Thursday, 10 November 2016

The Rant about Bleeding Hearts

A friend and I were ranting yesterday about all the privileged leftists with their corporate salaries, preaching equal distribution of wealth. Why don’t you queue up to spread yours around first? Quoting Che Guevara, wearing tattered clothes, and travelling like a hippie doesn’t make you a committed leftist. Oh and if you were to actually go live in one of the communist countries, they would ask you to shut the hell up. So please be thankful for the freedom you have, be critical of governments and policies by all means but do NOT go spouting ideologies that you don’t understand the first thing about and that you personally, would not want to live by if it meant giving up that little silver spoon sticking out of your mouth. 

The true meaning of "The Right"

As Donald Trump gets ready to take the Oath of Office, The Right will once again be maligned for producing a man as incompetent as Trump. But as a proud Right winger myself I want to set the record straight as to what “Right” really means. In the times that we live in, The Right has become, unfortunately, almost exclusively identified with the conservative agenda. Nothing could be farther from the truth when one examines the origins of the economic position of free-trade and free-markets. 

Milton Friedman rightly pointed out, more than 50 years ago, that the Right was and in many ways remains the original bastion of liberal ideas and showed how economic freedom is a necessary (although not sufficient) condition for political and personal freedom. The system that we find so easy to deride is the very one that gives us the freedom to dissent, even if it is against the system itself. Yes, not all who hold a right wing position on economy support gay marriage or democracy or abortion. But name me one true communist system that is also a democracy!

What most people fail to understand is that right-left is but one axis of political views. Then there is the Liberal-Conservative axis that defines our views on subjects like gender, sexuality, marriage, reproductive rights, and religion. A third axis is the Hawks-Doves that pertains to views on relations between nations, diplomacy, and the use of force beyond ones’ own borders. There are probably others as well if one were to think on it hard enough. It is possible to be a right wing-conservative-dove just as much as it is to be a right wing-liberal-hawk. Ironically, though, today the term “Right-wing” has come to signify, at least in the popular consciousness, the definition of only a Right-wing conservative. The term Liberal has been appropriated almost entirely by the intellectual Left (who would actually shudder to actually live in a Leftist economy) and so I find myself in the position of forever having to explain the concept of a Right-wing Liberal. 

That Trump has been elected is in large part a reaction to the free market and consequences of globalisation, and a sexist vote in other ways. And hence, it is doubly ironical if the right as a whole were to be derided. A true economic right-winger would not support the restriction of global trade, or outsourcing. Restricting economic freedom and competition are both ideologies that stand at odds with the bedrock of the economic right. 

Today, with the complexities of the economic system having increased manifold, there is confusion on positions that were once as clear as night and day. Today, the same economic freedom that promoted competition domestically is being played out on a  scale where, through the lens of national borders, an entire nation of people feels cheated of their “dream” and so we have swathes of Britain voting for a “Brexit” and an even larger swathe of America voting Trump for President. So, let us not blame the ideal of economic freedom, or The Right, for what is, irrespective of political ideology, a recipe for disaster.

And Trump is a disaster not because of his ideals but because of his lack of them, because of his ignorance, for his vitriolic diatribes, and because of his lack of common decency.

Wednesday, 10 August 2016

On why this space is scared

Writing here is like putting something out there... Hoping that the right person will discover it at the right time. And suddenly it will make as much sense beyond you as it made within you. 

The effects of reading The Fountainhead.... Again!

I think not writing has just been a refusal to think... For if I thought, I would run far far away. 

Alone is best

I wish I thought of you tonight. But I don't. Of either of you. Doesn't that say everything? 

Saturday, 27 February 2016

The Altruism of Parenthood... or not

It's really quite amazing what centuries of social conditioning can achieve - forms of repression so insidious that you don't even spot the fallacy in the argument. I've been dealing with one such argument rather intensely for the last two years and then some more. I've decided today that I am going to write about it. Those who know me personally, know exactly what I am talking about. Those who don't, well, come along if you like speculating on human nature and social conditioning.

