Lunaya Pravda

26 October 2007

So funny I forgot to laugh

Today's Dilbert is very, very Atlas Shrugged.

10 October 2007

Self-interest vs. Need

A situation has arisen with a member of a forum in which I participate that tickles the corners of my brain. This man, K, his girlfriend and their new baby were all set to move 1600 miles away to the currently unused home of his great aunt under a verbal agreement to rent the home from the aunt's children (his first cousins once removed, for those keeping track). They'd given notice with their current landlord, hired movers, and K's girlfriend had quit her job in anticipation of the relocation. About a week before the great departure, one of the aunt's sons pulled the rug out from under them by removing his consent to rent the home to them. Apparently this nosy relative had been reading things on K's blog and MySpace page that weren't to his liking.

Some things aren't sitting right with me. Pointing out that K has a new baby, and using that need as a justification for calling the nosy relative a douchebag bothers me. As much as I respect K, their need for a home, new baby and all, doesn't justify calling this man a douchebag for asserting his property rights in the situation. Need is no virtue to be called upon when attempting to win an battle over property. Need is not a checkmark on one side's favor.

Even now, a part of me still wants to cry out "But they have a baby!" But if I allow that part of me victory, even in this one instance, then I open the door to weighing the virtuousness of all needs. It's a struggle to silence that part of me crying out. We all have been taught for too long that self-sacrifice for our brother's need is as virtuous as his need itself. Sanding out that "conventional wisdom" etched into my moral code isn't so easy in practice.

(Incidentally, in the interests of disclosure, I'm rereading Atlas Shrugged. I'm at a point in the book where "need as virtue" is discussed at length, which may be why all the unstated references to K's need bother me. Take that however you may...)

K put his comments out there knowing consequences might one day follow him. Granted, he probably thought consequences would probably come from someone not so close to home. But the beauty of freedom of association is the right to avoid associating with someone for any reason--irksome blogs and MySpace pages included.

And yet, need aside, I can't get stop thinking this busybody relative is a douchebag anyway. Why?

Perhaps it's because, while the nosy relative is acting in his own self-interest, he's doing it for ridiculous reasons...his feelings. He's trying to scratch an itch by bringing moral indignation into the equation, something that has no place in any rational argument. A rational person would conclude that, so long as K pays the rent on time and doesn't destroy the property, his views are largely irrelevant. It's a business transaction in which feelings, hurt or otherwise, have no place, and only a douchebag would make his emotions the centerpiece of his financial decision-making.

Perhaps it's because the man entered into an agreement without researching the information that might actually concern him, and then, upon actually DOING the research, changed his mind. Were there a written contract in place, I'd be overjoyed to deliver to him the "tough shit" he so richly deserves.

The nosy relative is displaying classic traits of irrational douchebaggery, and I hope his horse loses this race.

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04 October 2007

To fly or not to fly?

A friend of mine has invited me down to L.A. for a Kings-Avalanche game in a couple months. Now the question is, do I accept and fly down there, or turn the opportunity down and wait for his visit up here for New Years Eve?

When the Tyrannical Scam Administration started confiscating toiletries, I concluded I'd flown my last, except in case of emergency or a rare work-related trip. Boxing myself in with a vow never to fly, ever again seemed unrealistic, but I thought I could stick to avoiding vacation flights. Somehow, my line in the sand was the threat of having my shampoo confiscated by uneducated goons unfit to scoop dog shit off the sidewalk.

And since then, I've adhered to it. Even when my grandmother passed away in Southern California, though it cost me two days of vacation, I drove down to my parents' place and rode with them the rest of the way.

So what now? If I am to be at all honest, I really do want to go. I haven't seen a hockey game since I left the Bay area, and before that, I watched the Avs bring Stanley home in 2001 in Denver, where, for a time, I had been on the wait list for season tickets. I miss it, and I hate the closest NHL team so much they aren't ever going to see a dime of my money, for tickets or anything else.

What say you? To fly, or not to fly? Do I stick to principle, or eat my vow and have a good time?

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