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Saying "'cause, its the best thing ever" won't convince me. I need a holistic explanation of why it's in my interest to be an objectivist.

Also, were objectivists greatly in power, if I said "I don't want to be affected by your objectivist actions", will you still impose it on me? Will you force me to bow to it? If I desired a system that provides for my needs, and allows me to explore the recreational life, would you force the objectivist system that creates slavery of the powerless, would you force it on me?

It seems paradoxical, to say "I must be an Objectivist" as that would be violation of it's non-imposition standard, while if not being an objectivist was what I want, that would fulfil its rational self-interest standard. What's that about?

asked Mar 12 '12 at 21:47

Adeikov's gravatar image


edited Mar 12 '12 at 22:21


"In order to live, man must act; in order to act, he must make choices; in order to make choices, he must define a code of values; in order to define a code of values, he must know what he is and where he is—i.e., he must know his own nature (including his means of knowledge) and the nature of the universe in which he acts—i.e., he needs metaphysics, epistemology, ethics, which means: philosophy. He cannot escape from this need; his only alternative is whether the philosophy guiding him is to be chosen by his mind or by chance." - "Philosophy and Sense of Life," The Romantic Manifesto, 30

(Mar 13 '12 at 10:22) anthony anthony's gravatar image

I liked that piece; much better than "'cause it's the best thing ever".

(Mar 13 '12 at 10:26) Adeikov Adeikov's gravatar image

"would you force the objectivist system that creates slavery of the powerless, would you force it on me?"


We have had interchanges in the past Adeikov where I tried to be patient with you, because I thought you really wanted to learn about Objectivism. This statement, however, makes it clear that you have not made any effort whatsoever to learn about Objectivism.

No, we will not force anything on you except one thing: you are not allowed to violate anyone's individual rights. Other than that, you can do or believe whatever you want. If you cannot see how a reality-centered, rational, life-affirming, liberty ensuring philosophy is in your interest, then I cannot help you.

answered Mar 12 '12 at 23:14

ericmaughan43's gravatar image

ericmaughan43 ♦

You are just saying "'cause, it's the best thing ever" in "reality-centered, rational, life-affirming, liberty ensuring philosophy". And that alone is not conveying any argument or holistic explanation. Basically all other stances will make similar statements; "Go read a bible; convince yourself" etc.

And this: "would you force the objectivist system that creates slavery of the powerless, would you force it on me?" is relative to my perception; you are welcome to convince me 'slavery of the powerless' does not occur in the Objectivist system.

My condition for belief is understanding.

(Mar 13 '12 at 06:36) Adeikov Adeikov's gravatar image

Also in "convince yourself", there seems to be an implication that what I have come value or believe presently is meaningless and that I should relent to this system that obliviously knows best (like God or big brother etc).

I speak relative to my perception & you are welcome to add/subtract to/from that with arguments of your own relative to your perception showing what you are perceiving.

This is also light-hearted in that I want to riddle me objectivism with paradoxes and dissonance, but it is not my belief that Objectivism is neccessarily wrong. I am just challenging it via adherents.

(Mar 13 '12 at 06:58) Adeikov Adeikov's gravatar image

I can't believe I am allowing myself to get sucked in again... but here goes.

You miss my point, Adeikov---my point is that you have grossly mischaracterized Objectivism, and that even the most cursory search into Objectivism would have revealed to you the error in your characterization. Were you a first-time questioner, I would forgive your mischaracterization and endeavor to help you know what it is that Objectivism actually teaches so that you could make an informed choice about its validity. But that is not the case; you have had many opportunities to learn about Objectivism's teachings

(Mar 13 '12 at 12:18) ericmaughan43 ♦ ericmaughan43's gravatar image

I and many others on this forum have answered many of your questions and in the process have directed your attention to many sources for you to turn to in order to gain more knowledge. I do not expect you to have accepted my answers, but I do expect that you at least be honest about what it is that Objectivism teaches.

As for your main question, there is nothing wrong with it---it is a good question. My reaction is to your elaboration in the body (especially the portion I quoted) which I belive reveals your refusal to discover and take seriously Objectivism's actual teachings.

(Mar 13 '12 at 12:26) ericmaughan43 ♦ ericmaughan43's gravatar image

If I am wrong, and you really have just misunderstood something or were just trying to be dramatic or controversial, then I apologize.

