The Website of Carlos Whitlock Porter

 

AN ANALYSIS OF THE PHILOSOPHY OF AYN RAND

By Carlos W. Porter

 

 

 

With Afterword by Michael Shermer

 

On the relevance of the following to the Hoaxoco$t and other matters discussed on this website, see my comments to "THE SURVIVORS" by William Jaspers, and HUMAN SOAP, AMERICAN STYLE.

 

Michael Shermer is an anti-revisionist who has engaged in several debates with revisionist Mark Weber of the Institute for Historical Review (www.ihr.org).
 

Shermer purports to tell us "Why People Believe Weird Things", while believing a number of weird things himself. For example: "Forensic tests have now been conducted demonstrating the homicidal use of both the gas chambers and the crematoria [at Auschwitz] for the express purpose of exterminating large numbers of prisoners" (source: Shermer's article "Proving the Holocaust," in Shermer's own publication SKEPTIC, 1994, pp. 51f.)

 

Arthur Butz has called this assertion "an amazing lie that the other defenders of the legend are not guilty of, as far as I know"("Past History vs. Political Present", IHR Journal, Nov/Dec 2000).

NOTE 2005:The article by Arthur Butz mentioning Shermer can be found by searching google.com for the non-existent German word "Vergasungskeller"; the link is:


http://theunjustmedia.com/Jewish%20Zionists/Historical%20Past%20vs%20Political%20Present.htm

 

Mr. Shermer's inability to digest and/or understand simple factual material may be a reflection of the philosophy of which he is, with certain reservations, a professed advocate: the philosophy of "Objectivism" -- invented by Russian Jewish immigrant Ayn Rand (a.k.a. Alyssa Rosenbaum).

 

The following paper, by an anonymous "student of Objectivism" at Lawrence University, is a typical example of Objectivist theoretical writing. The topic is: "Does a Woman Have a Right to an Abortion?" Any other topic (for example, revisionism) might equally well be substituted, since the "Objectivist" style of argument never varies.

 

Note the unfounded assertions; the undefined terms; the trick definitions; the terms defined in terms of other, mutually undefined (and undefinable) terms only; the "bait and switch" or "expanding definition" technique in which definitions are made to expand and contract at whim; the false analogies; the appeals to philosophical authority in purely factual matters (in a philosophy of "reason", no less!); the Talmudic hair-splitting; the sophistry; speciousness; the constant attempts at moral and intellectual intimidation; the jargon; verbosity; pretentiousness; arrogance; pitilessness; obnoxiousness, and chuztpa generally.

To sum up: it is a philosophy typically, totally Jewish in conception and style.

The Objectivist philosophy is like a jigsaw puzzle in which every word is redefined to jibe perfectly with some other word, again, arbitrarily redefined, in such a way as to produce an effect which is purely specious. It is an attempt to force reality into a mould dictated by purely verbal formulae with very little examination of fact, as we shall soon see.

 

My comments are in bold, with brackets.

CARLOS W. PORTER

JULY 15, 2001

 

Does a Woman Have a Right to an Abortion? [by "Anonymous"]

(Presented at the 7. May, 1997 meeting of the Lawrence University Students of Objectivism.)

 

[Disclaimer, deletion]

 

I shall provide the Objectivist alternative to both views. In doing so, I shall provide a rational [!] case for a woman's right to an abortion.

 

Before I say anything else, I should like to add that the case I will present will be a rational one [COMMENT: DEFINITION PLEASE!], not a rationalization [COMMENT: DEFINITION PLEASE!]

 

[COMMENT: If I need to decide whether or not to turn left at the next corner, ten thousand pages of philosophizing about "reason", and "reality", and the "perception of reality", are totally useless: what I need is correct factual data. Since "reason" -- as distinguished from "rationalization" -- is impossible to define "objectively" except in a very general, abstract way, this throws the whole Objectivist philosophy of "reason" into a cocked hat before we even start! Just as one example of the many which might be mentioned: the Jewish founders of Objectivism, Rand/Rosenbaum and Branden/Blumenthal, spent 18 years screwing each other even though they were both married and Rand was 25 years older, thus contributing to both Rand's husband's alcoholism and Branden's divorce; it was Rand's sexual jealousy that destroyed the Objectivist movement. Michael Shermer's description of this episode is appended, because it must be read to be believed. Of course, their sexual affair was "rational", because that was what they wanted to do. Branden/Blumenthal has admitted all of this, saying that Rand was a "genius at reasoning, and just as much a genius at rationalization", a statement which must necessarily be just as true of Branden himself, since they were both involved (see: MY YEARS WITH AYN RAND, by Nathaniel Branden, or THE PASSION OF AYN RAND, by Branden's ex-wife Barbara Branden/Weidmann, another kike).

 

It should be noted that Seneca's philosophy of "Stoicism" is not refuted by the fact that Seneca was a wealthy money-lender, because at least we know what "Stoicism" consists of; it is a coherent, practical philosophy. We do not know what "reason" consists of, except very abstractly. All pretence to the contrary notwithstanding, Objectivists are far less able to "perceive reality" than other people, because they have so many preconceived notions as to what "reality" should be like. In actual fact, they are some of the most irrational and unreasonable people one could ever have the misfortune of meeting. - C.P.]

 

I have put a great deal of thought into this topic. I started out being pro-life, then became pro-choice, switched back to being pro-life, waffled for a year, and returned to pro-choice. In the end, I realized that these terms are not even very meaningful

 

[COMMENT: Note that we are permitted to "choose", but not to "discriminate". Yet "discrimination" is a form of "choice" (6th definition, Webster's Unabridged). Do you have the right to "choose" to refuse to sell or rent your house or apartment to a racially mixed couple? A "cross-dresser"? A "gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgendered person"?  The right to "choose" your associates by saying, for example, "I don't do business with blacks"? To live in a community or go to a school -- even a private school -- composed solely of members of your own race? The right to "choose" to discuss revisionism? Racial differences? Racial preferences? - C.P.]

 

The view that upholds a woman's right to an abortion recognizes that "pro-choice" is "pro-life" [!]. To affirm choice is to affirm life [!]--the life of the mother [!].

 

[COMMENT: Note the trick definition of "life", followed by a trick switch in the definition involved, followed by another series of non-sequiturs, as discussed below. To Objectivists, words are mere tools of deception, like wedges to a burglar. - C.P.]

 

I. THE CONSERVATIVE APPROACH

 

The American conservative movement has mounted the primary opposition to abortion rights. Conservatives are opposed to abortion on both moral and political grounds. They think not only that women should not have abortions, but also that women should not be allowed to have abortions. This is not a surprise. Politics is a branch of ethics. If one believes that abortion is wrong, there is little logical distance (some, but little) between this view and the view that abortion should be outlawed.

 

The ethical root of the conservative's objection to abortion is the philosophy of altruism. According to altruism, humans must sacrifice themselves to others in order to attain moral worth. On this view, the greatest of all evils is selfishness. To act in one's own self-interest, rather than acting as a means to the ends of others, is "crass", "callous", "inhumane", or any number of other adjectives which have been used in this context. There are no two ways about this issue: to have an abortion is a genuinely selfish act [!]. Whether her reason is to save her life from the complications of birth, or merely to attain a better financial status [!!!]

 

[COMMENT: Note the switch from "life" to "financial status". The word "life" is first used as commonly understood, then redefined to mean a "process of self-sustaining action"; the "right to self-sustaining action" is then defined as "the right to do all things necessary to life", which is then defined as including "attaining a better financial status" -- or anything else one might arbitrarily care to do -- at one's own absolute discretion, since anything else would be "mysticism", "altruism", or the "initiation of physical force"; see below. This is the "bait and switch" definition technique - C.P.],

 

the woman who chooses to have an abortion is acting in her own self-interest

 

[COMMENT: Definition, please. How do we determine what is actually in our "self-interest" from that which we merely want to do, perhaps quite mistakenly? - C.P.]

 

As a result, she is condemned by the conservative.

 

Politically, the conservative sees this selfish act as infringing on the "rights" of another entity: the embryo or the fetus. Because the conservative believes that the proper role of government is to protect rights (at least in this case),

 

[COMMENT: Governments exist to win wars and maintain order. There are rights and duties in any political system, even Communism, although the former were admittedly quite tenuous under Stalin, his Jewish commissars, Jewish secret police, and Jewish brother-in-law - C.P.],

 

he believes that the government is justified in using coercive force to stop a woman from having an abortion. On this view, abortion laws which would imprison a woman for aborting a fetus amount to the retaliatory use of force [!], rather than the initiation of it [!], since by having an abortion, a woman has allegedly initiated the use of force against the fetus. [!]

 

Why does the conservative believe that the fetus has rights? The fetus or embryo has the same genetic code as humans [!], the same number of chromosomes [!]; it is programmed by nature to become a human being [!]. According to the conservative, the embryo or fetus is a potential person

 

[COMMENT: Note the oversimplification and misrepresentation of factual matters. The opponents of abortion maintain that an embryo or fetus is a human being – a "person" -- in FACT, ALREADY, not "potentially" - C.P.],

 

who is equal in moral status to an actual person. Why does the conservative believe that human potentiality

 

[COMMENT: See above - C.P.]

 

is sufficient to establish moral status? Ultimately, the justification is grounded by religious arguments

 

[COMMENT: Whether or not an embryo or fetus is a human being is a matter of medical and scientific fact, if not simple observation -- not religious speculation. All one need do is look at one; they have their own brain waves, sexual organs, blood type, and fingerprints at a very early stage of gestation -- the same fingerprints which they will bear throughout life. The hypocrisy of the contention in question here is made evident by the fact that if I were to claim that Jews are not human beings -- or that Jewish foetuses are not human beings -- the same person would become indignant, perhaps even hysterically so. - C.P.] 

A potential in nature

 

[COMMENT: See above. - C.P.]

 

is said to indicate the design of a Creator

 

[COMMENT: Note the typical Objectivist misstatement of the factual issue. - C.P.]

