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Jesus vs. John Galt

 
 
Terry
 
  1  
Reply Fri 30 Jul, 2004 07:18 am
ebrown, yes, I do want to judge whether the sufferings of others are just and whether their virtue entitles them to my help. People would quickly learn that they need to take responsibility for themselves, and work to solve their own problems instead of expecting handouts all their lives.

Of course I will help Kicky, since Kicky is a dependable person who I know will help me if I ever get into trouble. But I object to the State taking my hard-earned money without my consent and giving it to an irresponsible welfare mom with 6 kids by 4 different men, none of whom is held responsible for the children he fathered, and whose kids will most likely end up in jail, dealing drugs, or unwed moms themselves and never be productive members of society.
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Terry
 
  1  
Reply Fri 30 Jul, 2004 07:19 am
tcis, I agree that you can find virtually any philosophy in the Bible if you pick and choose the verses that support your desired point of view, such as God's support for slaughtering your neighbors and taking their land. Jesus and Paul had radically different ideas.

Why is it selfish to keep what you earn? What legitimate claim does anyone else have on my time and resources? Sorry, but I am under no ethical obligation to help anyone unless I choose to do so, for whatever reasons I deem my aid is justified.

I don't know why we should be expected to love everyone. My philosophy is: love your family, love your friends, and at least be polite to everyone else.

Perhaps it is arrogance to notice that I am smarter, better educated, and more productive than someone else, and therefore deserve to keep the money I earn instead of rewarding them for laziness, ignorance and incompetence by being forced to give part of my earnings to them. We were all created with equal rights, but we are certainly not equal in our abilities or how we choose to use them. I have no problem with treating all people with the respect due to any sentient creature. But I cannot respect someone who chooses to be lazy or ignorant in spite of the free education and job training available to them. I think that it is justifiable for good citizens to feel superior to anyone who chooses a life of crime, drugs, or welfare over being a productive member of society.

If we are not permitted to judge people, a primary method for enforcing the social contract by members of the community openly showing our disapproval for immoral, illegal, or detrimental behavior is lost.
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ebrown p
 
  1  
Reply Fri 30 Jul, 2004 08:35 am
Quote:

ebrown_p,
The thing I wonder about is: would the Jesus based society work, if 95% of the people were "turn the other cheek" meek Jesus followers, but 5% were violent Hitler types, etc., whatever?

It seems that 100% would have to follow Jesus's model for it to truly work. If you had that 5% crimminal element, then you'd have to have police, who probably couldn't imitate Christ to do their jobs, etc, etc.

What do you think? Will it ever be realistic in this world? Will the Jesus example every truly work if ~5% are still in the "violent crimminal fringe" etc.?

I am glad you're arguing the Jesus side. I hope you have a good comeback here to help me see that if 95% are meek & loving and 5% aren't, it can work,iwithout the 5% taking over everything. What would Jesus say to this? Be meek, turn the other cheek, and let the hoods do what they will? (hey, is this is what is happening in our world today?)


I am not sure about what a "Jesus based society" would means. Would "turning the other cheek" be a law? Would you punish people for not "turning the other cheek"?

This moral value is clearly a matter of individual ethics. I do believe that it should be made a cultural value.

But would it work?

Sure. It has worked with much less than 95% of the society following this teaching.

Martin Luther King lead a non-violent political movement based on Jesus' teachings. Much more than 5% of society acted like thugs. Much less than 95% were Christ-like. However his movement was very powerful and effective.
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john-nyc
 
  1  
Reply Fri 30 Jul, 2004 10:12 am
Terry wrote:
edgar, Galt's philosophy does not allow anyone to be enslaved. No one may be forced to work for someone else or have the fruits of their labors taken from them. Of course workers may organize, but they may not coerce factory owners into paying them more than their labor is worth through violence, intimidation, or acts of Congress.


And this is where the battle is joined!

Who determines what a laborer's work is worth?

Does intimidation work both ways?

