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Narcissism Objectivism

Abuse Lives Because It is Morally Sanctioned: Moral Paradigms Matter

This is a chapter in The Moral Bias of Objectivism

Moral Paradigms Matter

As I wrote this book and took its message to others, I realized I am challenging such deeply held views about human nature, moral paradigms, and abuse, that it’s necessary to address the widely held assumptions about these issues right away.

There is a deeply held assumption among virtually all cultures, people, religions, and even philosophies, that abuse is something that strikes out of the blue.  Abusive behavior is chalked up to “unconsciousness,” past trauma, or of course “selfishness.” None of this is true. Abuse is allowed to live because it has been normalized ethically.

Virtually no one does anything that is outside of their own moral paradigm. They rationalize it away as serving a beneficial purpose, self-defense, or just punishment. When a parent spanks their child, they don’t see it as abuse. They see it as beneficial discipline. That so many political dictators have slaughtered thousands while the majority stay silent, seeing at as for the greater good, is all too well known. These abusers, private or political, don’t see their abuse as abuse. They see it as enforcement of a particular way of living, which is necessary for survival. And, so, when you point out the abuse, they can’t even see it. You point out the scars on the child, and they simply remark, “Oh well, that’s because …” They are rendered blind.

You can read recorded history from the start to now and the theme is the same over and over: tyranny lives because the majority sanction it. Perhaps it’s easier to explain by stating that in reverse: tyranny does NOT live if the majority find it unethical. For instance, when the now U.S. state of Texas was under Mexican rule, they were to obey Mexican law, which ordered them to convert to Catholicism. The majority didn’t. They went about their day doing as they wanted. It eventually led to war, and we know how that turned out. You can’t rule people who won’t bow to tyranny.

Lundy Bancroft, an abuse counselor to men, writes in Why Does He Do That:

A critical insight seeped into me from working with my first few dozen clients: An abuser almost never does anything that he himself considers morally unacceptable. He may hide what he does because he thinks other people would disagree with it, but he feels justified inside. I can’t remember a client ever having said to me: “There’s no way I can defend what I did. It was just totally wrong.” He invariably has a reason that he considers good enough. In short, an abuser’s core problem is that he has a distorted sense of right and wrong. (35, emphasis original)

Abusers still operate within their own moral paradigm. They’ll smash their girlfriend’s phone and call her a whore, but they won’t kick her in the head—that would be wrong. Bancroft describes that he put on a play about abuse using the abusive men in his counseling program. As he was doing it, the men ratcheted up the abuse as the script was being written, saying such things as

No, no, you don’t make excuses for why you’re home late, that puts you on the defensive, you’ve got to turn it around on her. (36)

Bancroft contends that abusers absolutely know what they are doing. Portraying them as the mistreated child/person who doesn’t know what he’s doing won’t help the situation; in fact, emboldens them. Past experiences and key male role models (and also perhaps: fictional heroes and the writings of philosophers) shaped their beliefs, which set in place their philosophical outlook—without them fully considering all the ramifications. So, there is a certain unconsciousness (blinds spots) there. But they are operating within their adopted moral framework. As this People magazine article describes Sean Connery cooly explaining,

“I don’t think there is anything particularly wrong about hitting a woman, although I don’t recommend doing it in the same way that you’d hit a man,” he told the publication.

Describing an “openhanded slap” as “justified,” Connery also said it could be used “if all other alternatives fail and there has been plenty of warning,” adding, “If a woman is a bitch, or hysterical, or bloody-minded continually, then I’d do it.”

Abusers aren’t the misunderstood, mistreated child, as they love to make themselves out to be. They are an in-charge adult.

But, this actually is great news. If abuse is in a person’s moral paradigm, it means we can change this behavior. Make abuse itself immoral and the cultural impact would be profound.

As such, redefining morality can have a tremendous impact. The fact is many abusive behaviors are still highly normalized. It’s still morally acceptable to spank a child. You can still see on social media people who say, “If some whore cheated on me, I’d beat her ass.” If a family wants to portray a particular member, usually a female, as ungrateful, selfish, and irrational, they usually get away with it and on moral terms. We do it on a collective level, such as how we make it acceptable to hate on someone like Kim Kardashian. It’s common for young mothers to get hurtful critical feedback about how they parent. In Objectivism, thick insults and portraying others as wildly stupid is seen as highly normal, even effective and cool. Most of all, across nearly all thought paradigms, punishment itself is still seen as valid in certain context. People feel profoundly justified in the harm they inflict.

