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Self-Interest versus Altruism

October 10, 2009

Note: A commenter nicknamed Charles asked me to comment on issues like capitalism, self-interest, the concepts of “Aryan way of thought, collectivism, and bigotry. Please click here for the commenter’s full query. The following is my reply:

Throughout man’s history, man or the individual was enslaved or ruled by two kinds of mystics— the mystic of spirit and the mystic of muscle…

When you can no longer carry the weight of the world, woud you shrug?

When you can no longer carry the weight of the world, woud you shrug?

Hi Charles,

You have raised interesting points in your comment. Now let me try my best to deal with the matters you adduced seriatim. First, I have to tell you that I have no formal degree in philosophy, although I have learned through my own efforts to understand life and the concept of reality through reading, observation and the Aristotelian concept of induction. I adhere to the philosophy of Objectivism, a philosophy that can be summarized in the following manner:

  1. Metaphysics: Objective reality
  2. Epistemology: Reason
  3. Ethics: Self-interest
  4. Politics: Capitalism

I have to lay down these principles because they convey the fundamental premise of this essay. Your queries are focused on the critical questions I raised in my previous essay entitled the Philosophy of Academic Bigotry. I concluded that essay with the following questions:

Why is it that not a single individual honestly defends capitalism in this country?

Why is it that most favor the redistribution of wealth, government intervention and welfare statism?

Why is it good to consider the welfare of others and not yours?

Why is it that most people have been sold to the mantra of collective good, collective effort, common good, etc. when these abstractions have no exact, objective meaning at all but only seek the immolation of the good to the weak?

Why is taking things on faith considered a virtue?

Why is more importance given to faith than reason?”

“Civilization is not inherited; it has to be learned and earned by each generation anew; if the transmission should be interrupted for one century, civilization would die, and we should be savages again.”Will and Ariel Durant

Lest I be misunderstood, let me try to convert these abstractions into clear concretes. But first I would like to state that I am not pushing for what you call “completely neo-classical perspective” here (whatever that term means, because today most abstractions no longer have clear and concrete meanings, and I believe that this semantic corruption can effectively disrupt our understanding of reality.)

“The question isn’t who is going to let me, it’s who is going to stop me.”

I would like to address the first issue you raised. You said: “You are pushing that capitalism and (well I really can’t word it less harshly) self-interest is the way to go.” I see it fit to define my terms here according to Objectivist and Aristotelian concept of self-interest. Let me state here that Objectivism is partly based on the philosophy of Aristotle, although the former is more all-encompassing, more extensive in that it cuts across different categories of fundamental abstractions like economics, politics, aesthetics, psychology, literature and even science. This means that Objectivism is a well-developed philosophy– its ethics is rational selfishness and its basic principles are centered on the sanctity of human life and the primacy of the individual over the collective. Reality is superior to man’s consciousness, and this is the basic tenet of Objectivism.

I’m not surprised that most people in this country will find it hard and “harsh” to accept that man’s ethical standard is self-interest. Most universities today preach the opposite, telling students that we must live for others— that we must sacrifice ourselves to others, and that it is our duty to serve the welfare and good of others. We have an educational institution in this country that seeks to perpetuate this goal with its philosophy of “men and women for others.” The morality behind this philosophy is that of altruism. The meaning of altruism is not simply kindness or generosity toward other people. Altruism means that man must serve others and that it is his duty to satisfy and fulfill the welfare of others. This kind of morality is not simply immoral; it is evil at best. It means that man must put the interests of others above his own. Altruism demands that man must do the impossible.

The Greatest Evil of the Dark Ages is none other than the Vatican City or the Catholic Church…

Rational self-interest means that man is an end in himself, not a means to the ends of others. This does not mean blind desires or random whims. I would like to quote Ayn Rand in regard to this matter: “[Man] must exist for his own sake, neither sacrificing himself to others nor sacrificing others to himself. The pursuit of his own rational self-interest and of his own happiness is the highest moral purpose of his life.”

In this predominantly Catholic country, most people regard self-interest as evil. They regard that man’s pursuit of happiness is immoral. In that essay I asked—Why is it that it is good to consider the welfare of others and not yours? The reason for this is the morality of altruism that is heavily entrenched in our religious dogmatism, educational system and traditional values. We have been taught that it is our moral duty to serve the good and welfare of others. But this kind of morality, which is altruism, is not exclusively within the domain of religion. Throughout man’s history, man or the individual was enslaved or ruled by two kinds of mystics— the mystic of spirit (the religionists, cultists or spiritualists) and the mystic of muscle (the communists, imperialists, socialists, fascists, Nazis, etc.). What do these two groups have in common? They are both collectivists—and their morality or ethics is primarily based on altruism.

For the first time in human history, a nation afforded respect and recognized the value of the individual over the collective.

The Greatest Evil of the Dark Ages is none other than the Vatican City or the Catholic Church, as this evil institution cohabited with powerful empires that ruled world. With its brand of morality and mysticism, the Catholic Church suppressed the development of science, freedom and reason. The Pope persecuted, prosecuted and imprisoned Galileo Galilei for his virtues. This draconian cult’s morality of altruism resulted in piles of corpses, constant stagnation, bizarre poverty, genocide and mysticism. The Philippines remained under the brutal and mystic custody of the empire of Spain for more than 300 years simply because of the sedative power of religion, the fundamental morality of which is altruism.

