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Human biology is much more complicated than that and if there is one place where socialists have a firmer grasp on truth than Objectivists it is in the appreciation of human nature. ("Oh, I'm sorry that the economy is bad and you lost your job, but, look, a rich man!")

Only if you consider an intellectual con job a firmer grasp on the truth.
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As to "going Galt", the earlier point of seeing the valley being a resort, a place to withdraw from "getting one's hands dirty", I find this forum to be a place to one can go and interface with like-m

Establishing context, in other words? If so, I would put game theory in there, because its level of specificity may be too much for philosophical inquiry. The topic is specialized enough that while it

Where did I say "sit down and shut up?" But, yes, I am questioning the utility of talking. To whatever extent they do, yes, but my point is that the usual arguments for free markets

Only if you consider an intellectual con job a firmer grasp on the truth.

A con artist has a firm grasp on human nature than an idealist. The more difficult question is why people allow themselves to be conned but the fact is, they do and often they become very angry as those who expose the con.

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Self-defense is another story. The problem is initiating some form of force or going beyong what is required to defend yourself. After all, it isn't fine to use physical force on people out of the blue either, but it is ok to do so to defend yourself. Somebody initiating force against you takes away the option to just go about your business like normal leaving only negative consequences you would not be suffering if somebody wasn't acting irrationally or some form of force to try to counter them and hopefully set things right again.

Let's limit ourselves here to self-defense but Tara does not make that distinction in her theory.

"However, she, and her followers, seem to have taken this much further toward the classic tabula rasa." How so?

Have you read Nathaniel Branden's The Art of Living Consciously. He offers a different but very similar criticism of Rand's view of human nature. (Branden "knew" Rand very well.)

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The con artist becomes a pawn of the victims blindness He is becomes dependent on them not to see the nature of his deceit. He is slave to the victim's non-thinking and evasion of the time. Should they begin to question him, it requires coming up with more lies to try and cover his initial deceit. The con artist is counting on the nature of man as a volitional being, not to use his volition to discover and expose the nature of his scam. (It is ironic that this should come up after an allusion to the Branden/Rand relationship.)

Edited by dream_weaver
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The con artist becomes a pawn of the victims blindness He is becomes dependent on them not to see the nature of his deceit. He is slave to the victim's non-thinking and evasion of the time. Should they begin to question him, it requires coming up with more lies to try and cover his initial deceit. The con artist is counting on the nature of man as a volitional being, not to use his volition to discover and expose the nature of his scam. (It is ironic that this should come up after an allusion to the Branden/Rand relationship.)

I'm not suggesting that the con artist is a saint or is enlightened. I am saying he is not an ignorant fool.

A con artists is, as you say, in a symbiotic relationship with his victims.

Where I think you are going wrong is in assuming that his victims will someday see the light and escape the con. Maybe they should begin to question him, but in practice they don't and one of the most common techiniques for preventing this is scapegoating and people ever so susceptible to scapegoating. Of coruse, socialist intellectuals and politicans have a whole bag of similar tricks of the trade all built on solid, practical experience with human nature.

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And all counting on the victims will not be able to understanding how the sham has already been exposed for what it is. The socialist will continue to count on moral agnosticism to continue to be practiced, that any moral judgments passed on the altruistic principles they are counting on can simply be brushed aside. Counting on the continued paralysis of man brought about by the acceptance of a moral creed of altruism which cannot be practiced, because while man usually will act according to what he thinks is right, he won't act against the moral code he has unwittingly accepted?

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And all counting on the victims will not be able to understanding how the sham has already been exposed for what it is.

Well, who are they going to believe, this wonderful man who cares for us all or some old dead crank?!

The socialist will continue to count on moral agnosticism to continue to be practiced, that any moral judgments passed on the altruistic principles they are counting on can simply be brushed aside. Counting on the continued paralysis of man brought about by the acceptance of a moral creed of altruism which cannot be practiced, because while man usually will act according to what he thinks is right, he won't act against the moral code he has unwittingly accepted?

There will always be enough fools willing to follow the political con artist. And if one con is exposed, another will rise up to take its place. And you can blame the con artist all you want but he's simply exploiting human nature.

It's an interesting question to what degree socialists really believe their own cons but so long as the con is working they are perfectly safe to believe their own rhetoric. I think most are sincere with only a tinge of cynicism.

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Well, who are they going to believe, this wonderful man who cares for us all or some old dead crank?!