This black hole is called parenthood. We are taught, early in life, too early in fact, to revere parenthood. It is portrayed as the ultimate form of altruism. Whereas, genetically, it is the precise opposite. How often do you hear some form of "your parents sacrificed so much for you, you are inhuman if you aren't grateful and remain forever indebted to them"? And no. It is seldom so blatant. Such honest perversion of the truth cannot survive for very long without being spotted by enough people to get rid of it from society.

So, let me state my case. Parenthood is a SELFISH (bold, underline, italics, and whatever else it takes to emphasise that point). Profoundly so. It is driven by the desire of two individuals to propagate their genetic identity (it strikes me as I write this, that perhaps, that is why people with intense creative passions or famous people don't feel as strongly about parenthood. Their identity survives mortality in different ways). The benefit of child rearing is to ensure that the genes last long enough to get to the next generation and so on and so forth. I am assuming I don't have to explain why that survival is important?

So, no, you didn't do me a favour by bringing me into this world. I didn't ask you to. In case you don't realise, I didn't exist and I didn't have a choice in the matter. What about everything I did for you post that, you ask? Well, how much of a choice in any of that did you give me? How much of it was because you wanted me to study somewhere or take up some hobby to satisfy something within you - pride, a desire you didn't get to satisfy, an achievement that you value?

Hence, I don't buy it when you say you sacrificed your youth for me. You lived vicariously through me. You will live on through every subsequent generation. I don't blame you for it. But I am not grateful for it. Both of us benefit. Quid Pro Quo. So again I ask, where's the sacrifice?

And, lastly, you always had the choice to NOT have children - perfectly legitimate, no matter what anyone tells you. EVER. No one is duty-bound to reproduce. In this modern age, many of us don't feel that evolutionary pull to reproduce and guess what, that's okay. There are enough people on this planet for the human race to be getting along. And, besides, like I said before, who said having children was the only way to reach immortality? And again, everything you gave that child after birth was also your choice. That child never asked to be sent to x or y school. Likely that choice was made before the poor child even understood what school means.

Have children. But accept that YOU want them. Parenthood is a wonderful experience (though not a parent myself, I see enough close friends enjoying it to believe that it is wonderful). Don't make it a debt your child has to live under, never being free of guilt.

I'll tell you the things I am thankful to you for - all the times you left me to take my decisions and make my mistakes and bear the consequences thereof, all the times that you told me that my life was mine, not yours to pawn, all the times you told me to NOT think of you. Those are the things that have given value to my life and not the mere fact that you gave birth to me. Notice how none of these things involve YOU.

So yes, I am thankful. Not because you gave birth to me but because you recognise that my life is MINE despite the fact that you gave birth to me.

What is the value of this conditioning? Why would society bother with it, tacitly? For this is no conspiracy theory. I am willing to bet a good amount of money that this phenomenon did not exist in the primitive times when people popped off at the ripe young age of 40, often violently or suddenly. This conditioning answers a sociological need that appears only when people begin to live far beyond the age of physical fitness or productivity. It is further exacerbated by the disappearance of community living (nomadic societies were communal), where old age can be lonely and intimidating. A prolonged period of possible dependence towards the end of one's life is a daunting thought and for many children are an insurance policy against this.

The insecure are the ones that use this method of entitlement to ensure that their children don't abandon them. The secure, on the other hand, rely either solely on each other as a couple or trust the love that they and their children bear for each other that they will be taken care of without laying claim or entitlement or showing up at the door to collect a paycheck.

But understanding the problem is only one part of the solution. Yes, being aware of why we adopt some behaviour patterns will hopefully make us more aware individuals, better equipped to resist the temptation to take the easy way out. But the larger dialogue that we must have as a society is the provision that we must make for the aged both through the provision of facilities such as assisted living and social security as well as by educating the younger generation and changing the nature of conversation around old age.

Lastly, this is not an argument for or against multiple generations living together. It is merely a point of view on the oft-heard claim stated in the beginning. And yes, it is a bit of a rant for I feel passionately on the subject of entitlements.