Objectivism in Bioshock


Kotaku has a doozy of a post up today -- Yaron Brooks, the president of the Ayn Rand Institute, talking about the use of objectivism in the first-person-shooter game Bioshock:

BioShock may have been conceived as a study in nuance, a place for gamers to discover and explore at their own pace, but its dip into the ethical morass of Ayn Rand's objectivist philosophies has brought her beliefs back into the mainstream spotlight and even piqued the interest of the Ayn Rand Institute's president, Yaron Brook.

Brook, a former member of the Israeli Army military intelligence and award-winning finance professor at Santa Clara University, first took notice of the game when he discovered his 18-year-old son playing it. It's a fact that didn't bother Brook despite his son's objectivist beliefs and the game's not so positive take on the philosophy.

"My son has to find his own way in life," he said. "There are certain games I wouldn't want him to play, like Grand Theft Auto, games that celebrate criminality. But a game that might lead him to think and have him challenge his ideas, I'm fine with. "Luckily for me he doesn't agree with the game, he still seems to believe in objectivism."

Link (thanks, Brian Crecente!)

189

  1. “Luckily for me he doesn’t agree with the game, he still seems to believe in objectivism.”

    Of course all teenage boys seem to believe in rational selfishness.

  2. He won’t let his son play Grand Theft Auto, but he’ll let him play Bioshock, where you can set female nurses on fire and then fling them into electrified water and watch their flailing bodies scream and die. Good call Doc!

    N.B. I love both games.

  3. This is as good a place to mention: I’ve always thought of Cory as a character from an Ayn Rand novel, and not one of the good guys.

  4. Why do critics of Objectivism and Rand always resort to terms like “stupidity” and “psychopathy?”

    Those are fine, descriptive terms if you’re making fun of a religion. Since you can’t prove a negative, you can’t argue against someone’s idea of God. Of course, you can criticize specific doctrines like creationism, but when confronted with the purely-spiritual side of things, there’s nothing to do but throw up your hands and mock the practitioner mercilessly.

    But this is a philosophical question, right? Why do people feel the need to treat Objectivism like Scientology? If you argue that selfishness isn’t a valuable survival trait, then you might as well be a creationist, because you apparently occupy the same reality.

    Disclaimer: I’m not a “Randroid” myself and don’t have strong opinions one way or another about her writings (except that it sucked) or Objectivism in general (except that it seems to work in practice, if not in theory). I just don’t understand the hipster practice of attacking a philosophy as if it were an undecidable religious matter.

  5. #9, that probably makes some sense. Cory is from Canada and there are very few Libertarians here. Even the Conservative Party mostly agrees that socialized health care is a good idea. I haven’t read Ayn Rand’s books, but it’s my understanding that in them, bad guy = not Libertarian. It’s also my understanding that his parents are Trotskyists.

  6. >Why do critics of Objectivism and Rand always resort to terms like “stupidity” and “psychopathy?”

    That’s simple: It’s because they think Rand Objectivists are stupid and psychopathic.

  7. #13: Well, so are Communists, but you didn’t see us arguing against Communism that way, even though its practitioners actively worked for the destruction of a big chunk of humanity.

    Neither Communism nor Objectivism is a good fit for human nature, but it’s odd that the latter reduces otherwise-intelligent people to the level of howling, drooling rednecks. If it were so pernicious and wrong, you’d think there would be, well, objective ways to get that point across.

  8. #5 Anaxaforminges

    I like both games as well and your point as to the horrible things you can do to the nurses (why is their gender important though?) is well taken however, in Bioshock those nurses are actively attacking you and arguably barely or possibly not even human anymore whereas in GTA most of what you do affects harmless pedestrians.

    Were I to raise a child I too would feel that it was an ok lesson that they defend themself (in a gruesome fashion) from attacks by genetically spliced monsters but that they refrain from killing random folks walking or driving on the street

  9. To #14,

    Both sides do it, though at least the individualists are rational. I have never read an objectivist screed anywhere near as mind bendingly irrational, emotional, and bigoted and intolerant to all who disagree as almost everything I have ever read written by a communist or socialist. Ask yourself who ships more people to gulags and commits more genocide — the practitioners of which ideology? Then you have your answer as to who is more howlingly idiotic.

    Collectivism is a house of cards built on a shaky foundation, it never lasts because ultimately we are and always will be individuals. It’s the default human mode, it’s objective, and it works .

  10. #14: There is simply no need to make an objective point here. No one is debating Rand philosophy. It’s ridiculousness speaks for itself and is generally understood and accepted. Only the very young and serious wingnuts (might include the president) take it seriously.
    I mean, you’re not trying to defend it.
    Maybe you have a problem with people laughing at it?

    #15 I too, feel that it would be an ok lesson for my children to learn to defend themselves (in a gruesome fashion) from attacks by genetically spliced monsters.

  11. @ #14:

    Hell yes we argue. I’m a Democratic Socialist and I think Russian Communism was an abomination. I rank Stalin as Hitler’s equal in monstrosity; 20 million dead is 20 million dead, no matter how fancy the methods were.

    @ #16:

    No country has, as of yet, tried to implement Objectivism on the scale or to the degree that Russia attempted with Communism. I doubt that a society of selfish mistrust and brutal predation would last any longer or be any less savage than one of widespread totalitarian horror. Neither respects the value of human life.

  12. #17,

    I’m not really convinced that serious wingnuts are all that objective when it comes to personal issues, just the economic side of things. Religion is a form of collectivism.
    People on the left tend to be collective on economics, individualistic on personal issues.

    I think you can safely say that someone from either side can be a “wingnut”.

  13. Kicky,

    Do you think Hitler and Stalin ideologically were much different? As far as I can tell, they weren’t. They were both near total collectivists on everything.

  14. I never got the impression that Rand advocated a lawless society built on selfishness and predation, that’s a distortion commonly attributed to her by her detractors. I think, like all ideologues she resorts to the most extreme examples of her sides behavior and the other sides behavior to make the point that much clearer.

    It’s obvious collectivism is necessary and we all crave and need some form of it to have a civil society. I just happen to think we really don’t need so damn much of it. The more you have, the less freedom and sustainability you have because personal responsibility is replaced by a phony “collective” responsibility -*cough* socialism *cough*- and then the whole rotten ass mess falls through the floor and is closely followed by years of war and revolution and the entire cycle begins again.

  15. @ JCD,

    Not really. Hitler was a Keynesian, putting him in the centre of the economic scale. Stalin was a Communist, putting him far to the left.

    You’re using “collectivist” in a funny way, there. I think that you might be attributing evil to the wrong area. The way they abused their power and the collapse they engineered in the value of human life (a term I borrow from Martin Amis’s Koba the Dread, a book I’m sure you’d love) is the root of their monstrousness. Economic policy comes after, not before.

    Let’s not fight, okay? I have Majora’s Mask to play and David Attenborough to watch.

  16. I know very little of objectivism but Brook’s quote rubs me the wrong way. Partly I’m just the type who is loathe to give my personal scruples and outlook a nice tidy name, and partly I’m a gamer who is tired of all the Grand Theft Auto bashing.

    For the record, nothing I’ve seen in the 3-D GTA games has been as disturbing as the “Hot Dog Homicide” mission about 2/3 of the way through the two-dimensional second game in the series, and I’ve played through most of them (and loved them.)

  17. ooh, but “I think, like all ideologues she resorts to the most extreme examples of her sides behavior and the other sides behavior to make the point that much clearer.”

    Stereotyping, yes. Makes me nervous. And the responsibility to other is not phony. Without other people I will die; I cannot avoid that fact, no matter how much bottled water I store or how many survivalist courses I take.

    And I don’t see Sweden collapsing, dude. Or dudette. Whichever.

  18. Lol, ok. Socialism is NOT responsibility to the other, responsibility is predicated on freedom to choose who and when to support and what for. Socialism removes freedom from the equation.

    It’s ok if you don’t want to argue, we’re not going to agree anyway. Like I said I do anjoy the discussion though.

  19. Objectivism was the personal reaction of Rand upon coming to America from Russia (becoming a screenwriter, no less). Like Communism, and now Capitalism, it started as a utopian ideal, then devolved into corruption and a Cult of Personality, as Rand seduced a married follower, then made all sorts of rationale for it.

    At its theoretical best, it is incidental altruism; in practice, it leads to things like Enron and the Iraq war,both of which were fought over John Galt’s sign–$.

    …and, yes, around age 20, I had my Ayn Rand phase;>

  20. Why psychopathy?

    here’s Dr. Hares checklist. Run through it as you think of any “Objectivists” you may have known.

    “Hare’s items

    These items cover the affective, interpersonal, and behavioral features. Each item is rated on a score from 0 to 2. The sum total determines the extent of a person’s psychopathy[3]

    Factor1: Aggressive narcissism

    1. Glibness/superficial charm
    2. Grandiose sense of self-worth
    3. Pathological lying
    4. Conning/manipulative
    5. Lack of remorse or guilt
    6. Shallow affect
    7. Callous/lack of empathy
    8. Failure to accept responsibility for own actions
    9. Promiscuous sexual behavior

    Factor2: Socially deviant lifestyle

    1. Need for stimulation/proneness to boredom
    2. Parasitic lifestyle
    3. Poor behavioral control
    4. Lack of realistic, long-term goals
    5. Impulsively
    6. Irresponsibility
    7. Juvenile delinquency
    8. Early behavior problems
    9. Many short-term marital relationships
    10. Revocation of conditional release

    Traits not correlated with either factor

    1. Many short-term marital relationships
    2. Promiscuous sexual behavior
    3. Criminal versatility”

    And Noen,I’ve been waiting , pants around ankles,for sometime now. I hear Ponds is nice.

  21. People tend not to read Ayn Rand’s statements in context. The stark terms and forcefulness of her writing also tends to polarize–it especially pushes the buttons of collectivists, who feel Objectivism is a personal attack against them. Then there are the seemingly random and insane asides throughout her writing, like when she compares cigarette smoking to Prometheus’ theft of fire from the gods. It’s easy to get sidetracked when you’re reading Ayn Rand.

    If you really examine the totality of her message, though, it’s not so out of place among ancient spiritual texts.

    Her choice of words was deliberately confrontational. She wanted to reclaim words from the mystics and collectivists, but she ended up only confusing them.

    The Objectivist notion of “selfishness” was never about greed. Rand said that a moral man would never sacrifice a higher value for a lesser one.

    Promoting the “ego” is supposed to be wrong, but what Ayn Rand promoted was reason–the only effective means of controlling the ego. The ideal man in her universe was a spiritual master in total control over his mental faculties. It was the collectivists who allowed their egos to lead them around like puppets on strings.

    The great flaw of Objectivism, in my view, is that there’s no beginner level. You’re either the ideal human being or you’re evil, and there’s no clear path of how to get from one stage to the other.

  22. Takuan you can take any 15-20 items from your lists and apply them to almost everyone you know, regardless of their particular chosen ideology.

  23. Moonbat –

    Agreed. Though in regards to your last paragraph I think she leaves this up to the reader to determine on their own, I don’t really believe that we are to assume anything less than the ideal is truly evil, just varying shades of it. I don’t think even Rand was that absolutist.

  24. if you know someone who that many of those items apply to a significantly noticeable level – well, don’t say you weren’t warned.

  25. Objectivism the movement/cult/institute/etc. = super annoying, dumb, and contradicts Ayn Rand’s own ideas.

    objectivism the set of ideas = works for me.

