The Virtue of Selfishness

Written by BG Howard

January 3, 2024

As the country and majourity of the world is concluding the season for doing and giving, many will realize they have over-extend themselves in their doing and given until they’ve all give out. Retailers are all too happy to extend limitless invitations to the, now infamous, slew of “Black Friday, Christmas, After Christmas, New Year’s,” and other’s that meorph into “Year-End or Close Out Sales.”

Oddly enough, every advertised sale is billed as the biggest ever and taunts that there will never be an opportunity to purchase whatever “hot new item” is being promoted at the current price again. We are bombarded with everything from newspaper and magazine advertisements to television commercials and infomercials offering exceptionally great savings. The retail establishment will do all that falls within the confines of legality to lure us into that inevitable “black hole” of debt in our attempt to fulfill the lists and desires of those precious angels who’ve been eagerly anticipating the holiday season since sometime in September.

It never ceases to amaze me at how a retailer purchases this year’s in demand item for the wholesale price of a hundred dollars, marks it up by two hundred and fifty percent, and then sells the same product to their customers (that would be you and me) at seventy-five percent off the suggested retail price. I’ll save you the trouble of the pencil and paper by simply disclosing that the $100 item will cost you $187.50 at a 75% discount. And there you have an example of the benefits derived from living in a free enterprise society.

By the end of Christmas season parents, grandparents, husbands and wives are so stressed out that anyone with any significant responsibilities requires a vacation to recover. Unfortunately, the mountain of debt accumulated over the course of the preceding weeks won’t allow for time off work. In fact, many find it necessary to seek a second job or petition their superior for a few extra hours to recover from the season’s financial demands. Some will spend most of the ccurrent year paying off the debt tallied at the end of this past year only to volunteer for a ride on that same merry-go-round a few months later.

With the help of author, Ayn Rand, the answer to this on-going problem is summed up in the title of her book, Virtue of Selfishness. In short, we are taught from a very young age that it’s necessary to give, share, and sacrifice for the benefit of others. This is a noble concept with which I whole-heartedly agree as benevolence is truly what makes the world a better place.

Like many others, I’ve been educated and received much instruction in the humane art of giving. From home to church and even school we’re directed to be loving, caring, and kind. Scripture details in Proverbs 18:24 “A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly; and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother” and Romans 8:13 specifies “Owe no man any thing, but to love one another.” There are countless biblical examples detailing the benefits of love and sacrifice including the greatest demonstration of the act when Jesus consented to the cross.

Not to take issue with the general nature of the holiday season, as I do agree with celebrating the Spirit of Christmas, but consider for a moment the benefits of selfishness. If a husband doesn’t get enough rest, doesn’t take proper care of himself or do anything necessary to sustain his health, not only will he suffer but the entire family as well.

If a wife and/or mother neglects the essentials of provisions she require, her physical and mental health are at risk. This jeopardizes basic operations of the whole household in the form of duties such as the children’s homework, laundry, meals, and a host of other tasks that typically fall on a wife/mother.

The long and short of it is that the thought of selfishness shouldn’t perpetuate the negative stigmatism usually brought about at the accusation. One has to be somewhat selfish in the quest to secure his or her self before being able to accomplish anything for another person; be it husband, wife, children or whomever.

So, during the season when the world does everything it can to convince you to “give” all that’s available down to your last dollar; don’t leave yourself for last. Take time away from the rat race into which society continuously pushes you and treat yourself to a sunrise on the beach or quiet stroll in the country. My suggestion is, do whatever is required to rejuvenate yourself daily as life certainly doesn’t have people standing in line to do you any favors. I could be wrong but it’s just something to consider.

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