Jump to content
Objectivism Online Forum

The view and plan of a German

Rate this topic


Recommended Posts

I'm a German entrepreneur in the IT field and have come accross Rand about a year ago.

I believe to a have a unique perspective and think I know how the world can be freed from mysticism quickly and for good. (actually I believe it's going to happen either way, but individuals can greatly speed it up)

I've written a rough (as short as possible while hopefully being long enough) sketch of the ideas and why they would work and published it here:

Critique of pure Rand

I'd be pleased about all friendly comments.

Yours, The Heretic

Link to post
Share on other sites

You're not describing a new philosophy called Pragmatic Objectivism, you're just describing Pragmatism. You are not relying on principles and abstract though, you are dealing in concretes.

For instance, you are affirming that Putin is good, not that his method of governing - authoritarianism- is good. Indeed, why would it be good? But you're not even admitting to the notion that authoritarianism (or dictatorship, tyranny, if you prefer those terms) is a valid concept that can be used to describe all societies in which men have undue power over other men.

I submit to you that the only reason Putin seems good to you is because, so far, he doesn't have quite as much power as Stalin. But his methods (political assassinations, suppression of free speech, etc.) are similar to Stalin's, just used to a lesser extent, due to his lesser power. It's not that Putin is good, it's that he is "less bad" than Stalin (mainly because he can't afford to be as bad as Stalin).

But the forces holding Putin back are not driven by Pragmatism. Pragmatists are the ones who support him, like you do. The forces holding him back are the silly idealists who are "sacrificing" their standing (and possibly their lives) in Putin's Russia, by speaking truth to power. Without that "sacrifice", Russia would just have another Stalin. So the idealists are not sacrificing themselves at all, they are just employing abstract principles and long term thinking to realize that someone has to fight Putin, here and now, otherwise Russia and everyone in it is doomed.

In the end, it comes down to what exactly are you, as a man who is born and will eventually die, looking to turn your life into. Would you be satisfied with being a happy businessmen in Hitler's Reich or Putin's Russia, with your work and existence in the service of thugs, or can you see the beauty in Ayn Rand's view of man as a heroic being, and the "good" as that which furthers man's life not as a cog in Putin's machine, but as that heroic being she describes in her novels?

Link to post
Share on other sites

I believe that you completely misunderstand the case that Rand made for the virtues she advocated. Those virtues are virtues under any political system, not just capitalism. I would recommend that you read Ayn Rand's Normative Ethics, by Tara Smith, to try to understand why Objectivist virtues only depend on the nature of man, and not the structure of government under which he lives. The proper structure of government is derivative from ethics; politics does not affect the broad content of ethics. The form of government under which you live can affect the proper application of Objectivist principles, but the principles themselves are broader than any one political system.

For example, this statement indicates a misunderstanding of the virtue of integrity:

"I consider these thoughts important to Objectivists as it seems that some of them are hurting both Capitalism and their own self-interest by maintaining a level of integrity that would make them moral in Utopia - but immoral today."

If you are attempting to apply the virtue of integrity but are hindering your own self-interest, it is you, not the virtue, that is at fault. If you hold integrity as a floating abstraction, and do not recall the reasons why it is a virtue, you can easily misapply it to your own life. However, if you avoid this mistake and apply it correctly, it will not hinder your own self-interest, no matter the form of government.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I removed the section on pragmatism. It's obscuring the main intention of the text.

Jake, I'm merely questioning that Russia is "Putin's machine" rather than that it's good or I'd be happy living there. America is clearly the best place to live - and that's because it's less mystical. Russia has been mystical for a long time, Putin didn't bring this about. It's uncertain whether he likes it that way, but it is certain that Stalin wanted it much more irrational.

I don't want to provoke here, but the differentiation is important for a solution: If it's an evil Putin, then "fighting Putin" will do. If it's irrationalism around an innocent Putin, then it will hurt. If it's both, neither will be enough.

Dante, does Tara Smith talk about the situation of an individual within an evil environment? If so, I'll have a look.

Link to post
Share on other sites

You're not describing a new philosophy called Pragmatic Objectivism, you're just describing Pragmatism. You are not relying on principles and abstract though, you are dealing in concretes.

For instance, you are affirming that Putin is good, not that his method of governing - authoritarianism- is good. Indeed, why would it be good? But you're not even admitting to the notion that authoritarianism (or dictatorship, tyranny, if you prefer those terms) is a valid concept that can be used to describe all societies in which men have undue power over other men.

