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Always respecting the rights of others, as found in Objectivism, is a form of altruism or socialism?

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  • It seems to me that true ethical egoism would respect the rights of others when it is advantageous to do so and would not respect the rights of others when it is advantageous to ignore other peoples' rights.
  • If a person is dedicated to respecting the rights of others no matter what the circumstances or stakes in play, then such a person will, sooner or later, end up sacrificing himself and his survival and his well-being on the altar of the abstract rights of others.
  • This sacrifice seems to be the essence of altruism and socialism.
  • Thus, it seems that Ayn Rand's Objectivism concedes the core point of socialism, altruism, and Christianity, which is that there are circumstances in which it is legitimate, necessary, and righteous to sacrifice one's own life, survival, well-being, and happiness for the sake of other people.
  • I think the true ethical egoist would follow the philosophy of Machiavelli, and thus make a pretence of always respecting the rights of others, but would not actually always respect the rights of others. 
  • Suppose you are a very wealth businessman who has been sued by an opponent. You are required by law to testify under oath in your case. You realize that if you answer questions honestly on the witness stand that you opponent will end up taking your entire fortune worth ten billion dollars, and you and your spouse and children will all end up with no money and no careers. You and your loved ones will lose everything. However, you know that if you lie on the witness stand that you will get alway with the lies, since there are no other witnesses or documentary evidence to contradict you. Now, should you tell the truth and lose everything? The other people in this trial (and the whole community) have a legal and moral RIGHT to receive honest testimony from you on the witness stand, since you are testifying under oath. But should you tell the truth and lose everything that you and your love ones possess? I think the true ethical egoist would lie on the witness stand and not sacrifice his well being and the well being of his loved ones on the altar of the abstract rights supposedly belonging to other people. 
  • Or what if a man is on trial for his life, and if he lies he can avoid the death penalty, but if he tells the truth on the witness stand, or if he declines to testify, he will get the gas chamber? Should he sacrifice his very life for the abstract principle of telling the truth when under oath?
  • Here is Ayn Rand explaining her theory of universal rights: "Since Man has inalienable individual rights, this means that the same rights are held, individually, by every man, by all men, at all times. Therefore, the rights of one man cannot and must not violate the rights of another.  For instance: a man has the right to live, but he has no right to take the life of another. He has the right to be free, but no right to enslave another. He has the right to choose his own happiness, but no right to decide that his happiness lies in the misery (or murder or robbery or enslavement) of another. The very right upon which he acts defines the same right of another man, and serves as a guide to tell him what he may or may not do." (SOURCE: “Textbook of Americanism,” The Ayn Rand Column, 84, as provided on  )
  • I think we can see from the above Ayn Rand quote that in Objectivism it is deemed right and proper that the supposed rights of others set limits on one's own ability to survive and prosper. See especially the line above from Ayn Rand that says "The very right upon which he acts defines the same right of another man, and serves as a guide to tell him what he may or may not do." I am focusing on this part: "right of another man...to tell him what he may or MAY NOT DO."
  • Well, isn't that Socialism, or Altuism, even if it is a form of Socialism or Altruism that is reduced in its scope? But the basic principle is there, of sacrificing for others for the sake of some abstract ethical ideal, isn't it? It's the heroic ideal of setting limits on my own survival for the sake of the well being others.  That sure seems like Socialism or Christianity. 
Edited by The Laws of Biology
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1 hour ago, The Laws of Biology said:
  • Here is Ayn Rand explaining her theory of universal rights: "Since Man has inalienable individual rights, this means that the same rights are held, individually, by every man, by all men, at all times. Therefore, the rights of one man cannot and must not violate the rights of another.  For instance: a man has the right to live, but he has no right to take the life of another. He has the right to be free, but no right to enslave another. He has the right to choose his own happiness, but no right to decide that his happiness lies in the misery (or murder or robbery or enslavement) of another. The very right upon which he acts defines the same right of another man, and serves as a guide to tell him what he may or may not do." (SOURCE: “Textbook of Americanism,” The Ayn Rand Column, 84, as provided on  )
  • I think we can see from the above Ayn Rand quote that in Objectivism it is deemed right and proper that the supposed rights of others set limits on one's own ability to survive and prosper. See especially the line above from Ayn Rand that says "The very right upon which he acts defines the same right of another man, and serves as a guide to tell him what he may or may not do." I am focusing on this part: "right of another man...to tell him what he may or MAY NOT DO."

