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My brother will no longer speak with me. He feels I acted badly and won't speak with me until I apologize. I disagree and therefore cannot apologize. We are both Objectivists and I feel we should be able to work things out in rational discussion. He claims he has said all he can and that if I truly wish to reconcile I will find another Objectivist to validate my position. I find this a little insulting. Understand that my brother is fairly well read whereas I am not. I, on the other hand, was raised by Obectivists whereas he was not. This due to a broken family which, as you can imagine, contributed to some of the psychological nature of our issue. Despite the fact that I have a good mind and a good understanding of Obectivism he views me as inferior in that regard since I have not read as many books as he has. Which brings us to his current position; read the necessary material until I agree with him or find another Objectivist who agrees with me. After being best friends for years, I find this pretty offensive. BUT; I miss my brother. I have begun reading all the material I own that I have put off reading for years.

And I am now here looking for someone to spend the time to hear my tale in an effort to reconcile my relationship with my brother. I have never participated in a forum before. I feel very strange asking a stranger to spend their time helping me with an issue like this. I can only hope there is someone out there like my brother and I who just enjoy the excersise of determining right in a given context.

Anyone...?

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Ah, yes, the dispute!

My brother, Thomas, was dating a girl for about a year and a half. She was a wonderful girl in many ways, but not a real thinker. Half chinese and half thai and the culture really showed in many ways. She moved in with my brother and cooked and cleaned her way into his "heart". She actually cooked her way into our family's heart, man could she cook! She bought me clothes, helped me move, was very kind and sweet with my son...I liked her very much.

When they would come to visit, I noticed my brother would not include her in our philisophical discussions(after she was done cooking and cleaning up). They would leave only when HE was ready to go. After noticing behaviors like this I asked him what exactly he was doing with her. I told him it was fairly obvious to me how much she cared for him and if he didn't feel the same way he should probably cut her loose. He would jokingly ask "have you tasted her cooking?!?" and tell me how great the sex was. Beyond that he would say no more, quoting Rand on "gossip".

Eventually their relationship started showing inevitable strains. One Saturday Thomas and I were working together and he explained he had asked her to spend the weekend at her place because he needed some "space". Understand that they were living together but my brother insisted she maintain her own place in case he wanted her to leave. On my way home that day, she called me and, after telling me the same thing, asked if she could use my computer for ten minutes to follow up on a job lead before it was too late. This is where it all started. As a friend, i didn't think twice. I told her of course she could use my computer.

My brother was on his way to my house for dinner as this conversation was taking place. After the conversation ended and I was waiting for my brother to arrive, I decided to tell him the situation at the end of the evening. I was making a nice dinner to thank him for helping me with something and did not want this to interfere with that. Well, we finish dinner and he gets a phone call. It's his girlfriend, telling him she is coming to my house to use my computer the following day. He tells her no she isn't, etc. He then turns to me and asks me what the hell was I thinking and why would I say yes to her. I asked him why would I say no. He explains that with friends and family and girfriends and spouses one should avoid ANY semblance of impropriety. I cut him off quickly and told him if he was implying I would ever do anything inappropriate with her I was going to throw him out of my house, because he knows better. He backed off that and explained that she was using me to manipulate him. I argued that my knowledge of her character contradicted that assessment. She had been a good friend to me and I would not say no to the small favor she was asking of me. He told me I don't know everything there is to know about her and asked me to have nothing more to do with her! He refused to give any more information than that.

Now, based on the way I had seen him behave in their relationship, and what a good friend she had been to me, I had to deny my brother's request. He now claims I supported her OVER him.

Subsequent events compounded the dispute, but that is the meat of it...

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He insists I would never find another Objectivist who doesn't agree with him, other than my Father and Step-Mother who he claims are biased. Mind you we have been a very close family sharing all the values of Objectivism for years. He will no longer speak with them, either.

I agree with your assessment of course. I hope others will post an opinion as well.

Any ideas on how to explain to him why he is wrong? I, and my Father, have spent hours talking and writing to him and each other, but to no avail. He says he can find no one who disagrees with him. I can only assume he is not telling the whole story. He refuses to include me in any discussion with his proponents, stating it would not be right to burden a friend with such things.

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Any ideas on how to explain to him why he is wrong?

