Tag Archives: Objectivism

Objectivist Dad

Ayn Rand

I haven’t batted heads with Objectivists for a while now (and I don’t miss that experience one bit), but I always enjoy seeing what results their cult-like ideology brings around. Just now I read this article about a woman who’s childhood was ruined by Ayn Rand and it was fairly depressing.

It’s funny because the experience described here also closely reminds me of the experiences another person described to me about having a (right-)Libertarian dad, and how the parent-child relationship devolved into a form of market exchange. “I’ll send you your birthday gift when you reply to my letters” was an example that stood out.

These ideologies are mental poison.

Quote of the Day: What Logical Principles are for

Quoth Sidney Hook (Quoted in turn by Corey Robin)

The extraordinary virtues Miss Rand finds in the law that A is A suggests that she is unaware that logical principles by themselves can test only consistency. They cannot establish truth….

This is something that needs to be drilled in the minds of all right-libertarians who insist that they can describe reality without requiring any empiricism at all. From the “A is A” Randroids to the “Human Action” Misoids.

Pessimistic but realistic

The Barefoot Bum has once again posted a really insightful article on socioeconomics. I especially agree on the very basic moral values that most people agree on.

[…] but no one should oppose in principle the idea that no one deserves to starve in his old age. No one should oppose in principle the idea that every child should receive sufficient education to participate fully in a democratic society. No one should oppose in principle the idea that everyone should expect a safe workplace as a matter of course. No one should oppose in principle that everyone should expect that the products they buy, the air they breathe and the water they drink have been made safe to the best of our ability.

He then takes it a step further and explains how laissez-faire has not only shown that it is incapable of achieving these goals but it is actually dragging society to the other direction.

What I hadn’t realised however is how much damage the perverted teachings of the Objectivism cult leader have done, not only to the US society but to the world at large. It is telling when you see the US empire slowly1 disintegrating the more they try to follow “laissez-faire” which basically means that the rich are using it as a way to make the poor vote for them to take their money.

I wasn’t aware that the US had a socialistic reform (Roosevelt) but now that I do, the US rise to the forefront as a the first world nation makes much more sense. That US’ position as a developed nation erodes along with these reforms should not surprise anyone but the deluded Right-Libertarians and Objectivists. That Western Europe, where Ayn Rand never got very popular has ended up much more tolerant, secular and generally has a better way of life that the US, also comes as no surprise.

Anyway, go and read the above post. I mostly posted this because I didn’t want to leave him yet another “well-said” comment.

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  1. Slowly for our lifetime that is. In historical standards, it is disintegrating amazingly rapidly, almost as fast as the Macedonian empire []

Yay! More Randians come out of the woodwork.

OK I admit that I’m starting to make it a habit of toying around with Objectivists. For me it’s impossible not to be playful when my “opponents” take themselves so fucking seriously. Plus, they seem to get riled up for no apparent reason, other than, you know, being debated, which further provokes me to make fun of them. And finally, I just can’t seem to be able to avoid them!

This episode, started in a post of the Atheist Blogger who had just discovered Ayn Rand from one video where she had a chance to skewer some theistic thinkings. Since it was at one of the finer moments, Adrian was honestly impressed, which is why I felt I had to jump in and inoculate him, before this horrid philosophy ruined yet another decent person. I was once again in a playful mood.

Which is why, when as expected, Objectivist apologists descended upon up us, (to call us irrational or something) many lulz ensued. However when the last of them posted a huge comment, starting with “All of this is directed at Db0“, I just knew I was in for the epic one. 😀
In all honesty, I could just post the comment here by itself, without any commentary, and it wouldn’t miss much of its hilarity. But of course I know you don’t want to miss my sharp (as a spoon) wit, so without further ado, I present you: Jongalt (LULZ who iz Jon Galt?!).

Ayn rand philosophy:
My philosophy, in essence, is the concept of man as a heroic being, with his own happiness as the moral purpose of his life, with productive achievement as his noblest activity, and reason as his only absolute.

?Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged 35th anniversary edition[4]

Dear Jon, this is just a fancy quote. not a philosophy. It is so vague as to to be meaningless.

