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Altruism and Force

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Benpercent
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I am been getting a light grasp on this, but since I can never remember whether Ayn Rand or someone from the Objective Standard said it, I lose my grip on the thought.

Simply, what is the philosophical (modern or ancient) justification for enforcing altruism in politics*? Whose, or what, philosophical system gave the argument that it is right to use law to make people follow altruism? I know that altruism is entirely impracticable, so following the system inevitably leads to making others follow the ethics, sacrificing instead of being sacrificed. Only I don't understand where the proponents are coming from.

*To cite an example: using tax money, which is stolen money, to fund the enforcement of the Community Reinvestment Act, which is an altruistic proposal to increase home ownership among the "needy".

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I think it's because individual rights can only follow from a selfish, individualistic view of man's nature. In other words, the acceptance of altruism as the standard of ethics makes individual rights a non-sequitur of sorts, and I think that's why it's so easy for them to ignore rights: rights do not mean anything to someone who is consistently altruistic.

At its root, altruism means that man is not a being in its own right, and only lives for others. If your life is not yours (for egoistic systems it's the source of value) then why does it matter if someone takes something from you? It wasn't really yours to begin with, anyway?

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The assumption behind your post seems to be that there is some separate argument altruists make for using government force to make others sacrifice. But what would such an argument appeal to? What standard? The point is that morality sets the standard for politics. If the good is self-sacrifice, if human beings are what Ayn Rand called sacrificial animals, then you have to have a social system that treats them as such. You could not say, "Men have a duty to selflessly serve others--so lets have a political system that leaves them free to pursue their own selfish interests."

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Whose, or what, philosophical system gave the argument that it is right to use law to make people follow altruism?

In our culture, both Christianity, and Immanuel Kant and his disciples.

The mystics of the mind are naturally all about forcing their beliefs on others; their story books, their shamans or the voices have told them it's okay. Moderate Christians justify taxation as "giving Caesar what is Caesar's". Mystics of the muscle justify forced altruism with either "duty" as a floating abstraction or with simple mob rule: Majority vote / The Greater Common Good™ trumps all.

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Thanks for the responses all. I understand now: Since altruism asserts that man is not a being in his own right, then it certainly would follow that nothing is violated in the process of using physical force, physical force being inevitable since altruism is impracticable.

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I was thinking about this the other day too, while writing rather lengthly on conservatism. I think altruism will inevitably lead to big government, to a corrosion of individual rights. Even if conservatives and libertarians don't care to admit it, it's a moral philosophy that needs to be adopted in order for a system of government to work.

Fact is, altruists don't give a damn about human happiness. Sacrifice is the standard everyone must follow. What exception is there in the philosophy that puts individuals below the group that allows for men to act selfishly? Individuals do not matter by definition. It's only a matter of time before a country of altruistically minded people begin down the same path that some well-meaning founders never wanted them to go down.

A house divided against itself cannot stand.

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