Top Scoops

Book Reviews | Gordon Campbell | Scoop News | Wellington Scoop | Community Scoop | Search

 

Lindsay Perigo: Self-Respect, Not Self-Obsession

Yesterday I was a tad under the weather from staying up very late the night before, talking & quaffing with friends into the wee hours. It was one of those "meaning of life" conversations, with some good-natured sparring punctuating its more serious threads. One of the participants must have been VERY distracted by it all ... a mobile phone announced its presence with some ghastly tune somewhere in my apartment yesterday afternoon, while I was otherwise engaged. I have yet to track it or its forgetful owner down.

Anyway, one of the subjects that came up was the mistake of equating individualism with unhealthy self-absorption. We had all noticed a tendency among some Objectivists & libertarians - usually American ones! - to have one topic of conversation only: themselves. They are unwilling or unable to acknowledge the existence or significance of anyone else other than as a sounding board for their own monologues. It's a kind of psychological solipsism, & actually, it's not confined to - nor is it by any means universal among - American Objectivists & libertarians.

It's a huge mistake to equate it with individualism. There is a crucial difference between self-esteem & self-obsession. An individualist has self-respect - or at least, seeks to earn it. He values himself, realistically. He knows that he is not the centre of THE universe, but makes himself the centre of HIS universe - in which he takes pains to include other shining stars. As an extension of his own values, he values others who embody them - makes time for them, listens to them, supports them if necessary - as a matter of justice, & self-interested benevolence. He shows respect for their status as human beings intellectually & morally, just as he respects their rights legally & politically. Just as he is not their doormat, neither does he treat THEM as doormats.

All of this is obvious & uncontentious. Sometimes the obvious bears repeating. I've seen enough of the mistaken kind of "individualism" to want to do a longer editorial about it in my magazine. I'll probably call it: Another Awry Alternative - Altruist or Asshole.

===========================================================
For Lindsay Perigo's daily "Politically Incorrect Show" editorials, visit: www.freeradical.co.nz or listen to Radio Pacific from noon to 2pm weekdays.


© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Top Scoops Headlines

 

Using Scoop Professionally? Introducing ScoopPro

ScoopPro is a new offering aimed at ensuring professional users get the most out of Scoop and support us to continue improving it so that Scoop continues to exist as a public service for all New Zealanders. More>>

ALSO:

Don Rennie: Is It Time To Take ACC Back To First Principles?

The word “investing” has played a major part in the operations of the ACC since 1998... More>>

27-29 Sept: Social Enterprise World Forum Live Blog

1600+ delegates from more than 45 countries have came together to share wisdom, build networks and discuss how to create a more sustainable future using social enterprise as a vehicle. Attending the Forum were social enterprise practitioners, social entrepreneurs, policy makers, community leaders, investors, activists, academics and more from across the globe... More>>

HiveMind Report: A Universal Basic Income For Aotearoa NZ

Results from this HiveMind suggests that an overwhelming majority of Kiwis believe that due to changing circumstances and inefficiencies in the current system, we need a better system to take care of welfare of struggling members in our society. More>>

ALSO:

Scoop Hivemind: Medical Cannabis - Co-Creating A Policy For Aotearoa

Welcome to the fourth and final HiveMind for Scoop’s Opening the Election campaign for 2017. This HiveMind explores the question: what would a fair, humane and safe Medical Cannabis policy look like for Aotearoa, NZ in 2018? More>>

ALSO:

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
  • PublicAddress
  • Pundit
  • Kiwiblog