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I fail to see where voting for a woman fits into the philosophy of Objectivism as a philosophy.

Correct; philosphy itself does not address questions like voting or the psychology of who wants to be POTUS.

(That said, it is a good thing to have a well-reasoned opinion on an issue like that, and fine to discuss it on this forum! :))

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What is the argument that it is unethical? I absolutely reject Rand's ideaa that a rataional woman would not want to run for president. And, unless I'm mistaken, Peikoff does too.
The argument is predicated on accepting her statement that a rational woman would not want to run for president, my option (2). If you were to accept her judgment, the only condition under which it would be ethical to vote for a woman would be if no man were running under either of the two major parties, or the man running were even less rational (for example Eugene McCarthy or George McGovern). I myself opt for (2), that Rand was expressing a factual conclusion and not a philosophical principle, one which was in error, one that reflected her knowledge context. It is up there with her condemnation of homosexuality, Beethoven and Mozart. Such a conclusion cannot properly be part of a philosophy (see ITOE appendices, Philosophic vs. scientific issues) it is in the domain of the specialised sciences of psychology and political science. Maybe I missed this in the previous discussion, but I'm surprised that nobody observed that this is not a part of Objectivist philosophy. Edited by DavidOdden
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I myself opt for (2), that Rand was expressing a factual conclusion and not a philosophical principle, one which was in error, one that reflected her knowledge context. It is up there with her condemnation of homosexuality, Beethoven and Mozart.

Well said, I couldn't agree with you more.

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Is it really the Objectivist position, or is it just Ayn Rand's position? I fail to see where voting for a woman fits into the philosophy of Objectivism as a philosophy.

Opposition to a woman president is both an Ayn Rand position and an Objectivist one. Remember: "Objectivism is a closed system -- it consists of the philosophical writings of Ayn Rand (which she finished for publication) and those philosophical writings of other people which she specifically approved (for example the articles in the Objectivist Newsletter)." http://wiki.objectivismonline.net/index.ph..._is_Objectivism

Since the question of a woman serving as president hinges on the proper function of government and the nature of women, the issue is profoundly philosophical and Ayn Rand addresses it so.

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The argument is predicated on accepting her statement that a rational woman would not want to run for president, my option (2). If you were to accept her judgment, the only condition under which it would be ethical to vote for a woman would be if no man were running under either of the two major parties, or the man running were even less rational (for example Eugene McCarthy or George McGovern). I myself opt for (2), that Rand was expressing a factual conclusion and not a philosophical principle, one which was in error, one that reflected her knowledge context. It is up there with her condemnation of homosexuality, Beethoven and Mozart. Such a conclusion cannot properly be part of a philosophy (see ITOE appendices, Philosophic vs. scientific issues) it is in the domain of the specialised sciences of psychology and political science. Maybe I missed this in the previous discussion, but I'm surprised that nobody observed that this is not a part of Objectivist philosophy.

This is an explanation that I've seen in other threads, and I agree with it. What did she have against Beethoven and Mozart though? Haven't heard that one before.

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Does Rand's position in this affect women's ability to hold any leadership role? Would a female head of a corporation or a four star general encounter the same dilemma? At what point does the nature of a particular office run counter to a woman's essential makeup?

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Since the question of a woman serving as president hinges on the proper function of government and the nature of women, the issue is profoundly philosophical

Since when is the study of the nature of women a part of philosophy? I must have missed the "Gynology" chapters in OPAR.

Objectivist philosophy consists of the branches metaphysics, epistemology, ethics, politics, and aesthetics. A discussion of whether a person of a specific sex ought to run for a specific office in a specific country is way too specialized for the field that deals with the broadest abstractions.

