Ayn Rand, "Antitrust: The Rule Unreason" alleged purpose Antitrust laws protect competition; purpose-based socialistic fallacy a free, unregulated market inevitably lead establishment coercive monopolies.
Remarks on Causation and Liability
This reading discusses the relationship between conduct and result. This mainly refers to an injury afflicted to a person because of negligence by another person. The writer specifies that an individual should be compensated for any injury they suffer that is directly caused by another individual's negligence Thomson, 1984.
The direct cause of injury might not be easily identified especially if there are two or more parties involved, but if the individual can prove that all parties were negligent then the parties should pay for the damages. The probability of negligence determines the percentage of payment by each party. The legal system is mainly concerned with justice and fairness. In the case presented in the paper, the plaintiff is injured, and there is no way for them to prove who caused the injury. The plaintiff sues the two people and the courts award him damages where each individual has the probability of causing the injury. The court determines that the plaintiff does in fact, have a right to be compensated and because there is no way to determine who caused the injury both parties had to compensate the plaintiff equally Braham & Hees, 2009()
The reading tries to establish the relationship between causation and liability. The writer provides different scenarios that would make it easy to understand how causation of an event would lead to the liability. For a defendant to be found negligent, they must have acted willingly and knowingly in a negligent manner. The writer continues to demonstrate that not all negligence could lead to liability. The negligence has to be directly related to the injury suffered. A plaintiff cannot sue an individual merely because they were negligent. The individual's negligence has to result in injury to the plaintiff for there to be causation that leads to a…… [Read More]
Rand merely suggests that lacking any purpose in life is a moral failing of the individual. According to this view, a person who contributes nothing to others but lives very "purposefully" to satisfy an arbitrary personal interest in gardening, or cooking, or classic comic book collecting is living a life that is morally and spiritually superior to one who maintains no highly motivated purpose but happens to improve the lives of others through his profession.
This failure to distinguish between life purposes with a worthwhile effect and life purposes that are both harmless and useless to others implies that the comic book collector is necessarily a more fulfilling and moral life than that of the person who simply enjoys life and lives humbly and peacefully with others. In my opinion, the individual who lives for any unexamined purpose (or one that actually accomplishes nothing but self-fulfilment) may be lower on the moral or spiritual scale than someone who recognizes his own insignificance and the purely subjective valuation of human activities.
Black and White:
Finally, I disagree with Rand's position on black-and-white thinking. She describes intermediate positions (of "grey") as worse than even the wrong conclusions where the choice is between the right answer, the wrong answer, and a middle of the road position. In my opinion, it is illogical to suggest that the middle position is "worse" than the position that is absolutely wrong. In my view, most moral and other complex questions raise a kaleidoscope of colored issues and not a black-and-white or even a shades-of-grey approach. If anything, a middle position is certainly less wrong than the wrong answer and it is more likely to address multiple nuances or competing interests raised by dilemmas of any…… [Read More]
Virtue of Selfishness by Ayn Rand
The Rationalization and Pursuit of Self-interest of Humanity in "The Virtue of Selfishness" by Ayn Rand
Ayn Rand's collection of essays in the book "The Virtue of Selfishness" provides insightful thoughts about the emergence of rationalization and individualism within the individual. The author discusses how the dawn of humankind had already seen the emergence of individualism and rationalization. It is only in the process of being nurtured by the social environment that the individual learns how to detest, even consider evil, the 'virtue' of selfishness.
In discussing Rand's "philosophy" that selfishness is a virtue, this paper discusses five essays, which the author of this paper considers as the most crucial in explaining the concepts that Rand introduces in the book. The discussion is followed by an analysis of the author's claims and premises regarding the topic and assesses each premise or concept introduced in the context of the present outlook of human society towards selfishness and humankind's rationalization and individualization.