A man has the right to live. He may live.
He has no right to take the life of another. He may not take the life of a man who has the right to live.

He has the right to be free. He may be free.
He has no right to enslave another. He may not deprive the freedom of another man who also has the right to be free.

He may not choose what another's happiness ought be. He has the right to choose his own happiness. He must let others choose their own happiness.

 

A selective focus should also try to maintain the context provided, not circumvent it.

Edited by dream_weaver
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24 minutes ago, dream_weaver said:

A man has the right to live.

  • Why should anyone feel compelled to believe that every man has the same and equal right to live, right to be free, right to pursue his own happiness, and that all men are seriously and absolutely ethically BOUND to respect these rights of other all other men in all circumstances, even if respecting these rights sometimes undermines an individuals ability to survive and prosper?
  • I mean, religious prophets have declared things on the authority of a supposed immortal deity who lives on a mountain or in the heavens.
  • The U.S. Declaration of Independence pronounced some of these rights, but so what; it is just a document written by some particular men in a particular circumstance.
  • Why should anyone who believes in ethical egoism and individualism ever sacrifice or endanger his life, his liberty, his wealth, his well-being for the sake of the abstract rights supposedly held by all other men?
  • Once a person accepts, as a matter of principle, that it is sometimes righteous, legitimate, and necessary to sacrifice or endanger his life, his liberty, his wealth, and his well-being for the sake of the abstract rights supposedly held by all other men, how then can such a person criticize Socialism for likewise promoting the ethical principle that it is sometimes righteous, legitimate, and necessary to sacrifice or endanger his life, his liberty, his wealth, or his well-being for the sake of the abstract rights supposedly held by all other men.
  • Objectivism seems to have a Socialist or Christian or Altruistic premise at its core.
  • The scope of the Socialism within Objectivism is much reduced as compared to Marxist-Leninist Communism.
  • But, in this obeisance to the doctrine of universal rights, the basic principle of "love of neighbor" (Altruism, Socialism) seems to be there in Objectivism, just as it is in Socialism, Christianity, Judaism, Kabbalah, Rosicrucianism, Buddhism, etc. 
  • At least, so it seems to me at this time. I can't see any other logical way to interpret this matter. 
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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, dream_weaver said:

Here is Ayn Rand explaining her theory of universal rights: "Since Man has inalienable individual rights, this means that the same rights are held, individually, by every man, by all men, at all times. Therefore, the rights of one man cannot and must not violate the rights of another."

  • My preliminary thought is that Ayn Rand's ethical system does not take into consideration the phenomenon of Scarcity, as described in sciences of Biology and Economics.
  • The phenomenon of the Scarcity of resources a profoundly important aspect of the sciences of Biology and Economics.
  • Scarcity gives rise to what economist call competition and what Darwin called "the struggle for existence."
  • As far as I know, Ayn Rand did not acknowledge that an ethical man would ever think competitive thoughts, feel competitive feelings, or have competitive intentions, in his work and in his dealings with other men. 
  • Here is Ayn Rand explaining her view of competitiveness: "Competition is a by-product of productive work, not its goal. A creative man is motivated by the desire to achieve, not by the desire to beat others." (SOURCE:  The Moratorium on Brains,” The Ayn Rand Letter, I, 2, 4, as found on http://aynrandlexicon.com/ )
  • If one assumes that Scarcity is a fiction or a lie or a false doctrine of a false philosophy, then one can imagine that men are never necessarily and unavoidably (just as a result of being a living, biological being) in life-or-death conflict with one another. And so, one can then imagine that respecting the rights of other men would never undermine one's own ability to survive and prosper. One can imagine that there is always and naturally enough "stuff" (land, food, water, medicine, potential reproductive mates, etc.) for everyone, so there never need be an life-or-death conflict between men (unless someone initiates force).
  • I think Ayn Rand's Objectivism philosophy, and also some forms of Libertarianism, do hold that perpetual and inherent Scarcity is a fiction or a lie or a false doctrine of a false philosophy. I think they think that Scarcity is a lie invented by Collectivists to justify the intervention of the Government to fairly distribute the Scarce resources, so that the right of all to live may be protected and actualized. 
  • But is Scarcity a fiction, or is it an undeniable, scientifically verified, and universal phenomenon of reality?
  • As far as I know, Scarcity is a perpetual, profound, undeniable, scientifically verified, and universal phenomenon of reality.
  • If that is so, I think it logically follows that always respecting the rights of others, no matter the circumstances or the stakes, will reduce one's ability to survive and prosper.
  • And so, Objectivism's ethical rule of always respecting the rights of all others is a rule that requires self-sacrifice for the sake of other people, just as in Socialism, Altruism, Christianity, etc. I think this is all logical. 
Edited by The Laws of Biology
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You coud drop your line into Cicero's 'pond' and see what you can find in what is one of the major dominos of thought contributing to the right-to-life in nearly every country all over the globe (delimited to murder/and a right to self defense.)