 

If God wills that intercourse result in procreation, then His will must be done. Sacred texts from the Torah to the Bible to the Koran are brimming with prohibitions against abortion [!]. Ultimately, all [!!!] aspects of the conservative case come down to the injunction that abortion is wrong "because God says so". [!!!]

 

[COMMENT: That is not so. Personally, I not a Christian and have not been one for 40 years. There are racial, national and humanitarian reasons for opposing abortion, but of course, nobody wants to be called a "nationalist" or "racist". The implication that an atheist worldview such as Rand's is ipso facto more "rational" than a theistic worldview is questionable to say the least. - C.P.]

 

Aside from the obvious difficulty with their ultimate justification (divine revelation), the conservative case is fraught with a large number of other problems.

 

To suggest that potential persons [!] have rights equal to those of actual persons [!] is to limit the rights of actual persons severely

 

[COMMENT: There are two "actual persons involved", not one. - C.P.]

 

For starters, late-term abortions must be ruled out, as the fetus is most certainly a potential person [!]. The same goes for early-term abortions: the embryo could certainly become a human.

 

[COMMENT: If the "embryo" is not a" human" already, then what is it? An Airdale? - C.P.]

 

The preceding are the standard implications recognized by most conservatives. However, there are a number of others which are usually conveniently ignored. For instance, all forms of birth control must be ruled out if potential persons are the locus of value. After all, sperm and ovum are just as much potential persons as are embryos [!], even if they only contain half of the genetic material. According to this view, manslaughter occurs whenever a woman menstruates, and mass murder occurs when a man has a wet dream!

 

[COMMENT: In logic, this is called a false analogy. It is true that the mentality of contraception, i.e., sex without responsibility, leads to the mentality of abortion, and, in the end, implies a justification of infanticide; see below. The answer to this is a morality of responsibility: Ghandi said: "It is a sin to bring unwanted children into the world, but it is a far greater sin to avoid responsibility for one's own actions". - C.P.]

 

The "fun" doesn't stop here, though. Recognize that with the advent of modern genetics, scientists could extract the DNA of individual human cells in order to make clones [!]. This capability means that the tiniest skin cell is a potential person [!]. If potential persons must not be killed [!!!], then it is immoral and unjust for me to scratch my elbow, because doing so will result in the deaths of millions of potential persons [!!!].

 

[COMMENT: Note how typically Jewish this is, accompanied by the admission that abortion is killing. At the funeral of Baruch Goldstein, an Orthodox Jew from Brooklyn and major in the Israeli army who murdered 28 Moslems worshipping in a mosque and whose grave is now a major tourist attraction for Jews, an Israeli Orthodox rabbi stated: "One million Arabs are not worth one Jewish fingernail". This person denies an unborn child even the value of a fingernail! It should be noted that Objectivists favour abortion right up to the 52nd week, and have seriously considered advocating infanticide. Logically, this is a grotesquely false analogy which has been refuted many times by scientists; it also betrays a total ignorance of what cloning really is. Science fiction aside, most cloned organisms suffer from numerous genetic defects, and almost all are stillborn; it is quite possible that cloning will never be safe. Space does not permit further discussion of this breathtakingly arrogant piece of chutzpa, which can only be classified as glatt kosher. - C.P.]

 

Logically, the reverence for the potential person implies utter contempt for the actual person [!].

 

[COMMENT: Note the use of extreme statements as a deliberate tactic. All disagreement is met with insults; no accusation is too extreme. - C.P.]

 

 If any rights are granted to potential persons at all, then the only result can be the total and complete erosion of the rights of actual persons [!].

 

[COMMENT: See above; this arbitrary assertion is based on a trick definition of "rights"; see below - C.P.]

 

They very process of living entails the need for humans to shed skin, menstruate, have wet dreams, etc. [!] Actual human life entails the death of potential persons [!!!].

 

[COMMENT: Note the false analogies; note as well the use of the word "death"; this is truly an extraordinary admission. - C.P.]

 

To implement the logical requirements of a reverence for potential persons is to eclipse actual human life [!]. It makes little sense to treat potential entities as worthy of more respect than actual ones [!]

 

[COMMENT: It does make sense; it is called the "survival of the species". - C.P.]

 

To dispense with these objections, the conservative could "bite the bullet" and concede that restrictions on actual persons are justified for the sake of potential ones. To make this concession would be to highlight the blatant altruism of the anti-abortion position. As with most calls for sacrifice, it is the greater which must be sacrificed to the lesser [!!!].

 

[COMMENT: Note the trick definition of "sacrifice"; see below - C.P.]

 

In the case of abortion, the altruism is so other-oriented that it demands that the actual sacrifice for the non-actual

 

[COMMENT: It is not "non-actual" and it is not "non-existent"; the foetus-embryo is a human being in actual fact - C.P.],

 

that is, for the non-existent [!]. There could be no greater sacrifice. [!]

 

[COMMENT: Note the trick definition of "sacrifice". The Objectivists reject altruism, alleging that "sacrifice means the surrender of a lesser value for a higher value": the "surrender of a lower value for a higher one" -- according to the Objectivists -- is not a "sacrifice", but a "profit"; the "surrender of a higher value for a lower one" is "anti-life". Note how typically Jewish this is: either you are making a "profit" or you are "immoral"! Perhaps it is this kind of thing that caused E. Michael Jones of Culture Wars Magazine to say that Rand "proposed as the ideal American a caricature of the avaricious Jew."

 

To a sane person, "sacrifice" means forgoing a lower value for a higher one when the higher one is more long-term or more abstract, even when the lower one is something we may want desperately -- such as our lives, property, comfort, and/or the lives and well-being of our families. This occurs, for example, in any war, and constantly throughout life generally. To work and save instead of spending and enjoying is a "sacrifice", but ordinary people do these things as a matter of course. The Objectivists revert to an infantile morality of self-gratification, justified by thousands of pages of Talmudic hair-splitting and sophistry. This is only one of the many examples of Objectivist trickery in definitions. - C.P.]

 

To fully topple the conservative case requires a refutation of the ethics of altruism. This refutation shall come in due course.

 

II. THE LIBERAL APPROACH

 

[deletion]

 

…If altruism is the moral ideal, then conservatives are probably the most consistent defenders of it with respect to abortion. After all, altruism demands sacrifice [!]. A sacrifice is a surrender of a greater value for a lesser value [!].

 

[COMMENT: Note the trick definition of sacrifice; see above - C.P.]

 

Anti-abortionists demand the sacrifice of the actual to the potential [!]. This is a far greater sacrifice than that which the liberals demand, a sacrifice of certain actual persons (those who would stop women from having abortions) to certain other actual persons (who would have abortions) [!].

 

[COMMENT: This is another fallacy: the assumption that "only individuals exist". In reality, the family, the community, the nation, the race, have an existence and a reality of their own, which transcends that of the individual. This is not an abstraction; it is a fact. How far would you get in farming if you said "There's no such thing as varieties of corn, only individual ears of corn"? "There is no such thing as breeds of cows, only individual Anguses, Holsteins, and Guernseys, etc."? This is called the "problem of universals", on which the Objectivists take a totally unrealistic position. They use this false premise in order to "prove" that a person who "sacrifices" himself for the nation or an ideal is sacrificing himself for "other people", which is, according to them, ipso facto "immoral". - C.P.]

 

[deletion]

 

…A proper theory of rights tells us that one person's rights end where a second person's rights begin [!]

 

[COMMENT: This hackneyed phrase is almost never trotted out except to justify some outrageous injustice. For example, on October 16, 1998, Pedro Varela went on trial in Barcelona, Spain, for doubting the authenticity of the diary of Ann Frank (penalty demanded: 24 years; sentence passed: 5 years); there is no censorship in Spain, and no list of prohibited books. On the very same day, a convicted rapist and incurable psychopath who had been sentenced to 595 years in prison [!] was released after only 14 years, on the grounds that he had played football and helped in the prison kitchen [!]; he had consistently refused to express any remorse or participate in any sort of psychiatric treatment; he was known to be incurable. His terrified victims were told by the police simply to change their residence for a few days. Varela was told that his "right" to "freedom of expression" stopped where the "rights of others began" (i.e., the "right" of Jews and homosexuals to be "offended" by his opinions); similarly, the "rights" of the rape victims stopped where the rapist's "right" to be released from prison began! To the Jews, abstract principles are like toilet paper: they are invented for a dirty job, used once, and thrown away. - C.P.]

 

If abortion did constitute a rights violation, then the woman would have no right to excercise her freedom in this respect. Because many liberals do not choose to address this question by addressing the question of the nature of the fetus, they are implicitly telling the world, "We know were baby killers, and we're proud of it". This is not a persuasive position.

 

[COMMENT: That is precisely the Objectivist position, they are "baby killers and proud of it"; see below. - C.P.]

 

A second instance of the liberals' improper application of the concept of rights to the subject of abortion is found in the example of Judith Jarvis Thomson. Dr. Thomson is a prominent feminist philosopher at MIT who has written one of the most well-known philosophical defenses of a woman's right to an abortion. Her argument runs as follows: A woman has a right to an abortion because abortion is not killing [!]. Rather, it is merely the cessation of the provision of sustenance for the fetus.

 

[COMMENT: Note the Talmudic hair-splitting; see below. - C.P.]

 

The difference here is the same as the difference between stealing someone's wallet and not giving someone your wallet.

 

[COMMENT: It is LITERALLY AND IN FACT the Talmudic distinction between pushing someone into a well or pit, which is prohibited, and pulling a ladder out after the person has already fallen in -- so that he dies -- which is explicitly permitted, as long as the person is a non-Jew; see Israel Shahak: JEWISH HISTORY, JEWISH RELIGION (Pluto Press). (For one of the many original sources, see the Babylonian Talmud, Sanhedrin 77a, p. 511.) - C.P.]

 

Thomson's argument is seemingly innovative. However, by reducing the concept of individual rights to the right not to be killed [!]

