So, just out of curiosity, I decided to do the “quiz” at the following link:
Results were interesting:
90% alignment with Jill Stein.
Now, for somebody who tends to resort to Ayn Rand quotes, that might seem confusing.
Actually, there’s nothing confusing about it, at all.
Here’s the thing: Objectivism/Libertarianism is — in principle — better than the alternatives — in two senses:
- IF you could (somehow) start from tabula rasa — NO preexisting social, political, or economic structures — then a society built from the beginning on Objectivist/Libertarian principles would be infinitely preferable to the current system(s).
- As an “idealized” blueprint, Objectivism/Libertarianism is extremely useful, in that they provide something toward which one should aim.
However, the fatal flaw in Objectivist/Libertarian “thinking” is the utter lack of any sort of “blueprint” to get from “point a” (society as it currently exists) to “point B” (the real-life embodiment of “Galt’s Gulch”.)
Objectivists (and Libertarians) both tend to be explicitly revolutionary — as opposed to reformist.
For example: Libertarians/Objectivists can yip-yap about the “Earned” vs. “the Unearned” (in the abstract) all they want. That does nothing to answer the empirically-demonstrable fact that job applicants with (purportedly) “Black”-sounding names tend to be unjustly penalized by their would-be employers:
I can already hear the standard “libertarian”/”Objectivist”/Conservative excuses: “But, what about the ‘underclass’ element of the Black population?”
Ayn Rand quote for Y’all:
Racism is the lowest, most crudely primitive form of collectivism. It is the notion of ascribing moral, social or political significance to a man’s genetic lineage—the notion that a man’s intellectual and characterological traits are produced and transmitted by his internal body chemistry. Which means, in practice, that a man is to be judged, not by his own character and actions, but by the characters and actions of a collective of ancestors.
Racism claims that the content of a man’s mind (not his cognitive apparatus, but its content) is inherited; that a man’s convictions, values and character are determined before he is born, by physical factors beyond his control. This is the caveman’s version of the doctrine of innate ideas—or of inherited knowledge—which has been thoroughly refuted by philosophy and science. Racism is a doctrine of, by and for brutes. It is a barnyard or stock-farm version of collectivism, appropriate to a mentality that differentiates between various breeds of animals, but not between animals and men.
Like every form of determinism, racism invalidates the specific attribute which distinguishes man from all other living species: his rational faculty. Racism negates two aspects of man’s life: reason and choice, or mind and morality, replacing them with chemical predestination.
A genius is a genius, regardless of the number of morons who belong to the same race—and a moron is a moron, regardless of the number of geniuses who share his racial origin.
Like every other form of collectivism, racism is a quest for the unearned. It is a quest for automatic knowledge—for an automatic evaluation of men’s characters that bypasses the responsibility of exercising rational or moral judgment—and, above all, a quest for an automatic self-esteem (or pseudo-self-esteem).
Now, here’s the thing:
Stigmatizing INDIVIDUAL applicants MERELY on the basis of their NAMES is utterly indefensible — for any “reason”:
In most cases the vast majority of individuals are named by others (for example: their parents). Having one’s “legal” name changed tends to be rather complex and expensive. So, even if someone burdened with a name stereotypically associated with a stigmatized Demographic collective wanted to attempt to “work around” the racist bullshit stigma — requiring that they do so necessarily represents a total capitulation o the “Collectivist” notion that individuals should be judged *NOT* on their own merits — but rather, that we should “grade on a curve” — by reference to stereotypes about whatever demographic “Community” SOME WHIM-RIDDEN, THOUGHTLESS JACK-ASS merely “assigns” them.
I submit that the (empirically verified and undeniable) fact that individuals with (supposedly) “Black”-sounding names are unfairly stigmatized merely by their names represents an instanced of “THE UNEARNED”.
That’s the whole point of the whole “check your privilege” thing.
As one website describes it:
Simply put, this means that we may, unknowingly, have certain advantages over others. And this is only because there are aspects of our identity that society values over others.
For example, growing up, I came from a middle-class background. I never experienced food or financial insecurity. I didn’t have a job while I was in high school, and I was able to attain a good education. It was assumed, by default, that I would be high-achieving. As a result, my teachers invested a lot in my success.
In contrast, poorer classmates that I knew experienced near-constant food and financial insecurity. As a result, this impacted their focus, their emotional wellbeing, and their grades. Teachers simply assumed that they were “lost causes” that didn’t care about their schooling. Consequently, they didn’t spend as much time mentoring those classmates as they did mentoring me.