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Remember: "Objectivism is a closed system -- it consists of the philosophical writings of Ayn Rand (which she finished for publication) and those philosophical writings of other people which she specifically approved (for example the articles in the Objectivist Newsletter)."
Quite correct: however you've misidentified the nature of her statement. It is not a philosophical conclusion, it is a scientific one, and as such it is not dispositive as to what the Objectivist position is. The fact that question such as "the nature of government" becomes relevant does not take this issue out of the domain of specialized science. The nature of government is clearly identified philosophically without reference to the sex of the president or even whether there needs to be a president -- that is a question for the specialized study political science. You may not like the French for various reasons, but they have a perfectly rational governmental system with both a president and a prime minister, serving distinct functions. The psychological nature of a president is not a philosophical question, no is the psychological nature of all women a philosophical question.

Also please note what she states in the Playboy interview: "I believe that women are human beings. What is proper for a man is proper for a woman. The basic principles are the same. I would not attempt to prescribe what kind of work a man should do, and I would not attempt it in regard to women. There is no particular work which is specifically feminine. Women can choose their work according to their own purpose and premises in the same manner as men do".

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Would a female head of a corporation or a four star general encounter the same dilemma? At what point does the nature of a particular office run counter to a woman's essential makeup?

Read the first couple of pages of the thread looking for the word "Thatcher." Here, I've highlighted it for you. :)

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Does Rand's position in this affect women's ability to hold any leadership role? Would a female head of a corporation or a four star general encounter the same dilemma? At what point does the nature of a particular office run counter to a woman's essential makeup?

Ayn Rand takes on this issue in her essay and, as usual, provides an insightful response. She explains that the head of a private corporation, while holding the highest position in the concern, does not deal with men on the basis of do-or-die orders. She does not issue commands that, if disobeyed, carry the penalty of death. Regarding women as military leaders, Ayn Rand speaks approvingly of Joan of Arc -- but adds that hers was no ordinary circumstance and that the consequences were deeply tragic.

But don't rely on my summary; read it for yourself.

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Since when is the study of the nature of women a part of philosophy? I must have missed the "Gynology" chapters in OPAR.

As Dr. Leonard Peikoff has written, "There is no question more crucial to man than the question: what is man? What kind of being is he? What are his essential attributes?" (Objectivism: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand Chapter 6, "Man") He is, of course, referring to our species in general. However, there is no reason why we cannot philosophically inquire into the nature and essential attributes of women -- which is precisely what Ayn Rand does in her essay about a woman president.

Objectivist philosophy consists of the branches metaphysics, epistemology, ethics, politics, and aesthetics. A discussion of whether a person of a specific sex ought to run for a specific office in a specific country is way too specialized for the field that deals with the broadest abstractions.

It is not any more specialized than dealing with such topics as emergencies, racism, the draft, and government financing -- all of which Ayn Rand discussed in a manner that fully integrated those issues with her ethics and politics.

Edited by Daedalus
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Quite correct: however you've misidentified the nature of her statement. It is not a philosophical conclusion, it is a scientific one, and as such it is not dispositive as to what the Objectivist position is. The fact that question such as "the nature of government" becomes relevant does not take this issue out of the domain of specialized science. The nature of government is clearly identified philosophically without reference to the sex of the president or even whether there needs to be a president -- that is a question for the specialized study political science. You may not like the French for various reasons, but they have a perfectly rational governmental system with both a president and a prime minister, serving distinct functions. The psychological nature of a president is not a philosophical question, no is the psychological nature of all women a philosophical question.

Ayn Rand did not state that she was delivering a scientific finding. Her approach to the subject was strictly philosophical. When she writes, "For a woman qua woman, the essence of femininity is hero-worship -- the desire to look up to man," she is addressing the nature of woman. It is an exercise in philosophical thinking no different than her statement that "Rights are conditions of existence required by man's nature for his proper survival qua man—i.e., qua rational being."

Also please note what she states in the Playboy interview: "I believe that women are human beings. What is proper for a man is proper for a woman. The basic principles are the same. I would not attempt to prescribe what kind of work a man should do, and I would not attempt it in regard to women. There is no particular work which is specifically feminine. Women can choose their work according to their own purpose and premises in the same manner as men do".

Well, obviously, the presidency is one office Ayn Rand did not believe women should hold.

