Brad Wardell's views about technology, politics, religion, world affairs, and all sorts of politically incorrect topics.

 

There's a great line in Atlas Shrugs that goes like this: "You concluded I was the safest person in the world to spit on because I have power over you and that I would be tied by the fear of hurting your feelings by reminding you of it."

Our society seems to have taken that view en-masse in recent years.


Comments (Page 4)
on Jul 31, 2013

boshimi336


Quoting DrJBHL, reply 42
You live in a society. You are entitled to certain expectations.

 

I'm not sure I agree. I feel like we have fundamental differences in the way we are viewing and approaching this statement.

 

The "certain expectations" are too long to list and vary by observer. Mine are those which exist codified in the law and those understood as civil conduct.

What I find disturbing is the media magnification of the demands of unreasonable people whose motives are questionable, for ratings and the attendant profits of advertising which follow those ratings.

 

on Jul 31, 2013

On an individual level, I agree with Brad.

 

On a societal level, I don't.   Those who are successful in a society have a responsibility to society.  If that responsibility is abrogated en masse, there are consequences, and is a failure of government.

 

It's fair to argue over what those responsibilities are, but a government exists for more then just national defense and property rights.

 

on Jul 31, 2013

DrJBHL
The "certain expectations" are too long to list and vary by observer. Mine are those which exist codified in the law and those understood as civil conduct.

So what's your short list?

 

DrJBHL
Quoting WebGizmos,
reply 36
No one "owes" anyone anything...period.

We'll agree to disagree.

You live in a society. You are entitled to certain expectations.

No one has a list of them for you or anyone else. That's where civility enters it. When people are civil, they can sit and discuss things.

If one has to deal with a churl then best not to. When encountering one of these: "Be civil or be gone." is the only approach to adopt. Either they will self civilize and become manageable , or not. In the latter case, one simply breaks contact.

Yup...we'll agree to disagree. Breaking contact now...

on Jul 31, 2013

I dunno how these points will fit in here or what Ayn Rand would say about them but here goes:

No matter how you slice it, when it comes to income and wealth in America the rich get most of the pie and the rest get the leftovers. The numbers are shocking. Today the top 1 percent of Americans control 43 percent of the financial wealth while the bottom 80 percent control only 7 percent of the wealth. Incredibly, the wealthiest 400 Americanshave the same combined wealth as the poorest half of Americans -- over 150 million people.

CEO's in The U.S. make 300 times average pay as regular workers. I got nothing against people doing well but that doesn't seem right.

In September I'm losing my job because it's being outsourced to the Philippines. I work for a newspaper. I am in production. In fact for the past 42 years. I'm 61 years old. I'll be 62 in May so I can start collecting Social Security then but I'll have to find some way of getting health care. I could get COBRA but it would cost 1200 dollars a month for my wife and I. I can't afford that. At this point in my line of work there aren't many options. Unless The Affordable Care Act actually does have affordable options we will have to do without health care and my wifes health is not good.

The way it seems to be going in this country is that we are slowly becoming India, China, The Philippines in terms of what the middle class is. The playing field is slowly being evened out so that no longer will the American middle class be the envy of the world. Eventually the manufacturing jobs will come back to the U.S. but only when the workers in the U.S. are beaten down to the point that they will accept the lousy wages, little or no benefits, long hours, terrible working conditions and in general the pitiful state of workers in the so called third world. I believe that this is the strategy in play here. I won't go into the politics of it because I think that it doesn't really matter at this point. The barn door was opened years ago and the horses got loose, goodbye. Ross Perot said it best - "giant sucking sound" when the jobs are gone.

Now I know money does not necessarily buy happiness but it does buy food and provide a roof over your head. If you don't have that then it's hard to live much less be even a little happy.

This has been a recent news item: 80% of Americans near poverty and un-employment. I am one of those Americans. Now those numbers are being debated. Maybe 80% is high maybe it's not. I don't know but I have learned that where there's smoke there's usually fire.

As I said I've nothing against people being successful but I think that we need to examine why there is such a large gap between the well to do and the growing number of people in or near poverty.

