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The Objectivist Virtue of Selfishness

Peter Schwartz

Date: Jan 01, 2007

An introductory overview, contrasting the morality of self-interest with the morality of altruism.

An examination of the actual meaning of the concept "selfish" and of the distorted interpretations it is commonly given.

The logical validation of an objective standard of value (and the bridging of the "is-ought" chasm).

The significance of Ayn Rand's intellectual achievement, not only in establishing a scientific ethics, but also in demonstrating how living selfishly requires the most demanding of moral principles.

Why the moral is the practical, according to Objectivism––and how altruism sets up an irreconcilable conflict between the two.

Why individual rights can exist only if selfishness is a virtue.

Why totalitarian dictatorship represents the consistent implementation of the altruist morality.

Question and answer topics include:

  • Why dishonesty is not in one's self-interest;
  • What obligations exist between parent and child;
  • Why the poor and the handicapped should support a laissez- faire society;
  • Self-interest and passing moral judgment; 
  • The relationship between reason and emotions; 
  • Taxation and the proper functions of government; 
  • Why the "vested interests" of the recipients of government aid are not an obstacle to abolishing the welfare state.


Parts: 2

Handout: none