I submit to you that the only reason Putin seems good to you is because, so far, he doesn't have quite as much power as Stalin. But his methods (political assassinations, suppression of free speech, etc.) are similar to Stalin's, just used to a lesser extent, due to his lesser power. It's not that Putin is good, it's that he is "less bad" than Stalin (mainly because he can't afford to be as bad as Stalin).

I just thought about this a bit more closely.

No, I didn't thought of Putin as more good because he has less Power. I just make an educated guess that when I'd met the two people I could have a rational argument with Putin but probably not with Stalin. The latter was a quasi-religious madmen, Putin is a Machiavellian power-politician. I would even dare say that it's probably easier to have a rational discussion with him than with most of the American or European political class, who are entirely deluded.

Evil comes from evasion, what's Putin evading (as far as we know)? That Russia will be shrugging? That's rather unlikely, isn't it?

Link to post
Share on other sites

Evil comes from evasion, what's Putin evading (as far as we know)?

I can't answer that, I don't know the man. I could of course speculate, but the proof that he is evil lies in what he has done, not in what we believe he might be thinking.

He is willfully stifling free speech, and that is destroying everything that is good in Russia. I guess you could speculate that he is evading the consequences of instilling a culture of fear and crony-ism in Russian society.

Russia is not a third world country, that's barely hanging on. It has great tradition and culture, it has intellectuals and skilled professionals, and if allowed the freedom, it would develop into a modern civilization. Putin's repressive regime is holding it back. You can't have cultural progress without a free trade of ideas.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Russia is not a third world country, that's barely hanging on. It has great tradition and culture, it has intellectuals and skilled professionals, and if allowed the freedom, it would develop into a modern civilization. Putin's repressive regime is holding it back. You can't have cultural progress without a free trade of ideas.

I don't know for certain, but I'd be very surprised if there was less freedom of speech in Russia than in Germany, where up until recently, there was almost none. I think Americans (and the West in general) often have a biased view on which countries are free and which aren't. Rand herself pointed out that democracy doesn't mean freedom.

Russia isn't a free country. Neither is any continental European country. Even America is in a bad shape today. I'm German and I can tell you that if you'd come Germans with any flavor of Objectivism (religion is also quite bad, but not as much), you will not be socially accepted. You will be socially exiled from society (you don't get killed or imprisoned, but you lose your job and standing). Many of my attitudes I could display freely in Russia, but not here in Germany, where I live. There is no single man causing this in Germany. Still you hold, I should believe that in Russia, it's all Putin's fault? The Russians never had anything but Monarchy, Communism, and now a new Authoritarianism. Without Putin, there'd be another Putin (or maybe much worse). Russia is deeply mystical, so is Germany (in a completely different way) that's what one needs to change - then the countries are moving towards freedom.

Note that Rand said about Russia (I'm quoting from memory): Russia so deeply rotten a country, I'm not surprised that it got a Communist ideology. So she also had the thought Russians are mystic => so they have authoritarian leaders (or worse).

Mysticism is inside the people, it's changing, but slowly. That's what my text is making a point on (and how it could be accelerated).

America has been moving towards mysticism (flavor 2), that's what's fueling the tyrannic nature of the US government. The government is not only the cause of the zeitgeist, it's also the effect. I thought that was consensus among Objectivists.

Edited by The Heretic
Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, you certainly can be openly gay in Germany without being arrested.

Are you talking about "holocaust denial" which is a criminal offense in Germany?

I'm not talking about arrest, but of social exclusion and the loss of your job. Germany isn't America, you can't just change the social environment: By and large, there's only one. If they don't like you, you're doomed.

The "holocaust denial" issue isn't relevant, as one is socially destroyed way before going anyway near such things.

There is a case of a news moderator (Hermans; public media) which, a couple of years ago, claimed that feminism was a mistake and destroyed the families. She lost her job and there was a show "tribunal" in a talk show she participated in. The tribunal featured throwing her out of the show with all other guests having been informed in advance.

She was portrayed as a Nazi because that's the easiest thing you can get someone with in Germany (the America equivalent is the accusation of racism). The political establishment is a thousand times closer to the Nazi ideology than that women has been. People didn't pay enough attention to what she was actually saying and trusted political class's verdict. That trust is, however, eroding fast.

And yes, if you're gay you're lucky in Germany and not in Russia.

But up untily recently no man could openly pride himself with being a hero for his wife in Germany - he'd be destroyed socially. In Russia, it's the norm.

Edited by The Heretic
Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...