Our next meeting is on a small portion of John Galt's Speech on Anti-Altruism. At the bottom of this post I explain where you can find this article.
It is often said that we “sacrifice” short-term fun for long-term career ambitions, or “sacrifice” personal enjoyment for the sake of raising beloved children. Actions like these are clearly noble, but do they really involve sacrifice? What is sacrifice, and are there grounds for thinking it is moral? What does the consistent surrender of values really mean for human life and happiness?
In this week’s discussion, we’ll discuss Ayn Rand’s analysis of the code of self-sacrifice, and examine why she regards it as incompatible with genuine moral values and self-esteem.
. . .
“Why is it moral to serve the happiness of others, but not your own? If enjoyment is a value, why is it moral when experienced by others, but immoral when experienced by you? If the sensation of eating a cake is a value, why is it an immoral indulgence in your stomach, but a moral goal for you to achieve in the stomach of others? Why is it immoral for you to desire, but moral for others to do so? Why is it immoral to produce a value and keep it, but moral to give it away? And if it is not moral for you to keep a value, why is it moral for others to accept it? If you are selfless and virtuous when you give it, are they not selfish and vicious when they take it? Does virtue consist of serving vice? Is the moral purpose of those who are good, self-immolation for the sake of those who are evil?
—John Galt in Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged, pg. 948
Material to be discussed:
• “Anti-Altruism from Galt’s Speech”
o Pp. 94-102 in *The Ayn Rand Reader*
o or pp 944-951 in *Atlas Shrugged*