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3. Altruism vs. capitalism

 

Altruism holds that man has no right to exist for his own sake, that service to others is the only moral justification of his existence, and that self-sacrifice is his highest moral duty. The political expression of altruism is collectivism or statism, which holds that man’s life and work belong to the state—to the society, to the group, the gang, the race, the nation—and that the state may dispose of him in any way it pleases for the sake of whatever it deems to be its own tribal, collective good.

“From her start, America was torn by the clash of her political system with the altruist morality. Capitalism and altruism are incompatible; they cannot coexist in the same man or in the same society. Today, the conflict has reached its ultimate climax; the choice is clear-cut: either a new morality of rational self-interest, with its consequences of freedom, justice, progress and man’s happiness on earth—or the primordial morality of altruism, with its consequences of slavery, brute force, stagnant terror and sacrificial furnaces.” (For the New Intellectual)

You may observe the practical results of altruism and statism all around us in today’s world—such as the slave-labor camps of Soviet Russia, where twenty-one million political prisoners work on the construction of government projects and die of planned malnutrition, human life being cheaper than food—or the gas chambers and mass slaughter of Nazi Germany—or the terror and starvation of Red China—or the hysteria of Cuba where the government offers men for sale—or the wall of East Berlin where human beings leap from roofs or crawl through sewers in order to escape, while guards shoot at fleeing children.

Observe these atrocities, then ask yourself whether any of it would be possible if men had not accepted the idea that man is a sacrificial animal to be immolated for the sake of the “public good.” Read the speeches of those countries’ political leaders and ask yourself what arguments would be left to them if the word “sacrifice” were not regarded as a moral ideal, but as the anti-human evil which it is.

And then, listen to the speeches of our present [Kennedy] Administration—and ask yourself the same question.

Notice: Transcripts are provided as a study aid for a student’s personal use while taking the course. Transcripts may not be downloaded, printed, copied or otherwise shared. ARI Campus reserves all rights with respect to course transcripts. Transcripts may vary slightly from the audio or video.

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