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Specific word to replace one common definition of 'selfish'

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Rand put a lot of emphasis on selfishness and, in my opinion, not enough on plain considerate behavior toward our fellow man. I mean, take her famous example of the mother with the baby who really, really wants a hat. According to Rand, if she's the kind of mother (good lord!) who prefers the hat to the baby, that's the way for her to go.
Good lord! Rand did not say that. Read the original again. She is explaining the meaning of sacrifice. Thanks to the Objectivism-CD, here's the original passage:

"Do not remind me that it pertains only to this life on earth. I am concerned with no other. Neither are you.

"If you wish to save the last of your dignity, do not call your best actions a 'sacrifice': that term brands you as immoral. If a mother buys food for her hungry child rather than a hat for herself, it is not a sacrifice: she values the child higher than the hat; but it is a sacrifice to the kind of mother whose higher value is the hat, who would prefer her child to starve and feeds him only from a sense of duty. If a man dies fighting for his own freedom, it is not a sacrifice: he is not willing to live as a slave; but it is a sacrifice to the kind of man who's willing. If a man refuses to sell his convictions, it is not a sacrifice, unless he is the sort of man who has no convictions.

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Predatory?

I'm looking at this somewhat differently. I think Rand made a mistake in taking words and tweaking their commonly-used definition. The MErriam-Webster definition of selfish is: 1: concerne

Let me guess--nobody who has posted above has ever earned much money, have you?

You haven't paid the many, many tens of thousands of dollars in Social Security taxes that those senior citizens have. You haven't had to do without, decade after decade, with only the dwindling hope of governmental integrity that you will ever enjoy the delayed fruits of your efforts.

These seniors just want to get someone else to pay their medical bills? They have paid their medical bills AND social security. They have had to forego investments that would have matured to significant savings by now.

There is just one word for the attitude expressed in this thread: stupid.

Mindy

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Pg. 185 of OPAR suggests: Whenever a man promises to lead you to a value, remind yourself of the fact that remaining in contact with reality is a requirement of achieving values. This will help you to resist the philosophic hustlers. It will tell you that the precondition of values is the use and absolutism of reason.

Still, to equate promises in the dark with selfishness is to default on the responsibility to grasp for ones self the issues at hand.

Yes the seniors want to have their medical bills paid. Over the decades, they have had their money stolen from them, albiet by their votes (they did get what they voted for).

Like the law of gravity, or identity for that matter, ignoring the laws of economics does not repeal their effects or alter the consequences of the causes which have been put into play.

Putting your hope in government integrity does not appear to be in one's self-interest. How selfish is that?

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Pg. 185 of OPAR suggests:

Still, to equate promises in the dark with selfishness is to default on the responsibility to grasp for ones self the issues at hand.

Yes the seniors want to have their medical bills paid. Over the decades, they have had their money stolen from them, albiet by their votes (they did get what they voted for).

So, do you take responsibility, yourself, for Obama's health care bill? Wouldn't that follow from your logic, above?

And what default is there for the millions of sensible people who did not vote for government growth?

I don't understand how you can miss this.

Mindy

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Softwarenerd, if it's a sacrifice to buy the baby food if mom prefers the hat, isn't she acting "selfishly" (ie, looking out for her preferred interest) by buying the hat and letting the kid go hungry?
No, not in the sense of that quote. If you have access to "Virtue of Selfishness", I refer you to the essay titled "Isn't Everybody Selfish?" In the past, there have been some discussions about Mother Teresa and whether she was selfish because she was pursuing the highest possible value to her (right answer: she was not selfish). A search should bring up those old threads.

Briefly there can be a difference -- sometimes a wide gulf -- between things that are good for you and things that you think are good for you. There is no contradiction to tell someone: "You're doing what you think is best for you, but it is not to your selfish advantage."

(Also, Rand is not suggesting that it is a sacrifice to buy baby food... she is derisively condemning the type of mother to whom it would appear to be a sacrifice.)

