Friday, September 09, 2011


My graphic below accompanies a piece at Pajamas Media:
"The man who speaks to you of sacrifice is speaking 
of slaves and masters, and intends to be the master." - Ayn Rand


Damien said...


Umm there's at least one thing in the article I'm going to take issue with.

“Sacrifice” means “the surrender of a greater value for the sake of a lesser one or of a nonvalue.” It does not mean, e.g., choosing to work longer hours now for the sake of increased wealth and more leisure later; it does not mean choosing to give some of your extra money, for which you had no preferred use, to your friend, relative, or charity of your choice.

Rand certainly may have thought that, however, I have yet to hear a single person who labels themselves an altruist specifically say that we ought to give up something of greater value for something of lessor or no value. You may believe that, but based on everything I know, its a straw man argument. Its not what altruists actually believe. No one to my knowlege believes that people ought to sacrife something they regard as having a greater value for a lessor value. Take the extreme example of Human sacrifice. On the first page of her commentary, Amy Peikoff has a painting of an Aztec priest performing a human sacrifice. The Aztecs did not sacrifice people for what they perceived to be a lessor value.

According to

The Aztec religion would take a 'book report' type paper itself, and that would only be a cursory overview. The important element in relation to human sacrifice, very briefly, is that the universe was thought to run on an energy called tonalli, "animating spirit". This word comes from tona, "to make heat or sun". It nourished the gods, and kept the sun moving. Throughout Aztec religion there is a great emphasis on motion, and motion is driven by tonalli. In humans it is located in the blood stream. When a man is frightened, it concentrates in the heart. The gods' thirst for it is perpetual. It drives the universe. Without it, everything stops. (Graulick, 1988. Ingham, 1984)

In otherwords they believed that the universe would end without human sacrifices to their gods. Sometimes people also sacrificed other people to their gods so that it would rain so the crops would grow and they wouldn't die of thirst or starve to death. Its clearly illogical thinking, but the people who engaged in it, didn't believe that they weren't going to get something more valuable out of it.

Bosch Fawstin said...

Two things come to mind, first- ask the one who's being sacrificed what he thinks of the ritual. And second, it doesn't matter what the sacrificers feel, they're Objectively sacrificing a greater value- the life of a living, breathing, human being that exists in reality, for something that doesn't exist. It's not Rand, Damien, it's you. Think things through.

Damien said...


That maybe true, unfortunately they certainly don't see it that way.