The Tyranny of Need

Trump’s Bombing of Syria:
Self-Interest or Self-Sacrifice?

Here are some belated observations on President Trump’s recent decision to launch cruise missiles against Syria in retaliation for its use of a deadly gas against its own citizens: Americans generally applaud the decision. And it’s an understandable, and laudable, response. It’s a reaction to years of a foreign policy that dealt with our enemies …

Trump’s Bombing of Syria:
Self-Interest or Self-Sacrifice?
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The Collectivist Mentality

China’s mandatory limit on the number of children a couple may have, which the communist government recently announced is being changed from one to two, attracts little support in the West. Apart from the most ardent environmentalists, people generally recognize the evil of such a policy. But do they understand what, at root, makes it …

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Unsoaking the Rich

The most distressing aspect of soak-the-rich schemes is not that the left keeps pushing them—but that the right regularly fails to offers a convincing refutation. When Democrats declare that the rich are not paying their “fair share” of taxes, the Republicans’ typical response is: “Oh yes, they are; look at how much more they pay, …

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How Not To Fight Environmentalism

Environmentalists succeed largely because they are able to pretend that their goal is to protect nature for man, while the truth is that they want to protect nature from man. They regularly oppose projects that demonstrably benefit human beings, on the grounds that nature—fish, turtles, owls, trees, wetlands—will be damaged. While at first environmentalists made …

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Altruism and Patriotism

You can love something even as you try to change it. You cannot, however, love something that you are trying to change into its opposite. The same applies to the question of whether President Obama genuinely loves America. Patriotism is a rational attitude toward one’s country—when it deserves to be loved. But to someone living …

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Christmas, Objectivism and Selfishness—
Objecting to a “Season of Giving”

The “season of giving” comes with its own set of commandments. Give back, we’re told. Remember the needy. Don’t give because it makes you feel good; give because it’s the right thing to do. But these platitudes don’t represent my perspective on the Christmas season. As an Objectivist, I’ve adopted an ethics not of altruism but of …

Christmas, Objectivism and Selfishness—
Objecting to a “Season of Giving”
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Altruism, the Gaza War and the Law of Causality

  When someone is killed because, say, a hurricane made his roof cave in, journalists understand the need to explain that occurrence. They don’t simply report that Mr. Jones died when a heavy beam fell on his skull. Rather, they report that a hurricane blew in the roof, thereby making the beam fall. Perhaps they …

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My Interview on the Doctrine of Altruism

Well before In Defense of Selfishness was published—when  its working title was The Tyranny of Need—I was  interviewed by Don Watkins of the Ayn Rand Institute. Here is an edited excerpt (and you can click below it for the audio version of the full interview): Q. If you asked most people what morality is, I think they …

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The Opponents of ObamaCare Are Completely Missing The Point

The opponents of ObamaCare are missing the boat. They are arguing that the new law is a redistribution program. They are accusing the Democrats of “generational theft.” They contend that ObamaCare penalizes the young, who are generally healthier, by making them pay more for health insurance so that older people pay less. All these claims …

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