The Politically Incorrect Show - 08/03/2000
[Music - Die Fledermaus]
Good afternoon, Kaya Oraaaa & welcome to the Politically Incorrect Show on the free speech network, Radio Pacific, for Wednesday March 8, proudly sponsored by Neanderton Nicotine Ltd, the show that says bugger the politicians & bureaucrats & all the other bossyboot busybodies who try to run our lives with our money; that stands tall for free enterprise, achievement, profit & excellence against the state-worshippers in our midst; that stands above all for the most sacred thing in the universe, the liberty of the human individual.
[Music up, music down!]
Yesterday's furore about the Craccum "How to commit suicide" article & your comments on this programme about it set me to thinking about the time I appeared on The Ralston Group when we panellists were asked our explanations for the high rate of youth suicide. As I subsequently recalled in my editorial in Issue #4 of The Free Radical:
"I stated my own suspicion that the problem came down to a failure of philosophy. Youngsters were taking their own lives at precisely the time one asks life's big questions & searches for ideals to guide one's conduct. Religion, to which one traditionally repaired for answers, was discredited & had not been replaced with a viable secular alternative - leaving a values vacuum leading to despair. What youngster would be inspired by the jaded cynicism so manifest in so many once-thoughtful adults?
"But is a viable, secular alternative to religion possible? Can life have meaning without an afterlife? If there is no god to inspire ideals & prescribe values, can there be any other source? Can man discover it? Theologians & philosophers alike have answered these questions with a resounding, No! Many professional philosophers revel in proclaiming their discipline irrelevant to the conduct of everyday life ...
"The Russian/American novelist/philosopher Ayn Rand begged to differ. It is reality itself, she argued, that confronts man with the need for morality - a code of values designed to facilitate the process of living - because it confronts him with alternatives amongst which he must choose (he has no choice about choice). At the most fundamental level the choice is: life or death. If one chooses death, there is nothing more to be said; if one chooses life, the book of morality opens, & one must fill in the pages oneself, making one's choices in the presence of alternatives to the ultimate value of: life. To the nihilist's gleeful coup de grace, 'Ah! But why should one value life in the first place?' Rand replied: The question is improper. The value of life need not & cannot be justified by a value beyond life itself; without the fact of life & the concept of life, the fact & concept of value would not be possible in the first place. To the existentialists' lament that without something beyond life, life itself has no meaning, she responded similarly - the very concept of meaning can have meaning only in the context of life. Ultimately, the meaning of life, if one wants to use that terminology, is life - one's own life, since one cannot live anyone else's - & what other or better meaning could one conceive? A creature endowed with immortality, denied the alternative of life or death (& their barometers, pleasure & pain) would have no need of values & could discover no meaning in anything since nothing would be of any consequence to it ..."
After some further elaboration I concluded:
"In Rand's novel The Fountainhead, a young man fresh out of college, looking for spiritual fuel for the journey ahead of him, is wheeling his bicycle through a forest, when he encounters the architect Howard Roark, contemplating some breath-taking new structures - his own - in a nearby clearing. 'Who built this?' he asks. 'I did,' Roark replies. The boy thanks Roark & walks away. 'Roark looked after him. He had never seen him before & he would never see him again. He did not know that he had given someone the courage to face a lifetime.'"
"To all this country's young people, happy & unhappy alike, I would repeat what I said on Ralston: read this book - & the philosophy that produced it. You have nothing to lose but your doubts; you have your dreams to win."
I repeat that advice today.
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