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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All Credibility lost

This VENT by Michelle Malkin @ Hot Air TV encapsulates a push by Sen. John McCain and others to have captured terrorists treated “more humanely”. Even to the point of having their “Miranda rights” read to them. What rights – these are terrorists!

He’s also against any clarification as to what should be considered as “inhumane torture”, something GW is asking for; instead preferring to leave the Geneva Convention language vague. Presumably so that the enemy won’t know exactly how much torture they can inflict upon our troops before they exceed what the Geneva Convention allows – hence fear of overreaching GC boundaries will mean less torture. Oh yeah, that’ll work!

The motive for all this: So that our troops will be likewise treated more humanely if captured!

Does anyone really think that the Islamic Jihadists give a Tinker’s Damn about the Geneva Convention!

Will someone please fit that fool for a straight jacket!

Oops, I’ve derided… I was only going to report.


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If you value your life, read this

Craig Biddle, Editor of The Objective Standard, posted this yesterday on TOS’s blog Principles in Practice. It lays out what must be done regarding Iran and why it must be done. For the record, I am in complete agreement.

I am cross-posting it here at ObjectivelySpeaking in it’s entirety for convenience. I don’t want anyone visiting here to miss it. I am “speaking out”, as Craig recommends, in the name of it’s contents and in the name of my life and happiness. I agree with it completely.


Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Why Our (Long-Overdue) Retaliation Against Iran Should Include Bombing Mosques and Madrassahs

America is not being attacked by bombs or hijacked airplanes or government buildings or military installations. We are being attacked by people, specifically, by Islamists: people who believe the Koran is true, take its precepts seriously, and thus actively seek the submission or destruction of non-believers. Where are Islamists being produced? Primarily in the mosques and madrassahs (colleges in which students are trained to be Islamists) of the states that sponsor terrorism, especially Iran and Saudi Arabia. Who is producing them? The imams and teachers are. Accordingly, we cannot put an end to this assault merely by taking out government buildings and military installations in enemy states. To put an end to it, we must eliminate those who preach or teach the idea that infidels must die. We must demonstrate that to spout such evil is to ensure personal destruction.

“But,” some will ask, “don’t people have a right to take their religion seriously?” No, they do not” not if taking their religion seriously means obeying “God’s” or “Allah’s” orders fully. People have a right to take their religion seriously only insofar as their religion does not call for murder or the violation of individual rights and, as the “holy” books make crystal clear, every religion calls for murder and the violation of individual rights. Here are a few representative passages:

If your brother, the son of your mother, or your son or your daughter or the wife you embrace or your friend who is as your own soul entices you secretly, saying, “Let us go and serve other gods”, you shall not yield to him or listen to him, nor shall your eye pity him, nor shall you spare him, nor shall you conceal him. But you shall kill him. [Deuteronomy 13:6,9]

If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. [John 15:6]

Fight and kill the disbelievers wherever you find them, take them captive, harass them, lie in wait and ambush them using every stratagem of war. [Koran 9:5]

If a Christian college in the U.S. called for its students to take the Bible seriously, that is, if it taught them that they must actually obey all of God’s commandments, the teachers and administrators would be guilty of inciting the students to murder not only unbelievers, but also homosexuals, children who talk back to their parents, people who work on the Sabbath, and so on. Consequently, the teachers and administrators would rightly be thrown in jail. Christian colleges in America don’t do this, of course, because Christianity has been tempered by the Renaissance and the Enlightenment, and because American Christians are required by the U.S. Constitution to disobey their alleged God in this regard. Disgruntled though some may be about this, they begrudgingly obey U.S. law so as not to spend their “unimportant life” in jail.

People have a right to believe whatever nonsense they want to believe, but they do not have the right to act on their beliefs if doing so means committing murder or violating individual rights. The individual is greater than “God” and morally must be protected from those who “just believe” otherwise. The U.S. government has a moral responsibility to protect American citizens accordingly.

The basic principle of a proper American foreign policy is that the U.S. government must hold the life and rights of each and every American, whether civilian or soldier, as of greater value than the lives and rights of all non-Americans in the world combined. Our government’s sole responsibility is to protect Americans, and it morally must do so by whatever means necessary, with as little risk to the lives of our soldiers as possible.

A moral approach to the Islamist war against America does not consist in half-heartedly “engaging” one enemy tribe here, then another there, then another elsewhere, all the while sacrificing the lives and limbs of American soldiers. Nor does it consist in sending American soldiers into hostile territory when we have the means to destroy the enemy without risking the lives of our soldiers. Nor does it consist in retarding our operations or prolonging the war in order to avoid killing innocents or non-combatants in enemy territory. A moral approach to this god-awful problem consists in demonstrating, once and for all, the futility of taking Islam seriously, the futility of obeying the Koran, the futility of seeking the submission or destruction of disbelievers, the futility of attacking Americans. It consists in efficiently killing Islamists, especially those who make a “living” producing more Islamists.

In conjunction with the other elements in this 5-step plan, we should kill the Iranian preachers and teachers who chant and spout “Kill the disbelievers” and “Death to America.” We should aim to kill all of them. And the best way to do this is to bomb the Iranian mosques and madrassahs when they are most likely to be occupied. Were we to do so, the practice of taking the Koran seriously and warring with America would suddenly become unattractive, and most (if not all) of the remaining Islamists in the world would quickly become mere Muslims, akin to the mere Christians next door. (As always, the deaths of all innocents in such a campaign are the sole responsibility of those who necessitate such retaliatory measures, and those apologists who evade the facts, drop context, and attempt to muddy the waters on such issues, thus delaying justice and necessitating the deaths of even more innocents.)

