Altruism is a particular form of self-sacrifice that goes beyond just giving. If giving were the only criteria, some of America’s most successful CEOs would be considered highly altruistic. In fact, altruism is rooted in selfless sacrifice. The idea that one can exchange something of no value when the opportunity exists to gain something of more value.

When people trade value, they aren’t just giving something up. When someone achieves something, and then offers it, they are going against their own will. Human nature is selfish, so selflessness is denying our natural order.

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Altruism is rooted in an idea that goes firmly against capitalism, and even some forms of naturalism and rationalism. Money is not a moral object, nor is it a moral signal. Money exists as a method to facilitate exchange. Thus, a mortgage cannot be considered immoral any more than a friend asking for repayment on a small personal loan.

Altruism is also a false concept. If we were to go against our nature of self-preservation and live for others, as altruism calls for, we would surely die in a matter of days.

Altruism has been given many justifications, but it is a wealthy person’s desire to do with his wealth as he sees fit. There are many wealthy people who pledge to devote 10% of their incomes to charity, others who provide higher wages to their employees, and others that provide additional benefits. These are altruistic concepts but they are not purely altruistic.

Contemplating the meaning of sacrifice, in respect to our own impulses, will help frame our acts and give us greater understanding of how our choices impact the world.