"Semblance of impropriety" is not objective. His focus on what theories may appear to be compatible with a particular situation instead of the truth is not rational.

edit: Specifically it is entertaining the arbitrary without evidence.

Edited by Grames
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I emailed my brother my post and the responses and i received this in return:

Your posting could not bring positive results because it is:

• Not interactive

• You have given no reason why someone should spend their time to help

• Out of context

• Contains errors

• Based on your assumptions

You didn’t know Malique; you don’t know what we went through; how much I loved her; how hard I tried to make it work, etc…

Bellow are a couple letters she wrote after I dumped her for lying in Dec. of 07.

After we reconciled her subsequent dishonesty led to our hiatus and your involvement. Since, I’ve learned her deceit was much greater than thought and she was steeling from me.

I explained to him that there could be no errors because that was all the information I had at the time. He would never tell me anything before they split, so I was left to come to my own conclusions and subsequent judgements. His point from the beginning was that I should just take his word that she was no good and abandon her because he said so. Truly maddening coming from my brother, who has always shown himself to be a rational, objective, and extroardinarily decent man.

I have asked him to join me in comprising a summary we both agree on so I can post that.

Anxiously waiting his reply...

Edited by scottd
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I agree with Grames as well. Doesn't sound to me like your brother wants a partner (girlfriend or otherwise), he wants a servant, and that game is all about control.

It does sound like that. Yet I would NEVER have guessed my brother would act that way. I think he evaded quite a bit to be able to remain in that relationship. He has since admitted he should have cut it off sooner. Nevertheless, he is standing his ground here. I think it's possible he is really embarassed and that, in part, is guiding his actions here...

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You did choose her over your brother, for whatever reason. I wouldn't have given her the benefit of the doubt over him, your brother, whom you say you shared similar values with. You also state that you told him that "he should probably cut her loose," and it seems to me like that's exactly what he did. After he cut her loose, why would you do something to keep her around? If I were your brother, this would surprise me too; and I would also question motives, as there must be other places she could have used the computer for 10 minutes.

However, I do question any Objectivist who demands an apology. No Objectivist I know would demand and simply except an apology. That said, I don't know much of the context about this situation--nor do you, as your brother stated.

Edited by RussK
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His point from the beginning was that I should just take his word that she was no good and abandon her because he said so

No true Objectivist would ever suggest that you should "just take their word for it".

Also, as controlling and manipulative as his behavior appears to be (from your description) in regards to his girlfriend one would be temtped to question his honesty and wonder if he wasn't making up stories about his (ex)girlfriend to make her look bad and to make you feel bad for trying to be helpful to her.

Again it needs repeating- trustworthy people generally do NOT tell you to just take their word for it.

typos...sigh

Edited by QuoVadis
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You did choose her over your brother, for whatever reason. I wouldn't have given her the benefit of the doubt over him, your brother, whom you say you shared similar values with. You also state that you told him that "he should probably cut her loose," and it seems to me like that's exactly what he did. After he cut her loose, why would you do something to keep her around? If I were your brother, this would surprise me too; and I would also question motives, as there must be other places she could have used the computer for 10 minutes.

However, I do question any Objectivist who demands an apology. No Objectivist I know would demand and simply except an apology. That said, I don't know much of the context about this situation--nor do you, as your brother stated.

First of all, his behavior made me question his judgement. I believed her to be of decent character. Therefore I was unable to give him the benefit of the doubt. No one makes any judgements for me. I make my own judgements with whatever facts I have at the time; period. Also, he had not "cut her loose" yet, and she was a friend.

In what way did I choose her OVER my brother? This makes no sense to me and I am trying very hard to understand his point of view.

I did not question motives at the time. This was a big point of my brothers. I trusted her. He suggests that I am just naive, not having had much experience with women, which I have not. Nevertheless, if he believes I was just naive and mistaken, why end our friendship over that?

While my brother verbally says he believes I would never have done anything inappropriate, he also maintains that men and women cannot be "just friends". So I question his reasons for being so emotional about this...

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No true Objectivist would ever suggest that you should "just take their word for it".

Also, as controlling and manipulative as his behavior appears to be (from your description) in regards to his girlfriend one would be temtped to question his honesty and wonder if he wasn't making up stories about his (ex)girlfriend to make her look bad and to make you feel bad for trying to be helpful to her.

