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  1. The most common objection to objectivism I hear is that objectivists don't want to help each other or those in need. Obviously altruists hold the idea of helping others above all else including themselves as well. Altruism is a simple concept and one can understand how it isn't necessary to go into detail who to help if everyone should be helped. Ayn Rand said that there are perfectly good reasons to try and help others. She mentioned love as the primary reason, but what about the people who are not loved and have little value to others? What of the people who can't survive on their own? While Rand didn't deny that one should have the freedom to do charity she certainly did not approve of it. While it is true that charity in of itself is not a moral virtue that doesn't mean one should not be involved with it, however what could justify giving some of our rightfully earned money to someone who has literally no value to us? Even if every human had some minimal basic value there would always be a lot of people who possessed more value than a stranger. Unlike in the case of our loved ones helping strangers could not be justified by the value they themselves carry. So we shouldn't help them right? If they have no value than there is no reason to give to them anything, but than why is "helping the poor" so important to so many people? Is it just cultural bias? Some areas of human nature strongly suggest that helping the poor is an important aspect of any human being. Empathy is a real emotional response to the suffering of someone else. I would say empathy works like this: I. the person recognizes someone in pain (hunger, depression, loneliness etc..) II. the person will feel some of this pain. (more pain if it is a loved one less if it is not) III. the person would naturally want to stop his own pain and to that would be only possible by helping the that someone. IV. depending on the values of the person and the suffering of the one being helped the help can vary in nature and in amount. Empathy is a negative feeling and by that I mean the more you have it the less you want it and the more you wish to get rid of it. Love is a positive feeling. The more you have it the more you want it... like drugs. Now just because a lot of people have empathy doesn't mean that helping others is justified. After all we should not act on our whims and who knows whether acting according to our own mammalian nature would serve our rational self interest. Ayn Rand -as far as I can tell - did not justify or approve such ways of thinking even if she often practiced it herself. She did smoke cigarettes even though that was not in her best long term rational self interest. It was only something her body identified as necessary for existence even though it clearly wasn't ( unlike food ). So is there any real, justifiable reason to help the poor? People who are unable take care of themselves including their basic needs would cease to exist if others didn't help them. People don't just exist in the present but in the future as well, which means that if they die now the possibility that they will have value to us and to themselves will go with them. Letting them die would not be in our rational self interest but letting them continue their life the way they do would not be in our interest either. We value those who live by the same values we do therefore the main goal of helping others would be to make them self reliant and selfish. So as I see it we - who agree with the concepts above - should have organized voluntary help that could rehabilitate and help integrate the poor into the market and society. So.. is this in accordance with objectivism or not?
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