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  • Posted by chad 4 years, 3 months ago
    Estienne de la Boetie explained this very well in a short book written almost 500 years ago. People prefer slavery and will enlist in it every opportunity they get. They prefer to lose everything, have others dominate them and plunder them as long as they are promised that they can participate in the plunder and be protected from having to produce effort or threat of others. You can give people freedom and they will quickly sell it for a mess of porridge, i.e. the USA.
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  • Posted by $ Temlakos 4 years, 3 months ago
    For the same reason people cannot trust an "invisible hand" to keep order in an economy with no central command or control. People find it counter-intuitive. People also gravitate toward anyone who takes command. Sometimes it takes a long time to find that the commands are irresponsible and unwise. It takes even longer to figure out that putting anyone in command of an economy is irresponsible and unwise.

    The closest person other than Rand to explain it properly, was Calvin Coolidge, the thirtieth President of the United States.
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    • Posted by ewv 4 years, 3 months ago
      Ayn Rand's ethics aren't 'counterintuitive' by nature. People are indoctrinated with altruism.
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      • Posted by $ Temlakos 4 years, 3 months ago
        Ethics aren't the problem. Practicality is. Or looks like it. People don't expect enlightened self-interest to work.
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        • Posted by ewv 4 years, 3 months ago
          A proper ethics is practical. Pragmatism does not work. Neither does altruism. There are no (living) consistent altruists. To advocate altruism as something that "works" (for oneself?) while rejecting self interest is a contradiction.

          Those who accept altruism have rejected their own interests as moral. Altruism leaves its adherents in a state of duty to sacrifice to others while leaving as a matter of principle no guidance in the entire realm of personal choices in one's own life, rejected as irrelevant to the field of ethics.
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          • Posted by $ Temlakos 4 years, 3 months ago
            I never said altruism achieves any lasting good. I only said people think it does. Furthermore, what most people think of as selfishness, is actually spite.
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            • Posted by ewv 4 years, 3 months ago
              You said that ethics isn't the problem and that people don't expect enlightened self interest to work. Understanding ethics is the heart of the problem.
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              • Posted by $ Temlakos 4 years, 3 months ago
                I should have said ethics might not be the most common reason people resist it. It might be one reason, in that: if people hold it always evil to see to one's own wishes or desires, then their motive is not what most people call altruism, but is spite--not wanting the other person to have something. I seek to address those who actually want to relieve suffering. They need convincing that enlightened self-interest works better than having a government "handle things." We know that it does. We have to convince our ordinary fellow citizens of that.

                That said, I have given up trying to convince some political leaders of that. The motives of Barack Obama, Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), Senator Cory Booker (D-N.J.), et al. are clearly spiteful, as their attitudes, behaviors, and policy proposals make clear in this and other contexts.
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                • Posted by ewv 4 years, 3 months ago
                  Altruist ethics is everywhere. Even while so many mistakenly equate it with benevolence if asked, every time anyone is manipulated by guilt to go along with personal or government-forced sacrifice, it is acceptance of altruism at work. That is everywhere. The resentment and 'Age of Envy' is a consequence.

                  The answer is not an appeal to what "works" -- for whom, for what purpose, at whose expense and by what standard? That is pragmatism. It is true that political and economic freedom is practical and 'works' better than collectivism, but the justification is the rights of the individual, which in turn depends on an ethics of rational self-interest and individualism. Even if some variant of socialism could be made to 'work' by some standard, which it can't, it would not justify the violation of the rights of the individual to pursue his own goals in freedom..

                  You shouldn't have to give up on convincing the political leaders you listed -- because they were hopeless to begin with and you never should have started trying. Start with rational people willing to listen. The politicians are only the consequence.

                  That is why Ayn Rand argued that it is too soon for politics. There are some policies and action on which some politicians can still be persuaded from common sense, because they realize that it is 'safe'. Even 'liberal' Democrats can sometimes be persuaded to help on some specific issue. But overall it takes a philosophical revolution. There are no shortcuts.
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  • Posted by CircuitGuy 4 years, 3 months ago
    I think people think selfishnes is what makes someone steal and altruism is what makes someone make honest trades even if they could get away with deceit. This is not correct, of course, but people use it all the time. "He was so selfish. He didn't paid his employees the agreed amount because he was putting his own needs ahead of others. The moral and altruistic thing to do would be to think of others first and pay the agreed amount." That talk makes me cringe, but amazingly I sometimes find if I probe the person saying it doesn't really believe in putting other people first. They don't want some paying them, spending time with them, or anything out of pity/charity. But the language still says "put others first."
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    • Posted by ewv 4 years, 3 months ago
      Because they have mixed premises, explicitly accepting altruist ethics while trying to live implicit individualism in accordance with the American sense of life. When the explicit premises are not challenged, over time they replace the implicit, leaving people progressively sinking into guilt and more and more collectivism-statism.
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