Monday, June 04, 2012

Oh, I wish I'd had this response to 'giving back to the community'

during an argument a while back. Small piece:
Most of all I hate the idea of “giving back” because it presumes that the individual is nothing without the undefined, faceless community. No one is going to dispute that people do best with rule of law and private property (well, the “community people” might dispute that last. That’s all right. They’re wrong) but the “community” doesn’t do that for the benefit of its members. Rather, each of its members does that for his/her own benefit.

I also hate the (you knew we’d come to it, right) Marxist ethos at the back of that phrase. In “giving back” is the idea that whatever you achieved was achieved at a cost to others. Instead of a group, where we each do better because we have this charter that supports all of us (which is what the best writers groups I belonged to were) we end up with the idea that people did this FOR you and that whatever you have came at their expense.

It all comes back in the end to the idea of economics as a finite pie and a closed system. This is completely insane (each of us now has more “wealth” than any king in the Middle Ages) but it is the only way Marx could define envy as a virtue, and, by gum, he was running with that. Envy is only a virtue if anyone who does better is a thief. Someone needs to “give back” only if he took more than his fair share.

This is my middle finger. See my middle finger?

I'll note that the argument was with someone who thinks socialism is an AWESOME idea, etc. This would've been perfect

1 comment:

Marja said...

Small internets :)

Sarah's blog is one which I read almost daily, a bit more often than I read yours :). I also comment fairly often, just had to change the name I use because the damn Wordpress wouldn't, for a while, let me comment unless I logged in my wp account, so there I use 'pohjalainen' (Marja was already taken when I created that account, quite a while back).