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  1. #41
    Senior Member ZPowers's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Coriolis View Post
    The fallacy in these arguments is the idea that acting in one's own self interest admits any course of action at all, however cruel or destructive. What would prevent such choices, one might ask? The answers are found within Rand's philosophy itself. First, Rand holds that no one has the right to initiate force or violence on another, or to subjugate or compel the service of another, since that would interfere with THEIR right to act in their own self interest. This alone would disallow murder, arson, rape, and many of the destructive acts against persons and property that are illegal today. Second, the determination of what is in one's own self interest ("what is good for me") must be based upon reason, not emotion, compulsion, or passing whim. One might, for instance, "feel like" squandering one's earnings on drugs or gambling, but that is unlikely to be truly in one's own interest. (It amazes me how often people act against their own self interest, and not in any altruistic sense, more through stupidity, laziness, and shortsightedness.)
    Well, this seems iffy. First, crimes of passion can be dismissed as as useless as drugs or what-have-you in Randian ideology, and that seems reasonable. But murder or other crimes might reap reward beyond just the act itself. One might get rich or gain wealth via murder. If you enjoy the act itself, that's more akin to a serial killer or something, which would be an unfair comparison.

    You quotes don't go around this argument. For example "A man is motivated by a desire to achieve, not to beat others" only implies there is neither hate nor love for competitors. It doesn't mean that if actively harming others is beneficial to achievement, one still shouldn't do it. It just means do it for logical, not emotional, reasons. Do it to help yourself, not to hurt them. The same with the first quote. Civilized, like controlling the herds or grain, is totally dispassionate but not empathetic (which, in that very quote, seems to be equated to power). None of those quotes imply any inherent worth in human beings, just that, under proper circumstances, they can call for respect or admiration (a sensation that can exist among adversaries, even adversaries that wish to do wholly immoral things to one another). A stranger on the street merits neither. More to the point, none of those quotes says actively defrauding or hurting another is bad. The best of them only imply that you shouldn't do it for the wrong reason, or that other people can potentially be respected or admired (for achievement, the idea that life has intrinsic value is not present at all except maybe from the perspective of the person whose life it actually is).

    Again I bring up Goldman-Sachs. They purposely defrauded not only the worldwide financial system (in conjunction with other organizations) but purposely sold shit stocks to their own clients to bet against themselves. The result of these actions was a worldwide financial meltdown that meant a lot of people struggling and sacrificing livelihood. Is there absolutely anything wrong with this from the Randian standpoint? Or is it just the excellent (that deified class every follower of Rand thinks themselves a member of, though almost all are, in reality, just like everyone else) using the common or stupid for their own great good: self-interest? But I don't see any line in the sand between when taking from others for your own good goes from alright to immoral. Where, between purely capitalistic tendencies often designed to gain someone every penny they can at the cost of an entire society's financial security and downright murder for personal gain is that line drawn? Where's THAT Rand quote? Where does she say, directly: there are moral limits to what one can do in pursuit of personal gain? I have a strong suspicion it doesn't exist, honestly.

    I love reason as much as the next guy (probably more, honestly, I can agree with Rand in loving reason over pretty much anything else), but reason without restraint from some form of feeling or intentional compromise is 100% immoral. The only exception is the Kantian view, and Rand thought he was the worst person to ever live (again, the fact that Kant is worse than Hitler in her view keys me to the fact that actions are only evil or good if the help or hurt the person doing them) I doubt she sees it that way.
    Does he want a pillow for his head?

  2. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by ZPowers View Post
    Well, this seems iffy. First, crimes of passion can be dismissed as as useless as drugs or what-have-you in Randian ideology, and that seems reasonable. But murder or other crimes might reap reward beyond just the act itself. One might get rich or gain wealth via murder. If you enjoy the act itself, that's more akin to a serial killer or something, which would be an unfair comparison.

