Old 03-07-2005, 02:38 AM   #16
Little Earth Stamper
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Fine, Michael S. Berliner is a giant idiot because he argues that we should celebrate Columbus, a man who represents everything objectivists hate, simply because he is a European. I thought it was obvious without going into depth, but here you go:

Native American cultures were, of course, diverse, but they tended to be less stratified and have less emphasis on sacrifice by proxy then European societies (This is obviously not true of the Aztecs, whom I will get to next).

The earliest (Non-viking) European explorers first came to the Carribean and central Mexico, which as we all know was ruled by the Aztecs at the time. The Aztecs are most famous for their bloody sacrifices, made to keep the gods alive, but another aspect of their society deserves attention:

The Aztecs, at the time of the conquest, were a meritocracy. Social status was indicated by clothes which represented certain achievements, mainly on the battlefield, and sumptuary laws prohibhited anybody from wearing these decorations if they were not entitled to them. All members of Aztec society were eligible to earn these rewards, even slaves.

The children of noblemen were made honorary noblemen, regardless of accomplishment, but unless they acted in a valorous way to cement their nobility, their children would not be considered nobility.

Montezuma was in the proces of making social advancement somewhat harder, and just generally attempting to make the society more stratified. However, there was a force working against that: The merchant class.

The Aztec merchants had tremendous political power, to the point where they had their own seperate court from civilians. They were gaining power, and it's not hard to imagine that a growing middle class would have limited the power of the nobility.

Now, when the Spanish conquerors won, they replaced this system with a form of feudalism, essentially making the indians into slaves for spanish conquerors. If slavery isn't one of the greatest sins to an objectivist, thenI've greatly misunderstood the philosophy.

In addition to that, Christianity, a religion that demands excessive charity from its followers, the religion that objectivism seems to have pretty much formed to fight against, was forced on the natives, what with the burning of heretics and all.

Columbus and his crew set back objectivist goals in America by centuries, yet Mr. Berliner expects us to celebrate them simply for being European.

Does that answer your question?
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Old 03-07-2005, 12:55 PM   #17
VOICE-of-REASON
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LES, frankly I have not understood much of anything that you just posted—I am lost for the most part, for I don’t even know what it is you are refuting. Have you actually read the article that you linked to?—Or were you responding to another one, of the same author?

A little correction: Ayn Rand’s philosophy is called Objectivism, not “objectivism”—which refers to something very different, and is not a complete, integrated philosophy.

Quote:
LES wrote
Now, when the Spanish conquerors won, they replaced this system with a form of feudalism, essentially making the indians into slaves for spanish conquerors. If slavery isn't one of the greatest sins to an objectivist, thenI've greatly misunderstood the philosophy.
I sure do hope that you mean that ‘sin’ part figuratively—all variants of initiation of force from one individual to another is a violation of Objectivist principles, it is an act of violation of individual rights, an act of injustice.

How is the enslavement of the Aztecs by the Spanish a fault of Columbus? Did he turn them into zombies and made them do it?

Quote:
LES wrote
In addition to that, Christianity, a religion that demands excessive charity from its followers, the religion that objectivism seems to have pretty much formed to fight against, was forced on the natives, what with the burning of heretics and all.
I am astonished at how you came to such an inference. Objectivism is not primarily ‘formed’ to fight against anything—but to fight FOR something—that something being: the Supremacy of Reason, and the view of Man as a rational being. This is why Objectivism rejects any form and variant of irrationalism, altruism, collectivism, and any other creed of the worship of death—not just Christianity. And it is true: if Christianity in particular [or irrationalism in general] is to be demolished, then Objectivism is the only secular philosophy capable of doing it. But all that is merely secondary—I don’t think Objectivists are in the business of creating utopias, and I personally don’t have it as a goal to change everybody’s mind: rationality is a matter of CHOICE.

Once again, how is the forcing of Christianity on locals and the burning of herectics a fault of Columbus? Did he invent Christianity?

Quote:
LES wrote
Fine, Michael S. Berliner is a giant idiot because he argues that we should celebrate Columbus, a man who represents everything objectivists hate, simply because he is a European…Columbus and his crew set back objectivist goals in America by centuries, yet Mr. Berliner expects us to celebrate them simply for being European.
Umm…I am completely lost. How do you know what it is that Objectivist hate?—and what does that have to do with Columbus? I’d say that he was a hero—a quasi-Howard Roark of some sort :D . Do you know to how much trouble he had to go to in order to get ships and ‘capital’ for his expedition?—and do you also know how many people thought of him as crazy for his wish to travel westward to get to Asia? He was among the very few at that time who thought that the earth was indeed a sphere. His discovery of the Americas was even accidental.

