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Ayn Randian Ethics

 
 
rufio
 
  1  
Reply Thu 30 Sep, 2004 04:26 am
Val, you're still not understanding. It's not about who has and who doesn't, but about who produces, and who consumes. If you can produce your own well-being, than it doesn't matter how much you have, because you can always remedy that situation - without help from others.

As for power, any kind of power that one human being has over another is counter-objectivism, being that human beings are free and autonomous and capable of being independant. This doesn't mean that there can't be any kind of society, just that everyone in the society would be equal as they all produce no less than they consume. The fact that modern society does have inequality is because of the power claimed by the elites who consume but do not produce.

On generosity - human beings crave things other than food, and money. If I care for someone, and my happiness is tied to theirs, than by serving them I serve myself. This obviously doesn't apply to a random person on the street, but if it's in my interest to help them, than it does not deny any idea of self interest. Taking life is just another form of stealing, where value is destroyed without being produced. No rational human being should want such a thing, as value itself is defined as something that human beings want.
0 Replies
 
edgarblythe
 
  1  
Reply Thu 30 Sep, 2004 05:03 am
I would think that for objectivism to work properly, each person ought to be divested of all their wealth at the moment of death. That way they won't be obliged to pass it on to relatives who did not earn it. After all, those relatives might not be staunchly objectivist and therefore dilute the pool.
0 Replies
 
joefromchicago
 
  1  
Reply Thu 30 Sep, 2004 08:22 am
OCCOM BILL wrote:
Did we lose a page (or more) on that other thread Joe? I definitely recall responding to that last post.

I don't think you ever replied to that post. I do not, however, think less of you because of that.

val wrote:
Of course there is much more about them, specially Nietzsche. But I don't want to turm this in a boring dissertation, not compatible with a forum.

You obviously haven't been reading this forum very much.
0 Replies
 
cavfancier
 
  1  
Reply Thu 30 Sep, 2004 08:25 am
I'm still contemplating the multiple meanings of 'Randian'. It could be one of these 'objectivists', or just a horny bugger.
0 Replies
 
joefromchicago
 
  1  
Reply Fri 1 Oct, 2004 03:08 pm
cav: I've never been particularly fond of "Randian," but it seems to be better than any of the alternatives -- "Randesque," "Randinian," "Randitudinous." Frankly, I prefer "Randroid," but I don't think that will catch on.
0 Replies
 
rufio
 
  1  
Reply Fri 1 Oct, 2004 03:56 pm
Well, it made the Wikipedia.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Randroid
0 Replies
 
OCCOM BILL
 
  1  
Reply Fri 1 Oct, 2004 04:13 pm
joefromchicago wrote:
OCCOM BILL wrote:
Did we lose a page (or more) on that other thread Joe? I definitely recall responding to that last post.

I don't think you ever replied to that post.
Embarrassed That's twice. Sorry dude... I definitely recall working on a fairly lengthy response. I'll revisit that thread when I get caught up with what I have in front of me now.
0 Replies
 
val
 
  1  
Reply Sat 2 Oct, 2004 05:09 am
Rufio, my examples had only a purpose: to show that the fulfilment of self interest causes always conflicts of interest. No one can fulfil his self interest without interacting with others.
I refuse the idea of human beings being free and autonomous. We are biological entities, evolucionary entities, social entities. We are a specie, among other species. Our evolution was the evolution of the human specie.
0 Replies
 
cavfancier
 
  1  
Reply Sat 2 Oct, 2004 05:13 am
joefromchicago wrote:
cav: I've never been particularly fond of "Randian," but it seems to be better than any of the alternatives -- "Randesque," "Randinian," "Randitudinous." Frankly, I prefer "Randroid," but I don't think that will catch on.


I like 'Randroid' but 'Rand Coulter' is much scarier.
0 Replies
 
rufio
 
  1  
Reply Sat 2 Oct, 2004 10:20 am
"Rufio, my examples had only a purpose: to show that the fulfilment of self interest causes always conflicts of interest."

And you've failed to show it. Interest is more than a one-dimensional eat-or-be-eaten thing. It naturally conforms to social context and and in the right kind of environment works in harmony with others. The key point here being the right kind of environment.

