Ayn Rand (1905-1982) espoused a philosophy called RATIONAL EGOISM (rational self-interest). By it, the individual must exist for hisown sake, neither sacrificing himself to others nor sacrificing others to himself. The individual actually contributes to the society as a whole by doing this, but does so indirectly. When he uses his full potential, he is the inventor of things the society needs, the entrepreneur who supplies goods, sevices and jobs, the artist who entertains and inspires, etc.
A part of me still believes in this grand ideal. It is the survival instinct we cling to in this bleak time of being jerked around by a government gone wild with spending our money for things we do not want. It is the cry of “I still count” while our government attempts to establish a national healthcare system that may force us into paying for abortions of others while we are young tax payers, and euthanasia of ourselves when we are old, retired and nolonger considered worth keeping around.
Just for a moment we wish we could escape into the caravan of Lewis and Clark as they set out toward the West with its still fresh air and pure mountain streams and rivers full of trout, and majestic, uncluttered scenery. One could speak his mind then without being politically correct and what a man made by the sweat of his brow he kept for himself and his family and his tithe.
Still, the self-made, self-styled, self-serving, self-glorifying life can only last so long (whether it indirectly serves the society or not). We must use our abilities mightily while we still can for the good of ourselves and all others, of course. But the time between roller skates and walkers is shorter than we think. Even the genius can be left so diminished by a stroke, or Alzheimers that he slobbers and defecates and sits mute or raving like the child or embecile, looking blankly at the grandiose work of his hands and mind as though they were created by someone else. In both productive and helpless states he is created in the image of God and has value.
We must not be gutted by fear of disease and debiltation, but we must be aware of it to the extent that we use sound judgement while we still can in making laws and holding philosophies that serve the strong and the helpless with as great an equaninimity as possible. If we are in the prime of life now, we were most certainly in the womb once, and will probably be debilitated to some degree (if we live long enough) before we check out of this cheap hotel.
I am generally a pretty strict Constitutionalist, but I still believe that Social Security and Medicare and Medicade were pretty good things, even if they are not strictly Constitutional. They must be preserved for all of us (but with waste and fraud eliminated as much as possible.
I still believe it is right that the Church provide through tithes and offerings for those in crisis. But only a church composed of Donald Trumps could provide for heart, liver, and kidney transplants. The first century church did not have such medical knowledge. Those who want the church to supply all the needs of its congregation when in crisis (totally abandoning government “hand-outs” ) must keep this in mind.
Some have positted that the private sector take over such government programs. That is worth consideration, I think. But mankind is fallible and sometimes fraudulent whether he works for the government or the private sector. There is no perfect solution to these big, ugly dilemmas in this fallen world. Those who think there are (right or left) are deluded.
How far do we go in balancing things, I don’t know. But let’s not get off in the ditch on either side of the road.