The Politically Incorrect Show - 04/02/2002
Here's a sense-of-life poser for you all.
Have you ever had a lover/roommate who nagged you about squeezing the toothpaste tube from the bottom up (after you've squeezed it from the middle) in order to extract the last remnant of toothpaste out of it?
And made a federal case out of it? Been a pedantic pain-in-the-butt about it?
Of course, such a pedant is, strictly speaking, right - the way to get the most toothpaste out of the tube IS to squeeze it from the bottom, consistently, unerringly, single-mindedly, until every last skerrick of paste has been duly eked out. But it's a matter of such little consequence - in fact, of no consequence whatsoever - that I find it incomprehensible that anyone could get his/her dander up about it.
So why do I raise it now?
Because I'm starting to think that tube-squeezers-from-the-bottom-up are the bane of life & of Objectivism.
Why am I starting to think this?
I had a telephone conversation last night with an Objectivist tube-squeezer-from-the-bottom-up. He's actually much better than that, but needs to learn that he can squeeze the tube from the middle or top without going bankrupt from any "wastage" (most all comes out in the end, anyway). It was devilishly difficult dragging him away from the overwhelmingly under-important, non-stinging bees in his bonnet.
Remind yourself why it took so long for Leonard to write Ominous Parallels: he wanted to squeeze the tube from the bottom, while Ayn Rand all the while was telling him he could do his first squeeze at least from ANY particular point.
It's like people who build a CD collection starting with composers whose names begin with 'A.' Or, to go back to an earlier conversation on this loop, people who say you must start your study of philosophy with the study of metaphysics. It's obsessive-compulsive territory. And there's a LOT of it around, especially among Objectivists. They need to shed it.
I am not arguing here for a lowering of standards. I, after all, am the world's biggest flagellator of peasants who don't know what an apostrophe is. I AM arguing for perspective. LACK of perspective is what has caused the moral hysteria that has plagued Objectivism for so long. It's what caused Schwartz, for instance, to equate libertarians with the Ayatollah Khomeini, Stalin et al. The moral hysteria is the "cashing-in" of the tube-squeezing-from-the-bottom-up mentality. It's been very damaging to us.
Next time a lover/roommate nags you about the way you squeeze the toothpaste tube, dump him!
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