3
   

Jesus vs. John Galt

 
 
joefromchicago
 
  1  
Reply Sat 31 Jul, 2004 09:25 am
OCCOM BILL wrote:
Well, I guess the obvious answer is this is not a problem unique to a John Galt Community. A simple response would be that the Jesus model has already proven to bring such violence and would therefore be more likely to result in a public uprising, no? Christian history would certainly help to support that theory.

That would be a simple response, but, I would argue, it would be the wrong one. It's quite possible that both communities would be equally prone to this situation, but for the Randian one it would be uniquely problematic. Jesus, I think, would have had an answer for the community where the stupids outnumbered the smarts: "you are your brother's keeper." In a community governed by the precepts laid out in the Sermon on the Mount, the stupid majority is not a major problem. In a community governed by the precepts laid out in Objectivist philosophy, however, I think the problem is profound.

OCCOM BILL wrote:
But lunatic fringes aside; I believe conceptually, a society around Galt would be less likely to be over run than one by Jesus anyway because of the leadership. While the Jesus community would follow the most charismatic guy who stepped up to the mike, the Galt society would be lead by the people who enjoyed the most success. Both societies would eventually end up with a concentration of wealth at the top… The difference is in Galt's society; the people at the top earned it. They understand very well how to manage money, relations and what not. In the Jesus society, the most charismatic of the group (no doubt some one who'd fit better in the Galt model) would rise to the top. He'd likely know little about cash management and care even less since his sheep would gladly give all.

All of that assumes that the smart people like Galt will inevitably "win" in a Randian competition. Perhaps that's so, but I can't be so sure that Galt would win just because people would realize that it was in their self-interest to be self-interested. Maybe Rand would permit leaders like Galt, who fully understood that enlightened self-interest was the best solution for all people, to gull the stupids with a Platonic "noble lie" -- something simple that they could understand and that would end up making them Randians in spite of themselves.

OCCOM BILL wrote:
Eventually, I'm certain he'd be taking it at gunpoint, not simply receiving it because of in practice; communistic peoples produce less and less. The Jesus model probably fails even if the people's goodness doesn't because incompetence doesn't rely on bad intentions.

I'm sure Jesus Junction would be maddeningly inefficient from the perspective of the citizens of Galt Gulch. But then efficiency isn't everything.

OCCOM BILL wrote:
Could an advanced society that enjoyed unprecedented growth of wealth of industry from unprecedented unfettered access to their own funds really turn their backs on a fatally high percentage of people? I say not if they stick to the ideal. It isn't logical.

Maybe it isn't logical, but then that simply returns us to my initial point: what if people are, in the main, illogical?

OCCOM BILL wrote:
The fatal flaw I see is in the lack of redistribution at death. Bill Gates understands this, I suspect, and that's why he plans to donate most of his fortune. Too bad the Royal Saudis, and just about everyone else, just doesn't get it.

Yes, perhaps we'd all do better by reading Carnegie's "Gospel of Wealth."
0 Replies
 
tcis
 
  1  
Reply Sun 1 Aug, 2004 12:58 am
Question: Between the Jesus & Galt models, which model would you all say more closely resembles reality in USA today?
0 Replies
 
john-nyc
 
  1  
Reply Sun 1 Aug, 2004 08:13 am
tcis wrote:
Question: Between the Jesus & Galt models, which model would you all say more closely resembles reality in USA today?


schizoid duality
0 Replies
 
tcis
 
  1  
Reply Sun 1 Aug, 2004 10:56 pm
john/nyc wrote:
tcis wrote:
Question: Between the Jesus & Galt models, which model would you all say more closely resembles reality in USA today?


schizoid duality


Very Happy
0 Replies
 
edgarblythe
 
  1  
Reply Mon 2 Aug, 2004 04:59 am
http://world.std.com/~mhuben/critobj.html

Here are some criticisms of Rand's objectivism worth looking at.
0 Replies
 
tcis
 
  1  
Reply Mon 2 Aug, 2004 12:53 pm
edgarblythe wrote:
http://world.std.com/~mhuben/critobj.html

Here are some criticisms of Rand's objectivism worth looking at.