Because we exist in a context does not preclude us from being free. We are free within the context, and free to create or choose another context if the first is not to our liking.
0 Replies
 
joefromchicago
 
  1  
Reply Sat 2 Oct, 2004 11:32 am
cavfancier wrote:
I like 'Randroid' but 'Rand Coulter' is much scarier.

"Randrogenous?"
0 Replies
 
nimh
 
  1  
Reply Sun 29 Mar, 2009 03:42 pm
Quote:
There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old's life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs.

source

In the comments section of that post, this quote:

Quote:
I've always suspected that Rand, who fled to America as a result of Stalinist persecutions, at least according to her data, was a Soviet sleeper agent sowing discord in America by effectively starting a religion that raised self-satisfaction to the highest of human aspirations [..] and openly mocked and scorned concepts like altruism and charity; her view, enshrined in ATLAS SHRUGGED, that men of great talent should step away from society and await its inevitable collapse under the weight of its own corruption is oddly similar to Marx's conviction that communism was the natural and inevitable end result of capitalist society.


not quite as pithy, admittedly.
OCCOM BILL
 
  1  
Reply Mon 30 Mar, 2009 03:37 pm
@nimh,
nimh wrote:

Quote:
There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old's life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs.

source

In the comments section of that post, this quote:

Quote:
I've always suspected that Rand, who fled to America as a result of Stalinist persecutions, at least according to her data, was a Soviet sleeper agent sowing discord in America by effectively starting a religion that raised self-satisfaction to the highest of human aspirations [..] and openly mocked and scorned concepts like altruism and charity; her view, enshrined in ATLAS SHRUGGED, that men of great talent should step away from society and await its inevitable collapse under the weight of its own corruption is oddly similar to Marx's conviction that communism was the natural and inevitable end result of capitalist society.


not quite as pithy, admittedly.
As usual... more criticism from people who appear too have NOT read the book.

The first quote, while clever, doesn't reflect any "real world" person I've met. He who develops a "lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes" was an idiot to begin with. He who accepts the obviously intentionally caricaturistic like characters as exaggerations to make points clear, by a woman who was writing in her second language, can gain a ton of excellent "real world" perspective. Her characters, IMO, were designed to offer sharp contrast to the absurdly altruistic nonsense that too many people preach and supposedly take to heart as the good side of good and evil (not that I've met many that truly live up to that side of the coin either). Hell, one of her characters even vilified Robinhood as the perfect personification of evil. Said character, Ragnar Danneskjöld’s, point was spot on as he delivered it, so it got the job done.

More pointedly; if I am emotionally stunted, socially crippled, or unable to deal with the real world in any way; this is the first I’ve learned of it. Rolling Eyes

The second quote is even more absurd. Even Rand's most devout critics would (should) recognize it as such. Comparing Rand's philosophy to Marx is beyond idiotic. The "Strike" she proposed for the talented folks who create; was designed to help the rest of us realize that without those people's efforts, the less talented would have less job opportunity and less ability to tax the profits of the successful entrepreneur. She painstaking (and yes, repetitiously as hell) sounded the warning that too much government interference from non-productive bureaucrats (that haven't, and couldn't produce that which they insist on meddling with, too frequently to the detriment of us all) hurts rather than helps the big and little guys alike. This has been demonstrated by virtually every Industry Nationalization in history.

Now sure, it's fun and makes a man feel altruistic and superior to vilify Rand and the productive captains of industry she vehemently defends... even idolizes, but it doesn't really make any sense. I suppose it's easier than simply admitting she's right. The simple truth is; too often the ordinary man wants to believe it's the tail that wags the dog.

At any rate; the author of that second quote either hasn't read Rand or hasn't read Marx... or, most likely, either one. Just another damn fool that think he can sound off against concepts he himself hasn't taken the time to absorb for himself. (I really hate it when intelligent people think they can gain an accurate perspective from reading summaries and excerpts from critics and fools.

Nimh: YOU would benefit greatly from reading Atlas Shrugged with an open mind (the wager I once proposed is still on the table). I doubt you'd become a proponent of her philosophies anymore than Joe has... but even Joe's personality has no shortage of "Randian" traits to it, whether he wants to admit it or not. And they are both good on him and good for him.
nimh
 
  1  
Reply Mon 30 Mar, 2009 04:23 pm
@OCCOM BILL,
OCCOM BILL wrote:
Comparing Rand's philosophy to Marx is beyond idiotic. [..]

