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How can someone of a second-rate mind live by Objectivism?

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This is a perennial question that appears in various forms, I know, but it usually is asked in a moral or economic context; e.g. "Is someone immoral for not being as smart as Ayn Rand?" (obviously no, because morality and intelligence are unrelated) or, "Is someone destined to starve because his highest form of economic productivity is carrying around heavy objects?" (no, because of the law of comparative advantage).

My question is how to answer the allegation that Objectivism is an elitist philosophy, like Aristotelianism (of course, it is true that Aristotelianism is elitist), because only a fairly intelligent person would be able to grasp the abstract concepts necessary to really understand the philosophy. Of course, anyone could memorize the tenets of Objectivism unthinkingly and dogmatically, as so many do with Christianity in church on Sundays, but he would then be applying as a system of rules and commandments, not as a system of principles. In order to apply it as a set of principles, though, he would have to know the essentials of the entire philosophy, from metaphysics through politics, would have to grasp the most abstract of abstractions, such as the law of identity, and their full implications. Judging from my own personal experience, many people are simply incapable of such thought, whether from birth or through their upbringing is irrelevant: they just can't do it.

Now, such people, I believe, could do fairly well in a society dominated by Objectivism simply by treating it as a system of rules and copying what other successful people do, but such second-handedness would, ipso facto, be in contravention of the most basic principles of Objectivism, of cognitive independence in particular. This problem is already well-known: the entire "Randroid" stereotype of Objectivists comes from this sort of person who superficially adopts the philosophy without actually understanding it. As and if Objectivism achieves greater popularity, it will only become worse. For example, to return to Christianity, there are a small minority of people who really understand that religion and a huge hoard which goes around repeating slogans and dogmas; the same applies for Marxism, environmentalism, conservatism, and all other religions and intellectual camps.

How should this charge of elitism be answered? What should men with such second-rate minds do to live by Objectivism while preserving their cognitive independence? Does the inability to fully grasp abstract ideas prevent one from living by reason?

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The fact that something takes significant intellect to understand does not make it elitist, not by the definition of elitism.

Honestly, I think there are a lot of facets of Objectivism that are not necessary for everyone to understand to practice a rational lifestyle. There are people who take pride in having studied Objectivism "for years" and still, somehow, not understanding it to its full extent. That's ridiculous to me. There are certain principles that exist in the Objectivist philosophy that can be said to be necessary to live a rational life in a rational society, and these principles do not require a full understanding of every nook and cranny of the Objectivist philosophy to grasp. One can logically explain why it is necessary to live without the use of force and to live by the application of one's faculty of reason without explaining every aspect of metaphysics and epistemology, and one can explain the necessity of living selfishly without writing a 1168 page novel.

This isn't to say that such things are unnecessary or unwanted. An Objectivist society should, naturally, have people in it who understand Objectivism and laissez faire Capitalism. A politician who writes and passes laws should have a philosophy appropriate for interpreting such things. But not everyone needs to understand every facet of Objectivism, though the knowledge should of course be available: Objectivism, after all, -isn't- elitist. It is for anyone who has the will and the intellect to understand it to do so.

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The quick answer goes as follows :

Sure, it may take a decent amount of intelligence to learn all the intimate details of the philosophy and to gain a highly developed understanding of it and its applications on the level of say Leonard Peikoff. However : One need not aim for this level of understanding in order to understand the basic tenants of Objectivism and to be able to apply them to ones life. This is not the same as blindly accepting what O'ism has to say, and it does require a fair bit of learning and thought, but I do not think it is beyond the intelligence of anyone that does not have serious mental problems. Anyone with a reasonable amount of intelligence should be able to eventually and with varying degrees of effort , be able to understand O'ism well enough to successfully apply it so that they can think more rationally and live their life in a moral way.

An Objectivist is someone that understands O'ism and attempts to live their life according to its principles. But those principles involve not blindly accepting what O'ism has to say and in fact understanding to some significant extent what Oist prinicples mean, what facts give rise to them and their implications to ones life. That is what understanding (according to O'ism) involves, the ability to comprehend why a given principle/fact is true and how to apply it in the correct contexts.

