Monday, June 14, 2004

Other Peoples' Time is Always Cheap

PZ Myers is sounding awfully like a libertarian in this fisking of the extremely stupid article on mandatory volunteerism (oxymoron, no?) by Dave Eggers.

It's also ironic that Eggers, after telling us about all of his wasted time and desperate attempts to find something to do in college, can complain that protests against forced philanthropy put forth "a pretty dim view of the soul of the average student." What gives me a dim view of a student is when he babbles about playing games and tossing chickens, and complains that someone else should have been responsible for telling him about constructive volunteer work he could have been doing instead.

I also don't recall needing to kill much time in college. I had fun with friends, I hung out with my girlfriend, but I also had two part-time jobs each term and a full course load. It's hard to have much sympathy for an "I'm bored" whine that's used to justify compelling other students to do volunteer work, now that he has founded a non-profit learning center that needs volunteers.
Bravo! Well said, sir! Just a little more of this and you too will be a full-fledged convert to the libertarian cause!

There's nothing more irritating to a sensible person than someone who imagines that because some imposition would mean little for him or her personally, it is therefore alright to extend it to everyone else as a universal rule. This is the reason why I much prefer Hillel's negative formulation* of the golden rule to the version promulgated by Jesus on the sermon on the mount: just because you get your kicks from masochistic acts doesn't mean I will as well.

*"Do not do unto others what you would not have them do unto you."