Down through the ages there has been a battle between the forces of altruism and self-interest. Altruism is the philosophy of self-sacrifice. It holds that the greatest good is to help others in need. Politically, it preaches public service as a virtue and condemns self-interest as a vice, or at best a necessary evil. The battle comes in over the diametrically opposed philosophy of self-interest which interestingly, there is only one word in the English language that describes it, and that's "selfishness". So, as everyone knows, self-sacrifice is good and selfishness is bad. It's the ancient battle of good versus evil.

It translates to politics in the following way: Socialism is the economic expression of altruism. Capitalism is the economic expression of self-interest. Adam Smith wrote an entire book on the subject, Wealth of Nations, explaining that people being free to pursue their self-interest creates markets that are like an “invisible hand” that guides an economy to its highest and best use. It was tried and capitalism was born with the Industrial Revolution which lifted individuals to the highest standard of living ever dreamed of. It  thrived for centuries.

(See philosopher-novelist Ayn Rand’s works for the best discussion of this subject.)

Socialism always preaches some form of self-sacrifice. Individualism is considered anti-social while collectivism is considered the “enlightened” societal goal. Karl Marx, Adolph Hitler, Stalin, and every dictator and tyrant known to run a country understands that self-sacrifice is essential to collect the taxes and restrict the freedoms of "selfish" individuals with controls and regulations, if you are to attain, "social justice". It is social justice that the advocates of socialism and self-sacrifice clothe their arguments in.

At least that's the way it's packaged. In reality, things are a little different. Let's break it down a little further. There are those that practice self-sacrifice, and those that only advocate it. A priest, or a nun, or a social worker, are examples of those that actually practice some form of self-sacrifice. A politician is an example of someone that simply advocates it.

Have you noticed that those who tell us we need to contribute more money to a particular cause usually lead better lives than we do? Have you noticed that those who tell us it's our moral duty to help the poor are the rich? It's conspicuously the case with politicians. Politicians that have come into their professions with modest means, leave rich. They leave rich because they are successful at re-distributing wealth and dispensing favors to special interests. They are the recipients of the sacrifices they advocate, indirectly. They become the "middleman".

 

There was a book written in the 60's called "Poverty Is Where the Money Is". People in all fields that can pry money from one person or group to give to another person or group usually get rich in the process. It's particularly true in politics -- politics is where the money is because politics is where the power is.

How many of today's politicians do you think you would find struggling for re-election if they had no power to take from one group and give to another? How many of them do you think would even enter the profession as a public servant, if they were assured not to leave wealthy? If you wonder why we have greater class warfare today than ever before, I suggest it is because that's where the real money is and it’s more money than ever before. The money in politics has grown as the power and ability to re-distribute wealth and provide special favors have grown. 

The battleground is morality, and the warriors are those that want to help the poor, the downtrodden, the needy, and victims of society versus the rich and the greedy, the selfish, and the bigots. The pitch works as most people agree that it’s noble to help people that have fallen on bad times through no fault of their own, but while the motive seems noble the results are usually always the reverse. It is the politicians and their friends that benefit and the poor get poorer. That's exactly what we've seen over the last eight years of Obama's economic policies.

It always seems to work out that way. Let's look at the latest example of helping our Vets just reported: over the last eight years 20 million dollars of money was given to the Vets, except it didn't go to the Vets, the money was spent on dubious and unneeded art works while Vets were unable to get medical attention in a timely manner. The average wait for a Doctor was seven weeks.Some died waiting. Some people are always helped by government programs. In this case it was the artists. But what of the Vets that the money was supposed to be for? 

 

The Real Meaning of Self-Sacrifice

I want to make a point about self-sacrifice: most examples of self-sacrifices are not sacrificial. Look at the soldiers of this country, or the police officers, or the firemen of this country. These are individuals that we say are making huge sacrifices. But in fact these people love what they do and enter the profession knowing the risks. Isn’t that supposed to be selfish? They enter their professions voluntarily and they get a feeling of great pride from what they accomplish. Again, isn’t pride selfish and a sin?

And when their time is up and they are forced to leave their profession due to aging, many fall into a deep depression losing the very thing they value so much – their career. They lose the feeling of accomplishment, self-esteem, and achievement. Isn’t that exactly the same as the businessman that gets up every morning and produces a service or a product that he's proud of and people want and enjoy? Why is a successful businessman evil and greedy and the others virtuous?

The reason is the disdain of the capitalistic system. The advocates of selflessness want to take your money and shape your lives and can only accomplish this if they have the power that comes from political office. Capitalism is the result of free markets created by free people, with a very limited government, where socialism is based on centralized power, taxes, control and the regulation of people. And when they impose their policies the exact opposite happens as we've seen all over the world in socialistic societies that call on self-sacrifice. Their societies and economies deteriorate.

