First, you have to flush them out of their very comfy hiding places.
Rand’s “self-interested” man: “the concept of man as a heroic being, with his own happiness as the moral purpose of his life, with productive achievement as his noblest activity, and reason as his only absolute.”
Hiding in there is a presupposition of goodness and not evil. How and if that man she describes is Donald Trump? Let’s make something useful of his example: I’m amused by the Shrugged crowd that hates on the Donald when he is, to all rights, the very essence of a self-interested man in all his power and productivity. Even just shuffling money and property rights employs a bunch of people. He lives for himself, and his own moral purposes, surely. He apparently doesn’t need an elite and incisive education or world view in order to be successful in the vision of Rand’s glorious producers.
I wouldn’t trust him as far as I could throw him.
What about a Soros? George Soros has his own moral compass, too. A self-made, self-interested man. Why assume that he is out for anyone other than himself? Well, there’s plenty of folks who thirst for him to be successful in his quest. Think on that.
Because Rand created a morally sterile fiction, it lends itself handily to innate projections of one’s own morality. Lots of really, really great people love Rand’s philosophy, but they are completely unaware of the luxurious cultural morality they are swimming in that assumes a pure atheist must necessarily be the most reasonable, logical, and thus, kind or fair sort of leader. I see nothing in Rand’s writings to suggest this, except its omission as a possibility; the misguided worship of reason and logic can lead to some pretty horrific outcomes for individual lives.
Expediency is the temporal god of Producers. Expedient eggs cracked for “productive” omelets are not any better off than those in Statist omelets. Trump (as our example) has ruined a lot of lives and left a lot of people holding the bag. Sure, the Statist system granted him that power and I don’t fault his logic and reason in taking full advantage of it. But then, I never invested in him.
You see, the presupposition of the “heroic” is the hope that I or someone I care about will benefit from the effort.
So, in a list of possible candidates for a heroic being that wants my vote of confidence, whom can I trust? And from the oppositional side of such an equation, how can I fault those on the pubic teat for hoping that their own logical, reasonable, self-interested man following his own happiness will include them in it?
Obama’s got a stash is not just a religious article of faith for them, it is the essence of their logic and reason. We watch as those on The Hill reason that, as their constituents spend all that beneficence, they themselves will prosper from it. You cannot fault it in Randian terms since their logic is working toward their own happiness. I fully believe they understand that it can’t last forever, that it is a mad bit of reasoning, but in a sterile moral lab of need and supply, it is a choice to be happy today and who is there to disabuse them of that reasonable and logical choice for today?
On the lower economic scale, how do you teach the Haitian, who for decades has been abused by self-interested players at every level, that the chicken they have been given today can lay eggs for them tomorrow? Today their god is in their stomach. It is a mindset we are rapidly embracing in our own culture. Indeed we’ve not seen planning for the future as a heroic good because our only god has been the Expedient followed closely by the Immediate.
Pleasure and pain must necessarily be the only framework for the morality of our self-interest.
In fact, you can’t even describe “important” to amoral man for he is the lone judge of that quality. Furthermore, there is no concept of “quality” in the moral vacuum. The hammer and the feather fall at the same speed. “All things being equal” is a cruel fate for the one under the hammer instead of the feather. But maybe that poor schlub needed a good hammering. Maybe it made someone else happy.Maybe it was productive.
Well, where do we stop?
We’ve moved past any coherent dialogue of morality, way out beyond the bonds of meaning into a gibberish of our own making. A tower of Babel.
I really don’t think God had to do much to confound the ancients in their language. Seems like without Him, all the best words and ideas lose all their good sense.