  26. Who is Cory Doctorow?

    My problem with Ayn Rand, and I read her in high school too, is that she can’t write a novel, and yet wrote many of them now considered classics. She gives a bunch of paper-thin characters and lame plots where the good guys are all good, bad guys are all bad, and everything in the world works out exactly the way she wants it to. That’s not literature, it’s not even philosophy – it’s just bad, boring propaganda. I’m so glad I read a 50-page radio speech from John Galt, too.

    However, I know one died-in-the-wool Objectivist, and she’s a wonderful person. Not at all a psychopath and likely smarter than anyone here calling Objectivists stupid. People are more complex than their beliefs, or one of their beliefs. That does not, however, stop anyone from calling out Objectivism on more objective grounds. If it’s bad philosophy, and I think that, like all other philosophies that promote elitism, it is, then you can say so without stooping to idiotic ad hominems.

    Now Bioshock? Objectively awesome.

  27. Who is Cory Doctorow?

    Just some guy, I hear he has a blog.

    It’s true that people are more complicated than their beliefs but one’s belief system is a leading indicator that tells others something about you. Objectivism is bad philosophy because it’s really a religious/political ideology wrapped up in the trappings of scientific atheism. Objectivists don’t do philosophy, they are just antisocial jerks who can point to a system of thought and rationalize their greed and their will to power.

  28. “like all other philosophies that promote elitism, it is (bad philosophy)”

    Why should the incompetent hold power over the competent?

    Why shouldn’t the good be recognized as such?

    “Objectivists don’t do philosophy, they are just antisocial jerks who can point to a system of thought and rationalize their greed and their will to power.”

    Identify five Objectivists and explain how they use rationalist philosophy to justify their greed and will to power.

  29. As someone who considers himself a democratic socialist, I should point out that the overwhelming majority of Marxist and socialist scholars have dealt with the issue of distancing themselves from Stalin–this has been a major topic since the 1930’s, and you can see it in writers such as Arthur Koestler or George Orwell.

    However, in the discussion of the legitimacy of Objectivism, no one has yet brought up the fact that Objectivism is neither wholly original nor was it willing to submit itself to rigorous academic scrutiny (Rand refused to publish in peer-reviewed philosophical journals).

    Objectivism is easily cribbed from a number of sources. Their rejection of metaphysics is straight from A.J. Ayer and Logical Positivism. Their social philosophies are straight from David Hume and Herbert Spencer, among others, and the economic principles in Objectivism are basic Adam Smith and Laissez-Faire capitalism.

    I suppose if you want to praise Rand, she did combine them and give them the spin of a religious zealot.

    However, just as communism’s primary fault was to ignore the problem of human greed, the problem with libertarian and Objectivist philosophy is that gives greed free reign, in all of its worst possible manifestations. I think that in actual social practice, I’d much rather live in a society that recognized the value of social community and derived moral judgments from an ethical, community-oriented approach. Ultimately, crass individualism leads to the psychopathic belief in social Darwinism.

  30. the overwhelming majority of Marxist and socialist scholars have dealt with the issue of distancing themselves from Stalin

    Good luck with that. They’ve failed to do so for 70 years and will continue to fail.

  31. @10

    I don’t typically use those terms but I’m overwhelmed by the number of Randian fanboys. I studied Philosophy for 6 years, and I’ve never stayed at a Holiday Inn Express, but, in terms of validity of argumentation, Rand gets low marks when compared to thinkers like Aristotle, Kant, Plato, Descartes, numerous philosophers of science, etc. That’s probably why in all those classes I took, Rand was never on the reading list. I had to go out of my way to read some of that stuff. I also saw some film of her at an interview, and her responses to the questions were circular and question-begging. Those are the sort of responses you’d expect to hear from someone who has a definite coherent view, but of a made-up world that we don’t live in.

    So what attracts people to Rand? Probably the fact that her stuff is wrapped in a fictional scenario where certain points of view are appealing. But once you start believing that the real world is a Rand novel, that’s where you’ve gone wrong.

  32. #39 Identify five Objectivists and explain how they use rationalist philosophy to justify their greed and will to power.

    Duh, OK, I’ll bite: Uncle Miltie Friedman. A well-known Ayn Fayn whose beneficent influence is rather thoroughly covered in Naomi Klein’s “The Shock Doctrine”. At least go read the wikipedia entry. It’s all there: Milt’s retread monetarism has been the shield for several generations of greedy swine.

    Be sure to read the “Criticism” section, which contains a real howler. Uncle Miltie basically tries to argue that, since the inhuman oppression and butchery of the Pinochet dictatorship his ideas helped create for Chile was eventually replaced by a democracy, therefore all of his ideas are vindicated. This is like Attilla the Hun making a bid for a Nobel Peace Prize based on his brilliant and innovative approach to population pressure in pre-Medieval Europe.

    Come to think of it, I guess we could also use Klein’s book to answer upthread claims about there being no widespread implementation of Objectivist ideas similar to those that have happened with Marx’s ideas. As Klein demonstrates, all of Miltie’s politico-economic rugrats, from Reagan on, are still running around setting policy for governments all over the world, and are arguably winning over every alternative.

    But I won’t go there. Doing so would, of course, treat us to the spectacle of Objectivists on this thread immediately trying to claim that “these are not really truly Objectivist” societies — much like all my old Marxist buddies would try to do with Russia and China and North Korea, as we sat around drinking lemonade on a sunny afternoon and discussing the societal benefits of mass murder.

    Don’t you just love politics and economics? Yeah, me neither.

  33. I’ve always miss read her name as Aryan Rand.

    For most of my existence I only remembered the name as such, and knew nothing about it till a few years ago.

    I’ve never considered myself a philosophic fashioniste, and the closest i came to looking directly into philosophy was reading about stoicism.

    Philosophy has always been a two headed monster. In that some people adopt a philosophy in an attempt to change the world around them, and others have used philosophy as a way of rationalizing the world around them.

    The difference is in that one sees the potential of reality and the other simply trys to codify current reality. I think that it’s the same as idealism and pragmatism.

    We all know that the founding fathers of America wanted all beings to be born and created, and treated equally, but reality suggests this isn’t true. And I’ve yet to come to a conclusion as to whether a delusion of equality is a good thing.

    We can do a lot of harm when we expect more from individuals than they’re capable of, and we can also keep people from realizing their potential by smothering them with platitudes.

    With all that said, I don’t like ayn rand, but I also don’t have any real basis to this opinion except on what she helped foster and create. The only people i know that liked her stuff seemed like selfish and emotionally troubled people.

    The emotionally troubled people pick up on it because they’ve tried to work in society and find themselves put down time and again, and it’s likely a panacea for their troubles. They say to themselves, “If only other people could see my self-worth, then they wouldn’t harm me as so”.

    The selfish on the other hand use it as a way to justify the means. As they can easily suggest that they were just doing things that made them feel better, even when what they’re doing is off loading grief, pain and other emotions onto other people.

    I suppose this view point is relativist. Yet I can’t really pull myself away from the idea that finding a way to effectively value the way in which we currently live, and not the potential of evolution, is still a very needful trait, and if we ever lose it, we enter just another dystopia.

  34. Collectivists lash out at Ayn Rand because they feel personally attacked. They’re free to behave however they want (they believe) because she started it. (This is the same reason they lash out at Andrew Keen in a similar fashion.) It all comes down to a mistaken priority placed on the ego.

    When you assert that others owe you something–that the competent must support the incompetent–what are you doing? You’re projecting “your” needs (the needs of your ego) into the outside world and trying to control that which you do not control and which you have no right to control. Properly understood, that goes against every spiritual teaching.

    The second-hander draws his sense of well-being from the approval of others. What is the approval of others? It is sheer delusion. It’s the story you tell yourself about yourself, multiplied by ten thousand; but zero times any other number always equals zero.

    Every religion tells us to withhold our own judgment and accept the judgment of God. How can we determine the judgment of God? Only through the application of reason. Only through the scientific method. Anything else is just kidding ourselves. Mystic and collectivist systems do nothing more than allow the ego to run wild, asserting control over that which it has no right to control. Far from egotistical, rational self-interest is the most selfless of all thought.

    The enlightened free market capitalist is today’s bhakti yogi, today’s zen master.

    It only unfortunate that few “enlightened free market capitalists” exist. It’s unfortunate that so many people think libertarian is synonymous with Objectivist and that one can take a few catchphrases disconnected from any philosophy and pretend that’s a sound basis for living a moral life.

  35. I’m just hear to note that if you think sexual promiscuity portends psychopathy, you’re fucking crazy.

  36. I used to read Rand’s stuff with quite a lot of passion, and while I think she’s a really interesting person, I have the same trouble with Objectivism as I do all schools of thought – they always have trouble when their absolutes are deployed into a world made up of shades of gray and a universe that cares no more for rationalism than it does emotional or spiritual modes of thought.

    That 2-cents pitched, I was blown away by use of Objectivist rhetoric and the obvious winks to Rand (Andrew Ryan’s name, for one) in the storyline. It made the game an intellectual as well as a sensory experience. It doesn’t matter much the philosophy in play, I just like to see big and sometimes confrontational ideas in games.

  37. #45 MOONBAT

    Nice strawmen ya got there. Looks like you’re having fun setting them up, knowing them down. But… yawwwwwn… I think it’s kinda boring myself.

    #47 Joel Johnson

    It’s just one of many indicators but in general, a high level of sexual acting out is a red flag that something is wrong.

  38. #45 Moonbat

    I’m pretty sure you just outed yourself as a psychopath. You don’t recognize the value of human life or demonstrate any kind of empathy whatsoever. Functional human beings can recognize another human being at a disadvantage, understand their plight, and generally want to help.

    You, on the other hand, judge them as incompetent and assert that they deserve to suffer and die for not being as powerful as you. You see a man in a wheelchair and sneer at his broken legs.

  39. “I’m pretty sure you just outed yourself as a psychopath. You don’t recognize the value of human life or demonstrate any kind of empathy whatsoever.”

    What???

    “You see a man in a wheelchair and sneer at his broken legs.”

    What the hell???

    This deserves no response. I simply want to draw attention to what was written, so that thinking people can condemn it.

    Please note that sacrificialgoat is not a strawman. He is a real person–and you can either condemn him or tacitly support him.

    Commenters number one, three, four, and seven are not strawmen either. Nor is number 50. Nor was Cory Doctorow a strawman when he smeared Andrew Keen.

  40. “When you assert that others owe you something–that the competent must support the incompetent–what are you doing? You’re projecting “your” needs (the needs of your ego) into the outside world and trying to control that which you do not control and which you have no right to control. Properly understood, that goes against every spiritual teaching.”

    I simply want to draw attention to what was written, so that thinking people can condemn it.

    Your argument is that those less able are making some kind of predatory power grab by asking for help. What the hell???

  41. “I know you are, but what am I?”

    Infinity.

    “Your argument is that those less able are making some kind of predatory power grab by asking for help.”

    No, my argument is what I wrote. You’re trying to argue a different issue, because your ego is bruised.

    If you were ask me about what other people have written, then, yes, that is roughly the argument against collectivist social policy. Just replace “asking for help” with “demanding time, money, and labor at gunpoint while simultaneously devaluing competence in all its forms.”

    When fat people demand “equality” of beauty, they are devaluing competence.

    When ignorant people demand “equality” of knowledge, they are devaluing competence.

    Broken legs are not the only handicap for which collectivists demand “help” from the competent.

    Personally, I see no problem with helping people who have broken legs. It’s the intellectual and moral handicaps of the mob that trouble me.

  42. All of your arguments boil down to “when x people demand equality, they are denying that I am better than them and therefore entitled to all I can take”

  43. The second-hander draws his sense of well-being from the approval of others. What is the approval of others? It is sheer delusion. It’s the story you tell yourself about yourself, multiplied by ten thousand; but zero times any other number always equals zero.