Religion:————–
a strong belief in a supernatural power or powers that control human destiny; “he lost his faith but not his morality”
an institution to express belief in a divine power; “he was raised in the Baptist religion”; “a member of his own faith contradicted him”
wordnet.princeton.edu/perl/webwn
Nope. Dont see it there….lets try cult

Are you going to quote definitions on me for everything? *Looks down* Oh, I guess you will *groan*
I guess that you are not aware that you can be perfectly fallacious with definitions? In any case, be aware that religion does not mandate fate of deities. One can very well be an atheist and still be religious.

.
———————-
CULT:
followers of an exclusive system of religious beliefs and practices
fad: an interest followed with exaggerated zeal; “he always follows the latest fads”; “it was all the rage that season”
followers of an unorthodox, extremist, or false religion or sect who often live outside of conventional society under the direction of a charismatic leader
a religion or sect that is generally considered to be unorthodox, extremist, or false; “it was a satanic cult”
a system of religious beliefs and rituals; “devoted to the cultus of the Blessed Virgin”
wordnet.princeton.edu/perl/webwn

Hmmmmm, i guess it could be a “sect”, but that would be by virtue of teh fact that it is in opposition to exstablished systems. If thats teh case i can live with that fact, I enjoy living in reality, whether you seem to think it doesnt exist or not.

You’re kidding me? Your definition just proves how it is a cult. Need more evidence? here!

You say that ATHEISM is not a philosophy:

Oh Gawds! I don’t believe you’re seriously going to attempt and define atheism as a philosophy…

philosophy
doctrine: a belief (or system of beliefs) accepted as authoritative by some group or school
the rational investigation of questions about existence and knowledge and ethics
any personal belief about how to live or how to deal with a situation; “self-indulgence was his only philosophy”; “my father’s philosophy of child-rearing was to let mother do it”
wordnet.princeton.edu/perl/webwn

Whoa, I guess it is. Maybe you want to back peddle a bit? That might be prudent at this time.

Gee, yathink?
Dear Jon, maybe you should have looked up the definition of Atheism instead. if you did, you would have noticed that other than the non-belief in deities, Atheism promotes no beliefs and neither the “rational investigation of questions about existence and knowledge and ethics“. Indeed one can very well be an Atheist and have absolutely no reason to do investigate questions about existence or knowledge.
True, atheists are very likely to also philosophise due to their inquisitive nature, but it is by no means mandatory to be considered one. All you need to do is not to believe in Gods. Fullstop.

Dbo. As Rand has stated and reality dictates, WORDS HAVE A SPECIFIC MEANING.

Don’t you really hate it when people try to defend their positions with…their position? I know I do.
Jon, unless you didn’t realize it, I don’t really care what Rand states and I laugh at your attempt to tell me what reality defines.

Just because you choose to make them mean something else doesnt mean that reality follows. I guess, you could petition webster, britannica and numerous other private companies to add in there:
“Any system by which men come to conclusions using reason and choose to live life according to reality.”

Lolwut?

Anyway about your words argument, just look at the history of the word “Gay”. ‘Nuff said.

Your angry because you cant have your OWN system without contradictions and be allowed to go about your business. Thats fine i guess, until those contradictions are imposed on other people. That is all Rand would argue, besides obviously, you being an irrational person.

Who’s angry? WHO’S FUCKING ANGRY!!
Ahem…
Nah, not me.

Anywayz, who says my system has contradictions? Fuck, you don’t even know what my system is, how can you tell if it has contradictions? Projecting much?

Although I would argue that your in that wagon, since i assume your an atheist and since you reject the idea of a supreme being are therefore living according to reality using a rational system to determine if the claim has any Epitomological value…are you?

Your problem is that you use reason (which is the means to knowledge) to say that epistomology has nothing to do with reason and i quote

——————-
“Epistemology is about knowledge, not a life system as Objectivism tries to be. Modern epistemology is Science, not Objectivism. On not-so-epistemological issues, like morality, Objectivism falls flat on its face.”

MODERN EPISTOMOLOGY: What an unnessesary addition. Epistomology was the pursuit of knowledge 8000 years ago exactly like it is today. Just because our understanding of things changed doesnt mean that our means of doing it has also. IE reason.