Again it needs repeating- trustworthy people generally do NOT tell you to just take their word for it.

typos...sigh

It did dawn on me that perhaps he was embarassed, maybe even a little ashamed, and trying to make her look bad. I am STILL trying to give the benefit of the doubt on that one...

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It sounds as though your brother is the one who is being manipulative. Perhaps your brother isn't the great Objectivist (or the great guy) you thought? Given his actions I don't understand why you are so bent on showing him why he is acting inappropriately. Maybe he doesn't want to know? Perhaps you should give him some space as he doesn't sound like a really nice person.

"he also maintains that men and women cannot be 'just friends'."

This position is simply absurd.

It seems like your initial question was, "how do I patch things up with my brother?"

I would say don't bother. You have written him letters you have tried to explain. He does not want to have things patched up. So my response would be you've tried and now you have to leave it up to him. Quit coming back to him because it makes you look weak.

To the un-asked question of where your actions unreasonable?

I would say no. He brought a woman into your and your families life which you all have bonded with. Now he expects you to keep her at bay because he says so? Since your brother seems to berate you about not knowing enough about Objectivism or not knowing what the right course of action may be, imagine how he treats her! In your position I'd be more interested in continuing a relationship (non sexual) with her rather than with my brother.

Edited by Drew1776
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First of all, his behavior made me question his judgement. I believed her to be of decent character. Therefore I was unable to give him the benefit of the doubt. No one makes any judgements for me. I make my own judgements with whatever facts I have at the time; period. Also, he had not "cut her loose" yet, and she was a friend.

In what way did I choose her OVER my brother? This makes no sense to me and I am trying very hard to understand his point of view.

I did not question motives at the time. This was a big point of my brothers. I trusted her. He suggests that I am just naive, not having had much experience with women, which I have not. Nevertheless, if he believes I was just naive and mistaken, why end our friendship over that?

While my brother verbally says he believes I would never have done anything inappropriate, he also maintains that men and women cannot be "just friends". So I question his reasons for being so emotional about this...

The way I read it, I thought he had cut her off. I especially thought this when your brother suggested that she was trying to manipulate you. I've already said that I don't know the whole case, or even most of it; and I still stand by my claim that your brother probably does have more knowledge about her than you do. It also wouldn't be surprising if she were trying to manipulate you. This happens all the time. Irrational women--reciprocally men as well--tend to do that in relationships, and this includes using family members.

I also agree with your brother in that "one should avoid ANY semblance of impropriety." Situations one puts oneself in with the spouses or girlfriends of others should be thought about beforehand. It helps prevent unnecessary doubt, confusion, and false 'lead-ons' to say the least; it's just a smart thing to do. Note, this does not mean I totally disagree with Grames' assessment of this concept; he is definitely correct in identifying "entertaining the truth without evidence" as non-objective. However, this "semblance of impropriety" doesn't always have to be un-objective or without evidence.

Many times our thoughts and decisions are based on incomplete information (evidence). Of course, this is simply unavoidable because of our nature. This is why it's a good idea to think about the position one puts themselves in with others, especially with spouses and girlfriends. Why go about confusing people, especially those one is close to? It's also worth pointing out that this type of behavior is not just important or common for dealing with romantic relationships. It's used in numerous other ways, for example, first impressions, etc...

I said that you chose--I should have said supported, to be consistent with what your brother said--her over your brother because that's what I understand you've done from reading your post. Whether or not this was the proper thing to do, I don't know, that's up for you to decide, you've got more evidence. However, the fact is, your brother asked you not to be involved with her anymore, and you decided to go against your brother.

As for your last point, you're going to have to elaborate more on it because I don't understand the question or statement. I will say though, that I agree with your brother, that in many contexts men and women cannot be "just friends."

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No true Objectivist would ever suggest that you should "just take their word for it".

Do you agree with this, Russ??

No, I don't agree with that. However, at the same time, I wouldn't go explaining why I broke up with someone to my friends. Additionally, they wouldn't demand explanations, nor would I of them. Of course, in this particular case, things would become increasingly contingent on how much the girlfriend befriended the friends. Realize that this is actually a common problem with typical relationships and friends, when people 'break-up' or divorce.