    This sums up the ethical immaturity of objectivism as well as its absolutism. It relies on the idea that we are not a social species and that “every man is an island.” It denies the complexity of what creates a rich and fulfilling life even for an individual, much less society as a whole.

  44. Moonbat – I don’t think “Strawman” means what you think it means. I think you are confusing that with “sockpuppet”.

    Your argument is that those less able are making some kind of predatory power grab by asking for help.

    That does seem to me to be a fair criticism of Objectivism. It is certainly a pathological view of humanity though I’m not sure (don’t feel qualified to say) that it rises to the level of full blown psychopathology.

    Moonbat, for virtually all of human history people have lived in small groups where everyone relied upon and depended on each other in order to survive. One of the central conceits of Ayn Rand, Objectivism, Libertarianism et al is the belief in an extreme form of rugged individualism. “Community? We don’t need no stinkin’ community.” Usually put forward by pudgy white males from their mom’s basement. Power fantasies by the powerless.

    It’s a delusion hun, you wouldn’t last five days in the wild.

  45. Millman, you should know that the paragraph you quoted relies much more on Hindu scripture than on the writing of Ayn Rand.

  46. Noen, I’ve tried to ignore you for the last few comments now.

    Please assume that I disagree with everything you’ve written and ever will write, unless I state otherwise.

  47. You should probably know that we’re all perfectly content to get ignored because we know you’ll grow just out of it anyway :o]

  48. #50 Noen
    Re: #47 Joel Johnson

    I believe what Joel was wittily suggesting was:

    (Sexually Promiscuous) + (Psychopath) == (Fucking) + (Crazy)

    ho ho :)

  49. Do I really have to go through these comments and list all of the “claims” to show how many are baseless and insulting?

    Why don’t you just admit that you conduct yourselves in a shameful manner, apologize, and try hard to do better?

    What is missing? What knowledge could I add to you that would make you a decent person?

  50. I’ve only known two devoted fans of Ayn Rand in my life, two people who’d volunteer that they were Objectivists to anyone who’d listen.

    One was a homeless man who begged for money at my subway stop and slept at its foyer (when he wasn’t in jail). The other was a friend who majored in philosophy, never got a job, and lived with his mother until the day he committed suicide. I wonder which kind Moonbat is?

    Before that, my only experience with Rand was reading “The Fountainhead” for some essay contest put on by the Ayn Rand Institute promising scholarships to high school students. Having finished it, I committed my one and only act of vandalism against a book (to my eternal shame now that I’ve become a librarian), and poured hydrochloric acid on it during chem lab. It was truly the most pernicious and tendencious piece of bloviating agit-prop it had ever been my displeasure to read, and I was angry to have let my greed sucker me into wasting time on it, when clearly the essay contest was just a thinly veiled recruitement drive among a vulnerable demographic (angsty geeky teens).

  51. “Why should the incompetent hold power over the competent?”

    Let’s phrase statements so that they mandate tautological answers!

    The obvious answer is that they shouldn’t, of course. But the unassumed elitism of Objectivism splits all human beings into two categories – the incompetent (“looters”) and the competent. Rand and other Objectivists play language games to bias the approach to their already decided categories. Incompetent and competent at WHAT, is my question. I’m reminded of the scientific experts in the UK arguing for eugenics – sterilization of the mentally “incompetent” – and a certain priest said, “I’m a moral expert, and I find you all to be morally incompetent!” Elitism is stupidly polarizing, and rarely takes into account the nuances (this is not relativism I’m arguing!) of human existence and behavior. So yes, if all you care about is material success, then of course the economically competent should rule the economically competent. But if we notice that there are other ways to define human value (and additionally that the multiplicity of such definitions argues for a fairly wide definition, such as species-wide) and additionally that those who most want power are those least likely to do well with it, then, I will say that I am against Objectivism, its oversimplified values, and its unnoticed assumptions.

    “Why shouldn’t the good be recognized as such?”

    Define “good” in a way that no one can disagree with you.

    Oh hey.

    I’m all for accuracy, but most Objectivists tend to look like this:

    http://www.affordablehousinginstitute.org/blogs/us/Horse_with_blinders_small.jpg

    I’m sure you look very well, as long as you’re looking in the direction you want to look.

  52. Oh yeah, I’ve never seen “tendentious” spelled “tendencious” although it’s listed as a correct spelling in the dictionary. Is that British?

  53. What is it with the anti-Objectivists that make Objectivism seem so suddenly attractive? It might be the tendency to take any attempt at rational discourse and turn it into a name-calling contest.

    Empathy is something that is felt by mentally-healthy human beings as a chemical response to seeing other objects in a state of dereliction or danger. These objects can be people, places, animals or physical structures. A psychopath is incapable of feeling any of that.

    Furthermore, the idea that human life has inherent value, conceptually, is terribly flawed by the fact that life is far too cheap to be valuable. It is a commodity. That’s not a judgement of mine, that is a fact. An otherwise healthy four-year-old will die from simple diarrhea while decidedly empathetic people march in futile protest to keep a vegetable on life-support.

    So, at least try to attack ideas rather than resorting to name calling.

    (disclaimer: I’m an Absurdist, I stopped knowing when I was kidding and when I was being serious a long, long time ago)

  54. I see someone else has joined the club.

    I plan to do this for all of your comments, so don’t feel jealous if you want attention–just wait your turn.

    O3 writes: “I’ve only known two devoted fans of Ayn Rand …

    “One was a homeless man….The other was a friend who majored in philosophy, never got a job, and lived with his mother until the day he committed suicide.”

    If we were discussing any other topic, or if O3 were arguing for Objectivism, one of you friendly people would call him on his bullshit. Specifically, you would say that personal experience is not scientifically valid and a sample size of two is far too small.

    “I wonder which kind Moonbat is?”

    O3 rounds it off with the personal attack (or punchline).

    “I committed my one and only act of vandalism against a book…”

    Finally, he admits to having held this irrational grudge for his entire adult life. I wonder if a short biography would shed some light on this.

    The party line at BoingBoing is that collectivism is super and anything anti-collectivism is evil. Therefore anyone who posts anti-collectivist comments (or comments in support or defense of an anti-collectivist) may suffer ostracism, ridicule, devowling, comment deletion, or an IP ban. Anyone who posts baseless and rude comments directed toward an anti-collectivist can expect either explicit or tacit approval. If anti-collectivist comments continue despite all this, comments for the thread may be locked or comments may be disabled entirely. This is how norm enforcement works on all online forums. The process is not unique to this forum or this issue.

  55. Moonbat – The reason you are not being successful here is because you want to preselect the terms of the debate. Your “strawman” is the assumptions that you take as given and assert without proof. When people disagree with you and put forward different assumptions you object but you have yet made no attempt engage in honest debate. Repeating yourself or raising the volume does nothing to further your position.

    Real debate involves meeting the other where he or she is at and entering into a discussion. It is not predefining your terms so that all objections are automatically nullified. This is not how things work in the real world. In every intellectual discipline, yes even in mathematics, you have to make assumptions and there is a trade off between theory and pragmatism.

    There is no such thing as a complete hermeneutically perfect system. Objectivism attempts to be that system and to the extent that it does it must therefore be false. The mistake that Ayn Rand and all objectivists since make is to confuse the map for the territory. You mistake your description of the world for the world. This is the same error that Logical Positivism and other 19th century philosophies made. They mistook science and mathematics for Nature’s Own Language.

    #69 posted by UrinalPooper

    What is it with the anti-Objectivists that make Objectivism seem so suddenly attractive?

    That would be a question for you to answer. Why do you feel attracted to something simply because it is unpopular?

    …the idea that human life has inherent value, conceptually, is terribly flawed by the fact that life is far too cheap to be valuable. It is a commodity.

    Then you won’t mind if I take yours. No? Then I’d suggest there is a flaw in your thinking somewhere.

  56. #71: The party line at BoingBoing is that collectivism is super and anything anti-collectivism is evil.

    I don’t think that’s necessarily the case. The party line, if there is one, is more like, “Blatant stereotyping is OK, since I self-identify as an enlightened liberal.” (In other words, I’ve only known two African-American people in my life. One of them’s in prison for rape, and the other was killed by a crack dealer he tried to rip off. I wonder which kind O3 is?)

    #66 reminds me of nothing so much as my Baptist friend in high school who, when warned by his youth group leader that his prized copy of Motley Crue’s Shout at the Devil glorified Satanism, promptly torched the cassette with homemade gunpowder. The next day, he replaced it with a copy of RATT’s Out of the Cellar. When your soul’s at stake, I guess you’ve got to compromise your innermost desires.

  57. more mud

    “Jorge Moll and Jordan Grafman, neuroscientists at the National Institutes of Health and LABS-D’Or Hospital Network (J.M.) provided the first evidence for the neural bases of altruistic giving in normal healthy volunteers, using functional magnetic resonance imaging. In their research, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA in October, 2006,[7] they showed that both pure monetary rewards and charitable donations activated the mesolimbic reward pathway, a primitive part of the brain that usually lights up in response to food and sex. However, when volunteers generously placed their interests of others before their own by making charitable donations, another brain circuit was selectively activated: the subgenual cortex/septal region. These structures are intimately related to social attachment and bonding in other species. Altruism, the experiment suggested, was not a superior moral faculty that suppresses basic selfish urges but rather was basic to the brain, hard-wired and pleasurable.[8]”

  58. #72 NOEN “Then you won’t mind if I take yours. No? Then I’d suggest there is a flaw in your thinking somewhere.”

    Actually, I wouldn’t. I gain no benefit from existing, I only continue because I am convenient to others. (which is a result of empathy)

    See, since you obviously love your life you are incapable of considering the philosophical considerations taken by those who have transcended their biological compulsion to be alive in the first place.

    Now disengage the pathways your brain has been using to reroute around grim truths and start using some logic.

  59. ‘kin yew say thet?’

    “BRAIN PLASTICITY Capacity of the brain to modify the organization of its neuron networks according to the particular experiences of the body.
    Plasticity is the ability of the brain to rearrange the connections between its neurons . It is the foundation of the memory formation and learning processes, and can also be important in compensating for brain damage by allowing the brain to create new networks of neurons. These local changes to brain structure depend on the environment and represent an adaptation to it.”

  60. I never really read Rand because every person I ever met in real life who was a big Rand fan was a dick and also rather dull. The altruistic folks were more fun to hang with and they threw much better parties.

    You know the old saying, “So many books, so little time.” So never mind about Rand…

    But about psychopaths and borderpaths and Machiavellian types, I just picked up a copy of “Evil Genes” by Barbara Oakley. This is my idea of an interesting book.

  61. nope, nope! ain’t sayin thet tat-all, at-all, yessir! jist allowing as how it t’aint so simple, thet’s all,

    Truth of it is, any who helped me never had to declare their philosophy and any that hurt me didn’t matter.

    As for my own actions;per St. Vonnegut: Be Kind.

  62. “When you assert that others owe you something–that the competent must support the incompetent–what are you doing? You’re projecting “your” needs (the needs of your ego) into the outside world and trying to control that which you do not control and which you have no right to control. Properly understood, that goes against every spiritual teaching.”

    I just thought I’d point out how completely ass-backwards this is.

    “Every spiritual teaching” (this a totally flim-flam category, so whatever…)

    “some spiritual teachings” (Christianity, Islam) are very clear about the wealthy giving to the poor. The whole argument there, that YOU are the one doing the demanding, represents the awkwardness of objectivism so well. It’s about YOU giving freely to others, not demanding to be given to–and the idea that giving to the needy is somehow reprehensible is certainly not espoused by at least those two major religions.

