Tuesday, 10 March 2009
The Sanction of the Victim
As 'Atlas Shrugged' powers up the best seller list, a book written in 1957 defines the overthrown of the burden of the parasites living off us all. Outselling Obama's Audacity of Hope.What if we just stopped accepting 'authority'
The Sanction of the victim is defined as "the willingness of the good to suffer at the hands of the evil, to accept the role of sacrificial victim for the 'sin' of creating values." The entire story of Atlas Shrugged can be seen as an answer to the question, what would happen if this sanction were revoked? When Atlas shrugs, relieving himself of the burden of carrying the world, he is revoking his sanction. The concept may be original in the thinking of Ayn Rand and is foundational to her moral theory. She holds that evil is a parasite on the good and can only exist if the good tolerates it. To quote from Galt's Speech, as presented in the novel: "Evil is impotent and has no power but that which we let it extort from us," and, "I saw that evil was impotent...and the only weapon of its triumph was the willingness of the good to serve it." Morality requires that we do not sanction our own victimhood, Rand claims. In adhering to this concept, Rand assigns virtue to the trait of rational self-interest. However, Rand contends that moral selfishness does not mean a license to do whatever one pleases, guided by whims. It means the exacting discipline of defining and pursuing one's rational self-interest. A code of rational self-interest rejects every form of human sacrifice, whether of oneself to others or of others to oneself. Throughout Atlas Shrugged, numerous characters admit that there is something wrong with the world but they cannot put their finger on what it is. The concept they cannot grasp is the sanction of the victim. The first person to grasp the concept is John Galt, who vows to stop the motor of the world by getting the creators of the world to withhold their sanction. We first glimpse the concept in section 121 when Hank Rearden feels he is duty-bound to support his family, despite their hostility towards him.
What a surprise Guardianistas don't like it, and miss the point