Free Falling Stoic Meme

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Stoic virtue vs Objectivist virtue

Ayn Rand could be characterized as a virtue ethicist. Rand claimed her virtue theory was inspired by Aristotle.  Ayn Rand reinterpreted Aristotle’s eudaimonic virtue theory as rational egoism. Rand explained her virtue theory as selfish and she had in mind an enlightened selfishness. So let’s consider Rand’s selfish virtue theory.

Ayn Rand’s whole philosophy is called Objectivism. She said her philosophy Objectivism asserts the importance of human rationality and affirms objective reality. Rand highly valued the preservation of an individual’s existence both physically and rationally. She said she would’ve called her philosophy Existentialism because of her concern with existence but the name was already taken. In the area of ethics, Objectivist virtue includes rationality, honesty, justice, independence, integrity, productiveness, and pride.  These virtues might fit well with enlightened egoism if one defines justice outside its definition within mainstream philosophy. One wonders if productiveness is a virtue since it requires a lot of externals outside of one’s control. Rand seems to have in mind an artist or businessperson making goals and completing them. It seems like she had a certain personality in mind that not everyone can fit. With productiveness being a virtue, one can easily understand why some individuals are attracted to her philosophy. Rand made it clear that her egoism is categorically opposed to altruism. Ayn Rand suggests that one should never live for another but only for oneself and another should only live for themselves and not for another.

Living for oneself sounds alluring. Wouldn’t one want to be their own person, taking control of one’s life, and not allowing other people to determine one’s fate? It’s all incomplete. Objectivism is incomplete because sometimes a person must sacrifice one’s time for another. Sometimes a person must sacrifice a great deal of their time and even life for others. Sure, it’s reasonable to want time to oneself and to have one’s own projects. But don’t we care about others? Don’t we wish to help advance other people’s lives or projects just as well as ours? Never living for another but oneself as a categorical principle is simply uncaring of other’s needs and experiences. Selfishness as a virtue, even if enlightened, doesn’t agree with people’s notions of what a highly virtuous act would look like. Many find it virtuous for a soldier to jump on an enemy grenade to save the lives of other soldiers from being killed by the shrapnel and explosion.  That kind of virtue is not consistent with enlightened egoism. How about someone who gives up all their belongings to 20 people who absolutely need the belongings? Many of us could not conceive of ourselves acting so charitably but it would be an act of virtue. It would not be a virtue concordant with Objectivism.

Ayn Rand was once asked if one should save a drowning person and she replied affirmatively.  Rand’s own ethics undermine her reply.  Living for only oneself means that one should never sacrifice oneself for another. Clearly, by Rand’s philosophy, one shouldn’t save a person drowning. It’s because following Rand’s ethical advice means if saving someone’s life is a threat to one’s own, then one shouldn’t bother.

The Stoic virtues wisdom, justice, temperance, and courage are concerned with acting in one’s own interest and the interests of others.  Sometimes doing good will require a person to give up a significant amount of time to her own interests.  Helping others doesn’t mean the helper becomes a doormat. It’s important to stand up for oneself and one’s interests and principles. Acting courageous doesn’t mean a person should act selfish without fear of consequence. Acting courageous is doing what’s good for everyone and oneself despite the fear one might feel while doing so.   It’s often a Stoic duty to help others when their needs outweigh one’s own needs.  Being Stoic doesn’t mean always having to give up one’s life for others needs but it does mean giving up some private time. Ancient Stoics believed in philanthropy, which means love of humanity.  Remember what the Stoic Emperor Marcus Aurelius said:

For we are made for co-operation, like feet, like hands, like eyelids, like the rows of the upper and lower teeth. To act against one another then is contrary to nature; and it is acting against one another to be vexed and to turn away (Meditations II, 1).

Why is virtue the only good?

