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About Objectivism
Objectivist Center ^ | 2/2002

Posted on 04/22/2003 5:25:25 PM PDT by RJCogburn

My philosophy, in essence, is the concept of man as a heroic being, with his own happiness as the moral purpose of his life, with productive achievement as his noblest activity, and reason as his only absolute. — Ayn Rand, Appendix to Atlas Shrugged

In her novels The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged, and in nonfiction works such as Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal, Ayn Rand forged a systematic philosophy of reason and freedom.

Rand was a passionate individualist. She wrote in praise of "the men of unborrowed vision," who live by the judgment of their own minds, willing to stand alone against tradition and popular opinion.

Her philosophy of Objectivism rejects the ethics of self-sacrifice and renunciation. She urged men to hold themselves and their lives as their highest values, and to live by the code of the free individual: self-reliance, integrity, rationality, productive effort.

Objectivism celebrates the power of man's mind, defending reason and science against every form of irrationalism. It provides an intellectual foundation for objective standards of truth and value.

Upholding the use of reason to transform nature and create wealth, Objectivism honors the businessman and the banker, no less than the philosopher and artist, as creators and as benefactors of mankind.

Ayn Rand was a champion of individual rights, which protect the sovereignty of the individual as an end in himself; and of capitalism, which is the only social system that allows people to live together peaceably, by voluntary trade, as independent equals.

Millions of readers have been inspired by the vision of life in Ayn Rand's novels. Scholars are exploring the trails she blazed in philosophy and other fields. Her principled defense of capitalism has drawn new adherents to the cause of economic and political liberty.


TOPICS: Philosophy
KEYWORDS: aynrand; objectivism
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1 posted on 04/22/2003 5:25:25 PM PDT by RJCogburn
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To: RJCogburn; PatrickHenry; LogicWings
any bets on how long it will take the Rand-haters to show up to shower her with their insults?
2 posted on 04/22/2003 5:30:16 PM PDT by longshadow
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To: RJCogburn
More unsolicited drivel. Objectivists would rob people of their right to decide what kind of a society they are to live in, and that makes them anti-freedom.
3 posted on 04/22/2003 5:30:46 PM PDT by Cultural Jihad
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To: Cultural Jihad
Well then, I'm guessing you're not interested. No point in clicking on the source for you. Others may differ.
4 posted on 04/22/2003 5:32:59 PM PDT by RJCogburn (Yes, I will call it bold talk for a......)
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To: Cultural Jihad
I knew it would probably be CJ to sling the first arrow. "Satan, get thee away from me!" Eh, CJ?
5 posted on 04/22/2003 5:33:51 PM PDT by Misterioso
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To: RJCogburn
Well, I see the Rand-haters have already shown up, just as I predicted. Only took him 5 minutes from the time you posted until he had a cyber-hissy fit.
6 posted on 04/22/2003 5:34:33 PM PDT by longshadow
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To: Cultural Jihad
"Objectivists would rob people of their right to decide what kind of a society they are to live in, and that makes them anti-freedom"

Why??
7 posted on 04/22/2003 5:35:36 PM PDT by Betteboop
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To: longshadow
any bets on how long it will take the Rand-haters to show up to shower her with their insults?

Your bet has become moot. Didn't take long. By the way, did you ever read Rand's commencement address at West Point? Great stuff. To America's Armed Forces.

8 posted on 04/22/2003 5:41:29 PM PDT by PatrickHenry (Felix, qui potuit rerum cognoscere causas.)
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To: RJCogburn
Ayn Rand's bloviations are the philosophical equivalent of the brassy exhalations of a well-worn whoopee cushion.
9 posted on 04/22/2003 5:45:37 PM PDT by Kevin Curry
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To: PatrickHenry
Your bet has become moot. Didn't take long.

Predictable, though. Authoritarians just can't sit by while anyone says anything nice about Rand.

By the way, did you ever read Rand's commencement address at West Point? Great stuff.

I've heard about it, but have never read it...... until NOW....

