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Is Ayn Rand a parrot?

Raisor
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5/4/2013 11:56:29 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
My exposure to Rand is limited to Atlas Shrugged and a few nonfiction writings from her and Peikoff, but her ideas always seemed pretty unoriginal to me.

It seemed like she lifted a good deal of her political theory from Locke and most of her epistemology was straightforward classic empiricism. Obviously a lot of her ethical structure was an outgrowth of Aristotle and Nietzsche. Her ideas just seemed like an odd fusion of well known schools of thought with economic liberalism.

Does Ayn Rand bring anything new to the table or did she just a popularizer of liberal philosophY?
Wnope
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5/4/2013 4:36:03 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
Rand's philosophy is actually much more revealing of her psychology than anything else.

She grew up under extraordinarily oppressive communist measures. In turn, Objectivism is actually a perfect mirror of the commie narrative of "the proles are why the world turns, and they need to revolt". Objectivism says "proles are parasites, the capitalists are the ones who are better."

Her egoism is best understood as a direct denial of Communist collectivism.
RyuuKyuzo
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5/4/2013 6:01:15 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 5/4/2013 4:36:03 PM, Wnope wrote:
Rand's philosophy is actually much more revealing of her psychology than anything else.

She grew up under extraordinarily oppressive communist measures. In turn, Objectivism is actually a perfect mirror of the commie narrative of "the proles are why the world turns, and they need to revolt". Objectivism says "proles are parasites, the capitalists are the ones who are better."

Her egoism is best understood as a direct denial of Communist collectivism.

That's a good point. I think you're absolutely right.
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Raisor
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5/4/2013 7:21:39 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 5/4/2013 4:36:03 PM, Wnope wrote:
Rand's philosophy is actually much more revealing of her psychology than anything else.

She grew up under extraordinarily oppressive communist measures. In turn, Objectivism is actually a perfect mirror of the commie narrative of "the proles are why the world turns, and they need to revolt". Objectivism says "proles are parasites, the capitalists are the ones who are better."

Her egoism is best understood as a direct denial of Communist collectivism.

Such a postmodern reading of Rand... plus you could go one step further and say that the two views are just misreadings of an overarching power politics; that both capitalism and "communism" are simply world constructions that serve whoever is best able to manage the political narrative.
Eitan_Zohar
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5/4/2013 11:38:58 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 5/4/2013 10:48:28 PM, royalpaladin wrote:
She distorted Nietzsche.

Who the hell hasn't?
"It is my ambition to say in ten sentences what others say in a whole book."
Wnope
Posts: 6,924
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5/5/2013 3:03:23 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 5/4/2013 7:21:39 PM, Raisor wrote:
At 5/4/2013 4:36:03 PM, Wnope wrote:
Rand's philosophy is actually much more revealing of her psychology than anything else.

She grew up under extraordinarily oppressive communist measures. In turn, Objectivism is actually a perfect mirror of the commie narrative of "the proles are why the world turns, and they need to revolt". Objectivism says "proles are parasites, the capitalists are the ones who are better."

Her egoism is best understood as a direct denial of Communist collectivism.

Such a postmodern reading of Rand... plus you could go one step further and say that the two views are just misreadings of an overarching power politics; that both capitalism and "communism" are simply world constructions that serve whoever is best able to manage the political narrative.

Huh? A critical reading of an authors intentions based on her background is a postmodern approach to literature/philosophy? Lemme guess, it'd be postmodern to point out Kant's work was specifically motivated by growing up under the influence of Humean philosophy?

Lay off the jargon unless you have a clue what you're talking about.
Wallstreetatheist
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5/5/2013 9:35:42 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 5/4/2013 4:36:03 PM, Wnope wrote:
Rand's philosophy is actually much more revealing of her psychology than anything else.

