Objectivism: A way of life

I find that the harder I work, the more luck I seem to have.

Thomas Jefferson, 3rd US President

The progenitor of objectivism as a way of life is Ayn Rand, A Russian-American writer who describes it as “the concept of man as a heroic being, with his own happiness as the moral purpose of his life, with productive achievement as his noblest activity, and reason as his only absolute”.

Her two seminal books, Fountainhead (1943) and Atlas Shrugged (1957) broke new ground in America and around the world for those who were struggling to understand the reason and explain the purpose of their existence. These two publications broke the silence of a suppressed population that believed in accepting subjugation.

Many have suggested that she advances selfishness disguised as self-interest. Rand explained that if one will never be able to help another if he or she is unable to take care, and look after his or her self-interest if altruism is supposed to account for something.

Ayn Rand’s objectivism is supported by four primary pillars — objective reality, absolute reason, individualism, and laissez-faire capitalism. The first two define the individual in that subjective ideas or concepts have no meaning or purpose if they cannot be objectively received. Positive thinking espoused by reason based on what on sensory perception.

Laissez-faire capitalism has been with mankind since Adam Smith revealed the dormant secrets of economic policies in his first book The Theory of Moral Sentiments in the mid-18th century where he explained the invisible hand theory that free markets regulate themselves by means of competition, supply and demand, and self-interest.

Europe was way ahead of the fledgling American colonies when productive activity became the call-sign for a progressive nation waiting to control the world through economic activity which was the scabbard for the hidden sword of political control.

Malacca was first visited by the Portuguese who came as traders while gradually establishing a Far East post. They brought nothing but purchased our spices and other cottage industries wares. Laissez-faire was already in vogue by the time the Dutch and the British arrived with their economic and political philosophies that have survived till today.

Objectivism’s pursuit of happiness as a moral purpose was well argued in Thomas Jefferson’s Declaration of Independence and Thomas Paine’s Common Sense which defined and refined the individual’s self-interest as the first step to a collective political philosophy. America is what it is today because a few pioneers carved a lasting niche for mankind’s technological progress.

Every political philosophy whether republicanism, parliamentary democracy, socialism and even communism is attracted to the four pillars of objectivism. China is a glaring example that practises both capitalism and communism in an admirably envious way as far as Uncle Sam is concerned. The Red Scare of the 1950s seems almost laughable today.

Reliable sources say that China has drastically reduced its poverty levels from 8.5 percent of people in 2013, which decreased to 1.7 percent in 2018. On March 6, 2020, Xi Jinping, the general secretary of the Communist Party of China, announced that by 2020, China will achieve all poverty alleviation in rural areas. Objectivism is the genuine coin of the realm.

Some political observers astutely say that China wants zero poverty so that all its citizens will concentrate on making money and not dabble in politics. This is surely something that nobody would want to debate as an affront to individualism when the government is concerned about its citizens being taught to be self-sufficient.

Ayn Rand’s three axioms — existence, consciousness and identity reflect a deep religious fervour in her psyche but, we are told, she was an atheist. These axioms, by its very nomenclature, have had widespread influence upon all governments regardless of political persuasions. Nobody refutes them.

Objectivism must become an indispensable subject in educational institutions for young people who have reached turned 15. Like mathematics and economics, objectivism is a character-builder. Its depth and altitude allude to the very definition of future leaders with the wherewithal in knowledge to lead their lives and that of their fellow beings through nation-building.

“Would you like me to give you a formula for success? Double your rate of failure. Failure is not the enemy of success. You can be discouraged by failure or you can learn from it, so go ahead and make mistakes. That’s where you will find success.” This is great advice to our young, courtesy of Thomas J. Watson, an American businessman.

The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the New Sarawak Tribune.