Monday, December 31, 2018

Saturday, December 29, 2018

QUORA: 'Aren't capitalist principles of supply and demand similar to communist principles of ability and need?'

QUORA *: Aren't capitalist principles of supply and demand similar to communist principles of ability and need?

My Answer:


First of all, the law of supply and demand is a law of economics, not a capitalist principle. A capitalist principle applies in that the individual sell and buy decisions that cumulatively represent “supply and demand” be strictly voluntary--that all supply (production) be the result of people freely exercising their rights to work for his own livelihood, each keeping and using what he earns, each filling his own “demand” through voluntary trade with others for mutual benefit, each in accordance with his own self-interest.

The communist principles of ability and need--“From each according to his ability to each according to his need”--holds that government must forcibly commandeer all earnings for the purpose of distributing the proceeds according to what it determines are each person’s needs, regardless of each person’s productive contribution and regardless of the actual needs, personal choices, or self-interest of any individual.

The capitalist principles relating to the economic law of supply and demand and communist principle of “From each according to his ability to each according to his need” are antithetical, on principle. The crucial differences are several; voluntarism vs. force, justice vs. injustice, individual self-determination vs. central control, rights-protecting constitutional government vs. totalitarianism, freedom vs. slavery.

Related Reading:

QUORA *: ‘Why do people find communism so terrifying as an idea?’

Why Capitalism Needs a Moral Sanction

The Dollar and the Gun—Harry Binswanger

* [Quora is a social media website founded by two former Facebook employees. According to Wikipedia:

Quora is a question-and-answer website where questions are created, answered, edited and organized by its community of users. The company was founded in June 2009, and the website was made available to the public on June 21, 2010.[3]Quora aggregates questions and answers to topics. Users can collaborate by editing questions and suggesting edits to other users' answers.[4]

You can also reply to other users’ answers.]

Thursday, December 27, 2018

George Soros; a Leading Point Man in the anti-free speech ‘broad anti-Facebook movement’

Following up on my 12/18/18 post, NJ Star-Ledger Repudiates the First Amendment, Calls for Censorship, the subject New Jersey Star-Ledger editorial Move fast, break things: Facebook living up to its creed had this to say:

[A Republican opposition research firm], known as Definers, also spread lies that depicted Democratic megadonor George Soros - a recurring villain in Republican conspiracy theories - as the leader of a "broad anti-Facebook movement . . . "

I left these comments:

George Soros IS a leading point man in an "anti-Facebook movement"--that is, to get social media under government control. Just read his 2/15/18 Guardian article calling on the EU governments to “break Facebook and Google's dominance.”

“These companies,” Soros asserts, “influence how people think and behave without them even being aware of it. This interferes with the functioning of democracy and the integrity of elections. This would have far-reaching political consequences. People without the freedom of mind can be easily manipulated. This danger does not loom only in the future; it played an important role in the 2016 US presidential election.”

What do we mean by ‘the functioning of democracy” if not for freedom of all participants--billions of average people--to attempt to influence how people vote through persuasion and debate? Not according to Soros, because he doesn’t approve of U.S. election results. So we need government control to restore “freedom of mind!” Voting for Trump or Brexit is “manipulation.” Voting for Hillary or against Brexit is “freedom of mind.” What Soros really hates is freedom of average people’s minds. So now that elections are not to his liking, he wants to bring the power of the government’s guns down upon the private companies whose successful open platforms empowers average people to share ideas and make up their own minds: “It is only a matter of time,” Soros threatens, “before the global dominance of the US internet companies is broken. Regulation and taxation, spearheaded by [EU commissioner for competition Margrethe] Vestager, will be their undoing”—to the advantage of government dominance over our intellectual lives.

Broken. Undone. Get that? Replaced by government dominance. So much for free elections--and free speech.

Related Reading:

'Fake News' Is Not an Excuse to Regulate the Internet—Zach Weissmueller for—“Both Democrats and Republicans are missing the mark when they call for the government to control the flow of information on the internet.”

Monday, December 24, 2018

Christmas: A Holiday for All

Can non-Christians celebrate Christmas? Many do, and why not? I’m an atheist and I have no problem celebrating Christmas, even though it has no religious significance for me.

