Mercy for thee but not for me

By on July 28, 2013 11:27:55 AM from JoeUser Forums JoeUser Forums

Draginol

Join Date 03/2001
+102

 

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.

Locked Post 78 Replies
Search this post
Subscription Options


Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
July 31, 2013 9:24:39 AM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

Wayyyyyyyyy too deep a subject for me. 

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

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
July 31, 2013 9:37:35 AM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

Quoting 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.

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
July 31, 2013 9:49:31 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting 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.  

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
July 31, 2013 10:08:55 AM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

Quoting 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. 

Quoting 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.

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
July 31, 2013 10:30:49 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting 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.  

Quoting 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.

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
July 31, 2013 11:49:47 AM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

Quoting 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...  

 

Quoting 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...  

 

Quoting 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...  

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
July 31, 2013 1:40:30 PM from Stardock Forums Stardock Forums

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.

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
July 31, 2013 1:48:03 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

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.

 

 

 

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
July 31, 2013 1:58:20 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting 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.

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
July 31, 2013 2:14:37 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

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.

 

Quoting 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.

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
July 31, 2013 2:15:23 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting 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.

Yawn. Back up your point with some logical argument, not vague "read between the lines" phrasing.  You're basically saying that because you're smart enough to read between the lines you see Rand's true secret evil pro-rich person point, that any of us who think her point (which she actually makes pretty clearly repeatedly) is something other than what you think aren't smart enough to read between the lines.  

There's plenty of room to disagree (as people in the thread have) and still have intelligent discussion.  I started this reply with the intent of telling you why I thought you were wrong, but then I realized that you hid behind such timeless classics as "read between the lines" (which is really another word for 'let me put my spin on this so it says what I want it to say') to create a beautiful strawman that no one can directly challenge. 

Who is threatened most by a system built on clear rules encouraging rational self-interest (for the individual, corporation, organization, etc) and protecting individual rights above all else?  A system designed to reward merit of the individual (like the one Rand champions) above all else while maintaining the sanctity of individual rights (in other words you succeed to the best of your abilities as long as you're not violating another person's rights)?   Who is the biggest loser if that comes to pass?  

Edit:  Brad nailed her point more succinctly than I have only it's not between the lines.  It's stated openly in much of the dialog.  One of the main characters gives a 25 page speech on it. 

Edit 2:  Modified the tone a little bit.  My post came across more obnoxious than I meant it to.

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
July 31, 2013 4:09:15 PM from Stardock Forums Stardock Forums

Quoting Frogboy,



Quoting Borg999,
reply 57

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.

Soley on that meaning, I agree. One person is not beholden to another.

However, such a belief can easily be extended to a philosophy that Libertarians and other conservatives could use to justify not paying taxes.

"I am not beholden to others, therefore I shouldn't pay taxes to support gov't programs that helps others"

Just my 2 cents. No spitting or trashing mods.

 

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
July 31, 2013 4:30:30 PM from Stardock Forums Stardock Forums

[quote who="Borg999" reply="63" id="3386056"]


Quoting Kantok,
reply 61



Edit:  Brad nailed her point more succinctly than I have only it's not between the lines.  It's stated openly in much of the dialog.  One of the main characters gives a 25 page speech on it. 




Quoting Kantok,
reply 61





Brad and others have repeately used this forum to complain about taxes, entitlement and the poor.

This thread was just another angle/approach to those arguments. I was reading between the lines of the OP's intent, not the book.


 

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
July 31, 2013 4:37:58 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Borg999,

Brad and othesr have repeately used this forum to complain about taxes, entitlement and the poor.

This thread was just another angle/approach to those arguments. I was reading between the lines of the OP's intent, not the book.

I'm with Brad.  I hate the poor.  They smell funny.  And they dirty the sidewalk that I might want to walk down.  Which means I have to get my golden shoes polished and that costs money.  Plus the poor make the subway crowded.  And.. and... they smell funny.

/sarcasm

You ought to stop and consider that you are not reading Brad's (or anyone else's) arguments with an open mind.  You are hearing what you want to hear and then condemning them for saying what you want to hear rather than what they're actually saying.  

Brad's original point, that people feel a sense of entitlement against the successful purely because they're successful is true.  Look at the Phil Fish story.  Sure, he may have been a jerk, but people say things to him they would never say to a friend, or a family member, or someone within their normal circle and they expect Fish to both listen and to take whatever they say happily, and it's merely because he's successful.  He owes them because he's successful and they're nobodies.  

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
July 31, 2013 4:54:55 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting jackswift85,

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.

That's a pretty broad generalization.  I would expect that most business owners have no problem with social safety net taxes.  Having a society that can support those who can't support themselves is to the benefit of all.  It doesn't take a brilliant mind to realize that it is in our self-interest to support the poorest in society.  If they are left to fend for themselves (those who really have no alternative) that it leads to desperation, which in turn causes instability around us and hurts everyone.  

I can admit that and still think that taxes should be LOWER than they are today, that we pay for too many things that we don't need to support people who don't really need the help.  Or that a lot of the taxes we pay derive from regulatory burden specifically designed to punish small business or reward large business (however you want to phrase it the meaning is the same).  The reason small businesses hate Obamacare and that large corporations were all on board with it early on is because large corporation can absorb the costs of the regulation and the small businesses can't.  It's another barrier to entry for the individual trying to set out on their own today.  I don't mean this to be a discussion about the healthcare law, it's merely an example of of how the argument isn't taxes & social safety net vs. no taxes & screw poor people.  It's much more subtle than that.  

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
July 31, 2013 5:09:23 PM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

Quoting sydneysiders,
Quoting RedneckDude, reply 19My 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...

 

Thanks, and I hope so! 

