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Self-Interest

The idea of self-interest has played an extremely important role in theories and ideologies that advocate liberty. Advocates of freedom have frequently contended that liberty would benefit all people, thus claiming that it is to each person's benefit to enact policies that enhance freedom. In this way, they have appealed to the self-interest of their audience. Sometimes, however, they have appealed to the altruistic impulses of those whom they are addressing, arguing that they should embrace liberty because it is good for their neighbors. In that case, the argument is that one should support a free society because it is in one's neighbor's self-interest. For either sort of argument, the idea of self-interest is an important one and raises similar issues. In particular, it raises ...

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