    All of this business about the ego is bizarre as well. Selfishness is the territory of the ego; the idea that it must uphold itself in some sort of battle for survival with others at all times. And that is the core of objectivism.

    The idea that objectivism is somehow the heart of rationality (“man is inherently an individual”) strikes me as even more insane. Rationality gave rise to democracy, to monarchy, to socialism and communism, all “collectivist” ideas to some degree.

    The closest we had to a true objectivist era for mankind was when human beings were fighting for survival in the ice ages. I see nothing utopian about that existence.

  63. nothing funnier than an Objectivist with two broken legs on the floor in front of you with his crutches out of reach

  64. This is my rough summary of the thread so far. I’ve paraphrased for brevity and clarity, doing my best not to distort or misrepresent the spirit of any comment. Where I have not offered specific comment, assume that I condemn the poster totally. I didn’t quote anything here to say something good about it.

    ** = anti-abuse comment

    If this continues to interest me tomorrow, I’ll post some diagrams.

    ###

    1. TAKUAN – “Objectivism is psychopathy.”

    2. Off-topic comment, or possibly dismissive ridicule.

    3. “Objectivism is for teenage boys (implied).”

    4. On-topic comment, or possibly dismissive ridicule.

    5. On-topic comment.

    6. Off-topic comment.

    7. “The Ayn Rand Institute is so funny, yet so sad, and overhelmingly stupid.”

    8. NOEN – Explicit support of comment #1.

    9. **MOONBAT

    10. **MAN ON PINK CORNER (anti-abuse commenter)

    11. Response to #9.

    12. Response to #10. Neutral tone. However, gives tacit support to abusive commenters by not condemning them.

    13. “Rand Objectivists are stupid and psychopathic.”

    14. **MAN ON PINK CORNER

    15. On-topic comment.

    16. **JCD

    17. “Objectivism’s ridiculousness speaks for itself and is generally accepted. Only the very young and serious wingnuts take it seriously.”

    18. “Objectivism promotes a society of selfish mistrust and brutal predation and does not respect the value of human life.”

    These comments were made by an admitted Socialist.

    19. TAKUAN – On-topic comment.

    20. **JCD

    21. **JCD

    22. **JCD

    23. Response to #21, sub-topic.

    Dubious claim: “You’re using ‘collectivist’ in a funny way, there.”

    People who have a personal stake in controversy tend to claim their ideological enemies have misused words or are incoherent, usually for no good reason.

    24. On-topic comment.

    25. Response to #22.

    26. **JCD

    27. **JCD

    28. “Yaron Brook seems like a nut case attention seeker. If he hadn’t glommed onto Rand, he’d be Fred Phelps or Ward Churchill.”

    29. “Objectivism was the personal reaction of Rand upon coming to America from Russia.”

    This is an all-too-common ad hominem attack. The idea is that immigrants from totalitarian societies are unbalanced and come up with crazy ideas–that explains why so many of them support American capitalism and Democracy. Of course, Socialist immigrants are all right in the head.

    “In practice, (Objectivism) leads to things like Enron and the Iraq war, both of which were fought over John Galt’s sign–$.”

    The Enron executives were classic Randian villains! This is like pointing to the actions of a Satanic cult and saying, “This is what happens when Christianity is put into practice.”

    Then, of course, he claims the Iraq was fought over money. Classic, classic, Moonbat shit.

    30. TAKUAN – “Objectivism fits X points on the checklist for psychopathy.”

    This “argument” appeared in an anti-capitalism documentary and was soon after used to smear Bush. It never was a good argument, and at this point it says far more about the person making the claim than it does about any point he might have had.

    31. **MOONBAT

    32. **JCD

    33. **JCD

    34. TAKUAN – Response to #32, defending his use of the “psychopathy checklist.”

    35. JCD

    36. Neutral comment.

    37. **Anti-abuse comment.

    Dubious claims:

    “Ayn Rand can’t write a novel.”

    “All philosophies that promote elitism are bad philosophy.”

    38. NOEN – Response to #37.

    “Objectivists don’t do philosophy, they are just antisocial jerks who can point to a system of thought and rationalize their greed and their will to power.”

    39. **MOONBAT

    40. Another comment from an avowed Socialist.

    “(Objectivism) gives greed free reign, in all of its worst possible manifestations.”

    “Ultimately, (Objectivism) leads to the psychopathic belief in social Darwinism.”

    41. Off-topic comment.

    42. “University courses don’t include Rand on their reading lists because she’s a bad philosopher.”

    “I also saw some film of her at an interview, and her responses to the questions were circular and question-begging.”

    Of course, I’m sure he can provide examples of Ayn Rand giving circular and question-begging answers. He did see some film of her at an interview!

    “People are attracted to Ayn Rand because her philosophy is wrapped in a fictional scenario where certain points of view are appealing.”

    43. WILLIBRO

    It’s worth reading this one in its entirety.

    44. “I’ve always miss read her name as Aryan Rand.”

    “The only people I know that liked her stuff seemed like selfish and emotionally troubled people.” (Speculation about the two types follows.)

    45. **MOONBAT

    46. ???

    47. Off-topic comment. However, it is again worth noting that this amounts to tacit support.

    48. “The universe cares no more for rationalism than it does emotional or spiritual modes of thought.”

    49. Off-topic comment.

    50. NOEN – This one’s worth examing. He claims that I built a strawman (he never specifies how or when), and he comes back to it again in a later comment.

    He also directs a chummy comment toward #47, Joel Johnson. Second-hander behavior?

    51. SACRIFICIALGOAT – “I’m pretty sure you just outed yourself as a psychopath.”

    “You don’t recognize the value of human life or demonstrate any kind of empathy whatsoever.”

    “You judge (human beings at a disadvantage) as incompetent and assert that they deserve to suffer and die for not being as powerful as you.”

    “You see a man in a wheelchair and sneer at his broken legs.”

    I’d say you should read the comment in its entirety and leave it at that, but I think it’s important to see the sheer number of bullshit claims. Literally every sentence this person has written has been bullshit–and rude.

    Note that this person has not commented in any other thread.

    52. Support for #51 and #30. Anti-corporation comment thrown in for bonus points.

    53. Anti-abuse comment? SacrificialGoat seems to have taken it that way.

    54. **MOONBAT

    55. SACRIFICIALGOAT – Response to #53, “Moonbat has no empthy.”

    56. “I know you are, but what am I?”

    “Your argument is that those less able are making some kind of predatory power grab by asking for help.”

    57. **MOONBAT

    58. SACRIFICIALGOAT – “All of your arguments boil down to ‘when x people demand equality, they are denying that I am better than them and therefore entitled to all I can take'”

    59. Addressed in comment #61.

    60. NOEN – “I don’t think ‘Strawman’ means what you think it means. I think you are confusing that with ‘sockpuppet’.”

    Refer to my notes on #23 and #50.

    It’s also interesting that he mentions sockpuppets, probably meaning sacrificialgoat.

    The comment goes on to support #56.

    “Objectivism is certainly a pathological view of humanity.”

    “Objectivists, Libertarians, et al, are usually pudgy white males living in their mom’s basement. Power fantasies by the powerless.

    “It’s a delusion hun, you wouldn’t last five days in the wild.”

    Talk about delusions of power by the powerless.

    61. MOONBAT

    62. MOONBAT

    63. SACRIFICIALGOAT – “Objectivists are all kids going through a phase and will grow out of it.”

    You’ve probably noticed that this one comes up a lot.

    You’d think one of these super-intelligent people would have recognized by now that it’s baseless and offensive bullshit.

    64. Off-topic comment.

    65. MOONBAT

    66. Addressed in detail in comment #71.

    67. This was almost a reasonable comment. I disagree with every claim made and think the poster is a leftwing nut, but at least he made debatable points…until he linked to a picture of a horse and said that’s what Objectivists look like.

    68. Off-topic comment.

    69. Anti-abuse comment.

    70. “The web comic Bob the Angry Flower made valid points about Atlas Shrugged.”

    It did not. Read the book.

    71. MOONBAT

    72. NOEN tries to turn over a new leaf, fails to convince me.

    Also fails to realize that I have no interest in pseudo-intellectual masturbation and have only a) tried to inform or b) tried to correct blatant falsehoods. If Noen and others had not posted blatant falsehoods and insulting comments, I would not have written a negative word in this thread.

    It’s also worth noting that Noen pulled out the “you brought this on yourself” routine. That one always comes up when a hostile mob has descended upon some “troll” who disrupted their cozy groupthink. Because it’s such a common cop-out, I hate discussing threads in which I was an active participant–it’s much better to find some random flame war on some random forum and use that as an example. You’ll just have to take my word for it that I’ve studied thousands of these and the dynamics are similar, if not identical, in all of them. Every jackass on the Internet thinks he’s special, his topic is special, his forum is special, and his “trolls” are especially disruptive.

    73. **MAN ON PINK CORNER

    74. TAKUAN – ???

    75. TAKUAN – ???

    76. Off-topic comment.

    77. TAKUAN – ???

    78. Response to #77.

    79. ???

    80. “I never really read Rand because every person I ever met in real life who was a big Rand fan was a dick and also rather dull. The altruistic folks were more fun to hang with and they threw much better parties.”

    That’s a classic second-hander right there.

    81. TAKUAN – ???

    82. FUTURPUNK (I have a feeling we’ll be hearing from him again soon) has no idea what I’m talking about and knows nothing about spiritual teaching, yet feels compelled to contradict me. I wonder why that is?

    “The closest we had to a true objectivist era for mankind was when human beings were fighting for survival in the ice ages. I see nothing utopian about that existence.”

    83. TAKUAN – “nothing funnier than an Objectivist with two broken legs on the floor in front of you with his crutches out of reach”

  65. I probably have a good deal of objectivism in my personal philosophy. Although I never downed a full dose of the randroid kool-aid, I’ve been to enough libertarian party meetings and objectivist functions to be able to claim to have known several hundred objectivists. Frankly, with a few exceptions, I’ve not come across any of the people described in the rantings of takuan and others of the collectivist ilk here (Really? #17. George bush is an objectivist? is everyone you hate, now an objectivist?) Most of the self-described objectivists that I know are extremely nice happy trustworthy people (and yes, maybe a little dull when discussing objectivism).

    Everybody is an egomaniacal jerk at 14 when they first read rand – it has little to do with objectivism and everything to do with being 14. In my personal experience, at least with those who are adults, objectivists tend to have a pretty good sense of who they are based on their knowledge of the importance of their own self esteem, its basis in rationality, its constant need for tending, and if need be – a little pruning now and then.

    In general I find objectivists much more trustworthy than collectivists. Trust is important to me. In my experience, collectivists tend to be able to adjust their concept of reality on a whim, usually to avoid responsibility. If an objectivist screws something up, then an objectivist philosophy doesn’t allow them to foist the blame onto someone else, dilute the blame by claim to group responsibility, shovel blame under a rug by claiming membership in an aggrieved group, or negate responsibility entirely by a claim to forgiveness from some uninvolved omnipotent holy 3rd party.

    Objectivism isn’t an asshole vaccine; I mean look at ayn rand herself – what a witch. But in my experience it certainly seems to breed better people or at least ones that I can trust to show up for work and to do what they say they will do. sorry if the concept of better people offends you. (Ok, not really sorry – this is me being a “dick” #80)

    So far, the argument that collectivists throw better parties is the only reality I’ve recognized from your side of the aisle all day.

  66. Apparently it takes a collectivist to find joy in the suffering of those who aren’t a member of their clique. Isn’t that collectivism’s real raison d’etre?

