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Classifying irrational people as "sub-human"

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I've recently discovered that I inadvertently treat irrational people like dogs. Literally. I refuse to talk about anything requiring more than a few seconds of thought. To me, irrational people are about as useful as an empty firearm. Anyone who believes in god I immediately want nothing to do with intellectually because they have already stepped outside the bounds of reason. Anyone who watches cable news and believes one Chanel is more objective than the other because they are more in line with the viewer's political views is automatically a moron. Anyone who likes to watch MTV or VH1 is a drooling cretin.

Am I an uptight asshole or am I doing well to protect my sanity by effectively shielding it from the madness of treating these people as intellectual equals? Is it wrong for me to instantly label a person given such a limited number of criteria or am I saving myself the trouble of endless disagreement and frustration?

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Am I an uptight asshole or am I doing well to protect my sanity by effectively shielding it from the madness of treating these people as intellectual equals?
Talk about invitations! Seriously, you are (I hope) not doing anything to help your sanity, because these people are not a threat to your sanity. To start, you should treat a person as an intellectual equal only if they are an intellectual equal. It is a serious error to equate all people who believe in god as equivalent to dogs, and it would be a serious error on my part to treat you as intellectually equal to a dog for your mistaken belief that belief in god renders a person intellectually indistinguishable from a dog.

I will invent facts about you and your life for the sake of exposition, because I don't know the dirty details. There are religious people who you have to deal with professionally, as subordinates (whom you must train). You cannot refuse to deal with them in the line of duty just because they are religious. You deal with your hatred of religion and they suppress whatever evangelical tendencies they have. Some of them are quite smart in fact, and you ought to dedicate serious effort to training them, because they are very good at what they do. You don't have to go to church with them, or let religion be any part of your dealings with them.

It is irrational to refuse to deal with people who do not fully share your values. It is also irrational to get all worked up at the fact that a person likes MTV; except, it is reasonable to be somewhat upset at someone who is a significant personal value to you but is irrational in some significant way. There are ways of dealing with irrationality in friends.

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It is irrational to refuse to deal with people who do not fully share your values. It is also irrational to get all worked up at the fact that a person likes MTV; except, it is reasonable to be somewhat upset at someone who is a significant personal value to you but is irrational in some significant way. There are ways of dealing with irrationality in friends.

I wouldn't say I get "worked up" over any of it, I just tend to treat people who prove to be irrational like they are 5. There was a point in time where i let tiny little things like that piss me off but soon realized I was wasting time and energy. I label now so i know who not to converse with about politics and religion. I don't have a problem with people disagreeing, I do have a problem with people being irrational in their arguments. I have found that every religious person i talk to uses about 298357029340 logical fallacies per hour. This is why i am so biased against the religious i suppose.

The MTV thing is interestingly enough related to my girlfriend who insists on watching it constantly. When i confront her on its absolute lack of intellectual value i get response that do not validate spending any amount of time on such programming. She has even agreed that none of the shows offer anything to the intellect but can not justify the point in shutting off her brain.

And now for something off topic;

What is your education level? Every time i see you post it's always brilliant. You can decline to answer of course.

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CastleBravo, I must ask you, respectfully:

You do know about 'mixed premises', don't you? That oddity of people who manage to be extremely rational in one area, and who also are, let's say, religious?

You do know that logic, intelligence, and a good grounding in O'ism are just the start of the journey?

That in fact, logic is a tool of Reason - and in my experience, rationality takes time, thought, and application to attain - so are you sure you're as rational as you think? I know I'm not always.

That it's possible to learn some things from those you have discounted as irrational? That it's possible to even find them pleasurable and entertaining?

That (this is the tricky one) Objectivism is in itself so vastly superior to any ideology - that, IMO, it does not require one to behave in a superior and arrogant way. It is a deeply human need to be right in our lives, but the need to compare one's 'rightness' to others ("my God is better than yours") is immature and lacking in real confidence. But if this is important, just live out O'ism for you, alone, and people will take note, guaranteed!

