Hasn’t it always been, in one form or another? When you think about it, Ayn Rand’s Original Sin, among her many from the perspective of all political sides, is her chief ideal characterization of man as the rational animal. That has implications. You see, if man has the capacity of rational action by nature, voluntarily, then his ability to mold material reality to serve his needs and desires is virtuous at his highest levels of production.
But doesn’t that just throw a monkey wrench into every sort of power structure, from modern politics to the theocracies of old? There’s nothing new about any of it. Fundamentally, it’s always about painting man as a selfish beast who ought to feel guilty simply for the effrontery to exist, and the only virtue possible to any man is to spend his life in atonement for having been born.
Karen De Coster loads up the latest outrage; the latest in a long list of examples of man’s devolution. Now, maybe the fact that drinking straws may no longer properly serve their intended purpose isn’t that big of a deal to you, but what about containers that used to keep your burger hot for the trip home, but don’t anymore? How abut cups that used to keep your hands insulated from the heat of a beverage your mouth could handle, but don’t anymore? And how about the arrogant delusion that your petty "sacrifices for the planet" have a real impact — beyond the analogous false piety of making sure everyone around you witnesses your practiced performance of dropping that envelope into the church collection plate?
The list of former petty outrages are easy to shrug off, I suppose, and isn’t that the idea? Far more important to impress upon people their inherent guilt about anything they do, even so insignificant a thing as using a drinking straw. Man oh my; if we’re implicated by a little plastic tube, just imagine the utter horror of something like a power plant, drilling platform, or oil refinery. Man: such a guilty beast. Here, allow me to mangle a metaphor and ask which "straw" will be your last.
I purchased the book form of Rothbard’s The Betrayal of the American Right, because I just can’t handle reading something of that length on a computer monitor. This bit by Mencken caught my eye last night, and Karen’s entry reminded of it.
All government, in its essence, is a conspiracy against the superior man: its one permanent object is to oppress him and cripple him. If it be aristocratic in organization, then it seeks to protect the man who is superior only in law against the man who is superior in fact; if it be democratic, then it seeks to protect the man who is inferior in every way against both. One of its primary functions is to regiment men by force, to make them as much alike as possible . . . to search out and combat originality among them. All it can see in an original idea is potential change, and hence an invasion of its prerogatives. The most dangerous man, to any government, is the man who is able to think things out for himself, without regard to the prevailing superstitions and taboos. Almost inevitably he comes to the conclusion that the government he lives under is dishonest, insane and intolerable, and so, if he is romantic, he tries to change it. And even if he is not romantic personally [as Mencken clearly was not] he is very apt to spread discontent among those who are. . . .
The ideal government of all reflective men, from Aristotle onward, is one which lets the individual alone – one which barely escapes being no government at all. This ideal, I believe, will be realized in the world twenty or thirty centuries after I have . . . taken up my public duties in Hell.
Just like any religion; of the supposed divine, or of the state. The distinction is meaningless.