Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children.
- President Dwight D. Eisenhower

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Ayn Rand

It's really too bad that she turned out to be horse-kissing nuts. Her ideas make a lot of sense...

This was originally posted by me on an internet discussion forum. I have edited it for clarity.

The idea, or assertion, that society is "a unified body" is on its face, ambiguous and open to interpretation. However, let us examine what such an assertion COULD mean. If society really were a unified body, then my actions, however insignificant or grand, would have a measurable affect on every other member of my society. My gardening in my back yard some how affects, in a meaningful way, the life of an individual on the other side of my continent.

Now, this all hinges on what "meaningful" means to all of us in the context of this thread. I must grant that with sensitive enough metrics, there would be any number of things affected by the gardening in my back yard, and these things may indeed affect people thousands and thousands of miles away from me.

However, I submit that on a practical level, a person living in San Rafael, California could quite honestly not be able to give two farts in a hurricane about my gardening practices in the back yard of my home in Ypsilanti, Michigan. As such, society, in my opinion, is different than a "unified body".

So... what is it?

Well, on the simplest level, I submit that society is "a group of individuals who through conscious or unconscious consensus, live together in peace". So... what the fuck did I just say? If society starts at the micro level, that is, single individuals, rather than at the macro level, "the herd", we must acknowledge that each individual must find his or her own place in greater society, on his or her own.

That... is a powerful statement. It is at the core of the libertarian ethic. I can't tell you how you should live, because, I don't know what your personal journey should be. What I CAN do, is offer advice. If you are hungry, and I have food, I can give it to you. If your are naked, and I have clothes, I can cover you. If you want to learn, I can show you what I have seen.

However, at the same time, I can hoard my food, wear three sets of clothing on top of one another, and not give you the fucking time of day. That would be called "being a douchebag", which is my personal right as an individual.

What I am trying to get at, is that society only works if enough of us realize that there are people without, and give what we can, when we can. That, by the way, is not altruism. Real charity should always be a deeply selfish act. If I feed, clothe, and teach enough jack-asses, a certain number of them might be in a position to feed, clothe, and teach a bunch of others, thereby greatly reducing the chance of me getting stabbed in the face for my ho-ho, sneakers, and copy of the "Daily Blah".

Any ways, that's what I think society is, or at least should be about.

Thanks to everyone who gave me those suggestions. I am going to write them on a Post-it and stick them to the side of my monitor.


Kimber said...

Wiki didn't mention horse kissing crazy. And what's wrong w a little horse kissing? Are you going to post get the sand out of your vagina on your monitor too? That phrase makes me chuckle every time I hear it! 365 posts can be daunting. You are doing wonderfully!

Richard said...

It seems to me that your understanding of society is very close to Rand's. Does that mean you are a "horse-nut kisser" too? :-)

Maybe you've not really read her stuff and just threw her name out based on gossip.

robert574 said...

I've searched Ayn Rand's works and don't find the term "a unified body" to describe society. Your statements seem spurious and meaningless. Nothing in it refers to anything that Rand stands for that I've ever read in her works. So what is the point? Have you actually read Ayn Rand or have you just scanned the Cliff Notes? Have you even done that? Who told you that Ayn Rand believed society is "a unified body" or did you just make that up?

Scooter said...

Richard, robert...

You have not read any other of my posts, nor did you read this current post in context.

I know this, because if you had, you wouldn't have jumped on me for using Ayn Rand's name as the title of a blog post.

In short, you both are pseudo-intellectual bags of tripe that will spend the next decade of your lives pushing for whichever Libertarian candidate has made national prominence, before succumbing to bitterness and joining the Republican party.

Stepho said...

Spluh, anyone who reads your blog knows that your titles are often totally random and often bear little to no relation to the post itself.

Scoot, I have been teasing my "libertarian" friends for years that they're really just hipster Republicans.

Also, I HATE Ayn Rand's books. Someone once made the comment to me that every woman he knows hates Ayn Rand, whereas men seem to love her. I imagine this is similar to women loving Rachel Ray and men wanting to kick her off a bridge.