At any rate; the author of that second quote either hasn't read Rand or hasn't read Marx... or, most likely, either one. Just another damn fool that think he can sound off against concepts he himself hasn't taken the time to absorb for himself. (I really hate it when intelligent people think they can gain an accurate perspective from reading summaries and excerpts from critics and fools.

Which works of Karl Marx did you read?

OCCOM BILL wrote:
Now sure, it's fun and makes a man feel altruistic and superior to vilify Rand and the productive captains of industry she vehemently defends... even idolizes

Yeah, I think that if there's anything the current economic collapse has taught us, it's to be wary of the idolization of "the productive captains of industry," business or finance.

For ten, twenty years we've been fed a steady diet of pap bout the all-smart, all-knowing Masters of the Universe who rule our complex markets and industries ... and it turns out they fucked up big time, resp. were ******* us over big time, all this time.

If anything, there has been too much uncritical celebration of the captains of business in the last two decades ... a kind of naive adoration that must go into history as the conservative counterpart to the various misguided idealisms of the left in earlier times.
OCCOM BILL
 
  1  
Reply Mon 30 Mar, 2009 06:09 pm
@nimh,
I've only read the Communist Manifesto (Beans made me do it), and that was years ago. I think that's quite sufficient, though, to allow me to make up MY OWN mind on his philosophy, as opposed to reading the criticisms of the very people Rand vilified. Doing so is akin to trying to understand Marx from summaries by the likes of Ann Coulter. Sure, you can learn some accurate faults that way, but it will never give you a comprehensive understanding. One could learn the contents of the bible by reading Frank Apisa, too.

I am not at all interested in debating whether the current mess we're in is the fault of Conservatives or Liberals. Your knee-jerk desire to lay it at the feet of Captains of Industry is naive at best. You're confusing said captains with thieves and exploiters, as if there is no difference. Not every business man exploits his employees, cheats the little guy, and rips off the government (us). Not every banker wrote Bogus paper, either. Government interference played as large of role as deregulation has; believe that.

Want a sound economy? Regulate fair business practices and tax systems that encourage entrepreneurial spirits to try and stake their own claim. Don't punish them for it. Boundaries, not micromanagement. Incentives, not interference. At the end of the day; the most productive people on earth are ultimately looking to improve THEIR OWN lot in life. There is nothing inherently evil in this pursuit; it is human nature. It matters little what philosophy a government attempts to put on the people; their nature remains the same. Adam Smith knew this. IMO, he understood the economy better 2 centuries ago than any person alive today.

I can't remember the last Presidential Election that someone wasn't paying lip service to a balanced budget amendment... yet it never comes. This fact alone is sufficient for me to believe Washington is utterly incompetent at business management. There has to be a better way... but Communism isn't it. Shades of Socialism are certainly required in any just society today... but an "all-smart, all-knowing Master of the Universe" like Adam Smith would be able to incorporate it into a system that doesn't strangle itself from within, as we're doing now.

Taxing production has to be the single dumbest solution ever conceived. And guess what? You can blame Conservatives/Republicans AND Liberals/Democrats for that. Mr. Smith would never have approved of either.

Sorry I’ve wandered. Here’s the simple truth of why Rand’s philosophy is far superior to that of Marx (not to mention diametrically opposed, unbeknownst to the moron you quoted earlier) … one that is so easily overlooked by the armchair CEO: No entrepreneur; no company. Marx never understood that it is precisely a desire for self-improvement that drives human-kind to produce. Ayn Rand understood little else (though much of her human philosophy was more related than you know… or likely ever will).
joefromchicago
 
  1  
Reply Mon 30 Mar, 2009 06:22 pm
@OCCOM BILL,
OCCOM BILL wrote:
Taxing production has to be the single dumbest solution ever conceived. And guess what? You can blame Conservatives/Republicans AND Liberals/Democrats for that. Mr. Smith would never have approved of either.

I don't recall, from my reading of The Wealth of Nations, that Adam Smith ever addressed that subject. Where did you find it?

I assume, of course, that you've also read The Wealth of Nations (both volumes -- not the abridged versions). After all, you certainly wouldn't attempt to characterize Smith's position without having read his book.
OCCOM BILL
 
  1  
Reply Mon 30 Mar, 2009 06:50 pm
@joefromchicago,
joefromchicago wrote:

OCCOM BILL wrote:
Taxing production has to be the single dumbest solution ever conceived. And guess what? You can blame Conservatives/Republicans AND Liberals/Democrats for that. Mr. Smith would never have approved of either.

