The Virtue of Selfishness

Kilt Uncle

Active Member
If you were mugged or being hurt would you not want a stranger to rescue you?

I could never walk by.With the exception it may endanger my own children i'd always help a stranger.Or an animal.

What? Even Amy Winehouse?....:)
 

nogodsnomasters85

Not Stirred
It sounds as though someone has been reading Ayn Rand. One should read her work like Mein Kampf, or Dianetics, infrequently, and with a lot of skepticism. Don't fall in. I don't know where to begin. "Ethical Egoism" is just a big steaming pile of dogshit. Not only does it endorse vicious behavior.. Miss Rand suggests we should exclusively persue our personal interests, but what interests do we have that are exclusively our own? Anything we would choose to do would involve relying and interacting with countless other individuals, there is no such thing. She also assumes that charity can't be in itself rewarding, and that because others know they're own interests better than we do, so we shouldn't even try to help them. Ridiculous. Theres' a reason why she's so popular among the neoconservative crowd, vicious people skim the surface because she says everything they want to hear, if you dip below the surface, it isn't even shallow. Nietzsche would simply say altruism doesn't exist because people who do charitable deeds do so because they fulfill themselves by helping others.
 

nogodsnomasters85

Not Stirred
Anarchy doesn't mean chaos, but it leads to chaos. Without an institution to hold people accountable for their actions, the world would be governed by the minority. The weak would be at the mercy of the strong.
As this forums' foremost, or at least most prolific Anarchist I feel duty bound to address this. First, the above statement rests on a certain perception of human nature. The best or at least most entertaining exposition of this idea being William Goldings' "Lord of the Flies." Great book, but this argument is a total fallacy. First, it contains within it an inherent contradiction: it assumes the essential nature of human beings to be aggressive and greedy, being so atavistic in nature as to require regulation and guidance to conduct they're own lives, and seeks to remedy this by placing responsibility over everybody's life in a tiny minority. 'Nuff said. It should also be noted, that these ideas are echoed by every tyrant, every despot going back to biblical times. The solution is always to give "them" more power. Hence the popularity of this notion among those of a more right-wing, authoritarian type. Defining human nature is frought with complications, suffice to say it cannot be mapped and charted like the topography of a mountain range. This is not to say we cannot, or should not, attempt to elucidate what we can. We can start by comparison to other animals. How many creatures are really as hostile to they're own kind as this argument would contend we are? It's an aberration,biological creatures are engineered to survive and propagate the species. Moreover, human civilization of any kind would be impossible, we did not rise from the primordial ooze with attorneys, supreme court judges, accountants, and metermaids. There had to be some time between the development of sentience and the development of these authoritarian political structures we know today. That we have these things and all the other elements of our civilization which has progressed to this point is a testament to our collaborative and social nature. One could also use social constants, the essential features of all societies from the most advanced to the most primitive, specifically, the moral tenets which are at they're core, fairly uniform. Lastly, the low incidence of viiolent crime in stable societies, even in the united states, which has UNUSUALLY high rates of violent crime, compared to the size of the overall population, it's pretty small.
 

Theo

Active Member
It sounds as though someone has been reading Ayn Rand. One should read her work like Mein Kampf, or Dianetics, infrequently, and with a lot of skepticism. Don't fall in. I don't know where to begin. "Ethical Egoism" is just a big steaming pile of dogshit.... Theres' a reason why she's so popular among the neoconservative crowd, vicious people skim the surface because she says everything they want to hear, if you dip below the surface, it isn't even shallow.


Nothing cold be more shallow than your analysis of Ayn Rand.

But I'd like to ask you why you consider Ayn Rand some sort of foremother of neoconservativism. Neoconservativism (a label that might be useless nowadays because it's become a pop culture label for anyone or anything the "progressive" left wants to demonize) was a label applied to intellectuals of the left who converted to the Republican Party as a consequence of feeling that the left was too soft on the USSR during the Cold War. In areas outside of foriegn policy they were still down with the the rest of the mainstream American left. Their primary concern was to use American military power in an idealistic fashion that would oppose totalitarian regimes and spread democracy. This differentiates them from the foreign policy realists within the Republican Party, who view the primary aim of U.S. foreign policy as simply to protect America and its interests and are okay with making friends with totalitarian regimes if they believe it serves America's interests. In short, the necon was someone who viewed America as an opportunity to use a military superpower in a radical and idealistic manner and thus they felt they could no longer ally themselves with those who generally viewed the military as something to oppose.