It’s fundamental that virtue is the only good for a Stoic.  There’s not a perfect proof for why virtue is the sole good.  As my philosophy professor at Drury U used to say, “you just have to bite the bullet when deciding to commit to any particular ethical theory.” People at times despair that if an idea doesn’t have a proof for it, then it’s pointless to commit to such an idea. I think with that kind of attitude, you won’t get far in life. Sometimes you believe in a position based on the best evidence and best reasons you have. I have the best reasons I can think of for why Stoic virtue is the sole good . I’d like to share those reasons. I’d like to discuss the popular modern ethical schools hedonistic utilitarianism and deontology and explain how they fail as viable ethical schools. I’ll also discuss hedonism and, specifically, Epicureanism and why hedonism and Epicureanism fail as life philosophies. In doing so, I’d like to explain why virtue by itself is worthy of pursuit. Finally, I’d like to discuss the Stoic Hierocles and his theory regarding animal and human development and how that supports Stoic virtue as the only good.

In hedonistic utilitarianism, the good is maximum pleasure of the most people. Hedonistic utilitarianism requires decisions that we wouldn’t be comfortable making.  Utilitarianism necessitates calculating the best decision that serves the most good for the most people. One problem emerges that it’s not plausible to know what’s the best for the most amount of people.  For example, does utilitarianism permit slavery if a few slaves are unhappy versus the happy multitude who benefit from slavery?  That’s just one sort of problem with utilitarianism out of the multitude of increasing problems. 

What about Kantian deontology?  In Kantian deontology, the good is an action that comports with the categorical imperative, a dutiful action. Immanuel Kant asserted that his moral system outlined in Metaphysics of Morals  was in congruence with our commonsense.  But is it commonsense to always be honest and to always keep a promise no matter what and when? Is it commonsense that justice must be served even if it means the whole world’s destruction? Also, there are many times in our life where it seems sensible to sacrifice the one for the many; just think of war as an example.  Also how many of us would pull the lever to save 5 lives over 1 life from a murderous Trolley in ethical Trolley dilemmas?  Probably a significant amount.

Consider hedonism. In hedonism, pleasure is the sole good. Hedonism is appeali2ng because prima facie, we do often seek pleasure and comfort and we avoid discomfort and pain. Pleasure as the sole good seems sensible enough. However, everyone knows that one should follow pleasure and avoid pain within limits. So what are these limits?  In terms of commonsense, we constrain our pursuit of pleasure and avoidance of pain within an ethical apparatus not aimed at pure pleasure.  So then pleasure isn’t the sole source of good.  Pleasure is actually limited by a higher good than pleasure itself.  Epicurus sought to deal with the virtue and pleasure issue. In Epicureanism Ataraxia is the sole good (Ataraxia: tranquility due to total lack of pain).  The Epicurean’s ethical project was assigning virtue as one path to total lack of pain. This wasn’t successful because despite endorsing the practice of virtue, the virtue rang hollow. Epicurus believed that we should be virtuous because if we behave viciously, we’ll be troubled by the legal consequences or even if we don’t get caught we’ll fear that we will be caught later. Virtue as an instrument to tranquility doesn’t mesh with our conception of justice and courage. We should be just and fair to one another because it’s just and fair and not because we’ll be without pain. Being courageous in itself is a desirable ethical goal. Being courageous as a path to freeing oneself of pain is not courage at all. Also, no Epicurean could argue consistently that one should sacrifice one’s own life for the lives of others. How would that be a path to long-term pleasure or the complete lack of pain?

The Stoics didn’t see pain and pleasure as relevant to virtue and vice. Yes, sometimes doing what’s right will result in some pleasure and doing what’s wrong will result in pain. But pain and pleasure do not always correlate with virtue or vice. If you err and you get yourself into trouble, the Stoics would say that you should learn from your mistakes and do not regret your mistakes because regret is an unnecessary passion to have. The Stoics knew that people make mistakes throughout their life, whether attempting to live the good life or being ignorant about how to live the good life. Stoicism entails humility.  We all make mistakes, so let’s try to fix them and then move on.  No sense living with remorse.  Sometimes, we are ashamed but there is no sense in extending our grief over our prior faults.

What’s more is Stoicism allows for pleasure but regards it as neutral.  Stoicism allows for the pursuit of wealth, health, education, reputation, and pleasure and regards them as preferred although “indifferent” or ethically neutral. Stoics can pursue preferred externals so long as they don’t interfere with the pursuit of virtue.  Since Stoics can pursue externals without interfering with virtue, then Stoics might seem like regular people. Pursuing the same externals that everyone else prefers allows for Stoics to live in harmony with people around them. However, Stoics will stand out if there is an injustice and no one but them has the courage to stand against it.

