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In my experience people use it to mean certain Objectivists, dogmatic and unwilling to think for themselves. Among them are the ones who liked Maxfield Parrish but threw out their posters when Rand called his work "trash".

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19 hours ago, Reidy said:

In my experience people use it to mean certain Objectivists, dogmatic and unwilling to think for themselves. Among them are the ones who liked Maxfield Parrish but threw out their posters when Rand called his work "trash".

In my experience, people who don't have an argument use that term as a personal attack against anyone who has anything positive to say about Ayn Rand.

I don't want to unite, though, OP, thanks.

Edited by Nicky

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The term 'Randroid' stereotypes those influenced by Objectivism as unfeeling, suffering from low EQ and possibly even sociopathic. I don't think it is a term I would want to be associated with. From discussing Objectivism with Objectivists, there are certainly some who deserve this accolade. Fortunately, there are a few who are warm, assertive and reasonable life-loving people. Avoid the Randroids.

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I think of "Randroids" as Reidy's formulation: rationalistic "proponents" of Objectivism. Taken in this way, the term is perfect -- it walks and talks like Objectivism, but in fact it doesn't understand Objectivism at all.

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I think the term "Rationalist", in the Objectivist meaning, fits well with the personalities of who may properly referred to as "Randroids". However when non Objectivists say randroid, they mean sociopaths who take Rand's words on faith.

The "sociopath" remark has always bugged me the most.

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On 4/5/2016 at 0:47 AM, Jon Southall said:

The term 'Randroid' stereotypes those influenced by Objectivism as unfeeling, suffering from low EQ and possibly even sociopathic. I don't think it is a term I would want to be associated with. From discussing Objectivism with Objectivists, there are certainly some who deserve this accolade. Fortunately, there are a few who are warm, assertive and reasonable life-loving people. Avoid the Randroids.

Sociopath is an antiquated medical term used today only as a meaningless insult. In medical literature, the term has been replaced by "Antisocial Personality Disorder", and it refers to behavioral patterns that first manifest themselves during adolescence, and are defined by violent and irresponsible behavior, excessive drinking and manipulative, exploitative actions.

Is that really what you are saying to someone, when you call them a "Randroid"? That they are compulsively violent, machiavellic alcoholics, and have been that since the age of 14, because they're mentally ill?

As for being "unfeeling and suffering from low EQ", first off, why did you say it twice? Pick one, they both mean the same thing. And no, I won't stay away from people like that. There are all kinds of people in the world, many with worse traits than that. Some of the brightest minds in the word have low EQ.

On 4/6/2016 at 5:22 AM, JASKN said:

I think of "Randroids" as Reidy's formulation: rationalistic "proponents" of Objectivism. Taken in this way, the term is perfect -- it walks and talks like Objectivism, but in fact it doesn't understand Objectivism at all.

I don't quite understand what you mean. A Randroid is someone who doesn't understand Objectivism? I never heard anyone even remotely qualified to decide whether I understand Objectivism or not, use that word. Not a one. The people who use the word "Randroid" have no idea what Objectivism is, and have no interest in finding out.

As for Reidy's definition, where Randroid is just someone dogmatic, Ayn Rand fits the dictionary definition of "dogmatic" pretty well:

dogmatic: inclined to lay down principles as incontrovertibly true.
 
So yeah...like I said: Randroid is a word people who don't have anything meaningful to say use to insult Ayn Rand's supporters and fans.
   

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1 hour ago, Nicky said:

I don't quite understand what you mean. A Randroid is someone who doesn't understand Objectivism? I never heard anyone even remotely qualified to decide whether I understand Objectivism or not, use that word. Not a one. The people who use the word "Randroid" have no idea what Objectivism is, and have no interest in finding out.

[...]

So yeah...like I said: Randroid is a word people who don't have anything meaningful to say use to insult Ayn Rand's supporters and fans.
   

I provided a formulation and described why I thought it was appropriate, whomever winds up using it notwithstanding. Perhaps it has no meaning beyond those who use it, whereupon the formulation is only mine. I actually like using the word to differentiate rationalist Objectivists from inductive Objectivists. But you're probably right, it's only used by ignoramuses toward Objectivism as such, so I'd be happier to reclaim the term to mean inductive Objectivists.

Or, we could write it off completely, like all of Salon.com.

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9 hours ago, Nicky said:

I don't quite understand what you mean. A Randroid is someone who doesn't understand Objectivism?

Non Objectivists who don't dismiss all Objectivists as Randroids will tend to focus on people who don't appear to argue beyond citing Atlas Shrugged quotes, or those calling everyone "nihilists" the way Alt Right activists use the word "cuck".

