Who is More “Selfish”?

by | Sep 2, 2023

War is ultimately about collectivism. During crisis, individuality fades in favor of team effort. During violent conflict, particularly between governments, the world becomes, especially it seems for Americans, a giant, bloody football game: our team versus theirs, us versus them, good versus evil. Go, team, go. This, of course, leads to all sorts of fallacious thinking, such as “Death to them is not like death to us,” “We have to let them bomb us so they won’t know we’ve broken the codes,” “Using nuclear bombs on civilians saved lives,” “Everything changed on September 11th,” and “Don’t you understand that we are at war?” The last two are usually intended as a blanket permission slip for the state to break any law, tell any lie, and kill any person — so long as it’s to protect “us” from “them.”

– Scott Horton, Individualism vs. War


Capitalism has been called a system of greed — yet it is the system that raised the standard of living of its poorest citizens to heights no collectivist system has ever begun to equal, and no tribal gang can conceive of.

– Ayn Rand, “Global Balkanization,” from a lecture given at Boston’s Ford Hall Forum, Apr. 1977.


This idea that individuals can be and should be sacrificed for the “greater good” is the essence of the fascist/socialist/collectivist philosophy… For many intellectuals, the attractiveness of socialism is that it is “rational”; it is a “planned” economy, planned by people like them.

– Thomas J. DiLorenzo, Ph.D., The Problem with Socialism (2016, Regnery Publishing), pp. 68, 121.

About Keith Knight

Keith Knight is Managing Editor at the Libertarian Institute, host of the Don't Tread on Anyone podcast and editor of The Voluntaryist Handbook: A Collection of Essays, Excerpts, and Quotes.

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