The article below was sent to me today by a good friend, and I felt compelled to write a commentary on it. I finished the commentary before I finished reading the article. But, after finally reading the complete article, I just laughed. My commentary was perfect! Philosophy is so prescient, after all!
The Ethics of Socialism is altruism, the ethics of self-sacrifice. As the article below states, the socialists are not happy with a win/win situation which is the hallmark of capitalism’s bilateral contract. The agreement, the “deal”, will not occur unless both parties benefit from it and are happy with it. It is through a countless number of win/win deals that capitalism creates wealth and prosperity for all. As they say, a rising tide lifts all boats. Even the “poor” in America are wealthy by the standards of any third world country. That is the reason why, for example, I consider the idea of reparations to the descendants of American slaves ridiculous! My message to them would be to aware of and count your blessings. Being born an American citizen is a huge benefit. The enormous number of illegal “immigrants” here confirms this. Do not be an ingrate!
Socialism rests on altruism in the field of Ethics which demands sacrifice. It cannot accept that the owner of Amazon, the richest man in the world, gets anything at all. Socialism demands that he must sacrifice–but as a good businessman he will not. That is why AOC and her socialists allies celebrated the downfall of the Amazon deal with New York City. Like I have said before, it comes down to fundamental philosophical principles. AOC probably does not understand any of this discussion, but she responds at an emotional level to what socialism demands. Philosophical principles shape a culture, that culture expresses itself in a society, and that society determines the course of a nation. Philosophy is made up of fundamental ideas, and those ideas are the basis of the events of history. Philosophy causes history.
Capitalism and Socialism rest on opposite premises. Capitalism rests on Individualism in the field of politics which logically follows from the concept of individual rights, which follows from rational self-interest in Ethics. This is philosophical selfishness which is the opposite of what is normally considered “selfish”. According to philosophical selfishness a man should rationally decide within the context of his lifetime when confronted by any choice. Will it benefit him or not, rationally? Getting high on drugs or alcohol may result in momentary pleasure or escape from the realities of his life, but does it rationally promote his life? Usually not. So according to rational principle, he should not indulge in this behavior indiscriminately. Every decision he makes should be calculated with his lifetime benefit in mind.
But, that would not be spontaneous! Most people would include a little spontaneity in their life to maximize the pursuit of their happiness. Yes, that is fine, but… That is the function of emotions in human life. Emotions are not a guide to happiness, they are a tool. Emotions are like “lightning calculators” assessing whether any act or behavior will benefit you in the long run. They result from your values–your true guide to life. The eloquent term gigo is appropriate. Garbage in, garbage out. If your values are chosen according to a rational standard, your emotions will consistently benefit your life. If not, your natural emotional mechanism will turn into a monster and the emotions in your life will be based on chance, not on reason. It is your life. I won’t tell you how to run your life, but neither will I sacrifice my happiness because you evaded your responsibility of ”thinking”. Being a complete human being entails using your conceptual faculty. It includes thinking pro-actively and thus having foresight. It includes being rational and intelligent. The intellectual precision of our magnificent Declaration of Independence states that you have a right to the pursuit of happiness. You do not have a right to happiness.
Collectivism (socialism, fascism, communism) is the opposite of Individualism in politics. It rests on the Ethic of altruism. Altruism does not mean benevolence as most people mistakenly believe. It does not mean kindness or good will toward others. It does not mean helping others when and if you can. Giving a dime to a beggar does not make you an Altruist. Since you have a moral duty to subordinate your interests to the interests of others, you already owed him that dime! It is in this way that altruism actually makes benevolence impossible. Your giving is not considered kindness or generosity but moral duty. It demands that you sacrifice all of your values: material, intellectual, and spiritual. You may not even hold firm moral convictions because that would be selfish. Altruism is a false moral code, not a practical way to live a successful life. If all of your values and convictions must be sacrificed to the group, who or what are you? Are you selfless? There can be no self-esteem without a “self”. (But, a worker bee in the collectivist honey bee hive does not need self-esteem. But, you are not an insect.)
(The information in the above paragraph is from a panel discussion with Ayn Rand on the Psychology of Altruism, Lesson 10, Columbia University’s campus radio station WKCR, 1964.)
Capitalism rests on an ethics of rational self-interest, or rational selfishness. That is why a good businessman always seeks a win/win situation in his bilateral contracts. It benefits both parties and creates a good basis for future deals.. Socialism, on the other hand, demands sacrifice. It rests on altruism, which is the opposite of rational selfishness. This is why socialism is anti-business. This is the real divide in America today, but very few understand it. Hopefully, you can now understand why there can be no compromise between two opposites in Ethics. I do not know what the answer is. What I do know is that either the socialists reject altruism, or we will eventually become subjects in their dictatorship. Will it require a bloody civil war to get the socialists to disavow altruism? You tell me. But, in any event, be ready. Think pro-actively!
America’s Socialist Revolution has officially begun