Unpopular Non-Political Opinions I Hold

Everybody who reads my blog knows that I’m a libertarian. But what are some of the unpopular non-political opinions I hold? Here’s my list:

  • Most people can’t think clearly because their hearts aren’t pure.
  • It is much easier to read, research, bookmark, share and write on modern gadgets. The best books on the internet are incomparably better than almost anything you’d find at the local bookstore.
  • It is much easier to read on Kindle.
  • The best blog posts are better than anything you will ever read in The New Yorker. Continue reading “Unpopular Non-Political Opinions I Hold”

The Mellow Heuristic

If our hearts were pure, we wouldn’t need our heads. To me, this is the most beautiful, most insightful statement on moral reasoning. We would never understand how much we really care about morality without fully understanding what this quote of Paul Bloom means.

For instance, I am an Aspie. Aspies are far less cruel than normal human beings because Aspies are more guilt-driven. Normal people feel shame when they lose in the status game. Aspies feel guilt when they do wrong. So, it is not surprising that Aspies often do things which lower their status, but does not leave them guilty. Similarly, normal people are more likely to do things which raise their status, but leaves them guilty. Or, perhaps they do not feel much guilt. It also seems to me that normal people value covert conniving skills more than moral rectitude, though they hide this even from themselves.

What possibly explains this? Rational deliberation plays more of a role in the moral attitudes of Aspies. But, I do not think that this fully explains this. This is probably not detached concern either. I believe Aspies are less cruel than normal human beings because they feel genuine compassion toward victims of injustice. In other words, the belief that thinking people are more rational, and feeling people are mush headed is not true. This is a false dichotomy. The truth is that it is impossible to think deeply without feeling deeply, without being emotionally sensitive.

I will explain. One of the most interesting observations of James Watson is that genetics would lead to a world where honest compassion for the underdog might become possible. This means that we do not live in such a world. It is obvious to me that we do not live in a world where true civility between human beings—let alone compassion—is possible. Honest, wholehearted compassion wouldn’t be possible without a high degree of safety, trust, comfort and reciprocity in human relationships. This wouldn’t be possible without more direct, verbal communication between people. If you think that there is enough of this in the world in which we live in, you are not a particularly introspective or sensitive person. But, it is not surprising to me that James Watson made this observation. From his worldview, he seems to be such a person. Continue reading “The Mellow Heuristic”

Why Do Men Find It So Hard To Keep Their Trousers Zipped Up?

In “Editor Unplugged”, Vinod Mehta hints that he was surprised how hysterically people responded to what is possibly a false rape accusation against the Tehelka editor, Tarun Tejpal. A lot of people called this a shameful admission, because Vinod Mehta admitted that Tarun Tejpal used to hit on women when he worked under him. This makes sense because this happens, and people pretend not to notice till it suits them. When you hysterically rant, remember: Most journalists probably had seen this as a charming eccentricity of his till he was caught. But, why do men cheat? Why would women do this? It has much to do with male and female sexuality. Roy F. Baumeister has the most beautifully written explanation I have read, of what men and woman want, in a relationship. And what traditional marriage and sexual mores lead to. This is not about false rape allegations, but this suggests why men cheat, and why women make false rape allegations:

