My comment on your length was just to let you know that if you're goal is to communicate to people, the length is hurting not helping. You're welcome to continue as is...but I for one don't read half of what you write.
Now you seem to make a few points which I disagree with. First, you say:
But I find the notion that wealth is the index of success to be, frankly, repulsive.It takes a pretty shallow understanding of Objectivism to think that wealth is the only standard of success. I'm more inclined to believe the socialists, who you think are so benevolent when it comes to disagreement (and yet somehow Communists countries aren't...hmmm...), are the ones who worship wealth as an end in itself. Objectivists understand that wealth is potential value. You can trade it for all kinds of things, but it's not a substitute for those things.
But that doesn't mean that wealth is not an indicator of success at all. It certainly is. Wealth is of huge importance to our lives. Even by your own hedonistic standard money should be important. And it certainly is to those who claim life as the standard. And yet here we have you and Andre saying that the creation of wealth is immoral.
Personally, what I find repulsive is those people who live in poverty and try to morally justify it by cursing wealth. And equally those who set up a wealth/virtue dichotomy, and try to claim productive ability is a vice, instead of a virtue.
You next say:
And I find it strange to believe that our mixed economy- which after all, according to Objectivists, operates on a socialist principle penalizing virtue as often as a capitalist principle rewarding virtue, should particularly reward virtue with wealth.The bold is mind. And it constitutes a significant disagreement. A mixed economy sometimes penalizes virtue, it's true. But to suggest that the US equally (or even close) punishes and rewards virtue is ridiculous.
Next you say
But I don't that's greatness, and a morality and civilization which prizes the chance of ordinary people to attain decent wealth, but tortures its artists and philosophers, is not one I personally care to expend any effort to defend.I'll just say that I think it's the artists and philosophers that are torturing the ordinary people, and not the other way around. As for the real artist and philosophers out there, they're more likely to be hurt by the professional artists and philosophers than the public.
But this really sounds like the old Public Broadcasting excuse. You want to live off of being a philosopher, but nobody will pay for you. So it's their fault. The fact that you offer nothing they want is a problem with their wants, not what you have to offer.
And you throw around the term "genius" too easily.
And finally, yes the poor are generally to blame for their poverty. And yes, under some contexts (Soviet Russia for one), it's not true. But not in this country. Not in a place where wealth mobility is so common. Not in a land where anyone can get a college education, and there is such a lack of engineers, scientists, and doctors that they have to important most of them from other countries, and they pay very well.
But it still takes trading value for value. And those with nothing to offer will always curse those who don't want it.