This should really be a longer post, but apropos of the latest Objecti-schism
, I want to touch briefly on the recurring topic of exactly why
Objectivism is particularly prone to such upheavals - especially over what seem to outsiders as minor issues. There are a number of competing, and often complex theories as to why this is the case, involving the history of the movement, Ayn Rand's particular personality, the machinations of evildoers etc.
However, I'm going to suggest that that there is a simple, logical mechanism that accounts for this, and that logic extends from a basic proposition at the heart of the movement. I will roughly summarise this proposition as follows:Everything is reducible to philosophy.
That is to say, all human feelings, thoughts, emotions, theories, hopes, preferences, ambitions, and character qualities are, in theory, all consistent with and ultimately reducible to a specific set of philosophic propositions. These propositions in turn can either be correct (ie: Objectivist) or incorrect (anything else).
Once you have accepted the Objectivist propositions, this supposed philosophic consistency offers the possibility of having what is called a "fully integrated" personality, where all one's character traits, from opinions to emotions to subconscious thoughts, are not only perfectly consistent with each other, but also consistent with a true fundamental philosophical basis. This happy ideal would see a perfect harmony from the fundamental to the trivial, both within ourselves, and ultimately between all our fellows, and perhaps is why Rand thought that there could be no conflict between rational men.
However, what is less discussed is what happens when you run the logic the other way: that is if you have disagreements
about theories, hopes, preferences, emotions, character qualities etc between Objectivists
. Because if we accept that there is no human activity - n matter how trivial - that does not have a fundamental philosophic basis, therefore there is, in principle, no disagreement so trivial that it cannot be explained by a fundamental philosophic disagreement.
And as philosophy is the vitally important, all encompassing part of human existence, it is likewise possible - and perhaps even necessary - to escalate trivial disagreements into vitally important, all-encompassing ones!
Of course, one way out of this bind is to simply reject the idea that everything can be reduced to philosophy. But this would be a major rejection of a central Randian doctrine.