Note that nobody has to force people to become soldiers, or police officers, or firemen. No one has to force people to be charitable. People do these things because they are important to THEM. (Selfish isn't it?) It is only politicians that employ force to confiscate money from others, or regulate people, businesses, and every aspect of life -- "for the public good."

This is not real self-sacrifice. These are heroes doing what they want to do most in life, and who know the risks. They don't wake up every day to suffer and eventually die. They do it for the rewards of self-esteem and knowing they are doing something that furthers their deepest values. Fighting for your values whether a cop or businessman is not selfless. You are pursuing your self-interest. 

 

You want to know what real sacrifice is? It is blowing yourself up in the name of your god. It is living not for yourself, your enjoyment of life, or your families. When practiced consistently it is intentionally dying for a cause you’re told to believe in, or telling others to do so. Real self-sacrifice is a doctrine of suffering and death. We see it today practiced daily by irrational fanatical people. Yet it is the doctrine of self-sacrifice that is said to be the most moral of actions and self-interest that is condemned.   

Self-sacrifice "lite" practiced by politicians, believe that you and others should live your lives not for your own happiness, but other peoples; but you must give up something of value to prove you are sacrificial. You are asked in the name of this doctrine to be a masochist and experience pain and suffering, or a sadist and demand pain and suffering of others – and this for "the greater good".

And that's where kings and dictators, and tyrants and your run-of-the-mill politicians come in. They aim to take from those who are happy and more fortunate, (the selfish), and give to the unfortunate of those that have less, all in the name of "social justice". Then comes socialism, communism, or fascism all in the name of the "greater good". Then comes Cuba, Russia, Venezuela, North Korea, Iran, Syria, and all those on their way to becoming just like them.

 

The True Virtuous System

 

Only capitalist, free-market America stands apart from all the other political systems by example and philosophy; and it was our Founding Fathers that gave us that philosophy. It is that economic system which emanates from that philosophy -- a philosophy of self-interest that is at risk. It is at risk of becoming like all the rest now. It is the classic battle of the individual versus the State.

 

Run whenever a politician tells you, you must sacrifice for the good of society, the public good, or to save the world. If there is one thing our Founding Fathers learned was the lesson of Kings that called for sacrifices, and then collected them for themselves and their friends...giving only as much as they had to, to the people and the causes they advocated, and only that to continue their scam.

How many times have we heard from the Democrats that they will ask the rich to contribute their fair share of money so that others can have more? They call this social justice. But at the root of this argument is a gun. Need, under the philosophy of altruism, is a claim. It is a moral claim that says that if you sacrifice what you have to someone who has less, you are moral. And if you are in need, you are owed (entitled) to what you need by the more fortunate. 

Once formed as laws, that’s when the guns are drawn and the “ask” becomes a “demand”. This I might add is true of both Democrats and Republicans. It’s the same game by the same rules. It’s only a matter of who has the biggest gang and who can get away with the most plunder.

I defy any Democrat to stand before a crowd of the "poor" people in America and tell them that they are among the richest people of the world's billions of people (which they are!) and because of it ask them to contribute whatever they have in their pockets or on them to the poor of the world. Their cash, their, jewelry, their cell phones… and if they do not they will be met with handcuffs and if necessary guns to take what they have on them and then jailed for refusing.

I would not want to be that politician. Yet that's exactly what Hillary Clinton said in her acceptance speech to the world at large last week. She just changed the groups, but the morality of such theft and extortion is the same. She told the 1% that she would be coming after their money if she's elected president. She will endeavor to pass a tax law that if disobeyed will amount to tax evasion and any peaceful, productive person that refuse to give up their money will be jailed! Putin does the same thing in Russia. Is there really any difference between them in principle?

But it's OK. You know why? Because they're rich, and there is nothing more evil than a rich person that will not sacrifice for the needy. And there it is! The code! If you are in need your need is a claim on other people’s work and money. And if you are rich and you refuse to be charitable by law, you are evil and should be imprisoned or at least despised. This code is non-partisan and practiced today by both political parties.

This nation was built on the principle that an individual has a right to his life, liberty, property, and the pursuit of happiness. Altruism flies in the face of that American philosophy. It demands that you sacrifice. The Draft which compelled kids to fight and die for their country, blindly, was based on that philosophy until thankfully overturned.

The Democrats are for taking from the rich and giving to the poor -- by force -- controlling and regulating their businesses -- by force -- and determining the wages employers will be forced to pay their employees. And the Republicans will do the same, except the victims and the beneficiaries and the issues will change. Republicans tell you what is moral and then pass laws that force individuals to do what they tell you to do.

I will not vote for either of these positions. I refuse to choose between the lesser of two evils when I am certain to be choosing evil. 

Today, Hillary wants to take the money of others to do “good" for those that she says needs it. She will decide who to take the money from, and who deserves it, and how much of the loot they get. And Trump wants to be the boss of bosses and tell others how to run their businesses and who they can trade with.