Errr, yes it has. It’s called The Scientific Method and it’s been in use only in recent centuries. Yes, reason plays a big role but there are some other things in play.

As for objectivism not being science? LOL

Oh Gawds. I dare not read further…

science:
systematically acquired knowledge that is verifiable.
oregonstate.edu/instruct/anth370/gloss.html

Ill gladly state positions held by objectivists and
verify them for you. heres one.

Reality exists. Simple to prove, I need you to hold your breath and under no cirrcumstances try and breath. Reality will shortly exert itself over you.
if you dont like that please walk to the nearest mountain and attempt to deny that gravity will yank you to the ground at (9.8 m/s/s (please see newtons law of gravity, which by your standard doesnt exist since knowldge changes day to day I guess, or its just not “modern”).

Gee, you’re a proper nuclear scientist you are.
So, just because one of the positions held by Objectivism is true, then the whole philosophy is? I guess then Christianity is true because, hey it’s not good to steal…
Btw, did anyone ever tell you that as an axiom this is as basic as they go? I could practically base anything on it.

Morality is not based on EPISTOMOLOGY?!
Next time you goto a store try and walk out with not paying the groceries instead, since your morality doesnt require knowledge you should be fine.
Although i warn you, try and remember that you, at one time, were probably told or show that if you do this you will be punished….

Go kill a man: Im sure since you have no knowledge that this is a terrible thing you will be fine. And the knowledge of this has changed since yestarday apparently

Do not feed your child: Since morailty isnt based on knowledge this is fine, how could you know that your child would die?

What!? Can you even separate “knowledge” from the “pursuit of knowledge”. Fuck man, many theists manage to stay relatively moral even when not using epistemology at all. They just have their morals hammered on them as children and don’t bother to ever revise them.

Look, there are moral systems that are attempting an epistemological take on morality, but Objectivism is certainly not one of them.

Here ill help you out once agian. Here is something no other philosopher ever told me and you probably need to hear.

1.)Check your premise. A=A
2.)Reality exists. (You can’t eat your cake and have it to)

NoOoOoooo! I’m meeeeelting….

Oh wait, no I’m not.

However the lame quotes are really killing me. You forgot Man qua man (qua man qua man…ad infinitum)

I also remember feeling like a jack ass when her philosophy made me reject a good portion of another woman I respected prior to her Madalyn Murray O’Hair, the specific book i speak of was called “All the questions you ever wanted to ask an American atheist, with all the answers.”
I vaguely remember trying to go back and read that after aquainting myself with Rands philosophy and realizesing that Mrs.O’hair only had one thing right:
A god doesnt exist. Or at the very least is not within our capablity of Knowing, and further speculation is irellevant, its like looking for unicorns on mars, why assume first when we should go and see then determine it? Any ways, what did she use to determine this? The exact same thing Rand uses to build her understanding of the world, and her system, that you use 1/2 the time, and every person I would hope in this forum uses to formulate answers:
Reason.

Yes yes, everyone uses reason to some degree. It’s only that you Objectivists, like Theists, can’t seem to be able to use reason to look at your own philosophy. It’s called introspection and because of your dogmatic and cyclical view on reason (Objectivism flows from reason and the only reasonable thing is Objectivism, hence if you criticize Objectivism, you’re not reasonable etc..), you have a very effective way of both mentally lobotomising yourselves and ignoring critical arguments.

And with this, the LULZ are over I’m afraid. All said, this little comment did give me something to write on a slow day and I’m certain it might keep me busy in the days to come.

Be sure to visit the original thread where Mark C is in the process of beating him into a pulp as well. I only hope more of these Objectivists come here to stun me with their amazing quotes from Rand.

Now that I said quotes; has any Objectivist after Rand actually made any new quotes? Are they too unworthy to be mentioned or is it that the rest of the cult is going to just dismember the heretic who dares to consider herself quote worthy? Just curious…

Yet more hypocricy from Objectivists

Once below I found myself bothering with things that I should have known better not to.