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
July 31, 2013 6:01:55 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

Quoting RedneckDude,


Quoting sydneysiders, reply 56Quoting RedneckDude, reply 19My 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...

 

Thanks, and I hope so! 

Despite the issues you had to overcome your story was welcome to hear (that people can and do overcome adversity like that).

 

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
August 5, 2013 6:59:01 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Yes, the 'culture of entitlement' does exist.  So many of those people born into wealthy families act as if its their birth right to be 'takers' on a scale the welfare kids can only dream of. 

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
August 5, 2013 8:16:34 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting ElanaAhova,

Yes, the 'culture of entitlement' does exist.  So many of those people born into wealthy families act as if its their birth right to be 'takers' on a scale the welfare kids can only dream of. 

I pretty sure that the only rich people in this thread started out as poor, or at least what passes for poor in the western world.  So I think your throw-away line missed its mark, to say the least. 

Not to mention that the sense of entitlement under discussion has nothing to do with the odd spoiled rich kid or even directly with "money".  It's about those who feel like the successful in society, however you measure success, are beholden to the unsuccessful no matter the circumstances.  That last bit is important to the discussion. 

 

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
August 5, 2013 8:25:27 PM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

Quoting Kantok,
I pretty sure that the only rich people in this thread started out as poor,

There's a 'throw away line' in itself.....well....certainly an un-based assumption that is pure conjecture.

These forums are quite 'universal' in their reach...

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
August 5, 2013 8:32:23 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Jafo,


Quoting Kantok, reply 71I pretty sure that the only rich people in this thread started out as poor,

There's a 'throw away line' in itself.....well....certainly an un-based assumption that is pure conjecture.

These forums are quite 'universal' in their reach...

Fair enough.  I should have been more specific that I was referencing Brad, the only known rich person around here.  His story is well documented.  

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
August 6, 2013 6:45:31 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

My issues with inequality and wealth- folks like Brad are the folks who should be encouraged- I just feel the way American society is becming, we'll have fewer Brads.

 

Sometimes help and "handouts" can be good investments.   The university Brad went to- going there was a government handout in a sense, public education is subsidized.

 

 

 

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
August 6, 2013 8:19:13 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Alstein,

My issues with inequality and wealth- folks like Brad are the folks who should be encouraged- I just feel the way American society is becming, we'll have fewer Brads. 

Sometimes help and "handouts" can be good investments.   The university Brad went to- going there was a government handout in a sense, public education is subsidized. 

The question though is what is going to cause fewer "Brads"?  

You imply that it is a lack of public spending on universities.  Public spending on universities has increased every year since Brad went to college.  It is, in fact, the number one reason why college has become so unaffordable.  In the ~15 years since I started college until now the university I went to has gone from ~$30,000/year (paid for 50/50 by academic scholarship and loans) to ~62,000/year.  Imagine being an 18 year old kid asked to take on $124,000 in loans (assuming the same 50/50 split I had) for an undergraduate degree.  My sister-in-law is a practicing lawyer and swears if she had it to do over again she wouldn't.  She'll be paying off her loans into her 40s.  Imagine a 22 year old recent college grad with a good idea for a company who has to choose between paying his loans (at >$1,000/month) or starting his company.  He can't possibly start his company AND pay his loans, not unless he's lucky to have rich parents.  You average smart kid from a poor or middle class family is screwed.  He needs a job to pay his loans and has to put his idea away.  The problem in this scenario isn't "rich" people, it's the cost of education. 

I'd argue quite the opposite of your point.  Not only is public spending on education alive and well, it's actually pat of the problem.  The cost of education for the individual has increased at virtually the exact same rate that government spending on education has.  More broadly I'd argue the same problem exists with public spending on environmental regulation, health care regulation, etc.  The problem with an ever-increasing size of government is that it stifles the "little guy" from setting out on his own because only big corporations can afford to navigate the regulatory maze and then, once navigated, only they can afford to absorb the costs placed on business by those regulations (See FMLA, ADA, ACA, and hundreds of others).  That's not saying regulation is inherently bad (it isn't), but that our insistence on ever growing regulation (spending) is.  The government is the only force in society that has the power to distort the system at will.  Unfortunately the US government doesn't treat that power with the respect it deserves and we end up with a screwed up system that does nothing but generate wealth inequality because only the powerful can afford to navigate the system.  The system which places real and significant barriers to entry between small start up companies and the big players who can afford to work it.  By the way, this isn't a partisan thing.  George Bush is guilty of it too, just like Barack Obama (only in different policy areas).  

To bring it full circle, this is the problem with a sense of systemic entitlement by the masses towards the successful.  We are at (or near) a point where more spending, more regulation is always the answer because that's what a majority of the people want.  Group 1 gets it's spending, group 2 gets theirs, etc until we have a system designed to keep separate little groups happy at the expense of the greedy, evil "rich".  What we end up with is a system that has destroyed the ability of the poor and lower middle class to move up because they can't afford whatever opportunities they find.  The fault isn't "rich people", but government not willing to break the sense of entitlement by determining what is truly social safety net (and therefore indispensable) and what is a freebie.   

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
August 6, 2013 8:59:32 AM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

It's the cost of 'qualification' that costs.

Education is free.

It only requires a thirst for knowledge...

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
August 6, 2013 9:02:10 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Jafo,

It's the cost of 'qualification' that costs.

Education is free.

It only requires a thirst for knowledge...

You and your pithy one-liners!  

Another good point, but unfortunately we (at least the US, I don't know enough to speak intelligently on other countries) are a society where the qualification is just as important as the education.

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
Stardock Forums v1.0.0.0    #108433  walnut3   Server Load Time: 00:00:00.0000750   Page Render Time: