Sunday, February 10, 2013

Lincoln on selfish behavior

Lincoln believed that everything was an expression of self-interest and enjoyed discussions exploring the issue. During a long carriage ride with an academic friend, Lincoln ordered the coachman to stop, and upon so, leapt out and pulled a pig, stranded in the mud, out to wander, root, and pig more.

His acquaintance took this as the ultimate argument.

"See! There! A COMPLETELY selfless action!"

And, "There is NO WAY you benefited in any way from this pig's liberation. You did that for him alone. This is incontravertible evidence of the weakness of your argument!"

"Not at all," said The Railsplitter, implacably.

"That pig was in dire straits. I simply couldn't have lived with myself had I rolled on by."

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