But one man came to save the world from the collectivist claws of religion and the imperialists, and this man is Aristotle whose ideas were developed and explained by Thomas Aquinas. If there is one man who nearly proved the existence of God, it was Aquinas. During the Dark Ages a great nation, the philosophical foundation of which was based on the philosophy of Aristotle, came into being. And this nation is the United States of America. It is this nation that first embodied the basic principle of individualism, thanks to the wisdom and eternal vision of its great visionary founding fathers.

Did you know why the United States of America is the country of birth of individualism? The answer is laid down in the Declaration of Independence. For the first time in human history, a nation afforded respect and recognized the value of the individual over the collective. The Declaration of Independence states that man’s inalienable rights consist of his rights to life, liberty, property and the pursuit of happiness. The philosophy behind this great document means that man’s rational self-interest is his primary duty. It means that it his self-interest to protect his life, freedom, vocation or profession, and pursue happiness. Happiness, according to Rand, “means man’s right to live for himself, to choose what constitutes his own private, personal, individual happiness and to work for its achievement, so long as he respects the same right in others.”

Do you know what economic or political system is most consistent with these principles? It is capitalism. However, capitalism is loosely defined these days and even those in the academe miserably fail in defending the virtue of capitalism. (For fuller discussion of capitalism please read my previous blog entry entitled Capitalism and Imperialism are Contradiction in Terms). In this essay I stated the following: “I support capitalism because it is the only economic system that is consistent with man’s rights– his right to life liberty, property and the pursuit of happiness.” Capitalism and rational self-interest are compatible with each other. In a free society, the standard of value is the individual, not the disembodied gargoyle they call society. However, most educators these days try to associate capitalism with altruism. These are the worst destroyers of capitalism. I also stated the following: “Only in a capitalist society can man own a private property, as well as the products of his own mind. Under a socialist or communist system, all properties are owned by the state.” Let me restate what capitalism means: “What is capitalism? Ayn Rand gave the most accurate and consistent definition of capitalism. Based on Ayn Rand’s concept of capitalism, this economic system has the following attributes:

1) it is a social system based on the recognition of individual rights, including property rights, in which all property is privately owned.

2) it means a full, pure, uncontrolled, unregulated laissez-faire capitalism—with a separation of state and economics, in the same way and for the same reasons as the separation of state and church.

3) its moral justification does not lie in the altruist claim that it represents the best way to achieve “the common good.”

4) it is a system wherein all human relationships are voluntary, and that men are free to cooperate or not, to deal with one another or not, as their own individual judgments, convictions, and interests dictate.”

You said: “You seem to espouse no government intervention/control aside from human security.”

Of course I do. Study economics and you will learn that most economic crises were caused by government intervention into the economy. We have high costs of electricity because of the altruistic tendencies of the government. The EPIRA law led to the mandatory subsidizing of independent power producers regardless of the reach of their service or the amount of electricity they provide. This is the Filipino version of that infamous American bailout. We have high costs of electricity because the government had created looters and moochers by subsidizing these IPPs through people’s money. This anti-capitalist policy destroys free-market competition and is the worst of all economic phenomena in this country. It is the altruistic-socialist government policies that create looters and moochers through taxpayers’ money. You must remember that every word has its exact meaning. Capitalism does not seek the sacrifice of a group to a particular group. Did you know why the prices of computers or laptops continue to decline? Price decline is mainly attributed to the existence of competition in both the global and domestic markets. The most abused, vilified and distorted word in the dictionary is Capitalism. Why? Because of the philosophy of most educational institutions. Now that the latest documentary film of Michael Moore entitled Capitalism: A Love Story is going to hit big screen, there is not a single doubt on my part that most Filipinos will love it and some schools will even endorse it.

People in business who get rich through government subsidies, political connections, graft and corruption, and government favors are not capitalists; they are cronies or looters. Cronyism and capitalism are contradiction in terms. Mike Defensor, who cornered government contracts and even subsidies for his two mining companies, is a good example of a moocher that benefits from political largesse. In a truly capitalist society, only the strong and the competent can excel. And in a free-market economy, no one can ever corner the market; the system will definitely destroy any group that tries to establish a monopoly. The American taxpayers’ bailout of financially ailing companies and banks is the worst economic experience in recent history. In effect, this bailout is one of the safest ways for a government to nationalize private companies.

Today, the economic czars and political appointees of Barack Obama are now the ones running companies like Chrysler, General Motors and a number of nationalized banks. After creating Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac that caused the mortgage crisis, the already bankrupt American government has the guts to run private companies. The morality behind this bailout is altruism. Taxpayers’ money is being used to save the incompetent and inept companies in the guise of preventing massive job loss. The US government enacted the altruistic Community Reinvestment Act that forced banks to lend money to people regardless of their financial capacity to pay. Thirty-two years after the Act came into effect, financial crisis swept America last year causing bank runs, affecting the rest of the world.