    You quotes don't go around this argument. For example "A man is motivated by a desire to achieve, not to beat others" only implies there is neither hate nor love for competitors. It doesn't mean that if actively harming others is beneficial to achievement, one still shouldn't do it. It just means do it for logical, not emotional, reasons. Do it to help yourself, not to hurt them. The same with the first quote. Civilized, like controlling the herds or grain, is totally dispassionate but not empathetic (which, in that very quote, seems to be equated to power). None of those quotes imply any inherent worth in human beings, just that, under proper circumstances, they can call for respect or admiration (a sensation that can exist among adversaries, even adversaries that wish to do wholly immoral things to one another). A stranger on the street merits neither. More to the point, none of those quotes says actively defrauding or hurting another is bad. The best of them only imply that you shouldn't do it for the wrong reason, or that other people can potentially be respected or admired (for achievement, the idea that life has intrinsic value is not present at all).

    Again I bring up Goldman-Sachs. They purposely defrauded not only the worldwide financial system (in conjunction with other organizations) but purposely sold shit stocks to their own clients to bet against themselves. The result of these actions was a worldwide financial meltdown that meant a lot of people struggling and sacrificing livelihood. Is there absolutely anything wrong with this from the Randian standpoint? Or is it just the excellent (that deified class every follower of Rand thinks themselves a member of, though almost all are, in reality, just like everyone else) using the common or stupid for their own great good: self-interest? But I don't see any line in the sand between when taking from others for your own good goes from alright to immoral. Where, between purely capitalistic tendencies often designed to gain someone every penny they can at the cost of an entire society's financial security and downright murder for personal gain is that line drawn? Where's THAT Rand quote? Where does she say, directly: there are moral limits to what one can do in pursuit of personal gain? I have a strong suspicion it doesn't exist, honestly.

    I love reason as much as the next guy (probably more, honestly, I can agree with Rand in loving reason over pretty much anything else), but reason without restraint from some form of feeling or intentional compromise is 100% immoral. The only exception is the Kantian view, and Rand thought he was the worst person to ever live (again, the fact that Kant is worse than Hitler in her view keys me to the fact that actions are only evil or good if the help or hurt the person doing them) I doubt she sees it that way.
    goldman sachs isn't a relevant example. Ayn Rand would be staunchly opposed to the amount of power they've gained via their relationship with the government.
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  3. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by Elfboy View Post
    goldman sachs isn't a relevant example. Ayn Rand would be staunchly opposed to the amount of power they've gained via their relationship with the government.
    The government didn't create Goldman-Sachs. They've used funds and money they've accumulated outside of the government, as a private enterprise, to make themselves A) too large a national institution on a private scale that the government can allow them to fall apart (or it's cheaper for them to not allow it), B) used their private money to influence government (and in some cases public opinion) towards their personal gain, via major contributions and tons of lobbyists. This has been accomplished mostly via 30 years of deregulation, which Rand would support. This is either something Rand would say is totally okay, or a huge oversight in her philosophy (much like the temporary vanguard government refusing to relinquish power to the people or even consolidating it in Communist societies is a fair flaw in Marx's)

    Also, the government had nothing to do with the actions I mentioned. Everything I mentioned was decided privately by Goldman-Sachs prior to the collapse, even if it did cause it.
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  4. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by ZPowers View Post
    The government didn't create Goldman-Sachs. They've used funds and money they've accumulated outside of the government, as a private enterprise, to make themselves A) too large a national institution on a private scale that the government can allow them to fall apart (or it's cheaper for them to not allow it), B) used their private money to influence government (and in some cases public opinion) towards their personal gain, via major contributions and tons of lobbyists. This has been accomplished mostly via 30 years of deregulation, which Rand would support. This is either something Rand would say is totally okay, or a huge oversight in her philosophy (much like the temporary vanguard government refusing to relinquish power to the people or even consolidating it in Communist societies is a fair flaw in Marx's)

    Also, the government had nothing to do with the actions I mentioned. Everything I mentioned was decided privately by Goldman-Sachs prior to the collapse, even if it did cause it.
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  5. #45

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    Quote Originally Posted by The_World_As_Will View Post
    I would agree on this point, Fromm was an interesting guy, thoughts on his type?
    I think he was definitely NTJ but I think he seriously struggled to morph into FP, I say that because he's a thinker in most of his books, pays repeated homage to a lot of other thinkers as he's read about them in books and his blasts at Marcuse over Marcuse's misreading of Marx and Freud (particularly Freud), winding up in believing his one time friend was possibly disturbed or mad, demonstrate how uncomfortable he was with the other types but in Zen and Psychoanalysis Fromm talks at length about overcoming "cerebration", that's right, thinking itself!