10 posted on 04/22/2003 5:46:06 PM PDT by longshadow
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To: PatrickHenry
It's a wonderful speech and its my favorite in 'Philosophy, Who Needs It?'
11 posted on 04/22/2003 5:47:57 PM PDT by HitmanLV
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To: Kevin Curry
Well then, I'm guessing you're not interested either. No point in clicking on the source for you. Others may differ.
12 posted on 04/22/2003 5:50:20 PM PDT by RJCogburn (Yes, I will call it bold talk for a......)
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To: PatrickHenry; RJCogburn
Don't look now, but (to paraphrase a caption from a wonderful "National Lampoon" cartoon from about 30 years ago).....

".... would ya look at the two a**holes on that elephant!"

(Whereupon the two guys riding the elephant, got off, and were last seen scratching their heads' whilst peering intently under the elephant's tail.....)

13 posted on 04/22/2003 5:51:04 PM PDT by longshadow
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To: RJCogburn
Ayn Rand was a champion of individual rights, which protect the sovereignty of the individual as an end in himself; and of capitalism, which is the only social system that allows people to live together peaceably, by voluntary trade, as independent equals.

I am not an objectivist, but about 85% of my philosophy is in agreement with Rand. I think her philosophy is incomplete in some areas, and outright wrong in one or two minor points, but, it is nevertheless the most progress in philosophy since Locke. Not bad for a Novelist.

Three quick quotes from The Autonomist's Notebook:

Hank

14 posted on 04/22/2003 5:52:04 PM PDT by Hank Kerchief (Do you know what I like, of course not, so don't tell me what to do.)
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To: Betteboop
Why, indeed?

** The Government **

The government has a responsibility to enforce the laws. But it does much more than that. It sets a moral standard, based on the knowledge that some practices have evil consequences.

Doctors are aware how harmful sodomy is. The intestines were not designed for this purpose, and expensive operations have to be done to repair the damaged muscles and intestinal tissue. Diseases, also, are introduced through sodomy.

Practices which are harmful to the practitioners, as well as society, should not be encouraged. Such practices should be frowned upon, and not allowed. It would be cruel to allow people and society to suffer. We have no problem decrying the harmfulness of tobacco. But not sodomy, and other sexual perversions.

Why is this so?

The word "liberal" used to be religious term, denoting generosity of giving. Now, it's a secular term of licentiousness.

The vast majority of people are moral and decent. But in all the areas of power in this country, in the media, the advertisers, the entertainment industry, the government, the universities and schools, there are powerful groups of liberals who think if only people would fall into a "let live" attitude in morals, everything would be fine.

The whole liberal power-structure is geared to lowering morality, and they see it as a "crusade" to bring "freedom."

The bottomline, though, is greed. That is the driving-force behind their campaign against morality. Immorality generates money, and they're right behind, scooping it up.


15 posted on 04/22/2003 5:52:04 PM PDT by Cultural Jihad
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To: Cultural Jihad
"Objectivists would rob people of their right to decide what kind of a society they are to live in"

How so? Please explain

16 posted on 04/22/2003 5:53:29 PM PDT by Lloyd227 (While I don't claim to know what the truth is, this was an interesting read)
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To: Fzob; P.O.E.; PeterPrinciple; MWS; reflecting; DannyTN; FourtySeven; x; dyed_in_the_wool; Zon; ...
PHILOSOPHY PING

(If you want on or off this list please freepmail me.)

Hank

17 posted on 04/22/2003 5:54:44 PM PDT by Hank Kerchief
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To: Lloyd227
You would need to ask those who think 'Banned in Boston' was a pre-MTV colonial melodious troope. ;)
18 posted on 04/22/2003 5:55:48 PM PDT by Cultural Jihad
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To: longshadow
The only threads I can think of that bring out more whackos than Ayn Rand are the Civil War, Evolution, and libertarianism.
19 posted on 04/22/2003 5:57:18 PM PDT by PatrickHenry (Felix, qui potuit rerum cognoscere causas.)
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To: longshadow
Aw, don't be too hard on CJ and Kevbo. Their predictable appearance on this thread is a tad suggestive of characters in a Rand novel, IMO.