 

Objectivists will then see these people called Randroids and recognize them as people who cite Atlas Shrugged, but don't really understand the philosophy beyond a few slogans and soundbites.

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On 4/6/2016 at 1:57 AM, Not Lawliet said:

The "sociopath" remark has always bugged me the most.

Really?

 

Wikipedia defines sociopathy as "a personality disorder, characterized by [an] impoverished moral sense or conscience  ... "

My closest childhood friend was a certified sociopath. I've done a good deal of research on it and, while different psychologists will focus on different aspects (impulsivity, aggression, et cetera), the one thing that always remains constant is the lack of "empathy". When he first told me about his diagnosis, he explained it as an inability to "feel other peoples' pain". Interestingly, although "sociopathy" has recently been relabeled as "antisocial personality disorder", the original term for it was "moral insanity".

 

So when someone calls Objectivism a philosophy for the morally insane, how much are they actually saying about Objectivism and how much about their own souls?

 

P.S.

 

 

Have you read the introduction to the Virtue of Selfishness, in which Rand explained why "selfishness" was the proper term for her concept of virtue? The same reasoning applies to moral insanity.

Edited by Harrison Danneskjold
PostScript

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On 4/4/2016 at 4:00 PM, Peikoff's Mullet said:

The term "Randroid" has been used historically to ridicule Objectivists. Personally, I embrace the term! Randroids unite!

No; I think it is meant to refer to people who take the zealotry and irrationality they were raised with and redirect it towards Objectivism (where it does not belong).

The accusations of being selfish, unfeeling and sociopathic, though, do pay us a well-earned compliment which I'll always get a kick out of. 

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8 minutes ago, Harrison Danneskjold said:

The accusations of being selfish, unfeeling and sociopathic, though, do pay us a well-earned compliment which I'll always get a kick out of. 

You consider the unfeeling and sociopathic accusations as a compliment?

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4 minutes ago, Not Lawliet said:

You consider the unfeeling and sociopathic accusations as a compliment?

Yes.

 

When people accuse us of being "unfeeling" they refer to the fact that, as Objectivists, we strive not to use emotions as tools of cognition. When people accuse us of being "sociopathic" or "indifferent towards anyone else's feelings" they refer to the fact that we strive to value nothing higher than Truth.

 

We may not always succeed (as anyone who has tried to live Objectivism knows) but, when such slurs are being thrown in our faces, it is precisely because we are successfully practicing what we preach.

 

They aren't meant as compliments; they're meant as the very worst things conceivable to such minds, but what does that matter? As a matter of factual content, they are pointing out our highest virtues.

 

Nobody literally means that all Objectivists are sociopaths - although, if they did, I'd consider sociopathy preferable to what passes as "normal" these days, anyway.

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5 minutes ago, Harrison Danneskjold said:

Nobody literally means that all Objectivists are sociopaths

I disagree. It's true that many people confuse emotions as tools of cognition as equal of merit as reason. We reject the dichotomy of emotions and logic; logic is a tool of cognition while emotions are still a legitimate experience of the world worth respecting. People don't think of it this way, and so the accusation of sociopathic refers to those who are so attached to Rationalism that emotions have no value to them at all. The character House is a person who thought this way through most of the show.

Is it a result of confusion and misunderstanding? Definitely. But we can still recognize what they mean even if they don't fully understand it themselves, and I take the accusations of not caring about anything as insulting.

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I have had people tell me I don't care about feelings before. I don't accept that by saying, "You're right, I don't care about feelings." I tell them I do, but it has nothing to do with facts or reality.

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5 minutes ago, dream_weaver said:

I would consider it quite revealing if I discovered the root of an accusation.

It's simple.

 

"Selfishness" has lost the sting it once had. "Greed" has taken its place, for the most part, but even "greed" won't cow everybody into submission (not the way "selfishness" used to). When "greed" fails, "sociopathy" will do the trick.

 

Sociopathy is a disease, isn't it? Nobody likes being told they're sick (particularly not admirers of Rand). So if you label someone's ideas as the product of some selfishness disease then it does exactly what the word "selfishness" used to do - it shuts them up.

 

They want to win arguments without the effort of doing so on their own two feet (they want to have their cake and eat it too) and ending the debate with a nasty word comes pretty close to getting it. That's all.

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7 minutes ago, Not Lawliet said:

I have had people tell me I don't care about feelings before. I don't accept that by saying, "You're right, I don't care about feelings." I tell them I do, but it has nothing to do with facts or reality.

