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Is there any danger that self-interested choices of free rational people would lead to ruin or stagnation, a lack of innovation and science, or increasing poverty?

Surely, there are outcomes our choices must promote, surely the opposite will not ensure long-term survival and prosperity of society?

Must freedom be so free it leads to destruction? If life is the will to live and live most fruitfully, surely there must be limitations? And surely, life is an ecosystem or biosphere working toward stability and evolution, so there must be with society. True?

I have no problem with free rational individuals making choices for the benefit of their own interest, so long as these choices do not negatively impact the interests of other free rational individuals. If some of us want a futuristic evolving society and others want a Luddite settled society, then neither must ruin it for the other, there must be a arrangement that allows this. What is it?

Also, some of us do not want poverty, and some don't care; the apathy must not stand in the way. If apathetic individuals are the majority in powerful positions, their power must not be the buffer preventing change, not initiation of a deflective passive force. Inaction is also a choice and an action, the action of passivity, right? How can apathy be handled?

I am concerned with outcomes. I feel Objectivism is not concerned with outcomes, only the means. The means do not justify the ends; true? We, each as individuals, should have responsibility for the outcomes we create, either by action or inaction, while we are free, that freedom must not be wasted, unutilised, and disadvantageous to others; there should things which only you decide and things which are decided by the interests of likewise free and self-interested rational people, there must be some cooperation to maximise the everyone's self-interest. We should have our freedom and help others to have theirs, not simply a choice between oneself or the other, but an equitable amount so long as it is not self-destructive, and there only at the digression of the individual making the sacrifice, perhaps in exchange for honour. But it must not be an irrational unfruitful sacrifice and the person should have done it voluntarily.

Why is Rand so adverse to community spirit, people helping each other because they care, and not by forceful proclamation? Is she afraid it would lead to the formation of expected duties with no exit? Well, if the community is voluntary, what is the issue? Groups can benefit more than loners sometimes, but if the freedom to leave is true, what is the issue?

asked Dec 24 '11 at 11:03

Adeikov's gravatar image


edited Nov 14 '12 at 15:17

Greg%20Perkins's gravatar image

Greg Perkins ♦♦

Objectivism is a philosophy. As such, Objectivism is not capable of doing things, concerning itself with outcomes, or even becoming a world. It is only capable of being embraced, adopted by, or adhered to by individuals who choose to do so.

In the literature that identifies and states the principles that comprise Objectivism, the consequences or outcomes of differing ideas are often appealed to. By identifying how Pragmatism tries to circumvent the law of causality, thus leading to more controls when faced with the consequences. In identifying Rationalism as the detachment of ideas from reality resulting in the the confusion as why philosophy would even be required for living. In identifying how Intrinsicism tries to reduce cognition to revelation, leads to the only means of settling disputes is via force. In identifying that Subjectivism leads to the view that knowledge creates existence through an active inner process, leads ultimately to pragmatism.

Miss Rand was not adverse to people helping one another because they care. She was adverse to forceful proclamations. She rejected the "expected duties" as altruism which she embraced rational selfishness as its contrary and rational alternative.

To understand the political implications of freedom, is not to take it as a disconnected primary as libertarianism, which has written articles advocating the freedom to rape, pillage and murder as being a proper integration of concept of freedom - rather the Objectivist recognition that freedom is an imposition and limitation on government, restricting its jurisdiction to the intervention with force only to situations where force was initiated by one individual against another (or one group of individuals against another).

If you desire to understand what Objectivism is, the best source of materials are Ayn Rand's and Leonard Peikoff's writings. To use any other source is to at best to only understand that particular source's grasp of what Objectivism is.

answered Dec 24 '11 at 15:09

dream_weaver's gravatar image

dream_weaver ♦

I will learn her thought process in developing each piece of objectivism, only then will I be able to find gaps that need filling or trains of thought that neglect facts. But I will acknowledge the soundness of it. I will be fair, critical and open.

(Dec 24 '11 at 15:32) Adeikov Adeikov's gravatar image

Hi, Adeikov. You write that you "feel Objectivism is not concerned with outcomes, only the means."

Objectivism most emphatically doesn't focus on means to the exclusion of ends because Objectivists stand nearly alone in a deep recognition that cause and effect go hand in hand. The reason it may seem that Objectivists focus on means so much is that they forever need to remind others to stop trying to cut corners because reality will not let them have their cake and eat it, too. We live in a culture where people frequently try to ignore causality and desire to enjoy effects without the need to enact their causes, as well as the desire to enact causes while avoiding their effects.

As for ruin and stagnation, I suggest looking at the clear evidence all over the planet and through history: to the degree people have been left free to pursue their own happiness and lives, those individuals and societies have flourished. The hell on earth you fear routinely follows from the opposite.

What is the proper arrangement, you ask? If someone wants to live as a Luddite, that is his right -- but if his neighbor wants to live as a technophile, that is his right. Neither has the right to force the other; individual rights must be respected if people are to have any hope of living together.

answered Dec 25 '11 at 03:25

Greg%20Perkins's gravatar image

Greg Perkins ♦♦

The answer is no. An Objectivist society would not lead to ruin or stagnation. Exactly the opposite.

Freedom does not lead to destruction. Freedom unshackles production, which improves human life long-term. Yes, along the way, some people with obsolete skills would end up losing their jobs, (and finding new ones) but that's part of economic growth.

"I have no problem with free rational individuals making choices for the benefit of their own interest, so long as these choices do not negatively impact the interests of other free rational individuals."

One must be very careful regarding how one defines "negative impact" above. If I run a business, and a new man comes to town who can do a better job than one of my current employees, I have a right to fire my current man and hire the new one. In one sense, that is a negative impact on the first man. But I still have the right to fire him. By hiring a man, I do not become obligated to keep meeting any expectation on his part to remain employed.

In a free society, the only thing I have no right to do to another man is to initiate physical force against him (which includes defrauding him or stealing from him, or destroying his property). That is the only form of "negative impact" that should (and would) be outlawed in a free society.

With the above as the only legal limitation on human behavior, everyone would be free to rampantly innovate and improve life. Things would only get better, except for people who want to stagnate. They'd get left behind, and rightly so.

Would the result of this be ruin? No. The stagnant might try to organize, but if they initiate force against peaceful, productive people, they will be stopped -- promptly and unapologetically.

answered Dec 26 '11 at 20:54

John%20Paquette's gravatar image

John Paquette ♦

Who wants to be on a treadmill their whole life.

And what if some desire a system more supportive to them than laissez-faire? where's choice then?

Plutocratic elitism is what that laissez-faire would end in; and it is just another tyranny of an oppressed; life is not as simple as producing, we produce for ourselves for happiness. Maybe someone say I only produce for myself and live a self-sufficient isolationist life and never give to the economy. Now what if every dissatisfied does that; the economy may suffer; & that the isolationists form their own economy & refuse outside trade?

(Dec 26 '11 at 21:25) Adeikov Adeikov's gravatar image

If one wants to get off the "treadmill," there's self-funded retirement.

"And what if some desire a system more supportive to them than laissez-faire? where's choice then?"

I ask: at whose expense? "Systems" don't support people. People do. Support always comes from someone.

If someone wants my support, they'd better earn it. Laissez-faire is about earning the support you get from others.

Any other system is an attempt to gain something without earning it. The only way to gain something from a rational man without earning it from him is to use force. That's not a valid "choice."

(Dec 26 '11 at 21:45) John Paquette ♦ John%20Paquette's gravatar image

An isolationist would seek liberation from necessity to seek the aid of those who seek exploitation. I.e. because they need support & you take advantage of their need, they are exploited. But if they choose isolationism they will soon not need you, and you may be the one needing them for lack of labourers. They could then be the one's exploiting business. If isolationists do deals with workers to support them, and sell their labour to outside business at a higher price, because need is not a factor the isolationist system, a contender inside laissez slowly undermining it's legitimacy lawfully.

(Dec 27 '11 at 13:01) Adeikov Adeikov's gravatar image

In laissez-faire, to "exploit" and "to be exploited" are one in the same thing, called trade. Trade benefits both parties involved. There is no victor, and no victim. Of course, anyone who wishes not to trade with any given party is free to do so.

So, I don't accept what you are implying. The only way to "undermine" laissez-faire is to teach people that they deserve things that they actually haven't earned -- i.e. to create a mob and attempt to overthrow the government.

(Dec 27 '11 at 19:57) John Paquette ♦ John%20Paquette's gravatar image
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Asked: Dec 24 '11 at 11:03

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Last updated: Nov 14 '12 at 15:17