It’d amazing how being born in Russia and seeing the Leninist revolution can shape your world view.
Quote of Ayn Rand.
Defiance, not obedience, is the American’s answer to overbearing authority.
The majority of those who are loosely identified by the term ‘liberals’ are afraid to let themselves discover that what they advocate is statism. They want to keep all the advantages and effects of capitalism, while destroying the cause, and they want to establish statism without its necessary effects. They do not want to know or to admit that they are the champions of dictatorship and slavery.
Socialism is the doctrine that man has no right to exist for his own sake, that his life and his work do not belong to him, but belong to society, that the only justification of his existence is his service to society, and that society may dispose of him in any way it pleases for the sake of whatever it deems to be its own tribal, collective good.
The man who speaks to you of sacrifice, speaks of slaves and masters. And intends to be the master.
Economic power is exercised by means of a positive, by offering men a reward, an incentive, a payment, a value; political power is exercised by means of a negative, by the threat of punishment, injury, imprisonment, destruction. The businessman’s tool is values; the bureaucrat’s tool is fear.
Whoever claims the right to redistribute the wealth produced by others is claiming the right to treat human beings as chattel.
If you surrender everything to the government and give it total power to plan the whole economy, this will not guarantee your economic security, but it will guarantee the descent of the entire nation to a level of miserable poverty–as the practical results of every totalitarian economy, communist or fascist, have demonstrated.
There can be no compromise on basic principles. There can be no compromise on moral issues. There can be no compromise on matters of knowledge, of truth, of rational conviction.
The freedom of speech of private individuals includes the right to not agree, not to listen, and not to finance one’s own antagonists.
Individual rights are not subject to a public vote; a majority has no right to vote away the rights of a minority; the political function of rights is precisely to protect minorities from oppression by majorities, and the smallest minority on earth is the individual.
The source of the government’s authority is “the consent of the governed.” This means that the government is not the ruler, but the servant or agent of the citizens; it means that the government as such has no rights except the rights delegated to it by the citizens for a specific purpose.
We are fast approaching the stage of the ultimate inversion: the stage where the government is free to do anything it pleases, while the citizens may act only by permission; which is the stage of the darkest periods of human history, the stage of rule by brute force.
Since there is no such entity as ‘the public,’ since the public is merely a number of individuals, the idea that ‘the public interest’ supersedes private interests and rights can have but one meaning: that the interests and rights of some individuals take precedence over the interests and rights of others.
The government was set to protect man from criminals-and the constitution was written to protect man from the government. The Bill of Rights was not directed at private citizens, but against the government-as an explicit declaration that individual rights supersede any public or social power.
America’s founding ideal was the principle of individual rights. Nothing more-and nothing less. The rest-everything that America achieved, everything she became, everything ‘noble and just,’ and heroic, and great, and unprecedented in human history-was the logical consequence of fidelity to that one principle.
There can be no compromise between freedom and government controls; to accept ‘just a few controls’ is to surrender the principle of inalienable individual rights and to substitute for it the principle of the government’s unlimited, arbitrary power, thus delivering oneself into gradual enslavement. As an example of this process, observe the present domestic policy of the United States.
Capitalism has been called a system of greed—yet it is the system that raised the standard of living of its poorest citizens to heights no collectivist system has ever begun to equal, and no tribal gang can conceive of.
The difference between [socialism and fascism] is superficial and purely formal, but it is significant psychologically: it brings the authoritarian nature of a planned economy crudely into the open. The main characteristic of socialism (and of communism) is public ownership of the means of production, and, therefore, the abolition of private property. The right to property is the right of use and disposal. Under fascism, men retain the semblance or pretense of private property, but the government holds total power over its use and disposal.
America’s abundance was created not by public sacrifices to the common good, but by the productive genius of free men who pursued their own personal interests and the making of their own private fortunes. They did not starve the people to pay for America’s industrialization. They gave the people better jobs, higher wages, and cheaper goods with every new machine they invented, with every scientific discovery or technological advance- and thus the whole country was moving forward and profiting, not suffering, every step of the way.
Every movement that seeks to enslave a country, every dictatorship or potential dictatorship, needs some minority group as a scapegoat which it can blame for the nation’s troubles and use as a justification of its own demands for dictatorial powers. In Soviet Russia, the scapegoat was the bourgeoisie; in Nazi Germany, it was the Jewish people; in America, it is the businessmen.
The necessary consequence of man’s right to life is his right to self-defense. In a civilized society, force may be used only in retaliation and only against those who initiate its use. All the reasons which make the initiation of physical force an evil, make the retaliatory use of physical force a moral imperative. If some “pacifist” society renounced the retaliatory use of force, it would be left helplessly at the mercy of the first thug who decided to be immoral. Such a society would achieve the opposite of its intention: instead of abolishing evil, it would encourage and reward it.
There are only two means by which men can deal with one another: guns or logic. Force or persuasion. Those who know that they cannot win by means of logic, have always resorted to guns.
If a society is to be free, its government has to be controlled.
When it is established that government by right can take wealth from some and give it to others. When a society establishes criminals-by-right and looters-by-law, men will use force to seize the wealth of disarmed victims. Such looters believe it safe to rob defenseless men, once they have passed a law to disarm them. But their loot becomes the magnet for other looters, who get it from them as they got it. Then the race goes, not to the ablest at production, but to those most ruthless at brutality. When force is the standard, the murderer wins over the pickpocket.