self-sacrifice

“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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The Shackles of Paternalism

Today, the “nanny-state” is omnipresent. Its latest pernicious intrusion pertains to pain-relief medication. Doctors are being told to restrict their prescriptions of opioids, the drugs (such as Percocet and Vicodin) used to reduce extreme pain. Why? Because the government is concerned about patients who overuse the drugs, leading to addiction and sometimes death. The idea …

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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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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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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 Book Has a Publisher!

I am extraordinarily happy to announce that I’ve gotten a publisher, Palgrave Macmillan, for my book. This is a major publisher—the same one, by the way, that published Free Market Revolution: How Ayn Rand’s Ideas Can End Big Government by Yaron Brook and Don Watkins. After considerable wrangling, we agreed on the following title: IN DEFENSE OF …

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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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In Defense of Selfishness—a Summary

(This is a brief summary of my new book, followed by the Table of Contents.) What if the central idea we’re all taught about morality is wrong? Virtually everyone regards self-sacrifice as a moral virtue. From childhood on, we are told that serving the needs of others, rather than our own, is the essence of …

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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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Foreign Policy and Self-Interest

By Peter Schwartz [This was published in the Contra Costa Times, July 19, 2003; the Canberra Times, July 24, 2003; and the Charlotte Observer, July 25, 2003] Those who claim that the United States has a moral obligation to send troops on a “humanitarian” mission to Liberia have it exactly backward: our government has a …

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