Herald Journal Columns
July 10, 2006, Herald Journal

Selfishness isn’t what the Founding Fathers had in mind


According to the submitted column, “Put the ‘independence’ back in Independence Day,” by Michael S. Berliner, he makes the Declaration of Independence sound like a right to selfishness instead of what it was intended to be.

Berliner states that the principles of the Founding Fathers were that of living your own life as you see fit, “that one’s life belongs to oneself, not to others to use as they see fit,” he said.

He claims that in the making of the Declaration of Independence, the Founding Fathers believed in “no authority higher than the individual mind, not King George, not God, not society.”

I don’t think selfishness is what the Founding Fathers had in mind.

It is stated in the document itself, “That all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”

The document was meant for the freedom from British government in regard to the newly found American colonies, not a ticket to do as one wishes, regardless of others.

He claims we should “trust in our own judgment, in reason; do not sacrifice your mind to the state, the church, the race, the nation, or your neighbor.”

To me, this man lives for himself and himself alone, regardless of others’ feelings or beliefs.

Then again, he is the co-chairman of the board of directors of the Ayn Rand Institute.

Rand was a philosopher and author of the fiction novels, “Atlas Shrugged” and “The Fountainhead.”

Rand’s philosophy was based on objectivism, of which one of its foundations is that man must exist for himself, not for the sake of others. “The pursuit of his own rational self-interest and of his own happiness is the highest moral purpose of life,” according to Rand.

It, then, isn’t surprising that Rand and her husband never chose to have children. If Rand had children, I believe her philosophy would have changed.

As for me, it is hard to live only for myself. That is not my purpose of my life. My purpose is to do for others and not for the sake of my own happiness.

What a selfish person I would be if I thought in the same realm as either Berliner or Rand.

As Christians we do sacrifice for others. This life isn’t meant for us alone. If it were, we would not be here. We would not procreate and the world would not be.

But then again, Rand was an atheist.

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