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If it's any consolation, the American communists of the 1930s and 40s were a cult too. Some of them were really bright, talented people (Dalton Trumbo set me on my path as a writer), but their capacity to believe codswallop was astounding.

Then again, given your experience with the Objectivists, perhaps that kind of credulity is built into our genes.

Crawford,

You're absolutely right about the American communists. It amazes me how they would follow the Soviet line unthinkingly. When the USSR's archives were opened to the West, it was learned that many of these people had accepted regular payments from the Soviet government - among them, apparently, the late I.F. Stone, the famous and much-admired journalist (whose last book, The Trial of Socrates, makes excellent reading).

Although never so heavily into objectivism that I encountered the situations you describe, I have always seen an incredible connection between objectivism (at least that which is expoused in the books) and Catholicism. Philosophically, both take premises and try to apply them to their logical extensions through the use of reason. Both have underlying them faith. Catholicism the obvious sort, and objectivism, the deification of Man. I suppose I 'fell away' from objectivism because of that single unsupported pillar-- a magnificent building, but the foundation was poured in mid-air. It is fine to posit morality from pure reason, but some grounding in the soil of human nature is helpful. I suppose like communism - it would actually work, if it would actually work.
Unlike communism, though, I find objectivism, within the confines of its capabilities, ennobling of Man, and at least strict in its use of logic if the basic premises are stipulated. The same cannot be said for sloppier philosophies that don't even offer a modicum of internal consistency, e.g. Christian fundamentalism, which denies (or at least ignores) the concept of arriving at natural law through reason.
On the hierarchies of wrongness, I would rather have a philosophy that is life-affirming, than one that is life-destroying (I would place communism, for example, in that box), even though one cannot expect ultimately perfect results from a disordered system of belief.
Perhaps your critique of the imperfect players in the objectivism story is a bit like condemning Catholicism for the sins of the American priests. It is either that or the sun's final judgement on Icarus -- wax melts.

BTW - Great site. I'll be back.
Atheist 4 God - http://www.a4g.blogspot.com - Serious stuff
Point Five - http://www.pointfivestep.blogspot.com - Goofin' Around

A personal comment on your last Anti-Ayn Rand rant:

I think that when one try to follow a philosophy, idea, movement, or whatever you wold call it, and try to live exactly as that idea says, one is "transforming" that idea in a CULT.

The person that create that idea, even when trying to think it ALL, is bound to his or her circumstances and education and environment, etc...

If I where an Objectivist, by objectivist's premises, I would not let even Ayn Rand to tell me what to do on this or that issue, because a must use my reason and no other's to think my way... (so so)

For every person there is only one cult: inside his or her mind. And that cult has only one rule: you can do what you want in your mind; if you want to believe in God fine; if you don't fine; if .....

I take from Objevtivism, exactly what I want (no what is good or right), because serves my own personal pourpose, and if you look closely, you'll see that evrey single one has a little hypocrit inside, because no one can and will do as other's say just because that other says is right or good or whatever.

And some issues in Objectivism can be defended, and others no, so what? is the same for every other philosophy or idea, no one is absolutely ok (for me).

The only philosophy is one's mind philosophy for every one, and call it what you want...

In my opinion, Ms. Ayn Rand, wrote a couple of books and gave her ideas there. For me they are good books and that's it. Some ideas are good, some great, and some are bullsh... but, in her own words, she only wants to be a fiction writer, well, that's all, her ideal world and man are just that: fiction. There's not two equal persons, so leave it there...

If you read this, thanks for your time.

P.D. Sorry for the language, I'm from Mexico and don't speak or write the english very good, sorry...

a4q,

I would certainly prefer Objectivism over Communism - no doubt of that. But I'm not so sure that Objectivism really does glorify human beings, though it certainly claims to do so. Rand's portrait of "all that is best in the common man" is Eddie Willers in Atlas Shrugged. Poor Eddie, a proudly self-proclaimed "serf" of the company he works for, cuts a less-than-glorious figure. Rand divided the world into the great, the evil, and the average - or we might say the good, the bad, and the ugly. She did exalt the few people who match her standard of greatness, but she radiated contempt (or, at best, a rather patronizing pity) for nearly everyone else. At least that's how I read her. Your mileage may vary.

Lestat,

I understand your English just fine! And I think you are quite right when you say:

"If I were an Objectivist, by objectivist's premises, I would not let even Ayn Rand to tell me what to do on this or that issue, because I must use my reason and no other's to think my way ..."

This is a good point, but my point is that Objectivism, as a movement, does not encourage this kind of independent thinking. The movement would be much, much better if it did - and perhaps some of Rand's mistakes would even be corrected.

And yes, Objectivism would be better off if its followers accepted that fact that Rand's books are just fiction ... but Rand insisted that her ideal man could be actualized on earth, and that her ideal society was realistic and practical. She believed in human perfectibility. I don't.

You've cut to the quick. The ideal as presented is beautiful (conceded, only if you're Roark, Taggart, Galt, et al) in a museum piece sort of way. But in the glorious, dirty work of living, believing in human perfectibility starts with trying to force people into a mold, then into a prison, and then into an oven.

Wow. You expressed that thought very powerfully. And I'm afraid the history of utopian "experiments" like Stalin's Russia and Mao's China only proves your point. Or as Whittaker Chambers put it in a blistering review of Atlas Shrugged back in 1957:

"[R]esistance to the Message [of the novel] cannot be tolerated because disagreement can never be merely honest, prudent, or just humanly fallible. Dissent from revelation so final (because, the author would say, so reasonable) can only be willfully wicked. There are ways of dealing with such wickedness, and, in fact, right reason itself enjoins them. From almost any page of Atlas Shrugged, a voice can be heard, from painful necessity, commanding: 'To a gas chamber — go!'"

Objectivists have never forgiven National Review for running that piece. The full review may be read at:
http://www.nationalreview.com/flashback/flashback200501050715.asp

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