But a socialist leader like Barack Obama cannot cheat reality, as unemployment rates went beyond 9.5 percent, the worst in about two decades. As a result, the Federal Reserve is now massively printing money out of thin air to save America’s ailing economy. But can these socialist-monetarists and Keynesian-altruists save the economy with that reality-faking strategy? The bailout system is a good example of exalting the weak and the incompetent.

You said: “Basically earn your way to the top with no help at all from anyone else and be able to say that you did on your own correct.”

Is there any other moral way to achieve success than to rely on our own? The taipans today like John Gokongwei built their empire bit by bit. He started his empire after World War II when everybody was in his or her knees. He had to rely on his own, he never asked anybody’s help, and no one guaranteed him a bailout. A man like him must be exalted and praised, and not vilified. Ayn Rand immigrated to the US in 1921 after the Leninist-communist seized Russia. Having no enough money, Rand had to work odd jobs. She studied English on her own to fulfill her ambition to become a novelist. After publishing The Fountainhead, the academics, media men and American intellectuals disparaged her for her unique philosophical views. But no one was able to stop her. She once said: “The question isn’t who is going to let me, it’s who is going to stop me.”

You said: “Does not this echo of an Aryan way of thought? Survival of the fittest (in your case the one who is a self-made man is the fittest to rule the world and not the weak who have to rely on the much more powerful to survive in this world)?”

Your “Aryan way of thought” is based on Hitler’s Nazism, which is founded upon the crude collectivist concept of racism. It is improper and wrong to associate men who achieved virtues and success on their own with what you call “Aryan way of thought”. The first (personal achievement) is earned, meaning success or virtue which proceeds from one’s intransigent struggle or selfish passion to achieve.  The second (Aryan way of thought) is unearned, which means that everything you have is something that you owe from or is attributed to your race. It means you are guided by some external phenomenon and that you have no option but to simply take things on faith. As I said, it is improper to man to take things on faith. Such an “Aryan way of thought” means that faith is superior to reason (or that reason is nonexistent). A man’s desire to achieve is personal in nature— it means that he has to make choices and be accountable for his own decisions. Man has to make choices for his life because he is not a determined being. On the other hand, “Aryan way of thought” presupposes that man is a determined being— that his fate or destiny is tied to his racial origin, family history, or academic background. It is you who leads the way for your life by making your personal choices. You are not a determined being.

A man who preaches the virtue of sacrifice wants to be the master and the collector of sacrificial offerings.

Try to consider this. Supposed you’re a man of ability and you discovered a cure for cancer, would you feel guilty for that virtue of yours? In reality even if you were a man of intellect and ability, it would take you years and a great deal of efforts to discover a scientific formula, which you would use to manufacture medicines for cancer patients. You have earned it, and as such you have the very right to reap the fruits of your achievement because it is the product of your own mind. You could make fortune out of that great discovery of yours. Why feel guilty? However in just a few years the collectivists-socialists who preach the virtue of altruism were able to seize government power. These collectivist-socialists believe in the concept of economic equality, which they would achieve by looting private property and companies, redistributing wealth, and playing a major role in the life of every citizen. Definitely, a man of achievement like you would not be able to exist in that kind of evil society, for nobody can rule a man of self-esteem. You only have two choices— perish or look for a country that suits your values and beliefs. This is how the United States achieved economic success. The most brilliant men and women in the world— the men and women of achievement and self-esteem—migrated to a country that respects individual rights and man’s right to self-interest. This is how the ancestors of Gokongwei, Lucio Tan and other taipan nowadays found their way to the Philippines, which is now their country of choice.

You also stated the following: “You also seem to want to do away with the common good as a goal of society as it merely “seeks the immolation of the good to the weak.”

A man or a woman who seeks power is not strong—he/she is a second-hander, a power lust.

The kind of “common good” most politicians promise has no exact meaning at all. Again, the underlying morality of this “common good” is that of altruism. For collectivists (communists, socialists, fascists, Nazis and the like), the concept of “common good” lies in the sacrifice of the strong to the weak, of the competent to the inept, of the mediocre to the esteemed. Every tyrant in history exploited “common good” as a way to turn people into unthinking masses. Napoleon Bonapart relied on summum bonum or the highest good to become one of the worst rulers of France. Adolf Hitler used the same mantra and the concept of racial supremacy to stir the collective spirit of his people in the hope of propelling Nazi Germany to global dominance. Mao Zedong and Lenin brandished their kind of “common good” for the proletariat only to end up burning not merely books but bodies. That’s why Hitler said the following: “What luck for rulers that men do not think.”

In the Philippines, dictator Ferdinand Marcos’ new society was founded on the morality of altruism and the promise of common good. Every tyrant has to use pleasant words to deceive the unthinking masses. This is the reason why we need to embrace the right philosophy. The main target of the collectivists is not your body, it is your soul. Once a man’s soul is controlled, he can no longer think rationally because his only weapon to understand reality is corrupted- reason. ‘Sacrifice’ is the most common term in a collectivist society. People have to sacrifice their lives to the state and that it is their duty to serve it. A man who preaches the virtue of sacrifice wants to be the master and the collector of sacrificial offerings. State or society, in essence, is regarded as God of the proletarians, while in any collectivist-theocratic regime, God is represented by a so-called messenger like the Ayatollah of Iran, Kim Jong Il of North Korea or the Pope of the Dark Ages. The word “reason” is absolutely nonexistent in this kind of evil society, for every man has the duty to take things on faith.