And, that you could end up in an ivory tower, withdrawing from life, because you don't approve of, or dismiss most beings as being insufficiently rational? I sometimes have thought that the majority of people are actually insane, not just irrational; but I am not punishing anyone but myself, by backing away. Is this the flourishing life that is ultimately the point of our philosophy?

Just asking, respectfully. ("keep you head when all about you, are losing theirs'...)

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There was a point in time where i let tiny little things like that piss me off but soon realized I was wasting time and energy.
Good: I only get pissed off when irrationality is in my face. It is good to learn how to distinguish mild abandonment of reason from thorough rejection of reason, and also to know whether an individual has a specific nutty spot.

One widespread yet weakly-held irrationality is epistemological nihilism. Many people pay lip service to it without having a truly thought-out commitment to the proposition that knowledge is impossible -- you'll hear mindless statements like "But we can't really know for sure". That kind of irrationality can be dealt with on a one-on-one basis, if the person you're dealing with is someone you want to or need to be around frequently. Shunning and ignoring are not the best first choices -- that is what you retreat to if it turns out to be impossible to get them to budge.

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CastleBravo, I must ask you, respectfully:

You do know about 'mixed premises', don't you? That oddity of people who manage to be extremely rational in one area, and who also are, let's say, religious?

You do know that logic, intelligence, and a good grounding in O'ism are just the start of the journey?

That in fact, logic is a tool of Reason - and in my experience, rationality takes time, thought, and application to attain - so are you sure you're as rational as you think? I know I'm not always.

That it's possible to learn some things from those you have discounted as irrational? That it's possible to even find them pleasurable and entertaining?

That (this is the tricky one) Objectivism is in itself so vastly superior to any ideology - that, IMO, it does not require one to behave in a superior and arrogant way. It is a deeply human need to be right in our lives, but the need to compare one's 'rightness' to others ("my God is better than yours") is immature and lacking in real confidence. But if this is important, just live out O'ism for you, alone, and people will take note, guaranteed!

And, that you could end up in an ivory tower, withdrawing from life, because you don't approve of, or dismiss most beings as being insufficiently rational? I sometimes have thought that the majority of people are actually insane, not just irrational; but I am not punishing anyone but myself, by backing away. Is this the flourishing life that is ultimately the point of our philosophy?

Just asking, respectfully. ("keep you head when all about you, are losing theirs'...)

I will honestly say that i am still working through applying reason to every area of my life. Currently working through diet and exercise. So no, i will admit to not always adhering to reason and logic. I realize I still have a great deal to learn (and thats why i come here whenever I uncover a problem I can't work out myself).

It's interesting that you mention arrogant behavior because there are times when I feel as if I have just become an arrogant, self-absorbed jackass. I feel as if I'm gaining knowledge for the sake of knowing more than anyone. When I introspect and examine the source of these feelings, however, i find that somewhere along the line I have lost sight of my original premises. I am NOT trying to be smarter than anyone else, I am trying to uncover the truth and apply it to my life so that i may live happily. When i remind myself that my goal is to not be "right" (and consequently, "wrong" as infrequently possible) and instead I am seeking Objective truth, the feelings of pretentiousness disappear. Admittedly, this also dissolves my need to label others as intellectual inferior by default. I find myself doing the less and less the more I learn, so someday I will be able to live by the premise of truth automatically.

Your mention of the "Ivory Tower" really puts my attitude into perspective. Sometimes I forget that Objectivism seeks to exalt man for his potential greatness instead of shunning him for his faults.

David - I have had my encounters with epistemological nihilism. It is usually used as an argument (as far as my experience) against science by those that wish to point out that science doesn't have all the answers (i.e. creationists). I have found that those that believe we can know nothing are too far gone for me to tolerate. If they do not believe in the existence of knowledge than how am I to use it to converse with them about their misunderstanding?

