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Do objectivists have skin in the game of life?

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I listen and watch to the courses on the Ayn Rand Institute (ARI) website. I read and contemplate the many books on objectivism, and listen/watch Yaron Brook's (the best known face of ARI) podcasts and YouTube sessions. I have embraced objectivism as my philosophy for my life.

But it appears to me, from listening/watching, especially Yaron, objectivists are bystanders to life ("we are just philosophers") and have no "skin in the game" of real life. If the deep thinkers truly wanted to advance the objectivist philosophy, organizations like ARI would be creating and producing objectivist papers. Objectivists answers to tax law, policing, government policies, foreign relations, etc.

This would be real life objectivist ideas and answers for peoples daily real life. For people to discuss and advocate, instead of just watching. The "Atlas Society" has an office in Washington, D.C. (WDC). Where is ARI's?

I'm not advocating for the Atlas Society, and nor ARI have to have an office in WDC. But where are the ideas for "real" daily life from ARI. They are the official keepers of Rand's flame and thinking. How do you advance the thinking and philosophy if the discussion is only within an insulated group?

Does ARI have skin in the game, or are they vocal bystanders?

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  • Jeff Palmer changed the title to Do objectivists have skin in the game of life?

Hi, Jeff.

ARI has taken a bit more of a role as the pandemic set in. Weekly cross platform meetings are being held, and made available via youtube. One of the questions asked on the one's I've been able to attend is a request for what the listeners would like to see covered.

Arguably, it is withing an insulated group, as those who have an interest in ARI are the ones attending. Those who watch and gain value from the offerings can provide the link to others.

Who out in the world is advocating Objectivism in a manner consistent with your expectations? Would it make more sense to turn toward them, or encourage an organization such as ARI to bring them into their fold to assist in their mission of changing the culture?


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Thank you fo the reasoned response.

Who out in the world is advocating Objectivism in a manner consistent with your expectations?

I see no one relating objectivist concepts in a real life daily discussion.

I see ARI as a think tank (for lack of better term) that does not publish or advocate for objectivist ideas and potential "real" polices for use in the daily life of the republic. They preach to the baptized. (slight pun)

Would it make more sense to turn toward them, or encourage an organization such as ARI to bring them into their fold to assist in their mission of changing the culture?

The people (not me, I am still trying to absorb the concepts of Rand's thinking), with a clear understanding of the objectivist philosophy should be publishing clear reasoned ideas which can be discussed and implemented. An ARI paper on police reform, or rebuilding the communities destroyed would be a start. A full page "ad" in the newspapers of cities damaged by rioting. A clear plan of objectivist thinking, reasoned thought, on how to free the citizens from their inner city plantations. On how to free themselves from people who only see them as a vote, and people who cannot think or take care of themselves.

I'm sure ARI could solicit support to produce and publish. The philosophy would then be real to people. (Not some Rand cult rantings) Clear, reasoned and productive answers and actions people could engage on.

If 10% of Rand's ideas could be acted on this way, it would be an improvement to start more conversations about how the reasoned ideas of the philosophy could improve the citizens lives, their futures and the wealth of their communities. (See camels nose in tent...)

And Yaron is not the answer. I may be wrong, but I find Yaron too removed. He complains about Trump and the conservatives. (There is plenty to complain about) But conservatives are not burning and looting. He complains, correctly as well, about the left, but in reality, which side has at least a minimum of something we could talk about with each other.

I am not a Trump fan. (I only believe in liberty and freedom. Not a party type of guy) But Hillary's lies about Benghazi gave me no alternative. (As a former Marine Security Guard, I have been responsible for the lives of Americans, and the "ambassador". Blaming a YouTube video and not supporting the ambassador's request for more security should be a crime. But that's just me)

Voting for the lesser of two evils. Yes, but it is real world reality.

And Gary Johnson sounded more like a democrat.

I don not know who could be the voice and/or face for these ideas, but if we ( as objectivists) don't start stepping into the sunshine with our fellow citizens, then how are we think anyone is going to listen.

Just my voices speaking.


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Anyone expecting of the governments of the world, or the gatekeepers of popular culture to swing toward condemnation of the current cultural trend will be disappointed. Expecting any organization to engage in a counter-movement to the current culture will result in disappointment. Anyone spending time or money on any organization that claims to wage such a counter-movement will likely find they have wasted their time and/or money. My only recommendation is to support the very few innovators producing cultural products that reinforce Objectivists points of view. There are producers of movies, music, literature, graphic novels, Youtube videos, alternative school systems, and many forms of popular culture that persuade individual opinions. There are public speakers who may not have any idea what Objectivism is, and yet they convey some of the ideas valued in Objectivism. The situation is not hopeless, but it will require a proverbial sea-change of popular culture to counter act the current cultural norms. I don't know how far things will get, but my approach has always been to take control of those matters in one's own life, and worry less about providing proper direction for a disoriented mob. Am I a bystander in the decline of Western Civilization? I will leave that for others to decide, if they wish. But if I really want to make a contribution to progress toward a more rational society, I would become one of those innovators of new and rational ideas, and find a way to market/distribute those ideas.

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New Ideal presents writings that address some of what you identify.

Today's politics and politicians are symptomatic of the deeper underlying causes at play. Early in Galt's speech, this is addressed in the following manner:

"You have destroyed all that which you held to be evil and achieved all that which you held to be good. Why, then, do you shrink in horror from the sight of the world around you? That world is not the product of your sins, it is the product and the image of your virtues. It is your moral ideal brought into reality in its full and final perfection. You have fought for it, you have dreamed of it, and you have wished it, . . .

So while so many are aghast at what they see, far fewer understand that what they see is the product and image of the virtues (in the broadest sense) of the culture at large that has brought it into being.

On a positive note, Ayn Rand observed and published many of her discoveries. You are investigating them. You have the opportunity to share them with others you think may be seeking such answers also.


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I do not equate philosophy for living, and living one’s life with anything like political activism.


Life requires knowledge and a philosophy, so having “skin in the game” is to take it seriously and to live by it.  You only have one life and it’s yours to live.

Some “activists” of a quite different political flavor from myself feel quite strongly that “real life” is lived in the political sphere... the body politic, society as a collective endeavour... and hence participating in life is measured by them by how loudly one shouts and how many likes one receives.  These activists of course define and identify themselves not as individuals but literally as parts or units of groups. 

On the contrary, I tend to see the choice to live life and the philosophy by which one lives it, as much more profoundly and intimately personal and individual than anything those “activists” could even imagine.

I dare say, a private individual life well lived in accordance with proper knowledge i.e. correct philosophy, has more real skin in the game than any activist could hope to have.  Of course their whole goal is to change others and change the world, but they are oblivious  to the fact that they are so focused on everyone else’s lives that they are bystanders of their own lives.


I think most Objectivists have skin in their game, in the reality of their own lives, and I also happen to think most Objectivists are not Activists, nor do they believe in Activism.

Edited by StrictlyLogical
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  • 1 year later...

Jeff Palmer,

The strength of a movement is the sum of the strength of its members.

If there was only one Objectivist in the world,

but that Objectivist lived the best possible life according to Objectivist principles,

Objectivism would still be successful.

The point is not to judge whether Objectivism has skin in the game of life.

It is whether you have skin in the game of life.

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