Is Corruption Motivated by ‘Self-Interest’?

I was asked this very interesting question via my Formspring account: “Is ‘corruption’ motivated by

Productivity is the actual proof of man's virtues and values; corruption is the proof of one's weakness.

Productivity is the actual proof of man’s virtues and values; corruption is the proof of one’s weakness.

“Self-Interest”?

I gave the following answer:

No. It’s motivated by disrespect for one’s ‘self’. It’s a sign of weakness. It is SELF-DESTRUCTIVE. If you’re about to commit any kind of corrupt practice or act, you certainly know you’re about to commit a wrongful, immoral, self-destructive act, unless you’re clinically insane or you’re living in an immoral, evil society that sanctions all  kinds of immoral, evil acts. The very reason why man needs a government is to have an agency to protect his rights against immoral, corrupt rights-violators.

It is not in your self-interest to sacrifice others or to commit immoral acts. Immoral, corrupt acts are self-destructive!

Why is “an act of corruption” motivated by conscious disrespect for one’s “self” or one’s “soul”? It’s because before you commit an immoral, dishonest act, you have to betray your “self” and “soul” first. You have to betray and negate your moral principles.

It’s a sign of “weakness” because your “evil, dishonest act” simply proves you cannot survive by relying on your own ability. You cannot survive or exist without cheating on, or taking advantage of, others. Or, you cannot live a decent life without stealing from government coffers.

Corrupt politicians who drive million-dollar SUVs and live in tinseled mansions know deep inside that they’re immoral and not worthy to be called “honorable”, “sirs”, or “gentlemen”. Every day in their lives they betray their “soul”. Every day they support their family with stolen, ill-gotten money or resources. They’re not “human beings” if they’re not consciously aware that what they’re ‘doing’ is wrong or immoral.

Corruption is self-destructive because in a just, moral society, people who commit crimes and dishonest, immoral acts (that violate the rights of others) are punished by the legal, justice system. People who commit wrongful acts, in a just and moral society, are brought to justice. So corruption is NOT motivated by self-interest if you’re aware your “immoral”, “wrongful”, “illegal” act could send you to jail and destroy your name, your family, your future, and your life.

Self-interest must be long-term. What I like about Ayn Rand is that she clearly explained the concept of self-interest and why self-interest is moral, not immoral.

She wrote:

“When one speaks of man’s right to exist for his own sake, for his own rational self-interest, most people assume automatically that this means his right to sacrifice others. Such an assumption is a confession of their own belief that to injure, enslave, rob or murder others is in man’s self-interest—which he must selflessly renounce. The idea that man’s self-interest can be served only by a non-sacrificial relationship with others has never occurred to those humanitarian apostles of unselfishness, who proclaim their desire to achieve the brotherhood of men. And it will not occur to them, or to anyone, so long as the concept “rational” is omitted from the context of “values,” “desires,” “self-interest” and ethics.”

In “Objectivist Ethics”, Ayn Rand also wrote:

“The term “interests” is a wide abstraction that covers the entire field of ethics. It includes the issues of: man’s values, his desires, his goals and their actual achievement in reality. A man’s “interests” depend on the kind of goals he chooses to pursue, his choice of goals depends on his desires, his desires depend on his values—and, for a rational man, his values depend on the judgment of his mind.

“Desires (or feelings or emotions or wishes or whims) are not tools of cognition; they are not a valid standard of value, nor a valid criterion of man’s interests. The mere fact that a man desires something does not constitute a proof that the object of his desire is good, nor that its achievement is actually to his interest.

“To claim that a man’s interests are sacrificed whenever a desire of his is frustrated—is to hold a subjectivist view of man’s values and interests. Which means: to believe that it is proper, moral and possible for man to achieve his goals, regardless of whether they contradict the facts of reality or not. Which means: to hold an irrational or mystical view of existence. Which means: to deserve no further consideration.”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MwI-eEAJI2g

17 thoughts on “Is Corruption Motivated by ‘Self-Interest’?

  1. “A man’s “interests” depend on the kind of goals he chooses to pursue, his choice of goals depends on his desires, his desires depend on his values—and, for a rational man, his values depend on the judgment of his mind.

    “Desires (or feelings or emotions or wishes or whims) are not tools of cognition; they are not a valid standard of value, nor a valid criterion of man’s interests.”

    i dont understand this quote. a man’s self interest depends on his choices, his choices depends on his desries. thats OK.

    but the following paragraph says that desires are not a valid criterion of man’s interests. but rand said that his interests depend on one’s desires.

    can you explain this contradiction?

      • you arent even going to attempt a response?

        wow, why give up so easily on a philosophy u evidently love?

      • Because it’s impossible to respond to an evidently brain-dead creature… That’s why.

      • then respond to the contradiction in the writing.

        can you do that? are u giving up, or ignoring the contradiction?

