Why do you mock this notion? Are you hungry? Do you want a home? Do you need health care? Then get a goddamned job. What exactly do you have against that?
See, folks, that’s what I’m talking about. Perfect illustration of someone that simply does not get it. The ideological notions of self-reliance and personal responsibility are completely lost on them. I may as well be speaking Chinese—which I probably will soon be if collectivism continues to be tolerated in this country.
You have to admire the perversity of it all, though. The brainwashing is almost flawless. They don’t seem to get that this is what they asked for. You know? They are complaining about something that they caused. It’s like the national feeling of buyer’s remorse every single person in this country (with the exception of Debbie Wasserman-Shultz) now has after electing President Jackass. But they don’t get that they’re the problem.
The more I follow these stories and look at youtube videos that these entitlement babies post—aside from the fact I can physically feel my IQ dropping just listening to them—they don’t seem to know WHAT they’re protesting. It’s like they just want to protest for the sake of protesting. Because THEY’RE REALLY ANGRY… for some… reason… I think?
I mean the ignorance of it is just staggering. They don’t really seem to be protesting anything. They’re just they’re saying that they’re protesting something, anything, everything. The sad irony of it is that if any of these bong-clouded unshowered morons actually knew what they were prostesting, they’d be Republicans!
But instead, they have no idea what they’re doing or why. They’re protesting for the sake of protesting. The fact that they’ve got the right target in their sights for once doesn’t mean much, because they’re so ignorant, it’s like the textbook example of blind squirrels. They’re not awakening, they’re just shouting gibberish and holding signs.
I’ve said before and I stand behind it now, that that the thing that’s going to kill this country is ideological. We cannot exist as a prosperous nation so long as it is filled with people trying to force a collectivist ideology on an individualist society. It will not work. They’re oil and water. They can not and will never be able to mix and co-exist. It’s why I’m so goddamned sick of everyone talking about “political compromise.” No. It’s time to stop compromising, and pick one ideology or the other. And since we know that collectivism doesn’t work, we need to stop pretending like it does.
But the people don’t get that. They protest the consequences of their very own ideology.
I found your article “Top 10 Reasons Why Ayn Rand was Dead Wrong" on bnet today and found it very interesting. I also found it very smug. It’s fine and dandy to dislike Rand and come up with reasons why you think she was wrong (and she is wrong on some things)—but, let’s be honest, your vitriol for the woman drips off of your words. Like most people who dislike Rand, you share the common trait of being simply unable to not engage in petty mockery when you discuss the subject. Which is too bad—because you do have a several things to say worth discussing. And I’d like to provide some response to those.
"1. Laissez-Faire capitalism doesn’t work."
Laissez-Faire capitalism doesn’t work for one single reason: people keep ignoring the “Laissez-Faire” part. That is, they ignore the specific tenets that make it capitalism.
This is the sort of the same argument that communist apologists make as to why communism keeps failing whenever it’s tried—because “bad guys mess it up.” In the case of communism, the “bad guys” were political leaders (as well as various gangsters) that were skimming off the top. The people who were entrusted to hold property in the public trust couldn’t be trusted to do so, and the people who wanted to appropriate property from the public trust did so by breaking the law. The end result being that their oh-so-benevolent collective society starved and froze to death while politicians and criminals lived very decadently. The principle everyone was expected to live by was one of a classless society without private ownership. However, all it took to bring it down was a handful of people to decide they didn’t want to be part of the proletariat to start taking private property for themselves. (Well, OK, communism had a lot of inherent problems, but for purpose of this discussion they’re neither here nor there.) I mean, let’s face it—Stalin and Friends weren’t living in public housing with four other families and standing in food lines with a ration card. And they certainly weren’t going to bleed themselves for the public welfare. When people defy the veryprinciples behind an ideology, of course they reduce its real world effectiveness.
