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Jan's Objectivism Problem, or, Ayn Rand's Turn for a Spanking

While it was all good fun watching Helfeld spank Kinsella and Larken Rose, it is now time for Objectivism to be spanked in its turn. No one escapes the inexorable logical steamroller.

From listening to these exchanges, I gathered what I think is a fair representation of Jan's position.

He seems to be saying that a limited government - defined as a government successfully limited to providing equal protection services to individual physical safety and property security through a coercive legal apparatus and minimally invasive police and military apparatus - is the best system for maximizing most individual's chances of following their own plan toward happiness.

Whether they correctly define, plan for or even correctly anticipate their happiness seems a little murky, so we'll leave that alone. It seems at least likely on its face that each individual should be the best judge of his own happiness.

We can define 'the good' on this view as the individual's fullest possible attainment of the ability to pursue their own defined happiness by acting on their plans.

There seems to be some real problems with the ability of this ultimate end or ethic to lead to a limited government philosophy, however.

The problem is that we only live one life span, and if our own happiness is paramount, it doesn't follow at all that advocating limited government or making the transition to limited government necessarily improves or advances most individuals' chances, in the here and now, to live a good, full free life.

The kind of pains and burdens in transitioning to a limited government like the original constitution would perhaps gravely limit the self defined and anticipated plans toward happiness of most people. Consider retirement as a representative example.

It may be arguable that in the very long run, the most people would have the best chance at happiness after the transition and in future generations, but on Jan's view, as he expressed it to Larken Rose, he is no "sacrificial soul" altruistically concerned with others, and doesn't expect others to sacrifice present day self-defined plans for happiness to the majority or to future generations, or "the best interests of the most people."

Perhaps most people feel the modern welfare state is the best path for their own happiness? Perhaps they think it is even the best situation for the happiness of most other people too, even in the long run. Whether right or wrong, this would be strictly irrelevant on the Objectivist view, centered as it is on the fullest flowering of one's own potencies and Self expression.

In fact, on Objectivism, the only good reason to even promote a view like limited government, or Objectivism for that matter, would be in advancing one's own happiness and life-plan and interests, regardless of its actual truth-value. What value could an Objectivist find in a self negating truth-monk pursuing a final value that lead to suffering, sacrifice and ruin?

To be a consistent Objectivist, Jan would need to admit that spreading the word of Objectivism was only good because it is what makes the individual bearer of the creed happy, not because it is true. Do you see the peril in these waters!? Truth is a subordinate value on this ultimate end, and sacrifice for others is not even an afterthought. The Objectivist missionary is a kind of comical inversion of the Christian missionary, who must advance the creed only because it serves himself!

The Objectivist would have to affirm the correctness of advancing non-Objectivism and welfare statism for those who found that it made them happy and advanced their life goals to promote welfare statism or pursue a career in government that necessitated advocating wealth redistribution.

The only metric on this view is the individual's self defined and anticipated happiness and a long, fulfilled life. Who cares about others. You only live once, don't dally!

As Jan maintained in his debates, if one's own life and happiness is threatened by adhering to some ethic, then on his view it would be right to protect one's own ultimate interest, even if it meant killing or stealing. All the more so then to get a student loan, unemployment check, or social security.

The only way out of the conundrum is to posit one's children, grand children and great grand children and so on into a "true" measure of a person's happiness, and so smuggle back in some kind of utilitarian and long run ethic.

But for this to work, one would have to believe that people are really sincerely motivated by their reproductive success out past a few generations. This is not so at all. As C S Lewis observed, we don't really think about what our descendants in the year 3014 will be doing or how they will live, or about our 'genetic success' as such.

While we do indeed love our children, grand children and care about their future, we don't take it very far beyond a few more generations, or much past our own direct influence.

While it is true that natural selection may retrospectively select or favor those behaviors which turned out to be genetically successful, that doesn't mean that the behavior at the time was directed toward genetic success, or that anyone really thinks or cares in those terms. That is a purely retrospective, selective process, and we have very limited cares about such things.

We don't live our lives and plan on the basis of our great great great great great great grandchildren having the most material wealth due to the optimal economic system.

We order our lives and beliefs and actions to pursue our own personal happiness, which includes at most the well being of our offspring and a generation or two out. It would be silly if we really organized our lives around the ad infinitum happiness of distantly related genetic offspring, for eternity.

So we are back to an ethic which in no way leads to a belief in limited government, except for those individuals, and only those individuals, who gain genuine happiness and advantage from promoting limited government. Mainly, a handful of public intellectuals, politicians and internet personalities.

