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"Dear A.I.G., I Quit!"

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And just like earlier in this thread I will ask why you think that this was in any way voluntary?

He was not forced to give his money to charity. He chose to do so, to make the point that charity is an individual choice, not a collective mandate. How do you figure he is being "forced," specifically, to give his money to charity? (v. giving it back to AIG)

I absolutely disagree that duty as such is a false concept. (I know, it's a shocker eh? :)) The fallacy this man is exposed to is a direct result that he applied the concept of duty to a situation where it was not warranted, required or deserved.

One of the most destructive anti-concepts in the history of moral philosophy is the term “duty.”

An anti-concept is an artificial, unnecessary and rationally unusable term designed to replace and obliterate some legitimate concept. The term “duty” obliterates more than single concepts; it is a metaphysical and psychological killer: it negates all the essentials of a rational view of life and makes them inapplicable to man’s actions . . . .

The meaning of the term “duty” is: the moral necessity to perform certain actions for no reason other than obedience to some higher authority, without regard to any personal goal, motive, desire or interest.

-Ayn Rand, “Causality Versus Duty,” Philosophy: Who Needs It, 95.

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I am not sure this guy is the one to rally behind.

DeSantis is understandably angry at the way these bonuses were handled. He feels betrayed by Liddy who agreed with the ... Read Moregovernment that these traders should not have gotten these bonuses. DeSantis feels like he deserved that money because he did not have anything to do with AIG’s financial mess and was repeatedly promised this money.

But then if he deserved it, why is he giving it up so readily? If he really lost "a significant portion of his life savings" recently, why is he giving away money that he rightfully deserves and will likely need in the future for his own family’s expenses?

He is doing so because he thinks he and others like him are “overpaid.” What he means when he says he is “overpaid” is that he does not think he really deserves this money after all. Well, if he doesn’t, then what are we even talking about? What is the point to all this? If these traders don’t deserve this money, either because contractual rights hold no meaning or simply because these traders have not done a very good job, then why this letter?

DeSantis just seems to be fed up with how this situation was handled. Like I said, this is understandable and he should quit if he thinks his services will be better appreciated elsewhere.

But he is not “going Galt” or “shrugging,” like some people claim he is. He did not express distaste for the bailouts or the immorality of the government’s response to the bonus issue . He repeated over and over again that he and the other traders were not responsible for AIG’s financial mess, but he never identified its cause either. Who is to say that he will not find a similar job in the next few months and be in the same situation next year?

While I support DeSantis’ decision to quit, I think it is just that: a decision to leave his current job, not actual understanding of the reasons behind why this happened to him and how to actually resolve the problem so that in the future others don’t have to experience what he did.

Edited by Mimpy
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He was not forced to give his money to charity. He chose to do so, to make the point that charity is an individual choice, not a collective mandate. How do you figure he is being "forced," specifically, to give his money to charity? (v. giving it back to AIG)

So you believe that given a choice he would, without any external pressure, have given all of his pay to charity regardless? This charity can not be taken out of the context of a threat by the AG of NY to publicly name the people who got the bonuses, and the request (at the point of that gun) by the US government to give it back.

One of the most destructive anti-concepts in the history of moral philosophy is the term “duty.”

An anti-concept is an artificial, unnecessary and rationally unusable term designed to replace and obliterate some legitimate concept. The term “duty” obliterates more than single concepts; it is a metaphysical and psychological killer: it negates all the essentials of a rational view of life and makes them inapplicable to man’s actions . . . .

The meaning of the term “duty” is: the moral necessity to perform certain actions for no reason other than obedience to some higher authority, without regard to any personal goal, motive, desire or interest.

-Ayn Rand, “Causality Versus Duty,” Philosophy: Who Needs It, 95.

So does Ayn Rand disagree that once a person has entered into a contract he/she has the duty to fulfill the terms of that contract?

I have a duty to my country as a soldier, I swore to protect it and until I am released (my contract is terminated) so I do in fact have a duty to do. Is that immoral?

If that is the case then I have found the first point of Objectivism where my opinion differs from it.

Edited by Zip
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once a person has entered into a contract he/she has the duty to fulfill the terms of that contract?

Was AIG in a position to fullfill the terms of those contracts (and thus in a reasonable position to offer such to their employees) without the bail out money? I think this is a legitimate question to ask.

I agree that contracts should be respected, in principle, but I think focusing on the contracts alone without taking into account the fact that AIG is a bankrupt entity is context dropping. That is my take.

I do blame the government for creating this ridiculous situation.

Edited by ~Sophia~
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So does Ayn Rand disagree that once a person has entered into a contract he/she has the duty to fulfill the terms of that contract?

I have a duty to my country as a soldier, I swore to protect it and until I am released (my contract is terminated) so I do in fact have a duty to do. Is that immoral?

