Re: Ethics

Hiro Protagonist (
24 Jul 1998 16:05:43 -0700

Daniel Fabulich <> writes:

> It seems to me that you give your case away if you agree that crime pays
> when it is done infrequently enough. Do you agree with that?

No, I disagree fundamentally about a philosophy and a lifestyle where one compromises egoistic _principles_ in order to get away with short-term egoistic-seeming goals. I also consider crime opposed to egoistic principles for another reason: the "Do unto others as you would have others do unto you" principle. Rational-egoistic ethics are derived from knowledge of the nature of a volitional, conceptual consciousness, and this includes knowledge of the effects on it of fraud or coercion. This is why a rational egoist would try to avoid being coerced or defrauded.

But this knowledge also implies the corollary that these principles apply equally towards all beings of similar nature. So if someone who understands what the effects of fraud or coercion would be when used against himself, perpetrated the same against another rational being, he is pulling the rug away from under his own feet, and invalidating, in fact, though he may not even consciously accept this, his own right to self, property and action. The only difference is this: if he consciously accepts it, he has, as they say 'sold his soul', and if he represses this knowledge, he will lose his mind.

I don't think the question of whether or not "crime pays when it is done infrequently enough" has any bearing on ethics at all. And in any case, I think it doesn't pay, never, in the long-range.

> But even if I did; are you trying to say that lies don't hold up in the
> long run? If so, what could you say to the millions (if not billions) of
> people who believe in miracles that didn't happen?

I think the 'long-run' for those lies is a little longer, on the scale of things, but it will arrive eventually, and inevitably, and with devastating consequences for those who maintained the lie and profited off it, which is not to say that they don't suffer devastating psychological consequences already.

> : a persistent neurotic impulse to steal especially *without economic
> motive* [emphases mine, of course]
> The kleptomaniac is not a rational egoist. The rational egoist will
> always have a self-interested motive for stealing. This is the difference
> between the two.

There is no difference. The dictionary says lack of *economic* motive. That does not imply lack of *self-interested* motive. Just means that what the kleptomaniac is interested in stealing often has little economic value.