I would like to suggest a whole new thread on this "side-street" to the egoist v. altruist argument.

http://www.able2know.com/forums/viewtopic.php?p=816470&sid=7358a8cc8ede5911ed3764551c0f75f7#816470
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jackie
 
  1  
Reply Fri 30 Jul, 2004 10:47 am
I am not terribly well-educated, and may not be considered smart-

well, in my own opinion, I am NOT a debater., yet I wish to address this subject, too.

I feel the whole concept of the excerpt of Atlas Shrugged
(link you posted),
has an argument based on a misstatement. The Bible does not teach that 'money is evil'.

From the book of 2 Timothy 6:10,
Paul is writing to Timothy to guard against false teaching and to posess true riches. He tells him...."for the love of money is the root of all evil"


Not that any medium of exchange is EVIL, but to love it so much as to make it your life's GOAL, would not leave space for Loving God and serving one's fellowman, would it?

I think this is the message Jesus taught in lots of ways and different words.
HIs parable about the talents was concerning the slothfulness of the SERVANT, nothing really about the "money". Notice Jesus always used examples that were readily understood by listeners/ (readers).

Good day to everyone
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john-nyc
 
  1  
Reply Fri 30 Jul, 2004 10:55 am
You knew the difference between money as the "root" and "love of money" as the "root" and that is plenty smart enough!
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edgarblythe
 
  1  
Reply Fri 30 Jul, 2004 12:08 pm
Terry
The slavery would not be called such, but it would be the net effect over a period of time.
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Debra Law
 
  1  
Reply Fri 30 Jul, 2004 12:17 pm
bookmark
Bookmark.
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tcis
 
  1  
Reply Fri 30 Jul, 2004 12:23 pm
ebrown_p wrote:
Quote:

Martin Luther King lead a non-violent political movement based on Jesus' teachings. Much more than 5% of society acted like thugs. Much less than 95% were Christ-like. However his movement was very powerful and effective.


Good point. However, some idiot ended up assassinating MLKing. So while it indeed was(is) a powerful movement, I don't know if we can say it "works" in this world. It depends how you define success, I suppose.
If one is willing to accept things like assassinations, etc., from the violent fringe and continue on in the movement, I suppose it does work. I guess I was just hoping for this ideal world where we would all turn the other cheek. Ironically, if everyone truly followed Jesus's teaching, there would be no need to turn the other cheek.

Interesting: They crucified Jesus. They assassinated Martin Luther King. They assassinated Gandhi.

Something about human nature that likes to kill people that promote non-violence too strongly? What is that? If Galt met Jesus, would Galt laugh at him? I almost think Galt might respect Jesus, in some way. "The dude is following his dream, he is a strong leader, staying true to himself, right up to the end"...something like that.
0 Replies
 
OCCOM BILL
 
  1  
Reply Fri 30 Jul, 2004 12:36 pm
ebrown_p wrote:
The philosophy expressed in this quote is requires a level of arrogance. If you come to me with a need, I must judge whether you are worthy of my help. Do you want to judge the "unjustness" of someone's suffering? Will you interview him and ask for a believable performance to prove this? Do you want to judge someone else's virtue?

I don't want to be in this position. I probably won't do a good job. History tells us that "virtue" is often judged by irrational measures. People tend to be swayed by height, weight, race etc. We have trouble hiring employees fairly. If everyone lives by this, it will amplify the inequities in society.

All too often in these conversations, people assume that following John Galt's values make a person shamelessly materialistic and selfish. But it doesn't. No more than following Jesus makes you give away your material and be selfless. Values help shape our decisions nothing more. I donate to charities. I'm a mark for every ABC-XYZ-athon there is, and everyone's kids seem to know it. If you are on line in front of me at the grocery store and come up short, I'll probably kick in the difference. No uncalled for violence will ever take place in front of me if I can help it. I'll get out and help you push your car out of the road if it's stalled. Yes, you can use my phone, even though I really don't want your germs. If you are old or infirm, you can have my seat. This is all true, not because I am Christian… but because I am a very selfish man. Doing these things makes me feel better about me.

