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Why Couldn't Ayn Come Up With A Better Response

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dadmonson
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The lady was obviously trying to smear Ayn Rand and her philosophy by saying, "The Ayn Rand Occult", but Ayn Rand didn't really give a response to her other than saying "Why would you come on my show?". It seemed strange to me. There are certainly individuals who act like "mindless worshippers of Ayn Rand" but that to me is a personal problem and says nothing about Ayn's philosophy, her intentions, or herself. From what I've read of Objectivism so far it teaches quite the opposite of being "mindless". Why do you think Ayn Rand couldn't really answer the lady?

Edited by dadmonson
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I've often wondered this myself. I get really frustrated watching Rand in interviews. She hardly ever gives direct rebuttals, and when she does they just come off as self-centered (in the common, perjorative sense) and people will immediately shut out the rest of what she says. Ironically, I don't think she's the best defender of her own philosophy. I think it's a result of her Aristotelian pre-disposition - she wants to engage people in debate and discussion, she wants people to arrive at their own conclusions and she's willing to guide them through the thought process. This approach works well in a small setting where time is allowed for divergence and convergence, but is horrible for interviews and T.V. programs like Donahue.

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The lady was obviously trying to smear Ayn Rand and her philosophy by saying, "The Ayn Rand Occult", but Ayn Rand didn't really give a response to her other than saying "Why would you come on my show?". It seemed strange to me. There are certainly individuals who act like "mindless worshippers of Ayn Rand" but that to me is a personal problem and says nothing about Ayn's philosophy, her intentions, or herself. From what I've read of Objectivism so far it teaches quite the opposite of being "mindless". Why do you think Ayn Rand couldn't really answer the lady?

I think Ayn Rand's answer is good. I find nothing strange about this. The lady comes with nothing but an insult. It most certainly is legitimate to wonder why this person shows up just to insult Rand and everybody else who understands and cares for Miss Rand's ideas. It is NOT an honest question from an honest inquirer.

In fact, the person accuses Ayn Rand of running a cult and since that is a totally arbitrary statement, Rand did the only rational thing: act as if nothing worth commenting have been said - and then go on condemning the person for insulting her on her show. (Yes, it is her show in the sense that she is the guest of the day.)

The statement is not worth commenting, but the insult is reason enough to condemn someone. What if I showed up on, say, your birthday and out of the blue started to accuse you of pedophilia? You should NOT comment on the pedophilia accusation since it is totally groundless. But you are morally justified to condemn me for this groundless accusation and then throw me out of your house.

Read more about the nature of arbitrary claims here: http://www.aynrandlexicon.com/lexicon/arbitrary.html

Edited by knast
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The lady was obviously trying to smear Ayn Rand and her philosophy by saying, "The Ayn Rand Occult", but Ayn Rand didn't really give a response to her other than saying "Why would you come on my show?". It seemed strange to me. There are certainly individuals who act like "mindless worshippers of Ayn Rand" but that to me is a personal problem and says nothing about Ayn's philosophy, her intentions, or herself. From what I've read of Objectivism so far it teaches quite the opposite of being "mindless". Why do you think Ayn Rand couldn't really answer the lady?

She did. She said that she would only deal with a worthy adversary, not with someone who disagrees with her (which I understood to mean, completely disagree).

Just the look on that cow's face, look of content for being able to dump her shit and get public support - is enough to make a person want to puke. The face of a tiny mediocrity trying to humiliate her better.

I think Ayn Rand made the right choice not to have a discussion with this woman, but instead point out that her motivation is wrong: motivation in coming to a show dedicated to Ayn Rand and people who *do* want to hear about her philosophy.

If the woman agreed in general, or in part, and then asked a question about a particular disagreement, it would have been one thing. But to come there to tell her in front of everybody "I grew up I know better than to accept your nonsense-of-a-philosophy" is not something you can debate with anybody. All there is to do is point out that the very act of publicly offering such a thing in that setting is improper.

I agree with knast. Good reply (and explanation about the arbitrary).

