The Ayn Rand Thread

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So, after the slight derailing in the White Student Union thread, and because I'm almost done with Atlas Shrugged (still need to get to Galt's door stopper of a speech) I figured I might as well make a thread to discuss miss Rand.

Now, I haven't hidden my absolute disgust towards Objectivists; it's hard not to hate a group that's founder called Native Americans "Animals" and held that Altruism was the ultimate "Evil" of the earth. But despite seeking to proliferate brutal Laisez-Faire capitalism and having a philosophy that considers self-sacrifice to be morally depraved Ms. Rand has become a rather popular topic, at least in these times of recession.

You'll notice that much of the modern Republican Party has been at least influenced by Rand's ideas, if not outright running their party according to them. It's from Rand that we get the phrases "Taxes just punish success!" and the idea that liberals are out to "Destroy what makes America great." In fact, former Vice-Presidential Candidate Paul Ryan absolutely adored Ayn Rand, before he realized that the Catholic Church most certainly did not.

In fact Alan Greenspan, who was chairman of the Federal Reserve for over a decade and who's monetary policies are believed to have been partially responsible for the massive recession under the Bush administration, was a die-hard Randian. With all this tongue bathing for Rand on the right, I honestly have to wonder what the modern Republican Party would be like if she just never existed. Rand held compromise to be "weakness" and something only evil benefits from which is similar to the attitude reflected in the Republican's "Party of No" attitude when it comes to any form of compromise with President Barack Obama.

So, Escapist, I want to know what you think of Ms. Rand. Do you hate her? Are you indifferent? I'm interested in hearing your opinion on this.

Oh man, I saw this thread and started laughing like a mad-man. What a mess this will be. I'll be sure to read up on it tomorrow (and provide comments). Right now, I need sleep. Slept two hours this past night and I'm a mess.
But will be looking forward to the..Ehm..'Reasonable discussion' that is to follow.

I think you overestimate their devotion to it. Their policies aren't guided by objectivism, their propaganda is. Their "small government" song and dance has been known to be bullshit for some time now.

Rand is an interesting woman and she has a lot of important things to say. I do not agree with everything she says. However, I also understand that a lot of people's hatred for her is based on misunderstanding her premise. Much like John Locke she argues for a change in the way we consider things. For example, many of her characters are self sacrificing (I believe it is the chapter after the speech where you will see another example). So how can she describe it as depraved? Well, she doesn't. She states that you are not sacrificing yourself (you are not a martyr) you are doing something that YOU feel is more important than your life. Not a sacrifice, because a sacrifice implies that you are surrendering a good for an evil (a summation of her own words).

I see absolutely no reason for the massive outpouring of hatred towards her and her beliefs.

farson135:
Rand is an interesting woman and she has a lot of important things to say. I do not agree with everything she says. However, I also understand that a lot of people's hatred for her is based on misunderstanding her premise. Much like John Locke she argues for a change in the way we consider things. For example, many of her characters are self sacrificing (I believe it is the chapter after the speech where you will see another example). So how can she describe it as depraved? Well, she doesn't. She states that you are not sacrificing yourself (you are not a martyr) you are doing something that YOU feel is more important than your life. Not a sacrifice, because a sacrifice implies that you are surrendering a good for an evil (a summation of her own words).

I see absolutely no reason for the massive outpouring of hatred towards her and her beliefs.

Her characters aren't self sacrificing, they're, at best, sacrificing a short term advantage for a long term one. Self-sacrifice is, as the name implies, sacrificing you want for yourself for the good of others. I would hardly say her heroes ever commit a single act of self-sacrifice.

The problem when it comes to Objectivists, is they assume all their detractors either know the philosophy but are lazy so they oppose it, or they just "misunderstand it" and once they do they'll come right around. What I pride myself on is understanding her philosophy, having the skill required to survive it (I imagine there will be a lot of "surviving" and a lot less "thriving" in a Laisez-Faire system), and choosing to reject it as evil.

Ayn Rand herself defined Altruism in her "Virtue of Selfishness" as the "Sacrifice of a greater value for a lesser one" and she defined a "value" as anything that contributes to your own survival and/or happiness (especially in the long term). Here's something I did that would be considered "Evil" by Ayn Rand's standards.

About three weeks ago, a club of my friends were throwing a party. I wanted to go, it was fun, there was great food, and I probably would not see many of them again... However, my grandmother was sick, very sick. Instead of going to the party, I chose to visit my grandmother. I wasn't any happier from the visit, I was stressed and nervous for my grandmother's sake. A week later she died, yet thankfully I had a chance to say goodbye and get some closure.

By Ayn Rand's own definition, what I did was evil. Not just "not good" but actually, honestly, evil. I sacrificed something that would have given me a good deal of happiness -hanging out with my friends one last time- for something that, in the end, just made me sad. I was not operating under any rational knowledge that visiting her would give me some closure, or it could be the last time I did so; as far as we knew, we would have at least a few more months. I gained nothing from that interaction, I did it for my grandmother's sake, if that is supposed to be Evil, than I'd much rather be a villain then one of Rand's "Heroes".

It's one of those philosophies that is superficially attractive - at first glance it seems completely fair that everyone should be in competition with each other, but when you think about it some more it really doesn't work. I've got to admit that when I first read about objectivism I was taken in for a couple of days.

The fatal flaw of objectivism is that humans are social creatures & we all depend on one another, so if everyone behaved selfishly we'd probably cease to exist. Rand either missed this completely or deliberately ignored it.

Witty Name Here:
Her characters aren't self sacrificing

She would not describe them as such but basically they are.

they're, at best, sacrificing a short term advantage for a long term one. Self-sacrifice is, as the name implies, sacrificing you want for yourself for the good of others. I would hardly say her heroes ever commit a single act of self-sacrifice.

Many spoilers ahead-
Atlas Shrugged- They saved John Galt, Hank gave money to his brother's organization to make him happy, Hank surrendered the knowledge of how to make his metal in order to save Dagny's honor, the Pirate meets with Hank despite being a wanted man in order to give Hank a bar of old, and on.
The Fountainhead- Howard Roark stays behind to be arrested and tried after he committed a crime, Dominique punishes herself for trying to destroy Howard, Gail Wynand tries to save Howard and nearly destroys his company in the process before Howard basically tells his to sacrifice Howard, and on.

And I can keep going.

The problem when it comes to Objectivists, is they assume all their detractors either know the philosophy but are lazy so they oppose it, or they just "misunderstand it" and once they do they'll come right around. What I pride myself on is understanding her philosophy, having the skill required to survive it (I imagine there will be a lot of "surviving" and a lot less "thriving" in a Laisez-Faire system), and choosing to reject it as evil.