  67. I mean, I need at least a little run-up for a rant – a proper rant anyways, not like these feeble things you get these days. At least a good paragraph or two. I’m quite sure if you look above I only pithied a few one liners and possibly dropped a trenchant observation. No problemo if you be wanting a rant though, just give me a moment to get some foam up.

  68. Would it help if I quoted the Bible at you?

    How long will you simple ones love your simple ways? How long will mockers delight in mockery and fools hate knowledge?
    Proverbs 1:21-23

  69. ooooh, now someone’s saying I find joy in the sufferings of others! Worse, they say I collect things!

    Inconceivable!

  70. “The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun.

    10Is there any thing whereof it may be said, See, this is new? it hath been already of old time, which was before us.

    11There is no remembrance of former things; neither shall there be any remembrance of things that are to come with those that shall come after. ”

    so there

  71. it’s OK all you rugged individualist types, one day, when life has broken you a little, don’t collapse in abject panic. We’ll help you anyway. You’re only as alone as you want to be.

  72. @ #87
    I’m not sure how a 200 word treatise on how we’re not taking you seriously is going to make us treat you seriously

  73. How could you plant AUTODESTRUCTION device in city you’re funding (with input of many other people!) and call yourself objectivist?

    Great game, though it can hardly be a problem for and invidualism philosophy.

  74. I guess I can forgive Ayn Rand for countless hours of wasted time reading her dreck for inspiring 2112, which I’ve wasted countless hours of wasted time enjoying.

  75. @The topic and all these comments

    If you tried to talk liberal (not socialist – this word means socialism in ur country only… maybe Canada too) democracy to Egyptian slaves they’d ridicule you at the spot.
    Or advocate “equality” in ancient Athenes to slave-driving elite with voting power.
    Or stand by freedom of religion in Medieval Europe/Middle East.

    Many things that were thought to be “extreme” and “strange” came to life eventually.
    Considering that advantage of free market is concrete efficiency and regulations are fueled by mere mindset preferences of homo sapiens – i think it will prevail. And probably expand taking down current huge countries to level of administrators.
    Rich, spoiled, lazy “elite” of West – that has enough time and money on thier hands… ok. Scratch that. Nothing productive from venturing on this terytorry. Socialism supporters – can chain markets here and there with force (democratic, or else), but ther’s just to many of them. If they take USA down and half of Europe giving way to East Asia domination – everyboy will see again what’s real driving force of this world. Human action.

    BTW Bioshock really did it.
    Not only they sold their CDs, but stirred so much dust.

  76. #98
    No, actually YOU say it.

    “Nothing funnier” ~ finds joy in.

    Two broken legs and crutches out of reach ~Suffering.

    objectivist = others, as taken from context of your other postings (“psychopathy” really?)

    Seemingly, everything you write on every topic ~ collectivism. (You DO realize I can click on your name and see your other posts, right? /sarcasm)

    The math is left as an exercise for the reader.

  77. #102, TAKUAN – “I’m not sure how a 200 word treatise on how we’re not taking you seriously is going to make us treat you seriously”

    I think your history in this thread has established that you’re incapable of getting a point or making one.

    I didn’t post a treatise–I posted a summary of this thread.

    I am not interested in making collectivists take me seriously. I am interested only in showing that collectivists–you chief among them–have behaved abominably in this thread.

    If I had the time or will to do it, I would summarize the entire history of this website. I guarantee you a similar pattern would emerge.

    It is my hope–a faint and distant hope that experience has shown is unrealistic–that if I can make you conscious of how you behave, then you might change your behavior.

  78. If they take USA down and half of Europe giving way to East Asia domination – everyboy will see again what’s real driving force of this world. Human action.

    Ah yes, this is the big concern of the 23 percenters. The islamofascist Moooslim hoards are gonna over run the west and impose sharia on our wimmuns! Even worse, the Liberalfascists will help them and will accept their Dhimmini status. And I swear I’ve seen the nickname MOONBAT somewhere, perhaps on Pammela Oshrey’s Atlas Shrugs, the woman is insane btw. Regardless, the “argument” is boringly the same. The same arrogance, the same inchoate fears, the same inability to interact rationally with other human beings, it’s all there.

    BTW Moonbat, I’m a she not a he, thanks. And yes Takuan, it does feel a lot like schizophrenics on the bus. The difference is that I feel sorry for them, much less for these here.

  79. I am not interested in making collectivists take me seriously. I am interested only in showing that collectivists–you chief among them–have behaved abominably in this thread.
    Pretty funny.

    A lot of us have treated your argument with much more seriousness than I think it deserves. You’ve also been at least as intellectually dishonest, angry and ad hominem as you accuse your threadmates of being.

    NOEN, in particular, in #72, took far more pains than I would to point out precisely where your argument, and Objectivism in general, falls apart simply on logical and philosophical (it *is* a profession, you know) grounds. Yet your alleged “summary” of the thread does nothing more than deride his comment as a highly suspicious “attempt to convince me”. Others you dismiss as “avowed socialists”, and KICKYFAST’s offer “let’s not fight” is just ignored.

    Try a sip of your own medicine, my friend. You have no more claim to “objectivity” than anyone else here (me included) and therefore no business trying to make all us silly children “conscious of how you behave”.

  80. “FUTURPUNK … knows nothing about spiritual teaching,”

    These are the kind of statements that make you come off as absolutely nuts, MOONBAT. You know roughly zero about my spirituality. I think everyone might take you a little more seriously if you had more a sense of respect for the others in this debate.

    Honestly, the best argument I’ve seen against objectivism is the way you’ve conducted yourself on here MOONBAT.

  81. To sum up: “Anyone who is not perfect has no right to judge me, therefore I can continue as before.”

    This is why I mentioned in my summary that it’s best not to discuss threads in which one was an active participant. The groupthinkers will always try to blame it on you. (They’ll always blame it on the “trolls” anyway, but there’s at least some hope they’ll read a summary that was written by a non-participant.)

  82. It is my hope–a faint and distant hope that experience has shown is unrealistic–that if I can make you conscious of how you behave, then you might change your behavior.

    This isn’t going to happen moonbat because you appear to be unable to argue or even engage in rational discourse. What you prefer is to drop pearls of supreme wisdom from your brow. You want supplicants not co-equals. You are an arrogant, self absorbed jerk who lacks even rudimentary debating skills. The reason you are “not interested in making collectivists take me seriously” is because you know from bitter experience that you will get schooled and that would destroy your precious, hyperinflated ego.

    You’re a hothouse flower moonbat. The moment anyone challenges your BS you collapse in a faint.

  83. What a bunch of tedious wankers. And not one of you mentioned the only real, valid philosophy that offers salvation to all of mankind (Flying Spaghetti Monsterism). The Flying Spaghetti Monster values all his loyal followers as a mindless collective of strong-willed individualists. There is nothing we cannot do in his name, indeed, there is nothing we have already not done, wrapped in his noodly etc. Carry on. Except for you, Moonbat. FSM sez STFU.

  84. #109, NOEN – “BTW Moonbat, I’m a she not a he, thanks.”

    This is the Internet. You’re a man until proven otherwise.

  85. Heretic!

    True salvation lies in collectively marshalling all our personalities that reside in our individual skulls!

  86. #114, NOEN – “The moment anyone challenges your BS you collapse in a faint.”

    When did anyone do that?

    Since I was called a psychopath in the first comment in this thread, something tells me it’s not my fault that you’re insulting me now.

    You blew your chance at having respect. You can’t come in at comment #72 and say, “Oh, I’m Hannibal Lector now.” No. You’ve shown yourself to be a fucking stooge and now you have to wait for somebody else to play the all-intelligent and dignified savior of the Moonbats.

  87. All over-analyzing aside, in GTA, you’re not really forced to kill and destroy everything in sight, you always have the vigilante option. But running over hookers and blowing things up is way more fun.

    I haven’t played Bioshock all the way through yet, but it’s just as bloody as GTA…only the motives for violence are different. :P

  88. Moonbat says what: “I was called a psychopath in the first comment in this thread,”

    No you weren’t. I scrolled ALL the way to the top, just to see Takuan say “objectivism…call it what it is, psychopathy.”

    Are YOU objectivism personified, MB? Or is it that so much of your personality (such as it is) is tied up in defining yourself by that label? Are you so tied to the “objectivist” label that every attack on the philosophy is a personal attack on you? Try to have a little objectivity about this stuff.

  89. If it will make you STFU, I’ll respond point-by-point to the “reformed” Noen of comment #72.

    $$”The reason you are not being successful here is because you want to preselect the terms of the debate.”

    That’s funny. I thought the reason I was being unsuccessful (unsuccessful at what, I wonder) was that I was called psychopath in the first comment in this thread and that almost every comment since has been insulting, logically fallacious, and inaccurate.

    $$”Your ‘strawman’ is the assumptions that you take as given and assert without proof.”

    In comment #50, you claimed I had built a strawman. You did not specify when or how. Knowing what “strawman” means, I assumed you meant that I had constructed an inaccurate model of collectivist arguments and attempted to shoot them down. In comment #54, I cited specific users who engaged in the behavior I condemned. You then responded, in comment #60, “I don’t think ‘Strawman’ means what you think it means. I think you are confusing that with ‘sockpuppet’.” Now, in comment #72, you attempt to clarify what you think “strawman” means and show that you have no ideas what “strawman” means.

    A straw man argument is an informal fallacy based on misrepresentation of an opponent’s position.[1] To “set up a straw man” or “set up a straw man argument” is to create a position that is easy to refute and attribute that position to the opponent.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Strawman

    A “strawman” is not “the assumptions that you take as given and assert without proof.”

    $$”Real debate involves meeting the other where he or she is at and entering into a discussion.”

    Argumentation (I don’t know what “real debate” means) requires that a) both parties are honestly seeking the truth and willing to change their opinion and b) everyone speaks the same language.

    Clearly, you are not seeking the truth and are not willing to change your opinion. A cursory reading of this thread will show that, and I have summarized most of the thread to make that even easier for anyone who wishes to do that.

    The burden cannot be shifted onto one side alone. If compromise is required, then it is required of both parties. Therefore, if it is taken seriously, your claim against me is also an indictment against yourself.

    Since it so happens my language is reason, I do not see any need to “compromise” with the unreason.

    $$”There is no such thing as a complete hermeneutically perfect system. Objectivism attempts to be that system and to the extent that it does it must therefore be false.”

    Remember the strawman? That is a strawman. You claim that Objectivism attempts to be a “hermeneutically perfect” system and, because such a thing is impossible, it therefore fails. Well, of course it’s impossible–you made it up!

    $$”The mistake that Ayn Rand and all objectivists since make is to confuse the map for the territory. You mistake your description of the world for the world.”

    I’m thinking it’s not a coincidence that you used a postmodernist catchphrase in that sentence.

    No, Objectivism does not confuse the map for the territory. Objectivists (and all rationalists) seek to avoid that problem by relying on logic and evidence instead of fuzzy emotions and ideological dogma.

    $$”They mistook science and mathematics for Nature’s Own Language.”

    If you have a better idea, go for it, but I don’t think it’s going to yield any moon landings any time soon.

    If I responded to every comment like this, I would be very tired and angry. I apologize for not being Jesus, but I don’t have the patience for this. It’s much easier for me to quickly point out the sheer number of bullshit statements and the absolute lack of consciousness of said bullshit.

    If you’re capable of doing so, please read through that summary and apologize for any one of the bullshit statements I cited. If you’re uncomfortable admitting your own mistakes, call out one of your comrades for his bullshit.

    I assure you, if any of those “anti-abuse” commenters make a bullshit comment, I’m going to call him out on it.

