It might be said that but for the heroic, unrewarded sacrifices of martyrs or the benefits conferred upon society by the fanatical zeal of social reformers who have been too rash to consult their own interests civilization would never have emerged and would soon disappear. There seems, however, to be no historical warrant for such a claim. Regardless of what one’s criteria of historical progress may be, one is almost forced to the conclusion that the martyr and the fanatic have done at least as much harm as good and that their influence has rarely, if ever, been historically decisive, since every cause has produced its own martyrs and fanatics. It was not, for instance, because there were so few martyrs or heroes that Naziism developed in Germany. The Nazis demonstrated a capacity for martyrdom and heroism which was probably not surpassed by that of the non-Nazis. It would seem rather that Naziism developed largely because the English and the French in 1917 and the Germans again in 1933 preferred the immediate pleasures of self-righteous indignation and revenge to the rational pursuit of their long-range self-interests.

(Robert G. Olson, “Ethical Egoism and Social Welfare,” Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 21 [June 1961]: 528-36, at 534-5)