Ayn Rand was a twentieth century Russian-American writer and philosopher whose best known work was Atlas Shrugged. Her philosophy was called Objectivism and in it she proclaimed the virtue of selfishness. Influenced somewhat by the writings of Charles Darwin, Rand suggests that it was important that we care about the well being of ourselves over and above the needs of others. We need to be self sufficient. We need to look out for number one.
Kevin O'Leary used to be the financial advisor on CBC Newsworld's Morning show. Often he would say things that shocked me, but I would forget what they were. I remember though one morning, he said something so shocking that it has stayed with me many years later. It was during the time of the World Financial Crisis in 2009. Talk about the evils of the 1% culture were rife on the news feeds. Then a report came out saying that the 8 richest people in the world had as much money as the poorest 3.5 billion people. The anchor of the morning program said to Kevin O'Leary what would the throngs of poor people say to one of these 8 multi billionaires. His response floored me, "I think they would admire how these 8 people were doing so well." I thought- here we live in a world where millions die every day from starvation. Many more struggle to find fresh drinking water and many more can't afford to go to school. I thought to myself how wrong Mr. O'Leary was- it was evil that a few hoarded so much wealth while so many went hungry. Being ultra rich was not something to be admired- in fact in many ways it is a crime against humanity.
Until this morning, I had never heard of the town of Colorado City, Texas. It is a small town of about 4,000 about 400 kms. west of Dallas. Like most of the state, Colorado City has been hard hit by the record cold snap. Also like many other communities in Texas, it has suffered power outages, broken water pipes, etc. Up until recently, Tim Boyd has been the mayor of the community. But this week he said that he was tired of people whining about the cold, lack of power, and no water. People needed to fend for themselves. Only the strong will survive. There was such a huge outcry over Mayor Boyd's comments that he was forced to resign. You see, his voters rightly told him that their taxes go to pay for the infrastructure such as the power grid and water system. As they have paid for it, the folks deserved a right to complain when they don't work. Boyd, as mayor, is an elected official of the people. Therefore he is their servant. He is called to make sure that all citizens, not just the strongest, survive this storm and other future weather events.
I think it is time for us to stop thinking about me first. Looking out for Number one leaves the world lonely. Looking out for Number One ensures that the ambitious, the greedy, the over industrious, the cunning have so much, and that those who have very little stay that way. Looking out for Number One also goes against the Golden Rule. It is impossible to treat our neighbours as ourselves when you have massive wealth and our neighbour has nothing. It is time to put aside Ayn Rand and her thoughts of objectivism and wonder about how our words, our actions, our beliefs affect our neighbours whether they are next door or thousands of kilometres away. Blessings.