Ayn Rand's Objectivism vs. KONY 2012

Ayn Rand's Objectivism vs. KONY 2012

To preface, do I really need to explain what KONY 2012 is?

We’ve seen it constantly plastered on Facebook and on the news, or we’ve seen the video (or about as much of it as we can stomach. I for sure am not going to even link to that video. You’ll see why.)

But, the other half of the title of this blog might need a bit of explanation.

Objectivism is a Philosophy created by Ayn Rand, author of Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead. I won’t delve too deep into the specifics of Objectivism, but it generally entails and mindset in which you focus on the self rather than the group. Putting the needs of yourself over others is key.

I am an Objectivist.

Objectivism may seem like a selfish mindset to have (Rand even wrote a book called The Virtue of Selfishness), but it really isn’t. The world is filled with people who feel the need to nurture the entire human race. But there are a select few of us who reject that primal calling. There are a section of us who would rather save our own skins than give up our lives to save the group.

As I type this, I realize how this truly epitomizes the worse side of the word selfish. But, there is reason behind it. We will never be truly happy until we learn to love ourselves, not our personality as seen through others. That’s a side of selfishness that doesn’t get publicized as often.

Selfishness is a trait which can be beneficial to us. How often have you gotten in gross trouble because you had to be part of the group? Heck, even in High School I got in trouble for trying to fit into the puzzle of the cliques, even though I was an ill-fitting piece for that particular puzzle.

Even America herself has gotten into too much trouble trying to govern and lead the group, known as the world.

Which is what connects my Objectivist leanings to KONY 2012.

KONY 2012 wants America to stray as far from Objectivism as possible. They want us to govern the world, instead of looking out for America’s best interests. They want our troops to go over to Africa, Uganda in particular, and dispense justice like a stern teacher to a rowdy classroom.

The KONY Movement is trying to push America and her officials into something that we don’t have the resources to do right or well. They want us to slay the KONY dragon, so a few people with guilty consciences can feel like they’ve done a service to the world by putting up a few posters around Universities and YMCAs. They don’t want to accept the true answer to this problem: We need to think of ourselves first.

The people who support KONY are those who feel empty inside. They are the ones who fill their lives with superficial friends and lack any true inner conviction. They feel that they need to stretch their arms to others, because they can’t embrace themselves.

So, therefore, I, being an Objectivist, shake my head at the insanity that has risen from this debate; a debate which should have been dead from the beginning.

I feel that we should connect with our inner selves and ask this question: If we’re not happy with ourselves, how can we expect to help others?

The answer, for me, is: I am happy with myself. I have learned to embrace my true self above all. I have rejected the group.

The answer, for those associated with KONY 2012, is: I am not happy with myself, therefore I have to focus on the petulant needs of others before my own happiness and the happiness of my country.

The base fact is Americans need to think of their country before others. We cannot be the Principal of the turbulent Grade School that is the world. We need to contain our forces, meaning our money, resources and time, to our own needs. We cannot continue governing the whole; We have to govern the self.

What is happening at this moment in Africa is terrible. We can all agree on that fact, yes? But, and this is a big but, we need to look at what terrible things are happening in our own country before we try to fix others.

How many of these KONY-heads are even keeping up with the 2012 Election? How many of them are trying to research alternate ways to solve the Gas Crisis? How many of them are volunteering their time in homeless shelters to better the human population of America? I have embraced the self, yes, but I have not shunned my country like they have.

We need to focus on the needs of America before we think of those in Africa. If America was floating in surplus, Gas Prices were low and we had a competent President…I STILL would say not to butt our heads into this problem! There is nothing but death and destruction if America flies over there and gets involved with a madman.

Unless Joseph Kony comes over here and starts hoarding our children, we need to stay out of it. This problem has nothing to do with America at the moment. The only reason people seem to care is because they have a guilty conscience.

And why do they have that guilty conscience? Because they have rejected the self, instead of embracing it. They have eternally opened their arms to clench to their bosom these poor children, but in return they have released their own personal selves to embrace the world as a whole.

You may disagree with Objectivism, and that’s just fine and dandy, but even if you do shun it, you have to agree that America needs to focus on herself, not the entire world.

America does have its own self. That self is us. If each and every one of us focus on our true personalities and the true love that reigns within us, we can conquer anything. But if we have too many people seeking the ideal of the group, we can’t build up America’s self.

KONY 2012 could have been an asset if it stayed a personal movement within our hearts, instead of a national grope-fest. This is a personal ethical issue, not one that requires Military force.

If these KONY 2012 supporters could only have kept this to themselves and dwelt on what this plight means for them personally, we would not have fueled this man’s publicity machine. They are playing his game, and he’s winning!

