Ayn Rand

Is Selfishness a Virtue?: Watch Live Debate Tuesday at 6:45 P.M.

Yaron Brook of the Ayn Rand Institute and Gene Epstein of The Soho Forum debate and Judge Andrew Napolitano of Fox News moderates!


Is selfishness a virtue? Ayn Rand famously thought so and one of her most-influential contemporary champions, Yaron Brook of the The Ayn Rand Institute, will debate the former chief economist of the New York Stock Exchange, Gene Epstein, at the next Reason-sponsored The Soho Forum debate at the East Village's SubCulture Theater.

If that main event isn't enough, best-selling author and Fox News legal expert Judge Andrew Napolitano will moderate the Oxford-style debate. In an Oxford-style debate, the audience votes before and after the debate and the winner is the person who moves the most votes in his direction.

The event is sold out (go here to put your name on a standby list) but you can watch a livestream of the event on Reason's Facebook page and right here at Reason.com. The action starts at 6:45 P.M. and the online audience gets to vote and submit questions for the Q&A portion of the event.

For an archive of past Soho Forum-Reason debates, go here.

To get information about the next debate, which takes place on February 12 and engages the proposition "All the laws requiring those convicted of sex offenses to put their names in a registry should be abolished," go here.

To set a reminder at Facebook, click below.

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  1. If “selfishness” (self-interest) *isn’t* a virtue, the market has no value and all 1000 of us would still be eating rock soup spiced with lichen. Or maybe ‘hearty’ rock soup, with a worm.
    Now if you want to define “selfishness” as some nefarious intent, you get to argue with yourself (and Tony will be on your side!)
    The market is a result of selfishness, and it is the greatest driver of prosperity and civility of any human organizational form. Every trade between two free agents increases the wealth of mankind. By now, we’ve had enough of them to put us far beyond that rock soup, regardless of the idiots who claim they know a better way.
    I’ll have some Prime Rib this evening, thank you. We *bought* it.

    1. I’m making over $7k a month working part time. I kept hearing other people tell me how much money they can make online so I decided to look into it. Well, it was all true and has totally changed my life.

      This is what I do… http://www.startonlinejob.com

    2. “Now if you want to define “selfishness” as some nefarious intent…”

      These wouldn’t, by chance, be people who want to take money from others because they have determined that those others don’t need what they have? And then use that money for their own purposes?

      1. Yes, those who would be more than happy to stick their hand in my pocket to relieve me of what’s there will more often than not claim I am “selfish” to gripe about that.
        But more importantly, they will ignorE the gains of trade as mentioned right up there, which gives rise to Sevo’s Law:
        “Any time a third party sticks its nose in the free exchange between two free agents, one or both lose.”
        Lefty twits gripe that ‘who cares if one loses?’ Humanity cares, lefty twit; we rely on every exchange to add to our prosperity.

    3. Sounds like the market is the virtuous thing here, as it directs selfishness towards productive ends.

      Why suppose that, if people were naturally selfless rather than self-interested, there would not be some different kind of market mechanisms that turn this selflessness toward productive ends? The selfless people would still want better standards of living.

  2. Example of lefty hypocrisy:
    “SF sneaker fans line up days early to get $225 Levi’s Air Jordans8:54 PM”
    Jordan is black, so he is immune to any claim or “PROFIT!!!”, and he’s a hoops-player and all of them hate Trump, so this is just great!
    The comments so far are luke-warm, but imagine if Trump offered skoots at that price.

  3. Love your neighbor as yourself.

    It doesn’t say “love your neighbor and hate yourself”. That is, the highest you are called to do is love others as much as you are programmed to love yourself.

    No one hates his own body but feeds and cares for it, just as Christ cares for the church.

    So, it appears that “selfishness” (as in loving yourself and taking good care of yourself, doing good for yourself) is not a bad thing. It could even be stated as a virtue.

    Especially as “Virtue” means something along the lines of “the way of the ideal man”. I can’t imagine that the ideal man would let himself die due to neglect, now could you?

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