I wonder what Atheists think about dogmatic “new philosophies” like Objectivism? Here you have a school of thought that tries to be all comprehensive, even to the point of derisively shunning contradictory outside ideas. Believers of this philosophy meet at Ayn Rand institutes or form cliques to discuss her verbose books in detail, not unlike a bible study.
The author also had an affair with a younger man when she was married and convinced her husband to accept her love was supported by “Objectivism”, similar to when Joseph Smith told his wife God told him to cheat on her. She also threatened a professor who tried to critique her work with lawsuits like a coward, thereby not allowing her to improve her theories while she was alive.*
Russian literature isn’t exactly known for pithiness. (Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged is 1100+ pages.) Tolstoy’s War and Peace stretched into 1200+ pages of unapproachable purple prose. When Germans wrote great work they tried to save their remaining trees. You can probably read either the Communist Manifesto or one of Einstein’s Theories of Relativity in under an hour (and realize the author’s mind.)
I don’t have the time or energy to read through that wordy mess for myself, so for now I’ll just stick with the online summaries of her views, her life, and the hypocrisy. For now I’ll just read about the effect that Objectivism has on people who have read her work.
Here’s a great post about what it’s like to be born to a parent who follows Objectivism to the point of being a jerk toward his kid.
Objectivism goes hand in hand with libertarianism, although Ayn Rand said she disliked them. Since it’s dogmatic it tends to turn people into self-righteous pricks.
I read a review on Amazon that said the flaw of the philosophy is that it is so unforgiving. It gave an example of an engineer who that even if an engineer is brilliant at something, continuing to work in that way without compromise is a sure way to be fired at a company. People need to work together. And it’s dangerous to presuppose you know the best path.
Now that I’ve shared my opening posts, here are some more thread replies from other people:
It’s a cause of controversy because it’s shit, and somehow, some people still employ it.
You can’t start at the premise that something cannot have two contradictory qualities at once, and jump over a few minor connections and some meandering about consciousness to land at the conclusion that our senses are objective and all that nonsense.
I think objectivism is every bit as valid as any other philosophy in the academic circuit.
That said, in reality, much like Marxism: objectivism cannot ever work. People are not all one way or another. By that I mean you cannot predict human actions by broad generalizations. With Marx it was that once the Prols over through the Bouge then everyone will suddenly stop wanting to advance their own self interest and work for the good of everyone. Nice in theory, verbally beautiful academically, utterly naive intellectually, but in reality people’s self-interest will always will out in some degree. With Rand’s idea of Objectivism, it’s the opposite. People working solely for their own self-interest and others be damned. Nice from a buisness stand point of “he who is weaker should be crushed or made to serve he who is stronger” but just as Marx fails to see that people are self-interested in some degree, Rand fails to realize that people share some form of compassion and caring. People will run to a burning car to try and pull out a person trapped within. People will donate large sums of money, or travel to countries that are in need of medical attention. People will give a person on the street their jacket in the winter and help them to a shelter. These things happen and Rand’s naivete shows it’s self when she suggests otherwise.
Put simply: People will do what they want, for good or ill. Objectivism cannot and will never work in reality.
Are you an angsty teenager who’s frequently mad at your parents? Are you obese, ugly as fuck, or merely have a low sense of self-worth? Do you still listen to Type O Negative, do you write shitty poetry, or horror fiction? THEN YOU MIGHT BE A RANDIAN!
Are you a Republican, or do you claim to hate Republicans because you’re an Independent yet if you check your voting history for some odd reason virtually all your votes have gone to Republicans?
Nobody who actually studies philosophy takes Ayn Rand seriously. Absolutely everything she said was bullshit, and she was a massive hypocrite. Ayn Rand died poor and alone from the cancer she got from the cigarettes she refused to believe caused cancer, while sucking down Medicare checks but oh that’s okay because she paid into the system so she was just getting her money back.
That’s how fucking stupid Randians are. But her bullshit rings the right way for self-important assholes with self-image issues. That is all.
Alan Greenspan was one of Ayn Rand’s closest followers and confidants. Every terrible way he ever fucked over the American economy was straight out of Rand’s playbook.
Ron Paul is a Randian. When the guys who owned ronpaul.com tried to sell the domain name to Ron Paul, Ron Paul went to the fucking United Nations (a group he believes are evil, and should be disbanded) trying to violate the free market in order to force their hand. Just as much of a hypocrite as his mental mother.
Yet Randians will still make excuses for this shit. Laughably dumb excuses. I could go on.
It’s a common American mindset, not solely American but characteristic still, taken to it’s fullest conclusion. The only value is money and the only scale of judgement are direct physically damaging effects on another person.
It has no sense of honour and folk like the culture it came from has, it doesn’t tap from it’s deep rooted undercurrents but from it’s cliché’s.
Moral simplification has totalitarian roots, that aren’t just political but also psychological, the two strengthen each other. Murray Rothbard saw this in Rand’s cult and said that in it’s individualism, it left no place for individuality.
I know the thread is just a “Share your thoughts” thread but actually present an argument.
A list of literal ad hominem, not insults, ad hominem isn’t going to cut it.
And I don’t even fundamentally disagree with you, I think Randianism involves about as much wishful thinking as marxism.
Randianism involving people being essentially objective, Marxism relying on the assumed worth of the proletariat.
P.S. Atheist Christopher Hitchens was no fan of the philosophy / cult.