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Though others here have been quick to point out that equality in values is possible; that no dichotomy is necessary, (and I agree entirely with that) I am going by Rand's own words, in which she does not allow for this "equality" in values: Rand -- "If they place such things as friendship and family ties above their own productive work, yes, then they are immoral." That doesn't allow for an "equality" in values, does it? , as plain as can be, that people who put friendship and family ties above their productive work are immoral.

Now that I've read some other posts, what I was getting at about some kind of general equality in values isn't the most precise way to speak. My thought was that while it is essential to value your career as a guiding self-chosen purpose to your life, a family may be a value essential to fulfilling that. The value of a family is precisely the value it provides you as an individual. Attempting to devalue your own family is a poor option, and not what is meant by putting career first. There are good reasons to pursue human relationships, and to pursue those for an overarching purpose of your own life, in the same way SoftwareNerd is describing. In that sense, career can only properly be "above" family. Another way to phrase that might be that career is a root value, which is what is meant by primary. Your own self-esteem makes it possible to having healthy relationships. Keep in mind that career here refers to just what a lifetime personal pursuit of productivity, not an immediate job or seeking a paycheck.

I would bet Rand absolutely understood what is required to have a family in the sense of having kids, just as I think the same of most people who choose not to have kids. A family is not just a thing to have, but a value to cultivate. Certain steps are required to maintain that. Ignoring the family you've established is a sure way to destroy such a value and would also be immoral. By "equality", I only meant that in practical terms, the way you treat values and maintain them requires similar efforts and attention as other values.

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As I said in the previous post, I think you really don;t understand the notion of "primary". Either that, or you simply don;t realize that your quote from Rand was about family not being primary to cr

"Surely the Jesuits taught you better."

I think this might be the second time you have referenced my "Jesuit" connections. I don't know why you're doing this, as I have never been taught by Jesuits, if that's what you're thinking. Or are you some conspiracy believer? Do you believe that Jesuits are behind all evil, and that people who disagree with you are obviously under their mind control?

At any rate, you can't seem to keep from being snide, so I'm not going to take you seriously.

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Do you believe that Jesuits are behind all evil, and that people who disagree with you are obviously under their mind control?
Quite the contrary. I think the Jesuits are among the best that the Catholic church have to offer. It would be wise for other Catholics to learn from them.
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"The value of a family is precisely the value it provides you as an individual."

I agree with that. I simply do not agree, though, that it is necessarily immoral to value it above a career, which Rand appears to do.

"In that sense, career can only properly be "above" family. Another way to phrase that might be that career is a root value, which is what is meant by primary. Your own self-esteem makes it possible to having healthy relationships."

We're probably just arguing over small points, while agreeing, more or less, on the larger points. I think that self-esteem comes primarily from loving and being loved -- this is why, for example, the original poster is having such difficulties, despite his abilities in his field. These are aspects of one's background that predate one's career, as they go to one's childhood experiences and affect one's self-esteem well before one is out in the world achieving anything. Great creative minds can and do surmount a lack of a loving birth family, but most people struggle tremendously and don't overcome those dysfunctions. Once one is out of the nest, so to speak, then a sense of purpose is going to be increasingly important, and it adds to one's self-esteem. That might involve a career, but it might be that a career is important only in that it provides for one's own spouse and children.

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"From your remarks, I take it you don't approve of rational selfishness, right?" Wrong. "Rand's statement is clear; although I don't think anyone here has ascertained whether she meant one's birth family - or one's chosen/created one. Important distinction." I agree -- it is a very important distinction. "Having read an off-the-cuff remark she made about the serious responsibilties of having children, I'd say 10 to one she meant the former." I would hope so. "But I'd still like to hear why family should take priority." As I mentioned before, love, which is essential for emotional and mental health, comes from family and friends. Without that, humans are usually crippled. All healthy, functioning individuals seek happiness -- no one in their right mind deliberately chooses misery. Being loved and loving is usually essential to that happiness, and love comes from family and friends. I say "usually", because there are a few individuals for whom their creative work is so consuming that they derive all of their happiness from it. But those are the exceptions, not the rule. For the most part, individuals coming from unloving, dysfunctional families (like the OP here) have significant emotional hurdles to overcome in the areas of personal happiness, ability to relate with others, and their own creative work. And certainly there are many examples of individuals coming from these kinds of backgrounds who are "healed" by the love of their own spouse and children (the painter Carl Larsson comes to mind). Where else is the individual going to receive and give love, if not with family and friends?
Oh, okay, I get it : you are arguing from the position of a rational egoist? Whose life is the standard? And friends and family are his highest achievements? The gains you portray are other-dependent, however. Uncertain, and basically altruistic.

