Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Why I object to putting America first

I object to Trump’s campaign slogan and post-election efforts to “put America first” for two reasons.
Firstly, trying to “put America first” is ultimately self-defeating behavior similar to an egocentric’s efforts to put him/herself first. As I have repeatedly explained in Ethical Musings posts, no person is an island. Our individual welfare depends upon assistance from other people. Therefore, reciprocal altruism and not self-serving behaviors best describe human behavior, regardless of any dissent by selfish gene proponents. The survival of the fittest, for humans, requires not only personal but also interpersonal competencies. Theological ethics express this idea in the various formulations of the Golden Rule, e.g., love others as you love yourself.
Similarly, as globalism inexorably expands until one day it will touch every aspect of our existence, larger human communities, such as nations, will maximally thrive only by practicing reciprocal altruism. In other word, win-win will ultimately replace win-lose in geopolitics. Trump’s America first is a throwback to win-lose and therefore has no long-term viability or future.
What’s best for America is to try to balance US interests equitably with the interests of other nation states instead of putting America first.

Secondly, Trump’s slogan is blatantly dishonest. His executive actions, legislative proposals, and tweets consistently put only select Americans first: the wealthy, the healthy, the military, and those alive today (not future generations who will have to deal with the consequences of global warming and pollution). America consists not only of the people Trump likes and favors but also of those he apparently dislikes and treats unfavorably: the poor, the ill, globalists, future generations, immigrants, and many others. Genuinely putting America first requires treating all Americans equally, thereby emulating the living God.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Actually, our individual welfare depends on cooperation with other individuals.
There is a difference between cooperation and the coercion that drives the welfare state.

As for the ruling class, they are all disasters. Read Chapter 10 in Hayek's The Road to Serfdom.

George Clifford said...

Reciprocal altruism denotes cooperation between individuals. The welfare state rightly employs coercion to ensure cooperation. Otherwise, not everyone would cooperate and the community as a whole would be worse off.