“Nature plays a dirty trick on men here. Culture compounds it. Men may be fooled into making the promise of eternal sexual fidelity. They marry an illusion. Women in love do typically have high rates of sexual desire. When she wants the man to make the promise, the woman actually changes, not in a sneaky or manipulative way, but rather because her own feelings sweep into stronger sexual desires and responses than she is ever likely to have again. Many a man thinks he has found his sexual soul-mate, whose desires match his. But when the romantic passion wears off after a year or two, they revert to their quite different baselines. Most husbands discover that their wives want sex far less than they themselves do. The woman is likely fooled also. She knows her future husband wants sex with her often, but she likes this and thinks it suits her. Then her feelings subside and she finds herself stuck with a partner who is pressing her for more sex than she wants to have. In some times and places, women have simply accepted that providing her man with sex was part of her duty as a wife. Nowadays, however, she is far less likely to think this way. The married man has thus put himself in a bind. He promised to refrain from sex with anyone else but his wife. And now she doesn’t want him, at least not very often. Let us consider another possibility. Suppose his desire for her diminishes. Many women gain weight as they get older. Does the bridegroom realize that he is promising never to have sex with anyone but her, even if she were to double her weight and become unappealing to him? In recent weeks the advice column in my local newspaper has had a series of letters from readers about prenuptial agreements that include specifications about weight control. The columnists, a pair of women, were predictably indignant about such a legalistic requirement. They thought that trying to control someone’s weight is a ridiculous thing in a marriage. In fact, they seemed skeptical of prenuptial agreements generally. Such views are understandable from women. And perhaps it is unreasonable to divorce somebody because he or she put on weight. Then again, people are allowed, even expected to divorce partners based on having sex with someone else. If the two are related, why is one the norm and the other unreasonable? The fashion industry and mass media emphasize the ideal of slim women as sexually attractive. Countless pages have been written about how difficult and tragic this is for ordinary women, who cannot live up to those ideals and therefore must feel bad. I have not seen many pages devoted to sympathy for the husbands of those women. But the media’s ideals of thinness affect men too. The men see those same commercials with the attractive models. That makes it harder for them to desire their own sagging, thickening wives. You think men don’t notice or don’t mind? Weight is not the only culprit, of course. Very few women look better at thirty-five or forty-five than they did at twenty-five. Most lose some degree of sex appeal. The bridegroom looks at his bride, all lovely and slender in her white dress, and he feels a surge of desire. He is thus able to make the promise that she is the one for him, for now and forever. He should look at the older women in the group, perhaps her older female relatives, or indeed middle-aged women in general. Not just the pounds, but the wrinkles, the downward drift of loosening flesh, the other inevitable parts of aging.

