Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Money Quote: Peikoff on Egalitarianism

Egalitarianism pervades Western culture at present.  CEOs are decried for making too much money, which is presently being adjusted by the administration's pay czar.  We have redistribution of wealth for the justified by the egalitarion notion of health coverage for all, regardless of what it will do to the quality and availability of medical care.  We have public education for all, which has all but destroyed the American school systems and the ability of its products to think conceptually. (if you're a hiring manager, you know this first-hand)

And the first thing that people try to teach their kids is: share.  Your toys don't belong to you and you have no right to them.  Not "share because you want to enjoy the company of your friends".  Just "share because it's a commandment".

Our culture is broken and needs some TLC.

The following is from my listening to the 2007 Lecture of the DIM Hypothesis.  I think it is a brilliant summary of the philosophical ills of egalitarianism.

Summation of Views and Consequences - Voiced as an Objectivist:
Since the bottoms among men are held to be helpless we can gain the necessities of justice only from the tops.  And only by exploiting their abilities and expropriating their values while withholding gratitude or praise which producers never deserve. So in general, the rational, the competent, and the Western must be pulled down and/or frozen out so that we can pull up to equality their opposites.... Those who succeed in the pursuit of value are to be sacrificed to the non-succeeders because they are non-suceeders...

One egalitarian put the point as follows.  It essentially says that we bring down the "high fliers".  I don't think any communist would have said that.  And afterward, if you ask, what will happen to mankind, including all those low fliers that can't get off the ground, and by your theory's statement, they are doomed on their own to helplessness and failure in life?... What do you think is going to happen to the human race? 

Now I have found two answers from the egalitarians to this question:

The first is: "well, so what?  Consequences are irrelevant to morality, equality is what counts!"

I read an elequent statement of this particular answer from Pol Pot, the dictator of Cambodia, who was once an eglaitarian.  "After the first year of Khmer Rouge, foraging for food was denounced as a manifestation of individualism.  Some might wind up with more than others!  Better that all should starve equally"

The second egalitarian response I have heard to the prospect of mankind's destruction by this theory is: "Good!"  And this is given by the most consistent representatives of the movement, the new (I guess you have to call them) "Nature Lovers" of the ecology movement...

Conclusion and Progression
Egalitarians are obviously nihilists and ambitious ones.  They don't confine [themselves] to special fields, such as art, science, or education.  Their target is everything.  "Down with reality", they proclaim, "and with value, virtue, achievement, and the struggle to do better... to rise to the top.  Down with the high fliers, the requirements of survival, and the whole human race.".  And all of this, explicitly, not to reach any beneficial result but for its own sake as an end in itself.

Now just watch the following progression:
  • In the 19th Century, men entered the race of life at different starting points according to whatever assets they were given or had created.  Fairness, they held, is mens' equal freedom to run.
  • In the 20th Century, we were told that the race was fair only if everyone, through government aid, starts at the same point.
  • Now, at the dawn of the 21st Century, we are told that to be fair the men leading the race must have their legs broken so that the losers can catch up.