Jump to content
Objectivism Online Forum

Integrating Wealth and Health

Rate this topic

Ilya Startsev

Recommended Posts

Furthermore, suppose there were a sick Objectivist, without friends or family, who had fallen on hard times.

Suppose he went crawling on his belly to the community at large, asking for a handout, as you alluded to (though I'll take the liberty of adjusting it to my purpose).

What would result from that?

Well, he would presumably be given (eventually) some money, so that he didn't have to worry about jobs he couldn't do.

Suppose, for the sake of argument, he even received as much money as he could earn at an average full time job, and suddenly found himself with all the free time he could ever have asked for.

What would this do to his psyche; having to beg for assistance with the requirements of his own life?

Before you even bring the government back into it, consider the effects on YOUR OWN psyche of this urge to outlaw desire.

Why do you feel it and how do you think it is affecting the fundamental assumptions and motivations which you take for granted, every waking moment?

Who will you be in a few decades?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Are you familiar with the process of learning? How new skills, from walking upright to engineering spacecraft, are first attempted clumsily and with great effort- but becoming continually easier?

How after considerable time and effort, a dangerously inexperienced teenager becomes able to drive without even noticing the particular motions?

Have you not considered the thoughts and feelings you habituate in like manner?

Or have you not applied it to this?

Ilya, if you continue to affirm to yourself that it's wrong to aspire, you will not be able to escape the consequences.

Now, this post is itself an example of such mental habits on my part. And I'm sorry that it's strayed a bit from the OP.

But if you continue to run around presuming the moral authority to assert that "greed is childish" and that we need to find a way to retain "quality without greed", to be perfectly blunt, you will deserve to have it automated (and everything that follows).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Rearden, Dagny Taggart, Roark, etc. are managers of their own businesses. I want to point out to you that not all managers are Objectivists. However, you seem to think that your views are absolute and thus the views of everyone, and at the same time that there are those who think (Objectivists) and those who do not think (not Objectivists).

I think the fictional characters you chose as examples aren't O'ists, their existence predates O'ism technically.

Secondly I was honestly curious about how you would define the terms. I was wondering specifically how you would view' authority'. In the context of this discussion I see 'authority' grounded in rational moral principles of how a government (or the law) should function. I tend to like the US Constitution as a framework and consider it' an' or 'the' authority and any actual people that perform government functions as having the right to exercise authority as long as their actions are consistent with the principles of government. Is this a definition you could be comfortable with?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Ok, I think I get your position in the debate. You perceive businessmen as good because the majority perceives them as bad (which is bad for the majority). You want to continue stressing your position, so the majority does not forget about the good aspects of business-making. Yet, you see that there can be bad businesspeople as well as there can be good politicians or social workers. But how about going this way: keeping the good perception of businesspeople and the good perception of social people?

The majority hates them not because of their great competence or happiness but because of their selfishness and arrogance that ignores the rest of the world. Please, do not confuse competence and selfishness. They are not the same thing. People in the U.S.S.R. were extremely competent and they produced very high quality goods (as I know from my and my family's first hand experience). Their factories were producing many goods before and are even producing now but a lot less because capitalistic Russia converted them into services. Now, violent and brutish Russians hate the sight of other people's happiness (whereas before there was no violence that came from this) because they do not think about others but only about their own selves!

Well, he would presumably be given (eventually) some money, so that he didn't have to worry about jobs he couldn't do.

Why couldn't he simply take the minimum that he needed to survive and then not continue using the source. If he is a smart and balanced individual, he will continue striving and working towards his goals and desires. The secondary help from the society will be the last on his mind. It's like having cash saved for a black day or having an emergency phone. You do not have to use them, but having them is a smart and conscious decision, isn't it? If you use your emergency funds once does not mean that you become dependent on them for the rest of your life! Let's not ignore that we are all humans and get sick or get into accidents sometimes. Bad things happen in our shared objective reality, but what can we do about them? Should we prepare ourselves or just go on living like we did since childhood without learning from mistakes? Let's not regress into extremes and be more realistic (think of compromises). You do not have to beg, if you can live without it. It can even be offered to you, but you do not have to accept unless you have no hope of survival. You will have to beg for assistance if you cannot, for the life of you, find a way out of your problematic situation.