On Objectivism, it is really a minority of people who would directly and genuinely benefit from a drastic reduction of government. More significantly, the only real reason to promote these views is for one's own happiness and advancement by doing so.

Yes, for some that may include a sense or feeling that one is helping some other people, but why should individuals care about what is best for humanity, on this view?

That's the very crime Jan accused Rosey of. He spanked Rose deliciously, but how does Objectivism lead to any of its supposed conclusions about the optimal government?

Jan might retort that it is only okay to depart from ethical principles in exigent circumstances, since one's own life and happiness is paramount, but I don't see why it should only be exigent circumstances on his view.

Unless you are arguing from an ultimate value that is utilitarian and very long run, you can't escape the conclusion that people should do what's in their own personal, short to mid term interests, and then only if doing so makes them happy and advances their life situation along the path.

The problem with Objectivism is that you have to assume that truth value is secondary to the Objectivist, if they're true to their own values, and that the main purpose for them is advancing their own Selfy-ness, swaggering out on the world stage and swelling themselves up to be the center of attention, much like Rand did with her little cult and ugly, humorless soul.

Rothbard, despite his own tendency toward becoming a guru and attracting a cult following, and developing absurd ideological commitments, at least did us the service of making Ayn Rand ridiculous.

For that, we can give three cheers for Rothbard. While we're at it, we can pat Larken Rose on the head for being so adorably naive and retarded, throw up in our mouths a little at Molynooks and oblivious insipid narcissism, and hold Jan's feet the the fire and see if he can escape his own Socratic wet paper bag.

And we can love them all because they are absurd, wonderful humans, just like us.



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The Pursuit of Happiness

There is very good evidence that 'the pursuit of happiness' included in the Declaration of Independence originated from Jefferson reading Adam Smith's works 'The Theory on Moral Sentiments, and the Wealth of Nations'.

Smith, in 'Theory of Moral Sentiments' says that happiness is derived from both Self Interest and Altruism, not one or the other. He was largely writing about the philosophical war between David Hume (happiness comes from Self Interest) and Francis Hutchison (happiness comes from altruism). Other writers of the time were also involved, Lord Kames comes to mind, but Hume and Hutchison were the leading philosophical opponents.

Smith saw that they were both right and both wrong. It is not one or the other, it is the Golden Mean of the two. It is not always 50/50, but some mixture of the two depending upon one's past & present situation.

The issue I have with Objectivism, as Rand saw it, it that she takes the Hume position to the nth degree, and disregards Hutchison's altogether.

With regards to one's pursuit of happiness stacked against another, we must take into consideration that in order for a society to operate with as many pursuits of happiness as there are households, there are a few Rules/Procedures/Givens that everyone must agree on. Value of money, Bankruptcy Rules, Contract Rules, Rights, Privileges, and a few others come to mind. Without Standards & Procedures it is difficult to predict the actions of others and/or the outcome of your own actions. One cannot reasonably pursue happiness if they cannot make reasonable predictions/coercions towards that happiness.

Something has to be in place. What is it other than Limited Gov't?

Thanks for this

comment. From what I've read of Smith's thoughts, I liked. Really have to read the whole thing at some point.

Distressed

Where does Ron Paul's band of misfits fit into this picture? Are we right and everyone else wrong or are we all just nuts? Can understanding the truth alone make a new reality? I am starting to think that this is just a pipe dream and we are wasting our time even daring to think we alone can make a better way. I wonder if the battle isn't just spiritual and divine intervention is our only chance. Can an intellectual front break the chains of violence and oppression? As Jimmy said "They got the guns. We got the numbers."

But about myself I will not boast, except as it concerns my weaknesses (2 Cor 12:5). Let the unbelievers seek praise from each other; I wish that which is from God alone.

.

.

A little of both?

Sometimes it's good to despair, but let it be the impetus to find better bearings, sound principles and realistic goals. If we have false grounding for our beliefs, they won't go very far. I'm out in search of a true belief system, and I will rack up as many victims as necessary to find one that can stand up to it.

The Master Pretzel Twister at work

Am I the only one here who see's what bill3 is doing, he is attacking (with glee I might add) all of the people who are speaking or have spoken for the liberty movement. I would bet that he has a place where he posts what he writes here (like Mike Moores site) to show how he can misdirect the thinking here. Notice how he behaves like a liberal with his constant ad-hominem attacks instead of reasoned argument. He does occasionally throw in a good argument like this one...