      • LOL! Like I said, it is impossible to deal with a moron or brain-dead creature like you. Is that hard difficult to understand? Oh yeah! You’re brain damaged that’s why.😉

      • ok, so officially, you dont see a contradiction?

        the contradiction is pretty obvious, i thought that there was a simple explanation, but the way you are resorting to name calling first, resisting simply to explain it, leads anyone to believe that there is no explanation.

      • “the contradiction is pretty obvious…”

        LMAO… Coming from a moron.

        So, what is it?

      • great. you replied before reading the comment. ugh, last time:

        “A man’s “interests” depend on the kind of goals he chooses to pursue, his choice of goals depends on his desires, his desires depend on his values” OK, this is fine.

        but the following paragraph says

        “Desires (or feelings or emotions or wishes or whims) are not tools of cognition; they are not a valid standard of value, nor a valid criterion of man’s interests.”

        but desires depend on values. hence desires and values are linked.

        so, desires, are a valid criterion for interests, as they are a reflection of values (assuming values are a criterion to value/judge actions/behavior).

        which raises another question: suppose we can freely observe values (which we cannot in the real world) — can we regulate on values?

        can we say some values are illegal/should be illegal?

      • LOL! Do you even know how to read or understand those sentences?

        Desires are not tools of cognition. Which means that if you wanna smoke and abuse crack, that desire doesn’t necessarily mean crack abuse is good for you.

        But if you have proper values- and if you clearly understand them- you won’t let your desires dictate your actions. For example, if you value your life, you won’t allow yourself to get addicted to or abuse drugs. That’s what that simple statement means. That means you ought to rely on reason, not on emotion.

        You’re too brain-dead to understand these complex issues.

      • “But if you have proper values- and if you clearly understand them- you won’t let your desires dictate your actions”

        ah, but thats not what she said! she said, quite plainly: ” his desires depend on his values”

        are u saying rand misspoke?

      • You’re really stupid, right? You only need to understand that desires are not a tool of cognition. But that doesn’t mean that a desire is automatically good or bad. You desire food? That’s good!

        But your desires depend on your values. Do you even understand that? She didn’t say your values depend on your desires, idiot!

        If you value your life or profession or your family, your desires follow.

        Your stupid understanding is this: ” rand said that his interests depend on one’s desires.”

        See how stupid you are? I think you really have some mental problem, idiot. LOL! I’m serious. Are you autistic?

      • Hey stupid-moron…

        Here’s the complete quotation:

        “There are no conflicts of interests among rational men. . . A man’s ‘interests’ depend on the kind of goals he chooses to pursue, his choice of goals depends on his desires, his desires depend on his values — and, for a rational man, his values depend on the judgment of his mind. . . A rational man never holds a desire or pursues a goal which cannot be achieved directly or indirectly [i.e., by trading] by his own effort. . . He never seeks or desires the unearned. . . The mere fact that two men desire the same job does not constitute proof that either of them is entitled to it or deserves it, and that his interests are damaged if he does not obtain it.”

        Even though I know you’re a moron, where’s the contradiction there?

  2. Lets assume your interpretation is right. For the sake of discussion, lets move on — something, either values, desires, whatever, affects behavior.

    you continue to write:
    “So corruption is NOT motivated by self-interest if you know for yourself that your “immoral”, “wrongful”, “illegal” act could send you to jail and destroy your name, your family, your future, and your life.”

    ok, so if its is not illegal, in terms of written law, its OK? what determines whether a value is right or not?

    perhaps the more important question is this: lets say the law determines the correct values.

    what should we do about it? how do we curb “wrong values/desires”/ corruption?

    Do you have a response to that? i guess your response is the courts. So you believe in the judicial system. Does the executive/congress play no part?

    • The point is, you’re too moronic to understand philosophical issues. And your stupid interpretation is just stupid.

      Your statement is as moronic as you are. Did you even understand what you typed, moron?

  3. thanks for your reply below, which i’m continuing up here. see? that wasnt hard, after 5 replies, you actually supplied the full quote and your interpretation. i knew after 2 days you’d attempt an argument.

    “”There are no conflicts of interests among rational men. . . A man’s ‘interests’ depend on the kind of goals he chooses to pursue, his choice of goals depends on his desires, his desires depend on his values — and, for a rational man, his values depend on the judgment of his mind. . . A rational man never holds a desire or pursues a goal which cannot be achieved directly or indirectly [i.e., by trading] by his own effort. . . He never seeks or desires the unearned. . . The mere fact that two men desire the same job does not constitute proof that either of them is entitled to it or deserves it, and that his interests are damaged if he does not obtain it.”

    ok, so rational men holds certain types of desires — the right kinds of desires, as rand explains.

    so values (rational values) and desires ARE linked. if your desires are wrong, your values are also wrong.

    its pretty clear in the writing, but rand contradicts herself when she says desires are not a “valid criterion”, when she herself says “A rational man NEVER (caps are mine) holds a desire or pursues a goal which cannot be achieved directly or indirectly”

    see the word NEVER? hence desires and goals are linked to rational values and hence, you may judge actions based on these values.

    hell, this blog post is about judging corrupt people — their desires– for not being rational! unless you disagree with rand herself? yikes!

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