She grew up under extraordinarily oppressive communist measures. In turn, Objectivism is actually a perfect mirror of the commie narrative of "the proles are why the world turns, and they need to revolt". Objectivism says "proles are parasites, the capitalists are the ones who are better."

wtf, no. She placed emphasis on the rights of the individual, and in none of her writings did she say a "class" or "group" was better. That is simply more collectivist thinking.
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Wnope
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5/5/2013 10:00:55 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 5/5/2013 9:35:42 PM, Wallstreetatheist wrote:
At 5/4/2013 4:36:03 PM, Wnope wrote:
Rand's philosophy is actually much more revealing of her psychology than anything else.

She grew up under extraordinarily oppressive communist measures. In turn, Objectivism is actually a perfect mirror of the commie narrative of "the proles are why the world turns, and they need to revolt". Objectivism says "proles are parasites, the capitalists are the ones who are better."

wtf, no. She placed emphasis on the rights of the individual, and in none of her writings did she say a "class" or "group" was better. That is simply more collectivist thinking.

Rand defines the world in terms of "productive citizens" who hold up society through their selfish, capitalistic manner and the parasites who draw upon their resources through taxation and regulation. Anyone who holds a remotely communist perspective is immoral.

Atlas Shrugged is about how the poor, helpless "productive citizens" are exploited by the lower classes that don't do their fair share and expect redistribution.

The end of civilization, instead of Marx's communist utopia, will be a dystopia where all vital industries are shut down by the all-important "exploited capitalists." See: Atlas Shrugged

It's the Marxist story with an individualistic bent. Instead of rooting for the collectivists, Rand roots for capitalists that are able to exploit workers and workers who only do enough to help themselves and not the greater society.

Of course Rand doesn't mention "class," she just mentions how all collectivist philosophies are immoral, and individuals should not hesitate to kill, maim, and harm others if it is in their best individual interest.

The mirror image of collectivism is not collectivism. It's the marxist story, but a new individualistic perspective.
Wnope
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5/5/2013 10:05:30 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
I'll never get why people are so worshipful of her. She defined a priori victory over all analytic philosophers for the past century and pretended she had solved Hume's problems by simply ignoring them.

I'll never cease to be amazed by those who worship her. Granted, your average Objectivist was probably inclined towards selfish behavior before even hearing of Rand. She just provided a great philosophical rationale for every kind of act from sexually abusing an unconscious woman (long as she doesn't find out) to stealing money out of donation jars (as long as no one finds out).
Skepsikyma
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5/6/2013 5:32:39 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 5/5/2013 10:00:55 PM, Wnope wrote:
At 5/5/2013 9:35:42 PM, Wallstreetatheist wrote:
At 5/4/2013 4:36:03 PM, Wnope wrote:
Rand's philosophy is actually much more revealing of her psychology than anything else.

She grew up under extraordinarily oppressive communist measures. In turn, Objectivism is actually a perfect mirror of the commie narrative of "the proles are why the world turns, and they need to revolt". Objectivism says "proles are parasites, the capitalists are the ones who are better."

wtf, no. She placed emphasis on the rights of the individual, and in none of her writings did she say a "class" or "group" was better. That is simply more collectivist thinking.

Rand defines the world in terms of "productive citizens" who hold up society through their selfish, capitalistic manner and the parasites who draw upon their resources through taxation and regulation. Anyone who holds a remotely communist perspective is immoral.

Her novel "We the Living" had two communist heroes.

Atlas Shrugged is about how the poor, helpless "productive citizens" are exploited by the lower classes that don't do their fair share and expect redistribution.

The end of civilization, instead of Marx's communist utopia, will be a dystopia where all vital industries are shut down by the all-important "exploited capitalists." See: Atlas Shrugged

It's the Marxist story with an individualistic bent. Instead of rooting for the collectivists, Rand roots for capitalists that are able to exploit workers and workers who only do enough to help themselves and not the greater society.

Of course Rand doesn't mention "class," she just mentions how all collectivist philosophies are immoral, and individuals should not hesitate to kill, maim, and harm others if it is in their best individual interest.

The mirror image of collectivism is not collectivism. It's the marxist story, but a new individualistic perspective.