Virtue is popular when people think about what virtue entails.  When people reflect on the virtue courage, they’d think that the soldier who jumps on the grenade to save the lives of other soldiers did good.  Most people would think that someone that risks their own life saving two kids from drowning is a brave person .  People have an ethical sense that corroborates virtue is the sole good.  That’s not to say that everyone has a perfect sense for what is virtuous but when people do take the time to reflect about what a good person is, they’ll think of someone behaving virtuously rather than a person who chooses what’s expedient as the right course of action.

So we know that people value courage and fairness. Couldn’t we be fooling ourselves and we only act courageous or treat others with fairness for pleasure? The Stoic Hierocles observed animals and humans and noted that all humans begin their infancy with self-love.  Eventually as people grow and develop their love expands outward from their self to their family, then later outward from their family to their community, and then finally outward from their community to all of humanity.   Hierocles also observed that animals were not merely motivated by pleasure and pain. Often animals would put themselves in harms way to protect their young. Human beings also endanger their lives for loved ones on a frequent basis. So humans aren’t purely motivated by pleasure, they’re motivated by protecting their own physical constitution in infancy and then later their own rational constitution. Humans and animals are motivated out of a concern for their own constitution and their own offspring’s constitution than they are with their own pleasure or pain. As humans learn to value their rational faculty, they can extrapolate their own love for themselves and friends outward towards all humanity. Love for one’s own rational constitution is to treat one’s reason as an end. Valuing one’s own reason means valuing wisdom, the ultimate virtue. That’s why virtue is the end.

So it’s worth biting the bullet for the axiom, “virtue is the only good.”  It’s because there’s just a smidgen to lose biting the bullet for virtue compared to the super-sacrifice of biting the bullet for utilitarianism, deontology, hedonism, and Epicureanism.

Are we in control of our emotions or are they in control of us? Short answer: you can lessen their control over you.

We’re always told to be mindful of the people around us.  Don’t hurt other’s feelings, or offend, we’re told.  Well, there’s truth to this.  As members of society, we’ve been taught that people are responsible for how they act based on their feelings or how they manage those feelings.  But we’re also taught to not stir up people’s feelings.  We kind of have it both ways.  People can choose to act or not act based on their feelings but at the same time, we shouldn’t push people’s buttons because people are only human.

That’s really not too far away from Stoicism.  Stoics were radical in the belief that we could individually learn to manage our emotions far better but they were also mindful of the fact that we’re only human.  It’s just not nice to try to injure someone even if they’re the best Stoic you ever crossed paths with.

So are we, for better or worse, at the mercy of our emotions?  We are somewhat at their mercy but, with practice, we can lessen their hold on us and their efficacy.  The Stoics realized long ago that by judging externals to be morally neutral, we can deescalate our passions such as hate, jealousy, and lust.  By deliberately and mindfully discarding the moral importance of all things external, we can free up a lot of our mind from emotions reacting to external events.  Also, we can refocus our mind by turning it inward, toward our virtuous character.  By working on our character and perfecting it, we can be more relaxed, chill, and logical.

Society almost has it right in the way we should hold ourselves accountable for our own behavior despite having strong passions.  And society definitely has it right that we really shouldn’t try to push people’s buttons, at least, if it’s not for the betterment or for some more important effort than mere pushing people’s buttons for buttons’ sake.  One thing that all societies throughout time have gotten wrong though is the obsession over externals.  Externals are valuable but they’re not the most important thing ever.  Also, society is right to say that we should take responsibility for our emotions and not act out on them every time we become angry.  But the Stoics offered a better solution to this problem, and that was to pretty much kill off any kind of negative passion.  That way you’d be insured to not easily cave to whatever passion you might have.  Neutering a passion really goes a long way, it gives someone a freedom they didn’t once have.  They don’t have to feel like the dam holding back all that water.  The Stoics said to just reduce the level of the water in the first place so that no possible instances of leaking or rupture is even possible.

