Ayn Rand (1905-1982), a Russian-American philosopher, novelist, screenwriter and playwright, is well known for her philosophical novels “The Fountainhead” and “Atlas Shrugged”. She created a philosophical system she described as “Objectivism”.
Ayn Rand was born in Russia. In 1926, she moved to the U.S. and worked in Hollywood as a screenwriter. Her early novels weren’t successful, but “The Fountainhead” (1943) made a great success. Fourteen years later, another great novel, “Atlas Shrugged”, was published. According to Rand, the only way to acquire knowledge is to use reason. She rejected religious dogmas and supported rational egoism. Rand opposed statism and collectivism in politics and supported laissez-faire as the only system that could protect individual rights.
Ayn Rand Quotes
Individualism regards man — every man — as an independent, sovereign entity who possesses an inalienable right to his own life, a right derived from his nature as a rational being. Individualism holds that a civilized society, or any form of association, cooperation or peaceful co-existence among men, can be achieved only on the basis of the recognition of individual rights — and that a group, as such, has no rights other than the individual rights of its members.
Do not consider Collectivists as “sincere but deluded idealists”. The proposal to enslave some men for the sake of others is not an ideal; brutality is not “idealistic,” no matter what its purpose. Do not ever say that the desire to “do good” by force is a good motive. Neither power-lust nor stupidity are good motives.
Run for your life from any man who tells you that money is evil. That sentence is the leper’s bell of an approaching looter.
The evil of the world is made possible by nothing but the sanction [that] you give it.
All you have to do is look straight and see the road, and when you see it, don’t sit looking at it – walk.
When unlimited and unrestricted by individual rights, a government is men’s deadliest enemy.
Racism is the lowest, most crudely primitive form of collectivism. It is the notion of ascribing moral, social or political significance to a man’s genetic lineage -the notion that a man’s intellectual and characterological traits are produced and transmitted by his internal body chemistry. Which means, in practice, that a man is to be judged, not by his own character and actions, but by the characters and actions of a collective of ancestors. Racism claims that the content of a man’s mind (not his cognitive apparatus, but its content) is inherited; that a man’s convictions, values and character are determined before he is born, by physical factors beyond his control. This is the caveman’s version of the doctrine of innate ideas-or of inherited knowledge – which has been thoroughly refuted by philosophy and science. Racism is a doctrine of, by and for brutes. It is a barnyard or stock-farm version of collectivism, appropriate to a mentality that differentiates between various breeds of animals, but not between animals and men. Like every form of determinism, racism invalidates the specific attribute which distinguishes man from all other living species: his rational faculty. Racism negates two aspects of man’s life: reason and choice, or mind and morality, replacing them with chemical predestination.
Either we believe that the State exists to serve the individual or that the individual exists to serve the state.
The question isn’t who is going to let me, it’s who is going to stop me.
[The Constitution] is not a charter for government power, but a charter of the citizens’ protection against the government.
Man-every man-is an end in himself, not a means to the ends of others; he must live for his own sake, neither sacrificing himself to others nor sacrificing others to himself; he must work for his rational self-interest, with the achievement of his own happiness as the highest moral purpose of his life.
Honor is self-esteem made visible in action.
Socialism has been tried on every continent of the globe. In light of its results, it is time to question the motives of [its] advocates.
There is no such dichotomy as “human rights” versus “property rights.” No human rights can exist without property rights.
There’s no way to rule innocent men. The only power government has is the power to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren’t enough criminals, one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws.
Throughout the centuries there were men who took first steps down new roads armed with nothing but their own vision.
In any compromise between good and evil, it is only evil that can profit.
All life is a purposeful struggle, and your only choice is the choice of a goal.
The most depraved type of human being . . . (is) the man without a purpose.
If a man is compelled to work against his will for one minute or one second, for any cause- whatsoever – that is involuntary servitude.
Just as man can’t exist without his body, so no rights can exist without the right to translate one’s rights into reality, to think, to work and keep the results, which means: the right of property.
The government was set to protect man from criminals – and the Constitution was written to protect man from the government.
A man who struggles not to acknowledge that evil is evil, finds it increasingly dangerous to acknowledge that the good is the good.
It is the metaphysically given that must be accepted: it cannot be changed. It is the man-made that must never be accepted uncritically: it must be judged, then accepted or rejected and changed when necessary.
