Wednesday, November 13, 2013

NJ's Minimum Wage Approval Highlights the Moral Disease that Afflicts America

“From the beginning of history, the two antagonists have stood face to face: the creator and the second-hander. When the first creator invented the wheel, the first second-hander responded. He invented altruism.”—Howard Roark, The Fountainhead.

[NOTE: The “second-hander” is the person who lives off others, whether materially or spiritually.]

By approving the state constitutional amendment raising the minimum wage, a majority of NJ voters showed that they have no idea or don't care about the purpose of a constitution; no understanding of or don't care about basic economic principles; and no knowledge of or respect for individual rights.

The widespread support for mandatory minimum wage laws in New Jersey and across the nation is symptomatic of the moral disease that is progressively crippling America and sapping her productive strength, turning Americans into an increasingly predatory people. Echoing a widespread sentiment, one proponent of the NJ measure said, "New Jersey’s voters should be thanked tonight for understanding that the state’s low-wage workers need more than $7.25 an hour to survive in this high-cost state." Translation: It’s not necessary to earn that raise through increased skills, experience, or productive worth. One only has to need a raise, and the government will force others to provide it.

The vote showed just how thoroughly the morality of altruism has corrupted our culture. As I noted in my latest TOS blog post New Jersey Voters Elect to Violate Rights and Harm the Poor:

Altruism holds that being moral consists in self-sacrificially serving others—especially others in “need.” According to altruism, a person’s need constitutes a moral claim on the lives, liberties, and property of others. This idea gives rise to the notion that the needs of the “needy” should constitute a legal claim on those who have what the needy need—such as money. The logic of the connection is clear as day.

Predation is the nature of altruism. What else can be the result of a moral code that holds need above justice as the standard and the ideal? "Need" in the altruist context means any kind of need except the needs of the productive—his need for the liberty to think and act on his own rational judgment in pursuit of his own rational self-interest.

There are only two winners under altruism, each feeding off of the other; the parasite and the power luster. The seeker of unearned wealth serves as fodder for the spiritual parasite—power-seeking politicians who build the welfare state one predatory, redistributionist policy at a time—who then fraudulently trumpet their concern for “helping the needy” in their next election campaign.

Though professing adherence to altruism, most Americans do not live altruistically. Americans generally are not predacious in their personal lives, preferring instead to live by self-interest. Predatory altruism manifests itself primarily in the political realm, exposing the increasingly virulent split personality afflicting Americans. People who would never think of robbing or micro-managing their neighbor’s lives have no problem voting to have government rob and regulate their neighbor’s lives and businesses. 

People in general are predominantly egoistic, and thus respectful of others, in their personal lives. But when turning to politics, they abandon the notion of respecting others rights. One need only claim to be "helping" some needy group. One need not concern oneself with the harmful secondary consequences being brought down on others, including many of the very people they claim to be wanting to help. It is altruism that permits people to evade the nature of their destructive personal/political double standard.

Altruism is, in effect, an anti-morality, inverting the only proper purpose of the science of ethics; to teach you how to further your own life. As long as a majority of Americans continue their love affair with altruism, we will continue to be a society where people believe they have a right to legally impose their values on others; and, as a consequence, to legally prevent others from pursuing their own values. As long as "need" is the standard of political evaluation and debate, we'll never have a decent country to live in; and need will continue to supersede individual rights and liberty, as America continues down the path to ever more authoritarian government.

If Americans are to reverse the destructive trends now firmly entrenched, they must realize the true nature of altruism—that it is not about good will or charity, but plunder—and reject it. Instead, Americans must embrace the moral code implicit in America’s Founding ideal that each individual has inalienable rights to his own life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness—and the right to voluntary employment contract that that ideal necessarily implies—rational self-interest.

Related Reading:

Some Fallacies Behind the Drive for the NJ Minimum Wage Increase Amendment

Minimum Wage Issue is Not "about what it's like to live on $7.25 an hour"

The Objectivist Ethics—Ayn Rand

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