  90. #123, JOHNNY, why don’t you just ask Takuan if he meant to say that I’m a psychopath?

    Did you read his “checklist” comment?

    He clearly meant that anyone who adheres to any “Objectivist” beliefs is a psychopath.

    The running theme in most of these comments is that anyone who opposes the prevailing groupthink is sub-normal.

  91. #125, TAKUAN – “only you can teach yourself how to to talk to people”

    Right. How to talk to people. Another classic second-hander belief.

    The idea is that since a) all conclusions are equally valid (or “all is meaningless”) and b) all human beings have equal value, therefore a person must be treated with “respect” even if his conclusions are baseless. In mainstream practice, this applies mainly to discussion of religion and protected groups (politically correct speech). In niche groups, such as this forum, it applies to a much more limited range of ideas–usually a few core tenants of the prevailing groupthink.

    You see, in practice, nobody really believes all conclusions are equally valid. It’s a shell game. Saying that allows one to believe whatever one wants to believe.

    So Christians, Republicans, Scientologists, Objectivists, “Ludites” (these are just a few hated groups off the top of my head) are not afforded any respect and their specific claims are rarely even acknowledged.

    Make fun of Tom Cruise all you want. Call him crazy, gay, evil, etc. But say one negative word about Communism and watch out!

    And if you can’t pick up on that, well, you just don’t have social skills.

  92. There’s a difference between acknowledging any philosophical argument’s validity and accepting its truth value.

    Believing in something with zero truth value doesn’t make anyone a psychopath however, just a moron.

  93. Since this is not a forum and I don’t have the tools one would have I am just going to italicize your comments and hope that makes who is speaking clear.

    That’s funny. I thought the reason I was being unsuccessful (unsuccessful at what, I wonder) was that I was called psychopath in the first comment in this thread and that almost every comment since has been insulting, logically fallacious, and inaccurate.

    You have been unsuccessful by your own admission. You have complained about your inability to make us evil collectivists see the error of our ways. Re: being called a psychopath in the first comment – not true as Johnny Coelacanth correctly points out, true in latter comments.

    In comment #54, I cited specific users who engaged in the behavior I condemned.

    But you did so without any explanation, I can’t read your mind. A strawman argument is something that you do, not something someone else does to you. Which is why I thought you were simply confusing it with an accusation of sockpuppetry.

    A “strawman” is not “the assumptions that you take as given and assert without proof.”

    It is if those assumptions lead you to misunderstand and misrepresent your opponent. Which is exactly what you’ve done all through this thread. It is also why people accuse you of being arrogant. You assume things about people that you cannot know, such as accusing everyone here of being “collectivists” and other mind reading stunts of yours, you insult people and then act shocked at their response.

    Clearly, you are not seeking the truth and are not willing to change your opinion. A cursory reading of this thread will show that, and I have summarized most of the thread to make that even easier for anyone who wishes to do that.

    More mind reading. You have not summarized the thread. That would require you to be objective and you are not. And yes I do respect the truth and I am more than willing to change deeply held beliefs. You have not even argued much less argued well.

    Since it so happens my language is reason, I do not see any need to “compromise” with the unreason.

    This is incoherent. There is no such language and “the unreason” makes no sense at all. When you adopt a private language like this it makes people think you are less than rational, for good reason.

    Remember the strawman? That is a strawman. You claim that Objectivism attempts to be a “hermeneutically perfect” system and, because such a thing is impossible, it therefore fails. Well, of course it’s impossible–you made it up!

    Are you saying that Objectivism does not attempt to be a perfect interpretive or explanatory system or that such systems cannot exist? I believe you are wrong on both accounts. That may seem contradictory but what I’m saying is that while strong and complete systems can exist e.g. formal systems, they fail as systems for representing reality.

    re: confusing the map for the territory
    I’m thinking it’s not a coincidence that you used a postmodernist catchphrase in that sentence.

    A dismissive comment that fails to respond to the argument. Related to your next comment:

    If you have a better idea, go for it, but I don’t think it’s going to yield any moon landings any time soon.

    Which is in reply to my assertion that many 19th century thinkers mistook science and mathematics for the language of God or Nature. They were wrong, demonstrably, provably wrong. That does not invalidate the mathematics used in the Moon landings. It simply means that we are limited, finite beings who do not possess Absolute Truth. Our science is a description of the universe, it is our attempt to explain and in that process we have created powerful intellectual tools such as the calculus or quantum mechanics. But they are only tools and more importantly, they are our creations.

    Objectivism in my opinion does try to assert a kind of privileged absolute truth. As such it is more closely related to religious or political ideology than to any science. That is why you see the assault on science coming from conservative extremists.

    On the other hand I don’t have a problem with parts of Objectivism. It is a mish-mash of 19th century thought and taken separately they are fine as they are. The problem is that it is all been superseded by subsequent philosophers who have either refuted errors or else relegated them to history. There is nothing wrong with say, Aristotle but it would be a mistake to elevate him to god-like status. Objectivism, again in my opinion, does attempt to do this, only with 19th century thinkers. It also has distinct features of a personality cult. The same arrogance, the same pretense to absolute truth, the same aggressive response to any criticism.

  94. I can’t help thinking that Rand wouldn’t be rather pleased with the hatred and idiocy she has been able to inspire, as evidence wealth of insults and complete lack of accurate, substantive commentary here on what Rand actually wrote. The claim that she rejected metaphysics is particularly amusing, although I see little enough evidence that her supporters have understood her work any more clearly than her detractors.

    Here’s a fun game you can play with her writing, and I particularly encourage her ardent supporters to do this: pick up any of her non-fiction writings and start reading at random. Stop when you encounter a vitriolic attack on some other philosophical position.

    Now, write down the substance of her attack, and then go and read the philosopher in question, or mainstream commentaries on them, and decide for yourself if her attack is remotely on point. The first part will take about 20 seconds (Rand never lets more than a few paragraphs pass without going after somebody–usually Kant.) The second part may take a few years. But if you love the truth, it’s worth doing. And the exercise just might teach you something.

  95. I should have made it clear that my post at 130 was in reply to moonbat at 124, sorry about that and yes, it’s a slow day today.

    moonbat @ 128
    The idea is that since a) all conclusions are equally valid (or “all is meaningless”) and b) all human beings have equal value, therefore a person must be treated with “respect” even if his conclusions are baseless.

    This is where you go wrong, this is your strawman argument, or one of them. People do not feel that one should treat others with respect because “all conclusions are equally valid” or even because “all human beings have equal value”. You should treat others with respect because that is how you get along in a world with people who are not you and do not believe the same things as you do. It is simple pragmatism. Well, that and a bit of the golden rule i.e. the categorical imperative.

    It is this belief of yours, that you do not need to treat those beneath you with any respect, that leads to accusations of psychopathy. It gives you the excuse to act like an ass towards others and then you act all surprised when people call you on your crap.

    The problem moonbat is your behavior.

  96. #87 Moonbat

    “” 64. Off-topic comment. “”

    Well.. I’m just gutted.

    I mean, as I was going down the list, reading your self-decreed precis, I’ll admit my heart was riding a little high in my throat. I was eagerly pondering how my single contribution to the thread was going to be summarised, for posterity, by Moonbat’s susinct powers of observation, and how I would fare in the big-leagues of internet blog commentary.

    I was hoping for “64. Clarifying statement.” or, in my wildest dreams, “64. Arkizzle gets to the heart of Joel’s subtle witticism.”

    Imagine my utter dismay as (in plain sight of future, blog-studying philosophers) my attempt at online discourse was expertly and roundly relegated to “off-topic comment”. For shame.

    Sorry, Moonbat, for having contributed to a small, light hearted, sub-thread discussion, that was trying to define “psychopath” and it’s bearing on objectivism as originally suggested by Takuan.

    /slinks away from the big-boy discussion/

    Oh, and just to be clear:

    /SAR-FUCKING-CASM/

  97. #130, NOEN

    You forgot the part where you admit your mistakes and/or condemn similar comments made by your comrades.

  98. #132, NOEN – “You should treat others with respect because that is how you get along in a world with people who are not you and do not believe the same things as you do. It is simple pragmatism. Well, that and a bit of the golden rule i.e. the categorical imperative.”

    That is one aspect.

    Now, let’s be clear here. Are you admitting that this is what you actually believe? Because I have a sneaking suspicion you’ll accuse me of “mind reading” when I call you out.

    Your “golden rule” is one-sided, and it plays out in practice exactly the way I described. The core readers of BoingBoing do not afford any respect to the hated groups I listed.

    This hypocrisy would tend to bother most people–it would tend to cause a bit of cognitive dissonance–and so the behavior is rationalized by falling back on “philosophical” arguments about the nature of truth and reality.

    $$”It is this belief of yours, that you do not need to treat those beneath you with any respect, that leads to accusations of psychopathy.”

    Accusations of psychopathy began before I ever commented.

    And, since you’re so keen on mentalism, why don’t you try looking through this thread and identifying where I’ve written anything “psychopathic”? You don’t know a goddamn thing about me–except that I disapprove of you and your behavior.

    $$”It gives you the excuse to act like an ass towards others and then you act all surprised when people call you on your crap.

    “The problem moonbat is your behavior.”

    The thread is right here for you to look at. Go ahead and scroll up and read the goddamn thread. Your behavior has absolutely nothing to do with me, because it started before I ever commented!

    You can go through other threads on this and other sites and see exactly the same behavior.

  99. moonbat
    You forgot the part where you admit your mistakes and/or condemn similar comments made by your comrades.

    Not playing your game hun. I am not responsible for others, despite your attempts to color everyone with the same brush. Have I been rude? No, outside of one comment not addressed to you, I have not. Did my remark about pudgy white males posting from mom’s basement offend you? Then I apologise.

    You on the other hand have made very offensive remarks to me and about me and I have let them slide.

    The core readers of BoingBoing do not afford any respect to the hated groups I listed.

    Groups, religions, organizations, ideologies and political parties are not people. Cults like Scientology do not deserve respect based on past behavior. Objectivism does not deserve respect because it is intellectually bankrupt.

    Accusations of psychopathy began before I ever commented.

    Logically impossible. You are not Objectivism personified. Although you do seem to be typical. I agree with Mojo Jojo that “Believing in something with zero truth value doesn’t make anyone a psychopath however, just a moron.” I don’t think you are a psychopath because… I just don’t know. However you are pushing it a bit. I stand by my belief that objectivism allows certain people to rationalize their anti-social impulses. Megan McArdle would be a good example of a narcissist who found in objectivism a convenient justification for her personality disorder.

    I don’t think your really serious about all this. All it seems that you want to do is pound your chest and whine about your hurt feelings. You have yet to address a single substantive criticism but have instead gone on and on about how deeply offended you are that anyone dared to dis your belief system.

    You really need to address the short comings of objectivist epistemology before we continue on.

  100. “Hiveminds like BoingBoing do not deserve respect because they are not people.”

    You see how that (doesn’t) work?

    “Logically impossible. You are not Objectivism personified. Although you do seem to be typical.”

    There you go again. I “seem to be typical,” i.e., a pudgy white male who lives in his mother’s basement and pounds his chest…etc., etc., etc.

    Do you want to check that summary again? (Duh: “No!”)

    “You have yet to address a single substantive criticism”

    Substantive criticism about what?

    “…but have instead gone on and on about how deeply offended you are that anyone dared to dis your belief system.”

    I’ve posted comment after comment about disgusting groupthink behavior!

    What do you read?

    This thread could be full of Nintendo fanboys dissing Sony and the dynamics would be the same. You are not special, this forum is not special, this issue is not special, and your “trolls” are not especially disruptive. This is just typical Internet bullshit. The only remotely unique thing about it is that collectivists are such hypocrites.

