In Defense Of Selfishness: Why The Code Of Self-Sacrifice Is Unjust And Destructive
In Defense of Selfishness: Why the Code of Self-Sacrifice is Unjust and Destructive
From childhood, we're taught one central, non-controversial idea about morality: self-sacrifice is a virtue. It is universally accepted that serving the needs of others, rather than our own, is the essence of morality. To be ethical―it is believed―is to be altruistic. Questioning this belief is regarded as tantamount to questioning the self-evident.
Here, Peter Schwartz questions it.
In Defense of Selfishness refutes widespread misconceptions about the meaning of selfishness and of altruism. Basing his arguments on Ayn Rand's ethics of rational self-interest, Schwartz demonstrates that genuine selfishness is not exemplified by the brutal plundering of an Attila the Hun or the conniving duplicity of a Bernard Madoff. To the contrary, such people are acting against their actual, long-range interests. The truly selfish individual is committed to moral principles and lives an honest, productive, self-respecting life. He does not feed parasitically off other people. Instead, he renounces the unearned, and deals with others―in both the material and spiritual realms―by offering value for value, to mutual benefit.
The selfish individual, Schwartz maintains, lives by reason, not force. He lives by production and trade, not by theft and fraud. He disavows...