In this series on Rational Egoism and the Moral Defense for Capitalism, we’ve talked why I believe Altruism is an evil ideology, the backbone of socialism. We’ve talked about why Existence, Reason, and Ethics are important concepts in philosophy. Now let’s talk about values and why I think Rational Egoism is a moral value.
The first thing we must discuss here is the concept of a Value Hierarchy. A Value Hierarchy is a list of values, goals, ethics, or desires you have for your own life. Honesty, wealth, comforts, relationships, living in peace, and so on, are all possible values. However, we all have a Value Hierarchy, and it’s important to PURSUE SELF AWARENESS in this concept.
It would make sense than $100 would be higher on the value hierarchy than $10. But what about a house payment for $1200 a month, vs a house payment for $900 a month and a car payment for $300 a month? The individual will decide which is a higher value for them.
In fact, every decision you make is a decision on your Value Hierarchy. Purchase something at Walmart. It’s a selfish, win-win transaction. Walmart wanted the money more than the product, and you wanted the product more than the money.
But there are many more values than just dollars. Perhaps integrity, honesty. Perhaps someone offers you money to lie on a report, is the money or the honesty more valuable to you? I would postulate firstly, that honesty is objectively necessarily, more valuable than any amount of money, as accepting lies over truth requires your mind to compartmentalize reality, making you question your own morality, and causing your mind to disintegrate with unhappiness.
Truth makes the mind happy. Because it integrates the mind.
However, there are situations that to preserve a life from an evil would-be murderer, a lie could be used to accomplish the Value of preserving a life from violation.
These are all decisions to be made on this Value Hierarchy. Making a decision to pursue values in your Value Hierarchy is necessarily a selfish decision, one made in Rational Egoism. Because to make a decision to pursue higher values requires you to assume a particular thing. That particular thing is that your mind is COMPETENT and valuable to you, to be able to make a decision pursuing value. Above all other’s minds. A friend, peers, coworkers, might disagree with you. But you hold your mind in high selfish value to make those value decisions for your own life.
Value For Value
The term “Value for value” is derived from the Value Hierarchy. If you value a value selfishly, then you must necessarily value it objectively in accordance with its nature. This is another reason “Objectivism” is called what it’s called. Objectivism holds that Objective value comes from identity.
This means you won’t want something for free. You will selfishly want to reward something or someone with value, for the value you receive. Eat some food? Pay the agreed upon price, enjoy paying for it, and take moral pride that you have returned value for value. Don’t look for something for free, don’t expect something for free. Wanting it for free means that you believe it to have no value, a great insult to the item.
And conversely, it’s not philosophically consistent to give something for free. Giving something for free would mean you believe it to have no value, as it gains you nothing in your Value Hierarchy, thus insulting the thing you gave for free.
So to sum up, giving something of value, when you rationally believe you can gain a greater value to you and your Value Hierarchy, should give you great moral pleasure.
This could also be termed, “an investment”. You are morally pursuing your values.
This is necessarily a selfish action.
Take Your Life Seriously, & Pursue Your Value Hierarchy
Finally, Rational Egoism demands that you TAKE YOUR LIFE SERIOUSLY. Your life is valuable to you. Objectively. Your values are Objectively valuable to you.
Before continuing, let’s address a common criticism on this point.
“But wait, if they’re valuable to you, doesn’t that make them subjectively valuable?” – Critic
Consider some food that you find valuable or enjoyable. Perhaps mushrooms. Do you like mushrooms? If so, then it is an OBJECTIVE FACT that you like mushrooms. They are Objectively valuable to you. Objectively means facts based on reality. It does not mean apart from yourself. In fact, nothing of yourself can Objectively be apart from yourself. This is part of the law of identity. Everything relating to you, is Objectively related to you, as a fact of Existence and Reality.
So finally, again, take your life seriously. Take your values seriously. Pursue them to make your life and existence better. Think. Think about your values, and what values will really make your life better. And remember, thinking is an action that acknowledges to yourself, that you believe your mind to be valuable, a competent tool of cognition, selfishly prizing your reason above all.
Instead of being morally repulsed by the selfish businessman, it’s time to say thank you for his selfishness.
You can read more from Jordan Matthew on Think Liberty here.