And ‘Mr. Berliner’does not ‘expect’ anyone to do anything—and he certainly does not say to celebrate Columbus day just because Columbus was European. He argues that we should celebrate Columbus day as an honor to the achievements of Western civilization, which is objectively superior to other civilizations—the fundamentals of which everyone should adopt--which is true. In his own words:

-------------------------------------------------------
Columbus should be honored, for in so doing, we honor Western civilization…
[…]
Some cultures are better than others: a free society is better than slavery; reason is better than brute force as a way to deal with other men; productivity is better than stagnation. In fact, Western civilization stands for man at his best. It stands for the values that make human life possible: reason, science, self-reliance, individualism, ambition, productive achievement. The values of Western civilization are values for all men; they cut across gender, ethnicity, and geography. We should honor Western civilization not for the ethnocentric reason that some of us happen to have European ancestors but because it is the objectively superior culture.

Underlying the political collectivism of the anti-Columbus crowd is a racist view of human nature. They claim that one's identity is primarily ethnic: if one thinks his ancestors were good, he will supposedly feel good about himself; if he thinks his ancestors were bad, he will supposedly feel self-loathing. But it doesn't work; the achievements or failures of one's ancestors are monumentally irrelevant to one's actual worth as a person. Only the lack of a sense of self leads one to look to others to provide what passes for a sense of identity. Neither the deeds nor misdeeds of others are his own; he can take neither credit nor blame for what someone else chose to do. There are no racial achievements or racial failures, only individual achievements and individual failures. One cannot inherit moral worth or moral vice. "Self-esteem through others" is a self-contradiction.

------------------------------------------------------
Well…I guess that does it. Once again, how are the evils of others the faults of Columbus—the individual?

And what ‘Objectivist goals’ did Columbus and his crew set back? You ARE aware of the fact that [the author of Objectivism was born only in 1905, and the full formulation of the philosophy of Objectivism was itself only finished in the late 1950’s]…right? So what ‘Objectivist goals’—supposing there are any—did Columbus—the individual—hinder?
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Old 03-07-2005, 05:52 PM   #18
Enigma
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The problem with Rand, is that she presents an inconsistant theory. She is a psuedo-philosopher, as was said before. Some of the main arguments I have with her are: 1. Emphasis on happiness through reason being the highest activity in life. 2. She says it is wrong to use people, and yet supports the use of govenment services, such as police/fire/etc which are simply groups of people. 3. Also, I take issue with her beleif that it is "wrong" to help others, especially in acheiving their happiness.

All told, Objectivism has a lot less going for it than a real ethical system such as utilitarianism.
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Old 03-07-2005, 05:57 PM   #19
Enigma
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Oh, and I also take issue with the whole anti-self sacrafice thingy. (I'm in the Air Force)
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Old 03-07-2005, 06:50 PM   #20
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Quote:
Enigma wrote
2. She says it is wrong to use people, and yet supports the use of govenment services, such as police/fire/etc which are simply groups of people
people who work in government service are getting paid for what they do, so there obviously not being used, and the ones that arent being paid are oviously doing it volantarily, so they must be happy with what they are doing.

Quote:
Enigma wrote
3. Also, I take issue with her beleif that it is "wrong" to help others, especially in acheiving their happiness.
were the hell did you get that from? when did ayn rand say anything like that?

Quote:
Enigma wrote
All told, Objectivism has a lot less going for it than a real ethical system such as utilitarianism.
all told, you seem to lack the basic idea of what objectivism is, as it isnt really an ethical system.
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Old 03-07-2005, 06:53 PM   #21
Little Earth Stamper
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Quote:
VOICE-of-REASON wrote
...
And what ‘Objectivist goals’ did Columbus and his crew set back? You ARE aware of the fact that [the author of Objectivism was born only in 1905, and the full formulation of the philosophy of Objectivism was itself only finished in the late 1950’s]…right? So what ‘Objectivist goals’—supposing there are any—did Columbus—the individual—hinder?
Sorry, perhaps it's not entirely Columbus's fault. But he represents a strain of thought in western civilisation that is much more antithetical to Objectivism then most of the Indian philosophies he and later explorers replaced.

