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Ethics of Emergencies

According to Ayn Rand, people should volunteer to help strangersonly during emergencies. The term emergency according to Rand refersto situations such as drowning, earthquake, and fire outbreak amongothers. According to Rand, the moral purpose of life is to achieveone`s own happiness (Rand &amp Branden, 2005). Helping otherindividuals in normal situations involves foregoing own interestswhich are against life purpose. The rational principle of life thatall people should emulate according to Rand’s theory is to actaccording to the hierarchy of their values. If all people couldsatisfy their values before intervening in other people’s affairs,the world should be very rational. If an individual sacrifices forother people’s benefit, this is neither admirable nor morallyrequired. In fact, sacrificing for other people’s benefit islimiting chances of personal happiness. Rand argues that the rulesand principles of morality are different depending on the prevailingsituation. The rules of morality applied during emergencies aredifferent from the ones applied during normal situations.

In today’s moral environment, it is hard to follow and implementRand’s theory. First, her definition of the term emergency refersto a circumstance where a person is faced with conflicting interestssuch that the choice of one interest means foregoing the next bestoption. In reality, rarely individuals are faced with such situationsand emergencies are not all about conflicting interests. The currentmoral environment calls for assisting the less fortunate in thesociety as opposed to Rand’s theory (Gladstein, 2013). According tothis theory, an individual is not obligated to give poor person moneybecause the cause of the problem is not an emergency. Rand arguesthat people are not responsible for other people’s problems unlessit is an emergency. If an individual is facing a problem due to anemergency as tsunami or earthquakes, then people are obligated toassist such a person because the cause was not anticipated.

Personal values and ethics require the privileged in the society toassist the underprivileged one. Ayn Rand contradicts the concept ofcharity and good will toward other people by stating that, a personwill be sacrificing his own interests by helping others. Ayn Randasserted that one should sacrifice his own interest at the expense ofothers during the emergencies only. Rand defined emergency as thecircumstances that meet people without their expectation (Rand et al,1999). In the contemporary world, there are people who are lessadvantaged, not because of emergencies, but because of differentcircumstance such as physical handicap. Disregarding this people isgoing against the moral principle where everyone is supposed to takecare of the other.

Contemporary culture and moral values advocates for selfless spirit.Rand concepts embellished selfishness where a person only assistsanother during the extreme circumstance. She espoused that assistingother under normal circumstances shows one`s low self-esteem, anddisregard for others by considering them as beggars. Moral valuesadvocate for a society that is non-individualistic and non-egocentric (Rand &amp Branden, 2005). When one is assisting others,they show their care and regard for their plight. In situations likewhen one needs support to start a particular project, it will bemorally upright to render a helping hand. A person should not helpothers only during emergencies but during all the time when they arein a position to help. In the contemporary world, the concepts ofRand lack a place in the society (Gladstein, 2013). Rand`s conceptslack a place in the modern society because people need support inmany situations. In conclusion, Ayn Rand concepts on ethics ofemergencies contravene the human morality, virtues and values.


Gladstein, M. (2013). Ayn Rand. London: Bloomsbury Publishing.

Rand, A. &amp Branden, N. (2005). The virtue of selfishness a newconcept of egoism. New York: Signet/New American Library.

Rand, A., Hull, G. &amp Peikoff, L. (1999). The Ayn Rand reader.New York: Plume.