Interesting stuff, e.

"Ayn Rand was a truculent, domineering cult-leader, whose Objectivist pseudo-philosophy attempts to ensnare adolescents with heroic fiction about righteous capitalists."

Jeez, why don't they say how they really feel... :wink:
0 Replies
 
OCCOM BILL
 
  1  
Reply Tue 3 Aug, 2004 08:50 am
joefromchicago wrote:
Maybe Rand would permit leaders like Galt, who fully understood that enlightened self-interest was the best solution for all people, to gull the stupids with a Platonic "noble lie" -- something simple that they could understand and that would end up making them Randians in spite of themselves.
instead of going to the Doctor.

joefromchicago wrote:
I'm sure Jesus Junction would be maddeningly inefficient from the perspective of the citizens of Galt Gulch. But then efficiency isn't everything.
When working in a crisis, efficiency is paramount. That begs a question: Considering your above average ability, which community would you prefer to live in? (Be honest :wink: )

joefromchicago wrote:
OCCOM BILL wrote:
Could an advanced society that enjoyed unprecedented growth of wealth of industry from unprecedented unfettered access to their own funds really turn their backs on a fatally high percentage of people? I say not if they stick to the ideal. It isn't logical.

Maybe it isn't logical, but then that simply returns us to my initial point: what if people are, in the main, illogical?

In that conclusion, "Logical" wasn't being applied to the people in general… just the cream of the crop. For the people in general; a sense of fair play is all that's necessary. Opportunity is necessary for happiness; success is not. Hang out by a lottery machine and examine the smiles on the faces of the participants, and you'll see what I mean. Hope for something better is the most important thing. That's why our founding fathers guaranteed us the right to pursue happiness. In Galt's Gulch, that's all we do.

joefromchicago wrote:
Yes, perhaps we'd all do better by reading Carnegie's "Gospel of Wealth."
I haven't read that. I gather I should?
______________________________________________

tcis wrote:
Question: Between the Jesus & Galt models, which model would you all say more closely resembles reality in USA today?
Galt's model was invented by Rand as she witnessed the first signs of deterioration of what our forefathers had built. She accurately predicted that we'd evolve towards socialism and that our government would grow absurdly powerful over the people… which of course, it has. To answer your question, the USA is a Galt model trying to swim with a Jesus Model pulling it down. Did you by any chance listen to Ronald Reagan Jr.'s speech the other night? The old ways are notalways the best.
0 Replies
 
joefromchicago
 
  1  
Reply Tue 3 Aug, 2004 09:32 am
OCCOM BILL wrote:
instead of going to the Doctor.

Where did that come from???

Let's all take some deep, cleansing breaths before we proceed. There now, feel better? Good.

I mentioned the Platonic "noble lie" because I am convinced that a Randian society depends on everyone being rational (or, more specifically, being rationally self-interested). Yet I am also convinced that people, on the whole, do not act rationally. In order for a Randian society to function, then, there must be some way in which the people who do act like rationally self-interested Randians can convince the others to act the same way, whether they want to or not. Thus the "noble lie."

Now, as to what might actually constitute the "noble lie" I offer no opinion. It might be religion, or science, or occult superstition. The only thing that it must be is convincing.

OCCOM BILL wrote:
When working in a crisis, efficiency is paramount. That begs a question: Considering your above average ability, which community would you prefer to live in? (Be honest :wink: )

Well, that doesn't beg any question (for a definition of "question begging," see here). As for my choice, I would much prefer to live in Jesus Junction rather than Galt Gulch.

OCCOM BILL wrote:
In that conclusion, "Logical" wasn't being applied to the people in general… just the cream of the crop. For the people in general; a sense of fair play is all that's necessary. Opportunity is necessary for happiness; success is not. Hang out by a lottery machine and examine the smiles on the faces of the participants, and you'll see what I mean. Hope for something better is the most important thing. That's why our founding fathers guaranteed us the right to pursue happiness. In Galt's Gulch, that's all we do.

People may have a sense of fair play, but it typically extends only as far as it applies to the other guy. Most people have a highly subjective view of fair play as it applies to themselves. That's one reason why we don't allow people to "take the law into their own hands" -- we can't trust them to apply justice fairly in their own cases.

