These platitudes pining for the old days are usually mouthed in regards to disgust with today's entitlement culture. But the quiet giving altruism of the good old days created the expected taking altruism of today. Had their not been "the good old days" there would be no modern entitlement mentality. It's only so long before Jimmy comes to expect that you must give him your bike or you are not being a "good person", and uses this knowledge to shame you into getting what he wants.
Indeed, systems of ethics, to the extent that they are divorced from reality (i.e., the requirements of the individual's survival) exist as mechanisms on control on human behavior. This control is used to become power over others. The classic, easy-to-understand example, is religion and the church. Like Jimmy, your witch-doctor uses moral ideas to shame you into action or inaction, until you learn to shame yourself. (As we saw recently with the man who fired his dental assistant for being too attractive, ideas about right and wrong inform our decisions, but if our ethical view is not congruent with reality, it stands to objectively harm us).
In his article "Chivalry vs. Altruism", Rollo Tomassi investigates the origins of chivalry. He states that,
"Chivalry is simply one of many ideologies that was subsumed by westernized romanticism. Chivalry also applied toward things such as not hitting a man while he wasn’t looking or attacking a blatantly undefendable, inferior or even a respected foe. It was originally intended as a code of etheics[sic] determined by the Roman Catholic church to control the otherwise lawless and violent natures of soldiers and knights who, understandably, had a tendency for brigandism in the middle ages.".
Let's call that "Chivalry 1.0". Rollo says that the modern narrative about "Chivalry" forgets these origins, instead inserting a creed high-jacked by what he calls "the feminine imperative":
"What passes for most people’s understanding of chivalry is actually a classic interpretation and bastardization of western romanticisim and the ideologies of ‘courtly love’, which ironically enough was also an effort by the women of the period intended to better control the men of the early and high Renaissance".
So the churches method of control on the knights became highjacked as control over men as a whole in the service of women.
But what is the feminized manifestation of chivalry, really? Chivalry 2.0 is simply the equally ugly sister of today's entitlement culture. Just like its sister, it resulted originally as (supposedly) well-intentioned altruism/control mechanism where people (men) were meant to make sacrifices and shut up about it (Chivalry 1.0), and soon the behavior that the sacrificers manifested became expected, predictable and unappreciated.
"Men need to be aware from the outset that any efforts they make will NOT be appreciated as being extraordinary. In the feminine centric reality, your sacrifices are a prescribed expectations and normalized – you’re supposed to ‘do the right thing’, and that right thing is always to promote the feminine imperative."
This is a compartmentalized view is no different than only seeing the sacrifices in the entitlement state while blanking out the causal connection to the "good old days". We cannot focus on one narrow manifestation of altruism apart from the rest of them.
Rollo goes on to accept self-sacrifice as a kind of biological imperative. It's not my intention to present an alternative standard of value to the examples he has provided, only to operate o the premise that altruism is evil.
These gender concepts of "feminine imperative" and "chivalry" are not the root of what is going on. There are simply the manifested narratives of the underlying morality which creates the conflicts. Chivalry was the particular manifestation, but altruism was the moral justification.
In an update to the older article "The Feminine Imperative, circa 1300", Rollo states on the topic of the transformation between Chivalry 1.0 and Chivalry 2.0
"However, as with most ‘well intentioned’ social contracts, what originated as a simplistic set of absolute rules was progressively distorted by countervailing influences as time, affluence and imperatives shifted and jockeyed for control."
At this point we know better, and can say that the other-sacrifice of Chivalry 2.0 is a logical, unavoidable consequence of Chivalry 1.0. It is not that "well-intentioned altruism" was "distorted" it is that altruism is doing what altruism does. As Ayn Rand would say, "Where there are sacrifices, there is someone collecting the sacrifices." And pretty soon, most of those people benefiting from the altruism will come to view the collection of those sacrifices as metaphysical, i.e., as default and omnipresent as oxygen, to the point where removing the sacrifices becomes in the same category of an existential threat as removing oxygen (cue Greece riots slideshow here).
So, there is no such thing as "Chivalry vs. Altruism", the second is the cause of the first. And the first has two forms: self-sacrifice (Chivalry 1.0) and other-sacrifice (Chivalry 2.0), in the same way that conservatives' "good old days" was a form of"self-sacrifice" and the entitlement state is the resultant "other sacrifice". Either way, it is all altruism and it is all bad for you.
Rollo often states, "women lack a fundamental capacity to appreciate the sacrifices Men must make in order to facilitate their feminine-centric reality" but the reality is that anyone who is stuck in an entitlement mentality lacks the capacity to appreciate the effort anyone else makes (or is forced to make) on their behest. Observe many modern welfare recipients. Whatever one wishes to make of the origins of the "feminine imperative", to the extent than men sanction altruism as a moral good, is the extent that they sponsor the feminine imperative.
You cannot rid yourself of the feminine imperative by maintaining altruism as a moral good. Altruism can never be rid of its particular manifestations because if it did, there would be nothing to sacrifice. There would be no strong to sacrifice to the weak. Particular interests have to make some group or another appear strong and privileged (whether true or not) in order to capitalize on the opportunity that altruism grants them and that they have been socialized to manipulate since birth; like little Jimmy demanding that you "share" with him --- and you do even though Jimmy is an entitled ass-hat, since mommy, daddy and the minister all framed a narrative that that's what "good people/insert moral label used to shame" do.