Friday, September 9, 2011

Cleaning out the Brain

I do plan on doing an in depth comparison between Atlas Shrugged and the Communist Manisfesto but that is going to come later. Right now I am reading Game of Thrones and that is the part that is interesting to me. What I wanted to do here is to talk a little bit about some of the things Rand gets right in terms of the problems we are having. This is important as I feel it gives light to a lot of her appeal. The thing about this post is that there is going to be a lot of, "while this is true but..." People tend to have a lack of balance in their perspectives which tends to cloud a lot of the issues at hand. This is in desperate need of a "fer instance" so I'll provide.

The TAX THE RICH war cry. This is a distinctly anti objectivist stance and it a lot of ways it does more a pretty valid point. The TAX THE RICH war cry isn't really about taxing the rich it is more about taking away from those with the haves in the hopes that the have nots "usually the ones doing most of the shouting" will get a piece of the action. The problem with arguing with these people is that they, unfortunatly, are firmly intrenched in the moral high ground. See most of the right are getting out of paying their taxes through loop holes, creative accounting, faulty business expenses, et cetera ad nausium. These are people are rich enough so that they can pay other people more money I make in a year every month to ensure that their tax payments are at a minimum. A lot of the codes major corporations take advantage of were originally put in place to aid smaller businesses so patching up these holes isn't a matter of making a clean sweep or destroying deductions. None of these things are usually considered though. What happens is people look at the money deducted from their paycheck, then they look at the money major corporations pay and they declare the situation not fair. Fair really has nothing to do with it. In the grand scheme of things the idea of individual gains or loss are pretty inconsequential. Believing an idea is right or wrong outside of your own potenial for gain or loss is what is most important here.

In short it isn't so much what you are arguing but rather how you argue it.

Saying the rich should do more to help out society so we can all have nicer things doesn't work. This is especially true when we talk to people who live in the service industry and make a living off of tips. By paying a dollar extra for everything we buy and then directly giving that to the poor we could greatly reduce poverty yadda yadda yadda. It is this endless cycle of finger pointing and acusations that goes no where. Whereas when you stick to the argument that says you need to pay this money because that is the price you should pay for the privlage of doing buisness in our borders and hiring our citizens, then you are on much firmer moral territory.

The first sounds like someone demanding a hand out. The second is something based in ecconomic reality.

Well what's wrong with a handout or two anyway? Nothing. It even happens over the course of Atlas Shrugged a couple of times. Like when Rearden gives Taggart Railroads a loan to help build the John Gault Line. Sure he expects the money back after awhile but he wasn't expecting much of a rate of return and he benifited from the loan most certain;y as the rail would be the ultimate advirtising campaign for Rearden Steel but at the same time he wasn't under any real obligation to do it. It was a hand out.

Handouts are fine. It is when people start expecting, or even demanding a handout that we start running into trouble. It also gets bad when people start relying of said hand out instead of trying to live in such a way where all handouts aren't necessary. This may not seem like a big deal but it is one of those things you start to notice when you begin looking around more and more

-Tyson's nursing peers demanding that the nursing curriculum be easier cause they can't cut it
-The way my coworkers pissed and moan every year when our tax free 100% donated bonuses are handed out
-The way lots of people talk about school when they are on scholarships
There are others. It is the weedling cry of someone that feels they are owed something for free.

OH I GOT the best fucking example ever. Pick a free mmo. Any free mmo will do. Now look that the forums and watch people flip out and complain about their free game that they aren't even obligated to pay for.

Or even worse...and this is a personal thing. People get all snotty twords Toady, the maker of Dwarf Fortress. I've seen times where people will feel that they are owed graphics and a decent interface. Those people piss me off.

Okay I think I established enough examples and I think I am about to be interrupted which isn't what I thought was gonna happen when I started that covenversation DAMNIT FACEBOOK!

So moving on. The reason why Rand works is similar to a reason why people find Marx to be seductive. They both correctly identify a set of problems. Marx is the idea of class struggle and Rand is the problem of catering to beggars. So while you are reasing about the problems that you know are problems the solutions might start to seem viable even when they are crazy objectivist ramblings or communism.

There is one more point I'd like to adress before I lay all of this to rest for awhile and that is that I myself live a rationally self interested life-ish. And that is weird. It is really weird in fact. When I was rolling ideas around in my head while washing dishes this stuck and it came as a bit of a shock. The thing is that I do have a set of interests. They involve gaming, movies, and a generalized sort hedonism that is custom tailored to myself. My life is focused around my pursuits of these goals. My job is structured in such a way so that I can persue my interests even if I have worked that day or not. I work late enough in the day so that I can stay up until three am and still be ready to go the next day. My job pays me enough money so that I can maintain a modest savings, a gaming habit, and the distinct privilege of living on my own. I get what I want and I don't feel any real need to give any of what I have to anyone else. Then again I don't paticularly have much to offer in terms of material goods. I don't believe in sacrficing myself for my job. I used to but I started to change my mind once I realize that my job is essentially meaningless and that my time is better spent on myself. The same goes with my friends I could be playing Malifaux with corey now, an activity I greatly enjoy but instead I decided I wanted to take time out for myself so I didn't. I don't feel beholden to anyone nor do I feel required to do anything I don't really want to. I tip but I don't hand out money to the homeless. This is part of who I am and I don't think it is wrong.

There are some other things to say but I am pretty much done as I would now like to move onto something else.

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