 

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There are no ends that do not require some kind of 'sacrifice'. Success with your career/business might require you to do nasty things, such as attending pointless university lectures to get the degree.

That's just how it is. While this never stops sucking, Rand pointed out that if you gain a bigger value at the expense of a lesser one, it's not a 'sacrifice', but more of a necessary (and good) deal. 

Such is the case with morality. You put up with less pleasant aspects of life but, overall, you thrive because your guidelines of action actually work in practice. With tyranny you win one finger in exchange for the whole hand.

If there's nobody else around, you don't need rights. Because other people can willingly compromise your living requirements, you tell them 'If we are to cohabit, I will not tolerate interference with my natural survival needs'. Your neighbour responds just the same. Now you have a society where you have to take that in account if you want to trade with him, or live peacefully. The moral principle of 'rights' emerges: you gain worse by messing with people than by respecting their life.

As to lying to avoid loss: in such situations, if you're honest you'll lose, and if you're dishonest you'll lose as well, living under the boots of those that know or can investigate the truth. Better to act in a way that doesn't lead to such situations, because no matter how you look at it, losing sucks.

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3 hours ago, The Laws of Biology said:
  • It seems to me that true ethical egoism would respect the rights of others when it is advantageous to do so and would not respect the rights of others when it is advantageous to ignore other peoples' rights.
  • If a person is dedicated to respecting the rights of others no matter what the circumstances or stakes in play, then such a person will, sooner or later, end up sacrificing himself and his survival and his well-being on the altar of the abstract rights of others.

No.  Only in extremely rare circumstances which are very different from the way the world usually works is there any conflict.  This becomes clear if we consider a wide enough context and a long enough range.  An example of such rare circumstances is the old chestnut "two men in a lifeboat that can only hold one".  If we want to be extremely thorough, we can acknowledge that such circumstances are at least imaginable and consider how we can tell whether we are truly in such a circumstance and what to do if we are.

(This becomes somewhat less true to the extent that statism pits people against each other.  "Morality ends where a gun begins.")

3 hours ago, The Laws of Biology said:

Suppose you are a very wealth businessman who has been sued by an opponent. You are required by law to testify under oath in your case. You realize that if you answer questions honestly on the witness stand that you opponent will end up taking your entire fortune worth ten billion dollars, and you and your spouse and children will all end up with no money and no careers. You and your loved ones will lose everything. However, you know that if you lie on the witness stand that you will get alway with the lies, since there are no other witnesses or documentary evidence to contradict you. Now, should you tell the truth and lose everything?

How did you get into this situation?  Did you steal all your wealth?  If so, you have already committed a very serious violation of rights.  You have to decide whether to continue this process of rights violation or to change over to respecting rights.

If you are the victim of an injustice, you may be morally justified in committing perjury in self-defense.

The key point to an Objectivist (and many others) is that you shouldn't have stolen in the first place. 

3 hours ago, The Laws of Biology said:

Or what if a man is on trial for his life, and if he lies he can avoid the death penalty, but if he tells the truth on the witness stand, or if he declines to testify, he will get the gas chamber?

Again, how did he get into this situation?  Is he a murderer?  If so, he has already committed the most serious violation of rights possible.  He has to decide whether to continue this process of rights violation or to change over to respecting rights.

If he is the victim of an injustice, he may be morally justified in committing perjury in self-defense.

