How to give?

by Andrea Elizabeth

Another quote from Chapter 2 of Atlas Shrugged.

“He paced the room, his energy returning. He looked at his family. They were bewildered, unhappy children – he thought – all of them, even his mother, and he was foolish to resent their ineptitude; it came from their helplessness, not from malice. It was he who had to make himself learn to understand them, since he had so much to give, since they could never share his sense of joyous, boundless power.

He glanced at them from across the room. His mother and Philip were engaged in some eager discussion; but he noted that they were not really eager, they were nervous.”

Oh, the arrogance of the strong. But what of the angry judgmentalism of the guilt trippers? I say let them each work at their own faults.

And what of that joyous, boundless power? Is it either that or nervous social consciousness? What Rand seems to be criticizing is the sense of obligation toward unnamed masses. Reardon gives to his brother’s charity, not because of the beneficiaries whom he does not know, but to make his brother, whom he does know, happy. But it doesn’t work. They just keep criticizing him. They want so badly for him to feel the same burden that they do.

Charles Dickens surprises me in his social consciousness when he is so critical of vaguely and impotently magnanimous people who neglect their own families and end up mismanaging “others”. It seems to me that his fix is personal adoption of the unfortunate, not detached check doling.

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