As for "a reality-centered, rational, life-affirming, liberty ensuring philosophy", let me explain: in metaphysics, we hold to the primacy of existence ("reality-centered"), in epistemology, we hold that reason is man's tool of knowledge ("rational"), in ethics, we hold that man's life is the standard of value ("life-affirming"), in politics, we hold that individual rights are inalienable ("liberty ensuring").

(Mar 13 '12 at 12:32) ericmaughan43 ♦ ericmaughan43's gravatar image

The idea is I present my perception, which relative and open, that others may correct via convincing argument. I do not claim knowledge beyond my perception and do not claim my perception is infallibly accurate. I just do things a bit different than perhaps others do: make absolute claims, etc.

Example: I can think something true, but that's just as I think, and I am imperfect, thus my statements are always relative and open to correction and news. However the one validation is science; when science is involved it is relative to the method of science, not me. When we collaberate ditto.

(Mar 13 '12 at 17:45) Adeikov Adeikov's gravatar image
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I need a holistic explanation of why it's in my interest to be an objectivist.

It's not possible to provide a meaningful one-size-fits-all answer to a question like that. If you don't figure it out yourself, no one else will be able to talk you into it. It's like asking "why should I be honest?" or "why should I have integrity?"

Also, were objectivists greatly in power,

Being "in power" doesn't really fit with Objectivism.

if I said "I don't want to be affected by your objectivist actions", will you still impose it on me? Will you force me to bow to it? If I desired a system that provides for my needs, and allows me to explore the recreational life, would you force the objectivist system that creates slavery of the powerless, would you force it on me?

In other words, if you wanted to leech off of others against their will, to impose your needs on them, would I try to prevent you from doing so? Yes, absolutely.

It seems paradoxical, to say "I must be an Objectivist" as that would be violation of it's non-imposition standard, while if not being an objectivist was what I want, that would fulfil its rational self-interest standard. What's that about?

For the most part, I frankly don't care what philosophy you adopt. But if it gets to the point where your choices violate my individual rights or the rights of others, then I would stand against you, either directly or through a proper government as my proxy. Your "rational self interest standard" ends where the rights of others begin.

answered Mar 16 '12 at 07:21

Rick's gravatar image

Rick ♦

Objectivism says you may not steal, but if your life depends on it, there's not much choice but theft. If your life depended on stealing, you would steal rather than starve. Assuming nobody cares to spare you food.

(Mar 16 '12 at 08:07) Adeikov Adeikov's gravatar image

It does not matter how right you think Objectivism; people are going to fight for as much freedom as they can, and if that means pushing aside those who would stand in the way, it's a price they'd gladly pay.

(Mar 16 '12 at 08:10) Adeikov Adeikov's gravatar image

If you would let a starving family die: you have fish, and say "it's my fish", you can catch more, you withhold, and they die. How is that right?

Or why would you let them wander through life without dignity?

If you withhold, you cause their death by inaction, how can Objectivism call that right or good?

(Mar 16 '12 at 08:17) Adeikov Adeikov's gravatar image

Objectivism does not say "you may not steal." It's not an absolute; it's contextual. There are certain contexts where stealing is appropriate and moral.

People will fight for all sorts of things. When many claim to be fighting for "freedom," what they really mean is that they want to impose themselves on others. They want to be free, while enslaving others. Objectivism rejects that way of thinking.

If there was one family that might starve if I didn't help them that one time, and it was an easy and risk-free thing to do, then it would almost certainly be in my best interest to do so.

(Mar 18 '12 at 00:42) Rick ♦ Rick's gravatar image

But where do you draw the line? And who makes the decision to help or not? You or the ones in need? Objectivism says that it's your choice, that the needs of others are not a claim on your life.

If someone were to die in a case like that, "not helping" would not be the cause. There is a larger context. How did they get into that situation to begin with?

(Mar 18 '12 at 00:46) Rick ♦ Rick's gravatar image

You still have the power to help them along. Not helping is a choice, but their fate is in your hands, so not helping you have made the choice to let them meet the tragedy had they never came by you.

When you are presented with a choice on which the fate of another hangs, into a lesser fate or into a better fate, it would be nice to think that people would automatically choose to improve the fate of others. Would you want to live in a world in which everyone were so unhelpful? Or would you prefer the helpful world?

Let us say, people became purely selfish beings, would that be a good world?

(Mar 22 '12 at 14:44) Adeikov Adeikov's gravatar image

From Adeikov: if "people became purely selfish beings, would that be a good world?"

Why does being "purely selfish" imply that one would never want to help another person? Why would others necessarily have no value to offer in return for any help they receive? Are you implicitly presupposing that a large class of human adults exist who are genetically helpless to provide for their own lives and must rely predominately on the purely charitable generosity of others, if they are to avoid suffering and misery? (And, simultaneously, that another class exists that is not genetically helpless? Or that those capable of helping others in addition to themselves got that way entirely by accident and/or by social privilege of some kind, rather than by any ability and effort of their own?)

(Mar 22 '12 at 22:41) Ideas for Life ♦ Ideas%20for%20Life's gravatar image

In this case: Helpful adj. = improving the fate of others / Unhelpful adj. = not improving the fate of others

Selfish adj. = 1. seeking to improve your fate, perhaps at the expense of another's fate / 2. Letting the weak suffer their own weakness, while the strong exploit and take advantage of the weak

I think that defines my terms in context.

I just have doubts about the soundness of running a world based on the selfishness on rational people. Where do you draw the line on the extent to which their selfishness goes? Just before when it results in the tragic fate of others?

(Mar 23 '12 at 05:19) Adeikov Adeikov's gravatar image

A. When a selfish person helps another, it is to get benefit for themselves, the benefit of others is a byproduct. / B. When a selfless person helps another, it is to get benefit for others. the benefit of yourself is a byproduct.

Is it better to run a world on A or on B or sometimes on A and sometimes on B?

(Mar 23 '12 at 05:34) Adeikov Adeikov's gravatar image

I am not being absolute; I am just throwing out challenges for Objectivism.

(Mar 23 '12 at 05:40) Adeikov Adeikov's gravatar image
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I don't think anybody can give you what you're looking for. I certainly don't want to "sell you" the "benefits" of Objectivism just to get you to call yourself an Objectivist. What I would do is sell you on my ideas. If you want to call yourself an Objectivist and live out those ideas, great. If not, that's fine too.

Actually, you should be more concerned about being asked by the ARI to STOP calling yourself an Objectivist than the other way around. :)

answered Mar 12 '12 at 22:04

Humbug's gravatar image


edited Mar 12 '12 at 22:06

If I desired a system that provides for my needs [provided by whom, and by what means?], and allows me to explore the recreational life [you value freedom? Including "freedom" from productive work?]....

The question seems not to comprehend who would be the victim and who would be the oppressor in the questioner's worldview -- and to have learned nothing from the famous slogan, "From each according to his ability, to each according to his need." (See Atlas Shrugged for Ayn Rand's concretization of it.)

As the other two answers so far have already pointed out, one does not need "to be an Objectivist" in order to live in freedom from oppressors -- with respect for the individual rights others and theirs for one's own -- in a system where that is both possible and the prevailing norm.

I'm struck, also, by the stark openness with which would-be beneficiaries of the oppression of producers everywhere strive to play the role of victim. It is not Objectivists who make thinking and productive work "the two essentials of the method of survival proper to a rational being...." It is reality. We also know well that anyone on the mysticism-altruism-collectivism-statism axis does not recognize reality, and, indeed, works relentlessly not to recognize it.

If I misjudge the questioner by his words, I invite him to clarify.


In a comment, Adeikov seems to endorse the language of freedom and respect for individual rights, combined with suggestions of preferring a communal style of living. If anyone wants to join a voluntary commune and can find like-minded others to join as well, go ahead. A free (rational) society would never try to prohibit voluntary, peacefully functioning communes. Free societies protect and encourage all sorts of voluntary associations of productive individuals; it's a natural expression of the division-of-labor principle. What Objectivism vigorously opposes is any suggestion (as in the original statement of the question) that physical force would be used in any manner to compel producers to support others against the will of the producers. If there is no element of physical force involved, then any further issues raised by Objectivism would be purely ethical, not political or legal.

For example, Objectivism would question how well a commune actually serves one's own interests, and would predict that over time, less productive communes and other associations would gradually give way (entirely naturally, by normal operation of economic principles) to more productive ones. But that is not an issue of anyone's rights being violated. In addition to being the system of individual rights, laissez-faire capitalism is also the system of productive cooperation on a historically unprecedented scale.