Maybe sometime in the near future we can start a thread....something like who in a Rand novel does CJ or Kevbo most remind you?
20 posted on 04/22/2003 5:57:37 PM PDT by RJCogburn (Yes, I will call it bold talk for a......)
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To: RJCogburn
reading rand's "new intellectual" changed my life. she had those berkeley-types pegged in the early '60s, long before most americans knew what was happening.

i remember a ph.d. candidate in philosophy telling me not to be seen with that book in the department!

it was then i realized that american academia wasn't so open as they would like others to think.

my only regret is not finding her sooner.
21 posted on 04/22/2003 5:59:01 PM PDT by liberalnot
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To: RJCogburn
You people worship the writer of potboiler pulp novels, where every page is preachier than a Billy Sunday sermon.
22 posted on 04/22/2003 5:59:01 PM PDT by Kevin Curry
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To: Kevin Curry
Yep, Kevbo, you are clearly not interested.
23 posted on 04/22/2003 6:00:17 PM PDT by RJCogburn (Yes, I will call it bold talk for a......)
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To: Cultural Jihad
" It sets a moral standard,"

You mean like Bill Clinton?

L

24 posted on 04/22/2003 6:04:37 PM PDT by Lurker ("One man of reason and goodwill is worth more, actually and potentially, than a million fools" AR)
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To: Cultural Jihad
"You would need to ask those who think ...."

But I was asking you. You made the statement, now can you back it up?

or is your post the "unsolicited drivel" to which you were referring?

25 posted on 04/22/2003 6:05:33 PM PDT by Lloyd227 (While I don't claim to know what the truth is, this was an interesting read)
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To: Lurker
Indubitably, the failure of anyone to adhere to the kindness of religious morality in no way diminishes its excellence in furthering life and fostering happiness.
26 posted on 04/22/2003 6:07:09 PM PDT by Cultural Jihad
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To: RJCogburn
Ms. Rand was wrong. She sounded right because she advocated freedom of thought, expression and ones control over ones activities. But she was wrong because she rejected the collective (the concept that the group is more important than the individual) with objectivism (the concept that the individual is more important than the group). Neither concept is true. However, what is true is that the individual finds within the group an identity and purpose. He finds within history lessons and debts that can never be repaid. Moreover, the individual discovers that in order to be fully human one must adopt some purpose larger than himself. This is why objectivism has failed and conservatism has not.

Sebastian
27 posted on 04/22/2003 6:07:39 PM PDT by Sebastian
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To: RJCogburn
As usual, the conservatives talk ideas, while the self-professed ideologues talk personalities.
28 posted on 04/22/2003 6:08:36 PM PDT by Cultural Jihad
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To: Cultural Jihad
Practices which are harmful to the practitioners, as well as society, should not be encouraged. Such practices should be frowned upon, and not allowed.

So, if you happen to believe in a religion that teaches anyone who is not saved, in terms of your religion's teaching, will suffer forever in hell, what could be more self-destructive that that than rejecting your religion. They should be forces to adhere to your religion, because the practice of denying your religion would be the ultimate self-destruction. (I'm not saying this is your religion. It's just an illustration.)

It would be cruel to allow people and society to suffer. We have no problem decrying the harmfulness of tobacco. But not sodomy, and other sexual perversions. If people choose practices and lifestyles that are self-destructive and cause them suffering, it is their business. No one appointed you, or anyone else, the protecter of all mankind.

What is cruel is to force decent people, who use all their resources to improve the lives of themselves and their loved owns, to pay for cleaning up after those who ruin their lives. Why should a decent hard working, productive parent be forced to pay for government programs that will force those too evil or too stupid to live their lives decently, to behave they way the government thinks they ought to.

You want to ease the lives of the perverts and indecent at the expense of the normal and the decent.

In an objectivist society, anyone who wanted to help these perverts straighen out their lives would be allowed to, but no one would be forced to.

Please come back when you have your moral principles straigtened out.

Hank

29 posted on 04/22/2003 6:12:23 PM PDT by Hank Kerchief
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To: Kevin Curry
...brassy exhalations of a well-worn whoopee cushion.

Thanks for the example.

