Altruism is not the absurd slavish caricature birthed from the sick imagination of Ayn Rand; Intelligently done, altruism benefits the altruist, it benefits the receiver, and it benefits the community.
It benefits the altruist in both the rewarding feeling of a good deed done and the possible return of the favor on some future occasion, either by those witnessing it or the receiver — you can’t gain if you don’t participate. Some such deeds, of course, may also involve tax-exemptions for your time and expense. Doing genuine good pays.
It benefits the receiver in obvious ways, specifics depending on the nature of the deed.
Finally, it benefits the community by placing less unnecessary strain on public resources, allowing members of the public to allocate more to areas not directly involved in matters of basic survival, like infrastructure, law enforcement, public works, emergency response services, but also funding for more and better educational institutions like schools, libraries and museums, to enable a more informed and capable public sphere, and in the long run, a more competent electorate.
Cynics will of course say that the last three are not essential, but for a functional democratic republic with reasonably well-informed voters, I say that’s nonsense. Dangerous nonsense.
Such a view speaks more of an unrealistically pessimistic view of people in general, and of the intellectual needs of the electorate in particular.
If you have uninformed and incompetent voters, they’re going to elect uninformed and incompetent candidates who will say and do uninformed and incompetent things once in office, and they have, and that’s never good, unless your goal is to turn the movie Idiocracy from a comedy into a documentary.