OCCOM BILL wrote:
joefromchicago wrote:
Yes, perhaps we'd all do better by reading Carnegie's "Gospel of Wealth."
I haven't read that. I gather I should?

Yes, you should. You can find it here.
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Tue 3 Aug, 2004 10:18 am
I don't know if it has been pointed out yet, but the signature line which Bill is using seems to imply that John Galt is responsible for the quote: "The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing."

This is a quote of Edmund Burke, often mischaracterized as an English philosopher. Burke was in fact, an Irishman who went into politics in England.

http://www.wordiq.com/knowledge/upload/7/7d/Edmund_burke.jpg

Burke probably deserves the title of political philosopher, although in our day he would be called a political scientist--or a right-wing hack. He sat in Parliament for the Whigs, but he supported unpopular policies, such as the emancipation of Catholics in Ireland. Burke was first elected in 1765, due to the patonage of the Marquis of Rockingham, then prime minister. Rockingham's government fell, and Burke thereafter sat in opposition to the Tory governments which succeeded. Originally seen as a radical, Burke often lost his Parliamentary seat, and so was passed from one "rotten borough" to another to assure his place in the House of Commons. He eventually sat in Parliament for thirty years.

His support of the cause of the downtrodden in Ireland, and the complaints of the Americans, had made him seem "liberal," as we know the term. However, his opposition to the French Revolution was so vehement and vitriolic, that his political writings became popular. Long after his death, those who opposed the "liberal" governments of England began to call themselves "conservatives," and claimed Burke as the "father of conservatism." This particular quotation of Burke comes from a speech in the House in which he condemned the recently published Rights of Man which had come out of revolutionary France. Burke's support of Catholic emancipation in Ireland and the greivances of the Americans was not based upon any principle of "unalienable rights," but rather a call for pragmatic solutions to problems which he saw government as exacerbating. His true view of individual rights comes out in his Reflections on the Revolution in France. Burke never believed in individual civil rights--and this quote is a product of his opposition to the principle, and his assertion that God had ordained hereditary monarchy. He was reacting to sermon by one Richard Price, who praised the revolution, and held that the English people had the right to remove a "bad king."

Mary Wollstonecraft published her Vindication of the Rights of Man in response to Burke's obsessive campaign to smear the French revolutionaries as hypocrits. Hypocrits they likely were, but rejecting the Rights of Man on that basis is the classic case of throwing the baby out with the bath water. Miss Wollstonecraft subsequently published Vindication of the Rights of Women in 1792, and it stands as the first "feminist" work in the English language. She is forgotten, but her daugher married the poet Percy Shelley, and Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley has become immortal as a result of her book Frankenstein.

My opinion? Burke was a political hack with the greatest ability in history to enlist eloquent speaking in the cause of reactionary politics.
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Tue 3 Aug, 2004 10:25 am
In case anyone thinks this is not relevant, i should point out that in reading this thread, and constantly tripping over Bill's signature line, it suddenly occurred to me that people might think Ayn Rand was an original political thinker. She was not. She relies heavily upon Thomas Hobbes and Edmund Burke for what passes for philosophy in her writings. If you really want to compare the philosophy of Rand in Atlas Shrugged to the putative philosophy of Jesus, read Burke. He states much more clearly and eloquently the ideas which Rand stole from him, and used without attribution.

As you might imagine, i do not have a high opinion of Rand. But then, i don't have a high opinion of Jesus either, which is why i have not commented until now.
0 Replies
 
Asherman
 
  1  
Reply Tue 3 Aug, 2004 11:15 am
Again, I'm with Setanta. I've never understood the fascination that some folks have with Rand. Her writing is trite, shallow and her characters are little more than cartoons. She never attribute her many thefts of ideas, and they are often warped almost beyond recognition. Normally, once I begin a book I'll read it all the way through. Sometimes it takes years. In the case of Joyce's "Finnigan's Wake", after decades I'm not even half way through the book. Within two day's I'd thrown "Atlas Shrugged" into the wastebasket. Generally I enjoy Gary Cooper, but his Galt was an embarassment. Oh well ...

