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  1. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Elfboy View Post
    simple, giving feels good. most people who are well off feel some compulsion to give something back and be generous (I know I love to be generous when I can afford to be, and you don't get more sinister or selfish than me without becoming a gargoyle). doing what's in your rational best interest doesn't always involve being stingy like most people seem to think it does. money is great, but it's utility has a point of diminishing returns, so as long as it doesn't effect your lifestyle, who cares if you give or not? lol I think most rich people think this way

    PS: self interest doesn't mean "me and only me!" like people seem to think it does. it means "me first". you place yourself, ie, your own happiness, well being, long term best interests, comfort, health and success as the top priority in your life.
    What you're describing here is the classical liberal idea of self-interest and altruism, when people have enough they will naturally be inclined towards sharing.

    Its why Adam Smith believed that all the problems in the economy were a result of shortages and maxing out production would resolve it all, although it has to be said that he only considered self-interest as a legitimate motor in this because it would ultimately serve social ends, ie "not from benefice" that one person meets anothers needs.

    Spencer and others took up the idea of altruism after that and their argument was that altruism discriminates the most between deserving and undeserving of relief from poverty or need and that it is also sufficient.

    Modern liberals, and pretty much all politicians, are convinced of that now, although some of their supporters may believe it is necessary but not sufficient and also that there are some grounds for indiscriminate relief of poverty or needs where ample socially produced wealth exists.

    Better than any of those ideas I think mutual aid and reciprocity, or even some sorts of paternalistic authority, and I also think that those ideas are as much an objective reality as self-interest balanced with altruism. The only difference is while Rand's philosophy is entirely obligation free those are not.

    I'd also say that Rand's philosophy appeals to the present day consumerist and neurotic or narcissistic age pretty well, in fact its little different from the excuses any addict or alcoholic is going to repeatedly come up with for their behaviour.

  2. #22
    Senior Member tkae.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lark View Post
    What you're describing here is the classical liberal idea of self-interest and altruism, when people have enough they will naturally be inclined towards sharing.

    Its why Adam Smith believed that all the problems in the economy were a result of shortages and maxing out production would resolve it all, although it has to be said that he only considered self-interest as a legitimate motor in this because it would ultimately serve social ends, ie "not from benefice" that one person meets anothers needs.

    Spencer and others took up the idea of altruism after that and their argument was that altruism discriminates the most between deserving and undeserving of relief from poverty or need and that it is also sufficient.

    Modern liberals, and pretty much all politicians, are convinced of that now, although some of their supporters may believe it is necessary but not sufficient and also that there are some grounds for indiscriminate relief of poverty or needs where ample socially produced wealth exists.

    Better than any of those ideas I think mutual aid and reciprocity, or even some sorts of paternalistic authority, and I also think that those ideas are as much an objective reality as self-interest balanced with altruism. The only difference is while Rand's philosophy is entirely obligation free those are not.

    I'd also say that Rand's philosophy appeals to the present day consumerist and neurotic or narcissistic age pretty well, in fact its little different from the excuses any addict or alcoholic is going to repeatedly come up with for their behaviour.
    No, altruism is a social attitude that emphasizes sacrifice on behalf of others. In an altruistic society, much like in a socialist one, you're expected to give some of what you have to others. In contrast, a capitalist society that fosters an atmosphere of charity promotes that you 1.) aren't expected to give anything at all and 2.) you can give any amount -- large or small -- should you make the choice to donate.

    The freedom of choice allows charity to be more meaningful than altruism because it's a conscious, intentional act.

    It's the difference between me giving you a $10 tip after a meal because I thought you were a good waiter and a $10 tip being a policy of the restaurant that I'm expected to follow as a patron.
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  3. #23
    Senior Member Mal12345's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tkae. View Post
    No, altruism is a social attitude that emphasizes sacrifice on behalf of others. In an altruistic society, much like in a socialist one, you're expected to give some of what you have to others. In contrast, a capitalist society that fosters an atmosphere of charity promotes that you 1.) aren't expected to give anything at all and 2.) you can give any amount -- large or small -- should you make the choice to donate.

    The freedom of choice allows charity to be more meaningful than altruism because it's a conscious, intentional act.

