From childhood, we're taught one central, n-controversial idea about morality: self-sacrifice is a virtue. It is universally accepted that serving the needs of others, rather than our own, is the essence of morality. To be ethical - it is believed - is to be altruistic. Questioning this belief is regarded as tantamount to questioning the self-evident. Here, Peter Schwartz questions it. In Defense of Selfishness refutes widespread misconceptions about the meaning of selfishness and of altruism. Basing his arguments on Ayn Rand's ethics of rational self-interest, Schwartz demonstrates that genuine selfishness is t exemplified by the brutal plundering of an Attila the Hun or the conniving duplicity of a Bernard Madoff. To the contrary, such people are acting against their actual, long-range interests. The truly selfish individual is committed to moral principles and lives an honest, productive, self-respecting life. He does t feed parasitically off other people. Instead, he reunces the unearned, and deals with others - in both the material and spiritual realms - by offering value for value, to mutual benefit.
PETER SCHWARTZ is retired Chairman of the Board of Directors, and currently a Distinguished Fellow, of the Ayn Rand Institute the pre-eminent organization for the dissemination of Ayn Rand's ideas. Schwartz is the author of The Foreign Policy of Self-Interest: A Moral Ideal for America (ARI Press) and Libertarianism: The Perversion of Liberty (ARI Press). He is the founding editor and publisher of The Intellectual Activist (1979-1991), a publication that covered political/social issues from a pro-individual rights orientation. From 1987-2003, he was president and editor-in-chief of Second Renaissance Books, a publisher and distributor of titles promoting the value of reason, individualism, science, technology and capitalism. In addition, Schwartz is the editor and contributing author of Ayn Rand's Return of the Primitive: The Anti-Industrial Revolution (Meridian), editor of The Ayn Rand Column (ARI Press) and co-editor of Objectively Speaking: Ayn Rand Interviewed (Lexington Books). He lectures extensively, on topics ranging from ethics and political philosophy to environmentalism and foreign policy. He is often interviewed on radio and TV, by such personalities as Geraldo Rivera and Thom Hartmann. He lives in Danbury, CT.