Thursday, September 08, 2005

Why I'm Not Libertarian, Part II: Some time ago, I posted a bunch of reasons why I wasn't Libertarian. I won't bother to find that again.

But I found a quote today that wonderfully sums up the other part.

So much of Libertarianism is tied up in my mind with Objectivism, the philosophy that says if you look out for yours and I look out for mine, we will both of us end up alright.

Objectivism, as I understand it, even goes so far as to explain altruism in selfish terms, saying that because I "love" another, that makes him part of me, and so in looking after him I am ultimately looking after myself.

Here's the quote I found:

Many of us can recount experiences in which we lost ourselves in the service of others and found those moments to be among the most rewarding of life. Everyone actively involved in serving God by reaching out to others can recount similar stories, as can devoted parents and marriage partners who have given of their time and means, who have loved and sacrificed so greatly that their concern for each other and for their children has known almost no bounds.

What a therapeutic and wonderful thing it is for a man or woman to set aside all consideration of personal gain and reach out with strength and energy and purpose to help the unfortunate, to improve and beautify the community, to clean up the environment. How much greater would be the suffering of the homeless and the hungry in our own communities without the service of hundreds of volunteers who give of their time and substance to assist them. All of us need to learn that life is a mission and not simply a career.

Tremendous happiness and peace of mind are the results of loving service to others. Nobody can live fully and happily who lives only unto himself or herself.

Now granted, I'm not a Democrat either, because I do not believe virtue like this can be "imposed" on those who don't have it.

But the idea that selfishness is a virtue and that being self-serving will lead humanity to reach its greatest potential requires mental and semantic gymnastics I won't be a part of.

Yeah, yeah. I know the circular argument. "If co-operation is truly what's best for us, then our craving to have the best for ourselves will drive us to co-operation!"

We agree it's a circle, we just disagree on which direction we should be moving in. The objectivist says to start by looking in, and your frustration and lack of fulfillment will eventually give you reasons to look out.

I say start out by looking out, and by the time you get around to noticing yourself again, you'll already be delighted with what you find there.

1 comment:

Andis Kaulins said...

You write:

"I say start out by looking out, and by the time you get around to noticing yourself again, you'll already be delighted with what you find there."

That's good. Very good.