My only allegiance is to ‘reason’. My only duty is to my own self-interest. My only obligation is to the pursuit of both with the least imposition upon my fellow man.
To break it down:
My only allegiance is to ‘reason’.
i.e. rationality, logic, common sense, objective fact. Should anyone suggest I should be a patriot to my country simply because I am a citizen, beholden to my race simply because of my genetics, faithful to my company simply because I work there to earn my living, an advocate of my gender simply because I have a penis, a proponent (of any type) of hunting simply because I prefer to harvest my own food whenever possible, a defender of my family simply because they are ‘blood’, etc – I say NO!
I support my country when my country allows me to be free and when my government is limited and serves the people it governs. I support my race because of it’s positive traditions and history. I support my company if my company behaves ethically and fulfills my needs to the same extent I fulfill theirs as agreed in my terms of employment. I support my gender when men behave as men should not simply how other men ‘expect’ them to behave. I support hunting when it is done with concern for the species harvested and the outdoors as a whole. I support my family because my family is true, moral and good (and I am not afraid to point out when I think they are straying from that path).
My only duty is to my own self-interest.
In short [rational] egoism (do not confuse this with ‘egotism’). I think ‘EVERYONE’ makes every decision or undertakes any course of action for maximum self-gain and/or minimal self-loss. Even the most avowed ‘altruist’ behaves thus due to some personal motive to be that way.
I assert that I have no ‘duty’ to fund an irresponsible government, support failing public programs, maintain employment with an unethical company and so on. This does not preclude being a good citizen, devoted family man, exemplary employee, charitable person, contributing community member, etc. You support and pursue those things because of the benefits you receive from all of the above or to avoid the consequences of not supporting them (in the case of funding irresponsible government for example, e.g. paying taxes under penalty of law) – self-interest!
My only obligation is to the pursuit of both with the least imposition upon my fellow man.
Given the first two statements, the only obligation I have is the pursuit of ‘common sense’, living my life as rationally as possible – and doing so in such a way as to have the least adverse impact upon anyone else. My own self-interest should not negatively impact the ability of anyone to achieve the same desired results, even if their pursuits are not completely rational or misguided through some perceived notion of altruistic motive. By the same token, I will also do my best to hold others to the same standard when it comes to imposing on my ability to pursue these things.
(a further elaboration on this and a comparison to Ayn Rand’s ‘Galt’s pledge’ can be found under My Axiom)