Saturday, April 07, 2007

Idiocy? No, Altruism. & Some Thoughts

Rarely does the editorial staff of the Detroit News get downright irate. But Friday April 6th I smiled when I read this editorial headline: "An iPod for every kid? Are they !#$!ing idiots?"

The first paragraph says:
We have come to the conclusion that the crisis Michigan faces is not a shortage of revenue, but an excess of idiocy. Facing a budget deficit that has passed the $1 billion mark, House Democrats Thursday offered a spending plan that would buy a MP3 player or iPod for every school child in Michigan.
No it's really not idiocy. It's altruism, the morality of intentions over results. If one says the magic words "It's not for me but for others" (especially "children"), then anything goes. One can safely ignore any and all consequences no matter how disasterous. This sentence however caught Mike's Eyes:
We wonder how financially strained Michigan residents will feel about paying higher taxes to buy someone else's kid an iPod.
Good point of course, but this sentence demonstrates that today's editors can think in terms of principles when they want to. The glaringly obvious next question is: why not apply that logic to education itself? In other words, just repeat that sentence with the word education in place of iPod? So why don't they? It has to be altruism.

In my efforts to understand such a method of thinking here is what I came up with. In order to integrate the anti-life principles of altruism with the pro-life principles of the rest of one's knowledge, one must compartmentalize all of one's knowledge. This means never being able to make integrations between principles so that one recognizes that the above principle should be applied to both iPods and education. To accomplish this misintegration, the mind must have seperate, that is unintegrated, file folders or compartments.

For example, the above sentence with the word iPod, would be drawn from a folder marked "rational self-interest" whereas that same sentence with the word education would be rejected as invalid because the word education is not allowed to be placed in that folder. Instead it would be placed in a folder titled "altruistic self-sacrifice for children." Or to put it another way, iPod is not allowed to be put into the folder of things for which one must sacrifice. This is why I believe that such a mind can utter a rational statement and be unable to connect the dots by relating to other concepts. In such a mind, there are no dots to connect. To comparmentalize then, is to severely limit integration. One can also see how this makes structuring a rational hierarchy almost impossible.

Anyway, I'm happy to see the News really gettng ticked off. Perhaps they will blurt out other rational statements with which some readers may be able to connect their own dots.

(To get a better handle on this, I am re-listening to Dr. Peikoff's excellent lecture series The D.I.M. Hypothesis--to which this post is already indebted--which can be heard for free here. Just register and go to the registered user page.)

2 comments:

Roderick said...

I'm so linking this to my facebook page. Thanks for the read.

Mike N said...

Rod:
You're welcome.