Dueling Twins

Altruism

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The 'Dueling Twins'

A race of altruists is necessarily a race of slaves. A race of free men is necessarily a race of egoists.
- Max Stirner

Counterpoint:

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Free Men Are Citizens, Too

James Hall - From the Left

It's interesting to note, in what is to be a written exchange on the value of altruism and charity, that Sartre doesn't actually get around to talking about helping others until he finishes a lengthy, seven-paragraph jeremiad on the evils of government "forcing" free men to help those less fortunate. It's clear that while Sartre cites Jesus Christ as his role model, he's really had a copy "Atlas Shrugged" next to his bedstead all this time instead of a Bible. Anyone reading the Gospels knows that Christ encouraged the rich to give up their belongings and follow him selflessly. Jesus also preached obedience to the civil authorities, surrendered himself peacefully in practice to what he preached, and when asked about taxation, pointed to the emperor's face on the coin and said, "Render unto Caesar what is Caesar's." Jesus' principle disciple Paul preached that good Christians should be good citizens--and obey secular as well as religious law.

So it's clear that if Sartre is arguing from the Christian ethos, he is contradicting it. It's not the Bible that Sartre defends here, but the "every man is an island" philosophy that Ayn Rand promoted with so little success. While Rand preached the gospel of wealth, Jesus made the memorable quip that it would be far easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than a rich man to go to heaven. Jesus' Sermon on the Mount (which Sartre cites) proclaimed the poor as blessed by God, while Sartre implies that their poverty is their own fault, echoing Rand's belief that the poor are simply parasites on the economic body.

Beyond his phony appeal to religion, Sartre's principle argument is that it is wrong for free men to be coerced by government into assisting others. Let's examine this notion of 'coercion.' A free man is also a citizen, and as such, pays a share in taxes of the maintenance of his nation, including its defense, infrastructure, and yes, the social programs agreed on by the citizens' elected representatives which may include healthcare, education, and social security. As a free man, he can pay taxes to the nation he is a part of, or he can leave that nation in good conscience and go elsewhere.

But what of Sartre's notion of this government doing the coercing? Is it not the citizens' own government? Don't free men have the right to vote for or against the representatives who levy the tax bills? And, since most communities vote directly on local property and sales tax referenda, doesn't the free man have a chance to vote directly for or against many taxes himself? Does he not have the right to speak out and campaign both for and against the use of tax monies for altruistic purposes?

I know that this is true because there's a pitched political battle going on in my own community in central Florida over whether a penny sales tax should be repealed or kept by the community. I know it because I saw in my local newspaper a picture of tax protesters in Nashville, Tennessee, where the state legislature has recently turned down the governor's request for a state income tax. Are we not about to face a budget battle in Washington D.C. over how much to tax and spend on government programs? In these examples and many others we see free men exercising their freedom to levy or decline to levy taxes on themselves.

What Sartre and those like him dishonestly refer to as 'coercion' is their being on the losing end of many, many votes, both locally and in their representative legislatures, state and national. The people of our nation have consistently voted over the years to use the government's ability to help the disadvantaged, disabled, and destitute citizens of our nation. It's a vote reflecting the core principles of this nation, which are to entitle all men--not just the wealthy--to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, and that are enshrined in our Constitution as the promotion of the nation's general welfare.

It would be rare indeed to find a citizen who felt that the government is spending every penny of his taxes in accordance with his wishes. I, for one, hate for my tax dollars to be spent on an unproven, destabilizing, antimissile system. But I've been outvoted on that appropriation, and won't whine about my hard-earned money being wasted on expensive military scrap metal. I'll continue to politically oppose this waste of money, but I won't call it 'coercive' when the money is constitutionally raised and allocated for constitutional purposes.

If Sartre does believe that there is something wrong with the notion of civic support of the disadvantaged; he can and ought to fight politically to reverse programs that assist the needy. But as a free man, I urge to my elected representatives to continue to support and succor my fellow citizens in need, to provide education for our nation's children, and create a framework that gives each citizen an equal opportunity to succeed. That's far better than simple charity.