Trends in recent years have seen people marrying later and later. Men who reached maturity in the 1950s and early 1960s typically married in their early twenties. Now, the late twenties or early thirties is more common. More men resist marriage for a long time, in some cases forever. This pattern of postponing marriage has given rise to a stereotype of modern men as afraid to make the commitment to marriage. On talk shows, advice columns, and other female-dominated media, the complaint that men are reluctant or afraid to commit will be heard over and over. Thus, we have yet another bad thing to think about men: Supposedly they are afraid of a healthy, loving relationship. The discourse about whether to get married, sooner versus later, is dominated by females and therefore sees things through their eyes. The male attitudes are distorted. Assume, for the sake of argument, that there is some truth to the behavioral pattern: that men are in fact reluctant to commit. The women will label this as fear of commitment. It is treated as a character flaw common to men. One could just as well look at it all differently. I suspect the men-are-flawed view is biased and possibly unfair. The alternate could also be characterized as biased and possibly unfair, which makes them equal. The alternate view is that women are trying to hustle men to do something against their best interests. The men sense at some point they are being taken advantage of. They prefer to slow down and wait. The male reluctance to commit could be a rational response and a reluctance to be exploited. Above and beyond that, though, there are other reasons for women to be in more of a hurry than men to get married. Sexual economics theory depicts many romantic pairings as exchanges in which the man brings money and other resources, while the woman contributes sex. Her sexual desirability is based partly on her looks. These resources change over time in a way that is not kind to women. If a man and a woman wait five years, as compared to marrying now, things likely change in different directions. His salary and bank account are likely to increase over those years. Her face and body may lose some of their bloom. Hence when they revisit the marriage market, his appeal and his options will have increased, while hers have decreased. The deal he can get will improve over time; the deal she can get will get worse over time. I sympathize with her predicament, but that’s not our concern here. It’s whether his reluctance to get married right away reflects some character flaw in him or simply a very sensible, rational strategy. He has no hurry. Again, this is the mirror image of the decision whether to have sex. Women can always stand to wait a bit longer to let the man prove his commitment more strongly, before getting into bed. He is the one in a hurry to have sex. Her reluctance is understandable, and for same reasons (fear of being exploited, or simple rational assessment that she doesn’t lose out on much by waiting). Many of us men were told when young that yes, it will seem for a long time that the dating game is against you, and the woman has all the power and advantage, but at some point that will switch over. We doubted this was true, and even if it would be, the time of our advantage seemed impossibly remote. But it is correct nonetheless. The young woman holds all the cards over the young man, but by age 30 if not earlier, the man has more cards, and on average the woman is increasingly anxious to close the deal. This is all based on rational calculation of one’s appeal in the mating market and how to get the best deal. Other considerations certainly operate. Still, the calculation of rational advantage has a way of bringing people around, to some extent at least. All the talk of men’s fear of commitment can thus be seen in another light. It is a bit like a marketplace in which all the sellers are urging the buyers to buy now, hurry, sign right now! The sellers know the prices will be dropping severely next week. So of course they want to sell as soon as possible. The buyers do not know quite what the hurry is. In reality there is no hurry as far as their prospects are concerned. Sellers point out that some sales have been made, some properties thus off the market, and they imply that if you do not buy quickly, you will miss out. Some of the buyers heed the warnings and buy rapidly. But it is the sellers who have to hurry. The buyers can wait till next week, when the sellers who have not yet sold will be cutting their prices, and new sellers will be entering the market. The buyers themselves may even be better off next week, because they will have more money. The Imaginary Feminist, and plenty of non-imaginary ones, have said that the social myths of romance and love are aimed at deceiving and exploiting women. Maybe. But perhaps they are aimed at exploiting and deceiving men. It is men who must be induced to fall prey to romantic mythology, so that they will enter into marriage, where their money can be tapped to support a woman and her children for a very long time, regardless of how their relationship to that particular woman unfolds. A startling yet revealing observation was made by Norah Vincent, after she had lived as a man for some months. She said that when she got men to open up and talk about their sexual feelings, most confessed that at some point they had done something of which they were now ashamed, motivated by their sexual desires. She did not elaborate on what these were, and one does not know even whether they men told her the specifics. And despite my extensive reading of research on sexuality, I have not seen any systematic data on this question. But let’s suppose that she’s right. What would that tell us? Certainly anyone who watches the news knows that many men, even highly respectable, prominent, successful men, have done sexual things of which they were ashamed. We have seen presidents and presidential candidates admit to sexual misdeeds that compromised their careers. We have seen senators and congressmen admit to doing things in public restrooms or in their offices that have made them laughingstocks. Are these men somehow atypical? More likely these incidents are the tip of the iceberg. These men were caught because they were such public figures that when they do what many other men do, the media are eager to report on them. There are many things men could mean when they say they have been ashamed by something sexual they once did. It is not just having sex with the wrong person or wrong type of person. It may include making inappropriate advances. It may include misleading a woman such as by pretending to be in love with her in order to convince her to have sex. It may have been trying again after she said no once. Before we condemn men as hopeless sinners, however—and I suspect many men regard themselves as such, at least when they reflect on their attempts to come to terms with the inner sexual beast—we might feel a moment of sympathy for their unrewarded successes. How many times on the dance floor, possibly head swimming with too many drinks, did he want to reach out and touch some woman’s derriere, and yet he resisted? How many times did he stop as soon as the woman with whom he was necking said to stop? (Research has suggested that most women have said “no” when they meant “yes” at least occasionally, which introduces a further element of confusion to even the most well-intentioned young man.) He doesn’t get any credit for all the times he stifles his desires, despite all the struggle and sacrifice that they cost him. Daily he wrestles with the beast, and mostly he keeps it controlled, even though it is part of him and, crucially, when he does manage to give it the sex it wants, the result has been some of the most glorious moments of bliss he has ever known. Mostly he succeeds in restraining himself. Out of every thousand times he has to deny himself and stop himself from acting on his feelings, once or twice he slips up, and these can be enough to shame him. In fact he’s lucky if their only lasting effect is painful memories tinged with shame, embarrassment, and guilt. These little slip-ups could ruin him, costing him his career, his marriage, his happiness, even his freedom.”

