Christmas Cheers

Will forego the commercial and focus on the spiritual
Michal H. Hall | Letter to AC-T | December 7, 2008

[…] Giving at Christmas (which probably evolved from the giving of the wise men) is a natural response of the season. But it has evolved into a sick and burdensome thing bringing chain stores into the black. Instead of running enslaved before it, we need to reshape our giving at Christmas into something appropriate to the season. My wife and I are sending out a letter to family saying that we will only give small personal gifts (that we either see during the year or personally make), or we will give to a charity in their honor. But no more will we bow to the chaos of commercialism that threatens the peace and wonder of this beautiful season.

RESPONSE (w/edits)

The writer may do as he likes. The rest of us will patronize businesses that provide the community with value in the form of products, wages and entertainment.

The writer can demonize the business man and his enterprise. But in fact he is making a demon of his neighbors: the people who are satisfied by the businessman’s productivity and his vigilance to anticipate and satisfy demand.

Commerce is peaceable, voluntary exchange in a free market for mutual benefit. It entails free people using their minds for their own long-term, rational benefit. That benefit includes the ability to increase one’s happiness by sharing store-bought gifts with loved ones.

Instead of finding joy in the happiness of others and their free action to pursue their own happiness, the mean-spirited writer chooses to characterize his prosperous and energetic fellows in a most uncharitable manner.

And in so doing, he demonizes only himself.


RELATED

Why Christmas Should Be More Commercial
Leonard Peikoff | 2001
Christmas in America is an exuberant display of human ingenuity, capitalist productivity, and the enjoyment of life. Yet all of these are castigated as “materialistic”; the real meaning of the holiday, we are told, is assorted Nativity tales and altruist injunctions (e.g., love thy neighbor) that no one takes seriously.

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About Tim Peck

Unaffiliated Objectivist
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