rational self-interest

“America First”? Rethinking the
Meaning of Self-Interest

On his latest foreign trip, President Trump again invoked the idea of “America first.” As someone who is repelled by Trump and his presidency, I am a little reluctant to justify something he nominally upholds. But actually his support for this policy is all the more reason it needs to be clarified and defended—defended not …

“America First”? Rethinking the
Meaning of Self-Interest
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Reconceiving the Idea of Selfishness

In the realm of ethics, no characteristic is more widely condemned than selfishness. Practically no one challenges the premise, which we’re all taught from childhood, that acting for one’s own benefit is morally tainted, while sacrificing for the benefit of others is the essence of moral virtue. It is considered self-evident that selfishness is evil. …

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Memorial Day–But Don’t Call It a Sacrifice

As an Objectivist, I oppose the idea that self-sacrifice is the right way for people to deal with one another. I don’t believe you have a moral duty to subordinate yourself to others. Another person’s need should not create a moral claim against you merely because you are able to satisfy that need. Human relations …

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The Focus of
In Defense of Selfishness

Here is an interesting email I received from a prospective reader of IN DEFENSE OF SELFISHNESS: “I am considering buying the book, but I am on the fence. Looking at the table of contents, it appears it may be more focused on defeating a negative than upholding a positive. For example, the section headings seem …

The Focus of
In Defense of Selfishness
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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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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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