There are ever so much better things to read if you are interested in the roots of American Conservatism. Read the Constitution, the Federalist Papers and the Anti-Federalist materials. The political history of the United States can take a lifetime of study. Edmond Burke, Adam Smith, and a host of other early political thinkers will be a much more productive use of your reading time.
0 Replies
 
Craven de Kere
 
  1  
Reply Tue 3 Aug, 2004 11:20 am
In an irony only apparent to myself I add Hayek and Friedman to that list.
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Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Tue 3 Aug, 2004 11:37 am
To Asherman's list of must reading to understand the development of political philosophy in America, i would add Thomas Hobbes, John Locke, Jean-Jacques Rousseau and Michel de Montaigne. In particular, i recommend Hobbes' Leviathan (as Behemoth is almost unreadable for modern readers) and Rousseau's Sur l'origine de l'inégalité (On the Origins of Inequality).
0 Replies
 
Asherman
 
  1  
Reply Tue 3 Aug, 2004 12:05 pm
Hear! Hear!
0 Replies
 
OCCOM BILL
 
  1  
Reply Tue 3 Aug, 2004 01:08 pm
Setanta wrote:
In case anyone thinks this is not relevant, i should point out that in reading this thread, and constantly tripping over Bill's signature line, it suddenly occurred to me that people might think Ayn Rand was an original political thinker. She was not. She relies heavily upon Thomas Hobbes and Edmund Burke for what passes for philosophy in her writings. If you really want to compare the philosophy of Rand in Atlas Shrugged to the putative philosophy of Jesus, read Burke. He states much more clearly and eloquently the ideas which Rand stole from him, and used without attribution.
That may have been informative to some, but your accusatory tone was uncalled for. My sig line started out as Simply: Who is John Galt? Then, I added the Burke quote. Then when I added the bit about the Iraqi Woman, that dozens of people have thanked me for, there wasn't room for crediting Edmund Burke. Neither Ayn Rand nor her character John Galt ever uttered that phrase to my knowledge. When asked, I've credited Edmund Burke every time. Do you have any other evidence to back up your claim: "He states much more clearly and eloquently the ideas which Rand stole from him, and used without attribution"

I suspect once again, your criticism is misplaced.

Setanta wrote:
As you might imagine, i do not have a high opinion of Rand. But then, i don't have a high opinion of Jesus either, which is why i have not commented until now.
Tell me, did you, unlike Asherman and Craven actually read Atlas Shrugged in its entirety before forming your opinion?

Asherman: It's a pity you tossed the book aside before getting to the good stuff. Otherwise, you may have liked it. I know no one that didn't think the first half sucked. BTW, Gary Cooper never played Galt... He played Roark in the Fountainhead. I wonder how much of your opinion on Atlas Shrugged you are basing on this loose adaptation of the wrong book.

Joefromchicago: I'll get back to you in a bit.
0 Replies
 
Craven de Kere
 
  1  
Reply Tue 3 Aug, 2004 01:11 pm
Sheesh Bill, get your mind around the idea that some think the book is lousy. In fact it's famous for being lousiy and only popular among unsofisticated readers.

It's no big deal if someone doesn't like it. Rolling Eyes

One time, someone said Poe was mediocre to me. Shocked I got over it. :wink:
0 Replies
 
OCCOM BILL
 
  1  
Reply Tue 3 Aug, 2004 01:52 pm
Craven, no offense, but I continue to place little value on your opinion of something you haven't read.

Since I do respect your intellect; your continued insistence that one must be unsophisticated to enjoy Rand's work offends me. It is an un-provable claim that would normally be beneath you. Note: I would consider that statement offensive, even if you did know what you were talking about.

Setanta implied that my sig line meant that Ayn Rand and/or I credited John Galt with Edmund Burke's work. That was totally false so I said so.
Asherman made an error in suggesting Cooper played Galt. That was false also, so I said so.