Anyone can pick up O'ist principles and apply them blindly, and it may help them to some extent. An Objectivist on the other hand has a reasonable understanding of Objectivism, he knows why its principles are important and how and when he should apply them. Again, anyone without serious mental issues should be able to eventually get to this point ( it can ages, trust me) with more or less effort. Nothing in O'ism is all that difficult to grasp if one studies it in the correct order, it all deals with fairly fundamental facts which relate to things which one can easily observe ( at least if one knows what to look for ). So I dont see why it should require any great intelligence to be able to apply it to ones life to some degree of success. The extent to which this happens depends on to what extent one is able to connect ones experiences etc with O'ist principles, but for most cases in ones life, this should not be too hard if they really get O'ism and train themselves to think properly ( O'ist material helps with that too).

I would like to add as as an aside : Anyone that thinks they have a *deep* understanding of O'ism and that thinks they understand the roots of all / many its principles without years of study, is almost certainly wrong about how much they actually understand. It is actually a lot harder than that, as simple as it may seem at face value.

Edited by Prometheus98876
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I don't want to be misunderstood here: I'm not saying that one need to have minutely detailed understanding of Objectivism and its place in the history of philosophy on the level required of an academic philosopher just to live a normal life. And obviously knowledge and understanding are attained gradually, as Ayn Rand pointed out when she asserted that we are not like "Aquinas's angels" (who, when they learn a concept, immediately see every implication).

But to understand even the bare essentials (which include the broadest of abstractions, the axioms of existence, consciousness, and identity), it is necessary to think in terms of abstract ideas, and many people, apparently, simply cannot do so. To illustrate, I mean the kind of concrete-bound mentality that reads Atlas Shrugged and decides he must work in the railroad industry or who, in terms of ethics, can only think of, "But what about this? Can I do it? What about that? Can I do that?" rather than being able to use principles to decide that sort of thing.

It reminds me of the scene in The Fountainhead when Keating asks Roark if he should work for Francon or take the scholarship for the school in France. Roark tells him, essentially that he must use his own mind to make that sort of decision, that no one can come up with a rule to tell him what he should and shouldn't do for every situation. Maybe I am being overly pessimistic about human psychology, but some people seem to be unable to function in any way other than Keating's.

By the way, to clarify: by "elitist" I mean practicable only by a certain subset of humanity, not by everyone. For example, Aristotle's philosophy was not designed to be fully applicable to anyone who had to work for a living.

Edited by Vox Rationis
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This question (a good question at that) reminds me of the often political questions some new members ask. "If the world turned Objectivist tomorrow, wouldn't old people starve and children have no schools?" The world is not turning Objectivist tomorrow. Gradual change would be needed in the political arena. The same sort of change would have to occur in this question.

The intellectuals of a culture shape and direct its philosophy. In this way, those would have to be the first people to change. The effect would trickle down affecting every aspect of even a relatively unintelligent person's view of life. If this person grew up in an Objectivist oriented society they would have a very good chance of following the logic involved. After all, they would have been taught from an early age that their mind is important and how to use it. Some basic ethics could be understood by even a simpleton.

Out here in the current, real world, I have my doubts for their success. It is certainly possible, (we do have free will and all) but when one is surrounded with intrinsicism and subjectivism from most every angle since birth, it would take some serious force of will to come out of it. Building up knowledge from such a shaky foundation is tough. The best chance would likely come from Objectivist parents who sought out an atmosphere conducive to rationality for their child. I'm curious if there are any case studies of a sort that would test this?

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Out here in the current, real world, I have my doubts for their success. It is certainly possible, (we do have free will and all) but when one is surrounded with intrinsicism and subjectivism from most every angle since birth, it would take some serious force of will to come out of it. Building up knowledge from such a shaky foundation is tough. The best chance would likely come from Objectivist parents who sought out an atmosphere conducive to rationality for their child. I'm curious if there are any case studies of a sort that would test this?