Edited by softwareNerd
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So, what's the word?

I would say 'entitlement princess', but it doesn't have a ring, and barely connotes viciousness. 'terrified by reality' is maybe another. 'spiritually void'. Help me out here.

Hedonistic perhaps? Solipsistic? It depends on WHY they are acting 'selfish' but it usually boils down to either not recognizing that anyone other than themselves exists, or not caring because they're getting pleasure from the deal.

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Throughout history, cultures have used the name of their enemies as the ultimate swear word. Barbarian first, cretan, papist, yankee, etc. etc.

Today we're so politically correct there is no epithet sufficiently powerful for comparison.

Asshole - yes, that's the closest, but it lacks personal emotional weight. Marxist used to work; commie was used a lot too. But those are now considered maybe good thing. Jihadi should be the ultimate epithet of our age - but noooooo.....

So I guess we can anticipate the next conflict, keeping the emotional relevance of today. Take your biggest enemy, and hit him hardest where it hurts him the most.

Collectivist elitists tend to have two soft spots. The first is the status of their elitism - they are desperate to preserve it, and perhaps their most sensitive weak spot.

I once got into a facebook argument with some lefty from Columbia U. He blocked me immediately with no retort after I compared his mentality to that of a primitive tribesman.

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No it does not follow from what I stated.

When you say seniors got "what they voted for," you blame all people who voted at all for the result of the election. By the same logic, wouldn't all of us be responsible for Obama's Health Care? (That is, we, as a group, elected the people who passed the legislation.)

Mindy

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Let me guess--nobody who has posted above has ever earned much money, have you?

You haven't paid the many, many tens of thousands of dollars in Social Security taxes that those senior citizens have. You haven't had to do without, decade after decade, with only the dwindling hope of governmental integrity that you will ever enjoy the delayed fruits of your efforts.

These seniors just want to get someone else to pay their medical bills? They have paid their medical bills AND social security. They have had to forego investments that would have matured to significant savings by now.

There is just one word for the attitude expressed in this thread: stupid.

Mindy

Actually I've made a decent enough living for myself, and being self employed have the privelege of paying double on some of those taxes TYVM.

I'm sure you can see where you are being needlessly insulting and inflammatory here..?

Anyway, this is a well thought out article:

http://www.theatlasphere.com/columns/100824-williams-our-future.php

addressing some of the issues we will face as the Ponzi-scheme entitlements start to implode.

There is also a link within it to a couple more of Walter Williams' pieces on the topic.

The problem is, Mindy, that these entitlements were Ponzi schemes all along. They were created keeping in mind that once people felt they had paid in no one would vote to stop it if it meant losing what they put in.

There are going to be tough decisions ahead and I fear none of the solutions will be ideal.

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When you say seniors got "what they voted for," you blame all people who voted at all for the result of the election. By the same logic, wouldn't all of us be responsible for Obama's Health Care? (That is, we, as a group, elected the people who passed the legislation.)

Mindy

The senior citizens are a portion of the voting block. They usually possess the discretionary time to use for understanding and passing on their understanding.

From the Health Care (more like Wealth Pare), to Public Education (Comprachicos of the mind), the state of the battlefield for the mind is reflected in what we see happening around us.

To the degree that the socialist arguments are successful in persuading, while the defenders of liberty, esp. capitalism appear to flounder in their delivery, the effects are the product of the people chosen to legislate.

To the degree that the votes are honestly accounted for, the results are that of a popularity contest placing the individuals with the silverest tongues to impliment what they decide are the desired policies, and not neccessarilly what they publicly declared.

People buy (vote for) their newspaper. They select the channel on the television to watch. They buy literature to either entertain or become informed. The radio station they select. Until people desire something different, and equally as important, entrepreneurs with the vision to supply that what is expected - we (as a culture) are getting what we are actively pursuing, or passively accepting as the rewards of those choices.

