america is built on everybody acting in their enlightened self interest"
"Enlightened self-interest" has a specific meaning:
"behavior based on awareness that what is in the public interest is eventually in the interest of all individuals and groups"
"a philosophy in ethics which states that persons who act to further the interests of others (or the interests of the group or groups to which they belong), ultimately serve their own self-interest.t has often been simply expressed by the belief that an individual, group, or even a commercial entity will "do well by doing good""
What you're advocating is the exact opposite, UNENLIGHTENED self-interest - acting directly for your own individual benefit without concern of the impacts on others. THAT is what America is founded upon.
If you're ignorant of the definition and are just using "enlightened" as a general adjective, you're actually claiming that America is built on self-interest that is "factually well-informed, tolerant of alternative opinions, and guided by rational thought"? Not in this universe.
if you have two autonomous cars and both act in self interest, it is probably the best way to minimize a crash.
...with each other, and even then, that's such a big "maybe" that it's almost not worth responding to. That also depends on what you consider a "crash": the event of hitting something at all? Is it categorized by risk to the driver? Passengers? Others? How is it weighted? You can, by definition, "minimize a crash" while increasing the number and severity of human casualties. Humans are what are important, end of story.
similarly if you have one autonomous and one non-autonomous car, the driver in the non-autonomous car will act in his self-interest anyway.
You have no idea what any individual's sense of "self-interest" is. My conscious and reflexive desire may be the preservation of others at my own risk, especially if I've created the risk, or based on factors that autonomous control systems simply have no clue about because of their limited situational awareness. It's not only nihilistic to make that sort of claim, it's patently false.
Being a driver today means accepting responsibility, but you're inverting that to mean having an inherent right to minimize injury to yourself regardless of circumstances. What if you don't maintain your car properly, and the maintenance issue leads to a failure that precipitates a crash? What if you're driving the car manually and switch to autonomous mode after the precipitating conditions for a crash are already met? Who is liable? And more importantly, what are the human consequences? The answer is not only much more difficult than you're making it out to be, but your line of reasoning itself is puerile, and based on "unenlightened self-interest".