Do you want to know a very good example of sacrificing the good to the weak? The quick example I can give you is the Text Tax proposal of the government (I have written an essay on this matter as well which I titled Why is Text Tax the Gateway To hell). Why are some Filipino politicians eyeing on the telecommunication industry? The main reason is because it is successful, and because it is successful it must contribute something to the society. The strong here are the telecommunication companies, while the weak is the government. Our already cash-strapped, bankrupt government seeks to immolate and sacrifice these successful telecommunication companies in the guise of providing welfare state projects to society. You must understand that the costs of texting and mobile calls declined because of competition, thanks to Sun Cellular. My concept of strong does not mean the wicked and the power-seeker, for this kind of men, in reality, are weak, coward and have no values at all. A man or a woman who seeks power is not strong—he/she is a second-hander, a power lust.

Remember, to have pride and self-esteem that which makes you proud and esteemed is something that is earned, and never anointed, decreed or preached.  The test whether something is associated with what you call “Aryan way of thought” is this— Is my success or achievement the result of my own personal choices? By choice does not mean merely enrolling in a school, which you may regard as great or the “best.” Such kind of thinking is not just crude; it is at best an “Aryan way of thought.” If you believe that you are good or great simply because you belong to a particular race, group, school or family, then you are going against the law of identity– that A is A. Your consciousness cannot contradict reality. Any belief, idea or concept which you accepted on faith (or that which you embraced because your government, school administrators, community leaders and parents told you so) is something that only exists in your mind, and it does not correspond to reality. Remember, reality is superior to consciousness, and you try to cheat reality if you take things on faith.

To truly understand my concept and the philosophy of Objectivism, when you have enough time, try to read Anthem, The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged (I advise you to start with Anthem). I tell you, you will definitely enjoy these books. Please do understand some grammatical glitch here; I wrote this piece in between my busy schedule. This week is our final exams. Thanks and good premises.

Related article: Immanuel Kant: Ayn Rand’s Intellectual Enemy

I believe the following videos can help:

On Objectivism

Money, Banking and the Federal Reserve

Ron Paul discusses Austrian Business Cycle Theory versus Keynesian Economics

Ron Paul: “End the Fed” The Philippines needs a statesman like him!

37 Comments leave one →
  1. October 10, 2009 3:38

    Thanks for your blog. Freedom of expression lives on.

    Here’s the 10 Top Reasons why Barack Obama is very deserving of his Nobel Peace Prize Award, gleaned from global news sources: s-barack-obama-has-a-nobel-peace-prize/

  2. October 10, 2009 3:38

    Good read, thank you.

  3. Charles permalink
    October 12, 2009 3:38

    First of all thank you for your most intriguing and might I add, lengthy essay as a response 🙂
    (I was expecting a simple reply point-per-point but I am simply humbled by your response)
    I must apologize that I do not have the time to properly respond with an essay at length as well.

    However, I do believe I have come to understand now your view point and where you are coming from on the entire bigotry issue.

    I believe (now correct me if I am wrong) that when you say that Ateneo’s cheer “Win or lose it’s the school we choose” is bigot solely because the Ateneans who cheer this are simply saying that “I have the Ateneo name, I am superior than the rest of you lot”. True this would possibly stand would hold true from the perspective of a professional who has done something with his/her life already. But, let us now put it into context of a student or a fresh graduate. Would this cheer still resound of bigotry when a fresh graduate can TRULY claim that he has the RIGHT to say “I graduated from the Ateneo, I studied hard, I worked hard, I EARNED my diploma and the RIGHT to carry the Ateneo name” would this still be considered an act of bigotry under your premises?

    I believe for someone who has survived the rigors of four or five years of collegiate education, they have earned the right to say that they have indeed accomplished something in their own right. This I believe coincides with your thought on having to earn something by your own right correct, to actually boast about something you have accomplished. In this scenario then would the Ateneo cheer still appear to be bigot?

    But that is from the perspective of someone who has actually graduated from the Ateneo (or from any school worth it’s weight in salt, to actually be a college graduate, i believe, should count for something). Now how about those who have not graduated yet and still yell this cheer from the deepest fathoms of their impassioned hearts (as per a basketball game)? would they still be considered bigot?

    Jumping off from your premise that someone must EARN something by his or her own right, then I believe the cheer is not bigot for the sole reason that these students from the Ateneo who cheer this passed the Ateneo College Entrance Test (ACET) and got accepted into the Ateneo. True it was their choice but they backed that choice up by taking the entrance test AND passing the entrance test. Is that not worthy to be called something earned by their own right? These students who holler this yell would not be bigots if they actually earned the right to do so. They earned that slot in a course in the Ateneo and by their own right at that (unless of course you count the bad eggs that pay or cheat their way in).

