What Do You Call a Self-Respecting, Self-Supporting Man?
“There is a fundamental moral difference between a man who sees his self-interest in production and a man who sees it in robbery. The evil of a robber does not lie in the fact that he pursues his own interests, but in what he regards as to his own interest; not in the fact that he pursues his values, but in what he chose to value; not in the fact that he wants to live, but in the fact that he wants to live on a subhuman level (see ‘The Objectivist Ethics’).
“If it is true that what I mean by ‘selfishness’ is not what is meant conventionally, then this is one of the worst indictments of altruism: it means that altruism permits no concept of a self-respecting, self-supporting man — a man who supports his life by his own effort and neither sacrifices himself nor others. It means that altruism permits no view of men except as sacrificial animals and profiteers-on-sacrifice, as victims and parasites — that it permits no concept of a benevolent co-existence among men — that it permits no concept of justice.” – Ayn Rand, “Introduction,” The Virtue of Selfishness