Selfish ideologies are correlated with selfish behavior, or encourage it. It may be possible to quantify the degree of selfish conduct encouraged by an ideology. A name for this quantity could be the "selfish metric."
Characteristics of selfish ideologies include:
- reduced donations to charity, as a percentage of wealth or in absolute terms
- disproportionately large spending of taxes paid by others
- lack of charitable group activities, such as building hospitals, volunteering to teach, raising children (including adoptive and foster), and helping the less fortunate
- imposition of the self-interested desires of a few on a larger group in a manner that interferes with their enjoyment or values, as in a heckler's veto
- encouragement of self-centered, destructive behavior that causes harm to society or others
- inability or unwillingness to look objectively at oneself as the Prodigal Son did at his defining moment
The first two points are easily quantifiable. The third and fourth points can also quantified, though less easily so.
There are almost no atheist charitable organizations, and far fewer than religious charities. There are no atheist hospitals, for example. Atheists donate to charity at far lower rate than Christians.
Nations that become more atheistic have fewer donations to charitable causes. Canadians, for example, donate to charity at a far lower rate than Americans, who tend to be more religious.
Both in theory and in practice, the libertarian ideology allows or even encourages selfishness regardless of what economists describe as negative externalities (negative effects on others). For example, libertarians typically favor legalizing drugs, even though harmful effects of drug addiction can hurt others through an increase in driving accidents, higher health care costs, and even murders.
Ayn Rand, the leading libertarian philosopher of the 20th century, wrote a book entitled "The Virtue of Selfishness." She gave a commencement address at West Point during which she "explained" to the cadets how they were motivated by their selfishness to serve their nation, and how selfishness is a good thing.