virus: An impassioned rant!

Nathaniel Hall (
Fri, 10 Oct 1997 19:58:24 -0600

Haphaestus wrote:

> As I sit in the University's GCA lab, mulling over how a simple line like,
> "I'm not going to use Rand's terms, but...," would have been useful, I
> simultaneuosly write...
> <snip>
> >> Drawing on what I know of [R's] philosophy (which, like you, I find
> >> better expressed in her novels than in her other writings), I think that she
> >> would applaud the use of individuals as livestock / resources.
> >
> >Wrong! Individuals are not resources but "ends in and of themselves" !
> >
> >> That is the
> >> essence of capitalism (ref. Marx, _Capital_).
> >
> >Wrong again! The essense of capitalism is Free trade and personal property!
> The capitalist mechanism I referred to was Marx's, not Rand's.
> However: What is the distinction between using an individual as a resource
> or item of livestock, ("harvesting" them through wages, etc.) and engaging
> in free trade with individuals who hold private property?

The difference is one is a thinking begin with themselve as thier own value whereas
livestock are unthinking animals.

> Isn't that just a
> change from a first person limited to third person omniscient point of view?

Huh? What is a "first person limited" view? What is a "third person omniscient point
of view"? Your going to have to define these for me so that I can give you a decent

> As far as "individuals" go, we're running into a semantics problem
> here. Replace my use of that word with "human beings viewed as isolated
> organisms." Rand's use of "individual" is a much more loaded version.

Of course it's "loaded". That's the whole point! I'm not going to dismiss somebody
as a mere object like they were just some squiggling microbe under a microscope.
Individuals are HUMAN BEGINS, not just some theoretical objects for observation.
They are ,the reason , the purpose for why we have values in the first place,
because that's what we ARE. Our existance is conditional on the values we choose to

> >> If they had been worked to
> >> death, or starved to death because they could not or would not work, it
> >> wouldn't have been a problem -- *because* if they had the impetus and
> >> intelligence to do so, they would have found a way out of their situation.
> >
> >She would have asked how are they being worked? At the point of a gun or just
> >hungry and wanting to trade work for food. Don't forget the people who provide
> >the work are in fact people too and not just another "resource" or "money
> >object".
> The question of "how" they are worked is covered in the lines
> following this excerpt. However: we are again encountering the semantic
> problem here, re: "individual" or "person."

It's more than just "mere" semantics. It's an effort on your part to reduce people
to the same status as a bug!

> >> She would object (and probably did) to the extermination of individuals when
> >> that was done as a method of garbage disposal. That would be vandalism, just
> >> as slavery would be theft.
> >
> >No it would be treating individuals as "resources" rather than individuals that
> >are ends in and of themselves. ( A side note here: She did believe in the death
> >penalty for murders )
> "Vandalism" and "slavery" were my terms, not Rand's, used to provide
> an accessible metaphor.
> >> Your point on "taking up resources that our brighter kids could use"
> >> is way off, however. That viewpoint is socialistic -- which she emphatically
> >> was not.
> >>
> >> SGK
> >
> <patronizing remark snipped>
> Sorry. I do get carried away sometimes. I should be more polite.

> Question: does consideration of an individual as "an end in and of
> themselves" serve any practical purpose?

Sure does! If the people of Germany in 1939 had believed that they were "ends in and
of themselves" instead of the counter belief that they are merely objects who's
purpose it is to serve the state do you think they would have let Hilter come to
power as he did? If the Russian people had generally thought of themselves as
individuals with soverign individual rights rather than mere units of production
whose duty it is to be consumed do you think the Russian people would have subjected
themselves to all those years of poverty and suffering under communism? If the
fathers of the American Revolution had thought of themselves as the duty bound
servants of somebody in power who claimed he spoke for God (Such as the King of
England) rather than as individuals with inalienable rights do you think that
America would be the shining beacon of hope in the world that it at least partly
remains today. (I say partly because of the encrouching and deadening hand of
socialism upon this fair nation!) Far from being a trival item of little importance
it is the substance of which history itself is determined!

> Where would psychology (or
> memetics) fit in? What about self-development?

SKGIt fits in where you'd like it to. Afterall it's YOUR life and YOU should should
be the boss of it. You are afterall "an end in and of yourself ! "The Nateman