A similar thing happens with capitalism. See, while Marxist ideologies are need-based, capitalism is rights-based. Those rights specifically, as John Locke said, are: life, liberty, and property. They are rights which are inherent to men (and NOT “granted by their government”), and the core from which other rights derive. So, all it takes to mess up capitalism is for people to trample the rights of others. Or, as I said earlier, to ignore the “laissez-fair” part. To NOT “leave it alone.” “It” being “the rights of others.”
And indeed, it’s this very thing that’s bringing American capitalism down and has caused its current economic plight. But whereas communism failed because of corrupt leaders and criminals, capitalism is failing as a result of corrupt leaders, criminals, AND the proletariat. They’re not necessarily doing it intentionally but, instead of living according to a principle of respecting rights, they’ve come to start living according to some principle that they’re entitled to things. They’ve confused a “right to life,” for example, with “the means to perpetuate that life.” They’re not the same thing—though, god knows how many Americans think it is. And that’s the problem.
People aren’t acting according to the actual tenets of capitalism. Instead of respecting someone’s right to their own earnings, they’re perfectly OK with unjustly denying someone their property rights because that property is used (or, if you prefer, redistributed) for public services—to which they think they’re entitled. Ie. income tax. Instead of respecting someone’s right to contract, they’re perfectly OK with unjustly denying someone that liberty by mandating certain contractual terms to which they think they’re entitled. Ie. minimum wage. These are not capitalist notions. In fact, they’re directly contrary to them.
The reality is, ANY economic ideology is vulnerable by going against its tenets. And there’s always going to be those trying to defy it. (Ironically, for their own selfish benefit.) The beginning of the end of “how [capitalism] gets implemented in the real world” was, of course, The New Deal. That’s when we started openly defying the core principles of Laissez-Faire capitalism. When FDR’s packed court overturned the Lochner decision, producers lost a significant chunk of their liberty to contract, people got it in their heads that they were entitled to things, and it’s just snowballed downhill ever since.
The answer, however, isn’t to just up and declare the ideology a failure—it’s to hold those going against its tenets accountable for going against it. This is what The Constitution is supposed to be for (though FDR thoroughly trashed that too).
"2. Reason has real-world limitations."
No, it doesn’t. To say that it does is to illustrate ignorance as to the nature of reality. (And, I suspect, a sublime attempt to rationalize epistemological subjectivism and moral relativism.)
Philosophers know this. Scientists know this. It’s why they separate emotionality from rationality when they try to figure stuff out—because while emotion and reason co-exist, they don’t (and can’t) work together. Whether it’s figuring out the result of what happens when you mix chemicals together or a metaphysical discussion about the nature of the afterlife, our emotional state is completely and utterly irrelevant to understanding the nature of a thing—including what it is and what we should do with it. This is easy to illustrate by example.
Suppose you’re standing at the ledge of a tall cliff. Reason will tell you what will happen if you step off it. It will identify things like “the cliff” and “the ground” and “gravity” and it will tell you how all those things work together. Emotion will not. How you feel about or what emotional reaction you have to the cliff, and the ground, and gravity is irrelevant. It won’t tell you anything. In fact, it might even fool you. Even if you sincerely and completely feel that you wouldn’t fall to your death—it wouldn’t help you if you step off that cliff.
Simply put, emotion is the daughter of irrationality. And that’s not to say it’s a bad thing—emotion is wonderful. It’s great to feel happiness at something that makes you happy. The sadness we feel when we lose a loved one really tells us how meaningful they were to us. The broad spectrum of emotion is a great thing—but it has to be divorced when it comes to understanding things, to understanding reality itself.
Emotion is often the impetus behind our interests and intentions—but it’s not the judge of whether those interests and intentions are right or appropriate. And, contrary to your assertion, it doesn’t “govern” it. If it did, then you would be, by definition, an irrational person. And while you could glibly dismiss this by saying, “People are irrational”—no, they aren’t. Not by nature, at least. They CHOOSE to be irrational.
"3. Ayn Rand was a emotional nut case."
