Elegant, eloquent students propose constitutional amendment to ban requirements

By Rohith Palli / Columnist

Disclaimer: The author has read neither “Atlas Shrugged” nor the entirety of “The Wealth of Nations,” but hopes that readers derive pleasure from this most excellent worldview that has been presented. Additionally, the “students” he spoke to aren’t really people, so don’t search for them on Pitt Peoplefinder like we all do at The Pitt News. 

We all encounter deadlines at times, but they run counter to everything a certain group of disconnected students believes. Because of the negative stigma attached to students who belong to this deadline-averse, often-labeled irresponsible category of procrastinators, it was difficult to contact students for comment, but I nonetheless present here their perspective that all requirements, especially deadlines, should not exist. 

I asked Ran Pawl, a sophomore biology and psychology major, who refers to himself as pre-med, what college is like for students who are allergic to requirements, and he replied, “Not only do due dates force us to be productive, but they also force us to complete projects in a set time frame. In the real world, people do whatever they feel like doing. If teachers cared about preparing us for the ideal world, they would never ask us to do things we didn’t want to do.”

For students like Pawl, Ayn Rand serves as an inspiration. In her novels “Atlas Shrugged” and “The Fountainhead,” she suggests that the ideal human society is one in which individuals acts precisely as they were created to and only in ways that bring them pleasure. Rand, a sometimes-sophisticated thinker, summarized her work aptly in saying that “altruism is the ultimate evil in the world; helping others is for the weak of heart.” 

But if it’s pointless to be altruistic, what should our goals be? And, as college students, how should we pursue them? 

Nadia Verita, a sophomore anthropology major, suggested the answer to these questions: “We should all strive to be true entrepreneurs. It is critical we discover our very narrow passions, employ them to profit and build our material wealth. To this end, we must not dither in the center with liberal arts, but rather, focus ourselves on career-preparation regimens, boxing out extra-career curiosity as much and as early as possible.”

When asked for theory to back their declarations, several students immediately quoted Adam Smith: “Every individual is continually exerting himself to find out the most advantageous employment for whatever capital he can command. It is his own advantage, indeed, and not that of the society which he has in view. But the study of his own advantage naturally, or rather necessarily, leads him to prefer that employment which is most advantageous to society.” 

Hence, we have it on good authority that the only greater good comes from the individuals pursuing their own interests. Thus, we must have faith in the invisible hand. As Verita is apt to say, “It is like the flying spaghetti monster — something worth believing in.”

When asked why there isn’t a large movement to reshape our world, Justin Solitaire, a junior studying philosophy, responded, “I think there are lots more students out there that share my opinions, but since we don’t believe in setting requirements, no one has attempted to form a group. There would need to be some deciding quality that defined the cohesive whole, whether a sign-up sheet or a meeting, and that would be asking too much of our members. We just simply don’t associate in that manner.”

I asked Serena Evador, a senior majoring in philosophy, what she believes to be the biggest issue such a group, if it ever came into being, faces. She described what she considers the deadliest of deadlines — tax day. According to Evador, “A portion of each individual’s earnings are thieved by well-intentioned fools, subordinating their ultimate pursuit of self-interest to the benefit of the greater good. Due to the effects of the great invisible hand, the most efficient way for individuals to benefit society is to benefit themselves, and taxes do not benefit the individual, so they do not benefit the collective as much as if they individual had used the capital as he or she pleased.”

So what next? Evador thinks we should “eliminate labor laws and make everyone an entrepreneur. By not having to negotiate contracts with our complicated law system, we will reduce barriers to trade and allow artisans to craft as they were meant to.”

Since numerous students like Evador have independently published such amendments to ban requirements of all types, it should be easy to adopt one, but is it a good idea?

The approach these students take toward structuring society clearly has its upsides: There is no such thing as accountability and hence no pressure to create or produce, but the economy still functions. People still generate products, but they generate them happily. Reaching the highest levels of production and consumer satisfaction will require bringing down the ‘collective.’ America thrives on smart, sleek entrepreneurs. 

I have been convinced: such an amendment is the path to elevating the American quality of life. We should seize this moment of economic unrest to turn the crony socialist model on its head and unhinge the individuals who will make our society great.  One day soon, we can all be great American capitalist heroes. We should support any constitutional amendment to ban taxes, labor laws and requirements of all types, especially those dreaded deadlines. Laws shall only prevent the most terrible of crimes, and government shall step aside in favor of the regulation of the great invisible hand. And then we can truly be one nation, under the flying spaghetti monster, with liberty and riches for all.  

Write Rohith at [email protected].