Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Glenn Beck Calls Out Social/Economic Justice as Code for Collectivism (duh)

Looks like Glenn Beck is catching some flack for some comments he made:

"Look for the words 'social justice' or 'economic justice' on your church website. If you find it, run as fast as you can."

I'm not sure whether he realizes it but he is paraphrasing Ayn Rand (my favorite thinker and author).  It was in the Q&A session for her lecture A Nation's Unity, in reference to George McGovern:

"When you smell a collectivist, you have to fight for your life."

As for Beck, I applaud him for trying to defend capitalism.  It is lonely work.

I don't know his position well enough to know all of his philosophical positions but from what I can tell from his recent keynote speech at CPAC, he is a religious man and uses that morality when talking about how the government needs to change.  This won't work.  The backlash seems to indicate it.  His opponents have the moral high ground because he accepts their arbitrary version of morality.

Here is what Rand has to say about the justification for Capitalism:

"The moral justification for capitalism does not lie in the altruists' claim that it represents the best way to achieve the common good.  It is true that capitalism does... but this is merely a secondary consequence.  The moral justification of capitalism lies in the fact that is the only system consonant with man's rational nature.  That it protects man's survival qua man.  And that its ruling principle is justice."

And this bit is particularly pertinent to Beck, if I am right:

"...The guiltiest men today are those who, lacking the courage to challenge mysticism or altruism, attempt to bypass the issues of reason and morality and attempt to defend the only rational and moral system in mankind's history, capitalism, on any grounds other than rational and moral."

If Beck doesn't already know this, he might want to check it out.

In searching for my Rand quotes above, I picked out a few other things that I liked that are related.

From Faith and Force QA

The history and nature of altruism/collectivism:
"You may observe in the history of philosophy that all ideas change in various periods but Morality is the one sphere that did not change, only its superficial forms change. Men have always been taught that they have to live for others and there have to be sacrificial animals.  Or that the opposite would be some kind of brute dog-eat-dog situation in which every man destroys or sacrifices every other man.  And in practice we see that this dog-eat-dog idea is applicable to socialism and collectivism but never to a free society.  In other words, morality is the one issue which men are afraid to challenge.  And that is what you have to challenge today."
"Break with the morality of altruism.  Don't be afraid to assert your right to exist but don't assert it as an arbitrary whim.  You would have to know how to justify it rationally and philosophically and why you have that right and why [when] men practice the rational morality of self-interest, their interests would not clash.  Men then would not have to sacrifice one another so long as nobody demands or expects or gives the unearned and undeserved.  If no man regards others as potentially sacrificial material for himself, or for his idea of what would be good for a third party, when men drop all those ramifications of altruism, then you will see what a benevolent ideal society one could have and America almost had it."

Breaking with Altruism

Withdraw your sanction from those peoples, groups, schools, or theories which preach the ideas that are destroying you... Break with altruism and every idea that is based on it... after which you will have to do harder thinking than you have ever attempted before because you have to be totally on your own; totally relying on your own judgement and the logic of the arguments that you hear or consider, rejecting all authorities, rejecting all bromides, and taking nothing on faith.  But if you try it, you will be surprised at how close the renaissance is to us, and it's up to each human being to work for it.

The Justification of Dictatorship
"There has never been a dictator or potential dictator that has ever justified dictatorship on the grounds of selfishness or individual rights.  It is only on the ground of the altruist morality that the dictator can get away with it.  He always has to offer his victims some kind of goal and tell them to sacrifice their personal interest to it. is a very dangerous sign when a presidential candidate tells you he's going to demand sacrifice of you without telling you for what.  Where sacrifice has become an end in itself and don't ask "why" and "for whom". 
There has never been a dictatorship that did not use altruistic slogans and the altruist morality to make men sacrifice themselves or bear self-sacrifice... 
But when a man tells you you have a right to live for your own sake, but you have no right to sacrifice anybody else, you may be sure that what he is telling you has no vested interest in it on which any dictator could make a stand.  No dictator could last or even come in by telling you that you have a right to your own life and that he has no right to force you.
Just try to project as a science fiction, as an excercise, how a dictator could attempt to come to power and then to rule without the use of the altruist morality and you will see that it is impossible"

From A Nation's Unity - QA

Why shouldn't you work to change politicians:
"So long as a country is even semi-free the politicians are not its determining element.  They are what the electorate, or public opinion in effect, makes them; or what they think public opinion wants of them.  They have demonstrated that very clearly"