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Nothing Special - Except to Me, Today

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*** Post copied from previous version of forum. - sN ***


Two things of interest happened to me today.  First, on another general philosophy forum, in a thread about issues with Objectivist Epistemology, I answered three posters whose objection to my summary of concept formation, was to complain about Ms. Rand's severe attitude and scathing adjectives and adverbs in commenting on the social consequences of mysticism and altruism.  What a waste.
Later, in the evening, I was assembling a new set of nice (but cheap) small dressers my wife and I bought on the Walmart website.  While working I put on the TV - a rerun of Schindler's List.  As I worked and watched I thought about other things.  I thought about things like the movie Reds, and things like the treatment of women, homosexuals, or people with an unacceptable religious thought in so many countries today.  I had to get the resulting integration off my chest.  That abstract integration resulted in the following:
I can see why Ms. Rand, closer in time and geography than me, to some of the historic consequences of bad philosophy in the 20th century (Hitler and Stalin), might have chosen descriptive words to an extreme that offends those without the same life experience. Ms. Rand didn't deny emotional impact, she only described its identity - part mechanistic biology and part cognitive memory from experience, but too determined to be a basis for reasoned decision.  We all get pissed and so did she at times.
Vicariously experiencing the plight of people in movies like Schindler's List and Reds, or in books like (there are too many to name...) makes me question whether Objectivism detractors have really studied western philosophy and history.  Most detractors of Objectivism, are enraged by what they see as a lack of interest or care for the mass of common citizens. Historically, they don't connect other philosophical ideas with Nazis, Soviets, African tribal groups, or apartheid. 
Detractors don't understand that my caring is hierarchical based on my values.  I look at an animal crushed in the road and I'm sad, I think of my dog and cat.  I watch a crime-reality TV show in which victims die and I'm sadder, I think of people who have been the victims of crime.  My neighbor's house burns down and I'm even sadder and take some of my excess wealth and give it to help.  Another neighbor, who I know has a meth lab, skids her car into a ditch about two vacant, wooded lots down from my house here in the sticks, and I leave the window and go back to the book I was reading.  These examples are true and personal.  Altruism is not just caring, it's not just charity, it's not just helping - it's, negating your values in favor of the needs of others.  This is what people don't get - the majority believes a stand against altruism is the death or erosion of caring and charity.  The central difference between them and us is the difference between how we expect people will act when set free of altruisms hold.
The largest incongruity I can think of in the debate over Objectivist ethics/politics is the fact in logical analysis and in history, that the common citizen is so much better off under political and economic systems based on Objectivism.
Not criminals and not slackers, but all of us common folks just trying to make a living.   We already help each other for our own reasons based on our own values.  Make no mistake though - we cast aside and try to ignore those who initiate force/fraud or cast aside reason.

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