[POLITICS] Why do people look down on Ayn Randian philosophies?

 Pages PREV 1 2 3 4 5
 

Dirty Hipsters:
I think you've both completely misunderstood what I'm saying.

I haven't, but let me explain with another quote...

The reason socialism doesn't work is because people fundamentally don't want to be equal, and the moment that someone has a little more than other they will fight to keep it rather than give it up for the good of society.

My point is that people no more want to be better than others than they want to be equal. Or to be more accurate, that the population as a whole has both desires to some extent; one may be more prevalent than the other by individual, or even by society. My point is more that when we say something is inherent human nature, I think is stands the risk of being very misleading.

A psychological study (in the USA, I think), for instance, found that a majority of those questioned would prefer to be less well off themselves if it meant that the rich were less relatively richer (e.g. 10:1 instead of 100:1). There's an obvious issue about how this hypothetical would translate into the real world, but it illustrates that imbalances in power, wealth etc. are actually causes of significant angst. Perhaps in ways you could argue it's similar to the notion of wanting to be superior: so as being superior might make people feel better, being inferior makes them feel worse. Equality, even if approximate rather than absolute, thus seems favourable.

It will always exist to some extent as you say, but there are perhaps ways to reduce / ameliorate it. Or to convert it to less disruptive forms. If you imagine that wealth is a prime determinant of status in society, it could perhaps be partially replaced by other rewards (e.g. public honours) which allow people their pride and superiority without gaining the same sort of power that money can leverage.

Agema:

Dirty Hipsters:
I think you've both completely misunderstood what I'm saying.

I haven't, but let me explain with another quote...

The reason socialism doesn't work is because people fundamentally don't want to be equal, and the moment that someone has a little more than other they will fight to keep it rather than give it up for the good of society.

My point is that people no more want to be better than others than they want to be equal. Or to be more accurate, that the population as a whole has both desires to some extent; one may be more prevalent than the other by individual, or even by society. My point is more that when we say something is inherent human nature, I think is stands the risk of being very misleading.

A psychological study (in the USA, I think), for instance, found that a majority of those questioned would prefer to be less well off themselves if it meant that the rich were less relatively richer (e.g. 10:1 instead of 100:1). There's an obvious issue about how this hypothetical would translate into the real world, but it illustrates that imbalances in power, wealth etc. are actually causes of significant angst. Perhaps in ways you could argue it's similar to the notion of wanting to be superior: so as being superior might make people feel better, being inferior makes them feel worse. Equality, even if approximate rather than absolute, thus seems favourable.

"I would rather be first in that little village than second in Rome." -Julius Caesar

It strikes me that such studies are tempting to be interpreted as showing that people are irrational in some way, or that there is perhaps some deeper-than-culture jealousy being expressed, a conclusion which makes sense if you believe that having less wealth in absolute terms necessarily means you're materially worse off than otherwise, and that the future distribution of wealth is neither going to be different than the present one in each scenario nor influenced by the present distribution of wealth. But given how wealth can be used to influence politics, it's not so clear either could be the case. Massive relative inequality can be leveraged to reduce the absolute wealth of the lower classes. And lower relative inequality could indicate more opportunity for peaceful and positive egalitarian political change. It's not at all clear that someone who values their absolute material conditions shouldn't want a more equally distributed smaller pie even if their own piece is smaller. There are always, after all, more pies to come.

hanselthecaretaker:

Dirty Hipsters:

Marik2:
I feel a bit bad for Ayn. She grew up under soviet communism, and that warped the concepts of charity, sacrifice, altruism ,equality, and the greater good for her. You can tell that she just snapped and anything that remotely looks "altruistic" is evil in her eyes.

My dad is like that. Lived under communism, immigrated to the US and became a staunch republican. Supports Trump, still thinks that Obama was a foreign born Muslim, the whole 9 yards.

He's not a dumb person either, he just hates communism so much, and hates democrats because he seems them as "communism lite" and things like Burnie Sanders calling himself a democratic socialist really don't help.

Makes one wonder, if there's anyone who's lived under communism that has a broader frame of reference, and still likes it.

I was still a kid when we left communist Poland so I never had a big picture of things, just a child's nostalgia. My parents lived the majority of their lives under that system and they tend to differentiate between theoretical communism as they were taught in school and "The Komuna", the actual bureaucratic system they had to live and survive in. Komuna was a system of corruption, nepotism and bribery where petty power plays were necessary to advance yourself.

As such my parents are still very much socialists at heart but have a virulant hatred of corruption and people in power abusing their positions to advance themselves at the cost of others. From their perspective Trump is more of a Komuna-ist then a socialist like Sanders ever could.

