Ayn Rand Quotes


There is nothing to take a man's freedom away from him, save other men. To be free, a man must be free of his brothers.
Volumes can be and have been written about the issue of freedom versus dictatorship, but, in essence, it comes down to a single question: do you consider it moral to treat men as sacrificial animals and to rule them by physical force?
The basic need of the creator is independence. The reasoning mind cannot work under any form of compulsion. It cannot be curbed, sacrificed or subordinated to any consideration whatsoever. It demands total independence in function and in motive. To a creator, all relations with men are secondary.
If you ask me to name the proudest distinction of Americans, I would choose- because it contains all the others- the fact that they were the people who created the phrase "to make money." No other language or nation had ever used these words before; men had always thought of wealth as a static quantity- to be seized, begged, inherited, shared, looted or obtained as a favor. Americans were the first to understand that wealth has to be created.
I can accept anything, except what seems to be the easiest for most people: the half-way, the almost, the just-about, the in-between.
To know one's own desires, their meaning and their costs requires the highest human virtue: rationality.
Thinking men cannot be ruled.
Individual rights are the means of subordinating society to moral law.
There can be no such thing, in law or in morality, as actions forbidden to an individual, but permitted to a mob.
The action required to sustain human life is primarily intellectual: everything man needs has to be discovered by his mind and produced by his effort.
The moral cannibalism of all hedonist and altruist doctrines lies in the premise that the happiness of one man necessitates the injury of another.
Unjust laws have to be fought ideologically; they cannot be fought or corrected by means of mere disobedience and futile martyrdom.
The right to agree with others is not a problem in any society; it is the right to disagree that is crucial. It is the institution of private property that protects and implements the right to disagree...
When personal judgement is inoperative (or forbidden), men's first concern is not how to choose, but how to justify their choice.
The smallest minority on earth is the individual. Those who deny individual rights, cannot claim to be defenders of minorities.
A crime is the violation of the right(s) of other men by force (or fraud). It is only the initiation of physical force against others- i.e., the recourse to violence- that can be classified as a crime in a free society (as distinguished from a civil wrong). Ideas, in a free society, are not a crime- and neither can they serve as the justification of a crime.
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).
To deal with men by force is as impractical as to deal with nature by persuasion.
Businessmen are the one group that distinguishes capitalism and the American way of life from the totalitarian statism that is swallowing the rest of the world. All the other social groups- workers, farmers, professional men, scientists, soldiers- exist under dictatorships, even though they exist in chains, in terror, in misery, and in progressive self-destruction. But there is no such group as businessmen under a dictatorship. Their place is taken by armed thugs: by bureaucrats and commissars. Businessmen are the symbol of a free society- the symbol of America.
No concept man forms is valid unless he integrates it without contradiction into the sum of his knowledge.
To arrive at a contradiction is to confess an error in one's thinking; to maintain a contradiction is to abdicate one's mind and to evict oneself from the realm of reality.
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.
There's no way to rule innocent men. The only power government has is the power to crack down on criminals. 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.
The Constitution is a limitation on the government, not on private individuals --- it does not prescirbe the conduct of private individuals, only the conduct of the government --- it is not a charter for government power, but a charter of the Citizens' protection against the government.
Power-lust is a weed that grows only in the vacant lot of an empty mind.
Man's character is the product of his premises.
To fear to face an issue is to believe the worst is true.
Even if smog were a risk to human life, we must remember that life in nature, without technology, is wholesale death.
Aristotle may be regarded as the cultural barometer of Western history. Whenever his influence dominated the scene, it paved the way for one of history's brilliant eras; whenever it fell, so did mankind.

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