What’s great about Christmas is that it is both a religious holiday, being based upon the birth of the Christian icon Jesus, and a secular holiday as well. That makes it a holiday for everyone.

How can I say that? I am indebted to philosopher Ayn Rand for resolving that seemingly contradictory proposition. In answer to the question of whether it is appropriate for an atheist to celebrate Christmas, Rand observed:

Yes, of course. A national holiday, in this country, cannot have an exclusively religious meaning. The secular meaning of the Christmas holiday is wider than the tenets of any particular religion: it is good will toward men—a frame of mind which is not the exclusive property… of the Christian religion.

This makes perfect sense. A national religious holiday in a secular nation founded on the principle of separation of church and state (religious/conscientious freedom) is a logical impossibility. Since to have a secular government means to have one that is neutral with regards to the fundamental beliefs of all of its citizens, an American national holiday by definition cannot be religious. As the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution reads, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion."

In fact, what we today call Christmas originally didn't have any connection to Jesus at all, writes Onkar Ghate in U.S.News & World Report:

Before Christians co-opted the holiday in the fourth century (there is no reason to believe Jesus was born in December), it was a pagan celebration of the winter solstice, of the days beginning to grow longer. The Northern European tradition of bringing evergreens indoors, for instance, was a reminder that life and production were soon to return to the now frozen earth.

The Romans celebrated the Winter Solstice with the holiday Saturnalia. In Northern Europe, the holiday was called Yule.

Indeed, as philosopher Leonard Peikoff observes over at Capitalism Magazine, the leading secular Christmas symbol - Santa Claus - actually contradicts some standard Christian tenets:

Santa Claus is a thoroughly American invention. ... In 1822, an American named Clement Clarke Moore wrote a poem about a visit from St. Nick. It was Moore (and a few other New Yorkers) who invented St. Nick's physical appearance and personality, came up with the idea that Santa travels on Christmas Eve in a sleigh pulled by reindeer, comes down the chimney, stuffs toys in the kids' stockings, then goes back to the North Pole.

...Santa implicitly rejected the whole Christian ethics. He did not denounce the rich and demand that they give everything to the poor; on the contrary, he gave gifts to rich and poor children alike. Nor is Santa a champion of Christian mercy or unconditional love. On the contrary, he is for justice -- Santa gives only to good children, not to bad ones.

When Congress declared Christmas a National Holiday, Christmas ceased being a strictly religious observance and became a secular holiday. A legal religious holiday in a nation dedicated to freedom of religion and conscience is a contradiction. (The Founders used the terms “religion” and conscience” interchangeably. They understood religious freedom to encompass the freedom not to believe in or practice any religion—in effect, not just freedom of religion, but freedom from religion as well.) Being a national legal holiday, Christmas can have non-religious, non-Christian meaning just as validly as a Christian meaning. It’s a matter of individual preference. Otherwise, what’s the point of freedom of conscience?

So, regardless of your personal beliefs, go ahead and enjoy Christmas on your own terms.

On that note, let me extend to everyone a hearty wish for a joyous, safe, and thoroughly non-contradictory…


Related Reading:

How the Welfare State Stole Christmas, by Yaron Brook and Don Watkins

Don't Need Christ to Celebrate Christmas

Why Christmas Should be More Commercial—Leonard Peikoff

Thursday, December 20, 2018

Conservatives’ Christianization of Christmas and the Left’s Multiculturalism Are Both Un-American

David Greenberg of Rutgers posted a guest editorial in the New Jersey Star-Ledger just before Christmas 2017 lamenting the battle over holiday greetings. He writes, in part, in an article titled ‘“How Christmas Became a Political Hot Potato” published in the 12/23/17 print edition (Trump's dreaming of a white man's Christmas - an unhappy holiday for most is the online title, 12/15/17):

The holiday season is here again, and as a break from arguing about sexual harassment, we can all look forward to a lovely spell of denouncing and unfriending one another over which holiday greetings to use. 
With Donald Trump as president, we can be sure that no cultural scab will go unpicked. After all, among his many pioneering achievements, Trump is our first president to win the White House— at least in part — on a pledge to roll back the freedom to say “Happy Holidays.” 
“I’m a good Christian,” he insisted on the campaign trail. “If I become president, we’re gonna be saying ‘Merry Christmas’ at every store. ... You can leave ‘Happy holidays’ at the corner.”