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However, there is no reason why we cannot philosophically inquire into the nature and essential attributes of women

You can do that inquiry in a manner consistent with your philosophy--but it will not be called a part of your philosophy, just like the contents of a website for female soccer fans are not a part of computer science.

It is not any more specialized than dealing with such topics as emergencies, racism, the draft, and government financing -- all of which Ayn Rand discussed in a manner that fully integrated those issues with her ethics and politics.

...And none of which form a part of Objectivism as a philosophy. You can call them "Objectivist writings" if you like, but they are not philosophical writings. They are applications of philosophy.

Edited by Capitalism Forever
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Ayn Rand did not state that she was delivering a scientific finding.
Nor did she state that she was articulating a philosophical principle. It is clear that this question about the nature of females is a psychological one, and Rand was quite clear about that (p. 561: "The issue is primarily psychological"). At the time that she rendered that opinion, it was a reasonable one to hold because she had identified a chosen fact about most women. It has since been proven that it is not in the nature of the concept "woman" that you must look up to someone else. It is a value that a woman may chose in recognition of her personal nature, but is it not a defining property of "woman", as "rational" is a defining property of "man". Edited by DavidOdden
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You can do that inquiry in a manner consistent with your philosophy--but it will not be called a part of your philosophy, just like the contents of a website for female soccer fans are not a part of computer science.

Just as Ayn Rand's opposition to anarchism is both a part of and consistent with her ethical-political philosophy, so is her opposition to having a woman president.

...And none of which form a part of Objectivism as a philosophy. You can call them "Objectivist writings" if you like, but they are not philosophical writings. They are applications of philosophy.

Surely we could not legitimately have Anarchist Objectivists and Pro-Draft Objectivists? Ayn Rand's opposition to both is at the heart of her ideal rights-protecting goverment.

Nor did she state that she was articulating a philosophical principle. It is clear that this question about the nature of females is a psychological one, and Rand was quite clear about that (p. 561: "The issue is primarily psychological"). At the time that she rendered that opinion, it was a reasonable one to hold because she had identified a chosen fact about most women. It has since been proven that it is not in the nature of the concept "woman" that you must look up to someone else. It is a value that a woman may chose in recognition of her personal nature, but is it not a defining property of "woman", as "rational" is a defining property of "man".

Ayn Rand was correct in identifying hero-worship as a characteristic of a rational woman. And this identification is both psychological and philosophical -- just her observation that the "two essentials of the method of survival proper to a rational being are thinking and productive work" is both psychological and philosophical.

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Ayn Rand was correct in identifying hero-worship as a characteristic of a rational woman.
Would you care to provide some of Ayn Rand's words to support your conclusion. Don't change the topic or interpolate: she said "I do not think that a rational woman can want to be President" (emphasis added) and she offered the personal opinion that "For a woman qua woman, the essence of femininity is hero-worship—the desire to look up to man". She never identified hero-worship as a characteristic of rational women. This correct applicability of that statement as a characteristic of "woman" is a question "beyond the knowledge available to you as a normal adult, unaided by any special knowledge": it requires specialized research into the nature of the male psyche and the female psyche considering that man is volitional and that a psychologically health female may not require a hero to worship. This is not a perceptually self-evident fact available to all adults.
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When I read the article in question, the point Miss Rand is making is quite clear to me:

1) A woman cannot be feminine if she is the President.

2) To not be feminine would be a profound loss of value ("This, for a rational woman, would be an unbearable situation.") that no rational woman would seek except in the most dire of national emergencies. ("I do not think that a rational woman can want to be President.")

Yes, this is a psychological issue, and it isn't a part of Objectivism as such.

But I agree with Miss Rand on it. I do not think that a rational woman could or should try to bear the loss of her femininity - to live as a miserable half person - in order to be president. The only exception I can see is the same one that Miss Rand did: if the national situation were so dire that her life would be more miserable if she were not president. I do not agree that one's femininity is a value that can be casually sacrificed, or that all rational women do not (psychologically) need to be feminine.