Because most people do not understand it. I have read her books and these are only SOME of the examples I could pull from. And these are from the great heroes of the works.

About three weeks ago, a club of my friends were throwing a party. I wanted to go, it was fun, there was great food, and I probably would not see many of them again... However, my grandmother was sick, very sick. Instead of going to the party, I chose to visit my grandmother. I wasn't any happier from the visit, I was stressed and nervous for my grandmother's sake. A week later she died, yet thankfully I had a chance to say goodbye and get some closure.

By Ayn Rand's own definition, what I did was evil. Not just "not good" but actually, honestly, evil. I sacrificed something that would have given me a good deal of happiness -hanging out with my friends one last time- for something that, in the end, just made me sad. I was not operating under any rational knowledge that visiting her would give me some closure, or it could be the last time I did so; as far as we knew, we would have at least a few more months. I gained nothing from that interaction, I did it for my grandmother's sake, if that is supposed to be Evil, than I'd much rather be a villain then one of Rand's "Heroes".

She would not describe that as evil. You put a greater value on your grandmother than on the party. This is a classic example of the misunderstanding.

Esotera:
The fatal flaw of objectivism is that humans are social creatures & we all depend on one another, so if everyone behaved selfishly we'd probably cease to exist. Rand either missed this completely or deliberately ignored it.

No, she saw it. You did notice in Atlas Shrugged that Dagny and Hank both separated their relationship and business right? We can compete with each other and still like each other.

Ayn Rand was, above all, a rationalist and I believe in rationalism, so her ideas ought to appeal to me. Having read Atlas Shrugged, all of it, I regard her philosophy as faith-based, not evidence based or rational. Never mind the gross caricatures, does she really think the powerful, believing selfishness to be a virtue, will not tilt the playing field, preventing the talented and hard working from rising? That the producers won't do looting and mooching as well? That enlightened self-interest is common?

Also, novel writers are permitted a lot of artistic license but a train engine powered by atmospheric lightning? That's beyond science fiction and into wishful thinking. That alone is enough to drop Atlas Shrugged as a novel, let alone a poetic essay on a political philosophy.

Her literature is a bore and her philosophy is a joke.

She was obviously an enormous hypocrite who judged others far more than she ever judged herself.

I don't really know that there's anything more to say about Ayn Rand.

I honestly don't see how I'm supposed to take this thread or OP seriously when they make 3/4 of the post ranting against the Republican party and follows it up by suggesting the author would zealously party rather than go to a funeral for someone she loved because her philosophy has no tolerance for such things.

No, I'm really not buying that this is billed as a "discussion"; it's more like a burning effigy.

Just for the hell of it, I will point out all the strawmen and context dropping with brief corrections. If someone wants elaborations, they can ask, but I doubt too many here are interested in genuine answers.

"You'll notice that much of the modern Republican Party has been at least influenced by Rand's ideas, if not outright running their party according to them."

Rand's vision of government only provided for the military, police, and courts, and didn't have any taxes. A laughable overexageration.

"It's from Rand that we get the phrases "Taxes just punish success!""

While she agreed with the sentiment, I seriously doubt she created it.

"In fact, former Vice-Presidential Candidate Paul Ryan absolutely adored Ayn Rand, before he realized that the Catholic Church most certainly did not."

Ryan is a moderate progressive liberal who talked up Ayn Rand to curry Tea Party support nothing more. He has no Objectivist, or even Objectivist leaning policies.

"In fact Alan Greenspan, who was chairman of the Federal Reserve for over a decade and who's monetary policies are believed to have been partially responsible for the massive recession under the Bush administration, was a die-hard Randian."

Rand died before Greenspan took office. Rand didn't even believe central banks should exist, but that to the degree they should exist, she believed they should conform to Austrian economics. Greenspan ran the Fed with pure Keynseanism. Context dropping.

"Rand held compromise to be "weakness" and something only evil benefits from which is similar to the attitude reflected in the Republican's "Party of No" attitude when it comes to any form of compromise with President Barack Obama."

True about Rand but ridiculous Republican exaggeration. Republicans and Democrats are just politicians with no principle other than doing everything in their power to get elected.

"By Ayn Rand's own definition, what I did was evil. Not just "not good" but actually, honestly, evil."

Whether or not the action is immoral depended upon where your values lied. If you preferred spending time with your grandma over your friends for your own sake, then it was a selfish action. If not, then it was self-sacrificial. At the very least you admit that your position is illogical. That is all a person can hope for in a debate.

"The fatal flaw of objectivism is that humans are social creatures & we all depend on one another, so if everyone behaved selfishly we'd probably cease to exist. Rand either missed this completely or deliberately ignored it."

The author never bothered to find out what Rand actually said. Rand believed everyone should be selfish, meaning every person should act in their own interest. Given our nature as social creatures, it is indeed selfish to engage in beneficial friendships, familial ties, and romances.

"Atlas Shrugged- They saved John Galt, Hank gave money to his brother's organization to make him happy, Hank surrendered the knowledge of how to make his metal in order to save Dagny's honor, the Pirate meets with Hank despite being a wanted man in order to give Hank a bar of old, and on."

First, they valued Galt enough to risk their own safety because of how much they valued Galt. Second, that was a sacrifice and it was a crucial weakness of Rearden's which he later overcame. Third, Rearden valued Dagny's honor over his metal because of Dagny's value to himself. Etc. It is not sacrificial to put a dollar into a vending machine if you value the Coke which comes out more than the dollar.

"Never mind the gross caricatures, does she really think the powerful, believing selfishness to be a virtue, will not tilt the playing field, preventing the talented and hard working from rising?"

Happiness does not come from lying, cheating, stealing, looting, and betraying your way to financial success. The vast, vast, vast majority of the time, financial success isn't created that way either.

Witty Name Here:

The problem when it comes to Objectivists, is they assume all their detractors either know the philosophy but are lazy so they oppose it, or they just "misunderstand it" and once they do they'll come right around. What I pride myself on is understanding her philosophy, having the skill required to survive it (I imagine there will be a lot of "surviving" and a lot less "thriving" in a Laisez-Faire system), and choosing to reject it as evil.

The problem when it comes to Objectivism's detractors is that most seem to hate me for simply being an objectivist that I choose to no longer discuss philosophy. I've no disdain for collectivists. I disagree with them.

