Skip to comments.Brave New Objectivism
Posted on 03/11/2004 10:44:55 AM PST by Hank Kerchief
It use to be a lot easier, and I confess, I was very comfortable with the simplicity that regarded Ojectivism as the philosophy Ayn Rand developed and named, and nothing more. Furthermore I confess I resisted changing, because I liked being able to say, "Objectivism says ...," or "Objectivism teaches ...," knowing everyone would understand that by Objectivism I meant, the philosophy of Ayn Rand.
But that has all changed now, and even though it is more difficult and I resisted it, I am now resigned. I acquiesce to the facts of reality, there are now many different kinds of Objectivism. If we are to be understood, we can no longer say, "Objectivism says ..., " or "Objectivism teaches ..." because the first question that comes up is, which Objectivism?
After all, who am I to resist the will and wisdom of the consensus of those who claim Objectivism as their own. It is foolish. It makes me just like those who resist using the word rights for just anything anyone happens to think the government should supply. To insist that rights means only the right to life, liberty, and property is reactionary, it is regressive, it is doctrinaire and the worst form of orthodoxy. Why should I insist Objectivism only mean what Ayn Rand, who coined the term and developed the philosophy, meant by it. Why should Objectivism not mean whatever anyone wants it to mean?
A New More "Robust" Objectivist "Paradigm"
No more will Objectivism mean just a philosophy, and certainly not any particular one. That would be too simplistic, too rigid, and too formal. What is needed is something dynamic, fluid, and adaptable to changing needs and purposes. And that is just what we have. Objectivism now comes in an endless array of varieties and flavors.
Now, "The Objectivist Center does not endorse the work or products of other organizations or groups, not even Objectivist organizations or groups," but, they link to a bunch of other Objectivist Organizations they do not endorse. So, if organizational Objectivism is your taste, you have plenty to choose from.
We have movement Objectivism If you thought Objectivism was only a philosophy, boy are you wrong. We do not know how long, but, "For as long as there has been an Objectivist movement, its ranks have periodically been thinned by schisms and excommunications, power struggles and purges," David Kelly says in his introduction to Truth and Toleration. It would probably be wrong to characterize the Objectivist movement as the result of an over-aggressive regimen of intellectual Metamucil and you might think something that sounds like the machinations of the Communist politburo is not particularly Objectivist, but that's only because you are not an "integrated" Objectivist.
We have integrated Objectivismwhich is a method of combining views which mostly disagree on the basis of some things that might agree. In religion the process is called syncretism, but, since Ayn Rand was an atheist, it cannot be called that in Objectivism, at least not yet.
Prof. Edward W. Younkins has done some marvelous work in this area with articles like, Carl Menger's Economics of Well-Being: Almost Objectivism. If you wonder why anyone would care about what is "almost" anything, when they could have the real thing, you just do not understand "integration." Integration asks questions like, "Can the Ideas of Mises and Rand Be Reconciled?", which is an interesting question, but why stop there? Why not ask, "can the ideas of Billy Graham, George Bush, and Ayn Rand be reconciled?" This presumes, of course, that Billy Graham and George Bush have ideas and that they can be discovered.
There is also, "Murray Rothbard's Randian Austrianism", which says, "The writings of Murray Rothbard, much like those of Carl Menger, the founder of Austrian economics, have done a great deal toward building a bridge between Austrian economics and Objectivism," which is a wonderful thing, if anybody really wants to go where that bridge will take them, where evidently people can write things which are then attributed to someone else, like Ayn Rand's Pauline Epistles (very popular among Christian Objectivists).
We have evangelical Objectivismwhich is not to be confused with Christian Objectivism, because while evangelical Christians ask questions like, "how many people do you intend to win to the Lord this year," evangelical Objectivists ask questions like "How many people are you aiming to introduce to Objectivism this year?".
Evangelical Objectivism is concerned with things like, "Converting to Objectivism," and revivals, for example: Ayn Rand's Status in American Culture [Overview: Adapted from the Introduction to What Art Is: The Esthetic Theory of Ayn Rand by Louis Torres and Michelle Marder Kamhi] "She [Ayn Rand] is widely credited with substantially contributing to the revival of classical liberal thought in the past two decades--a revival that has gained broad visibility and influence through such organizations as the Reason Foundation and the Cato Institute." [Emphasis added.]