How to know that your children will love you for life-time?

What about when they leave, as they must?

Is every friendship rock-solid forever?

Is it the duty for loved ones to "heal" you?

Yes and yes, one's loved ones are a immensely high value - this has been repeated by everyone. But as rational egoist, you'd know that the cardinal values are rationality, productiveness, and pride. Add the virtue of independence, and tell me how a man or woman could achieve all these without dedication to creative and productive work. (To say nothing of substantial support for your beloved family.)

The Self is the primary, without which other values are next to impossible.

Edited by whYNOT
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We're probably just arguing over small points, while agreeing, more or less, on the larger points. I think that self-esteem comes primarily from loving and being loved

It's no small point to argue over. Like whYNOT noted, it's the difference between deriving one's opinion of one's self -- self-esteem -- from others, or from one's self. Self esteem is literally an estimation of one's self, which has to be based on something. You think it's based on love from others? I don't think so. Its primary source -- which is the main argument here with "primary vs. secondary" -- is personal achievement, which also serves as reinforcement of one's ability to use one's mind to serve one's self. These two things make self-esteem, and then values, possible, and is the primary source. How exactly are you to even love a family and friends without first attaining and maintaining a positive evaluation of yourself -- ie. without maintaining a "self" at all?
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Jaskn, got to this before I did Avila, and said pretty much what I was going to post so I'd like to ask that you read it carefully.

It is important that others- be they spouse, child, siblings, friends not be the primary in one's life. That is- you must possess and maintain a distinct intact personhood of your own before being able to have healthy relationships with other people. Anything else turns co-dependant and parasitic.

Since I believe I recall your mentioning of being Catholic somewhere down the line I will remind you that many highly respected theologians and religious scholars actually agreed with Rand on this point.

There is a whole chapter about it in C. S. Lewis' work "The Great Divorce". I highly recommend the read.

Edited to add:

I looked it up- Chapter 11 & 12, in case you're not interested in the whole read. In particular the scene of the ghost mother in purgatory looking for her lost dead son.

Edited by SapereAude
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I simply do not agree, though, that it is necessarily immoral to value it above a career, which Rand appears to do.

I think you might be taking "career" too narrowly.

Here's a scenario: It's a man's anniversary, but his boss asks him to stay late at work to get a jump on a new project. It's presented as a request -- desired by the boss, but not "mandatory." What should the man do?

If you think that Objectivism requires the man to stay at work, because he cannot value family over career, or that Rand would hold the man who goes home to his wife as immoral, then I disagree that this is what we're talking about. I think it might be perfectly proper and moral for the man to opt to go home to his wife in this scenario, and that's almost certainly what I would do in that situation.

Instead I look at "career" as a function of "productiveness"; it's part of what I might term the cultivation of the self, or if you will, the soul. And while SapereAude may have beat me to it a bit with C.S. Lewis, consider a Christian's view of his relationship with God. Ought a Christian value his relationship with his family over his relationship with God? Or vice-versa? The relationship with God would be considered primary, right? Though it wouldn't be seen as being any kind of "conflict" with a man's relationship with his family -- instead, the blessings of family would be seen as possible through his relationship with God. We could say, per Christianity, that for a man to be a good family man, he should first "be right with God."

While there is no particular call for an Objectivist to be a "family man," the rationale is somewhat the same. There's no prohibition against family, or valuing others highly, and I doubt there exists any Objectivist that doesn't do so. But I regard honest and meaningful love as being contingent upon first being a strong and good human being. Productiveness is a part of that.

