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Egotism and Selfishness

Egotism and Selfishness

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January 25, 2011

Question: In a debate about this topic, someone once said to me, "By accepting Objectivism , I don't see why I should respect the life of any other human." Can you please explain this?

Answer: The person who said that simply misunderstood Objectivism .

In social relations, Objectivism holds that your rational self-interest is best served by treating others as trading partners. You should respect their freedom to act on their own judgment (as long as they don't initiate force against you or those you care about) and you should offer them values for the values they provide you. You should respect their lives very seriously. In addition, as David Kelley has argued in his monograph "Unrugged Individualism," we have very good selfish reasons to treat others with sympathy, courtesy, and generosity, so as to cultivate friendships and other social opportunities and to participate effectively in society.

You can read more about this yourself in my " What is Objectivism? " and especially the  section on ethics .

"Unrugged Individualism" is available from  The Objectivism Store .