He was also a slave-owner, and helped enslave at least 2,000 people, some of whom he raped, and he invented the encomieda system, which essentially became a sort of feudalistic form of slavery. Here's an example from Wikipedia: "On Columbus' 2nd voyage he began to require tribute from the Taíno in Hispanola. Each adult over 14 years of age, was expected to deliver a certain quantity of gold. In the earlier days of the conquest, if this tribute was not observed, the Taino were either mutilated or executed."

So, he was a good navigator, but he was also kind of a douche, and it's not clear to me how he or his civilisation were superior to the Indians on a non-technological level.

And besides, it's Berliner himself who equates attacks on Columbus to attacks on western civilisation; Although Cortes and his ilk weren't exactly Columbus' fault, George Washington and our founding fathers aren't really his triumphs, either.

And if we're looking at western civilisation in Columbus' time, it's easy to argue that American civilisation at the time was much more advanced philosophically, esspecially if you are looking through an objectivist lense. Now, I don't know how much the discovery of the New World helped with the rise of democratic-capitalist-secularist thought, but it's not hard for me to imagine that if Columbus hadn't found America, and it had instead been discovered a couple hundred years later, when western civilisation was more advanced, that everybody would have been better off.

Let me clumsily segue to my conclusion:

Mr. Berliner feels that "Some cultures are better than others: a free society is better than slavery; reason is better than brute force as a way to deal with other men; productivity is better than stagnation."

I agree that these are good standards on which to judge a society. The question then becomes this: Did western civilisation in the early 16th century, as embodied by Columbus, embody these traits to a degree that they stood out from contemporary societies?

The answer, as I have endevoured to show, is no. A similar question can be asked of the American societies of the time: Did American societies embody these traits to a noticably lesser degree then contemporary western civilisations? Again, the answer is no, they did not.

Thus, I conclude that Mr. Berliner is an idiot.
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Old 03-07-2005, 08:09 PM   #22
LogicMan
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"Some of the main arguments I have with her are: 1. Emphasis on happiness through reason being the highest activity in life." From Enigma.

True happiness is only achievable through the rational process of dealing reality ie. the universe in which we live and the nature of what we are. Reason; the analytical process of defining reality, allows you to create, produce and LIVE in the most efficient way possible. The only other way to live (in a state of irrationality) will not allow you to create, produce, and ultimately leads to death.

Happiness comes from the satifaction of accomplishment and the confidence you build from accomplishment and ultimately the independence you achieve. That you can take on a challenge if you so choose. That you know how to aquire any skills etc. etc.. Note that I said you can! If the society you live in is self destructive you might not be able to do somethings for reasons other than your own abilities, but even that does not stop personal growth and happiness.

Rand states things in different terms than this, and more succictly, the statements she made on this were (are) correct.

Before posting comments about her writings you really need to read them more thoroughly.
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Old 03-07-2005, 08:29 PM   #23
VOICE-of-REASON
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Quote:
enigma wrote
The problem with Rand, is that she presents an inconsistant theory.
Whaaa??? :O

I challenge you to find the contradiction in Ayn Rand’s thinking.

Quote:
enigma wrote
She is a psuedo-philosopher, as was said before.
Ah...it’s one of those snatched up second-hand smears. I really don’t care much for those—just goes to show how right she was.

Quote:
enigma wrote
Some of the main arguments I have with her are: 1. Emphasis on happiness through reason being the highest activity in life.
And what do you propose Oh Consistent Genius?—emphasis on misery through irrationalism as the highest activity in life?

Quote:
enigma wrote
2. She says it is wrong to use people, and yet supports the use of govenment services, such as police/fire/etc which are simply groups of people.
Well, she definitely does say that it is unjust to use others as mere means to your ends—but how you are going to prove to me that people who work for the government are being used is another matter. Are they not being paid? Is someone holding a gun to their head and forcing them to work—where thy don’t wish to work? Clearly not. Then how on earth are they being used?

Quote:
enigma wrote
3. Also, I take issue with her beleif that it is "wrong" to help others, especially in acheiving their happiness.
And here I’m sitting thinking that when you accuse someone of something so preposterous, you have to provide evidence to back it up—guess I was wrong.

Now, just for my convenience, Oh Sacrificial Sir, will you please provide a quote of Ayn Rand saying such a thing.

