3 of 4
3
Objectivism and Ayn Rand
Posted: 20 July 2006 06:14 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 31 ]  
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  1229
Joined  2004-12-22

I think Rand would think that Raymond would come to the realization he was a burden on society and off himself.

As for autism, the rise in autism needs to be explained by the scientific community, and if it turns out to be carpet dye or vaccinations, someone should pay, since they are responsible, for all the Raymonds that didn’t off themselves in their uselessness yet.

Some of the Randians I have met have a very warped veiw of responsiblity….almost like the Bush administration….

Profile
 
 
Posted: 20 July 2006 06:54 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 32 ]  
Member
RankRankRank
Total Posts:  635
Joined  2005-02-06

Iisbliss,

As for autism, the rise in autism needs to be explained by the scientific community, and if it turns out to be carpet dye or vaccinations, someone should pay, since they are responsible, for all the Raymonds that didn’t off themselves in their uselessness yet.

I would only ask you to consider how destructive and defeating it is to always see ourselves as victims. The world is not always safe…there is no guarantee. A life is effectively priceless…granted? We all, however, must take risks simply to walk the streets. We should accept that as the price for advancement of our technology that allows us to HAVE six billion people on this planet. Where is the social justice in suing companies or private individuals out of business when well meaning efforts go wrong. Should carpet companies need to go bankrupt with thousands of people losing jobs because “someone should pay”. This victimization mentality supported by our legal system that can essentially take from you everything you have ever earned, for one mistake, is grossly out of whack. We wonder why drugs cost so much here when at the same time we think an eleven billion dollar award to Phenphen “victims” is appropriate.

I wonder if America would have ever been discovered if shipbuilders had to take out insurance on the lives of sailors in the 15th century.

We’re not victims. We should be willing risk takers if we want to see any progress. If we would actually take care of each other with socialized medicine, maybe we wouldn’t be so prone to be looking for someone to blame.

To me, as far as the morale of our country is concerned, the worst parts of our society are the dividers and the promoters of “victimization” and helplessness.

Rod

Profile
 
 
Posted: 20 July 2006 07:17 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 33 ]  
Member
RankRankRank
Total Posts:  386
Joined  2006-04-12

[quote author=“Rod”]The world is not always safe…there is no guarantee. A life is effectively priceless…granted? We all, however, must take risks simply to walk the streets. We should accept that as the price for advancement of our technology that allows us to HAVE six billion people on this planet. Where is the social justice in suing companies or private individuals out of business when well meaning efforts go wrong.

Defending companies in product liability lawsuits is what I do for a living.  I’m a civil apellate lawyer with about half of my caseload consisting of products cases.  The reality is (and this is coming from a products defense lawyer) that there aren’t always well-meaning efforts behind decisions by designers and manufacturers of products that become lawsuits.  If I know that 10% of the people who take a drug will suffer a severe and debilitating side effect, is that justified by the 90% my product helps?  Maybe.  But it’s not nearly as simple whether there are well-meaning efforts.  What if I could have made the drug differently (or limited the way it was prescribed) to limit the occurrence of side effects, but chose not to because it would cut into my company’s profitability?

Think about the ramifications for social justice from the alternative: why should a small number of individuals and their families have their lives devastated for the good of everyone else?  Products suits are a “risk-sharing” system, (vaguely like insurance).  Companies rarely get “sued out of existence.”  Payouts in legal liability translate into overhead which is passed on to all the consumers who benefit from the product. If the payouts are too high for the company to price its product in the market and remain profitable, it shouldn’t be marketing the products in the first place.  This way, everyone who benefits from the product pays a little bit each for those injured by it, and reduces the impact to those whose lives may be devastated for others to benefit.

It isn’t about “victims” really.  It’s about economic efficiency. It’s about properly allocating risks so that the decision makers have to better account for the various societal costs of their decisions.

It isn’t a perfect system, but it’s not too bad, either.

AG

Profile
 
 
Posted: 11 September 2006 02:58 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 34 ]  
Member
RankRankRank
Total Posts:  924
Joined  2006-09-07

I am new to this forum, and just starting to read the contents of this thread, and just had to respond to this post, though it is the most recent that I have read yet and I have a long way to go. Someone else may have answered these questions already, but I want to give mine while its still fresh in my mind.

I am an Objectivist, or maybe a “Neo-Objectivist” because I am one of those who are very critical of the “Randroids” and dogmatic schools of Objectivism.

