good for the public interest, essentialnto the nation’s securitv. etc. Or when anbook like Robert Ringer’s Looking OutnFor Number I becomes popular, it isneither dismissed or regarded to be unworthyn01 serious comment, despite thenfact that it does run against many ofnthe precepts of the prominent moralnoutlook.nIn the present United States, for example,nthere prevails essentially twonmoral currents. One is altruism—thenview that everyone’s primary duty isnto help others, especially the needy.nThe other is nihilism —the view thatnvalues do not matter, that nothing isnreallv worth anvthing other than hownone happens to feel about it. And innboth cases we find that the enemv isnhuman happiness. The irony is morenof a tragedy. The nation built on thenidea that everyone has the natural rightnto pursue his or her happiness is rulednby the moral imperative that others’nhappiness is what we ought to pursuenor by the denial that anything ought tonbe pursued at all.nPerhaps the second prominent viewnon morality, namely nihilism, can benexplained as a result of the hopelessnessnof the first. If one is constantly told thatnone’s duty in life is to live for othernpeople, but in tact one lust cannot livenwith that principle as one’s standard,none will either have to change the principlenor give up morality completely.nThose who have been most harshlv assaultednwith the altruistic outlook havenbeen the members of the business community.nThey have worked hardest tonproduce, to seek profit, to achieve valuesnthat are obviously and widely desired.nSo they are the people who have beennpreached to about their duty to thenworld, to the needy, to the poor, to thenhelpless, etc. From the Right and fromnthe Left, the bourgeoisie has been denounced.nBoth Charles Baudelaire andnKarl Marx thought business was vile.nThe former believed that “Commercenis Satanic, because it is the basest andnvilest form of egoism.” the latter heldnthat “it has resolved personal worthnM)lnChronicles of Culturenmto exchansje value. ‘nWith this kind of haranuue atjainstnthem, the members oi the businessncommunity and those who studv it.neconomists, have turned their backs onnmorality. Economists claim that all ofnus are simply ruled bv private interest.nThere is really nothing else but ournpersonal preference that accounts fornour behavior. As Milton Friedman putnit recently. “The great Saints ot historynhave served their private interest’ justnas the most money-grubbing miser hasnserved his interest. The private interestnis whatever it is that drives an xni^i-n'(ludi” !Encou7iter. 11,76). Thus,nwhether the moralizers and moral philosophersnwho support the altruisticndoctrines are really correct, it is notnsurprising that those involved in businessnand most economists simply regardnmorality as meaningless. If science tellsnus that we are all moved bv self-interest,nwell then moralizing has no impactnanyway. The explanation for this faultynreasoning could well be the cynicismnthat comes from having tried to livenby an impossible moral code.nFor that is what altruism is. Thenview doesn’t just claim that there isnvirtue in kindness and generosity butnthat charity is the first virtue we mustnpractice. But that is absurd. For if thisnwere true, not even those being helpedncould accept the help. iMankind wouldnhave to be a never-ending daisy chainnof self-sacrifice. No one would be aidednif altruism were true and consistentlynimplemented. It is not even an impossiblenideal but an impossible nightmare.nThe truth is that human beingsnneed a morality that can make livingngood and possible. This morality wouldninvolve a substantial dose of self-interest.nBut the self-interest would differnfrom what many take it to be—sheerncallousness, “selfishness” which emphasizesnthrills and “quicky” pleasures.nYet pleasures and well-being would benpart of this morality. Indeed we shouldnseek these, in moderation.nMost important, however, to humannnnlife would turn out to be the pursuitnof happiness. .nd this would come tonpursuing those goals that are propernfor any human beina—e.^.. success innone’s family life, career, and other generalnventures —and for the individual —n(•.t;.. teachint; for those so inclined,ntennis for those with this talent, andnbusiness with those aood at this profession.nThere need be no fear that murdernor cruelty can be personal goals becausenthese violate general human virtues —ne.g., honesty, productivity, and thenrespect for everyone’s rights as a humannbeing.nThis IS a moral code in which pursuingnhealth and personal welfare isnconsidered not just tolerable but imperative.nIt would back up those whonwant to maize it in life, to succeed,nto profit.nBut the likelihood of this moralitynbecoming prominent soon is miniscule.nToo many people like to live off thensweat and labor of others, especiallynamong those who are in the businessnof talking about morality, of writing onnethics and how people should live theirnlives. Nevertheless, it is imperativenthat a morality that encourages humannsuccess and survival, as opposed to onenpreaching constant self-sacrifice, becomesnthe main current in our moralnclimate. Evading it for much longernwill produce just the results that cannbe expected, namely, the sacrifice ofnthe best in all of us. our concern withnsuccess as human beings. DnMolnar Revisitednby Paul GottfriednFor most conservatives, the Biblicalnstory of the Fall contains an existentialntruth, a recognition of basic human limitation.nFor Thomas Molnar. a Catholicnphilosopher, the Fall is something tonbe affirmed in two senses: as an histori-nDr. Gottfried is a historian at RockfordnCollege.n