Nielas:

hanselthecaretaker:

Dirty Hipsters:

My dad is like that. Lived under communism, immigrated to the US and became a staunch republican. Supports Trump, still thinks that Obama was a foreign born Muslim, the whole 9 yards.

He's not a dumb person either, he just hates communism so much, and hates democrats because he seems them as "communism lite" and things like Burnie Sanders calling himself a democratic socialist really don't help.

Makes one wonder, if there's anyone who's lived under communism that has a broader frame of reference, and still likes it.

I was still a kid when we left communist Poland so I never had a big picture of things, just a child's nostalgia. My parents lived the majority of their lives under that system and they tend to differentiate between theoretical communism as they were taught in school and "The Komuna", the actual bureaucratic system they had to live and survive in. Komuna was a system of corruption, nepotism and bribery where petty power plays were necessary to advance yourself.

As such my parents are still very much socialists at heart but have a virulant hatred of corruption and people in power abusing their positions to advance themselves at the cost of others. From their perspective Trump is more of a Komuna-ist then a socialist like Sanders ever could.

That's very interesting. Being able to disassociate the chase from the problem is very rare. It's similar to how I feel about Capitalism. Good in concept but ruined by corrupt politicians, lobbyists and CEOs

Seanchaidh:

"I would rather be first in that little village than second in Rome." -Julius Caesar

It strikes me that such studies are tempting to be interpreted as showing that people are irrational in some way, or that there is perhaps some deeper-than-culture jealousy being expressed,

I might put it another way based in a more rational view. Being inferior to someone is a potential threat. Being a lot inferior to someone is a a very big potential threat. It can be called envy and might superficially be expressed as envy, but I think deep down at core it's a reasonable anxiety about being dominated by others.

Agema:

Seanchaidh:

"I would rather be first in that little village than second in Rome." -Julius Caesar

It strikes me that such studies are tempting to be interpreted as showing that people are irrational in some way, or that there is perhaps some deeper-than-culture jealousy being expressed,

I might put it another way based in a more rational view. Being inferior to someone is a potential threat. Being a lot inferior to someone is a a very big potential threat. It can be called envy and might superficially be expressed as envy, but I think deep down at core it's a reasonable anxiety about being dominated by others.

That's a good way to put it.

trunkage:
That's very interesting. Being able to disassociate the chase from the problem is very rare. It's similar to how I feel about Capitalism. Good in concept but ruined by corrupt politicians, lobbyists and CEOs

What is it about a system which rewards owners of productive assets with money and power and workers with wages dictated by the owners strikes you as 'good in concept'?

trunkage:

Nielas:

hanselthecaretaker:

Makes one wonder, if there's anyone who's lived under communism that has a broader frame of reference, and still likes it.

I was still a kid when we left communist Poland so I never had a big picture of things, just a child's nostalgia. My parents lived the majority of their lives under that system and they tend to differentiate between theoretical communism as they were taught in school and "The Komuna", the actual bureaucratic system they had to live and survive in. Komuna was a system of corruption, nepotism and bribery where petty power plays were necessary to advance yourself.

As such my parents are still very much socialists at heart but have a virulant hatred of corruption and people in power abusing their positions to advance themselves at the cost of others. From their perspective Trump is more of a Komuna-ist then a socialist like Sanders ever could.

That's very interesting. Being able to disassociate the chase from the problem is very rare. It's similar to how I feel about Capitalism. Good in concept but ruined by corrupt politicians, lobbyists and CEOs

My parents explained to me that it was the result of how absurd their lives were at times.

There were a bunch of Polish movies and TV series from the late 80s which were officially farces that parodied everyday Polish life. However, for many Poles they accurately presented what life in late-communism Poland was really like. It's like watching a Monty Python sketch and realizing that you are living in it.

Seanchaidh:

Agema:

Seanchaidh:

"I would rather be first in that little village than second in Rome." -Julius Caesar

It strikes me that such studies are tempting to be interpreted as showing that people are irrational in some way, or that there is perhaps some deeper-than-culture jealousy being expressed,

I might put it another way based in a more rational view. Being inferior to someone is a potential threat. Being a lot inferior to someone is a a very big potential threat. It can be called envy and might superficially be expressed as envy, but I think deep down at core it's a reasonable anxiety about being dominated by others.

That's a good way to put it.

trunkage:
That's very interesting. Being able to disassociate the chase from the problem is very rare. It's similar to how I feel about Capitalism. Good in concept but ruined by corrupt politicians, lobbyists and CEOs

What is it about a system which rewards owners of productive assets with money and power and workers with wages dictated by the owners strikes you as 'good in concept'?