If I truly wish to be a good family man, I must first be a good man. So I opt to be a good man, not in service to my family, but in service to having the best life possible and all of life's attendant blessings, among which my wife stands out as one of the most radiant things I've ever known.

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I agree with that. I simply do not agree, though, that it is necessarily immoral to value it above a career, which Rand appears to do

At some point I have to ask you Avila, how much of Rand you have actually read in full and how much you are taking from second hand and third hand sources.

because you don't seem to have a grasp on any of the contexts in which Rand said things and keep clinging to soundbites that aren't even direct quotes.

For example, have you read Atlas Shrugged. In whole?

Because in Atlas Shrugged there was a woman who had been a successful movie star. When Dagny questioned her about what she was doing in Gult's Gulch the woman replied that she was taking on her most important role ever- the proper raising of her children.

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Corresponding to the "productiveness" over "family" argument, there are a number of studies out there that indicate people who retire early generally die sooner than people who retire later in life. Why? It is generally considered that they've lost their sense of purpose.

http://www.webmd.com/healthy-aging/news/20051020/early-retirement-early-death

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"That is- you must possess and maintain a distinct intact personhood of your own before being able to have healthy relationships with other people. Anything else turns co-dependant and parasitic."

I agree, as it is impossible to love others if one despises oneself.

"Since I believe I recall your mentioning of being Catholic somewhere down the line I will remind you that many highly respected theologians and religious scholars actually agreed with Rand on this point."

And again -- I agree. After all, the call to "love one another as you love yourself" presumes a healthy self-love.

"It is important that others- be they spouse, child, siblings, friends not be the primary in one's life. That is- you must possess and maintain a distinct intact personhood of your own before being able to have healthy relationships with other people. Anything else turns co-dependant and parasitic".

But if it contributes to an individual's happiness and self-esteem, why would it necessarily be co-dependent and parasitic? Here, perhaps, is where we disagree. Let me give you a real-life example: I know a fellow here in town who is about 40. A cheerful, hobbity kind of guy. He's not some great intellectual, and though I haven't asked him what his college experience actually is, I know he's not currently using a degree if, in fact, he even has one. He married the girl of his dreams a few years ago. Because they are both older, they were very happy to be able to conceive and have a child.

He works here in our small town at a factory that makes gas fireplace inserts. I don't know exactly what he does, but I'm guessing it's simple assembly line work or machine tool work. Does he care? NO. He is clearly happy because he is providing for his wife and son. Those are the things he values, and what bring him happiness. His job is merely the means by which he can provide for his family.

Now, I happen to think the choices he has made -- putting his wife and child ahead of any career -- have been perfectly moral. Whynot points out that Objectivist cardinal values are rationality, productiveness, and pride -- hasn't he, in fact, applied those in his own way, even while putting himself third on the list before his spouse and child? I know I do the same -- I put my spouse first, my kids second, my career as an artist third -- and I am quite happy (married 26 years), very productive, and very creative. Given Rand's quote in the Playboy interview, it would appear that my friend, and myself, are immoral.

I just don't think there really are that many people who actually devalue themselves or harm their self-esteem by putting others ahead of themselves. Sure, there are some drama queens -- perpetual martyrs -- but even they are, ironically enough, "getting" something they desire from posturing as a martyr. Now, I'm sure there are a few sickos out there who desire misery, but no mentally healthy person does -- we seek happiness (and, if we seek it irrationally, we won't find it).

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"At some point I have to ask you Avila, how much of Rand you have actually read in full and how much you are taking from second hand and third hand sources.

because you don't seem to have a grasp on any of the contexts in which Rand said things and keep clinging to soundbites that aren't even direct quotes."

I've read Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal, The Virtue of Selfishness, Introduction to Objectivist Epistemolgy, Atlas Shrugged, The Fountainhead, the Romantic manifesto.

If you look at the earlier posts on this thread, you will see that I am NOT relying on second or third-hand sources, as I gave both the Playboy interview question in its entirety, and Rand's answer in its entirety. I'm not "clinging to soundbites".

