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Posted to What Are You Reading?




is confused on the issue of self-image: we always hear that it's bad to be selfish, but good to have a positive self image. How you're supposed to benefit yourself without benefitting yourself is not explained. Rand's answer proposes that there are legitimate (non-Nietzsche) ways to be selfish.

Such an approach was put very accessably by the American entertainer Jackie Gleason, who stated that he knew hundreds of people who were funnier than he was at parties. The difference between him and them, he thought, was that he was the one who had the ego to stand up and say, "Hey, point the camera at me. I'm funny. I'll make you laugh" (as stated in the book "How Sweet It Is"). In this conception, self-benefit (excersize of ego) is engaged in without damaging the interests of the next person.

The Rand contention is that, as long as your self-beneficial actions are restricted by reason, self-assertion is acceptable and even nessecary in the course of one's life; the Roark courtroom speech plus longer dialog (not to mention the actions of the character) are one way she chose to sketch out the claim.

I hereby pat myself on the back for being possibly the first person in history to use Jackie Gleason to explain a metaethical proposition.