It does seems clear that you've already chosen to believe there is some wonderful being who cares for us all, and have accepted the code of morality that accompanies it. Is the conviction that man's nature is so innately depraved, that the discovery and validation of a morality based reason is impracticable?
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It does seems clear that you've already chosen to believe there is some wonderful being who cares for us all, and have accepted the code of morality that accompanies it. Is the conviction that man's nature is so innately depraved, that the discovery and validation of a morality based reason is impracticable?

Interestingly, there is a branch of Christianity (Calvinism) which teaches that mankind is hopelessly depraved. But that's not my school of thought. Nor am I from that branch that regards man as inately good and corrupted by a sensual world from which he must escape.

My view is that man is born ignorant and struggles to discover truth, some more energeticly than others. But ignorance is the norm and enlightenment the exception. And when the ignorant lead the ignorant bad things happen.

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Interestingly, there is a branch of Christianity (Calvinism) which teaches that mankind is hopelessly depraved. But that's not my school of thought. Nor am I from that branch that regards man as inately good and corrupted by a sensual world from which he must escape.

My view is that man is born ignorant and struggles to discover truth, some more energeticly than others. But ignorance is the norm and enlightenment the exception. And when the ignorant lead the ignorant bad things happen.

Hopelessly depraved may have been a little stong. From what I recollect from my upbringing, man is by his nature a sinner, fallen short of the grace of God, and is not capable of heaven by works alone. Man, by his nature, according to most religious doctrines, is fallen, sinful, or as expressed bblically, men love the darkness because their deeds are evil - depraved in that sense. Edited by dream_weaver
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Hopelessly depraved may have been a little stong. From what I recollect from my upbringing, man is by his nature a sinner, fallen short of the grace of God, and is not capable of heaven by works alone. Man, by his nature, according to most religious doctrines, is fallen, sinful, or as expressed bblically, men love the darkness because their deeds are evil - depraved in that sense.

I am no expert but I think "hopelessly depraved" is literally correct in the case of Calvinists (and similar branches). And I'm guessing you were raised Protestant since you are citing what they call Sola Fida, salvation by faith and not works. But aside from the Calivinists and their belief in predestination, most Christians do not believe man his hoplessly depraved. Rather that he is inclined to sin by his nature. Early Christians understood this in terms of the fall of man in Genesis but if you want to see a more modern scientific view on this, read The Lucifer Principle by Howard Bloom. Men are animals, biologically speaking, and carry with them the history of evolution. We don't say a lion murders an antelope or even that one chimpanzee murders another only because we expect nothing more of them. Do we expect more of man? If yes, then man is a sinner. If not, then man is only an animal.

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Let's limit ourselves here to self-defense but Tara does not make that distinction in her theory.

Have you read Nathaniel Branden's The Art of Living Consciously. He offers a different but very similar criticism of Rand's view of human nature. (Branden "knew" Rand very well.)

I'm pretty sure that point was that deception has drawbacks (probably of the sort that the more you depend on it the greater the drawback will influence you/your quality of life) which mean that it is a lesser mode of operation than going about your life honestly, making your way by creating things of actual value. This doesn't mean that as a rule such a mode of operation is lesser compared to accepting having your rights violated though. The basic order here goes: living honestly, operating by willing trade > resorting to some form of force when that option has been taken off the table by way of somebody else initiating force > just accepting rights violations like they were a force of nature, letting your own rights be violated without question even and/or initiating rights violations against others. To compare it to self-defense when it comes to physical force again, you are not immoral using physical force to resist having your rights violated, but even if you do so and manage to, say, prevent somebody from robbing you, it's probably still not a good day when you've had to stab somebody even if you didn't get hurt or lose your money. It still beats having the robber take your money and perhaps stab you instead though. So, comparing that to fraud/deception/lying, there being no Nazis in the first place would be preferable to having to lie to Nazis to try to save your Jewish neighbors which would be preferable to just letting your neighbors be killed. It always sucks when somebody initiates force, it takes the most preferable option off the table, but there are still some options that are generally preferable to others out of what less than great options are left. I haven't actually read her stuff though, so somebody else who has would probably be better suited to talk about this and should feel free to correct me or add anything else relevant to this thing about Tara Smith's writing on lies and self-defense that they want.

I'm certainly well aware of who Branden is, but I haven't read any of his stuff either so I would need you to tell me about what you were getting at that you believe he said similar things to in his writing.

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Both Tara Smith's Viable Vaues and Nataniel Branden's Art of Living Consciously are pretty short reads.

