This question along with the scenario I give below may seem judgmental, but that isn’t the intent. I’m just trying to get a better handle on Rand’s sense of ethics. I’m looking at #3 in a list found here.
“Man—every man—is an end in himself, not the means to the ends of others. He must exist for his own sake, neither sacrificing himself to others nor sacrificing others to himself. The pursuit of his own rational self-interest and of his own happiness is the highest moral purpose of his life.”
The notion of not sacrificing others to himself seems to be at odds with pursuit of one’s own happiness being the highest moral purpose in life.
I’m wondering how an Objectivist would analyze the following scenario:
I have to make a decision between A and B. Choice A will result in me earning $5 and in Bob being ruined (he loses everything, much more than $5). With choice B, nothing happens and no one’s happiness is affected.
I believe that the Objectivist would say that I should choose A. Given only what is presented in the scenario, the objective fact is that I am better off with A; and that is all that matters. However, I wonder if this would count as "sacrificing" Bob for my own benefit, referencing the quote above.
Would it be unethical for me to consider Bob’s happiness at all? What if I “let” my perception of Bob’s happiness affect my own through emotion? Would I be behaving unethically and need to get over it? What if I can’t help but be emotional about it? Does the Objectivist concede that emotion factors into my happiness and allow me to choose based on this?
I've actually asked a number of questions here, but the open-ended title question stands. I'm interested to know how the Objectivist would look at the scenario, especially as it relates to reconciling the potential sacrifice of Bob with maximizing my happiness.