Enormous good can be had by challenging these behaviors on moral grounds. When dealing with people who are abusive, no amount of improved conflict resolution helps. If you are dealing with someone who is insulting you, keeping you on the defensive, controlling you, wants you to serve them, and making you feel inferior, which they indeed do as a permanent way of operation making the battle seem unwinnable, the battle needs to be moved from gee golly nice ideas about how to behave to a moral challenge. We don’t argue points. We call out tactics. We don’t defend our characters. We call out abuse. We no longer work around them cleverly. We expect change. And yes: we make the link between a person’s abusive behavior and their adopted moral paradigm.

The moral framework I’ll provide, one of liberalism, takes away all of the tactics that abusers use. The essence of abuse is to describe what an awful, terrible person someone else is, who is thus worthy of the abuse. That is the justification that abusers have. “Oh well she was running her mouth.” “Well she’s a lazy mother.” “That child is out of line and should know better.” In Objectivism, “they are lazy, irrational, and hedonistic.” Abusers will make you out to be this, even if nothing could ever even possibly hint at it. Taking away even this ability to shame someone else on these grounds is what this liberal moral paradigm does. No one is ever bad—not on this level. Some people might need to be in jail for the rest of their life, but no one is just totally a worthless rotten scoundrel. And punishment itself plays an integral role in abuse. Abusers feel they are “teaching someone a lesson.” They feel someone “deserved” it. Rand has made statements before that certain statements from students warrant “immediate expulsion.” Make punitive measures themselves immoral and you will do a tremendous amount to stop abuse dead in its tracks. I do not know of any thinker so forcefully calling for the end of punitive means as I do. Perhaps this is why we have so far been so ineffective at dealing with abuse.

Morality is indeed the most powerful intellectual force on earth. That’s why it’s so important to set it correctly. We set abuse to be morally wrong such that it then feels wrong. A new paradigm in thinking may enact authentic change.

Amber is on a mission to end abuse, by getting to its root: how it is morally sanctioned. Send your friends to The Ex Objectivist.

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Narcissism Objectivism

Defining the “Rational” as “Moral” is The Fertile Soil for ABUSE

First, as I argue, at Check your Tools, Rand doesn’t just push “reason” to be a “tool to study reality.” She pushes it to be a “way to be in all waking hours for all decisions.”

She writes:

The virtue of Rationality means the recognition and acceptance of reason as one’s only source of knowledge; one’s only judge of values and one’s only guide to action. It means one’s total commitment to a state of full, conscious awareness, to the maintenance of a full mental focus in all issues, in all choices, in all of one’s waking hours. (28, emphasis mine)

 With this definition, you use your thinking—not any emotion or gut feeling—to make all decisions in life. Reason is “one’s only guide to action.” You don’t just use reason to plan a trip or build a lunar lander. You also use it when deciding if you want to marry or break up with someone. You do a rational analysis for all—Rand’s word—choices that you make. You use it all waking hours—Rand’s description. Relying on gut feels, intuition, or instincts is blasted by Rand and her followers as “mysticism.” Your heart’s desires (your inner core) are trumped by your mind’s desires (your ego) in Objectivism, always.

I got asked “what’s wrong with this?” I said it denies emotions role in everyday life: your gut feel is often (usually) right. Nathaniel Branden writes promoting excessive rationality was a regret of his during his years with Rand:

No one pointed out that feelings or emotions might sometimes reflect a more accurate assessment of reality than conscious beliefs. In other words, nobody asserted that the subconscious mind might be right while the conscious mind was mistaken. (My Years with Ayn Rand, ch. 9)

Someone told me it was cool to think this. That I just “valued emotions” over “rationality” and we’re all just different.

That’s not true and not how you can chalk it up. Rand pushes it “rationality” to be what moral person does. A better sort of man lives as she describes. All else are “irrational,” and now “immoral.”

