A friend of mine was trying to get his head around Ayn Rand's political philosophy ("Objectivism") and came up with the following paraphrasing:

  1. Cheese triangles are.
  2. The goal of life is to consume the most cheese triangles, obviously.
  3. Any action anyone takes to prevent you from eating cheese triangles is punishable by sinking the entire continent of Africa into the ocean with him strapped to it.
  4. If you can get somebody stupid to give you two cheese triangles for one of yours, then repeatedly perform the swap until he has one cheese triangle left. Then try and persuade him to give you his last triangle. There is nothing wrong in doing this.

You may choose to agree or disagree.

Referring to ryano's writeup above.

1. Cheese triangles are? Are they really cheese triangles if they're still globs of whey curdily awaiting cheezification? Or must they be made cheese and cut into triangular shapes before they attain cheese-trianglehood?

2. Eating cheese triangles may be well and good, but devoting your life to their devouring doesn't seem like a healthy way to live. You should have other interests, like the Internet, pornography, and television, to ensure that you're a well-rounded individual.

3. Strapping someone to the continent of Africa simply for denying you the chance to eat cheese triangles creates a dilemma: in so doing, you are depriving him of the opportunity to eat cheese triangles as well! You would create the ethical obligation of strapping yourself down with him as the continent sank.

Plus, sinking an entire continent sounds like an incredibly expensive feat of civil engineering! It would cost trillions and trillions of cheese triangles to make that happen. So, to punish the loss of a few potential cheese triangles, you end up wasting trillions of actual cheese triangles, out of sheer spite. Hardly a rational course of action.

And what if someone else tried to swipe your hard-grubbed cheesy goodness? You've already sunk Africa on the first guy... pretty soon you'll run out of continents and end up treading water. Is that what you want? Your cheese triangles will get all soggy!

4. After a while, you'll probably get sick of all those cheese triangles, and start wanting things like water, clothes, shelter, and real food. You've hawked the last of your worldly possessions to pay for the world's last cheese triangle -- after all, you've demonstrated that you're willing to do anything to achieve more of an increasingly rare commodity. Don't kid yourself into thinking the last one is gonna come cheap!

So, the rest of the world is starving for cheese triangles, and you're up to your ears in them and starting to wish you had something, anything, besides these gawdawful stinky cheese triangles!

At this point, you may even find yourself so desperate that you'd be willing to (gasp!) trade away some of your cheese triangles in exchange for other goods and services. Despite your best efforts at hoarding all your precioussss triangles, someone else now has some cheese of their own! And since there are so very few of these objects on the market, the new triangleholders can command exorbitant prices for their luxurious velveetic treat!

How are you going to get them back? You can't, because all you have to offer them are other cheese triangles. You're the wealthiest person in the world (assuming that everyone else is as crazy about this cheese stuff as you are!), but the only way you can get anything is by giving up more and more of your precious triangles!

You can't win. The best thing to do is to realize that you'll never be able to eat all that cheese. An all-cheese portfolio just won't pay off in the long run.

Diversify! Think of all the other food groups you could be monopolizing!

It is with this in mind that I suggest a new mantra:

Fun and profit, for fun and profit!

That makes for a much more rewarding existence than the obsessive stashing of dairy-product polygons, wouldn't you say?

It has come to our attention that certain persons are spreading ignorant rumors that cheese triangles are in fact a renewable resource, and can be created using creatures known as "cows". Please disregard these superstitious tales of mythical horned beasts, for no creature so horrible could possibly exist! This has been a public service announcement from your good friends at ACME Cheese Triangles, Inc.

Ryano misrepresents Objectivism, perhaps wilfully. A more accurate, based on what Ayn Rand actually wrote, rendition of the analogy is:

  1. Milk exists but not in a readily usable form (i.e. the cheese triangle). (Analogous to Rand's assertion that your life is given to you but it is up to you to maintain it)
  2. The goal of life is to produce as many cheese triangles as possible, and trade them for other dairy products such as yogurt. (Analogous to Rand's assertion that man's survival depends on his ability and freedom to exercise his productive ability and control the results thereof. Read anything that Rand wrote, it's all about productivity being the highest goal, not consumption as Ryano claims).
  3. Any action anyone takes to prevent you from producing, trading or consuming your own cheese triangles, or any other dairy product you have received in exchange for your triangles is, punishable by force up to and including the amount of force that person attempted to use against you. (See Atlas Shrugged, in which Rand's characters learn to deal with people by their ethical system, i.e. use force only against people who use force against you).
  4. If you can get somebody stupid to give you two cheese triangles for one of yours, then repeatedly perform the swap until he has one cheese triangle left. Then try and persuade him to give you his last triangle. There is nothing wrong in doing this because he is an adult and responsible for his own decisions, however bad they may be. (See point 1).

Whether you agree or disagree that this is the way to live your life is irrelevant; Ryano's analogy is a bad one because it does not accurately represent the concepts it is trying to communicate. See critique of objectivism.

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