Talk to the Rand

Richard Goode's picture
Submitted by Richard Goode on Sat, 2007-12-15 02:26

The man who refuses to judge, who neither agrees nor disagrees, who declares that there are no absolutes and believes that he escapes responsibility, is the man responsible for all the blood that is now spilled in the world.

One must never fail to pronounce moral judgment.

But to pronounce moral judgment is an enormous responsibility. To be a judge, one must possess an unimpeachable character; one need not be omniscient or infallible, and it is not an issue of errors of knowledge; one needs an unbreached integrity, that is, the absence of any indulgence in conscious, willful evil. Just as a judge in a court of law may err, when the evidence is inconclusive, but may not evade the evidence available, nor accept bribes, nor allow any personal feeling, emotion, desire or fear to obstruct his mind's judgment of the facts of reality—so every rational person must maintain an equally strict and solemn integrity in the courtroom within his own mind, where the responsibility is more awesome than in a public tribunal, because he, the judge, is the only one to know when he has been impeached.

[The virtue of Rationality] means one's acceptance of the responsibility of forming one's own judgments and of living by the work of one's own mind (which is the virtue of Independence). It means that one must never sacrifice one's convictions to the opinions or wishes of others (which is the virtue of Integrity)—that one must never attempt to fake reality in any manner (which is the virtue of Honesty)...

A rational process is a moral process. You may make an error at any step of it, with nothing to protect you but your own severity, or you may try to cheat, to fake the evidence and evade the effort of the quest—but if devotion to truth is the hallmark of morality, then there is no greater, nobler, more heroic form of devotion than the act of a man who assumes the responsibility of thinking.

The Ayn Rand Lexicon


( categories: )

Richard

sharon's picture

A simple and genuine question: do you only have issue with the Objectivist ethics, or with the idea of objectivity in ethics; that is, that there is an objective ethical code?

Dr Bad-Faith

Lindsay Perigo's picture

What say you leave off the personal abuse and focus on getting at the truth?

That wasn't abuse, it was flattery. And there is no truth in your lexicon, remember?

Objectivist ethics is pernicious and wrong.

Nor is there any "wrong" in your lexicon. Morality is a superstition, remember?

My argument is here. Why don't you respond to it?

Faith is not an argument. Faith is the basis and enabler of superstition. Faith is bad, Dr. Bad-Faith.

There you go again ...

Richard Goode's picture

What say you leave off the personal abuse and focus on getting at the truth?

Assume the responsibility of thinking.

Objectivist ethics is pernicious and wrong.

My argument is here. Why don't you respond to it?

When you say, "Freedom is good," and someone responds, "Freedom isn't good", you disagree. Right?

There you go again ...

Lindsay Perigo's picture

That's why it's imperative that we have bigger guns than than the Islamic Jihadists.

Might is right.

Actually, it's imperative to have the might because we are right, but your way of non-reasoning wouldn't allow that.

What, are you really proposing to sit down with the Jihadists and have a friendly chat about Objectivist ethics?

Oh fuck off you pomowanking creep.

Perigobama

Richard Goode's picture

(In reply to Linz on the Folate Folly Foiled! thread.)

(1) Ethics has no rational basis.

But if you believe that, why argue about it? Arguing is a process of reasoning. No point in reasoning about something that has no basis in reason.

You oppose, let's say, Islamic Jihad not because you can give reasons for your opposition but because it's an article of faith for you that Islamic Jihad is wrong. For the Jihadists it's equally a matter of faith that it's right. In the absence of reason, there is no means to adjudicate between these two competing claims.

That's why it's imperative that we have bigger guns than than the Islamic Jihadists.

What, are you really proposing to sit down with the Jihadists and have a friendly chat about Objectivist ethics?

Objectivist folly foiled

Richard Goode's picture

(In reply to Robert on the Folate Folly Foiled! thread.)

(1) Ethics has no rational basis.

Yours is the philosophy of a sociopath.

No more so than atheism is the philosophy of a sociopath.

(1b) Theology has no rational basis.

Theology is the study of God. Ethics is the study of right and wrong. There is no more reason to believe in right and wrong than there is to believe in God.

God and morality are both superstitions.

Some superstitions are stupid and stinking. Some superstitions - such as morality and, perhaps, Christianity - are indispensable.

Richard

Lindsay Perigo's picture

What say you forget about trying to win the argument and focus on getting at the truth?

How could you possibly interpret Rand to be endorsing the view that faith is preferable to nihilism?

To be a judge, one must possess an unimpeachable character; one need not be omniscient or infallible, and it is not an issue of errors of knowledge; one needs an unbreached integrity, that is, the absence of any indulgence in conscious, willful evil. Just as a judge in a court of law may err, when the evidence is inconclusive, but may not evade the evidence available, nor accept bribes, nor allow any personal feeling, emotion, desire or fear to obstruct his mind's judgment of the facts of reality—so every rational person must maintain an equally strict and solemn integrity in the courtroom within his own mind, where the responsibility is more awesome than in a public tribunal, because he, the judge, is the only one to know when he has been impeached.

This is not a description of "faith," which is the ready acceptance of a belief on whim.

If a judge in a court of law took your position, he would say, "Don't bother me with the evidence. He's guilty. I just know it. My sentiment tells me."

That's the position you take with "freedom is good."

As I've said, your position is faith, delusion and nihilism all rolled into one. But don't confuse it with Rand's.

I use both hands

Richard Goode's picture

for typing.

The fifth way

Richard Goode's picture

Here are a couple of links for people who enjoy arguing on the Internet. The first is Arthur Schopenhauer's 38 Ways To Win An Argument. I thought it would be particularly appropriate to deploy


5 Use your opponent's beliefs against him.

If your opponent refuses to accept your premises, use his own premises to your advantage. Example, if the opponent is a member of an organization or a religious sect to which you do not belong, you may employ the declared opinions of this group against the opponent.

My post is a Rand mash-up. There are actually four separate quotations here, from two topics in the Ayn Rand Lexicon. Together they are a KASS vindication of my faith in objective value. As I said on an earlier thread, concerning the foundations of morality, the options are faith, delusion or nihilism. Here, Rand tells us that faith is preferable to nihilism. I quote approvingly.

Dementia taking over

Lindsay Perigo's picture

I thought I saw our resident Humean posting a Rand quote as though he agreed with it. Can't get much more delusional than that.

Or maybe we're all supposed to fall about laughing at the ridiculousness of the quote. Ah!

  I can think of much

Mark Hubbard's picture

 

I can think of much worse uses for your hand, than banging that one out on the keyboard, Dr Goode. You're coming along good - great quote.

But where shall we start the debate then? At which word, or, more likely, character?

The Rand

Liz's picture

Dr. Goode, thanks for posting this. You made my day.
Bad Hume feelings be gone! Smiling

Sincerely,
Liz

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