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Old 06-27-2009, 11:03 PM   #31
sirbruce
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In defense of Ayn Rand, her ideas are not taken seriously in academic circles because:

1. They were presented *outside* the traditional academic establishment.

2. Her answers are relatively simple. Philosophy, Metaphysics, Sociology, etc. are all built upon complex multileveled arguments and problems; simple answers are always looked upon as deficient, no matter how effective they may be in analyzing a problem.

It also cannot be overlooked that Atlas Shrugged is a widely read and popular "mass" philosophy, much in the same way as Chritianity is. The faults with Christian philsophy are numerous, and yet many times more academic study has been made of it than of Ayn Rand's own work. I don't think there was even one Philosophy class at Purdue that talked about Objectivism, which seems somehow disproportionate.

That being said, Atlas Shrugged certainly has its faults. Nearly everyone was white collar, or if they had a blue collar job, they were always of management level. Who is going to do the *farming* in Galt's Gulch? Who is going to mine the rock, sew the cloth, sweep the streets, dig the sewers, and so on?

Even if you reject Randian Objectivism as ultimately faulty, her underlying argument in Atlas Shrugged -- that the contributions of the successful are nevertheless *undervalued* in society -- is rather provocative. She correctly identified the problem of "The Marching Morons" and came up with a solution. Note too how her solution is not all that different from Heinlein's Future History. The truly talented people don't just create their own community; they LEAVE THE PLANET ENTIRELY to create their own pioneer communities elsewhere. The only difference is that Heinlein sees this process as endlessly repeating; each society ultimately stagnates once government becomes too large and burdensome and life becomes too easy and no longer challenging. The cream has its own cream that rises to the top, and the cycle continues.
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Old 06-27-2009, 11:51 PM   #32
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So...............spending hundreds of billions of dollars that we do not have is somehow going to make this all better?

As far as I can see we (the US) are still in a unstable and political economic situations.
It may not have made everything better but it did (for now) keep everything from imploding.

When you really look at the situation, it's scary how close to the edge we were.

Last edited by Sporadic; 06-28-2009 at 12:18 AM.
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Old 06-28-2009, 12:58 AM   #33
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I've got to chime in about Atlas Shrugged. I'm almost 500 pages into what is an 1179-page tome on my Sony PRS-505, and I've been wanting to quit each time I finish a chapter.
It took me over 3 years of picking it up, reading a chapter or two, and putting it down for weeks/months at a time, before I finished Atlas Shrugged. I do get a kick out of the way the writers of the TV series Mad Men have worked Ayn Rand into the show via the eccentric Bertram Cooper character.
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Old 06-28-2009, 01:07 AM   #34
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It may not have made everything better but it did (for now) keep everything from imploding.

When you really look at the situation, it's scary how close to the edge we were.
Are.
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Old 06-28-2009, 04:24 AM   #35
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Are.
I wouldn't say that.

Things aren't great but back when all of this started, we were right on the verge of sudden economic collapse.

Last edited by Sporadic; 06-28-2009 at 04:33 AM.
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Old 06-28-2009, 08:00 AM   #36
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It may not have made everything better but it did (for now) keep everything from imploding.

When you really look at the situation, it's scary how close to the edge we were.
As for Ann's books, there is no way I could read them. One, because of the size, my mood changes to quickly to stick with one book that long, but also because of the subject matter:consider her's extremely boring.

As for the economy, I think things haven't even begun yet. 2010 will be the proverbial dropping of the other shoe-national credit card debt. Then look out!
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Old 06-28-2009, 08:25 AM   #37
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However, I learned a lot of great things from Rand. Her books don't have The Answers, but they do have some important truths, some of which are often overlooked.
Truths? How can a moral statement be true?

I know that Objectivism tries to show that moral statements can be true but that is just bad philosophy.
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Old 06-28-2009, 10:34 AM   #38
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Truths? How can a moral statement be true?

I know that Objectivism tries to show that moral statements can be true but that is just bad philosophy.

A lot of people have washed their hands of the debate over that point.....

I follow C.P Snow's falsification methodology, myself. It states that you can't know any theory to be true, you can only disprove it. Thereby limiting truth to a smaller and smaller area. Of course, how do you limit it? By using reproducible facts do measure with. Are those fact true? Yep, it bites it's own tail... Still, with an engineer's viewpoint, it does work.

Can you limit moral statements the same way? To a limited amount, inasmuch as there are few way to get reproducible tests of moral statements. And you have to have a bedrock axiom to start with. My bedrock axiom is axioms that directly lead to death (on both an individual scale and and societal scale) are false. I.e. not true, bad. The reason for that is that dead people no longer have a morality (or anything else) to apply...