See, this is what I was talking about at the beginning. This is just petty mockery and thumbing your nose at her. Her personal life has nothing to do with the philosophy of Objectivism. Nothing of what you say here is in any way an indication that “Ayn Rand was dead wrong.” It’s just a cheap shot. All you’re saying is, “Ayn Rand’s life had problems therefore her philosophy must be wrong!” I actually can’t decide whether it’s the fallacy of “Argumentum Ad Hominem” or “Poisoning the Well.” It might actually be one of those rare cases when it’s both.
You’re not saying about the philosophy on its merits here. You’re just insulting the person who came up with it.
"4. Her philosophy is devoid of gratitude."
So what? Are you implying that those who are successful are somehow indebted to those who came before them? If so, to whom exactly do they repay that debt? The fact that I have a car enables me to be successful. Does that mean that my success only came at the hands of Henry Ford? I mean, the whole argument is just absurd on its face.
Objectivism doesn’t discount the fact that successful people stand on the shoulders of their predecessors. It just doesn’t care. And why should it? Because it “brings out the worst in people?” What is that even supposed to mean?
"5. Reality is NOT an objective absolute."
You’re actually incorrect on this point. There is a way to tell that reality is an objective absolute because “subjective perception” isn’t the way to understand a thing. (In fact, it’s often the way to misunderstand a thing.) To say that it is denies all your other tools of knowledge— namely: sensory perception, logical deduction, reasonable induction, and rationality. These are our tools of knowledge. And knowledge is simply the ability to discern Truth from Falsity.
The most simple, non-negative definition of Truth is: that which is consistent with reality. And every single thing in reality, regardless of how we “subjectively perceive” it has a Truth or False quality to it. “Water is wet” is either True or False. It HAS to be one or the other, because water can’t be “wet” and “not wet” at the same time. It simply can’t be both. The Law of Identity, which Rand poached from Aristotle, commands as much.
The famous example is Lincoln’s Dog. Lincoln once asked, “If we call a tail a leg, how many legs does a dog have?” “Five,” his listener replied—confident in his ability to count. “Wrong,” said Lincoln, “The answer is four. Calling a dog’s tail a leg, doesn’t make it a leg.”
Subjectively perceiving that it’s a leg doesn’t make it a leg either. The only way to say that it could—indeed, the only way to say that reality ISN’T objective and absolute—would be to deny the Law of Identity. And that’s absurd. It would mean that everything we know by sensory perception, by logic, by reason, by rationality is invalid. At that point, you may as well say, “Reality is whatever I say it is” and dive full on into solipsism.
And no, it would not assign objective reality to Jung’s archetypes. No more so than it would assign objective reality to the flying elephants in a person’s dream. They’re imaginary. There IS no objective reality to them BECAUSE they’re clearly NOT REAL.
"6. Howard Roark was a lousy architect."
Why exactly do you think he didn’t have any business getting other people to bankroll it? He stated his terms: my way or not at all. All the bankrollers had to do was say, “Then not at all.” Which is exactly what happened early on, and Roark accepted it.
You clearly missed the metaphor of art and architecture that was the point of “The Fountainhead. ” It wasn’t about whether he was a “good architect” from some practical stance. Roark wanted to create beauty. But he would only do it for people who knew what beauty is. (Gail Wynand. Dominique Francon.) But he was also a businessman. He didn’t want to just create beauty for sake of beauty like some stereotypical starving artist. He also wanted to profit from it. And if he couldn’t, then why would he do it?
"7. Facts do NOT trump feelings, wishes, hopes, and fears."
Oh yes they do. Ask any judge or attorney. But this is just a direct repeat of your second point. You’re not saying anything different from what you said earlier. (Guess that makes this a “Top 9” list.) So, again, consider the effect your “feelings, wishes, hopes and fears” would have on you stepping off that cliff. The answer is: none.
"8. Every man does NOT exist for his own sake."
It’s all well and good to talk about being a communal creature, and family bonds, and the pleasures of life— but this point is very easily overturned by asking one simple question:
If man doesn’t exist for his own sake, then for whose sake does he exist?
