The distortions in the word “selfishness” have become necessary to provide for a philosophy guided by altruism and unreason.
Altruism as such denotes a package-deal and a deadly one at that. Any philosophy is required to answer two questions in the realm of ethics–
1. 1. What are values?
2. 2. Who should be the beneficiary of those values?
In other words, value to what and value to whome? The altruist morality defaults on the first answer by answering the second. It only defines the second by answering the beneficiary can be anybody but your ownself. You dare not go to college to learn the law or how to build and then proclaim you are moral. Instead, if you did give up your ambition, how so ever big or small to serve your parents unconditionally, then you are surely moral. The problem with such a morality is apparent. Every act of morality (every act of self – sacrifice) one commits, the more bitter he is bound to get. Imagine giving up everything you cherish to attain any moral significance within you or to show off your values, the worse it is for your well – being.
This explains people’s indifference to morality. Indifference would not be the appropriate word. The correct attitude of people towards morality is a combination of cynicism and guilt. Cynicism because people knowingly don’t practice it even though they are under obligation to do so. Guilt because they don’t explicitly or implicitly reject it. In both cases, they attempt to evade the issue of morality and thus the disastrous results.
However, the altruist morality has its own solution from sleeping under a rock. If a person takes altruism seriously and consistently starts sacrificing, they reply, “Oh, come now, be practical.” They themselves don’t endorse that altruism should be practiced consistently. The moment somebody starts taking their morality seriously, the fact that its anti – life is apparent and thus their claims asking people to relax and think practically. But this is fully inconsistent with how a morality should be practiced. Any reasoning person would say, “I take morality seriously and thus I am a good person.” The glaring contradictions between the consistent application of altruism and the requirement for survival are apparent for them to take morality seriously.
Now lets consider the effects of altruism if any thinking man with respect to all other areas of life but defaults on morality and partially chooses the altruist morality. However, he chooses it not by an active, thinking mind but chooses it by defaulting on thought by taking into popular culture. The effect would be any person walking by on the street can scowl at him for acting in his self – interest for any act, any time in his life. He has neither a defense for such an attack and is inevitably guilt ridden, guilt ridden for going to college, for being productive or even saving up money ( He definitely should have given it to the poor.)
Altruism, in simple words, is best described as the sole basis for my rights is my duty to sacrifice it to my neighbor. Such is the nature of fraud involved. Altruism is thought to be in consonance with benevolence today, but the consistent application of altruism is what would make benevolence impossible. Imagine Russia when under the rule of Communism where self – interest was evil but sacrifice to the society was considered as the greatest good. In such a situation, when everybody is poverty – stricken and guilt ridden, imagine a call for charity. I guess one would say, “Be practical, cant you see, everybody is suffering. I don’t know why you should be special to get any money while we don’t.” But consider the same call for charity on the streets of New York, where each productive person acts in his own self – interest. The stark contrast of suffering and prosperity would be so great that people with the ability to help will do so. This is the greatness of an ethic of rational self – interest.
Instead of turning to the ethic of rational – self interest when men are rebelling the ethic of altruism they are also rebelling against every rational standard too. In the Fountainhead, they were depicted by people such as Lois Cook, Gordon L. Prescott, Gus Webb and the other avant-garde artists. These people, the supposed “non – conformists” are the distilled form of altruism and should not be confused with the real rebels (the rational ones). They merely represent the other side of the altruist coin.
To quote Ayn Rand, “This is said as warning against the kind of “Nietzchean egoists” who, in fact, are a product of the altruist morality and represent the other side of the altruist coin : the men who believe that any action, regardless of its nature, is good if its intended for ones own benefit. Just as the satisfaction of the irrational desires of others is not a criterion of moral value, neither is the satisfaction of ones own irrational desires. Morality is not a contest of whims”
In other words, the Nietzchean egoists like the altruists go by the beneficiary criterion of a value only. They too, like the altruists, default on answering what is a value by answering who should be the beneficiary.
Environmentalism (based on unadulterated altruism) and altruism are an attack on self – esteem. They question you, intimidating, “How dare you assert that your life is yours to live and selfishly produce values require for your survival and then proceed to call it moral.”
To fight such an evil one has to question its basis and fundamentals and the only way of doing it is by equipping oneself with the right philosophy.