Is it selfish to praise the selfless?

by phil on Wednesday May 6, 2009 11:56 AM

For example, we tell young people, "Join the Army, be a hero." Isn't that selfish on our part, to heap praise on people who risk themselves for the benefit of those who don't?

Being a fireman, policeman, or serviceman is inherently selfless because you're willing to risk your life for the good of others. But to encourage other people to be selfless seems to be selfish, almost embarrassing.

When my cousin came home from Iraq, and all our family was gathered around heaping attention on him, I felt guilty and bad for him. We were all basking in being connected to someone willing to give himself up for us. I just kept my mouth shut.

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