Nietzsche on Altruism
The Gay Science 21
A persons virtues are called good if they serve the interests of the community, notwithstanding the fact that they may be bad for themselves. A virtue that fails to listen to instinct and reason has its victim firmly in its grasp. We are praised for our virtues because they are good not for us but for the community. Reason is shocked and the instinct for self-preservation horrified. Yet we are taught that virtue and our own self-interest are related! Blind, raging industriousness does create wealth and reap honours but not the ability to enjoy them- spending requires an even greater genius than to acquire. If this education succeeds then every virtue of an individual is a public utility. Consider the virtues of obedience, chastity, filial piety and justice. Praise of the selfless, self-sacrificed and virtuous didn't arise out of selflessness. The neighbour praises selflessness because it brings him advantages. If he was selfless in his thinking he would repudiate this mutilation for his benefit and above all by not calling it good. The morality of utilitarianism (its motive)- 'do what is good for society'- is refuted when it recommends altruism for its utility which means 'seek your own advantage'. It thus preaches in the same breath a 'thou shalt' and a 'thou shalt not'.