So please, if you read this, cut all of the commercialism out of KONY 2012 and focus its lens on your true self. Don’t smear posters and garbage all over Facebook walls and literal walls. Don’t picket and whine to all your friend. Sit in a quiet room and reflect on the nature of the disaster and pray that the madman will see the error of his evil ways.

Only then can we see true change in the world.

KONY 2012: Embrace the Self. 


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  • fb_avatar

    Is this piece a PARODY of objecvtivism!?
    "Sit in a quiet room and reflect on the nature of the disaster and pray that the madman will see the error of his evil ways.

    Only then can we see true change in the world."

    Ti whom do you propose we pray, to Rand? to Atlas? to the God of Judaism and Christianity whom Rand despised?

    And while you're sitting in that quiet room of yours, you had better pray that if there's a fire in your building there are stupid "collectivist" altruists like me who are willing to risk their OWN lives to protect YOURS!
    See http://liberalslikechrist.org/JesusChristvsAynRand.html

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    Steven - I tend to agree with Ray that your portrayal of Objectivism is close to parody.

    "Putting the needs of yourself over others"? No. That's not quite Objectivism. An Objectivist doesn't use other people to achieve their goals (although they do and should collaborate), and they don't allow themselves to be used. Something about the way you put it sounds more like...stepping on people to make your way in the world.

    "Objectivism may seem like a selfish mindset to have (Rand even wrote a book called The Virtue of Selfishness), but it really isn't."

    Um no. It really is. Selfishness by Rand's definition is "concern with one's own interest". End of story. So if you love your wife, then her happiness is your happiness. It is VERY selfish. Selfishness does NOT mean using, abusing, disregarding the wishes/needs/desires of other people in their entirety. It means that the hierarchy of values that YOU establish, are based on your own values - that you choose what is and what is not important.

    So assisting people in need most certainly can be SELFISH, and properly so. Helping others is not evil. The idea that you MUST help them, is.

    What I detested about KONY was the...ahem...phony, glossy, bs style of their promotions which look more like a movie trailer than a documentary on another 3rd world dictator. But KONY is about privately raising money and awareness about a pretty bad dude. Which is did. It's not - as far as I can tell - about using the Government to steal more of your money. However, a close examination of the charity shows that they are likely close to a scam, which is what I thought when I saw the video.

    "The base fact is Americans need to think of their country before others." - No. They do not. They need to think of their own values first. And if they want to donate - with their OWN money - to the cause of wiping out a an evil in the world...then that is their business, and potentially a very good thing.

    "America does have its own self. That self is us. If each and every one of us focus on our true personalities and the true love that reigns within us, we can conquer anything. But if we have too many people seeking the ideal of the group, we can't build up America's self." - NO NO NO. America is a country. It has no "self". You seem to want to substitute the outside "group" with nationalism. This is not Objectivism. America is a value because it is a country that respects individualism, individual rights. It's not a value because "it's us". There is no "us" in the way that you are expressing it.

    Incidentally, Kony was essentially wiped out in part due to the exposure that the campaign received. He is being hunted down these days so he's certainly not "winning".

    I guess what I really want to say here is that you don't seem to grasp the basic tenets of Objectivism. You're making it sound like something that it isn't - twisted, and angry...and confused. It's not one sentence but everything you wrote that has a certain...anger to it. And malevolence. Objectivism gives you the tools to live life well. It's not a club with which to bash people in the heads with. Trust me...if you remain a "true believer"...in a few years...you will trash Rand and condemn this part of your life as a "phase". Rand was right. You just need to polish up your understanding of her ideas.

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    As an Objectivist myself, I find your article outrageous. It sounds as if it were written by someone trying to make fun of what an objectivist might say on the subject of child murder.The only part of your article I agree with is that we SHOULD NOT be committing our military to the hunt for Joseph Kony. Democratizing the use of our military is the idea put forward by KONY 2012 that is the most extreme and the most dangerous.

    However, violence against children, or any human being, is abhorrent. Being knowledgeable about it's occurrence is important and has become easier with the introduction of the internet. It is important to note that no one has the "duty" to put a stop to violence, but if a person has a strong desire to do so it is within their right to spend their own money to bring about that desired change. Using the military is, of course, not spending their own money; it is spending your money and my money. However, spreading awareness through social media is cheap and effective. Joseph Kony, the subject of KONY 2012, will probably not make it another few years before being stopped due to the increased awareness of who he is and what he is doing. In addition, people who care enough may even go to Uganda and volunteer in some small way, perhaps as something akin to neighborhood watch or baby sitters. The point is that awareness brings with it many benefits to fixing a problem, not just the erroneous desire and detrimental action of military interference.

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