Ayn Rand: Self Interest

Topics: Morality, Capitalism, Human Pages: 4 (1272 words) Published: April 29, 2008
Ayn Rand: Self Interest

Ayn Rand was a Russian-born American novelist and philosopher of the 20th century. She is widely known for being a passionate advocate of her philosophy: objectivism, which is the right to act in furtherance of one’s own life. Her philosophy is that man’s own happiness is the purpose of his life. It is not the right to have one’s life protected, or to have one’s survival guaranteed by any other human being or the government. In politics she was a proponent of laissez-faire capitalism and a loyal defender of individual rights, believing that the sole function of a proper government is protection of individual rights. She believed that individuals must choose their values and actions solely by reason. According to Rand, the individual 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. Rand's view is that self-interest is the standard of morality and selflessness is the deepest immorality. That states that one's own life and happiness are one's highest values, and that one does not exist as a servant or slave to the interests of others. Nor do others exist as servants or slaves to one's own interests. Each person's own life and happiness is his ultimate end. Self interest involves self-responsibility. One’s life is one's own, and so is the responsibility for sustaining and making it better. It is up to each of us to determine what values our lives require, how best to achieve and attain those values. Rand's ethic of self interest is connected to her support of classical liberalism. Classic liberalism is the view that individuals should be free to pursue their own interests. Politically, governments should be limited to protecting each individual's freedom to do so. The moral authenticity of self interest implies that individuals have rights to their lives, their liberties,...
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