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I think that was the era in which talk shows started undergoing a shift from being a respectful forum for the guest to express his opinions to the Dr. Phil (the other Phil!) mode of talk show, the purpose of which is to put an object on the stage and give the audience a forum to tell that object what his or her "problem" is.

As Ifat and knast have pointed out, there was no question asked! It was just a woman standing up and spouting off her opinion of Ayn Rand. Rand's response was basically, "I didn't come here to be insulted", which I think was a correct response.

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I think that was the era in which talk shows started undergoing a shift from being a respectful forum for the guest to express his opinions to the Dr. Phil (the other Phil!) mode of talk show, the purpose of which is to put an object on the stage and give the audience a forum to tell that object what his or her "problem" is.

Quite ahead of it I think. That shift really didn't start to happen until the mid-80's. This was still in the era where Donohue was dominant, and the format was quite intellectual.

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I was hoping dadmonson and Jeffs would acknowledge or show they appreciated the replies to their question

1. Lady called Objectivists a Cult. Lets define cult (http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/cult) for the most part the definition deals with religion, sects, worship. The first item listed under the definition. "a particular system of religious worship, esp. with reference to its rites and ceremonies".

2. The lady claims she has grown and matured to know that Ayn Rand is wrong - (She annoys me when I see that clip) direct insult in other words she was saying "I was young and foolish when I read your books, now I'm older and wiser and I know your philosophy isn't right" this is a plain insult.

3. Lady also made a dishonest assertion, she said Ayn Rand wanted to create and elitist society.

The reasons Ayn Rand decided not to deal with her could be;

1. The lady had read her books meaning she was not ignorant - Objectivism holds the mind of man very highly, cults do not. The people who are members of cults are often people with low self esteem, who have weak minds and have been convinced to told to use faith instead of reason (thinking) and blindly follow a cult leader. This is completely opposite to what we learn from Objectivism - reason, thinking is the highest virtue.

2. Why should you deal with someone who insults you?

3. Objectivism politically advocates Capitalism which doesn't mean we want an elitist society we just want everyone to be free even the geniuses and creators (not to be slaves to the 'society'). The result of true Capitalism is a meritocracy.

(Elitism: a. The belief that certain persons or members of certain classes or groups deserve favored treatment by virtue of their perceived superiority, as in intellect, social status, or financial resources. b. The sense of entitlement enjoyed by such a group or class. Control, rule, or domination by such a group or class.)

Also in your question 'dadmonson' you wrote "Why do you think Ayn Rand couldn't really answer the lady?" you should have written 'didn't' instead of 'couldn't'. Ayn could've answered but the fact that the person had read her work and still proceeded to say what she did meant that it wouldn't be wise to deal with her - irrational is the word.

Now you'll notice not many people have replied to your post "Why Couldn't Ayn Come Up With A Better Response".

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I disagree with you, JeffS, regarding Ayn Rand as a defender of her own philosophy. I've never seen a more effective arguer for any position than Ayn Rand is for her own philosophy and that includes in real time discussions. I think her interview with Mike Wallace (in the 1950s?) is a great example of that. Ayn Rand is not just the best I've seen, she is far and away the best I've ever seen. One of the reasons for that is that her ideas were so original and brilliant that nobody could contend with them.

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I was hoping dadmonson and Jeffs would acknowledge or show they appreciated the replies to their question

Sorry, jstar, but I've been a little too busy to reply to this thread.

It seems to me that most are defending Ms. Rand based upon the premise that no real question was asked (true), and that the only proper response was to "act as if nothing worth commenting [had] been said" (knast). I agree. So why say anything at all? Why engage this woman? What purpose does it serve? Now, it's been a few months since I've seen the whole show (I had meant to do so before I wrote anything more, jstar), but I remember thinking, "I need to see the first show she and Donahue reference where they gave the impression she really came unhinged." If she did "really come unhinged" in that other show, then I'm even more disappointed.

