The “Desert Island” gambit:

I remember listening to an “introduction to Objectivism” type lecture done by (I think) Gary Hull.  The basic rhetorical gimmick consisted of posing the following question:

“What would you do if you were stranded on a desert island?”

He then went on to rattle off a myriad of “options” which were (either) brazenly inapplicable to the context (“Would you write your congressman?”) or non-sequitur (“would you pray?”).

The “point” was to deliberately “load” the example in such a manner that it could serve as a “platform” for explaining/propagandizing for (the ARI version of) Objectivism — while simultaneously affording Gary Hull the opportunity to take random pot-shots at stuff like religion, or “political liberalism”, or suchlike.

The thing is: very few people are fortunate enough to be “stranded” on a desert island.

What I mean by this: individuals are (typically) “born into” preexisting social, political and economic “systems”, and indoctrinated into them before they are capable of rationally evaluating the merits of such systems.

In other words, individuals are VICTIMIZED by having various (externally-imposed and unchosen) “identities” and “roles” foisted on them — by others, without their consent.

Blatant examples of this: any “ethnic” ghetto (“Chinatown”, etc.), ethno-religious subcultures (Hasidic Jewish enclaves, “Amish country”, Mennonites, Hutterites, etc.), only being given “gender-role” based toys during childhood, etc.

Eventually, a variant of “Stockholm Syndrome” sets in, where the victims begin to “identify with” — or outright admire — their Victimizers:

Unfortunately, the vast majority of such victims simply cannot allow themselves to acknowledge their own Victimization.  As a result, they tend to cover it over with layers of euphemisms and rationalizations (for example, the entire notion of “socialization’, for example.)

Eventually, at least some of them will  discover that it is possible to reclaim the illusion of “power” by “policing” the dissidents/malcontents who happen to have been crammed into their particular demographic “box”:

A particularly blatant example of this is so-called “Gender policing”:

My point is: In principle, none of the above-mentioned sociological “cruft” makes any sense, whatsoever.  The only real “purpose” such sociological “roles” serve, is to hobble individuals, by systematically depriving them/conditioning them against having even the bare modicum of basal knowledge required to function outside of whichever specific sociological “box” was imposed on them — for any length of time, no matter how brief.

So long as individuals are conditioned to regard (for example) food-related activities as distinctively ‘feminine” (‘women’s work’), or tasks involving manual dexterity/self-defense as stereotypically “masculine”, those individuals will be utterly dependent on their specific “herd”.  In principle, they will even be incapable of even meaningfully communicating with “foreigners”.

Quite frankly, the “acid test” with regard to any and all sociological ‘categories” or “roles” is: WOULD YOU BE ABLE TO “GET AWAY WITH” THIS in an “abnormal” situation?

If the answer is “no”, then that specific “identity”/”role” etc. is mere sociological “cruft”, and should be actively disregarded, as an impediment to the survival/flourishing of all concerned.

The fundamental problem with deliberately shaping oneself to conform to any externally-imposed “role” or “identity” is this: “society” is incredibly brittle.  “Specialization” is inherently problematic, if that “specialization” involves ignorance of — or apathy toward — anything outside of that ‘specialty”.

Too often, “specialization” is basically a euphemism for “buck-passing”.  People thing they can get away with (near) total ignorance of (say) even the most rudimentary aspects of how the technologies they use every day function.  (“I don’t have to know about cars — I can just pay a mechanic to fix whatever goes wrong!”


EVEN to be able to do that much requires the ability to differentiate between someone who says the problem is most likely a bad spark plug, and somebody who wants you to do a séance, because your automobile has become “possessed” by the spirit of “Jack the Ripper.

NOT EVEN “specialization” can excuse ignorance.

(For example: I might — currently — understand computers in (somewhat) less detail than a (purported) ‘expert” — but I do NOT attempt to “get away with” total ignorance.  I also make at least a basic effort to CONTINUE LEARNING about things, as needed.










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