Trying not to get into a detailed history of this:

  • Evanescent wrote an article
  • Alonzo Fyfe (AKA the Atheist Ethicist) tackled it which prompted Evanescent to come to the thread and whine. After failing to discuss (or read Alonzo’s follow up article) he wrote a new post as a reply asking Alonzo to discuss there. I was explicitly not invited.
  • Evanescent and his band of Randians were eviscerated by the Barefoot Bum in Evanescent’s blog as well as commenters on Alonzo Fyfe’s post.
  • At some point, Evanescent made the following statement (in regards to Barefoot Bum): “If he wants to win this argument, he only has to name another ultimate value other than life”. This prompted me to attempt to give single reply. If it was banned, fair enough, I expected as much.

However, it wasn’t blocked but allowed through and actually replied to. This, to my feeble and “irrational” mind seemed as an invitation to explain my position.

How much of a fool was I to expect even a shred of integrity from Randians. After my subsequent replies were left in moderation limbo for a day, they were eventually deleted (I cannot see them anymore as pending).

Since I expected this from the beggining, I decided to save my replies just in case so that perhaps I can continue the discussion with anyone interested, and also to display, once again, the hypocricy of Randianism.

Following are my replies as it would have been after this comment.

  1. db0 Says: Your comment is awaiting moderation.

    Why would one avoid pain?

    Why is pain undesirable?

    Because it makes life unpleasant.

    And it is better to have as pleasant a life as possible.

    I gave you an ultimate goal. This means that there is nothing following it and the purpose of this goal ends when it is realized. It is not, as you state, to make my life better. It just is.
    I can explain why I consider this an ultimate goal, but this will not reveal life as an ultimate goal.

    >Because it make life enjoyable to live. Pleasure is the physical/emotional reward for achieving one’s goals. But to what are these goals directed?

    …The avoidance of pain
    You see that this is a circular argument? My goal is not to have no pain, not to live. Life is my means, a tool that I use in order to have no pain.
    I have no choice on using life or not. My choices only affect my life in the future and for that, I have the goal of avoiding pain.

  2. Ergo Says:
    “Desire Utilitarianism has a very good explanation of what rights are, does Objectivism have anything along similar lines?”

    Actually, DU has a very poor description of rights and Objectivism certainly does not have anything along similar lines. DU is capable of only pointing at a *general* phenomena and ascribing to it the term “rights”–which is not only incorrect but also circular. The argument is circular because it merely uses different forms of the same argument to support the idea that rights exists.

    For example, rights exists because generally people have many and strong reasons to encourage aversions to action X. Without all the unnecessary jargonistics, this is the same thing as saying rights exist because people want rights to exist. Well, but why do people want this to be the case? How did most people get those many and strong reasons? How did those reasons originate? What is their basis and is it univeral or cultural or subjective? And what about the few people who do not have those many and strong reasons? What about those who don’t simply care about this either way?

    DU is perhaps the silliest thing I have encountered that purports to be a philosophy; at its root, it is deeply confused about whether or not it is a philosophy based on determinism or free will. It insists on the objectivity of ethics but has no epistemological foundation or theory of concepts that demonstrates this objectivity; indeed, it appears that DU is epistemologically relativistic at best and subjectivistic at worst.

    WRT Objectivism, it is simply not proper and not feasible to try to convince you of the Objectivist theory of rights on an internet forum. Rarely do people engage in online debates to be persuaded wholly about an opposing view; mostly, it is to bum-troll around looking to get into someone’s hair like a stubborn piece of gum or win debating brownie points on cyberspace.

    Primarily, personal and self-motivated study is the way to changing your views and exploring something new. So, if you’re truly interested in learning about the Objectivist theory of rights (and Objectivism in general)–and not simply engaging in fruitless online debates–then read the relevant books.

  3. Ergo Says:
    “name another ultimate value other than life”

    “Absence of pain. Physical and emotional.”

    Absence of all pain would in fact destroy all meaning in valuation. It would be detrimental to our lives–we would not know what has survival value in relation to us and what is a threat. Pain serves many different, important, and often life-sustaining functions. Pain can be an indicator of the nature of our actions–whether they are good or bad for us.

    In an other sense, imagine your loved one is brutally mutilated by a thug right before your eyes. And then you don’t feel pain; perhaps, you don’t feel joy, but you neither feel pain–just indifference. Then, in what meaningful sense do we talk about valuation and emotional responses to values? How do know what is of value to us and what is not? Given our human nature, we experience our valuations through our emotions (emotional pain or emotional pleasure). With the absence of pain, one of the most important indicators of a healthy life will disappear.

    So, no. Absence of pain cannot be an ultimate value. It is in fact important in the service of a truly ultimate value, which is life.

  4. Mark C. Says:
    Why would one avoid pain?

    Why is pain undesirable?

    Because it makes life unpleasant.

    And it is better to have as pleasant a life as possible.

    Why?

    Because it make life enjoyable to live. Pleasure is the physical/emotional reward for achieving one’s goals. But to what are these goals directed?

    I’ll give you clue: L__E

    There are two different types of responses to a “why” question: one about the conscious intentions of an agent, and one about mechanisms.

    Objectivism defines “value” as something along these lines: some thing or condition that an agent acts to gain and/or keep. Now, let’s analyze this definition with respect to both types of answers to “why” questions.

    Under the intentional answer, eating for pleasure, eating to rid oneself of hunger, and eating to give oneself energy for doing known or suspected future tasks are values. Picking up sand on the bottom of my shoe when I walk on the beach is not a value (nor is the sand).

    Under the mechanistic answer, anything I gain and/or keep, as well as anything I could gain and/or keep by doing whatever action I’m doing at any point in time, are values. Under this answer, that sand I mentioned is a value. Yet this is absurd and trivializes the notion of value, making it next to useless.

    From this analysis, it can be seen that the Objectivist definition of value must reasonably answer the intentional “why” question, not the one I have labeled as “mechanistic”. So, why is pain undesirable? The answer could be “because it just is undesirable” or “because I don’t want to feel bad”. But with the intentional reading of the “why” question, the answer can not be, or at least almost never is, “because it is detrimental to my life”. An intentional answer can not be reduced beyond the issue of consciously known desire, as far as I am aware.

    Your answer was pretty good up until you answered the question “but to what are these goals directed?”. It is there that the equivocation on “value” pops up, where you switch to the non-intentional reading of the “why” question.

    So life can not be an ultimate value if it is not first a value, and no one, as far as I am aware, consciously holds just being alive, even if unable to do anything, as a value. Clearly, then, it is not the case that every person’s own status as being alive is of paramount value to them. A person’s own life is, at the very least, an instrumental value–it is valuable because it allows one to pursue other values. So one’s own life is a value by the Objectivist definition, but it is only, in general, a means to achieve other ends. Staying alive, then, is almost always, if not always, instrumental. But we can not say that it is an ultimate value. We can, however, say that it (the status of being alive) is a necessary prerequisite for valuing anything. This does not make it an ultimate value under the intentional notion of “value”.

  5. Mark C. Says:
    I didn’t separate the quotation from the rest of my post there. The quotation should be from the first line through the one ending in “L__E”.
  6. Ergo Says:
    “Staying alive, then, is almost always, if not always, instrumental.”

    This is not only false, it is impossible. Metaphysically, life is a given. Metaphysically, life is always self-directed, self-generating action (in plants and animals, including humans). To be an instrumental value, one must be able to act in such a way as to acquire, gain, and keep the value in order to achieve higher, more important values. But this is impossible because life is already given–it is already acquired, it already exists. Your actions prove that you are alive. Hence, it is impossible to acquire the value of life for instrumental purposes.

    Life as an ultimate value recognizes a very specific set of requirements: that one must act to acquire, gain, and keep all values that serve the purpose of our life qua human being. Since life qua man is the goal, Objectivism provides the unifying framework for all of man’s actions by defining life as “self-generated action” and man’s life as “goal-directed action.” (Man’s life is “goal-directed” in the conscious sense of the term, because we volitional beings could even choose to commit suicide. Animals exhibit goal-directed action as well, albeit to a limited degree, with the goal being survival.)

    Metaphysically, man has one goal, one end–-to live as proper to his nature. Ethically, man has to choose his ultimate goal. Objectivism recommends that man choose his own rational happiness as the moral goal of his life. This recommendation is premised upon a long chain of metaphysical and epistemological analyses.