In the Introduction of the book, Rand already provides a thorough discussion of the definition and scope of the term "selfishness" that is used throughout the book. Simply put, the author defines selfishness as the "pursuit of self-interest." She further elucidates the concept of selfishness, putting it under the domain of what she terms as "Objectivist ethics," which includes concepts associated to selfishness, such as rationalization and individualism. Indeed, it is no wonder that Rand illustrates objectivist ethics as occurring when "the actor must always be the beneficiary of his action and that man must act for his own rational self-interest."
Rand also clarifies and renews the notion that selfishness is an "evil" concept, which is similar to the Hedonist philosophy that encourages the individual to pursue his own interests without any regard to other people or for the society, in general. She considers selfishness as influenced by human society's moral codes, an unfortunate result of the prevalence of altruism. Indeed, the altruism-selfishness dichotomy is oftentimes synonymously associated with the good-bad dichotomy, and…… [Read More]
Anthem, the author Ayn Rand once again examines the conflict between the individual and society. The story occurs in a fictional location and society where the individual possess no rights. It is the responsibility of the individual to serve the state and any form of independent thinking or action is strictly prohibited. Against this background, the hero of the story, Equality 7-2521, emerges as an intelligent young man who has a dream of being scientist but, instead, is directed by the state to be a street sweeper. In direct opposition to the state, Equality secretly performs scientific research and experiments and, in the process, he discovers the electric light. Equality is excited by his discovery and is hopeful that it will benefit society but he soon learns that the state looks upon his discovery negatively and the governing Council actually threatens to destroy it.
The struggle that forms the basis of this story is Equality's desire to think and live as he wishes. The society in which lives controls every aspect of his life except his capacity to think. This they cannot control and Equality takes full advantage of this by engaging in his science experiments. Equality refuses to let the state prevent him from pursuing his individual interests. Realizing that if he were caught he would be sanctioned severely, Equality, nevertheless, continues to dissect animals, perform chemistry experiments, and work on his inventions. His individual need to know and understand as much as he can overrides his loyalty and fear of the state.
Although Equality eventually rejects the authority of the state he did not do so whimsically. Throughout most of the story he is conflict with not only the society that he lives in but also with himself. He has been raised in a society where there is no I. Everything that one does in Equality's society is done for greater good and this concept has been ingrained in him his entire life. As he matures he begins to struggle with the control that his society has on him and tries to find a way to follow his desire to be a scientist while not violating any of society's rules that are restraining him. The important thing to remember is that Equality's violating his society's rules is not done in the spirit…… [Read More]
..and the profound contempt for man's nature is obvious." Therefore, man should not embrace values others than he has decided for himself. In terms of the relation with the community, this should be the result of the peaceful and moral coexistence between the individuals which are al driven by their rationale choices.
The philosophical perspectives of both Reich and Rand also consider the very essence of human nature and the role state has from this perspective. However, taking into account the differing points-of-view, Reich and Rand attribute different interpretations on these two points.
Reich has a more communitarian oriented perspective on the nature of man. From his writings, it can be concluded that in his view, the human being is good in nature, with moral values and an interest for its fellows' well-being. However, the changing society and the new accent placed on the continuous desire for "rich to become richer and the poor to become poorer" has transformed the individual who lost his interest for the development of the community rather than that of the individual. In this sense, he appeals to the core values of the being which could redirect the actions undergone at the level of the society towards a more equal transformation of the social environment. His opinion regarding the role of the state is in direct connection with this assessment is He drifts away from the traditional point-of-view due to the rather significant importance he gives to the support of the state for the population. Hallowell considers that "the government that governs least, governs best," while Reich views the interventionist and protection measures taken by the state are essential for the reestablishment of the equilibrium between the rich and the poor in the sense that the poor must be helped, through any means possible to reach a prosperous life.
On…… [Read More]
It is this attitude that places Roark upon the road of discover that leads to himself and his inner drive to create beauty.