Rewarding effort and capital is good. People who set up businesses should be rewarded just as much as workers

Capitalism doesn't take into account human nature. Greed, corruption, power grabs, manipulation of markets, resources and people is bad and is a symptom of Capitalism as it stands. It's why Communism set out to defeat such problems but ends up doing the same thing. Capitalism is meant to be a meritocracy but it had failed.

For example, I'm for progressive taxes. Mainly because the only way to earn so much money is to exploit workers. Redistribution is a way of punishing poor behaviour. I know it won't change Robber Barons' attitudes but we can use their ill gotten gains to help othets. But not all owners are exploitative. Some, in fact many, try to be as fair as they can without destroying the company. This may not still be good enough but Im not putting them into the same group as the rich

trunkage:

Seanchaidh:

Agema:

I might put it another way based in a more rational view. Being inferior to someone is a potential threat. Being a lot inferior to someone is a a very big potential threat. It can be called envy and might superficially be expressed as envy, but I think deep down at core it's a reasonable anxiety about being dominated by others.

That's a good way to put it.

trunkage:
That's very interesting. Being able to disassociate the chase from the problem is very rare. It's similar to how I feel about Capitalism. Good in concept but ruined by corrupt politicians, lobbyists and CEOs

What is it about a system which rewards owners of productive assets with money and power and workers with wages dictated by the owners strikes you as 'good in concept'?

Rewarding effort and capital is good. People who set up businesses should be rewarded just as much as workers

So they should draw a salary equal to all the others and be paid back on their investment as the business is able? That's not capitalism.

Agema:

Seanchaidh:

"I would rather be first in that little village than second in Rome." -Julius Caesar

It strikes me that such studies are tempting to be interpreted as showing that people are irrational in some way, or that there is perhaps some deeper-than-culture jealousy being expressed,

I might put it another way based in a more rational view. Being inferior to someone is a potential threat. Being a lot inferior to someone is a a very big potential threat. It can be called envy and might superficially be expressed as envy, but I think deep down at core it's a reasonable anxiety about being dominated by others.

I think there is more to it. If there is a huge inequality, you have basically two options.

1) You accept that you really "deserve" that much less than the people on the top which means you are a horrible, worthless person -> that is some really unhealthy attitude bound to result in depression

2) You accept that you "deserve" far more and the people at the top far less and that the situation itself is horribly unfair and should be changed.

That is why inequality leads to discontent regardless of the actual living standards. And yes, that phenomenon is more pronounced in capitalism because here money equals status far more than in other societies.

Seanchaidh:

trunkage:

Seanchaidh:

That's a good way to put it.

What is it about a system which rewards owners of productive assets with money and power and workers with wages dictated by the owners strikes you as 'good in concept'?

Rewarding effort and capital is good. People who set up businesses should be rewarded just as much as workers

So they should draw a salary equal to all the others and be paid back on their investment as the business is able? That's not capitalism.

That not how Capitalism turned out today? Or not Capitalism at all?

trunkage:
Rewarding effort and capital is good. People who set up businesses should be rewarded just as much as the workers.

But they're not rewarded just as much as the workers. They're rewarded vastly more than the workers (at least at the top end); or perhaps more that they are able to exert a disproportionate influence over the state that enables them to rig the system in their favour and against the workers, although the two go hand in hand.

trunkage:

Seanchaidh:

trunkage:
Rewarding effort and capital is good. People who set up businesses should be rewarded just as much as workers

So they should draw a salary equal to all the others and be paid back on their investment as the business is able? That's not capitalism.

That not how Capitalism turned out today? Or not Capitalism at all?

The way to achieve approximately what I (and as I understand it you, though feel free to clarify) described is for the workers to own the business, which is why any investor is paid back for the investment (like it's a loan) rather than simply owning the means of production and their output and relating to the workers as their superior. If the workers own it, that isn't capitalism. I would call it socialist. You can even call it communist without being inaccurate. Can such a business exist within a larger capitalist system? Yes. In fact there are some that do. Just like slavery can exist in a capitalist society (e.g. the United States... in 1860 yes, and also today, because of prisons).

The idea that Ayn Rand's message is that "special people are good and shouldn't be held back for the sake of the mediocre" is a vast over-simplification of Rand's philosophy. The core of her philosophy was fundamentally the idea of "radical selfishness," i.e., that one's actions should, in all cases, be motivated by one's own goals, desires, and sense of self, and that acting for the good of others (i.e., altruism) was foolish and destructive both for the self and society. And this is fundamentally my biggest criticism of Rand, because this is basically the philosophical equivalent of me never growing out of being a shitty 15 year old. Selfishness as a virtue is, in my opinion, intensely contrary to reason, primarily because the only success humans have ever had as a species has been cooperation and looking beyond just the self. The idea that working for others as well as the self, the one thing that kept humans from staying forever food to bigger, more physically powerful animals, is a bad thing, is idiotic. The whole point of society and civilization, the greatest achievements of human progress, were a balance of people working for themselves and the common good, being motivated by more than just "what will this do for me?"

