Monday, March 2, 2009

What is Greed?

Milton Friedman is eloquent in his argument for the selfish interests of individual human beings.

(See my comments on this video below.)

Is it not time to give up accepting any guilt for acting out of your hunger to produce results and be successful? Those that lay this on anyone are attempting to saddle you with unearned guilt. Say NO!

(For an analysis of the craziness of limiting CEO salaries, read this by Thomas Sowell, a black man, by the way. The battle we find ourselves in is not racial. It is a battle of ideas. Specifically, moral ideas. The right to own yourself - egoism; or the right of the state or God to own you on their big plantation - altruism, the doctrine that requires self-sacrifice. Another term for it is "other-ism" and it means that you give up what is important for you in order to please or prove that you are not a selfish jerk.)

If a man initiates or threatens to initiate force against another then he is guilty of a crime. Punish him accordingly. That is the remedy, not some murky guilt trip that requires that a man's life - his reputation, his character and his achievements - be destroyed so that some small-minded, envy-ridden, revenge-bent man can feel good about himself. This behavior is rampant in our society right now and for no good purpose except power over other people and the hatred of the good because it is good. It is despicable and should be called out wherever you find it. Go here to get how a society destroys itself when envy is king.

Obama is playing the us vs. them strategy full tilt. It doesn't work, so now he finds himself in a battle over petty things. Notice that he has to attack Bush as if the buck stopped with Bush, not himself; or his attack on Rush Limbaugh; or his attack on CEO's salaries. As time goes on, whatever good he could accomplish will be used up and and his political capital squandered to fight this battle. He won't emerge a great man. Universal principles work as they do whether anyone wants them to or not. Either a man gets right with them or he doesn't. Either way, the consequences follow.

The same strategy has been used by all the dictators. For the Soviets it was the bourgeoise, for Hitler it was big business and the Jews, for Obama it is CEOs and capitalists. They never use words which denote or connote all the people that they are in charge of governing. Thus, they do not act in terms of the unchanging universal principles which from his nature govern a man's life. Rather, they act from some future point, an end, and feel that is sufficient to justify any means necessary. It is the "divine harmony" of the ultimate Soviet State, or the perfection and dominance of the Aryan man and the country that is in charge of his perfection, or the egalitarian ideal that all men shall possess the same existential opportunities and that the government shall redistribute the means to those opportunities at the point of a gun. Some think Obama is a pragmatist lurching from one direction to another. I've never thought that. Reading his history displays a man remarkably single-minded from an early age. Further he chose this direction out of hatred.

When you can look in your child's or grandchild's eyes and tell them that you spent most of what they will ever earn and that life will be hard, then maybe you can disavow yourself of the current regime's ideas and actions.

I am reminded of this, the existential reality of all us vs. them strategies:

First they came for the communists, and I did not speak out--
because I was not a communist;

Then they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out--
because I was not a socialist;

Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out--
because I was not a trade unionist;

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out--
because I was not a Jew;

Then they came for me--
and there was no one left to speak out for me.

(I do have to say for clarity that Friedman is distinguishing a phenomenon known as psychological egoism, not rational egoism. The value here is that he is pointing to the beneficiary of moral action - the person himself - rather than whether the action was rationally moral. The rational moral means that the action is judged by a rational standard, the nature and requirements of a human life which comes in the form of individuals. There are many irrational standards which he doesn't address.

The value of the video is that he is pointing out that there is no thinking around the subject of greed. I have never seen an objective definition of it. My position is that is nothing more than a "hunger" for a specific result. If that "hunger" causes a person to violate people's rights, then he is in trouble. Otherwise go for it Michael Jordan, Tiger Woods, Warren Buffet, and Bill Gates!

Psychological egoism is the error that everyone by nature is egoistic. This is false because man is not given any way to be nor know which actions he needs to take. He must choose and he can choose actions which sell himself and his values out or he can choose actions which achieve his values. This fact and the fact that life must be maintained in existence is why morality is necessary.

Further, he suggests that a President picks his men for their political clout. Without unpacking that one, a President picks his men for the values he perceives that gives him political clout. For example, I think Obama picked Rahm Emanual because he is a ruthless exactor in the political game Obama plays - namely politics of spin and personal destruction for the purpose of political control of his enemies for the ultimate purpose of maintaining his hold on the unthinking masses. Another president could pick a man for his character, integrity and his ability to inspire people.)

(This picture of Rahm thumbing his nose at Bush at the inauguration ended my possible admiration for him.)


principlex said...

Here's someone who is not shrinking from the charge of greed: Eric von Haessler at the Atlanta Tea Party.

principlex said...

Someone else sees the us vs. them paradigm.

"What is it with this President? Obama has an obsessive need to find enemies against whom to campaign. . . . Attacking lobbyists is not the point of Obama’s latest ploy. Rather, painting anyone who opposes him as a “lobbyist” is the point. In attacking the “lobbyists” Obama is doing what he did on the issue of race during the campaign: Anyone who opposes me doesn’t just have a different opinion, they are evil and dangerous to the rest of you. This tactic simultaneously generates support among the majority and silences the minority. Other presidents have been accused of using “enemies” as a political rallying point. Almost invariably, however, these enemies have been foreign (the “evil empire” and “axis of evil”). Obama is the first president “in my adult life” to set American against American, to create enemies at home as a political rallying point, to create a climate in which law-abiding American citizens are singled out as being worthy of attack."

This captured my attention at and the original link is here: