The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

January 22, 2013

Our Readers Speak — Tuesday, Jan. 22, 2013


What makes us human? Compassion

A few years ago, there was a meeting of anthropologists on human evolution. The subject was what makes us different from other creatures? Is it the intelligence, size of the brain, speech, tool-making ability? Most scientists agreed; we are humans because we care about other humans, share our food, care about our losses and griefs. That unique quality or essence distinguishes us from the chimpanzees and gorillas.

Who talks about Ayn Rand’s philosophy and mantra? Those are rich politicians. Sure, there are dishonest people who get fake disability, helped by crooked lawyers and doctors, but can we afford to throw the baby with the dirty water?

Ayn Rand’s moral philosophy and some politicians want you and the next generation of Americans to be independent (meaning more selfish, don’t care about your neighbors, elderly, sick and disabled).

That “selfish gene” is a pure animal characteristic. If we do not care about other humans and sufferings, we are nothing but a meat-eating baboon. Our humanness is the other name for morality. It is sad we are willing to raise the ceiling of national debt but lower and lower the level of the morality floor.

Ayn Rand, after getting lung cancer, signed up for Social Security and Medicare. That system of government she despised all her life helped her.

Sure, we do not like some of the social engineering; everyone should work and contribute according to their ability and not live off others’ fruits of labor. We as humans can’t abandon or cut short the needy, the poor and disabled.

Since we in America have left the middle of the road approach to our economic problems, we do not have a middle class anymore. We are left now with only two classes, one working and one not working. One sitting on a wagon and the other pulling.

Unless some healthy, able-bodied young people get off this government wagon and help us pull, we are stuck in the mud flats of the present-day economy.

Hassan Amjad, M.D.