    Objectivism regards happiness as not only possible but also the *proper* state of man’s existence on this earth. To that ethical end–which is justified on a metaphysical end, Objectivism builds a framework of moral rights that safeguard the conditions possible (the means) for the achievement of that end and ennumerates a series of values and virtues that are necessary means to achieving that end.

    In both cases, the end is the individual–the man; metaphysically, his life; ethically, his happiness.

  7. db0 Says: Your comment is awaiting moderation.

    Absence of all pain would in fact destroy all meaning in valuation. It would be detrimental to our lives–we would not know what has survival value in relation to us and what is a threat. Pain serves many different, important, and often life-sustaining functions. Pain can be an indicator of the nature of our actions–whether they are good or bad for us.

    This is not what I mean when I say “absence of pain”. The goal is not to reach a status where I’m incapable of feeling pain but rather to achieve a situation where I feel no pain at the current moment. Pain might very well return at a point in time but that only means that my ultimate goal reappears and I have to strive to achieve it once more.
    The absence of pain is, pretty much, a goal that you achieve and lose many times during your life and always strive to achieve again, right until the point your life ends.

    Once again, I am not going into the specifics of “Why” I consider this goal the ultimate. Only, as Evanescent requested, providing an ultimate goal other than life.

  8. db0 Says: Your comment is awaiting moderation.

    To be an instrumental value, one must be able to act in such a way as to acquire, gain, and keep the value in order to achieve higher, more important values

    How do you assert this? There is no such need as far as I can see. A value is instrumental because it is used as an instrument for another value. There is no necessity that it be “acquired” or “act in order to keep it” (although you do need to act in order to retain life).
    Any such characteristics that you assign to “instrumental values” are of your devising and you need to provide empirical evidence to support them.

Of course after such a blatant display of silencing their opponents, I would be very wary of ever commenting on a place where they moderate. I know that Barefoot Bums trackback was deleted as well so I can only further guess that any opinion they could not refute has been conveniently moderated away. It is no wonder why other commenters are staying as far away from their comments as possible.

It also furtheronly reinforces my suspicions that if ever an Objectivist was placed on a position of political power, what followed would be a suspencion of freedom of such magniture that only Scientologists would be able to surpass it.

Similarities between U.S. Objectivists and Christian Fundamentalists

Ever since I started being more interested in the Atheist blogosphere, I’ve discovered the wonderful joys of Objectivist reason as well as the lunacy of christian Funamentalism. As it is, I can’t help but notice some uncanny similarities between those two which, for all kind of reasons should not exist.

I decided to just note them down and see:

  • Exactly how similar these ideologies are
  • If any of you have any more in mind.

So without further ado…

Continue reading Similarities between U.S. Objectivists and Christian Fundamentalists

Moral Relativism (and why I do not embrace it)

This is a post that was actually triggered by a piece (The Necessity of Combating Relativism) I discovered on the 90th Carnival of the Godless and further prodded by a recent comment over at the Atheist Ethicist. This label is one which, for some reason, has been directed at me various occasions in the near past.

Apparently, I am a “Moral Relativist/Subjectivist”. As an explanation of this label I will quote what was, in turn, quoted at me in the past before I was banned.

Moral subjectivism is that species of moral relativism that relativizes moral value to the individual subject.
In ethics, this amounts to saying that all moralities are equally good; in epistemology it implies that all beliefs, or belief systems, are equally true. Critics of relativism typically dismiss such views as incoherent since they imply the validity even of the view that relativism is false. They also charge that such views are pernicious since they undermine the enterprise of trying to improve our ways of thinking.
Perhaps because relativism is associated with such views, few philosophers are willing to describe themselves as relativists. Although there are many different kinds of relativism, they all have two features in common.

1) They all assert that one thing (e.g. moral values, beauty, knowledge, taste, or meaning) is relative to some particular framework or standpoint (e.g. the individual subject, a culture, [a society], an era, a language, or a conceptual scheme).
2) They all deny that any standpoint is uniquely privileged over all others.

– Internet Encyclopedia on Philosophy.

What initially strikes me as peculiar is that this is a position that not only have I never espoused directly but I find myself actively disagreeing with. Specifically, while I do agree with the 1st point, I most certainly do not agree with the second.