I suppose an important question is whether that sort of concrete-bound mentality is something men have from birth, or if it is the result of their education or lack thereof.

One way to rephrase the question occurs to me: is it a violation of cognitive independence for someone to say, "I don't really understand this stuff, but I'm going to do what those people are doing because they seem happy and successful, even though I don't know why,"?

Edited by Vox Rationis
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I suppose an important question is whether that sort of concrete-bound mentality is something men have from birth, or if it is the result of their education or lack thereof.

One way to rephrase the question occurs to me: is it a violation of cognitive independence for someone to say, "I don't really understand this stuff, but I'm going to do what those people are doing because they seem happy and successful, even though I don't know why,"?

Certainly those kinds of people are physically capable of thinking in the widest abstract terms, they are just habitualized not to. Any habit can be broken. And yes, that is a forfeiture of cognitive independence. It's not second-handed to change your behavior even if you don't yet fully understand the principles underlying the change, but to not attempt to understand at all, opting instead to imitate others blindly, that is turning your thinking over to others.

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You have to take a person’s ‘interest’ into consideration. Most people can understand very complex concepts if they are interested. In school my parents and teachers used to always nag me, ‘You are above average and should do so much better’, the only problem was that I was not interested. I tried my hardest but could not really focus; there were always something more exciting. Today I cannot stop learning. All I want to do is learn. Sometimes I am amazed at the stuff that I am able to understand.

One thing I told myself when I discovered Objectivism is that I am going to enjoy it. I am not going to try and force myself to learn it. I am rather focusing on enjoying it. I have just received quite a few books of Ayn Rand that I can hardly wait to read but no pressure. Just want to enjoy the whole learning process.

This weekend I watched a documentary series about how Evolution shaped our lives. It is a BBC documentary called “Darwin’s dangerous Idea”. It totally blew me away – they couldn’t pull me of the sealing.

If you are really interested in learning Objectivism, eventually you will understand most of it.

:)

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The OP reminds me about how Nietzsche thought people were either sheep or birds of prey. Essentially, the sheep would be people of a concrete-bound mentality and following a simplistic morality, while birds of prey are capable of thinking on their own terms (although, Nietzsche never really was an advocate of reason). I'm making a parallel with another philosopher here, not any particular argument.

I'm not exactly sure what you mean by a second-rate mind or intelligence. Are you speaking of an attribute someone has by nature? You can easily say a dog is a second-rate mind, and because of that, a dog *cannot* live by Objectivism. By nature, a dog is incapable of following human commands on an abstract level. There are only rules and commandments for a dog. Clearly, some minimal requirement of cognitive functioning exists for living by any principles of Objectivism. I don't think any person really fails to meet a minimum requirement except those with severe mental disabilities, and children.

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Next to Rand ( for pure intelligence) I've got a third-rate mind - and I won't speak for anyone else!

Thing is, all the hard work already has been done.

All one has to do is learn, apply, and learn some more, and keep integrating it into one's life.

First, you need time, second you need to want philosophy like a fish wants water.

Because Objectivism comes in conceptual levels, the rest is easy.

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The extent to which this happens depends on to what extent one is able to connect ones experiences etc with O'ist principles, but for most cases in ones life, this should not be too hard if they really get O'ism and train themselves to think properly ( O'ist material helps with that too).

I would like to add as as an aside : Anyone that thinks they have a *deep* understanding of O'ism and that thinks they understand the roots of all / many its principles without years of study, is almost certainly wrong about how much they actually understand. It is actually a lot harder than that, as simple as it may seem at face value.

I think there's a distinction to be made between the ordinary guy's requirements from the philosophy, and the scholar's.

Broadly, we're all philosophers - and given that we will never want to stop learning , there comes a point where we have sufficient understanding to apply it to life; that is the "easy" side to Objectivism I mentioned. I maintain any intelligence can grasp it.

