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A Proper Definition for Sacrifice

Sacrifice is the surrender of a higher value for that of a lesser value or non-value.

To save money to achieve financial freedom is not a sacrifice.

To feed your child at the expense of your own hungry stomach is not a sacrifice.

Freedom > Short-term pleasure and your child’s life > your hunger in the hierarchy of values. Therefore to “sacrifice” the lower value for the higher value is not a sacrifice at all. To spend frivilously at the expense of your future would be a sacrifice. To let your child starve to death so that you may feel satiated would be a sacrifice.

The Morality of Sacrifice

By the definition above, sacrifice is a universally poor decision. There is no case in which a higher value can be sacrificed for a lower value and that be a good thing. The only exceptions are contextual,  usually under threat of force, fraud, or coercion. Exceptions prove the rule.

So, with that in mind, let’s read a little more from John Galt’s Speech in Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged. This passage pertains to the moral axioms of sacrifice that political systems like Socialism and Communism are built upon.

    “Under a morality of sacrifice, the first value you sacrifice is morality; the next is self-esteem.

When need is the standard, every man is both victim and parasite.

As a victim, he must labor to fill the needs of others, leaving himself in the position of a parasite whose needs must be filled by others.

He cannot approach his fellow men except in one of two disgraceful roles: he is both a beggar and a sucker.


You fear the man who has a dollar less than you, that dollar is rightfully his, he makes you feel like a moral defrauder.

You hate the man who has a dollar more than you, that dollar is rightfully yours, he makes you feel that you are morally defrauded.

The man below is a source of your guilt, the man above is a source of your frustration.

You do not know what to surrender or demand, when to give and when to grab, what pleasure in life is rightfully yours and what debt is still unpaid to others—you struggle to evade, as ‘theory,’ the knowledge that by the moral standard you’ve accepted you are guilty every moment of your life, there is no mouthful of food you swallow that is not needed by someone somewhere on earth—and you give up the problem in blind resentment, you conclude that moral perfection is not to be achieved or desired, that you will muddle through by snatching as snatch can and by avoiding the eyes of the young, of those who look at you as if self-esteem were possible and they expected you to have it.

Guilt is all that you retain within your soul—and so does every other man, as he goes past, avoiding your eyes. Do you wonder why your morality has not achieved brotherhood on earth or the good will of man to man?


“The justification of sacrifice, that your morality propounds, is more corrupt than the corruption it purports to justify. The motive of your sacrifice, it tells you, should be lovethe love you ought to feel for every man. A morality that professes the belief that the values of the spirit are more precious than matter, a morality that teaches you to scorn a whore who gives her body indiscriminately to all men—this same morality demands that you surrender your soul to promiscuous love for all comers.

The Self-Contradictory Nature of Socialism

If I am wealthy, my wealth must be stolen from my to redistribute to the poor. My wealth must be continually taxed until I am no longer wealthy, and the magical state of “Equity” – equality of outcomes – is achieved.

Simultaneously, those who are “less privileged” than I are each given a portion of my wealth. If they start at zero, they achieve one, then two, then three. Their wealth grows, at the expense of my wealth. And if I am very wealthy, my wealth is used to “help” lift many unfortunates out of the state of having zero wealth.

Here’s the problem: once they have more than zero wealth, they owe that wealth to someone else with zero wealth.

It is unfair and unjust, by the sacrificial standard of morality underpinning socialism, for someone to have more than someone else. Equality of outcome is the end-goal of equity doctrine. And that means that everyone must have the same amount of wealth, regardless of where you started on the spectrum.

This moral standard can not be universalized, because I can not exist in a state of simultaneously being owed money and owing money – solely for the nature of my wealth status. It is the exact same as stealing and being stolen from simultaneously. Said differently, it’s a shitty self-contradictory moral standard made to exploit people.

Good moral standards are universal. They are not situation-specific or contexual. That’s why “do not murder, steal, and rape” are excellent moral benchmarks held by virtually all successful societies across all of human history in every continent.