If I take some money from the government, I will in the future be a lot smarter to avoid such demeaning circumstances that I could not originally avoid. Getting anything from anyone (whether other Objectivists or government or other societies) is demeaning and uncomfortable because it is equivalent to a sin. That's what we do: we stay away from sins. We can sin once or twice without permanently hurting anyone: e.g., get involved in a homosexual intercourse, take a fruit before asking for permission, or slap a woman for saying that destroying a society is the ultimate good.

Note that I aspire to become a professor of English. It is a right to aspire, so I am not against it. I am not necessarily for equality; I am for equity.

Here is another (unrealistic but Objectivistic) example: imagine an American free market capitalism and a genius who comes up with a way to build bridges completely out of Uranium. He also takes complete control of all Uranium resources and mines in the U.S. Some businessperson asks him to sell some Uranium but the genius declines. That businessperson goes to another country and finds another genius who controls all Uranium there and does not want to sell Uranium either because whatever he is doing with it gets him more money. Then that Objectivist businessperson goes to other countries and finds the same situation. What happens is that no genius will sell him Uranium that he desperately needs, and he cannot subsist any longer, so he commits suicide. This is a story that Ayn Rand did not want to write but she should have written it to show both sides of the conflict.

I agree with your positive thinking about businessmen and I disagree with your negative thinking about everyone else. A social worker is helping the system by providing what's necessary to it but wasn't provided by the businessmen. Think of this as if we already were in the free market capitalism, so that there are people who help clean the roads (which would generate little income if any).

I would like you to read and write criticisms to this article on the topic and focus on the following:
1) what happens without government or social support;
2) no Objectivist basis on the good and yet selfless ideology of the founding fathers;
3) the fact of questioning morality of government provisions.

And concerning climate change, do you question the melting of ice caps?

tadmjones, my view of managerial authority is delineated by sNerd. Your view is also acceptable and quite comfortable.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm sorry, ilya; the article you linked to seemed predominantly accurate, but I will grant it neither a more thorough investigation nor any further comment.

1- Your first third prompt is redundant alongside your first.

Without government handouts, the underfinanced will either find ways of earning their income or they will starve.

2- Those "selfless" founding fathers started a civil war over a slight tax increase.

You want a comment on that? I call it heroic. And I'm offended by their categorization as "selfless".

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't confuse competence with selfishness. That's EXACTLY what I'm defending; SELFISHNESS. And my only real annoyance with the founding fathers is that, for all that they picked a fight with the most powerful nation on Earth, they lacked the spine to call it what it was.

Concerning Uranium:

Firstly, if this ambitious man truly could not obtain ANY Uranium anywhere on Earth, I might reply that he should either find a substitute OR (this is the great part) find Uranium somewhere ELSE. Hold that thought.

Secondly, I might ask why the same problem doesn't apply to governments which hoard resources IN ORDER TO "preserve" them. But wait a moment; that's what the Space Treaty is! Apply that thought.

I could respond thusly, but I won't because you've only shown one side of the story. What about everyone else's feelings? What about the businessmen who own all of the Uranium on Earth?

What about the dog across the street with a hungry litter in the subzero temperatures? Who's telling their side of the story?

You're very absorbed in your own ideals for someone so concerned with "compromise".

Edited by Harrison Danneskjold
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Let me concretize this for ya.

I aspire to write science fiction novels. That is my life's pursuit; the meaning I have chosen for my own soul. To that end I am working towards arranging my own mind and lifestyle around that goal. It's a bit of a process. So when I refer to "selfishness" I mean exactly that; the completely ruthless dedication to such ideals; to MY purest and highest SELF.

And I will not automatically be able to write or write well; first I must do many little things which include saving enough money to live on briefly, so that I can devote each of those days to my pursuit of my own happiness.

So understand that when you say "government support", what you're referring to is TIME. My time and my energy, and that of every other selfish American.

THAT is what you're asking some "compromise" on; little shreds of peoples' LIVES.

Now, if you've already come to terms with this then please say so; I'll stop wasting time.

But if not then understand that we are discussing the hopes and dreams of three hundred million people- and whether to 'compromise' them to our fears.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
  • Create New...