Ayn Rand is a heroine of the libertarian movement, which is quite different and is focused on economic and individual liberty. Pure libertarians don't all agree on foreign policies, and what a "neocon" is today is confusing, but I think it's reasonable to say that most libertarians do not support neoconservative foreign policy (indeed, isolationism is extremely popular amongst libertarians) and most neocons do not place a high value on individual liberties vs. the authority of the state nor consider economic liberty one of their primary concerns. The Republican Party has a libertarian wing, and American conservatives (in contrast with conservatives in much of the world) tend to support free market capitalism (though less so amongst the social conservatives who try and purge what they call "country club Republicans" who they believe care too much about money instead of, say, forcing Christianity down people's throats). So, Ayn Rand is popular amongst many Republicans.

I hope most of us are not so easily labeled, though. I'd also hope it's possible for people to read, and take things away from, a writer like Ayn Rand without all of the prejudices of the person I'm replying to (his insane attempt to compare Rand with Hitler should tell you enough about his fear of writers who don't conform to his ideology).
 
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Worm

Taste the diffidence
As this forums' foremost, or at least most prolific Anarchist I feel duty bound to address this. First, the above statement rests on a certain perception of human nature. The best or at least most entertaining exposition of this idea being William Goldings' "Lord of the Flies." Great book, but this argument is a total fallacy. First, it contains within it an inherent contradiction: it assumes the essential nature of human beings to be aggressive and greedy, being so atavistic in nature as to require regulation and guidance to conduct they're own lives, and seeks to remedy this by placing responsibility over everybody's life in a tiny minority. 'Nuff said. It should also be noted, that these ideas are echoed by every tyrant, every despot going back to biblical times. The solution is always to give "them" more power. Hence the popularity of this notion among those of a more right-wing, authoritarian type. Defining human nature is frought with complications, suffice to say it cannot be mapped and charted like the topography of a mountain range. This is not to say we cannot, or should not, attempt to elucidate what we can. We can start by comparison to other animals. How many creatures are really as hostile to they're own kind as this argument would contend we are? It's an aberration,biological creatures are engineered to survive and propagate the species. Moreover, human civilization of any kind would be impossible, we did not rise from the primordial ooze with attorneys, supreme court judges, accountants, and metermaids. There had to be some time between the development of sentience and the development of these authoritarian political structures we know today. That we have these things and all the other elements of our civilization which has progressed to this point is a testament to our collaborative and social nature. One could also use social constants, the essential features of all societies from the most advanced to the most primitive, specifically, the moral tenets which are at they're core, fairly uniform. Lastly, the low incidence of viiolent crime in stable societies, even in the united states, which has UNUSUALLY high rates of violent crime, compared to the size of the overall population, it's pretty small.

What do you think of Freud and/or psychoanalysis?
 

HIM

New Member
As this forums' foremost, or at least most prolific Anarchist I feel duty bound to address this.

it's a shame that you don't feel equally duty-bound to sound less like a complete f***ing twat.
 

HIM

New Member
D

Dave

Guest
I find the majority of people complete f***ing twats, and they don't even realize it. ;)


it was so obvious, someone has to say it... :D
 

nogodsnomasters85

Not Stirred
What do you think of Freud and/or psychoanalysis?

Umm, kinda broad. I wouldn't call myself a Freudian, of course there are almost none left these days. He was heavily influenced by Nietzsche, whom I like much better. He did groundbreaking work, psychology and philosophy owe him a great debt. I suppose I pick and choose like anybody, I find a lot of his ideas on child development for instance, interesting, his ideas on dream interpretation, however, I'm less keen on. BTW: Dig the Cornel West quote, he's cool. Do you like Noam Chomsky?
 