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Final Word:

The Oxford English Dictionary defines 'altruism' as "regard for others as a principle of action; unselfishness; concern for others." Sartre tells us that he isn't inclined to extend his charity to "heretics and traitors." But it was Jesus himself, who when questioned about the notion of charity, told the story of a man beaten and left for dead by robbers, ignored by others of his faith and creed, who was rescued by a heretic and traitor--a Samaritan--for the men of Samaria, cousins of the Jews, were despised by them as traitors and heretics for worshipping God at Samaria and not at Jerusalem.

Jesus' use of a Samaritan as the hero in his story reminds us that even our most ideologically opposed enemies are human beings and deserving of our charity and help when in need. The Samaritan, seeing a man lying wounded and bleeding by the road, did not stop to ask his nationality, religion, or politics, but picked him up, bound up his wounds, and carried him to safety. It is precisely because of the prejudices of men like Sartre that we need assistance to the poor and injured that has no political, religious, or ideological strings attached to it--assistance provided as every citizen's right.

The Old Testament Hebrews pioneered legal altruism. One of Moses' laws enforced by the Judean and Israeli states guaranteed that the poor and widows have a right to glean grain in the fields of the rich. Throughout the Middle Ages, the wealthy were expected to provide a portion of their wealth to support the poor and destitute, a practice enshrined in holidays like England's Boxing Day. Many of today's wealthy are often weaned on the "Virtue of Selfishness" instead, and gladly would shirk all responsibility if the law permitted it.

Fortunately, it does not. These are long-standing rights, and for our friends who want everything in writing, part of the 'unenumerated rights' in Article Nine of the Bill of Rights. They are part of the right to life and the pursuit of happiness that go along with the much-ballyhooed right to liberty. Each individual colony had, as each state does today, its programs for assisting the poor--all protected under Article Ten of the Bill of Rights. The founding fathers would never have considered giving up succoring the poor or choosing which of the poor they would help and which they would not.

James Hall, From the Left

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Point:

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Altruism and Charity are Not the Same

The core reasoning for intrusive intervention into the affairs of Free Men is the false notion that Altruism is a desired goal for society to implement. The proponents of the use of coercive force to impose their vision of a benevolent society require a moral basis for their demands of conformity. Their attempt to interject a culture of altruistic compassion as the substitute for personal responsibility is central to their model for a compliant society. Belief in their doctrine is a required necessity to coexist in their paradise of social equality. Tolerance exists only for those who accept allegiance to the tenants of multiculturalism.

Communists want total obedience to their dogma. Collectivists demand subornation to the specter of society's goals. Fascists impose loyalty for government decrees. Statists require supremacy of the ruling dominion. Socialists accept incremental surrender to state jurisdiction. Plutocrats rule for the benefit of the few. Monarchists enforce the will of one. And Social Democrats proclaim the emotions of the mob. All have in common the willingness to compel compliance UPON individuals.

Justification for the use of power over others is mostly ignored. However, when challenged to provide the foundation of legitimacy for placing constraints on individuals, the best that partisan of power politics can provide is the social theory of Altruism. The argument goes that society has a responsibility to establish a safety net for those who are in need of help. Equality of people, cultures, races, gender and ethnic groups are the aim for a just society. Government must take active measures to assure that this model of society is attained. Force is justified to impose state policies if resistance is met. The end goal is so noble that any means is acceptable to reach the prize.

The question for the apologists for State tyranny is simple: Where does society get the legitimate authority to impose and compel homogeneity, when consent from individuals is NOT given? The central issue is quite clear. People who reject the world view of the Statists, have not willingly placed themselves under the authority of a regime who's ultimate purpose is to destroy the LIBERTY of the individual. Will the lackeys of 'TC' totalitarian collectivism, dare argue this point or will they just ignore the essence of the struggle?

The exercise of Machiavellian power is all they know. Intimidation, extortion, theft, confiscation and compulsion are the tools of their trade. Fairness, parity, balance, equity, sensitivity, compassion and service are their stock rationale for the use of force. But there is never a mention of the source authority that provides justification for compulsion. The reason is clear, because non exists . . .

Altruism is the best that they can offer. But Altruism is not defined as an individual and voluntary choice. No it is beheld as a DUTY; not to yourself, but to society. By some enigmatic leap from supposition to conviction, the providers of compassion become the predators of coercion. Who gave ownership authority to the State of my property? And when was the government empowered to impose enforcement against my will, when I reject any DUTY to accept a 'TC' view for society? Answer those questions, commissar!

For those of us that retain rational self respect for ourselves, can anyone force us into servitude against our will? That is exactly what the Statists demand from you. To transfer your own dignity to Society and Government and allow THEM to provide all that is worth having to the People. Where have we all heard that song before ? ? ?

Charity is an act of an individual. The dictionary states that charity is "The benevolence of God towards man". And within that assertion lies the answer to our clash with the 'TC' enemy. Helping your fellow man is worthy of pursuit and effort. But for it to be sincere, it needs to be intentional and voluntary. Supporters of Statism, worship Baal. Their faith is not in the divine but in the temporal act of governing. They accept that man is capable of acts of Charity only through the Altruism of Society. The individual must prostrate and pay homage to their 'deus god' of public order. It does not matter that such devotion has produced a chronicle of human suffering and death that only the prince of darkness delights in and relishes.

Altruism is the road to slavery. Charity is the province of hope. We will always have the poor with us, because our nature; while common, does not guarantee equal results. The actions of each person matters, and every human needs to be held accountable for their deeds. The Society that Statists seek rewards the immoral, and punishes the virtuous. They embrace Secular Humanism as their value system and condemn religious faith. These archfiends are devoted to the rule from the darkside, while they dismiss the message of the Sermon on the Mount. Is it any wonder that no rapprochement can be made with these serpents of depravity?

No Government has ever been the answer to establish a 'Just Society'. Justice begins in the heart of each person and is achieved when each of us treats our neighbor as we long to be treated ourselves. Does any government act in such a manner? If you agree that institutions and bureaucracies rule with a heavy hand, why would you willingly give your consent to their governance? Is your DUTY due them, or is it more properly meant to adhere to moral behavior? Beware of those who preach love when they inflict conformity through force. Love is achieved only through a free act, and will never be found when the State demands that you have an obligation to adore, and must obey their conception for Society. The choice is crystal-clear, will you follow the moral course and resist Statism or will you obey Beelzebub and mimic his minions?

James Hall aka SARTRE

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Rebuttal:

Those apostates who's apology attempts to demean the faith of believers with a canard of deception expose themselves for all to witness. Christ's message of hope is meant for all of the human race. His teachings were not directed towards temporal governments, the Sanhedrin or the Pharisees; but for mankind, one person at a time. Charity originates from the unselfish act of an individual. To imply that it can, does and should be transformed into altruism of government policy, misses the intent of the message. Condemning the rich for just being rich is folly. Criticism of the rich for not using wealth for a higher end is valid. But to extrapolate that society has the moral authority to divest and strip possessions from those that a mob judges to be excessive, is nothing but envy in it's worse incarnation.

The last resort of the scoundrel is to rap themselves in the popular version of a patriot. When Hamiltonians are unable to answer, from whence does your authority come; they resort to 'love it or leave it'. Well, that offensive response comes from a soul who lacks the character to understand the nature of America. Heresy in belief extends into sedition of country. Heterodoxy in faith swells into denial of principle. Falsely concluding that representative government effectively exists in today's America is akin to freeing Barabbas. Pontius Pilate is your master, for you fear his sword and are one of the mob.

Experience as a social worker and in government service clearly proved, that assistance from social and government institutions seldom helps the needy. Personal interaction willingly conferred, with respect and sincerity, achieves results. When democracy ignores the Constitution it loses its legitimacy. People who base their justification on majority will, while abandoning natural rights are not followers of divine creation. Admonishments to reverse policy through political persuasion, when the public are infidels, is a task that requires a spiritual awakening for the entire population. Many hear the message, but few heed its call.

My charity is bestowed to all men of good will. Being a sinner; at present it does not extend, to heretics or traitors. God's grace forgives all who repent. The possibility that your comrades may atone could allow for their place in paradise. Thank God that His house is great and the source of the only Altruism that is valid. Until that time, your Caesar may have the power, but lacks my consent. Tribute may be demanded but it is not deserved. Christ's mission was redemption, paid with His life. He surrendered not unto civil authority, nor was His Kingdom temporal. But upon His return, justice will be dispensed. At that time, we all will seek the Charity of His love and will eagerly forgo the voice of the mob. But your kind are of the mob, and will remain there; as long as you are willing to remain in the dark . . .

James Hall - 'The Right'


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The moral cannibalism of all hedonist and altruist doctrines lies in the premise that the happiness of one man necessitates the injury of another. 
Ayn Rand

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