The thing I don't like about Ayn Rand is that no matter how her ideas are intellectualized, justified the basic meaning of them is I will do whatever it takes to get all I can and to hell with everybody else. I was not brought up to think like that. That is not what the American way means to me.

 

on Jul 31, 2013

DrJBHL

That's where civility enters it. When people are civil, they can sit and discuss things.

If one has to deal with a churl then best not to. When encountering one of these: "Be civil or be gone." is the only approach to adopt. Either they will self civilize and become manageable , or not. In the latter case, one simply breaks contact.

In Rand's view, at least from the way I understand it from several of her books, this approach breaks down once the uncivilized (the "takers") have the ability to force you to deal with them.  Breaking contact ceases to be an option.  

This is what she fears and what she tries to warn about in her books.  The mentality that I am entitled by virtue of my being and nothing else (and that this entitlement is permanent regardless of my actions or laziness or what have you) can be ignored in individuals.  It cannot be ignored once it becomes a movement or, in the case of the story in Atlas Shrugged, once it becomes institutionalized. 

 

on Jul 31, 2013

Wayyyyyyyyy too deep a subject for me. 

I just treat everyone nicely and if they don't reciprocate, I ignore them.

on Jul 31, 2013

Kantok
It cannot be ignored once it becomes a movement or, in the case of the story in Atlas Shrugged, once it becomes institutionalized. 

Once it becomes "established" the only way to fight it is through education: The school of hard knocks, and not to give in.

on Jul 31, 2013

Chasbo

The thing I don't like about Ayn Rand is that no matter how her ideas are intellectualized, justified the basic meaning of them is I will do whatever it takes to get all I can and to hell with everybody else. I was not brought up to think like that. That is not what the American way means to me. 
 

That's not in line her thinking at all.  

Her idea is basically rational-self interest governed by strong support for individual rights.  I do what I think is in my best interest.  You do what you think is in yours.  We each pursue what makes each of us happy as we determine for ourselves.  I can count on you to do what is in your best interest and you can count on me to do the same.  "Whatever it takes" kind of attitudes are not acceptable because your individual rights and mine are equal.  Our RIGHTS are equal.  This is paramount.  So if I have to cheat or steal or in some way undermine your individual rights to get ahead I've broken the social contract and should be punished.  People get ahead, or not, based on merit.  Their own work ethic, their natural talent, etc, but under a system where the rules are known and constant (rules based on the combination of steadfast individual rights and rational self-interest).  

Taking care of wounded veterans, to use one of DrJHBL's example, is in my rational self interest because I want to make sure that others are willing to join the military for future national defense needs (or for a whole host of other reasons).  Some level of social safety net fits the Randian view just fine.  

For example. people often say (as often as Ayn Rand gets discussed, I guess) that a Randian world-view doesn't allow for charity.  It's not true at all.  You are free to pursue what is in your best interests and what makes you happy.  Why do people give (time, money, whatever) to charities? Because it makes them feel good.  Because they feel a sense of obligation to give back.  A whole host of other reasons, but the point (the whole ballgame really) is that you are doing what you decide is in your best interest under a system where everyone's rights are equal and equally protected and where the rules governing the system are clear and provide a level playing field.   

Nothing at all like we have in America now, where the rules are vague and powerful regulation can essentially remove (or dilute) the ability of talent and hard work to make that difference.  Where an individual's rights are no where near equal.  The quality and protection of ones rights are dependent upon "perspectives" and "categories" that look at all sorts of things that happen to be popular with the governing group of the moment.  

on Jul 31, 2013

Kantok
Her idea is basically rational-self interest governed by strong support for individual rights.  I do what I think is in my best interest.  You do what you think is in yours.  We each pursue what makes each of us happy as we determine for ourselves.

I agree, if it's tempered by conscience for others.

I found particularly pleasing your statement and would only add at the end, "without infringing on others' rights." which I think you believe as well as you put it in another paragraph. 

