Saturday, April 11, 2009

An Individualist's Retort -- Mass Movements

I read the following tag line in an article:
"Individualists must overcome their distrust of mass movements and rallies in order to combat the socialist tide."
The article is a mess. Too many block quotes, no solid message. Here is my response - open to all people who label themselves conservatives and would seek to form a mass movement that would include individual thinkers:

First, structure the message of your mass movement so that my individual judgment can fully agree. Yes, this means you will have to limit the scope of the message to something fundamental and succinct. The only way to win over individualists is by advocating the right ideas. It cannot occur by asking us to set aside our values and our principles. This is precisely what we don't like about mass movements.

Also, realize that it's not enough to be against something. You have to be for something. If you know only what it is you are opposed to, you will probably fail to get more than minor agreement from any active mind. Be in favor of something. A solution. An idea. Your truth will get our allegiance.

Here is the truth that will get this individual's allegiance:

Your movement must advocate the defense of Individual Rights based on a morality of self-interest. That these form the basis of our society and the fundamental charge of our government. The movement must advocate that our citizens and government officials recognize these facts, understand how the government is currently violating our rights, and that we must proceed to restructure government so that it will respect these rights.

I understand that the choice is between full unfettered laissez-faire capitalism and any form of statism or dictatorship. Do the conservatives? Do the Republicans? No? Then get out of my face about what I must cast to the side in order to combat a socialist tide. I will not trade the chains of socialist slavery for the straight-jacket of fascist dictatorship or the crucifixes of theocratic despotism. Capitalism, the system of individual rights, is what is required for you to win this individual over.

If you appeal to individualism and advocate anything less than Capitalism you don't understand individualism, or rights as such, and are not fit to represent it with your movement.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Response to Article: The End of Philosophy by David Brooks

Original Article: The End of Philosophy by David Brooks
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/07/opinion/07Brooks.html


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Read this *critically* if you'd like to see human beings compared to robotic bee creatures that are irredeemably emotion-ruled and where the only place we get new overriding moral values is from our friends.

Uh... wait, where did our friends get them from?

Brooks follows a well-worn template:
1 - subvert the role of reason in morality (and, apparently, the subconscious)
2 - declare reason to be useless
3 - substitute for reason -- intuition, altruism, and collectivism
4 - enjoy your new zombie army

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Keynes and Altruism

I saw the following query on simplycapitalism.com:
As an individual, let’s say you have no savings, owe more money on your house than it is worth, and have a 50% chance of losing your job in the next 12 months. Would it make more sense to:

a) cut your spending and save more money
b) take out another loan and spend more money

It made me observe the following:

In order to choose A, you need to be able to choose your own good above what you are told is the good of others (and thus yourself) by Keynesian mouthpieces. And, you would have to place your individual judgment above the voices of others.

Choosing B would not only indicate that you do not understand cause and effect in economics (that you cannot borrow your way out of debt). It would also indicate that you are willing to gamble your own individual financial well-being for the supposed collectivist promise that if you don't jump off the ship into shark-infested waters of your own accord, that the entire ship will sink and you will drown anyway. Though it is primarily pragmatist (that is to say, dogmatically unprincipled), the self-sacrificial effect of altruism is fully evident in Keynesian ideology.

Reason and Capitalism are inseparable. Taking some part of it on faith is required for any other politico-economic system you can name.

Thoughts in response to Brendan's thread

Original Discussion: Sunday Open Thread #47
http://www.dianahsieh.com/blog/2009/04/sunday-open-thread-47.shtml#4

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My thoughts in response:
  • In the life of a human being starting from first light, you have rudimentary function of sensation, pain, and pleasure. Doesn't change the fact that your life is in the hands of someone else at this point. The will to live is immaterial at this point. The infant will live or perish based on the caretaker's actions.
  • How does emotion develop from this? Psychological response likely precedes the ability to reason as the infant becomes a toddler and beyond. Does this form the basis of a will to live (or not) when enough evaluative concretes are present to indicate that certain courses of action cause pain or pleasure? Does this get connected ultimately with life and death once you realize your mortality?
  • After birth, your life is a metaphysical fact. Acceptance that you must act to support your life is necessary for the concepts of Value/Cherish/Love to be applicable. If your life becomes your primary goal and standard, you must figure out how to pursue it effectively. This leads to the development of a code of values.
  • A system of values will necessarily have to be ordered. There has to be a clear winner, a supreme value, if you're to avoid sabotaging yourself with contradictory actions.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Rights to Man-made Things Ultimately Deny Rights to All

Any time the government promises it's citizens the right to something man-made (job, medical care, retirement) the government, in effect, is declaring that some people must be forcibly made to support other people with some portion of their effort. This is the essence of slavery and a fundamental premise of totalitarian dictatorship.

Rights must be based on metaphysical facts. I'll let Rand do the heavy lifting:
Essay: Man's Rights by Ayn Rand