nogodsnomasters85

Not Stirred
Anarchy doesn't mean chaos, but it leads to chaos.
PART II
Now that I have covered, albiet briefly, the issue of human nature, that leaves the issue of Anarchism in practice. First, again, I say that I cannot speak for all Anarchists, there are many different sub-groups, Anarchosyndicalists like my fav Noam Chomsky, Green Anarchists like Murray Bookchin, Individualist Anarchists like Max Stirner (I'm a bit critical of this lot.), Anarchafeminists, etc., etc. Anarchism is a broad intellectual tradition going back well over a hundred years, that has played a significant role in American history, the involvement in the labor movement (August Spies, etc.) that gave us the forty hour week and the weekend, they were involved in womens' liberation, Emma Goldman, for example, whose writing converted me to Anarchism in the first place. Theres' also Sacco and Vanzetti, and Leon Czolgosz who shot Pres. McKinley. THAT said... I find the assertion that an Anarchist society would be absolute chaos to be suspect. There are two principal points, one, that Anarchy is in itself chaos, or would automatically create chaos. First of all, I think any social group abhors chaos, in any social group people are going to interact, and some form of order will take place. Sustained chaos must be perpetuated by greater outside, or overarching forces. While there are many different schools of thought, Anarchists as a rule do not oppose organization, production, technology, the objection is to exploitation, and subservience. I don't think transitioning directly from our present state to an Anarchist state instantaneously would work very well, like many Anarchists I see it as a long-term goal, to be approached gradually. It's truly amazing the variety and complexity of organization people can form with one another organically, without being forced to. Take all the effort and creativity and interaction that goes on at this forum, for example. If you want historical examples, I'd point to the Spanish Anarchist collectives, or the Israeli Kibbutzim, which were established pretty much along Anarchist principles.
 

Lep

New Member
i find that offensive i try to do the best for everyone and ignore myself.
so please mus dont tar all men the same
 
PART II
Now that I have covered, albiet briefly, the issue of human nature, that leaves the issue of Anarchism in practice. First, again, I say that I cannot speak for all Anarchists, there are many different sub-groups, Anarchosyndicalists like my fav Noam Chomsky, Green Anarchists like Murray Bookchin, Individualist Anarchists like Max Stirner (I'm a bit critical of this lot.), Anarchafeminists, etc., etc. Anarchism is a broad intellectual tradition going back well over a hundred years, that has played a significant role in American history, the involvement in the labor movement (August Spies, etc.) that gave us the forty hour week and the weekend, they were involved in womens' liberation, Emma Goldman, for example, whose writing converted me to Anarchism in the first place. Theres' also Sacco and Vanzetti, and Leon Czolgosz who shot Pres. McKinley. THAT said... I find the assertion that an Anarchist society would be absolute chaos to be suspect. There are two principal points, one, that Anarchy is in itself chaos, or would automatically create chaos. First of all, I think any social group abhors chaos, in any social group people are going to interact, and some form of order will take place. Sustained chaos must be perpetuated by greater outside, or overarching forces. While there are many different schools of thought, Anarchists as a rule do not oppose organization, production, technology, the objection is to exploitation, and subservience. I don't think transitioning directly from our present state to an Anarchist state instantaneously would work very well, like many Anarchists I see it as a long-term goal, to be approached gradually. It's truly amazing the variety and complexity of organization people can form with one another organically, without being forced to. Take all the effort and creativity and interaction that goes on at this forum, for example. If you want historical examples, I'd point to the Spanish Anarchist collectives, or the Israeli Kibbutzim, which were established pretty much along Anarchist principles.

All this writting and no <333 for EOH's special happy 1,000th post celebrate-a-thon on his Love thread??? :(
 

Worm

Taste the diffidence
Umm, kinda broad. I wouldn't call myself a Freudian, of course there are almost none left these days. He was heavily influenced by Nietzsche, whom I like much better. He did groundbreaking work, psychology and philosophy owe him a great debt. I suppose I pick and choose like anybody, I find a lot of his ideas on child development for instance, interesting, his ideas on dream interpretation, however, I'm less keen on. BTW: Dig the Cornel West quote, he's cool. Do you like Noam Chomsky?

Okay, just curious. When you wrote "defining human nature is frought with complications", I immediately thought of psychoanalysis. You then mentioned Nietzsche (who called himself the 'first psychologist', after all), so I was curious to know how you reconciled the difficulty of mapping the topography of human nature, as you nicely put it, with the various doctrines or ideals you support for reforming societies. In my reading of Nietzsche I detect strong skepticism that his philosophy is applicable to more than a handful of people, and then possibly scattered over centuries; equally strong was Freud's final skepticism, in Civilization And Its Discontents, that human societies could be 'cured' of their psychopathologies (specifically the death drive). I'm not really attacking any of your positions, merely curious if any of this seems troublesome to you or if your studies have allowed you to smooth it over.