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 only purpose of education is to teach a student how to live his life – by developing his mind and equipping him to deal with reality… He has to be taught the essentials of the knowledge discovered in the past and he has to be equipped to acquire further knowledge by his own effort.
Capitalism demands the best of every man – his rationality – and rewards him accordingly. It leaves every man free to choose the work he likes, to specialize in it, to trade his product for the products of others, and to go as far on the road of achievement as his ability and ambition will carry him.
If a society is to remain free, its government must be controlled.
The ladder of success is best climbed by stepping on the rungs of opportunity.
No man can expect to be an innovator and, simultaneously, expect to find a ready-made audience sharing-the values he has not yet produced.
There is only one antidote to racism: the philosophy of individualism and its politico-economic corollary, laissez-faire capitalism.
There is a level of cowardice lower than that of the conformist: the fashionable non-conformist.
The question isn’t who is going to let me; it’s who is going to stop me.
Moral cowardice is fear of upholding the good because it is good, and fear of opposing the evil because it is evil.
There are two sides to every issue: one side is right and the other is wrong, but the middle is always evil.
An undefinable law is not a law, but merely a license for some men to rule others.
Wealth is the product of man’s capacity to think.
The moral justification of capitalism lies in the fact that it is the only system consonant with man’s rational nature.
The purpose of morality is to teach you, not to suffer and die, but to enjoy yourself and live.
All depressions are caused by government interference and the cure is always offered to take more of the poison that caused the disaster. Depressions are not the result of a free economy.
There are two potential violators of man’s rights: the criminals and the government.
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.
There is only one standard of justice in the field of economics: the verdict of a free market.
Whoever claims the right to redistribute the wealth produced by others is claiming the right to treat human beings as chattel.
Pity for the guilty is treason against the innocent.
The precondition of a civilized society is the barring of physical force from social relationships. … In a civilized society, force may be used only in retaliation and only against those who initiate its use.
Every aspect of Western culture needs a new code of ethics – a rational ethics – as a precondition of rebirth.
What you owe yourself is to work for your living; what you owe your neighbor is not to interfere with his work.
A free market is a continuous process that cannot be held still, an upward process that demands the best (the most rational) of every man and rewards him accordingly.
Everyone has the right to make his own decisions, but none has the right to force his decision on others.
Anyone who fights for the Future lives in it today.
America’s abundance was not created 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.
[The right to property] is not the right to an object, but to the action and the consequences of producing or earning that object.
The precondition of a civilized society is the barring of physical force from social relationships.
A government is the most dangerous threat to man’s rights: it holds a legal monopoly on the use of physical force against legally disarmed victims.
The worst guilt is to accept an unearned guilt.
The man who does not value himself, cannot value anything or anyone.
Capitalism is the only system that can make freedom, individuality, and the pursuit of values possible in practice.
Money demands that you sell, not your weakness to men’s stupidity, but your talent to their reason.
Productive work is the central purpose of a rational man’s life, the central value that integrates and determines the hierarchy of all his other values. Reason is the source, the precondition of his productive work – pride is the result.
Achieving life is not the equivalent of avoiding death.
Government “help” to business is just as disastrous as government persecution… the only way a government can be of service to national prosperity is by keeping its hands off.
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 freedom of speech of private individuals includes the right not to agree, not to listen and not to finance one’s own antagonists.
There can be no such thing, in law or in morality, as actions forbidden to an individual, but permitted to a mob.
Money is the material shape of the principle that men who wish to deal with one another must deal by trade and give value for value.
The problem is not those who dream, but those who can only dream.
Every government interference in the economy consists of giving an unearned benefit, extorted by force, to some men at the expense of others.
Individual rights are the means of subordinating society to moral law.
Every major horror of history was committed in the name of an altruistic motive.
Indiscriminate tolerance and indiscriminate condemnation are not two opposites: they are two variants of the same evasion.
Man’s motive power is his moral code.
[Lobbying] is the result and creation of a mixed economy-of government by pressure groups.
Money is only a tool. It will take you wherever you wish, but it will not replace you as the driver.
Show me your achievement – and the knowledge will give me courage for mine.
Living in a society, instead of on a desert island, does not relieve a man of the responsibility of supporting his own life.
If any civilization is to survive, it is the morality of altruism that men have to reject.
Civilization is the progress toward a society of privacy. The savage’s whole existence is public, ruled by the laws of his tribe. Civilization is the process of setting man free from men.
That which is outside the possibility of choice is also outside the province of morality.