Healthy individualism

By Dianna Visek

I’m writing in response to Brian Pierce’s editorial “The exaltation of ourselves” printed in the March 8 issue of the DI. Pierce quotes libertarian author Ayn Rand as saying, “Achievement of your happiness is the only moral purpose of your life” and then worries about the possible negative effects of his generation’s narcissism.

There’s a big difference between unbridled selfishness and healthy individualism. Libertarian philosophy advocates reducing government restraints on individuals, so they more easily find fulfillment.

Fulfilled individuals have more achievements, joy and energy to share with others. Because they’re not chafing under artificial restraints, they feel less anger, which reduces the level of hostility in society.

The flip side of this freedom is responsibility. True libertarians practice peaceful and voluntary associations with others and abhor the first use of force. They feel compassion just like anyone else, but think that government isn’t the best way to solve social problems or take care of those in need.

Charitable organizations solve problems more efficiently than government bureaucrats, because their personnel are devoted to the cause rather than merely seeking a paycheck.

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Those interested in exploring these ideas can read Healing Our World in an Age of Aggression, by Mary J. Ruwart or visit The Champaign Co. Libertarian Party meets the second Thursday of each month at 7 p.m. in the auditorium of the Urbana Free Library.

Dianna Visek

Urbana resident