 

Why Stoicism helps me with everything!

Stoicism is the best philosophy ever designed by the natural world.  It’s our little blue print to doing what we should be doing.  Are you angry?  Stoicism says, it’s ok to be initially angry as a result of a stimulus but after a few seconds of thinking about it, cut that shit out.  Relax man.  Turn down your angry passion.  It’s silly to be that way.   Same thing with fear.  It’s ok to be startled, to even shake a little bit when delivering a speech in front of a crowd, but on the inside, get things right, be calm.  Stoicism also throws in helpful tips on how to make that happen.

I’m kind of a hot mess.  My desires are pulling me in millions of directions.  My mind won’t shut up about anything.  Just won’t turn off.  Keeps calculating, speculating, creating, feeling, absorbing, entertaining, and laterally thinking.  This is where Stoicism comes in handy.  It tells me, focus on virtue.  Take all the energy of these desires and focus it into a laser beam aimed at virtue.  Harness all the energy in my brain to focus on one important thing in life:  virtue.  A brain with goals is awesome.  It’s what makes humans fundamentally human.  Having a goal keeps you from being pulled into every single direction by millions of desires just trying to get what they want.  Having a goal is one thing though.  We usually focus on one goal at a time.  But virtue is the ultimate goal.  Everyone should have some ultimate goal in life.  And it should be a good goal.  So what’s gooder than good itself?  That’s what Stoicism says it is.  Stoicism says virtue is the only good.

Life is often easier than we make it.   I mean, life can be hard sometimes but do we really want to compound that by thinking of it as a terrible thing that it’s hard?  Wouldn’t it be a better way of thinking about hardships as things to learn from and to even overcome?   What’s life without learning some kind of lesson?  When Darwin dreamed of his evolutionary theory, he imagined that life adapts.  Isn’t that the thing that we should be doing in our own minds?  Adapt!  Follow evolution, try a new idea, test it, see if it works and if it survives the test of logic, go with it.  That’s Stoicism.  Stoicism has been shaped by a long tradition of philosophers that go back to Heraclitus, tinkering with ideas, trying to figure out the ones that survive critical thinking.

I get momentarily sad sometimes.  Because I think about my mind and it’s too fast.  Too fast.  It’s also very impulsive and very unfocused.  But then I remember the ultimate goal.  The real objective goal:  Live simply in agreement with Nature.  Be virtuous.  If I can just follow that narrow dirt path, I can get through the day.  From thinking about doing what’s virtuous, I can also derive all my preferred indifferents that I need to focus on to get me there.  I know I have to do physics homework because at some point I have to be a physics teacher so I can enjoy my career and make money at it so I can support my wife and daughter.

It brings peace to me when I can just forget all the desires, thoughts, and feelings that all run way too fast and think about virtue.  I wouldn’t wish the tragedy of my own mind on anyone.  But I can definitely learn to deal with my mind.  My warped brain doesn’t totally own me, I get some say too.  I got that ability to detach myself from the situation and rationally evaluate and make my own decision after I’ve stepped back and breathed a little.  I have to remember, remember, remember that I can be rational.  That I can think critically.  I can assert my own final say about my own thoughts and ideas.  I can judge things as good or bad.  I can judge things as preferred or dispreferred.  I can judge things and even prescribe what I should be doing.  And finally, I can follow my own prescription.  I can do this.  I just have to do it.  I have to stop, slow down, pause, reflect, think about the important things, the real important things, and just subsume all of my being to accomplishing those real important things.

Thank you for reading.  🙂

Stoicism, Virtue Signaling, and Vice Signaling

In this article, I specifically redefine virtue signaling to make a point.  I give virtue signaling a positive meaning since in my experience people accused of virtue signaling are likely intending to do the right thing.

Often we hear people complain about others who virtue signal.  But what is virtue signaling?  Virtue signaling is usually a form of argumentation and rhetoric that defends the dignity or rights of classes of people considered underprivileged, whether they are people of color, women, homosexuals, trans, or non-binary.  When individuals signal their virtue they’re educating people about an unjust power imbalance between those who are privileged and those who are underprivileged. After all, virtue isn’t just something that should be important to one person, it should be important to everyone.