The fact that she engaged this woman in such a hostile way (if I remember correctly) is disappointing enough. A much better response would have been, "Oh, well. Next question." Or, "Does anyone have any questions?" Heck, I would've even been impressed with, "You're wrong. Does anyone have a question?"

She always seems to be stuck in the desire to scare people with her selfishness, as she states in VoS. She seems to want to throw it their faces and gets the reaction even she expects - the people who most need her philosophy turn her off. Philosophy, especially hers, requires time for thinking and understanding. You're not going to get that in an interview or in an hour. So why leave people with the impression that what she means by "selfishness" is what they mean by "selfishness" when it's not? The two are quite nearly polar opposites. Why give them the ammunition to shoot Objectivism down before it they even understand what it's about?

When I confront non-Objectivists, I don't convince them. If they are convinced at all, they convince themselves. I don't badger them, insult them, or act better than they. It's important to keep their minds open so they can think about ideas rather than stay stuck in the same old self-sacrificial dogma they've been raised on. When you act haughty and self-important you only trap them into thinking about that, rather than the logic of your argument. Now, by no means am I saying I'm a better debater on Rand's philosophy than Rand herself, and I suppose that's why I'm so disappointed in her in these settings. It seems to me she should've come up with ways of dealing with stupid people, willfully stupid people, quickly and decisively.

I disagree with you, JeffS, regarding Ayn Rand as a defender of her own philosophy. I've never seen a more effective arguer for any position than Ayn Rand is for her own philosophy and that includes in real time discussions. I think her interview with Mike Wallace (in the 1950s?) is a great example of that. Ayn Rand is not just the best I've seen, she is far and away the best I've ever seen. One of the reasons for that is that her ideas were so original and brilliant that nobody could contend with them.

The interview with Mike Wallace stands foremost in my mind of disappointing performances - and I think the answer is in your last sentence. Throughout the entire interview she stares at Wallace with a look on her face that says, "You must be a complete idiot." Now, if you understand Objectivism, even if you've only read AS, you understand why she's looking at Wallace this way - he is coming off as a complete idiot. But that's the problem with the format - she doesn't have time to let him conclude he's being a complete idiot. Furthermore, she's certainly not going to convince his audience he's a complete idiot. All the audience sees is Wallace asking apparently rational questions (because they don't know any better), and this woman who acts like she's his equal (remember, this is late 1950s) and looking at him like he's an idiot. "He's not an idiot! He's Mike Wallace, for God's sake! That woman is insane! I'll never read anything she writes!"

I would've loved for her to turn the tables on him. Now, again, it's been a while since I've seen the interview, but I remember enough to know there were serveral instances where she could've said something like, "Is it wrong to want to live? Is it wrong to want to be happy? How can one person live another's life for them? What do you call it when someone demands your life for their benefit?"

She missed these opportunities. I would've loved to have sat in her living room as part of the "Collective." I would've loved to listen to her shut down arguments left and right. That is the proper format for philosophy, and certainly for hers. It requires time, follow-up questions, and thought. In that format I'm certain she was brilliant and the most effective arguer for Objectivism on the planet.

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Sorry, jstar, but I've been a little too busy to reply to this thread.

It seems to me that most are defending Ms. Rand based upon the premise that no real question was asked (true), and that the only proper response was to "act as if nothing worth commenting [had] been said" (knast). I agree. So why say anything at all? Why engage this woman? What purpose does it serve?

I think what is misleading here is that the woman appears in her temperament, to be offering an honest, polite opinion. In contrast, Ayn Rand does not react politely. But what is worse - telling someone the worst insults in a polite way (like that woman did), or telling them openly, without the pretence of an honorable discussion that they are unworthy of a discussion?

If you look only at the appearance of tones, you get the wrong impression. But when you consider closely the content of what the woman was saying, you get a different picture, and you can better understand why Ayn Rand replied the way she did.

What warranted such reaction from AR's side was not just that there was no real question asked. Essentially, the woman was telling her, in a self-righteous, allegedly civilized tone that Ayn Rand's philosophy is worthless. "Once I was part of your cult, but now I grew up and I know better, and I just came here to tell you this".

