Tuesday, September 22, 2009

I Had To Grow Up

When I was 5 years old I did something that was not only childish, but mean, pointless and destructive. A neighbor had an expensive toy, I won't say what, and he wouldn't share it so I ruined it. Dad had to pay for it and I was on the receiving end of a very well deserved and very painful disciplinary action that I never forgot. I ruined it because I figured that if I couldn't have one he shouldn't have one either.

Please note: I was five years old at the time. I only had a Kindergarten education and a Kindergarten understanding of reality. Makes me wonder about a book I've seen but never read All I Ever Needed to Know I Learned in Kindergarten.

It never occurred to me that he was under no obligation to share.

I grew up and realized that people have the right to do what they want with their property, even if it does not benefit me.

At fourteen I became fascinated with the idea of socialism. It was so logical and so fair.

It never occurred to me that under from each according to his ability, to each according to his need, all needs would become maximum and all abilities would become minimum. It is simple human nature to get as much as possible for as little effort as possible. Any economic system needs to take that aspect of human nature into account.

I grew up and realized that the vast majority of people are completely self-interested and an economic system that works needs to find a way to make self-interest and public interest converge. It needs to encourage and reward work on an individual basis, not a collective basis. It needs to punish laziness on an individual basis, not a collective basis. We are individuals, not hive entities like the Borg in Star Trek or the Bugs in Starship Troopers (both of which are literary symbols for Communism.)

It's true that our economic system is unfair, but in real life what is fair doesn't work, and works isn't fair. That's reality. I had to learn to live with it.

17 Comments:

Blogger Chuck said...

Kind of funny that I never went through that young idealistic liberal stage. This is even more suprising considering I was raised by Dems. I think I came out conservative. I was pro-life from the first time I saw a right to life billboard and kenw abortion existed. I have always been tough on crime and self-reliance. I have simply always been conservative.

9:11 PM  
Blogger dons_mind said...

don't ya think that in a manner of speaking we all go through that during our childhood? i see it in my grandkids - - they don't like to share - ryan sees no reason at all why he should share his trains with his sister! i think we can put names to it - socialism or whatever - but i think it's one of those life learning things we all go through. we just need to ensure we learn the lesson and remember it! :)

9:58 PM  
Blogger christian soldier said...

That is the reason I homeschooled my off-spring---having done the 180 myself-I new I did not want my child subtlety indoctrinated by socialist - liberal teachings...

12:20 AM  
Blogger Lone Pony said...

"from each according to his ability, to each according to his need"
Ayn Rand?

7:11 AM  
Blogger Beth said...

I hope you are kidding Lone Pony.

This is another great posting, but if I linked you again people might talk!

3:40 PM  
Blogger shoprat said...

Chuck and D_M my brief and youthful follies were based on economics, I never ever supported leftist cultural beliefs.

CS good thing

Beth and LP She is kidding.

5:39 PM  
Blogger Lone Pony said...

Beth, I wasn't kidding. I just thought I recognized that quote from Ayn Rand's book, Atlas Shrugged. I'll have to check again, but I'm pretty sure it is.

7:10 AM  
Blogger shoprat said...

LP No it was said by Karl Marx, Ayn Rand believed very differently from that. She erred in the opposite direction of Marx.

7:39 AM  
Blogger Beth said...

Rand was probably spinning in her grave at that misquote!

;-)

3:14 PM  
Blogger shoprat said...

Beth
don't think for one second that LP is not a smart lady. I have seen how smart she is.

We all misquote. God knows I have.

3:58 PM  
Blogger Lone Pony said...

I realize it is Marx. (Which I have not read.) However, I have read Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand. I remembered the quote from her book:

As Dagny rides west on the train, she encounters a hobo sneaking a ride in the vestibule of her car. She invites him in. His name is Jeff Allen, and he once worked for the Twentieth Century Motor Company. He tells her that he and the factory’s other employees first phrased the question, “Who is John Galt?” Twelve years earlier, the company owner died and his heirs took over. The new owners put into practice a plan based on the communist slogan, “From each according to his ability, to each according to his need.” The plan enslaved the most able to the unable. The first man to quit the company was a young engineer who said that he would put an end to such irrationality once and for all—he said he would stop the motor of the world. Years passed, factories closed, production declined, and the motors stopped. Jeff Allen and the factory’s other workers began to wonder if the young engineer had succeeded in his mission. The engineer’s name was John Galt.

And...I do understand that Ayn Rand did not agree with that philosophy.

6:09 PM  
Blogger shoprat said...

Yes that was in the book. I had forgotten that passage.

I apologize.

8:02 PM  
Blogger Beth said...

I truly wasn't passing judgment, only specualting how Rand would have felt if someone attributed that saying to her. That she referred to it in her book does not mean it is a quote of hers.

Needless to say, I think the original point that Shoprat made in his posting here is very genuine and probably typical for most of us, for I, too, recalling thinking that the Marxist ideal seemed "right" in my youth but I also realized the error of my ways.

10:17 PM  
Blogger Lone Pony said...

Thank you Shoprat.

I should be more well read. I was a Chemistry major and simply have not had time to explore other areas.

Even though Atlas Shrugged is fiction, Rand understood a lot about human nature and used it in her writings.

The book makes one of the same points you do in this post.

"It is simple human nature to get as much as possible for as little effort as possible. Any economic system needs to take that aspect of human nature into account."

I agree with you entirely.

6:01 AM  
Blogger Tim said...

I don't think that people should br overly selfish, but greed is one of the seven deadly sins.

Somehow, I'd rather follow Christ's teachings than those of Rand. I find her philosophy to be nothing more than a rationalization of greed.

Having 1% of the population control 25% of the countrie's wealth is a recipe for revolution.

8:33 PM  
Blogger shoprat said...

I am not a follower of Rand either. I have criticized her several times on this blog and have stated that she and Marx are guilty of equal but opposite errors.

Also I consider socialism to be based on Greed as well. (Rand I want what is mine! Socialism I demand what is yours. Neither is acceptable.

11:14 PM  
Blogger The WordSmith from Nantucket said...

I grew up and realized that the vast majority of people are completely self-interested and an economic system that works needs to find a way to make self-interest and public interest converge.

Exactly right. I'm reminded of that John Stossel special about how greed is good for America. Our pursuit of our own self-interests is a way to enable us to help others. By improving our own situation first, we come to a position of being able to help others. Not what you were saying there, but a side consequence.

11:53 AM  

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