When man learns to understand and control his own behavior as well as he is learning to understand and control the behavior of crop plants and domestic animals, he may be justified in believing that he has become civilized.
Love is the expression of one's values, the greatest reward you can earn for the moral qualities you have achieved in your character and person, the emotional price paid by one man for the joy he receives from the virtues of another.
Achievement of your happiness is the only moral purpose of your life, and that happiness, not pain or mindless self-indulgence, is the proof of your moral integrity, since it is the proof and the result of your loyalty to the achievement of your values.
It only stands to reason that where there's sacrifice, there's someone collecting the sacrificial offerings. Where there's service, there is someone being served. The man who speaks to you of sacrifice is speaking of slaves and masters, and intends to be the master.
Fransisco, you're some kind of very high nobility, aren't you? He answered, Not yet. The reason my family has lasted for such a long time is that none of us has ever been permitted to think he is born a d'Anconia. We are expected to become one.
Why do they always teach us that it's easy and evil to do what we want and that we need discipline to restrain ourselves? It's the hardest thing in the world--to do what we want. And it takes the greatest kind of courage. I mean, what we really want.
Man's basic vice, the source of all his evils, is the act of unfocusing his mind, the suspension of his consciousness, which is not blindness, but the refusal to see, not ignorance, but the refusal to know."
I love you, Dominique. As selfishly as the fact that I exist. As selfishly as my lungs breathe air. I breathe for my own necessity, for the fuel of my body, for my survival. I've given you, not my sacrifice or my pity, but my ego and my naked need. This is the only way I can want you to love me."
That's your cruelty, that's what's mean and selfish about you. If you loved your brother, you'd give him a job he didn't deserve, precisely because he didn't deserve it--that would be true love and kindness and brotherhood. Else what's love for? If a man deserves a job, there's no virtue in giving it to him. Virtue is the giving of the undeserved."
When one turns from reason to faith, when one rejects the absolutism of reality, one undercuts the absolutism of one's consciousness - and one's mind becomes an organ one cannot trust any longer. It becomes what the mystics claim it to be: a tool of distortion.
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.
Productiveness is your acceptance of morality, your recognition of the fact that you choose to live-that productive work is the process by which man's consciousness controls his existence, a constant process of acquiring knowledge and shaping matter to fit one's purpose, of translating an idea into physical form, of remaking the earth in the image of one's values-that all work is creative work if done by a thinking mind...
Creation comes before distribution - or there will be nothing to distribute. The need of the creator comes before the need of any possible beneficiary. Yet we are taught to admire the second-hander who dispenses gifts he has not produced above the man who made the gifts possible. We praise an act of charity. We shrug at an act of achievement.
The government's only proper job is to protect individual rights against violence by force or fraud ... to protect men from foreign invaders ... to settle disputes among men according to objective laws ... The greatness of the Founding Fathers was how well they understood this issue and how close some of them came to understanding it perfectly.
You have been called selfish for the courage of acting on your own judgement and bearing sole responsibility for your own life. You have been called arrogant for your independent mind. You have been called cruel for your unyielding integrity. You have been calle anti social for the vision that made you venture upon undiscovered roads.
From the smallest necessity to the highest religious abstraction, from the wheel to the skyscraper, everything we are and everything we have comes from one attribute of man - the function of his reasoning mind.
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.
Altruism declares that any action taken for the benefit of others is good, and any action taken for one's own benefit is evil. Thus the beneficiary of an action is the only criterion of moral value - and so long as that beneficiary is anybody other than oneself, anything goes.
Even in dialogue, your own style rules your selection. Do not give yourself a blank check of this kind: 'I'll merely reproduce what I think a character like so-and-so would say.' You have to reproduce it in the way your literary premises dictate.
I don't like people who speak or think in terms of gaining anybody's confidence. If one's actions are honest, one does not need the predated confidence of others, only their rational perception. The person who craves a moral blank check of that kind, has dishonest intentions, whether he admits it to himself or not.
