Speaker Lauds Selfishness
Selfishness is healthy and rational, an Objectivist speaker told an audience of more than 100 in a speech at the Science Center last night.
Objectivism teaches that selfishness is more beneficial than altruism, according to Peter Shwartz, consulting editor of the Intellectual Activist.
The event was sponsored by the Harvard Objectivist Club.
"Self-sacrifice is an evil," Shwartz said, quoting author Ayn Rand's philosophy of Objectivism. "The truly selfish [person] is the one using his reason to the fullest ability."
Shwartz said he was trying to destroy the "archtype of selfishness" by defining it merely as "a concern with one's own interest."
He said altruism is irrational since it encourages those who sacrifice themselves for the sake of others, but denounces those who have the ambition to help themselves.
"[In altruism], the achievement of values is immoral, while the renunciation and destruction of values is moral," said Shwartz.
Shwartz also argued against the idea of the existence of a supernatural being and the acceptance of the Ten Commandments and the Bible on blind faith.
"If you love somebody," Christianity teaches you to "sacrifice them for the sake of someone you don't love," he said, rejecting the concept of religion altogether.
Shwartz also defended selfishness against some direct challenges.
In response to a claim that Julius Caesar was too selfish in his quest for power, Shwartz said "he [could not] exist except through the other people be enslave[d]," Caesar was therefore a follower of altruism which, Shwartz said, condones dependency.