Question on Introducing Objectivism

 Posted by on 6 July 2010 at 7:00 am  Objectivism
Jul 062010

A FormSpring Question and Answer on introducing Objectivism:

How does one successfully introduce Objectivism to one’s spouse, lover, or new “other half” without turning them off or driving them away? Ditto for family and friends?

Personally — supposing that I was tragically single again — I wouldn’t date someone who wasn’t already Objectivist (or very close). I couldn’t stand to play philosophical mentor to a lover.

As for friends and family, I think the best approach is to be very hands-off. Discuss substantive issues, if that’s of mutual interest. (Discuss them in terms of the substance, not in terms of Ayn Rand’s or anyone else’s views, however.) You can recommend a book or two if the person seems interested. Give your opinion and advice — when the person asks for it.

It’s counter-productive to push a person intellectually, however. If a person is honest, then he’ll come around eventually, as he has time to think through the issues. If you push, you’ll likely alienate.

Even if you’re very hands-off, Objectivism can strain relationships. The philosophy confronts a person with some very stark either-or choices (e.g. faith versus reason, altruism versus egoism, statism versus capitalism). Some people simply cannot handle that: they’re attracted to Objectivism, but they’re unwilling to give up their investment in some cherished bit of irrationality. And they’ll take that out on you — as if you’re forcing them to choose, rather than reality. It’s very Stadler-esque… and horrible to witness.

[Much more could be said on this topic, I think! What would you say?]

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