ebrown_p wrote:
In contrast, Jesus' philosophy is summed up by

Jesus (Gospel of Luke chapter 6) wrote:

Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. Do to others as you would have them do to you.
... Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned
I remember a John Galt Quote that is a near opposite to that... so it should probably be mentioned.
John Galt wrote:
I swear by my life and my love of it that I will never live my life for the sake of another man nor ask another man to live for mine.


ebrown_p wrote:
These quotes from Galt and Jesus are both extreme. But which is better for society and for the individual.
John Galt would tell you that in this sentence 'society' means everyone but me.

ebrown_p wrote:
"Do to others as you would have them do to you." is a very logical statement. A community with this standard will be united and will work together for the common good.
And if they don't cooperate of their free will, will you then force them? John Galt requires no such cooperation from anyone. He simply asks not to be forced.

ebrown_p wrote:
The fact that I will give without judgement takes a burden off of me. There is a basic fairness and goodness about this. I am not forced to decide whether you deserve my help or wrestle with my prejudices.
And if they do not give without judgement... are you justified in taking what isn't yours?

ebrown_p wrote:
In a community with this standard, I don't need to worry about bad times that may come. The entire can be confident their needs will be met-- as a community.
We've seen in many such systems that people who don't have anything to lose by under-producing under-produce. Not all men will work for that which they can have for free. John Galt doesn't care. An individual produces or perishes. This works.

ebrown_p wrote:
A society that lives by Galt's standard will be arrogant, unfair and will disunited. People will not work together as they will be worried about whether their neighbors have the "virtue".
Quite the opposite. People will exchange value for value on terms that are acceptable to both. Products and services are worth what people are willing to pay. No more. No less. What is inherently unfair? One man's arrogance is another man's confidence... that is of little importance.

ebrown_p wrote:
When Terry doesn't help Kicky in his time of need because he didn't rate as virtuous, you think Kicky is not going to remember this? This society will tend to break down into people who will never help each other.
That situation will be no more or less frequent in either society. If this hypothetical is intended to be total adherence; in Galt's Utopia you will see those who produce will always find a way to deal... and it would be scarce few who didn't. John Galt's philosophy allows for taking care of those who can't take care of themselves. It only punishes those who choose not to. Conversely, in the Jesus society, the masses would compete to be the most needy. Since no advantage could be expected for extra carricular work or thought, progress would be slow. This lack of opportunity for individual advancement would inevidibly result in rebelion eventually. Flip that coin... and look at how rewarding individual desire for more creates a creative environment where people constantly strive to improve, streamling and advance for greater profit.

ebrown_p wrote:
A community that excepts the philosophy of Christ will have more confident people who work together for the good of all. Under Galt's philosophy people will be arrogant, and will face the arrogance and judgement of others. They will not have support during times of need nor work together with their neighbors.
While Christ's communtity stagnates with everyone trying to produce at the level of the lowest common denominator and worries about equally distributing what little they produce; John Galt's society is a production Haven where everyone is competing to produce the most so there is more than enough excess wealth for taking care of those who can't help themselves. Those who choose not to are banished from the society or perish. Contrary to Christ's community where a minimum standard becomes glaringly necessary and punishments for failing to meet it will no doubt prove necessary as well, in Galt's every one does what the decide of there own free will.

Bottom line.
Galt= Punishes lazy non-production. Society without restriction succeeds. Only criminals who infringe on freedom are "forced" to do anything.
Jesus= Rewards lazy non-production. Society therefore becomes lazier and lazier until they are forced to create laws where people are forced to do things.

This is before we even address the problems inherent in letting those who don't know what it takes to produce wealth, take control of it.

That, is the simple truth, as Galt and I see it.
0 Replies
 
OCCOM BILL
 
  1  
Reply Fri 30 Jul, 2004 12:53 pm
Interesting point about Rand's own behavior, John/NYC. I'd say that proves that it is an ideal rather than a strict code that anyone is expected to follow to the letter. She encouraged us to think for ourselves...