I contrast virtue signaling with what I consider to be vice signaling. Vice signaling is a rhetorical strategy that attacks virtue signalers merely on the basis that virtue signalers are virtue signalers.  In fact, vice signalers define virtue signaling as an attempt of a person who virtue signals to score social points, pat themselves on the back, or advance their status in their in-group. In fact, painting someone as a virtue signaler is an ad hominem attack that does not address the issue of justice the virtue signaler is concerned about.

Why call it vice signaling?  It’s vice signaling because by only attacking virtue signalers as individuals, but not a virtue signaler’s arguments, vice signalers defy the virtues of wisdom and intellectual honesty.  Since the strategies of the vice signaler are against virtue, then they are participating in vice. The vice signaling strategy doesn’t add to the dialogue, it subtracts from the dialogue.  Vice signalers might have a point that some virtue signalers out there are just pretending to care but whether a virtue signaler pretends to care is besides the point.  The vice signaler still needs to address the virtue signaler’s arguments rather than attack the virtue signaler him/herself.

Vice signaling is not merely a problem because the vice signaler is being vicious but also because of immediate negative consequences.  Vice signaling derails discussion, it poisons the dialogue, it even harms the underprivileged because it stifles dialogue meant to address unjust power imbalances in society.

Musonious Rufus, Epictetus, Cato the Younger, Marcus Aurelius, and Seneca were virtue signalers during their time.  Musonius Rufus believed that everyone regardless of gender were endowed with reason during a time when women were regarded as nothing more than property. Cato put his virtue on full display when he vowed never to live under Julius Caesar as dictator. We don’t indubitably know all the ancient Stoics’ true intentions.  Maybe Epictetus really did virtue signal because he wanted to increase his social approval and increase turnout at his school.  But we’ll never know and it is counterproductive to speculate.  We should be thinking about what we know about Epictetus, his arguments, and his sound conclusions.

One pernicious quality of a vice signaler is their anger and disgust.  Vice signalers attempt to conceal their anger and disgust but it’s easy to spot their hatred spilling over in the form of snide remarks, ad hominems, vitriol, and trolling.   One way to respond to vice signalers is to help them see wisdom by discussing the issues with them objectively and without bias all the while without counter-attacking their character.  If the attempt is fruitless, then there is no choice but to ignore them.

My Stoic Way of Dealing with Alcohol

I’ve never been exactly an alcoholic.  But no one really is.  I mean, it’s really more of a continuum than a simple categorical statement like, “I’m an alcoholic.”  For me, I had a drinking problem but not enough to really interfere too much with my life.  But it was still a concern so here are some things I did to figure out how to deal with this.

1.  Whiskey was too much for me.  So I switched to beer.  You don’t have to completely quit alcohol but you should try to make it more manageable.  Drink beer instead of hard liquor so that your belly fills up faster and you don’t get as inebriated.  This isn’t exactly a Stoic technique but it is rational and it will save you some trouble.

2.  Remember, to drink water between beers.  This helps to make the effects of alcohol even less potent than otherwise.  Drinking water will also fill your belly faster and keep you from drinking as much and as often.  It will also keep you more hydrated and you’ll avoid feeling as much of a hangover in the morning if you have too many beers in one night.

3.  Never drink on an empty stomach.  Also make sure you eat something as well as drink something in between beers.

4.  Now that you’ve done 1-3, you’ve definitely achieved some success; you might be drinking more than a moderate amount but you’re helping your liver a lot more and your liver is thanking you.

5.  If alcohol is still a problem by this point you’re probably still drinking too many beers even though you’re taking water and food breaks in between.  You should probably not be drinking 12 beers in a day, even beers that don’t seem to have much more alcoholic content than water like Budlight.

