Much of human behaviour is still determined by biological instincts. This biological drives are necessary to motivate us humans to comply with our biological purpose. In most cases this is a very helpful mechanism. The instinct of self-preservation for example helps us to prevent harm from us. And this is by far the strongest of our instincts, which under normal circumstances has priority over all other instincts.
However there are cases where our biological purpose is not identical with the interest of our Self. In these cases our instincts try to lead us into a behaviour, which would be irrational, because it would mean acting against our own interests. Since humans have the ability to think rational and analyse situations logically, we can identify these cases when biological instincts and our own interests contradict each other.
What situations are these?
Man is a social animal. This means man is not made to live alone and completely independent in his environment, he lives in groups with other individuals of his species who support each other. Originally these groups were small family clans. This is why human feel such a strong affection to other members of their family. In modern times these groups have become more complex and bigger. Modern society is organized in states with several million individuals. And the recent phenomenon of globalisation has turned entire humanity in one big society.
Such societies form new entities on a higher collectivist level of organization. Just as our body cells together form a human being, millions of human beings form a new entity: the state. Due to the specialization of its members the state has gained the ability to act as single being. It has its own mind; just as the giant conglomerate of individual cells form a human being with his own mind.
The collective entity of the family, the clan or even the state, is held together by biological mechanisms. These are our instincts that don’t just help us to survive as individuals, but also help this higher collective entity to survive. There is for example the sex drive that motivates us to reproduce and keep our family, our clan, and our race alive in future generations. Reproduction has no advantage for the individual. Future generations are irrelevant for our own survival and their existence doesn’t give us any advantage. So reproduction makes indeed sense for the collective entity of the human society, but it makes no sense at all for the individual human being.
And there are more examples like this. In fact any kind of altruistic feeling is based on biological instincts that serve the survival of the society. Love, patriotism, and compassion – they are biological instincts that guarantee the survival of the collective entity of the human society.
The only problem is: We are not the society. We are just individuals. Society is a distinct entity. It is not us.
Many altruistic philosophies and religions try to give these social instincts a higher, noble value. They develop ethical codes, which are supposed to be superior to selfish actions. But they are not. Social instincts and selfish instincts are both biological instincts. However when discussed with other individuals, social instincts are of course far more likely to reach a consensus than selfish instincts. It would be hard to get others to agree with your personal interests, but it is quite easy to agree to a common interest. This is why social instincts are valued higher. Everybody agrees with them, while only you yourself agree with your selfish instincts.
However we have to be aware that it is not logical for us as individuals to act according to social interests when they are in conflict with our individual interests. In other words, altruism is irrational, whenever it is in conflict with our personal advantage. It is nothing but a biological instinct that wants us to do things, which may not be in our best interest.
We must not let irrational emotions control us. We must overcome altruism and its misleading emotions. Logic and reason must always question the motivations of our actions in order to eliminate any irrational altruistic purposes. We must not be slaves of collective instincts.
Although altruism is an irrational emotion from the point of view of the individual, it is not always irrational to help others without any personal advantage. To help a friend is often very reasonable, even if there is no immediate benefit for us in this action.
A friend is an ally, and allies make us stronger than we would be alone.
But we should be wise when choosing our friends. Somebody who is weak and asks for our help is a useless ally. He will never be able to pay back any favour and will continue to exploit our help in the future. We have to choose our friends among those who are strong. Even if they depend on our help today, there will come a day when they will return the favour and provide us help when we need it. True friendship can only be between equal partners. Friendship between a strong and a weak is only a parasitic relationship, where one abuses the other. So in order to have strong friends, we need to be strong ourselves. The weak on the other hand don’t deserve compassion. They are useless. They are meant to perish. They even weaken the society because they nourish themselves like parasites from the stronger members of the community. Humanitarian help for the weak is the most decadent foolishness of our modern society. But this is not our concern. If the society wants to weaken itself, then so be it. We only need to keep the weak away from us.
