On Intellectual Dishonesty, Relativism, and Subjectivism
Let me state it here, that of all the kinds and forms of smear or criticism, I most disgust and resent dishonesty, whether intellectual, ideological or metaphysical. Any critic who resorts to dishonesty- that is, by arguing his cause by means of dropping the context of your premise or statement, or resorting to adhominem attack- has nary a sane, proper argument to adduce.
I have seen a lot of their kind online, the kind of people who borrow disgusting statements from absurd intellectuals and use them against you. For instance, I have a lot of commenters who called me names and even described me as a member of the so-called Ayn Rand cult. This dishonest attack was perpetrated by a not quite acolyte of Ayn Rand named Murray Rothbard who later called her a ‘cultist.’ After he was ‘excommunicated’ from the Objectivist circle, Rothbard formed his own Libertarian-Anarcho-capitalist circle and wrote a book denouncing Ayn Rand as the high priestess of a secular cult. The fact is that Rothbard, who met Ayn Rand for less than half a dozen occasions, plagiarized the thesis of Barbara Branden, who was once a close friend and devout student of the philosopher. An intellectual fraud who had a long history of propaganda and myth-making, Rothbard unleashed his dishonest attack on Ayn Rand so to divert the real issue that he was a plagiarist. Now this is a good example of a dishonest attack designed to simply destroy the reputation of a person. Prior to his denunciation of Ayn Rand, Rothbard wrote a fan letter praising the novelist-turned-philosopher and her novel Atlas Shrugged. In his letter to Ayn Rand dated October 3, 1957, Rothbard wrote:
“Only twice in my life have I felt honored and happy that I was young and alive at the specific date of the publication of a book: first, of Human Actionin 1949, and now with Atlas Shrugged. When, in the past, I heard your disciples refer to you in grandiloquent terms—as one of the greatest geniuses who ever lived, as giving them a “round universe”—I confess I was repelled: surely this was the outpouring of a mystic cult. But now, upon reading Atlas Shrugged, I find I was wrong. This was not wild exaggeration but the perception of truth.”
I also resent the fact that my views are being associated with Libertarianism, a political movement that has no definite philosophical base and political direction. Libertarianism is a floating abstraction that regards freedom and not the individual as an end in itself. The political goal of the Libertarian movement is the enshrinement of anarcho-capitalism in the United States. In regard to anarcho-capitalism, I wrote the following:
Anarcho-capitalism is incompatible with Capitalism as it is incompatible with man’s freedom. Anarchism is a prelude to everything that man should fear, such as socialism, communism, fascism and every derivative of collectivism. A rational man cannot survive in an anarchic society where there is no definite, objective rule for man. You cannot put man’s fate at the mercy or generosity of a gang of savages who either harbor evil or altruistic intent and who have mustered enough power to rule and enslave men who don’t have the capacity to protect themselves. In a free society, we need the aid and protection of a government with a limited power. This is what Ayn Rand envisions, which is against anarcho-capitalism proposed by Murray Rothbard and his fellow anarchists. What we need is a separation of state and economy. In an anarchic society, there is no protection of contracts, individual rights, and mutual agreements between parties. This social system will only lead to barbarism and social chaos wherein power is within the reach of those who have the means to use force against other men.
I’ve also seen a number of commenters who called me names like “intellectual masturbater.” This malicious, empty charge is both funny and pathetic. This means that a person who graduated from an average school has no business talking about philosophy, ideology, or man’s intellect, and that the intellectual domain exclusively belongs to the intellectuals, academics, college professors. There were also a number of commenters who urged me to “drop my ideology,” and embrace what they call “real facts” or “reality-based data or statistics.” Although I did not exactly understand how they used the word “ideology” (if it were related to intellect or way of thinking), I thought that they didn’t want me t think.
This group of people simply forgot that we deal with ideas, and that we embrace a certain form of idea. For instance, one commenter urged me to argue my cause regarding the Reproductive Health Bill by dropping “my ideology” and use only facts and statistics to prove that “overpopulation is not the problem.” With all honesty, I believed that you cannot argue a certain issue without relying on a particular premise, unless you go by emotion and the whim of the moment. The premise of my argument against the RH Bill is based on “individual rights”, that this legislative proposal is impractical and immoral because it disregards man’s inalienable rights, and that it seeks the sacrifice and immolation of the good to the weak, although this was not explicitly stated in the bill, but this is only the means to achieve its ends.
Those who resent you for upholding a specific, strong idea simply believe that nothing in this world is definite, that that there is no such thing as objective or exact word, that everything we perceive is not real but a product of our mental distortion, that there are no such things as bad and good ideas, but only floating abstractions, and that man’s mind is impotent and subservient to what they call collective mentality. These same people unwittingly believe that the world has not improved, that we did not achieve this stage in history where men enjoy technological and intellectual stability by improving or changing our way of thought.These same people believe in relativism and subjectivism, two concepts that propose the primacy of consciousness over reality. In reply to a commenter who firmly believed that “words have no exact meaning” and that “we mean what we would want them to mean,” I stated the following:
Language is a tool and domain of concepts. With the exception of proper names, every word we speak is a symbol that denotes a concept. We need to have an objective language because language and concepts are fundamentally a vital instrument of cognition, not of communication, the latter being merely the consequence. You must understand that cognition precedes communication. You can’t think properly without objective words or language. Thus the main objective of language and of concepts is to provide the speaker with a system of cognitive organization and classification, which enables him to gain knowledge on a broader or indefinite scale. In other words, the purpose of language and concepts is to keep or maintain order in man’s mind and to enable him to think properly…
These grotesque linguistic devices undercut the cognitive function of concepts. I understand that the premise of their baloney linguistic devices is that words are generated by whim, they simply try to propose a choice of whims– individual or collective. It means that there are only two ways by which we can define words: “reportive” (to be determined by surveys or polls) and “stipulative” (to be determined by anyone else). This whimsical thinking only leads to man’s Orwellian destruction, wherein language is at the arbitrary whim of those who have the capacity to define words according to their collective, irrational or dictatorial objective.
The great men from the Age of the Enlightenment who ended the Dark Ages of the mystics and the religionists, were able to prove that reason exists, and that man’s mind improves and develops by observing reality. You start with what exists and never take things or issues on faith. They were able to prove that man’s mind is his only tool of cognition and that reason is his only absolute. You tackle a particular issue by using reason, a faculty that identifies and integrates the material provided by man’s senses. You understand things by means of logic, which should be defined as the art of non-contradictory identification.
Logic means A is A- that you cannot contradict reality and that reality is independent of a man’s consciousness, beliefs, or convictions. A is A is the formula of Aristotle’s Law of Identity, which states that an object is the same as itself. You cannot ask a person to “drop his mind” to tackle an issue. Again, man’s mind is a tool of cognition and reason is his only absolute.
Must Read Essay
- Jim Peron, an avowed Objectivist, wrote an essay entitled Is Objectivism a Cult? In this essay, Peron analyzed the works of some intellectually dishonest people who spread a malicious, immoral lie that Objectivism is a cult. I honestly recommend this for Ayn Rand critics and Objectivists.