 

[COMMENT: Note the admission that abortion is killing, in contradiction to the above - C.P.],

 

she undercuts the concept of rights in general. The fetus might not be able to claim the right not to be aborted [!], but the woman is also not able to claim the right to the abortion [!]. She only has the right not to be killed [!].

 

[COMMENT: More Talmudic hair-splitting, accompanied by the implicit admission that abortion is killing, see above - C.P.],

 

As we shall see later, the concept of individual rights must be less bare-boned than this to justify abortion rights.

 

[deletion]

 

III. THE OBJECTIVIST APPROACH

 

Objectivism attacks the very root of the anti-abortion position. It rejects not only the religious conservatives' mysticism, but also self-sacrifice, which is the staple of the conservatives' justification

 

[COMMENT: That is not true; sacrifice is not an end in itself. It is part of life, a painful necessity. No one wants to die for his country, his principles or ideals. That is just as one example. Working and saving to support one's family is another. It is called responsibility. Life is full of these decisions, on a much smaller scale. Objectivists reduce all moral decision-making to a mere haggling over "values" -- i.e., prices!!! -- like true Jews. - C.P.]

 

and the fatal flaw of liberals' attempted rebuttal.

 

Before anything can be said about the Objectivist position on abortion, I must pause to present a brief overview of the Objectivist theory of ethics and politics. Only then will we have a foundation on which to build a case for abortion rights.

According to Objectivism, the only means of human knowledge is reason

 

[COMMENT: Definition please. - C.P.]

 

This automatically rules out any reliance on faith or divine revelation. In short, claims to know the mystical will of God are not admissible arguments. If the conservative, for instance, wishes to justify the claim that the actual must be sacrificed to the potential [!], "because God says so" will not work as a valid explanation.

 

Just as reason [COMMENT: Definition please] is the only means of knowledge open to a human [!], so it is the only means of survival [!]. Therefore, if one wishes to live, then one ought to be rational

 

[COMMENT: Definition please. - C.P.]

 

[FURTHER COMMENT: The Objectivist philosophy can be boiled down to the following:

 

Man's existence depends upon his reason; therefore, "anti-reason" (i.e., anything "interfering with reason", any "initiation of the use of physical force", i.e., any regulation or law), is "anti-life"; therefore, all laws regulating morals offences, abortion or immigration are "anti-life".

 

Objectivists imagine that this is totally irrefutable, but in fact it is totally arbitrary: Note the pattern:

 

MAJOR PREMISE: Man's life depends on x;

 

MINOR PREMISE: All that which interferes with x is "anti-life";

 

CONCLUSION: Therefore, y (which "interferes with x") is "anti-life",

 

the x being whatever value you wish to supply. Of course it has to be something fairly plausible, or nobody will believe it. In reality, "Man's life" depends upon a great many things. One could just as easily say:

 

a) Man's existence depends on getting enough sleep; therefore, all that which interferes with sleep is "anti-life"; therefore, requiring me to report for work at 9:00 is "anti-life".

 

b) Man's life depends upon getting born; all that which interferes with getting born is "anti-life"; therefore, contraception and abortion are "anti-life".

 

c) Man's life depends upon procreation; all that which interferes with procreation is "anti-life"; same conclusion as above. 

 

d) Man's life depends upon defecation; all that which interferes with defecation is "anti-life"; therefore, people must be allowed to defecate anywhere they want (admittedly, this is a reductio ad absurdum).

 

Apart from the fact that "Man's life" is an extremely questionable starting point for a philosophy of ethics, it would be just as "rational" -- in view of the fact that "reason" cannot be defined objectively with regards to any particular situation -- to say "Man's life comes from God; all that which is anti-God is anti-life"; etc. Neither "reason" nor "God" can be defined objectively. The Objectivists choose one such factor, arbitrarily selected and incapable of definition, and ignore all others; in Objectivism, every principle is taken to an extreme on the grounds that failure to do so would be "logically inconsistent".

 

I believe that "Man's life" depends on life in a society of his own kind, which protects him, his family, his religion and his property, from conquest and enslavement by some other society or community. This is the reality, even among primitive tribes; very few people depend for their "survival" upon "reason". A Hottentot may know how to use ostrich eggs to conserve water, but if he violates the tribal taboos in some manner, he is expelled from the tribe and is killed by other tribes or starves. An "individualist" will object: "We are not Hottentots"; but the principle applies nevertheless. (Note: a Hottentot is your "equal", but your child is not a "human being".) There is also a justification for infanticide; see below.

 

(There is another contradiction: Objectivists speak of "Man's life" while claiming that "only individuals exist". If you object that many people do not live by "reason", quite the contrary, the Objectivists will object that they are speaking of "Man qua Man", a bit of Latinized jargon meaning that they are speaking of "Man as Man", in other words, man as an abstraction, defined in such a way as to prove their point: a circular argument.)

 

SUMMARY: The Objectivist philosophy is based on the following syllogism: Man's life depends upon reason. All that which interferes with reason is "anti-life"; the "initiation of physical force" interferes with "reason"; therefore the "initiation of physical force" is "anti-life". The "initiation of physical force" nearly always takes the form of law, i.e., a policeman coming around with a gun to "force" you to do something in violation of your "reason", i.e., without your consent. Therefore, most laws, and ALL regulations, are "anti-life", because they constitute the "initiation of physical force". Anti-abortion laws are "anti-life"; obscenity laws are "anti-life"; immigration laws are "anti-life". Let us imagine a rural community which wishes to pass an ordinance prohibiting taverns or saloons (South Pasadena California split from Pasadena California for this very reason). To the Objectivists, this is the "initiation of physical force"! There are no taverns; no one wants to open one; but some Jew might come down from 500 miles away and want to open one. It is obvious how deceptive and destructive this is: the community is prohibited from enforcing standards in any way, no matter how large the majority -- even 100%. (This does not, of course, prevent Jews from enforcing their standards upon us.)

 

For this same reason, the nation cannot enforce its abortion laws, drug laws, obscenity laws, immigration laws, etc. The community, the racial, religious or ethnic group, is barred from enforcing standards of any kind. The mere existence of immigration laws is an "initiation of physical force", an injustice. This is not an exaggeration. The Objectivists advocated the abolition of all immigration laws as long ago as the mid-1960s, claiming that prior to the First World War, one could travel anywhere in the world without a passport (THE OBJECTIVIST NEWSLETTER, 1968; this "rational argument" combines an oversimplification or misstatement of fact with at least two false analogies and a non-sequitur, but is too complex to discuss here. Passports in some form date back to 450 B.C.).  The intent and purpose of Objectivism was to get "right-wing" people to accept extreme "left-wing" social programmes (many of which -- i.e., the de facto abolition of national sovereignty and the family -- coincide with the Communist Manifesto). Jews always get the same results out of whatever philosophy they happen to advocate at the moment.]

 

Why should one wish to live, you might ask? In her essay, "The Objectivist Ethics" in The Virtue of Selfishness, Ayn Rand writes that, it is only the concept of life which makes the concept of value possible [!].

 

[COMMENT: If that is so, it would be far more "rational" to argue that if our parents had had abortions, we would not be here to have any values, or even to discuss the matter, and that therefore "abortion rights" is a contradiction in terms. This is what the Objectivists call the "stolen concept": using a concept while denying a prior concept upon which that concept depends. - C.P.]

 

To ask for a justification for living on the basis of some greater value is a contradiction in terms [!].

 

[COMMENT: This is truly worthy of the Talmud itself. No one requires a "justification for living", but it is perfectly possible to value many things more than one's life, outside of one's life, or greater than one's life. This has in fact been the norm throughout history; it is the contrary which is an aberration. - C.P.]

 

The only reason for which values exist at all is that they serve as means to the end of life [!].

 

Life--the process of self-sustaining, self-generated action--is an end in itself, an ultimate value [!].

 

One's own life is one's ultimate value [!].

 

[COMMENT: Another non-sequitur. "Life, one's own life", is a highly questionable starting point for a system of ethics in any case, because it provides a justification for cowardice. Can anyone imagine a war between an army of Mongols, Huns, or Communists, and an army of Objectivists? The Objectivist army would throw away its weapons and be slaughtered to the last man, along with their families, because theirs is a morality of opportunism. In actual practice, the Objectivists would hire foreign mercenaries (they have actually advocated this), and the mercenaries would cut their throats. - C.P.]

If one is a human, then Man's life is one's standard of value

 

[COMMENT: Another arbitrary assertion; why should it be? See above. - C.P.]

 

As said before, one must use reason to survive

 

[COMMENT: The problem here is that no "objective" definition of "reason" as distinct from "rationalization" has ever been devised, least of all by the "Objectivists"; the closest they have ever come is: "Thou shalt agree with all Objectivist pronouncements regardless of any logical or factual proof". - C.P.]

Because the choice to live is the only choice which can ground a series of ethical "oughts"

 

[COMMENT: Another non-sequitur; in any case, this is quite false; why can't I "choose" to die so that the nation, an ideal, my family or friends, may live? - C.P.]

 

--if ones life is ones highest value--the only justified code of ethics is an egoistic one

 

[COMMENT: Another non-sequitur; see above. - C.P.]

Each of us must live in accordance with our rational self-interest

 

[COMMENT: Another piece of Objectivist trick jargon incapable of definition - C.P.],

 

neither sacrificing ourselves to others, nor sacrificing others to ourselves

 

[COMMENT: Notice the trickery here; we are speaking of killing an embryo or fetus on the whim of the mother. "Whim" is necessarily implied, because there must be no restriction whatsoever; the mother must be answerable to no one. If she were, that would be "mysticism", "altruism", and the "initiation of physical force"! - C.P.]

 

In the political sphere, refraining from sacrifice means the prohibition of physical force [COMMENT: Definition please - C.P.] from human relationships

 

[COMMENT: This is like the prohibition of "aggression" from international relationships; not only is it impossible to define, it is exceedingly deceptive; see above. - C.P.]

 

In other words, humans must respect each other's rights

 

[COMMENT: What does that mean in practice? - C.P.]