  101. Wow.

    Well, I’m out. Got to get back to Dominating the Competent. There’s just so many of them, you know? A Collectivist’s work is never done [sigh] .

    NOE, please let me know when you’re planning another Groupthink Hyprocrisy session. I just get all goose-pimply when I hear a total babe say “epistemology”. :-)

  102. Yeah, maybe you can overturn the evil work of Uncle Miltie.

    It always amazes me. Admitted Socialists always deny being collectivists, leftists, etc. It’s always, “I’m too complex for labels. I’m open-minded.” Ask them how they feel about rationality, American values, or the free market, and then you’ll get some serious fucking black-and-white pronouncements. I’m never seen anything like it from rightwing nuts.

  103. OK, OK, I know what’s going on here… c’mere Moonie, ya big lug! You’re just looking for a big hug! Come on! Get over here! Group hug everybody!
    There now! Isn’t that better!

  104. I think moon bat has never seen the internet before.
    As I’ve figured out awhile ago, it’s all fun and games until someone takes it serious.

    Moonbat seems to have no sense of humor, which is a shame because the deepest confrontations only get solved when people laugh about each other’s stereotyping.

    I know it’s not fair to gang up on Moonbat, but as it seems apparent, moonbat is the lone objectivist, surrounded by collectivists.

    This is an ironic situation, one that really should make us all stop and think about it for a moment. Is it any wonder why this bootstrap philosophy of individuality is often such a popular conception to have?

    Our society will never stop producing loners, and as someone pointed out, psychopaths.

    This too should make us stop and wonder at the power of words and philosophies and how they adhere to individuals based on their position in society.

    A philosophy for all man does not exist, one because people are not created equal, and two, people will never be treated as equal. Clones, yes, people, no.

    People that receive societal’s warmth will tend to favor philosophies that support societies growth. Those that do not, will favor philosophies that support the individual.

    As I stated before, and which was met with flippant disregard by moonbat, is that these two realities coexist and are real.

    It’s not a supposition as should be readily seen from A) All humans are not created equal, and B) All humans are not treated equally.

    If you disagree with either of those, speak now. Ergo sunt, theres separate philosophies for separate people.

  105. “Well, there’s one thing, and then there’s this other thing, and it’s all really interesting.”

    How am I supposed to respond to that?

    I like how you’ve latched onto the dominant (most vocal) group, by the way. (“I know it’s not fair to gang up on Moonbat, but…”) That’s a real social skill.

    Do you even know what this “debate” is about?

    What “point” did I make, and on what grounds does anyone “disagree” with me?

    Oh, and I’ve read that “sense of humor” line about a thousand times before. Yeah, everybody on the Internet is a real wiseguy. It’s so fun when you can pick from a million forums and find one where the most vocal members will accept all your worst bullshit.

    I’d also like you to read through my comments and find the place where I say I’m an Objectivist, because I never wrote that. I never wrote half the shit you people think I wrote.

    Now, do you have a point, or do you just want to pretend to be intelligent some more?

  106. Oh, so I’m supposed to tell you that I’m not a witch, right? Because I saw the “WITCH HUNT IN PROGRESS” sign and endangered my own safety by walking into the hunting grounds?

    Get a life.

  107. My stereotyped impression of Rand fans was that they aggressively attack anyone who disagrees in the slightest and declare them a communist; also that they have unlimited free time to dedicate to droning on endlessly about the obvious superiority of their views.

    Thanks all for dispelling that one!

  108. A point? Apparently not.

    But if you could read the subtext, you’d hear a small voice screaming for you to defend your position in some manner that someone (me) could agree with you.

    But you can’t do that can you? Are there to many words to you that contain emotionally charged vehicles for your philosophical reenforcement.

    It’s apparent that whether other people were spot on in calling you a psychopath, or whether calling you a psychopath turned you into one, doesn’t seem to matter at this point.

    Of course, theres two types of psycho paths, those that see things that arn’t there, and those that..well..nevermind, you’re right, theres only one kind of psychopath, and currently you are it.

    No tag backs!

  109. A winters day
    In a deep and dark December;
    I am alone,
    Gazing from my window to the streets below
    On a freshly fallen silent shroud of snow.
    I am a rock,
    I am an island.
    Ive built walls,
    A fortress deep and mighty,
    That none may penetrate.
    I have no need of friendship; friendship causes pain.
    Its laughter and its loving I disdain.
    I am a rock,
    I am an island.

    Don’t talk of love,
    But Ive heard the words before;
    Its sleeping in my memory.
    I wont disturb the slumber of feelings that have died.
    If I never loved I never would have cried.
    I am a rock,
    I am an island.

    I have my books
    And my poetry to protect me;
    I am shielded in my armor,
    Hiding in my room, safe within my womb.
    I touch no one and no one touches me.
    I am a rock,
    I am an island.

    And a rock feels no pain;
    And an island never cries.

  110. Ayn Rands books promote what I refer to, loosely translated to english, as junglism, probably what your Darwinism concept covers.

    In her writings (I’ve read pretty much everything, might be missing an essay or three) we do not encounter anyone but those that want to work and those that don’t want to work.

    Had the human race been a fervent believer in Rands objectivism from day one, we would still be flinging rocks and depending on nuts as a major nutritional factor.

    Nowhere in Rand’s world is there a place for the unfortunate ones, are you born with a defect? Tough luck for you, you lazy bugger, get out of my way!

    Shockingly it seems that all those that are not of the Rand persuasion are something called “collectivists”. That term seems to be supposed to cover everyone else and be a dirty word on the scale of a “communist” (which seems to be a dirty word as well).

    I feel foolish looking back and noting that I actually thought Atlas Shrugged was “right” back in my late teens, when I was at my most selfish stage. Having re-read it since it stung me again and again just how backwards and a throw back to the lower animal lifeforms it is.

    Most of the successfull species are those who employ some sort of collectivism, be it us humans who created settlements, gave up certain freedoms to form communities so that we and our descendants could prosper, or be it packs or clans of various mammals and insects who maintain a social structure, tend to their sick and protect their young.

    Some species do eliminate members if they are no longer productive, some species are prime objectivists and many of those are top of the endangered species lists.

    Rands writings don’t make allowances for anyone who doesn’t get a full set of cards to start playing his way in life, nor do they make allowances for those who have the stack depleted before they even set off.

    Rand only sees “hard-workers” good people and “lazy-sods” bad people. It is a good philosophy to promote to a species you want to see going extinct within few generations. At worst it leads to a great culling.

  111. #146 TWOSHORT “My stereotyped impression of Rand fans was that they aggressively attack anyone who disagrees in the slightest…”

    I guess “disagrees in the slightest” means declaring that all Objectivists (or anyone who agrees with Objectivists on major points) is psychopathic, socially inept, backwards, etc.

    I think it’s clear that the dominant voice on BoingBoing is a little more aggressive than “slight disagreement.”

    “…and declare them a communist”

    Many of the users in this thread are Communists. (Sorry, “Democratic Socialists.”)

    If you’re going to chime in, read the thread.

    Or are you also an extreme-left windbag?

  112. No Gods? That’s a rather bold statement that so many people like to make. If you don’t like God, or religion in general, fine. But I think it’s only fair to try something out before you decide it’s bad, or not worthy. Until you put forth an effort to know God, don’t expect to. Until you put forth an effort to know anybody or anything, you really need to try and learn your subject. How many people here have tried to really know God? How many people here have had a conversion experience? How many people have joined a cult just to know what it was like? Real wisdom comes from depth of knowledge.

  113. #150, ETATWAT

    “Shockingly it seems that all those that are not of the Rand persuasion are something called “collectivists”. That term seems to be supposed to cover everyone else and be a dirty word on the scale of a “communist”…

    “Most of the successfull species are those who employ some sort of collectivism(!)”

  114. A long while ago, there was a Libertarian Party convention in our town. A worker was pushing a two wheeled dolly loaded with folded chairs. It caught and the chairs slid off with a great clatter and spilled all over the floor. All the Libertarians who were around the accident stopped and helped pick up the chairs.

    Why is Moonbat the only one here arguing the Objectivist side?

  115. #156, DOUGROGERS

    “Why is Moonbat the only one here arguing the Objectivist side?”

    Normal people see the signs and decide it’s in their best interest not to comment. They have no desire to change others, they desire to avoid frustration, and they have better things to do.

    Unfortunately, many of those people choose instead to post in forums friendly to their viewpoint, where the cycle continues.

    In this way, groupthink reinforces itself and the culture suffers. Not only on BoingBoing, but on all online forums (and probably most offline forums).

  116. “Why is Moonbat the only one…?”

    I can only answer for myself. Moonbat (and some others) seems to think very highly of his own intellectual superiority. I don’t really know whether or not he actually believes these things to any extreme extent or he is simply holding an alternate view to add color to the discussion, but attitudes of singular enlightenment are enough to give me concern as to whether that particular individual actually posseses such enlightenment. Entering into a serious discussion with those (anyone) who cannot bear the possibility that they may be wrong is not going to lead anywhere productive. Extreme views are dangerous no matter who holds them. Perhaps a sprinkle of objectivism and collectivism is in order. We rely on greed and self-preservation as a motivating factor, however we also rely on each other. But…I could be wrong about that.

  117. If you click on my username and view my comments in the order I posted them, separated from these other comments, you’ll see a very clear progression and may have some idea what I began to say and why I did not continue saying it.

    If I hold extremist views, then tell me: What are my views?

    What extremist positions do I hold? Opposition to extremism? Is that extremism?

    I don’t know if you’re a leftist or not. You may be genuine or you may be playing the “peacemaker” to reach an affable “compromise” and maintain the social order (or “groupthink”). What I can tell you is that misuse of the term “extremism” is a common ruse of collectivists, relativists, postmodernists, etc. By claiming that no one can be right, they become right by default. Whenever their ideological enemies claim any form of knowledge, they cry extremism.

    The only rational response to such a person is, “Thank you for your input and you have excused yourself from any further discussion.”

  118. #156
    “Why is Moonbat the only one here arguing the Objectivist side?”

    Because from my review of this thread, with very few exceptions, there is no actual argument coming from either side, just a bunch of name calling and button pushing – starting with the very first post “psychopathy” and continuing through to “fucking stooge” (#120) and beyond.

    It IS fun to watch, though. (In a hyena pack discovery channel sort of way.)

    Also some of us have jobs.

  119. I think the veracity of Moonbat’s comment, along with his assumptions of his own intellectual superiority, just made my point as to why no one other than himself is making the comments he makes. While I unterstand many of his comments, I certainly don’t wish to be associated with his attitude. I made a statement that perhaps the pragmatic, non-idealisitc approach is somewhere in the middle and I get this response. Perhaps it isn’t entirely the topic of discussion, but rather the manner in which Moonbat delivers his arguement that is cause for the resistance to it. Moonbat’s button-pushing attitide, much like Ayn Rand herself, overwhelms the subject at times. He’d do well to remember that.

  120. Again, you cannot blame this on me because the group behavior began before I ever commented. It began before this thread. It began before this website, and you can find it anywhere you look online–it’s just a matter of identifying the taboo issues (something I happen to be very good at).

    “I think the veracity of Moonbat’s comment … just made my point as to why no one other than himself is making the comments he makes.”

    When did you ever make a point about that?

    Honestly, go back and re-read your own comment. There’s no point like that.

    I, on the other hand, do have a point about why you made this last comment. You did it because your ego was bruised. “Oh, he responded in absolute terms. Oh, how dare he? Didn’t he see how politely vague my comment was?” Then you committed to the full force of your original intention (retroactively writing it into your original comment).

