AN ESTIMATE OF THE VALUE OF OBJECTIVISM
> How have you determined that Objectivism is a > philosophy worth the effort you are expending? Actually, at the present time, I spend very little time on it, but I did spend perhaps an inordinate amount of time on it in the past. My life on the Internet began on the Prodigy bulletin boards, and I happened to run into three "Randroids" who were regulars on the same bulletin board I frequented. That brought it to my attention, and we had daily discussions on all kinds of related topics which went on for months. Their responses were always uniformly dogmatic. I consider Objectivism an "evil philosophy" (in the same sense that Soviet Russia was an "evil empire"), and I see it as the very epitome of anti-democratic thought, parading as a philosophy of individualism and freedom. It is true, as your questions imply, that Objectivism is the belief system of a very small fringe group. Nevertheless, it does seem to have significant influence, especially amongst some young people who lack a fully formed social consciousness. Moreover, it seems to elicit a viewpoint that arises from the lesser part of human nature. In other words, it appeals to those sentiments which border on the anti-social, especially as it relates to the sense of community that is the very foundation of society. For all those reasons, and because it is in a sense a "perfect target" that can be used in expounding the political philosophy of Thomas Jefferson, it has great appeal to me. I have to admit that I find analyzing it in relation to Jeffersonian democracy a fascinating preoccupation. The contrast helps illuminate Jefferson's philosophy. I am often tempted to spend more time on it. In a sense, it serves as the near perfect illustration of a connected philosophy that appears to be in support of freedom, but is actually undermining to the institutions that produce a free society. >Does > this philosophy stimulate you to question your religion? Not in the least. In fact, I find it utterly unworthwhile. To my best recollection, I think I have seen only one or two things that Ayn Rand wrote that I considered really on the mark. Many things were close, but almost all seem to have a point of view that is at least partially distorted. > And, how do you regard the philosophy of Altruism? I have never considered altruism "a philosophy," but rather an attitude. I think the whole idea of altruism is completely distorted by Rand. Real altruism is not a sacrifice of oneself for the benefit of others, but an unselfish caring for the welfare of others, a respect for others as one respects oneself, and certainly not a putting of others ABOVE oneself. That last kind of sentiment I have seen only coming from those despicable kinds of people who are only interested in exploiting others and try to convince YOU that you should sacrifice yourself for THEIR benefit. But such people are quite careful not to practice that kind of sacrifice themselves, and I have never known a mature, well-adjusted person who would suggest that altruism means demeaning oneself for the benefit of another. An altruist, in other words, is just someone who likes to help other people. One could say that they thereby gain recognition, appreciation, etc. But in fact, it just provides a "warm" feeling to help someone. Teachers, librarians, some doctors, maybe some lawyers, plus a lot of people in service industries often have that attitude. It is completely natural. It is the Randroid attitude of thinking only of what contributes to one's own welfare that is the perversion, in my opinion. The above is an expression of my sentiments, not an argument for my beliefs. That seems to be what you were asking for.
Table of Contents