Re: [Fwd: Re: Reforming Education]

Robert J. Bradbury (
Fri, 8 Oct 1999 19:06:56 -0700 (PDT)

On Fri, 8 Oct 1999, Cynthia wrote:

> True, maybe they shouldn't. And maybe parents are suckers,
> for loving and taking
> care of their children.

Oh come on! If that were true the first time the child screamed at the top of its lungs for an hour you would chuck it in the trash container.

Parents "love" children because nature has programmed us to do that. Children are "cute" because nature makes them that way or nature makes our perception of "cute" match the image of a child.

> Street people aren't on the street because they can't take care of
> themselves. They are there because the have social problems. They
> either don't want help or they drive away people who could help them.

This is oversimplified. I am sure that some subset of the people on the street are the victims of uns of "bad luck". Random chance can turn a high flyer into bozo.

At the same time someone who is psychotic due to personal experiences (something like the war in Vietnam) or simple personal genetics may be driving people away, but this is not derived from "conscious" decision.

> That is true. The idea that everybody can be helped is a fantasy.
> But it is a fantasy that many people believe.

It isn't a fantasy. The problem is with the belief that "help" has a universal form. In one situation "helping" a person may be to assist in the termination of their life, in another situation "helping" may be to fight tooth and claw to prevent them from doing so.

The fantasy is that there are "universal" answers.

> Ayn Rand who wrote about the Virtue of Selfishness, didn't
> argue with the impulse people have to help each other.
> Instead she argued that people should help each other for
> perfectly selfish reasons.

Well in this case you end up with a very conflicted system. If you say "in my selfishness", I am going to help everyone live forever in such a way that we are all equal that is very different from saying "in my selfishness", I want to control all the matter and energy in our solar system.

While the "Virtues of Selfishness" may be a guiding principle for individuals, it must assume that there is never a situation in which a single individual is able to gain control of sufficient resources to eliminate the other individuals. If that is possible, then the virtues are self-defeating.