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.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.
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]
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.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.
"If you ask the average person what can you do to reduce global warming, they'd say buy a Prius," he added. [link dropped]
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!