I don't recall, from my reading of The Wealth of Nations, that Adam Smith ever addressed that subject. Where did you find it?

I assume, of course, that you've also read The Wealth of Nations (both volumes -- not the abridged versions). After all, you certainly wouldn't attempt to characterize Smith's position without having read his book.
There's actually 5 books in the series, Joe. But I'm sure you knew that and were just testing me, right? Sorry I don't remember Book, Chapter or Verse... but his point was abundantly clear: Something to the effect of direct taxes on labor cause the prices of consumer products to go up, AND the demand for labor to go down. He thought the idea ridiculous and favored a tax on the goods themselves, so as not to deter business or the demand for labor.

Now it seems obvious to me that though the effect may seem the same on the surface; it most certainly is not. By removing the tax-burden from production; entrepreneurial spirits are encouraged and job creation is the result. This is how you "create wealth" from thin air.

Taxing production on the other hand; discourages entrepreneurial spirits and stunts job growth accordingly. This is how you handicap the creation of wealth... and it's an error we've been making for about a century.

I'm sorry you don't recall it, but I promise it's there.
OCCOM BILL
 
  1  
Reply Mon 30 Mar, 2009 07:23 pm
@OCCOM BILL,
Before you freak out on me for not sourcing my facts:
http://www.adamsmith.org/smith/won-b5-c2-article-3.htm
Adam Smith wrote:
In all cases a direct tax upon the wages of labour must, in the long-run, occasion both a greater reduction in the rent of land, and a greater rise in the price of manufactured goods, than would have followed from the proper assessment of a sum equal to the produce of the tax partly upon the rent of land, and partly upon consumable commodities.

If direct taxes upon the wages of labour have not always occasioned a proportionable rise in those wages, it is because they have generally occasioned a considerable fall in the demand for labour. The declension of industry, the decrease of employment for the poor, the diminution of the annual produce of the land and labour of the country, have generally been the effects of such taxes. In consequence of them, however, the price of labour must always be higher than it otherwise would have been in the actual state of the demand: and this enhancement of price, together with the profit of those who advance it, must always be finally paid by the landlords and consumers.

A tax upon the wages of country labour does not raise the price of the rude produce of land in proportion to the tax, for the same reason that a tax upon the farmer's profit does not raise that price in that proportion.

Absurd and destructive as such taxes are, however, they take place in many countries.




(The beads are mine at last!)
0 Replies
 
Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Tue 31 Mar, 2009 01:10 am
@OCCOM BILL,
Quote:
There's actually 5 books in the series, Joe. But I'm sure you knew that and were just testing me, right? Sorry I don't remember Book, Chapter or Verse... but his point was abundantly clear: Something to the effect of direct taxes on labor cause the prices of consumer products to go up, AND the demand for labor to go down.

Occom Bill -- you know how much I despise an exchange of arguments, and how much I hate to contradict you. But the principles of taxation you are putting forward are not Adam Smith's, they are somebody else's. Adam Smith clearly states four maxims of proper taxation, and the very first of them is that taxes be in proportion to someone's income. You can use Adam Smith as an authority against a progressive income tax if you want.But you cannot use him as an authority against every conceivable form of income tax. The following excerpt, from his chapter on the Sources of the General or Public Revenue of the Society , practically calls for a (flat) income tax, which would in practice work out as a tax on labor and thrift today.

Adam Smith wrote:
I. The subjects of every state ought to contribute towards the support of the government, as nearly as possible, in proportion to their respective abilities; that is, in proportion to the revenue which they respectively enjoy under the protection of the state. The expence of government to the individuals of a great nation is like the expence of management to the joint tenants of a great estate, who are all obliged to contribute in proportion to their respective interests in the estate.

http://www.econlib.org/library/Smith/smWN21.html
contrex
 
  -1  
Reply Tue 31 Mar, 2009 01:49 am
@Thomas,
If I were in charge of the government, and these Galt type guys mutinied in the way that they do in the Rand book, I'd attack their HQ from the air with nuclear weapons. Wipe 'em out. Whack 'em. Hard. Try any survivors for treason. Frame some of them for child abuse for good measure. Or Al-Quaeda membership. Whatever.
0 Replies
 
 

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