The Gross National Debt

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Of paint, brushes and perceptions


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This starts with, but is not about, politics.

Some political hay is being made over this story and the related stories within it. There are two major flaws with the argument as presented here.

1) True followers of Ayn Rand are not Reboobican nor Damnocrat. They are Libertarians. The Cantservative crowd may have co-opted part of Rand's message, but they also corrupted it along the way.

2) True followers of AR believe each state should keep its money and not be subsidizing other states. Voluntary contributions made by private folks are an entirely separate matter and one which true AR followers have no opinion on.

This has not stopped people from passing this story around like a blunt at a Grateful Dead concert.

But then, misinformation is always easier to handle than the truth.

The author of this story I link to has this to say about the late Ms. Rand: "Ayn Rand's novels divided the world into two groups" which she decries. She then proceeds to lump everyone else into one of two groups. Her's, of course, is the superior side.

You may paint anyone with a brush and color of your choosing. That does not change who they are. It merely colors your perspective of them.

If you like to paint people, as Ms. Robinson, Ms. Rand and so many others do, then I wonder what you are telling the world about yourself.

Why do you feel the need to put people into neatly defined categories regardless of whether they fit there or not?

I ask that admitting I do the same thing. So I have an obligation to answer. It makes things easier to handle. Try to handle 15 puppies at once and you can't do it. But the 15 pooches in a box and suddenly you can handle them. For that matter, any 15 animals can be shoved in a box and suddenly become far more manageable.

What those boxed animals do to each other is an entirely different matter. In case you wonder what will happen, look around because it happens every day. There's a reason violence is more common in urban environments.

I get off subject. Apologies.

Take a look at yourself. You have a belief structure that has a lot in common with a lot of other people. At the same time, it's different what a lot of people believe. It's probably diametrically opposite to what some others believe.

One of the great SF writers (I forget who) said if an alien race were to land here and look at the various religions across the world, that alien very likely would say 99 percent of us believe the same thing. If you can be objective enough to stand back and take a galactic view, I think you'd agree.

That's another reason we group people together. It's why our brush is broad enough to encompass an entire world and it lays on a uniform color.

But stepping down from that view and getting a little closer, differences become apparent. The tighter your view, the more differences become apparent and visible and important. If you're willing to focus on an individual and then compare that person to another individual, the differences are broad enough to be galactic in scale.

We're willing to admit to these differences in the small group of people we personally know. And this is why our brush is narrow enough to paint an individual in a color of that person's choosing. But that paint still has highlights of our choosing.

That person still has to fit a mold and we're going to make sure we jam them into it. The person may be close to being a perfect fit. Close only counts in horseshoes, grenades and nuclear war.

Then too, some people demand to be considered as part of group. They want to be painted with the same color that matches others. They find security in a crowd. So do anchovies and it's a strategy that works until the whales come around.

The point is, every person is an individual. I'm not you and you are not me (for which you should give continuous thanks). Even when we come together, even when we ask to be the same color if we look close enough each of us has a slightly different hue or shade.

So why can't we just accept people as individuals? Let's abandon the mob mentality that makes us lump people into groups which we either accept or reject.

No, it's not gonna be easy. But lemme ask you this: Is anything really worth doing ever easy?

To get political on you in closing, paint me camouflage if you must paint me any color. 

Because this ain't a Red and Blue only issue.

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