Book Log: Back from unwanted hiatus & on Guatemala Demolition

I am back! After almost a week in hiatus, here I am again, writing for the sake of writing. I wish you are out there reading this one… and I hope that you keep coming back.

Why was I away for a couple of days? Well, I have to attend to an urgent matter in Bulacan, where there was no internet connection for some weird reasons. That gave me 5 full days of nothing but reading Atlas Shrugged. Now, I am almost half-way done with the book. Quite fast right?! That’s what you get without the distraction called the internet!

I am really shocked reading at such pace, because knowing my love-hate relationship with Ayn Rand, I won’t be able to stand her for more than two hours. But reading AS for the past few days, I have to admit that I was reading it like those times when I read Harry Potter. 5 hours straight! Imagine! Well, I do think it was her shorter sentences and her gripping plot that made me stuck to the story. She also lays her philosophy in a reader-friendly way. Compared to The Fountainhead, this one is an easier read.

***

One thing that I get from reading AS is one of the basic tenets of Objectivismtrading value for value. This means, to us humans, that the only moral thing for a man to do is to trade something he values for a thing another one values. For example, if I want an iPhone 5 (where its value comes from the fact that it was a product of hours of research and sweat from Steve Jobs), I would have to trade it for my money, provided that that money is something out of my hardwork. It is only logical I think– it really does make sense. (And yes, I have survived Francisco d’Anconia’s three page speech!)

And of course, whenever Ayn Rand gets in me, I have this anti-poor sentiments sometimes. I was watching for the news few days ago when I have learned about the Guatemala Compound Demolition which had its share of violence. I hate to say this,  but I could not possibly side with the informal settlers knowing that they have started the violence. First and foremost, they are in no position to fight for that property! The property is not theirs; but there they were, throwing molotov bombs and some shit! They need to realize the fact that when the time when they needed to vacate the place comes, they need to vacate it asap, especially considering that negotiation talks have been on going ever since 2004.

Image from DZMM

Neither do they have the impertinent right to refuse the compensations given by the city government. They should realize that these compensations are just out of grace. Following AR’s value for value, they do not deserve the value of their compensation because they do not have any value to trade it for. In fact, they were the transgressors here!

Winnie Monsod had it right when she asked one of the community leaders if they presented a counteroffer during the negotiations, say, an offer to make an agreement that the informal settlers would just buy the land on a particular term. That would be a better compromise, I think! But there was the community leader whining about how the poor are being treated as scums. Uhm, excuse me, you acted like scums! They should realize that they can not keep on using the victim card here, because at some point, one has need to work for the things one owns. Winnie Monsod was right, one has to pay his rent at some point in time.

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5 thoughts on “Book Log: Back from unwanted hiatus & on Guatemala Demolition

  1. Glad to see you are enjoying Atlas Shrugged.

    “And of course, whenever Ayn Rand gets in me, I have this anti-poor sentiments sometimes.”

    Hopefully, you realize that they aren’t anti-poor sentiments, per se, but pro-justice sentiments. There are contemptible poor and noble poor, contemptible rich and noble rich. When the poor behave as though they are entitled to force the rich to subsidize their sloth and/or irresponsibility, they are behaving contemptibly and deserve scorn. When the poor do not hold their sheer needs as a club over the heads of wealthier people, but accept the responsibility of working their way out of poverty, (gratefully accepting voluntary charity if they really need it, despite hard work) then they are the good among the poor.

    Similarly, the rich that earn their money by production and free trade are the noble rich. The rich that subsist on special government favors and tax largess, or those who squander an inheritance on unproductive pursuits are the contemptible rich.

    As I think you see from Atlas Shrugged, the moral issue is not wealth vs. poverty, but rationally productive work and trade vs. bashing others with one’s needs and resorting to force.

    • Thank you for your insight about my perception of Objectivism. I don’t take it against Ayn Rand that her philosophy may seem to be a very touchy one especially considering the current norm of collectivism and altruism. And trust me when I say you that those two concepts are very much practiced in the Filipino culture. Objectivism does make sense and that it what I like about it. I like it that it makes one consider the value of the self. i think that is very important for every man to consider.

      On my “anti-poor” sentiments, I only named it as such because that is the term that will be comprehended by most of the people. I understand the point Atlas Shrugged wants to make and I do not take it against Ayn Rand. Thank you for elaborating it further for me. I have to say that I would not be able to express materially what I think I understand from Ayn Rand and her philosophy. Your comment was helping me to understand Objectivism further.

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