"As Jan maintained in his debates, if one's own life and happiness is threatened by adhering to some ethic, then on his view it would be right to protect one's own ultimate interest, even if it meant killing or stealing. All the more so then to get a student loan, unemployment check, or social security."

Then he ruins the rest with his love of spanking crap...

"While it was all good fun watching Helfeld spank Kinsella and Larken Rose, it is now time for Objectivism to be spanked in its turn."

"That's the very crime Jan accused Rosey of. He spanked Rose deliciously"

"much like Rand did with her little cult and ugly, humorless soul."

"at least did us the service of making Ayn Rand ridiculous."

"we can pat Larken Rose on the head for being so adorably naive and retarded, throw up in our mouths a little at Molynooks and oblivious insipid narcissism, and hold Jan's feet the the fire and see if he can escape his own Socratic wet paper bag."

You can feel the hatred he has for these people especially Ayn Rand and he thinks he can make up for it with this...

"And we can love them all because they are absurd, wonderful humans, just like us."

Speak for yourself bill, you don't fool me for a minute with your logic twisting.

A simple google search

would reveal I don't post anywhere else. Clarify your thinking.

would reveal I don't post

would reveal I don't post anywhere else.

You couldn't possibly use a different name when posting elsewhere? Clarify your own thinking.

Think, McFly!

If I'm reposting DP posts as you claimed I would bet that he has a place where he posts what he writes here (like Mike Moores site) to show how he can misdirect the thinking here. you could just google any snippet to see me doing this. You're so blinded by your own animosity you don't see the holes in your thinking.

Think McFly!You are my

Think McFly!

You are my density!

I really like Back to the Future because they went back to my first birthday, Nov 5 1955, V likes that day too.

You're so blinded by your own animosity you don't see the holes in your thinking.

Could I change "I would bet" to "I wouldn't be surprised if" and also user #45504 I did try what you said about googling and had fun imagining that some of the pictures posted were you.

Funny though, I have a really good friend who thinks very much like you, we just agree to disagree so who knows, maybe you are him?

Oh and BTW- You are misdirecting most of what I posted by picking one insignificant part of it that was probably wrong and acting like it was the main point of my post. You master you!

Hey, Bill3! Remember Me???

The guy who accosted you about land property?

Yeah, still waiting on an answer.

Séamusín

There is happiness in beauty

And there is beauty in achieving a truly just society.

So it is perfectly reasonable to pursue limited government or even self assembled anarchy to gain ultimate beauty and happiness.

Come to think of it, Rand's philosophy has actually won the day in today's society hasn't it. 90% of people are either elites, using the power of government for their own self aggrandizement, or wannabe elites, kissing butt, and getting in line in the hope that they will one day be a little elite. (or they make themselves think they want what the elites want.)

objectivism is such an easy target

I wanna see you take on nihilism.

“Although it was the middle of winter, I finally realized that, within me, summer was inextinguishable.” — Albert Camus

"Objectivism

...is an "easy target?" Can you dismantle Objectivism starting with A=A? A=A should be a very "easy target" since it is a central concept of objectivism? I'm really curious how you can objectively object to objectivism. I'm humble. Willing to learn, like a good Objectivist should be.

But... but..

If we destroy nihilism, our last cord is severed! With nothing to believe in we would surely die.

"You will not surely die," says the snake.

but....but....

If you destroy nihilism, that means you WILL have something to believe in.

“Although it was the middle of winter, I finally realized that, within me, summer was inextinguishable.” — Albert Camus

Aha

whos the master pretzel twister now, says the snake.

let's just say that

I am the master pretzel twister twister, mr. master pretzel twister

“Although it was the middle of winter, I finally realized that, within me, summer was inextinguishable.” — Albert Camus

Mister Master Pretzel

Mister Master Pretzel Twister
Twisting Faster Fingers Blister
Fists Casting Bits of Plaster
Into Mystic Fits of Laughter
Blast Away at Myths and Masters
Rifts Are Growing, Vaster vaster
Cast About To Lift the Rafters
Back in Place, Ropes to Last
Ballast, knots, glue and Casts
Humpty Dumpty, Pope and Pastor
State and Church, Human Sheep
Human Freedom, Arid Pasture
Nihilism? What is That
Just another hopeless Bastard
Twist it, knead it, don't believe it
Shape it, drape it, grow it, feed it
Sculpt it, Fit it, Breathe Into to it
Breath of Life, Hopeful Future