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Do you know any "natural" Objectivists?

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Free Thinker
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I was at school the other day and I began a discussion amongst a few people (dealing with corporations). One person involved, who I'll name Galt, began defending explictly Objectivist positions. He attacked the hatred of the good, he attacked selflessness, he defended the profit motive. I was amazed - for he was not an Objectivist and had not read any AR! This is the first time I have met such a person; a "Natural" Objectivist. Natural, for they have arrived at AR's principles without knowledge of her existence.

I thought it would be interesting to start a thread concerning this and see if anyone else has had the same experience.

Edited by Free Thinker
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Ayn Rand and Objectivism have had a significant impact on our culture.  It’s possible that “Galt” was influenced by Objectivist ideas indirectly.  I know I was.

Yes, I'd have to agree with that evaluation. I'm sure that the young me had unknowingly heard plenty of Objectivism and decided that THOSE were the ideas to hold.

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Free Thinker, did you offer him any Objectivist material to read? He sounds like the perfect person to introduce to Ayn Rand's works.

No, I haven't. I think I want to talk to him a bit more first. I want to see which of his ideas he came to himself, before suggesting AR.

Edited by Free Thinker
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How did Ayn Rand herself come to her conclusions and developed her philosophy? She had no one to read! (Of course, she read Aristotle, but so did many before her who didn’t reach the same conclusions)

It is possible that "Galt" is at AR`s level of intelligence, and therefore could come-up with his own conclusions without reading her. For me, the thought of the existence of such people brings real delight.

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It is possible that "Galt" is at AR`s level of intelligence, and therefore could come-up with his own conclusions without reading her.

It doesn't even necessarily require an AR-level of intelligence to reach many of her conclusions, just a proper relation to reality, although it does take a genius to turn those conclusions into a complete, consistent philosophical system.

Most Americans, on some level, accept self-interest and the profit motive as right, even if they consciously believe otherwise. They are the base of American culture, and it would take a complete culutral overhaul to change it. This is precisely what the academia has been trying to do for many, many years, and is exactly what Ayn Rand was (and the ARI is) fighiting against.

If someone has a proper relation to reality and a good sense-of-life, I think it's entirely expected that they should reach certain of Ayn Rand's ideas without ever having read her books. Rather than being astonished at Joe Average defending self-interest, I'd probably feel something along the lines of: Great, the world really is as good as all that.

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If someone has a proper relation to reality and a good sense-of-life, I think it's entirely expected that they should reach certain of Ayn Rand's ideas without ever having read her books. Rather than being astonished at Joe Average defending self-interest, I'd probably feel something along the lines of: Great, the world really is as good as all that.

I talked to Galt some more today. It seems that you are correct that it really doesn't take a "genius" to come to those ideas, just a proper relation to reality. I say this because (not because he is an idiot), but he still holds some pretty bad ideas (predominately in esthetics). I don't think that self-interest, as AR defines it, is common in American culture. I think that the influence of the church is strong; and the ideas of altruism and guilt ridden conciousness is all too prevalent. Capitalism (as broad a concept as that is), maybe. Laissez faire, rare. Most people think that, "Well, of course there has to be rules! Corporations are naturally "exploitative!""

Edited by Free Thinker
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I think that the influence of the church is strong; and the ideas of altruism and guilt ridden conciousness is all too prevalent. Capitalism (as broad a concept as that is), maybe. Laissez faire, rare. Most people think that, "Well, of course there has to be rules! Corporations are naturally "exploitative!""

That's exactly why I said, "on some level." An ethics of rational self-interest is the basic foundation of America, no matter how many contradictions are in place throughout our culture.

Most Americans do think that an individual should act to pursue values by selecting a good career-path, making wise (i.e. rational) decisions, etc. The bad ideas you put forth above (and many others) are a corruption of the fundamentals of American culture, not the fundamentals themselves.

Edited by Free Thinker
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That's exactly why I said, "on some level." An ethics of rational self-interest is the basic foundation of America, no matter how many contradictions are in place throughout our culture.

Most Americans do think that an individual should act to pursue values by selecting a good career-path, making wise (i.e. rational) decisions, etc. The bad ideas you put forth above (and many others) are a corruption of the fundamentals of American culture, not the fundamentals themselves.

Okay, sorry about that. I am in agreement with you then.

Edited by Free Thinker
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How did Ayn Rand herself come to her conclusions and developed her philosophy? She had no one to read! (Of course, she read Aristotle, but so did many before her who didn’t reach the same conclusions)

It is possible that "Galt" is at AR`s level of intelligence, and therefore could come-up with his own conclusions without reading her. For me, the thought of the existence of such people brings real delight.

I myself have never met such people. Some people I know claimed to be selfish, but I see none of the qualities in them which are supposed make them selfish. Not even "traditionally" selfish. Some of the most intelligent people I've met have all, at some point in some way advocated self-sacrifice.

But even in the worst of times, when I feel particularly disappointed for one reason or another, I just remember that there is Objectivism. It exists. It is there, and some brilliant mind had to come up with such a great philosophy, and that there are other brilliant minds out there that would not stop at anything to apply its principles. And then I don't feel that bad any more.

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I myself have never met such people. Some people I know claimed to be selfish, but I see none of the qualities in them which are supposed make them selfish. Not even "traditionally" selfish. Some of the most intelligent people I've met have all, at some point in some way advocated self-sacrifice.

But even in the worst of times, when I feel particularly disappointed for one reason or another, I just remember that there is Objectivism. It exists. It is there, and some brilliant mind had to come up with such a great philosophy, and that there are other brilliant minds out there that would not stop at anything to apply its principles. And then I don't feel that bad any more.

I too have never met someone who is completely in tune with reality and has induced all of AR's principles on their own, but to find people have have induced the essentials of her system are rare - those are the geniuss. It seems that you either find a person with a proper "sense of life", or isloated principles, but never both.