Both need a gun to achieve their goals and both do so compelling some individuals to sacrifice for the sake of other individuals. And both believe this is perfectly OK and are doing a service to mankind. In their world, theft is moral and compulsion is a virtue.

Not in mine.

Who are the selfish individuals that are the villains in their world?  They are the self-sufficient that take care of themselves and their families and if they are successful and do well, it is they who are the targets. It is they who will be penalized for being responsible individuals. For that's where the money is. Trillions of dollars go to government every year that is confiscated from those who produce successfully; who innovate and create, and are exceptional. These are the villains and the more successful you are the more you are penalized for being so.

And where does your money go? To programs that fail. Money goes to education, which continues to educate worse and worse every year; to corporate welfare in the form of tax breaks, subsidies, and grants to support failing companies; to defense domestically and internationally that is doing less and less to protect us; to health care that is called "the affordable care act" as it skyrockets in price and the service deteriorates, and to interest on the debt to borrow money for programs that fail and for things we cannot afford.

And where does this eventually all lead? Look at Venezuela for the answer and there you find a once rich nation, the fourth largest oil producing country in the world, in chaos socially and impoverished economically. This is the end result of self-sacrifice and its economic system: socialism. When the money is all confiscated, and the brains of a country suddenly vanish, when the victims are all used up and disappear, the beneficiaries of a nation are left to fend for themselves. Then comes chaos as we see today in many nations of the world.

And so when you hear about the virtues of taking care of foster children, providing health care and education for everybody, taking care of battered wives and abused children, and fighting for the rights of those that are the victims of bigotry and injustice remember...

…unless you want to make such very worthwhile activities a career or assist helping people on your own time or voluntarily contribute money to charities that will fulfill these goals, don't confuse it with politics and economics. Helping people has nothing to do with a thriving economy which, by the way, helps everybody.

What works is not for government to go out and "help" everyone as Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton insist. What works is individuals learning a trade and going out and doing things, building things, and creating things, not telling others what they must do and how to do it, which is what politics is all about.

Self-interest is a philosophy of learning how to grow up, be self-reliant, fend for yourself, and make rational decisions that will further your life and your family’s life. A contribution is voluntary and it is that voluntarism that is at the core of America. Those are the values of America…and the Democrats have succeeded in turning them on their head.

Hillary has made it her goal to force us all to "do the right and moral thing". She did not learn it from her boss Barack Obama, they both are cut from the same cloth. So when you hear the Democrats talk in glowing terms about being united, helping each other, lifting our children and women up, providing a free education and free health care which is a “right” of all of us...understand you are hearing the same pitch that has been pitched down through the centuries. Then look around you and ask, “is this really the world I want to live in?

The end results of sacrifice always sound good. The goals are worthy, but the societies that actually practice Hillary's and most other Democrats brand of socialism end up broke and worse off, as every nation that has pursued that course does. Hillary is simply promising four more years of HOPE. That's all they have is hope, because their policies have failed as they always have and always will.

The answer won’t come from self-sacrifice. What really works?

Freedom!

That is the one government program that government refuses to consider. Reagan freed up the economy and led us into 25 years of prosperity. Bill Clinton even assisted in perpetuating Reaganomics. He ran a surplus by limiting government spending and in 1996 declared the years of big government over and then ended welfare as we knew it.  It's only been the last eight years that the rich have gotten richer and the poor have gotten poorer; where income inequality has become an issue; where stagnation has taken hold of our economy; and where this society is at each other’s throats. As Obama promised…the economy has been transformed.

Until we realize that it's not a matter of which group should get what from whom, this is the society and economy we will have. If so, we will see group warfare for years. Only when we start thinking not in terms of groups (or of being a village, as Hillary wants) but a nation of individuals, all free and treated equally under the constitution which was the intent of our founders, will we unite. It is individual rights that we must fight for, not “group rights”.

 

Hillary is the queen of group warfare and it is her strategy to divide and conquer in the name of uniting. If you think this kind of contradiction is absurd and won’t work as a strategy, look at Obama's campaigns and the results over the last eight years. In the face of a failing economy and a dividing nation and a crumbling foreign policy we still go for the “hope and change line.”  Why? Because it’s the “right thing to do". The Democrats have gained the moral high ground. "Sacrifice" is their continued call to arms, and they sell it well.

So, keep this popular chant of sacrifice in context when one person is considered moral if they sacrifice, and evil if they don’t. Government force as a method of achieving economic and social goals is never moral.

Just because terms like "self-sacrifice", “public service”, the "greater good", and "social justice" sound good, doesn't make them so. Ask the first virgin who was told to sacrifice herself to the gods by jumping into a volcano on some remote island centuries ago for the good of the village -- and then was pushed.

America is standing on the precipice today…and next year, whether it’s President Clinton or President Trump, prepare to be pushed to one degree or another...and then comes social turmoil.

Paul Nathan

paulnathan.biz