Initially this whole characterization was assigned to me in, what I believed then, an attempt for ad hominem against me. I was labeled as such when arguing against the notion that you can have morality without more than one person and at some point I expressed my sentiment that all morality is subjective.

Now apparently this triggered an automatic reaction on behalf of my opponent who assumed I was espousing all sorts of ideas I do not. For example, I would never accept that all moral values are equal, nor that we should not criticize other cultures’ morality. Nevertheless, this is how I keep getting labeled as and I thought I’d clear the misconception a bit. Here are my current beliefs in morality.

Morality is subjective

What I mean when I say this is that, throughout the ages, people have held various beliefs of what is right and wrong. From what I have understood (and feel free to correct me on this), these values are the result of the current period and environment the society existed in. Ultimately, the values are the result of evolutionary advantage of one morality meme over another. One of my favorite examples to explain this is Slavery.

A Perspective on Slavery

You see, in the vast majority of the history of mankind, slavery has always been a reality. Since the early Egyptian history, to Classical Greece, to Romans, Dark Ages and finally the American Revolution, slavery was something that a sufficiently large amount of people accepted.The reason this moral value (slavery = good) was accepted, was solely based on competitive advantage of the society that espoused it.

In the days before industrialization, slaves were the only real source of cheap production. As a result, any society that accepted slavery, gained the means to faster production (Egyptians), ability to concentrate on other tasks (Spartans on Warfare) and/or better standard of living (Romans). Especially in the largely agricultural societies of the time, the ability to assign the menial labor to cheap assets meant that there was a distinct competitive advantage to be gained by utilizing slaves.

This does not mean that all societies used slaves. It only means that those societies that did, were fated to overcome or conquer the ones that did not. This is precisely what was happening in most of the world until the recent centuries (I would consider feuds and imperialism as a form of slavery.) and as luck would hold it, the people of that time, happened to write down their ideas on how slavery is right as a proof for future generations (see the Christian bible or the Hindu caste system.)

Slavery, like most forms of production had some disadvantage. Specifically, even though the cost was relatively low, it was very prone to abuse. This could lead to destabilizing situations for the society that used it, as is what happened with the Romans and the slave revolution or Spartacus. This kind of disadvantage was not enough however to overcome the significant benefit of slavery.

Abolishing and the morality of it all.

Now, most of us living in the modern society automatically consider slavery wrong. This includes me.  The reason we do this is because our upbringing distilled in most of us the notion of freedom as a higher moral value than most others. Thus, for us, owning the freedom of another person is deemed as one of the lowest situations.

But how did we reach this level from when slavery was considered acceptable by most? Once again, competitive advantage.

As I mentioned before, Slavery has some disadvantages that were not sufficient to overcome it’s advantages. However, even during the time of slavery, there were people that considered slavery to be immoral. If you want, you can see this in an evolutionary perspective. The competing organisms in this case, are the societies (or even the members of each society). The traits of the organism are the various memes in effect (Slavery, Warfare, Tolerance, Religion etc). The Environment is the technological level.

People in each society would have various ideas on slavery. If that meme (Abolishing Slavery) took hold, then the society’s paradigm would shift. You could see this as a mutation in the society as a whole which was then called to prove it’s competitive advantage.
Unfortunately, as history has shown, this trait was actually disadvantageous to the society that possessed it as it could not compete with the ones that still accepted slavery.

What was necessary for this trait to gain the competitive advantage was a change in the environment. This change was the Industrial Revolution. Once that happened, it served as the catalyst that allowed the abolition of slavery to take hold. Not because of any objective goodness but because the already existing mentality that freedom is good, coupled with the alternative way to have cheap production (industrialization) as well as the lower cost (no chance of social upheaval) gave the society that abolished slavery a competitive advantage over those who did not.

Tying it all together

It is my impression, that history has shown us that all moral values that we accept in the western society are the result of such processes. A merciless war of ideas where only the ones that were competitively superior could survive. I cannot bring myself to call this process objective for I truly do not see it as such.

The morality I have currently is subjective, not in the sense that I cannot consider anything right and wrong but in the sense that the morality memes most of us possess are the result of natural selection and not of objective truths.