From Rand's book, it becomes clear that she is presenting her philosophy of objectivism. It is a philosophy that promotes the spirit of individualism rather than the collective; and of the pursued of happiness for the individual in question. According to William Thomas, however, this is not an isolated type of individualism. It is acutely aware of the other human beings among whom the individual functions. As such, it is aware of the necessity of achieving individual happiness while keeping in mind the rights of others. In the act of building businesses, inventing technologies, and creating art (Thomas), individuals who subscribe to objectivism do so with an awareness of the community and its needs.
When applied to the world we know today, the spirit of entrepreneurship can be seen as a manifestation of Rand's objectivism. One example is the increased awareness of the social responsibility concept. Most businesses today are involved in community and environmental projects as part of their marketing campaigns, as well as an awareness of the necessity of such projects. It is also not uncommon to hear about the rich and famous contributing to philanthropic causes that they care about.
One might even go as far as saying that today, more than any time before in history, entrepreneurs are aware of their responsibilities towards the social collective. No business functions in isolation. It is in adhering to moral responsibility towards others that others are encouraged to lend their support as well. Hence, Ayn Rand was not only a pioneer; she was also a visionary. As a writer and philosopher, she promoted the ideal of entrepreneurship with responsibility.… [Read More]
What is the Moratorium on Brains? Is there a similar moratorium currently?
In the novel Atlas Shrugged, author Ayn Rand discusses a dystopian condition which she calls the "moratorium on brains." By this, Rand refers to the death of individualism and individual thought. Instead of supporting unique thinking and the power of invention, the corruption of the government and the social hierarchy in its entirety has changed the national landscape. People who thought for themselves and tried to define their selves as individuals disappear entirely or they simply vacate their jobs and get replaced by sinister people who will neither question the authority figures nor try to differentiate themselves. Those who remain behind understand that they are discouraged from thinking or using their minds in any capacity other than to perform regular ordered tasks throughout the day. They are being shackled intellectually by the government and thus are never able to transcend above their stations and achieve individual satisfaction.
The term "moratorium on brains" can be applied to any situation where the individual is ordered to behave and to speak in a certain way. Any time where individual speech and individual thought is derided by the majority population the moratorium on brains is in action. Right now in the United States of America, there is a contentious presidential election on the horizon. Never before have the two sides, Republican and Democrat, seemed so divided and by extension never have the people been so at odds. Those who support the Republican nominee Mitt Romney do not understand how people can support the Democratic nominee Barack Obama and vice versa.
Instead of using logic or statistics to back their arguments about why they support one candidate over the other, conversations have descended into stereotypes. For example, there are advertisements from the Democratic campaign which argue that voting for Mitt Romney will somehow reset the social structure of the country. One noticeable one warned people to set back the clock's an hour on Saturday and not set back feminism 50 years on Tuesday. Obviously this is highly specious reasoning. Social structure…… [Read More]
Thereafter, she published her own work and lectured on the Objectivist moral ethic to which she often referred to as "a philosophy for living on earth" based on rational self-interest and the balance between the needs of the individual and moral principles based on a commitment to objective situational perception and analysis (Merrill, 1998).
In principle, Objectivism maintains that self-interest or rational egoism is a valid perspective but that the individual's perceptions must always be guided by an objective
(vs. subjectively biased) understanding of one's rights and obligations with respect to others and to society. While the main purpose of life according to Rand is self-
fulfillment, it is rational objectivity that both distinguishes appropriate from inappropriate moral actions and that establishes the role of the individual in society. Like other moral philosophers of her time, including the infamous physicist Albert Einstein and the philosopher and historian Bertrand Russell, Rand suggested that while the individual's primary obligation was to seek his own happiness, a moral imperative precluded exploiting other to achieve personal goals (Merril, 1998; Peikhoff, 1993).
Similarly, Rand shared the belief of Einstein and Russell that the most fulfilling life is that which focuses on benefiting other members of society. Finally, in that regard,
Rand also mirrored Einstein and Russell's belief that organized religion inspired more social harm and human cruelty in human societies than any purported benefit and that the psychological orientation of theism undermined the development of both independent rational perspective and a genuine self-esteem and psychological sufficiency in the individual (Peikhoff, 1993; Rand, 1964).