"For example, have you read Atlas Shrugged. In whole?

Because in Atlas Shrugged there was a woman who had been a successful movie star. When Dagny questioned her about what she was doing in Gult's Gulch the woman replied that she was taking on her most important role ever- the proper raising of her children."

Yes, I have read it in full -- a number of times, actually, though it's been quite a few years.

How do you account for the Playboy interview answer, then? I really doubt that Rand thought that a woman's place was in the home, so I don't think her answer about it being immoral to put one's career over family was only directed to men.

Edited by Avila
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Somebody else correct me if I'm wrong as admittedly, I'm speaking off the top of my head and haven't checked recently, but I'm pretty sure somewhere in reliable sources on Oism there is something stated to the effect that yes, being a "full time parent" can be moral if one approaches it as their career seriously while their children are young and require a lot of supervision. This means though that one tries to go about it as diligently and thoroughly as they would any other career as opposed to just winging it, doing whatever feels good or is easy or familiar while staying home with the kids just because they like being around kids and figure that as long as they cover the basic physical needs and make sure the kids know that their parents think they're awesome that that is good enough. Once the kids get a bit older though and can do more for themselves, then not having some other career pursuits ceases to be justified by trying to do a really good job with the kids.

This is just a thought that I had, but I suspect based on a similar line of thought that one may be able to spend an extended period of time dedicated to taking care of adult family members while fulfilling this kind of productivity and career issue simultaneously if the adult is disabled or injured or ill and will require somebody to provide them with constant assistance. The stipulation that you are still morally required to take it seriously and do a good job would still apply. Essentially, if somebody would have to do it anyway, if it could be a career for somebody who is not a family member, then it does not cease to be a legitimate fulfillment of career pursuit if the only difference between what person A and person B are doing is that one of them is a family member of those they are assisting and the other is not.

The thing about not putting family above a career is supposed to express an opposition to those who are or think one should be the "working for the weekend" type who half-assedly do the bare minimum in whatever is the first job they can land that they can tolerate in order to get by and then go to just hang out, veg, kill time, "be there" and show support for and with other people. Usually people recognize that prioritizing just killing time on your own or with friends over a career is not good, but many people think if the people you do so with are your family members that that now makes it commendable.

Edited by bluecherry
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Somebody else correct me if I'm wrong as admittedly, I'm speaking off the top of my head and haven't checked recently, but I'm pretty sure somewhere in reliable sources on Oism there is something stated to the effect that yes, being a "full time parent" can be moral if one approaches it as their career seriously while their children are young and require a lot of supervision.

Atlas Shrugged, in the Gulch, Dagny meets a woman who's primary focus is on raising her children to think.

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Somebody else correct me if I'm wrong..., but I'm pretty sure somewhere in reliable sources on Oism there is something stated to the effect that yes, being a "full time parent" can be moral if one approaches it as their career...
Yes, it is in the same Playboy interview, two questions after the answer Avila quoted. Here's a link.

The thing about not putting family above a career is supposed to express an opposition to those who are or think one should be the "working for the weekend" type who half-assedly do the bare minimum in whatever is the first job they can land that they can tolerate in order to get by and then go to just hang out, veg, kill time, "be there" and show support for and with other people.
I don't think that's the implied context for that quote. Rather, I see the stereotypical context to be (say) someone who wants to be an artist, but becomes an architect because his mom has always longed of that type of career for him... or even someone who thinks yet another Thanksgiving dinner is more important than the first pouring of a new metal he invented.
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I simply do not agree, though, that it is necessarily immoral to value it above a career, which Rand appears to do. "In that sense, career can only properly be "above" family. Another way to phrase that might be that career is a root value, which is what is meant by primary. Your own self-esteem makes it possible to having healthy relationships." We're probably just arguing over small points, while agreeing, more or less, on the larger points. I think that self-esteem comes primarily from loving and being loved -- this is why, for example, the original poster is having such difficulties, despite his abilities in his field. These are aspects of one's background that predate one's career, as they go to one's childhood experiences and affect one's self-esteem well before one is out in the world achieving anything. Great creative minds can and do surmount a lack of a loving birth family, but most people struggle tremendously and don't overcome those dysfunctions. Once one is out of the nest, so to speak, then a sense of purpose is going to be increasingly important, and it adds to one's self-esteem. That might involve a career, but it might be that a career is important only in that it provides for one's own spouse and children.

