[I swiped this from The Agitator blog, written by Radley Balko. He can be funny, thoughtfull, or chastising. He is a fellow Hoosier and I am proud of him. Tune in to his rap at:
http://www.theagitator.com/. He's a pro.]
Wednesday, April 2, 2008
McCain on Individualism
Beware politicians who demand you aspire to “something greater than yourself:”
Should we claim our rights and leave to others the duty to the ideals that protect them, whatever we gain for ourselves will be of little lasting value. It will build no monuments to virtue, claim no honored place in the memory of posterity, offer no worthy summons to the world.
Success, wealth and celebrity gained and kept for private interest is a small thing. It makes us comfortable, eases the material hardships our children will bear, purchases a fleeting regard for our lives, yet not the self-respect that, in the end, matters most. But sacrifice for a cause greater than yourself, and you invest your life with the eminence of that cause, your self-respect assured.
Welcome to national greatness conservatism. If you thought the last eight years were an exercise in wasting tax dollars, blood, and goodwill on grandiose schemes, just wait. It’s gonna’ get worse.
McCain’s “I’m a patriot, not a profiteer” disdain for the private sector is irritating. Capitalism has done more to lift more people out of poverty and destitution and into prosperity than every government program, religious faith, military endeavor, or other cause “greater than oneself” combined. In fact, the latter have probably amounted to a net negative when it comes to the betterment of humanity. And capitalism rests on the premise that people are naturally selfish, and generally act in their own interests. It harnesses self-interest in ways that make everyone better off.
The thing is, “causes greater than yourself” are all full of people who act in their-own self-interest, too. But they operate in a way that pretends that everyone involved in them is altruistic. Consequently, they end up being pretty damned destructive.