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Respect of the individual is the rule outside of which only the mighty rule as they each battle to protect and establish their national spirit, and even to advance the supremacy of their own way of life without regard for the others, collectives are the individual entities and individual humans are the cells of the body. Loyalty is rewarded and disloyalty penalized, what is the one to the many? The problem here is that: what is stopping the principle of loyalty from overruling that of beauty, truth, and righteousness in favor of whatever the collectives deem of those things, we have then the establishment of dogma as the rule.

Inside this rule of respect for the individual humans, we have the answer, and it is the only valid way morally to reach these ideals and avoid the sinking trap of dogma. If there are to be collectives, they must respect the individual and rise out of their interactions. It is wrong to impose even if you were right in that which you were to impose, ends do not justify means.

I do believe that there is an optimum where individuals are free and where there are collective bodies which individuals can make use of if they so please, units to help to organize and enhance cooperation and reach consensus, and find beauty, truth and righteousness. These collective units must work in harmony all the way up from the individual to the singularity of their movement. In other words, I think that individuals can be free while interacting to coordinate the management of our existence.

I do not see freedom as an obstacle to that end. Even the heroes in Rand's novels cannot live without the rest of humanity, they could live on a desert island and live how they like, but that existence is limited in scope, so they do want to be part of something bigger than themselves and they do care about these ideals, but they would like to be free and in charge of their own existence too.

asked Nov 27 '13 at 08:58

Adeikov's gravatar image

Adeikov
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edited Nov 30 '13 at 20:41

Greg%20Perkins's gravatar image

Greg Perkins ♦♦
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This question (once again) tries to start with Platonism and collectivism as its fundamental context, and then reason from there to a defense (of sorts) of individual choices, freedom and happiness as modes of human existence that allegedly do not conflict with Platonism-collectivism and "ought" to be tolerated by it.

The Objectivist approach, in contrast, is to start with existence as it is (identity), with individuals as they are, with reason as man's basic means of survival (including the "survival" of "collectives"), and then draw conclusions about what individuals ought to seek and do, and why. For Objectivism, the essential issue regarding "collectives" is how they might benefit individuals or not, and on what terms. But for Platonist-collectivists, the essential issue is how to induce individuals to serve the "collective" as a whole, and compel them to do so if non-compulsive inducements don't work. Objectivism asks why a "collective" should exist at all. How does it benefit man (as individuals)? An answer derived from a Platonist-collectivist context will be very different from Objectivism's answer, representing the fundamental conflict between an individual-centered context and a collective-centered one.

Here, then, are some specific comments on particular passages in the question.

How can we ensure that beauty, truth and righteousness are the outputs of our free society?

"We" and "our society" are taken as the metaphysically "given" here. Objectivism strongly disagrees. Collective human enterprises are not metaphysically given, but man-made. Objectivism asks: who makes "collectives," and why?

Respect of the individual is the rule outside of which only the mighty rule as they each battle to protect and establish their national spirit, and even to advance the supremacy of their own way of life without regard for the others, collectives are the individual entities and individual humans are the cells of the body.

Yes, Platonist-collectivists operate outside "the rule of the individual." And again Objectivism challenges any claim that individuals are merely parts of a larger organic whole. For Objectivism, the individuals come first and may (or may not) give rise to a "whole" that serves them. Objectivism holds that it is the "whole" that must serve the individuals (or lose their support), not vice versa.

Loyalty is rewarded and disloyalty penalized, what is the one to the many?

Yes, if the one is merely a "cell" of a larger organic "whole," then individual "cells" are readily expendable if the "whole" deems it expedient for the aims of the "whole."

The problem here is that: what is stopping the principle of loyalty from overruling that of beauty, truth, and righteousness in favor of whatever the collectives deem of those things, we have then the establishment of dogma as the rule.

The questioner sees "dogma" as a "problem." Platonist-collectivists don't see it that way, however. By detaching their cognitive integration processes from reality, and relying instead on a priori postulates of faith, they inescapably fall into the realm of dogma, by their very nature. Any attempt to prevent that process is merely an attempt to "water down" the Platonist-collectivism (to forestall "M2" with "M1," in DIM terms).