Avila,

I am certainly not going to fault you for trying to reconcile two fundamentally different positions.

No, we are not "just arguing over small points while agreeing ...on the larger points."

I have respect for the fact that you have done the basic reading - but surely that equips you with

the knowledge that the Objectivist ethics is a radical departure from the norm?

As I said, there is no dichotomy between creative, productive work, and 'family values' - within O'ism.

They resolve through context, hierarchy, volition, timing, and at times, value-equality.

However, there is a definite dichotomy between the traditionalist and conservative purpose of family - and O'ist morality.

Otherwise it would be too easy to invoke the stereotypical situation that is so common - hubby working late at the office, while wife and children languish at home. (Just as likely, vice-versa, today!) The marriage - based on conventional and vaguely religious values - 'goes bad', usually.

The Objectivist's approach is to get his or her "ducks in a row", so to speak: Self - as first and last value, and productive work that makes all other values possible (and utilizes all one's virtues); then romantic love which consciously recognizes those virtues in each other; and then the concrete affirmation of that love in a child. With its own value of love and nurture.

Does this sound calculating to you? If so, only because it is rational, and fully conscious. I don't believe that you can doubt the depth of emotion, or personal fulfilment, involved, either.

Nothing here is 'a given' - or automatic - or traditional.

Edited by whYNOT
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"A man and woman create a family and rise children not because they want to do that or enjoy the happiness which family life and children could give them, but simply because their tradition demands it."

Wow.....do you actually believe this? This is an amzing statement. You are out of touch with reality

We are discussing here traditional family values, don't we? You never heard about people who create family because their religion, tradition, cultural pressure demand it? You never heard about arranged or even forced marriage? Then you are out touch with reality.

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"You never heard about people who create family because their religion, tradition, cultural pressure demand it? You never heard about arranged or even forced marriage? Then you are out touch with reality."

In parts of the world, yes -- but I assume we're mostly discussing life here in the United States, where such marriages are few.

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"The Objectivist's approach is to get his or her "ducks in a row", so to speak: Self - as first and last value, and productive work that makes all other values possible (and utilizes all one's virtues); then romantic love which consciously recognizes those virtues in each other; and then the concrete affirmation of that love in a child. With its own value of love and nurture."

That is NOT a "radical departure" from the norm -- I would mostly agree with the approach you outline, and I'm not an Objectivist.

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"The Objectivist's approach is to get his or her "ducks in a row", so to speak: Self - as first and last value, and productive work that makes all other values possible (and utilizes all one's virtues); then romantic love which consciously recognizes those virtues in each other; and then the concrete affirmation of that love in a child. With its own value of love and nurture."

That is NOT a "radical departure" from the norm -- I would mostly agree with the approach you outline, and I'm not an Objectivist.

In which case you have accepted that it would be immoral to make family primary.

Discussion over.

And no, if you don't recognize that rational selfishness is a radical departure,

then you haven't grasped it yet - nor the pervading altruist/collectivist morality.

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I don't think that's the implied context for that quote. Rather, I see the stereotypical context to be (say) someone who wants to be an artist, but becomes an architect because his mom has always longed of that type of career for him... or even someone who thinks yet another Thanksgiving dinner is more important than the first pouring of a new metal he invented.

Hank, who I assume is who you had in mind, does not value family over career, he just has family members around him who think he should and try to put pressure on him to do so. They have the attitude I was referring to. They're also the kind of people who consequently for putting work as a lower value or even a non-value never do and never would invent something like a new metal. They're the kind that thinks work is just something to be put up with and is simply about accumulating material objects and that as such it is a lowly pursuit and favor "relationships" as a higher value. That's how Hank's family at least seems to enact falling on the mind end of the false mind-body dichotomy.