Ayn Rand herself defined Altruism in her "Virtue of Selfishness" as the "Sacrifice of a greater value for a lesser one" and she defined a "value" as anything that contributes to your own survival and/or happiness (especially in the long term).

As far as I can recall, and it has been some time so i may be wrong, Rand never really defined altruism. She rejected altruism as it had been defined by Auguste Comte, who coined the word; All men have a moral obligation to serve to the benefit of others even at times to the sacrifice of his own interest.

About three weeks ago, a club of my friends were throwing a party. I wanted to go, it was fun, there was great food, and I probably would not see many of them again... However, my grandmother was sick, very sick. Instead of going to the party, I chose to visit my grandmother. I wasn't any happier from the visit, I was stressed and nervous for my grandmother's sake. A week later she died, yet thankfully I had a chance to say goodbye and get some closure.

By Ayn Rand's own definition, what I did was evil. Not just "not good" but actually, honestly, evil. I sacrificed something that would have given me a good deal of happiness -hanging out with my friends one last time- for something that, in the end, just made me sad. I was not operating under any rational knowledge that visiting her would give me some closure, or it could be the last time I did so; as far as we knew, we would have at least a few more months. I gained nothing from that interaction, I did it for my grandmother's sake, if that is supposed to be Evil, than I'd much rather be a villain then one of Rand's "Heroes".

But you did gain from the interaction. You said yourself that you got to say goodbye to someone I'll assume was important to you and that you got closure. I would call that a major profit, all things considered.

What you were dealing with was a scarcity of time. You could go to a party with people you may never see again . Or you could see your dying grandmother under with knowledge that she had little time compared to the time you and your friends had. By choosing to spent that time with her you did lose time with friends, but gained closure in exchange and will be happier for it in the long run. You may get the chance to see your friend in the future but will never see your grandmother again. Objectivism does not hold that either choice was evil. No one forced you to choose. That would be evil.

warmachine:
Ayn Rand was, above all, a rationalist and I believe in rationalism, so her ideas ought to appeal to me. Having read Atlas Shrugged, all of it, I regard her philosophy as faith-based, not evidence based or rational. Never mind the gross caricatures, does she really think the powerful, believing selfishness to be a virtue, will not tilt the playing field, preventing the talented and hard working from rising? That the producers won't do looting and mooching as well? That enlightened self-interest is common?

In a sense I suppose there is an amount of faith involved but no more than any other philosophy. Faith in people to do what is best for themselves without harming the ability of their neighbor to do same. As for producers tilting the field or doing the mooching. That's what laws are for are they not? People seem to forget that Objectivism is not synonymous with Anarchism. Laws are important to civilization.

Also, novel writers are permitted a lot of artistic license but a train engine powered by atmospheric lightning? That's beyond science fiction and into wishful thinking. That alone is enough to drop Atlas Shrugged as a novel, let alone a poetic essay on a political philosophy.

By your reasoning, a machine that materializes just about anything one desired should have been enough for noone to take Star Trek seriously. One should also remember that Atlas Shrugged was written in the 1940s. The electricity war between Edison and Tesla in the previous decades would have been fresh in the minds of futurists at that time as it is still today.

Honestly, I think the Republican party would be pretty much the same.

image

This is John Calvin.

He was a French Theologian and an influential figure in the Protestant reformation. His most famous contribution to theology was his popularization of the idea of predestination.

While Catholics, Anglicans and other European Christians believe in the idea of free will, that a person's choice to behave righteously or sinfully is entirely down to themselves. Calvin, as a humanist, found this unconvincing. He contended that the choices humans make, be they towards good or evil, are in part a result of their personal character and that as the omniscient creator of life God must already be aware of what kind of choices a person will make.

Therefore, whether a person goes to heaven or hell is not down to them at all, it's entirely down to God's will.

So, why am I talking about this. Because in practice, this radically changes how many protestants view and express their faith, possibly in ways Calvin himself never intended. Since we now accept that God has a plan for each person and that no human action can alter that, the emphasis is no longer on doing good deeds for society or for other people, the emphasis is now on demonstrating that you are one of the saved, one of the people God has already decided is going to heaven.

So, see that random homeless man on the street? Well, he doesn't deserve your charity because he's not going to find salvation anyway. He was clearly created as a weak, lazy person, and by giving him charity you're simply aiding him in being a weak, lazy person. You, however, want to prove that you're not like him. After all, surely you're one of the people God has chosen. So you abstain from the pursuit of personal pleasure. You don't get drunk, you don't visit prostitutes or have lots of sex, you don't eat extravagant food or gamble or otherwise waste money. Instead you work your arse off to make money so that you and your family can live comfortably.

Moreover, you don't just work hard, you aim to invest your money into something public like setting up your own business, in large part to advertise your own success. After all, despite living a very frugal lifestyle yourself, you also want to show very publicly to everyone and particularly to your religious peers that you're doing well, because that also implies that you're a good hardworking person and that you have moral virtues which others lack.

Does this sound familiar yet?

This is, in my opinion, the real origin of the modern American right. Historically, non-conforming protestants were persecuted in much of Europe and many emigrated to America where they became much more socially influential than they were allowed to be in Europe. This explains why a religion which in Europe generally emphasized (albeit usually quite hypocritically) the virtue of things like community and poverty has developed a very different rhetoric in America.

American conservatives may wheel out Ayn Rand's name now and again, but their own motivations, the reason they actually believe in things like the virtue of business ownership or success as an indicator of hard work probably have far more to do with ideas about religious virtue than with Rand's perverse secular moralism.

Honestly, I refuse to believe Ayn Rand is particularly important to anyone.. primarily because her "philosophy" is just not that good.

Klepto:
Ryan is a moderate progressive liberal

Wut.

I suppose you could get liberal if you mean classical or neo-liberal rather than the common American usage, but progressive? Moderate?

Let's see: he's voted against PPACA, he's pushed for the privatisation of Social Security, he's voted to deregulate banking, his budget plan would have spend 33% less than Obama's, he's pro-life, anti-gay marriage, he's anti-gun control, he wants a constitutional amendment to ban flag burning and he's almost certainly a climate change denialist.

How do you get moderate or progressive from that?

Gary Cooper in "The Fountainhead," ending scene in the courtroom. That is all.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zc7oZ9yWqO4

EDIT: One small point, put Ayn Rand through the lens of Individualism vs. Collectivism. That's the proper perspective. One brilliant thinker vs. the collective trolls. Most of her protagonists are framed this way.