That point-of-view in particular inspired one of her students, Nathaniel Branden to devote his later career as a psychologist and prolific author of psychology self-help books on understanding the origin and importance of self-esteem as well the environmental causes and consequences of low self-esteem. Branden's work also prominently featured
Ayn's characterization of intellectual independence, honesty, and…… [Read More]
First, this viewpoint essentially discounts all abstract works from being called "art." This idea seems counterintuitive to many; numerous art critics, collectors, viewers, and even Rand (see below) consider abstract art to be art, based on the metaphysical emotions it re-creates. Rand's Objectivist philosophy does not completely accept emotions as having an existence independent of a subject, and therefore her view on non-representational art is at least consistent with Objectivist metaphysics. However, it seems that her definition of art as it pertains to music is incompatible with her dismissal of non-representational art, since she states that music re-creates reality by sound waves evoking metaphysical emotions (Rand, Vis Arts 109). It may be argued that her view of music is consistent with Objectivism if the music is combined with lyrics; however, Rand appears to be unclear on this point.
Rand's view that work of art must be judged by an "objective, rational standard" (Rand, Vis Arts 109) is consistent with Objectivism. However, it is inconsistent with many prevailing notions that the value of a work of art changes based on the beholder's opinions, which are subject to cultural norms, among other influences (Kreiner 9).
In conclusion, in this paper I have described Ayn Rand's life and background, discussed her work, especially her philosophy of art, and critiqued her work. The critique has focused on Objectivism's views of art. The critique argues that Objectivism's definition of art excludes all abstract art, which is not only a counterintuitive view, but also may be inconsistent with Objectivism.
Works… [Read More]
Ayn Rand's The Ethics of Emergencies speaks about the value of selfishness or self-interest. Although "selfishness" might seem negative at first, Rand's explanation makes quite a bit of sense. Rand speaks about selfishness as a rational process in which a person sets his/her hierarchy of values and lives according to those values in order to achieve the moral purpose of life: one's own happiness.
Summary of The Ethics of Emergencies
According to Ayn Rand's The Ethics of Emergencies, the moral purpose of life is to achieve one's own happiness. Describing her belief in Objectivism in 1962, Rand stated, "Man -- every man -- is an end in himself, not the means to the ends of others. He must exist for his own sake, neither sacrificing himself to others nor sacrificing others to himself. The pursuit of his own rational self-interest and of his own happiness is the highest moral purpose of his life" (Rand, Introducing Objectivism, 2012). Rand rejects "altruism," which can be defined as "unselfish concern" (Dictionary.com LLC, 2012), and believes that the ethical basis for altruism is a "malevolent universe" metaphysics. "Malevolent universe" metaphysics, which Rand also rejects, holds that "man, by his very nature, is helpless and doomed -- that success, happiness, achievement are impossible to him -- that emergencies, disasters, catastrophes are the norm of his life and that his primary goal is to combat them" (Peikoff, 2012). According to Rand, given the moral purpose of achieving one's own happiness, sacrifice is neither morally required nor admirable. The rational principle of conduct to adhere to this moral purpose is to always act in accordance with the hierarchy of your values. Rand believes that the virtue called "selfishness" requires: "(a) a hierarchy of values set by the standards of one's self-interest, and (b) the refusal to sacrifice a higher value to a lower one or to a nonvalue" (Rand, 1964, p. 55).