Inside this rule of respect for the individual humans, we have the answer, and it is the only valid way morally to reach these ideals and avoid the sinking trap of dogma. If there are to be collectives, they must respect the individual and rise out of their interactions. It is wrong to impose even if you were right in that which you were to impose, ends do not justify means.

Where does "this rule of respect for the individual" come from? There is no validation for it in Platonist-collectivism. One cannot ground such a "rule" in the claim that it doesn't clash with Platonist-collectivism and "ought" (why?) to be tolerated in an otherwise thoroughly collectivist context.

I do believe that there is an optimum where individuals are free and where there are collective bodies which individuals can make use of if they so please, units to help to organize and enhance cooperation and reach consensus, and find beauty, truth and righteousness.

The questioner regards "beauty, truth and righteousness" as great values, but offers no indication of why, on what foundation. One cannot arrive at those values merely by claiming that Platonist-collectivism is neutral toward them. This passage also borrows (implicitly) from the morality of individualism in describing collectives as voluntary. Objectivism takes little issue with voluntary "collectives" ("associations" would be a more accurate description of voluntary, cooperative human enterprises). Calling them "collectives" tends to imply some element of coercion and of individuals as morally duty-bound to serve the collective.

These collective units must [why?] work in harmony all the way up from the individual to the singularity of their movement. In other words, I think that individuals can be free while interacting to coordinate the management of our existence.

In the individualist perspective, voluntary associations exist to serve their participants and deserve to continue to exist only so long as the associations succeed in serving their members. This passage also uses "management of our existence" as a vague, undefined "good." If or when it becomes non-vague and well defined, Objectivism asks: "good" for whom and by what standard? The standard of value underlying Platonist-collectivism usually goes unnamed and is usually mystical ("metaphysically collective," a mystical "greater good") in its fundamental nature.

I do not see freedom as an obstacle to that end.

Fully consistent Platonist-collectivists do see freedom as an obstacle, as the question specifically notes earlier in the references to the importance which collectivism places on "loyalty" over "the rule of respect of the individual." What the question is hypothesizing is a "watered down" view of Platonist-collectivism -- an attempt to reach a compromise between collectivism and individualism while clinging to collectivism as the main base.

Even the heroes in Rand's novels cannot live without the rest of humanity, they could live on a desert island and live how they like, but that existence is limited in scope....

Yes, man can live alone but can benefit enormously from living in an industrial-technological division-of-labor society, as Objectivism explicitly recognizes. In VOS, Chap. 1, Ayn Rand observes:

Can man derive any personal benefit from living in a human society? Yes -- if it is a human society. The two great values to be gained from social existence are: knowledge and trade.... every man gains an incalculable benefit from the knowledge discovered by others. [And] the division of labor ... enables a man to devote his effort to a particular field of work and to trade with others who specialize in other fields. This form of cooperation allows all men who take part in it to achieve a greater knowledge, skill and productive return on their effort than they could achieve if each had to produce everything he needs, on a desert island or on a self-sustaining farm.

But these very benefits indicate, delimit and define what kind of men can be of value to one another and in what kind of society: only rational, productive, independent men in a rational, productive, free society.

The question concludes:

[Heroes] do want to be part of something bigger than themselves and they do care about these ideals, but they would like to be free and in charge of their own existence too.

Yes, a rational man cares about his values, including the value to him of any human associations or enterprises in which he may have chosen to participate.

If this question really is a serious attempt to argue for M1 over M2 using an M2 base, all I can say is: "nice try, but no cigar." The M2 Platonist-collectivists won't like it, except maybe temporarily as a step toward eventual, pervasive M2. And since M1 is just a mixture of 'M' and 'I' ('I' is integration with reality instead of a priori postulates), anyone arguing for M1 is undermining 'I' even while trying to uphold elements of it. Why not uphold 'I' fully consistently and explicitly, instead of trying to dilute (and pollute) it with 'M'? For more on M1 versus M2, refer to Leonard Peikoff's book, The DIM Hypothesis.

answered Nov 28 '13 at 13:21

Ideas%20for%20Life's gravatar image

Ideas for Life ♦
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Asked: Nov 27 '13 at 08:58

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Last updated: Nov 30 '13 at 20:41