Quote:
enigma wrote
All told, Objectivism has a lot less going for it than a real ethical system such as utilitarianism.
Well, you sure are a huge fan of sweeping generalizations. Do you believe that your mere assertions will create facts? Do you even have any idea at all what Objectivism is?—or are you content with second-hand ideas?

Quote:
enigma wrote
Oh, and I also take issue with the whole anti-self sacrafice thingy. (I'm in the Air Force)
Of course you do—you have accepted the morality of sacrificial animals. But sacrifice isn’t a virtue—not to forget that when we speak of sacrifice, there’s always someone collecting at the other end. Here’s the funny thing about your morality: it requires suffering for there to be any virtuous men. But in the Objectivist morality, we know that the good of some men does not require the sacrifice of others.

I certainly do not at all intend to offend you or to denigrate the invaluable service you are providing to this country [for which I admire and respect you], and regardless of what you are getting paid, I wish to remind you that you did not get drafted—I hope, at least--that you are in the army by your own free will. Anyway, here is what Ayn Rand would have told you:

You have chosen to risk your lives for the defense of this country. I will not insult you by saying that you are dedicated to selfless service--it is not a virtue in my morality. In my morality, the defense of one's country means that a man is personally [selfishly] unwilling to live as the conquered slave of any enemy, foreign or domestic. This is an enormous virtue. Some of you may not be consciously aware of it. I want to help you to realize it.
Ayn Rand: Philosophy: Philosophy: Who Needs It?--WestPoint Lecture, 1974.

I sincerely hope that you realize this.
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Old 03-07-2005, 09:19 PM   #24
Little Earth Stamper
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But mightn't one also join the army to keep one's countrymen from being slaves?

In objectivism, is one who sacrifices himself to keep his countrymen free, more, less, or equally moral to one who sacrifices his countrymen to keep his own freedom?
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Old 03-08-2005, 08:06 AM   #25
LogicMan
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Damn I wanted to get back to this before VOR came in to clean things up!

I wanted to add about happiness (and one of the great things in Fountainhead) is how clearly Rand points out how important the following is:

Do you live your life for the sake of impressing or pleasing others or do you live to satisfy your own inner drive(s), which of course need to be positive in nature? The beauty of the story is the way she uses the characters of Roark (the independent self driven egoist) and Keating (as the consumate compromiser and selfless) to demonstrate the two very different types of existense.

enigma wrote:
Some of the main arguments I have with her are: 1. Emphasis on happiness through reason being the highest activity in life.

And what do you propose Oh Consistent Genius?—emphasis on misery through irrationalism as the highest activity in life?

Is the Oh Consistent Genius for me?

If not I am a little upset as I am the one who is mocking this word.
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Old 03-08-2005, 12:47 PM   #26
VOICE-of-REASON
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Quote:
LES wrote
Sorry, perhaps it's not entirely Columbus's fault. But he represents a strain of thought in western civilisation that is much more antithetical to Objectivism then most of the Indian philosophies he and later explorers replaced….
Ok, first I really don’t want to play the apologist for Dr. Berliner—and this is a subject that interests me very little. Second, I know very little about Ancient North American Civilizations, so I will not be able to check your claims—at least, not soon—and I won’t know what to do with anything you say, i.e.: whether it is true or false.

Now, I do not think what Dr. Berliner is saying is that we should celebrate Christopher Columbus’ philosophy. He argues that we should celebrate the foundations of Western Civilization—“reason, science, self-reliance, individualism, ambition, productive achievement”, as these values “stand for man at his best”, and therefore, they should not be the values of only the West, but values which every human being [regardless of sex, race, nationality],should adopt.

Of course Western Civilization has its dark corners—which I believe is why Dr. Berliner selected the values and virtues that I cited—these were the core values of the Renaissance and Enlightenment, and the values of America’s Founding Fathers (with some contradictions). If he meant that we should celebrate Western Civilization as a whole, then he would’ve said that we celebrate Christianity, because Western Civilization is deeply rooted in it[Christianity].

Once again, I do not wish to play the apologist and ‘interpreter’ for Dr. Berliner—I hate it—and I know very little about the Civilizations of ‘Ancient America’, so I will kindly ask you to contact him—as he is very well alive, or to write a Letter to the Editor to the Ayn Rand Institute, and see if they can settle this problem for you. Thank you for understanding.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Quote:
LES wrote
But mightn't one also join the army to keep one's countrymen from being slaves?
As a consequence, yes. As a cause, NO.