How on Earth did such an innocent gesture become so politically charged?

Of course, the Christian Right has been railing about “Happy Holidays” for a long time. It’s part of their campaign to fight an imagined “War on Christmas” and to lecture us to “keep Christ in Christmas.” But Greenberg makes the valid point that Christmas has become increasingly secular:

The secular consensus gained strength in the 1960s and ’70s, as the Supreme Court ruled prayer in public schools to be unconstitutional and otherwise reinforced the traditional wall between church and state. 
As recently as a few years ago, Trump bade his fellow Americans “a wonderful holiday” and “happy holiday season” — precisely the sort of inclusive messaging that he would assail as a candidate.
This is true. I would add that, since Christmas was made a legal holiday by both the Federal and state Governments, it is by definition a secular holiday. How can a religious holiday be a legal holiday in a nation dedicated to the separation of religion and state? It can’t—not without violating the constitutional protection of religious freedom and freedom of conscience. This issue went before U.S. District Court in Ganulin v. United States, in which the Court ruled that the recognition of Christmas as a legal holiday for purposes of a paid day off did not violate the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment because “the Christmas holiday has become largely secularized” and that the government was “doing no more than recognizing the cultural significance of the holiday.” The attempt by any political leader to Christianize Christmas is therefor un-American. People are free to celebrate the Christmas season in any way they like, with or without Christ, with or without religion, and with or without the greeting “Merry Christmas”. That’s America.

But the Left’s “solution” to the Christian Right’s pushback against “Happy Holidays” is at least as bad, if not worse. Greenberg goes on:

As the Republican Party adopted a right-wing populism on cultural issues, it was only a matter of time before this delicate balance was upset. The country grew polarized. 
Democrats championed multiculturalism and drew on their civil libertarian bona fides to paint themselves as the natural home for Muslims, Hindus and members of other religions whose ranks were swelling. On the right, Christian leaders such as Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson led evangelicals into the political fray, forming a bedrock of a new GOP coalition.

Multiculturalism is a rejection of American culture, which is rooted in individualism.

More precisely, multiculturalism obliterates the very idea that America has its own unique culture. It rejects the idea that all people are created equal by virtue of our common humanity as beings possessing the capacity for reason, for which it follows that every single one of us should be judged on the content of our character, not our race, cultural background, national origin, or other insignificant attribute. Under a veneer of “inclusiveness”, multiculturalism sneaks in collectivism by tribalizing America into racial, cultural, or ethnic group identities, undercutting American culture and the individual rights that naturally flow from that individualist culture. The corollary of this is to undercut the principle of inalienable individual rights, held equally by all individuals, and protected equally at all times by government under the law—and to switch the concept of rights from the individual to the group, paving the way for government to favor some groups over others at the expense of political equality.

Whether the religious conservatives’ attempt to Christianize the secular end-of-year Christmas season is a reaction to the Left’s multiculturalism, or the other way around, both are an attack on Americanism. I reject both viewpoints. America is neither a Christian nation nor a multicultural nation. It is an American nation—a nation of the Enlightenment including the values of reason, individualism, freedom of conscience, and free market capitalism.

In honor of America’s unique, singular culture of secular individualism, let me say HAPPY HOLIDAYS and to all!

Related Reading:

A ‘War on Christmas?’ No: A War on non-Christians

Move Over, ‘Happy Holidays’: Starbucks’ Cup Opens a New Front in the ‘War on Christmas’

Christmas: A Holiday for All

"Learning Experience", or Anti-Americanism?

My Commentary On State/Church Separation: "What's hard to understand about 'separation'"?

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

NJ Star-Ledger Repudiates the First Amendment, Calls for Censorship

The drumbeat of demands by statists to bring government controls down upon the social media companies continues apace. In Move fast, break things: Facebook living up to its creed, the New Jersey Star-Ledger declared on 11/21/18:

It's time to apply a new set of rules to Facebook, one that matches its global imprint, because it still believes that it is entitled to reap billion-dollar benefits without a dime's worth of accountability.