Rand's a somewhat decent author who dabbled philosophy badly. Her ideology is pretty much Nietzsche's just toned down and dressed up as capitalism. One of the main problems she has is that in being more reasonable than Nietzsche she becomes less interesting and more obviously flawed. I mean she can't even really come up with a good reason against taxes to be honest, I mean yeah she whines about how they're wrong but by her own philosophy if they're in the self-interest of those raising taxes then they're perfectly justified in raising them. People can be greedy but only in the ways she approves. She tries to justify this with nonsense rhetoric about rights and how you can't use a gun to force people to do as you want but she has no real justification for any of this. Where do these rights come from? Why these and not any of the many other sets of "fundamental" human rights she disagrees with? Why is being threatened with starvation better than being threatened with a gun? These are (fairly obvious) questions that she doesn't answer. And before anyone comes in with how they answer them, SHE doesn't, later objectivists might have but that doesn't change her philosophising any better

The real problem I have with her is her ignoring of logic, given how much she bangs on about it (and it's even the naming scheme used in Atlas Shrugged) she never actually uses it. Also anyone calling themselves a philosopher in the 1940's and 50's should know about logic beyond the Aristotelian.

As for modern conservatives, they aren't following her, not really she's just superficially similar enough and famous enough for them to so-opt. If she were alive she'd probably hate them as much as the most radical hippie liberal.

Axolotl:
Rand's a somewhat decent author who dabbled philosophy badly. Her ideology is pretty much Nietzsche's just toned down and dressed up as capitalism. One of the main problems she has is that in being more reasonable than Nietzsche she becomes less interesting and more obviously flawed. I mean she can't even really come up with a good reason against taxes to be honest, I mean yeah she whines about how they're wrong but by her own philosophy if they're in the self-interest of those raising taxes then they're perfectly justified in raising them. People can be greedy but only in the ways she approves. She tries to justify this with nonsense rhetoric about rights and how you can't use a gun to force people to do as you want but she has no real justification for any of this. Where do these rights come from? Why these and not any of the many other sets of "fundamental" human rights she disagrees with? Why is being threatened with starvation better than being threatened with a gun? These are (fairly obvious) questions that she doesn't answer. And before anyone comes in with how they answer them, SHE doesn't, later objectivists might have but that doesn't change her philosophising any better

The real problem I have with her is her ignoring of logic, given how much she bangs on about it (and it's even the naming scheme used in Atlas Shrugged) she never actually uses it. Also anyone calling themselves a philosopher in the 1940's and 50's should know about logic beyond the Aristotelian.

As for modern conservatives, they aren't following her, not really she's just superficially similar enough and famous enough for them to so-opt. If she were alive she'd probably hate them as much as the most radical hippie liberal.

She had an argument. You just don't like it. It is the fruits of my labor. Why must the government take so much of it?

Big_Willie_Styles:

Axolotl:
Rand's a somewhat decent author who dabbled philosophy badly. Her ideology is pretty much Nietzsche's just toned down and dressed up as capitalism. One of the main problems she has is that in being more reasonable than Nietzsche she becomes less interesting and more obviously flawed. I mean she can't even really come up with a good reason against taxes to be honest, I mean yeah she whines about how they're wrong but by her own philosophy if they're in the self-interest of those raising taxes then they're perfectly justified in raising them. People can be greedy but only in the ways she approves. She tries to justify this with nonsense rhetoric about rights and how you can't use a gun to force people to do as you want but she has no real justification for any of this. Where do these rights come from? Why these and not any of the many other sets of "fundamental" human rights she disagrees with? Why is being threatened with starvation better than being threatened with a gun? These are (fairly obvious) questions that she doesn't answer. And before anyone comes in with how they answer them, SHE doesn't, later objectivists might have but that doesn't change her philosophising any better

The real problem I have with her is her ignoring of logic, given how much she bangs on about it (and it's even the naming scheme used in Atlas Shrugged) she never actually uses it. Also anyone calling themselves a philosopher in the 1940's and 50's should know about logic beyond the Aristotelian.

As for modern conservatives, they aren't following her, not really she's just superficially similar enough and famous enough for them to so-opt. If she were alive she'd probably hate them as much as the most radical hippie liberal.

She had an argument. You just don't like it. It is the fruits of my labor. Why must the government take so much of it?

Because the government's greedy and greed is good.

EDIT-To expand since I don't want this to turn into a slogan hurling match. Rand doesn't explain why the business can exploit the worker for it's own profits but the government isn't allowed to exploit the corporation. She tries by saying the government backs itself with the threat of guns but she can't explain why violence is bad, she tries to fall back to the idea of human rights but these contradict her greed is good philosophy.

Either I'm allowed to do whatever I want to help myself or we all have to operate within a system of rights and obligations. You can't have both and Rand desperately wants both.

Axolotl:
Because the government's greedy and greed is good.

EDIT-To expand since I don't want this to turn into a slogan hurling match. Rand doesn't explain why the business can exploit the worker for it's own profits but the government isn't allowed to exploit the corporation. She tries by saying the government backs itself with the threat of guns but she can't explain why violence is bad, she tries to fall back to the idea of human rights but these contradict her greed is good philosophy.

Either I'm allowed to do whatever I want to help myself or we all have to operate within a system of rights and obligations. You can't have both and Rand desperately wants both.

Rand followed the non-aggression principle. That is, you are not allowed to instigate force against another. The government instigates force by attacking a person for a non-violent act. A company and a worker have a voluntary contract. You have a choice to have that contract in the business world but if you try to not have a contact with the government they say too bad and arrest you anyway.

I was never really able to buy into the world Rand created in Atlas Shrugged. Especially the whole idea that all the business owners would shut down their businesses and leave with not one single person staying behind to pretty much run a monopoly of everything going: "HA HA HA!! Guess who's got who over a barrel, now?!!"

farson135:

Axolotl:
Because the government's greedy and greed is good.

EDIT-To expand since I don't want this to turn into a slogan hurling match. Rand doesn't explain why the business can exploit the worker for it's own profits but the government isn't allowed to exploit the corporation. She tries by saying the government backs itself with the threat of guns but she can't explain why violence is bad, she tries to fall back to the idea of human rights but these contradict her greed is good philosophy.

Either I'm allowed to do whatever I want to help myself or we all have to operate within a system of rights and obligations. You can't have both and Rand desperately wants both.

Rand followed the non-aggression principle. That is, you are not allowed to instigate force against another. The government instigates force by attacking a person for a non-violent act. A company and a worker have a voluntary contract. You have a choice to have that contract in the business world but if you try to not have a contact with the government they say too bad and arrest you anyway.

