Friday, November 16, 2007

Political Potpourri

By Mitchell

Some scattered odds and ends for the end of the week:

  • At Architecture & Morality, Relievedebtor writes the kind of article I love - why the New England Patriots are Ayn Rand's team. Now, I'm neither a fan of the Pats nor of Ayn Rand, but I think the point here is a good one - that in a PC world, it's refreshing to see a team with a single-minded commitment to winning and nothing else - and I thoroughly enjoy how he supports the argument.

  • Speaking of Ayn Rand, I've often cited Whittaker Chambers' landmark review of Atlas Shrugged to illustrate my points about the dangers inherent in Corporate America's adherence to the bottom line as their high altar, especially Chambers' assertion that capitalism, without a moral foundation, is no better than any other -ism. What's been frustrating, though, is that I've never felt I've been able to adequately paraphrase Chambers' eloquent argument. Now I don't have to try; on the recent 50th anniversary of the publication of Rand's book, National Review reprinted the essay, which appeared in their December 28, 1957 issue. And here, I believe, is the quote that summarizes Chambers' feelings on the matter:

    At that point, in any materialism, the main possibilities open up to Man. 1) His tragic fate becomes, without God, more tragic and much lonelier. In general, the tragedy deepens according to the degree of pessimism or stoicism with which he conducts his “hopeless encounter between human questioning and the silent universe.” Or, 2) Man’s fate ceases to be tragic at all. Tragedy is bypassed by the pursuit of happiness. Tragedy is henceforth pointless. Henceforth man’s fate, without God, is up to him, and to him alone. His happiness, in strict materialist terms, lies with his own workaday hands and ingenious brain. His happiness becomes, in Miss Rand’s words, “the moral purpose of his fife.”

    Here occurs a little rub whose effects are just as observable in a free-enterprise system, which is in practice materialist (whatever else it claims or supposes itself to be), as they would be under an atheist socialism, if one were ever to deliver that material abundance that all promise. The rub is that the pursuit of happiness, as an end in itself, tends automatically, and widely, to be replaced by the pursuit of pleasure, with a consequent general softening of the fibers of will, intelligence, spirit.

    I couldn't have said it any better and, now, I don't have to.

  • A week or so ago at 2Blowhards, Donald made an astute observation that I hadn't previously considered. His points:

  • Fairly often I come across the assertion that "homophobes" are actually repressed homosexuals.
  • Now let's generalize and posit that anyone with a strong dislike of some form of human behavior secretly harbors such behavior himself.
  • Therefore, it would be perfectly correct to assert that people who hate Republicans are really repressed GOPers.

  • You gotta like that, don't you think?

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