Now, every person who has some self-esteem, and understand what is actually being said, will not take it quietly, given some rationality of other members of the audience. In this case, regarding this woman as a mere disinterest would be pretending she is better than what she is.

The fact that she engaged this woman in such a hostile way (if I remember correctly) is disappointing enough. A much better response would have been, "Oh, well. Next question." Or, "Does anyone have any questions?" Heck, I would've even been impressed with, "You're wrong. Does anyone have a question?"

Such a reply would still give the woman the appearance of an honest, decent person.

I think if you keep in mind what the woman actually says (and not her tone, which is intentionally misleading), it is a lot easier to understand the hostility.

[And why is the tone misleading? Because if you wish to kick somebody in the gut, you don't tell him at the same time, that you're doing it for his own good, and he should take it in a civilized manner. Instead, you face the truth that there is nothing civilized about it].

She always seems to be stuck in the desire to scare people with her selfishness, as she states in VoS. She seems to want to throw it their faces and gets the reaction even she expects - the people who most need her philosophy turn her off.

If you remember what she said in the VoS, you must also remember that she said that she is not referring to those who may feel uncomfortable with what she says, but will still choose to think and understand it. She was only referring to those who let their fear control their actions and choose their psychological safety over the truth.

The people who run away from her philosophy will do so regardless of how nice she is. A person seeking the truth does not give it up because of social acceptance or the lack of it.

Philosophy, especially hers, requires time for thinking and understanding. You're not going to get that in an interview or in an hour. So why leave people with the impression that what she means by "selfishness" is what they mean by "selfishness" when it's not? The two are quite nearly polar opposites. Why give them the ammunition to shoot Objectivism down before it they even understand what it's about?

One thing that bothers me here, is that the one person whose emotions and well-being you never consider here - is Ayn Rand. For what purpose is she suppose to tolerate willful stupidity, hostility and insults? For the purpose of helping those people get better? This is turning the other cheek.

Perhaps your conclusion are coming from good intention of wanting people to be well, but I completely disagree with your conclusions. One should only be nice and helpful so long as one is respected enough and the person receiving the help has earned it.

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I think what is misleading here is that the woman appears in her temperament, to be offering an honest, polite opinion. In contrast, Ayn Rand does not react politely....

I fail to recognize where the woman leads by calling out a philosophy a cult and dimishes it as "growing out" of it, etc.

I did not hear anything rational to even support her thoughts. She might have been reading "Rules for Radicals" though for her attack on Rand.

Did you hear her case for the cult? If so, was it rational?

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I fail to recognize where the woman leads by calling out a philosophy a cult and dimishes it as "growing out" of it, etc.

I did not hear anything rational to even support her thoughts. She might have been reading "Rules for Radicals" though for her attack on Rand.

Did you hear her case for the cult? If so, was it rational?

I have no idea what you're saying. Your language is incomprehensible to me and the sentences seem to have no connection to one another. Can you rephrase?

In any case, regarding your last question (which is the only thing I understand) - the woman was not asking anything. She was just attacking Ayn Rand's philosophy as a whole. This is not a person interested in a discussion, rather she was interested in dumping on Ayn Rand in public. This makes the question of how she arrived to her ideas irrelevant for the decision whether or not to engage this woman in a discussion.

Edited by ifatart
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I agree with Jeffs No. 11 post. The woman was merely stating her opinion. Rand responded angrily and rudely. We can't control other people. We can, however, control our own reactions and responses. Did Rand really expect everyone to totally agree with her? Did she really think that anyone who didn't was worthless?

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I think what is misleading here is that the woman appears in her temperament, to be offering an honest, polite opinion. In contrast, Ayn Rand does not react politely. But what is worse - telling someone the worst insults in a polite way (like that woman did), or telling them openly, without the pretence of an honorable discussion that they are unworthy of a discussion?

If you look only at the appearance of tones, you get the wrong impression. But when you consider closely the content of what the woman was saying, you get a different picture, and you can better understand why Ayn Rand replied the way she did.

