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Objectivists are working to save the world from tyranny--isn't that altruism?

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I know you might say that Objectivists have a self-interested reason in saving the world from tyranny--that in so doing, they are also saving themselves from tyranny.

 

But doesn't the best and safest position, from the point of view of pure practicality (if we take survival and prosperity of ourselves and our small circle of loved ones as the goal of ethics and of life), lie in being one of the tyrants? Don't we see that well-dramatized in the movies (and novels) "The Hunger Games" and Orwell's "1984"?

 

Isn't it against the self-interest of leaders to teach the whole population of the earth to pursue self-interest and to never sacrifice themselves for the Nation, the People, the State, the Party, the Leader, the Corporation, the Team, the Movement, or the God of one's religion?

 

Haven't leaders in all periods of human history found it advantageous to train the masses to believe in sacrificing themselves for some higher cause, purpose, or person? How else could the ancient Egyptian pyramids have been built? 

 

Aristotle was a firm believer in permanent enslavement for most of the people, so that the few aristocrats could lead lives of intellectual leisure, engaging in civic leadership, philosophy, the arts, and so on.

 

It seems like the Objectivist's educational activities directed to saving the world from tyranny go against what's best for the natural aristocracy, doesn't it?

 

It seems like the teachings of Objectivism should be kept within a small elite, and not disseminated for free to the masses as a sort of liberation campaign, which does seem like what is being done by leading Objectivist educational institutions and websites. Anyone can get a complete, full, and deep education in Objectivism for free with all the videos and texts made available on the Internet by Objectivists.

 

It is understandable that the Marxists would want to spread their doctrines to the masses, since their ethical aim (at least on paper) is the liberation of every person, and the improvement of the standard of living of the poorer people on the planet earth. Marxists, on paper at least, are altruists. Christians also want to covert everyone to Christianity, and, again, they have openly altruistic motives (at least on paper).

 

But Objectivists shun altruism. Yet, in seeming contradiction to that, Objectivists seem intent on saving the world (every single person) from tyranny. To me, this makes the Objectivist Movement look like a Liberation Movement for all the people of the earth.

 

Didn't John Galt give his big speech to the masses, to the whole nation, over the mass medium of radio? Wasn’t he trying to convert every American to the Objectivist philosophy? Wasn't John Galt and his small group working to liberate all of the people of the USA from the tyranny of socialists?

 

Wouldn't it have been better, from a purely practical point of view, for John Galt and his small group to have replaced the socialist tyrants and to have become the tyrants themselves? (While of course using intense propaganda to make the masses believe that that U.S. Constitution was still being followed). Isn't that essentially what the leaders have done in present-day nations such as Russia and China? Isn't that model of governance possibly coming to the USA as well, through certain well-known authoritarian "populist" leaders? Isn't this a natural development that makes perfect sense from the point of view of the self-interest of the leadership class (the so-called "one percent")?

 

I entirely agree that it is a great advantage (in business, politics, romance, the joy of living, etc.) to a person to be well-educated in Objectivism. But why would Objectivists want everyone to possess that advantage? Why would Objectivists want more people to be effectively and rationally competing against them?

 

This desire to educate the whole world in the philosophy of Objectivism seems to ultimately work against the self-interest of Objectivists. And the only explanation I can find for this anomaly is: unconscious altruistic impulses toward the great mass of people. In the Christian Bible, there is this passage: “When Jesus...saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. So he began teaching them many things.” There we see a leader feeling pity and having thoughts and feelings of altruism regarding the great mass of people, and commencing to teach them things that would liberate them. Aren’t Objectivists feeling and thinking a similar altruism regarding “the people”?

 

Compare the Objectivist Movement to the Freemasonry Movement, back when men like George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, Paul Revere, John Hancock, John Marshall, James Monroe, and Andrew Jackson were Freemasons. In this era, the men of the Freemason Movement were very influential in government and business. The Freemason Movement taught a philosophy of reason, and subtly opposed the ancient superstitions of religion. But they did not attempt to disseminate the philosophy of Freemasonry to the masses. Only certain men were invited to join and to learn.  The philosophy of Freemasonry was kept secret from the masses.

 

Well, what do you think? Is this a reasonable philosophical analysis? Do the seeming anomalies described in this comment point to a potential contradiction and hidden (unconscious) altruism within Objectivism? Does the drive within the Objectivism Movement, to save the world (the whole world) from tyranny and to educate every person to pursue self-interest and shun self-sacrifice for others, constitute a subtle form of altruistic sacrifice of self-interest?

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Is it in a person's interests to live as a con artist if they can "get away with it"?  Is it in a person's interests to live as a brigand if society is sufficiently nonfunctional that they can "get away with it"?  No, and no.  They get bad lives.

It is much more workable and much more satisfactory to live in a world where as many people as possible are rational and free than to live in a world where reason and freedom are reserved for an elite and most people are subjugated and propagandized.

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1 hour ago, The Laws of Biology said:

But why would Objectivists want everyone to possess that advantage?

Why is this bad?

1 hour ago, The Laws of Biology said:

I know you might say that Objectivists have a self-interested reason in saving the world from tyranny--that in so doing, they are also saving themselves from tyranny.

Who has said or implied that they want to save the world from tyranny?

1 hour ago, The Laws of Biology said:

Aristotle was a firm believer in permanent enslavement for most of the people, so that the few aristocrats could lead lives of intellectual leisure, engaging in civic leadership, philosophy, the arts, and so on.

I don't know where you got this interpretation. He didn't believe in the permanent enslavement for most people, and said nothing in particular about there being some superior class that others serve. 

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  • 4 weeks later...
1 hour ago, happiness said:

What’s in my self-interest is to live the best life possible in an insane society—that does not entail becoming insane myself.

Does it entail trying to rid society of the insane people?

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5 minutes ago, StrictlyLogical said:

Identifying and discouraging insanity or insane ideas might be acceptable activity.

At what point does an insane person become an objective threat to the society in general? And when should the insane be quarantined, like those with a contagious virus are quarantined to preserve the general welfare?

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40 minutes ago, MisterSwig said:

At what point does an insane person become an objective threat to the society in general? And when should the insane be quarantined, like those with a contagious virus are quarantined to preserve the general welfare?

Insane ideas spread, so discussing the matter might succeed in stopping it, at least in the case of the personal acquaintance you happen to to be dealing with... as to how much an objective threat to "society in general" insane ideas have as they spread from and to particular individuals, that is no easy question to answer.  I am not sure a metric for the sanity or insanity of society as such is workable, better to think in terms of societies which are beneficial or inimical to sane individuals, or how prevalent sane or insane ideas are within a society... I would argue society itself is neither sane nor insane but merely a collection of individuals.

People are not to be quarantined, nor are people's rights to freedom of speech to be infringed, such an approach to quelling the spread of insanity would be immoral.   

Persuasion and good ideas are the only proper ammunition against insane ideas and their spread. 

 

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From a strictly logical and practical point of view, I think it is better and safer for the powerful and rich people to govern by means of tyranny, deception, and authoritarianism, teaching the "little people" to sacrifice themselves for God and the Nation, than to try to liberate the masses by teaching them to live by liberty, personal agency, selfishness, rationality, sanity, and so on.

Any philosophy that fights tyranny and promotes liberty, selfishness, and rationality to the masses has, as one of its premises, an orientation of altruism toward the "little people." At least, I think so.

If every American refused self-sacrifice for God and the Nation, and pursued radical self-interest in a truly rational way, that would create a very dangerous situation for the billionaires: their lives and fortunes would be in danger from these liberated masses who would say, "Why should we honor the private property rights of these billionaires? Why don't we just take it for ourselves, if we can come together as a group and overpower the billionaires?"

All through the history of human civilization, including right up to the present time, I think the powerful and rich people have ruled by means of tyranny, deception, false propaganda, mythology, fake democracy, and authoritarianism, and this has been true in Capitalist nations in which the rich have ruled (Rockefellers, J.P. Morgan, Andrew Carnegie, etc.), in Communist countries in which leaders of the Communist Party ruled, in medieval Catholic Europe in which very often the Pope of Rome had decisive, tyrannical ruling power, and in ancient Imperial Rome when the Emperor had total power. 

I know I have not answered this matter fully. 

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14 minutes ago, The Laws of Biology said:

If every American refused self-sacrifice for God and the Nation, and pursued radical self-interest in a truly rational way, that would create a very dangerous situation for the billionaires: their lives and fortunes would be in danger from these liberated masses who would say, "Why should we honor the private property rights of these billionaires? Why don't we just take it for ourselves, if we can come together as a group and overpower the billionaires?"

We need to help people understand why such behavior is immoral and destructive of their own interests.

If the masses believe altruism, they may say "These rich and powerful aren't being altruistic as they should.  Let's make them do it."

To the extent that anyone realizes they are being ruled by tyranny, deception, false propaganda, mythology, fake democracy, and authoritarianism, they are likely to rebel.

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3 hours ago, Doug Morris said:

Only when insanity expresses itself as the initiation of physical force should force be used against it.

But by definition, the potential exists. The potential for this transformation also exist with faith based thinking.

At what point should we treat a potentiality as if it were the actual expression of force?

A person tells you he fantasizes about stabbing you. There is a knife on a table within his reach. Is the moment of expression when he said that to you, or when he reaches for the knife, or when he lunges at you?

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6 hours ago, StrictlyLogical said:

Persuasion and good ideas are the only proper ammunition against insane ideas and their spread. 

I was tempted to suggest a set of ear-plugs. If an idea can't be heard, it can't be as easily spread. Since insane ideas can inexplicably be detrimental to a rational society, ear-plugs should be worn by all in order to prevent any insane idea(s) from being heard and potentially spread to others.

<tongue-in-cheek>

Edited by dream_weaver
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5 hours ago, The Laws of Biology said:

Any philosophy that fights tyranny and promotes liberty, selfishness, and rationality to the masses has, as one of its premises, an orientation of altruism toward the "little people." At least, I think so.

Plato thought the masses were incurably ignorant. Aristotle wrote for a reasonable audience. 

Is there a philosophy that fights tyranny and promotes liberty, selfishness, and rationality to the masses?

As Sir Roger Bacon observed: nature, to be commanded, must be obeyed. Is this a recipe for "deceiving the minds of others", "an act of raising your victims to a position higher than reality, where you become a pawn of their blindness, a slave of their non-thinking and their evasions, while their intelligence, their rationality, their perceptiveness become the enemies you have to dread and flee"?

You might consider rethinking a few of your broader points.

 

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20 hours ago, Easy Truth said:

A person tells you he fantasizes about stabbing you. There is a knife on a table within his reach. Is the moment of expression when he said that to you, or when he reaches for the knife, or when he lunges at you?

We need more details to know exactly where to draw the line.  If I find myself in such a situation, I must judge as well as I can what to do, using all the information available.  I should at least remain wary, may decide to call 911, and may decide to take direct physical action.

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