Related to the post Thank LBJ and Altruism for Our Federal Deficit and Debt, the following question came via Reddit from a father raising his child to be an altruist: “Why is altruism bad?”
Sacrifice, and in particular self-sacrifice.
I could go through the process of correctly defining altruism and point to its referents in reality, but advocates of altruism will dissemble and conflate it with benevolence, which is a completely different concept.
So let us shift focus for a moment and look at the conceptually related concept sacrifice, which is the exchange of a greater value for a lesser value. If an exchange involved gaining a greater value for a lesser one, then it would be actually called a profit, which altruists despise as selfish. Further, if it was the exchange of equal values then it could better be described as a trade. So sacrifice is about giving more than you get, agreed?
For adults only!!! Now here comes the fun part and proof at a perceptual level that will be difficult to evade…a slap bet!!!
For the next month, slap yourself very hard on the face immediately every time that you hear or read someone express sacrifice as a positive moral act. If it is a politician, then slap yourself twice. If it is a religious leader who says it, then slap yourself three times. If you say it, then slap yourself four times!
Should you understand the problem with altruism before the end of the month then stop slapping yourself and encourage other adult altruists to attempt the exercise.
If you fail to understand after a month, then punch yourself repeatedly in the most sensitive part of your anatomy; remember with every blow that sacrifice on your part will make the world better for others. Please consult a cognitive therapist before attempting the second more intense exercise.
In comments below please share your experiences and lessons learned from this exercise.