 

To what do humans have rights? Just as the value of life is the source of all values

 

[COMMENT: If that is so, then "abortion rights" is most certainly a contradiction in terms - C.P.],

 

so the right to life is the source of all rights

 

[COMMENT: See above. - C.P.]

Recall that life is a process of self-sustaining, self-generated action

 

[COMMENT: Note the trick definition of "life". - C.P.]

This means that the right to life is the right to engage in such action

 

[COMMENT: Note trick definition of "life" again. - C.P.]

The right to life is not merely to right not to be killed

 

[COMMENT: Note the trick definition, accompanied by the explicit recognition that abortion is killing - C.P.],

 

as Thomson might suggest.

So: not only is it right for a woman to be selfish, but she has a right to be selfish

 

[COMMENT: This is a truly extraordinary series of non-sequiturs, trick definitions, and terms incapable of definition; but worse is yet to come. - C.P.]

 

This pulverizes the altruistic claims of the conservatives and gives abortion rights the support they lacked due to the liberals' concession to altruism.

 

"What of the rights of the fetus?" you might ask. After all, I said that a proper theory of rights would not permit one person's right to infringe upon that of another

 

[COMMENT: That is correct; the problem is that no objective definition of this neat-sounding formula is possible. - C.P.]

 

For the answer, I shall turn directly to Ayn Rand

 

[COMMENT: Note the appeals to philosophical "authority" in a factual and medical matter. Is Rand a fetologist? An embryologist? This is like the famous example of quoting Aristotle to prove that women have fewer teeth than men - C.P.],

 

who gives the answer in her essay [!], "On Living Death", in The Voice of Reason :

 

"An embryo has no rights. Rights do not pertain to a potential"

 

[COMMENT: Note the manner in which the non-sequitur follows automatically from the trick definition; note as well the substitution of assertion for proof - C.P.],

 

"only to an actual being. A child cannot acquire any rights until it is born [!]. The living take precedence over the not yet living (or the unborn)"

 

[COMMENT: This is extremely doubtful; if anything, it should be the other way around, as may be observed throughout history and nature generally; the "not yet living" nearly ALWAYS take precedence over the living: it is called "patriotism", or "the survival of the species". Note, in addition, the trick equation of "unborn" with "not yet living". - C.P.]

 

"Abortion is a moral right"

 

[COMMENT: Definition please - C.P.]

 

"--which should be left to the sole discretion of the woman involved" (59-60).

There is simply no basis on which to assign rights to the unborn

 

[COMMENT: An another arbitrary assertion resulting from a non-sequitur. - C.P.]

Individual rights can only be possessed by individual entities

 

[COMMENT: This trick definition is based on an incorrect Objectivist interpretation of the Aristotelian view of abstractions, i.e., the false assertion that "only individuals exist". - C.P.]

 

The fetus is a physical part of the body of a woman

 

[COMMENT: This is quite false. Does your appendix open its mouth in a "silent scream" and struggle to avoid the instruments cutting it to pieces? Can your gall bladder be born with one arm because the other one was torn off in an abortion attempt? If a woman mates with an African (or gets pregnant after being raped by one, or, more likely, a gang of them), the foetus will be a mulatto; does the woman have an African gall bladder? Half-caste kidneys? In this case, I would favour abortion. If the race-mixers, Jews, and non-white races wish to destroy themselves through abortion or in any other way, let them. I don't care. I care about my own people, even if they don't deserve it. I make no apology for this attitude, because it is the attitude of all other races towards us. - C.P.]

 

Thus it is she that has the right; she is the actual, individuated entity

 

[COMMENT: This arbitrary assertion consists of a non-sequitur flowing from the trick definitions of "life", "individual", "potential", and "sacrifice", as noted above. Trick definitions of "child" and "rights" are soon to follow. - C.P.]

Individual rights can only be possessed by individual living entities

 

[COMMENT: First: the embryo or foetus is precisely that. Second: it is not true to say that "rights can only be possessed by individual living entities". Nearly all wars are fought to protect generations not yet born, as well as other generations long dead – the "ashes of their fathers and the temples of their gods".  This is the norm. They are ALSO fought to protect "individual living entities". See also my comment on the problem of universals. - C.P.]

 

Life is a process of self-sustaining, self-generated action

 

[COMMENT: Another trick definition followed by a non-sequitur. - C.P.]

 

The fetus does not sustain itself, the mother does

 

[COMMENT: See the Talmudic distinction relating to pulling a ladder out of a well, mentioned above. This is not even true factually, as a question of medical fact. This is another non-sequitur based on a trick definition. It implies that the very helplessness of the foetus justifies killing it, instead of making the killing even more monstrous -- an astonishing perversion of logic and morals truly worthy of the Talmud. - C.P.]

 

She is the only living entity to speak of

 

[COMMENT: Not only is this not true, but the trick definition of "life" implies that certain classes of persons may be killed, as seen below. - C.P.]

 

Furthermore, rights are possessed by individual living humans--humans by virtue of their rationality [!!!], not their genetic code [!!!].

 

 

Rational creatures need rights because they need to think to survive [!], and they need to be free to think [!].

 

[COMMENT: This is truly extraordinary. Note the sudden, arbitrary assertion that "individual" "living" "persons" only possess "rights" by virtue of their "rationality", which cannot be defined; note as well the arbitrary inference that animals do not "think", and that people can only "think" in a political system devised by Objectivists. Worse is yet to come; see below - C.P.] 

 

While a fetus may have the physiological structure necessary for conceptual thought [!], and perhaps even a certain degree of neural activity [!], the fetus isn't using this capacity--it can't use this capacity [!]. By virtue of being a fetus, an entity which is closed off from much of the sensory world [!], there is literally nothing about which a fetus can think [!!!]. Even if science were somehow to permit a fetus to grow to its full physical size within the womb [!], it would still not have a reasoning mind [!!!], by virtue of its being encased in darkness [!!!].

 

[COMMENT: Note the implications of the above, expressed in the form of a syllogism:

 

MAJOR PREMISE: All "rational persons" have "rights";

 

MINOR PREMISE: No "non-rational person" has rights;

 

CONCLUSION: Therefore, all "non-rational persons" can be killed.

 

Compare:

You do not agree with me; therefore you are not rational; therefore you have no rights; therefore you can be killed. Why not?

 

"Reason" and "rational" are never objectively defined, and are incapable of objective definition. Infanticide, and presumably genocide, are rejected solely on "epistemological principle"; see below. - C.P.]  

 

This might leave you wondering, "Well, if rights are possessed because of the necessity to think [!], then it doesn't seem like newborn infants would have any rights either". It may seem this way [!!!].

 

However, several points are relevant here: First, our standard of ethical truth is facts [!!!],

 

[COMMENT: That is not true. Objectivists have little or no concern with facts, and rarely resort to factual argument; the entire philosophy is a hot-air balloon of interlocking abstract definitions floating in space; the only Objectivist book that I know of with any degree of detailed factual argument is CAPITALISM: THE UNKNOWN IDEAL, published in 1965. At rare intervals, some air is let out of the balloon, the crew floats down to earth to pluck up some factual argument on some complex topic, usually in the form of a value judgement expressed in a sentence or two, to serve as "proof" of some arbitrary assertion; after which the balloon floats back off into the stratosphere. In FACT, although not in THEORY, Objectivism is a form of mysticism -- a shortcut to knowledge based on the use of a prescribed verbal formula - C.P.],

 

not babies [!]. The fact that a logical theory might seem to imply an unpleasant thought (infanticide) [!] does not dispute the logic of the theory [!!!].

 

[COMMENT: It does precisely that; it is called a reductio ad absurdum - C.P.]

 

To say that such a position might justify infanticide [!] is not to say that the position's justification of abortion rights is flawed [!!!].

 

[COMMENT: Note that the possibility of infanticide is definitely opened up for consideration here, but rejected below, on the "grounds of epistemological principle", i.e., until the Objectivists feel like justifying that too. - C.P.] 

 

Furthermore, this position does not justify infanticide. The tiny difference between the womb and the outside world is literally the difference between day and night --to the child [!]. The mere introduction of the child to the world unleashes a torrent of activity within the child's mind [!!!]. From day one, the brain begins to integrate percepts [!!!].  After a number of months, the child forms its first concept [!!!]. All of this activity is explained by the emergence of the child from the womb.

 

[COMMENT: Note the "reasoning" here: The unborn child does not "integrate percepts", therefore it is not "rational"; therefore it has "no rights", therefore it can be killed (although the word "killing" is avoided; infanticide is rejected solely on the grounds of "epistemological principle" -- so far. - C.P.]

 

But you might press further and ask, "Well, it looks as if being born is certainly a necessary condition for being rational

 

[COMMENT: Another arbitrary assertion incapable of definition - C.P.]

 

and having rights, but it doesn't seem to be a sufficient condition." I respond: It has to be a sufficient condition [!], because there is no other point at which a line between rational and non-rational can be drawn

 

[COMMENT: Note the arbitrary cut-off point. This flows inescapably from the above, and therefore opens up the possibility of both infanticide and genocide. - C.P.]

 

The scale of a child's cognitive development is a scale of degrees [!]. There is no specific point at which the child suddenly becomes rational

 

[COMMENT: Definition please. - C.P.]

 

Rather, the change is gradual. Rationality must exist in some quantity but may exist in any quantity

 

[COMMENT: Definition please. - C.P.]

Thus, as a matter of principle (*) [!!!], we must draw the line at birth

 

[COMMENT: Why? If certain persons are not "rational", why not kill them? - C.P.],

 

the point at which that gradual ascension begins. The degree of rationality is proportional to the degree of rights possessed by the child

 

[COMMENT: Why? Who is to decide that? - C.P.]

From the beginning, it has the right not to be killed

 

[COMMENT: Note the trick definition of "child" based on the trick definition of "rationality": a foetus is not "rational"; therefore it is not a "child"; therefore it can be killed. Note once again the admission that abortion is killing. - C.P.]