The classist take on Rand is a bit inaccurate; most of the villains of Atlas Shrugged were filthy rich (Boyle, Stadler, Mouche, James Taggart, Ferris, Lillian Rearden, the Starnes heirs), and the closest thing to a 'revenge scene' involved D'Anconia wiping out Wall Street because the investors were just piggybacking on the success of intelligent people without understanding anything about the work that they were involved in. The whole point was that people of ability ought control resources, not that the people who control resources are ipso facto good. I think that the criticism of unrealistic politics can certainly be leveled at Rand, but attempts to make her out as a reverse class warrior don't get very far.
"The Collectivist experiment is thoroughly suited (in appearance at least) to the Capitalist society which it proposes to replace. It works with the existing machinery of Capitalism, talks and thinks in the existing terms of Capitalism, appeals to just those appetites which Capitalism has aroused, and ridicules as fantastic and unheard-of just those things in society the memory of which Capitalism has killed among men wherever the blight of it has spread."
- Hilaire Belloc -
dylancatlow
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5/6/2013 5:42:24 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
"She just provided a great philosophical rationale for every kind of act from sexually abusing an unconscious woman (long as she doesn't find out) to stealing money out of donation jars (as long as no one finds out)."

Perhaps for those who have hardly a clue what Objectivism stands for and severely misconstrue its tenets to justify actions which are only condoned under the purported semblance of Objectivism - something which bares little resemblance to the actual philosophy.
dylancatlow
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5/6/2013 5:47:13 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
" Rand roots for capitalists that are able to exploit workers and workers who only do enough to help themselves and not the greater society."

You sound like straight out of the novel :)
dylancatlow
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5/6/2013 5:49:24 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 5/6/2013 5:47:13 PM, dylancatlow wrote:
" Rand roots for capitalists that are able to exploit workers and workers who only do enough to help themselves and not the greater society."

You sound like straight out of the novel :)

* Atlas Shrugged in particular
Wnope
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5/6/2013 6:11:04 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 5/6/2013 5:47:13 PM, dylancatlow wrote:
" Rand roots for capitalists that are able to exploit workers and workers who only do enough to help themselves and not the greater society."

You sound like straight out of the novel :)

"If [man] chooses to live, a rational ethics will tell him what principles of action are required to implement his choice. If he does not choose to live, nature will take its course. Reality confronts a man with a great many 'must's', but all of them are conditional: the formula of realistic necessity is: 'you must, if "' and the if stands for man's choice: 'if you want to achieve a certain goal"

Nothing here contradicts say, theft from innocent people as long as there are no social or psychological consequences to the self.

How it is immoral for an Objectivist to take advantage of an unconscious girl as long as no one finds out and it's not damaging to his psyche or health?
Wnope
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5/6/2013 6:14:50 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 5/6/2013 5:42:24 PM, dylancatlow wrote:
"She just provided a great philosophical rationale for every kind of act from sexually abusing an unconscious woman (long as she doesn't find out) to stealing money out of donation jars (as long as no one finds out)."

Perhaps for those who have hardly a clue what Objectivism stands for and severely misconstrue its tenets to justify actions which are only condoned under the purported semblance of Objectivism - something which bares little resemblance to the actual philosophy.

FYI, my "unconscious girl" example is not some willful hypothetical. I actually refer to a real case that occurred with the student president of an Ivy-league Objectivist campaign group (handing out copies of her books, getting Objectivist speakers to come to campus, hosting lectures, etc).

You may have read more Rand than me, but I bet he's read more Rand than you. So I'm sorry if your claims of expertise are not overwhelming me.
dylancatlow
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5/6/2013 6:21:59 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
""If [man] chooses to live, a rational ethics will tell him what principles of action are required to implement his choice. If he does not choose to live, nature will take its course. Reality confronts a man with a great many 'must's', but all of them are conditional: the formula of realistic necessity is: 'you must, if "' and the if stands for man's choice: 'if you want to achieve a certain goal"

Nothing here contradicts say, theft from innocent people as long as there are no social or psychological consequences to the self."

