "At what time period?" Because I don't think Objectivist could be placed anywhere on the modern day left, right spectrum.

Edited by Miles White
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As I said in that thread, I was a liberal. Your standard northeastern anti gun, pro-healthcare, pro-public schools, pro regulation, etc. Henry Rollins was someone I admired (ironic that he cites The Fountainhead as one of his favorite novels given his extreme liberalism). I was also as much of a subjectivist "spiritual" agnostic as they come.

If it wasn't for my best friend turning me onto Rand, I'd probably still be that way. It wasn't an overnight thing either, but by the time I finished The Fountainhead, I was sold. I identified so much with Roark, and to finally have a book where the hero is praised for the very traits I had but were told I was wrong for having (selfishness, not caring about anything but my artwork, etc) was awesome.

What did it for me, is that my friend pointed out that it was inconsistent of me to demand 100% freedom to pursue my own self interests and goals, and then also support things like national healthcare and regulation. The concept that a CEO of a company gets as much joy from running a company as I'd get playing and writing music and that he deserves just as much to pursue his interests as I do was a huge eye opener for me. All the other aspects of the philosophy just fell into place after that, and I've never looked back since. Rand changed my life completely. I'm a happier person now than I was before, I have no conflicts over my ideals, and I've been freer to be myself and express myself for who am I without worrying what anyone else is going to think of me.

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As I said in another post, I was a left-leaning libertarian. I've always believed in limited government and there was once a time where I actually believed the non-aggression principal was an axiom. I took up an interest in the whole Geoist philosophy for a while until my mother introduced me to Ayn Rand. My mother is a fan Rand but not an Objectivist mainly because she's too skeptical on metaphysical issues. After reading Atlas Shrugged for the first time however, I was hooked and I've never turned back.

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This goes back to my high school days so I'm not sure how well formed the position was.

I was a left-leaning, religious pacifist early on in HS (I figuratively thought Reagan was the devil incarnate). By college, I was a left-leaning, agnostic, skeptic.

See, there is hope! :)

I think the people who assert Objectivists come from the right are the same people who think tha the right represents capitalism, or that Rand somehow thought that. What I've seen of most Objectivists is that they were always people who took ideas seriously. Regardless of which ideas they started with, they're willing to question, and chew new ideas, and integrate them into a system and try to live by them.

Edited by KendallJ
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I also hailed from the left. I grew up in a semi-religious household but became an atheist by the time I was ten or so. I identified with the left because I saw the right as a haven for religious nut-jobs. I also had the impression that the left embraced science, so for me it was a no-brainer.

I read The Fountainhead when I was around 14, loved it, but didn't completely understand it. Atlas Shrugged came at 16, and at that point I knew there was a serious clash between these novels that I loved so much and the leftist ideas I was subscribing to. At that point I still thought that the popular environmental crusades were based on science, not to mention my own emotional response to preservation. It wasn't untill I was closer to 18 that I finally disabused myself of those and other mistaken viewpoints (which took no small effort, trust me). Now, more than two years later, my life has become more focused, I'm happier, and my mind has been freed to focus on my work. Objectivism has been nothing but a positive influence in my life and I owe alot of my own success to Ayn Rand's work, fiction and non-fiction.

So -- don't give up on Democrats or liberals. I think you'll find many intelligent people fall under that banner, mostly because they feel the right rejects them. Lots are reason-oriented, but not aware of reasonable alternatives to the ideas they grew up hearing.

Offhand, I would be suprised if a majority of Objectivists came in with strongly conservative ideas. It's much harder to cast off religion at an older age (if you haven't before reading Rand) than to shake off the standard liberal indoctrination. Most people who are religious past a certain age become hostile to reason and ideas -- not the best start for being receptive to Objectivism.

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I wavered. Through junior high I was a socialist. To my credit what cured me of that was learning about Hegel's "thesis, antithesis, sinthesis." That was too nonsensical too take seriously.

By highschool I favored the right along the lines of the Republican Party. By then I had read Ayn Rand and Reagan, in his latter years in office, struck me as genuinely pro-American (he was). But between the Iran-Contra scandal, the first Gulf War and Bush the elder, I grew disilussioned with the GOP (for the record, the problem with Iran-Contra wasn't the financing of the anti-communist guerilla in Nicaragua, but rather the rewards given to Iran and Hizbullah for seizing hostages and engaging in terrorism).

But also by then Communism lay in tatters and everyone recognized it as the tremendous failure it had proved itself to be. Better yet, there was a growing sentiment for free markets, smaller governments, calssical liberalism, and overall economic freedom. Even the Democrats, in the person of Bill Clinton, were talking about balanced budgets and "re-inventing government." I figured we'd won and it would all be clear sailing ahead. So I more or less dropped off politics for a while.

Of course Clinton wasn't fiscally responsible (he was held in check by GOP opposition, mostly), and his re-invention of government had nothing to do with making government smaller. Plus he prooved such a despicable man in his "private" behavior, he was nauseating in his degree of arrogance and stupidity (after barely surviving the Jennifer Flowers scandal pre-election, you'd think he'd know enough to behave in office).

By 2000 I figured it didn't make much difference anymore. The world was at peace and enough economic liberty impetus remained. Boy, was I ever wrong.

I supported Bush against Kerry on grounds of security. I don't regret it. Iraq was the wrong war, no question (though there were good arguments for it at the time). But loosing in Iraq would have been much worse. With Obama I've no idea what we'll get, and I think neither does he.

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The first 30 years of my life I lived in Germany. I grew up in a union household, heard only how bad the rich were, how horrible their morality was, how good the times under Hitler had been for the little guy.

