More Freegan Entertainment!

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

With Reader Poll after Article!

Almost exactly a year ago, I blogged an article about freegans, leftists who sanctimoniously provision themselves from dumpsters and thus come closest to realizing that lofty moral ideal of the left -- the cockroach.

Today, there is an article about them in the New York Times which is no less entertaining or ironic:

Freegans are scavengers of the developed world, living off consumer waste in an effort to minimize their support of corporations and their impact on the planet, and to distance themselves from what they see as out-of-control consumerism. They forage through supermarket trash and eat the slightly bruised produce or just-expired canned goods that are routinely thrown out, and negotiate gifts of surplus food from sympathetic stores and restaurants. [bold added]
Did I not say the following only three days ago, when blogging an interview about cockroaches? "I would have called them 'scavengers' rather than 'recyclers'." Except for the anticapitalist silliness, the above passage sounds almost like it could be a description of cockroaches.

At this juncture, it is worth noting the insights Ayn Rand had concerning the nature of the term "value" and its relevance to the survival of rational beings. With this understanding, the anti-reason, anti-value essence of this movement becomes inescapable when the information in this article is considered in the warm, life-giving, and illuminating light of reason.
"Value" is that which one acts to gain and keep., "virtue" is the action by which one gains and keeps it. "Value" presupposes an answer to the question: of value to whom and for what? "Value" presupposes a standard, a purpose and the necessity of action in the face of an alternative. Where there are no alternatives, no values are possible. [from Galt's Speech in For the New Intellectual, p. 147, as excerpted by Harry Binswanger in The Ayn Rand Lexicon, p. 521]
We can see that even the freegans realize that all the "consumer goods" they take from the garbage bins are values, but then they turn around and complain that the society that produces them is "hostile" to their (moral) values:
"Once in a while I may buy a box of baking soda for toothpaste," [Adam] Weissman said. "And, sure, getting that to market has negative impacts, like everything." But, he said, parsing the point, a box of baking soda is more ecologically friendly than a tube of toothpaste, because its cardboard container is biodegradable.

These contradictions and others have led some people to suggest that freegans are hypocritical, making use of the capitalist system even as they rail against it. And even Mr. Weissman, who is often doctrinaire about the movement, acknowledges when pushed that absolute freeganism is an impossible dream.


For freegans, who believe that the production and transport of every product contributes to economic and social injustice, usually in multiple ways, any interaction with the marketplace is fraught.[bold added]
Negative impacts? To whom? Injustice? How? Think about this for a moment. The freegans have all but said that for man to remain alive above the bare subsistence level of a savage, he must sin. This is, on the part of the freegans, both a damnation of man for acting in such a way as to ensure his own survival and a confession that their morality is anti-life.

The civilized world of capitalism may indeed be hostile to the demonstrably incorrect moral "values" of the freegans, but it provides the actual material values they need to live, thanks to the virtue of its inhabitants -- in the form of an implicitly-held rational code of moral values they follow when engaged in productive activity.

Not only do the freegans basically admit that they renounce reason, they psychologically project their own ritualistic, primitive, and quasi-religious approach to morality onto their less-consistent anti-industrial brethren, the "mainstream" environmentalists:
Environmentalism, Mr. Torres said, "is becoming this issue of, consume the right set of green goods and you're green," regardless of how much in the way of natural resources those goods require to manufacture and distribute.

"If you ask the average person what can you do to reduce global warming, they'd say buy a Prius," he added. [link dropped]
But ask a freegan what suddenly makes it acceptable to own an iPod and he'll tell you that it was cleansed of all commercial sin through a baptism in filth five seconds ago. Yeah. That's a substantially different way of looking at things.

-- CAV


Booty from the Bin! Cast your vote for "Dumpster Queen" today!

Now for the fun, and to put this movement back into its proper perspective as free entertainment, I shall hold a ... "booty contest", as it were. Please review the following items retrieved from the garbage and select your favorite in the poll below. (And don't be greedy! You may select only one.)

With apologies to Charles Johnson, I include Ron Paul as a choice.

And yes. I know. The table does look a bit askew. But what do you expect? I got it for free, fer Crissakes!

Autumn Brewster
"Cart Woman"
Darcie Elia
Madeleine Nelson
Ron Paul
Who is your choice for "Dumpster Queen"?
Autumn Brewster
The Cart Woman
Darcie Elia
Madeleine Nelson
The Ba-gal
Ron Paul
Free polls from


Jim May said...

Negative impacts? To whom? Injustice? How? Think about this for a moment. The freegans have all but said that for man to remain alive above the bare subsistence level of a savage, he must sin. This is, on the part of the freegans, both a damnation of man for acting in such a way as to ensure his own survival and a confession that their morality is anti-life.

The funny thing about it, is that this precise contradiction is most consistently seen among conservatives, who like to attack the Left for, of all things, their insistence on intellectual consistency.

More than once I've seen a conservative -- often one of the "better" ones -- downplay the seriousness of hypocrisy. This is a logical outgrowth of their supposedly "anti-ideological" outlook; they look at the horrendous results of Leftist philosophy followed to its logical end-of-road, and they effectively declare that the problem isn't that they chose a bad road, but that they "took it too far".

Yes, folks, it's not about whether your ideas are true or false. Anything goes -- just don't go too far!

Gus Van Horn said...

Excellent point, and one we've batted around before!

Matt F. said...

Oh, I nearly fell out of my (NEW leather) chair laughing. Thank you for that.

And great post, as always.

Gus Van Horn said...

You're welcome, sir!

For some reason, the image of a NEW leather chair makes me want to light up a NEW stogie.

Maybe I'll do that. Wife's away and the work day will be done in another couple hours.....

Nicholas Provenzo said...

I voted for Ron Paul. I figured that I should vote for him once at least somewhere.

And now that my vote has been cast, I can move on to more pressing matters . . .

Gus Van Horn said...

I must say, the old boy is running away with this thing!

Perhaps, in the spirit of things, people are ... throwing their votes away.

Hmmm. Now that I think about it, including Ron Paul makes a lot of sense: He has often gladly scrounged throw-away votes over the course of his political career!

What better man to be elected "Dumpster Queen" than the man who is most famous for transforming the ballot box to a dumpster?

Nicholas Provenzo said...

You need to write a post headlined "Ron Paul" wins yet another internet poll. This way all the dumpster-diving LP'ers will stop by and visit your site.

Then again, maybe you don't want that :-P

Gus Van Horn said...

Tempting, in a way. For once, you'd have them trying to throw a poll by voting AGAINST Ron Paul!

And there would be the added benefit of annoying them by making them have to wait 24 hours (or flit about their campus computer labs logging on to multiple computers like idiots) in order to vote more than once!