Wednesday, April 27, 2011


When I was in high school and when I was an undergraduate, I read a lot of Robert Heinlein: I enjoyed, and perhaps still would enjoy his writing a great deal.  I also read Richard Bach: in particular Jonathan Livingston Seagull and Illusions.  One message I took away from those books is the importance of recognising that everything that we do that we claim we are doing for whatever altruistic reason, at some deep level, we are doing for selfish reasons.  I still think that this is true: when I help people out, when I volunteer in the school, whenever something like this makes me feel good, I'm doing it because it makes me feel good.
I never got the Ayn Rand cult, though.  My take on the whole issue differs from hers and from Heinlein's in that I think that society can make decisions as a whole to help us all feel good about helping the less fortunate, rather than relying on individuals' atruism.
We can choose to make sure that everyone has health care.  We can make a similar choice to make sure that children don't go to bed hungry.  We can make the world a better place.

It's why I consider myself a progressive rather than a libertarian.  It's a choice I want our society to make: it's a good choice, and I'll argue for it!

I was inspired to think about this by the fact that people have apparently chosen to vote with their dollars to not support the new movie of Atlas Shrugged.

Yours, shrugging,

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