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Saturday, January 01, 2005

Another take on the Tsunami Relief Effort

David Holcberg over at the Ayn Rand Institute does not think that the United States government should give any aid whatsoever to the tsunami victims. Here is his reasoning:

The reason politicians can get away with doling out money that they have no right to and that does not belong to them is that they have the morality of altruism on their side. According to altruism--the morality that most Americans accept and that politicians exploit for all it's worth--those who have more have the moral obligation to help those who have less. This is why Americans--the wealthiest people on earth--are expected to sacrifice (voluntarily or by force) the wealth they have earned to provide for the needs of those who did not earn it. It is Americans' acceptance of altruism that renders them morally impotent to protest against the confiscation and distribution of their wealth. It is past time to question--and to reject--such a vicious morality that demands that we sacrifice our values instead of holding on to them.
The morality of altruism does have its downfalls. Our world is full of 'parasites', people who exploit our goodwill and get charity without themselves willing to lift a finger. But Holcberg's blanket rejection of altruism is entirely unacceptable. First, it assumes that we are brainwashed into accepting altruism. Second, it completely ignores that human beings live in an interdependent global community. This means that our humanitarian aid, while directly aiding the victims, also benefits us in the long run (i.e. provides us with trading parters, maintains geopolitical status quo, etc.). There are only few of the reasons I find his arguments quite out of touch with reality.


Blogger Antonio said...

I personally think the simple fact is that Americans have yet to experience a true disaster. Earthquakes and such in the US have never had death tolls of over 100000 people. It's one of those numbers they simply cannot fathom. As for who earns and who doesn't earn money, maybe we should look at what CEOs do to earn their millions and how much more the lower-down workers do to earn their measly thousands. I think if we really wanted to act morally superior, we would be forced to redistribute the wealth within our own society to fit with this moral superiority. And since we know that's impossible due to the American (and, really, global) mindset, this guy might as well just shut his mouth and go back to being morally inferior along with the rest of America.

12:29 AM  

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