You are using the term "duty" according to an improper anti-concept, which is how it is normally put over on people. If you signed a contract, it is not your duty to fulfill it, but rather a chosen obligation based upon your values -- as in trading a value for a value projected into the future. If you understand why a free or even a semi-free country ought to be protected, then it is not a sense of duty that you are joining a military service, but rather to uphold your values against the enemies of your freedom even at the risk of you own life.

I think the resignation letter has its flaws, but he certainly thought he should be defended for earning the bonus having complied with the company policies. Whether or not he fully understands that he earned all of that money, in spite of the financial situation of the company, is a related question, and one who was unable to answer. I have worked for several companies that were on the verge of going out of business, however I agreed to work for them under certain conditions -- one of them being my pay check -- and yes I earn my money even if the company is in bad financial straights.

While I agree that the resignation was not fully "going Galt", Atlas Shrugged did talk about people walking off the jobs in groves due to personal frustration with not being rewarded for their work. If he had a better philosophy, he could have been more explicit and would not have accepted the idea that he was overpaid. It's as if people are getting it on some level due to personal experience, but they are not getting the morality of rational self-interest or full rationality.

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But he is not “going Galt” or “shrugging,” like some people claim he is.
Is that how the blogosphere is portraying it? or is that the GOP spin?

Despite the buzz among non-Objectivists, I'm not even sure what most non-Objectivists would mean by "going Galt" or "shrugging".

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So you believe that given a choice he would, without any external pressure, have given all of his pay to charity regardless? This charity can not be taken out of the context of a threat by the AG of NY to publicly name the people who got the bonuses, and the request (at the point of that gun) by the US government to give it back.

Ahh, I see the problem... No action can be taken out of context. When I say a person is "forced" to take an action, I mean that another person is using (the threat of) force to compel a desired action from him. If the person rebels against the intent of that force and takes another action, then that action is volitional. It is "forced," in the non-exact colloquial sense of the term, by the situation, just as any action is "forced" by the context of the situation.

So I could agree that DeSantis was "forced" (using your definition) to make a choice in the context of this situation different from what he would have made in a different context. But, then, I wouldn't really be saying anything, would I?

So does Ayn Rand disagree that once a person has entered into a contract he/she has the duty to fulfill the terms of that contract?

I have a duty to my country as a soldier, I swore to protect it and until I am released (my contract is terminated) so I do in fact have a duty to do. Is that immoral?

If that is the case then I have found the first point of Objectivism where my opinion differs from it.

Again, there's a problem... Read her definition (which is pretty close to DeSantis'): "The moral necessity to perform certain actions for no reason other than obedience to some higher authority, without regard to any personal goal, motive, desire or interest."

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Is that how the blogosphere is portraying it? or is that the GOP spin?

Despite the buzz among non-Objectivists, I'm not even sure what most non-Objectivists would mean by "going Galt" or "shrugging".

Actually, I haven't heard of this particular case as being a case of "going Galt". What non-Objectivists and Conservatives mean by this phrase is saying enough is enough when it comes to the government interfering in their businesses. In other words, people going on strike because they don't like the new regulations against them or because taxes have gone up so they do a work slowdown so as not to get pressed into a higher tax bracket.

Of course, really "going Galt" would be to realize the moral revolution of Atlas Shrugged, and not just being frustrated due to a few regulations or taxes. Once people get the morality of Objectivism and act on principle, then they will really be going Galt. until then, it is really just personal frustration -- as in they went too far -- but it is not a principled stance for reason and individual rights.

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Was AIG in a position to fullfill the terms of those contracts (and thus in a reasonable position to offer such to their employees) without the bail out money? I think this is a legitimate question to ask.

I agree that contracts should be respected, in principle, but I think focusing on the contracts alone without taking into account the fact that AIG is a bankrupt entity is context dropping. That is my take.

I do blame the government for creating this ridiculous situation.

Okay, but in the context of AIG having the money, and no prior restraints having been placed upon how that money was to be used, the company had a contractual obligation to pay the man, and that is the reality of the situation as I understand it.

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So I could agree that DeSantis was "forced" (using your definition) to make a choice in the context of this situation different from what he would have made in a different context. But, then, I wouldn't really be saying anything, would I?

Are we not talking about this situation and this context?

Again, there's a problem... Read her definition (which is pretty close to DeSantis'): "The moral necessity to perform certain actions for no reason other than obedience to some higher authority, without regard to any personal goal, motive, desire or interest."

Between this and Thomas's explanation I understand my error, however, as a soldier my voluntary choice to enter into an agreement to serve does in fact demand compliance "for no reason other than obedience" in certain situations.

Hell, I've taken orders from people I wouldn't follow out of curiosity if I were given a choice. :D

Thanks for the clarification though.

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Is that how the blogosphere is portraying it? or is that the GOP spin?

Despite the buzz among non-Objectivists, I'm not even sure what most non-Objectivists would mean by "going Galt" or "shrugging".

I saw some people referring to it as such on Facebook.

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