This website is no longer just a privacy burn pit adorned with cheery cat videos. It spawned the Arab Spring that erupted in the streets of Cairo. It was used by the Myanmar military as a tool for genocide. It allowed Kremlin disinformation to ignite a war in Ukraine. It gave Russia the ability to weaponize ads and fake news and contaminate a U.S. election.

Accountability--to whom? To the state, that’s who. The S-L continues:

We have laws forbidding foreign entities from funding political ads. But Facebook essentially allowed an adversary to hijack a megaphone that reaches 2.2 billion people, creating chaos in the American electoral process, and then lied about it.

I’m not going to defend Mark Zuckerberg’s response to the political attacks. I found his reaction to be weak and unprincipled in defending his company, which has done a great thing in creating a platform for so many average people to bypass the government and established media propaganda machines.

In the past year, as he has tried to ward off government regulation, Zuckerberg has gone before Congress to promise he'll get his half-trillion-dollar toy under control, part of an apology tour for the Russian escapade and for allowing the pro-Trump data firm Cambridge Analytica to improperly harvest information from 87 million users.

Yet at the same time, the company lobbied Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) to convince other lawmakers to back off Facebook (surprise: his daughter works there), and hired a Republican opposition research firm to shift the blame onto rival tech giants such as Google.

In other words, while Zuckerberg was publicly repentant, Facebook was engaged in the sleaziest forms of dark-ops lobbying.

I understand the lobbying. Our government has become an extortion scheme that makes the Mafia look like amateurs. But Zuckerberg needs to go to the public, and make an unapologetic defense of his business model on freedom of speech grounds. The S-L concludes:

As a media company, its societal impact must come with a level of responsibility.[!] Facebook cannot always be the perfect arbiter of truth, but it can at least try. And yes, it's complicated: The data breaches and unauthorized uses of that data are one thing; the management of fake news and malicious content is harder to tackle. Its promise last week to demote "provocative content" is a good start, but it does not go far enough.

Because when Facebook fails, the consequences are felt globally. Ethnic violence can erupt. Elections lose their legitimacy. It grew too fast, and it is too overwhelmed to fix or police itself. It's time for Congress to call Zuckerberg back in and tell him the reckoning has arrived.

The emphasis is mine. I left these comments:

So, we the 2.2 billion people, are too stupid to decipher truth from falsehood, “hate” from love, “politically correct” from “fake,” “malicious” from honest, or be able to handle “provocative” ideas and opinions without turning into violent wild animals. So we need political masterminds to decipher it for us!

Illegal foreign government meddling in elections is a red herring. Illegal acts can be handled like any other crime--with investigations, subpoenas, and rules of evidence gathering that protects the innocent. So is the issue of privacy, which can be handled by contract law.

When regulation is proposed, we’re talking about control of the innocent by the political class, which has a legal monopoly on the use of physical coercion. When you talk about control of content, you’re talking about censorship, plain and simple. In an Aug. 16 editorial, the S-L stated that “the real enemy of the people ... is a government that wants to be the sole arbiter of truth.” Yet, it calls for Facebook to be “the perfect arbiter of truth,” or else face a “reckoning” by Congress. Apparently, “Congress shall make no law . . . abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press” applies only to the established press, and not to the “chaos” of we 2.2 billion dregs freely expressing, reading, sharing, debating, and analyzing for ourselves.

Censorship-by-proxy is as much an abridgement as if Congress censored the Star-Ledger. And for what? Because an election didn’t go the way the statist Left approved, and thus lost its “legitimacy.” The totalitarian democracy fangs of the Left is on full display here.


Make no mistake. Our First Amendment protections of our intellectual freedom are at stake.

Related Reading:

Sunday, December 16, 2018

At Climate Summit, America takes Lead on Energy Realism and Prosperity

For those of us who hold individual rights as sacred, Donald Trump is a heavily mixed bag. There’s a lot to hate about his policy agenda.

