I am a student of Objectivism, and have been for approaching six years now. I am a recovering pragmatist and libertarian. However, I'm often asked in casual conversation what my political beliefs are or what political party I belong to. Would I be compromising principle if I simply said, "I'm sort of a libertarian."
I realize that Objectivism and libertarianism are not the same and that there are major differences between the two, but I've found that saying I'm an Objectivist often leads to more questions than answers which requires further explanation and effort - more than what I'm usually willing to put into the conversation. The differences between the two, while obvious to you and I, tend not to be so with laymen and individuals not versed (or interested) in philosophy.
What should I do in instances where a) I don't wish to get into a long political/philisophical discussion and b) I'm fairly certain most of my defense of Objectivism would go over my audiences' head? Am I being intellectually lazy here?
asked Jul 11 '12 at 15:08
JK Gregg ♦
Please don't call yourself a libertarian. That would just propagate the idea that libertarianism is not what it is: an inconsistent mix of ideologies each of which advocates what it thinks is "liberty."
I also don't recommend leading with the word "Objectivist". Instead say "I advocate reason, and therefore egoism, freedom, and laissez-faire capitalism. The philosophy is called Objectivism."
answered Jul 12 '12 at 09:14
John Paquette ♦
You're passing up a golden opportunity if others express serious interest in what "Objectivist" could possibly refer to. Confounding the issue by furthering the idea of a "libertarian" is likely to be very misleading and counter-productive. If you're not yet ready to seize upon the golden opportunity that others offer to you by explaining Objectivist ideas briefly and factually, possibly inspiring further interest on their part to learn about Objectivism in more depth on their own, then you could perhaps simply refer to yourself as a "supporter of individual rights," or "defender of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness," or perhaps (if you're a little more ambitious) "an advocate of reason, egoism, individualism and capitalism." You could even condense it to just, "I seek to uphold reason and the morality of individualism." You could also describe Objectivism as "the philosophy of Ayn Rand," and if they haven't heard of Ayn Rand (increasingly unlikely nowadays) you could mention that she is the author of Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead.
answered Jul 11 '12 at 22:07
Ideas for Life ♦