Of course, the Bush administration will not take such egoistic action against Iran, and we will pay dearly for the compassionate half-battle it will wage there instead. But if egoists do not say loudly and clearly what needs to be done, America will never take such action. And that will mean the end of America.

Speak up.

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Further on Fallaci – quotes by & about

“I leave shreds of my soul on every experience” – Oriana Fallaci

The Truth Inspires Fear” – Oriana Fallaci

“The secret of happiness is freedom, the secret of freedom is courage” – Oriana Fallaci

“Why does all this happen? In her speech Fallaci explained that it was to a great degree because ‘truth inspires fear’. When one hears the truth, one can only be silent or join the cause. It is a call to a personal revolution, an upheaval, a departure ! perhaps forever ! from a life of ease and comfort. So most will prefer not to hear the truth — in no small part because of the difficulty of living up to it. Yet the real heroes, she said, are ‘those who raise their voices against anathemas and persecution’, while most succumb, ‘and with their silence give their approval to the civil death of those who spoke out’. – Robert Spencer on Oriana Fallaci – quoted within the quote.


09/16/06 Update! – Robert Spencer @ Jihad Watch has posted a fitting tribute to Oriana Fallaci’s life – Oriana Fallaci has died.

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Italy’s controversial journalist Fallaci dies

Oriana Fallaci is dead.

MILAN (Reuters) – Oriana Fallaci, one of Italy’s best-known journalists and war correspondents who shocked the literary world with a vitriolic assault on Islam after the September 11 attacks on the United States, died on Friday aged 77.**FILE** Italian author Oriana Fallaci is seen in this undated file photo. (AP Photo/Gianangelo Pistoia)

I never knew much about her until After 9/11. Someone had directed me to an archived article by Christopher Caldwell entitled, The Fallaci Affair. I was favorably impressed by what I had heard about her, so I paid $4.95 to reprint the article – it was worth the cost. I have it here now beside me to re-read tonight. It can be purchased from Commentary Archive here.

There is also this November 30, 2005 post at Jihad Watch by Robert Spencer entitled: Spencer: Fallaci: Warrior in the Cause of Human Freedom that I found a good read on Fallaci:

“We are gathered here tonight”, announced David Horowitz, “to honor a warrior in the cause of human freedom.”

Oriana Fallaci, who received the Center for the Study of Popular Culture’s Annie Taylor Award in New York Monday evening, has been a warrior for human freedom ever since she joined the anti-fascist resistance in 1944, at age fourteen. For over six decades, she has fought against those she has labeled “the bastards who decide our lives”, opposing all forms of tyranny and oppression, from Mussolini and Hitler to Osama bin Laden and Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi.

Heroes get harder and harder to find. If you have not discovered this one, do so. They help to fuel the soul.


9/16/06 edit: added link to Robert Spencer’s bio @ Jihad Watch and David Horowitz @

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No passes on 9/11

Here’s a link and a teaser back to a very good article/post @ The Charlotte Capitalist (TM)

9/11: Do You Need A Pass Or Do You Use Your Mind?

Slithering through the Internet is the nasty snake of an idea that everyone gets a pass on not being able to see that something like 9/11 could or would occur. (Here is one from Instapundit. I have seen [others] similar .) The pass is extended to all citizens and politicians including the Clinton Administration. The basis of the idea is that nobody could have foreseen that 2 plus 2 = 4.

I am aware of a relatively small group of people who could have and did foresee the potential growth in terrorism and its consequences.

I agree 100 percent. Just watching Path to 9/11 alone was enough to boil the blood of a rational individual.

At every turn, all the way back to the plane hijackings of the sixties, into the hostage crisis era of the peanut-farmer-turned-world-leader, occurrence-after-occurrence, on-and-on until now, I’ve had to shake my head in absolute disbelief and disgust – because those that could have, and should have acted, only re-acted (or worse yet, did nothing).

They get no pass – no one.

You don’t “see” these things thru the reading of tea leaves!

Read the article… see what you “think”, see where you stand.

Consider the Question that forms the title of the TCC post.

HT: TCC, wonderfully reasoned


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A vegetative state

I saw this first @ gus van horn. It’s originally from Myron of Myron’s Mind Meanderings

Think I Need a Living Will?

While I was watching the NFL one weekend, my wife and I got into a conversation about life and death, and the need for living wills. During the course of the conversation I told her that I never wanted to exist in a vegetative state, dependent on some machine and taking fluids from a bottle. She got up, unplugged the TV and threw out all my beer.


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Lama production…and the pastor’s name is Neil Early

From a new Google Alert!

The Leesville Daily Leader News, Community Theatre performance of Ayn Rand a possibility

The Greater Vernon Parish area might soon have a community theatre to call its own. Pastor Neil Early of the Leesville Area Ministerial Alliance (LAMA) announced recently, that a community theatre performance of an Ayn Rand play might be possible.

The catch is that the theatre company would require the use of the old courthouse in order to perform this unusual play, one in which the entire play takes place in a courtroom and the characters of the play are members of the courtroom audience until they are called to the stand.

To that end, Early appeared before the Vernon Parish Police Jury at its regular committee meeting Monday night to request permission to use the old courthouse.

The production of this play is the result of the work of the Community Arts Task Force, a standing arm of the Leesville Area Ministerial Alliance.

Will someone please go down there and tell pastor Neil Early & LAMA that Ayn Rand was an Atheist!

It’s in Louisiana, maybe it’s just Post Katrina Disorder Syndrome?

(Just too cute to pass up.)

-Dan (Not associated with LAMA)

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Noted & Quoted

Farhat Asaad, a Hamas spokesman, laughed and added: “First, I thank the United States that they have given us this weapon of democracy. But there is no way to retreat now. It’s not possible for the US and the world to turn its back on an elected democracy.”


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