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Capitalist Chris

The "Selfish" Evasion of Responsibility

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I'm looking for thoughts on this. I know that Objectivists don't condone this type of behavior.


Through some other topics I posted, I stopped focusing on politics and I've been really paying attention to more of the cultural and philosophical workings of people. And there's one thing that I keep seeing; this evasion of responsibility for their own benefit.


For example, when you purchase something rarely do you just get the product you want. There's usually some sort of waste that comes along with it. If you pick up some fast food you end up with a paper bag, food wrappers, a cup, etc. At least once a week, on the lawn you find some sort of fast food bag, empty bag of chips or whatever material (it just blows around). Some people just throw it out. Why? Because it's easy and relieves them of responsibility.


The way I always looked at it is that it is your waste, your responsibly for disposing of it in a trash or chuck it in your backyard (I don't care).


I wish it was as simple as just fast food bags because you could attribute this to a few morons and teenagers, but it goes well beyond that. Sticking with the trash topic, home owners don't care either. The act of taking out trash to the street corner is enough to remove responsibility. If an animal rips open the bag at night and trash is scattered over the street, there is no sense of responsibility for it. The very next week, the same thing.


And I see this trend over and over again. Stopping in the left lane of traffic, blocking traffic, waiting for an opening to take a right. Walking on a side walk and people walking through you. Parking in grocery store fire lanes (no parking).


I always come to the same view on these people "Whatever, as long as it benefits me, it's good."


I'm looking for a little help on distinguishing rational self interest with the above.

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Plasmatic is correct.  Ms. Rand draws an important distinction between doing what you want on a whim and selfishness.  Real self interest is not the silly whim worship that most people use to define it.  What is really in your best interest, what a rationally selfish person should choose, is based on reason.  In your example, not caring about how you dispose of your waste (especially in the context of modern dense populations) translates to ignoring the property rights of your neighbors, and that's not reasonable.

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