6.  If you’re drinking too many beers, here’s where the Stoic advice should come in handy.  You’re not drinking too much because of weakness of will, you’re drinking too much because you’re suffering from a lack of wisdom.  You think alcohol is the ultimate good in your life and it can really seem that way because it feels like a shortcut to tranquility.  But really, the best way to tranquility is virtue.  That means you should know what’s truly in your control and not in your control.  Your choices are in your control but whether those choices yield actionable results is not truly in your control.  You should also know that less alcohol means you can do more good for those around you.  If you let alcohol be your only good in life, you’ll forget the true good you can do for others.  Instead of staying home and drinking you can go to your daughter’s soccer game.  That does so much more true good for you and your daughter than sitting at home drinking alone.

7. If you’re drinking too many beers, it could be because you’re avoiding something.  You have social anxiety, you have depression, you might even have generalized anxiety.  If any of these are the case, seek professional help.  Psychological therapy can go a long way to helping you get over your issues, especially when a psychologist is helping you.  You can also practice Stoicism.  All our fears tend to be magnified because of our judgment that externals are bad.  Try to help yourself get rid of the judgment that things external to you are bad and you might find that some of your fears dissipate.

8.  Remember, you’re never a failure if you find yourself running back to the bottle.  Don’t ever hate yourself.  You’re mistakenly covering up for fear or depression by pursuing something you misjudge as a good way to dissolve those fears or depression.  The best way though is through some kind of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy used by a sufficiently trained CBT Ph.D. Psychologist.  And of course supplementing that with a life philosophy like Stoicism.

9.  You are not an alcoholic.  You may have a drinking problem but you are not defined by that problem.  You are simply drinking beyond moderation.  It’s interfering with your desire to pursue virtue.  Don’t let it.  Try to remember your last taste of what it was like to do good and do that thing.  Do the good.  Be the good.  You can be a good person.  But you are not an alcoholic.  You just drink too much.

I hope this helps someone like it did me.

Stoicism, Broicism, and $toicism

About Broicism

As feminism has gone more mainstream, and has become more popular, a counterculture of young white men has arisen expressing their concern that men’s rights are being overshadowed. Angry that they no longer feel represented they have banded together to create what is called Men’s Rights Activism. The counterculture has unfortunately tried infiltrating Stoicism, hijacking it, and pretending Stoicism is all about being a man and manning up. I like to call their form of Stoicism, “Broicism.”

Stoicism was a philosophy progressive for its time because it saw all humans the same, capable of using reason and being capable of living a virtuous life. Zeno’s Republic actually mentions women as being members of his society of virtuous Stoics. The Stoics believed women were equal to men in their ability to use reason. Broicism tends to try to undo this history or has no interest in this history of Stoicism. Broicism tends to use quotes from Stoics selectively and ignores the cosmopolitan elements of Stoicism.

Stoicism is about trying to eliminate negative passions such as anger and sorrow and replace them with positive passions of joy and compassion. Unfortunately, Broicism tries to replace this with toxic masculinity, the belief that all emotions in men should be suppressed except for violent expressions of anger/outrage.

Stoicism emphasizes Hierocles’s Concentric Circles that there is self-love and out of self-love comes love for family, then love for community, then love for humanity. Broicism emphasizes self-love only and thinks that virtue means doing what’s in one’s best self
interest. The attitude is usually, “I got my virtue now screw you!”

On Facebook, when a question is asked why there are so few women in the Stoic Group, the first people to pop up and say, “it’s because Stoicism emphasizes rationality but women aren’t very rational and are more emotional” are Broics. They tend to think of Stoicism as a men’s only club and so subconsciously de-legitimize women from also being capable of being Stoics and using reason. Real Stoics understand that women have had a history of dealing with such stereotypes and it may take a while for the culture to
change its view of women in the Stoic group and outside.

Broics tend to be alt right or “cultural libertarians”. They tend to see any kind of liberalism as feminism run amok. Liberal values such as cosmopolitanism, diversity, open dialogue, even free expression that Stoics should embrace are a threat to their worldview. Stoicism is fine with feminism. It may not agree with all feminists on all issues but it’s perfectly fine with liberalism and feminism. In fact, Stoicism tolerates conservative views as well. It’s a very tolerant philosophy, whereas Broicism is not. Broicism usually expresses its intolerance through cheap jokes, trolling, and derailing charitable discussion.

