by Darryl Cunningham
5 comments + 11 replies
Posted by: Mike
12:17am / Oct 6, 2013
The economic system she advocated has never been in place in the U.S. And when something sort of close to it was in place in the U.S. in the nineteenth century, the general prosperity of people and their health increased many times over. Lifespans increased by record levels.
The system that you are criticizing that only benefits a select few comes about because right now big corporations can get benefits from the government, and use the government to stifle their competition.
In other words, the things you are criticizing have come about because of the kind of economy she was against.
About Branden, she didn't see his deceit ... because he lied. That's what it means to lie. She wasn't a mind reader. And that's why she severed ties with him, because of the lies for years and his unwillingness to be rational and truthful.
Posted by: Chris
04:21am / Oct 8, 2013
I've been looking to ask an Objectivist; how do you handle children? Not to say they're free-loading socialists, but for the first ~20 years, they kind of are. If it takes a village to raise a child, is that collectivism? To my broader point, how could Objectivism work in a real world with children and specialization of labor and people who need help from society?
Thank you for your time
Posted by: Mike
05:27am / Oct 8, 2013
The quick answer is that no one is beholden to any social obligation that they haven't freely chosen to take on. However, when a person decides to have a child, they have taken on a personal obligation for themselves. They are therefore responsible for raising and caring for that child to the best of their ability.
On that topic, I think Yaron Brook explains it well here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e9fJo0tZwJk
To the question about people who need help from society: No person has any claim to the life of another person. If there is someone who has some disability, then people ought to be free to provide help if they choose too, but also free not to help of they choose to. In an objectivist world, people would not be taxed and would retain all of their income, and I firmly believe that a truly free-market economy would be the most prosperous economy possible in the world. So the disabled person would perhaps have family members who would want and choose to help him, and there would be a tremendous amount more of private philanthropic organizations (that don't have the bureaucratic waste and lack of competition that government has) that would cater to specific cases.
People seem to believe that the only way people help other people is if they are forced to. Not true. There are plenty of people who would love to help those who could benefit from a helping hand, but the bottom line is that everyone ought to be free in their own lives, and no one has a claim on any other person's life.
Posted by: Chris
12:18pm / Oct 8, 2013
Thank you for your response!
I think you're giving a lot of credit to the philanthropic organizations which you'll counter by saying we haven't seen great examples of Randian charities. In your mind then, how do you picture something like cures for rare diseases coming about? They are already hard to fund as they will likely not turn a profit, but without government R&D no one would even try. For that matter, without taxes and government oversight, what would be the equivalent of the FDA, EPA, FCC, etc? What benefit do companies have to prevent the tragedy of the commons? My current understanding is that Rand expects the onus of this to fall to consumers; if smart, rational consumers love the environment, they will buy from companies with better environmental backgrounds. Is this not an undue burden on consumers, to research the processes, goals, and ingredients of every product? Does your ubermensch now need to be the best at his career, the best parent, and the best consumer, with? For that matter, how would he know any of a companies true ends or means without an independent third party verifying? From this comic it seems that even in Rand's circle of "friends" there was an unlivably high standard.
I understand that written text to strangers online isn't the best place to have these discussions, but I rarely encounter sincere Objectivists in my day to day life.
Thank you again for your time
Posted by: Terego
06:53am / Oct 9, 2013
That is less than half the picture. The situation would be about if there was a government or not that was helping them out (direct opposition is a different matter)
There really is no reason a corp couldn't use its resources in different ways to achieve the same goals even if the gov wasn't doing what you're saying they are.
Posted by: MhjBram
08:15am / Oct 20, 2013
It is not legitimate to link "free-market capitalism" with the huge prosperity of the USA in the late 19th century. That prosperity had many causes, most of which can be found in the roots of every imperial expansion in history. Money floods towards every nexus of rapid growth and the USA was the boom 'par excellence' in which old European wealth found new life.
