My most favorite Left Coast thinker, the 'mouse, has once again piqued my brain-pan synapses into blogging overtime. And once again, I find my comments more insightful than my post. (I should start a feature called, "Ask the Slacker." )
I think that's as it should be, really. Because what good is blogging if all you have is an echo-chamber? I like to think and consider, and like to be challenged to "come up higher" in a conversation. I don't always succeed, but I always benefit from the conversation, even if my esteemed colleague walks away shaking his head!
The 'mouse asked me for my thoughts on Ayn Rand. How delightful, since it's been years since I read her, on my own, and have rarely discussed her philosophy with anyone. So, my answer was so long and tedious I thought, "Blog fodder!" Lucky you...
Well, Ms Rand was a good palate cleanser for me years ago. I admit to running to Wiki to refresh the details. However, I am glad I read The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged, for I will never forget how they "hit" me.
The enormous chasm of aching emptiness at the center of her books left me with little to take away for the long term. I think that her portrayal of a man realizing his own selfish potential is inspiring on the plane of the ego, and unrealistic in the real world of relationships.
Her passion for the pure gave her some fantastic insight while depriving her of the healthy skill of finding perfectly lovely things in the imperfect presentations that life affords.
She was not so much wrong as too quickly satisfied with her own answers. When her "hero" lover in real life acted in his own selfish interest--one that did not include her, she labeled him irrational. It belies her heart, her disappointment, her earth-bound soul. I think that's the yawning abyss of incompleteness I felt in her writings, too. Too pat, too perfect, and set up so as to hide from a life so grand and rich terrible and awe-full as the one we have.
I think that what works in her philosophy on the scale of government does not easily translate into the personal. Which is why I am tempted to be a libertarian. Her philosophy in the books I read possibly misses the dynamic tension of of the Relationship and the Rule; that sticky wicket of irrational rationalizations that most folks clothe themselves in just to move through the land-mines of job and spouse and unspoken expectations. Not unlike the age-old problem people face in their search for religious Truth.
The world is a messy place. Some of us who clean up after it, can mutter about the mess, and even know what caused it and how to eliminate most of it. But it doesn't keep us from our compassionate task of picking up the pieces, helping where we can. Many folks of other philosophies take offense at anyone pointing out a problem and muttering a solution, as though it makes the sighted person guilty for seeing. Or hateful for speaking.
Persons constitute a family, from whence flows love, accountability, and forgiveness. That's the job of Relationships, whether familial or communal. The Government never can be a person, a family or a compassionate entity. Nor should it be.
I could, with very little stretch, take the scenario of the poor wretched dog being conditioned to pain, and relate it to the taxpayer who is asked to suffer just a bit more financial pain for the sake of the Social Experimenters and their jobs. But I didn't, you'll note. This isn't about my pain, it's about the poor who are made so, through the ghastly aberration of Government as a Relationship. I can only visualize it as the alien in Men In Black, who puts on a human skin to hide his agenda.
You can't have a relationship with an agenda. You can only subject yourself to it.
Or draw up your own and follow it.