Edited by RussK
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The way I read it, I thought he had cut her off. I especially thought this when your brother suggested that she was trying to manipulate you. I've already said that I don't know the whole case, or even most of it; and I still stand by my claim that your brother probably does have more knowledge about her than you do. It also wouldn't be surprising if she were trying to manipulate you. This happens all the time. Irrational women--reciprocally men as well--tend to do that in relationships, and this includes using family members.

I also agree with your brother in that "one should avoid ANY semblance of impropriety." Situations one puts oneself in with the spouses or girlfriends of others should be thought about beforehand. It helps prevent unnecessary doubt, confusion, and false 'lead-ons' to say the least; it's just a smart thing to do. Note, this does not mean I totally disagree with Grames' assessment of this concept; he is definitely correct in identifying "entertaining the truth without evidence" as non-objective. However, this "semblance of impropriety" doesn't always have to be un-objective or without evidence.

Many times our thoughts and decisions are based on incomplete information (evidence). Of course, this is simply unavoidable because of our nature. This is why it's a good idea to think about the position one puts themselves in with others, especially with spouses and girlfriends. Why go about confusing people, especially those one is close to? It's also worth pointing out that this type of behavior is not just important or common for dealing with romantic relationships. It's used in numerous other ways, for example, first impressions, etc...

I said that you chose--I should have said supported, to be consistent with what your brother said--her over your brother because that's what I understand you've done from reading your post. Whether or not this was the proper thing to do, I don't know, that's up for you to decide, you've got more evidence. However, the fact is, your brother asked you not to be involved with her anymore, and you decided to go against your brother.

As for your last point, you're going to have to elaborate more on it because I don't understand the question or statement. I will say though, that I agree with your brother, that in many contexts men and women cannot be "just friends."

First off, I REALLY appreciate the input from you, and the others... Thank you ALL! Already helpful in some ways...

Naturally, my brother had more knowledge than I. And let me be clear, his girlfriend and I were hardly the best of friends. However, she was very good to me and my family and we did get somewhat close. I genuinely cared for her. As I had said, In the end it appeared that it was an attempt at manipulation to some extent. Point was I had no eveidence whatsoever to that effect. Naive? Perhaps, but honest and sincere as always.

I disagree on the "semblance of impropriety". My brother knew beyond the shadow of a doubt that I woulod never do anything inappropriate with his girlfriend. I never have to think twice about "putting myself in those situations". I am a man of character and don't concern myself with with such thoughts.

When I first agreed to let her use my computer, I knew she had an honest need to do so. Could she have gone to the library or something? Sure. My brother made this point immediately. Did I consider that at the time? No, I did not. When a friend, especially one who has gone out of their way for me on numerous occasions, asks for a favor, I do not suggest alternatives to asking ME for help. It is not a thought that even comes to mind. Should it have with my brothers' girlfriend? Was i just being naive? I think not. I care not. I think to deny the favor at that time would have been unjust and I acted in good faith based on my the knowledge I had at the time.

Interestingly enough, there is more to that part of the story! Following that initial fiasco, my brother and his girlfriend BOTH told me negative things about each other. I believed them both, for different reasons. I believed my brother because I don't believe he would lie about such things. I believed the things she told me because I already knew some of them to be true, and others because I know my brother and some of his faults. I love my brother and I liked her a lot. I had no interest in supporting one over the other. Unlike my brother, I don't write people off because they are not perfect. Not because they say something ugly, hurtful, or manipulative to their spouse(nobody ever does THAT, huh?), or because they act badly in a relationship, or anything else that does not rise to a level of immorality that I simply cannot accept. This, making allowances for each of their knowledge and character, was not the case. My brother was absolutely furious that I would even accept her calls. He cut me off. I never had the opportunity to support him after he FINALLY gave me ANY information that could have affected my initial and subsequent judgements/actions. A couple weeks later, I invited her to my son's birthday party. My brother lost it on this one. I believe he found out from her. He saw to it that I she didn't come to the party and I haven't heard from her since. Or from him.

It is very difficult to summarize all this!!

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No, I don't agree with that. However, at the same time, I wouldn't go explaining why I broke up with someone to my friends. Additionally, they wouldn't demand explanations, nor would I of them. Of course, in this particular case, things would become increasingly contingent on how much the girlfriend befriended the friends. Realize that this is actually a common problem with typical relationships and friends, when people 'break-up' or divorce.