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"In which case you have accepted that it would be immoral to make family primary.

Discussion over."

I said that I would "mostly" agree with your approach. It is one aspect, the putting of work over family, that I disagree with. And it would be nice if you could give me actual evidence that this works in the real world, as opposed to working in fiction. I have already given myself as an example of a happy, productive person who puts family first, and can give you many real-world examples from my own experience, and probably most adults here could think of happy marriages wherein the spouses put family first. History can give examples as well. It's hardly reasonable to contrast a stereotype of a traditional marriage gone bad with a theory of marriage, as you did. I'm not saying that there aren't any families based on Objectivist principles, but face it -- they're rare. So rare that it would be difficult to accurately assess its real-world success or failure.

I have to wonder, too, if this particular O'ist principle (work being primary over family) might be one of the reasons Objectivism never seems to take hold. That is, it seems that many people (myself included) discover Rand when in high school or college. Her writings grip us; we learn about Objectivism; we read her other books; it changes how we look at the world. And then most people fade away....you could claim that this is because it's a demanding way of life (and it is), but so are Judaism and Christianity, and they've persisted and influenced culture for thousands of years. Perhaps most (no, not all) discover that they value their spouse and their children more than their work, and that they derive more happiness from human relationships than they do from their work.

"And no, if you don't recognize that rational selfishness is a radical departure,

then you haven't grasped it yet - nor the pervading altruist/collectivist morality."

There is an annoying tendency here to attribute ignorance or the inability to grasp O'ist concepts if one disagrees with a concept. Yes, I have grasped the meaning of rational selfishness. But no, I don't see it so much as a radical departure as a redefining of certain terms. As I said before, I really don't think that there are that many people who truly devalue themselves for others. Even those who like to posture as "martyrs" (I'm sure we're all familiar with such annoying people!!), are getting something out of it, some emotional reward. Even cloistered nuns who reject the world, or monks who serve the poor, are doing so out of self-interest at some level, as they expect to be rewarded. I don't think true altruism is that common. I seem to recall another thread on this forum which explored that question a bit, and in the end it seemed as if the rational participants (those who weren't simply creating fictional caricatures of the world around them) agreed that it was rare.

As for the evils of collectivism, oh, I think I grasp that too. It's all around us and easy to see. Rand was brilliantly spot-on in her criticisms of collectivism. But it doesn't take one being an Objectivist to observe and "grasp" those evils -- I think what sets Objectivism apart is not the ability to grasp the problems with collectivism, but how to deal with it.

"Somebody else correct me if I'm wrong..., but I'm pretty sure somewhere in reliable sources on Oism there is something stated to the effect that yes, being a "full time parent" can be moral if one approaches it as their career.."

Then there is at least a superficial conflict with Rand's earlier answer in the interview. I suppose what I am looking for is her further explanation: in her first answer, then, is she speaking of one's birth family, and the situation is something like the example given above of someone who wants to be an artist, but becomes an architect because his mom has always longed of that type of career for him? Perhaps that is the explanation, as apparently she then goes on to say that family can be a career. But it would be nice to know, and unfortunately there's no way of ascertaining that for sure.

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"In which case you have accepted that it would be immoral to make family primary.

Discussion over."

I said that I would "mostly" agree with your approach. It is one aspect, the putting of work over family, that I disagree with. And it would be nice if you could give me actual evidence that this works in the real world, as opposed to working in fiction. I have already given myself as an example of a happy, productive person who puts family first, and can give you many real-world examples from my own experience, and probably most adults here could think of happy marriages wherein the spouses put family first. History can give examples as well. It's hardly reasonable to contrast a stereotype of a traditional marriage gone bad with a theory of marriage, as you did. I'm not saying that there aren't any families based on Objectivist principles, but face it -- they're rare. So rare that it would be difficult to accurately assess its real-world success or failure.

