Friday, February 22, 2008

What are we going to do tonight, Brain?

ARCHN reader Jelly made a funny and prophetic comment about the ObjectivismOnline Yellowbellies and their plans to take over the world. We at Meg's Marginalia had the vague idea something was cooking, but we didn't realize just how big or how fast it was coming. The Ayndroids are really bringing out the heavy machinery now.

Diana Hsieh started her own uber top secret blog and mailing list available only to the sufficiently rational of heart. As commenter Wells aptly noted, "I just hope that Diana Hsieh and friends realize that secrecy only works when you are trying to exploit a difference in knowledge...In the case of spreading Objectivism. If Objectivism is worth believing, and Objectivists promote it correctly, there shouldn't be differences in knowledge to exploit."

I've never quite been able to understand the psychology of proslytizing philosophies based on individualism and selfishness. It seems inherently contradictory to become a missionary for the cause of libertarianism or Objectivism. It's missing the point entirely. If you're going to a missionary for a creed, at least have it be one that is compatible with the concept of unity and goodwill. The nature of individualism exhorts one to respect the individualism of others, whatever their views may be. And if your philosophy is one of every man for themselves, and essentially just says to be as selfish as you can, why the hell would you want to take the time to spread it to others and have them be your competition?

The results, expectedly, are catastrophic.

The Objectivist missionary headquarters is ARI's own Objectivism Expansion Campaign. On the sidebar they have a link to "Ten Selfish Reasons To Contribute" (no we are not making this up). They can be summed up as "Give us money now Now NOW and your life with be magically better". Read them though, they're totally hilarious! Number 5 reason is: "[Because] I want to be happy."

With this, Objectivism has crossed the line from being a cult that leaves negative and sometimes lasting effects on its members psyches to a barefaced scam. They want their adherents, many of them still minors, to give them money to get nothing in return but an empty promise that their world will somehow abstractly become better.

I'm really curious though, about what the password protected posts on the Intellectual Activism blog contain. Diana Hsieh's noodz? If that's the case, Meg's Marginalia's professional opinion is, thanks, but no thanks, like those of Hillary Clinton, we do not need to see any of your noodz.

10 comments:

Neil Parille said...

Meg,

It looks like activism will be all the rage at this year's Objectivist BlabFest:

http://www.objectivistconferences.com/ocon2008

Jay said...

And if your philosophy is one of every man for themselves, and essentially just says to be as selfish as you can, why the hell would you want to take the time to spread it to others and have them be your competition?

Because that's not what Objectivism is. You're just grouping it in with the whimsical egoist theories that preceded it. Nothing in Objectivism precludes you from spreading a cause you support or collaborating with others. This type of misunderstanding is one of Objectivism's biggest roadblocks. It's not a "dog eat dog" philosophy.

glen.h said...

Love the "Pinky and the Brain" reference!

Meg's Marginalia said...

Neil, I think the lineup is pretty standard for the Ocon2008. The posts here and on ARCHN and elsewhere might give the impression that Objectivists are going totally viral this year, but I don't think it's that different from what they've been doing every year.

Jay, you just keep telling yourself that, and maybe someday it'll come true...not! Atlas Shrugged has numerous references to "pure, unadulterated greed" and how "greed" drives everything, and how the industrialists intend to milk their competition for the highest price they can. Howard Roark was "born without an organ of understanding others", and other people "do not exist for him and he sees no reason why they should". This is sociopathy and misanthropy. Rand may have paid a bit of lip service to the notion that this is sustainable if applied on a large scale, but a little common sense will inform you otherwise.

Jay said...

Meg,

She was trying to get across that Roark didn't let other people become his compass. He clearly associated with others throughout that book and even had strong feelings of care toward them.

As for the "milking the competition" sentiment in Atlas, maybe you'll recall this quote. (I am paraphrasing.)

Rearden: I intend to skin the public to the tune of a 25% profit.

Reporter: Skin the public? I don't understand - haven't you said that Rearden Metal costs half as much and lasts twice as long as competing metals? If that's the case wouldn't the public be getting a bargain?

Rearden: Oh, have you noticed that too?

That is not screwing people or milkng them try, it's trading value for value. There is nothing sociopathic about that.

Meg's Marginalia said...

There is a huge difference in not allowing people to totally control your life and "not having an organ for understanding others" or others "not existing for you".

You (and Rand) seem to have an odd take on capitalism. Pure unadulterated capitalism means that only market forces to determine with the price of a good is, which is pretty far removed from "trading value for value". Value is determined solely by demand and supply.

JayCross said...

Meg,

I agree that it's a dramatic way to get the point across. However, when page after page is filled with dialogs between Roark and other characters, including romances and friendships it's quite clear what she meant to convey.

Value is determined solely by demand and supply.

Seems to me that there's only demand for valuable products.

Meg's Marginalia said...

The value of a product is often different to different people. Furthermore, there is plenty of demand for products that are not useful in any sense. There are plenty of products on the market that are not only lack value but are actually dangerous or scams. There are private websites as well as government websites to warn consumers of such products like Consumer Affairs and US consumer product and safety Commission.

Clearly there is demand for products without value.

JayCross said...

Meg,

That's true, but even in the case of scams, the ignorant victims believe there is value to be had. No one will knowingly buy something that has no value. My point is that value, percieved or actual, drives demand.

Meg's Marginalia said...

Jay,
You wrote:
I agree that it's a dramatic way to get the point across. However, when page after page is filled with dialogs between Roark and other characters, including romances and friendships it's quite clear what she meant to convey.

And Rand's point is...?

If you extend the definition of "value" to perceived value then the statement that perceived value drives demand does not really make such a great case for the success of unregulated capitalism.