Yeah I know. I'm somewhat tired of repeating this but I'll say it again: The non-aggression principle is irreconcilable with her basic greed is good message. She only uses it because she's trying to prop up her supermen as moral within her system, which she can't do without compromising her core principle.

Now maybe you can reconcile them, I doubt it but maybe you can. If so good for you but it doesn't matter. She can't, she doesn't even try and in fact doesn't even acknowledge that there is a problem that needs resolution.

Tautology:

The problem when it comes to Objectivism's detractors is that most seem to hate me for simply being an objectivist that I choose to no longer discuss philosophy. I've no disdain for collectivists. I disagree with them.

Well you're certainly the bigger man in this case. I mostly hate objectivists as well.

As far as I can recall, and it has been some time so i may be wrong, Rand never really defined altruism. She rejected altruism as it had been defined by Auguste Comte, who coined the word; All men have a moral obligation to serve to the benefit of others even at times to the sacrifice of his own interest.

If Rand had no definition of it and claimed "Altruism is what Comte said" then, let us hear the definition of Altruism from Comte's own mouth.

"[The] social point of view cannot tolerate the notion of rights, for such notion rests on individualism. We are born under a load of obligations of every kind, to our predecessors, to our successors, to our contemporaries. After our birth these obligations increase or accumulate, for it is some time before we can return any service.... This ["to live for others"], the definitive formula of human morality, gives a direct sanction exclusively to our instincts of benevolence, the common source of happiness and duty. [Man must serve] Humanity, whose we are entirely."

There's not much wrong with what he said, if you ask me. He claims that we're born under a load of obligations and receive aid from others, and as we grow older we continue to benefit from others, so we should try to be a benefit for other people as well.

Here's the thing: None of Rand's "villains" were Altruists, at least if you ask a genuine Altruist; hell, most of them weren't even Socialists! (As a social democrat who's done a bit of study in the various forms of Socialism, I can tell you she was mostly dead wrong when it came to Socialist views) Instead of seeking to benefit others, they were merely benefiting themselves. They wanted a pile of plunder, so they took it from the rich. Whenever they claimed mankind should "Serve their brothers" they were really using it as a front to garner favors. Even the people Rand described as totally "free from greed" were really just wanting to see the world brought back to some third world state. All their actions were leading to the detriment, not the benefit of others. In short: they are to Altruists what Hitler was to socialists, they were only serving others in name only.

But you did gain from the interaction. You said yourself that you got to say goodbye to someone I'll assume was important to you and that you got closure. I would call that a major profit, all things considered.

What you were dealing with was a scarcity of time. You could go to a party with people you may never see again . Or you could see your dying grandmother under with knowledge that she had little time compared to the time you and your friends had. By choosing to spent that time with her you did lose time with friends, but gained closure in exchange and will be happier for it in the long run. You may get the chance to see your friend in the future but will never see your grandmother again. Objectivism does not hold that either choice was evil. No one forced you to choose. That would be evil.

Ah, but I was not under the rational belief that I would gain from the decision before I made it. The closure was an inadvertent benefit. I thought I would at least get to see my Grandmother one more time after that, but unfortunately that didn't occur. Just because an act leads to a benefit, doesn't mean it was "selfish", it's whether the act was performed with the self in mind that makes it selfish. I was not, during any moment with my grandmother, thinking "Well, at least I'll get something out of this."

farson135:

Rand followed the non-aggression principle. That is, you are not allowed to instigate force against another. The government instigates force by attacking a person for a non-violent act. A company and a worker have a voluntary contract. You have a choice to have that contract in the business world but if you try to not have a contact with the government they say too bad and arrest you anyway.

And you're in a social contract with the government. Don't like it? Then move to another country.

See the problem there? No one works for a company solely because they love it or have some proud "loyalty" to it. They work for companies because (and this is especially true in a Laisez-Faire system) the alternative is starvation. How is it wrong that a government demand you pay it taxes to continue living in a country, but a company can set high prices on goods and if you argue about it you're told "Well buy somewhere else"? How is it force to obey the laws of a country you reside in, but when you aren't satisfied with your wages you're told "Well, move to another town" or "Get a different job"? How is the threat of being arrested, any different from the threat of starvation?

The true irony is Rand derides altruism as evil... Than says the government should not attempt to make a profit.

"In a sense I suppose there is an amount of faith involved but no more than any other philosophy."

There is no faith in Objectivism. Faith is belief with evidence, and by extension, without reason. All components of her philosophy are derived from observations about reality

"Her ideology is pretty much Nietzsche's just toned down and dressed up as capitalism."

Complete nonsense, albeit a commonly parroted bit of nonsense. Nietzsche explicitly rejected reason as a means of survival and value achievement, which is a rejection of Rand's fundamental premises. The ONLY similarity between the two philosophies are the rejection of altruism.

"I mean she can't even really come up with a good reason against taxes to be honest, I mean yeah she whines about how they're wrong but by her own philosophy if they're in the self-interest of those raising taxes then they're perfectly justified in raising them."

Self-interest is not determined by arbitrary whim but by adherence to the facts of reality. It is not in one's own long term self-interest to attain wealth at gun point.

"She tries to justify this with nonsense rhetoric about rights and how you can't use a gun to force people to do as you want but she has no real justification for any of this. Where do these rights come from? Why these and not any of the many other sets of "fundamental" human rights she disagrees with?"

Read the very first chapter (or really the first half of the first chapter) of the Virtue of Selfishness.

"Why is being threatened with starvation better than being threatened with a gun?"

One is initiated by a sentient being, the other is not.

"These are (fairly obvious) questions that she doesn't answer."

Yes, she does. Repeatedly. Repeatedly throughout Atlas Shrugged, the Fountainhead, the Virtue of Selfishness, Capitalism: the Unknown Ideals and many others. If you didn't known these fundamental Objectivist principles then you have not tried reading Rand with any intellectual rigor (or more likely have not read her at all).

"Also anyone calling themselves a philosopher in the 1940's and 50's should know about logic beyond the Aristotelian."

She was well aware of those postmodern criticisms and confronted them repeatedly.

"Rand doesn't explain why the business can exploit the worker for it's own profits"

Voluntary labor is not exploitation according to Rand. Extensively explained in Capitalism: the Unknown Ideal and the Virtue of Selfishness.

"She tries by saying the government backs itself with the threat of guns but she can't explain why violence is bad, she tries to fall back to the idea of human rights but these contradict her greed is good philosophy."
Same answer as above. If you do not even understand Rand's view on violence, then you are not qualified to identify anything about her.

"And you're in a social contract with the government."