Hank

30 posted on 04/22/2003 6:15:31 PM PDT by Hank Kerchief
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To: Hank Kerchief
I suppose we could try to resurrect Thomas Jefferson and importune that he rewrite the Preamble of the DOI in order to please the humanist social-Darwinists: "... among which are an early death, slavery to vice, and the pursuit of unneeded suffering..."
31 posted on 04/22/2003 6:16:05 PM PDT by Cultural Jihad
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To: longshadow
"Well, I see the Rand-haters have already shown up, just as I predicted. Only took him 5 minutes from the time you posted until he had a cyber-hissy fit."

Yep! Interesting and predictable, isn't it? Ayn Rand has always been a favorite of mine.

Were Ayn Rand alive today, she would be appalled at the tail spin that this nation is in. While I am somewhat enthusiastic about the goals of the current administration, I sense problems down the road. And, I understand that Rand would be incensed at many of the policies that this administration has instituted and particularly those policies concerning the fourth amendment guarantees against the invasion of citizens' rights to privacy.

32 posted on 04/22/2003 6:17:47 PM PDT by davisfh
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To: Cultural Jihad
What on earth does Ayn Rand have to do with sodomy? Her attitude toward gays was about the same as Dr. Laura's. I don't get it, are you taking the standard Libertarian point of view as representative of Rand's writing?
33 posted on 04/22/2003 6:21:49 PM PDT by Anamensis
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To: Kevin Curry
You people worship the writer of potboiler pulp novels, where every page is preachier than a Billy Sunday sermon.

And for some reason, you just can't pull yourself away from this thread. Hmm....

34 posted on 04/22/2003 6:23:49 PM PDT by Anamensis
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To: Cultural Jihad
Indubitably, the failure of anyone to adhere to the kindness of religious morality in no way diminishes its excellence in furthering life and fostering happiness.

Communists feel the same way about Communism.

35 posted on 04/22/2003 6:27:12 PM PDT by Anamensis
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To: Cultural Jihad
As usual, the conservatives talk ideas, while the self-professed ideologues talk personalities.

This from a CHRIST-ian, the ultimate in cult of personality.

36 posted on 04/22/2003 6:28:55 PM PDT by Anamensis
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To: Sebastian
Rand ... was wrong because she rejected the collective (the concept that the group is more important than the individual)...

Your are right, or would be, if Rand actually said this. In Rand's philsophy, the group has no importance at all. Importance pertains to one only class of existents in this world, beings capable of having purposes and ends, and all importance relates to the significance of things as they relate to each individual's purposes and ends. Groups have no purpose or ends, only individuals do, unless, of course, you are a cow, then the herd (group) matters.

Hank

37 posted on 04/22/2003 6:29:12 PM PDT by Hank Kerchief
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To: RJCogburn
Miss Rand was right about a great many things. She was wrong about a great many more. Objectivism itself, for example, is based upon the premise that sensory impressions + Western logic = universal objective reality. This may be true, but it is a statement of faith, not of objective fact, since it is impossible to demonstrate its truth without reference to other (subjective) sensory impressions. A flirting acquaintaince with Skepticism (Descartes, et al) -- or with courtroom testimony -- will soon bear out the fact that "objective" reality ain't all that objective. Rational men believe in it, of course -- but there's no way to prove that "objective reality" exists at all. As Descartes pointed out, this could all be a dream; we'd never know the difference.

Miss Rand was a religious zealot. To her and her disciples, there was no god but Self, and Ayn Rand its sole and infallible prophet -- and those who dared disagree were ruthlessly made anathema. Like the Bolsheviki she hated, Rand established an iron-fisted personality cult centered on the Great Leader (herself) and coldly neutralized any comrades who strayed too far from the party line. (Radical individualist Jerome Tuccilli writes hilariously of the antics of Rand's avowedly anti-collectivist "Senior collective" in his picaresque history of post-Cold War American anarchism It Usually Begins With Ayn Rand.) Like the Soviets she detested, Rand had no problem purging her ranks of deviationists, roaders, and other enemies of the people: Whim Worshippers and Muscle Mystics were pitilessly banished to philosophical Siberia, with Rand's inner coterie of True Believers acting as a sort of coat-and-tie Cheka to her self-interested Stalin. Read the memoirs of Nathaniel Branden; It's no fun being Trotsky when the Great Leader decides you've got to go.