The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo

the-girl-with-the-dragon-tattoo-movie“There is a similar Lisbeth Salander in my life, so I know first-hand how complex this character is. Just when you think you’ve got a handle on their thought processes, they behave or think in opposition to your expectations. Sometimes these people look like pretty flowers, but when you try to pick them, you discover stinging nettles in your grasp. Extraordinary circumstances call for extraordinary measures. She is able to clearly process information and formulate solutions to problems because she does not have to wade through social constraints or emotional conflict. She sees ‘patterns’ that defy ordinary comprehension. Lacking emotional insight, she relies on logic to determin a course of action. Her ‘gift’ of a photographic memory presents another problem because her brain must constantly process and analyse information, like a computer, and can’t relax or shut down to provide a mental resting place. Lisbeth is the most complex literary protagonist I’ve ever encountered.”Inside The Mind Of Lisbeth Salander

“Most people with Asperger’s are fairly ordinary people and are not necessarily either incredibly brilliant nor completely socially clueless. However, there is a not infrequent form of high functioning Asperger’s whose hallmarks include various kinds of specialized intelligence in a person who, despite their brilliance, simultaneously lacks the basic ability to read basic social cues and to conform to “normal” social standards and expectations. If you have ever known a person like this, you know that part of their repertoire of survival skills is an uncanny ability to get under your skin, into your thoughts, and win a place in your life, even though they are so supremely difficult and hard to deal with. Lisbeth is just like that in the way she captures Blomkvist emotionally, to the point that he can’t stop thinking about her, even though there is no rational explanation for why he would want to remain involved with her.”Does Lisbeth Salander Have Asperger Syndrome?

Why Women Reject Libertarianism

He’d be really happy to sit down and spend four or five hours explaining college football statistics to you.

“I am the first to admit that libertarians are quirky. Asperger’s is definitely overrepresented in the community, and with it, various nerdy obsessions.  Spend a bunch of time around libertarian guys and you’re apt to learn a lot about music, and comic books, and action movies, and computer programming. A lot.  He could lend you a book, if you want. And he’d be really happy to sit down and spend four or five hours explaining college football statistics to you.  Do you want that alphabetically, or north to south?  My personal empirical research indicates that in fact, libertarians make great boyfriends and husbands (though my sample size on the latter is pretty small).  The ones I’ve dated have actually been super considerate, and very concerned with pulling their own weight, though I couldn’t say whether this is random chance, or the natural outgrowth of a value system that emphasizes voluntary, mutually beneficial cooperation. The worst louse I ever dated was a bleeding-heart liberal.”Megan Mcardle, The Daily Beast (Awww.)

“There aren’t more female libertarians because libertarians say things exactly like this. Nearly every female libertarian we know can tell stories about being told, “Women aren’t really equipped to understand libertarianism. It’s a biological thing.” Or “Of course women are statists. They all just want to be taken care of.” Or “Women’s brains just can’t do economics.” Or “Women’s right to vote ruined the country.” Now Borowski has added yet another insult to the pile.”Sarah Skwire, Bleeding Heart Libertarians Continue reading “Why Women Reject Libertarianism”

The Myth Of Mental Illness

If you believe you are Jesus or that the Communists are after you, then your belief is likely to be regarded as a symptom of schizophrenia.

In less enlightened times, these children were called lazy. But, today a boy who can’t sit still is sent to a psychiatrist, and he is instantly branded as a case of Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). But, what if these children simply don’t like sitting still? As Bryan Caplan observed, “No one accuses a boy diagnosed with ADHD of forgetting to play video-games.”

When I was a teen, I was taken to psychiatrists many times because I read while having food, did not sleep on time, and bunked classes—and because my parents had a hell of a time raising me. But, what if I liked to read while having food, wanted to sleep when I felt like and did not like being lectured to? And what if the problem was with my parents and not with me? You never know.

Once an intelligent man (and I have not seen many intelligent men) told me: “If people do not have a prejudice against you, they will have no issue with the things you do. It does not matter how crazy it is. But, if they are prejudiced against you, they will find everything that you do crazy. I won’t tell you his name, but there was a famous cricketer who had the habit of running naked on the field before a match. But, his team-mates and the authorities did not have issues with him. They were so tolerant.” Continue reading “The Myth Of Mental Illness”

Quibbling Over Fine Technical Points

The masses have never thirsted after truth.-Gustave Le Bon

My ex-colleague Miss Michelle (Shiphony Pavithran Suri) often used to say: “You are so rational. But, people are not very rational. If you go on like this, you will face problems everywhere.” I first thought: “So, I shouldn’t be rational because other people are not rational. This makes a lot of sense to me.”