How does that leave me however? Am I predestined to be a “moral subjectivist” and decry all morality as inconsequential and relative? To this I respond no. This is not what I believe.
I have my own morality that is based on personal experiences, beliefs and desires. I base this morality on my reasoning and can explain why I think my moral values are superior to others. I can have a discussion and attempt to convince or be convinced. Always based on reasoning.

I just cannot go one step further and call my personal reasoning as objective as it seems disingenuous. Morality values, in the end, can be rated as better or worse by the degree to which they lead to a better life for the individual and the society that espouses them. However, each individual is different in their desires so the same things will lead to different results.

The only thing we can do is be the example first as individuals and then as a society.

In the first step, this will lead first other people who see our life to follow our example in order to achieve the same level of happiness. They do not need to copy all of our values but even a few will be enough. Given enough people who do this, the paradigm of the society’s moral values will shift.

As a society, all we need to do is the same. A more successful society can only lead to other societies copying the moral memes that led to this success. And thus the world paradigm shifts.

What I believe is that all this can be done peacefully but not by “bending over” to other cultures. On the contrary, when an individual performs an immoral action by our perspective, it should be our duty to speak against them. When a society as a whole acts in an immoral fashion, then is should be our duty to speak against them and/or take measures to disentangle ourselves from them.

Not speaking against an immoral person (by our beliefs), because of some misguided desire to “respect his culture” is only hurting ourselves. Nor speaking out against a society or a culture because we want to proudly display how tolerant we are, will only lead us to be overtaken by the more aggressive memes out there.

This is, for example, the primary reason I speak against European “tolerance” against Islam. Not only is it not helping anyone, it is outright dangerous as the immoral behavior of Islam is given ground to fester and spread.

Epilogue

This has gotten quite long-winded so I think it is time for me to stop.

I hope I have sufficiently explained how I can consider morality as subjective but not be a “moral relativist” myself. I am, however, the first person who will agree that I can be mistaken – indeed, this is the main reason why I shy from calling my beliefs objective. There are many very interesting takes on morality that I am currently checking out, as Desire Utilitarianism. I can see the point but I am not actually convinced that they are objective rather than just superior to what we have.

If I am convinced, I will only help to spread that idea and thus help make this meme the accepted paradigm. Even then however, there is a case that we will fail. Even if DU is “superior” to most other moral systems, if the competitive advantage is not enough, it will be lost in the pages of history.

It has happened before.

I don't know why I bother…

Oh Gawd! It is like Objectivism takes otherwise decent blokes and slowly distorts them into horrible discussion monsters. This is like, the second blog I’ve now been banned from. Amazing! I’ve never been banned from anywhere in my life before and within 3 short months I’ve been banned from two Objectivist lairs, and with the same argument no less: I’m bringing the quality of the blog down. (Just try and say that with a straight face and imagine talking to another person.)

This is me being speechless.

Seriously though, what’s up with that. Is this cult that is called Objectivism, so mind distorting that once you are sucked into it you stop debating like any other person? Does an Objectivist’s body eventually get as corrupted as their mind, so that in the end they end up slithering in the night, like a Lovecraftian nightmate, whispering “Man qua man qua man qua man qua man…”? Scary…

In any case, it’s honestly a shame to see Evanescent end up like this. I honestly thought that he would be better than that but it seems that he has become pretty much like his mentor (Hell, he even copied the same WordPress theme for fuck’s sake…) His previous comments gave me hope that, even with this horrible ideology, he would still remain conversational but I was wrong.

I read somewhere that Objectivism is like a way to have the same certainty as a religion but without the God aspect and this strikes me as true every time I talk to them. They have their prophet, Ayn Rand, and all her words are gold. They have the infallible philosophy and perfect moral system. They have their cult like group and bask in the groupthink (Why do you see so few Objectivists in the Atheosphere? It’s because they don’t really hang out outside of their kind). And so it goes

Oh well, what can you do. In any case it’s for the best as this kind of conversation is starting to get on my nerves. I can handle only so much condescension in one place and the Objectivists seem to have that in spades. it practically oozes from every sentence they make that is directed at any non-Objectivist. Of course I’m certain it all stems from them having discovered the ultimate Objective truth and everyone being too stupid not to see it. Pretty much like a theist really…

Man qua man qua man qua man qua man Cthulu ftagn!