Humanitarian With the Guillotine - 2

Posted by mshupe 5 months, 2 weeks ago to Government
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Chapter XX, Excerpt 2 of 3
The Humanitarian With the Guillotine

The fatal divergence occurs in failing to recognize the norm of human life. Ills are marginal. They can be alleviated from the marginal surplus of production. It should be noted that these enduring results derived from self-improvement; otherwise, nothing could be done. Therefore, it cannot be supposed that the producer exists for the sake of the non-producer, the well for the sake of the ill, the competent for the sake of the incompetent; nor any person merely for the sake of another.

But supposing he has no means of his own and imagines that he can make “helping others” his primary purpose and normal way of life . . . the central doctrine of the humanitarian creed. How is he to go about it? Lists have been created of the Neediest Cases, certified by charitable foundations which pay their officers handsomely. This is embarrassing, but how is the confession to be evaded? If the philanthropist could command the means of production, he could claim credit for production.

What kind of world does the humanitarian contemplate as affording him full scope? It could only be a world filled with breadlines and hospitals, in which nobody retained the natural power of a human being to help himself. That is precisely the world the humanitarian arranges when he gets his way. Of course, what the humanitarian proposes is that he shall do what he thinks is good for everybody. It is at this point that the humanitarian sets up the guillotine.


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  • Posted by 5 months, 2 weeks ago
    In an attempt to answer the original question to days ago, I suggest the antecedent for humanitarians setting up guillotines is buried in the first sentence of this post: "failing to recognize the norm of human life." In other words, ignoring, dismissing, and attacking the essence of human nature and survival - free will, independence, productiveness, and principles. In fact, I propose that every trend - universal health care, environmentalism, transsexualism, monetary policy, religion, social justice, compulsory education, critical theory and DEI are simply an assault on competence and independence; on human life as it could and should be.
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  • Posted by $ blarman 5 months, 2 weeks ago
    Not sure who voted it down. Definitely worth a conversation.

    I think that there are two kinds of "philanthropists": one set uses their own funds and the others try to use someone else's. Only the first can really be called philanthropists and that only if their efforts aren't just to try to control others with their money, eg. George Soros/Bill Gates types. The other ones are called progressives! ;)
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    • Posted by 5 months, 2 weeks ago
      This chapter may be the most controversial, and that's saying something, so a down vote could be because of that. Another reason may be that I espouse Objectivist principles and bring rhetorical justice to posts that denigrate the good for being good. Regarding philanthropists, you are correct, but I think the problem is that much philanthropy is driven by unearned guilt more than actually making a measurable difference for the better.
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      • Posted by bubah1mau 5 months, 2 weeks ago
        Isn't 90% (or more) of philanthropy simply virtue signaling in accordance with the ethics of altruism? Can anyone really "help" anyone by physical (non-intellectual) means?

        Is there "love" without honor--and how is there honor in depriving a person of self-esteem that can only come from personal achievement in overcoming hardship or at least opposition encountered in problem solving?

        There's an article in a recent Newsmax magazine by Ben Stein telling about the suicide of an adopted son, Tommy, for whom the Steins had done almost everything imaginable--only to see this person commit suicide by one of his many guns this past July.

        If something went wrong in the Steins' case and countless others, perhaps it was simply "philanthropy"--the kind of "love" that denies honor and self-esteem.

        Notice Stein's admission, "I was just putty in his hands," in the following discourse posted at a CNN website. "Putty in his hands" is precisely what a father can not be.

        http://www.cnn.com/books/dialogue/980...
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        • Posted by $ blarman 5 months, 2 weeks ago
          You make excellent points. The point of any philanthropy IMHO is to put the receiver into a position that they can make decisions to control their own lives. That means that philanthropy (and religion) is about not only physical necessities (see Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs) but elevating that person to focus on the next level. To be quaint, it's very much the "teach a man to fish" trope. We can give people knowledge, but we can't be responsible for how they use it. If they use it to better their lives, perfect. The mistake is thinking that we can measure these efforts and expect some kind of "return" on our invested time/resources. The best thing we can hope for is a good feeling and maybe making a new friend.
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          • Posted by 5 months, 2 weeks ago
            Yes, there is no profit motive or price mechanism to drive efficiency, but there is some skin in the game. Of course, that's why government is such a disaster. As you say, the best outcome is that it is temporary for those able to regain independence.
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            • Posted by $ blarman 5 months, 2 weeks ago
              Most governments exist only to control; independence runs counter to those goals. Thus their natural incentive is to tend toward control of the populace - not their independence. It takes strong morals to resist the urge to control others and those people - like George Washington - tend to shy away from government rather than run toward it.
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              • Posted by 5 months, 2 weeks ago
                Yes, but I think its too easy to demonize government. It, like a large corporation, small business, religion, church, etc. is individuals. They are beings of volitional consciousness. It is the irrational ideas that must be exposed and crushed. It ain't going to happen if the critics hold the same fundamental ideas.
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        • Posted by 5 months, 2 weeks ago
          Yes, a significant portion of it, maybe 90%, and certainly for the reasons you cite. What's missing here is a pro liberty, pro capitalism alternative for directing capital to the most collectively benevolent use. That would be private equity funds and merchant banking enterprises being run by the most liberty and capitalism minded operators.
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          • Posted by VetteGuy 5 months, 2 weeks ago
            Local, private, small organizations which help the "needy" or "unfortunate" might be a better solution than the giant government handout machine.