What warranted such reaction from AR's side was not just that there was no real question asked. Essentially, the woman was telling her, in a self-righteous, allegedly civilized tone that Ayn Rand's philosophy is worthless. "Once I was part of your cult, but now I grew up and I know better, and I just came here to tell you this".

Now, every person who has some self-esteem, and understand what is actually being said, will not take it quietly, given some rationality of other members of the audience. In this case, regarding this woman as a mere disinterest would be pretending she is better than what she is.

Such a reply would still give the woman the appearance of an honest, decent person.

I think if you keep in mind what the woman actually says (and not her tone, which is intentionally misleading), it is a lot easier to understand the hostility.

[And why is the tone misleading? Because if you wish to kick somebody in the gut, you don't tell him at the same time, that you're doing it for his own good, and he should take it in a civilized manner. Instead, you face the truth that there is nothing civilized about it].

If you remember what she said in the VoS, you must also remember that she said that she is not referring to those who may feel uncomfortable with what she says, but will still choose to think and understand it. She was only referring to those who let their fear control their actions and choose their psychological safety over the truth.

The people who run away from her philosophy will do so regardless of how nice she is. A person seeking the truth does not give it up because of social acceptance or the lack of it.

One thing that bothers me here, is that the one person whose emotions and well-being you never consider here - is Ayn Rand. For what purpose is she suppose to tolerate willful stupidity, hostility and insults? For the purpose of helping those people get better? This is turning the other cheek.

Perhaps your conclusion are coming from good intention of wanting people to be well, but I completely disagree with your conclusions. One should only be nice and helpful so long as one is respected enough and the person receiving the help has earned it.

Right on target post, Ifat. Thank You.

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Ms. Rand seemed to handle herself quite admirably, repeatedly mentioning that she does not intend to force her views on anyone, and responding in a simplified manner in clarifying her philosophy.

Seems like some of her followers might want to truly embrace her philosophy and not be followers per se.

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I agree with Jeffs No. 11 post. The woman was merely stating her opinion. Rand responded angrily and rudely. We can't control other people. We can, however, control our own reactions and responses. Did Rand really expect everyone to totally agree with her? Did she really think that anyone who didn't was worthless?

Sure, the woman was merely stating her opinion. But it was during a Q&A session. The context is entirely inappropriate for her stating her opinions, especially when she accuses Ayn Rand of running a cult and basically spitting on her philosophy. Obviously, this was an attempt to attack her ideas with smears, not with arguments. It's not a matter of agreement or disagreement. She was supposed to ask a question, but instead flung insults at Ayn Rand.

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Rand responded angrily and rudely.
I think the womans remarks ticked Rand off a bit, but I dont think her response to the woman rude at all. She certainly acted with more grace than I would have if someone trashed my lifes work as being an immature, cultish, irresponsible, elitist, self-indulgent, me-generation fad.

Also, I suspect that the earlier episode that is referenced is not a case of her becoming 'unhinged.' More than likely, she faced a hostile audience there to attack her every word rather than hear what she had to say.

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I think what is misleading here is that the woman appears in her temperament, to be offering an honest, polite opinion. In contrast, Ayn Rand does not react politely. But what is worse - telling someone the worst insults in a polite way (like that woman did), or telling them openly, without the pretence of an honorable discussion that they are unworthy of a discussion?

I choose to ignore them. Their input would be clearly worthless to me. Insults add nothing to any discussion. Coming back with an insult of your own merely wastes your valuable brain power, energy, and time. I'm reminded of the saying, "Fight with pigs and you end up getting dirty." In my opinion (and let's all remember, I'm only expressing my opinion here), Ms. Rand missed an opportunity to expose this woman for what she really is - a brainless drone with nothing better to do with her time than attend talk shows and spout nonsense.

If you look only at the appearance of tones, you get the wrong impression. But when you consider closely the content of what the woman was saying, you get a different picture, and you can better understand why Ayn Rand replied the way she did.