But there’s also things to support--his energy policy, for example.

At the recent global climate summit in Poland, dubbed COP24, the Trump Administration stood before a sneering, mocking, elitist cabal of global climate alarmists, . . . and promoted coal and other fossil fuels!

As the Washington Post’s Griff Witte and Brady Dennis "reported":

President Donald Trump's top White House adviser on energy and climate stood before the crowd of some 200 people on Monday and tried to burnish the image of coal, the fossil fuel that powered the industrial revolution - and is now a major culprit behind the climate crisis world leaders are meeting here to address.

"We strongly believe that no country should have to sacrifice economic prosperity or energy security in pursuit of environmental sustainability," said Wells Griffith, Trump's adviser.

Mocking laughter echoed through the conference room. A woman yelled, "These false solutions are a joke!" And dozens of people erupted into chants of protest.

The protest was a piece of theater, and so too was the United States' public embrace of coal and other dirty fuels at an event otherwise dedicated to saving the world from the catastrophic impacts of climate change. The standoff punctuated the awkward position the American delegation finds itself in as career bureaucrats seek to advance the Trump administration's agenda in an international arena aimed at cutting back on fossil fuels.

Talk about guts. Note the bias in this “news” report--terms like “climate crisis” and “dirty fuels” and coal labeled “a major culprit”--as if the issue is settled, and there are no other views or facts to consider. That’s why I put the word “reported” in scare quotes. Right in the epicenter of the biggest gathering of the climate catastrophists’ witch doctors, we get a defense of fossil fuels!

That aside, when you look beyond the hubris of the elites, an entirely different picture emerges. As the elites laugh at Trump, people around the world are embracing coal as they struggle to pull themselves up from poverty. Hundreds upon hundreds of coal-fired electric power plants are being planned or built, while United States coal exports hit records as coal producers strain to meet this worldwide demand. As Trump gets mocked, he takes the side of the world’s poor, who want a piece of the prosperity and climate safety enjoyed by the elites, and of the “rich,” who want to maintain their elevated lifestyles. It looks like Trump is not the only one who doesn’t want “to sacrifice economic prosperity or energy security in pursuit of environmental sustainability.”

Trump was also criticized for refusing to back the recent United Nations report that alarmingly asserted that mankind has only until 2030 to prevent climate doom:

Monday's presentation came after a weekend in which the U.S. delegation undercut the talks by joining with major oil producers Russia, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait in blocking full endorsement of a critical U.N. climate report. The report, by some of the world's leading scientists, found that the world has barely a decade to cut carbon emissions by nearly half to avoid catastrophic warming.

But the United States balked at a proposal to formally "welcome" the finding, setting off a dispute that, while semantic in nature, carried ominous portents that the United States could become an obstacle to progress in Katowice.

Trump was right here, too. That U.N. report was a scary document with totalitarian implications.

To be sure, the Trump Administration is not blind to the possibility of serious climate side effects from greenhouse gases. It’s policy views are much more broad based than implied here. You have to read down toward the end of the article to find this:

After dozens of activists had shouted, "Keep it in the ground!" and "Shame on you!" for roughly 10 minutes, they marched together from the room. In the calm that followed, administration officials continued with their pitch for carbon-capture technologies to clean up coal, hydraulic fracturing to unearth gas and a new generation of nuclear energy plants.

Scientists say that a rapid migration away from fossil fuels toward cleaner energy is essential in the quest to prevent the most catastrophic effects of climate change. But Griffith, the White House adviser, argued that an exclusive focus on wind and solar is misguided at a time when the global energy supply is still dominated by carbon.

He and his colleagues touted the economic benefits of shale gas and insisted that coal can be made much less polluting given the right technology.

"Alarmism," Griffith said, "should not silence realism."

Alarmism should not silence realism. Amen. Carbon-capture technologies, hydraulic fracturing to unearth gas, and nuclear energy are all greenhouse gas-reducing energy solutions that don’t require sacrificing economic prosperity to environmental “sustainability” and pay due respect to the vital reliable energy our lives depend upon. Trump is not alone in his realism. Bill Gates, who is investing $billions of his own fortune for the cause of reducing climate-altering carbon emissions, called the obsession with unreliable solar and wind “dangerous.” As the Daily Caller reports:

Bill Gates offered some surprisingly critical comments about environmental activists who believe the proliferation of renewable energy is the only answer to climate change.