I'm pretty sure that point was that deception has drawbacks (probably of the sort that the more you depend on it the greater the drawback will influence you/your quality of life) which mean that it is a lesser mode of operation than going about your life honestly, making your way by creating things of actual value. This doesn't mean that as a rule such a mode of operation is lesser compared to accepting having your rights violated though. The basic order here goes: living honestly, operating by willing trade > resorting to some form of force when that option has been taken off the table by way of somebody else initiating force > just accepting rights violations like they were a force of nature, letting your own rights be violated without question even and/or initiating rights violations against others. To compare it to self-defense when it comes to physical force again, you are not immoral using physical force to resist having your rights violated, but even if you do so and manage to, say, prevent somebody from robbing you, it's probably still not a good day when you've had to stab somebody even if you didn't get hurt or lose your money. It still beats having the robber take your money and perhaps stab you instead though. So, comparing that to fraud/deception/lying, there being no Nazis in the first place would be preferable to having to lie to Nazis to try to save your Jewish neighbors which would be preferable to just letting your neighbors be killed. It always sucks when somebody initiates force, it takes the most preferable option off the table, but there are still some options that are generally preferable to others out of what less than great options are left. I haven't actually read her stuff though, so somebody else who has would probably be better suited to talk about this and should feel free to correct me or add anything else relevant to this thing about Tara Smith's writing on lies and self-defense that they want.

Let's move away from debating what Tara Smith said and get gack to the subject at hand. Your hierarchy has some virtue but there are a couple problemsm, assuming I am reading it correctly: 1) there is no shortage of force so the first option is already off the table, and 2) you conflate treating rights violations like a force of nature with leting your own rights be violated. I think we've spent enough time on the first point already.

On the second point, my argument for treating rights violations similar to forces of nature is precisely so for the purpose of discovering resist them as opposed to moral tut-tuting about them. I think I've been pretty clear on that point but if there is any confusion I would be happy to elaborate further.

I'm certainly well aware of who Branden is, but I haven't read any of his stuff either so I would need you to tell me about what you were getting at that you believe he said similar things to in his writing.

I can't find my copy of Living Consciously and it's been a while since I read it but the gist was that he felt Rand and Objectivists were denying important aspects of their own humanity in their quest to be computer-like rationalists. That was not the main point of the book, it was more an aside in the introduction explaining his own intellectual journey.

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There are enough threads on religion without needed to segway further here. I'm only trying to point out that Objectivism holds that moral code of altruism gives rise to socialism, and that in a world that religion has held a near monopoly on the field of morality, that it too, is viewed to be altruistic in nature. Socialism pedals its illicit goods by pandering to many who believe that the rich men can and should be sacrificed to the poor ones, hoping that the question of whether it is right or wrong to sacrifice any man for any reason does not come under the microscope.

In PWNI, Miss Rand asks "What is the moral code of altruism?"

She continues: "The basic principle of altruism is that man has no right to exist for his own sake, that service to others is the only justification of his existence, and that self-sacrifice is his highest moral duty, virtue, and value."

It is via "service to God" that altruism is tied into religion as its moral code.

Edited by dream_weaver
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There are enough threads on religion without needed to segway further here. I'm only trying to point out that Objectivism holds that altruism gives rise to socialism, and that in a world that religion has held a near monopoly on the field of morality, that it too, is viewed to be altruistic in nature. Socialism pedals its illicit goods by pandering to many who believe that the rich men can and should be sacrificed to the poor ones, hoping that the question of whether it is right or wrong to sacrifice any man for any reason does not come under the microscope.

In PWNI, Miss Rand asks "What is the moral code of altruism?"

She continues: "The basic principle of altruism is that man has no right to exist for his own sake, that service to others is the only justification of his existence, and that self-sacrifice is his highest moral duty, virtue, and value."

It is via "service to God" that altruism is tied into religion as its moral code.

Suffice it so say here that I have absolutely no interest in any ideology or belief system that holds that "man has no right to exist for his own sake, that service to others is the only justification of his existence, and that self-sacrifice is his highest moral duty, virtue, and value." If that's now Rand defines altruism then, fine. Like her defintion of "force" it's not how I'd do it but I don't want to argue semantics.

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A con artist has a firm grasp on human nature than an idealist. The more difficult question is why people allow themselves to be conned but the fact is, they do and often they become very angry as those who expose the con.

The notion of human nature is rather ambiguous in this context. Do you mean the nature of man qua man , or the sociologically derived sense of the term, which actually describes the emotional estimation of a population taken as an aggregate? Which by the way I find specious unless you come to it from a hegelian perspective. Meaning the hegelian perspective is specious. You know cause speciousness is blind to its nature.