 

DreamWeaver, what was that line from AS which prompted Dagny's quip "I guess I've never felt anything"?

 

11 minutes ago, Not Lawliet said:

I take the accusations of not caring about anything as insulting.

Sociopathy doesn't mean a complete lack of any emotions, whatsoever. Some people view psychopathy that way, but there's a big difference (even assuming that's what psychopathy is).

 

Socio - pathy. Look at the root words. It literally breaks into 'social disease'.

 

Most people would agree with its definition as an "inability to feel other people's pain". Now, for what reason would any self-respecting (notice the emotional implications) man subject himself to pain that isn't even his own?

 

Why should we?

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To answer your question, though, Harrison:

"Other people are human. They're sensitive. They can't devote their whole life to metals and engines. You're lucky—you've never had any feelings. You've never felt anything at all."

I don't find this to be the case. I just find little value in discussing feelings without delving down to their source. Miss Rand gives us the basic generalization, tying them to the ideas we hold and accept as true, but it is much more profound to discover this fact for one's self.

This requires the ability to introspect, and to do so in conjunction with as ruthless an intellectual honesty (rationality, integrity, etc.,) as one can muster.

Edited by dream_weaver

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15 minutes ago, Harrison Danneskjold said:

"I guess I've never felt anything"

I remember the response she made to Jim. Given she doesn't take anything seriously [*that Jim says*], it was obvious sarcasm that Jim couldn't appreciate, but Dagny could.

15 minutes ago, Harrison Danneskjold said:

Sociopathy doesn't mean a complete lack of any emotions, whatsoever.

I'm aware, but people use words they don't understand and yet we can still know what they mean. People say they have OCD all the time. I know that what they really mean is they have quirks and habits (even if calling it OCD annoys me).

15 minutes ago, Harrison Danneskjold said:

Now, for what reason would any self-respecting (notice the emotional implications) man subject himself to pain that isn't even his own?

Empathy is something that's automatic. It's the experience people have when they cringe at awkward conversations on tv. Most people aren't masochists, and so most don't witness a car accident and think, "Alright, it's time to get emotionally invested in other people so I can experience pain." People value friendships and love and community; that's why they get emotionally invested in people, and most people are benevolent and wish for others to be as happy as they are. Once that's established, "feeling other people's pain" is experienced as an automatic response.

To put it another way: Most people value other people's happiness, not necessarily more than their own, and seeing people in pain is a witness to your values being harmed.

Edited by Not Lawliet

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5 minutes ago, dream_weaver said:

To answer your question, though:

"Other people are human. They're sensitive. They can't devote their whole life to metals and engines. You're lucky—you've never had any feelings. You've never felt anything at all."

I don't find this to be the case. I just find little value in discussing feelings without delving down to their source.

Nor I. And even before I discovered Rand, I never saw the point in dwelling on bad feelings (unless it was in order to somehow overcome them).

 

Feeling other people's pride and joy isn't part of the issue. My friend who was diagnosed as "sociopathic" never had any problem with that, nor have I (in fact, I thoroughly enjoy sharing in other peoples' accomplishments; it's my primary value in participating, here).

 

The issue is ultimately about the value of pain, and except for certain instrumental roles (such as teaching us not to put our hands into fire) I don't see any.

This is one of the things that appeals to me about Objectivist metaphysics.

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3 minutes ago, Harrison Danneskjold said:

The issue is ultimately about the value of pain

It isn't about whether pain is of value, which can certainly be implied or even believed by things people say. The significance of whether a person feels pain at seeing others in pain is the indicator of whether they are emotionally invested in others' happiness. People who value other people, and personally wish for others to succeed, are people who are valuable to others; people value the empathetic people. And I think that there is value in other people. Even those who are not my friend, who are total strangers and will not see again, I am friendly toward them because I want to live in a local society that cares about people's happiness and well being, and that is my contribution.

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12 minutes ago, Harrison Danneskjold said:

Feeling other people's pride and joy isn't part of the issue. My friend who was diagnosed as "sociopathic" never had any problem with that, nor have I (in fact, I thoroughly enjoy sharing in other peoples' accomplishments; it's my primary value in participating, here).

Interesting. If I understand the accomplishment, I am more moved than by the mere mention of an accomplishment. This would open an area up to hearing about an accomplishment, to inquire as to the roots of what makes it so. — a question that could serve as a basis for the rhetoric which could lead to what the objective foundation is that establishes the accomplishment as, in fact, is an accomplishment.

Nice, indirect tieback into metaphysics.

Edited by dream_weaver

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