Make no mistake, I never demanded any explanations, just caringly asked my brother about his relationship with his girlfriend of 1 1/2 years. I did care about her, and was NOT pleased with the way I saw my brother treat her. Both because of my declining respect for him and growing attachment to her. Mind you I still had, and even now still have, a lot of respect for my brother. I think he has some issues and made some mistakes, but doesn't everyone? I do, just ask my brother...

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So your brother is not communicating with you anymore now? This means that the earlier mentioned case of getting him to give his side of the story won't be happening after all? Too bad, I've been waiting to respond because I wanted to hear what he had to say for himself first. I don't like to speak before hearing both sides because often one side will consider some things relevant that others considered not to be.

If one thing should be clear by now though, the idea that it should have been just so obscenely obvious that nobody but a severe moron or an intentional fiend would have done what you did in that situation is just incorrect. Without full knowledge of the situation exactly it is hard for me to say just how clear or obscure the "shouldn't grant her request" thing should have been, but I don't think not having just gotten it or taken his word for it in this case means your stupid or evil. If you and your brother both know and support Objectivism you should both know very well that people aren't born with any knowledge, knowledge does not just jump out and beat us over the head, and nobody is ever omniscient. So just about anything in any case can be not immediately obvious at least to many innocent and well meaning people. From what you knew of the situation you had two decent people whose situation you knew little about suddenly at odds with each other. What about this is there to lead you to assume either one of them has any nefarious intents? Nothing. Those two intentionally kept you uninformed about anything which may have given you reason to be suspicious. Additionally, you thought it was well known to your brother by now that it was not in your general character to be involved in "impropriety" with the girl. You thought your brother should just be able to trust you on character knowledge much the same way he thought your knowledge of his character alone should have sufficed for you to trust him without knowing the full story, so I think there may be a hint of hypocrisy in your brother's reaction perhaps too from what information has been provided here from you. So, maybe you could have been a bit sharper and questioned more why she wanted to use your computer, but I think it is going too far to assume you were turning traitor and knowingly fraternizing with the enemy. For what it's worth, I think in your position I could have easily ended up doing the same thing you did for quite the same reasons.

I'm not surprised he got upset that you later invited the girl to that birthday party, though if he actually uninvited her to the party YOU were throwing, unless it was at your brother's house, I wonder where he thinks he gets that authority. :/ If he didn't want to see her, he should have told you that he didn't want to attend if she would be there and he should have chosen not to go if she was still invited anyway and she decided to attend. On the bright side though, the fact that you two are brothers makes it much more likely he will cool off and decide to get back in contact with you again after a little while. If you can hear about what actually was the basis of the rift formation between your brother and his former girlfriend then you've finally got something to work with to distinguish a bad guy between the two apparent good guys. If your brother indeed does have plenty of reason to have decided the girl was no good, fine, you can then back him whole heartedly. Otherwise though it seems like you may as well have just walked in on your parents (who from what you have said are both good people) one day suddenly holding guns pointed at each other and been expected to know who was the one in the wrong.

I really do hope you and your brother can get back in communication and make up. :) You have a long and good history between you and there are so few people around who are of the same level of moral character as the two of you and who will understand you two as well as you already do understand each other. That's a whole lot to trash over something so relatively small and, as I was saying earlier, easily a confusing situation. I do wish you the best with this issue and really hope that your relation s family may give you an extra edge in retaining a connection because from what I've known of somebody who sounds a lot like your brother from the description you've given here, it can be easy (even if they don't think so) to get permanently on these people's bad sides and get written off by them never to be considered for redemption ever again.

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Some things about your brother's actions make me concerned.

He wants you to substitute his judgement for yours. When you won't, he calls you names, belittles you, and tries to make you doubt yourself. None of these actions are appropriate.

He is giving commands, not even in a polite manner.

He claims that you don't know the girl. Okay, but an Objectivist recognizes the context of knowledge and, if anything, attempts to help fill it in. You don't get mad at anyone because they don't know something, especially if they are honest about it.

His actions toward you are entirely emotional. His statements aimed at hurting you and disparaging you. He is unwilling to talk to anyone. He appears afraid to sit down and calmly discuss what is dividing people who are very important to him.

No doubt he is feeling betrayed. Quite possibly he is also feeling a loss from ending the relationship. Unfortunately, he is taking it out on his loved ones. Maybe he will cool down. Your discussions in the future need to be about the way he has acted, not about the girl. She is past.

