An Objectivist reflects on the people around him

Ah. Well… erm… Objectivists are such delightful people…

When I say that I treat all people with a certain degree of respect I mean all people. I am friendly to the Latino guy who does the landscaping at my office. I am courteous to the young man who sells me coffee at the gas station on the way to work. I am respectful to the very Orthodox Jews with whom I share this office building. I am kind to the children of the Hatian immigrants who populate my apartment complex.

If I looked carefully, I could find a reason to be wary of each of these people. The Latino guy doesn’t speak very good English, and I oppose the multiculturalists who believe he has no responsibility to learn our national language. Perhaps the Latino guy sides with the multiculturalists, and chooses not to learn English on principle. The young man at the coffee shop has accepted a low-wage job, and many people who work as gas station attendants remain in those jobs because they have no ambition. Perhaps the young man is one of those people. The Orthodox Jews are famously ritualistic and devoted to faith-based principles. Perhaps some of my co-workers blindly follow a destructive philosophy which will negatively impact our working relationship. The Hatians are mostly poor and uneducated. Perhaps my Hatian neighbors fall into this category, and their children are trouble-makers.

All of these are legitimate possibilities, and they are things that my subconscious looks out for. I do not want to associate closely with those who will negatively affect my life. However, I am also aware of the potential positive impact these people can and do have on my life. The Latino man works to make the grounds outside my office look aesthetically pleasing; the young gas station attendant works to make coffee and gasoline accessible to me; some of the Orthodox Jews are my business partners, and made it possible for me to start my own company; and the Hatian children play sports in the apartment parking lot each day, displaying a youthful exuberance that is a joy to behold.

Everyone I meet has the potential to have a positive and/or negative impact on my life. While I am prepared for the negative, I focus on and expect the positive.

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