The key point to an Objectivist (and many others) is that he shouldn't have murdered in the first place. 

3 hours ago, The Laws of Biology said:

a guide to tell him what he may or may not do

If you consider a wide enough context and a long enough range, this does not impair or set limits on one's own ability to survive and prosper. 

 

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Posted (edited)
24 minutes ago, KyaryPamyu said:

If there's nobody else around, you don't need rights. Because other people can willingly compromise your living requirements, you tell them 'If we are to cohabit, I will not tolerate interference with my natural survival needs'. Your neighbour responds just the same. Now you have a society where you have to take that in account if you want to trade with him, or live peacefully. The moral principle of 'rights' emerges: you gain worse by messing with people than by respecting their life.

  • Under the philosophy of ethical egoism, the aim is to always act in ways that maximize one's personal survival, pleasure, and satisfaction. 
  • Under the philosophy of ethical egoism, you do not factor in the good of the whole society of strangers.
  • And so, it seems logical to me that the best way to maximize one's personal survival, pleasure, and satisfaction is to always pretend to respect the rights of others, but to definitely not respect the rights of others whenever you estimate that respecting the rights of others would hobble your ability to survive or prosper or be happy.
  • Why so? Because under the philosophy of ethical egoism. the one and only TEST of the goodness or rightness of an act is whether it promotes your survival, well-being, and satisfaction. 
  • And so, I suppose I am coming to the conclusion that the philosophy found in the book The Prince by Machiavelli is the pure ethical egoism.
  • That book recommends that a man be deceptive, violent, and steal whenever he estimates that doing so will promote his own survival, well-being, and satisfaction. 
  • Any philosophy, such as Objectivism, that demands that people always respect the rights of other all other people (i.e., don't steal from them; don't intiate violence against them; don't deceive them when they have a right to know the truth), is requiring people to sacrifice themselves for the sake of the well-being of other people, and is promoting a way of life that lessens a mans ability to survive and prosper. 
  • I'm not saying that people must or should be Machiavellians.
  • I'm just saying that Machiavellianism seems to be the only pure, unadulterated ethical egoism. 
  • I'm saying that we need to be intellectually honest and accurate about what various philosophical systems are teaching. I, for one, want to see reality as clearly as possible.
  • In politics, one expects all sorts of deception, "spinning," and so on.
  • But philosophers must lay it all out as honesty and clearly as possible, no matter who this pleases or displeases, and no matter what the consequences for the political system.
  • Socrates modeled this approach, I think.
  • To me, a philosopher should be a reality revealer, not a mythmaker. 
Edited by The Laws of Biology
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1 hour ago, The Laws of Biology said:

Why should anyone feel compelled to believe that every man has the same and equal right to live, right to be free, right to pursue his own happiness, and that all men are seriously and absolutely ethically BOUND to respect these rights of other all other men in all circumstances, even if respecting these rights sometimes undermines an individuals ability to survive and prosper?

What part of Ayn Rand's explanation do you not understand?

1 hour ago, The Laws of Biology said:

Once a person accepts, as a matter of principle, that it is sometimes righteous, legitimate, and necessary to sacrifice or endanger his life, his liberty, his wealth, and his well-being for the sake of the abstract rights supposedly held by all other men,

A misleading way of putting it.

1 hour ago, The Laws of Biology said:

how then can such a person criticize Socialism

Socialism is an egregious and massive violation of rights.

1 hour ago, The Laws of Biology said:

"love of neighbor"

A very vague phrase.  The vagueness works to the advantage of the irrational side (Altruism, Socialism, Religion) and, if not challenged, ti the disadvantage of the rational side (Objectivsim).

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@The Laws of Biology

How you treat others, be they friends or other members of your community, or even a community such as Objectivism Online, doesn't factor into your wanting the best experience in existence you can bring about for yourself? 

I don't consider manners not simply limited to politeness or courtesy, a sacrifice. Don't you consider how you treat other posters here into the framing of your questions, or the motivation behind seeking ways to misunderstand Objectivism, if it is not genuine inquiry on your behalf?

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Doug Morris said:

What part of Ayn Rand's explanation do you not understand?