    Do you know what happens when you address groupthink in politely vague terms? Nothing. Absolutely nothing happens. If you’re lucky, someone might comment on how you’re more intelligent than other trolls. Maybe some wannabe Hannibal Lector will take you on as a “sparring partner” for “intellectual fisticuffs” (or “mutual masturbation”). It’s a total waste of time.

    I advise you again to click on my username and see the clear progression of my comments. You can see what I began to say and why I did not continue to say it.

  121. Well you didn’t say a damn thing about my post except quote two pieces of it.

    As for junglism music style, it has to be 90s or its gone soft!

  122. Moonbat knows nothing of my ego much less whether or not it was “bruised”. His ego is quite evident, however.

    “Do you know what happens when you address groupthink in politely vague terms? Nothing. Absolutely nothing happens.”

    Then why does Moonbat continue to tilt at windmills?

  123. I mentioned in a previous comment that I have a faint and distant hope, but mostly morbid curiosity. It’s the online equivalent of picking scabs.

  124. “It’s the online equivalent of picking scabs.”

    OK..Gotcha. Now I understand. You’d have a better chance (with me anyway) if your attitide were slightly less off-putting. You’re obviously a smart guy with some valid points. It’s a shame that people can’t/won’t see those through the attitude.

  125. 168 comments, still no substantive mention of anything Rand actually argued for (or against.)

    Moonbat seems to have read a different Ayn Rand than the egoist everyone else has read.

    On the other side of the aisle we have people claiming to have read everything Rand wrote and saying she advocated the law of the jungle, rather than the rule of law.

    Given the level of reading comprehension this suggests, someone will probably respond to me saying that I’m an ardent objectivist (and really, is there any other kind?) who believes Ayn Rand shot JFK.

    It’s good to know that the progress from USENet to Web2.0 hasn’t changed the nature of the Internet as an essentially write-only medium.

  126. This is my last comment here.

    Moonbat is a troll, nothing more. His behavior here has been nothing but flamebaiting and standard troll behavior. There is no substance behind anything he has said and frankly, I doubt he is anywhere nearly as bright as he thinks he is.

    I have been fully prepared Tom, to address the many philosophical short comings inherent in objectivist thought but neither JCD nor Moonbat were willing to step up and argue honestly. What I have not been prepared to do is to go to all that work with no prospect of a fruitful discussion. I’m glad I didn’t because there is no “other side” only trolls.

  127. Right, I asked to be called a psychopath. Those reasonable comments I posted? Nothing but flamebait! What a fucking scumbag…

    “I have been fully prepared Tom, to address the many philosophical short comings inherent in objectivist thought but neither JCD nor Moonbat were willing to step up and argue honestly.”

    For fuck’s sake, read your own comments. You didn’t even address JCD, and you made no attempt at honest argument.

    Why do you have to bring JCD into this anyway? The guy left at comment #35 and never wrote anything objectionable in this thread. That you bring him up here is a serious crack in your mask of sanity.

    I mean, how delusion are you? What else do you think happened, which didn’t happen?

    I suggest you dig up Ayn Rand’s corpse and wrestle it, because nobody’s interested in roleplaying that scenario with you. I tried to offer my insight into a subject, and I got called a psychopath by a random idiot–then I had to deal with you for six-fucking-18 comments. You think I like dealing with this shit? It just makes me not want to post here–like all the other people with differing opinions who don’t post here because they don’t want to deal with your bullshit.

    If somebody points out an actual error in something I write, fine. I’m always glad to correct flaws in my thinking. When you attack me for no reason and try to make me defend what somebody else wrote, then I’m not happy. When you’re an idiot on top of that, then I start weighing my options to either ignore you or destroy you.

    Just, please, re-read your comments. Look hard for a pattern. Some kind of trend. Then, if you see it, stop doing it.

  128. Ok, I may regret this but I’ll attempt this one last time. Let’s let bygones be bygones and see if we can’t work something out. What is it you hope to accomplish moonbat? You want an apology? I gave you one. Do you want me to convert to objectivism? That isn’t very likely because I consider it to be pseudo-philosophy and morally bankrupt. That is my opinion and it isn’t likely to change. So what then?

    I take it that you would like all the commentators here to apologize for calling objectivists (and thereby you) psychopaths or at least to recognize their own hypocrisy along with their evil collectivist ways. According to you you’ve seen this played out in hundreds of other forums all to no avail. So what do you think the odds are this time? Not very good I would think.

    Perhaps you should try a different approach? I don’t know if you have or not but it would be worth a try wouldn’t it? You have to be willing to give a little to get a little in this world but I’m not sure you are willing to do that. If not then you should just accept that you are not ever going to get the things you want from other people.

    It matters how you ask for your needs to be met. You have to be willing to negotiate. If you just drop into a conversation already angry and pissed off you are going to get rejected even if your anger is justified. I know that sucks but that is just how things are. I also know that I am not by any means perfect, no one is. I do the best I can, I’m sorry that isn’t good enough for you. None of that changes the fact that if you want something from others you are more likely to get it if you negotiate as equals than if you point your finger and accuse.

    So… what do you want?

  129. Takuan it REALLY IS “bated breath” as in stopped, or abated. Unless I’m just not getting one of your ironic funnies again. (Hey, it’s late, past bedtime, zzzzz) :)

  130. I am waiting with bated breath for my fish bait to arrive. I was worried that I was the fall guy in a bait and switch scheme, but that fear has abated.

  131. #171, NOEN – “This is my last comment here.”

    LOL

    #174, NOEN – “You want an apology? I gave you one.”

    This is an apology? “Did my remark about pudgy white males posting from mom’s basement offend you? Then I apologise.”

    Since your point was that, by being offended, I must be a “pudgy white male posting from mom’s basement,” I kind of don’t take that as an apology.

    You went on to write in that same comment: “All it seems that you want to do is pound your chest and whine about your hurt feelings. You have yet to address a single substantive criticism but have instead gone on and on about how deeply offended you are that anyone dared to dis your belief system.”

    Kind of like a pudgy white male pounding his chest?

    Noen, you’re an elitist* fuck. Stop being an Internet jackass.

    * = For the collectivist, who believes all values are subjective and can be determined by consensus, his group constitutes the elite. One becomes elite by conforming his beliefs to the group. All those who do not conform are sub-normal.

    “Elitist” is a kind of sick compliment to most collectivists. They think, Oh, yes, I am elite! It’s like calling a goth disturbing. But still, it’s worth noting that they are elitist fucks. They believe zero times 10,000 equals 10,000,000.

  132. “* = For the collectivist, who believes all values are subjective and can be determined by consensus, his group constitutes the elite. One becomes elite by conforming his beliefs to the group. All those who do not conform are sub-normal.”

    This guy is great! In my head I hear his knowing declamations in the tone of those Sid Davis/Inglewood Police Department videos warning us sternly of the dangers of being “groovy” by doing acid:

    http://www.boingboing.net/2008/02/19/1960s-police-movie-l.html

    Or the sinister dangers of homosexuality:

  133. #31 Moonbat “It was the collectivists who allowed their egos to lead them around like puppets on strings.”
    #45 Moonbat “It all comes down to a mistaken priority placed on the ego.” and “Mystic and collectivist systems do nothing more than allow the ego to run wild”

    Tee Hee! I’ve not giggled like this at a post on BB for a few days. A guy disavows himself of his ego, (says it’s “Mystic” or “collectivist”), yet allows himself to be led around by it into a series of defensive, angry, yet cleverly-worded, meta-discussions and expects to be taken seriously! Yesterday, I could give the guy the benefit of the doubt, but today, as I re-read the whole thread, it’s just funny in an ironic sort of way.

  134. Watching the unravelling of Moonbat’s mind is amusing, but the poor man is sliding into Britney Spears territory. I vote we give him some space until the frothing subsides. Can’t you see the vein in his forehead just pulsing, pulsing, pulsing with every additional swear-word he lets loose?

    #73 (and MB himself) objectively objected to my sharing of an anecdote about my Objectivist acquintances as being too anecdotal: gee-wizz — I wasn’t trying to “join the debate” or structure a convincing logical argument, there is no debate in this thread to join and no thesis to refute. #73 added the nice twist of trying to equate my anecdotal experience with the two self-avowed Objectivist proselytisers with racist stereotyping; unless perhaps he’s saying that being a rabid Objectivist really is some sort of an essential genetic or congenital condition — like skin-colour or sex or partner preference? Hmm, I suppose given the correlations between Objectivism and psychopathy presented elsewhere in this thread, I really should be more compassionate towards these poor joy- and love-deprived souls with their traumatic brain-injuries. ;)

  135. Overclocker, I already apologized for not being Jesus.

    If I responded to every comment like this, I would be very tired and angry. I apologize for not being Jesus, but I don’t have the patience for this. It’s much easier for me to quickly point out the sheer number of bullshit statements and the absolute lack of consciousness of said bullshit.

    I do want to note that your argument (comment #184) is more of the same nonsense I condemned in my earlier comments. You deny the existence of truth, which frees you to behave however you want. Your insipid giggling that I am imperfect and therefore incapable of judging you is like dancing on the grave of God. “Ha ha! He’s dead! We can do whatever we want!”

    Also, I never claimed the ego was mystic or collectivist. That’s more bad reading comprehension.

    Do you know why you can’t read straight? I do. Studies have been done that explain exactly why you make these mistakes. Do you know that it has nothing to do with Objectivism? There’s nothing inherently offensive about Objectivism or Ayn Rand. You simply identify with an ideology (collectivism) and interpret any/all attacks on that ideology as an attack against your self. Your ego is wrapped up in an ideology, just as a Nintendo fanboy’s ego is wrapped up in a game console. The same irrational group behavior occurs on all Internet forums for this exact reason.

    Have I made mistakes? Of course I have. (None of you people have pointed them out, but there are real mistakes in my comments.) My ego was engaged the moment SacrificialGoat insulted me. That’s when I decided that I don’t have the patience to explain anything to you people except the simple fact that you behave like jackasses. It should be noted, however, that I have made far fewer mistakes than most would make in my situation. Just a few years ago, I would have been popping antacids and misspelling every sentence.

    Everyone knows that people react that way when insulted. The more baseless the insult, the better the reaction. That is why harassment works so well. All you have to do to chase away a “troll” is taunt him until he cracks up. It doesn’t matter if the “mistakes” you point out were not mistakes, because that will only make him angry and will serve your purpose just as well. When he finally does make an undeniable mistake, then you can declare victory. Wash, rinse, repeat. Soon you will have no “trolls” and can post whatever insane bullshit you want–free of criticism.

    If you don’t believe me, just look what harassment has done for Little Green Footballs. It’s the same process at work on all Internet forums and all elementary school playgrounds.

  136. Stop the presses!!

    RE: #170: Ayn Rand shot JFK?!? That explains a lot… I’d like to explore this further, but I’ve got some competence I need to manifest, and life’s too short to

    (The Village Idiot shrugged)

  137. #165 etawat

    Yes mate! Brrr-r-r-r-r-rahp! SS-Rollers, Ragga Jungle Massive!

    Jungle died (commercially) around ’96, but it’s still alive in the UndaGround! Don’t lose hope bro! :D

  138. My goodness, Moonbat, you’re a treat! I must have really bruised your ego! I really expected an individual who holds objectivism in such high regard to have a much better handle on these urges.

  139. Actually, it appears quite evident that moonbat is about the only one on this thread who is not a troll.

    Moonbat – there are more intelligent forums (and, of course, dumber ones too) where you might find more competent discussion.

    h20

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