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Anyway, this is a well thought out article:

http://www.theatlasp...-our-future.php

addressing some of the issues we will face as the Ponzi-scheme entitlements start to implode.

Although he hit the target, it was not a bullseye. His moral argument seems to come down to this: "In my opinion, it takes a special form of callousness and disregard for the welfare of future generations of Americans for today's senior citizens to fight against reform". That, frankly, is a lousy moral argument against the senior-entitlementists. Shockingly, he follows this with the statement "Nobody's talking about abolition of federal senior programs". Excuse me, what?! Quite a number of somebodies are talking about abolishing Social Security and Medicare. In the 60's and 70's, it was a standard position of those right-wing YAFfers that they wanted to abolish the draft and abolish social security. The center of that target, the thing that he should have been aiming for, is the concept of personal responsibility and unrepentant opposition to taxation.

The Social Security mess did not just spring up out of nothing. It is the result of long-term advocacy of the expansion of this federal welfare program, and is especially senior advocacy groups such as AARP -- and their individual supporters -- that bear moral responsibility. They do not regard SS as restitution and they do not oppose all forms of welfare statism: Rand's principle in "The Question of Scholarships" is quite apt:

Those who advocate public scholarships, have no right to them; those who oppose them, have.

This is equally applicable to Social Security. It is obvious that not every senior supports the continuation and expansion of SS, but one cannot evade the fact that senior citizens have serious electoral power, which they exercise, which has made SS the third rail of modern American politics.

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Actually I've made a decent enough living for myself, and being self employed have the privelege of paying double on some of those taxes TYVM.

I'm sure you can see where you are being needlessly insulting and inflammatory here..?

Anyway, this is a well thought out article:

http://www.theatlasphere.com/columns/100824-williams-our-future.php

addressing some of the issues we will face as the Ponzi-scheme entitlements start to implode.

There is also a link within it to a couple more of Walter Williams' pieces on the topic.

The problem is, Mindy, that these entitlements were Ponzi schemes all along. They were created keeping in mind that once people felt they had paid in no one would vote to stop it if it meant losing what they put in.

There are going to be tough decisions ahead and I fear none of the solutions will be ideal.

Why no, I was not being insulting at all. That is, in suggesting that the posters were not experienced with the burden Social Security taxes represent. Most of the posters, I believe, are very young, many students.

The abuse heaped on people who opposed entitlements in the first place, then were forced to pay for them all their lives, and now are being villified in this thread is what is inflammatory, and is indeed stupid.

You needn't tell me what the problem is with entitlement schemes, as I didn't defend them.

Mindy

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The senior citizens are a portion of the voting block. They usually possess the discretionary time to use for understanding and passing on their understanding.

From the Health Care (more like Wealth Pare), to Public Education (Comprachicos of the mind), the state of the battlefield for the mind is reflected in what we see happening around us.

To the degree that the socialist arguments are successful in persuading, while the defenders of liberty, esp. capitalism appear to flounder in their delivery, the effects are the product of the people chosen to legislate.

To the degree that the votes are honestly accounted for, the results are that of a popularity contest placing the individuals with the silverest tongues to impliment what they decide are the desired policies, and not neccessarilly what they publicly declared.

People buy (vote for) their newspaper. They select the channel on the television to watch. They buy literature to either entertain or become informed. The radio station they select. Until people desire something different, and equally as important, entrepreneurs with the vision to supply that what is expected - we (as a culture) are getting what we are actively pursuing, or passively accepting as the rewards of those choices.

I'm not sure what you mean to get across. I am arguing that great numbers of today's senior citizens did not agree with, nor vote for entitlements. They were, nevertheless, forced to pay great sums over decades into Social Security. It is, thus UNJUST that "you" that is, the posters of the early-on consensus of this thread, characterize them as looters who want someone else to pay their way.

Mindy

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I am arguing that great numbers of today's senior citizens did not agree with, nor vote for entitlements.