Objectivism has always been, to me, the right-wing equivalent of communism, i.e., a good idea if you just completely ignore everything about how people actually are and how the world works...

Guys. Not trying to defend Capitlaism. Just trying to explain the Utpoic version of Capitalism

Agema:

trunkage:
Rewarding effort and capital is good. People who set up businesses should be rewarded just as much as the workers.

But they're not rewarded just as much as the workers. They're rewarded vastly more than the workers (at least at the top end); or perhaps more that they are able to exert a disproportionate influence over the state that enables them to rig the system in their favour and against the workers, although the two go hand in hand.

Completely agree. As stated, the problem with Capitalism is that it doesn't positively influence against negative human nature. It is corrupt and this destroys the chance for fair rewards.

Seanchaidh:

trunkage:

Seanchaidh:

So they should draw a salary equal to all the others and be paid back on their investment as the business is able? That's not capitalism.

That not how Capitalism turned out today? Or not Capitalism at all?

The way to achieve approximately what I (and as I understand it you, though feel free to clarify) described is for the workers to own the business, which is why any investor is paid back for the investment (like it's a loan) rather than simply owning the means of production and their output and relating to the workers as their superior. If the workers own it, that isn't capitalism. I would call it socialist. You can even call it communist without being inaccurate. Can such a business exist within a larger capitalist system? Yes. In fact there are some that do. Just like slavery can exist in a capitalist society (e.g. the United States... in 1860 yes, and also today, because of prisons).

Communists I listen to come up with a similar system. Workers only own the business. I am not against this, but I would point to Steam and how that is turning out. I.e. Ends with the same result of a normal business. The other issue is that I don't think Communists get so worried about advertising as their focus isn't just profits. Which means they will never have such a big brand name. Good for the worker. Not so good for showing whether Communist companies work. It's unfortunate that Steam is the well known one

As to investors, my only problem is that if these people aren't making more money than a bank, they would just do everything through a bank. Giving banks way more money and power. And I don't like that idea.

trunkage:
Guys. Not trying to defend Capitlaism. Just trying to explain the Utpoic version of Capitalism

A 'capitalism' without employers and employees? Guess that's more or less the 'capitalism' of Galt's Gulch-- which is supposed to be idyllic and therefore is because fiction.

trunkage:

Agema:

trunkage:
Rewarding effort and capital is good. People who set up businesses should be rewarded just as much as the workers.

But they're not rewarded just as much as the workers. They're rewarded vastly more than the workers (at least at the top end); or perhaps more that they are able to exert a disproportionate influence over the state that enables them to rig the system in their favour and against the workers, although the two go hand in hand.

Completely agree. As stated, the problem with Capitalism is that it doesn't positively influence against negative human nature. It is corrupt and this destroys the chance for fair rewards.

'Corrupt' is vague. I prefer Marx's critique.

trunkage:
Communists I listen to come up with a similar system. Workers only own the business. I am not against this, but I would point to Steam and how that is turning out. I.e. Ends with the same result of a normal business. The other issue is that I don't think Communists get so worried about advertising as their focus isn't just profits. Which means they will never have such a big brand name. Good for the worker. Not so good for showing whether Communist companies work. It's unfortunate that Steam is the well known one

Mondragon is more well known outside video gaming circles, I think. What makes Steam an example..?

trunkage:
As to investors, my only problem is that if these people aren't making more money than a bank, they would just do everything through a bank. Giving banks way more money and power. And I don't like that idea.

Public banks and credit unions.

It's a long time since I read Atlas Shrugged but I remember it seemed a reaction to a political system that only existed in the author's head. In the book, the US public think European economies have collapsed through political mismanagement. A really low expectation of European culture nowhere the reality of even war ravaged '50's Europe. There's one scene where a train driver pushes through a tunnel unsafe for his engine and suffocates the passengers. The passengers are individually described with their liberal, middle class professions as if it's somehow their fault. Rand must have hated social workers or something. US culture has also become so collectivist, they're offended by individual success, rather than collective success, even by individual names on inventions, so they rename Rearden Metal to Miracle Metal. I have no idea where that idea came from. Even the Soviet Union lionised their cosmonauts and athletes.

 Pages PREV 1 2 3 4 5

Reply to Thread

Log in or Register to Comment
Have an account? Login below:
With Facebook:Login With Facebook
or
Username:  
Password:  
  
Not registered? To sign up for an account with The Escapist:
Register With Facebook
Register With Facebook
or
Register for a free account here