On a continuum towards the upper realms of philosophy appear the really first-rate minds which have studied the fundaments of all philosophy, and further are able to refine, compare and explore extremely complex concepts. If one needs an instant lesson in - well - humility, one only has to view the contributions of say, S.Boydstun for one.

So, I agree with your assessment as a warning against unrealistic 'instant expertise' - which is not contradictory ( imo ) to mine, which is that at primary and applicable levels, Objectivism is easily approachable and comprehended.. A 'philosophy for the people', in fact.

We can't all be scholars, nor want to be.

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On the subject of the OP, I think that there is a wide difference between the level of understanding needed to live by Objectivism, correctly applying principles to one's own life, and the level of understanding needed to defend its principles in, say, a rigorous academic setting. Clearly, doing the latter requires an intricate grasp of the nuances of the philosophy as well as the wider context of academic philosophy, and this is the role filled by professional Objectivist philosophers. This level of understanding is probably outside of the reach of most people, simply because it takes years of studying, thinking, and writing, and if you have a career that is not philosophy you simply don't have the time. This is a positive aspect of Objectivism, that it can hold its own in the most rigorous and in-depth academic discussions when it is properly defended by a knowledgeable individual. The level of understanding required to comprehend the principles of Objectivism, ground them in the facts of reality, and apply them to one's life is attainable by anyone who is mentally healthy.

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On the subject of the OP, I think that there is a wide difference between the level of understanding needed to live by Objectivism, correctly applying principles to one's own life, and the level of understanding needed to defend its principles in, say, a rigorous academic setting. Clearly, doing the latter requires an intricate grasp of the nuances of the philosophy as well as the wider context of academic philosophy, and this is the role filled by professional Objectivist philosophers. This level of understanding is probably outside of the reach of most people, simply because it takes years of studying, thinking, and writing, and if you have a career that is not philosophy you simply don't have the time. This is a positive aspect of Objectivism, that it can hold its own in the most rigorous and in-depth academic discussions when it is properly defended by a knowledgeable individual. The level of understanding required to comprehend the principles of Objectivism, ground them in the facts of reality, and apply them to one's life is attainable by anyone who is mentally healthy.

I did address this in my second post. Clearly, one does not to need to know the answer to every philosophical paradox or how to refute e.g. Kant in order to understand the basics of Objectivism. However, he does need to be able to grasp abstract ideas. I think we have established that someone of a truly, completely concrete-bound (which, in reflection is what I meant by "second-rate") mind could not live by Objectivism but that most people here think that such a state is not something men have from birth but rather something that is acquired through miseducation. Since that is a scientific question, I don't think it can be addressed without specific empirical evidence.

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I think there's a distinction to be made between the ordinary guy's requirements from the philosophy, and the scholar's.

Broadly, we're all philosophers - and given that we will never want to stop learning , there comes a point where we have sufficient understanding to apply it to life; that is the "easy" side to Objectivism I mentioned. I maintain any intelligence can grasp it.

On a continuum towards the upper realms of philosophy appear the really first-rate minds which have studied the fundaments of all philosophy, and further are able to refine, compare and explore extremely complex concepts. If one needs an instant lesson in - well - humility, one only has to view the contributions of say, S.Boydstun for one.

So, I agree with your assessment as a warning against unrealistic 'instant expertise' - which is not contradictory ( imo ) to mine, which is that at primary and applicable levels, Objectivism is easily approachable and comprehended.. A 'philosophy for the people', in fact.

We can't all be scholars, nor want to be.

That was part of my point , i.e. that a scholar and the average person require different levels of understanding when it comes to Objectivism. The average person needs only to understand the principles well enough to be able to apply them to his daily life and can afford to not understand every aspect of Objectivism completely ( though the more he understands comprehensively the better , though there may be a point of diminishing returns in relation to other things he can do). A scholar needs to understand Objectivism on a much deeper level , he needs to a deep and inductive understanding which allows him to form connections between aspects of Objectivism which others may not need to know and so that he can form abstractions of a far more difficult nature than most people may need to be able to make.