Agreed, but how many people take the time to consider context? I would love it if everyone considered closely anything besides the next American Idol schedule. But, they don't. Regardless of how I want the world to be, it is the way it is. People have the ability to think, but many of them (most?) simply do not. Especially the vast majority of day-time talk show audiences. Perhaps she shouldn't have even been on the program.

Now, every person who has some self-esteem, and understand what is actually being said, will not take it quietly, given some rationality of other members of the audience. In this case, regarding this woman as a mere disinterest would be pretending she is better than what she is..../... Such a reply would still give the woman the appearance of an honest, decent person.

I don't see how. It would be dismissive. How many people like to be treated as if what they say isn't important? Especially (and I'm not trying to be sexist here, just using my experience) women? What's wrong with acting as if nothing at all were said when nothing at all were said?

If you remember what she said in the VoS, you must also remember that she said that she is not referring to those who may feel uncomfortable with what she says, but will still choose to think and understand it. She was only referring to those who let their fear control their actions and choose their psychological safety over the truth.

Which is the vast majority of the population, again, especially those watching Donahue. What's her purpose there? I can only imagine her purpose is to get people to read what she's written and listen to what she has to say. When you're dealing with an audience which reacts emotionally rather than intellectually, you have to understand how what you say will make them react. If she were sitting in the middle of a college classroom, with at least college educated people, her response would've been entirely appropriate, and she probably would've received a standing ovation.

One thing that bothers me here, is that the one person whose emotions and well-being you never consider here - is Ayn Rand. For what purpose is she suppose to tolerate willful stupidity, hostility and insults? For the purpose of helping those people get better? This is turning the other cheek.

First, I'm not arguing she should've tolerated it, I'm arguing she should have given it commensurate value - nothing; she should've dismissed it, ignored it. I'm not arguing she should've validated the woman in any way. Secondly, what harm would've come from tolerating it? It certainly wouldn't have done any harm to Ms. Rand - it neither breaks her bones nor picks her pocket. As you said, those who seek the truth wouldn't give it up. I don't think they would give it up just because Ms. Rand tolerated some ignorant bitch. But those who seek the truth are going to find Rand soon enough. It's those who need the truth who need to be shown there is truth to be found and it's worth searching for. Those are the people who need to be convinced to read her. Ms. Rand, and we all, have much to lose and nothing to gain by giving the impression that selfishness means exactly what everyone thinks it means. Thirdly, I don't care about Ms. Rand's feelings - those are hers and only she can know what information they provide her. She's supposed to be in control of her emotions, and when you're trying to convince people to be rational, that one must control their emotions, losing your cool is not the way to do it.

Perhaps your conclusion are coming from good intention of wanting people to be well, but I completely disagree with your conclusions. One should only be nice and helpful so long as one is respected enough and the person receiving the help has earned it.

I just want more people to read what Rand has to say. I want them to do it without emotional hangups and preconceptions.

I agree with Jeffs No. 11 post. The woman was merely stating her opinion. Rand responded angrily and rudely. We can't control other people. We can, however, control our own reactions and responses. Did Rand really expect everyone to totally agree with her? Did she really think that anyone who didn't was worthless?

Thanks, ginny. I was beginning to feel outnumbered. :D

Edited by JeffS
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Not only was Rand's reply appropriate, but excellent. When someone attacks you the biggest mistake you can make is to be nice to them. It empowers them. It gives others the impression that you consider their statement merely another point of view. To be called a leader of a cult made up of foolish, immature followers, is an attack. Moreover it is a cheap ugly and, since it is arbitrary, irrifutable attack.

Too many people think that the best way to win someone over is to first get them to think you are a nice tolerant guy. There is only one kind of person you will win over with this approach, and it is not the kind of person you want to win over.

What makes Rand's answer excellent is that she goes to the core of the woman's behavior. She questions her motivation, she exposes her, in front of everybody.

Don't forget that this is a war of ideas. While it is true that we want to convince the undecided of the validity of Rand's philosophy, we must never allow those arguing for evil to walk away unscathed.