 

As time goes by, it gradually acquires other rights to liberty and property [!!!].

 

[COMMENT: More trickery; if the Objectivists are serious about "property rights", why don’t they oppose the 1964 Civil Rights Act to start with? Why don't they abolish aid to Israel? - C.P.]

Because the fetus has no rights [!], disposing of it

 

[COMMENT: Note the avoidance of the word "killing" - C.P.]

 

is well within the right of the woman [!]. She has a right to live [!], which means the right to engage in any actions conducive to her life [!]. This is why the "pro-choice" position is really the only "pro-life" position. It is in favor of the woman's life.

 

[COMMENT: This extraordinary series of trick definitions and non-sequiturs runs as follows:

I have a right to life; the "right to life" implies the right to engage in any actions conducive to my life; economic status is conducive to my life; therefore I have a right to kill my unborn child. Killing a foetus, of course, is not considered an "initiation of the use of physical force", because a foetus is not a "child", because it is not "rational" -- because it does not "integrate percepts".

 

Compare:

 

I have a right to life; the right to life implies the right to engage in any actions conducive to my life; sexual pleasure is conducive to my life; therefore I have a right to rape and kill schoolchildren and bury them under my house. Why not? What is to stop me logically?

 

The Objectivists will of course reply that raping and killing schoolchildren is an "initiation of the use of physical force". Of course, that is true. One may nevertheless be very certain that if the Objectivists wished to kill schoolchildren instead of merely foetuses, they would speedily find a justification for it, perhaps even more specious than this one.

 

How about: Schoolchildren are "potential", "non-existent" persons incapable of "integrating percepts". Why not? Anything is possible. For example, Ayn Rand was a smoker, so smoking was "rational": "It is fitting that Man should have fire at his fingertips when he is thinking" (!) (a direct quote from ATLAS SHRUGGED).

 

All the Objectivists I knew were smokers. Of course, being Objectivists, they could not simply say, "oh well, you can't be rational all the time", or "I know it's bad for me, but I'm trying to cut down", like normal people. That would have been impossible, because of the pretence that everything they did was 100% "rational". The organizer of the Nathaniel Branden Institute lectures in North Hollywood in the late 1960s even told me: "The pleasure of smoking is your reward for being rational"[!]  By contrast, I never met one single Objectivist who had any children. To my knowledge, neither Rand nor her associates ever had children. None of the characters in any of Rand's novels have children; there is no mention of children. In the "rational" world of the Objectivists, children simply do not exist; presumably they are to be "decanted", as in BRAVE NEW WORLD. Reproduction, of course, does not matter, because there will be unlimited foreign immigration, encouraged by the abolition of immigration controls and minimum-wage laws. Foreign immigrants, of course, will adopt "American values" as soon as we convert them to the philosophy of Ayn Rand! Racial equality -- the absolute interchangeability of human beings, like standardized, mass-manufactured, industrial spare parts -- is simply taken for granted, and asserted as self-evident (for example, in THE VIRTUE OF SELFISHNESS). There are no foreign-born characters in any of Rand's novels. ATLAS SHRUGGED is a novel about the future of America; much of the action takes place in New York City. There are no Puerto Ricans, no blacks, no Mexicans, Chinese or Jews. There are no race problems. Race problems are "irrational", so they simply do not exist! So much for the "rational" Objectivists and their ability to "perceive reality"! Yet Rand was an enthusiastic supporter of Israel. We have seen Rand's own racial group at work in Lebanon, the Gaza Strip, and elsewhere: the most fanatical "racists" in the history of the world. Is the whole "philosophy" a put-on? A con? A schnor? A bubba mayseh devised by a meschuggemensch, to be peddled to the goyische schmoon? - C.P.]

 

One additional point is necessary. The right to an abortion does not entail the right to a free abortion, as many liberals might argue. An analogy can be made here between abortion rights and free speech rights: The right to free speech permits one to make any statements one can, as long as doing so does not infringe on the rights of others

 

[COMMENT: Definition please. See example of Pedro Varela, above. - C.P.]

 

The right to free speech does not mean that society must provide you with a bullhorn, an auditorium, or even an audience.

 

[COMMENT: This is the pretext trotted out by the Jews every time they pressure your Internet provider to cancel your service for "content violations", such as "hate speech", etc. At the same time, you are not permitted to "discriminate racially", even with our own property, on a totally voluntary basis!

 

This is the "toilet paper" theory of abstract principles, invented once for a dirty job and then thrown away. Another example of the "toilet paper" theory of abstract principles is the typically Jewish slogan "No to Impunity", applied to General Pinochet exclusively; it could never apply to Bill Clinton or Ariel Sharon. In their case, some other "abstract" principle would be invented. - C.P.]

 

The same goes for abortion. A woman has the right to purchase the services of an abortion clinic, if such a clinic is willing to engage in such an act. A woman also has the right to accept voluntary donations if she cannot afford her own abortion. However, society has no obligation to provide her with one. To suggest otherwise would be to recommend the coercion of others through taxation to supply the woman's ends. But other people have rights to their own property

 

[COMMENT: This is the purest hypocrisy; see above - C.P.]

 

for the same reason that the woman has a right to her own body

 

[COMMENT: There are two bodies involved; the question is whether or not she has the right to kill the "body" of her unborn child. - C.P.]

 

To suggest otherwise would also be to appeal to altruism, which is the ethical code at the root of the rejection of abortion rights.

 

If you embrace this position in favor of abortion rights, I must hasten to say that I hope you are doing it not because of a previous bias in favor of abortion rights, but because you find this position to be rational

 

[COMMENT: Definition please. - C.P.]

 

If you find this position to be rational, then there are certain implications of this belief which you cannot avoid. For instance, a woman's right to an abortion has been justified on the basis of the morality of selfishness and the justice of being permitted to act on selfishness [!]. These are the same principles which justify laissez-faire capitalism. You cannot be an authentic advocate of abortion rights and an enemy of capitalism [!]. The two are justified by the same principles.

 

To close, let me say that only when advocates of abortion rights begin to make arguments based on a rational ethics will they begin to turn the tide in favor of a woman's right to choose. They will not succeed if they appeal to emotions or economic statistics, and they will certainly not succeed if they concede their opponents' ethical premises: the ethics of altruism. The proper defense of the right to abortion requires a comprehensive defense of reason, egoism, and individual rights. In short, it requires the philosophy of Objectivism.

 

(*) The following is a brief essay written to clarify this point about the newborn. It was written for Objectivist Study Group e-mail list:

 

Nature doesn't draw any lines for us. We have to draw them for ourselves. However, this doesn't mean that concept-formation is a subjective affair [!]. The best illustration of this point of which I can think is Harry Binswanger's oft-quoted "turkey" analogy [!]. Our Thanksgiving turkey isn't endowed with dotted lines from nature telling us where to cut. However, this doesn't mean that we should cut just any old place we like [!]--certain approaches just won't work (such as trying to cut through major bones). Rather, we must divide the turkey--and nature--at its joints.

 

This analogy seems to follow quite well from the principle of unit-economy [!]. Because of the crow epistemology [!], there is a constraint upon the number of units which a person can hold in their perceptual field [!]. The process of concept formation enables unit-reduction [!], which enables man to hold knowledge of the abstract [!]. Dividing nature at its joints aids in concept formation through unit-reduction: It allows us to use the facts which nature provides for us to find the obvious differences between kinds of entities [!].

 

One of the implications of an epistemology guided by unit-reduction [!] is an ethics based on the need to act on principle. Objectivists don't make moral compromises [!]. For instance, when asked to live most of our lives selfishly but just one day altruistically, we would say "no" on principle [!]. Even the tiniest amount of altruism spoils the deal.

 

[COMMENT: Note that according to this "moral code", even if you could prove to the Objectivists that their actions, or failure to act, would result in the destruction of civilization and everything their ancestors worked and fought for, or struggled to create, for thousands of years, including their own children's future, if they ever had any children, the Objectivists would have the MORAL RIGHT NOT TO CARE. This is not a code of ethics; it is the negation of ethics. It a morality of destruction – a morality of "parasites", "cannibals", and "looters", to borrow a few choice Rand epithets.]

 

To think otherwise would be to fall victim to a pragmatism which would "kill the crow", requiring us to multiply our need for new judgments beyond necessity [!]. At every given moment of our lives, we would need to approach each decision as an unconnected concrete [!]. (I have in mind Dr. Peikoff's discussion of the pandemonium of a congressional hearing on protectionism in "Why Should One Act on Principle?")

 

Is the decision to draw the line between rights-bearers and non-rights-bearers at birth [!!!] a similar matter of principle--epistemological principle? [!!!] Is it a judgment we would make due to the existence of the tiniest degree of rationality in the fetus [!!!]--no matter how small [!!!]--just as we would reject the tiniest degree of altruism in ethics?

 

[COMMENT: Note the admission that the entire discussion is merely arbitrary: you have rights if the Objectivists say so; otherwise not. - C.P.]

 

When he speaks of a different subject, the matter of individuation and Siamese twins [!], Mr. Gray seems to say that the obvious fact of the living, breathing woman means that the fetus has no rights [!]. I agree with him [!]. The only problem I have is seeing why the obvious fact of the living, breathing woman doesn't similarly justify infanticide [!]. I think that the answer has to be one based on acting on epistemological principle [!!!].

 

[COMMENT: The hypocrisy of this philosophy is best revealed by a glance at the world around us. The Objectivist philosophy was supposed to do away with the "ethics of altruism", which was defined as a morality of "riders and carriers, of eaters and the eaten", a "morality of cannibals". Yet today's society is the most "altruistic" in the history of the world, the "eaters and riders" being Jews, blacks, minorities, drug addicts, etc. etc. etc., and the "eaten and the ridden" being the White Race generally. This is not an accident. It was planned that way. Could anything be more Jewish? - C.P.]  

 



 

 

CARLOS W. PORTER

JULY 15, 2001

 

Emphasis added in the following, with comments in [bold and square brackets] by C.W. Porter.