“That general impression that ‘Oh, it’s just about solar and wind,’ that I think is as dangerous to us as the fact that in one country, the U.S., there’s a faction that associates with ‘Hey, let’s not make any trade-offs to go in and solve this problem,'” he said.

Gates is putting his money where his mouth is:

Gates is no stranger to environmental activism. The founder of Microsoft — and a man worth almost $100 billion — has used his wealth to propel a number of climate change initiatives. He currently leads a coalition of billionaires who are investing in clean energy technologies. The philanthropy organization he founded, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, is focusing on the adaptation to climate change.

Gates has also invested in the development of advanced nuclear reactors, and a company, Carbon Engineering, that uses technology to capture carbon right out of the sky.

Carbon capture, adaptation, nuclear power; sounds a lot like Trump’s balanced agenda. These are not “false solutions,” as one protester screamed. They are realistic, progressive proposals coming from people who value human well-being over Stone Age-like “sustainability”.

True to their biases, Witte and Dennis asserted that “the idea of the United States as a leader at the international climate talks has evaporated.” They accused Trump of “thumbing his nose at international norms." But what Trump actually did was give us a lesson in true leadership. Thumbing one’s nose at norms that one believes is wrong, and offering a different approach, is what leaders do. On climate, energy, and human prosperity, the Trump Administration has made America a leader true to its legacy as a beacon of technological and economic advancement.

It remains to be seen if Trump’s courageous stand signals the beginning of the end of the climate catastrophist bubble, and the beginning of a more balanced, pro-human approach to energy and climate. To be sure, as the article points out, unelected “deep state” American bureaucrats are working behind the scenes at the conference to undercut the elected Trump Administration from carrying out its agenda. Nonetheless, kudos to the Trump Administration for standing up for a rational, realist approach that integrates energy, climate, and economic concerns. It’s a view that desperately needs a voice.

Related Reading:

Friday, December 14, 2018

Caring vs. ‘Wanting’

The following was posted on a  Facebook page titled “I’m just sayin’. . .”

As an Objectivist, it immediately struck me as corrupt. Not for the concern for others: Who would not want those things? But for the moral inversion implicit in the hierarchy of “I WANTS”.

The first principle of caring for one another is to respect other people’s moral right to live by their own judgement, for their own sake, in pursuit of the values that can make their own lives the best they can be. These are the only lives any of us will ever have. One’s primary concern should be to make one’s own life the best and happiest it can be, without guilt and apology. There could be room for concern for other concerns, of course. The first moral principle is to achieve one’s own wants, and that principle should be reflected in how one treats others. To say otherwise is to foster envious, predatory exploitation. After all, what does it mean to “never have to worry about food and shelter and heat?” Those basic necessities don’t grow in the wild, ready to be picked. They must be produced by human work. Can we imply from that “I want” that other people owe me those things so I don’t have to “worry” myself about them?

So count me out. The implication is that it’s more right to put other people’s needs above our own. This has the fingerprints of Judeo-Christian ethics all over it, and I find that moral premise cruel and inhumane and a reversal of cause-and-effect. Judeo-Christian ethics holds that morality has nothing to do with self-interest, but concerns only your actions as they pertain to the benefit of others. What you need to do to make your own life good deserves no moral guidance, say the Judeo-Christians.

Don’t believe me? I was watching a segment of Fox News. The subject was private businesses aiding victims of Hurricane Harvey. One guest said the self-interest of the businesspersons drove their benevolence. Another responded that self-interest is not enough: It must be grounded in Judeo-Christian ethics. In other words, one must pay penance in terms of self-sacrifice to atone for the sin of self-interest. The other replied—and I’m paraphrasing from memory—“No. Self-interest is enough. The businessperson doesn’t need morality”[!] Well, why isn’t a self-interested motive moral? This is the corruption of Judeo-Christian ethics at work. (Both, by the way, are advocates of capitalism and regulars on Fox News. No one challenged their implicit assumption that the self-interest of businesspersons, as such, is immoral, or at best amoral. But that’s a subject for another day. In the meantime, I suggest Capitalism, The Unknown Ideal and The Capitalist Manifesto.).