Altruism the Root of Evil
Apart from being irrational from the point of view of the individual, altruism is also a very dangerous ideology. Altruism is the main reason for mass murder, destruction and suffering in human history. It poses a permanent threat to every individual, because it may become a victim of its irrational arbitrariness. For an altruist every mean is justified as long as it serves his abstract idea of the human society. An altruist has no inhibitions, when he believes that his actions have some “higher” objectives and will improve the society as a whole. Where a selfish man would hesitate to commit a crime in fear of becoming the victim of retaliation some day, the altruist doesn’t make such considerations. He neither cares about himself nor about his victims. The society stands above all and justifies any sacrifice. It was altruism that made the Khmer Rouge killing one third of the Cambodian population in order to create a better society. It was altruism that made the Nazis kill 6 million Jews in order to protect the German people from an imaginary conspiracy. It was altruism that made Stalin kill more than 20 million potential opponents and their families in order to create a communist paradise or the society. It was altruism that led to religious oppression and the genocide of the native population of America who refused to worship the Christian god of altruism.
Selfish persons also commit crimes, but altruists commit crimes on a far larger scale.
The altruist doesn’t act in his own interest. He acts in the interest of others. He acts in the interest of the human community. Since the human community is a rather abstract entity without the possibility to express its will or its desires directly, the altruist has to invent for himself, what the abstract entity called “society” wants, needs and desires. Therefore he develops theories about what he thinks is best in the interest of the society. Since his theories - just as altruism in general -aren’t based on reason, every altruist comes up with a different theory. A conflict between these different theories is predetermined, which results necessarily in wars and oppression.
Since the altruist cares primarily for the interest of others, it is first of all necessary for him to know what is in their best interest. Otherwise he would not know what interests he had to serve.
So whenever he acts for altruistic reasons, he acts for what he thinks is in the best interest of others. Actually he cannot know for certain, what is in the best interest of others, but in order to act in their interests, he has to be convinced that he knows it, and he knows it even better then they do. By his very nature an altruist will therefore always interfere with the affairs of others. And he will impose what he thinks is best for the community on them. If they disagree with him, he will still try to impose on them what he has decided to be best for them. This is the source of all oppression and the lack of freedom in any society.
Some people have a theory or concept how the society has to be and they impose their theory by force on others.
A selfish person does not care about others and their destiny. He leaves them alone as long as they are not relevant for his own interests. Therefore the scale, in which he would try to impose his will on others, would be far smaller than in case of an altruist. Only the people in his direct environment would be affected, while an altruist wants to apply his theories on the whole society including people he will never meet in person. Altruism is by its nature always intolerant, aggressive and oppressive, because the altruist wants to interfere with the lives of others. His intention is irrelevant in the result for the victims. For the one who suffers the consequences, who gets deprived of his freedom or physically harmed, it does not matter, if the perpetrator had good or bad intentions. The result is the same. So there is nothing that could excuse the crime from the point of view of the victim.
Let’s take the example of the “war on drugs”. There is the altruist that thinks that the use of drugs is harmful and therefore bans their trade, possession and consumption. On the other hand there is the drug addict who disagrees about the harm for him and prefers the benefit of drug consumption to the physical harm they may cause to him. He is primarily interested in the selfish satisfaction of his addiction. So the altruist initiates the use of force and takes the drug away from the addict in order to help him and to prevent physical harm. The selfish drug addict sees his freedom restricted and looks for illegal means to get the drugs he desires. He gets in conflict with the law that the altruist has imposed on the society and gets imprisoned. The drug addict has now learned how serious the altruist is about this issue and now uses violent means in order to get his drugs. The result is the situation we have today. Because some altruists want to create a better drug-free world in some distant future, millions of people get imprisoned or killed. A lot of real physical harm is done for an altruistic concept how the society should be.
A selfish delinquent could only cause harm to a small amount of people that get in direct physical contact with him, while the altruist imprisons and kills people without ever getting to know them. This is because a selfish person can’t get others to fulfil his own selfish interests, but an altruist can count on obedience, the obedience of all the other altruists who share the same concepts with him. So the harm an altruist can do to others, is multiplied by the number of those he can convince that his actions and theories are in the best interest of the society. And all who are obedient to him want to be as altruistic as him. This is the mechanism that empowers altruism to commit large-scale crimes that selfishness never could commit. Therefore all big crimes of mass murder, genocide and oppression were committed by altruists.