Saturday, October 27, 2012

Oh the object of my affection is to change my complexion...

I met Joe at his school after a dance tonight. Walking back, we stopped at a gas station to get a chocolate milk for him and a beer for me. The guy behind the counter actually carded me. Seriously? I'm going to be forty in a few weeks, for Christ's sake. It must be my boyish good looks. Maybe he wanted a date?

Apparently, President Obama went on a rant against Objectivism, all because Paul Ryan is a fan. First of all, no politician - especially a far Christian Right one - could be said to follow the rules of the philosophy: It requires you to be brutally honest and an atheist. I just don't get all the Rand-hate in recent months, but both sides of the aisle seem to be trying to polarize this election as much as-

No wait - I take that back. The bad cops have portrayed themselves in the most evil light possible, so that everyone will vote for the good cops.

But I digress. 

Like I was saying, I just don't get it. I'm not an Ayn Rand worshiper, I have some problems with Objectivism. It's an "all-or-nothing" ideology for a start. She gives the impression that we hold no debt to our society, and holds the unrealistic ideal that industry can be self-regulating. She also paints the government, social programs, and unions in an extreme, villainous light. Personally, I do think we need to take care of our sick and less fortunate, and that (less extreme and well spent) taxes are a necessity.

But there's a lot of good in a philosophy based on being true to yourself, achievement, having your own mind, that being human is a noble condition, not to bullshit others or ourselves, being your own advocate, that there's nothing shameful in being proud of yourself, seeking an ideal, self reliance instead of dependence on others, to not piss in people's faces and tell them it's raining (not a quote,) and that the meaning of life is to seek your own happiness. Do I manage to do all these things all the time? Of course not, I'm a very fallible person. Should I try harder to? Possibly... but does the unattainability of an ideal take away from it's value?

The problem with any ideology is when people use the good to blindly justify the extremes of the bad, and unfortunately, that's what a lot of wing-nuts on both sides of the aisle do. Liberals insist Atlas Shrugged is dag-nasty evil while ignoring the good in it, conservatives... honestly, I've never seen a conservative professing that we should pattern America after it, though many have said it's their favorite book. But saying that it makes people have no compassion is like saying The Bible makes people bash babies' heads against rocks. The worst part of anything does not define its whole. 

So like anything in life, it's up to you. You can read it and decide for yourself what (if anything) you want to take away from it. I'll make a deal. For every person who reads it, cover to cover, before forming an opinion, I'll do the same for the book of their choice - even Twilight. (Shudders.)


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