Saturday, September 13, 2008

An old letter

I'm in the process of going through the "back issues" of my website,, in preparation for its 10th anniversary in October. I've been looking at archived copies of updates to the home page, and I discovered a letter I wrote in January of 2000 that I'm so proud of, I decided to re-post it here!

The letter was written in response to another letter about an article in the Oklahoma Gazette regarding the so-called "conversion therapy", which is claimed by its supporters to be a cure for homosexuality and by opponents to be a colossal fraud.

I definitely consider myself to be an opponent.

As I recall, the letter was printed by the Gazette, with some editing. Here it is:

I would like to respond to the letter by David Burrows in your Jan 19 issue. Mr. Burrows writes that "If moral laws exist . . . then a moral law giver must exist". Mr. Burrows goes on further to state that "Real morality saves us from having to reinvent the wheel of morality." I submit that this is, literally, mindlessness. Whatever it is that Mr. Burrows means by "real morality", it is not morality.

Reality is real and we have to live in it. The purpose of morality is to enable us to do that. The moral is the chosen. Where there is no choice there can be no morality. Moral principles are not given. To be properly used they must in a very real sense be discovered by the person who wants to use them. A person must discover what facts of reality give rise to a principle in order to understand how to apply that principle to the facts of his own life. The most anyone else can do is point you in the right direction. No one can do your understanding for you. This is why Ayn Rand said the moral is the understood, not the obeyed.

Morality arose precisely because Man is not hard-wired with a set of automatic reactions to the possibilities of life the way the lower animals are. Man can survive only by using his mind to discover how to respond to reality in the way that supports his life, rather than destroys it. It is the fact that Man possesses the faculty of choice that enables us to take what Nature gives us and transform it into something completely new and even multiply beyond anything Nature by itself could possibly provide. Choice is Man's glory and his responsibility. This is why it is every Human Being's responsibility to use his mind to make his own choices for himself. In a very real sense, every human being must reinvent the wheel of morality. If "life" is the standard, your life must be your standard.

The person who looks to "law givers" to make his choices for him has defaulted on the responsibility of being Human. This is precisely what happened to the people of Germany. They were taught to obey, not to understand, which is how they ended up with Hitler. They wanted a law giver and that is what Hitler gave them. For those who are really interested in understanding how this happened, read "The Ominous Parallels" by Leonard Peikoff.

Rob Abiera
Well, okay, I could do some nit-picking, but I still like what it says about my understanding of Objectivism at the time.

No comments:

Post a Comment