Application of Rand's Ideas to Today's Moral Environment
We might tend to think of "selfishness" as a strictly bad thing. Applying Rand's ideas to today's moral environment, it first appears that Rand is telling us to "live and let die": strive only for ourselves and let others fail, sink and die. Sometimes that might be true, depending on the hierarchy we have set according to our own…… [Read More]
recurring dream in which I am standing at a podium in front of a large audience. I am the head of an organization, although my exact title and the nature of the organization are vague. In the dream, I deliver a speech, detailing some aspect of company policy. I am sure of myself; I speak with authority and conviction but for some reason I stand alone. Not one member of the crowd agrees with me, likes me, or supports me. When I wake up I feel a strange mixture of pride and humiliation. Yet like Howard Roark, hero of Ayn Rand's novel The Fountainhead, I realize that my unpopularity does not preclude my success. Roark succeeds not according to an external scale of measurement, based on societal values or norms and fueled by conformity. Rather, Roark is a hero and a success because of his unflinching individualism and his willingness to stand up for his principles in spite of immense opposition. Like Rand, I look to heroes like Roark for my inspiration and role modeling. Unlike the fleeting qualifiers of conventional success such as fame and fortune, the truly successful hero demonstrates unflinching idealism and unwavering pursuit of personal goals. Success defined by individualism and nonconformity is a difficult and demanding path but which in the end yields the true mark of heroism: integrity.
Roark succeeds in the end in spite of his struggles, just as I will succeed regardless of how unpopular my ideas or notions may be. In the short-term I will define success by my admission to a school in which I can thrive, a school that can help me to hone my talents and broaden my horizons. While I intend to participate fully in campus life and student activities, much as Roark participates fully in his social life, I will also develop my unique character traits, those characteristics that set me apart from the herd and enable me to truly shine. Roark's contribution…… [Read More]
Should the state of Missouri legalize polygamy?
Comprising 114 counties, Missouri is a U.S. state located in mid-west of the country. The debate of whether or not legalize polygamy (i.e. one man marrying many women) is ethically evaluated here using ethical method and theories.
Five-point analysis method for resolving ethical dilemmas
Ethical questions are deep rooted in the emotions of individuals as well as the society. It is not easy to present and get accepted a solution to ethical dilemma. The five point analysis method for resolving ethical dilemmas has following steps:
Develop a list of premises: This step is of finding options. Listing the solution alternatives. The method will evaluate if polygamy should be legalized, illegalized, banned with heavy punishment, or allowed under specific conditions where the wife has medical issues that require the husband to marry someone else.
Step 2. Eliminate irrelevant or weak premises: After analyzing consequences, and evaluating all possible positive and negative consequences like who will be hurt, helped and what will be long-term short-term gains and losses, shed those solutions that are weak. Assessment in this ethical case tells that the first wife may be at losing end when the husband is allowed to marry other women and husband is being helped (Sotelo, 1994). Otherwise, if the husband is not allowed for polygamy, he may indulge into extramarital relationships that will be more devastating for the wife since it is an act of cheating. Letting a husband marry other women is like binding him to responsibilities.
Step 3. Come to conclusion: How the solution stands ethically and whether or not this action crosses line. The legalization or illegalization of polygamy should be evaluated from the perspective of men and woman. This action can, on one hand, be considered as unjust to wife thus she has to share her personal life and husband's belongings with another woman but illegalizing polygamy means the husband may be understaisfied with his needs being unfulfilled sufficiently.
Step 4. Try out the argument: The polygamy can be legalized putting some legal and financial constraints on the husband. He should be penalized if the rights of one wife are violated in terms of…… [Read More]
John Galt, Ayn Rand's Ubermensch, relays his values in the poignant rhetorical question: "Which is the monument to the triumph of the human spirit over matter: the germ-eaten hovels on the shorelines of the Ganges or the Atlantic skyline of New York?" Galt's public address, delivered over the subverted airwaves, encompasses the major themes running through Atlas Shrugged. In the speech, Galt claims the triumph of reason over religion, of individualism over collectivism, of self-determination over governmental intervention. Galt's libertarian ideals are at the heart of Rand's novel, forming the basis for the author's own philosophical stance. It is not so much the buildings lining the Manhattan skyline that so inspire Galt; rather it is the motivation behind them: the desire to propel human consciousness and human society forward and to continue to expand the boundaries of human potential. Rand does not glamorize capitalism arbitrarily; the author's thinly veiled personal philosophy rests on solid bedrock of reason. For her heroes, such as Dagny Taggart and John Galt, capitalism is the manifestation of key social, political, and economic ideals. Such ideals, which include the expansion of the mind, continual progress, and individualism, form the philosophical core of Atlas Shrugged.