And then she said, “But, you are not as rational as you think.” It would take me many months to fully understand the broader implications of what she had said. It meant:

“My ideas might be sound, but that kind of  a thing does not fly here. We live in a society of loonies. If I appeal to their rationality, or ask them to rationally explain their actions and beliefs, it is worse than a waste of time—because the penalty is cruel.” Continue reading “Quibbling Over Fine Technical Points”

Leave Us Alone?

“I swear—by my life and my love of it—that I will never live for the sake of another man, nor ask another man to live for mine.”, so ends the speech of John Galt, the hero of heroes of Atlas Shrugged.

The above sentiment is echoed by many in the libertarian movement, especially Ayn Rand’s followers. Objectivists single out Altruism as a scapegoat for most, if not all of the problems faced by mankind. I myself believed much of the rhetoric years back, when I came across her works for the first time in my life. I still find much merit in them. Given the fact that Voters have systematically biased beliefs, selfishness is likely to significantly improve the way democracy works.

GMU economist Bryan Caplan puts it well: “Why? If selfish voters misinterpret markets as a method for the rich to exploit the poor, at least the rich will still favor markets. They’ll want what they falsely see as their “pound of flesh.” But if unselfish voters misinterpret markets as a method for the rich to exploit the poor, the rich and poor alike will unite against the imaginary evils of the market. Instead of petty squabbling, we get a consensus for folly.” It should be obvious that it is important to emphasize that altruism is not an unconditional virtue in a world where most people wrongly believe that we are our brother’s keepers and get that notion institutionalized. Self interested actions are generally virtuous, as long as it doesn’t involve taking advantage of others. When Caplan says: “I often wish the people around me were more selfish – or at least better at being selfish. I know how to deal with rational, self-interested actors. They’re really quite charming. If I want them to change their behavior, I offer them a deal. While they might hold out for more, at least they don’t take offense.”, I tend to agree. Continue reading “Leave Us Alone?”

For Your Own Good

“Fools think that this is just nonsense. Something left over, old-fashioned. But there’s always a purpose in nonsense.”- Ayn Rand

The whole philosophy of libertarianism is based on the Non-Aggression principle. No man should have the right to initiate physical force or its derivatives like threat of force or fraud against another. Needless to mention, such a natural law is valid always, everywhere, irrespective of the time, place and circumstances. Unfortunately, many are unwilling to apply this principle in the context of the rights of children, the most vulnerable section of the society. Most people think that when it comes to innocent children who can’t hit back when they are hit, anything goes. Continue reading “For Your Own Good”

Arguments Are A Weak Man’s Weapon?

