In one sentence you captured the essence of the left's morality through much of my life,. "Just as it would be obscene to condemn a moral man because he has a capacity to commit atrocities, so it would be obscene to value an immoral man because he has the capacity to achieve nobility". Obscene is precisely what it is.

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Your write, “Human beings, insofar as they are rational, productive, and peaceful, are allies in the quest for life and happiness.” And: “there are plenty of people who threaten me… anyone who is essentially irrational.” You use two main examples: the monk and the bum.

The “monk” can include a Christian who commits himself to a cloister, a Buddhist monk isolated in the mountains, or the young adult or middle-aged business executive who make a pilgrimage to Tibet because they are jaded or disillusioned by a life pursuing material values and productiveness.

The “bum” is interesting. He starts off as, “The shiftless conspiracy theorist who emotionally manipulates his parents into giving him a place to live.” Then he becomes just a “shiftless conspiracy theorist”. Finally “shiftless” and “conspiracy theorist” are dropped and he becomes simply the “bum”. In my experience, conspiracy theorists, locally or in the media and social media, are making a living and providing for themselves, some of them are even wealthy. And then when you use the word “bum”, I immediately think of the thousands of homeless people in my big city. I wonder if they essentially possess a “conspiracy-theory” mentality, and what might be another name for that mentality.

Also, I believe that those who believe in climate catastrophe and even Christianity, are conspiracy theorists, in the latter, god and Satan being the players behind the curtain determining the human soul and its activity, and world events.

With respect to anyone who is essentially irrational as a threat to you, would that include people who choose their career, friends, lover, spouse, according to what would satisfy their parents, friends, their group, society, god? Is a man who earns a good living, pays for a home, has a car or two, dresses well, and pays for entertainment & services in his city, but who is unhappy in his soul–how irrational is he?

And how irrational is Bill Gates, and thus how much of a threat to you? How would that spiritual balance sheet look like? Has Bill Gates, once the richest man in the world… has Bill Gates become a bum (in spirit)?

Lastly, how does one gauge how irrational a man is, especially since most men are mixed? The simple (and also complicated) answer is: to what extent do they practice the (7) Objectivist Virtues? To what degree and in what form (combination) do your monk and bum live and *not live* according to the Objectivist virtues?

Thanks (I appreciate this Substack of yours).

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Jan 31·edited Jan 31

I understand your points, and yet, Christianity is the inspiration for individualism and individual rights.

The Bible embraces both individualism and collectivism. I was reading about this recently on a biblical site "Got Questions," and this is its explanation, "Scripture ... speaks of a slightly different, but very important form of individualism—that of individual human value. Not all persons have the same skills, intellect, physical ability, or health. In a non-biblical worldview, some persons are less valuable than others and their needs worth overriding for the sake of the larger group. A culture entirely committed to whatever is advantageous for 'the many' marginalizes or even eliminates certain groups of people. Historically, this is exactly what happens when collectivist thinking runs rampant.

"In contrast, the Bible imbues every individual with worth as an image-bearer of God (Genesis 1:27; 9:6). Jesus made a special point of ministering to people whom society cast aside (Mark 2:1–7; 5:1–20). A cornerstone of Christian ethics is the individualistic idea that no person—not one, ever, anywhere—is worthless, disposable, or less beloved than any other (Galatians 3:28; Colossians 3:11). No person—not one, ever, anywhere—is beyond forgiveness and redemption through Jesus Christ (Luke 7:34; 1 Corinthians 6:9–11)."

I have a hard time with the last two sentences. This might apply in the house of the Lord, but put to practical use, it falls flat. Ted Bundy could have said, "Sorry!" (womp womp), but what would that really mean? (Only a fool would believe it.) He might be redeemed in the eyes of God, but the electric chair awaits. If society had to pick whether Elon Musk or I would make it to the lifeboats, I'd go down with the Titanic.

My take on "every life having value" is as a philosophy that is helpful in general but not always applicable. It's easy to slide down the slope toward Hitler euthanizing children with disabilities, or Stalin arguing that you can't make an omelet without breaking eggs. One death is a tragedy, a million is a statistic.

In another thought, it's pure politics that the IDF is putting the lives of its soldiers on the line to protect Palestinian civilians, 95% of which supported October 7 and a good number who participated. No one wants to see civilians die. I'm not over there to witness the destruction. It's easy for me to be hard assed about the deaths of Gazan tots--children but likely future terrorists.) Netanyahu has to bow to two-faced geopolitical sensibilities of the US and UN. No more Dresden or Tokyo firebombing scenarios! No more napalm over South Vietnam! But truth be told, that kind of action would quickly bring Hamas and Middle Eastern terrorists to their knees and save many Israeli soldiers and citizens.

I tend to be hard hearted about evil characters who forfeited their right to be here: Stalin, Bundy, Dahmer, Hamas, murderers, rapists. I don't care how they became the way they are, only that they are that way. But put them in a court of law and F Lee Bailey would be dissecting their childhoods and making the jury weep.

I appreciate your column. I will read it a few times more. Much to think on.

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Well done. This is an article I’ll study a bit.

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