Quote:
It seems that 100% would have to follow Jesus's model for it to truly work. If you had that 5% crimminal element, then you'd have to have police, who probably couldn't imitate Christ to do their jobs, etc, etc.


More problems that melt away in John Galt's community. Whoever initiates the use of force is a threat to all and we act accordingly. We do not turn cheeks. Plus, we don't give a hoot about dissention. No need for force there, either.
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joefromchicago
 
  1  
Reply Fri 30 Jul, 2004 01:14 pm
How would a Randian society handle really stupid people?
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tcis
 
  1  
Reply Fri 30 Jul, 2004 01:31 pm
joefromchicago wrote:
How would a Randian society handle really stupid people?


Good question. And what about the mentally and physically handicapped.
What about mentally retarded adults, for example. People that have Alzheimer's for 10 years, etc.

Okay, no one is going to do anything for anyone else. Everybody for themselves. Do not live for anyone else.

Mr. Galt, we're following you: now no one wants to work in the nursing homes or the handicapped centers, etc. They feel too much like they are living for someone else., they all have higher dreams they need to pursue. We are all stars of our own universe, and no one wants to work at that drudgery chump change charity work anymore.

Mr. Galt, what do we do with mentally retarded people? Say they are so profoundly handicapped, they are incapable of producing anything of "value" to society. Just let them die?
0 Replies
 
OCCOM BILL
 
  1  
Reply Fri 30 Jul, 2004 01:59 pm
joefromchicago wrote:
How would a Randian society handle really stupid people?
They wouldn't hold it against us Joe. :wink: Every society needs ditch-diggers too.
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joefromchicago
 
  1  
Reply Fri 30 Jul, 2004 02:26 pm
tcis wrote:
joefromchicago wrote:
How would a Randian society handle really stupid people?


Good question. And what about the mentally and physically handicapped.
What about mentally retarded adults, for example. People that have Alzheimer's for 10 years, etc.

Well, I wasn't really talking about the mentally handicapped (although that's a good question, too). Rather, I am more interested in a Randian society's treatment of people who are just really stupid.

For instance, as O'BILL notes:
    More problems that melt away in John Galt's community. Whoever initiates the use of force is a threat to all and we act accordingly. We do not turn cheeks. Plus, we don't give a hoot about dissention. No need for force there, either.
This is a nice system in theory, but what about those people who are simply too obtuse to recognize their own best interests? What about those people who, instead of reacting against the initiator of force, actually assist him? And what if those stupid people outnumber the smart ones?

It seems to me that the Randians (like the Libertarians) are awfully optimistic about human nature, or, to be more precise, they are awfully optimistic about the likelihood that people will act rationally. I, however, see little evidence for this optimism.

So what does a Randian society do when there are more stupid people than smart people?
0 Replies
 
OCCOM BILL
 
  1  
Reply Fri 30 Jul, 2004 02:36 pm
tcis wrote:
Good question. And what about the mentally and physically handicapped.
What about mentally retarded adults, for example. People that have Alzheimer's for 10 years, etc.
When you don't have the burden of looters stealing half of what you make... you become far more successful much easier... and more generous. I give to charity because it makes me feel better about me. Get Uncle Sam's hand out of my pocket, and I promise I'd donate much more. Further, a basic safety net is in everyone's best interests and those who opposed it would be ostracized.


tcis wrote:
Okay, no one is going to do anything for anyone else. Everybody for themselves. Do not live for anyone else.
You are thinking too extreme. To follow that to the letter would be an exaggeration that is no more likely than everyone giving away their fortunes and spending their days wandering around preaching. The extreme meaning would only apply in an extreme situation.
Example: If you don't marry me; I'll kill myself. John Galt says; it was a pleasure knowing you.

tcis wrote:
Mr. Galt, we're following you: now no one wants to work in the nursing homes or the handicapped centers, etc. They feel too much like they are living for someone else., they all have higher dreams they need to pursue. We are all stars of our own universe, and no one wants to work at that drudgery chump change charity work anymore.
There is a price for everything. People want the work that will pay them best... each according to his ability. If you recall, Galt himself worked as a factory worker without shame. Neither Hank nor Francisco were afraid to get their hands dirty, either. There is no shameful employment. Shame is found in unemployment.