Edited by tadmjones
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Suffice it so say here that I have absolutely no interest in any ideology or belief system that holds that "man has no right to exist for his own sake, that service to others is the only justification of his existence, and that self-sacrifice is his highest moral duty, virtue, and value." If that's now Rand defines altruism then, fine. Like her defintion of "force" it's not how I'd do it but I don't want to argue semantics.

Then her allegation that socialism can win only by default—by the moral default of its alleged opponents, says that it is the moral code of altruism that needs to be challenged along with the irrationalism that makes it possible. This would be the key to the "door of resistence." Edited by dream_weaver
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The notion of human nature is rather ambiguous in this context. Do you mean the nature of man qua man , or the sociologically derived sense of the term, which actually describes the emotional estimation of a population taken as an aggregate? Which by the way I find specious unless you come to it from a hegelian perspective.

The problem I have with Rand's man qua man is that what she means by that term is an idealized man, not a natural man. Man has the capacity for reason, which differentiates man from other animals, and she idealized this aspect of humanity.

Now I have two issues with her man qua man. The first is that there are plenty of good aspects of humanity that are not oriented around reason, e.g. sex and good food. But more importantly, my second issue is that focusing on the ideal leads one to be blind to the reality, to dealiing with the situation where man fall short of that ideal, for whatever reason.

Nobody here will come out and say that it's wrong to fight force with force and, yet, there is great hesitance to actually explore that line of thought. Always the discussion is taken in various tangents away from it either returning to the ideal or rejecting extremes that were never on the table in the first place.

I'm still trying to figure out why.

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Then her allegation that socialism can win only by default—by the moral default of its alleged opponents, says that it is the moral code of altruism that needs to be challenged along with the irrationalism that makes it possible. This would be the key to the "door of resistence."

I'm all for challenging altruism by that definiton. But I don't think this is the key. Socialists, by and large, do not see themselves the ones being asked to sacrifice. It's always someone else. Socialism is the art of assembling a mob against a common enemy.

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Nobody here will come out and say that it's wrong to fight force with force and, yet, there is great hesitance to actually explore that line of thought. Always the discussion is taken in various tangents away from it either returning to the ideal or rejecting extremes that were never on the table in the first place.

I'm still trying to figure out why.

I would say that the only way to fight force initiated against one's self is with force. In Galt's speech she writes:

"It is only as retaliation that force may be used and only against the man [or men, dream_weaver would add.] who starts its use. No, I do not share his evil or sink to his concept of morality: I merely grant him his choice, destruction, the only destruction he had the right to choose: his own. He uses force to seize a value; I use it only to destroy destruction."
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I would say that the only way to fight force initiated against one's self is with force. In Galt's speech she writes:

"It is only as retaliation that force may be used and only against the man [or men, dream_weaver would add.] who starts its use. No, I do not share his evil or sink to his concept of morality: I merely grant him his choice, destruction, the only destruction he had the right to choose: his own. He uses force to seize a value; I use it only to destroy destruction."

So can you envision a book such as I propose being published by Atlas Society? (Destroying destruction is a complicated endeavor but I think it's much easier than the more prosaic form of revolution.)

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I'm all for challenging altruism by that definiton. But I don't think this is the key. Socialists, by and large, do not see themselves the ones being asked to sacrifice. It's always someone else. Socialism is the art of assembling a mob against a common enemy.

It is not the socialist intellectuals to whom the moral challenge is issued, The moral challenge to connect or make socialism synonymous with evil or wrong.
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So can you envision a book such as I propose being published by Atlas Society? (Destroying destruction is a complicated endeavor but I think it's much easier than the more prosaic form of revolution.)

Destroying destruction? Destruction is an abstraction. That would be like a war on drugs. How are you going to win a war against an inanimate object?
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It is not the socialist intellectuals to whom the moral challenge is issued, The moral challenge to connect or make socialism synonymous with evil or wrong.

Well, you lost me there.

If there were ever a time when that was possible it would have been at the fall of Communism. Some called for treating Communism like Nazism with trials end everything but it never happened.

Yeah, make the case, make the argument, pick up some reasonable people on the margins, but don't hold your breath waiting for a mass anti-socialist movement.

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Destroying destruction? Destruction is an abstraction. That would be like a war on drugs. How are you going to win a war against an inanimate object?

I just pulled that term from your Galt quote. Go ask John Galt.

Edited by hernan
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