            I have seen this at work. There was a woman going around claiming to need money for cancer treatments, and trying to get local churches to help her. A few did, but someone was looking out for the limited resources on hand and did a little research, revealing her as a fraud.

            After that, word went out, and she was out of business, which probably means on the government dole.
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            • Posted by 5 months, 2 weeks ago
              Yes, decentralized decision making and voluntary assistance. Always best. In fact, that's how price discovery works in microeconomics.
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      • Posted by $ blarman 5 months, 2 weeks ago
        In order to denigrate it, one would first have to define it. Regarding emotional impulses behind philanthropy, that's why I pointed out that some people are only in it for more power while some genuinely want to help others. Only the latter have moral sanction.
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        • Posted by 5 months, 2 weeks ago
          Yes, and I think it may be best to shed light on the decisions of those who genuinely want to help others. For example, there are many people who are genuinely concerned about the environment or poverty or bigotry or education, but have little knowledge and understanding about their causes, don't bother to find out, and prefer to let a charity do their thinking for them.
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          • Posted by $ blarman 5 months, 2 weeks ago
            I don't believe we need to throw the baby out with the bathwater, merely encourage people who give to charities to verify that the work is what they really want to sponsor. I know there are several groups who expose charities like the Clinton Foundation or Gates Foundation which are really money siphons into private accounts by exposing the amount of money the charity actually spends on its cause. Most real charities are 90% or better.
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            • Posted by 5 months, 2 weeks ago
              Agreed, voluntary charitable giving is a fine endeavor. Compassion is a powerful emotion for good and benevolence is action. In fact, the Gilded Age did more to ease the suffering of those truly in need than any government program. I would like to see people donate with good knowledge of the beneficial effects. Especially among corporate initiatives, I see a lot of smoke but no results. The question is never asked, what good is this doing?
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              • Posted by $ blarman 5 months, 2 weeks ago
                Personally, I don't think corporations are the correct vessel for charitable work. Their focus should be on providing profits for shareholders and jobs for their workers. Their involvement in social engineering in any form is a bad idea IMHO. If the individual workers want to donate their time/talents and the company okays them using company time to do it, we start to get into a grey area but I'm going to tend to agree more than disagree.

                Government is COMPLETELY the wrong outlet and should be out of the picture entirely. They've insinuated themselves into adoption and made it ridiculously costly and time-intensive with their mandates and programs. They've got a vested interest in the foster care system but should be paying for it - not implementing it. Same for welfare programs. There are some people who need genuine help but it is my firm opinion that private charities and religious organizations can perform those duties to a far higher degree of care and responsibility than any government one - especially if the government gets out of the way.

                Case in point: insane asylums. They used to be run almost exclusively by religious organizations, primarily the Catholic Church. Then Democrats began regulating them out of existence and it is no wonder that crime has shot through the roof! Same thing with homeless shelters.
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                • Posted by 5 months, 2 weeks ago
                  Agreed, they are free to do as they see fit, but I think the question is their fiduciary responsibility to their shareholders, as you point out. Sadly, in a mixed economy of massive regulations, a case can be made that good PR and appeasement of politicians is in the best interest of shareholders. The alternative is media or regulatory shakedown. What we have is massive protection racket. Of course, we're talking pragmatism here. I would be awesome to see a Hank Rearden type to tell them all publicly to stick it where the sun don't shine.
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                  • Posted by $ blarman 5 months, 2 weeks ago
                    "I think the question is their fiduciary responsibility to their shareholders..."

                    Unless I'm mistaken, I believe there is a major court case being brought against Target for that exact reason. (Another one is likely "brewing" - pun intended - for Anheiser-Busch.
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  • Posted by j_IR1776wg 5 months, 2 weeks ago
    The last sentence of the first paragraph “Therefore, it cannot be supposed that the producer exists for the sake of the non-producer, the well for the sake of the ill, the competent for the sake of the incompetent; nor any person merely for the sake of another.” became the pledge in Atlas Shrugged “I swear by my life and my love of it that I will never live for the sake of another man, nor ask another man to live for mine.”

    Two geniuses casting pearls and reaping clam shells.
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  • Posted by 5 months, 2 weeks ago
    In the first paragraph of this excerpt, Ms. Paterson invokes the benevolent universe premise: the world is orderly and intelligible and man is capable of transforming the world for his own happiness and pride. The second paragraph describes the malevolent universe mindset: us poor dumb slobs need to wisdom and guidance of authority to make our way in a chaotic world.
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