Saturday, June 21, 2014
Consistency Slandered as Hypocrisy
Don Watkins of the Ayn Rand Institute notes:
Whenever I attack Social Security as an immoral institution that needs to be abolished, someone announces that my arguments are irrelevant because Ayn Rand was a hypocrite who took Social Security. (One version of this "argument" claims that Rand ended up a poverty-stricken welfare recipient, which is only wishful thinking on the part of her opponents.)Watkins points to a post by Onkar Ghate (also of ARI) that elaborates on this point. It reads in part, as excerpted by Watkins:
What most people don't realize -- and what surely is relevant to the debate -- is that Rand herself argued that opposing Social Security and cashing Social Security checks is not hypocritical.
Precisely because Rand views welfare programs like Social Security as legalized plunder, she thinks the only condition under which it is moral to collect Social Security is if one "regards it as restitution and opposes all forms of welfare statism" (emphasis hers). The seeming contradiction that only the opponent of Social Security has the moral right to collect it dissolves, she argues, once you recognize the crucial difference between the voluntary and the coerced.This is also a point many conservatives would do well to take to heart.
Social Security is not voluntary. Your participation is forced through payroll taxes, with no choice to opt out even if you think the program harmful to your interests. If you consider such forced "participation" unjust, as Rand does, the harm inflicted on you would only be compounded if your announcement of the program's injustice precludes you from collecting Social Security.
This being said, your moral integrity does require that you view the funds only as (partial) restitution for all that has been taken from you by such welfare schemes and that you continue, sincerely, to oppose the welfare state.
"It's psychologically healthy to attach conditions to your self-worth" -- Michael Hurd, in "Don't Expect Your Self-Esteem for Free" at The Delaware Coast Press
"... I suggested to my client that she suggest to her friend that it pains her to see him so selflessly - yes, selflessly, i.e., with no concern for himself - squandering his life. " -- Michael Hurd, in "Remind Them Why You Care" at The Delaware Wave
In Further Detail
The Hurd piece on self-esteem mentions the issue as it relates to parenting, noting in part that, "[C]hildren are actually quite perceptive and can often see through the unwarranted, feel-good muck that adults (especially in today's society) sometimes inflict upon them." I am glad to hear this since current fashions seem to call for enormous amounts of unwarranted praise to be directed towards children. In reaction, and in the hope of helping my children know they can rely on me for useful feedback, I make it a point to praise actual accomplishments, but not join in the chorus of phony "affirmation".
The Art of Oddsmaking
Updating myself on the World Cup yesterday evening, I ran into a mesmerizing graphic that allows one to check on the current odds of any given team advancing to: the knock-out stage (winning its pool or placing second in its pool, figured separately), the round of 16, the quarter-finals, the semi-finals, or the final.
Last, but Not Least
It is hard to believe that I have been a father for three years today! (I have had two children for just a bit over a year, too.) I remember seeing each of my children for the very first time like it was yesterday, and marvel at how much they have grown in that short amount of time.
Happy birthdays, Pumpkin and Little Man!