    It's the difference between me giving you a $10 tip after a meal because I thought you were a good waiter and a $10 tip being a policy of the restaurant that I'm expected to follow as a patron.
    It's worse than that. It's as if the $10 tip were the policy of a restaurant that was granted IRS powers to seize your property and throw you in jail.
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  4. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by tkae. View Post
    Because charity is, and historically has been, the single most effective way a community provides for itself. It understands the needs of the people in the community and isn't hindered by a federal prescription. Capitalism is an economic concept, not necessarily a social one. Just because we're cutthroat in business doesn't mean we can't be charitable in the way we spend our fortunes.

    People also forget the freedom and importance of persuasion in a capitalist society. It's not WRONG to be want to give your money to a Holocaust memorial after seeing Schindler's List, for example, or wanting to send money to the Peace Corps for people in Afghanistan. She doesn't say it's wrong to give to others, in fact she supported her husband with the income from her novels. Ayn Rand was very clear that if it makes you happy, it's perfectly natural to give to others. If a loved one needs a kidney transplant and you can be a donor, it's absolutely natural to want to do it. In her example, if your husband needs a kidney transplant and your neighbor's husband needs a kidney transplant, it's "altruistic" to give to your neighbor's husband because giving to your own husband would be selfish in the sense that it makes you happy while your neighbor suffers the loss of her husband. In that scenario, selfishness is providing for the person who makes you happy over someone you honestly don't care about it. It's not being TRULY selfish and keeping your kidneys to go out and spend the transplant money on a night of drinking and partying at a strip club. So it's not that you have to be completely, 100% selfish and not care about anyone at all ever. Just like she goes out to redefine selfishness as the natural self-interest we have in our own condition and survival, selfish love is love that makes us truly happy. So she just argues against altruism, against the social pressures that you HAVE to do those things. If you're persuaded by something to do it, then it's completely okay to do it.

    In fact, there's greater freedom for those sorts of things because there isn't red tape to fight through in order to make charitable donations. But there will always be people who are parents of or friends of or relatives of mentally handicapped people, so there will always be a capable fraction of the population to fight on behalf of their interests. And, by persuading others, they can receive donations to help care for more people. It's viral that way. It doesn't need to be written into a tax code, right?

    It's partially because I AM such a firm believer in the power of persuasion that I have faith in the general public. Or even companies. There are a number of companies who gain business because they can advertise their own donations. Dawn for example, and their commercials about helping to save animals during oil spills. And don't even try to tell me Sarah McLachlan hasn't raked in donations from her commercials for the ASPCA lol

    Just because capitalism creates a more active marketplace doesn't mean we can't be persuaded to share some of what we have with others. We're far more likely to spread our own wealth around when we don't feel pressured by the government to pay taxes that are already allocated for other people.

    But even if it isn't completely effective, neither are other methods. Taking mentally handicapped people who don't have caregivers and throwing them into public mental health facilities is practically inhumane. The conditions there are as bad as prisons
    I'm not arguing that all objectivists are selfish, Im saying that in her system being selfish is okay. If I didn't care about anyone around you that would be perfectly acceptable in an objectivist system because any forced sense of obligation is wrong.


    If charity is such a natural way of solving problems how is it that these systems ever arose in our government? If persuasive family members are enough then why do these plights still exist. Just think of all the people who do nothing in response to dawn and sarah maclachlan commercials. Feel bad, do nothing. Objectivism says that that is perfectly fine because you should not be sacrificing yourself for others. You can but you don't need too.

    IN her interview with donahue , talking about "Subnormal" children and how schools and buses for them brings the rest of society down. She even said something akin to what you end up with is a half idiot that can maybe read and right. Her idea was that society should support the gifted and that "subnormals" should be dealt with by their parents and if necessary by charities but that the first duty is to the "most gifted". She says that it is "Alright" to help that child but not at expense of your own child (by which she means utilizing resources that could have gone to them for other children). It's not a charitable worldview it's a selfish one. Good will is acceptable, but it isn't encouraged.

    Rand saw the mentally handicapped as basically useless and perhaps mental health institutions would be better if we all supported them rather than just leaving it up to the affected people to deal with the problem. I guess my beef with Objectivism is the Self as the center of the universe and all other problems being filtered through how they affect you. That doesn't gel with me at all.

