Novice Thoughts on Objectivism
A Journal for Western Man-- Issue XXXVIII-- July 14, 2005
This short essay is on the matter of a Novice’s Thoughts on Objectivism. It offers my viewpoints on a few aspects of Objectvism. The filosofical thought of Objectivism and the reading of Ayn Rand has a profound effect on many people, and like all others, I must go through a period of exploration and questions about the new filosofy. In this essay, I offer my thoughts on it, from a novice’s standpoint.
I had first encountered Ayn Rand when I noticed a book tucked under the arm of a friend. He had been reading The Fountainhead, and I inquired about the author’s name. He had given me the name of another book of hers, and I committed the name to memory. The name of this book? Atlas Shrugged. I found the book and immersed myself in reading it. After which, I embarked on a search of those of similar ideals and found them in The Rational Argumentator. This was the place where I could find answers to the many questions I had.
It was browsing the site that I came across The Objectivist Resolves. It was from that document that I began to realize what this was all about. I found Objectivism broken down into 15 resolves, and using that, I came to the conclusion that Objectivism can be separated into 2 parts, Practical Application and Ideological Thought.
The Practical Application, I came to think, was those resolves that one could apply to everyday life, specifically Resolves 2, 4-6, and 11-14. I found in them to be the most practical principles of the list. Those were the resolves that one could use and apply on a regular basis. The other side of the spectrum was Ideological Thought. The rest of the resolves fell into that category; they were the ideas that one could keep in mind and strive for. For instance, Resolve 9, concerning the brilliant principle of Laissez-Faire capitalism, is hard to use in everyday life. It is an ideal to strive for, to hope that society will institute such an idea. Furthermore, the capitalistic filosofy of Objectivism is a mixture of both. That sfere could be used in both in Ideological and Practical applications. I came to the conclusion that Objectivism has a side that those heavily involved and knowledgeable in economics and those who are involved in politics and other pursuits can enjoy.
One of the other things I came to notice was that Resolve 5, selfishness, is intertwined in everyday life. I believe that, for a novice, Objectivist Resolve 5 is the most practical principle and the one that creates the most conflict. In today’s society, selfishness is being portrayed as evil. Apparently, you become a horrible, twisted, corrupt, and warped person if you put yourself first. Most live under the assumption of “obligatory giving”. This mentality presumes that, to be a good, upstanding person, one must dole out as much money as possible, and deny one’s self as much as possible. Those advocating such an idea feel that they must give in order to be good people. They feel that we all need to give to the poor, that it is an obligation to help, and that you are a lout if you do not. It is that mindset that creates the most conflict with novice Objectivists. Most of those non-Objectivists who know a bit about the filosofy choose this principle as the one to pick a fight over. But that is where their ignorance shows through like a beacon.
Objectivism is not some totalitarian monstrosity, dictating that one must obey or die. No, quite the contrary, you always retain the right to consider all choices and to act according to your own self. If, perhaps, you agree with something that requests money, it is your choice to give to it. Resolve 5 simply states that it is your choice to be selfish, that it is the highest morality, not that you have to live your life as being selfish. It states that, if you chose a selfish route of action, you are justified in doing so. I believe that is one of the crowning glories of the filosofy, that you can choose. The Skeptics' movement during The Enlightenment taught its followers to question everything. But they could choose to believe if they saw enough evidence to believe. Objectivists have the same ideal, that we may choose to believe and to keep the Resolves true, not to live exclusively by them. One can be selfish; one does not have to be.
These are My thoughts,
Anthony Rabattini is a novice to the filosofy of Objectivism and a contributor to The Rational Argumentator.
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