Search the Community: Showing results for tags 'altruism'.
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I'm trying to understand the Objectivist view of altruism. For example, imagine I want to reduce the chance that an asteroid wipes out humanity and so donate to an organization working to improve asteroid detection. For simply improving my life or that of my descendants there are much more effective things I could spend my money on, but I want to help future people by increasing the chance they get to exist. Is it wrong for me to try to help these future strangers from whom I will of course get nothing in return? In reading Objectivist writing against altruism the argument tends to be is "this form of trying to help people actually backfires, and has negative effects". For example, the idea that feeding the hungry creates dependence, and makes them worse off than they were before. I see people saying things like "what Africa needs is good institutions that respect property rights, not more handouts". But what if there's a good organization working to create those good institutions? Is it bad to donate to them? If the problem is that "altruism doesn't actually help people" doesn't that just mean you're doing it wrong and should figure out how to do it in ways that actually make people's lives better off? Is it simply wrong to take actions that make other people's lives better without improving your own? Or is it impossibly difficult to actually help people, because without the feedback of the market you end up doing the wrong things? Or something more subtle I'm not understanding? (Objectivist writing spreads ideas that should make the world better, right? But doesn't that mean writing Objectivist books is an altruistic act?)
While talking to my father he reminisced that while growing up with his family, a Latvian pro-soviet emigrant, they had a custom to feed the dog before everyone else stated to eat. The justification was that the dog had no way to feed itself. This is the most ridiculous example of altruism and the morality of sacrifice I could find in my personal knowledge.