More on the “Flynn effect”: slavery, sexism and religious bigotry

Let’s think about slavery.

Now, the salient thing about slavery is: the mere existence of slavery DISPROVES Ayn Rand’s claim that “property rights” and “human rights” go together.

Here is one of the less-inane variants of this claim:

There is no such dichotomy as “human rights” versus “property rights.” No human rights can exist without property rights. Since material goods are produced by the mind and effort of individual men, and are needed to sustain their lives, if the producer does not own the result of his effort, he does not own his life. To deny property rights means to turn men into property owned by the state. Whoever claims the “right” to “redistribute” the wealth produced by others is claiming the “right” to treat human beings as chattel.

What “Miss Rand” is (deliberately) ignoring is the fact that such chattel have historically been regarded as property.

In essence, human livestock.

Quite frankly, to the extent that slaves were considered “property” – the slave-owner’s (purported) ‘right” to his (human) “property” was in direct conflict with the right of the aforementioned “human livestock” NOT to be enslaved.

So much for the overt forms of Enslavement.

Now, I will freely admit that slavery is endemic to all savage societies (along with such other glorious attributes as: grinding poverty,  mass starvation, the subjugation of those unlucky enough to be born female in such societies, etc.)

Even the (seemingly minor) forms of “gender”-based subjugation (such as characterizing specific tasks as “women’s work”, or specific agricultural crops as “women’s” crops, etc.) –  merely amounts to a less-thorough version of exactly the same “role”-based victimization at the root of FGM and other crimes against humanity.

At any rate: Ayn Rand is wrong in her claim that “property rights” and “human rights” necessarily go together.

The interesting thing is: she (tacitly) admits her error.  She does so by means of phrase “material goods”.

In other words, material goods (which are “produced by the effort of individual men”) are seen by Rand as a necessary component of an individual man “owning” his life.

The mere fact that individual autonomy/moral agency etc., can only be “framed” as an issue along the lines of “who ‘owns’ you/your life?” in itself speaks volumes with regard to just exactly how pervasively corrupt and vicious the (innumerable) variants of slavery endemic to historical (and putatively “modern”) societies are.

i submit the following: any “social role” which involves enforcement (IE: punishing the victim) amounts to an instance of enslavement.  Such slavery need not be De jure (in fact, the social system in question will probably take great pains to disguise the true nature of such institutionalized brutality under all sorts of euphemisms), but it amounts to de facto Enslavement, nonetheless.

Some salient examples of what I’m getting at:

I could go on, but you probably get the idea:

Any “social” (or political) structure which depends on the notion that SOME humans are “more equal than others” – and which permits the use of physical coercion to keep the victims in “their place” – is nothing more, less, or other than an elaborate slave-pen.

The truly vicious thing about the above fact is: the corruption and viciousness of such “social systems” tends to be disguised under all sorts of “aesthetic” window-dressing – which is, in and of itself – harmless.

A really great example of this is: India.

I have a soft-spot for quite a lot of Indian culture: Hindustani  (and to a lesser extent, Carnatic) classical music, various foods (naan, samosas, aloo palak, etc.).

However, I simply cannot blind myself to the pervasive evils which still hobble far too many of that region’s population from achieving what Ayn Rand would have called “full human stature”.

For example: the “caste” system,  and the systematic victimization of those unlucky enough to have been born female:

So, no: IF the only way to secure the recognition of basic human rights for the whole population of the Indian subcontinent (particularly those of lower “caste”, and women) involved “cultural genocide” against so-called “Indian culture” – then so be it.

Samosas and Sitar music would be an insignificant “price” to pay for the expansion of civilization to an additional 1.311 billion people.

Now, to be fair, I personally don’t think that the “aesthetic” aspects of culture are inextricably linked to stuff like (for example): “structural” misogyny, “demographic” oppression (“Jim Crow” etc.) – but this is exactly what happens far too often:

The innocuous (“aesthetic”) aspects of a given culture are hijacked by the  most reactionary and brutal of “traditonalists”.

I personally believe that this is one reason why there is a tendency for the more idealistic/individualist segments of any given population to sneer at “traditional” aesthetics, when they finally figure out exactly how vicious the “traditional” forms of social-stratification endemic to their particular region genuinely are.

The (seeming) irony here is: the embrace of those aesthetic tidbits by individuals fortunate enough to be in a situation where such “social” stratification has been (at least comparatively) de-fanged:

Now, the salient fact to understand about the “Burquini” and all such “neo-traditionalist” aesthetic gimmicks is: it is unlikely that (putatively “muslim”) women failing to comply with “modesty” bullshit in Australia will be  STONED TO DEATH or BEHEADED, for doing so – in Australia, where this stupid thing was initially designed.

Australian “Musilm” women are “Permitted” to learn to read – and even create businesses based on pandering to their specific “culture’s” silliest taboos.

I submit that individuals such as Aheda Zanetti “free ride” on the fact that the West does (somewhat) better than the rest of the world, in terms of at least paying lip-service to individualism and human rights.

This leads to a weirdly “Hipster”-ish sort of “traditionalism”, where “traditional” aesthetics (which have been suitably “de-fanged”) are used as a form of “dress-up”, akin to (say) renaissance fairs, or LARP (Live-aciton role-playing).


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