  • I have always assumed that Ethical Egoist involves the individual making calculations about what to do or not do, in each particular personal circumstance, based on Rational Self Interest.
  • But Objectivism, with its insistence on a strict and absolute ethical duty to always respect the rights of every other person living on the earth, forbids the individual from making a Rational Self Interest calculation in particular situations about whether to steal, to deceive, or initiate violence. 
  • Thus, Objectivism seems to be a form of Ethical Egoism with an element of Altruism built into it. 
  • Well, I suppose that is not how Objectivists would view this. Okay.
  • So, how then do Objectivists justify removing from individuals the right and freedom to choose, i.e., to make personal, individual Rational Self Interest calculations about whether to steal, to deceive, or initiate violence in a given set of circumstances?
  • (P.S. I am NOT advocating in favor of anyone stealing, deceiving, or initiating violence! But my opposition to those things is not based on Ethical Egoism, but on my own personal, sentimental feelings of goodwill and good wishes to the whole of humanity, past, present, and future. I.e., I indulge in spirituality, religion, mythology, legends of heroes and saints, utopianism, and so on.)
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11 minutes ago, The Laws of Biology said:

So, how then do Objectivists justify removing from individuals the right and freedom to choose, i.e., to make personal, individual Rational Self Interest calculations about whether to steal, to deceive, or initiate violence in a given set of circumstances?

  • I hate it when people ask others in discussion forums to explain things that might take many hours and many pages to explain.
  • So, I'll do my own research on this question.
  • I suspect that Ayn Rand or Leonard Peikoff have addressed this issue.
  • The fact that I am unaware of how they addressed it is the fault of me alone.
  • So, I will investigate. 
  • I have seen Ayn Rand write that the duty of honesty is not a social duty done for the benefit of others, but is rather a duty to oneself, a striving to maintain one's personal integrity. But I wonder if that really provides a sufficient justification for Objectivism's doctrine of Universal Rights.
  • But, as I've said, I will educate myself on this matter, and draw my own conclusions, to the best of my ability.
  • I fully admit that I am insufficiently educated in the field of philosophy. I often don't know the right terms for things. 
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24 minutes ago, dream_weaver said:

Don't you consider how you treat other posters here into the framing of your questions

I apologize. I do see that I have let my emotions run amuck. I regret that. I appreciate the reminder about basic courtesy. I did need it. If I post again, I will try to do better. Best wishes to all. 

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11 minutes ago, The Laws of Biology said:

I apologize. I do see that I have let my emotions run amuck. I regret that. I appreciate the reminder about basic courtesy. I did need it. If I post again, I will try to do better. Best wishes to all. 

Mine was a question as to if you take it into consideration framing your question. Obviously if you just run roughshod over the rights of others, take advantage of others in selfless disregard of potential consequences, why could that not be applied recursively to what is contained in your posts?

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4 hours ago, The Laws of Biology said:

Scarcity,

The most effective way to overcome scarcity is to be economically productive and to consistently respect the rights of others.

4 hours ago, The Laws of Biology said:

Here is Ayn Rand explaining her view of competitiveness: "Competition is a by-product of productive work, not its goal. A creative man is motivated by the desire to achieve, not by the desire to beat others."

This does not rule out "that an ethical man would ever think competitive thoughts, feel competitive feelings, or have competitive intentions, in his work and in his dealings with other men. "  It simply says that such thoughts, feelings, and intentions should not be fundamental or a bottom line.

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Another approach to scarcity, per HumanProgress.org is that while the world's population has exploded from years of being a few hundred million, the application of reason to the problem of survival brought poverty rates down from 90% to about 9%, while the world's population rose to nearly 8 billion.

Mind you, this is paraphrased from recollection, references can be found at search results from "humanprogress.org poverty"

 

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7 hours ago, The Laws of Biology said:
  • . . . always respecting the rights of all others is a rule that requires self-sacrifice for the sake of other people, just as in Socialism, Altruism, Christianity, etc. . . 

Jesse James committed self-sacrifice. But then it was a small sacrifice, considering only the actual sort of self at hand.

Edited by Boydstun
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5 hours ago, The Laws of Biology said:
  • . . .
  • I have seen Ayn Rand write that the duty of honesty is not a social duty done for the benefit of others, but is rather a duty to oneself, a striving to maintain one's personal integrity. But I wonder if that really provides a sufficient justification for Objectivism's doctrine of Universal Rights.
  • . . .