What I meant with the last part is that everyone should aim for more than a cursory knowledge of *what* Objectivism says. They should aim to understand *why* Objectivism says what it does and to be able to gain a comprehensive ability to trace its claims down to the facts of reality which give rise to those claims so that they can truly grasp what those claims mean in reality and so that they can apply them to a broad range of situations in ones life. This is not easy to do and takes years. It is beyond the level to which some bother to reach , even though they may understand things to some degree and be able to apply them successfully in some/many instances.

Understanding Objectivism not simply comprehension of what Ayn Rand said and a basic knowledge of when it applies. It is the ability to trace what she said to the facts which lead her to make those statements and an ability to apply her statements to situations outside anything she may have mentioned in a broad range of new situations. Getting to *this* level is what takes longer.

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My question is how to answer the allegation that Objectivism is an elitist philosophy, like Aristotelianism (of course, it is true that Aristotelianism is elitist), because only a fairly intelligent person would be able to grasp the abstract concepts necessary to really understand the philosophy.

I disagree that you need to know the essentials of the entire philosophy before you can live by it. Understanding and living by the Objectivist virtues of rationality, productiveness, pride, independence, integrity, honesty and justice -- and understanding the values of reason (and that emotions are not a means of cognition), purpose and self-esteem is probably enough for most people.

How should this charge of elitism be answered? What should men with such second-rate minds do to live by Objectivism while preserving their cognitive independence? Does the inability to fully grasp abstract ideas prevent one from living by reason?

Everyone already has a philosophy; even those with "second-rate minds" (a faulty concept, BTW) can't avoid it. Humans learn in bits and pieces; by experience; by trial and error. There's no need to memorize any tenets. Having someone, such as a teacher or a parent, who understands Objectivism can be enough. These are lessons (and learning opportunities) that come up thousands of times in a person's life. For example, most people already know that honesty is a virtue -- and they get value from that knowledge, even if they don't understand exactly why it's true.

The main thing they're missing is having someone help connect the dots between Objectivist virtues; to help them see things like the source and nature of pride, self-esteem and happiness.

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I disagree that you need to know the essentials of the entire philosophy before you can live by it. Understanding and living by the Objectivist virtues of rationality, productiveness, pride, independence, integrity, honesty and justice -- and understanding the values of reason (and that emotions are not a means of cognition), purpose and self-esteem is probably enough for most people.

If a man does not know the source of these virtues (and does not care to find it out), they are floating abstractions, no different from any religious dogma.

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If a man does not know the source of these virtues (and does not care to find it out), they are floating abstractions, no different from any religious dogma.

It's possible to inductively validate a virtue without studying an entire philosophical system.

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I disagree that you need to know the essentials of the entire philosophy before you can live by it. Understanding and living by the Objectivist virtues of rationality, productiveness, pride, independence, integrity, honesty and justice -- and understanding the values of reason (and that emotions are not a means of cognition), purpose and self-esteem is probably enough for most people.

Everyone already has a philosophy; even those with "second-rate minds" (a faulty concept, BTW) can't avoid it. Humans learn in bits and pieces; by experience; by trial and error. There's no need to memorize any tenets. Having someone, such as a teacher or a parent, who understands Objectivism can be enough. These are lessons (and learning opportunities) that come up thousands of times in a person's life. For example, most people already know that honesty is a virtue -- and they get value from that knowledge, even if they don't understand exactly why it's true.

The main thing they're missing is having someone help connect the dots between Objectivist virtues; to help them see things like the source and nature of pride, self-esteem and happiness.

I think this is a good post and would like to expand on the point a little further. This idea of a second rate mind is inaccurately dichotomous(Or maybe 'trichotomous'). Firstly, there is no meaningful distinction between "First Rate," "Second Rate," or "Third rate" minds, not minds wholly or in part. No doubt that someone can be better or worse at particular mental activities, but very few ways of testing have any predictive qualities and those that do, like IQ for example are pretty limited. These fuzzy descriptions are only going to serve to frame the debate in such a way that two or three incorrect answers are available.

