I am always pleased to watch people work with their ideas and offer their thoughts on the most foundational of all questions: Philosophy.
Argo, a long time commenter on Spiritual Tyranny weighed in on Objectivist thought developed by Ayn Rand. Most people are introduced to Ayn’s thought via Atlas Shrugged and the Fountain Head. However thorough John Gault’s presentation of objectivist philosophy might be in Atlas Shrugged, Ayn Rand wrote volumes more. For the New Intellectual, Philosophy Who Needs It, The Virtue of Selfishness and many more titles, articles and essays bear her name. Her intellectual heir Leonard Piekhoff wrote the definitive work on her ideas: Objectivism: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand and Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology.
Of course being one who sees the essential foundation of the effectiveness of Reason, its foundation in Man’s competent Epistemology, and a student of philosophy I have read Mrs. Rand. Argo has written a brief rebuttal to Objectivist thought. And since he is looking for a broader conversation I thought it appropriate to bring it to the forefront. As I have said before philosophies do not go away merely because Christians decide they are vain, or in error, or adopt them as their own. The choice on philosophy is not IF man will have one. The choice before man is always WHICH philosophy he will choose.
In service to this choice I offer Argo’s initial thoughts.
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Sorry for the long posts: I wish I could be less wordy. Anyway, here is another. Thoughts anyone? I have been studying Objectivist Philosophy lately, and after some consideration I have decided that while I agree with some of its perspectives on the individual’s right to self-determination, as a whole it is actually a farce and has no place in arguing for the moral and physical liberty of mankind as it pertains to government.
Here’s why: it rejects the idea of God. It’s not even agnostic. It’s outright atheistic. And this being the case, the final arbiter of TRUTH, of what is ultimately GOOD and what is ultimately EVIL, is man. Because man is an end to himself, he also has the final say, not just on how to rationally perceive the objective world around him, but to make the determination as to whether or not any cause and effect outcomes are GOOD (that logic is logical, that truth is true, and that these things actually lead to GOOD, etc., etc.). However, this ultimately can only ever be arbitrary. While man according to objectivist philosophy may see TRUTH as nothing more than objective outcomes of cause and effect in a natural rational world, the classification of those outcomes as to their moral value is nothing more than man’s opinion of what is GOOD or what is EVIL. No matter how man chooses to define good or evil, the moral definitions will always be relative to some PERSON’S opinion at the end of the objective day. Some person will eventually <em>have</em> to decide that THEY are smarter and better than anyone else, and as such are justified and obligated to force other men to their opinion. Thus, any philosophy which rejects the idea of God, and therefore rejects the idea of God as the final arbiter of GOOD and BAD and therefore TRUTH as is pertains to the morality of outcomes, is dead before the first words hit the thesis paper because the denial of God ultimately destroys that philosophy’s ability to argue morality and ethics, which are a fundamental basis of philosophy in general. Ethics simply becomes just a man’s opinion on the moral value of an outcome; and if someone else decides that they will not agree with that opinion at the end of the objective day, then eventually someone is pulling out a gun and the will to use it. For all of Ayn Rand’s waxing on about the rights of man to own himself and on and on, her own philosophy leaves her no choice if it is to survive when push comes to shove to pull a gun on someone and compel them to agree if they will not be convinced by argument.