The only contract in existence which you cannot see, sign, feel, amend, alter, negotiate, dispose of, or otherwise interact with in any way, and is enforced by one of its signatories who acquired its contracted property through brute force and armed occupation. Sounds like God. By the same standard, the government could round up slaughter all of its citizens concentration camp style, but as long as they stay within the country, they are in a "contract."

"They work for companies because (and this is especially true in a Laisez-Faire system) the alternative is starvation."

There has not been a famine in the Western world since the mid-1800s. Ridiculous nonsense.

"How is it wrong that a government demand you pay it taxes to continue living in a country, but a company can set high prices on goods and if you argue about it you're told "Well buy somewhere else"?"

False dichotomy. Plus one is an individual producing goods and then not sharing them. Another is a group of people with guns robbing people. Again, your complete and utter lack of understanding go Objectivism shows through.

Witty Name Here:

If Rand had no definition of it and claimed "Altruism is what Comte said" then, let us hear the definition of Altruism from Comte's own mouth.

Rand made no claim that "Altruism is what Comte said," she simply rejected all altruism as defined by him as the basis for objectivism.

[i]"[The] social point of view cannot tolerate the notion of rights, for such notion rests on individualism.

So you have no rights in the eyes of society? then what value is society to the individual?

We are born under a load of obligations of every kind, to our predecessors, to our successors, to our contemporaries. After our birth these obligations increase or accumulate, for it is some time before we can return any service.... This ["to live for others"], the definitive formula of human morality, gives a direct sanction exclusively to our instincts of benevolence, the common source of happiness and duty. [Man must serve] Humanity, whose we are entirely."[/i]

There's not much wrong with what he said, if you ask me. He claims that we're born under a load of obligations and receive aid from others, and as we grow older we continue to benefit from others, so we should try to be a benefit for other people as well.

The notion that a newborn child has any obligation to anyone is something I won't entertain. That you think that isn't wrong is. . . Wow, I have no words to respond with. The only obligation anyone has to anyone else, is in the form of debts owed. From one rational thinking person to another, freely and with consent.
Comte did not say we should be of service to others. He said we must be. I take no issue with benevolence, I take issue the notion that I must be benevolent because I owe humanity as a whole anything simply for being born.

Here's the thing: None of Rand's "villains" were Altruists, at least if you ask a genuine Altruist; hell, most of them weren't even Socialists! (As a social democrat who's done a bit of study in the various forms of Socialism, I can tell you she was mostly dead wrong when it came to Socialist views) Instead of seeking to benefit others, they were merely benefiting themselves. They wanted a pile of plunder, so they took it from the rich. Whenever they claimed mankind should "Serve their brothers" they were really using it as a front to garner favors. Even the people Rand described as totally "free from greed" were really just wanting to see the world brought back to some third world state. All their actions were leading to the detriment, not the benefit of others. In short: they are to Altruists what Hitler was to socialists, they were only serving others in name only.

That is true for many of the villians in Rand's books. Few were altruists. James Taggart was a man dependent on his sister's ability to run their rail road yet desires her failure. Rearden's wife is much the same in her contempt. Dr. Ferris uses his position at the State Science Institute to halt scientific progress. Dr. Stadler sold himself to the military for the approval of society. Finally, Mouch achieves control of the entire economy through betrayal. What many of them have in common is that they acted at least under the guise of "social good." What Rand was stating with these characters was not that Socialism is bad, though she does elsewhere, but that there were two kinds of greed. One in the pursuit of one's self interest and not to the detriment of others. The other through fraud and deceit without regard for anyone, not even their co-conspirators. Toohey on the other hand truly believed in collectivism and saw it as means to power over others. He represented everything she loathed and perhaps feared in socialism as she had seen it in her homeland.

Oh, before I forget. What is a genuine altruist?

Ah, but I was not under the rational belief that I would gain from the decision before I made it. The closure was an inadvertent benefit. I thought I would at least get to see my Grandmother one more time after that, but unfortunately that didn't occur. Just because an act leads to a benefit, doesn't mean it was "selfish", it's whether the act was performed with the self in mind that makes it selfish. I was not, during any moment with my grandmother, thinking "Well, at least I'll get something out of this."

I wasn't aware one could rationalize choices that are based entirely on emotions. I missed that the first time. I apologize for that. But my point still stands, it was not evil.

And you're in a social contract with the government. Don't like it? Then move to another country.

See the problem there? No one works for a company solely because they love it or have some proud "loyalty" to it. They work for companies because (and this is especially true in a Laisez-Faire system) the alternative is starvation. How is it wrong that a government demand you pay it taxes to continue living in a country, but a company can set high prices on goods and if you argue about it you're told "Well buy somewhere else"? How is it force to obey the laws of a country you reside in, but when you aren't satisfied with your wages you're told "Well, move to another town" or "Get a different job"? How is the threat of being arrested, any different from the threat of starvation?

It is wrong because government has a monopoly on force, there is no alternative. Being born in one state is not consent to a contract nor is it negotiating one. Point out a state with a Laisez-Faire system and all objectivists would gladly flock to it. There is no such state, never has there been. It has been debated endlessly but never made reality. A company can set high prices for its goods because there are alternatives, it's called competition. the same stands for employment. They compete for your business. You have more choice in the market than you do the government. Governments compete for nothing but power over one another.

As for the threats of arrest or starvation. The wise choice is arrest; I won't starve and I would have no cause to pay any debt to the state following my release as i did not give my consent. What could they do, arrest me again? If they stop arresting me for not paying taxes, I would never starve as I would have more money for food. I may even choose to feed the homeless with that excess cash, just for the pleasure of it.

The true irony is Rand derides altruism as evil... Than says the government should not attempt to make a profit.

No government is altruistic, neither the politicians who claim to represent us. Like the villains of Rand's books, many profit off the claim that they care about us. Their business model is one of deceit and fear, their profit is power over us. Trustworthy politicians are few and far between, but I have faith that they are there somewhere. I have my doubts that they would be altruists.

Finally, there are more ways for a governing body to make a profit besides taxation. Non-tax revenue such a service fees, fines, investments in the market, voluntary contributions, etc. should provide enough revenue for any state to function. Looking at the level of debt the U.S. owes, taxes provide nothing more than an excuse to spend gross amounts of peoples' hard earned money on absolute garbage.

Klepto:

There is no faith in Objectivism. Faith is belief with evidence, and by extension, without reason. All components of her philosophy are derived from observations about reality

I suppose I should take a moment to expand on my choice to use the word faith. I have faith, or confidence or trust if you'd like, that a person will act in their own rational self-interest as I do. That trust lasts until I observe that they do or do not act as such. One can not fully observe a person's character until they act. This is especially true for strangers. Think of it like a prediction to a hypothesis.

