Egocentrism’s Role in Freedom

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Let’s not pretend: egocentrism certainly plays some role in the mind of anyone who desires to do anything that he or she wants to do. That person will seek out the greatest benefit for himself or herself, pursuing some end result (hopefully positive) that comes from fulfilling one’s own wishes. Famously, even the Framers saw it as a positive ambition, speaking within the Declaration of Independence of “the pursuit of Happiness” which should be secured and protected – not hindered – by instituted governments.

Of course, there are differences all over the place. Some find happiness and fulfillment in monetary gain; others find it in science or philosophy; still others might find it in the eschewing of all those types of things.

Pure egocentrism on the part of anyone, though, can still end being quite negative. That person is ignoring the simple fact that there are others in the world with which to participate in market processes (everything from family relationships to corporate sales). And it also creates a tendency toward isolating oneself from others, instead of their being able to cooperate with fellow-minded individuals and truly reap the greatest benefits that can only come from such an arrangement.

Egocentrism, then, is a necessary component of a free society. If it reigns supreme over voluntary and cooperative relationships, however, not even the egocentric person will be able to benefit much from that society.