Monday, September 26, 2011

Ayn Rand on Conservatism

H/T Left Coast Rebel


Chuck said...

Rand's blind hatred of religion is the fatal flaw in her bullshit creed she named Objectivism. It presupposes that faith and reason are mutually exclusive. That assertion is total bullshit, but the lion's share of her "philosophy" depends upon it.

She was a genius, but in many ways she was very simple-minded.

The Right Guy said...

Faith and reason are quite different. The thing is, is it a question of believing in something unsubstantiated or is it a case of disbelieving what is substantiated or known? One is the realm of metaphysics, the other tom foolery.

Like anyone else, she was imperfect, but she had a few good ideas. Nathaniel Branden is a saner version. That said, I think if she had kids it would have done wonders for her philosophy among other things.

Chuck said...

Different doesn't mean foreign. Personally, I find the assertion that the universe and everything in it is the product of nothing, is a stupid idea. I find little "reason" in such a dumbass belief, yet that is exactly what militant atheists like Rand expected of people before they could be called "rational". I used to find her arguments very compelling when I was younger. Thing is, as my critical thinking skills have improved, so my respect for Rand's body of philosophical work has waned. Her defense of individual liberty as a moral imperative instead of something merely efficacious is as good as it ever was, but she veers off into Nutbagville on the subject of why it is so. Likewise, her idiotic fantasy about every man actually being an island unto himself that owes nothing to anyone else except to leave them alone, is batshit crazy. One must ignore a whole lot of what is obvious in order to digest her ideas.

The Right Guy said...

Saying the universe came from nothing ignores cause and effect. Rand's problem is that she tried to be a Vulcan. Humans have a rational side and an emotional/spiritual side, so in essence, she was working with half the deck. I think her problem with religion as is people like her and dawkins is that religions tend to want followers to suspend there own rational thought processes for what was written down by a man and sold as the last word (the Quran comes to mind). The problem is, they have created a belief system just as hamstrung. Then there are the nutbags like the ecoterrorists. I think people should be allowed to believe and think as they will, I just don't think or believe it is right for anyone to shove it down anyone's throat so to speak, either with a velvet glove or sledgehammer. I take Mencken's advice to heart:

"We must respect the other fellow's religion, but only in the same sense and to the same extent that we respect his theory that his wife is beautiful and his children smart."

It's reciprocal and better off left unsaid.

Chuck said...

Well stated, brother.

In the end, everyone wants to create the world in their own image on one level or another. My only philosophy these days is gratitude. Gratitude makes the world make sense to me, and I can apply it pretty much universally to every facet of life if I have the nerve to do so.

Another thing is that as time goes by, more and more scientific discovery confirms biblical assertions. I've long said that I believe the story of Genesis, just not in nearly as literal a sense as some folks do. I'm reminded of the Mitochondrial Eve phenom and that no geneticists dispute it. That's pretty compelling stuff if you contemplate what it really means. Bottom line is that the unknown doesn't become the unreal just because you lack a clinical understanding of it or the means to describe it. That's where Rand went off the rails...and Dawkins and Hitchens too. It's really more obstinence than principle guiding them.

Chuck said...

"Humans have a rational side and an emotional/spiritual side"

For what it's worth, I don't consider those to be mutually exclusive. Emotion isn't irrational. It might sometimes be misplaced, but there is rational basis for most emotion. Hell, true love is rational. It can't be put in a jar, but neither can any other value. That doesn't mean value is simply imaginary. It's as real as an oak tree or a brandy snifter. It simply exists on a different plane. A higher plane I would venture to say.

I would go a bit further and posit that the dichotomy is between physical and spiritual and that they really exist as one. They're never separate. Only our mode of thinking makes it seem so.

The Right Guy said...

Depends on how it is examined. When looking at personality types, some people are geared towards thinking, others feeling. It's probably a left/right hemisphere thing. It's a not a question of one or the other, but how they are used. Emotion can be quite irrational in the absence of rational control or filtering. It becomes almost as if how we wish to deal with shit. SO, some people use rational thought more exclusively, some go the other way, some are more balanced. I still would say Ayn Rand strongly favors Reason over emotion. To put it another way, in the absence of reason, what is there? What is the driver? People run by emotion tend to be a mosh pit. Without reason we'd be a mess. Without emotion we'd be robots.

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