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Betsy Speicher: "Persuing my self-interest does NOT mean harming other people ... Altruism creates victims and oppressors!"

Tara Smith: Putting others first (altruism) poisons relationships ... It makes every person out there a walking I.O.U.

Topics covered include: Why is the concept of selfishness so misunderstood and misrepresented? Isn't everyone selfish? If only! Selfishness is not the same as gratifying your every desire. The morality of selfLESSness creates irreconilable conflicts within us.

How the Ancient Greeks were accepting of self-interest. How ALTRUISM painted self-interest as harming others. Who gave selfishness a bad name and how they did it. Tricks used by advocates of selflessness - For instance: The benevolence trap.

SelfLESSness is opposed to happiness. How altruism has created the modern trend of "victim competition". The selfish person is focused on respecting and valuing others. Helping others - even millions of others - is not bad and is not altruistic.

Why you can't be selfish or happy without a large dose of rationality. Having a life-long committment to clear thinking. How Ayn Rand "Unpackaged the package" of selfishness. Ayn Rand's remarkable clarification of this most misunderstood idea.

    Betsy and Tara's Tips on How to be more selfish

  1. Ask yourself "What do I want?" Your desires may be a good starting point.

  2. Then ask yourself "Does it make sense?"

  3. And "Is it good for me?"

  4. Examine your motivation "Why did I do that?" Or when facing a decision "Why would I do this?"

  5. Do a Sinatra every day. Frankie was criticised for waking up every morning and asking himself "What can I do for ME today?" What a great idea! :-)

  6. Recognise that selfishness is a habit or a skill.

  7. Remember life's deadline (Yes, buy that Dream Home!)

  8. Surround yourself with selfish people (They're the only people worth hanging around with.)

  9. Develop your courage and creativity - your ability to change course, and do things differently.

  10. Develop virtues like honesty, justice, independence (they're vital equipment on your journey!)

  11. Recognise that there is great social pressure against selfishness.

  12. Be willing to put in the hard work required to live selfishly. It takes quite a lot of effort! (Selflessness is easy!!)

  13. Tell your friends about The PRODOS radio show. Just kidding. That would be far too selfish ;-)


Betsy Speicher is the owner and editor of The Cybernet A News Service dedicated to "Ayn Rand's Ideas in Action." Warning: It's very upbeat and positive and may offend cynics and nihilists. Seriously, I've seen it happen!

You might like to also check out Betsy's essay on humor and her essay, Dance Movements and Sense of Life.

Tara Smith is a senior writer with The Ayn Rand Institute and an Associate Professor of Philosophy at The University of Texas.

Tara is the author of Moral Rights & Political Freedom, and Viable Values: A Study of Life as the Root & Reward of Morality.

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