Category Archives: Soul Drain

things that chip away at my soul


I’m bogged completely down in work. I hope (desperately) to be back soon. I miss the therapy of posting here. But, you got to have your priorities… eating comes first.

To all passers by, I’m sorry there’s nothing new.

Your patronage isn’t quite as important as my posting… but it’s damned important.

I thank you for your visit and sorry to disappoint.


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As though a light went out

I have deleted my link to The Intellectual Activist (TIA), which took one to the site for both the TIA Daily (email) and TIA Monthly (print) publications – editor and publisher, Robert Tracinski. This particular link was put here solely because I wished to introduce others to the best rational, most objective, thinking available. I do not now believe this to be the case with TIA.

The deletion is being made, not so much because Mr. Tracinski is not sure of his agreement with Ayn Rand philosophically; nor because he is not a consistent intellectual defender of her philosophy of Objectivism; nor because he is no longer associated with The Ayn Rand Institute (here – bottom) (I link to others here in the sidebar who I’m sure are not confirmed Objectivists and I don’t expect it), but I expect more from TIA and it’s editor and chief.

I have enjoyed TIA’s monthly publication since the early 1980’s – years before Mr. Tracinski’s tenure as editor and publisher. I still have time left on my present subscriptions to both TIA Daily (the email publication), and TIA Monthly (the print publication). I will continue with these publications, at least until my current subscriptions expire (TIA Monthly is currently one year behind in publication) – I don’t currently plan to renew either.

I will continue to read my current subscriptions to see where Mr. Tracinski’s thinking takes him (as expressed primarily in TIA Daily)- that is, if my intellectual curiosity remains greater than my intellectual disappointment.

I am very disappointed that the publication of TIA Monthly has fallen so far behind – a situation that Mr. Tracinski addresses on the inside front cover of the latest issue in a “Letter from the Editor”. This latest issue is labeled on the front cover as the October 2006 issue, which is actually the October 2005 issue – this change was also explained(?) in this”Letter from the Editor”.

I’ve always looked forward to the arrival of TIA Monthly in my mailbox. I won’t have the same enthusiasm for it that I had in the past. It’s as though a light is going out for me in the world… a much needed and valued light – for both me and the world.

I intend to write more on this, but not until Mr. Tracinski finishes expressing his thoughts through his six part series What Went Right in TIA Daily (the first four parts, with some changes from the original, are here).

I can say little more, at this point, than I expect such publications as TIA’s (that I am paying for) to provide me with intellectual ammunition, philosophical guidance, and the opportunity to experience the world as it ought to be.

It’s heroes I’m seeking… with TIA, I’m now getting concrete-bound rationalism, excuses, and attempts to finance an all too uncertain future for both a publication and an individual.


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Charity as dignity bestowing

I don’t think soooo!

There’s an Opinion piece at The Jerusalem post entitled, Why give money to beggars on the street, By one Shmuley Boteach. It starts out with:

I recently got into a debate with one of my producers on the set of Shalom in the Home. A subscriber to the extreme capitalism and “greed is good” values of social philosopher Ayn Rand [emphasis mine], he said that he would never give money to a beggar on the street.

“It encourages them to be dependent, and in that sense it hurts them and it hurts society. We get these lazy, unproductive people whom we have to support.”

The author then recounts some of the reasons often given for not giving to beggars this way and then states (his or her – I’m not sure which) reasons for supporting, and practicing, such charity:

My own opinion, and practice, is that we must give to those who ask of us. I am well aware that the people in question can abuse the money we give them. But there is an even more important consideration that must be taken into account: human dignity.

I believe that our primary obligation on God’s Earth is to bestow dignity on all of God’s children and, indeed, on all of God’s creatures. To bestow dignity is to make someone feel he matters, to make him feel important [emphasis mine].

So if we make someone “feel” that they matter, “feel” important, that’s what counts – no matter whether or not, in fact, it’s true. This is just a setup to make the charity bestower “feel” that he matters, “feel” that he is important – it’s about making the giver “feel” better by easing his conscience because of what he has – and is in doubt that he properly earned on merit. It goes on (and on), but that was enough for me. You can read it through the link if you’d like, but I saw no reason to.

Anyway, There were quite a few comments and maybe a half dozen were from Objectivists and/or Ayn rand admirers and two of these were from Dr. Harry Binswanger of HBL, which I’ll post here (Harry has it right):

Comment #35 – Ayn Rand error-corrected – Ayn Rand’s position on charity has been misstated by both sides. The issue is whether the giving involves self-sacrifice–as the code of altruism demands. E.g., she wrote: “It is altruism that has corrupted and perverted human benevolence by regarding the giver as an object of immolation, and the receiver as a helplessly miserable object of pity who holds a mortgage on the lives of others–a doctrine that is extremely offensive to both parties.” (see my book, The Ayn Rand Lexicon, p.69)

Then comment #36 – Ayn Rand the IDF – Ayn Rand, by the way, strongly supported Israel against the Arabs. One of the few times she *did* give to charity was to the UJA during the ’67 war.

Things like this are such a soul drain and I usually avoid them. This one came through in a Google Alert for Ayn Rand. My interest increased when I found Dr. Binswanger correcting and clarifying the case (against self-sacrifice and for what constitutes benevolence) in his Comments. Other defenders of objectivity and Ayn Rand had good comments also, but Binswanger’s got to the crux of it.

I left these comments (Two, so as not to be outdone by Dr. Binswanger, a master at defending the truth):

Comment #43 – Bestowing dignity – You cannot “bestow dignity” on anyone, anymore than you can bestow self-esteem, or self respect. These things by their very definition, must be earned. Do your homework, check your dictionary, and quit trying to redefine concepts – they’re there for a purpose.

Comment #44 – self sacrifice – Beware those advocating self-sacrifice… it’s never their sacrifice of themselves to you they advocate.


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