(Spoiler: I’m being counter-argumentative again on purpose)
Me and Majin were discussing this last night and we ended up down various routes of moral ambiguity. I don’t think by any margin that Majin is trying to be morally authoritative here.
I have to poke your argument with a stick a bit though… (to not poke an argument is a supreme form of insult)
however if you were unfortunate enough to have been born female in Iraq, you're not going to get anywhere regardless of the amount of hard work you put in.
Even before recent events in certain dictatorships in Africa it was my view that the oppressed quite frequently enable their oppressors through obedience rather than resisting when they clearly have an advantage in numbers. Maybe not applicable in this case because these women are being held in a kind of voluntary religious servitude more than anything else. A lot of them believe it just as much as their husbands do. I know that what Majin is railing for is a more egalitarian secular society than that. Rand frowns upon “the initiation of force” in any manner; including servitude, crime, fraud, suppression of free speech, etc.
I’m of course no stranger to the argument of “well starving kids in the desert had no choice”, and it’s a good one on the surface. However you have to ask about the wisdom of those around them, who ruined their countries through countless wars, or like in zim by “liberating” farmland and causing famine. This is exactly the kind of behaviour that Majin bemoans here… the castration of the rich in the name of the masses, that only results in a worse result for everyone. We must remember that some arabian nomads have lived in far harsher conditions than some starving African countries for millenia. The only difference is how they act. NOW the argument can be made that this “incorrect” (big air quotes) behaviour is merely inherited or cultural, and how on earth one can go about helping those who seem dead set on not being helped.
Another moral morass we went down discussing this is “who owns land in the first place?”. The people who got there first? The people who conquered those first people? The people who then conquered them…? Whoever was left?" The history of the world is a veritable minefield of moral ambiguities.
Children especially have never had any choice in what they want (or need) to hear, all of us grew up with the Christelike Nationale Onderwys, so there nothing really has changed at all, I have yet to hear of a secular school.
And yet some of us ended up on this forum being atheists anyway. Everyone has a choice at some point, but I too have to wonder how mentally equipped people in general are to make that choice on an informed basis. (Or whether they WANT to be informed in the first place).
- very few people actually steal to give to the poor, they give unto themselves - no ulterior motives are necessary.
In the context of Atlas Shrugged, this is the government. It is about the social grant system, federated healthcare, escalating taxes on the rich that often provides benefits only to the poor. It’s about “anti-competitive laws” (ironically claimed to be designed to foster competition), etc. The central idea of the book is “self-interest”, it preaches selfishness from up high. But not unmitigated run-amok selfishness, but “rational” selfishness. Is it really in the interest of the leaders-of-industry to destroy the environment? or the economy?.. etc.
Another moral minefield if you ask me. Where is the balance between paying enough taxes for a country to function, and paying too much, crippling the economy in the name of free water and lights to the poor (something the rich will pay for twice, once for themselves, and once for the poor, and some pocket money for the minister that is skimming some off). Do people have inaliable rights to free stuff they’re not prepared to work for? What if they’re unable to work for it? And what does “unable to” even mean? Does it mean that it’s EASIER to live off a govt. grant than find a job, or maybe the fact that they’re taken care of by other people lessens the need to go out there and be an entrepreneur… But what if they truly are fucked, surely we must help… But should that help be involuntary pillaging OR voluntary giving? Surely the latter is more morally desirable, and the rich frequently and selflessly engage in charity. Would this not work even better had the rich not been taxed to hell in the first place? (These truly are questions I don’t claim to have all the answers for)
Also in a sense, the “rich getting robbed for the poor” is about the mob mentality that it is the onus of the rich to provide for them. “The rich must give up jobs”, “The rich have a duty to society to… (whatever it is I want)”. Why do the rich have a bigger duty to society than everyone else? They’re the ones pumping the most into society in the first place…
Then codifying that mentality in laws through civil action and/or voting in the party that promises to give them the most. At it’s base yes, it’s based on self-interest. But at it’s peak it’s about the mob robbing the minority, to the detriment of everyone.