First of all, I wouldn’t advocate that one goes to war for the mere cause of saving one’s “countrymen”. Some of those are thugs, Nazis, child molesters, communists, academic Marxists, etc… and I personally wouldn’t go to war to save them from anything—and I wouldn’t go to war for saving any such undefined groups, but to save SPECIFIC types of individuals—who deserve it. Those individuals being, one’s loved ones, friends, family (as far as they share your values), and all other moral, and rational individuals—and more importantly myself. This is not sacrifice, but a fight to selfishly protect one’s values, “value” being that which one ACTS to gain and/or keep. The selfless thing to do would be to sit down and do nothing—and lose one’s values.

Ayn Rand addresses this issue in the PlayBoy Interview, to which I gave a link in my post #5 of this thread. Look it up if you’re interested.

Quote:
LES wrote
In objectivism, is one who sacrifices himself to keep his countrymen free, more, less, or equally moral to one who sacrifices his countrymen to keep his own freedom?
Objectivism does not take it as a sacrifice to protect one’s values [i.e.: rational individuals, and loved ones]—sacrifice is the surrender of a value to a lesser one, or to a non-value/disvalue. It is the surrender of greatness to worthlessness, the surrender of truth to falsehood, the surrender of good to evil—neither of these apply to fighting for one’s freedom and happiness—these are acts of selfishness.

Anything that comes from sacrifice is at best amoral, at worst, evil and immoral.

And those are vague questions/scenarios. Make them more specific if you have any further questions.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Quote:
LogicMan wrote
Is the Oh Consistent Genius for me?
Oh no. That was a reply to enigma.
He said that Ayn Rand was inconsistent, and a pseudo-philosopher. He also said that she emphasized reason and happiness [sic], and that he disagreed with that. So I called him a consistent genius, and asked if he emphasized irrationalism and misery as a way of life instead….kinda rhetorical….
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Old 03-08-2005, 04:50 PM   #27
Anonymous_number1
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VOICE-of-REASON wrote
...
As for crying that the book is ‘really long’, that’s nothing but a confession of intellectual laziness...
VoR rules...too bad he doesnt come here all that often.
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Old 03-09-2005, 03:39 AM   #28
Jimmy
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Rand's choice of values are just as arbitrary as anyone else's.

And she didn't hesitate to shit all over her associates when it suited her...just look at the biographies by Nathaniell Branden and Barbara Branden.
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Old 03-09-2005, 07:55 AM   #29
LogicMan
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Quote:
Jimmy wrote
Rand's choice of values are just as arbitrary as anyone else's.
You are mistaken. There are only two real ways to choose "values" (value system). That which is based on reality. Reality being the nature of the universe in which we live and how it functions, and who we are as a species. Then there is the random mystical way.

Quote:
Jimmy wrote
And she didn't hesitate to shit all over her associates when it suited her...just look at the biographies by Nathaniell Branden and Barbara Branden.
Taking hearsay as evidence to come to a conclusion is always a mistake. Mis communication and value clashes are the typical in human interaction and reading things like this second hand should be taken lightly as it is not nessesarily factual but rather interperative.

Most importantly, an idea such as Objectivism, is a concept. Concepts are seperate from individuals. In other words, regardless of what you think of Rand, you need to look at the Philosophy she defined for what it is on it's own merrits.
If you knew that the inventor of the combustion engine was a complete jerk would you deny that the combustion engine works.
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Old 03-09-2005, 08:21 AM   #30
VOICE-of-REASON
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Quote:
Jimmy wrote
Rand's choice of values are just as arbitrary as anyone else's.
Yes, and you think that your baseless wishes can create facts.

Where did you get that “arbitrary” anyway?—you conceptual thief.

Quote:
Jimmy wrote
And she didn't hesitate to shit all over her associates when it suited her...just look at the biographies by Nathaniell Branden and Barbara Branden.
Err…another second-hander.

I’m not going to waste my time debunking baseless claims such as these anymore. The facts are all that interest me, not anyone’s [second-hand] evaluation of them. I’m starting to understand the cause of these smears—you don’t see anyone trying to refute Ayn Rand’s philosophy—they can’t, so they appeal to their miserable little emotions, debunk straw man arguments, and pitifully throw ad hominems at her, hoping that THAT will undermine her philosophic thought, and make their wishes come true. Keep it up for all I’m concerned—the only disservice you’re doing is to yourself…and anyone who fears to think for himself --[who will have deserved it, anyway].
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