Ask not…

"I swear – by my life and my love for it — that I will never live for the sake of another man, nor ask another man to live for mine." – John Galt in Atlas Shrugged

I will have more to say on this later, but I am looking at this deeply. How does one reconcile that concept, one that calls to me deeply, with ownership taken and enforced?

There is no conflict between Objectivism and fealty. Those who offer their service to you do so out of their own self interest or to fill their own needs. They offer service not to live for your sake, but because to serve you is to live for their own sake… service to you is a need or a means to an end.

What of power you have taken? Certainly you are not asking anyone to live for you… you are demanding it. You are exerting power to bend them to your will. Certainly this is a seeming conflict… or is it?

To "ask" someone to live for your sake is to make a moral appeal… to imply that you wish them to give or grant you their service. It is a favor, a gift if you will.

To take power is not to appeal. Not to ask. Not to be granted. It is to actualize a reality – that you have the power to compel, that it serves your purpose to do so and it is part of their nature to obey that compulsion. When the taking of that power is within your ethics (the only standard one can judge oneself by) then has this violated the stricture? I do not think so.

The core sin of Objectivism is the appeal. To ask, to wheedle, to appeal to outside or fictitious authority to gain things one cannot achieve or bring into being. To take power and it’s counterpart of accepting fealty one does none of those things.

When one realizes something that already exists – that they own someone else. That they have that power. Then the question no longer is one of asking… simply of accepting. The only questions that remain are:

  • Is it ethical to express this ownership?
  • Does it serve my purposes to do so?

These are not trivial questions… but they are not a conflict with Rand as I see it.