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dadmonson, Jeffs and ginny.

We are not obligated to deal with irrational, dishonest, insulting people we are not even obligated to deal with honest people. Ayn Rand knew that many people would not embrace her philosophy (no need to waste time) better to sow on fertile ground. Also time for a telly program is limited why not answer a question that would further peoples understanding of Objectivism.

I suppose the main thing is; you feel that Ayn Rand's response would stop prospective Objectivists from ever embracing this philosophy. If after all the questions Ayn Rand answered someone would see that incident and think "I don't like her response, I'm not going to consider Objectivism" then they're not worth the trouble.

Since I'm new here I'm not sure if I can bring up an example of President Obama (forum rules?); anyway what he heck. President Obama thinks he can/should negotiate with radical muslims, he believes he can negotiate with the President of Iran - someone who has said "death to America". Is it prudent to even consider such a negotiation? Is there any parallel between this scenario and talking to the woman who didn't even ask a question?

Instead of you guys spending time thinking about Ayn Rand's answer consider the woman who came to the show and instead of asking for an explanation that would help get her past her misgivings she insults the Ayn Rand.

I'm not going to contribute more to this discussion.

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Not only was Rand's reply appropriate, but excellent. When someone attacks you the biggest mistake you can make is to be nice to them. It empowers them. It gives others the impression that you consider their statement merely another point of view. To be called a leader of a cult made up of foolish, immature followers, is an attack. Moreover it is a cheap ugly and, since it is arbitrary, irrifutable attack.

Too many people think that the best way to win someone over is to first get them to think you are a nice tolerant guy. There is only one kind of person you will win over with this approach, and it is not the kind of person you want to win over.

What makes Rand's answer excellent is that she goes to the core of the woman's behavior. She questions her motivation, she exposes her, in front of everybody.

Yeah, except a lot of the audience didn't seem to get it.

I think what this comes down to, for every person, is his choice between psychological safety and happiness. (This may seem like a statement out of nowhere, hu? but I'll explain)

It's a battle of forces between wanting to know the truth, and discovering why AR's philosophy appears so convincing, even though it goes against many of a common person's ideas - and the psychological pain that can come from realizing that one's views and ideas which he adopted as part of his personality, are wrong and bad.

It takes strength and bravery to consider the possibility that something in one's personality/ideas is wrong. And so it can be tempting for people to try to destroy their own recognition that AR's ideas are likely to be true. The woman on the show chose her psychological safety over figuring out the truth: Are her ideas and personality at fault, or AR's ideas? It is no wonder she joined the Objectivist movement as a religion. Religion is something that gives you forgiveness if only you take the actions the priest prescribes. And this is what a person who does not want to consider ideas (especially ideas pertaining to one's worth) is driven to for protection. "If only I stay loyal to the O'ist movement, I don't need to face the self-doubt I felt when I first read Ayn Rand. I placed myself in the AR camp, and this says everything about me". But when she decides to regain her "confidence" in her old ways, she needs to destroy, in her mind, the power of AR. This is what she came there to do. To declare, in public, that AR's philosophy is worthless. Instead of admitting that the real issue for her, is her chronic self-doubt - she tries to pretend that the problem is with AR's philosophy.

What would a person interested in happiness do? First of all, he would admit he does have self-doubt. Second, he would try to understand why, and to correct the ideas causing it. He would be devoted to thinking, to the best of his ability, of the truthfulness of what caused him to doubt himself. Choosing to think is not emotionally easy at all, but ultimately, the person will be devoted to discovering the truth about himself and his ideas. Because only solving problems with one's self-esteem can allow happiness.

On the other side, a person can choose not to think in light of a psychological threat, in which case he'd be choosing psychological safety at the expense of happiness.

Selfishness, devotion to truth and happiness, or cowardice, evasion, emotionalist "thinking" and chronic anxiety.

People in the crowd cheering for this lady were choosing (at least temporarily) to eliminate the psychological threat rather than dealing with it.

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