The idea that a person ought to be selfish is so alien to our culture that when people learn that Ayn Rand upheld a morality of selfishness they are left scratching their heads. What could Rand possibly mean? In this course, given at Objectivist Summer Conference 2016 (OCON), Dr. Tara Smith discusses the crucial features of Rand’s morality of selfishness — what she called “rational egoism” — explaining what it is, what it is not, and why it is an individual’s only means of achieving sustainable happiness.
The course addresses such questions as:
- Why does Rand think that egoism requires moral virtues?
- Is living selfishly easy or hard?
- Is happiness a subjective or an objective matter?
- How does one identify what is in one’s rational self-interest?
A handout, provided to attendees when the course was originally given, is available here: Being Selfish Being Happy Handout. It includes a useful course outline, several quotations from Ayn Rand’s works and a brief list of recommended additional readings.