One of the last issues of the Intellectual Activist I got was "Why Act ON Principle". It was not a matter of disagreement that was the cause of my not renewing after that subscription ran out, It was just inertia, I know all ther is to know about the matter and it just wasn't stimulationg anymore.

That article had both the best and the worst of philosophical movements. The wrost was the defiinition of Objectivism (Randism being used here as synonymous with Objectivism but also inclusive of how I learend it by abstracting it from material articles mostly by Rand during the late '60's and early '70's) as "The Philosophy of Ayn Rand". This is an ostensive, meaning pointing or operational definition and is the kind of definition used by a child up to his teenage years. It tells me that to find out what Ranism is, I must go through all her works. Now at the time, her notes had not been widely circulated and still haven't. These notes are a treasure trove in that they gave her personal insights. We agree on the supremacy of epistemology but we disagree on the place of Cosmology. She says it ought to be "thrown out of philosophy". I hold that it adds time to the metaphysical equation; her reasoning was valid, but her premise was not universal, Without Cosmology philosophy is limited to the range of the moment. Things like "cause and effect" are rendered meaningless because the historical process is ripped from metaphysics, although, in fact she had a Cosmological element, it's just that it was not given a framework to be made explicit, therefore rendering her presentation incomplete. The elimination of Cosmology from Metaphysics yields a false view of the universe as it limits things to three dimensions rather than the four that we know to be the case from science. However, the philosophical system was already established and that matter played no part in its actual psresentation. The problem with the presented definition was that, and this was actually advocated by a person who claimed to be knowledgeable, you would have to read, and agree with, everything she wrote without deviation since even her favorite color could be interpreted as a matter of true or false, right or worng, good or evil. Aside from being clearly inadequate (If the same shade of blue-green were not my favorite color, it is not; purple is, that was hers does that make me a non-Randian? If it was because it is compatible with the color of both Islam and Environmentalism, Doe that make those two religions compatible with Randism? Don't be funny). Beyond that, If I have to read over 3,000 pages of material just to get the basics, and those pages were mostly discussions of current events... Well you get it, right? This kind of definition is more like an HTML hyperlink and is not a statement of the basic identity of the system, It only tells me where to look and the point of origin. Would the system be less objectivistic if it had been defined by, let's say, Theopholis Q. Waterhouse? Also there has been some change. in the mid 60's Branden put the movement on record as being against the death penalty. In 1988 Leonard Peikoff reversed that and supported it on the Mark Scott show Impact on WOR AM 710.

Further "Why Act On Principle" stated that "Objectivism is a complete work" and "closed systme". "...You cannot add to it nor subtract from it...[well, you can but then what you have is not Objectivism/Randism but they don't make that explicit in the article]". I kind of bridled at this and that this statement made the thing moribund since it could not change over time as noew information became available.

I have since reversed my position on that.


Philosphy is an active process. It "writes the software" for how we do certain things. Those things are 1. understand the wrold; 2. undestand knowledge; 3. define good and evil; 4. define principles of government and 5. evaluate art. As such, these pertain to the defining characteristics of the subject matter. At no point does philosphy tell or even indicate the proper conclusion or course(s) of actions, it only tells us how to find out "Reason is the only guide to knowledge" tells me nothing of the content of that knowledge, only what tool to use all the time and by itself. Ethics will not tell me what is right or wrong, only how to do the moral calculation. Esthetics will not tell me what is good or bad art, only how to decide for myself and so on. The world is either external to us and pre-existing or it is not. This is always an absolute fact, always has been an absolute fact and always will be an absolute fact. Reason is the only proper tool of knowledge or it is not. This is always an absolute fact, always has been an absolute fact and always will be an absolute fact. Any of the tenets of Randism are either eternally absolutely true or they are not and this is an absolute fact, always has been an absolute fact and always will be an absolute fact. The only question then becomes did Rand do a complete job. Well, if you look at "Randism in One Afternoon". The job is complete since all the branches are stated and given content, there is a smooth transition and the whole thing holds together. It could be stronger in a couple of places but it stands. So, that's it. So indeed of and by itself it is a closed system and a complete one. If I try to add a part, where would I put it? I can and have made a tighter connection between "Objective Reality" and "Egoism" via Individualism, but that was already there, I just made it explicit. If I took out a part that would destroy it, like, totally. If I were to try and combine it with other things that would be a hybridization and a bastardization and would suck, like totally! Indeed that claim is true. It is also true of any philosophy or philosophical system: Platonic, Aristotelian, Cartesian, Kantian, Spinozan, etc. It's the nature of philosophy to be a self-contained view of man and the world. This matches the idea that I have helt for a long time that each of the Christian sects is a total package and must treat all othes as atheistic. A Baptist would view a Methodist, congregatioanlist or Catholic as non-Christian theists at best. Each offers a "whole world" that excludes all else. As much as I like the work of Peikoff. I might even fine his material to be Revisionist.

But What's all she wrote? As far as philosophy

  1. Metaphysics: Objective Realith
  2. Epistemology: Reason
  3. Ethics: Egoism
  4. Politics: Capitalism
  5. Esthetics: Romantic Realism
Except that she said it while standing on one foot; really, she did. No matter what else you say, that's what it all boils down to. You can explain it, you can show the connections and other things, but that's all inside moves and change nothing. And if you understand Aristotle, you know most of that, too.

Why do people get bent out of shape over this?

For a number of reasons:,

And that's the name of that tune.

Well, now what? What can be done or what is to be done?

Two things

One thing is Show up with it. Advocate it. Present it and why you think it's a good thing. If you have a domain, make a website for it like I have. Describe it and how it fits with the world and link to others to create a network. Her last statement in her address at the Ford Hall Forum "For the Record"; "It's up to you". Just because you didn't invent it doesn't mean you don't have a take.

The other thing to do is application. Use it, make it your tool as I make it mine in From the Cockpit. This shows persons the thing in action. While the philosophical system has been from its beginning, self-contained and complete, it's not going to apply itself. for example, the issue of the death penalty. Branden's opposition to it was premised on the fact that Man is not nor can be omniscient and can make mistakes. But this denied the sufficiency of human knowledge for action, which is an inherent part of objectivity. Since man has no innate knowledge, but must act to maintain his life as an ongoing process, he must use his mental facilities to gain that knowledge. This imples that the knowledge gained via the proper use of this facility cannot be held, by nature, suspect but must be accepted as sufficient to act, all other things being equal, as a matter of the identity of man and the world. Beyond that Bradnen wrote "Though [the death penalty] would be just, it would still be wrong..." If, as is the case with the Randian system, justice is the implementation of the deserved and the witholding of the undeserved, and if in Randian ethics. rightful consequences are based on the deserved then what is just, by nature and the laws of existence cannot be wrong, nor and for the same reasons, can the withholding of the deserved ever be right. So Branden's statement is absolutely false becuse it is self-contradctory and anything based on it is absolutely false. So thre is at least no known obstacle to Peikoff's reversal of the movement's position on the death penalty. He did assert that the conditions of proof must lead to certainty. but that has always been a point of jurisprudence "...beyond a reaonable doubt and to a moral certitude". After that the (yet unstated as a premise to Randism) principle of the a priori sufficiency of human knowledge for the task kicks in. Now all that would remain would be to explicitly establsih the justice of the death penalty but that had been accepted by Branden so it is not an issue here. Please notice, in no case whas the content or method of Randism, nor of any objectivist philosophy changed. Only the application of the pre-existing ideas and principles.