TED Conversations

Johnny Mac

Role? Who defines that?, I need to get organized.

This conversation is closed.

Does "Liberty" mean the pursuit of one's self interest?

Explanation: Liberty in economic terms. By seeking one's own gain, they make gains for everybody. The economy is a mechanism for transforming private gain into public benefit. Each person is a cog in this machine.
Or are all social systems built on the proper understanding of the human person...This person I the source and end of all social and economic value. Which is it? or do you think it is something else?

Share:

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.

  • thumb
    Dec 23 2013: I'd say, liberty is the ability to choose whose benefit to seek and how to do it. Why limit the choice to self-interest?
    • Dec 24 2013: If you do not limit the choice to self-interest, the cult of Ayn Rand is not able to dictate what is and is not "liberty". If you permit selflessness to count as a valid exercise of liberty, the cult of Ayn Rand loses all its credibility.
      • thumb
        Dec 24 2013: Dictating what is "liberty" sounds funny, doesn't it? It's like killing all unhappy people to make society happier.

        I'm OK with ethical egoism. But I suggest that ethical egoists mind their own business and refrain from imposing their philosophy on the rest of society. If proponents of ethical egoism try to improve society by spreading their philosophy, they lose credibility anyway because they stop being egiosts.

        Altruism has its problems too. Altruists argue that altruism benefits everyone including themselves. Which means that altruism is a form of egoism. There is no way out of this vicious circle.
        • thumb
          Dec 24 2013: answering to this below: "She seems to be a libertarian. How come you disagree with fellow libertarians?"

          1. libertarians come in many flavors
          2. not everyone is a libertarian that calls him/herself one

          my flavor is vanilla: i follow the main route from the founders, through rothbard to the latest followers, block, murphy, hoppe and a whole lot of people at the mises institute. randian romanticism is not for me.
        • Dec 24 2013: There is a way out of the vicious circle which involves transforming it into a virtuous one.
        • Dec 25 2013: But the totalitarian mindset of the Rand cultists requires they dictate what "liberty" is. I've yet to meet a Randie who can actually follow a philosophical discussion without retreating into "just so" dogmatism. Back when I was 15, Randism was appealing. I am no longer a 15-year-old.
        • Dec 25 2013: Not all altruists are totalitarian altruists. Were you not aware of this?
      • thumb
        Dec 24 2013: Altruism and egoism are two sides of a Moebius strip.
        • Dec 25 2013: No, your straw man parody of altruism is part of that strip. Complete altruism is charitable not only with physical resources but also with emotion and personal history. Thus, part of complete altruism is to give others the benefit of the doubt and not presume there is never a good reason to appear to be less than 100% charitable. After all, to judge others for not being charitable is, in and of itself, uncharitable.
      • thumb
        Dec 24 2013: the cult of ayn rand does not have a credibility to lose
        • thumb
          Dec 24 2013: She seems to be a libertarian. How come you disagree with fellow libertarians? :-)
        • thumb
          Dec 26 2013: Actually Randians would take exception to that point. I don't have a problem with Rand but imo it does not have the depth of the Austrians. Rand wrote a few books, Austrians of Equal intellect have written/are writing 100s of books all using the scientific method.
      • thumb
        Dec 24 2013: @ Esteban re: " There is a way out of the vicious circle which involves transforming it into a virtuous one."

        Virtuous cycle can be a form of vicious cycle. :-)
        • Dec 24 2013: Sure we may be stuck in a cycle and depending on what we choose to do may determine if it becomes a virtuous one or something else... my point was that we may be able to transform for the better the cycle we be stuck into if we do what ought to be done :-)...
        • thumb
          Dec 24 2013: What is vicious and what is virtuous, is often a matter of perception.

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.