"Will this person act in their rational self-interest?"

"Yes because I am a person and act in my rational self-interest"

Maybe not a perfect metaphor but I think it works.

Ah Rand, I knew this thread would come up sooner or later.

I hate her pseudo-philosphical babblings and anyone in their right mind would choose Nietzsche over her, but she seems like a good person. We shouldn't hate her just because we hate Republicans...

The whole time I was reading Atlas Shrugged, I thought to myself, "Why the hell am I reading this?!"

Tautology:

No government is altruistic, politicians aren't either.

Tautology:

Like the villains of Rand's books, many profit off the claim that they care about us. Their business model is one of deceit and fear, their profit is power over us.

Man you have a dark view of politicians, say. Are you American?

Heh. All I have to say is, when you make lobby-ism legal this is what you have to deal with. People paying politicians to speak for individuals rather than the people.

I do however hold a great deal of trust in my government (as incompetent as they often may seem) Because I have seen the world of politics from the inside, and know they are human. And know that the majority are driven by ideas and hopes for a better future. May differ from country to country, but in such a case I am just happy to live where I do.

In a place in which I can see Politicians as people, people with flaws, and people driven by ideology unlike most. Some are Selfish, but they rarely attribute them-self to an altruistic ideology. They are more often Liberals.
________________________________________________________________________________________

OT: Ayn Rand is a horrible person that lead the creation of an ideology followed only by the rich and blind. That's my opinion on the matter.

Anyone whom would sacrifice the well-being of a collective for the well-being of a few lucky enough to have amassed wealth is no better than those who would enslave the lower classes. In-fact that is exactly what objectivism is a gate way to, indentured servitude.

Not to mention the fact that they wish to disestablish the very system which has brought us the wealth that allowed them to preach the madness in the first place. Overall it's an insane idea, by an insane person, for an insane group of persons.

A group of persons consisting of the few wealthy whom would benefit from it, and the many poor blind whom would only suffer even more so than they do now, under a system in which this ideology has staunchly refused compromise as a way to further their selfish goals.

Klepto:
"Her ideology is pretty much Nietzsche's just toned down and dressed up as capitalism."

Complete nonsense, albeit a commonly parroted bit of nonsense. Nietzsche explicitly rejected reason as a means of survival and value achievement, which is a rejection of Rand's fundamental premises. The ONLY similarity between the two philosophies are the rejection of altruism.

The fuck? I mean to take a massive obvious example they both reject God pretty thoroughly. Their dismissals of Christianity are pretty similar as well, Nietzsche calls it a slave morality while Rand terms it a form of death worship I think. I don't have any of her books with so I can't check but from what I remember she was very dismissive. But that wasn't why I said their similar. Both Rand and Nietzsche's morality (as much as Nietzsche had one) revolve around the idea of a few great individuals enforcing their will on the rest of the world. The justifications may differ but in the end the only major difference is that Nietzsche supermen may use may use violence, oh and they're allowed to disagree while Rand allows no deviance.

"I mean she can't even really come up with a good reason against taxes to be honest, I mean yeah she whines about how they're wrong but by her own philosophy if they're in the self-interest of those raising taxes then they're perfectly justified in raising them."

Self-interest is not determined by arbitrary whim but by adherence to the facts of reality. It is not in one's own long term self-interest to attain wealth at gun point.

Yes it fucking is. Have you seen how much money tyrants and kings have made through blood and theft?

"She tries to justify this with nonsense rhetoric about rights and how you can't use a gun to force people to do as you want but she has no real justification for any of this. Where do these rights come from? Why these and not any of the many other sets of "fundamental" human rights she disagrees with?"

Read the very first chapter (or really the first half of the first chapter) of the Virtue of Selfishness.

I have, she fails spectacularly to justify any basis for her ideology.

"Why is being threatened with starvation better than being threatened with a gun?"

One is initiated by a sentient being, the other is not.

This the worst kind of philosophical blame juggling that plagues moral philosophy. When you're forcing someone to work for you or die then the method of death doesn't matter.

"These are (fairly obvious) questions that she doesn't answer."

Yes, she does. Repeatedly. Repeatedly throughout Atlas Shrugged, the Fountainhead, the Virtue of Selfishness, Capitalism: the Unknown Ideals and many others. If you didn't known these fundamental Objectivist principles then you have not tried reading Rand with any intellectual rigor (or more likely have not read her at all).

Cite them then. Chapter and verse (or page number whatever). In each of those books.

"Also anyone calling themselves a philosopher in the 1940's and 50's should know about logic beyond the Aristotelian."

She was well aware of those postmodern criticisms and confronted them repeatedly.

Again, the fuck? I'm not talking about postmodernism, that wasn't relevant until way later if indeed it ever was. I'm talking about Russell, Whitehead, Wittgenstein, Popper, Gödel, The Vienna Circle and so on. You know the people doing actual work revolutionising logic just before she started work. I'm not even going to say she had to agree with them (that would be impossible) but she doesn't even address them.

"Rand doesn't explain why the business can exploit the worker for it's own profits"

Voluntary labor is not exploitation according to Rand. Extensively explained in Capitalism: the Unknown Ideal and the Virtue of Selfishness.

She can say it's not exploitation all she wants. Doesn't change the fact that her system allows all the exploitation the leaders want.

"She tries by saying the government backs itself with the threat of guns but she can't explain why violence is bad, she tries to fall back to the idea of human rights but these contradict her greed is good philosophy."
Same answer as above. If you do not even understand Rand's view on violence, then you are not qualified to identify anything about her.

I understand it just fine, I'm just saying it doesn't work. If you feel it does then explain why, if you can't just keep blindly repeating that there's just some hidden meaning I didn't see because I'm not reading it in the proper fashion.

Also if you're going to quote me, use the actual quote system, that's what it's there for. Don't just mix in things I've said with things other people have said without distinguishing between us.

Nikolaz72:

Man you have a dark view of politicians, say. Are you American?

Heh. All I have to say is, when you make lobby-ism legal this is what you have to deal with. People paying politicians to not speak for individuals rather than the collective.

I do however hold a great deal of trust in my government (as incompetent as they often may seem) Because I have seen the world of politics from the inside, and know they are human. And know that the majority are driven by ideas and hopes for a better future. May differ from country to country, but in such a case I am just happy to live where I do.

