Ayn Rand, Buffy, and morality

We all have nightmares.

Often these nightmares are extensions of activities we dread, such as public speaking, singing solo in front of your peers, giving a book report naked, being the only server in a restaurant on a Friday night with every table getting sat in succession with barely any time to get a drink order, let alone food order, and the guests all get so mad they refuse to pay, meaning you’ve worked your ass off and will get no tip and on top of that, they all leave reviews of the restaurant that are so bad that business tanks and you’re out of a job and your boss blames you and you’re blacklisted from all the restaurants in the city and have to move elsewhere except you can’t because you don’t have money and holy fuck can I get this sentence any longer (I tried, really I did)?

Then there are real nightmares.  Those things that would just be abso-fucking-lutely awful if they happened in the real world.  I was recently introduced to just such a nightmare. I won’t rank it in terms of absolute awfulness, but it’s gotta be up there-like in the top 1 (not a typo).

Put down the drinks.  Surround yourself with soft pillows.  Lay on the floor. Prepare yourself for:

  Ayn Rand does Buffy

GILES: In every generation there is a Slayer. She is the Chosen One. She alone will stand against the forces of darkness –

BUFFY: What does it pay?

GILES: What do you mean?

BUFFY: I’m being expected to risk my personal health and well-being on behalf of those too weak to fend for themselves, yes?

GILES: I wouldn’t put it exactly like that.

BUFFY: Surely this kind of specialized labor merits compensation, if my skills are so highly valued on the free market.

GILES: Well, we can’t really offer the Slayer money, if that’s what you mean.

BUFFY: Then I will find someone who can, and work only for the highest bidder.

[a group of vampires bash their way into the library and begin chewing on Giles]

GILES: Buffy, help –

BUFFY: If you really valued my services, you would pay me.

GILES: I’m dying –

BUFFY: This is emotional extortion and I won’t respond to it.

There are more examples at the link.

By the way, I actually do think the Slayers should have been paid.  They got the short end of Mr. Pointy-living an incredibly short and violent life. Given abilities they never chose and a destiny they never asked for.  All of this and they don’t get paid?! I think that people should get paid for their jobs, even if that job involves helping others, saving lives, or battling vampires, demons, and the forces of darkness.  The Slayer should be paid.

My gripe with so much of Ayn Rand’s Libertarian bullshit is the selfishness, as seen in the above example.  Not caring about the plight of others is pretty much the antithesis of who I am.  I might not be able to help others as much as I’d like, but I have a great deal of empathy and hearing of the suffering of others, including people I don’t know and never will has an effect on me.  If I was in the same situation as “Buffy” was in the above scenario, I’d save Giles.  Yes, there’s a risk, but given her power levels and her skills, that’s a minimal risk to her life, especially for the benefit of y’know, Anthony Stewart Head being able to keep his head.

Why?  Because of empathy. Because I know that if circumstances were different, I could be in the same car accident, have the same debilitating disease, face the same bullying, or deal with the same oppressive, theocratic government that calls for LGBT people or atheists to be killed. If I were in that same situation where my life was in danger, I’d want someone to help me if they could.  I wouldn’t want someone to sit on the sidelines and not offer assistance if they were able to (assuming they wouldn’t have to face too great a risk of harm to themselves [a risk that is up to each individual to determine]-I’m not saying that someone should rush into a burning building to save my life, although if they did, and saved me, I think I’d be a bit grateful). Moreover, since I don’t want to be made to suffer, I don’t want that to happen to anyone else. I don’t want anyone to suffer, and since I realize that suffering does happen, empathy causes me to react in a sympathetic, compassionate way.

I neither need nor want any divine commands to act in a moral way. At the heart of my morality is empathy.

Ayn Rand, Buffy, and morality

Sunday Link Roundup

The presence of roaches and rodents have forced the temporary closure of 16 Florida restaurants.

Rodent and roach activity caused 16 Central Florida restaurants to temporarily close in late July and August, the most recent data available — some for several days — and another one was closed permanently for unlicensed activity.

Good thing we have government run public health inspection agencies.  I wonder how the health of the public would be insured in Libertopia.


You may want to put down any drinks, and ensure you’ve swallowed anything in your mouth:  Deepak Chopra accuses Richard Dawkins of being a bad scientist.  Yeah, I know.  Where does the King of Quantum Bullshit get off with that?

According to Salon.com, Tom Roston’s book The Quantum Prophets: Richard Dawkins, Deepak Chopra and the spooky truth about their battle over God, explains that the longstanding rivalry between the two men began at the 2002 TED Conference and culminated in a public debate in 2013. In an interview with Roston, Chopra explained that Dawkins’ “arrogance” continues to bother him.

“With Dawkins, I am just pissed off. I am pissed off by his arrogance and his pretense of being a really good scientist. He is not,” Chopra told Roston. “And he is using his scientific credentials to literally go on a rampage.”


Dawkins has accused Chopra of being a swindler whose practice of “mind-body wellness” bilks millions of people around the world by dazzling them with “magical language” and “bullshit.”

I guess Chopra isn’t fond of the fact that Dawkins is calls his bullshit for what it is:  bullshit.  Boo hoo dude.  You’re making money off the back of a gullible public, which is dishonest and unethical.


“Hey!  Look over there. It’s a black woman kissing a white man. She must be a prostitute!”

Danièle Watts, star of Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained, wrote on her Facebook page that she was handcuffed and thrown into the back of a police cruiser after failing to provide the officers with ID, according to The YBF.

In her posting, Watts wrote, “Today I was handcuffed and detained by 2 police officers from the Studio City Police Department after refusing to agree that I had done something wrong by showing affection, fully clothed, in a public place. When the officer arrived, I was standing on the sidewalk by a tree. I was talking to my father on my cell phone. I knew that I had done nothing wrong, that I wasn’t harming anyone, so I walked away. A few minutes later, I was still talking to my dad when 2 different police officers accosted me and forced me into handcuffs.”

According to Watts, she refused to show officers ID  — saying she had done nothing wrong — before being placed, crying, in the back of a police cruiser only to  eventually be released.

Writing on his own Facebook page, her boyfriend, Chef Brian James Lucas elaborated,  “Today, Daniele Watts & I were accosted by police officers after showing our affection publicly. From the questions that he asked me as D was already on her phone with her dad, I could tell that whoever called on us (including the officers), saw a tatted RAWKer white boy and a hot bootie shorted black girl and thought we were a HO (prostitute) & a TRICK (client).”

Nope, no racism to see here people. Just keep moving.

(Sadly, there are people who will likely claim this wasn’t racism.)


Did you know that women were unable to apply for credit until 1974?

Did you know that until 1978, a woman could be fired for being pregnant?

Were you aware that it wasn’t until 1977 that a court recognized sexual harassment in the workplace?

I sure didn’t.  I need to read more.  If you didn’t know these things, so do you.

I’m thinking that in Libertopia, none of these advances would have ever happened.  No rights for the wimmin folk.


Hey, look at something else we know thanks to the government:

Sunday Link Roundup