I believe that tradition can be formative, but does not have to be. Conscience dwells in man as an innate nature. It is only when there has been a conditioning that has diminished or humiliated another where conscience can be deadened. A deadened conscience can be a reactive response to a lack of acknowledgement. Humans want to be affirmed, as they are social beings, and not just physical beings.
Nazism arose as a reaction to the humiliation of the German nation, after WWI. according to some historians. Hitler's rise to power was the "need" of the German population to have a sense of identity and pride in thier nation. Nationalism was borne on the heels of revenge.
I believe because we are self=identifying individuals, that we must become aware of what our identifiers are and seek negotiation with those that have different identifiying factors. This is in the interest of both parties. I do not believe that self interest is wrong or bad, it just is, and it should be, because without a "self" there is no way of protecting against another taking advantage of the other.
So, recognizing our self=interest, being honest about our values and commitments, and then proceeding to make negotiations when it regards one's public life, is the epitome of freedom.
Altruism, on the other hand, is a scientific undertaking, these days. Scientists want to provide peace and are seeking to understand and/or train people into altruistic goals or purposes. To do this, many think that religion is useful. People that identify with religion usually have poor self development or self esteem or they have been taught that it is selfish to seek self interest. These are pawns in the hands of the unscrupulous. This is when America's laws should provide protection from such"preying hands".
If anyone tells you that they are seeking to "turn your eyes outward", instead of "inward" (as Luther termed "sin"), then run and take an interest in yourself. Otherwise, you will become someone else's training ground.....