Ayn Rand supposes that ethical egoism is very much needed in the world, as it will be more beneficial for an individual, which will lead to a better functioning society. Rand defines objectivism and states that it is the best option but the reality has proven that egoism does not work and people should form cooperative relationships.
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Objectivism is a view of life and governing that is closely tied with ethics and egoism. Ayn Rand has written several works that display her opinion in this relation. “In ethics, Objectivism holds that man exists for his own sake, that he must neither sacrifice himself to others nor sacrifice others to himself and that his highest moral purpose is the achievement of his own happiness” (Rand, 2009).
The second part of the quote is very true. Every person must use their individual efforts and abilities to find their way in life and govern themselves. But at the same time, people have been forming unions and partnerships to help each other throughout history. It is hard to deny something that has been so natural and unavoidable for so long.
People depend on the community, understanding and lenience, as well as forgiveness of others. If people existed only for their “own sake”, everyone would become greedy and selfish, using others in ways they saw fit and abusing any human rights.
The government and the functions of society are another major point that must be addressed. Any society needs to have some form of order to prevent chaos and loss of control. In the old days, people used to have local governments that focused on a small group of people which led to a better understanding of the group’s needs, unique to the conditions and general environment present.
Modern government is greatly centralized and this creates inability to see the real demands of the society. The view that “This country is not a democracy. It was established as a republic, which means a system of free, representative government, limited by the principle of individual rights” (Rand, 2009), might cause even greater problems.
Ayn Rand believes that people should have their own say in the way business is conducted and economy is run. But then, business and trading will focus on the ever increasing needs and desires of an individual who will use the system without governance and find ways to gain more than give away.
An economy that favors select few will not be able to support the whole society, the welfare of people will decrease and the amount of social programs will be minimal. The system can be compared to a religion where people cannot foresee everything by themselves.
The society requires someone with resources that are much greater than those of an individual, to overlook the order, create laws and prosecute any unfairness. The fact that governance and mutual understanding are much needed parts of humanity is confirmed by the reality of the world. People have enough time to help themselves, their relatives and loved ones, as well as strangers.
Ayn Rand names several benefits of objectivism and egoism which are valid and logical but the circumstances of the world have shown a different side of the matter. Cooperative efforts of a large amount of people have proven stronger and more lasting than those of one individual.
Rand, A. (2009). Objectively speaking: Ayn Rand Interviewed. M. Podritske & P. Schwartz (Eds.). Lanham, MD: Lexington Books.