You say ‘Arguments are a weak man’s weapon’ as if it were an argument. Have you ever asked yourself what makes an argument, what effort goes behind it? Is it brute force or is it intelligence and rationality? Is a Gun an argument? Are nuclear weapons an argument? Is a stick an argument? No. A gun isn’t. Nuclear weapons too aren’t. A stick too isn’t. But an argument is! Is that why you consider it a weak man’s weapon?
You may evade an argument by saying it is the weapon of a weak man, but what else are you going to use as your weapon? Is it public polls? Is a public poll an argument? Is the fact that a 100 million fools know for sure that 1+1=3 going to make it so? Through centuries it has been proven that the odds are high that the majority is likely to be wrong in any issue in which a minority has to fight the overwhelming majority of a population.
It is not the one who talks the loudest and the one who quotes the most facts and figures who wins an argument, but it is the one who talks rationally and consistently .It is the one who has clearly defined his values and principles irrespective of others approval who wins an argument, no matter whether others approve of his victory or not. Words aren’t deceptive. People simply refuse to take heed when your whole manners shout otherwise. People find your arguments credible only when you yourself believe in it.
No one wins an argument when he hasn’t learnt the issues and philosophies in and out. Get into an argument without defining what you want out of it, & you see your opponent obfuscating the issue. He gets you into arguments which reflect moral hypocrisy and laugh at your inconsistency. When two men develop different perspectives, at least one and at most both have to be wrong and obviously both have no idea who it is, otherwise it would have been obviated by the man conscious of his consciousness. And both lose, by default.
You may say there are no absolute principles to evade the right questions of a rational man not knowing you are uttering “There are no absolutes”, as if it were an absolute. You may say his views are logical, but not practical forgetting the fact that you are advocating the evasion of logic to be practical. You might argue his views are theoretical, but not practical forgetting the fact that everything that can be put in practice has a sound theoretical foundation.
You may want to evade the very thought of arguing with a rational man as you will be torn down to pieces. He will cut your tongue out. No, not with his lethal large knife, but with his arguments. A knife isn’t rational. His arguments are! You may keep silence, may assert that you won’t respond – no one responds when he doesn’t have a definite answer. But you can’t evade reality, you can’t evade the facts.
You fear and hate a man who is willing to face the world armed with nothing, but his mind; nothing, but his arguments. It is such a man you enjoy destroying. You laugh at him, ostracize him. You despise him. But, he doesn’t even care. He doesn’t have time to laugh at you. He despises you even more. He doesn’t want to be in a herd of contemptible fools. He maybe crushed beneath your feet, destroyed ruthlessly, but he isn’t willing to change a bit from his values and principles. No, not for a single moment. Any compromise is worse than death for him. He learns things down to the root, thinks over it, reaches conclusions no one has ever reached before. He fights for his arguments, lives for it and if necessary, dies for it. It is such men who are responsible for man’s progress. It is such men who have made the world as you see it now. They gave you the luxuries you enjoy and in most probability even your life. Is that why you despise such men? Is that why you envy them deep inside? Isn’t the mediocre minds who sell themselves short, make sure they won’t rise out of mediocrity the most impractical and pitiable of creatures. Aren’t such idiots who really deserve to be called crazy for not making use of their mind and the only life they got to deal with? Yet, you call the most creative of men crazy, impractical, utopians, theorists, visionaries – In a sense, as worse as it can get.
One might ask how a man is going to fight the masses, fight weapons with his ideas, his arguments. One might question his naiveté. Have they ever asked themselves what weapons of the highest sophistication are made of? Have they ever asked themselves what rationality leads the masses? Isn’t it too ideas, philosophies-but, the wrong kind of ideas & philosophies. Whatever you think of him and his ideas, it is the man of mind, the argumentative man and his ideas which win in the long run. Such is the power of human mind, its arguments.
Why you fear arguments? Is it that you can’t speak beautifully, can’t even take over a village half-wit or a 3 year old child that makes you hate arguments? One can’t win arguing with fools as they will keep on talking illogical and irrelevant things and when you make things as simple as possible and come to the point, they won’t know where to run and may accept failure as if they were doing you a favor.
You can’t argue with a fool. He won’t listen. He may get you into an argument exposing his stupidity, but the moment you take your rationality out of your quiver, you see him run. He doesn’t have time to argue with you. He doesn’t want to come anywhere near you or your arguments. He knows it better that he feels lousy and inferior in front of your arguments. He dreads you more than you dread him.
You may say your opponents words hurt; you may say his words are cruel and offensive. Yet, you can’t refute a single sentence of it. Such is the nature of a rational argument. You may pretend not to hear, scoff at him. You may not allow the essence of his arguments into your mind as it will prove you wrong the moment it does. You may live in a fool’s paradise accusing him of doing the same. Doing so, it won’t be his arguments or it’s validity you will be refuting, but your own mind, your own intelligence, your own conscience!

