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This is a multiple part question Please include the number of the question that you are going to answer to make it clear what you are answering.

  1. Certainly some of our ancestors had some views in line with objectivism before it became a philosophy. Did they have children for any objectivist reasons? Or were there other reasons for them to propagate the species? Should we feel any responsibility to them because they allowed for us to be brought into the world?

  2. Should objectivists be concerned about the future of the human race and the planet? Should we feel any responsibility towards future generations? (For example, should we start using more "green energy" sources, recycle more etc.) Because of limited land/water/other resources, should we limit our excesses to allow for future generations of people? By doing so, are we sacrificing part of our livelihood in order to benefit future generations? Or, if we do not care about future generations, are we not, in turn, sacrificing their livelihood in order to benefit us?

asked Jan 25 '11 at 22:03

Junky's gravatar image


edited Jan 25 '11 at 23:02

Greg%20Perkins's gravatar image

Greg Perkins ♦♦

Thanx for the fix :). I would like to add my reason for asking this question. Recently, I became a vegan, and one of my close friends, who I believe is an objectivist, asked me why I became a vegan, and i told him that due to dwindling land, water, and other resources, i thought it to be wrong for me, and even humans in general, to consume resources at an ever increasing rate. History shows that increased wealth leads to an increase in meat consumption. However, land and water are limited, and more people require more stock to consume. He said i was being altruistic, what do you guys think?

(Jan 25 '11 at 23:18) Junky Junky's gravatar image

You should probably ask that as a separate question. But yes, being vegan is self-sacrificial and altruistic, in your case, and in general; the exception would be if one had a medical reason for being vegan. Furthermore, I contest your premise that there is any problematic shortage of natural resources.

(Jan 26 '11 at 00:32) javert ♦ javert's gravatar image

So am i evil for being vegan? Is it evil for me not to eat meat or use animal products? I don't get it. Also, I contest your contest(???) that there is a problematic shortage, perhaps not until much later in my lifetime or until after i am long dead, but with such things as climate change/global warming/drought(if your from Cali you know about this)/increasing natural disasters i would surmise that by not working to resolve those issues we are essentially living at the expense of others. In fact, simply by living and consuming resources we are living at the expense of future generations

(Jan 26 '11 at 00:55) Junky Junky's gravatar image

In anycase, how would objectivists feel in a (possibly fictional but who can tell for sure?) future when there really is no more food, water, clean air or anything conducive to healthy living? I imagine a bitterness would grow within them, but i am only half objectivist so i cant say

(Jan 26 '11 at 01:01) Junky Junky's gravatar image

Even with consideration to food sources today in particular seafood, i would say that we have, in essence destroyed a future source of food, due to the amounts of toxic substances found in seafood today, in particular mercury(in California bay area, the river delta which empties into the bay contains a lot of mercury. the fish are poisoned. The mercury comes from the gold rush era when it was used in a process to remove gold from rocks. after it was used it was simply dumped on the ground, and then it flowed into the ground water and poisoned it.

(Jan 26 '11 at 01:10) Junky Junky's gravatar image

So in this case i am not sure about where an objectivist would stand, because clearly we must make an altruistic sacrifice in order to ensure that we have not subjected future generations to the problems created by ours and our ancestor's excesses/consumptions, but then you would not be an objectivist after making such sacrifice. Or else we are essentially sacrificing others for our benefit.

(Jan 26 '11 at 01:14) Junky Junky's gravatar image

Climate change is happening, from what I can tell, but I see no rational basis for your degree of concern about the health of the natural environment.

How would vegans feel in a (possibly fictional but who can tell for sure?) future when there are no more vegetables, but only meat products to eat? I'm not responding to the question that you posed that is analogous to this, because there is no response to be given; it's a silly question.

(Jan 26 '11 at 01:19) javert ♦ javert's gravatar image

That would be great!!!! I actually do enjoy the taste of meat, and i wish that it grew out of the earth so i wouldnt have to partake in this vegan nonsense, but that isnt the reality of it...

(Jan 26 '11 at 01:25) Junky Junky's gravatar image

You don't have to partake in the vegan nonsense, silly. You're only doing that because of a load of false ideas floating around in your head. Don't a lot of leftists (and vegans) like to say things like, "question everything?" Well, keep at it, and you'll eventually realize the veracity of what I'm telling you.

BTW, this discussion has gone on long enough; I'm not going to add anything else to this comment thread.

(Jan 26 '11 at 01:27) javert ♦ javert's gravatar image

This is the wrong thread to go into detail about it, but I would suggest that if you are honestly interested in hearing another (I believe correct) evaluation of how the notion that "simply by living and consuming resources we are living at the expense of future generations" is completely backwards, read Capitalism: A Treatise on Economics by George Reisman, which is available for free at http://www.capitalism.net/Capitalism/CAPITALISM_Internet.pdf

(Jan 26 '11 at 09:51) anthony anthony's gravatar image
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  1. There are rational reasons for having children, and there are irrational ones. As long as humans have existed, people have propogates for both kinds of reasons. No, you don't have any responsibility (i.e., "duty") to your ancestors (or even your parents); the rational thing to do is to act in your own self-interest (but not at the expense of others, which is actually subsumed by acting in your own self-interest).

  2. Objectivists should be concerned about the future of the race and planet, only to the degree that it's in one's rational self-interest to do so. So, for example, I'm not worried about recycling or using "green" energy, because I don't believe it's in my self-interest to be concerned with those kinds of things.

Further references: I would highly recommend that you obtain the book "The Virtue of Selfishness," which presents the Objectivist ethics. Another good thing to read, if you have not done so already, is Atlas Shrugged.

answered Jan 26 '11 at 00:36

javert's gravatar image

javert ♦

edited Jan 26 '11 at 13:15

Greg%20Perkins's gravatar image

Greg Perkins ♦♦

I am concerned about the practical applications of any philosophy. Since it is presumed that "we just are" by objectivism, so basically we should not care about the planet, the future of the species, or anything of that sort? Btw i think i may have read parts of "The Virtue of Selfishness"

(Jan 26 '11 at 00:49) Junky Junky's gravatar image

VOS is worth reading many, many times over.

As for the question you're asking in your comment, I'm not sure why you're asking it there, because it's the same question I already answered. If you want a yes/no answer, the answer is "no," because we should care about those things, in a certain way, i.e., to the degree that doing so is acting in our own rational self-interest. For example, I am concerned about the future of the planet and the human species for the near future, since I intend to live on Earth and among humans.

(Jan 26 '11 at 01:15) javert ♦ javert's gravatar image

Btw thumbs up for answering, i appreciate it.

(Jan 26 '11 at 01:16) Junky Junky's gravatar image
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Asked: Jan 25 '11 at 22:03

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Last updated: Jan 26 '11 at 13:15