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"As you do unto the least of these my children, do you likewise unto me." This is a matter of belief.
Ayn Rand professes a conflict between altruism and capitalism, but her characters, both heroes and heroines, do well for themselves by doing things that are good for others. That is the way honest capitalists make money; we do things that other people want or need badly enough to pay for. Unmitigated Greed is not good; enlightened self interest is the energy that makes every economy function well.
Many of the poor are simply of minimal intelligence, and they function as well as this will allow, and that function level may be improved by training and special work situations. Many are simply uneducated and that is remediable. Many are unmotivated and what Ayn Rand (and truly most of us) derides is the taking from the worker to give to the unmotivated so they stay unmotivated! "Work habits" are real and can be taught, but some level of deprivation is usually required to get us off our duffs! The most altruistic among us must admit that any "handout" is a disincentive to work. That is why we distinguish a "hand up".
Altruism IS incompatible with individual rights and individual freedom. That is the essence of civilization; our individualsm must be balanced by our cooperative genes that enable us to survive. R/PxT=Q, Resources, Population, Technology, Quality of Life. Q would be maximum if P were one, and this is the ultimate in individualism and obviously absurd, We humans are creators as well as consumers of Resources and we require a critical mass of Population to maintain a desired Quality of Life. (JRD, Sex and the 21st Century)
Technology includes our capacity to organize ourselves, and the squabbling over the "size" of government is a straw man used to dodge the decisions over which functions we do best as individuals and which we do best in some organization, governmental, religious, civic, corporate, philanthropic. The synergy sought in any effort to organize is often dissipated by the dysfunction of bureaucracy. Some bureaucrates procrastinate and obstruct just becaue they can and we hate them; others make every effort to facilitate the project at hand and THESE are the people the cause institutions to FUNCTION and thank God for them!
Maximizing the function of "the least of these my children" should also maximize their capacity utilize and pay for the creativity of Ayn Rand's heroes and heroines. This is my best effort at dialectic for the Being Blog, a synthesis of dialogue into a more acceptable concept.
John R. Dykers, Jr.