That excerpt does not embody her entire philosophy. She explicitly says that theft from innocent people as long as there are no social or psychological consequences to the self is immoral because it violates the consistency of her philosophy. You can claim that her philosophy is contradictory (it isn't in this regard), but claiming that Objectivism condones theft is just false.
dylancatlow
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5/6/2013 6:26:20 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
"How it is immoral for an Objectivist to take advantage of an unconscious girl as long as no one finds out and it's not damaging to his psyche or health?"

Why do you think it's immoral? (I'm going somewhere with this).
dylancatlow
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5/6/2013 6:34:08 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
" Granted, your average Objectivist was probably inclined towards selfish behavior before even hearing of Rand. "

Define selfish. Depending on your definition, it will either apply to everyone, or it will not apply to objectivism at all.
dylancatlow
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5/6/2013 6:45:04 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
" she just mentions how all collectivist philosophies are immoral, and individuals should not hesitate to kill, maim, and harm others if it is in their best individual interest."

You really have no idea what you're talking about...
http://aynrandlexicon.com...

http://aynrandlexicon.com...
Wnope
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5/6/2013 7:30:37 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 5/6/2013 6:45:04 PM, dylancatlow wrote:
" she just mentions how all collectivist philosophies are immoral, and individuals should not hesitate to kill, maim, and harm others if it is in their best individual interest."


You really have no idea what you're talking about...
http://aynrandlexicon.com...

http://aynrandlexicon.com...

" So long as men desire to live together, no man may initiate"do you hear me? no man may start"the use of physical force against others."

If Objectivst morality is derived from the individual accepting individual survival over non-survival how can they then derive that said individual has any moral obligation related to whether or not another individual may access rationality when making decisions?

Blindly asserting "DON'T BE VIOLENTZ TOWARDS OTHAS" might be a nice blind assertion, but it does not follow from Objectivism's basic claims to objectively derived moral systems (namely how it skips the is-ought dilemna).

The only connection Objectivism can make is to say that those who initiate violence may face social repercussion which would hurt their chances of survival.

That's precisely what this article does. It says "if society were to engage in initiation of violence civilization would crumple, then the ego should not initiate violence" or "if the ego's survival would be harmed by initiation of violence, then the ego should initiate violence."

Both interpretations leave open the precise scenarios I'm talking about: ones where there are no social repercussions.

So your little linking-frenzy has yet to actually address my argument.

You don't get to spew out any normative presupposition you wish when claiming Objective morality. They must derive from the supposedly "objective" normative claim: survival over non-survival.

So please, do throw more papers of people pleading that Objectivism is entirely harmless, but find some that can actually derive their position from Rands "objective" normative statement.

All I see is a general "f*ck you if you don't agree, it means you're a monster" anytime a normative assertion like "neuroscience shows human behavior is not rational and so approaches to morality should take this into account." Anyone who engages in coercive actions is "is an attempt to live in defiance to reality. Reality DEMANDS man act rational." If you are a politician who wants income tax to go to public schools, you are denying reality.

Unsurprising, since Rand's entire approach to is-ought is "I'm right, and if you don't accept that I'm right, f*ck you because you should kill yourself or let yourself die." (I'm paraphrasing Nozick).
dylancatlow
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5/6/2013 10:25:29 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 5/6/2013 7:30:37 PM, Wnope wrote:
At 5/6/2013 6:45:04 PM, dylancatlow wrote:
" she just mentions how all collectivist philosophies are immoral, and individuals should not hesitate to kill, maim, and harm others if it is in their best individual interest."


You really have no idea what you're talking about...
http://aynrandlexicon.com...

http://aynrandlexicon.com...

" So long as men desire to live together, no man may initiate"do you hear me? no man may start"the use of physical force against others."

If Objectivst morality is derived from the individual accepting individual survival over non-survival how can they then derive that said individual has any moral obligation related to whether or not another individual may access rationality when making decisions?

Blindly asserting "DON'T BE VIOLENTZ TOWARDS OTHAS" might be a nice blind assertion, but it does not follow from Objectivism's basic claims to objectively derived moral systems (namely how it skips the is-ought dilemna).

The only connection Objectivism can make is to say that those who initiate violence may face social repercussion which would hurt their chances of survival.

