just for a little context


Freddie deBoer used to blog at lhote.blogspot.com, and may again someday. Now he blogs here.

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23 Responses

  1. Quiddity says:

    You write that “Objectivist takes on physics and cosmology richly deserve more public ridicule than they have been exposed to”, and link to YouTube for a representative sample.

    This is totally new to me and I agree, this deserves more exposure. “Objectivist”, if you’ve never heard the term, doesn’t sound particularly bad, but it appears to deny empirical results at the quantum level. Or rather, it takes a pro EPR-paradox view that there are yet-to-be-discovered hidden variables that, if properly understood, can be part of a calculus that makes the universe’s progress absolutely predetermined. That’s a kind of thinking that was part of the Classical Physics era of the 19th century: the universe is made up of some basic “things” that move along trajectories that are calculable.

    Emotionally satisfying on one level: the universe is comprehendible by us mere humans (which might be a step towards us becoming gods). And it’s also neat and tidy.

    I used to think that way during my teenage years. I was enthralled by calculus and read that Galileo, Kepler, Newton, Dalton, and Faraday pretty much figured it all out – except for those pesky situations at the very small scale (subatomic ‘particles’) and the extremely large (with gravity). Well, those uncommon situations – uncommon in daily macro-scale life – are still part of nature and cannot be ignored no matter how much one desires a Popular Mechanics understanding of the universe.Report

  2. Bob Cheeks says:

    Anyone with the name “Quiddity” is someone we must read and not critique. Objectivism seems singularly intent on mucking up (hypostatizing) the transcendent pole of human existence while adding just a pinch of gnostic hubris and a dash slavish devotion to Kant’s derailed paradigm that defined the noumena and phenomena as substantially different. In other words (and thank you for allowing me to get that out!) Objectivism more closely resembles the failed ideologies of the past century, ever reflective of the “proton pseudos”, than it does any effort to understand man as being with the possibility of nous (reason), or the self-manifestation of the divine in human consciousness.
    Will someone give me an Amen?Report

    • North in reply to Bob Cheeks says:

      Bob, I’m going to shout out an Amen because you earned it the instant you managed to put hypostatizing into a sentence with gnostic, noumena and phenoumena and not sound like a crazy man. Amen!Report

  3. Bob says:

    Chait nicely shortens his critique of Rand and her fellow-travelers with these seven words, “They would rather be vain than grateful.”Report

  4. Bruce Smith says:

    The Big Question is how to combine Incentive with Fairness and both with Sustainability. The Objectivists get nowhere near in their answers!Report

  5. Jaybird says:

    I’ve long thought that Objectivism is best understood as reaction to Stalinism.

    When I meet objectivists who don’t understand it as such, well… they’d probably make decent DMs.Report

    • Freddie in reply to Jaybird says:

      Yeah, I agree– I have sympathy for Ayn Rand, and a kind of respect with many reservations. Part of the problem is that she would have absolutely no respect or sympathy for me. But then I shouldn’t let that change how I feel. You’re absolutely right– it would be irresponsible and unfair for me to fail to consider Objectivism as a response to Stalinism from someone who lived underneath it.Report

  6. A.R.Yngve says:

    Would you put YOUR kid in an Objectivist kindergarten?Report

  7. Bruce Smith says:

    Well I guess that set of exchanges suggests the Objectivists couldn’t see beyond their reaction to Marxism. Shame that Greenspan couldn’t either!Report

    • Jaybird in reply to Bruce Smith says:

      It’s like e e cummings. Love him or hate him, he wasn’t a hack.

      It’s the millions of people who picked his book up and said “I NEED TO START LIVING THIS WAY!” and then writing poems like that that were predominantly hacks… to the point where encountering a poem by e e cummings immediately makes bile rise into your throat… not because his poem is bad (it probably isn’t) but because it reminds you of the thousand bad copies of that poem you’ve read.

      And you hate him. You hate him not for him, but because of his followers.

      Like Marx, I suppose. Or Jesus.

      Rand has the same thing going on. Her followers, if you ask me, seem to have a lot more of the “harmless” thing going on than those other white males… but I would say that, wouldn’t I?Report

      • Ryan in reply to Jaybird says:

        “Or Jesus.”


      • seanf in reply to Jaybird says:

        First I’ve ever heard of Jesus being described as a “white male.” Chances are, Jesus was as much of a white male as Arafat. Or any Sephardic Jew, for that matter.

        Interesting what that construction of “whiteness” reveals…and I don’t mean that in a snarky way at all, actually.Report

        • EngineerScotty in reply to seanf says:

          Jesus gets depicted as a white dude all the dang time. 🙂

          With blue eyes, to boot.

          That said, I’ve never heard Rand called a “white male” either…Report