I am not a fan of Chomsky's. I usually like what I stumble across from time to time but I don't own any of his books. I probably hold some of his opinions but from other sources. We all pick and choose, as you said. (I share your opinion of Ayn Rand, though.)
 

nogodsnomasters85

Not Stirred
Okay, just curious. When you wrote "defining human nature is frought with complications", I immediately thought of psychoanalysis. You then mentioned Nietzsche (who called himself the 'first psychologist', after all), so I was curious to know how you reconciled the difficulty of mapping the topography of human nature, as you nicely put it, with the various doctrines or ideals you support for reforming societies. In my reading of Nietzsche I detect strong skepticism that his philosophy is applicable to more than a handful of people, and then possibly scattered over centuries; equally strong was Freud's final skepticism, in Civilization And Its Discontents, that human societies could be 'cured' of their psychopathologies (specifically the death drive). I'm not really attacking any of your positions, merely curious if any of this seems troublesome to you or if your studies have allowed you to smooth it over.
I am not a fan of Chomsky's. I usually like what I stumble across from time to time but I don't own any of his books. I probably hold some of his opinions but from other sources. We all pick and choose, as you said. (I share your opinion of Ayn Rand, though.)

I just got home from a punk show and I'm pretty drunk so forgive me if I'm not up to par.. Yes, it is complicated to try and understand human nature, but difficult does not mean impossible. If this is still not totally known how can I advocate my social policies? Well, I take it like anything else, if you go back to the seven (Or was it six? I'm too smashed.) basic questuions of Socrates, think about epistemology, metaphysics, most of what we understand about reality is second hand, the only thing we actually know exists is our own thoughts and we can only prove it to ourselves. Our general understanding of reality is based on leaps of faith, the purpose of science, and reason being to minimize those leaps of faith, or to come to the most sound arguments we are capable of producing. It is my firm belief, and I think science and philosophy bear this out that humans are naturally cooperative, creative, animals, otherwise I could not be an Anarchist. As for Nietzsche, I am not really a "Nietzschean", either. I am merely inspired by his work, the way he thinks, the way he writes. Nietzsche said all great works are written with blood, he certainly holds up to that standard. although his work has been an influence in modern Anarchist theory. As for Chomsky I guess everybody's taste is different, I was refferring more to his political analysis than his work on linguistics, of course, for analysis of US foreign and domestic policy he's the best there is. Bar NONE. Not to mention probably the greatest living Anarchist today. Hope that covered it, if not blame the liqour. I'm gonna feel like crap tomarrow.
 

Worm

Taste the diffidence
I just got home from a punk show and I'm pretty drunk so forgive me if I'm not up to par.

Pretty impressive for a drunk punk! A penny buys a lot of thoughts from you, doesn't it! :)

the only thing we actually know exists is our own thoughts and we can only prove it to ourselves.

Even this is questionable though, e.g. the Marxian concept of "false consciousness".

Our general understanding of reality is based on leaps of faith, the purpose of science, and reason being to minimize those leaps of faith, or to come to the most sound arguments we are capable of producing. It is my firm belief, and I think science and philosophy bear this out that humans are naturally cooperative, creative, animals, otherwise I could not be an Anarchist.

I think humans have the potential to be cooperative, creative animals too. How to get them to be so is the problem presented by human nature. Much of our mind is hidden from us and not so easy to reach. What if it should turn out that the primary influences we need to become cooperative, creative animals are subrational?

A similar paradox was posed by Wilde: to become oneself, truly and fully, one has to become as artificial as possible. It's a crude way of putting it, but his "cosmopolitan criticism"-- also a key foundational idea behind his ideas for bettering societies through art-- depends on the individual splintering his personality to absorb as much of the "other" as possible.

Hope that covered it, if not blame the liqour. I'm gonna feel like crap tomarrow.

Hope you made it through the day.
 
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jellyfish no poll? me want voting! oh chica *sigh* :p sex yawn
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