No one may initiate force for any reason whatsoever, even if that alleged purpose is for the “public good”. For is not the individual whose rights are being violated for the “public good”, a member of the “public” also? How can such a violation be in the public’s good? For is not his good also the good of the public, of which he is a member? The truth is, such violations are only in the irrational interests of a division of the public, but are not in the interests of the entire public.
Observe that being “rich” is not a sign of greatness, if one has not earned it — to assume otherwise is to reverse cause and effect, as those men who achieve their wealth by plunder and political pull (government favors) attempt to do.
Money is the physical symbol of man’s successful use of his mind in the area of production — whose success is essential to the support of his life. How can this be the root of evil? It cannot. In truth, money is not the root of all evil, but when honesty earned is a sign of good.
No. Capitalism is the moral system, since it is the only system that allows man to be virtuous — to pursue the good — by leaving him free to act by the use of his reason. Freedom to act is a precondition of morality. This is Capitalism’s moral justification.
No. As a secondary effect of allowing the creators and innovators of society freedom to create and produce, laissez-faire results in a society where progress is the norm, and the standard of living continuously rises. That capitalism serves the “public good” (properly defined as the sum of the good of all individuals) is true, though this is not its moral justification but is merely an effect of its cause: freeing the individual from the mediocrity of the collective, to live his own life as an end to himself.
Rights are not merely political principles, but they are principles that form the bridge between individual morality (ethics) and the moral principles governing society (politics). Rights say that morally certain actions are right, and all other actions that forcibly interfere with those actions are wrong.
Yes and no. Yes, capitalism enshrines rational self-interest. No, you are completely off the mark when you claim that to act in one’s own benefit, that is to act selfishly, is evil.
To be selfish means to look out for one’s own interests, i.e. one’s own life. To eat to support your life is selfish. To make love to the woman you love is selfish. To have pride in ones accomplishments and character is selfish. To use one’s mind in the pursuit of ones own happiness is selfish. By what standard can one judge these selfish things as evil? Only by an irrational one.
Man’s life is the standard of value. All that supports a man’s life is good, and all that destroys man’s life is evil.
If evil is that which destroys man’s life — and to look after one’s self interest — is to support one’s life, then how can selfishness be rationally held to be evil? It cannot.