That's precisely what this article does. It says "if society were to engage in initiation of violence civilization would crumple, then the ego should not initiate violence" or "if the ego's survival would be harmed by initiation of violence, then the ego should initiate violence."

Both interpretations leave open the precise scenarios I'm talking about: ones where there are no social repercussions.

So your little linking-frenzy has yet to actually address my argument.

You don't get to spew out any normative presupposition you wish when claiming Objective morality. They must derive from the supposedly "objective" normative claim: survival over non-survival.

So please, do throw more papers of people pleading that Objectivism is entirely harmless, but find some that can actually derive their position from Rands "objective" normative statement.

All I see is a general "f*ck you if you don't agree, it means you're a monster" anytime a normative assertion like "neuroscience shows human behavior is not rational and so approaches to morality should take this into account." Anyone who engages in coercive actions is "is an attempt to live in defiance to reality. Reality DEMANDS man act rational." If you are a politician who wants income tax to go to public schools, you are denying reality.

Unsurprising, since Rand's entire approach to is-ought is "I'm right, and if you don't accept that I'm right, f*ck you because you should kill yourself or let yourself die." (I'm paraphrasing Nozick).

How about you learn what Objectivism is before you unwittingly bash a straw man version of it, because I can tell your understanding of it doesn't go beyond "Do what's best for you, without regard to anyone else." Just because you don't understand why my philosophy makes the distinctions it does doesn't mean that it doesn't make them. So enough of your claims that Objecitivsm holds that murder is moral, because it doesn't, and I see no good reason why you should continue making jabs at a philosophy that probably doesn't even exist, and one that I definitely don't subscribe to.
dylancatlow
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5/6/2013 10:31:30 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
"So your little linking-frenzy has yet to actually address my argument."

Two links is not a frenzy, and yes it did. You said, according to Rand, murder is moral if it was in one's best interest, and I provided a passage which clearly laid out that Ayn was against the initiation of force on another individual (this includes murder!).
dylancatlow
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5/6/2013 10:42:48 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 5/6/2013 6:14:50 PM, Wnope wrote:
At 5/6/2013 5:42:24 PM, dylancatlow wrote:
"She just provided a great philosophical rationale for every kind of act from sexually abusing an unconscious woman (long as she doesn't find out) to stealing money out of donation jars (as long as no one finds out)."

Perhaps for those who have hardly a clue what Objectivism stands for and severely misconstrue its tenets to justify actions which are only condoned under the purported semblance of Objectivism - something which bares little resemblance to the actual philosophy.

FYI, my "unconscious girl" example is not some willful hypothetical. I actually refer to a real case that occurred with the student president of an Ivy-league Objectivist campaign group (handing out copies of her books, getting Objectivist speakers to come to campus, hosting lectures, etc).

You may have read more Rand than me, but I bet he's read more Rand than you. So I'm sorry if your claims of expertise are not overwhelming me.

The scenario you describe has to do with whether that action constitutes a violation, not whether a violation is permissible under Objectivism.
dylancatlow
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5/6/2013 10:45:26 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 5/6/2013 10:42:48 PM, dylancatlow wrote:
At 5/6/2013 6:14:50 PM, Wnope wrote:
At 5/6/2013 5:42:24 PM, dylancatlow wrote:
"She just provided a great philosophical rationale for every kind of act from sexually abusing an unconscious woman (long as she doesn't find out) to stealing money out of donation jars (as long as no one finds out)."

Perhaps for those who have hardly a clue what Objectivism stands for and severely misconstrue its tenets to justify actions which are only condoned under the purported semblance of Objectivism - something which bares little resemblance to the actual philosophy.

FYI, my "unconscious girl" example is not some willful hypothetical. I actually refer to a real case that occurred with the student president of an Ivy-league Objectivist campaign group (handing out copies of her books, getting Objectivist speakers to come to campus, hosting lectures, etc).

You may have read more Rand than me, but I bet he's read more Rand than you. So I'm sorry if your claims of expertise are not overwhelming me.

The scenario you describe has to do with whether that action constitutes a violation, not whether a violation is permissible under Objectivism.