 

 

The following article is copyright (c) 1993 by the Skeptics Society, P.O. Box 338, Altadena, CA 91001, (818) 794-3119. Permission has been granted for non-commercial electronic circulation of this article in its entirety, including this notice.

THE UNLIKELIEST CULT IN HISTORY

BY MICHAEL SHERMER

Contents:

1. Introduction

2. Bibliography

Freudian projection is the process of attributing one's own ideas, feelings, or attitudes to other people or objects--the guilt-laden adulterer accuses his spouse of adultery, the homophobe actually harbors latent homosexual tendencies. [QUESTION: Do people who dislike dogs secretly identify with dogs? Or wish they were dogs? Or is this a propaganda trick?]  A subtle form of projection can be seen in the accusation by Christians that secular humanism and evolution are "religions"; or by cultists and paranormalists that skeptics are themselves a cult and that reason and science have cultic properties. For skeptics, the idea that reason can lead to a cult is absurd. The characteristics of a cult are 180 degrees out of phase with reason. But as I will demonstrate, not only can it happen, it has happened, and to a group that would have to be considered the unlikeliest cult in history. It is a lesson in what happens when the truth becomes more important than the search for truth, when final results of inquiry become more important than the process of inquiry, and especially when reason leads to an absolute certainty about one's beliefs such that those who are not for the group are against it.

The story begins in 1943 when an obscure Russian [Jewish!] immigrant published her first successful novel after two consecutive failures. It was not an instant success. In fact, the reviews were harsh and initial sales sluggish. But slowly a following grew around the novel, word of mouth became the most effective marketing tool, and the author began to develop what could, with hindsight, be called a "cult following." The initial print-run of 7,500 copies was followed by multiples of five and 10,000 until by 1950 half a million copies were circulating the country. The book was The Fountainhead and the author Ayn Rand. Her commercial success allowed her the time and freedom to write her magnum opus, Atlas Shrugged, published in 1957 after ten years in the making. It is a murder mystery, not about the murder of a human body, but of the murder of a human spirit. It is a broad and sweeping story of a man who said he would stop the ideological motor of the world. When he did, there was a panoramic collapse of civilization, with its flame kept burning by a small handful of heroic individuals whose reason and morals directed both the fall and the subsequent return of culture.

As they did to The Fountainhead, reviewers panned Atlas with a savage brutality that, incredibly, only seemed to reinforce followers' belief in the book, its author, and her ideas. And, like The Fountainhead, sales of Atlas sputtered and clawed their way forward as the following grew, to the point where the book presently sells over 300,000 copies a year. "In all my years of publishing," recalled Random House's owner, Bennett Cerf, "I've never seen anything like it. To break through against such enormous opposition!" (Branden, 1986, p. 298). Such is the power of an individual hero . . . and a cult-like following.

What is it about Rand's philosophy that so emotionally stimulates proponents and opponents alike? Before Atlas Shrugged was published, at a sales conference at Random House a salesman asked Rand if she could summarize the essence of her philosophy, called Objectivism, while standing on one foot. She did so as follows (1962):

3. Metaphysics: Objective Reality [COMMENT: Definition please] 

4. Epistemology: Reason [COMMENT: Definition please]

5. Ethics: Self-interest [COMMENT: Definition please]

6. Politics: Capitalism

In other words, nature exists independent of human thought. Reason is the only method of perceiving this reality. All humans seek personal happiness and exist for their own sake, and should not sacrifice themselves to or be sacrificed by others. And laissez-faire capitalism is the best political-economic system for the first three to flourish, where "men deal with one another, not as victims and executioners, nor as masters and slaves, but as traders, by free, voluntary exchange to mutual benefit," and where "no man may initiate the use of physical force against others" (p. 1). Ringing throughout Rand's works is the philosophy of individualism, personal responsibility, the power of reason, and the importance of morality. One should think for one's self [!] and never allow an authority to dictate truth [COMMENT: If it is true that we should think for ourselves, what do we need Ayn Rand for?], especially the authority of government, religion, and other such groups. Success, happiness, and unrestrained upward mobility will accrue to those who use reason to act in the highest moral fashion, and who never demand favors or handouts. Objectivism is the ultimate philosophy of unsullied reason and unadulterated individualism, as expressed by Rand through her primary character in Atlas Shrugged, John Galt:

Man cannot survive except by gaining knowledge, and reason is his only means to gain it. Reason is the faculty that perceives, identifies and integrates the material provided by his senses. The task of his senses is to give him the evidence of existence, but the task of identifying it belongs to his reason, his senses tell him only that something is, but what it is must be learned by his mind (p. 1012).

In the name of the best within you, do not sacrifice this world to those who are its worst. In the name of the values that keep you alive, do not let your vision of man be distorted by the ugly, the cowardly, the mindless in those who have never achieved his title. Do not lose your knowledge that man's proper estate is an upright posture, an intransigent mind and a step that travels unlimited roads. Do not let your fire go out, spark by irreplaceable spark, in the hopeless swamps of the approximate, the not-quite, the not-yet, the not-at-all. Do not let the hero in your soul perish, in lonely frustration for the life you deserved, but have never been able to reach. Check your road and the nature of your battle. The world you desired can be won, it exists, it is real, it is possible, it's yours (p. 1069).

How, then, could such a philosophy become the basis of a cult, which is the antithesis of reason and individualism? A cult, however it is defined, depends on faith and deindividuation--that is, remove the power of reason in followers and make them dependent upon the group and/or the leader. The last thing a cult leader wants is for followers to think for themselves and become individuals apart from the group.

The cultic flaw in Ayn Rand's philosophy of Objectivism is not in the use of reason, or in the emphasis on individuality, or in the belief that humans are self motivated, or in the conviction that capitalism is the ideal system. The fallacy in Objectivism is the belief that absolute knowledge and final Truths are attainable through reason, and therefore there can be absolute right and wrong knowledge, and absolute moral and immoral thought and action. For Objectivists, once a principle has been discovered through reason to be True, that is the end of the discussion [!]. If you disagree with the principle, then your reasoning is flawed [!]. If your reasoning is flawed it can be corrected, but if it is not, you remain flawed and do not belong in the group [!]. Excommunication is the final step for such unreformed heretics [!].

If you find it hard to believe that such a line of reasoning could lead a rational, well-intentioned group down the road to culthood, history demonstrates how it can happen. The 1960s were years of anti-establishment, anti-government, find-yourself individualism, so Rand's philosophy exploded across the nation, particularly on college campuses. Atlas Shrugged became the book to read. Though it is a massive 1,168 pages long, readers devoured the characters, the plot, and most importantly, the philosophy. It stirred emotions and evoked action. Ayn Rand clubs were founded at hundreds of colleges. Professors taught courses in the philosophy of Objectivism and the literary works of Rand. Rand's inner circle of friends began to grow and one of them, Nathaniel Branden, founded the Nathaniel Branden Institute (NBI), sponsoring lectures and courses on Objectivism, first in New York, and then nationally.

As the seminars increased in size and Rand's popularity shot skyward, so too did the confidence in her philosophy, both for Rand and her followers. Hundreds of people attended classes, thousands of letters poured into the office, and millions of books were being sold. Movie rights for Atlas were being negotiated (The Fountainhead had already been made into a film). Her rise to intellectual power and influence was nothing short of miraculous, and readers of her novels, especially Atlas Shrugged, told Rand it had changed their lives and their way of thinking. Their comments ring of the enthusiasm of the followers of a religious cult (Branden, 1986, pp. 407-415):

* After reading Atlas a young woman in the Peace Corps wrote: "I had undergone the loneliest, most inspiring, and heartrending psycho-intellectual transformation, and all my plans upon returning to the United States had changed."

* A 24-year old "traditional housewife" (her own label) read Atlas and said: "Dagny Taggart [the book's principle heroine] was an inspiration to me; she is a great feminist role model. Ayn Rand's works gave me the courage to be and to do what I had dreamed of."

* A businessman began reading Atlas and said "Within a few hundred pages I sensed clearly that I had ventured upon a lifetime of meaning. The philosophy of Ayn Rand nurtured growth, stability and integrity in my life. Her ideas permeated every aspect of my business, family and creative life."

* A law school graduate said of Objectivism: "Dealing with Ayn Rand was like taking a post-doctoral course in mental functioning. The universe she created in her work holds out hope, and appeals to the best in man. Her lucidity and brilliance was a light so strong I don't think anything will ever be able to put it out."

* An economics professor recalled: "After you read Atlas Shrugged you don't look at the world with the same perspective."

* A philosophy professor concluded: "Ayn Rand was one of the most original thinkers I have ever met. There is no escape from facing the issues she raised. . . . At a time in my life when I thought I had learned at least the essentials of most philosophical views, being confronted with her . . . suddenly changed the entire direction of my intellectual life, and placed every other thinker in a new perspective."

* Another philosophy professor, this one disliking Rand and disagreeing with Objectivism, recalled after an all-night discussion with the philosopher-novelist: "She's found gaping holes in every philosophical position I've maintained for the whole of my life--positions I teach my students, positions on which I'm a recognized authority--and I can't answer her arguments! I don't know what to do!" (p. 247).

There are thousands more just like these, many from people who are now quite successful and well-known, and give credit to Rand. But to the inner circle surrounding and protecting Rand (in ironic humor they called themselves the "Collective"), their leader soon became more than just extremely influential. She was venerated as their leader. Her seemingly omniscient ideas were inerrant. The power of her personality made her so persuasive that no one dared to challenge her. And her philosophy of Objectivism, since it was derived through pure reason, revealed final Truth and dictated absolute morality.

One of the closest to Rand was Nathaniel Branden, a young philosophy student who joined the Collective in the early days before Atlas Shrugged was published. In his autobiographical memoirs entitled Judgment Day (1989), Branden recalled: "There were implicit premises in our world to which everyone in our circle subscribed, and which we transmitted to our students at NBI." Incredibly, and here is where the philosophical movement became a cult, they came to believe that (pp. 255-256):

* Ayn Rand is the greatest human being who has ever lived.

