Sunday, October 26, 2008

They Don't Understand Rights

In the Brisbane Times (HT Junkscience.com of Oct. 24th.)Bill Clinton claimed:
"Today's global food crisis shows "we all blew it, including me when I was president", by treating food crops as commodities instead of as a vital right of the world's poor, Bill Clinton told a UN gathering today."
So now 'others' not only have a right to health care, to an education, to a job, now they have a right to food too. Next will be their right to your life if you fail to satisfy their rights to your labor, your sweat, your dreams, your future.

There is no such thing as a right to a thing before one has earned it. "The concept of a “right” pertains only to action—specifically, to freedom of action. It means freedom from physical compulsion, coercion or interference by other men." (Ayn Rand Lexicon)

If one wanted to really help the world's poor, one would look for the root cause of their poverty which is almost always the same root--the lack of freedom by right; the freedom to produce the goods required for their survival and to use and dispose of those goods as they see fit. They don't have that freedom.

To feed them just for a day or a week only leaves the root cause (statist government) untouched and guarantees the the poor will still be there tomorrow or next week with the same needs. While this kind of caring is called 'altruistic' it has nothing to do with a genuine concern for the poor. A real concern for human life begins with a concern for oneself. One must always ask "Would I want to live like that in perpetuity? If not, then why make others do it? By giving them a fish for a day but refusing to teach them how to fish, one sustains poverty, even promotes it.

The giving of a fish for a day is good only if accompanied by efforts to teach them how to fish i.e. teach them the meaning of freedom by right and by reorienting their governments to protecting those rights. A rational self interest will accomplish this. Altruism will not. It isn't designed to. Altruism is designed to get people to accept sacrifice as a perpetual way of life. When one looks at the world's poor, one can see how successful altruism is at doing that.

Only a self-interested love of life will result in valuing those things that sustain and enhance life--like freedom by right instead of permission. But alas, thanks to the dominant philosophy of pragmatism, there is no one in American politics or academe who can teach the real meaning of rights to anyone. The only ones who could are the small but growing number of people who use the philosophy of Objectivism to guide their lives.

One last thought: the altruism of America's leaders today will definitely lead us to that same fish-for-a-day standard of living of the current world's poor. It's coming unless altruism is replaced by Egoism.

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