palam wrote:I've never posted on these threads before, however I felt compelled to do so this time. I have read most of Rand's works. I've read the Fountainhead four times (that is to say, I've read The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged each once).
Trying to understand morality can be done from the perspective that morality is the underlying values that determine how one should think and make choices to better one's own position. As people are part of groups such as families, countries, societies, humanity... it is important to rate the effectivenss of this moral system from those higher-level perspectives as well. For example, it is assumed that what is good for humanity is good for the individual as the individual is part of humanity.
Humanistic and altruistic moral codes have made it thus far in the natural selection of moral paradigms because they stress the benefits to the group at the sacrifice of the individual. While this has made their group stronger relative to other groups with internecine moral coes, it has attained unity and strength at the cost of maximum group wealth and sustainability.
Rational self interest works on the individual scale and has the capacity to work on larger scales, however limiting the perspective to the individual only creates a zero-sum mentality in which the person feels it is ok to act in one's self-interest even if it hurts others. This is "rational" in the sense that that if the individual does not consider the group of which he is a part, he has not broken his moral code. This dog-eat-dog moral code is what Rational self-interst boils down to if limited to the perspective of individual only. Rational self-interest as a moral code is only competative with altruistic codes if one considers the other groups he is a part of and chooses what is best for him from the broader perspective.
The challenge for Rational self-interest is that it requires as "objective" a perspective as possible. Usually, the more varied perspectives from which one analyzes (think from the perspective of self, family, community, society...), the more "objective" that perspective will be. Here "objective" is not treated as an absolute but a goal towards wich one can strive. While one might never reach objectivity, one can get close enough to claim it (think a mathematical limit).
This "objectivity" requires the whole group to be highly educated. This is a huge drawback when compared to altruistic codes where the intelligence requirements are not as strenuous.
Altruistic Paradigms survive because we have laws. If "natural" selection were to take place, those people would all be dead and nothing but hedonists and egoists would remain. Also i would argue that everything you said is complete bullshit hahaha. I mean other than stating this can you provide an actual real life scenario that we would all be aware of which proves you right? Because if not I can think of about 4,000 that prove you wrong.
i.e. Nazi's, Soviets, Jonestown Tragedy, Columbine, VA-Tech Massacre, Armenian Genocide. All of these are examples of when Egoism or Consequentialism outweighed altruism.
Oh and I forgot to say: In most cases of Altruism it is one person acting, not a group. Although there are cases, such as Red Cross, in which people work in groups. Even then they are acting not with one another but alone and on an individual level to help. Even the most group based ethical paradigm can be broken down to individual action. Anything less reduces us to a number, or sheeple, in which we act not according to what we believe but what we are told.
We have laws because it is it is in the best interest of society (a large group of people, larger than community and family) to work as a group, not against each other in pure self-interest fashion.
Altruists remain, as I said earlier, because they make their group stronger than those groups of the hedonists and egoists.
You did not in fact argue that my whole argument was bullshit, you merely stated it.
I am sure that you can think of 4000 that prove me wrong because you have failed to demonstrate understanding of what I was arguing.
You make parallels between altruism and not killing people. Columbine and Va-Tech massacre were both situations of disturbed individuals deciding to get revenge. I fail to see how you can say their actions were in their best interest when they killed themselves after their rampages ended. If you are not saying that their actions were in their best interest, then you missed the point of "rational self-interest."
The Jonestown Tragedy was their leader acting in self-interest at the expense of his group. However, it can be argued that his "group" was realy only an extension of his own, individual self-interest in the form of self aggrandizement. again, self interest without the perspective of the group can lead to tragedy. This is one of my arguments.
Nazis and Soviets were political parties with a wide range of views and actions... too difficult to deconstruct without you first explaining specifically what it is that you are referring to.
The Armenian Genocide, if parallels can be made to other genocides, is one subgroup terminating another subgroup so that the whole group takes on only the characteristics of the subgroup doing the killing. Groups of different moral codes (Arm. gen. is a case of many differences, the most obvious being Muslim vs. Christian) are bound to have conflict. Natural selection and its violence can not be denied. Those who do not play the game end up getting burned. The Jews know this, as do the Armenians. Now each has their own nation state with a strong military that has seen huge military success. They are back in the game and ascribe to the rules of natural selection better than most other groups now.
Natural selection and violence are the two things to which all others are held to (in judgement) in the end. They trump other values when allowed to. Accepting this allows one to remain in touch with reality. Denying
this fact is the thing that leads to tragedies such as genocide.