I don't have a problem with people disliking the book. I do like it, and choose to defend it… as well as it's author, especially against scathing attacks that go beyond the author and paint her fans (me) as unsophisticated. Taking offensive statements offensively is not something I plan to get over. Get over that. :wink:
0 Replies
 
Asherman
 
  1  
Reply Tue 3 Aug, 2004 01:57 pm
Actually, I read about 2/3 of the "Atlas Shrugged", and about half of the "Fountain Head". You're right, of course, Gary Cooper was in "The Fountain Head", and films are no way to criticize a book. Still, Rand is at the very best thin, pretentious, and unoriginal

Bill, you have your opinion about Rand, and I have mine. Sorry we don't agree, but there it is.
0 Replies
 
OCCOM BILL
 
  1  
Reply Tue 3 Aug, 2004 03:44 pm
Asherman wrote:
Bill, you have your opinion about Rand, and I have mine. Sorry we don't agree, but there it is.
That's cool Asherman. These boards would be pretty boring if everyone agreed. You criticism of Rand stopped short of belittling her fans. My arguments with Set and Craven are carryovers from other threads, so I apologize if my response seemed overly aggressive towards you. It wasn't meant to.
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Tue 3 Aug, 2004 04:06 pm
OCCOM BILL wrote:
That may have been informative to some, but your accusatory tone was uncalled for.


Any accusatory tone is completely a figment of your imaginaiton.

Quote:
My sig line started out as Simply: Who is John Galt? Then, I added the Burke quote. Then when I added the bit about the Iraqi Woman, that dozens of people have thanked me for, there wasn't room for crediting Edmund Burke. Neither Ayn Rand nor her character John Galt ever uttered that phrase to my knowledge. When asked, I've credited Edmund Burke every time.


As already noted, your paranoia is your own creation. I was simply addressing the likelihood that someone reading that signature line might believe that Galt is to be credited with the quote, which would not be true. I accused you of nothing. If you wish to persist in the belief, help yourself--i've recently lost any interest in what you believe or why.

Quote:
Do you have any other evidence to back up your claim: "He states much more clearly and eloquently the ideas which Rand stole from him, and used without attribution"


The evidence is inferential. In university, my girlfriend was a huge fan of Rand. I was obliged to read Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead to gratify her, and then when we discussed it, i told her Rand's ideas were palid rip-offs of Hobbes and Burke, and that mostly she had taken the obvious ideas and missed the subtleties. I then remarked how much i admired Hobbes, and how little Rand apparently understood him or appreciated the context of his political philosophy. I firmly stated that i admired Burke greatly for his talent, and was disgusted by his political philosophy. She then demanded that i read both books again, and i did; our ensuing discussion was little better, and we both dropped the subject forever. I am very grateful not have been obliged to read another word by Rand in the ensuing 35 years.

Precisely because Rand so blatantly rips-off the political philosophy of Burke, and precisely because that most famous of his quotes was uttered in a mealy-mouthed appeal to conservative fears and resentments, i felt i would do well to discuss Burke and his life and career, before ending that passage with the comment about Rand having no original political thoughts, and then commenting on Burke. The evidence you will find by reading Hobbes' Leviathan, and Behemoth, and by reading Burke's Reflections on the Revolution in France, Further Reflections on the French Revolution and A Vindication of Natural Society. For most of Burke, however, one would have to read his letters, essays and speeches on the floor of the House. There you will find that not only does Rand lean heavily on Burke's political philosophy, but even uses some of his most eloquent statements, often almost verbatim. I've been reading this thread from the beginning. I noticed your signature line quite a while ago and thought then: "The ignorant might think that there actually is a John Galt, and that he is the author of that quote." I gave absolutely no thought to the notion that you were attempting to deceive anyone. The sum of this thread and being once more reminded of my opinion of Rand from your signature line, i decided to comment. Your resentment is silly, and not surprising. My authority for my statements is my personal opinion, which is precisely what it means when i say that i do or do not entertain a high opinion of someone or something.

Quote:
I suspect once again, your criticism is misplaced.


Your suspicions are of even less interest to me than your beliefs.

Quote:
Tell me, did you, unlike Asherman and Craven actually read Atlas Shrugged in its entirety before forming your opinion?


See above.
0 Replies
 
 

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