But there are all kinds of decisions that require an answer to the question—good or bad for me. Should I do recreational drugs—or not; what kind of career best suits me; how do I balance the need to financially support my family with their need for my time and attention; the list is open-ended. Yet Judeo-Christian ethics tells you need no moral guidance—that you need to “tame” your self-interest with “doing good”—self-sacrificially serving others. Self-interest, we’re told, is a necessary evil. It is something low or dirty or sinful. True, they say, you have to be self-interested to live. But that is man’s original sin.

I couldn’t disagree more. “Good or bad, right or wrong?”: Why does that moral question only apply to others, but not to oneself? In fact, Judeo-christian ethics implies a corrupt moral inversion: that living off of others is the good, but self-support is immoral. Think about it. If being moral means the unrewarded duty to serve others, then it stands to reason that others must live for you. Who wins? Obviously, the moocher. One “jus’sayin” correspondent captured the essence of the corruption: “All those things you want just happen to be what I need, when can I expect them from these people who care?”

Of course, nothing about self-interest—the real kind, rational self-interest—forbids good will, compassion, or charity toward people or causes that are consistent with one’s capabilities and values. There are all kinds of self-interested reasons for doing “good works.” But the good of others is logically not, and in reason should not, be the moral standard for our life choices. The sooner people recognize that and respect that in others, the better our world will be. Experience has shown this to be not only good morals, but good practically.

Self-interest is the driving force of life and flourishing. It is self-interest—“I WANT -I WANT -I WANT”—that drives people to work and produce to enrich their own lives. And self-interest has a wonderful derivative effect; through trade, we enrich the lives of others. Self-interest fosters win-win relationships, with people getting better together, each in pursuit of her own self-interest. “I WANT” leads people to become doctors to heal the sick; to achieve the affluence to satisfy their WANT to adopt orphan children; to become farmers and grocery store owners to provide food; to become builders and tradesmen to provide homes; to seek a career in energy production to provide fuel for heating systems. It is the “I WANT -I WANT -I WANT” that incentivizes people to work in a field of choice to be able to buy all of those. There is no dichotomy of “I WANTS.” With everything you buy, you are benefitting from the self-interest of someone you don’t even know seeking to fulfill the “I WANTS” that helps him flourish. Self-interest is all around us. It should not be a guilty endeavor. Judeo-Christian ethics, a.k.a. altruism, requires lose-win—someone must lose, that the other must win. Self-interest is built on win-win; people getting better, not at others’ expense, but together. It is the greatest good.

Self-interest is integral to human nature, as it is in some sense for all life forms. All life forms, including the most simple and primitive, must act to gain the values their lives depend upon. People are no different. To live, people must act to gain values. Self-interest is not a necessary evil that must be justified by cheap slogans—especially slogans backed by compulsion of government welfare that forces others to pay for the luxury of those wants (where’s the “care for one another” in that?) The goods we need to live and flourish don’t just happen. They must be created by effort. When you hear someone say “I WANT” and is willing to work for it, you have encountered the most virtuous type of person. This is a person who doesn’t fantasize about living in some Garden of Eden where every need is miraculously provided for. Nor does he expect others to provide it. The virtuous person does worry about how he will fulfill his needs and wants, because that is what his nature and responsible living demands. He doesn’t fantasize about a world where “people . . . never have to worry about food and shelter and heat” and everything else life requires, because he knows that such a world doesn’t exist.

Self-interest is a vital good—and by logical extension the foundation of a free, progressive, prosperous, benevolent society of win-win relationships. Self-interest is life. Anti-self-interest is anti-life. I am pro-life. So I won’t repost this. As I said at the outset, the first principle of caring for one another is to respect other people’s moral right to live by their own judgement, for their own sake, in pursuit of the values that can make their own lives the best they can be. And that principle should be reflected in both our private lives and in our politics.

Related Reading;