  5. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by tkae. View Post
    Also, for clarification, don't base your opinions of Ayn Rand's beliefs from Tea Baggers and Paul Ryan. She was just as much against half the things Paul Ryan put into his budget reform as she was against the welfare reforms pushed by Democrats. His plan is just corporate welfare, which is equally bad, if not worse, than social welfare. Where social welfare amounts of enforced altruism, corporate welfare is a cancer to the free market system, which was one of the core concepts she argued for.

    So like the majority of Republicans, he's corrupted the definition of a valid concept, just like Michelle Bachmann and Rick Santorum have corrupted "small government" to mean governments that are big enough to pass legislation against marriage equality and abortion.

    That's the exact OPPOSITE of what a small government is. A small government doesn't get involved in the issue AT ALL. Just like a free market isn't touched AT ALL by the government, neither regulation nor corporate welfare.


    I base my opinions of Rand on Rand. I don't like what she says.

  6. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by Elfboy View Post
    simple, giving feels good. most people who are well off feel some compulsion to give something back and be generous (I know I love to be generous when I can afford to be, and you don't get more sinister or selfish than me without becoming a gargoyle). doing what's in your rational best interest doesn't always involve being stingy like most people seem to think it does. money is great, but it's utility has a point of diminishing returns, so as long as it doesn't effect your lifestyle, who cares if you give or not? lol I think most rich people think this way

    PS: self interest doesn't mean "me and only me!" like people seem to think it does. it means "me first". you place yourself, ie, your own happiness, well being, long term best interests, comfort, health and success as the top priority in your life.


    If it feels so good why doesn't everyone give instead of buying large houses and PS3's?



    The idea that "me first" is an acceptable way to live when you are one of 7 billion doesn't make sense to me. Why should you trump others especially when in the western world we live such relatively luxurious lives.

    The charitable world of "me first.....

  7. #27
    Certified Sausage Smoker Elfboy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pseudo View Post
    If it feels so good why doesn't everyone give instead of buying large houses and PS3's?
    because large houses and PS3s feel good too. when you make lots of money, you can have a large house, a PS3 AND give to people. money is power and when you have power you can have everything

    The idea that "me first" is an acceptable way to live when you are one of 7 billion doesn't make sense to me. Why should you trump others especially when in the western world we live such relatively luxurious lives.
    The charitable world of "me first.....
    because the main point of life is to do what you want and enjoy it. why would I spend time giving stuff to and caring for people I don't even know when I can have an awesome lifestyle with plenty of adventure, comfort and nice stuff? why would I want to suffer for the purpose of serving people?

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  8. #28
    Senior Member Mal12345's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pseudo View Post
    If it feels so good why doesn't everyone give instead of buying large houses and PS3's?



    The idea that "me first" is an acceptable way to live when you are one of 7 billion doesn't make sense to me. Why should you trump others especially when in the western world we live such relatively luxurious lives.

    The charitable world of "me first.....
    Because Rand was a black-and-white thinker, it had to be either one or the other. She would argue that a society that is half selfish and half altruist cannot survive, and she would cite the failures and hypocrisies of the mixed economic system. She believed that the alternative to freedom was dictatorship, not half freedom and half dictatorship. And she believed that altruism was the corollary of dictatorship. She believed it for a good reason: Ayn Rand watched as her beautiful Russia fell to a horrible dictatorship based on the altruistic premises and promises of its leaders.
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  9. #29
    Senior Member Mal12345's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pseudo View Post
    I base my opinions of Rand on Rand. I don't like what she says.
    No. You don't like what she concludes, while ignoring the arguments she gave for her conclusions.
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  10. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by Elfboy View Post
    because large houses and PS3s feel good too. when you make lots of money, you can have a large house, a PS3 AND give to people. money is power and when you have power you can have everything


    because the main point of life is to do what you want and enjoy it. why would I spend time giving stuff to and caring for people I don't even know when I can have an awesome lifestyle with plenty of adventure, comfort and nice stuff? why would I want to suffer for the purpose of serving people?

    PS: are you sure you're So last?


    Everything you have said underscores why The idea of leaving helping to poor the charity worries me.


    I don't think you need to be an so to have concern for other human beings.

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