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Analysis of Virtue of Selfishness

Analysis of Virtue of Selfishness

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Published by Dustin DeMoss
Book review of The Virtue of Selfishness by Ayn Rand.
Book review of The Virtue of Selfishness by Ayn Rand.

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Categories:Types, Reviews, Book
Published by: Dustin DeMoss on May 30, 2011
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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"The Virtue of Selfishness; Individual Rights" by Ayn RandThe Objectivist ethics, in essence, hold that man exists for hisown sake, that the pursuit of his own happiness is his highestmoral purpose, that he must not sacrifice himself to others, norsacrifice others to himself.
-Ayn Rand 
Ayn Rand was a philosopher of Objectivist ethics.Objectivist ethics is founded in the belief that the end ofhumanity individually and collectively is in man himself. Theend is not found in the welfare of others. The end for man isfound in man living for his own sake and not sacrificing forothers before himself. Man must live for his own sake whichmeans for his own passions, achievements, happiness and it is indoing so that man attains his highest moral purpose.Rand’s book
The Virtue of Selfishness
deconstructs theselfishness of objectivist ethics. Objectivist ethics aredefined as upholding rational selfishness. Rational selfishnessis founded in the value of survival for man which means manvalues that is required for his own survival.It is important to note that survival has nothing to dowith man’s feelings of desire, emotion, aspirations, whims orirrational needs. Objectivist ethics is a fundamental beliefthat human good does not come out of human sacrifice. Sacrificeof anyone to anyone. It is in this sense that rational thoughtand interest of man does not clash with other men. Conflict does
not occur amongst men who do not have desire to receive thingsthat they have not earned. Such men do not make sacrifices anddo not accept sacrifice from others. Value is traded equally.Government in Objectivist ethics has a moral purpose ofprotecting man’s rights. For government to protect man’s rightsthere must be protection from physical violence, man’s right toprotect his own life, to protect his own liberty, his ownproperty and his own pursuit of happiness.The term right as Rand uses it is a moral principle thatdefines man’s freedom. Man’s freedom in his actions in a societywith other’s like himself. Rand believed that there was only onfundamental right which was man’s right to protect his own life.Life according to Rand is a process of self-sustaining and self-generated action. Man’s right to life it to engage in actionsthat preserve and enhance his life. Enhancement of life isdefined as the freedom to take all the action necessary tosupport the fulfillment, enjoyment and furtherance of man’s ownindividual life. This is ideology is the foundation for theright of all me to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.It is important when reading Rand that the concept of“right” is defined as it pertains to individual freedom ofaction. In this ideology there is no physical compulsion,desire, coercion or interference from other men. Every
individual has the right to act on his own judgment, his owngoals, make his own choices and to not feel coerced.The right to life then is individual and the source of allother rights of man. The right to property for example is man’sown implementation based on his right to first survive and thento pursue other interests. Property rights then is a means ofman sustaining his own right to survive. The definition ofslavery can be found in this example. A slave in Rand’s ideologyis any man who produces while other men dispose of the producthe produced.Right to property is a right that makes other rightspossible. Property is need for man to sustain his life be thatthrough his own efforts. The product produced from propertyrequires action and effort and is needed to sustain man’sindividual life. Property right then is the right to gain, touse and to dispose of material.Rand wrote of rights as a moral concept that guides maninto action and his relationship with other men. It is thisdefinition of rights as a moral concept that protects man’sindividual rights in a social context through valuing morality,a moral code and the legal code employed to maintain and sustainsocial order. The individual rights of man then are thefoundation with which society sustains to moral laws.

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