Sunday, November 08, 2009


A post over at Thoughtstreaming was in its usual process of describing what I must assume is the “opposition”, which any blog espousing a political ideology authored by names like Troutsky and Che Bob must, of necessity, have, when along comes this sentence, “Individual as opposed to collective rights and a fetishized discourse on the Founding Fathers and Christianity and self-reliance.” Something clicked into place in an ever present puzzle presented to me early on in my naïve delve into the political blog scene with a comment to this same blog and receiving a most hostile reception for suggesting that I got any value for my life from reading Ayn Rand, obviously one of their code words loaded with ammunition of instant opinions for the combat life seems to be for them.

For me the entirety of Ayn Rand’s works were another version of the theme that inspired Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass, singing the beauty of the of human potential and railing against the enslavement of it. That she made super heroes of those who realized their potential by becoming the most ethical architect in all of literature in Fountainhead and were the rare few honest captains of industry in Atlas Shrugged, got her branded by socialists of Trout/Che’s brand as a champion of the real, living, union busting, greedy, Gordon Gecko CEOs who milk their country dry. That she learned her fierce self-reliance in escaping from the collective nightmare of her life in the worst incarnation of socialism to date that was the Soviet Union, only emphasized their reasons to oppose her. That Howard Roark and John Gault had stirling ethics with no room for usury, the bane of civilization against which they and all men rail, just doesn’t seem to matter. It’s a brand easy to singe into the hide of anyone who would rather make it on their own. Methinks they throw the baby out with the bathwater here.

In western society, human potential exists in various kinds and quantities, less by genetic inheritance than by early wiring by the highly variable environment into which an individual is born. The belief system of the parents is either the first oppression or the first inspiration a growing curiosity deals with. Socializing outside the family is the first challenge to the inspiration or light on the oppression in a life full of contradictions to every assumption we make. It is at this stage that all the advice points to making irretrievable conclusions about what is right as a keel to remain steady through whatever experience the future may hold. Some, myself included, were never so sure of the concept of righteousness as to adopt it in any form other than than their own autonomy. I remember instances of great passion in love and war in my life, but none were my attempts to convert another to my ideas as a matter of faith in their intrinsic righteousness – merely food for thought in varying potencies from out side the box.

Although I have mentioned it several times previously, the Hindu concept of Minahana and Mahayana is particularly relevant to this socialist/capitalist argument in that Minahana is the individual, “little boat”, which must be mastered before one is capable of taking an oar in the “big boat”, Mahayana. This has always meant to me the same sort of self-understsanding that must precede indoctrination into the requirements of any culture, whether it is the solitary vision quest of native American adolescents or the walkabout of Aborigine lads, without which their communities held them lacking the virtue of responsibility and unworthy of assuming a role of tribal responsibility. Had either culture met a Marx or a Trotsky they would have laughed at the folly of their rejection of self-reliance in favor of group righteousness.

One person’s passionate belief in their responsibility for the care, feeding and behavior of themselves is another person’s fetishized self-reliance. It seems to me that the socialist abhorrence of self reliance is its lack of needing the group they cannot imagine living without. There are no self-reliant mobs out to take over the government that they want control of, there are no anarchist clubs anywhere. The gun toting, John Birchers against whom they rail are not self-reliant — they want to control the same government the socialists do — smaller government just means they want the orders to come from their own living room.

Well, this is as clearly as I can state my thoughts regarding the methods of painting the opposition with such a broad brush it leaves no room for anyone to qualify as an ally.


troutsky said...

And yet you fall prey to the same "broad brush" tendency. Where you normally display a capacity for nuance and contingency on this subject you adopt a dualistic, "either/or" that is puzzling. Individual or collective.We need to understand Gault within the larger project of Objectivism and free market fundamentalism which is why I used the word fetish.
Likewise, Marx wrote that "the free development of each is the condition for the free development of all."

I brought up Rand because Anthem is right under 5000 Year Leap by Skousen on the JBS reading list in front of me.

Yodood said...

Where do you find an either/or, you wiley old sides-maker. I am a socialist because I empathize with others' suffering and offer help whenever I think I have it. I would like everyone to feel that way about each other.

I live alone (as Che Bob likes to refer to it, "out on the rez")to find the unaculturated human within me that exists in common with all humans so that I may live my life in reverent respect for that essence as an example of what I am learning and a guide to communicate it. This is how I offer my help to people by the side of the rat race track.

I am against the collective because ethics and morality cannot be legislated, and even if they were individuals would still either care or not. The collective acts as a crutch, just like religion demanding what is only of value when freely offered, that cripples true brotherhood and the will to freely offer anything. The collective, while ostensibly giving comfort to the less fortunate, gives cover to usury by the vulture spirits among humanity no less than capitalism does the crimes on Wall Street. The ideal versus the incarnation. The good Samaritan versus 1984. I do much better on my own thanks that's my personal either/or. Yours are yours, personal or demanded of everyone.

Yodood said...

On second reading of your comment I noticed another of your wiley ways, to wit: the equating of either/or to duality.
For me duality means If you string out the variations in reality tunnels about any subject the extreme ends of the string are symbols for the direction to move along the string to change the proportions of the meanings of the symbols.

Either/or means there are only the two ends possible, no string.

So that's how you guys work it, wisdom dawns slowly if it is to last.

Easy to see enemies when you go either/or. I'm not your enemy, nuanced or not.