While I admire Rand's romanticism and her love of progress (and of railroads), her "virtue of selfishness" is in reality no virtue at all. "Devil take the hindmost" may be more practical that "Love thy neighbor", but more virtuous? By what standard? Surely not God's; Rand's hatred of the Deity was coequal with her hatred of Communism. Objectivism's atheistic individualism of the Right merely reverses the mistakes of the aetheistic collectivism of the Left; any individualism that deifies the Self to the exclusion of the common weal is as fundamentally flawed as a collectivism that deifies the state to the exclusion of the individual. In the former case one worships at the altar of the Supreme Self; in the latter, at the shrine of the State Almighty. In both cases, a false god is set up to replace the real thing -- with predictable results. "Thou shalt have no other gods before Me."

Objectivism is like Star Trek fandom: of immense impact in certain rarefied circles, and possessed of an immense literature, but ultimately not to be taken seriously by ordinary, socialized adults. Let the flames crackle!

38 posted on 04/22/2003 6:30:03 PM PDT by B-Chan (Anglican Use Bump!)
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To: Cultural Jihad
I suppose we could try to resurrect Thomas Jefferson ...

What was that earlier comment about ideologues talking personalities?

39 posted on 04/22/2003 6:31:06 PM PDT by Anamensis
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To: Cultural Jihad
More unsolicited drivel. Objectivists would rob people of their right to decide what kind of a society they are to live in, and that makes them anti-freedom.

Mmmm - that boot leather tastes mighty good now, don't it?

40 posted on 04/22/2003 6:31:26 PM PDT by BlazingArizona
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To: Cultural Jihad
Are you a humanist social-Darwinists?

Just wondered, since you brought it up, and since I am not one, assume it must reflect your philsophy.

Am I mistaken about this?

(Was Thomas Jefferson a humanist or an objectivist?)

Hank

41 posted on 04/22/2003 6:34:27 PM PDT by Hank Kerchief
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To: B-Chan
Objectivism is like Star Trek fandom: of immense impact in certain rarefied circles, and possessed of an immense literature, but ultimately not to be taken seriously by ordinary, socialized adults.

Oh don't worry, those who have been "socialized" in our public schools wouldn't have the first idea what to do with her. Meanwhile, for someone so easily dismissed, she seems to have a lot of folks working industriously to tarnish her image. Even William F. Buckley's been working on it in his latest novel, which makes me wonder if her influence isn't growing rather than dying.

42 posted on 04/22/2003 6:35:21 PM PDT by Anamensis
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To: Cultural Jihad
"The bottomline, though, is greed. That is the driving-force behind their campaign against morality. Immorality generates money, and they're right behind, scooping it up."

So Billy Graham is Immoral? That's what your diatribe is inferring.....
43 posted on 04/22/2003 6:39:58 PM PDT by Beck_isright ("We created underarm deodorant, and the French turned that down too."-Mitch Daniels, Budget Director)
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To: B-Chan; RJCogburn
Rational men believe in it, of course -- but there's no way to prove that "objective reality" exists at all.

That is exactly right. I quote, "rational men believe in it, of course," meaning "objective reality". So, we know what that makes all those who do not believe in objective reality, don't we, since, if they were rational, they would believe in it.

Don't bother answering this until you can prove you exist, (or at least that you are rational).

Hank

44 posted on 04/22/2003 6:43:24 PM PDT by Hank Kerchief
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To: Anamensis
Even William F. Buckley's been working on it in his latest novel, which makes me wonder if her influence isn't growing rather than dying.

It's dying. In the 1960s an Objectivist speaker could fill a New York hotel ballroom with passionate Randfans, many in costume -- but today? Everybody (incluing the costumers) is across town at the anime convention where he cute girls are. The defenders of Rand today must content themselves with a few esoteric fanzines and websites.

