Friday, July 26, 2013

The Spiritual Parasitism of Senator Robert Menendez

In my recent TOS Blog post, Senator Menendez Dishonestly Equates Private Food Bank with SNAP, I highlighted a moral equivocation commonly sprung on us by welfare statists. I called Menendez's actions "morally offensive."

There is more to say about this episode. 

Compounding his moral offensiveness, Menendez asserted that "the real shame is not doing all we can as a community" to help those "falling on hard times in a bad economy,"  implicitly smearing opponents of SNAP (or even SNAP supporters who merely want to reduce its scope) as uncaring scrooges. 

But in speaking of the "community,” Menendez evades the full context: The community is made up of sovereign individuals. No one has the right to declare, as Menendez does, "The community, c'est moi!" and then impose on every other community member his idea of what the “community” should do by government force.

Every person has the right to spend his money according to his own judgment, including if, when, who, and in what capacity to help others. There is certainly no shame in helping others. But there is no shame in not helping, either. There is shame in self-sacrificing for others. An individual's own life and values are—or should be—one's primary moral concern. Decisions concerning charity morally depends on one's own values and personal circumstances, like one's judgement on the worthiness of the recipient and what one can afford.

There is a more sinister shame in sacrificing others to feed your desire to help others. Such a person is not compassionate. He is not moral. He is a thug—a power-luster—masquerading as a champion for the needy. Ayn Rand identified the nature of these thugs in The Monument Builders:

“The desire for the unearned has two aspects: the unearned in matter and the unearned in spirit. The desire for the unearned in spirit is the more destructive of the two and the more corrupt. It is a desire for unearned greatness; it is expressed by the foggy murk of the term ‘prestige’.

“The seekers of unearned material benefits are merely financial parasites, moochers, looters or criminals, who are too limited in number and in mind to be a threat to civilization, until and unless they are released and legalized by the seekers of unearned greatness.

“ ‘The public’, ‘the public interest’, ‘service to the public’ are the means, the tools, the swinging pendulums of the power-luster’s self-hypnosis. Since the concept [of ‘the public’] is so conveniently undefinable, its use rests only on any given gang’s ability to proclaim that ‘The public, c’est moi’, and to maintain the claim at the point of a gun."

Or "the community, c'est moi.' 

Senator Robert Menendez (and his ilk): power-luster, spiritual parasite, seeker of unearned greatness. 

I would add another word: Show me a person who practices charity with other people's tax money, and I'll show you a phony.

Related Reading:

A Monument to Power-Lust

Senator Menendez Dishonestly Equates Private Food Bank with SNAP

The Virtue of Selfishness by Ayn Rand

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