Sunday, September 30, 2018

Enlightened Selfishness

A regime based upon the ethic of “always enlightened selfishness” has the undeniable advantages of producing a more efficient and prosperous economy and a freer polity and society.  It is also, I would venture to say, more genuinely, as distinct from rhetorically, moral, because it requires no violation or transformation of human nature.  It takes people as they are and as they always have been, capable of being enlightened as well as selfish - enlightened precisely because they are selfish, because the “self” naturally embraces family and community, religion and tradition, interests and values.
     - Gertrude Himmelfarb, “Victorian Values, Jewish Values” (1989)

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