    At that point he took a whole zen twist, I think Horney did too, which was interesting and says a bit about copeing with the predominance of certain functions.

  6. #46

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    Quote Originally Posted by Thisica View Post
    I'm insulted, too!

    Oh well...Her ideas seem quite attractive, but to be frank, they are based on assumptions which turn out to be rather simplistic. Self-interestedness we can be, but it can't be the whole story, because an harmonious society requires some cooperation between its members.
    Requires some? I'd suggest that without co-operation, frequently uncredited co-operation, most competition, selfishness etc. could not possibly even happen, ultimately if Rand's philosophy worked out everyone would be on self-destruct and destroy each other quicker than that even.

    Its significant if you ask me that Rand herself had a party of loyal devotees and admirers from which she brooked no opposition, she might have talked the libertarian talk but like Reich or Thatcher in their own personal dealings was a paragon of authoritarianism. Some people will see no contradiction there and accept the whole sub-dom thing as the natural order of things but it seems like a different philosophy to me than the everyone behaving self-interestedly and expecting others to do so too.

  7. #47

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    Quote Originally Posted by tinker683 View Post
    I've read both the Foundtainhead and Atlas Shrugged and actually liked the 2nd book. The first one I had a bunch of gripes about the main character and the way the story ended but that's me.

    She had some ideas that I really liked. I liked the idea of two people treating each other as traders, both equals seeking to trade skills/time/whatever and refusing to be either a master or a slave. I liked that she railed against what I believe she called "sanctioning the victim" which is when a deadbeat basically argues that it's the producers moral responsibility to provide because he makes more/is more skilled/whatever and tries to use his own sense of compassion (or his own virtues) into manipulating him or her to take advantage of them.

    Aside from that, a lot of what she wanted to do was very idealistic (which is useful in it's own way) but wouldn't have any real application in the real world insofar as I can see.

    Bottom line: Read the books and make up your own mind. You may like it or you may hate it.
    Dude that's socialism. A world of equals, no masters or slaves, no one dependent upon the compassion of others? Solidly socialist.

    But Rand takes it and puts it in the mouths of the masters and makes the subordinates the villains. Those lazy, grasping, ner do well, underlings. Which is class struggle too, although inverted.

  8. #48

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    Quote Originally Posted by ZPowers View Post
    The government didn't create Goldman-Sachs. They've used funds and money they've accumulated outside of the government, as a private enterprise, to make themselves A) too large a national institution on a private scale that the government can allow them to fall apart (or it's cheaper for them to not allow it), B) used their private money to influence government (and in some cases public opinion) towards their personal gain, via major contributions and tons of lobbyists. This has been accomplished mostly via 30 years of deregulation, which Rand would support. This is either something Rand would say is totally okay, or a huge oversight in her philosophy (much like the temporary vanguard government refusing to relinquish power to the people or even consolidating it in Communist societies is a fair flaw in Marx's)

    Also, the government had nothing to do with the actions I mentioned. Everything I mentioned was decided privately by Goldman-Sachs prior to the collapse, even if it did cause it.
    That's the Marxists, that's not Marx, I challenge you to find support for vanguardism in Marx, he repeatedly stated that the emancipation of the workers had to be achieved by the workers themselves.

    I was in favour of political parties, although that was mainly in contrast to conspiracy or secret societies which had been the norm of all agitation prior to that, we're talking about a time before the open society or democracy, he was compelled to move all over Europe for what he published in his low and no circulation newspapers after all.

    He also thought that changes in technics and normative change preceeded the political anyway, so an insurrection or, more likely, an election, would merely be a case of formally recognising the change that had already happened. A kind "Its done alright! Stop your Don Quixote mischief!" to the "well to do idlers".