The philosophy of Ayn Rand is useful because it is accurate in describing man's relationship to reality. Assuming then, that this premise is true, an endeavor, physical, mental, and psychological, is successful to the extent that it conforms to her philosophy. If the individual has a more, than usual, accurate assessment of the nature of the universe and how it works, especially in the sphere that he is working in, an accurate view of his mind and it's capacities and connection to that world, and an honest an accurate assessment of how he feels about it all, he will tend to be successful in all three of those ways. If he has less than usual, he will tend to fail more frequently.

The implication in the original post and much of the discussion is that one ought to only follow a philosophy to the extent that they are intelligent. There is no ought implied by intelligence, only an is. If someone is all around, less intelligent then they will be less able to follow the philosophy consistently. There is no implication that they shouldn't try. That's like saying, since I don't really grasp the way acceleration with regard to gravity functions I should follow a competing explanation where fairies with wings fly me to the ground faster and faster as I get closer to the earth. Rubbish. You must always do as well as you're able, and to the extent you are correct you will succeed.

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If a man does not know the source of these virtues (and does not care to find it out), they are floating abstractions, no different from any religious dogma.

You do not need to know the source of virtues to be able to experience for yourself that they are valid. They are not floating abstractions, because they are tied to concrete experiences in your life.

In fact, this is one of the main differences between Objectivism and religion. Because Objectivism is anchored in reality, it is something that everyone can experience (with consistency), unlike revelation or the mystic "consequences" of dogma.

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Growing up, I certainly had a second rate mind and adopted mystical ideas, but I think this is because I was opressed by others for my selfishness. It is a bit hard to explain, but I isolated and separated myself mentally from other people, thus making it hard to notice details and think logically. From childhood on I definitely had a strong aversion to doing things because I was told and was skeptical and truth obssessed. I also had little concern for others. For example, with every childhood friend I had, I had no tolerance for what they wanted to do, I would only suggest what I wanted to do and thus I was happier playing by myself. I would look down on people often and think of them as dirty, gross, weird, retarded etc. When I read Anthem in 9th grade it was like validating these feelings. I started pondering about why there is no God, why people don't like things because they're the best, and why it never makes sense for someone else to decide what's best for you. I once told a shrink at that age that therapy doesn't help me because I don't need someone else to tell me what I should do or what they think I am. The only way someone can be truly helped is to think about what is really best for themselves and what they want.

I think someone's ability to be objectivist has to do with a variety of factors including the ability to control their emotions, cognitive processes (both learned and inborn), and personality or "sense of life," as Ayn called it. There are plenty of people with average intelligence whose values naturally correspond with objectivism (doesn't have the ability to write 1,000 page books or come up with something original, but has a healthy cognitive ability and self reliant psychological tendencies). It is also worth noting that it is very difficult for some people to go aganist what they've been taught but they are not necessarily lacking in cognitive ability. In fact, I think these people are often the ones who tend to become religious or political fanatics because they have to go to extremes to convince themselves that what they believe or do is moral. Their cognition tells them it's not quite right, so they try to justify it by being extreme.

Edited by Dreamspirit
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Ayn Rand wrote an essay "The Simplest Thing in the World," and in a superficial sense Objectivism is just that. A=A. What you see is what you get. The senses are valid, and man's mind is competent to perceive and manage reality. If everyone stuck to this axiom and refused to deviate from it, religions and dictatorships would disappear. Of course, if everyone did that many people would be out of a job, so it isn't in the short run interests of political and religious leaders to admit the obvious. But the facts of reality can't be successfully denied in the long run. It is only the vain attempt to alter reality in order to put across an irrational viewpoint that convinces some people to conform to dangerous nonsense. So, if one opens one's eyes and deals with existence with common sense, one is a long way towards being an Objectivist. The more sophisticated among us view this approach as naive realism, but what is the alternative?

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My question is how to answer the allegation that Objectivism is an elitist philosophy...