Edited by Free Thinker
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  • 2 weeks later...

I guess I was naturally Objectivist before I read Rand.

I had always accepted, de facto, the Metaphysics and Epistemology. Reality and Reason were, to use crude terms, 'duh' to me. I guess it was a 'sense of life' issue regarding those. I never considered the world bendable to my demands, and I only trusted my mind for knowlege.

Poitics came later, but I essentially fell into it from a Utilitarian perspective, and eventually I graduated to a harmonic one (which I still advocate. I consider the fact that markets and freedom work to be the empirical proof of the natural status of rights, Essentially the Bastiat position).

It was the ethics that were the revolutionary component of Objectivism for me. I was always rationally selfish, but I did not know that this constituted an 'ethic.' Until I read Rand, I considered morality to be an intellectual conspiracy to make life painful (all the previous ethics I was exposed to amounted to self-immolation).

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Once I started reading Ayn Rand, I found that I actually already agreed with much of it.  The first words I ever spoke were "I need some money."

Could GC (or somebody) please explain how this advocates altruism? I admit, I could just be missing something.

Saying "Give me money" would be advocating altruism.

Saying "I need some money" is a rational statement--it's essentially necessary to have money to survive nowadays.

A natural extension of Moose's statement would have been "Now let me earn some money;" I think he was expressing that sentiment, not "Give me money."

The two biggest impediments to deriving Rand's philosophy on your own (in my opinion)

1) Sense of life, as derived before you've reached an age to properly use rationality.

2) Religion and mysticism--most of humanity is brought up being taught NOT to be rational.

If you overcome these, I think much of Rand's philosophy should come naturally. In my case, #1 wasn't a problem at all; #2 was.

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Ha, I hadn't even read that post. It doesn't advocate altruism anymore than saying "I need food." It's a brute fact that I DO need food. Needing something says nothing about the means by which I plan to attain it. As a 2-year old (somewhere around there), I don't imagine I was thinking that my need was a mortgage on anyone else's property. Although, in this particular case, I think my parents ended up giving me a couple of pennies.

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  • 4 months later...

I'm actually very glad you posted this. I always saw Ayn Rand's characters as "natural objectivists", they were born that way. They had those priciples to begin with and built upon them their whole lives. I've been wondering if this is only possible because they are fiction characters?

Can someone really be born as an objectivist?

Can a 5 year old really stand on the tracks of and intercontinental railway and see the prospects of existence and feel that sense of promising fulfillment or happiness. How could you tell if an infant that says "WOW!" when he sees a skyscraper is really just delighted, shckoed, or if he actually perceives a principle? Do you understand what I mean by this?

Ever since I read Atlas Shrugged, I felt like I was Eric (was his name Eric? Dagny's assistant?). Like I could see all these great things in the world around me, but I still had to establish my standards and incorporate those principles into my life. So are we really all like that? Learning as we go? or are some people just born into it?

-J

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How did Ayn Rand herself come to her conclusions and developed her philosophy? She had no one to read! (Of course, she read Aristotle, but so did many before her who didn’t reach the same conclusions)

According to her biography Isabel Paterson was a great influence on the young Ayn Rand even though they were to split later on. There are also articles on both ladies at the CATO institute website.

I've known atheists who advocated science and reason....they were good friends of mine at the time. I don't think they had that "sense of life" that John Galt had, however, as I've learned recently that one of them ended up selling drugs at UC Berkeley and the other has fallen for non-absolute ideas (ex. is reality really real?) at Stanford. As for myself I think I always had the principles but I didn't see it as a complete guide to life just work.

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  • 4 weeks later...
Can someone really be born as an objectivist?

Someone really can be born an Objectivist, and someone really was. Her name is Ayn Rand.

Edit: I want to clarify a bit by saying that, in a literal sense, one can't be born with any philosophical convictions. It is only the actions which follow the event of birth which make philosophy necessary. In the sense that she naturally adopted a proper set of fundamentals, which she then later (of her own accord) followed through to a complete philosophical system, then, yes, she was born an Objectivist.

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"An ethics of rational self-interest is the basic foundation of America, no matter how many contradictions are in place throughout our culture."

The quote thingy doesn't work on my Mac!

Anyway, I couldn't agree with this statement more! How do you figure out what someone believes? By their actions, not by what they say they believe.

MANY so-called Christians advocate capitalism (albeit not laissez-faire) and understand the importance of self-interest, hard work, and so on. Last night I attended a lecture by Andrew Bernstein in which he stated that most "religious" people give only lip-service to religion. I think this is quite true.

One of the college students asking questions was troubled by Bernstein's description of religion as "irrational." I could tell by his religious jargon that he probably is trying to reconcile faith with reason, and I could identify with his dilemma, as I looked backed and saw a younger, confused "me" in this young man. I actually was raised a Christian and even attended a Christian college. It was in that Christian college that I learned to think more clearly, that I learned that reason was indispensible, that I was encouraged by "religious" philosophy professors to use reason to start questioning my faith, and that I became increasingly secular over the course of those four years. All of this happened in a Christian institution, surrounded by "Christian" people! Surprised? People can be very rational. Some of them just don't "realize" it yet. Have "faith" in them and their ability to figure it out for themselves. It goes without saying, of course, that I wish I'd discovered Ayn Rand sooner than I did so I didn't have to figure most of it out on my own!

This is not to say that there are not many contradictions in so-called religious people. But these people oftentimes, even most of the time, implicitly hold a worldview which is only partly in tune with the radical revealed text of their religion, be it the Bible, the Koran, etc. And far more Christians have been de-radicalized in comparison with Muslims, obviously.

Edited by Liriodendron Tulipifera
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