Monday, January 28, 2019

QUORA: ‘Did Ayn Rand support the idea of giving to charity or donating your own money to help other people?’

I posted this answer:

Yes. You can take her own word for it: See Charity in the Ayn Rand Lexicon.

Specific issues like charity are not addressed in Ayn Rand’s philosophy, Objectivism. It is up to each individual to apply the principles of Objectivism (or any philosophy) to his own life as he understands them. In ethics, Objectivism holds that a person should act in his own rational self-interest in all choices.

As an Objectivist, my own view is this. To be rationally selfish is to think carefully, within the full context of your whole life, about the values likely to contribute to your long-term happiness and flourishing. To be rationally selfish likewise impells you to consciously place your values in a hierarchy of importance to your life, and to act accordingly. Certainly, there can be room for charitable causes in your hierarchy of values. To donate money (or time or effort) to such causes would therefore be a rationally selfish thing to do. The only “rule” would be that you should never, as a rationally selfish person, sacrifice a higher value for something you value less. You should always respect your hierarchy of values. Charitable giving should not be done as a duty or a sacrifice but as a reflection of your values. So your donations should be made as and when you can afford it, to causes you value, but not at the expense of giving up something you value more highly, such as the welfare of your children or your next mortgage or rent payment.

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* [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.]

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