In a place in which I can see Politicians as people, people with flaws, and people driven by ideology unlike most. Some are Selfish, but they rarely attribute them-self to an altruistic ideology. They are more often Liberals.

Yes I am an American and I oppose lobbying in most if not all forms. I suppose my dark view as you put it is a symptom of my high expectations of people in general.

You asked for citation regarding one of my statements. Here are a few examples of corruption in the last 4 years:

Head of the General Services Administration Martha N. Johnson fired two GSA officials and resigned after it was revealed that $822,000 had been spent in Las Vegas on a four-day training conference for 300 GSA employees.

http://www.cnn.com/2012/04/03/politics/gsa-fallout/index.html?_s=PM:POLITICS

Jesse L. Jackson Jr. pled guilty to one count of felony fraud for using $750,000 of campaign money to buy personal items including a fur cape. His wife, Sandi Jackson, also pled guilty to filing false income tax statements at the same time.

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/21/us/politics/jesse-l-jackson-jr-pleads-guilty-to-wire-and-mail-fraud.html?_r=0

Laura Richardson was found guilty on seven counts of violating House rules by improperly using her staff to campaign for her, destroying evidence and tampering with witness testimony.

http://thehill.com/homenews/house/241573-ethics-panel-finds-rep-laura-richardson-guilty-on-seven-counts

John Ensign resigned his Senate seat on May 3, 2011, before the Senate Ethics Committee could examine possible fiscal violations in connection with his extramarital affair with Cynthia Hampton.

http://thecaucus.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/04/21/senator-ensign-to-resign-amid-inquiry/?hp

On November 24, 2010, a Texas jury convicted DeLay of money laundering connected to the Jack Abramoff scandal.

http://www.chron.com/news/houston-texas/article/DeLay-convicted-of-money-laundering-charges-1716484.php

There are countless more in America let alone the rest of the world. As for using lies and fear to gain power, one need only look at the last century or turn on the television here in the U.S.

I take some issue with incompetence in politicians, little in their ideology, and much in the betrayal and defrauding of the people they represent. My statement of no government being altruistic was a response to a previous poster implying that the government is. That statement being: "The true irony is Rand derides altruism as evil... Than says the government should not attempt to make a profit." I may have misinterpreted that statement earlier. If so, I apologize for such a transgression.

It's 1 Am here so I'm leaving for now. How much I regret this. I vowed never to discuss to religion, philosophy, or politics. Such a fruitless endeavor. I may not respond again, we shall see.

Klepto:
There is no faith in Objectivism. Faith is belief with evidence, and by extension, without reason. All components of her philosophy are derived from observations about reality

'Derived' in the very weakest sense of the term-- she makes some observations and then claims that they imply her conclusions. To think that these observations actually do imply her conclusions in the realm of ethics takes a great deal of faith-- or something of a similar nature. Right from the get go, her idea that there is "only one" fundamental alternative-- that of life or death (or the existence or nonexistence of a living entity)-- fails to be a persuasive reason to think that survival is the ultimate goal to which all of a living organism's activities are aimed-- (never mind should be aimed). It is simply non sequitur; that there are two possible states (as regards this particular quality) for any living being does not imply that one or the other of those is the ultimate goal of any living being.

Preferences are particular to individuals and are based on whatever the individual finds rewarding. That there is a (not so) curious tendency for what individuals find rewarding to be not usually self destructive (at least not totally or immediately) is merely natural selection at work-- however preferences are impacted by heredity, that impact tends not to favor the destruction of the self, especially not before breeding (though I vaguely recall some exceptions to this tendency.) It is common that humans seek to not die-- but the existence of one condition that humans usually find favorable does not imply that it is the ultimate goal of any rational human being-- that all rational pursuits must have value in relation to furthering that condition. In fact it is very easy to regard living as an instrumental good rather than an end in itself-- that it might only have value to an organism in relation to some other value that survival is necessary but not sufficient for achieving.

Personally, I don't see why anyone would think that even the beginning of Rand's ethical argument works-- but in the history of ethical philosophy there are many similar non sequiturs trying and failing to reason purely from what is the case to what ought to be done (and for whatever reason a lot of them are still fairly popular even centuries after Hume's treatment-- perhaps the most frequent offender is "God has X moral opinion -> X moral opinion is fact.") Rand is not unique in this regard, but she makes her failure ridiculous by the presumptuous and (as it turns out) inaccurate name she chose for her philosophy. I suspect that those who accept Rand's argument do so because they like its conclusion and not because they have a firm grasp of what truly follows from the premises.

evilthecat:
snip

You can see the protestant ethic in any capitalists ideology if you look carefully.

farson135:
A company and a worker have a voluntary contract.

The greatest lie the west has ever known.

Klepto:

There is no faith in Objectivism. Faith is belief with evidence, and by extension, without reason. All components of her philosophy are derived from observations about reality

This rather depends on how you define "faith". If you are presented with two or more incompatible interpretations of reality all with some justification according to available evidence, to choose one over the others requires some degree of what we may call "faith" - i.e. belief not based in proof. The gap will generally by filled by one's subjective, emotional convictions, psychology, life experiences, etc.

Self-interest is not determined by arbitrary whim but by adherence to the facts of reality. It is not in one's own long term self-interest to attain wealth at gun point.

If self-interest is determined by adherence to the facts of reality, then it is in one's own long term self-interest to attain wealth at gun point when the facts of reality dictate that you're likely to get away with it.

There's one question that has always bugged me.

Is John Galt immune to any act of self-interest from an individual that is not John Galt, or a group of such individuals?

Hafrael:

Axolotl:
A company and a worker have a voluntary contract.

The greatest lie the west has ever known.

And here like many untruths, misattributed.

farson135:

Rand followed the non-aggression principle. That is, you are not allowed to instigate force against another. The government instigates force by attacking a person for a non-violent act. A company and a worker have a voluntary contract. You have a choice to have that contract in the business world but if you try to not have a contact with the government they say too bad and arrest you anyway.

The employee either works, and is exploited, or he starves.

The company either pays taxes or goes out of business.

The employee might enter into a voluntary contract with the individual employer but if you consider the wider world it's not very voluntary is it? You either work for someone, who will exploit you to some degree for profit, or you starve. While superficially you have entered a voluntary agreement it's still a gun to your head.

A company has a choice; pay taxes, and be exploited by government, or get shut down. When you start a business you enter into an agreement with the government, you pay X taxes and follow Y regulations and the government lets you stay around. It's just as voluntary as you don't have to start a business, same way a person doesn't have to work for you, but if you want to make money then you agree to pay taxes.

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