Without Selfish Individuals, There would be NOTHING

"Deny self and build community" 
--the 'feel good' mantra of our age. 
Preachers praise it. 
Professors teach it.
Socialists push it. 
Parasites exploit it. 
Government demands it 
Many feel tingly at the mere thought of it.

But a community is not a god; 
it's simply a number of individuals. 
As economist Ludwig von Mises observed,  

"Even if a chorus of people were simultaneously to say 
'We,' it would still be individuals  
who were saying it."

Trying to "build community" by downplaying the individual 
is like trying to chart galaxies  
by disregarding the stars.

Simply, the individual comes first.

But you can't even know what's right for the individual without correctly answering such questions as: 
What does human life fundamentally require? 
How are those requirements met? 
Which social system best fosters this?

Human life fundamentally requires 

knowledge and the ability to act on it. 
That applies even if you were stranded alone on an island 
and wouldn't change should another castaway join you. 
The number of people present-- 
i.e., the existence and size of "the community"
--doesn't alter the fact that 
your life depends on your own rational thought and action. 

Action in a social setting, however, 

requires freedom
freedom from the physical coercion of other people.

In short, human nature itself 

necessitates the rights to 
life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, 
and the only prohibition  
ought to be on the initiation of physical force
i.e., on violating others' rights.

Thus, the social system commensurate with man's nature is one that recognizes and protects individual rights-- a fact that America's founders grasped (though imperfectly). They pledged their "lives, fortunes and sacred honor," not to "deny self" and build community, but to advance self by acquiring liberty. Freedom is to one's self-interest.


But communities have been forged based on the opposite principle, on self-sacrifice
Read the words of one such famous "community builder"
"This state of mind, which subordinates the interests of the ego to the conservation of the community, is really the first premise for every human culture. 
We understand only the individual's capacity to make sacrifices for the community, for his fellow men."  

George Bush plugging "compassionate conservatism?
Hillary Clinton addressing the senate? 
The statements were made by 
Adolf Hitler.

Likewise, Quebec can never be a "sweet land of liberty" if Quebeckers hold the  
"sweet community of servitude"  
as an ideal. 
Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia were filled with selfless servants who sheepishly believed that the community, not oneself, owns one's life and that individual happiness should not be pursued but renounced.

Self-sacrifice, amazingly,  

results in sacrificed selves.


The joke on the community-lovers is that they would actually attain their alleged goal by doing the reverse of what they're doing now. If instead of attacking wealth-creating productive achievers, they began honoring and emulating them, communities would resultantly be strengthened. Indeed, any group comprised of rational individuals free to produce and trade can't help but thrive.

Why champion production and trade and not, say, charity and volunteerism, the standard moral currencies of the community-minded? Because 

the individual has a right to his own life 
production and trade are most responsible for advancing it. 


Consider, for example, that in order for some Mother Teresa type to distribute canned goods, a selfish capitalist first had to conceive, finance, construct, and profitably operate a cannery (all while the Mother Teresa types gave him nothing but grief for being "materialistic" and seeking profit).

For U2's Bono to fly to poor countries and make snotty remarks about the very system that if they embraced would enrich them (and does enrich him), capitalists first had to create such things as airplanes, tarmacs, cameras, microphones, the sunglasses and leather pants he sports-- oh, and satellites that broadcast his whimpers worldwide.

 If not for self-interested individuals producing goods for profit, community-interested hander-outers would have nothing to hand out-- and maybe not even a 'self' to deny.

Repost - adapted from Wayne Dunn