It is, thus UNJUST that "you" that is, the posters of the early-on consensus of this thread, characterize them as looters who want someone else to pay their way.

Would 'Sanction of the Victim' be more appropriate?

They did not/could not fight the freeloading then? It is therefore just to freeload now? (Senior Citizens)

How do you make the thief deliver retribution, when the source of their retribuition is more theft? (Government)

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Would 'Sanction of the Victim' be more appropriate?

They did not/could not fight the freeloading then? It is therefore just to freeload now? (Senior Citizens)

How do you make the thief deliver retribution, when the source of their retribuition is more theft? (Government)

Who says they didn't fight it? Write letters, try to elect Goldwater, etc.

They ought to get the pensions/benefits they were forced to contribute to pay for, no?

Mindy

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Who says they didn't fight it? Write letters, try to elect Goldwater, etc.

Which eludes to my earlier post.

If the voices of socialism are embraced by more than the voices of capitalism, then the socialization is what we are seeing being embraced. It will probably 'work' until, as Margaret Thatcher stated, they run out of other peoples money to spend.

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Which eludes to my earlier post.

If the voices of socialism are embraced by more than the voices of capitalism, then the socialization is what we are seeing being embraced. It will probably 'work' until, as Margaret Thatcher stated, they run out of other peoples money to spend.

Which eludes MY ealier post. (You meant "allude," I mean "elude,") It is not "other people's money," it is their own.

Mindy

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Why no, I was not being insulting at all. That is, in suggesting that the posters were not experienced with the burden Social Security taxes represent. Most of the posters, I believe, are very young, many students.

The abuse heaped on people who opposed entitlements in the first place, then were forced to pay for them all their lives, and now are being villified in this thread is what is inflammatory, and is indeed stupid.

You needn't tell me what the problem is with entitlement schemes, as I didn't defend them.

Mindy

>>le sigh<<<

If you weren't so convinced that you already know it all you might read a bit and notice that the problematic aspect of this particular entitlement ponzi scheme is that these "people who were forced to pay all their lives" have generally gotten more than they put in and still are while subsequent generations are doomed to gradually get less and less until they are paying double what they will get out.

You may not be defending the scheme, but you are defending the people clinging to the scheme.

That is not meant as any kind of slur against you, FWIW, you are coming down strongly opposing what the previous posters said.

I just find both views overly simplistic given that these govt schemes are, by design, very tangled webs indeed.

It remains a fact that to rebuild a rights respecting society this must end somewhere... and that the ending will be deeply unpleasant for a great many people.

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They ought to get the pensions/benefits they were forced to contribute to pay for, no?
Those who do oppose Social Security deserve to get their money back; those who advocate imposing Social Security tax on others do not -- this is what 'just deserts' refers to. AARP strongly opposes the elimination (or even meaningful reform) of SS, and there are over 35 million members of AARP. It is therefore obvious that tens of millions of seniors fall into the category of those who do not deserve SS benefits. A person who supports thieves deserves to have the thieves turn on them and steal from them, and they who advocate initiation of force have no moral standing to decry the wrong of "broken promises".
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Those who do oppose Social Security deserve to get their money back; those who advocate imposing Social Security tax on others do not -- this is what 'just deserts' refers to. AARP strongly opposes the elimination (or even meaningful reform) of SS, and there are over 35 million members of AARP. It is therefore obvious that tens of millions of seniors fall into the category of those who do not deserve SS benefits. A person who supports thieves deserves to have the thieves turn on them and steal from them, and they who advocate initiation of force have no moral standing to decry the wrong of "broken promises".

This is what I meant, originally.

Nevertheless, I wasn't commenting on the rightness of receiving/not receiving benefits, I was trying to refer to the attitude some have that one deserves a thing merely because it is there.

Entitlement, in spite of the role others' reasoned choices might have played in producing and providing what yours have not.

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