* Atlas Shrugged is the greatest human achievement in the history of the world.

* Ayn Rand, by virtue of her philosophical genius, is the supreme arbiter in any issue pertaining to what is rational, moral, or appropriate to man's life on earth.

* Once one is acquainted with Ayn Rand and/or her work, the measure of one's virtue is intrinsically tied to the position one takes regarding her and/or it.

* No one can be a good Objectivist who does not admire what Ayn Rand admires and condemn what Ayn Rand condemns.

* No one can be a fully consistent individualist who disagrees with Ayn Rand on any fundamental issue.

* Since Ayn Rand has designated Nathaniel Branden as her "intellectual heir," and has repeatedly proclaimed him to be an ideal exponent of her philosophy, he is to be accorded only marginally less reverence than Ayn Rand herself.

* But it is best not to say most of these things explicitly (excepting, perhaps, the first two items). One must always maintain that one arrives at one's beliefs solely by reason.

It is important to note that my critique of Rand and Objectivism as a cult is not original. Rand and her followers were, in their time, accused of being a cult which, of course, they denied. "My following is not a cult. I am not a cult figure," Rand once told an interviewer. Barbara Branden, in her biography, The Passion of Ayn Rand, recalls: "Although the Objectivist movement clearly had many of the trappings of a cult--the aggrandizement of the person of Ayn Rand, the too ready acceptance of her personal opinions on a host of subjects, the incessant moralizing--it is nevertheless significant that the fundamental attraction of Objectivism . . . was the precise opposite of religious worship" (p. 371). And Nathaniel Branden addressed the issue this way: "We were not a cult in the literal, dictionary sense of the word, but certainly there was a cultish aspect to our world . . . . We were a group organized around a charismatic leader, whose members judged one another's character chiefly by loyalty to that leader and to her ideas" (p. 256).

But if you leave the "religious" component out of the definition, thus broadening the word's usage, it becomes clear that Objectivism was (and is) a cult, as are many other, non-religious groups. In this context, then, a cult may be characterized by:

* Veneration of the Leader: Excessive glorification to the point of virtual sainthood or divinity.

* Inerrancy of the Leader: Belief that he or she cannot be wrong.

* Omniscience of the Leader: Acceptance of beliefs and pronouncements on virtually all subjects, from the philosophical to the trivial.

* Persuasive Techniques: Methods used to recruit new followers and reinforce current beliefs.

* Hidden Agendas: Potential recruits and the public are not given a full disclosure of the true nature of the group's beliefs and plans. [COMMENT: It is unfortunate that Mr. Schermer fails to provide us with any further information as to the nature of this "hidden agenda". If he knows it exists, he must know roughly what it consists of. What is it?]

* Deceit: Recruits and followers are not told everything about the leader and the group's inner circle, particularly flaws or potentially embarrassing events or circumstances.

* Financial and/or Sexual Exploitation: Recruits and followers are persuaded to invest in the group, and the leader may develop sexual relations with one or more of the followers.

* Absolute Truth: Belief that the leader and/or group has a method of discovering final knowledge on any number of subjects.

* Absolute Morality: Belief that the leader and/or the group have developed a system of right and wrong thought and action applicable to members and non-members alike. Those who strictly follow the moral code may become and remain members, those who do not are dismissed or punished.

The ultimate statement of Rand's absolute morality heads the title page of Nathaniel branden's book. Says Rand:

The precept: "Judge not, that ye be not judged" . . . is an abdication of moral responsibility: it is a moral blank check one gives to others in exchange for a moral blank check one expects for oneself.

There is no escape from the fact that men have to make choices; so long as men have to make choices, there is no escape from moral values; so long as moral values are at stake, no moral neutrality is possible. To abstain from condemning a torturer, is to become an accessory to the torture and murder of his victims.

The moral principle to adopt . . . is: "Judge, and be prepared to be judged."

The absurd lengths to which such thinking can go is demonstrated by Rand's pronounced judgements on her followers of even the most trivial things. Rand had argued, for example, that musical taste could not be objectively defined, yet, as Barbara Branden observed, "if one of her young friends responded as she did to Rachmaninoff . . . she attached deep significance to their affinity." By contrast, if a friend did not respond as she did to a certain piece or composer, Rand "left no doubt that she considered that person morally and psychologically reprehensible." Branden recalled an evening when a friend of Rand's remarked that he enjoyed the music of Richard Strauss. "When he left at the end of the evening, Ayn said, in a reaction becoming increasingly typical, 'Now I understand why he and I can never be real soul mates. The distance in our sense of life is too great.' Often, she did not wait until a friend had left to make such remarks" (p. 268).

With this set of criteria it becomes possible to see that a rational philosophy can become a cult when most or all of these are met. This is true not only for philosophical movements, but in some scientific schools of thought as well. Many founding scientists have become almost deified in their own time, to the point where apprentices dare not challenge the master. As Max Planck observed about science in general, only after the founders and elder statesmen of a discipline are dead and gone can real change occur and revolutionary new ideas be accepted.

 

In both Barbara's and Nathaniel Branden's assessment, then, we see all the characteristics of a cult. But what about deceit and sexual exploitation? In this case, "exploitation" may be too strong of a word, but the act was present nonetheless, and deceit was rampant [!!!]. In what has become the most scandalous (and now oft-told) story in the brief history of the Objectivist movement, starting in 1953 and lasting until 1958 (and on and off for another decade after), Ayn Rand and her "intellectual heir" Nathaniel Branden, 25 years her junior, carried on a secret love affair known only to their respective spouses. The falling in love was not planned, but it was ultimately "reasonable" since the two of them were, de facto, the two greatest humans on the planet. "By the total logic of who we are--by the total logic of what love and sex mean--we had to love each other," Rand told Barbara Branden and her own husband, Frank O'Connor [!!!]. It was a classic display of a brilliant mind intellectualizing a purely emotional response, and another example of reason [?] carried to absurd heights [!!!]. "Whatever the two of you may be feeling," Rand rationalized, "I know your intelligence, I know you recognize the rationality of what we feel for each other, and that you hold no value higher than reason" (B. branden, p. 258). [!!!] Unbelievably, both Barbara and Frank accepted the affair, and agreed to allow Ayn and Nathaniel an afternoon and evening of sex and love once a week [!!!]. "And so," Barbara explained, "we all careened toward disaster." The "rational" justification [!!!] and its consequences continued year after year, as the tale of interpersonal and group deceit grew broader and deeper. The disaster finally came in 1968 when it became known to Rand that Branden had fallen in love with yet another woman, and had begun an affair with her. Even though the affair between Rand and Branden had long since dwindled, the master of the absolutist moral double-standard [!!!] would not tolerate such a breach of ethical conduct. "Get that bastard down here!," Rand screamed upon hearing the news, "or I'll drag him here myself!" Branden, according to Barbara, slunk into Rand's apartment to face the judgment day. "It's finished, your whole act!" she told him. "I'll tear down your facade as I built it up! I'll denounce you publicly, I'll destroy you as I created you! I don't even care what it does to me. You won't have the career I gave you, or the name, or the wealth, or the prestige. You'll have nothing . . . ." The barrage continued for several minutes until she pronounced her final curse: "If you have an ounce of morality left in you, an ounce of psychological health--you'll be impotent for the next twenty years!" (pp. 345-347). [!!!]

 

Rand's verbal attack was followed by a six-page open letter to her followers in her publication The Objectivist (May, 1968). It was entitled "To Whom It May Concern." After explaining that she had completely broken with the Brandens, Rand continued the deceit through lies of omission [!!!]: "About two months ago . . . Mr. Branden presented me with a written statement which was so irrational and so offensive to me that I had to break my personal association with him." Without so much as a hint of the nature of the offense Rand continued: "About two months later Mrs. Branden suddenly confessed that Mr. Branden had been concealing from me certain ugly actions and irrational behavior in his private life, which was grossly contradictory to Objectivist morality . . . . " Branden's second affair was judged immoral, his first was not. This excommunication was followed by a reinforcing barrage from NBI's Associate Lecturers that sounds all too ecclesiastical in its denouncement (and written out of complete ignorance of what really happened): "Because Nathaniel Branden and Barbara Branden, in a series of actions, have betrayed fundamental principles of Objectivism, we condemn and repudiate these two persons irrevocably, and have terminated all association with them . . . . " (Branden, 1986, pp. 353-354) [!!!].

 

 

Confusion reigned supreme in both the Collective and in the rank-and-file membership. Mail poured into the office, most of it supporting Rand (naturally, since they knew nothing of the first affair) [!]. Nathaniel received angry responses and even Barbara's broker, an Objectivist, terminated her as his client. The group was in turmoil over the incident. What were they to think with such a formidable condemnation of unnamed [!] sins? The ultimate extreme of such absolutist thinking was revealed several months later when, in the words of Barbara, "a half-demented former student of NBI had raised the question of whether or not it would be morally appropriate to assassinate Nathaniel because of the suffering he had caused Ayn; the man concluded that it should not be done on practical grounds, but would be morally legitimate. Fortunately, he was shouted down at once by a group of appalled students" (p. 356n).

