On Ayn Rand, Objectivism, “the virtues of seflishness” — that sad Etc

I discussed the matter with a friend. Here are some of my remarks.

Objectivism…Ayn Rand’s hyper-libertarian ideas have poisoned America. They’re tremendously influential on the current crop of right-wing politicians. Basically they’re all about might over right.

But what works, overall, for the diminution of human suffering, the modulation of the negatives of the human condition? Research indicates that people are happier and healthier in a social system with a high level of cooperation. Simple minded anti-statist libertarians will say that equals Marxism…or they’ll use some similar ad hominem dismissal. If you tell them that you can have cooperation and regulation AND competition, AND people striving for themselves as individuals, they act as if you’re describing some arcane fantasy world. It’s as if they decided that only the percussion in an orchestra is valid. Or only the string section. They simply do not grok nuanced complex systems; they don’t understand the value of conscious awareness of general trend; they do not have an understanding of actual individuality.

They’re still, basically, one of these people: “Oh sure, sure, ‘cholera, blah blah’, but if I want to crap upstream of your water, it’s all for the good in the end because, uh…the free market.”

Apparently it was a Transcendentalist named Parker (I always dug the Transcendentalists) who came up with “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice” – famously quoted by MLK and Obama. That single line is the only statement of any kind that currently gives me any hope at all. Objectivists cannot comprehend it.

It seems to me objectivism could be made to comfortably interface with that peculiar institution, slavery. Why shouldn’t Rand’s John Galt have slaves? So long as he is not one.

One factor never considered by social theorists of the usual spectrum, from Rand to the left, is the power of *consciousness itself*. Consider WIlliam James’s quasi quantification of it. When there’s more consciousness–and I don’t mean “woke” and “political consciousness” I mean literal consciousness– all kinds of social transformation is possible from another direction, from the direction of increased consciousness. This requires no religious trappings whatever. High consciousness has no bias. It does require work to develop, however. Ask Krishnamurti, Alan Watts, and GI Gurdjieff.

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