And I’ll bet the reason you didn’t actually ask that is because you know the answer involves something along the lines of being born indebted to each other out of some moral duty to the collective due to our mere existence. That we are somehow obligated to make up for the sheer audacity of having been born. Which, of course, is nonsense.
Oh, also, that “we evolved as a communal creature” bit isn’t a scientific fact. It is, however, quite beneficial for man to be a communal creature. Cooperation, trade, friendship, loyalties—these all make life a little bit easier for man. You farm, I’ll build tractors and then we’ll trade our products. You can then farm easier, and I can build more/better tractors because I don’t have to worry about growing food. And if we’re both good friends with that really strong guy, he’ll fight off anyone that comes to try and steal from us. But that’s not a biological imperative. They all ultimately serve man’s rational self-interest.
At the end of the day, friendship and community and health and longevity—these are all very selfish things. If it didn’t provide you anything of value, then why would you bother?
"9. Reading Rand creates instant jackasses."
Well hell, you could say the same thing about Andrea Dworkin’s “Intercourse.” Or Richard Dawkins’ “The God Delusion.” Or Al Gore’s “Earth in the Balance.” Or heck, any of those “Twilight” books. I think we’ve all known someone who got their hands on a book that struck a particular chord with them that made them all annoying and caused them start acting like an idiot. It’s like when people read Al Franken or Ann Coulter for the first them and then won’t shut up about them.
Oh, also, this is another example of that petty vitriol. You didn’t actually make any point here about how Rand was “dead wrong” about anything. You simply insulted her audience and likened them to Scientologists. Again, fallacious.
"10. Rand is the CEOs’ favorite philosopher."
You must have been struggling to come up with a list of ten, because this is yet another cheap shot that has nothing to do with anything Rand may or may not have been “dead wrong” about. And now you’re just getting vulgar about it.
You also reveal your prejudices here in a major way. The “overpaid and overpampered CEOs,” hmm? You had done a good job of making it seem like you had a gripe with Rand and with Objectivism as a philosophy—but really, your gripe is with economic class division. Let me guess… closet socialist?
And really, that’s all this was, wasn’t it. Not a REAL commentary on Rand and her philosophy—just a excuse to dump on it. I suspect you were actually genuinely thinking very seriously at the beginning, but as I said—you fell prey to what most of Rand’s detractors do. You just become unable to resist the smug, immature mockery. I mean, look at that last line. You spit that word “selfish” through your teeth there, didn’t you. But you didn’t really say anything about why or how it’s bad. Have you ever read her “Virtue of Selfishness?” In the introduction she writes, “In popular usage, the word ‘selfishness’ is a synonym of evil; the image it conjures is of a murderous brute who tramples over piles of corpses to achieve his own ends, who cares for no living being and pursues nothing but the gratification of the mindless whims of any immediate moment. Yet the exact meaning and dictionary definition of the word ‘selfishness’ is: concern with one’s own interests.”
And look, you conjured exactly that image she described: your “overpaid and overpampered CEO.” You say “selfish” like it’s a bad thing, but really—what is so wrong with being concerned with one’s own interests? In fact, isn’t it absolutely necessary to perpetuate your existence? But you don’t explain why Rand was “dead wrong” on that point. You just say the word and hope its “popular usage” will do the rest, and then make your closing a pure visceral contempt with one last insult towards Rand readers.
It all just renders your “Top Ten” list as nothing but an attempt to dismiss via mockery and thumb your nose at people who subscribe to Rand’s philosophy. Which, OK fine—you don’t like her and you heavily imply that you think people who DO like her are jerks and idiots. But is she “dead wrong?” Half your list doesn’t even address the subject, and the half that does doesn’t really do a very good job of it.
And let’s not forget that your premise for this list was with regard to sales and this notion that salesmen are “in service to something greater than themselves.” But you never expounded on this—which is too bad, because I would have liked to hear that.
Anyway, thanks for the article and for inviting your audience to discuss it.