Thomism, Happiness, and Selfishness

Thomistica.net in a post on Republican VP candidate Paul Ryan’s much ridiculed claim to be a follower of St Thomas Aquinas rather than Ayn Rand has linked to an article pointing out that Ayn Rand herself was an admire of the Angelic Doctor. It seems that she admired his epistemology mostly. I haven’t read much Rand, but as far as I can tell her ethics bear a resemblance to a certain influential, though disastrously  wrong, interpretation of St Thomas and Aristotle. Take this passage of “The Objectivist Ethics“:

The basic social principle of the Objectivist ethics is that just as life is an end in itself, so every living human being is an end in himself, not the means to the ends or the welfare of others—and, therefore, that man must live for his own sake, neither sacrificing himself to others nor sacrificing others to himself. To live for his own sake means that the achievement of his own happiness is man’s highest moral purpose.

This does actually look a bit like certain readings of Aristotelian-Thomist eudaimonism. My father recently pointed me to the following passage from Luther’s Heidelberg Disputation: Continue reading