Ayn Rand and the Problem of Altruism.
Altruism is an ethical ideology. It holds that individuals have a moral obligation to act on behalf of the greater good.
Ayn Rand, a prominent libertarian philosopher and novelist, was a staunch opponent of this ethical ideal. She believed people should strive for their self-interest and reject any obligation to help others. This essay seeks to explore Ayn Rand’s views on altruism and the reasons she believed it to be detrimental to society.
Ayn Rand was born in Russia in 1905 and immigrated to the United States in 1926. She is best known for her novels, “The Fountainhead” and “Atlas Shrugged,” which present her philosophical ideas in a fictional format. Her philosophy, known as Objectivism, is grounded in the belief that individuals should be guided by reason and act in accordance with their self-interest. Rand was a fierce critic of collectivism, and she believed that any attempt to subordinate the individual to the group was wrong.
Rand viewed altruism as a moral code that subordinated the individual to the group. She argued that altruism demanded that individuals give up their interests in favor of the interests of others, leading to a sense of self-sacrifice and a loss of personal identity. Rand believed that this self-sacrifice was not only immoral but also led to a destructive and unproductive society.
She argued that altruism was a form of collectivism that promoted the idea that the needs of the many were more important than the needs of the individual. This moral “obligation”, she believed, was dangerous because it led to a society in which people were forced to sacrifice their happiness and well-being for the good of the group. In Rand’s view, this kind of sacrifice was futile because it did not benefit anyone, including the group.
Rand believed that altruism led to a sense of entitlement among those who received the benefits of the sacrifice. When people are given something without having to earn it, they come to expect it as their due, and this leads to a sense of entitlement. Rand believed that this sense of entitlement was detrimental to society because it encouraged people to rely on the government for their needs rather than taking responsibility for their lives.
Reason and Self-Interest:
Rand believed that the only proper moral code was one that was based on reason and self-interest. She…