We look forward to great city-wide Objectivist Crusades, where famous Objectivists evangelists preach moving Objectivist sermons to crowds who come forward at the invitation in tearful throngs, while the choir softly sings the great Objectivist hymn:
Just as I am,
I come to be free,
Believe what I want,
But Objectivist be.
And we have coalesced Objectivismwhich is made up of coalitions. A coalition, according to these quick definitions from Onelook is: "the state of being combined into one body, an organization of people, or the union of diverse things into one body or form or group." [Edited.]
Coalesced Objectivism does with people what integrated Objectivism does with ideas, it puts those who disagree with one another together so they can act as though they did not disagree. This may seem silly, but it is really very important, especially to those who are concerned with "Coalition: the Problems, and the Promise", for example.
Coalition is so important, if anyone who happens to be in one discovers, "hey, I don't agree with any of this, why should I spend my time and resources supporting and promoting it?" decides to decoalese, it will be explained to them they are nothing but uncooperative lone wolves sacrificing an important movement for the sake their own petty differences.
In case you do not understand this, consider an example from history. What has been more important than the advancement of science and technology? If it had not been for the great coalitions between those involved in the science-and-tehcnology movement, it would no doubt have failed. But there were lone wolves, like the Wright Brothers, who acted as though they were the only one's who knew technology.
Instead of joining with others advancing the cause of science and technology, like Rear-Admiral George Melville, chief engineer of the US Navy, who wrote in the North American Review, that attempting to fly was 'absurd' and with Simon Newcomb, professor of mathematics and astronomy at Johns Hopkins University who published an article which showed scientifically that powered human flight was 'utterly impossible,' and would require the discovery of a new force in nature, they rejected any coalition with these and other scientists over their petty differences.
We will never know how much the science-and-technology movement suffered as a result of the Wright brothes' recalcitrant refusal to become part of the coalition. If they, instead, had attempted to work with others and found ways to integrate their ideas with other scientists for the common cause of science and technology, there is no telling how much progress might have been made. Of course, the airplane might not have been invented quite so soon, and it is even possible someone else might have invented it, while the Wright brothers were busy coalescing.
My New Way of Thinking
Recently, when explaining these ideas to a colleague, he exclaimed: "Firehammer, you flatulent autonomist curmudgeon, why don't you just shut up." I thanked him for his opinion and suggested we form a coalition and integrate our ideas.
(If you want on or off this list please freepmail me.)
Yes, Exactly! Hank
Wait no longer. It already exists. You probably missed it because it goes by another name: Multicultural Inclusivism, and has many branches, but it's "Vatican" is called the UN, its Pope is called Secretary-General, and the current pope's name is Kofi Annan.
You'll be proud to know the United States supports this religion by helping to fund such subjectivist outreach programs as UNICEF and UNESCO, and even has its own UN sponsored program called No Child Left Behind, which promotes such noble subjectivist ideals as self-esteem, and terror of all guns.
And subjugation is a sacrement.
Great article, full of good news to me. Thanks.
Isn't it a strange fact? So many truly intelligent people never learn the simple truth, everyone is not going to agree with them, even when they are right, and annoying people is only going to convince them they are wrong.
And I'm sure you already know your liberal friends do not want to know the premises their beliefs are based on.
Of course not. "It" never sought. Now if you meant to say 'Objectivists never sought...' I'd say you are quite wrong. One should not confuse the words of few lonely nerds with the clearly describable realty of their obvious efforts.
Nor should one ever confuse flippant ad hominem with substantive argument.
Cute. But there was no "substantive argument." I was responding to a "flippant" false analogy.
OK. I'll assume your original response to the article was satire.
In #10, I get a sarcastic irrelevant responce to what I had said. No problem, I answered in kind.
Then you come into it, sarcasticly accusing me of not making a substantive argument. Of course you were quite correct. There was no argument to start with. Pointing that fact out to you, has obviously (as seen by your last reply), ruffled your feathers bit.
I cannot imagine why my original comment would upset anyone's sensitivities. Since I am obviously wrong about this, I apologize.
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