(Besides: compared with real personality cults like Scientology, Objectivism is strictly small potatoes. Rand got the Gary Cooper movie, true, but L. Ron Hubbard was the one that ended up with the security goons, the big boat, and the teenage slaves in sailor suits -- not to mention John Travolta.)

In my limited experience, Objectivism tends to appeal to a certain type of suburban nerd -- the kind of kid who thinks he's John Galt, Heroic Loner, because none of the cheerleaders will date him. Kids like this whom I've known tended to spend a lot of time in their rooms, smoking pot and reading too much into prog-rock lyrics. When the decades-spanning career of Rush draws to a close, I suspect the ranks of Randfandom will similarly diminish. Sic transit gloria mundi.

45 posted on 04/22/2003 6:54:05 PM PDT by B-Chan (Anglican Use Bump!)
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To: Hank Kerchief
I said:
***Rand ... was wrong because she rejected the collective (the concept that the group is more important than the individual)... ***
You said:
***Your are right, or would be, if Rand actually said this. ***
Rand did reject the collective. How am I wrong?

Sebastian
46 posted on 04/22/2003 6:59:44 PM PDT by Sebastian
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To: Cultural Jihad
Objectivists would rob people of their right to decide what kind of a society they are to live in, and that makes them anti-freedom.

Unless I am severely mistaken about the philosophy, Objectivism would permit a group of people to form their own community based on religious morality or socialism or anything else, so long as all members were there voluntarily and the community did not violate the rights of any persons outside of that community.

The objectivists might not like that community, but their philosophy would prevent them from using force to rob people of the choice to move there if they so desired.

47 posted on 04/22/2003 6:59:52 PM PDT by timm22
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To: Cultural Jihad
Objectivists would rob people of their right to decide what kind of a society they are to live in, and that makes them anti-freedom. 3 -cj-

Why?
Why, indeed?
-bettyboop-

** The Government **
The government has a responsibility to enforce the laws. But it does much more than that. It sets a moral standard, based on the knowledge that some practices have evil consequences.

Not so. Under our constitution the government is ~not~ empowered to set moral standards.. Or to decree what is evil.
We agree to obey our constitutional rule of law, not to the rule of moralizing men.

Doctors are aware how harmful sodomy is. The intestines were not designed for this purpose, and expensive operations have to be done to repair the damaged muscles and intestinal tissue. Diseases, also, are introduced through sodomy. Practices which are harmful to the practitioners, as well as society, should not be encouraged. Such practices should be frowned upon, and not allowed. It would be cruel to allow people and society to suffer. We have no problem decrying the harmfulness of tobacco. But not sodomy, and other sexual perversions. Why is this so?

Because you are obcessed with sodomy? -- Bizarre point, CJ.

The word "liberal" used to be religious term, denoting generosity of giving. Now, it's a secular term of licentiousness. The vast majority of people are moral and decent. But in all the areas of power in this country, in the media, the advertisers, the entertainment industry, the government, the universities and schools, there are powerful groups of liberals who think if only people would fall into a "let live" attitude in morals, everything would be fine. The whole liberal power-structure is geared to lowering morality, and they see it as a "crusade" to bring "freedom." The bottomline, though, is greed. That is the driving-force behind their campaign against morality. Immorality generates money, and they're right behind, scooping it up.

Another weird little rant CJ, - but what does it have to do with Rand?

48 posted on 04/22/2003 7:02:34 PM PDT by tpaine (Really, I'm trying to be a 'decent human being', but me flesh is weak.)
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To: timm22
Unless I am severely mistaken about the philosophy, Objectivism would permit a group of people to form their own community based on religious morality or socialism or anything else, so long as all members were there voluntarily and the community did not violate the rights of any persons outside of that community.

But if communities cannot enforce their collective lifestyle mandates with the truncheon of state police power, where's the fun in that?

49 posted on 04/22/2003 7:03:18 PM PDT by Trailerpark Badass
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To: RJCogburn
Ayn Rand Rocks.
50 posted on 04/22/2003 7:04:31 PM PDT by ChadGore (Freedom is as natural as a drawn breath.)
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