Furthermore, Galt's allusion to the "germ-eaten hovels on the shorelines of the Ganges" is not arbitrary. Rand carefully selected imagery from India's sacred river to denounce delusion, to criticize those who would propose that society restrict its impetus for technological and social change in favor of superstition and socialism. The Ganges River also represents the dual forces of life and death, which are examined closely in Rand's novel. The Ganges also evokes imagery of funeral pyres: images that closely mimic some of the novel's key events. For example, the destruction of industrial enterprises pervade Atlas Shrugged. From the Taggart railroads, to d'Anconia's ore industry, to Rearden's metal. Ellis Wyatt's setting fire to his own oil wells points directly to the fire symbolism that the Ganges River image invokes. The concept of death is also central to Atlas Shrugged.
Galt's quote also demonstrates Rand's willingness to liberally use symbolism in Atlas Shrugged. From meaningful,…… [Read More]
Capitalists of the World Unite! You Have Everything to Gain -- profit, individual excellence, and personal appeal!
In her fictional work of philosophy entitled Atlas Shrugged, one of Ayn Rand's central characters, Francisco d'Anconia, expresses outrage at the expressed ideal that "money is the root of all evil." He argues instead that money is the root of all human advancement and gain. Money provides motivation for humans to rise above the level of beasts and create unique works of human production and the imagination. Money is an objective standard of valuation, unlike airy systems of merit that are open to bias. It is for this reason, d'Anconia ominously says, why the systems of money evaluation and money production is one of the first things that are attacked by invaders, when attempting to destroy a country.
Rand's protagonist accuses those that spout "that phrase about the evil of money," as being aristocrats. She states that such an idea comes "from a time when wealth was produced by the labor of slaves -- slaves who repeated the motions once discovered by somebody's mind and left unimproved for centuries." In other words, before capitalism, individuals labored at brute tasks for no reward, other than not to be lashed to death by their masters. Even today, the only people who really despise money are those who gain it by corruption, pandering, and fraud, for if the "source is corrupt, you have damned your own existence ... Then all the things you buy will become, not a tribute to you, but a reproach; not an achievement, but a reminder of shame. Then you'll scream that money is evil. Evil."
But merely because an individual is rewarded with money for subordinate or slavish actions today does not mean that money is intrinsically evil. Now there is another option other than slave labor,…… [Read More]
Philosophical and Literary Representation of Capitalism
Progress & Technology in Capitalism
John Steinbeck wrote the social The Grapes of Wrath during the interwar years, just after the Great Depression harrowingly illustrated the power of unchecked capitalism. His novel takes the position that revolutionary change is needed, is inevitable, and that a just and non-exploitive society can only come about when capitalism is eliminated. Steinbeck is reported to have made clear his intentions as he prepared to write The Grapes of Wrath. In his words, "I want to put a tag of shame on the greedy bastards who are responsible for this" [the Great Depression and its widely destructive effects]." Steinbeck's collectivist-leaning voice at the time of his writing The Grapes of Wrath would become so altered over the course of three decades that it hardly seemed to belong to this writer who created on the very edge of moral fervor. Marxism acquired as decidedly Stalinist hue after the death of Lenin, further solidifying Steinbeck's skepticism about philosophical and political systems.
