• The Objectivist Newsletter

    The concept of “service” has been turned into a collectivist “package-deal” by means of a crude equivocation and a cruder evasion. In the language of economics, the word “service” means work offered for trade on a free market, to be paid for by those who choose to buy it. In a free society, men deal with one another by voluntary, uncoerced exchange, by mutual consent to mutual profit, each man pursuing his own rational self-interest, none sacrificing himself or others; and all values — whether goods or services — are traded, not given away.

    This is the opposite of what the word “service” means in the language of altruist ethics: to an altruist, “service” means unrewarded, self-sacrificial, unilateral giving, while receiving nothing in return. It is this sort of selfless “service” to “society” that collectivists demand of all men.