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Caledonian2 comments on Guardians of Ayn Rand - Less Wrong

58 Post author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 18 December 2007 06:24AM

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Comment author: Caledonian2 19 December 2007 02:52:01PM 5 points [-]

Studying Rand's life is unlikely to be particularly useful. Studying the historical development of Objectivism as a group phenomenon is probably the most fruitful strategy.

I have noticed that people's beliefs about the nature of positive traits, either in general or specifically, has a great deal of influence on their behavior. When virtues are something that you are, rather than the result of how you act, people often stop bothering to act in the difficult and expensive ways necessary to maintain that virtue.

When virtues are internalized, and made part of our identity, psychologically we no longer perceive a need to invest effort and resources into being virtuous. People who believe that they are smart don't spend as much time and energy avoiding stupid decisions and actions. Instead, they act on their impulses and inclinations; after all, they're smart, so their decisions will be smart, too. People who believe that they are moral and ethical do not struggle to find right standards and follow them. Instead, they act on their impulses and inclinations; after all, they're moral and ethical, so their decisions will be moral and ethical. Why assign resources to verifying what has already been accepted as true?

Meta-knowledge of virtue is often lethal to the virtue.

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