There is a philosophy that all people act in their own best interest.
It can be applied to economic, social, physical, mental, and spiritual decisions. For the most part I believe that to be true.
There are some caveats as with any blanket statement. We hear of various apparent altruistic actions of people in stress situations. For example movies, novels, and human interest stories have been written about soldiers, fire fighters and police officers that walked into harms way for those they have sworn to protect. They are not alone. Random strangers have stepped into the breach of public peace and safety to fill the gap with hero’s aplomb.
We need not look beyond September 11, 2001 to see a lengthy list of paragons of apparent unselfishness. Fire fighters and police officers boldly went where no man had been expected to go. Passengers, without a doubt frightened beyond comprehension, faced down terrorists…and ultimately left their mark and legacy in a lonely Pennsylvania field.
In the words of the Bard of Avon himself, “Cowards die many times before their deaths. The valiant never taste of death but once.”
Yet, for all the glory we appropriately heap upon the courageous it is good to keep in mind that to many a man and woman demonstrate valiance under different circumstances and personal influence…which may be equally of self-interest.
A person that places economic gifting as an expression of their self-interest may very well withhold the donation of a kidney. More refined, a wealthy man may see his best self-interest in making generous financial gifts to build a kidney transplant center, yet withhold the donation of his own kidney for the sake of another. Which ever may be the scenario, neither acts makes them less a hero, more a martyr, nor acting out of something other than self-interest.
Likewise the cad that seeks to humiliate anyone of faith simply because of their faith, or about their faith, is more readily seen as not only acting out of self-interest but likely out of selfish interest.
I claim no qualification to determine a person’s motivation. I assert no knowledge of why or how a person may rank their economic, social, physical, mental, and spiritual values.
What I do assert is that those who act out of self-interest do so either to empower others, or, to hold power over others.
Governments, on the other hand have not and ought not to have any level of self interests among the affairs of the governed. Governments do not economic, social, physical, mental, and spiritual intentions. Rather, governments should act to preserve the empowerment of each citizen to pursue their self interests in liberty.
Any act of government which enthrones one citizen to have power over another has assumed a role that is unjustified and ultimately unsustainable. A government which enacts laws that give preference of one class of people over another class of people is, in nature, illegitimate. Such a government is the extension of a segment of people within the government expressing their self interests.
Another way of saying that is that when a government legislates the value of one over another such government is only extending the self-interest of a group of legislators. Such a group values it social standing at the pinnacle of their individual self interests. Then they use the force of government to exercise their power over the governed, rather than empowering the governed.
A good and true and useful test of any and all government actions, regulations, and legislation, is whether it segregates men into economic, social, physical, mental, and spiritual squares on a chess board; to be pushed around at the whim of some form of despotism.
One example of such egregiousness by government is what is known as “asset forfeiture” laws. In short these laws allow the government confiscate personal property without the benefit of due process. The founders of this nation opposed such generalized practices. The “Knights of the Round Table of the Law” (commonly known as prosecuting attorney in civil matters) find these abuses of power to their liking. It gives them advantage of using the power of their self-interest over the self-interest of the citizen.
Such thing ought not to be!
That Is The Way I See It.