[quote author=“OUempiricist”] Another devastating argument for ethical egoism is the fact that it would be considered morally acceptable to murder a person so long as it was in your best interest.

This is entirely wrong, except that the only time it may be in someone’s best interest to kill someone else is in self-defense or the defense of others. The thing about Objectivist ethical egoism is that it applies to everyone. Every human being has the right to his own life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness. In fact, Rand claimed that there is an inherent harmony of self-interest among rational beings. Your self-interest can promote my self-interest, because of the division of labor. The most basic political principle of Objectivism is the non-initiation of force.

Here is an example of one of my “Randroid” professors reactions to an objection.  My English friend is quite the socialist and pointed out the terrible working conditions and high death rate among the working class during the first industrial age. He asked her what she thought of this and he (as well as I) considered this an uncontroversial fact. The professor got upset and said that these things were exaggerated, that it was controversial and cut him off from any further comments on the subject without presenting a shred of justification for her belief.

The professor should not have gotten upset so easily. Everyone is taught that working conditions in the 19th century were bad. What isn’t taught is how much worse it was in the 18th, and how much better that was than the 17th, and so forth. The fact is that the industrial revolution produced great progress in the standard of living of the general population that was unprecedented throughout history. If you have seen the movie “Braveheart”, just look at the living conditions of the peasants, and even the nobility. The peasants lived in mud huts, and usually only had one set of clothes they couldn’t afford to wash very often so they wouldn’t wear out too quickly.

Sure, conditions were still bad in the 19th century, but that is compared to the 20th. There is progress, but it takes time. You can’t go from mud huts to luxury condos with central air and indoor plumbingovernight. You can’t go from pushing a plow behind an horse to pushing buttons on an automated assembly line in one century. The complaint that things weren’t so great in the 19th century is basically a complaint that progress isn’t fast enough.

Or, the alternative is the fantasy belief that before capitalism, there was some golden age, a time when we had a paradise where nobody had to work much and had everythign they needed, then along came the capitalists and took everything for themselves and condemned everyone else to poverty.

 Signature 

“Capitalism without failure is like religion without sin. It doesn’t work.”—Alan Metzer

Profile
 
 
Posted: 11 September 2006 03:05 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 35 ]  
Member
RankRankRank
Total Posts:  924
Joined  2006-09-07

[quote author=“Iisbliss”]
My problem with Randians now is that we have a culture that raises the individual above the collective, and I feel they distort Ayn’s original ideas and her idea of morals and ethics, toss in some Social Darwinism, and use it to justify a new type of social unconsciousness, where they are responsible for nothing or no one but themselves, and yet they succumb to authoritarian traps here and there.

I don’t know of any Objectivist that do quite that. Especially the Social Darwinist thing. All the Objectivists I know reject that entirely. Objectivism is all about the harmony of self-interest in society.

 Signature 

“Capitalism without failure is like religion without sin. It doesn’t work.”—Alan Metzer

Profile
 
 
Posted: 11 September 2006 06:25 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 36 ]  
Member
RankRankRank
Total Posts:  924
Joined  2006-09-07

[quote author=“homunculus”]
The reality is that the Raymonds of the world are expensive. Churches are not able to take care of their needs. If your solution is to ignore their very real needs, then “man up” and declare that they be euthanized.

That government should not take resources from those who created them to care for the mentally disabled does not mean society should not help such people. I do not personally know whats best for autistic people, but my tax dollars aren’t it. And government is not the be-all end-all of society.

I also suspect that many of the costs of caring for the mentally disabled, including medications, is heavily inflated by government spending. What happens when you pour lots of easy money into the stock market? Same thing happens when you pour lots of easy money into the pharmaceutical industry.

 Signature 

“Capitalism without failure is like religion without sin. It doesn’t work.”—Alan Metzer

Profile
 
 
Posted: 11 September 2006 06:42 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 37 ]  
Member
RankRankRank
Total Posts:  924
Joined  2006-09-07

[quote author=“Iisbliss”]I think Rand would think that Raymond would come to the realization he was a burden on society and off himself.

That borders on libel. Nothing I have read in the Objectivist literature, especially Rand’s own words, even suggests that to me.

As for autism, the rise in autism needs to be explained by the scientific community, and if it turns out to be carpet dye or vaccinations, someone should pay, since they are responsible, for all the Raymonds that didn’t off themselves in their uselessness yet.

