Sam Harris Couldn’t Help But Smear Ayn Rand
Although Sam Harris is wrong about various important issues, he occasionally writes cogently about important matters. He skewers moral relativism and aptly identifies the dangers of Islamic ideology. The result was Objectivism-a view that makes a religious fetish of selfishness and disposes of altruism and compassion as character flaws. If nothing else, this approach to ethics was a triumph of marketing, as Objectivism is basically autism rebranded. Rand’s attempt to make literature out of this awful philosophy produced some commensurately terrible writing.
Harris’s account of Rand’s ideas is patently wrong in practically every detail-which is not surprising given that, by his own admission, he has not actually read her works. Those who care to learn what Rand advocated would do well to ignore Harris’s smears, read Rand for themselves, and reach their own conclusions. I do want briefly to address the ways in which Rand’s views differ from Harris’s fantasies. She advocated rational self-interest, recognizing that one’s interests entail thinking long range about the requirements of one’s life and happiness, and acting in accordance with principles formed on the basis of such thinking. The principles she recognized as necessary to human life include respecting people’s rights, developing loving romantic relationships, and building meaningful friendships.
Rand did not confuse altruism with being friendly or helpful; rather, she saw it as a creed of self-sacrifice, a morality that demands that one sacrifice the values on which one’s life and happiness depend for the alleged benefit of others. Harris’s claims about Rand are, one and all, perfect misrepresentations of her views.
What Is Stoicism? A Definition & 9 Stoic Exercises To Get You Started
Stoic writing is much closer to a yoga session or a pre-game warm up than to a book of philosophy a university professor might write. The Stoics had an exercise called Turning the Obstacle Upside Down. What a Stoic does is turn every obstacle into an opportunity. As Don Robertson explains in his book, when the Stoics discuss overcoming ‘passions’, which they called patheiai, they refer to the irrational, unhealthy and excessive desires and emotions. Being a good person and doing the right thing right now, that’s what matters and that’s what was important to the Stoics.
The Stoics would also point out that, once while drunk, Alexander got into a fight with his dearest friend, Cleitus, and accidentally killed him. The second, more subtle point, is to tap into what the Stoics call sympatheia, or a mutual interdependence with the whole of humanity. The single most important practice in Stoic philosophy is differentiating between what we can change and what we can’t. The premeditatio malorum is a Stoic exercise of imagining things that could go wrong or be taken away from us. It is why amor fati is the Stoic exercise and mindset that you take on for making the best out of anything that happens: Treating each and every moment-no matter how challenging-as something to be embraced, not avoided.
The Stoics were writing honestly, often self-critically, about how they could become better people, be happier, and deal with the problems they faced. You can see how practicing misfortune makes you stronger in the face of adversity; how flipping an obstacle upside down turns problems into opportunities; and how remembering how small you are keeps your ego manageable and in perspective.
Benito Mussolini & the Italian Fascism State
Watch this great introductory video that I created on GoAnimate if you haven’t watched it already! It is a brief explanation of Benito Mussolini and Fascism. Benito Mussolini was the founder of Fascism and leader of Italy from 1922 to 1943. Benito Mussolini was killed in northern Italy while retreating back to Germany with other fascist officials of his short lived Italian Social Republic. Benito Amilcare Andrea Mussolini was born in Forli, Italy, 1883, in a working class family.
In February 1908, Mussolini once again left Italy to Trento, an ethnically Italian city under the control of Austria-Hungary. In 1918 Mussolini declared that Italy was in need of a man that was energetic enough to revive the Italian people. As the disorder grew, Mussolini and his Italian Combat Squad recruited unemployed ex-soldiers and formed paramilitary squadrons that would restore peace in the streets of Italy. Influenced by Italy’s Roman past, Benito Mussolini believed he was the contemporary Roman Emperor and set out to create an Italian Empire. Returning to Italy, Mussolini adopted the Nazi goose-step marching style for the Italian army and enacted the Manifesto of Race, which stripped Italian Jews of their citizenship and their ability to hold public office.
To conceal the location of Benito Mussolini’s detainment from Gestapo intelligence, Benito Mussolini was sent to a remote jail in the mountains. Two months after being incarcerated by the new Italian government, a special unit of the Nazi army raided the Gran Sasso prison and rescued Benito Mussolini. To blunt Nazi repression on the Italian people, Mussolini set up a regime in northern Italy called the Italian Social Republic.