Show Me, Don’t Tell Me

As a follower of the Objectivist teachings of Ayn Rand, I naturally have an interest in what others are saying on the subject. And just as I have, there are many other voices pointing out how those teachings are more important now than they have ever been. That is because the Objectivist philosophy represents the only clear path to achieving a truly moral society, and I could not agree more with those other voices. However, those other voices also cry out for a strengthening and renewal of the so-called “Objectivist Movement.” On this point, unfortunately, I must beg to differ.

Just like every other attempt at “group-think” in history, the Objectivist movement is doomed to failure because, by definition, “group-think” is a collectivist endeavor. The real benefits to mankind from the Objectivist philosophy have come and will come in the form all such benefits have taken: as side effects of actions taken by individuals working for their own self interest. And while it may be comforting to have others with whom we can commiserate and share war stories, any attempt to forge a “union” from such a group of radical free thinkers is destined for a very embarrassing public failure.

One needs only to look at the current state of the Libertarian Party to see what I mean. I believe that the Libertarians are all good and well intentioned people, but an example of Objectivist thinkers working well together they most definitely are not. How does appearing to the world like a bunch of loonies help to promote the Objectivist philosophy? “Collective Individualism” is a contradiction in terms.

As has always been the case, it’s the “show me, don’t tell me” strategy that will get the job done. To emphasize this point, I submit the lyrics to Show Don’t Tell by Rush – one of the world’s foremost proponents of Ayn Rand’s teachings:

How many times do you hear it? It goes on all day long.
Everyone knows everything. And no one’s ever wrong
Until later…

Who can you believe? It’s hard to play it safe.
But apart from a few good friends, we don’t take anything on faith
Until later…

Show…don’t tell…

(Show me, don’t tell me) … You’ve figured out the score
(Show me, don’t tell me) … I’ve heard it all before
(Show me, don’t tell me) … I don’t care what you say
(Show me, don’t tell me)

You can twist perceptions. Reality won’t budge.
You can raise objections. I will be the judge.
(And the jury)

I’ll give it due reflection, watching from the fence.
Give the jury direction, based on the evidence
I, the jury.

Show…don’t tell…

(Show me, don’t tell me) … Hey, order in the court
(Show me, don’t tell me) … Let’s try to keep it short.
(Show me, don’t tell me) … Enough of your demands.
(Show me, don’t tell me) … Witness take the stand.
(Show me, don’t tell me)

Show…don’t tell…

Show…don’t tell…

(Show me, don’t tell me) … Hey, order in the court.
(Show me, don’t tell me) … Let’s try to keep it short.
(Show me, don’t tell me) … I don’t care what you say.
(Show me, don’t tell me) … Let’s see exhibit A.

(Show me, don’t tell me) … You’ve figured out the score.
(Show me, don’t tell me) … I’ve heard it all before.
(Show me, don’t tell me) … Enough of your demands.
(Show me, don’t tell me) … Witness take the stand.
(Show me, don’t tell me)

I want ice water.

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