The dismal fact is that, at the first possible opportunity, the prime beneficiaries of that expansion: Rockefellers, Morgans, Hearst, Harriman, Warburg, and all the little ward bosses as well, sought to use the power of government against their competitors and against their own workers.
Rand glorified bankers. yet the Interstate Commerce Commission, a vast project of J.P. Morgan, blatantly stamped out competition between railway companies -- in Morgans favor.
Worse, no instrument of "government power", not even the military, has a wider reach than central banking, and no instrument is as corrosive to a free market -- yet Morgans, Schiffs, Rockefellers and Warburgs were united in forming the Federal Reserve System under their absolute control. Arguably, it was the greatest and most successful power grab in history.
Rand blatantly failed to understand those undercurrents, or chose not to discuss them, for reasons I've never seen explained. Had she done so, would she have bitten more hands that fed her?
In the real world, very few prime movers turn to secret Utopias for some ascetic desire for ethical purity. Generally, they seek to show it to the whole world and, all too often, look to merge the power of government with the personal power they have built.
Rand decries government projects and services founded to help the little guy, while strangely failing to see that generally those structures were established to redress the injustices of big money controlling big government.
Posted by: DJEB
04:18pm / Nov 16, 2015
There must be nothing left of your foot at this point.
Posted by: Arjun Sundar
02:03pm / Oct 7, 2013
A couple of things here.
1. It's a little harsh to base judgements on her personal life on loose facts.
2. If you believe in a system that taxes hard-working, intellectually-superior people to pay "benefits" to unemployed and incapable ones, then you would find Rand's philosophy perplexing.
I must add that I am not a fan of her philosophy in it's entirety.
Posted by: DJEB
04:20pm / Nov 16, 2015
1. Facts. Not "loose" facts.
2. Quite the straw man you got there.
3. You are a sociopath.
Posted by: JW
12:27pm / Oct 16, 2013
This is a really interesting series.
It was shame enough that it was threaded with tendentious asides throughout. BUT this last summing is a very big spoiler. Let alone that so many of the attacks are incredibly unfair (such as being deceived by a lover proves she is not logical) but the attacks on her philosophy based on her personal life is akin to attacks on Nietzsche's philosophy because he died from syphilis.
Posted by: MhjBram
12:30pm / Oct 20, 2013
Excuse me, but your Nietzsche analogy is nonsense.
A valid test of a philosopher's philosophy is what it did for their personal life. The Objectivists I've known echo many things about Rand's personality: intolerance of dissent, lifelong grudges, philosophically "convenient" lapses of memory, etc.
I see in them, and in Rand, a lifelong futile struggle to crush emotional demons under the weight of reason and intellect. Could the objectivists I've known, or even Rand herself, surrender control to a good psycho-therapist and/or by other means (meditation? prayer?) get the traumas out in the open, their personal lives would benefit immensely. Sadly, they deny that such techniques have any validity, and waste much of their lives in a miserable cage of their own making.
Not for nothing does a friend of mine call Objectivism "Nietzsche for nit wits."
Posted by: Gabriel
07:47am / Mar 31, 2014
Sorry, that's an awful test and it would lead us to discard a lot of good of philosophy, actually. Philosophers are people too. Many of them had tragic lives.
Posted by: Renan Felipe
12:18am / Oct 29, 2013
I disagree with Randian or Stirnerian degree of egotismo. However, a healthy individualism is welcome and free market is by far the best economic model even for the poorer.
Posted by: DJEB
04:21pm / Nov 16, 2015
Which explains why when a group of poor form a coop in the marketplace, they do better than if they tried to go on their own steam. /s
Posted by: fk_censors
04:27pm / Dec 6, 2013
This was interesting and relatively factual, until towards the end, when the author's (or cartoonist's) bias and suppressed hate were made more and more apparent. To say that capitalism "enriches a few at the expense of the majority" shows either a lack of economics, or a BS agenda that should have died with the predictable decline and fall of the system in Ayn Rand's own country of birth.
Posted by: DJEB
04:23pm / Nov 16, 2015
It's actually measurable and measured.
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