Not Even Golden Handcuffs

If you haven’t already, or don’t have it in mind, you ought to read my previous entry first, as what follows is the answer I received back. What you might keep in mind is that in that previous post, I merely pointed out that after all, what’s being proposed is that some group of "chosen-elite" know what’s best for all of us and will impose it. To add context and perspective, my interlocutor is an old and dear friend who’s a published author (non-fiction) with a major publishing company. His second book, with another major publisher, will be out in a few months.

I quote the reply in full, below, and then follow with my own reply.

This is a godless philosophy, a philosophy of atheism at its core.  It says "who are you to tell me how to live?" as if there were no absolute higher than man’s personal opinion to call on.  This is nothing but the Market preaching in your ear.  It is Ayn Rand atheism.  So we should inspire the Hitlers among us to think for themselves, even when they are quite capable of amassing millions of followers, each exercising their own wonderful sense of what is right and wrong?  That is the death march YOU are in favor of.

I have said it before, your philosophy boils down to one sentence: "It’s all about me."  Which means your entire philosophy is an excuse for your ego. That is the one thing every religion on earth has identified as the death of the soul, and why, primarily, you hate religion, god, and all that stems from it.

The problem is that egoism is the most self-reinforcing worldview on Earth. Once you have it, it shuts the blinds on what lies beyond the material world, the world of sense, of particles, of science, of math, of technology, of industry, of commerce, of business–the entire self-centered material assembly line that we need to support our bodies, but which represents only half of reality, and the lesser half at that.

It’s not that the market, or all that is attached to it, is wrong–it is that it is insufficient as a belief system.  As Hayek’s peer Karl Polanyi put it in his classic on the industrial revolution, The Great Transformation:

"Our thesis is that the idea of a self-adjusting market implied a stark utopia.  Such an institution could not exist for any length of time without annihilating the human and natural substance of society; it would have physically destroyed man and transformed his surroundings into a wilderness."

Look around you.

For this reply, I need but one excerpt:

This is a godless philosophy, a philosophy of atheism at its core.

Etc., and on and on. You even managed to get in a reference to Hitler and death marches. Not bad.

Yea, you always have to resort to poisoning the well when I dare to point out that after all the hand-waving, "godliness," and "moral" platitudes–when it’s all said and done–you propose that you know what’s good and right for everyone else, and you’ll force it down their throats if you have to (in the name of God and Balance, of course).

Your arrogance is unmatched. Observe, from an earlier email:

In other words, there are various kinds of serfdom, of oppression, and the new kind comes from the bottom-up system, a system now characterized by long commutes, intense competition, stress, dishonesty, noise, congestion, relentless social pressure, omnipresent commercial media, sophisticated scams, and materialistic values, all adding up to a profound meaninglessness.

This is a whole hodge podge of stuff. Some things people value little, or disvalue, and some things they value a lot. They understand their tradeoffs. You harp about suburban sprawl, but most people don’t mind it, or, they gladly take the tradeoffs involved. You assume that everyone either shares your values, or if they don’t, should, right? But of course; you and your friends know the "right" values, don’t you? Moreover, you even know the "right" education, and you’re going to make sure everyone is "properly" educated, aren’t you?

You despise my philosophy for one primary reason. I’m the only one you know who says what I do without an ounce of guilt or shame about it. Not only that, but I have the audacity to preach to others that they have the right to choose their own values, and that they have no obligation to you or any of your other self-appointed chosen-elite to dictate their values for them.

Taking a line of thought from Greg Swann, your Orientalist philosophy has so clouded your mind, that, in suppressing the ego, you missed learning the important difference between being an egoist and an egotist. You can’t love yourself, because you can’t see the difference between self-love and self-absorption.

Mine is a philosophy of self-love, freedom, and mutual respect. Yours is one of master and slave, with the caveat that the master ought to be benevolent. No thanks. I’ll take egoism any day. Yours is but another in a long, long line of clap trap about "managing" society according to the preferences of the elite. You guys will never give up. You’ll package it and repackage it, and guys like me will just keep exposing it for what it really is, which in the end, is a set of handcuffs.

Richard Nikoley

I'm Richard Nikoley. Free The Animal began in 2003 and as of 2021, contains 5,000 posts. I blog what I wish...from health, diet, and food to travel and lifestyle; to politics, social antagonism, expat-living location and time independent—while you sleep—income. I celebrate the audacity and hubris to live by your own exclusive authority and take your own chances. Read More

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