If you are anywhere near Objectivist circles on Facebook, you likely recently witnessed a spectacle of a well-known blogger attacking “organized Objectivism” and ARI/Peikoff in particular. This tantrum, and the underlying open vs closed subject, as been discussed ad nauseam. My position mirrors that of ARI and is explained quite well in Peikoff’s “Fact and Value” (https://ari.aynrand.org/issues/culture-and-society/religion-and-morality/Fact-and-Value) My interest is not so much that tired discussion, but the curious reactions from those who see ARI as the devil. These are not reactions to any new philosophical insight given by the “self excommunicated” blogger, merely to the fact that he attacked ARI and Ayn Rand. He was called courageous and an independent thinker, among other things. This is not unique to this situation.
To be skeptical to the point of agnosticism in all things is considered the essence of wisdom. You hear these sort of statements all the time. “Nobody is always right! Rand was far from perfect. I could never be Objectivist because I am too questioning and influenced by many thinkers.” The focus is never on truth, only on the act of rebellion, a focus on what they are not and what they are not is *extreme*. Rand discussed the smear of extremism as an anti-concept in her book Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal. (https://campus.aynrand.org/works/1964/09/01/extremism-or-the-art-of-smearing) If Objectivism is correct then extremism in Objectivism is no vice, to paraphrase Barry Goldwater. If Objectivism is incorrect than the errors should be exposed. I have written before about the abnegation of moral judgment that is agnosticism. It is neither wise nor courageous, quite the opposite. Just as we must decide upon the existence of gods and act accordingly, we must make similar judgments upon all knowledge available to us.
The labels and insults thrown my direction are amusing such as orthodox, obleftivist, boy scout, dogmatic, cultist, etc. If orthodox means I agree with the philosophy, I’m guilty. If dogmatic means I reject moral relativism and believe in objective reality, guilty once again. Objectivism is unique in its unwavering adherence to objective reality. There are plenty of other philosophies that will allow you to bring “your truth” with you. Objectivism is not one. It does not deal in blind followers nor those who wish to create their own reality.
This belief that indecision and skepticism equate with wisdom is commonplace today, even more so than in the past. Even Objectivism, a philosophy in direct opposition, has to deal with this insidious invader. Thinking is hard. Being an Objectivist is hard and demanding. You can’t do what you feel like, reason is always the final judge. Creating a whole new philosophy, as Rand did, is astounding. It is much easier to criticize and tear down than to create and build up. So here is the challenge to those who (unsuccessfully) attack Peikoff, ARI, and Rand. Build something better. Show us a superior philosophy and I will be the first in line.