Steroid wrote:Now here's where a Randian argument is relevant. Putting this in prisoner's-dilemma terms, other people can make a choice that gives me a choice. They can act with me, which gives me the choice to be either a builder or a destroyer; or they can act against me, which gives me the choice to be either a destroyer or a victim.
What Rand would say, and with which I agree, is that when your choice is known, the ethical choices are builder in the first case and destroyer in the second. What most other ethical systems would say is to never choose to be a destroyer. In other words, I say it's better for everyone to be an asshole than a chump. You say it's better for me to be a chump than an asshole. I think that taking that position is itself an act against me. Case in point:
This has nothing to do with your argument compared to other people. If the most you're willing to achieve is "Sure, I might be wrong, but so are the people I'm disagreeing with!" then you (not you specifically, but generic "you") are a lost cause and not someone worth attempting to have an intelligent discussion with. You don't even have to put any special effort into finding people who are wrong in life, especially with the internet available to you. Or, hey, let's look at this from another direction: if you're trying to solve a problem, and you do so incorrectly, it doesn't make your answer any less wrong if you point out that other people trying to solve the problem were also incorrect. You might not be any worse than them, but you're still wrong
. Are you content with being wrong? Ignore your opinion on if you think you are being wrong -- I mean that question honestly and generally: are you OK with knowingly and intentionally being wrong? I don't think you are, but your responses are stating otherwise.
I didn't even want to wade into the objectivism debate (merely to point out just how crudely and intellectually lazily condescending you were being), but if you're telling me that objectivism is a philosophy that is A-OK with being wrong, than you're doing a wonderful job making the case against it.
Steroid wrote:You would have me take an insult onto myself without responding in order to avoid condescending to innocent parties. I decline to do that because no one's being that nice to me. No one is saying that it's a moral imperative to shut up about my taste because it happens to run to the selfish.
Rand and I in our ethics also look more long-term than you do, I think. If you act only as the helper or the chump all the time, eventually people will make you the chump. If you can be the asshole some of the time, people will let you be the helper.
No, I would have you not be condescending to a wide swath of people just to feel better about yourself. So people insulted your taste in books -- what does insulting their taste in books back at them accomplish? It doesn't make anyone want to side with you, it doesn't make anyone more likely to like the books you like, it doesn't make those people hold their opinion any less, it doesn't make you enjoy your books any more, and it doesn't make them enjoy their books any less. It does, however, make you an asshole (joined by them, also being their own brand of asshole). So we have no net gain, with the net loss of becoming an asshole. If your only interest in joining a discussion is to be an asshole, then, well, congratulations, you've just wasted everybody's time, including your own. If you want to enter a discussion to show the other party is wrong, or to support an argument that you think is right, or something similar, then you should do that
, instead of insulting other, uninvolved people. You don't even need to ignore the insult to not be a jackass to other people -- you just need to actually think through what you're saying and articulating it properly. The satellite view of what you were trying to say "I like these kinds and books, and dislike these kinds of books" could have been made without being condescending or disingenuous.
I honestly have no idea where your second part came from here. Nobody is anymore likely to make you a helper because you're being an asshole. You can avoid being an asshole without being a chump. You can even be an asshole and a chump at the same time. You can be somewhere in the middle, you can be both, you can be neither. Is your interpretation of Randism so lacking in shades of grey that you can't see that? Do you seriously need to resort to your philosophy derived from a single person to defend being being intellectually lazy and overly condescending?
Steroid wrote:But again, people are putting forth arguments that liking AS is bad taste. They're setting themselves up as enlightened readers. Either that's out of bounds, or I'm free to do the same, or there's some objective argument for why their literary position is superior to mine. For the third option, all I'm doing is saying that their objective arguments are bugs, not features. You're taking that as the second argument, playing tit for tat. If I have to, I will do that. But I'm just trying to explain my own standards of what's not enjoyable in literature.
Then those people are also wrong
. Being wrong yourself doesn't do anything to make them more wrong -- if anything, your actions are legitimizing their approach. As you see them doing it as justification to do it yourself, they'll see you doing it as sufficient grounds to decide that it's a fair tactic. You don't need to respond to every person in an argument.
Arguing for or against the merits of various tastes can be a valid discussion, while it'll certainly always have the fact that, in the end, individual taste differs and you can't prove an individual's taste right or wrong, you can go over things that give a greater tenancy towards quality. You can discuss things that make it more enjoyable, combinations work well, or don't work well, together. You can even go over what makes something good within those individual tastes, or why that is. You haven't done that though, all you've done is made an incredibly intellectually lazy deconstructionism of what they like and used it to handwave the opinion of anyone who likes them away. It's the literary equivalent of the people who call those who want to raise (or lower) taxes as "freedom haters", or calling people that don't vote for a security measure (PATRIOT Act, CISPA, whatever) as "not real patriots" or someone that doesn't support a video game sale regulation as "not caring about the safety of our children", or calling out whoever is in the 'opposite' party as "not believing in the constitution". In all those cases, it's painting an extremist, intellectually lazy view of them, and all it helps to do is cause everyone to be jackasses to each other without discussing things. It is factually wrong and does not help induce intelligent discussion; in fact, it actively discourages it. And that is exactly what you did with your "difficult, dull, depressing" analysis. There could have been an intelligent discussion on the merits of specific literary methods and styles, but you helped make sure it wouldn't happen.
HugoSchmidt wrote:And the people whom I was talking about where the uncounted millions of ordinary people who were slaughtered by the socialists and communists.
This argument against non-pure capitalism is based wholly on wrong logic. Yes, the Soviets and the Nazis killed millions of people. Yes, they were terrible groups of people. And yes, they were officially called the National Socialist German Workers' Party and the All-Union Communist Party (later renamed to the Communist Party of the Soviet Union). So? The crusades were started by christians -- they don't make christianity any more or less wrong than it otherwise is or isn't -- they just make the people that supported the crusades terrible people.
You know who else is a terrible group from WW2? Imperial Japan. Guess what their economic policy was based on and closest too? Capitalism. I guess by your argument here ("The Nazi's and Soviets were socialists and communists, and look how many people they killed! -- Socialism and communism are therefor bad.") we can also safely conclude that capitalism is bad too -- look at how many people the Japanese killed during WW2.
But that'd be silly. If socialism or communism or mixed economies are bad compared to pure capitalism, make your argument based on the merits (or lack thereof) for those various positions. Don't make your argument on whether or not terrible people have also supported that system, or you're going to be stuck as the person throwing bricks in a glass house.