I was born in 1945, so I grew up with the full brunt of the aftermath of WWII and the mindset of many still clinging to Hitler's promise of the cleansing of the impurities that the Germans had to endure, the confusion the adults faced and the mixed signals we as children got. All teachers we had used to be Hitler-Youth, so they had their own battles with the past. History lessons stopped in 1939. Events after that we had to find our own information on.

I rebelled against these ideals my parents had from early on, I accepted their atheism though. Because I was a cause taker from a young age on, I fought with my limited reasoning all things religious. Religion was growing strongly at that point, partially to show how much the people had reformed and shaken off naziism. I got into trouble big time through opposing religion, got almost killed twice by my peers by the age of 12. Being an atheist all my life made me automatically lean towards the left in my early voting years. I was so revolted about what the good christians were preaching and how they actually lived in a very different way, totally opposite to their own ideals, that in spite of the pro union ideology of the left I sided with them half heartedly. And then I read Rand. I was 24 when Atlas Shrugged (in the translation) became my constant companion for several years. I read many passages over and over again to understand these ideas of Rand. The Fountain Head I found a little later. She confirmed so many things that I had thought but could not express before. I had no access to any of her other books then, but I formulated my early ideas about Objectivism from those 2 books.

With that I started to think more and more about politics as well. At that time in Germany we did not have any objective information what-so-ever, the 3 TV stations we had were all government run, the 4th was the DDR station (east German station) with their communist propaganda. Most people were making fun of their promised milk and honey land that always somehow never was. (Mostly they blamed the west with their corrupting influence for their own failures). Interesting to me was that the west had also embraced collectivism, just not as severely as the east block. I could not figure that one out at that time.

When I turned 30, I came to the US. My english improved quickly and I was finally able to read Rand's books and clear my mind about politics. I never fully embraced the choices that were offered by the political parties here. Not the libertarian party either with their pragmatic non philosophical approach. But I leaned to the right because of the economic principles. Now I can not say that any longer, now I almost lean towards the democratic left in order to fight religion and what that would entail for this country if fully implemented. Both sides have become pretty purely collectivist by now. It does not bode too well for the immediate future, but I have high hopes that Rand's philosophy has a chance to take hold and swing the trend around. It might be as a separate party, but it might also be in either one of them. I keep tuned.

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I was a communist and after I lost 'faith' I became a 'moderate' socialist until I read the Virtue of Selfishness. I was also always an implicit nihilist, and political movements seemed to offer the chance of rebellion against corruption and the creation of a better world. I fell into socialism because it seemed to be consistent with what I saw as the good, and also because it is impossible to maintain a nihilist state of mind permanently. I didn't question the standard of the good until I read Ayn Rand.

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At first my political and philosophical views were very ignorant and undefined and mostly reflected what I had been taught. Because of that I also leaned to the left but I was rather unconvinced by any ideology. Over the years I kept arguing with a friend over these matters and more and more started to notice my own ignorance and that I could not defend my position. So I started to go more and more over to the right, however still pretty ignorant because I was not really that interested in politics. I found a real turning point when I when I was talking to my friend over the phone. If I recall correctly our discussion related to a debate in one of our larger newspapers and I remember being quite frustrated because, as I saw it, both sides(left and right) were wrong and they were mostly just slinging mud. I tried explaining how none of it made any sense and my friend picked up on it and told me; "hey, you should check out Ayn Rand".

The rest, as they say, is history.

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Well if this small sample is to be believed, then I'd say most Objectivists come from the left, rather than the right. Except for Zip, but I always suspected there was something off about him. :)

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I don't think I really considered myself beholden to either party. I read Rand while I was still in high school, so my ideas were still open to persuasion. For the most part, I went issue by issue. I didn't like the idea of picking a group of answers and then plugging them in for your opinion. At that point I had never heard of the Libertarian Party, so that wasn't an issue. If I absolutely had to identify with a side, I'd say left, because I valued minorities rights and was utterly non-religious. That, and I liked learning and being educated, while the right's totally ignorant and moronic personalities only annoyed me. They might have some accidental good points, but their sheer stupidity is immediately repellent.

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I guess I might as well state my history.

Was left-leaning half of High School. Pacifist, Christian type. Then I stumbled upon libertarians and found that the ideas of Rand were of particular interest. It made a hell of a lot of sense, but I was still a Christian and was scared to reject it. I became a libertarian of sorts, and through the next year and a half slowly transformed to an Objectivist.

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  • 3 weeks later...

A much better thread would be: Before you discovered Objectivism, where were you on the intellectual spectrum?

I was an ardent admirer of Emerson and obsessed with "science". I initially approached Philosophy through my interest in cosmology and theoretical physics. Politics never interested me much; I cared more about achieving my own happiness. Thinking back on my political views, if I had to label them, I voted as:

Economically: Other.

Socially: Left.

Really indifferent though. My attitude was: I'll probably just do whatever I want anyway, so who cares which empty suits are in office.

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I have always been right economically because my parents instilled beliefs of hard-work and personal pride. socially most of the crucially changing issues did not affect me(i.e. gay marriage, abortion) but if i had to choose it was more left. I was fairly libertarian but the party seems kind of like a joke compared to what it should be. Objectivism is a more complete philosophical and political set of ideal though hence why I am here now.

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I thought I was a conservative Republican, evidently, I just didn't know any better. :angry: I never felt too comfortable there though because I was not religious, supported a woman's right to choose, etc. I wanted less government, lower taxes, etc., and I thought the Republicans wanted that too. Bastards.

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