Essentially, the man you're referring to cannot call himself an Objectivist if he considers that action to be a violation, in which case your whole bit about violations being morally permissible under Objectivism if they serve the violator is just bs.
Wnope
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5/7/2013 1:44:35 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 5/6/2013 10:25:29 PM, dylancatlow wrote:
At 5/6/2013 7:30:37 PM, Wnope wrote:
At 5/6/2013 6:45:04 PM, dylancatlow wrote:
" she just mentions how all collectivist philosophies are immoral, and individuals should not hesitate to kill, maim, and harm others if it is in their best individual interest."


You really have no idea what you're talking about...
http://aynrandlexicon.com...

http://aynrandlexicon.com...

" So long as men desire to live together, no man may initiate"do you hear me? no man may start"the use of physical force against others."

If Objectivst morality is derived from the individual accepting individual survival over non-survival how can they then derive that said individual has any moral obligation related to whether or not another individual may access rationality when making decisions?

Blindly asserting "DON'T BE VIOLENTZ TOWARDS OTHAS" might be a nice blind assertion, but it does not follow from Objectivism's basic claims to objectively derived moral systems (namely how it skips the is-ought dilemna).

The only connection Objectivism can make is to say that those who initiate violence may face social repercussion which would hurt their chances of survival.

That's precisely what this article does. It says "if society were to engage in initiation of violence civilization would crumple, then the ego should not initiate violence" or "if the ego's survival would be harmed by initiation of violence, then the ego should initiate violence."

Both interpretations leave open the precise scenarios I'm talking about: ones where there are no social repercussions.

So your little linking-frenzy has yet to actually address my argument.

You don't get to spew out any normative presupposition you wish when claiming Objective morality. They must derive from the supposedly "objective" normative claim: survival over non-survival.

So please, do throw more papers of people pleading that Objectivism is entirely harmless, but find some that can actually derive their position from Rands "objective" normative statement.

All I see is a general "f*ck you if you don't agree, it means you're a monster" anytime a normative assertion like "neuroscience shows human behavior is not rational and so approaches to morality should take this into account." Anyone who engages in coercive actions is "is an attempt to live in defiance to reality. Reality DEMANDS man act rational." If you are a politician who wants income tax to go to public schools, you are denying reality.

Unsurprising, since Rand's entire approach to is-ought is "I'm right, and if you don't accept that I'm right, f*ck you because you should kill yourself or let yourself die." (I'm paraphrasing Nozick).

How about you learn what Objectivism is before you unwittingly bash a straw man version of it, because I can tell your understanding of it doesn't go beyond "Do what's best for you, without regard to anyone else." Just because you don't understand why my philosophy makes the distinctions it does doesn't mean that it doesn't make them. So enough of your claims that Objecitivsm holds that murder is moral, because it doesn't, and I see no good reason why you should continue making jabs at a philosophy that probably doesn't even exist, and one that I definitely don't subscribe to.

It's one thing when, say, utilitarianism throws in some extra assumption about how their philosophy is grounded.

However, Objectivism claims that it can derive objective moral statements from how the world is.

Rand claimed to have beaten Hume through the claim that "when given the choice, the ego ought to try to survive as opposed to not survive and thus survival is inherently valuable." serves as an objective basis for morality.

It does Rand no good to throw on an assumption like "you ought not initiate force" unless she derives it from her "ego ought to survive" claim.

No one ever said it's "Do whatever you want with no regard to others."

It's "Do whatever you want, but keep in mind the preferences and actions of others."

Your own link stresses that the rationale behind not initiating force is that "man could not live together."

As long as there are no social or psychological repercussions, how is random violence immoral? And again, it must be derived from the "Objective" normative claims.

Again, if Objectivism weren't claiming to have sucker-punched the "is-ought" dilemma, I'd be treating their moral claims quite differently. But that is not the case.

So, to repeat myself, you have yet to actually address my argument. Again, while you may not like the wording, it is the same argument Nozick uses, so dismissing it as a "strawman" is not sufficient.

http://www.scribd.com...