Eric Lanser

Lawrence University Objectivism ClubImagine yourself at a social gathering. Some acquaintances begin to badmouth a good friend of yours; apparently, she shops at Wal-Mart. You see no reason not to shop at Wal-Mart; in fact, you enjoy the low prices and convenient 24-hour service. But it turns out Wal-Mart puts smaller drug stores out of business and pays very low wages to its employees.
Does Wal-Mart have a right to offer low prices to customers and offer only low wages to employees? Are you morally obligated to shop only at stores whose labor practices your peers deem acceptable? What sorts of actions are acceptable in various situations? How do you know? How can you find out? Do you stand up for yourself and for your friend by questioning the others’ conclusions, or do you quietly conform to the group?
Your answers to all these questions depend on the ideas you hold, they depend on your philosophy. In the words of novelist-philosopher Ayn Rand, “As a human being, you have no choice about the fact that you need a philosophy. Your only choice is whether you define your philosophy by a conscious, rational, disciplined process of thought and scrupulously logical deliberation-or let your subconscious accumulate a junk heap of unwarranted conclusions, false generalizations, undefined contradictions, undigested slogans, unidentified wishes, doubts and fears, thrown together by chance, but integrated by your subconscious into a kind of mongrel philosophy and fused into a single, solid weight: self-doubt, like a ball and chain in the place where your mind’s wings should have grown.”
In order to come to rational conclusions, and to have the self-confidence necessary to defend them, one needs an integrated approach to dealing with the world. Come to LU Objectivism Club to find one. Contact Eric.W.Lanser@lawrence.edu for more information.