Of course, your mileage may vary.....
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Old 06-28-2009, 10:34 AM   #39
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I read Atlas Shrugged after an acquaintance (whose opinions I don't care much for) told me he had read and liked it very much. After reading it I understood why he had enjoyed it so much: the underlaying philosophy was quite simple and naive.
Ayn Rand's characters are either "self made men/women" or scoundrels. Everybody is making speeches all the time, the monologues of the good guys being notoriously longer. I skipped a good part of the John Galt broadcast so that I could finish the book.

While reading, it was clear to me that Rand was writing fiction but in fact expressing her own ideas through the good guys. This led me to research a bit about her life, and was not surprised to know that in the end she had abandoned fiction and founded her most properly named "Objectivism" movement.

Some days ago I felt like reading something from her again ( I have a strange fascination with ideas that I don't share) and am now finishing The Fountainhead, which is basically the same as Atlas Shrugged but written 15 years earlier.
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Old 06-28-2009, 11:07 AM   #40
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I follow C.P Snow's falsification methodology, myself. It states that you can't know any theory to be true, you can only disprove it. Thereby limiting truth to a smaller and smaller area. Of course, how do you limit it? By using reproducible facts do measure with. Are those fact true? Yep, it bites it's own tail... Still, with an engineer's viewpoint, it does work.
This a confusion of what you can know and what is true. Something can be true even if it is impossible to know that.

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Can you limit moral statements the same way? To a limited amount, inasmuch as there are few way to get reproducible tests of moral statements. And you have to have a bedrock axiom to start with. My bedrock axiom is axioms that directly lead to death (on both an individual scale and and societal scale) are false. I.e. not true, bad. The reason for that is that dead people no longer have a morality (or anything else) to apply...
The status of moral statements and morality are not strongly related. You probably did not mean morality.

From the axiom that death causes a human being to stop being a moral being does not follow that moral statements are tru in your very strange definition of truth.
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Old 06-28-2009, 11:22 AM   #41
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All I did was post a link to books Amazon was offering by Ayn Rand, and look what happened. (Yeah, I know, they turned out to be illegal, yada yada yada)

I did not intend this to be a discussion thread on the good or bad qualities of this author, but then threads in MobileRead do have a way of growing legs and walking away on their own, don't they?

I notice this is particularly true when discussing the merits of differing philosophical/political viewpoints.

Sheesh. You'd think this was a world wide forum, or something.

I recall in the past, someone uploaded a copy of Adolph Hitlers "Mein Kamf".

Nothing like this evolved from that.

Why? Are his ideas more acceptable than Ayn Rands?
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Old 06-28-2009, 11:42 AM   #42
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Godwin's Law strikes again.
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Old 06-28-2009, 11:46 AM   #43
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All I did was post a link to books Amazon was offering by Ayn Rand, and look what happened. (Yeah, I know, they turned out to be illegal, yada yada yada)

I did not intend this to be a discussion thread on the good or bad qualities of this author, but then threads in MobileRead do have a way of growing legs and walking away on their own, don't they?

I notice this is particularly true when discussing the merits of differing philosophical/political viewpoints.

Sheesh. You'd think this was a world wide forum, or something.

I recall in the past, someone uploaded a copy of Adolph Hitlers "Mein Kamf".

Nothing like this evolved from that.

Why? Are his ideas more acceptable than Ayn Rands?
I believe that nobody bats an eyelid about Hitler because his theories/writings are so universally lambasted that there is no argument to have. The philosophy in Mein Kampf is defended only by racists, everyone else reading it does so, I believe, from historical curiosity.

Ayn Rand, on the other hand, even though her philosophies are as objectionable as those found in Mein Kampf, seems to have a lot more vocal defenders. If, say, an apologist or holocaust denier came on here defending Mein Kampf, you would see exactly the same reaction.

Besides all that, she really does suck something fierce as a writer of fiction.
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Old 06-28-2009, 11:46 AM   #44
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Godwin's Law strikes again.
Its a legitimate comparison.
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Old 06-28-2009, 01:00 PM   #45
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Ayn Rand's characters are either "self made men/women" or scoundrels.
No, there's a good number of "ordinary good folks" sprinkled throughout the book.

I believe they all die.

Interesting lesson she's got going with that morality... "if you're a type-A personality genius, this is the philosophy for you. If you're a type-B personality, or not a genius, you're probably doomed and none of the Superleaders should bother with what happens to you."

Oh, and the issue with "lower class" labor at Galt's Gulch... the problem isn't "who's going to work in the sewage plant" or "who'll haul wood?" Those will be paying jobs, hired out to the lowest bidder. The real issue is "who will change diapers and feed babies?" (Are women expected to stop working a paying job, or are both parents equally expected to tend their children?)

And who will teach them... will parents pay for private education for their children, and poorer parents will have uneducated children (which damages everyone in the long run), or will there be an education tax? Should children basically be "property" of their parents until the age of majority, or should a (proper Objectivist) culture have protections for them, minimum standards for their education and treatment? If it has protections for them, who pays for those? What happens to orphans? Do they get thrown into work farms?

There are some gaping holes in Rand's plutarchist utopia.
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