Leitmotif

Reason as the Leading Motive

Package Deals

Posted by Jerry on December 21, 2006

A new colleague of mine at work happens to be a native of Chicago, who has also traveled and lived in Cuba and Japan, is ethnically Indian, and is politically a fervent communist. *sigh*

 

I didn’t think people even took Communism seriously anymore. I mean, didn’t the world unequivocally prove the dismal failure of attempting to put Communism into practice?! Even the states that are currently communist–North Korea, Cuba, and North Vietnam–are such dismal failures. China is the only politically communist nation that, for all intents and purposes, has opened its economy considerably and has liberalized, and is therefore achieving the kind of prosperity that exists in free states.

 

Regardless, even in theory, Communism is does not even manage to be a failure. I had believed that it was a well established fact that Marx was not only wrong but truly evil, and that his ideology was permanently put to rest for the betterment of all. Apparently, however, as evidenced by the beliefs held by my colleague, Marxist Communism is still gasping its last breaths among young minds.

 

I find arguing against the Communist ideology both incredulous (because I’m surprised that it even needs to be refuted at all!) and overwhelming (it’s like the feeling of “Oh my, where do I even begin!).

 

But more importantly, I’ve noticed an evidence of package-dealing of concepts, which are so unconsciously accepted that they forms the premise of one’s fundamental perspective on the world.

 

I’ve already had two people at work give me evidence of this package-dealing of concepts. One of them repeatedly stated that extremes are always wrong and that she always prefers a moderate or mixed approach to things. When asked, why extremes are wrong, and specifically, are *all* extremes *always* wrong, I did not get any coherent or reasoned response. It was as if I was challenging a notion that should be unquestioned–an axiomatic, self-evident truth.

 

The other package deal was this: the same person who is also a communist believes that theory and practice are permanently separate and can never be conjoined. That what appears good in theory will never manifest in practice. In other words, the notion that the moral is never the practical and the practical is never the moral. Or more fundamentally, that the mind is irreparably severed from the body, that man is a being that is divided, dissected, dichotomized; that what man thinks is separate from what man does. That human actions are not linked to human thought. That a dilution, adulteration, or corruption of both or either concept (theory and/or practice) is simply inevitable. When asked, why can the moral not also be the practical and why can that which works in theory also not work in practice, I just got the shrugging of shoulders followed by, “that’s just the way it is.”

 

The only people I can think of as being directly responsible for the engraining of such package-dealing concepts–that the moral and the practical are forever severed and that extremes are always bad–are the intellectuals; specifically, I blame teachers, philosophers, and political leaders. They are the ones who introduce and perpetuate such notions, such that if you repeat it often enough–or you hear enough people mutter it as their slogan–it automatically becomes self-evident truth.

 

In light of all this, Ayn Rand’s dictum cannot ever be overemphasized: CHECK YOUR PREMISES! I mean, truly, start from scratch!

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One Response to “Package Deals”

  1. Mike N said

    Ayn Rand identified the reason people are drawn to communism: it represents the sacrifice of all to all and coincides with their morality of self-sacrifice. I forget exactly in which essay she wrote it, but it shows the power of altruism and how it can compell people to support a life destroying morality.

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