tcis wrote:
Mr. Galt, what do we do with mentally retarded people? Say they are so profoundly handicapped, they are incapable of producing anything of "value" to society. Just let them die?
Covered by the safety net. I wouldn't want to live in a world where they let the handicapped starve. I would donate over and above the safety net fund if need be. I wouldn't be alone.
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OCCOM BILL
 
  1  
Reply Fri 30 Jul, 2004 02:41 pm
Damn Joe, didn't waste any time getting to the hard stuff did you?
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joefromchicago
 
  1  
Reply Fri 30 Jul, 2004 03:42 pm
OCCOM BILL wrote:
Damn Joe, didn't waste any time getting to the hard stuff did you?

Actually, I think I know the answer to the question that I posed, but, since I'm not a fan of Rand, I'm in no position to suggest that my answer would be a fair approximation of a true Randian's answer.
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kickycan
 
  1  
Reply Fri 30 Jul, 2004 03:44 pm
I think the Randian answer is: F*ck 'em. Who cares what happens to them? Laughing
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OCCOM BILL
 
  1  
Reply Fri 30 Jul, 2004 05:05 pm
I say it's the hard stuff Joe, because it demands an examination of the root of Good and Evil…civilization itself, really. $

joefromchicago wrote:
This is a nice system in theory, but what about those people who are simply too obtuse to recognize their own best interests? What about those people who, instead of reacting against the initiator of force, actually assist him? And what if those stupid people outnumber the smart ones?


Well, I guess the obvious answer is this is not a problem unique to a John Galt Community. A simple response would be that the Jesus model has already proven to bring such violence and would therefore be more likely to result in a public uprising, no? Christian history would certainly help to support that theory.

But lunatic fringes aside; I believe conceptually, a society around Galt would be less likely to be over run than one by Jesus anyway because of the leadership. While the Jesus community would follow the most charismatic guy who stepped up to the mike, the Galt society would be lead by the people who enjoyed the most success. Both societies would eventually end up with a concentration of wealth at the top… The difference is in Galt's society; the people at the top earned it. They understand very well how to manage money, relations and what not. In the Jesus society, the most charismatic of the group (no doubt some one who'd fit better in the Galt model) would rise to the top. He'd likely know little about cash management and care even less since his sheep would gladly give all.
Eventually, I'm certain he'd be taking it at gunpoint, not simply receiving it because of in practice; communistic peoples produce less and less. The Jesus model probably fails even if the people's goodness doesn't because incompetence doesn't rely on bad intentions.

I don't actually recall Galt's view on Punishment, but suffice to say if it's up to me; force is met with permanent solutions. I see no room for "career criminals" in Galt's Gulch, but let's not even stop there, okay? I do not believe there is a significantly large concentration of stupid violent people anywhere. Substandard intelligence doesn't typically cause one to become violent, does it? I'd say; Causes do. Religion- is the undisputed heavyweight champion but absent that, I'd say poverty or oppression are probably the only two contenders left... and since it's a world of 'mind your own business', oppression is out... and that just leaves poverty. I know if I had hungry kids, I'd do whatever I had to, to feed them. Could an advanced society that enjoyed unprecedented growth of wealth of industry from unprecedented unfettered access to their own funds really turn their backs on a fatally high percentage of people? I say not if they stick to the ideal. It isn't logical.

Of course, in the real world I'd change my answer to; of course. Both systems fail. Eventually, whether through corruption or honest accumulation, the money gets concentrated into few enough pockets that we have to kill the king. I imagine it will just keep repeating repeatedly for as long as our species survives. The fatal flaw I see is in the lack of redistribution at death. Bill Gates understands this, I suspect, and that's why he plans to donate most of his fortune. Too bad the Royal Saudis, and just about everyone else, just doesn't get it.
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