About $toicism

Stoicism has really grown in popularity over the years. The Facebook group Stoicism Group (Stoic Philosophy), hosted by Donald Robertson, has grown to 40k members and is still growing. Stoicism is pretty much the largest growing philosophical school on the Internet. But as Stoicism grows so does making money off of Stoicism. Also Stoicism is being branded as a lifehack that will help you succeed in the business world. I call this kind of Stoicism, “$toicism”.

Stoicism is a philosophy that helps you be resilient in tough situations. $toicism uses this feature to try to sell you success. In fact, $toicism tells you if you try living by the wisdom of the Stoa, you’ll likely be very successful in the business world and you can have the Stoic insights to build your business from the ground up into a mega corporation. Stoicism doesn’t get your hopes up like this. Stoicism tells you that it’s ok to be poor and you’re not a loser for being poor, sometimes shit happens.  Stoicism just teaches you how to deal with your circumstances and make the best of them.

$toicism tends to try to sell you Stoic merchandise with notable Stoic quotes. Real Stoicism only tries to sell you wisdom with the only price being that you try. If you try at achieving the virtues, you will have a more just, wise, and benevolent character.

$toics only seem to care about the preferred indifferent wealth. The $toics think that this means greed is a good passion to have in such circumstances. But greed is just another negative passion that grows from the wrong judgment that wealth is good. Marcus Aurelius and Epictetus clearly tell us that very little is required for happiness in this life and wealth doesn’t make you good, it just makes you wealthy.

Since $toics only seem to care about Stoicism in terms of a successful life, only for themselves and nobody else, they tend to downplay the virtue justice. Stoicism emphasizes the role of justice, in fact, Marcus Aurelius believed that justice was the chief virtue among the four virtues. It’s important to cooperate with others and not merely compete with others in the greater society.

$toics can’t seem to figure out why Ayn Rand is a bad guy. They think her philosophy of Objectivism is completely compatible with the philosophy of the Stoa. But little do they realize that Objectivism is a selfish philosophy. I’ve pointed this out to supposed $toics but they’re in denial. Finally, I pointed out that Ayn Rand specifically wrote a book called The Virtue of Selfishness and they were still in denial. That’s not particularly a very Stoic attitude for those people to have.

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Stoicism and US National Healthcare

One of the contentious issues, whether you’re on the left or the right politically, is whether healthcare should be a right given to citizens by their government.  The Stoics believed that everyone had a preference for health.  Also, with this in mind, they had the idea that everyone had the right to be treated fairly and equitably.  We all have a duty to treat each other fairly and equitably.

Since health is a preferred indifferent and we should all treat each other fairly and equitably, we should be ensuring that everyone has their fair share of health preferences met.  Everyone deserves a right to healthcare.  The Stoics couldn’t have imagined such a national healthcare system in place in their day because they didn’t have the technology, science, and knowledge of civil engineering we now possess.  But now that such a system can be run via public taxation, it makes sense that, as a course of justice, we should be supplying everyone with healthcare.

One could argue that a free market system for healthcare would be better but so far it is subpar.  People spend tremendous amounts of money if they don’t have the insurance or they spend tremendous amounts of money just to meet their astronomically-sized deductible.  Some people live paycheck to paycheck and can barely meet their premiums.  Healthcare is just tremendously expensive and unfortunately hospitals do have to make money even if they’re non-profit.  If the money funding the hospital isn’t efficiently and equitably being taxed from everyone throughout the population, whether healthy or sick, the sick are the ones who have to pay the bill in a free market system.

The only alternative from a Stoic point of view is some kind of public system that covers the poor and wealthy, the young and the old by money that is collected evenly and efficiently through taxation of both the sick and healthy alike.  This is how our preference for health is met in a just and fair Stoic society.

I use the following argument to support my conclusion.  It’s kind of rough right now but I’ll work to make it better later.

1.Justice has a connection to a fair distribution of preferred indifferents.
2. One of these preferred indifferents is health.
3. Therefore in the name of justice health as a preference should be met for everyone throughout the society if it can be met.
4. It can met through efficient and fair taxation.
5. Therefore a public healthcare system should be established.

adult doctor girl healthcare
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