Kantok
"Whatever it takes" kind of attitudes are not acceptable because your individual rights and mine are equal.  Our RIGHTS are equal.  This is paramount.  So if I have to cheat or steal or in some way undermine your individual rights to get ahead I've broken the social contract and should be punished.  People get ahead, or not, based on merit.  Their own work ethic, their natural talent, etc, but under a system where the rules are known and constant (rules based on the combination of steadfast individual rights and rational self-interest).

 Overall, our differences are at most minor. It is also enjoyable discussing the topic with you.

on Jul 31, 2013

DrJBHL

I found particularly pleasing your statement and would only add at the end, "without infringing on others' rights." which I think you believe as well as you put it in another paragraph. 

I do.  The sanctity of individual rights is the key to the whole thing.  If that goes away it invalidates the whole social contract.  

DrJBHL

 Overall, our differences are at most minor. It is also enjoyable discussing the topic with you.

I agree.  I think we are of basically the same mind on the issue and this discussion is great.

on Jul 31, 2013

RedneckDude
My father in law says that one of the best things about me is that no matter what is going on around me, I find a way to enjoy my day. (Be Happy)

...and that is projected very much here in the forums/community, and happily, is catching...  

 

Frogboy
I had someone tell me that I have a responsibility to be nice to people because they're dependent on me.

 

  Thank God Australia is so much more of a straight forward place to live... I expect the boss to acknowledge if I've dun good... kick me in the butt if I've stuffed up.... and if he's decent bloke to get along with along the way... that's a bonus... it's as simple as that...  

 

Frogboy
The phenomenon I've seen during the rise of social media is the belief that if you have power over someone, you have a duty to take criticism and abuse from them without responding in kind because of the disproportionate positions each hold with respect to the other.

The most common, visible example I see online is the way users will talk to a forum moderator.

Jafo just has a button.... sorted...  

on Jul 31, 2013

A lot of analysis of the "true meaning" of the book going on, but if you read between the lines, the true meaning of the whole thread is:

The rich are worthy, the poor (and middle class) are not worthy.

This is just another veiled argument for providing the wealthy with corporate welfare at the expense of education, infrastruture, tempoarary unemployment benefits, etc, etc.

on Jul 31, 2013

Economic inequality can at its core lead to an infringement of rights due to lack of market power equality, which is necessary for a free market as well.

 

The social contract cannot exist unless both sides feel like it's at least somewhat of a fair deal.

 

 

 

on Jul 31, 2013

Borg999

A lot of analysis of the "true meaning" of the book going on, but if you read between the lines, the true meaning of the whole thread is:

The rich are worthy, the poor (and middle class) are not worthy.

This is just another veiled argument for providing the wealthy with corporate welfare at the expense of education, infrastruture, tempoarary unemployment benefits, etc, etc.

That is a pretty bogus interpretation imo.

The "between the lines" meaning is that one person is not beholden to another.

on Jul 31, 2013

Also, don't forget that all of us are framed by our experiences. Humans tend to have their viewpoints skewed based on their own lives and memories, and very few of us have the ability to completely absorb someone else's mindset, to truly imagine what it would be like to be someone else (not just "If I were rich, I'd buy more things" and "If I were poor, I'd buy less things"). The single mom who works two jobs trying to make ends meet will very likely have a much different view of the social safety net than the business owner who pays taxes to support it. Where the single mom is grateful and used to having, say food stamps to feed her kids and sees the safety net as a positive influence, the business owner is used to hiring workers, expanding/shrinking sectors of their business, developing new products, etc. and constantly sees money that they could use to invest in their business being taken away and distributed elsewhere, so it's viewed as a negative influence.

Neither viewpoint is inherently "evil" or "greedy" like some politicians on both the left and the right would have you believe... they're just opposite sides of the same coin.

 

SpardaSon21

Both those extremes you described are authoritarian by virtue of one faction exerting its rule on others through force.  Depending on one's views, that exertion of force may be completely justified for one reason or another, but it certainly isn't anything but authoritarian regardless of who holds the gun.

I guess what I meant is communism in its pure form, which was never even close to attained and probably never will be. I probably should've said egalitarianism instead, as that is a closer definition to what I was going for without all the negative connotation communism currently has attached to it.