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My ideas are constantly changing as I learn. Sometimes they even change midway through writing a post.

Thursday, June 9

More thoughts on a previous post ("Goodwill vs. Duty")

Goodwill vs. Duty
I particularly liked this response to the UN criticisms about America's "stinginess".

The issue was stated most succinctly by Ayn Rand when she said, "The issue is not whether you give a dime to a beggar. The issue is whether you have a right to exist if you don't."

[...] If you have a right to exist for your own sake--if an individual's own happiness is the proper moral purpose of his existence--then charity is necessarily a secondary issue. The primary is that you work to achieve your own goals, and you help strangers only out of your surplus time, effort, and money--the surplus left over after you have achieved your own most important goals. And if you choose to give, the recipient owes you at least a "thank you"; this is his recognition that you did not have to help him but chose to do so out of good will, and that he owes you good will in return.


What should be your most important goals?
Should you wait until you have a million saved up before you start helping out others? a billion? $10? What is right/good to have for oneself and what is right to help others with? It's not just about a person having the right to be happy. That depends on what makes him happy. Objectivists would probably agree that helping others can be good. Other people being better off could mean they'll be more able to do good things. However, giving bad people more more money and resources gives them more power to do more harm. Giving people who tend to make poor choices more money and resources, could result in them making poor choices with more money and resources and take away money from people who might have used them to do more good.

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