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“Food for Thought” is an original column appearing every other Tuesday at Everything-Voluntary.com, by Norman Imberman. Norman is a retired podiatrist who loves playing piano, writing music, lawn bowling, bridge, reading, classical music, going to movies, plays, concerts and traveling. He is not a member of any social network, nor does he plan on becoming one. Dr. Imberman has written a fantastic Christmas song which he had professionally recorded as a demonstration record. He is looking for a publisher, or A & R man, or record producer to listen to his song. It deserves to be a permanent member of the portfolio of familiar and favorite Christmas songs. Archived columns can be found here. FFT-only RSS feed available here.
“You have heard it said that this is an age of moral crisis. You have said it yourself, half in fear, half in hope that the words had no meaning. You have cried that man’s sins are destroying the world and you have cursed human nature for its unwillingness to practice the virtues you demanded. Since virtue, to you, consists of sacrifice, you have demanded more sacrifices at every successive disaster. In the name of a return to morality, you have sacrificed all those evils, which you held as the cause of your plight. You have sacrificed justice to mercy. You have sacrificed independence to unity. You have sacrificed reason to faith. You have sacrificed wealth to need. You have sacrificed self-esteem to self-denial. You have sacrificed happiness to duty.”
“You have destroyed all that which you held to be evil and achieved all that which you held to be good. Why, then, do you shrink in horror from the sight of the world around you? That world is not the product of your sins. It is the product and the image of your virtues. It is your moral ideal brought into reality in its full and final perfection. You have fought for it, you have dreamed of it, and you have wished it.” [Ayn Rand]
I too refuse to endorse your standard of virtue. You have continually promoted the idea that man does not own his own life; that his life is owned by the collective; that one man’s need constitutes a moral obligation upon the actions of another; that one man’s need constitutes a right to the property of another. You estimate the worth of another man’s life by the degree to which he sacrifices his time, effort or property to others, casting aside as useless, the degree to which he innovates, invents, invests in, produces, creates and improves the quality of life for his fellow man, while profiting from his efforts. In fact, it’s because he has profited from his efforts that you have cast aside his accomplishments. Such men are the true humanitarians of this world.
For most of you profit is the most evil word in the English language. Then you see the world crumbling around you and believe that its destruction derives from man’s inability to live up to your standards of virtue. The overpowering standard you promote is sacrifice. You pray to your god of sacrifice to give you the strength to be worthy of living, measured by the degree of your sacrifices. You are getting what you deserve.
Yes, deep in your hearts you have believed that too much justice, too much independence, too much self-responsibility, too much self-esteem, too much reason, too much pride, too much productiveness, too much wealth, too much profit and too much happiness are evil and therefore, must be held in check by the collective power of the State. Of course you can never define what standard you use to determine what constitutes “too much.” In fact, to many of you, life itself is considered a sin to be paid for by harboring feelings of guilt and requiring confessions to mystics to absolve yourselves from the sin of being born. However, there is no such thing as too much virtue. The Berlin Wall and the Soviet Union collapsed as a result of abandoning those virtues. The lessons of history are replete with examples of the extinction of civilizations based upon inverted standards of virtue, but you’ve turned a deaf ear. Your standards are not just inverted. They are perverted.
You worship the antithesis of those virtues required by man for his proper survival. Instead you worship their opposites: mercy, unity, faith, need, the unearned, irresponsibility, self-denial and duty, and consider that the “good.”
You, the “takers” have accused the “makers” of the world of engaging in dog-eat-dog competition and the sin of materialism. However, through your taking from the makers you have been the moral cannibals, not the “makers.” You have no idea how the “makers” of this world have made your standard of living possible and so you exhibit disdain instead of gratitude for their contributions. Just like those who still defend the ideology of Communism—in spite of its proven failure—you’ve defended your code as noble and “good” but never bothered to define the “good.” You’ve never bothered to distinguish between ends and means, thus evaluating your code based upon what you consider a good-intentioned end and the hell with the means. Your faith-based belief in and commitment to good intentions blind you to the deleterious effects that result from your immoral means. Immoral means do not excuse anyone from a “good intentioned” end. You cried that human nature was not good enough to practice your code. What is your standard of “good?” You never stop to consider the difference between win-win and win-lose situations. As long as the intention is “good,” you have no problem with the use of any means, moral or immoral.
“Happiness is the successful state of life, pain is an agent of death. Happiness is that state of consciousness which proceeds from the achievement of one’s values. A morality that dares to tell you to find happiness in the renunciation of your happiness—to value the failure of your values—is an insolent negation of morality. A doctrine that gives you, as an ideal, the role of a sacrificial animal seeking slaughter on the altars of others, is giving you death as your standard. By the grace of reality and the nature of life, man—every man—is an end unto himself, he exists for his own sake and the achievement of his own happiness is his highest moral purpose. But neither life nor happiness can be achieved by the pursuit of irrational whims. Just as man is free to attempt to survive in any random manner, but will perish unless he functions as his nature requires, so he is free to seek his happiness in any mindless fraud, but the torture of frustration is all he will find, unless he seeks the happiness proper to man. The purpose of morality is to teach you, not to suffer and die, but to enjoy yourself and live.” [Ayn Rand]
Unfortunately the human race has not learned this lesson so they go about their days expecting life to take care of itself while they make no plans, never think about ideas, smoking their mind-altering drug of choice and living off the efforts and incomes of others. The so-called lessons they do learn they learn from the halls of occupied territory—high schools and university classrooms, where their teachers and professors also believe and teach that the mind is impotent, there are no moral absolutes, life is useless and there is no such thing as values worth seeking. To their professors all opinions and all values are equally valid. If you don’t believe this, check it out with any student attending a liberal arts university.
These are the reasons why the world is in such a cacophonous state—a state of confusion, turmoil, fear and hopelessness—where the threat of war is forever present. The writing is on the wall. Choose—a morality based upon the nature of man or based upon the teaching of mystics—a morality based upon rational life-enhancing decisions or death.
“No concept man forms is valid unless he integrates it without contradiction into the total sum of his knowledge. To arrive at a contradiction is to confess an error in one’s thinking; to maintain a contradiction is to abdicate one’s mind and to evict oneself from the realm of reality.” [Ayn Rand]
Observe the countless contradictions held by the intellectuals (theologians, professors and politicians) along the entire political spectrum. All of them hold on, like drunks to their booze, to ideas that boggle the rational mind, and to make matters worse, what they teach infects the minds of their students who have no idea of the fraud that is being perpetrated upon them. Today’s students have accepted hook, line and sinker, the political idea that the problems of humankind can only be solved through the use of force or fraud. They get away with it by using the techniques outlined in the novel 1984 by George Orwell. Doublespeak reigns—lies are truth, slavery is freedom, forcible redistribution of wealth is not theft. The doublespeak is unending and ubiquitous.
The perversion of those virtues that humankind requires for its survival will result in the destruction of humankind. Presently, the positive virtues of justice, independence, self-responsibility, self-esteem, reason, productiveness and happiness are considered by most people to be examples of selfishness, especially when exhibited indefinably as “excessive.” Those very same virtues must no longer be considered in a pejorative way, but should be considered as honorable and noble virtues to be sought after by the many. Only then will the tide of future annihilation be stemmed.
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