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Systemic Altruism

In this episode of New Ideal Live, Onkar Ghate and Ben Bayer discuss the pervasive influence of altruism on the culture and draw lessons from it about the systemic racism debate.

Among the topics covered:

  • Systemic altruism, like systemic racism, as the claim that the ideology permeates the culture, even if is not always accepted explicitly;
  • What altruism is and why it is evil;
  • Examples of altruism’s influence on the culture, including environmentalism, egalitarianism, and the anti-abortion movement;
  • Why most people find it hard to see this influence;
  • The role of social and cultural institutions, such as churches, universities, and the media, in perpetuating altruism;
  • The psychological mechanisms by which altruism spreads and sustains itself;
  • How better people sometimes internalize altruism and how this is often used against them;
  • How this analysis of systemic altruism can shed light on the controversy over whether systemic racism still exists.

Mentioned in the discussion are Ayn Rand’s articles “The Missing Link” and “Philosophical Detection,” both available in Philosophy: Who Needs It, and her article “Altruism as Appeasement,” available in The Voice of Reason.

This episode was recorded on March 3, 2023. Listen to the discussion below. Listen and subscribe from your mobile device on Apple PodcastsGoogle PodcastsSpotify or Stitcher. Watch previous episodes here.

Podcast audio:


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Dan Schwartz

Dan Schwartz, PhD in philosophy and formerly a professor, is a visiting fellow at the Ayn Rand Institute.

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