Pat Tillman Valued America over Materialism
Pat Tillman gave up a million dollar football contract to become an Army Ranger and fight in Afghanistan.
Some people commented that Pat was "selfless" and unmaterialistic because he was willing to give up so much to fight for America.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with being materialistic. What is wrong, however, is to value material things more than ethics, morals, and freedom. When a person gives up material things in order to keep or achieve their ethics, morals, values and freedom, it is indeed a great and noble thing. It's unfortunate that this is so rare that it's newsworthy when it happens.
An even more important sinister and ubiquitous misconception is that it is somehow good to be "selfless" and altruistic but bad and evil to be selfish. Nothing could be more ridiculous. In fact, nothing could be more evil than this philosophy if evil is defined as that which destroys and devalues human life. Selfish means having an interest in self. Being unselfish means having no interest in self. Part of being selfish is seeking happiness. A truly unselfish person would never seek their own happiness. If a woman were completely unselfish and completely altruistic, she would give her body to anybody that wanted it. Giving her body only to a person she chooses is a selfish act because she does it by her own choice for her own benefit. Would anybody suggest that it would be a good, noble act for a woman to give her body to anybody who wanted it? That is the meaning unselfish altruism.
For a person to be unselfish means that person does not value their own life and does not seek their own happiness. Being unselfish and altruistic means one must ignore their own life, goals and values and act according to "duty" or according to how someone else said they should act.
If everyone in the world was altruistic and unselfish, everyone would just sit still starving to death because no one would be seeking happiness. If everyone was unselfish, there would be no christians because the act of believing in Jesus is selfish - YOU believe in Jesus because YOU want to be saved for YOUR benefit! If everyone was unselfish there would be no families because parents would give away their child to any childless couple that asked.
The philosophy of altruistic unselfishness is absurd because if everyone followed it, no one would be seeking anything! It is evil because it destroys and devalues human life. It is like the solar system without gravity which would fall apart because the Earth wouldn't seek to draw the moon to itself. It is like matter without molecular forces which would fall apart because protons wouldn't seek to draw electrons.
The proper philosophy is objectivism as articulated by Ayn Rand. Everyone has the right to seek their own happiness as long as they don't interfere with the rights of others. This, in fact, is the proper definition of freedom. This is the way the solar system works with gravity. This is the way reality works. America was built on this principle and this is why America is the most successful country the world has ever seen. This is the nature of American Freedom that is worth fighting for.
So, when is it good and noble to be unselfish? NEVER! It is good and noble to value ethics and morality and freedom above material things and sometimes people confuse this with being unselfish.
After 9/11, the president tried to praise the firefighters in New York by referring to their "selfless" act of courage. The firemen were definitely heroic but they were not selfless! A person who is selfless does not value their own life at all. If a selfless person does not value their own life and gives up their life, what's so heroic about that? That's like saying a millionaire who throws away a single penny is a hero. The firemen in New York were heroes because they valued human life enough to risk their own attempting to save others.
The next time you hear a government official talking about a fallen soldier's SELFLESS act in dying for their country, think of a woman being "selfless" by giving her body to anybody who wants it and realize, the government official is confused and doesn't understand the soldier's death is noble because the soldier valued American freedom enough to risk his own life, NOT because the soldier had no interest in his own life.
Pay attention to how often someone in the media refers to a SELFLESS act. That's a good indicator of how common is this important misconception. Why is this important? Communism is based on this one single misconception! (the good of the one are not important, only the good of the many) Communism is just another form of dictatorship/slavery so this philosophical misconception has, in fact, enslaved millions of people around the world. The only way communists can sell their empty philosophy is to convince you that you do NOT have the right to pursue your own happiness or, at least, to make you feel guilty about pursuing your own happiness so that you will think there is something wrong with it. In other words, according to communism, if you pursue your own happiness you are being selfish and that is wrong so you must be unselfish and pursue the happiness of everyone EXCEPT yourself. Without this single misunderstanding of the concept of selfish/selfless, communism would disappear in a heartbeat and the world would be more free and happy.
Pat Tillman was a hero because he selfishly valued American freedom more than money and enough to risk his own life defending it. His values were well placed and he had the courage to risk his life fighting for his own values.