It is not just misguided but outright wrong and dangerous to put “rationality” into a moral code. If you’ve identified “rational” men as moral—by which Rand means men who “use reason” for “all choices”—you’ve labeled other men and women—who see value in trusting one’s authentic emotions—as “irrational” and “immoral.” There is no agreeing to disagree with Rand—or anyone who has put their values explicitly into a moral system. She has drawn the line. She has said this way of being and this sort of person is morally superior. Anyone else is immoral, irrational, lesser. And this is the ground on which abuse is formed: supposedly more rational people have the right to judge and denigrate other immoral, irrational, possibly destructive others. Abuse is in a Person’s Moral Paradigm.

Just as bad or worse, it shuts down intellectual curiosity into any other way to be or any insight into human nature. An enormous amount is lost by damning authentic emotions the way Rand does, demanding they put in submission to “reason.” Trauma therapists, Jungian analysts, and many educational experts could give Rand an earful—if they cared to—and most, up to now, apparently don’t care to (this is not a compliment to Rand). I hope to help fill this gap, such that those who are wiser and better can better understand Rand’s Objectivism, such that they can weigh in in order to utterly destroy this abysmal, abusive, toxic, intellectually uncurious philosophy.

A Case for Liberalism

Morality itself, a labeling of good and evil, is potent. When you describe someone as evil, you’ve put a hell of a label on them. Evil people are to be shunned, rejected, discarded, fought. If there is evil in you, it creates shame. Morality is potent. It is so incredibly potent. We are all but playing with fire here. Rand herself says morality is the most powerful intellectual force on earth. It should be handled with an incredible amount of care. Morality is too potent to use except in the most careful of cases.

I will be arguing that as few actions as possible should be labeled as “immoral”—and that this is a distinctly liberal position. Morality itself causes the potential to pass around blame, shame, and pain. And it creates for what I accuse Rand: Moral Bias. It clouds our lens as we study reality, human nature itself, and engage with others.

Rand says her morality is necessary because of an “unalterable condition of man’s existence.” But she’s wrong about this. What she says is unalterable—tabula rasa—is a false conclusion about man’s nature.

The Charge

I, again, accuse Ayn Rand’s Objectivism of Moral Bias. She performs no serious study of human nature itself. She then unforgivably goes on to codify this weak understanding into an entire moral-political system—a powerful thing to have for oneself, indeed.

Amber was an Objectivist for 10 years and is tired of their narcissistic shit. Send your friends dealing with their toxic behavior to ExObjectivist.com.

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Narcissism Objectivism

“It’s Objectivism or communism” — Ayn Rand

I don’t make this shit up, loves.

This appears in the chapter “Check Your Tools” in The Moral Bias of Objectivism.

Objectivism Needs to be “Better than Communism”

When I challenge Objectivism, people sniff, “And what about all the GOOD that it does? Why can’t you focus on that?” They typically point to Rand’s devastating arguments against socialism and religion.

Ok. One can readily agree that just about anything is better than slavery and religion. What is being compared makes a big difference. If you compare a tennis ball, which is yellow-green, to green, it will look yellow. If you compare it to yellow, it will look green. Rand’s system is more enlightened than past moral-political attempts. Comparing Objectivism to slavery or communism makes it come out looking like shining gold.

But Objectivism is still flawed. We can agree that communism and slavery are bad. But this is not the issue. The issue here is Objectivism itself. It needs to stand, on its own, as it sells itself, as a philosophy for living life. It needs to be better than something that is “a philosophy that is better than communism and slavery.” I find this kind of argument nefarious. It is like Dracula opening up the door to howling wolves: it’s his potentially murderous mansion or the dangerous night. Why are you using fear to sell me? And Rand encourages this kind of thinking when she writes, “It’s Objectivism or communism” (Faith and Force: The Destroyers of the Modern World, 75). Yeah—no. I am going to be looking at Objectivism, as is. I ask that you do the same.

I would ask that you see Objectivism as a psychology, because that’s how it attempts to behave. Rand has elaborate views on how the mind, subconscious, and happiness works—and pushes it to be a morality that thus penetrates your every single choice. By claiming it as a “philosophy,” it is given a stamp of authority and is kept safely away from any critical review when it comes to application to real, live humans. Stop comparing Objectivism to communism, religion, Kant, or Nietzsche. Start comparing it to Carl Jung, Dr. Tsabary, Dr. Ginott, Dr. Aron, etc.