    True, these would appear moot from the eyes of more wizened and learned people such as professionals who have done something more in their lives. However, from the perspective of a young student, to be accepted to the Ateneo (or for any college at that) and graduate from it, that is their pinnacle of success and as thus would naturally want to express pride in it!

    Thus returning to your original premise of Ateneo’s cheer as being a cheer of the UNEARNED and a battle cry for ZERO I must say that for someone to actually be accepted into the Ateneo (or any college at that) is something EARNED (by their own right no less) and would seem to satisfy your “critereon” for “non-bigotry”. It is not outside their character nor is it a hollow ascribed status. To be accepted into college (note I am broadening the scope to not just Ateneo but the collegiate scene) is something you earn by your own right and thus to me (at least) would absolve them of supposed unearned respect and bigotry. The right to be called an Atenean and to take advantage of the following perks (such as to sing the school hymn or cheer its cheers) is achieved not ascribed as you would imply.

    An academic background is not ascribed (as you suggest with race or family background) it is achieved, it is earned. You may choose to go to a school but you must also be accepted by the school as per its requirements. I will agree with you that “choosing” is nothing more than a visceral act, hollow and worthless. But once that choice is affirmed by action and results then it gains substance. I can think, choose or even dream of being a millionaire but doing so does not make me a millionaire. If I act on my choice, thought or dream however AND succeed, then I indeed become a millionaire.

    “Man has infinite will and can will anything he wishes but has only finite time and characteristics” – Descartes

    Moving on to a higher plane of thought.

    Economics. Government intervention I believe is still a necessity. You gave me many historical anecdotes which vilified government intervention as it simply muddled the free market system and fractured Adam Smith’s “invisible hand”. You seem to dream of a perfectly competitive market system. Economists have already conceded that it does not exist in the real world and cannot exist in the real world. Why? a multitude of reasons. I will point out asymmetrical information for one and barriers to entry and exit courtesy of course by the government. Government cannot be done away with. It is impossible. Yes you brought up examples which disparaged government intervention and illustrated it as the source of economic ill. But let me bring up that the Great Depression was brought about by the LACK of government control and intervention, it was a complete and utter market failure. However, this point is openly debatable and would be ceaseless in my opinion.

    I must say that I shall concede on your point that man is truly a self interested entity. In the words of many philosophers we as a race are “fallen”. There is an ambiguity in striving to better one’s self (sometimes at the cost of others) yet we are instinctively pulled to help one another (altruism, which economics would have no possible explanation for haha).

    I do not believe I have to supply any examples in proving man’s self interest. It’s all around us. Greed, corruption, if I were a communist I would say capitalism (haha).

    Now on the more controversial side of my premise. Man as naturally altruistic and naturally inclined towards self-sacrifice for the sake of others(I believe you put this as collectivism?).
    I would recommend briefly knowing Emmanuel Levinas and his philosophy of Ethics as First Philosphy and Totality and Infinity which basically says that man cannot ethically subdue another man, it is impossible. Thus, to take advantage of another or to make self-interest as a goal of man would be unethical since if you better yourself solely for yourself then you take away something from another person (time, money, opportunity etc.).

    Another different idea would be an experience of “negative contrast”. This occurs when you see someone who contrasts you negatively and would feel negative about it. For example, you see (to drive the example home I shall use a hyperbolic example) a paraplegic and you know that he is with no home, only with meager means of survival and is blind in one eye. I believe this sorry sight would move you to pity instinctively. The choice to suppress or channel your feelings of pity are preceded by the actual feeling of pity for that poor paraplegic man. Pity would pull you instinctively to help that man. To be altruistic towards the sufferer. Pity in fact is an altruistic feeling as it is a feeling of compassion. Compassion would mean from its roots com-pati; com (together) – pati (suffer) = to suffer together. To share in the suffering of another is an act of altruism as it is in the disinterest of the self and for the well being of another. Suffering with another is an act towards the well-being of another (nakikiramay). Thus, man is by nature altruistic as well.

    Therefore, given that man cannot ethically take advantage of another person for the sake of personal gain (yes this would also hold true for people applying for a school, limited slots = if you get in then you automatically deny someone else a slot, but this does not make you a bigot, this merely makes you selfish IF your desire is simply to better yourself and just for yourself, if you seek to better yourself for the good of society and humanity then by all means take that slot [yes, this is a Kantian ideal]) and is also naturally drawn to altruism then wouldn’t it be more natural for man to be altruistic?

    Would it not be logical to assume the natural form of oneself? That man is naturally inclined to do good not just for the self but for the Other.

    Thus with the points I have presented, I would have to say that man, true, is self-interested BUT is more naturally inclined towards the good of all. Man is more naturally altruistic.

    However, I should stress that altruism would not necessarily equate to martyrdom for another. As with everything else in this world including the exercise of philosophy, temperance is key. Mesotes. A concept of course from our dear friend Aristotle.

    I hope I have presented a few salient points to help temper your thoughts on the matter of bigotry, altruism and man’s self-interest.

    Cheers! 😀

    You have my email. I await your reply.


    I think my reply got a bit lengthy as well haha.

