Varför julen är en självisk högtid

Många tror idag att julen är en huvudsakligen och ursprungligen kristen högtid som betonar konventionella “dygder” som osjälviskhet men vars kommersiella karaktär underminerar julfirandets anda. ARIs Onkar Ghate argumenterar tvärtemot för att

Christmas is a spiritual holi­day whose theme is personal, selfish plea­sure and joy. The season’s commercialism, far from detracting from this celebration, as we’re often told, is integral to it.

Många tror också att julen handlar om “ge tillbaka till andra”, att offra sig för andra, att skänka en tanke till de “behövande”. Sådana altruistiska slogans är i själva verket inte bara oförenliga med julfirandet; de skulle, om något, endast förstöra julen. Det menar i alla fall Peter Schwartz som bland annat skriver:

Imagine trying to celebrate Christmas by taking altruism seriously. Instead of buying gifts for your children, you would be obliged to spend that money on needy children in, say, Bangladesh. Instead of buying yourself a new suit for the holiday, you would have to go around in sackcloth because of your duty toward those who have less than you. Is that what the Christmas spirit is supposed to mean? Does an obligation to sacrifice for the sake of others sound like a prescription for goodwill among people — or for resentment and conflict?

Enligt Leonard Peikoff borde vi således sträva mot att utan skam och skuld fira julens själviska och kommersiella natur:

All the best customs of Christmas, from carols to trees to spectacular decorations, have their root in pagan ideas and practices. These customs were greatly amplified by American culture, as the product of reason, science, business, worldliness, and egoism, i.e., the pursuit of happiness.

America’s tragedy is that its intellectual leaders have typically tried to replace happiness with guilt by insisting that the spiritual meaning of Christmas is religion and self-sacrifice for Tiny Tim or his equivalent. But the spiritual must start with recognizing reality. Life requires reason, selfishness, capitalism; that is what Christmas should celebrate — and really, underneath all the pretense, that is what it does celebrate. It is time to take the Christ out of Christmas, and turn the holiday into a guiltlessly egoistic, pro-reason, this-worldly, commercial celebration.

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