Edited by Inspector
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But I agree with Miss Rand on it. I do not think that a rational woman could or should try to bear the loss of her femininity - to live as a miserable half person - in order to be president.

I agree with this much, however I don't necessarily agree with the conclusion that being the POTUS will force a woman into this untenable situation. Unlike an absolute monarch, (and like a CEO) the POTUS deals daily with people that aren't under his orders. The POTUS is "Head of State" in a largely ceremonial way, unlike a monarch, who really does possess the power of life and death over the citizens of his country. The president must accomplish his goals through persuasion, argumentation, and diplomacy; methods that put everyone with something to contribute on an even footing.

In fact, the presidency may be a great deal better-suited to women than many other political positions. In relationships, at least that I've noticed, women tend to exercise veto power. The man decides the content of their relationship (suggesting specific activities, for instance) while the woman decides which ones she will accept.

Women don't require someone to "look up to" in the sense of someone who has greater or more worthwhile achievements than we do. What we DO require is an equal; being masculine means you get that extra little kick that turns you into the object of hero-worship when you equal us on every other level. It's dealing constantly with inferior men that makes us crazy. Why? Because we turn into their mother; we can't help it. There's nothing to make you feel gray, boring, and sexless like relating to grown men as though they were children.

Now, I can't say what of this is cultural and what is automatic, these are my observations. This is why I agree with Ayn Rand's statements about femininity and so forth, but disagree with her conclusion.

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I agree with this much, however I don't necessarily agree with the conclusion that being the POTUS will force a woman into this untenable situation. Unlike an absolute monarch, (and like a CEO) the POTUS deals daily with people that aren't under his orders. The POTUS is "Head of State" in a largely ceremonial way . . . .

Women don't require someone to "look up to" in the sense of someone who has greater or more worthwhile achievements than we do. What we DO require is an equal . . . .

I think you make an excellent point here, JMS. I do not see the President as this be-all-end-all-above-all-else type of position. In many respects, Congress, the Court, heads of administrative agencies, and so forth have more power than the President.

And that's staying within the realm of politics. I'm not a woman, but I don't see how a woman President couldn't admire an excellent man in another field. Sorry, Steve, you're the man at Apple and all, but I'm the President, I just can't admire you??

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Would you care to provide some of Ayn Rand's words to support your conclusion. Don't change the topic or interpolate: she said "I do not think that a rational woman can want to be President" (emphasis added) and she offered the personal opinion that "For a woman qua woman, the essence of femininity is hero-worship—the desire to look up to man". She never identified hero-worship as a characteristic of rational women. This correct applicability of that statement as a characteristic of "woman" is a question "beyond the knowledge available to you as a normal adult, unaided by any special knowledge": it requires specialized research into the nature of the male psyche and the female psyche considering that man is volitional and that a psychologically health female may not require a hero to worship. This is not a perceptually self-evident fact available to all adults.

Ayn Rand identified hero-worship as a characteristic of woman qua woman -- and thereby of rational women as well.

Her argument, in brief, is:

a) The essence of woman qua woman is hero-worship, the desire to look up to man.

B) A president must be superior to all those who serve him/her.

c) For a rational woman, this would be an unbearable situation.

It is not necessary to have any statistical data in order to draw these conclusions, any more than one has to conduct demographical research in order to form the conclusion that "'That which is required for the survival of man qua man' is an abstract principle that applies to every individual man." (The Virtue of Selfishness, p. 27)

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Is it fair to say that it simply clashes with my life-view, and my initial emotional response was dismissal? I think my primary disagreement is with a) that hero-worship is the essence of a woman. maybe an important part, or less important in others, but still not a defining attribute. Aside from that, I just can't accept the idea that a woman could not be an ideal POTUS.

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Ayn Rand identified hero-worship as a characteristic of woman qua woman -- and thereby of rational women as well.

Her argument, in brief, is:

I have reviewed your posts in thread, and you have provided numerous citations to Rand and Peikoff. I am curious, what do you think of her argument?

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