This will appear in my book The Moral Bias of Objectivism

Amber was an Objectivist for 10 years before realizing it’s mostly narcissistic bullshit. She now firmly believes it’s her way or the high way and any other thought is irrationality deserving of immediate punishment. See the first chapter of The Moral Bias of Objectivism

Categories
Narcissism Objectivism

Fighting Shame with Shame

For the longest time, I hesitated to use shame against shamers. It’s *entrenched* in society that this is morally wrong. The conversation goes like this, over and over,

“Women are lazy parasites!”

“You’re an abusive misogynist!”

“Oh are you JUDGING me? Hypocrite!”

I argue elsewhere that this system inherently allows abusers to stay in power. They get to wield punishment and shame, but the response to them is considered “immoral,” “going to their level,” “the low road,” etc. And, so. You have truly evil people who are allowed to go unaccountable, never reined in. They are allowed to use and shame and punishment. But we’re not allowed to respond. As much as people like to think some kind of karma eventually fixes this, it doesn’t. It lets abusers be in power. We are run by narcissists, abusers, and psychopaths. And we’re ordered to put on a smile about it and be grateful about it.

Whenever you’re in a rock and hard place like this, there is ALWAYS some weird trick about life that doesn’t allow the unhappy state to go on. It seems like you can never get out of this problem. The shamers shame. To stop them, you need to use shame. But shame is what you are trying to stop. It seems like an impossible problem to solve. But it’s not. If you study human nature and hard, you’ll always find some answer, showing life is more complicated than anyone ever grants.

I learned from watching Sam Vaknin’s Youtube channel that narcissists actually crave mortification. A narcissist feels absolutely nothing inside. So if he is mortified, he at least feels something. It’s better than nothing. They apparently live their whole life chasing excitement, wanting a sense of feeling alive, perhaps feeling genuinely loved by an admirable person. But they just constantly come up short. Have you ever met a person with serious Narcissistic Personality Disorder? Underneath all that charm is an utter dead zombie. They can’t keep it up 24/7, especially not as they age. They can snap into place to pose for a photo. But their mask slips more and more and more as their energy wanes. If you see them, you’ll see them checking out every so often, sinking into their chair or the couch, their eyes glazed over, with a look of total vacancy. They just plain aren’t home.

When I learned that they actually CRAVE mortification (read: shame), it was a total game changer in how I handle them. I’ve been gripped by the question, “How do we heal narcissism?” They run the world. I had previously thought we either defeat them (somehow) or heal them. I thought some new, weird way of healing them just hadn’t been discovered yet. In large part, I have quite conceded that they indeed cannot be healed. They must be defeated. And, in the weird twist of life, going full on combat with them is the only way to make any marginal change with them (to heal them).

Don’t hesitate to put a narcissist in their place. I’ve had MANY “successful” encounters with them since adopting this view. When they mock or belittle me, I utterly throw it back at them. If they actually crave shame, I give it to them. If they post something insulting towards me, I make sure to blast it to the world: entirely to shame them. One, for instance, accused me of something. He had no proof whatsoever. First of all, I threw THAT at him. His own philosophy said you come to conclusions with proof. And he had none. I kept demanding not an apology to me, but a recognition of his own bad trait, his lack of reason, a deviation from his own purported moral system. I took a screen shot of his statement and posted it. He backtracked BIG time. He sent me an email apologizing to me; his accusation was indeed unfounded. They are awed by strength. To them, it’s a matter of who is more confident, who throws around the insults harder and better. Do it.

Sure, deep down, a narcissist has a LOT of pain. They feel utterly unworthy. They constantly must hear from others what they think of the narcissist, because they have no idea where they stand. Although this part of them is ever present, they guard it like a 3-headed dog. In a healthy state of affairs, life events, including and especially negative ones, penetrates a person as to change them. If you get dumped by a boyfriend or girlfriend, it might cause some introspection to change somehow. For a narcissist, this doesn’t happen. They can’t and won’t let pain touch them. Because of their own pain. It stands as a buffer between the outer world and their inner world. The only way to penetrate them is right through this layer. It sounds crazy, but I promise you: it DOES work.

Narcissists run the world. When a pastor gets up and says “hurt people hurt,” this is to engender compassion for those doing the hurting, i.e., him. He’s manipulating you. Although they preach to never “play victim,” the narcissist will play the biggest victim around and evoke as much pity, for him, as possible. Adopt a position of dominance around them. Use shame. Wipe your floor with them. I promise you. It is BOTH the only way to (marginally) heal them AND, ultimately, defeat them.