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Philosophy and the working man

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Ilya Shambat

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Dec 21, 2023, 2:08:52 AM12/21/23
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Ayn Rand stated that the project of philosophy from Plato onward was to steal from the working man. What she forgot to say was that the working man was himself a creature of the civilization rather than man in his natural form. The natural form of social organization is the hunter-gatherer tribe. The worker exists because the civilization exists. And philosophy is very much a part of civilization.


The problem with anti-intellectual types is that they fail to understand the need for things such as philosophy. Without philosophy these people would have very little of what they have. It takes intellectuals to conceptualize and justify things such as capitalism. And Ayn Rand, as an intellectual trying to impact the world, should have understood such things. Her own works have been influential in supporting and justifying capitalism and democracy. Here is a philosopher who is firmly in support of capitalism. And capitalism gained greatly from her efforts.


I have value for both business and culture. The first is fulfilment of man’s productive potential and the second is fulfilment of man’s creative potential. The first feeds the body; the second feeds the soul. Civilization owes vastly to both. The two should be able to get along and work together.


This has happened before in America. It was called 1920s. That time saw both a huge scientific-technological boom and a great cultural blossoming. The conflict between the businessman and the artist is a solvable one. It is possible to support both endeavors. Culture is not for “snobs” or “liberal elites.” Many of the best cultural contributors I’ve known came from disadvantage. They did not allow their disadvantaged background to keep them from producing excellent work.


When businessman and artist get together, the results are fabulous. We get magnificent architecture such as the Chrysler Building and magnificent technology such as the Packard. And from such things everyone stands to gain.


Are the creative types a bunch of Commies? Ayn Rand was a creative type. Ronald Reagan was a creative type. So are Arnold Schwartzenegger and Clint Eastwood. There are many creative people with conservative outlook. As for myself, I’ve written an essay deconstructing Communism and have written in favor of business. I am not a Communist. I am however willing to look at the reasons why there was Communism and see the correct changes made to keep the same thing from happening again.


What are these changes? The Communists’ main argument was that the propertied class were exploiting the working class. This claim is credible when business treats its workers like trash. It is not as credible when business is good to the worker. In my experience, business had learnt its lesson. When I was working in the computer industry I didn’t feel exploited. I was being paid right and I was being treated right. For Communism to not be credible to the people, it is necessary for business to treat workers better. That should solve many problems.


Neither the businessman nor the artist are good or bad. Both are capable of both. There are potentials for abuses in any endeavor. I want to see both business and culture to be in the best shape that they can be. And I want to see the two working together to create accomplishments comparable to those of 1920s America.

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Ilya Shambat
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