Despite the collectivist theme that is threaded throughout The Grapes of Wrath, Steinbeck considered socialism to be "simply another form of religion and thus delusional" (). The path that Steinbeck took to a practical -- if not moral -- acceptance of the capitalist-fueled Vietnam war stands as a microcosm of a view of capitalism which argues that workers are both the victims and the creators of the capitalism that damns them. With the industrialization o the nation -- and the laboring of American culture, as Denning (1996) put it -- people from the working class entered culture industries, becoming both subjects and producers of culture. In the cultural expressions of progress, which invariably engaged big business, workers could be compelled to sell their labor and, in effect, have their power co-opted against their own class's interests. Steinbeck saw clearly that poor migrants he wrote about in The Grapes of Wrath and the class of readers to whom he intended to most appeal -- were at once workers and victims of the same social processes. His understanding of production was decidedly Marxist --…… [Read More]
When Henry Adams described the "task of education" as being "this problem of running order through chaos, direction through space, discipline through freedom, unity through-multiplicity," it appears that he was referring to something that people today would more readily refer to as the meaning of life. This may seem a loose phrase that risks cliche, but in fact it is the easiest way to make sense of Adams's set of paradoxes about education. After all, the events of life are a pure chaos of one event after another, unless one has obtained the mental criteria to evaluate them. Similarly, life is directionless unless one has a specific purpose, and life is marked by a bewildering freedom of options unless one is restricted to certain choices, and life can appear as numerous unique phenomena unless we have learned to recognize the underlying patterns and categories in those events. In some sense, then, what Henry Adams means is that education is our chief way of providing meaning to life (and religion, philosophy, science, art, politics, and economy) although he is too rhetorically elegant to come right out and say so. In the writings of great minds, as in life, the meaning is never readily apparent.
Certainly I agree with Adams's contention that education is how we discover meaning in life. This is perhaps easiest to see when a bad or inadequate education performs a pale parody of this task, and gives people an illusory meaning. The first example that springs to mind are devotees of the writer Ayn Rand. In these overheated paperback screeds familiar to many adolescents, Rand offers her readers a form of education: she has figured out her own meaning in life (and in religion, philosophy, science, art, politics, and, alas, economics) and she intends to share it, at great length. Ultimately these books are offering a course in the meaning of life --…… [Read More]
The actions of these collective groups lead only to frustration, a lack of responsibility, ineptitude, and inefficiency.
What sort of world does this lead to? The people who are most capable seem to be disappearing, while the least capable are left in charge. Dagny wants to know why the capable people are disappearing, and she has to find the answer to this question in order to understand what is happening throughout society. The old virtues, virtues that sustained the business community and that made America great in the past, are no longer in force. People once took pride in their work and in the act of earning their own way. These things seem to have disappeared just as have the capable workers. The consequences are all around as things keep breaking down -- systems, machinery, people.
The villains in this story are socialists, or more descriptively those who oppose individualism and free enterprise. Wesley Mouch is representative of this group. He is a collectivist who sees the need for social programs and welfare systems that in essence protect the workers from having to work at all. He sees the big factories and manufacturing plants as places whose ownership should be divided among the workers, while he views the leaders at the top as parasites who make no contribution to the general welfare. In the structure of the novel, Mouch is one of those responsible for the long slide of the economic system into torpor and decay, while Dagny and the men with whom she becomes allied fight to stop this slide and to return the economy to an individualistic base.
In the novel, Rand presents good characters as those who believe in personal achievement and individual effort, while the bad characters are those who accept collectivism and who do not value the individual as much as they do the general welfare. In Dagny's view…… [Read More]
Helping others is not explicitly prohibited in Objectivist philosophy: it is just not considered the highest moral good, in contrast to acting in one's own, personal self-interest. It should be noted that acting in self-interest can result in assisting others indirectly: for example, in a capitalist society, my desire to sell a product and a consumer's desire to purchase a product frequently result in both individuals benefiting from this exchange. But this is not the ultimate purpose and goal of the capitalist exchange. People may also help others to make themselves feel better but Rand regards this impulse as inferior to self-interested actions such as creating art or working to sustain one's business.