If it turn out to be true, LONG after the fact, and the only way we found out was because of the increased diagnosis of autism, then how can anyone be held responsible? If there is no way you can know ahead of time that an action will have a certain consequence, are you morally responsible for it?

For instance, you are driving down a street, obeying the speed limit. You are not drunk or impaired in any way by drugs or other substances in your body. You are paying close attention to your driving, but a child suddenly runs out from behind a hedge and you accidently run him down. The time between when the child came into your field of view and got in front of your car was much less than what it took to bring the car to a stop. Can you be held morally responsible for that child’s death?

Its the same with industrial products and pharmaceuticals. You could spend millions of dollars on animal testing, and still not detect a side effect that harms one in ten thousand human beings. If the side effect is that rare, the only way to detect it is to actually USE the chemical on that many people. And even then I would say the causal link is tenuous at best.

 Signature 

“Capitalism without failure is like religion without sin. It doesn’t work.”—Alan Metzer

Profile
 
 
Posted: 11 September 2006 06:45 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 38 ]  
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  1229
Joined  2004-12-22

And government is not the be-all end-all of society.

Why did the peasants live in mud huts?

What is the proper role of government?

Profile
 
 
Posted: 11 September 2006 07:45 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 39 ]  
Member
RankRankRank
Total Posts:  924
Joined  2006-09-07

[quote author=“Iisbliss”]

And government is not the be-all end-all of society.

Why did the peasants live in mud huts?

Because they were living in a feudal society which did not protect their rights, but was in fact a violator of such rights. This made economic progress impossible. Since any gain in wealth they could have achieved could very easily be taken from them, they could not accumulate capital, invest it to improve their productive capabilities, or enjoy the rewards even if they could. It was not that the technology for better architecture didn’t exist. They just couldn’t afford it, or the knowledge was lost in many parts of Europe because of the Dark Ages. The Romans had brick buildings that look in many ways like more modern brick buildings. The only thing that limited the Romans to five to ten floors was the lack of elevators.

What is the proper role of government?

The defense of rights, by retaliation against those who initiate the use of force.

 Signature 

“Capitalism without failure is like religion without sin. It doesn’t work.”—Alan Metzer

Profile
 
 
Posted: 11 September 2006 07:56 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 40 ]  
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  1229
Joined  2004-12-22

Okay, I hear you say “society should care for those unable to care for themselves”.

Then I hear you say “society does not mean the government”

And I hear you say, MY money should not be used to care for those people
through taxes.

So, define who and what constitutes the “society” that should help those unable to care for themselves.  Society is a nebulous term, it isn’t really fair to assign responsibility to “society”,  it is kinda like assigning responsibility to God.

I know a bit about the 19th century.  Workhouses, poorhouses, warehouses for people unable to contribute.  Soup kitchens, charities, bums and tramps, migrant workers, immigrats, child labor; there was alot of exploitation of humanity going on.  What is different between a feudal system and a capitalist system, if only a few control the capital?  Isn’t upward mobility beyond a certain level just an illusion?  Doesn’t capital and wealth over time tend to condense into dynasties?  As natural resources are bought up, for example the change in ownership of food producing land in the US, doesnt the ability of the average citizen to “be independent” also dissappear? 

What constitutes force?  When the coal miners worked in the mines, but had to buy everything from the company store, so they were perpetually in debt to the company store was that “force” by the company?  Or was that the fault of the miners?

When the government condemns land and then allows a corporation to profit off the oil or mineral rights, and not compensate the original owners, is that a valid action of government?

I like Ann’s work.  But I think she speaks to a problem of her day, and of communist systems, and it isn’t relevant to the problems of capitalism.  I think if she were around now, she would have different things to say.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 28 December 2006 09:20 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 41 ]  
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  1243
Joined  2006-12-26

One of the main problems with Ayn Rand’s philosophical outlook is that she deifies property rights.

Fallaciously, she claims that the right of property stems from the right to have means to live.

However, this is to obscure the distinction between POSSESSIONS and PROPERTY.
It is possessions we need to live, the property concept is something quite other.


To see this clearly, I’ll get the same nutritional value out of an orange I steal as out of one I own.

To go a bit further on the property concept:
Property “rights” is first and foremost a “hands off” argument that is supposed to be respected by others.
However, respecting such a “hands off” argument, i.e, keep your hands off some particular object is an act of SELF-SACRIFICE in that you close off one path to your own survival.
There is no a priori reason WHY anyone should commit such an act of self-sacrifice UNLESS.(insert some benefit).i.e, property rights are essentially debatable social contracts as everything else in society.