That rationale for honesty is not sufficient in its authenticity, and the same would be true in the case for universal individual rights to be respected. In both cases, there is another element in Rand's picture of human nature that is being left out, and it is here. (Rand approved the essay in which N. Branden spoke of species solidarity.) Also, consider that the conceptual organization for Rand has it that the circumstance that every individual human is an end in themselves is prior to two consequent branches: one immediate branch is universal individual rights, the other is rightness of rational self-interest, indeed a morality of rational self-interest. The latter branch is not basis for the former branch, whose support is back on the trunk, just like ethical egoism.  

Edited by Boydstun
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9 hours ago, The Laws of Biology said:

I suspect that Ayn Rand or Leonard Peikoff have addressed this issue.

If you study just one thing, I recommend going with this article. Without understanding this topic, the O'ist conception of rights, honesty etc. will always sound like chinese to you, because the key issue according to your posts is 'what if'. 'What if I'm in such and such situation where I can get away with it?'. The article is long and might seem pointlessly abstract at first, but there will be a huge payoff if you stick with it till the end.

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On 6/6/2022 at 9:45 AM, The Laws of Biology said:
  • Suppose you are a very wealth businessman who has been sued by an opponent. You are required by law to testify under oath in your case. You realize that if you answer questions honestly on the witness stand that you opponent will end up taking your entire fortune worth ten billion dollars, and you and your spouse and children will all end up with no money and no careers. You and your loved ones will lose everything. However, you know that if you lie on the witness stand that you will get alway with the lies, since there are no other witnesses or documentary evidence to contradict you. Now, should you tell the truth and lose everything? The other people in this trial (and the whole community) have a legal and moral RIGHT to receive honest testimony from you on the witness stand, since you are testifying under oath. But should you tell the truth and lose everything that you and your love ones possess? I think the true ethical egoist would lie on the witness stand and not sacrifice his well being and the well being of his loved ones on the altar of the abstract rights supposedly belonging to other people. 
  • Or what if a man is on trial for his life, and if he lies he can avoid the death penalty, but if he tells the truth on the witness stand, or if he declines to testify, he will get the gas chamber? Should he sacrifice his very life for the abstract principle of telling the truth when under oath?

Assuming in the first example that you stole all your wealth, or in the second example that the man is a murderer, these are examples of how acting immorally can make it harder to act morally.  Another example: if a person lets themselves become an addict, it is a lot harder for them to achieve a good, rational life than if they had avoided addiction in the first place.

 

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"Whenever you committed the evil of refusing to think and to see, of exempting from the absolute of reality some one small wish of yours, whenever you chose to say: Let me withdraw from the judgment of reason the cookies I stole, or the existence of God, let me have my one irrational whim and I will be a man of reason about all else—that was the act of subverting you consciousness, the act of corrupting your mind. Your mind then became a fixed jury who takes orders from a secret underworld, whose verdict distorts the evidence to fit an absolute it dares not touch—and a censored reality where the bits you chose to see are floating among the chasms of those you didn't, held together by that embalming fluid of mind which is an emotion exempted from thought." (Rand 1957, 1037 [1st ed. hb.])

Rand here argues for constant rational moral principles by claims about human psychology, about bad results for the mind that crosses moral principles once in a while. This is opposite the sort of argument she makes for her principles of metaphysics: she does not argue that Existence is identity (if no identity of a thing, then no such thing) by observing that incoherence in the mind will result if that principle is not so. She points to examples of identity-delimitations, examples from various categories of existents, and generalizes to all existence, and then she defends the generality by showing* contradiction in any denial of the generalized principle. I think it is fair for Rand to shift strategy for moral principles as distinct from metaphysical principles. Appealing to effects of decisions on the mind of the agent seems fine in thinking about moral principles. Human beings have a general nature, which is pertinent in every human act. Of course, claims about what that general nature is need to be substantiated to support a thoroughly sound argument for constant rational moral principles.

Rand did not execute much of this showing, but a few years ago, I did some of it for her. 

Every entity is of some kinds that are exclusive relative to other kinds of entity. Let me argue this thesis for Rand. That is, let me argue the axiomatic standing of “existence is identity,” where the existents are entities and the identity is kind-identity. All entities are of some exclusive kinds—a leaf cannot be a stone at the same time—and this postulate must be accepted on pain of self-contradiction.