Selfishly Selfless

A man feels: He has emotions. A man thinks: He has the capacity to reason. A thinking man acts. An action results in emotions: An acting man feels. It is neither possible, nor desirable on the part of a man to act suspending either his thoughts that leads to the act or the emotions he derive as the result of his act. Man is not omniscient: He might not always be able, with utmost certainty, to predict in advance the results of his acts or the emotions which results from those results. Nevertheless, he expects some results and those results are not the ends, but a means to an end – which apparently is, happiness or an end to his discomfort. Ascetics hope to derive pleasure from discomfort, ‘humanitarians’ from mass-slaughters and masochists from pain. Nevertheless, pleasure is the end-No matter what its nature might be. It goes without saying that man is not a being which acts without giving a moment’s thought to the results or his emotions resulting from those results. Even the insane are not devoid of it.
No man can escape the fact that every human act is directed by thought, on a conscious level or not. No man can escape the fact the ends of his acts results in emotions, though those emotions might not be in his direct control. There is no getting around it. No amount of sophistry can alter these facts. Even when one acts contrary to his desires, those acts aim at a certain goal from which he hopes to derive a feeling of comfort.
Every act is an exchange and every exchange happens in the first place as man, at the moment of the action, values the results higher than the efforts. A man wakes up from the bed when he values wakening to the comforts of the bed. One enters or stays in a relationship only when he values it higher than the state of its lack. A man does a job he despises only when he values his wage higher than the labor. One pays a beggar a penny only when he values the payment less than the discomfort aroused. One gives up his life for an ideal only when he values it greater than his life without. Every human act is selfish.
When one bends forward to pick up a cake in front of him on a table, no one brands his act as ‘selfless’. When one exchanges a day’s labor for his wage, no one screams ‘sacrifice’. Yet, the very same men brands a mothers love ‘selfless’ and perceives a mother looking after her child as ‘sacrifice’. None of these men hesitate to state that he who asserts those acts to be ‘selfish’ holds a ‘materialistic’ & ‘rational’ view of life. It is of course, rational. No view, but, is more materialistic and offensive than what places a piece of cake or a days wages over the closest of relationships. Such men are of course, of ‘I fucked her, but I couldn’t have helped it” School.
It is often asked: Isn’t an act of charity selfless? What could a man hope to derive from such an act? One could feel any of the three: happiness, resentment or blankness. There is no other way one can feel. One might do it for the sheer pleasure of it. Apparently, there isn’t anything selfless about it. It just draws light on the character and real intentions of men branding such an act selfless. A man might act contrary to his pleasure: He might donate what he has to charity striving against all his ‘instincts’ hoping to derive pleasure or prestige. He might even ‘succeed’ in making himself believe his own magnanimity; not knowing repression is draining all his energy. Deep inside, he feels resentment. Nevertheless, he too had aimed at something. His betrayal doesn’t alter the fact that he too has emotions. What could now, be said of one who feels nothing at all-blankness? Man is neither a robot, nor a machine. It is neither possible, nor advisable for a person to act without giving a moments thought to the results of his act or the emotions he wish to derive from those acts. No man can act cutting off emotions and rationality. Even a robot or machine should be programmed or acted on by a rational man who aims at certain ends.
It is usually argued an act of charity is above an act of achievement as the intentions constituting the act are superior to that of an act of achievement. Who do you think to be superior-A man devoting his mind to a creative purpose, or a man who dispenses with the products of others creativity? Who has done more good to the world? To answer a question of this sort is to approve of its obscenity. Ends and means, obviously are far, far superior in the former.
A business man’s goal, they say is not alleviation of poverty, and it is just an unintended consequence of his acts. It is the same men who strive for ‘good’ (which they equate with charity) by governmental action: by initiation of force. Does ‘charity’ done by force say anything of the moral status of that person? Isn’t it too an unintended consequence, with the difference that the motive is not pleasure, but fear? Why do you state the first and evade the second, the principle involved being the same? Why do you consider ‘good’ motivated by fear superior to that of what caused in the pursuit of wealth? Why, then, do you persist again and again in what you pretend to believe in?
A similar mode of reasoning can be found in their argument that capitalism ended slavery and kicked out the feudal lord off his throne not out of mercy, but out of self-interest. The very same men argue Soviet Communism failed not because the system was intrinsically evil, but as human nature is flawed. They argue, the flaw isn’t in bureaucracy as such, but in individual men. They scream ‘evils of commercialization’ when it comes to a private enterprise. Why is value judgment passed on the system when it comes to the Free Market? Why is value judgment passed on individual men when it comes to bureaucracy or statism? One should ask one selves.