Does this mean I didn’t struggle, too? No. Does it mean that I’m a bad person? Nope.
It simply means that I gained an unearned advantage, in comparison to other people – by no fault of my own, but rather, because of prejudice.
We, unfortunately, live in a society that carries a great deal of prejudice on many different levels – and this impacts the way that we are treated.
Often times, our laws and other institutions can reflect this prejudice, too. And the result is that people end up with advantages and disadvantages, depending on their intersecting social statuses – things like disability, race, a/sexuality, gender, class, and much more.
And this – only this! – is where the idea of “checking your privilege” comes from.
When someone asks you to “check your privilege,” what they’re really asking you to do is to reflect on the ways that your social status might have given you an advantage – even if you didn’t ask for it or earn it – while their social status might have given them a disadvantage.
Now, I’ll be the first to admit that — in many cases — the observation above tends to get mixed up with a whole bunch of quasi-Marxist/Collectivist shit where individuals are required to pigeon-hole themselves into specific Demographic “communities”, and/or embrace specific, pre-defined social/cultural/economic “roles”.
Then again, too often, Libertarian/Objectivist/”Conservative” agitprop ends up being used as ideological cover/agitprop for transnational, corporate oligarchy.
So, here’s the thing: The “pull yourselves up by your own bootstraps” thing is ridiculous, so long as “Society” continues to (often unwittingly) default to stereotypes as a means to evade the effort necessary to first-handedly evaluate EVERY individual on his — or her — own merits.
Now, the truly horrifying thing is: there are actually people who attempt to excuse the tendency to resort to stereotypes or — as the euphemism goes, “First impressions”:
Definition: A stereotype is “…a fixed, over generalized belief about a particular group or class of people.” (Cardwell, 1996).
For example, a “hells angel” biker dresses in leather.
One advantage of a stereotype is that it enables us to respond rapidly to situations because we may have had a similar experience before.
One disadvantage is that it makes us ignore differences between individuals; therefore we think things about people that might not be true (i.e. make generalizations).
The use of stereotypes is a major way in which we simplify our social world; since they reduce the amount of processing (i.e. thinking) we have to do when we meet a new person.
By stereotyping we infer that a person has a whole range of characteristics and abilities that we assume all members of that group have. Stereotypes lead to social categorization, which is one of the reasons for prejudice attitudes (i.e. “them” and “us” mentality) which leads to in-groups and out-groups.
The thing is: that whole “lack of processing” thing they mention as an “advantage” strikes me a dangerously “Second-handed” and unjust.
It’s also “collectivist” right down to the root:
Mankind is not an entity, not an organism, or a coral bush. The entity involved in production and trade is man. It is with the study of man—not of the loose aggregate known as a “community”—that any science of the humanities has to begin . . . .
A great deal may be learned about society by studying man; but this process cannot be reversed: nothing can be learned about man by studying society—by studying the inter-relationships of entities one has never identified or defined.
So, interacting with individuals on the basis of STEREOTYPES about whichever “collective” identity/role you assume they’ve been “assigned” — simply because it is an anti-effort way to “simplify our social world” — is:
ANTI-EFFORT (in that actually dealing with that SPECIFIC INDIVIDUAL or situation would require significantly more conscious involvement, volition, and focus)
EMOTIONALIST (in that stereotypes are often manifested as “gut feelings” — which tend to go unanalyzed)
SECOND-HANDED (in that we often “inherit” stereotypes from our “significant others”, which then go unquestions)
The whole thing is just inherently vicious, on all levels.
And, there’s the problem with Libertarian/Objectivist/”Conservative” delusions: we don’t live in the pure, laissez-faire utopia where every individual is ACTUALLY TREATED AS AN INDIVIDUAL — and judged solely on his (or her) own merits.
So, we have to actually deal with the social, economic and political world that REALLY EXISTS — as opposed to some sort of “floating abstraction”.
Take the Civil Rights movement:
FACTUALLY no genuine individualist could have opposed it. It was NOT an instance of “Federal tyranny’. Many of the “Several States” were systematically abrogating the (purportedly) “unalienable” rights of large segments of their own populace, by way of the “Jim Crow” system.
Barry Goldwater (a “White” male who was by default never going to be negatively impacted by “Jim Crow”, and — in fact — was probably privileged by it, in that it tended to structurally “freeze out” Non-Whites from positions of socioeconomic power) could evade the fact that his “principled” stand against “Federal Tyranny” tacitly amounted to ENABLING what amounted to a racial “Caste system”.
And THEREIN lies the problem.