(Adeikov's other comments, pertaining to his learning style, make him sound like a concrete-bound sponge, focused on the narrowly perceptual, soaking up whatever others, especially Marxists apparently, have offered him. I will try to remember that, when reading his posts, especially that he apparently is interested mainly in "philosophical combat" just short of seeking "to annoy or belliger" [beleaguer or beseige?] others, with very little interest in independently reading important texts, asking himself questions about his readings, and searching for answers in the texts as they relate to direct observations of the world. He claims to give final weight to science, but so did Marx and more modern offshots like B. F. Skinner. Refer especially to the Wikipedia article, "Walden Two," for what may be a perfect fictional concretization of the kind of "ideal world" Adeikov would relish.)

answered Mar 13 '12 at 01:50

Ideas%20for%20Life's gravatar image

Ideas for Life ♦

edited Mar 14 '12 at 00:57

It is assumed those involved agree that the benefits outweigh the costs for each and for all; so a system where each is willing to chip in to get the result of more free time to explore our creative side. And yes, add to the productiveness of the system from the innovations of such a system. Unfortunately those who bow out cannot reap the benefit, but may form their own system elsewhere.

(Mar 13 '12 at 18:21) Adeikov Adeikov's gravatar image

My mind is not in the right state to read those books yet. But when I do I'll be back to challenge it. I will start with where it began, a critique of each blossoming step, when a step fails reason, I take note. I will map this philosophy. My purpose is to determine its strength. Is there anything wrong with that? I want to hold it in my hand and say "this is a good piece" or "it lacks something here" etc.

Philosophical combat is not bad. I learn from it. As for "Marxists", I act alone. I am just as critical with "Marxists". I've basic values of peace, happiness, sanity, clarity and harmony.

(Mar 14 '12 at 18:04) Adeikov Adeikov's gravatar image

"My mind is not in the right state to read those books yet."

Why is that?

"My purpose is to determine its strength."

If you want to know if a particular food tastes good or not, isn't it better to just eat it or ask other people to explain to you why it's good?

"Philosophical combat is not bad."

No it isn't. However, this site isn't really designed for discussion purposes. There are forums that works better for what you're looking for. I'm not telling you to go away. I'm just offering you a more effective tool.

(Mar 14 '12 at 20:26) Humbug Humbug's gravatar image

Where are these better forums?

(Mar 15 '12 at 12:28) anthony anthony's gravatar image

Try forum.objectivismonline.com or www.objectivistliving.com/forums. I'm not saying that the people there are better than the people here. I'm saying that the format by which their site is setup facilitates what Adeikov is looking for. Alternatively, join a Objectivist Club or find someone willing to debate with you via e-mail. This site, which is base on the www.stackoverflow.com technology is not good for discussion.

(Mar 15 '12 at 16:54) Humbug Humbug's gravatar image

In my experience the people are much more important than the technology. I suppose I might try out those forums if I have the time, though.

(Mar 16 '12 at 08:16) anthony anthony's gravatar image
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Adeikov, are you a troll? If so, then please go away.

For readers happening across this page, I'll just point out that even a little exploration (something which Adeikov has been presenting himself as engaged in) will easily lead an honest reader to suspect that Objectivists are pretty much the last people one should worry about being a source of oppression or aggression or other such injustices.

A more thorough investigation will make clear that this is because Objectivists are actually the only ones out there who are systematically fighting for a "live and let live" world. And that's no poetic figure of speech: Objectivists are the only clear, principled advocates for securing the individual rights of all men -- and securing the rights of everyone amounts exactly to bringing about the conditions necessary for pursuing a human life, neither as someone's slave nor as someone's master.

Live and let live -- that's the distinctively Objectivist way! :^)

answered Mar 13 '12 at 01:59

Greg%20Perkins's gravatar image

Greg Perkins ♦♦

I am just asking a question and presenting what is relative to my perception, looking for logical arguments to perhaps shift this perception. I am not doing this to annoy or belliger(if it were a verb). I know that my ways of seeking knowledge perhaps unnerve others. Besides, what would make you think I were a troll? I am perfectly serious in the way I operate. My ideas about things have shifted due to philosophical combat experience. I will stay in QA format if you think I am violating it. Ditto for other restrictions. I want questions true to my perception that Objectivists can correct.

(Mar 13 '12 at 07:28) Adeikov Adeikov's gravatar image

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Asked: Mar 12 '12 at 21:47

Seen: 1,744 times

Last updated: Mar 23 '12 at 05:40