01 April 2010

The 'Productive Class' and why we're revolted.

I am, as some might have deduced, an admirer of the works of Ayn Rand.

Note that I am not necessarily an admirer of the woman herself. By most accounts, Rand got high on her own supply of publicity and ended up acting like much like the intellectuals she despised. The woman who laid out the philosophy and principles of Objectivism("To put nothing--nothing! above the verdict of my own mind.")wound up shutting her own mind to anything but her own theories, blacklisting anyone who disagreed with her even slightly, and was generally a hateful bitch. So, I'm not a 'Randian' by any stretch of the imagination.

But it's hard to fault the basic premises of her work. And lately, the USA is starting to resemble more and more the dystopian horrors contained--predicted?--in her magnum opus Atlas Shrugged. Besides, it's been said that

It's my estimation that every man ever got a statue made of him was one kind of son of a bitch or another. --Malcolm Reynolds
I'll admit that Atlas Shrugged is, frankly, a pretty horrendous book to slog through. There's two ways highly intelligent people deal with the rest of the world. When you don't have an ego, you think everyone is as intelligent as you are, and have no idea why your tangent on theoretical quantum laser astrophysics is resulting in deer-in-headlights-stares from the entire room.

When your ego spans entire galaxies, however, you believe no one is as smart as you are, and therefore, you have to bring every single point home with a pile driver. If you want to read Atlas Shrugged, and I really think you should make the effort, I recommend you start here, with Francisco d'Anconia's "Money Speech." Then follow with the radio address at the beginning of Part III. This is the mysterious main character John Galt letting the world know that he has destroyed it, and the reasons why. It's the whole basic premise of the book, and will give you an idea of what you're in for. Then start from the beginning. That's how I ended up having to do it.

Many people either just read the Cliff Notes, or had someone read the book to them and fell asleep in the middle, or are outright misrepresenting the truth for their own questionable purposes. These people believe, or at least maintain, that John Galt's strike was a strike of the 'rich against the poor.' Anyone who has read and comprehended this book finds this description laughable.

Plenty of poor folks wound up on Galt's side, and plenty of rich folks didn't. The strike was that of the Productive Class against the looters.

The Productive Class doesn't just include company owners, industrialists, inventors and the like. It includes waitresses, truck drivers, construction workers...it includes anyone who pays their own way in the world. It includes anyone who produces more than they consume. It is we, the Productive Class, who make possible the lives of those who live off of us.

Read that last sentence again. If it were not for those of us who work for a living, ie; produce a good or service and exchange it in an atmosphere of voluntary mutual consent, the looters would not survive. Lest anyone become confused, the exchange doesn't necessarily have to be monetary--a traditional housewife, for example, isn't earning a paycheck per se, but by keeping house, raising children and the like, she is exchanging her effort for support. (Hopefully, the intangible benefits inherent in a loving relationship are part of the exchange. They should be, anyway.)

When I speak of the looters, I am describing those who contribute nothing, yet expect everything. Who take large portions of our earnings, under threat of violence, in the name of some nebulous 'greater good.' Who believe that they are entitled to the results of the effort of others, simply because they cannot obtain these results on their own.
In the not-too-distant past, people were expected to do for themselves. To not earn your way in the world, and to live off the largesse of others, was considered shameful. This ensured that the minimum amount of people would attempt to make a lifestyle out of parasitism, and those who had fallen on hard times through no fault of their own, would make every effort to get back on their feet as soon as they possibly could. But this was

Before the dark times. Before the Empire. --Obi-Wan Kenobi
Once private charities began to be replaced by government handouts, it wasn't long before an entitlement mentality developed. No longer were people considered losers for not supporting themselves. They were now considered helpless victims. They didn't have to show up, hat in hand, at a church or charity...'society' owed them a living. Nothing was their fault, and they couldn't possibly do for themselves anyway. When you tell people that they're victims, and condition them to expect that any effort they put forth is doomed to failure, is it any wonder that this is the result?

But the programmed-to-be-unmotivated welfare/WIC/EIC/etc. recipients are a drop in the bucket compared to the real looters. Any 'businessmen' who seek government regulations to stifle competition, or who want grants, handouts or subsidies because they can't compete in a free market with free choice? Looters. Federal government agencies not specifically authorized by the Constitution? Looters. Any company or organization of any kind that could not survive without government funding or support? Looters.

The looters need us. We do not need them. This is why they believe, and espouse, that 'need' evokes some kind of claim on those who aren't in 'need.' Wrong. If you think you 'need' something, you can work for it, you can trade for it, or you can attempt to persuade someone why they should provide it to you. But if you think it's acceptable in the slightest to take something from me by force(or threat thereof), simply because you claim you 'need' it...well, so does a rapist.

I have no problem with true charity. I've been both the donor and the recipient of it. But 'charity' collected at gunpoint is simply theft, and--as you're now no doubt aware--I call it as I see it. So now, when I refer to the 'Productive Class' and the 'looters,' you'll know what I'm talking about. And call me whatever names you want, but please at least try to come up with something original.

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