    (you know if you compile these essays and responses [only the good ones] you can publish a book) 😀

  4. Charles permalink
    October 12, 2009 3:38

    It is late, I have spent the last so and so hours reading literature on Ayn Rand. What struck me is this. She said:

    “Throughout the centuries, there were men who took first steps down new roads armed with nothing but their own vision” – Ayn Rand

    This I believe encapsulates my “defense” of the Ateneo cheer. To those who “chose” Ateneo as the school they wish to be in. But, it is only that. A choice, a beginning of sorts. The rest that would follow depended not solely on their choice to go to the Ateneo but by their own efforts. See that everything else would not follow had they not chosen to go to Ateneo in the first place. A student would not cheer an Ateneo cheer if he or she did not choose to want to go to Ateneo. To take AND pass the ACET. To graduate after years of education at the Ateneo. All these things are based solely on a student’s efforts. However, all of this (cheering, getting accepted to Ateneo, graduating from Ateneo) would not be possible had they not taken the first step “armed with their own vision” of being an Atenean.

    In this sense then, choosing AND becoming an Atenean is not ascribed, preached nor something taken on faith. It is something achieved, willed and substantiated. It is something earned.

    Taken also from Ayn Rand’s perspective of egoism or self-interest, does not the prestige (implied or otherwise) of the Ateneo become a source of egoism/self-interest? As well as the structure in place in determining who is worthy to be an Atenean and avail of college education (e.g. ACET)? Taken from this perspective the Ateneo very well supports individualism in getting into it but preaches altruism to its students.

    In this sense perhaps notions of egoism and altruism can co-exist?
    Bettering yourself by your own efforts (passing tests, studying, acing exams are all by virtue of your own efforts e.g. no one else can take your exam, you make your grade not your classmate) in order to better the lives of others by incidence or intent.

    Be the best lawyer, doctor, businessman whatever you want to be. But if you look at it incidentally you improve the lives of others through the course of your practicing, honing your skills, the betterment of yourself. Lawyers defend the rights of others, doctors bring healing to the sick, businesses provide jobs and opportunities.

    It is in this notion that I have thought to reconcile the matter of egoism and altruism.
    I may be over extending myself here but that’s what reason is all about isn’t it? 🙂

  5. October 13, 2009 3:38

    It’s really funny that you used a single quote of Ayn Rand in a very ‘misplaced’ perspective. Your use of that particular quotation is utterly out of context. That’s part of the great speech of Howard Roark in The Fountainhead when he defended himself in court. Roark dropped out of college because he didn’t like the system and teachings of his school. Read the book and don’t just use quotations which you think may suit your argument. Those “men” who “took first steps” are the creators, the innovators, the inventors. Nobody helped them. They were persecuted, defiled and ignored.
    You said: “I believe (now correct me if I am wrong) that when you say that Ateneo’s cheer “Win or lose it’s the school we choose” is bigot solely because the Ateneans who cheer this are simply saying that “I have the Ateneo name, I am superior than the rest of you lot.”
    I believe I don’t have to repeat my arguments here. I clearly defined bigotry. To tell me that I’m accusing you of bigotry because you embrace that song is malicious at best. Bigotry is an irrational behavior or mentality which one holds consciously or unconsciously. I have explained my position on this and I do not see any reason to repeat my depositions anymore. Do not misquote me on things I haven’t said. I don’t care about your ACET and I don’t think it is proper for anybody to tell me that I wrote this piece and the previous ones simply because I failed your entrance exams. Now that’s an expression of bigotry. I don’t have any argument to such stupid statements (I’m not referring to your statement but to other statements). One is not supposed to answer stupid arguments.
    You said: “Economists have already conceded that it does not exist in the real world and cannot exist in the real world. Why? a multitude of reasons.”
    The only reason is because they are monetarists and Keynesian economists. I’m sure you’re not aware the Austrian business cycle theory, a school of thought in economics, exists. Whoever told you told this information, if it was a professor of yours, better drop out of that subject. If you read that from a certain economics book, I suggest that you read proper books. Know the history of the Federal Reserve. The Fed was created in 1913. It printed money based on the fractional reserve system, which means that money since 1913 was partially attached to gold. Now money is no longer backed by gold after the Bretton Woods agreement in 1971. The Fed is the root cause of all economic crises in America. The existence of the Fed is being justified by Harvard professors through monetarism and Keynesian economics. The Great Depression was caused by government intervention. I can only suggest good books that do not distort reality like G. Edward Griffin’s “Creature from Jekyll Island,” books by Ludwig von Mises, and Ron Paul’s “End the Fed.” Try to learn something about Austrian economics. I cannot cover this here.
    You said: “Taken also from Ayn Rand’s perspective of egoism or self-interest, does not the prestige (implied or otherwise) of the Ateneo become a source of egoism/self-interest?” No! Read Ayn Rand. All of her Harvard educated critics behaved like elementary pupils in the way they criticized her. Knowledge is not automatic so start acquiring knowledge on your own. You can’t start by appropriating some of her quotes and statements to justify your defense or whatever. It took me four years to understand her premise, her philosophy and arguments.
    You said: “I would have to say that man, true, is self-interested BUT is more naturally inclined towards the good of all. Man is more naturally altruistic.”
    ‘Naturally altruistic?’ Every man starts as a tabula rasa. Most religionists and mystics are expected to interpose such a baloney defense, but it would only show their inclination that man is a predetermined being. Are you now saying that man is destined to commit a suicide? Again, altruism demands the impossible.
    We obtain knowledge by observing reality. There’s no such thing as automatic knowledge. “Civilization is not inherited; it has to be learned and earned by each generation anew.” Try to understand the meaning of that quotation. The worst enemy of civilization is altruism. The world was trapped in mysticism, poverty and stagnation in the Dark Ages because of the philosophy of the mystics, the religionists and the Catholic Church. Now, these mystics are trying to adapt to the modern trend; they’re simply reinventing. The birth of Age of Enlightenment and the Industrial Revolution only means that these mystics and religionists failed and they were the enemy of reason, science and mankind.
    These mystics only rely on the “automatic.” Their claim is based on the unproven, unearned and the so-called “inherited.” Their bigotry lies in the wickedness and idiocy of their philosophy. Again, I repeat my statement here that the man who saved the world from the mystics in the Dark Ages is Aristotle through the works of Thomas Aquinas. Reason is the only antidote to man’s stupidity. Even those who claimed to have been sent by God to earth failed in their so-called “divine duty.” They simply failed because they subscribed to the philosophy of death.