    Its important to recognise that Marx thought what would replace capitalism would be as different to it as what it replaced itself, so the idea that someone would positively agitate for capitalism would be a little like someone seriously agitating for royalism, clericism and agrarianism.

    Not that that doesnt happen, or isnt even implicit in some of the arguments or ideologies of capitalism, but it doesnt have enough support to realise itself or command political office. Its questionable, even if it had the popular appeal, that it would even be materially possible, it would take a great deal of dismantling of the status quo to re-establish any of those things.

    He didnt have a clue about the change itself, its why at the end of his days he wound up studying up on things like the Russian Mir and abandoning his linear historicism (the Mir, communal farm, predated industrialism so it couldnt ever be the logical working out of trends kicked off by it). Engels had more of a clue, although he was ever inch the supporter of Robert Owen's projects before meeting Marx, and history has been the judge on his being the Jr. partner in the Dialectical Duo.

  9. #49
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    One of the flaws of Marx's philosophy is that he only superficially considered the importance of scale and informational processing in a political system. What works for a small community might not be able to be scaled up at all to a nation of 300 or 1,300 million. As well as the general lack of appreciation of the diversity of individual interests. This ambiguity led to such things as the Bolshevik split towards less democratic input, which arguably paved the road for Stalinism. On the other hand, one could argue that without such oligarchic, authoritarian rule, the state would have collapsed much sooner.

    Of course neither Marxism, nor Randism are considered to have much philosophical or scientific basis given today's level of knowledge and understanding.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lark View Post
    Its important to recognise that Marx thought what would replace capitalism would be as different to it as what it replaced itself, so the idea that someone would positively agitate for capitalism would be a little like someone seriously agitating for royalism, clericism and agrarianism.
    Just because Marx and his followers may believe that advocating for a capitalist system is anti-revolutionary, doesn't necessarily make it so in reality.

  10. #50

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    Quote Originally Posted by Architectonic View Post
    One of the flaws of Marx's philosophy is that he only superficially considered the importance of scale and informational processing in a political system. What works for a small community might not be able to be scaled up at all to a nation of 300 or 1,300 million. As well as the general lack of appreciation of the diversity of individual interests.
    Sorry, tell me what you're basing this on because while this chimes perfectly with your views steming from the calculation debates of Mise and Hayek its not something which I could really associate with Marx, he didnt speculate about those things, in part because the language or discourse was quite different, it just reads a little like attacking Socrates, Plato and Aristotale for their ignorance of MBTI.

    This ambiguity led to such things as the Bolshevik split towards less democratic input, which arguably paved the road for Stalinism. On the other hand, one could argue that without such oligarchic, authoritarian rule, the state would have collapsed much sooner.
    I dont really follow this, Bolshevism was quite a long, long time after Marx, there's lots of literature which attacked Bolshevism from the get go as being abberant from Marx's theories, Rosa Luxemburg is probably only one of the more prominant critics, although I'm pretty sure that one of the Sufferagettes, although I'm not sure if it was Pankhurst, was another. By that point it was more about Lenin than Marx, who was an administrator and fan of Prussian war economy and autarky, although I'd suggest that Leninism and Stalinism were a variety of "red tsarism" and more to do with deeper rooted cultural norms and expectations in Russia.

    Of course neither Marxism, nor Randism are considered to have much philosophical or scientific basis given today's level of knowledge and understanding.
    I dont know, plenty of hardline objectivists out there. Bit of a sweeping statement. There's also a lot of canny investors who're reading Marx to understand the recent threat of recession and crisis, that wasnt simply a business cycle and predictable slump that was class struggle.

    Just because Marx and his followers may believe that advocating for a capitalist system is anti-revolutionary, doesn't necessarily make it so in reality.
    I'd need further clarification of what you mean by that but Marx did think that capitalism was revolutionary, most of the communist manifesto is given over to attacks on other socialists who Marx felt didnt fully appreciate what capitalism was achieving and were too nostalgic for earlier times and traditions.

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