Fuck you, Jack, I got mine

Why Ayn Rand Sucks

So yesterday we talked about how being SLIM is kind of shitty, but not what SLIM stands for. If you're already familiar with Rand, though, it's pretty obvious that the S will have something to do with Self-interest.

And you're completely right! The S is for Selfish. We're all fundamentally selfish, and that's just the way it is. Some people like to argue with this and say that we naturally want to share, but that's bullshit. We have a notion of emotional maturity which includes the ability and willingness to share, but that notion is cultural - you have to be taught not to be selfish.

Selfish just happens. Everything is selfish.

Now, I don't want you to take this the wrong way. Eradicating selfishness from your personality is a stupid quest and you shouldn't even waste a moment's thought on it. Instead, recognise selfishness - and, indeed, every element of being SLIM - for what it is: the almost universally worst strategy.

Remember we were talking about how your brain is lazy and tries to fuck with you, just to make you stop and do what's easy? That's your brain being SLIM. It's selfish, too. It looks after its own interests.

But your brain is not taking the best long-term view of the situation, is it? When you try and force your brain to learn more, to retain more, to allow you the power and freedom to be a better person so you can be all badass and shit... it whinges and cries and doesn't like it. And its response, to actively fuck with you and make you stop, is pretty much the worst possible thing it could choose to do.

Faced with an opportunity for growth, it's not just going to prevent that growth, it's going to punish you by actively destroying growth you've already achieved. Because it doesn't fucking care.

And like your brain, you are also naturally selfish. If you see food on the table and you are hungry, your first impulse is to eat the food. But culturally, there are many reasons why you might not eat the food. Perhaps it is not your food. Perhaps it is being saved for later. Perhaps you need to say grace first. But your conscious mind has to step in and inhibit your impulse to eat that food.

And whereas Randian Objectivism states that you should act in your rational self-interest, and therefore eat the food, you know damn well that is going to end badly. Which is where people start stepping in and saying "well, rational self-interest takes into account that blah blah blah." But if you're in that kind of discussion, you say "but that fails to take into account the value of Nash equilibria" and then whatever they say as a rebuttal you can raise a single finger and sagely say "but only at the margin." Then you sound like you know what you're talking about, and most proponents of Objectivism don't, so they'll generally shut up.

Better than ninety percent of academic discussion is just saying the magic words and sounding like you know what you're talking about. The Nash equilibrium is indeed vaguely relevant, and any economic discussion is all about the margin, so it's like you said "abracadabra, now for my next trick" and somehow nobody even notices you didn't do a trick just now.

Which is selfish, because your debate partner doesn't actually want to shut up. He wants to keep talking about Ayn Rand. But you don't, so fuck him, be selfish. See? Nothing wrong with being selfish. The alternative is to continue talking about Ayn Rand as though something is going to be accomplished, when your partner's core philosophy is to be just as selfish.

Which is where the almost part comes into play. Being SLIM isĀ the almost universally objectively worst strategy, but just almost. You should examine other alternatives, but discarding the option of being SLIM is every bit as bad as discarding all the other options.

Seems paradoxical, doesn't it? I mean, here I am saying "don't be SLIM, be FAT" but then I say you should always keep the option of being SLIM. Sometimes being selfish is, in fact, the best strategy. Like when some dickhead is selfishly promoting Ayn Rand's Objectivism as a useful philosophy that one might want to follow in the Real World, as opposed to the retarded little academicĀ gedankenspiel it is.

Tomorrow we'll cover the next element of being SLIM, and examine the ways that plays into everything. Stay tuned; we're ramping up here, and you're going to want to know the vocabulary once I start bringing the heat.