  6. October 13, 2009 3:38

    I cannot believe that most young people these days are not properly educated. When this fellow stated that “Government intervention I believe is still a necessity”, it means that he was heavily brainwashed by his teachers and professors. I cannot believe that the author is right in saying that the “worst enemy of this country are the universities.” I’ve been reading the latest entries here since that famous academic bigotry and I was able to prove one thing– that most young people these days are being corrupted by educational institutions.
    The fellow said that “Economists have already conceded that it does not exist in the real world and cannot exist in the real world.” I must tell the author that he would just let this fellow seek the truth. Free market system exists. The fellow has to start from scratch, and try to set aside whatever he learned in college. He has to read proper books and try to observe reality.
    I’m sorry but the author should have ignored this fellow. I did not learn whatever I have right now in college. I learned on my own. I don’t think it’s our duty to educate other people. We all have the capacity to think and to perceive reality and knowledge. Let the fellow learn on his own. If he remains stupid, then that’s not our problem. If the fellow thinks he’s better than the author because he’s from Ateneo or wherever, I think that stupidity.
    Ayn Rand was vilified and criticized by intellectuals who graduated from Harvard and top schools during her lifetime. These Harvard educated critics couldn’t accept the fact that a woman from Russia who learned by herself made them look stupid. That means that being a Harvard or Yale graduate is not a claim to knowledge or intellect. Also, I do believe that academic bigotry exists in the Philippines and its worst propagator are the so-called top universities.

    • aggy permalink
      October 13, 2009 3:38

    • October 13, 2009 3:38

      Why do you have to insist on their subject-postion of her critics. So what if they’re “Harvard-educated?” Do you think they criticized her BECAUSE she was a “nobody” in their eyes?

      What if they didn’t see her arguments as strong and convincing?

      And just so you know, people criticize each other’s philosophies and theories all the time. No matter what background. What’s particular special about the way Ayn Rand’s thinking was attacked?

      Still being too defensive are we? “aggy” is right. You and me against the world? Is that your only form of defense?

  7. John Brooks permalink
    October 13, 2009 3:38

    Let the kid learn on his own. You have done your duty as a human being. You have tried your best to “educate” this kid. Now it’s up to him whether he “choose” the right path or not. I do believe that this kid needs proper guidance, but most of us learned all by ourselves. Nobody helped us. Nobody trained us. This kid has the capacity to acquire knowledge all by himself. He now has to choose– reason or altruism. Kudos to your blog!

    • 782 permalink
      October 13, 2009 3:38

      • October 13, 2009 3:38

        As much as possible I don’t want to deal with ruffians. You, guys, can argue without spitting invectives. You’re simply advertising your ignorance and bad manners. My commiserations to your school. It only shows you’re all educated bigots!

  8. Charles permalink
    October 13, 2009 3:38

    I welcome the response yet again good sir and I thank you for them.

    I will no longer nitpick the points you have matched to mine.

    However, I will ask only that you indulge me on a point I had previously raised. Please rationalize or reason how exactly is choosing, being accepted AND graduating (note the AND) into a specific university unearned, unachieved and following your pretenses, an act of bigotry? Is not passing and graduating from a university an achievement?

    Please forgive me when I say that I believe the fatal flaw in the premise here is that you had equated education as an ascribed status (something you are born into, unearned, unachieved) when it is quite clear that education is in fact something achieved. Knowledge is always achieved never inherited much like civilization.

    I also believe that there is such a thing as “automatic knowledge” as you put it. Take the idea of perfection. Nothing in this world is perfect and thus cannot be learned by mere observation by a “tabula rasa” person. It cannot also be learned out of negation coming from the idea of imperfection for how can an imperfect being know he is imperfect when he has no idea of what is perfect? There is no comparison! “A larger rock cannot come from a smaller rock” as Descartes would put it. Yet, we as imperfect, finite beings have an idea of perfection somehow. Does this not then lead you to wonder how the idea of perfection came to be when no other source of perfection in the world is available either by observation or negation? Thus, is a person truly tabula rasa? If the idea of perfection is a-priori to a person’s knowledge, what prevents other ideas or inclinations from being so (such as altruism and the drive for the common good)?