Elitism is used as an anti-concept. It insinuates that striving to be the best one can be is somehow condescending. It is a word used by those below to tear down those above so they don't have to go to the trouble of competing.

...like Aristotelianism (of course, it is true that Aristotelianism is elitist), only a fairly intelligent person would be able to grasp the abstract concepts necessary to really understand the philosophy.

Which may be why it took over 2000 years to for it to be better understood. But eventually it was understood in the practical application of the Declaration of Independence.

Of course, anyone could memorize the tenets of Objectivism unthinkingly and dogmatically, as so many do with Christianity in church on Sundays, but he would then be applying as a system of rules and commandments, not as a system of principles.

This implies an equivalent. As though Objectivism and Christianity are interchangeable.

In order to apply it as a set of principles, though, he would have to know the essentials of the entire philosophy, from metaphysics through politics, would have to grasp the most abstract of abstractions, such as the law of identity, and their full implications.

A reason Atlas Shrugged may be so much more popular than Ayn Rand's non-fiction work is because abstract principles are applied to down to earth scenarios. A man who can't understand basic axioms is still using them as he stands there talking to you. An honest man who doesn't understand all of the implications of where altruism came from still doesn't like being stolen from.

Judging from my own personal experience, many people are simply incapable of such thought, whether from birth or through their upbringing is irrelevant: they just can't do it.

This is not so in my experience. It is a deterministic way of looking at humanity that drops the context of what a Man "Is". Because his rational faculty is essential in the very action of forming his mouth into a word while knowing its meaning. He is a rational being even if he swims in irrational thoughts. The rational part of his nature will surface if you use the right bait, and calm yourself so you don't startle him away. There are approaches to take with each person, an approach that begins with what you and your opposition have in common.

Now, such people, I believe, could do fairly well in a society dominated by Objectivism simply by treating it as a system of rules and copying what other successful people do, but such second-handedness would, ipso facto, be in contravention of the most basic principles of Objectivism, of cognitive independence in particular.

When someone asked “What ought to be done about the poor?” the reply was “Don't be one of them.” Objectivism requires a man to be what he is, conscious, volitional, rational... There are contradictions in being blindly conscious, blindly volitional, blindly rational. Will the rational men in the future have no arguments to raise?

This problem is already well-known: the entire "Randroid" stereotype of Objectivists comes from this sort of person who superficially adopts the philosophy without actually understanding it. As and if Objectivism achieves greater popularity, it will only become worse. For example, to return to Christianity, there are a small minority of people who really understand that religion and a huge hoard which goes around repeating slogans and dogmas; the same applies for Marxism, environmentalism, conservatism, and all other religions and intellectual camps.

The difference between Objectivism and all of these other movements is that Objectivism is the only one based on self-defense. In a world where Objectivism protects individual rights, ignorant people will only be able to hurt themselves. Trying to somehow control their thinking would go against the foundation of Objectivism. It is futile to try force the irrational to be rational.

How should this charge of elitism be answered? What should men with such second-rate minds do to live by Objectivism while preserving their cognitive independence? Does the inability to fully grasp abstract ideas prevent one from living by reason?

This would take specific scenarios to address. The question seems to me like a parent saying he doesn't know how to deal with his child.

There are irrational people in the world now, there will probably be irrational people in the world in the future: Is this a deterministic view or is it based on the nature of choice?

An objectivist forum is probably a good testing ground for what life would be like in an Objective world. Why does the question need to be projected into a future scenario? The problem exists now, it is better to deal with it now. Is there some social stigma in criticizing an Objectivist who's tactics you don't like. Is risking the discernment of each others reputation worth the investment of understanding?

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  • 3 months later...

One really can understand where Rand came from when one has had their life destroyed by Socialists and forced to slowly, and painful rebuild from the ashes of the commands of irrational "authority" who believe that all things creative and valuable are evil, and that men exist to sacrifice themselves to other men.

That intelligence and the pursuits of one's own interests is evil.

I was raised by such monsters and their ilk.

So, I will not allow it, and will create.

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