Re: Ethics

Lee Daniel Crocker (
Tue, 17 Dec 1996 11:55:05 -0800 (PST)

> Why do libertarians generally feel the need to dress up empathy as
> somehow selfish? Surely it is just what it seems: concern for others,
> pure and simple. This is the more baneful side of Rand's influence
> at work again. Ach, so much good she did, yet how much confusion has
> flowed from her work also!

Sometimes one must fight evil ideas by being deliberately provocative
and extreme in the other direction. The unspeakable evil of the cult
of self-sacrifice demands such a fight. How can one possibly love
life without loving one's own most? And if you do, how can that be
for rational reasons if it is unconnected with personal experience?

The word "selfish" has a lot of emotional baggage attached to it--
prejudices that were instilled in us all our lives, but it is so often
used to describe things that are ethical life-loving choices, that
embracing it as a positive has an enlightening effect that wouldn't
occur with less loaded words like "life-affirming" or "empowering".

If I didn't value my own life above all things, why would I suppose
others have such value for their lives? I respect their lives and
their values not /instead/ of my own, or even /as well as/ my own,
but /because/ I value my own, and I recognize that they are the same.
Rand may have been wordy, and sometimes obtuse, and often provocative,
but she also gave us some of the most beautiful words and ideas that
anyone has ever expressed:

"I swear by life and my love for it, that I will never live for
the sake of another man, or ask another man to live for mine."

How could that be put any better?