    I would truly welcome your comments on these two points (education as an achievement [which would in turn absolve the Ateneo community from bigotry, as it is your primary pretense] and the idea of perfection as a-priori [which helps prove that man can truly be altruistic by nature]).

    Again, though many would insult us as mere intellectual masturbators, I eagerly wait for your thoughts on the matter.

    Cheers! 😀

    Sorry after thought right here.

    I just thought that, if man were truly self-serving (egoistic) and altruism is the greatest evil in the world. Why then should we educate others? Is not educating the next generation an act of altruism? A trickling down of the knowledge of the learned to the unlearned? On that point, would not an extreme interpretation of Ayn Rand’s fabled society be a society devoid of professions of altruistic behavior such as medicine, law or even business?

    Why must we continue to share our thoughts with one another or attempt to awaken the rest of the world to it’s greatest mistake of promoting altruism? Isn’t this act of “waking up the world to save it from itself” an act of altruism?

    Just thought of it 🙂

    Hope you respond to this too 😀

    Again, cheers! 😀

    • October 13, 2009 3:38

      First, if you want me to entertain your questions, please give your full name. It’s hard to talk with a total stranger online. I’d like to know if you have the capacity to absorb arguments or not.

      • Miko L. permalink
        October 14, 2009 3:38

        Seems to me the only close-minded people are the two of you, John and Vincent.

        Charles was kind and civil enough to offer his own insights and you arrogantly call him stupid, close-minded and possibly incapable of absorbing arguments.

        So much for discourse.

        By and by, it seems you are only using Rand’s philosophy to cover-up your inability to think critically… and your lack of social skills

      • October 14, 2009 3:38

        Oh, another “plant.” Can you force anyone to deal with you? Do you have a claim on anyone else, you ignorant little bigot? If there’s someone who should have the right to discriminate people like you, it should be me since I’m a graduate of an Ivy league school!

  9. Charles permalink
    October 13, 2009 3:38

    Hi John Brooks,

    I would also welcome you to discuss and comment on some of my comments 🙂 Young as I am, I welcome valuable knowledge from people much more learned than I. I have no illusions that I am much more learned than anyone. Philosophy demands humility and the solemn admission of “I know nothing” before it can properly begin in earnest 🙂

    Consider this an invitation 🙂

    • October 13, 2009 3:38

      I’m sorry but I don’t want to deal with people who have shut their minds to reason. There is no such thing as automatic knowledge and I don’t believe in original sin. I don’t wanna give you my sanction, because to do so would mean that you’re right in your crude way of thinking. I’m sorry but I don’t wanna give you an impression that you make sense. And to borrow the word of FVDB, I don’t wanna deal with hippies. If you want to educate yourself, do it by your own! I suggest that FVDB stop answering your stupid thoughts. I’m telling you, most Objectivists have no time to deal with stupidity, and I understand FVDB if he’s pissed off with the bigotry of some people in your country. If you believed in automatic knowledge and that man does not start as a tabula rasa, then good luck on your quest for knowledge.

      • October 13, 2009 3:38

        Hi John! I have sent you an email message. Thanks for the interest.

      • October 13, 2009 3:38

        Hi Vince,
        Just got your message. Thanks! Nice to know that Y. Brook, S. Hicks and other notable Objectivists are among your FB friends. I’m sending you soft copies of the articles you mentioned. Consider it my selfish interest to share with an online friend. Again, if I were you I’d stop answering baloney arguments. I’m sorry but it’ll just waste your time. The guy doesn’t even know the meaning of altruism. Are you sacrificing part of your or of your virtues in trying to deal with this kid?
        Ok. I’ll also send you an audio-book of Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal. Good day and good premises!
        P.S. See you in NY this vacation…

    • October 13, 2009 3:38

      By the way, Charles, I have set some rules for this blogsite. You can check them here . It’s not my duty to educate other people. I love to share views and thoughts with other people and I don’t want to give an impression that I’m being altruistic when dealing with commenters. It means that I’m an individual who’d like to live rationally in these parts like you and everybody else. Again, altruism has an objective meaning.

  10. olivia garcia permalink
    October 27, 2009 3:38

    To Miko L.,

    That’s how impressed he is with himself. Let’s take it as a laughing matter instead. Arrogance will never gain respect after all. (-:

  11. claybarham permalink
    December 5, 2009 3:38

    Instead of concentrating on individuals as if they are enemies of the community, take a new look. Obama said community interests are more important than are individual interests, and in doing so, brings the Democrats into the Marxist fold., however, points out that individual freedom and legitimate self-interests are more important, but in a John C. Calhoun way of looking at the importance of community as greater interests closest to the individual, less as it moves away, which is the founding ideals of America.


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  14. The Evil of Altruism: The Moral Base of Every Dictatorship on Earth | VINCENTON BLOG

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