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  • 2 weeks later...
Yes. If you treated me or mine like a dog, I'd probably kick you in the gonads. :confused:

Well your presence on this forum probably signifies a rational persona, meaning I would probably think of you highly. If we were friends, treating yours like dogs would not be conducive to our friendship meaning it would be sacrificial to do so.

And yes, I am surrounded almost entirely by irrational people. I have maybe 4-5 people I can have a good conversation with. The rest are pretty much wingmen and drinking buddies.

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CastleBravo, I must ask you, respectfully:

You do know about 'mixed premises', don't you? That oddity of people who manage to be extremely rational in one area, and who also are, let's say, religious?

You do know that logic, intelligence, and a good grounding in O'ism are just the start of the journey?

That in fact, logic is a tool of Reason - and in my experience, rationality takes time, thought, and application to attain - so are you sure you're as rational as you think? I know I'm not always.

That it's possible to learn some things from those you have discounted as irrational? That it's possible to even find them pleasurable and entertaining?

I have this same problem. As I am now reading OPAR (after reading Rand's Fountainhead about two years ago and Atlas Shrugged in January), I am finding that I have quite a few faulty premises of my own that I must correct. For a very long period of my life, I've acted very irrationally.

Recently, I acknowledged through introspection that I do not know as much as I believed. I understand that I have much to learn on a variety of subjects; and it is honest and, therefore rational, to declare that I do not know something, rather than forming opinions on subjects that I do not understand.

I am learning that Reason (ie using logic & extrospection) is not simple. It requires patience, effort (in terms of thought and application, as you mentioned whYNOT), and understanding.

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  • 1 month later...
The MTV thing is interestingly enough related to my girlfriend who insists on watching it constantly. When i confront her on its absolute lack of intellectual value i get response that do not validate spending any amount of time on such programming. She has even agreed that none of the shows offer anything to the intellect but can not justify the point in shutting off her brain.

If you treat MTV watchers as 5 year olds, and your girlfriend watches MTV.... WTF is she doing putting up with the way YOU treat HER?

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I've recently discovered that I inadvertently treat irrational people like dogs. Literally. I refuse to talk about anything requiring more than a few seconds of thought. To me, irrational people are about as useful as an empty firearm. Anyone who believes in god I immediately want nothing to do with intellectually because they have already stepped outside the bounds of reason. Anyone who watches cable news and believes one Chanel is more objective than the other because they are more in line with the viewer's political views is automatically a moron. Anyone who likes to watch MTV or VH1 is a drooling cretin.

Am I an uptight asshole or am I doing well to protect my sanity by effectively shielding it from the madness of treating these people as intellectual equals? Is it wrong for me to instantly label a person given such a limited number of criteria or am I saving myself the trouble of endless disagreement and frustration?

This brings to me the concept that "one cannot love man without hating those who pretend to bear its name." "Man is a rational bieng but rationality is a matter of choice", those who abdicate that are therefore irrational and most likely why you classify them as "sub-human". For they attempt to survive by the methods of animals and simply repeat motions and sounds they've experienced by others without rationalizing the why and cannot concieve of a purpose or define a value.

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There are two types of people; those who classify everything into two types and those who don't.

Rather than get into all the particulars I would say that rationality is a matter of degree. Are you purely rational? Is there such a thing? We have just begun to remove contradictions and invalid concepts from our lives. Are you finished with that process? If so I think we would be bringing our problems to you.

One of the most interesting ways that I learned physics in college was to explain it to the under-achievers in class. They needed help. I found that by listening to their miss-conceptions and realigning them I could more fully understand the issues and the bad methods. Sometimes I could see that I was making the same mistakes in other areas of my life, and that I was paying a price for it.

If you can formulate responses or questions for these irrationalists in your life you will better understand the concepts and issues yourself, and you will be increasing the total processing power of the human race, and you might prevent another government bailout or something. We all benefit from more rational thought.

"There are no stupid questions, only stupid people." --- Mr. Garrison, South Park Elementary School

Edited by xgenx
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