Monday, November 27, 2017

Objectivism and charity

On a whim, I decided to check out what the objectivist line on charity is. Partly because I remembered Ayn Rand's view wasn't quite as horrific as I expected (people make it sound like she actively desired poor people be gassed just for being poor, and all charity was quasi-sinful.)

From the site:
Answer:  Objectivism holds that there is nothing wrong with charity, so long as one is pursuing one's own values in providing it. As Ayn Rand said, charity is a marginal issue: it is not especially noble to engage in it, but if pursued prudently and seriously, and not at the cost of other important values, it can be a source of good for one's society and ultimately one's self. Objectivists tend to view their donations to causes as investments in some kind of improvement: a better culture, a better city, etc. But like investments, these require attention to make sure they are paying off.
I'm not an Objectivist of course - I'm too theistic, too classical, too religious. But I think Objectivists tend to get a bad rap. The problem is, they get a bad rap because they seem - practically to a man - hellbent on coming across like dickheads.

Seriously, just look at that quote from the Atlas Society. "Charity is fine so long as you get something out of it." Thanks for the tip, Flintheart Glomgold. You dick.

Ironically, the Atlas Society's depiction of the Objectivist view on charity... isn't even charitable. No matter how cold the view of it may be, it could be presented more sensibly, less caustic, while sacrificing none of the honesty of its presentation. But Objectivism seems to function as a lint trap for a certain kind of person who just rubs people the wrong way by nature. Go figure.

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Trump is defying basic expectations of a president - just like his supporters wanted

People who wail about how deeply unpresidential Trump is seem not to understand that this is a large part of his appeal for his base. Many of us love that he shows deep disrespect to journalists, politicians and entertainers - because we don't think these people deserve much respect anyway.

We love that he isn't yet another Republican sap trying to 'unite' the country, ie, submit himself to the criticisms of people who hate him and his supporters.

We love that he does not pretend to be 'above it all'. We love that he doesn't pretend for a moment that an idiot judge who throws down a stupid ruling is anything but a partisan hack seeking to preserve political spoils.

We love that the act has come to an end. And we love the idea that the cultural changes he is making to the presidency, to discourse, and to politics in general may be impossible to ever reverse.

Even now, so many people can't accept - or at least refuse to publicly accept - that these are features, not bugs, of a Trump presidency.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Fast thoughts mid-week 11/09

* First, a casual hello to everyone out there in philosophical blogging land who I don't get to talk to much lately. Grod, Brandon (he never comes here, ha!), etc, etc. You know your names. Pardon my absence, but I still lurk and watch a lot of your arguments, and it continues to impress and inspire. Good to see Ed doing so well too.

* I see the latest headline involving the Pope has him lecturing about cell phone use. I find that encouraging, because if we can keep him talking about fortune-cookie level petty shit for the rest of his papacy, maybe he'll stop doing damage to the Church.

* Latest abomination in science is injecting rats with tiny human brains for the scientific reason of "why the fuck not" and "we're already funded". Hey, here's an idea for a horror movie: these rats track down and find the women and chop-shop docs who aborted them, and tear them to pieces a la Willard. I'd go see it, and I hate movies.

* Here's a statistic you're not gonna hear anyone quoting: "Atheists are responsible for some of the largest mass-shootings in the US." Someone tell Dawkins, maybe it'll give him another stroke, and then we won't have to endure him embarrassing himself with yet more shitty jokes as he lectures the US on gun control. (And the NRA member who shot the monster? He deserves a medal. Here's the thing: with Trump, he may actually get one.)

* By the way, one of the best parts of the Trump administration? It's nice to have a leader who sounds like a human being. I know, I know, people miss the previous joke we had who did a Flowers for Algernon imitation whenever he lacked a teleprompter. I prefer this, mistakes and all. Trump is, if nothing else, certifiably human and he doesn't try to be anything else, and we don't have to pretend he's anything else. Fun as it is to call him God Emperor.