 

It was the beginning of the long decline and fall of Rand's tight grip over the Collective. One by one they sinned [!], the transgressions becoming more minor [!] as the condemnations grew in fierceness [!]. And one by one they left, or were asked to leave [!!!]. In the end (Rand died in 1982) there remained only a handful of friends [!!!], and the designated executor of her estate, Leonard Peikoff (who presently carries on the cause through the Southern California based Ayn Rand Institute, "The Center for the Advancement of Objectivism"). While the cultic qualities of the group sabotaged the inner circle, there remained (and remains) a huge following of those who choose to ignore the indiscretions [!], infidelities [!], and moral inconsistencies [!] of the founder, and focus instead on the positive aspects of the philosophy. There is much in it from which to choose, if you do not have to accept the whole package. In this analysis, then, there are three important caveats about cults, skepticism, and reason:

1. Criticism of the founder of a philosophy does not, by itself, constitute a negation of any part of the philosophy. The fact that Christians have been some of the worst violators of their own moral system does not mean that the ethical axioms of "thou shalt not kill," or "due unto others as you would have them do unto you," are negated. The components of a philosophy must stand or fall on their own internal consistency or empirical support, regardless of the founder's personality quirks or moral inconsistencies. By most accounts Newton was a cantankerous and relatively unpleasant person to be around. This fact has nothing at all to do with his principles of natural philosophy. With thinkers who proffer moral principles, as in the case of Rand, this caveat is more difficult to apply, but it is true nonetheless. [COMMENT: To repeat: Stoicism is not refuted by the fact that Seneca was a wealthy money-lender; we can still understand what Stoicism consists of; it is a coherent, practical  philosophy. Objectivism is refuted by the inability of Rand, Branden, et al to define "reason" as distinguished from "rationalization".] It is good to know these things about Rand, but it does not nullify her philosophy [!]. I reject her principles of final Truth and absolute morality not because Rand had feet of clay, but because I do not believe they are either logically or empirically tenable.

2. Criticism of part of a philosophy does not gainsay the whole. In a similar analogy as above, one may reject parts of the Christian philosophy while embracing others. I might, for example, attempt to treat others as I would have them treat me, while at the same time renounce the belief that women should remain silent in church and be obedient to their husbands. One may disavow Rand's absolute morality, while accepting her metaphysics of objective reality, her epistemology of reason, and her political philosophy of capitalism (though Objectivists would say they all follow from her metaphysics). Which leads me to the third caveat.

3. The critic of part of a philosophy does not necessarily repudiate the whole philosophy. This is a personal caveat to Objectivists and readers of Skeptic alike. Rand critics come from all political positions--left, right, and middle. Professional novelists generally disdain her style. Professional philosophers generally refuse to take her work seriously (both because she wrote for popular audiences and because her work is not considered a complete philosophy). There are more Rand critics than followers. I am not one of them. Ayn Rand has probably influenced my thinking more than any other author. I have read all of her works, including her newsletters, early works, and the two major biographies. I have even read the Brobdingnagian Atlas Shrugged no less than three times, plus once on audio tape for good measure. Thus I am not a blind critic. (Some of Rand's critics have attacked Atlas without ever reading it, and Objectivism, without ever knowing anything about it. I have encountered many of these myself. Even the pompously intellectual William Buckley spoke of the "desiccated philosophy" of Atlas, "the essential aridity of Miss Rand's philosophy," and the tone of Atlas as "over-riding arrogance," yet later confessed: "I never read the book. When I read the review of it and saw the length of the book, I never picked it up." Nothing could be more irrational.) I accept most of Rand's philosophy, but not all of it. And despite my life-long commitment to many of Rand's most important beliefs, Objectivists would no doubt reject me from their group for not accepting all of her precepts [!]. This is ultimately what makes Objectivism a cult.

I believe (and here I speak strictly for myself and not for the Skeptics Society or any of its members) that reality exists and that reason and science are the best tools we have for understanding causality in the real world. We can achieve an ever-greater understanding of reality but we can never know if we have final Truth with regard to nature. Since reason and science are human activities, they will always be flawed and biased. I believe that humans are primarily driven to seek greater happiness, but the definition of such is completely personal and cannot be dictated and should not be controlled by any group. (Even so-called selfless acts of charity can be perceived as directed toward self-fulfillment--the act of making someone else feel good, makes us feel good. This is not a falsifiable statement, but it is observable in people's actions and feelings.) I believe that the free market--and the freer the better--is the best system yet devised for allowing all individuals to achieve greater levels of happiness. (This is not a defensible statement in this forum. I am just setting the stage for my critique of Rand.) I believe that individuals should take personal responsibility for their actions, buck up and quit whining when facing the usual array of life's problems, and cease this endless disease-of-the-month victimization. Finally, I wholeheartedly embrace Rand's passionate love of the heroic nature of humanity and of the ability of the human spirit to triumph over nature.

So far so good. I might have even made it into the Rand inner circle. But I would have been promptly excommunicated [!] as an unreformed heretic [!!] (the worst kind, since reformed heretics can at least be retrained and forgiven) [!!!], with my belief that no absolute morality is scientifically or rationally tenable, even that which claims to have been derived through pure reason, as in the case of Rand. The reason is straightforward. Morals do not exist in nature and thus cannot be discovered. In nature there are just actions--physical actions, biological actions, and human actions. Human actors act to increase their happiness, however they personally define it. Their actions become moral or immoral when someone else judges them as such. Thus, morality is a strictly human creation, subject to all the cultural influences and social constructions as other such human creations. Since virtually everyone and every group claims they know what right and wrong human action is, and since virtually all of these moralities are different from all others to a greater or lesser extent, then reason alone tells us they cannot all be correct. Just as there is no absolute right type of human music, there is no absolute right type of human action. The broad range of human action is a rich continuum that precludes its pigeonholing into the unambiguous yeses and noes that political laws and moral codes require.

Does this mean that all human actions are morally equal? No. Not any more than all human music is equal. We create standards of what we like and dislike, desire or not, and make judgments against these standards. But the standards are themselves human creations and not discovered in nature. One group prefers classical music, and so judges Mozart to be superior to the Moody Blues. Similarly, one group prefers patriarchal dominance, and so judges male privileges to be morally honorable. Neither Mozart nor males are absolutely better, only so when compared to the group's standards. Thus, male ownership of females was once moral and is now immoral, not because we have discovered it as such, but because our society has realized that women also seek greater happiness and that they can achieve this more easily without being in bondage to males. A society that seeks greater happiness for its members by giving them greater freedom, will judge a Hitler or a Stalin as morally intolerable because his goal is the confiscation of human life, without which one can have no happiness.

As long as it is understood that morality is a human construction influenced by human cultures, one can become more tolerant of other human belief systems, and thus other humans. But as soon as a group sets itself up to be the final moral arbiter of other people's actions, especially when its members believe they have discovered absolute standards of right and wrong, it is the beginning of the end of tolerance and thus, reason and rationality. It is this characteristic more than any other that makes a cult, a religion, a nation, or any other group, dangerous to individual freedom. This was (and is) the biggest flaw in Ayn Rand's Objectivism, the unlikeliest cult in history. The historical development and ultimate destruction of her group and philosophy is the empirical evidence to support this logical analysis.

What separates science from all other human activities (and morality has never been successfully placed on a scientific basis), is its belief in the tentative nature of all conclusions. There are no final absolutes in science, only varying degrees of probability. Even scientific "facts" are just conclusions confirmed to such an extent it would be reasonable to offer temporary agreement, but never final assent. Science is not the affirmation of a set of beliefs but a process of inquiry aimed at building a testable body of knowledge constantly open to rejection or confirmation. In science, knowledge is fluid and certainty fleeting. That is the heart of its limitation. It is also its greatest strength.

 

Bibliography

 

Branden, B. 1986. The Passion of Ayn Rand. New York: Doubleday.

Branden, N. 1989. Judgment Day: My Years With Ayn Rand. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.

Rand, A. 1943. The Fountainhead. New York: Bobbs-Merrill.

_____. 1957. Atlas Shrugged. New York: Random House.

_____. 1962. "Introducing Objectivism." Los Angeles Times, June 17.

 

http://www.2think.org/kom.shtml

http://www.2think.org/kom.shtml

 

From Skeptic vol. 2, no. 2, 1993, pp. 74-81.

 

 



See also: DEATH AT THE GAZEBO: Conservatism in Extremis at Hillsdale University, by E. Michael Jones of Culture Wars Magazine

 

For a treasure-trove of other anti-Rand articles on-line, see:

http://www.noblesoul.com/orc/critics/
http://www.lewrockwell.com/orig5/raimondo1.html
http://www.lewrockwell.com/rothbard/rothbard23.html

Libertarians for Life (very important libertarian anti-abortion site; reveals the true irrationality and inhumanity of the libertarian philosophy, written by people who have not yet left the libertarian movement, including Ron Paul.)
For one of their best articles, "The Right of Abortion, A Dogma in Search of a Rationale", click here

On Jewish intellectual movements generally (Communism, Zionism, Freudianism, feminism, etc.) see:

http://www.jewwatch.com

See also:
The Survivors
The Aristotelian Connection

HUMAN SOAP, AMERICAN STYLE (by C.W. Porter)
ABORTION PICTURE GALLERY 1 - WITH GRAPHICS - VERY GRAPHIC
ABORTION PICTURE GALLERY 2
ABORTION PICTURE GALLERY 3
ABORTION PICTURE GALLERY 4
ABORTION PICTURE GALLERY 5


SMILING FROM THE WOMB
IS THIS AN ELEPHANT?

Part-Jewish Pro-Lifer Demands a Retraction and an Apology

on this website.

For a perceptive general article on "libertarianism", a bastard philosophical child of Objectivism repudiated by Rand personally, see "The Marxism of the Right" by Robert Locke. Almost immediately after the breakup with Branden, Rand threatened to sue anyone using her ideas in whole or in part, or the word "Objectivist", without her personal imprimatur, so the heretics were forced to call themselves something else; hence the name "libertarian". Many libertarians have never heard of Rand or disagree(d) with certain aspects of her philosophy and do not, or did not, necessarily wish to be associated with it or with her. In a sense, libertarianism is more consistent, because one is free to do as one likes, without having to submit to the discipline of Rand's edicts. It is strange that Rand did not foresee this. - C.P.

For a short summary of this article, click here

For a fairly good demonstration of the explicit connection between Objectivism and Zionist politics ("Release the Israeli Soldiers", "Free Jonathon Pollard", "Support John Bolton", etc. etc. etc.), click here. There are many similar sites, probably hundreds.
So much for the philosophy of "reason". Objectivism is as Jewish as a bagel.
---
"If I meet a philospher upon the road, I shun him as I would a mad dog."
- Lucian, Greek satirist

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