I wrote this essay, Against Altruism, in July of 2009.
Existence actually exists. We are aware of existence; therefore our consciousness actually occurs. Consciousness can distinguish things and actions one from another. There is identity. Identity in action is causality. These are axiomatically obvious and result in realization that knowledge constitutes conscious apprehension via casual process of the facts of existence. That knowledge is a metal causal process of apprehension of the facts of reality, reached either by perceptual observation or by a process of reason based on perceptual observation means that understanding of what is the good is also a mental casual process. Understanding can only occur via means of reason. Reason is the faculty of individual human beings that identifies and integrates the material provided by the senses; it integrates the individual’s perceptions by means of forming abstractions or conceptions, thus raising the individual’s knowledge from the perceptual level, which she shares with animals, to the conceptual level, which she alone can reach. The method which reason employs in this process is logic—and logic is the art of non-contradictory identification. Individual human beings operate via means of reasoning. To live, individuals must employ reasoning in a rational manner to obtain that which is necessary for life. To improve their circumstances such that a greater degree of benefit is obtained, to thrive, individual human beings must manipulate their environment via means of rational action. The good then is that which is beneficial to the life of a rational individual human being; all that which destroys it is the evil. The good is neither an attribute of “things in themselves” nor of an individual human being’s emotional states, but an evaluation of the facts of reality by an individual human being’s consciousness according to a rational standard of value. (Rational, in this context, means: derived from the facts of reality and validated by a process of reason.) The good is an aspect of reality in relation to individual human beings. It must be discovered, not invented, by the individual human being. It is that which is of value to the life of individual human beings. There is only one fundamental alternative in the universe: existence or nonexistence—and it pertains to a single class of entities: to living organisms. The existence of inanimate matter is unconditional, the existence of life is not: it depends on a specific course of action. Matter is indestructible, it changes its forms, but it cannot cease to exist. It is only a living organism that faces a constant alternative: the issue of life or death. Life is a process of self-sustaining and self-generated action. If an organism fails in that action, it dies; its chemical elements remain, but its life goes out of existence. It is only the concept of ‘Life’ that makes the concept of ‘Value’ possible. It is only to an individual living entity that things can be good or evil. Since the valuation that is foundational for the good only applies to individual rational human beings, then the good can only occur relative to an individual rational human being. The concept of good does not permit the separation of “value” from “purpose,” of benefit from beneficiaries, or of human action from reason.
Human beings are called rational, but rationality is a matter of choice, and the alternatives human nature offers are: rational being or suicidal animal. Human beings have to be what they are by choice; they have to hold their individual lives as a value by choice; they have to learn to sustain it —by choice; they have to discover that which is beneficial to their lives and value those things by choice. To be rational, human beings must understand the requirement for and then practice their virtues. A code of values accepted by choice is a code of morality. The objective standard of value in ethics is the standard by which one judges what is good or evil. And that is the individual human’s life, or that which is required for survival and thriving as an individual human. Since reason is the individual human’s basic means of survival, that which is proper to the life of a rational being is the good; that which negates, opposes or destroys it is the evil. Since everything humans need has to be discovered by their own mind and produced by their own effort, the two essentials of the method of survival proper to a rational being are: thinking and productive work.
Altruism is the doctrine that human beings have no right to exist for their own sake, that service to others is the only justification for human existence, and that self-sacrifice is the highest moral duty, virtue and value. The irreducible primary of altruism, the basic absolute, is self-sacrifice—which means; self-immolation, self-abnegation, self-denial, self-destruction—which means: the self as a standard of evil, the selfless as a standard of the good. Altruism is not about being kind or loving towards others; its not about making donations to charity. The issue is not whether you should or should not give a dime to a beggar. The issue is whether you do or do not have the right to exist without giving him that dime. The issue is whether you must keep buying your life, dime by dime, from any beggar who might choose to approach you. The issue is whether the need of others is the first mortgage on your life and the moral purpose of your existence. The issue is whether human beings are to be regarded as a sacrificial animals. Any human being with self-esteem will answer: “No.” Altruism says: “Yes. You must die so other may live.”
An understanding of what constitutes the good operates as a valid and sound premise leading to the conclusion that altruism is evil. The good is that which is beneficial to and proper for the promotion and enhancement of the lives of individual rational human beings. All that hinders or obstructs individual human beings in their quest for life is evil. Altruism is in the later category; therefore, altruism is evil. Any justification of the State that depends upon altruism thus is evil and must fail as an argument against human freedom and self-determination, human dignity and self-esteem, or human voluntary cooperation and free market exchanges, or as an argument for violently suppressing human beings allegedly for the sake of an imagined human collective.