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Objectivism Online Forum


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    Clay K
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    Northern Illinois University College of Law
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  1. I am just beginning to learn about Objectivism, and I have hit what seems to be a major snag. Objectivists support private charity as a means to help the needy, unfortunate, or helpless. However, donation to private charity is not required or even considered virtuous. Why would any objectivist EVER donate to private charity? It seems impossible to justify donating money under the constructs of Objectivism. It is in direct contradiction to one's self interest to donate money to a fund that would help tsunami victims thousands of miles away because no direct benefits could be derived from those unfortunate individuals. Taking it a step further, it is unlikely that benefits could even be derived from those assisted by local charities. So, in the end an objectivist would never have a valid reason to donate, and the disabled and helpless would remain in the gutter. What gives here? I can only come up with two reasons that an objectivist would support private charity: 1. "Giving" makes one feel good, regardless if the results of the donation are ever seen. Increased self-esteem is the benefit of donating. 2. It is rational to donate to private charity because one never knows when he will need it himself. Supporting the system is like buying insurance. Both of these arguments seem weak. Please enlighten me...
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