2010-05-01

Morals and Rational Choice



Man has been called a rational being, but rationality is a matter of choice - and the alternative his nature offers him is: rational being or suicidal animal. Man has to be man - by choice; he has to hold his life as a value - by choice; he has to learn to sustain it - by choice; he has to discover the values it requires and practice his virtues - by choice.


In Rand's view, the alternative to a life based on logic and reason was the refusal to ever analyze one's decisions. Rand saw logic as part of what it means to be a human being. Rand saw logic as the means by which we all stay alive. If we don't reason that food will keep us alive, for example, then we will not eat.

But eating is an easy choice to make. There are more difficult decisions that require more thorough logical analysis: What should I study in school? Should I look for a new job? Are my friends taking advantage of me? Should I spend money now or save it for the future? Should I exercise today or slack off? Etc., etc....

That's not to say John Q. Public is a bad person if he makes a wrong choice. Rather, it simply means that John Q. Public should acknowledge the wrong choices he made and work to ensure he makes the right decision next time.