Whimsy and studiousness from a nice lady who lives in Michigan and loves Objectivism.

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Name: Amy
Location: United States

I'm a good-natured person who enjoys living.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Activism & Original Sin

I highly recommend Dina Schein Federman’s “Ayn Rand as Intellectual Activist” lecture. We have been listening to it at our (very successful!) GLO meetings, and it is amazing in that it sounds exactly like what is happening today.

The Republicans have had 70+ years to get their act together. Ayn Rand warned them back in the 1930s about their poisonous affectation for altruism, and what it would lead to. One of the more interesting bits of information revealed another philosophical illness the Republicans harbored, specific to religion, namely original sin -- or the view of man as depraved, helpless and, therefore, in need of government assistance.

It will be interesting to see how altruism and original sin influence the current tea party movement, if at all (hopefully). When generally rational, self-sustaining and productive people get shoved against the wall of statism and told that they must obey and serve as slaves, lest they are fined and jailed -- they will fight back.

However, connecting that immediate threat to philosophical principles and the long-term consequences of ideas will be more difficult to grasp for tea party folks. I’m surprised that the moth-eaten imperatives of selflessness and the “greater good” haven’t impeded the rallies. But I’ll be even more surprised if the rallies focus more correctly on individual rights (instead of just limited government), and their own personal right to be free and live for themselves and their own benefit. So far, when confronted with the notion that their own happiness is an affront to the welfare of some poor shlub, and how dare they harm the poor shlub by not sacrificing for him, they won’t take the bait. I hope that keeps up.

The protests that I’ve attended have been awesome opportunities to spread Objectivist principles, and I hope that these conservatives and independents continue to enlighten themselves.

But as so many of us understand the evils of altruism, it is important to remember original sin and remind people of this, as it is the second major idea that have kept conservatives from truly understanding individual rights. 70+ years is a hell of a long time to fudge. So I’ve decided to rake these Republican politicians over the burning coals, show them what for, and remind them that they can no longer play the hero against the lefties, as they are the villains as well. I’ll be writing.

There are other excellent points made in this lecture – so go listen for yourself!

This talk focuses on Ayn Rand's unique approach to changing the world and extracts lessons for our own fight to promote Objectivism. Dr. Federman reports on Miss Rand's experiences on the basis of which she came to her conclusions about changing the culture: that political activism without intellectual activism is futile; that the cause of our political problems is the ideas our culture holds; that it is the most consistent advocate of an idea who wins; that political conservatives harm capitalism more than the leftists do.

Ayn Rand specialized in identifying philosophical fundamentals driving current events, rejecting both blind political action and ivory-tower philosophizing. Dr. Federman surveys Miss Rand's intellectual activism, answering such questions as: How did Miss Rand select her issues? On what basis would she refuse to appear in print or to be interviewed? How does Objectivism's integration of theory and practice give Objectivists the inspiration to fight our cultural battle that followers of less-integrated movements cannot have?

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Using Ayn Rand quotes online

I'm back... finally! I'll check in later on where I've been -- but it's basically been fun-filled adventures I've been having.

Here is an online comment I made today in response to a smear article regarding Ayn Rand blurted out by a guy named Sam Anderson in New York Magazine:

"She’d start piecing together her rationalist Tinkertoys until the mighty Randian edifice towered over you" [quote from article]

I don't think Sam Anderson understands what he is trying to write about. He is describing the majority of modern philosophy university professors, not Ayn Rand. She based her entire philosophy on reason, through and through.

It appears that Anderson feels threatened by logic. If so, what is he basing his arguments on? His tantrums are appropriate to air on some street corner, but not in this publication.

Perhaps Anderson should take some friendly advice from Ms. Rand:

"A man who is run by emotions is like a man who is run by a computer whose print-outs he cannot read. He does not know whether its programming is true or false, right or wrong, whether it’s set to lead him to success or destruction, whether it serves his goals or those of some evil, unknowable power. He is blind on two fronts: blind to the world around him and to his own inner world, unable to grasp reality or his own motives, and he is in chronic terror of both." -- Philosophy: Who Needs It

So I wish Anderson luck in his life -- without reason and logic, that's the only thing he'll be able to count on.

A tip of my hat and curtsey to Harry Binswanger who suggested (on HBL) inserting quotes written by Ayn Rand. In this case, it was a perfect quote, and I'm glad I could display an example of her brilliance. I'm going to make it a point to use quotes from the Lexicon, so that people who haven't read her can at least read a little.