Furthermore, the probably legitimate claim that everyone has the right to acquire SOME guaranteed possesions (i.e, property), it does not at all follow that any particular distribution of property is right.


That the strident capitalism of Ayn Rand requires the constant self-sacrifice of the underprivileged in order to work is quite evident.
Please note that this by no means entails that capitalism as such is “faulty”.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 28 December 2006 10:46 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 42 ]  
Member
RankRankRank
Total Posts:  924
Joined  2006-09-07

[quote author=“arildno”]One of the main problems with Ayn Rand’s philosophical outlook is that she deifies property rights.

Fallaciously, she claims that the right of property stems from the right to have means to live.

However, this is to obscure the distinction between POSSESSIONS and PROPERTY.
It is possessions we need to live, the property concept is something quite other.


To see this clearly, I’ll get the same nutritional value out of an orange I steal as out of one I own.

To go a bit further on the property concept:
Property “rights” is first and foremost a “hands off” argument that is supposed to be respected by others.
However, respecting such a “hands off” argument, i.e, keep your hands off some particular object is an act of SELF-SACRIFICE in that you close off one path to your own survival.
There is no a priori reason WHY anyone should commit such an act of self-sacrifice UNLESS.(insert some benefit).i.e, property rights are essentially debatable social contracts as everything else in society.

Furthermore, the probably legitimate claim that everyone has the right to acquire SOME guaranteed possesions (i.e, property), it does not at all follow that any particular distribution of property is right.


That the strident capitalism of Ayn Rand requires the constant self-sacrifice of the underprivileged in order to work is quite evident.
Please note that this by no means entails that capitalism as such is “faulty”.

Have you ever read anything by Ayn Rand? The idea that refraining from stealing is a form of self-sacrifice is just full of contradictions, as any student of Ayn Rand could point out.

Your biggest mistake is ignoring one of two reasons why a person should want to posess something. You only talk about one, consuming. There is also producing. A farmer needs to posess a piece of land at LEAST for the period of one harvest in order to bring in a crop.

You said there is no a priori reason why we should respect another’s property rights. You are right. To Ayn Rand, nothing is a priori. Everything we learn is from experience, or integrated from what we learn by experience.

There are other holes in your post, but I don’t have much time this morning to shoot them out.

 Signature 

“Capitalism without failure is like religion without sin. It doesn’t work.”—Alan Metzer

Profile
 
 
Posted: 28 December 2006 10:48 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 43 ]  
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  1243
Joined  2006-12-26

And why should anyone respect another’s unilateral CLAIM that something is his?

Profile
 
 
Posted: 28 December 2006 11:03 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 44 ]  
Member
RankRankRank
Total Posts:  924
Joined  2006-09-07

[quote author=“arildno”]And why should anyone respect another’s unilateral CLAIM that something is his?

Out of a recognition that our present prosperity is a consequence of a division of labor and this division of labor works well only when people are allowed to own property. Thats ONE reason.

Because that other person CREATED it, and without that other person, it wouldn’t exist. If we like what he did, we want him to do it again, so we need to let him keep the means by which he did it.

A man farms some land, brings in a good crop that we can claim part of by voluntary trade. Since we want to eat in the future, it is in our best interest to let him keep the land and bring in another crop.

 Signature 

“Capitalism without failure is like religion without sin. It doesn’t work.”—Alan Metzer

Profile
 
 
Posted: 28 December 2006 11:08 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 45 ]  
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  1243
Joined  2006-12-26

Which basically proves my point.
Unless a person* can see that it is in his own rational self-interest to limit his behaviour in a particular manner, then it exists no reasons why he should limit himself thusly.

This is a BI-lateral situation, i.e, a form of consensus. And remember, a “consensus” that is not open to future debate is no consensus, only a dictate.

It is important to realize that although we may show that SOME property division is, indeed, amenable to such an analysis, it by no means follows that ALL property divisions can thereby be defended. Nor does it follow there will exist only one such defensible system.


In particular, a DEFENSIBLE system should be defensible at any particular time for any particular person given any one status within that system.


*Some qualifications of what constitutes a person is surely appropriate,.

Profile
 
 
   
3 of 4
3
 
‹‹ Treason      The Kolob Theorem ››
RSS 2.0     Atom Feed