I have to wonder, too, if this particular O'ist principle (work being primary over family) might be one of the reasons Objectivism never seems to take hold. That is, it seems that many people (myself included) discover Rand when in high school or college. Her writings grip us; we learn about Objectivism; we read her other books; it changes how we look at the world. And then most people fade away....you could claim that this is because it's a demanding way of life (and it is), but so are Judaism and Christianity, and they've persisted and influenced culture for thousands of years. Perhaps most (no, not all) discover that they value their spouse and their children more than their work, and that they derive more happiness from human relationships than they do from their work.

"And no, if you don't recognize that rational selfishness is a radical departure,

then you haven't grasped it yet - nor the pervading altruist/collectivist morality."

There is an annoying tendency here to attribute ignorance or the inability to grasp O'ist concepts if one disagrees with a concept. Yes, I have grasped the meaning of rational selfishness. But no, I don't see it so much as a radical departure as a redefining of certain terms. As I said before, I really don't think that there are that many people who truly devalue themselves for others. Even those who like to posture as "martyrs" (I'm sure we're all familiar with such annoying people!!), are getting something out of it, some emotional reward. Even cloistered nuns who reject the world, or monks who serve the poor, are doing so out of self-interest at some level, as they expect to be rewarded. I don't think true altruism is that common. I seem to recall another thread on this forum which explored that question a bit, and in the end it seemed as if the rational participants (those who weren't simply creating fictional caricatures of the world around them) agreed that it was rare.

As for the evils of collectivism, oh, I think I grasp that too. It's all around us and easy to see. Rand was brilliantly spot-on in her criticisms of collectivism. But it doesn't take one being an Objectivist to observe and "grasp" those evils -- I think what sets Objectivism apart is not the ability to grasp the problems with collectivism, but how to deal with it.

.

My suggestion: Read or re-read "Isn't Everyone Selfish?" by N Branden in VoS.

"This particular Oist principle of work being primary over family" as you put it, is a fallacy,and strawman.

There is no such 'principle' in O'ism.

Rand's principle, which her statement is derived from, is rational selfishness. Which has been my

argument for the last few posts. Self as primary - full stop.

Do you still think this is pragmatically "redefining terms"? Or that rational egoism is a mainstream morality? Or that altruism -

living for (duty to others), by (by others' sanction) and through (placing oneself in others' opinion and authority)

- is "not that common"?

I don't ever arbitrarily criticize lack of knowledge - we are all at different levels of understanding different things.

But by your last comments, I see you do not know the distinction between egoism and altruism.

If you do, and do not agree with egoism, that's another story.

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I don't think true altruism is that common. I seem to recall another thread on this forum which explored that question a bit, and in the end it seemed as if the rational participants (those who weren't simply creating fictional caricatures of the world around them) agreed that it was rare.

Of course it is not that common. At least not in practice. (And here I refer to an act performed specifically because it will make one worse off and in the knowledge that one will be unhappy about doing so.) I am going to distinguish here between full altruism where you are not anticipating any gain for ones self, not even a sense of satisfaction, and pseudo-altruistic acts, acts that an altruistic person would do, but which are being done for a reward in the afterlife or because they make the doer feel like they are a better person, or whatever). It is impossible from the outside to determine whether an apparently altruistic act was done out of altruism or pseudo-altruism, so I will refer to such actions collectively as "nominally altruistic acts".

Pseudoaltruistic acts are much more common than true altruism. There's an obvious reason for that. But either, practiced utterly consistently, will lead to one's death (which is why consistent practice of either altruism or pseudoaltruism is really, really rare).

But it is quite common to uphold true altruism as an ideal and show disapproval for those who fail to practice it, or at least to only show approval for those instances where one acts altruistically (whatever their motives might be). This has two effects: 1) It induces guilt in those who are not perfectly altruistic but themselves have bought into the notion that altruism is good if unattainable. (And that would be everyone who has bought into the notion.) 2) It leads to the actual doing of more pseudoaltruistic acts. And whether or not the act was done altruistically or pseudo-altruistically, the result is the same; someone has in fact made a sacrifice even if he does not perceive it as such, and more than likely was driven to it by either guilt or being programmed to feel good when they do something not in their true self-interest.

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