I never refer to myself as an objectivist because I don't want to be called on to explain some wacky thing coming out of ARI. I also despise lables in general because I put alot of thought into my specific positions and I don't want people assuming my viewpoint on some particular issue ahead of time.
I think one of the things that contributes to objectivism being labeled a cult is the tightly constrained definition of what it means to be an objectivist. I would prefer a looser one based on the fundamentals of the philosophy only.
I voted "objectivist." I have also refered to myself as a SOLOist on another site when discussing SOLO, so that they knew where I was coming from.
In the end, such labels are of little use, since there is so much confusion associated with them. People like labels to make categorization easy. Label = Conceptual Construct. While this is the way we think, and it does help speed our thought/desicion making process, too many people use categorization to avoid thinking about and dealing with individuals.
I'm an Objectivist but hardly ever need to label myself as such in conversation with strangers.
My grandmother-in-law innocently calls Kelly and I "objectionists" because she can't seem to wrap her mind around the real deal. At my first thanksgiving with Kelly's family, the grandmother asked me at the big dinner table gathering, "Why don't you believe in God?" She meant no malice; she just wanted to know. Great, funny lady.
I like "ists" and "isms" as long as the shoe fits and it can drive a mystic/socialist/puritan crazy.
There should have been a category for "Randian". Chris Sciabarra wrote a piece a while back on why he calls himself a Randian, and I agreed with it very much. Thus, if forced to use a label, I would say that I am a libertarian with Randian leanings.
"JOHNSON! Oh, you doesn't has to call me Johnson. You can call me Ray, or you can call me Jay, or you can call me Johnny, or you can call me Sonny, or you can call me RayJay, or you can call me RJ, or you can call me RJJ or you can call me RJJ Jr., but you doesn't have to call me Johnson!"
I flirted with other names, but in my posts I have constantly referred to myself as an Objectivist and discussed Objectivism. So I have to stay with that.
Despite the purists, who claim that Objectivism should be used only for what Ayn Rand wrote and said, the name has started to take on a meaning more like Christianity, with Catholic, Protestant, Orthedox, etc. under that concept. So under Objectivism you can find ARI Objectivism, Neo-Objectivism (if that is defined yet), TOC Objectivism, Solo Objectivism, and more recently,
(Don't worry, Barbara. I am your most devoted servant and bulldog, but I am a long way from being a Brandenoid...)
I even think I saw something by R. Firehammer giving different types of Objectivism. His kind I guess you could call Autonomistic Objectivism, or maybe Autistic Objectivism for short... //;-)
Pete--I think Chris calls himself a Post-Randian. I did the poll. Perhaps I should have included it.
David--My mom keeps calling it "objectionist" as well. She even tries to send me e-mail at The Objectionist Center.
I voted for Objectivist. I used to call myself a Neo-Objectivist. I even had it in my e-mail address at one time. My friend Joe Duarte said, "You aren't a Neo-Objectivist. You're a hard core Objectivist." Sometimes I'm tempted just to go by my name without the labelling. But the labelling is a good starting place for a conversation.
That's funny about the objectionist, Bill. I'd wondered if others had encountered that. I actually think it's sort of coincidentally funny (Freudian even), since we object to pretty much everything most folks believe in.
I voted Objectivist. It is what I have called myself since I was 18. I interpret it simply to mean that I am committed to the primacy of reality, that reason is my only guide, that my life is my ultimate value, that I must trade value for value with others, that I should appreciate my own and others accomplishments, and that government should be strictly limited. That there are people who call themselves Objectivists, but are really largely Dogmatists who will not think for themselves will not intimidate me. I will not even elevate Ayn Rand above reality and my own ability to reason, though I respect her hugely and think that she was only wrong about some relatively minor issues. She did a great job defining a very well integrated philosophy to live by and I have been living by it as I see it. As long as I am committed to the above central principals, I see no reason to give ground to anyone who may see Objectivism in a different way. I think it is too valuable a philosophy to give up that easily.
I agree with Rand's fundamental principles in all five branches of philosophy; I agree with a great deal of her controversial (and much misunderstood) views on romantic love; I also agree with the central psychological implications of her philosophy, as outlined in the early articles by Nathaniel Branden, and later incorporated into The Psychology of Self-Esteem.
While I certainly have disagreements, I don't think they are about essentials. I take Rand's philosophical positions to be best exemplified and embodied by the characters in her fiction, and I can't think of very many instances in which their actions and words would give me pause.
If enthusiastic commitment to that heroic, individualistic moral-aesthetic vision of life is what Rand meant by "Objectivism," then I'm an Objectivist.