Although in theory helping the poor is not banned in the Objectivist philosophy, all of Ayn Rand's writings show profound mistrust of altruistic impulses and question the idea that helping the weakest members of society achieves any meaningful moral purpose. In The Fountainhead, the desire of architect Howard Roark to make great buildings is shown as antithetical to the need to create buildings that help the poor survive (Badhwar & Long 2015). Survival of the self is the greatest good, according to Rand. While conventional moral conceptions of capitalism suggest that self-interest results in benefits for all -- for example, that Roark's desire to live as an architect and make buildings would benefit both himself and others, in Rand's view, the greatness of Roark must ultimately be distilled from any supposed benefits for others outside of the marketplace. The project Roark is contracted to create is evil because it is a housing project that is designed for the public good and does not realize his individual artistic vision. Those who wish to help the poor, in Rand's view, either do so because they are covering up their real socialist agenda like Ellsworth Toohey or who, like Peter Keating, do so out of their inability to resist societal conventions and celebrate their own superiority and ambitions (Badhwar & Long 2015).
PART 2: Laura Nash
Nash's method reviews both the collective and individual implications of the ethical decision. Certain…… [Read More]
Fundamentally, the insurgents are fighting an enemy with superior weaponry, technology, and resources, so therefore, must seek avenues to mitigate these disadvantages. In other words, insurgent forces out vastly outdone in the traditional aspects of warfare, so they are forced to resort to unconventional modes of attack.
Early in his book, the Army and Vietnam, Krepinevich provides the broad game plan an insurgent force must follow to achieve final victory:
As developed by Mao in China and adapted by Giap in Vietnam, contemporary insurgency is a third world phenomenon comprising three phases: first, insurgent agitation and proselytization among the masses -- the phase of contention; second, overt violence, guerrilla operations, and the establishment of bases -- the equilibrium phase; and third, open warfare between insurgent and government forces designed to topple the existing regime -- the counteroffensive phase."
Primarily, this form of warfare consists of the formation of a political party, then attacks upon remote areas under governmental control to increase the insurgent's hold upon the public, and finally a full force is assembled that most closely resembles a conventional army. Without a doubt, the most important aspect of the insurgent movement is establishing at least passive support from the surrounding population. If the insurgents are able to illicit sympathy from a significant portion of the citizenry, they will find a base for operations and sanctuary; additionally, they will become more difficult for the occupational force to eradicate. Overall, this specific distinction between insurgence and terrorism comes about when the ideological or moral goals of violence are enhanced; insurgency can certainly take the form of terrorism; but if the motivations behind it appear just, then it becomes more complicated than merely asserting that those who attack civilians are terrorists.
Conceiving of terrorism in these terms results in the recognition that it is more easy to distinguish between utterly immoral terrorist actions and those that may possess higher levels of ethical backing: "The distinction between combatants and noncombatants and its relation to the notion of innocence are problematic, but…… [Read More]
industry in America are a varied lot, ranging from self-righteous and mean-spirited individualists to community-minded altruists. The tensions among these capitalist types is as evident today as it was in the days when Ayn Rand first penned The Fountainhead. Since Rand was a Russian immigrant, it is not particularly surprising that her experiences with socialist and communist societies colored her perspective of capitalism, to a degree reminiscent of a defensive reaction formation. The protagonists in the film Atlas Shrugged engage in a capital strike that is intended to bring the economy to a standstill in order to emphasize the rightness and importance of laissez-faire capitalism. The decline of the transcontinental railway stands in for the future of America if it practices communism and upholds the values of moral relativism. The fundamental tenant of these industrialists was that they were entitled to function according to a natural order that encouraged individuals to put their own selfish interests before those of others as doing so would eventually contribute to the common good. Foremost in this effort was the desire to ensure that individual liberty and private property rights were paramount, and essentially unfettered by artificial governmental barriers and laws. While I certainly embrace the idea of supporting individual creativity and productivity, I can not support a management philosophy that does not consider solutions designed to improve the conditions and the community of the workers. The spark to work well for a company -- or for oneself -- should come from the significance of the contribution the business provides society. Sadly, the book and film portray pure economic forms, but pure systems do not exist -- any system is vulnerable to corruption by human beings, particularly those who are focused on their own happiness and self-interest above all else.
Atlas Shrugged 2. There emerges from the film the notion that industrialists -- capitalists -- are entitled to the fruits of their labor -- and,…… [Read More]