There’s a scene in a movie, I think it’s “The In-Laws”, where the heroes are being executed, and to stall for time, they insist they be blindfolded and given a cigarette, and then while their captors are blindfolding them and giving them a smoke, something happens, and they escape. When I saw it, when I was 9 or 10, I liked that even if your enemies were going to kill you, they’d let you have a little dignity, and I was bothered, a little, by the fact that the heroes took advantage of this hospitality to get away.
Today, I had to call a friend of mine who encountered a personal set-back. I should have called a few weeks ago when I found about it, but I’ve had a hard time making myself do it. I know that he won’t be pleasant, that if I call too late, he’ll say I’m a weirdo for calling too late, that if I call too early, he’ll say I woke him up, that if I call during the day he’ll ask why the fuck I’m not working. I’d say stuff like that to everyone who called me if I was depressed, too.
What happened to him could be his fault, the unsympathetic part of me believes that it probably was. But I still think that if I call him and he yells at me for calling too late/during the day/too early, I should just apologize and try to keep the conversation going.
In the back of mind, I know that Bobo/Edmund Burke/Charles Lane/Teh Free Market would tell him to lose weight/change his ways/try harder/not be a dick to people like me that are trying to be nice to him, that the pain he’s going through right now will just make him leaner, meaner, more economically competitive machine down the road, but I believe you can humor people a little bit when they’re down, even if that doesn’t give them the kick in the ass they need to become efficient Galtian machines.
I just don’t think we need to grind people down into nothing all the time, even if we could make them shine shoes or pick berries for a nickel less if we did. I know I’m a hypocrite for saying that because I buy stuff from China that’s cheap because it’s made by prisoners.
That’s a big reason why I’m a social democrat, or whatever we’re supposed to call actual liberals now. Also too, sane Keynesian economic policy, not fighting wars for no reason, equal rights for everybody, but I think those are no-brainers. But I think a big thing is the idea that being an asshole all the time won’t really lead to a perfect free market Galtian paradise, and even if it did, I wouldn’t want to live here.
Sorry this is long.