I disagree about the suggestion that you chose the girl over your brother. He began by giving commands and making accusations. Maybe you didn't figure out then that you were reacting to him, but you were. If he hadn't gotten mad. If he had talked to you as if you had a brain and wanted to act rationally, then things would be different. But he acted immediately on his emotions, and has refused to stop doing so.

Advise is generally not good. Even so, you might consider stopping the discussion about the girl, saying that she is gone, and focus on wanting to talk about the relationship between you. This is an example of the fact that just reading something is just the first step. Integrating the material into your life is next, and often difficult.

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Some things about your brother's actions make me concerned.

He wants you to substitute his judgement for yours. When you won't, he calls you names, belittles you, and tries to make you doubt yourself. None of these actions are appropriate.

He is giving commands, not even in a polite manner.

He claims that you don't know the girl. Okay, but an Objectivist recognizes the context of knowledge and, if anything, attempts to help fill it in. You don't get mad at anyone because they don't know something, especially if they are honest about it.

His actions toward you are entirely emotional. His statements aimed at hurting you and disparaging you. He is unwilling to talk to anyone. He appears afraid to sit down and calmly discuss what is dividing people who are very important to him.

No doubt he is feeling betrayed. Quite possibly he is also feeling a loss from ending the relationship. Unfortunately, he is taking it out on his loved ones. Maybe he will cool down. Your discussions in the future need to be about the way he has acted, not about the girl. She is past.

I disagree about the suggestion that you chose the girl over your brother. He began by giving commands and making accusations. Maybe you didn't figure out then that you were reacting to him, but you were. If he hadn't gotten mad. If he had talked to you as if you had a brain and wanted to act rationally, then things would be different. But he acted immediately on his emotions, and has refused to stop doing so.

Advise is generally not good. Even so, you might consider stopping the discussion about the girl, saying that she is gone, and focus on wanting to talk about the relationship between you. This is an example of the fact that just reading something is just the first step. Integrating the material into your life is next, and often difficult.

Thanks for the input!!

My brother is giving me some input as well, as I email these responses to him.

He tells me I condoned manipulation because after I became aware there was manipulation involved, I did not choose to write her off. I think she acted badly in the heat of an argument/situation, but I don't believe that makes her worthless. I am not the most forgiving person in the world when it comes to a breach of morality, believe me, but I think we all make mistakes and do things we regret. Especially in the heat of "battle" with our significant others.

He tells me I condoned theft because after I became aware she took some of his CHANGE, I did not choose to write her off. They lived together for over a year and, yes, apparently without asking him first, she took some of his change. Burn her at the bloody stake, right?

He tells me I implied that I value the two of them equally because I was not prepared to write EITHER of them off after having better knowledge of the situation than I did initially. Absurd.

I am adding these points as my brother tells me what I am leaving out. He has not yet indicated a willingness to comprise a summary we both agree on together. So until then...

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I think it was RussK who seemed to be the only one who felt I should have accepted my brother's judgement without justification. He also seems to be the only one think menn and women cannot, "in some cases", be just friends.

It boggles my mind to think that an Objectivist would, in ANY context, put forth such statements.

Does anyone have any thoughts on that? Can anyone offer any insight as to how this viewpoint could in ANY way be rational?

This is not an attack on YOU, Russ!! As a matter of fact, I would very much like to hear more on this from you. I can't seem to grasp my brother's stance on this, and you are the only one to even come close to backing it, so....

Edited by scottd
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Men and women cannot just be friends? What does that mean? A male and a female cannot co-exist in the same space without copulating or otherwise becoming romantically or sexually involved? That sounds incredibly deterministic, if not an outright rejection of the human rational faculty to choose how to involve themselves with the other individual.

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He tells me I condoned manipulation because after I became aware there was manipulation involved, I did not choose to write her off. I think she acted badly in the heat of an argument/situation, but I don't believe that makes her worthless. I am not the most forgiving person in the world when it comes to a breach of morality, believe me, but I think we all make mistakes and do things we regret. Especially in the heat of "battle" with our significant others.

You would probably have to write off a lot of people in your life if you chose to do that in every case of such manipulation. It's such a common thing. Of course, this would not be good to just rid yourself of everyone. However, you could have pointed this out to the girlfriend and told her your disappointments, etc...

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