Re: Phil: The VALUE of life & individualism vs self-sacrifice.

Lee Daniel Crocker (
Fri, 14 Feb 1997 13:08:56 -0800 (PST)

> Now to continue where i left off in the socialist/capitalist discussion, i
> do see where ethics like that of self-sacrifice (understood that it's
> voluntary, and based on individual decisions), and that of 'the good of the
> many' etc, cannot be ignored in any rational system, nor should such ethics
> become valued as 'inferior' or 'obsolete'. Something to which i still have
> questions after the reactions on the last discussion.

As much as I am tempted to simply give up and tell you to read
Friedman (you don't even have to buy a book--just go browse around, I simply must call your bluff here.

Why do you and other collectivists in one breath praise the value
of others, and in the next breath claim that seeking your selfish
interest would harm others? That's a plain contradiction. Other
people are valuable to me; I cannot achieve my selfish goals without
the cooperation and interaction of others. Why do you refuse to
listen to your own words?

The morally bankrupt ideas of self-sacrifice are an intellectual
pathology, a mystical belief that life is a zero-sum game, and that
seeking your own interest necessarily harms others. Give it up.
Look at the facts in front of you: other people are a positive
benefit to me /as a selfish individual/, and I will therefore act
in my selfish interest to maximize their benefit to me. The best
way to do that is to encourage specialization, so that each can do
what he does best, and free trade, so that each of us (not all,
each) can most benefit from it.

Not only /can/ "the good of the many" be ignored in a rational
system, it /must/ be. It, like democracy, is a pretty idea that
can only produce misery in the long run, by mechanisms well known
and clearly evidenced over the ages. There are only two ways for
all human interaction to take place: by unanimous consent, or by
force. Any attempt to place value on "society" or "the many" or
"the majority" or anything else but individual self-interest will
inevitably require the use of force, and is doomed to failure.

Lee Daniel Crocker <>