The fact that a man has no claim on others (i.e., that it is not their moral
duty to help him and that he cannot demand their help as his right) does not
preclude or prohibit good will among men and does not make it immoral to offer
or to accept voluntary, non-sacrificial assistance.
It is altruism that has corrupted and perverted human benevolence by regarding
the giver as an object of immolation, and the receiver as a helplessly
miserable object of pity who holds a mortgage on the lives of others—a
doctrine which is extremely offensive to both parties, leaving men no choice
but the roles of sacrificial victim or moral cannibal . . . .
To view the question in its proper perspective, one must begin by rejecting
altruism’s terms and all of its ugly emotional aftertaste—then take a fresh
look at human relationships. It is morally proper to accept help, when it is
offered, not as a moral duty, but as an act of good will and generosity, when
the giver can afford it (i.e., when it does not involve self-sacrifice on his
part), and when it is offered in response to the receiver’s virtues, not in
response to his flaws, weaknesses or moral failures, and not on the ground of
his need as such.