Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Enlightened self-interest

No such thing.

Enlightened self-interest is the idea that we can be intelligently selfish. It's ok to look out for Number One, as long as you remember that sometimes what's best for Number One is taking the time and trouble, making a sacrifice, and spending the money to look out for Numbers Two through Five Billion.

Enlightened self-interest is bastard of a boss that way.

Enlightened self-interest, which is supposed to be the guiding force of democratic capitalism, is an idealistic goal we're hardly even bothering to pay lip-service to anymore, let alone achieve.

The main obstacle to achieving enlightened self-interest is self-interest.

It takes time, trouble, sacrifice, and money to become enlightened.

It's not in our self-interest to give any of those things up.

What this means is that the odds are really good that no matter how a good a person you think you are, or how good a person I think I am, we're probably wrong. We're most likely as selfish and self-interested as the next guy.

Therefore, our support for any political or economic policy that directly benefits us is probably selfish and for that reason alone we ought to reject it...or at least think twice before accepting it.

Anything people do out of selfishness is very likely going to be a disaster for everybody around them.

And this is why I am not a Republican.


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