A reader of Jonathan Haidt’s writes to tell him how much he (the reader) disagrees with the idea that one should honor one’s parents. Excerpt from the letter:
When I was a child, and someone said to me, “Respect your elders,” I always asked, “Why?” The question was not rhetorical. By what logic does youth owe deference to age? The reverse is true. Older people ought to be able to bear discomfort and inconvenience better than kids or teenagers. While I usually offer my seat on a train or subway to a child or teenager, I would not dream of offering it to an older person. I once offered my seat to a toddler. His mother took it, and I demanded that she give it back. I let her know what a pig I thought she was, too. In my view, a mother who would sit and let her child stand deserves to be spat upon. On one occasion, when I gave up my seat to a kid, I scolded a nun for not giving him hers. “What kind of miserable excuse for a religious are you,” I asked, “that you wouldn’t give your seat to this boy? Aren’t you supposed to be the servant of all?” (She said nothing. What could she have said?)
Authority in the classroom? Teachers are hired help. They are in no way entitled to deference. … For over a decade I have been teaching a class (part-time) to graduate students in library and information science. I am appalled by the deference that some of them accord me. A few refuse to call me by my first name, even though I call them by theirs.
Wow. Alan Jacobs calls this guy “living proof of the unassailable fact that the more absolute a jackass a person is the prouder he will be of his jackassery,” and asks:
How many people are there like this, people who think that they owe nothing to anyone?
I dunno, but I bet the number correlates closely with the number of people who adore the work of Ayn Rand.