Suppose an entity exists and is not of any kind that excludes it being any other kinds. If the supposed entity is nothing but existence itself, then there is no contradiction; one is simply talking about existence as a whole. So suppose an entity exists and is not of any kind that excludes it being other kinds and is not existence as a whole.

Then the supposed entity could be one with any other entities that are of exclusive kinds (just as a leaf that is a drain clogger could be one with a leaf that is dead, maple, and wet). For it is not an entity of any kind excluding it being other kinds. But to say that an entity is not of any exclusive kind and that it is one and the same with another entity that is of some exclusive kind(s) is a contradiction. (Non-A is A.) Indeed, if some entity were not of any exclusive kind, then it could be one with the person who supposes such an entity. Then to suppose an entity that is not of any exclusive kind is to suppose that one’s person could be an entity not of some exclusive kinds. (If A is identically B, then B is identically A.) But that supposition contradicts the presupposition that one is of the exclusive kind person, a person who makes the (errant) supposition. (Cf. Aristotle’s Metaphysics 1007b19–1008a28.)

My argument is supposing that particular, numerical identity is admitted by both disputants, while specific identity is the identity at issue. But that seems a fair supposition.

Edited by Boydstun
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Here is a succinct and slightly different take for newbies (meta-paraphrased from various sources):

 

An individual has a nature, and his flourishing requires among other things the ability/freedom to act in accordance with those ethical principles which are consistent with, and both necessary and sufficient for that flourishing.

A like-minded group of individuals who wish to flourish, recognizing those freedoms/abilities to act are necessary for flourishing and what actions would constitute their violation, undertake to uphold the protection of those freedoms as against actions which are to their detriment, undertaken in kind (as an agreement... and as a trade) with those like-minded others. 

Each realizes that any breach of the above, violates not only the agreement, but must stem from a violation of the very freedoms of action which were so recognized as necessary for flourishing.  A person who chooses  to violate the freedoms of action (rights) of any other has chosen to be no longer trusted as recognizing the freedoms of action (rights) of all others, and must understand that in accordance with sound judgment all others are now no longer bound by agreement to recognize his rights...(unless shown sufficient reason to forgive and re-enter an accord, i.e. payment of restitution, proof of remorse and rehabilitation)

when one picks up one end of the stick one picks up the other end also... one's choosing not to act reciprocally in favor of individual rights, asks quite frankly, for war.

a person who chooses war risks far more death, injury, and hardship, and is therefore far more "selfless", than one who chooses merely to recognize (in a reciprocal fashion) for others, what oneself should be free to do.

 

Recognizing individual rights, for everyone, is decidedly selfish.

Edited by StrictlyLogical
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SL in the preceding post draws attention to consideration of strategic self-interest in social interactions such as not violating rights. This has been developed in terms of game theory. Rights have been supported by game-theoretic self-interested strategy. See. They tell how the couple of things Rand said about rights—subjugation of collectives to moral law and the social-coordination function of rights—can come about. (These are professional academics; they do not mention Rand; one has to make the connection to Rand's system for oneself.)

The strategic considerations SL brings to decision of respecting rights are also pertinent to decision in truth-telling, another issue raised by LB in this thread. Listeners to one's reports on happenings in reality know that reality all fits together self-consistently. So to tell lies, one has put one's memory to work overtime: one has to remember what all one has said before and not undermine the lie by inconsistencies. Just routinely telling the truth is a lot easier because one can just keep looking back to reality (which one is continually doing for oneself anyway) and reporting it, and leave it to reality to take care of consistency. Being found out in lies can be a great handicap in opportunities for further satisfactions from social interactions, due to reconfiguration of people's attitude toward you, and this is the point at which SL's line of thought concerning rights is a consideration also concerning honesty. 

Edited by Boydstun
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The issues in this thread have been raised and debated also in a paper Is Benevolent Egoism Coherent? by Michael Huemer. You can sign up and read the paper for free at that site. Reply: On Egoism and Predatory Behavior by Michael Young. Rejoinder: Egoism and Prudent Predation by Prof. Huemer.

Edited by Boydstun
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