The Middle Ages were an era of mysticism, ruled by blind faith and blind obedience to the dogma that faith is superior to reason. The Renaissance was specifically the rebirth of reason, the liberation of man's mind, the triumph of rationality over mysticism - a faltering, incomplete, but impassioned triumph that led to the birth of science, of individualism, of freedom.
The only power any 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.
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.
Collectivism holds that the individual has no rights, that his life and work belong to the group (to "society," to the tribe, the state, the nation) and that the group may sacrifice him at its own whim to its own interests. The only way to implement a doctrine of that kind is by means of brute force - and statism has always been the poltical corollary of collectivism.
Humor is not an unconditional virtue; its moral character depends on its object. To laugh at the contemptible, is a virtue; to laugh at the good, is a hideous vice. Too often, humor is used as the camouflage of moral cowardice.
In a capitalist society, all human relationships are voluntary. Men are free to cooperate or not, to deal with one another or not, as their own individual judgments, convictions and interests dictate.
Contrary to the vulgar belief that men are motivated primarily by materialistic considerations, we now see the capitalist system being discredited and destroyed all over the world, even though this system has given men the greatest material comforts.
Since only an individual man can possess rights, the expression "individual rights"? is a redundancy (which one has to use for purposes of clarification in today's intellectual chaos). But the expression "collective rights"? is a contradiction in terms.
Happiness is a state of non-contradictory joy--a joy without penalty or guilt, a joy that does not clash with any of your values and does not work for your own destruction, not the joy of escaping from your mind, but of using your mind's fullest power, not the joy of faking reality, but of achieving values that are real, not the joy of a drunkard, but of a producer.
Faith is the commitment of one's consciousness to beliefs for which one has no sensory evidence or rational proof. A mystic is a man who treats his feelings as tools of cognition. Faith is the equation of feeling with knowledge.
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.
Collectivism means the subjugation of the individual to a group - whether to a race, class or state does not matter. Collectivism holds that man must be chained to collective action and collective thought for the sake of what is called 'the common good'
We cannot fight against collectivism, unless we fight against its moral base: altruism. We cannot fight against altruism, unless we fight against its epistemological base: irrationalism. We cannot fight against anything, unless we fight for something--and what we must fight for is the supremacy of reason and a view of man as a rational being.
There is no difference between communism and socialism, except in the means of achieving the same ultimate end: communism proposes to enslave men by force, socialism - by vote. It is merely the difference between murder and suicide.
If a drought strikes them, animals perish--man builds irrigation canals; if a flood strikes them, animals perish--man builds dams; if a carnivorous pack attacks them, animals perish--man writes the Constitution of the United States.
Inflation is not caused by the actions of private citizens, but by the government: by an artificial expansion of the money supply required to support deficit spending. No private embezzlers or bank robbers in history have ever plundered people's savings on a scale comparable to the plunder perpetrated by the fiscal policies of statist governments.
If you get caught at some crucial point and somebody tells you that your doctrine doesn't make sense - you're ready for him. You tell him there's something above sense. That here he must not try to think, he must feel. He must believe. Suspend reason and you can play it deuces wild.
In that world, you'll be able to rise in the morning with the spirit you had known in your childhood: that spirit of eagerness, adventure and certainty which comes from dealing with a rational universe.
I am not primarily an advocate of capitalism, but of egoism; I am not primarily an advocate of egoism, but of reason. If one recognizes the supremacy of reason and applies it consistently, all the rest follows.
Contrary to the ecologists, nature does not stand still and does not maintain the kind of equilibrium that guarantees the survival of any particular species - least of all the survival of her greatest and most fragile product: man.
The plot of a movie is its motor. It is not an accident that people call pictures 'vehicles' for stars. A vehicle has to move. A plotless story is like an expensive car with a wonderful body design, luxurious seats, upholstery, headlights (production, direction, cast) - and no motor under its hood. That is why it gets nowhere.
If [people] place such things as friendship and family ties above their own productive work, yes, then they are immoral. Friendship, family life and human relationships are not primary in a man's life. A man who places others first, above his own creative work, is an emotional parasite.
It is too early to feel fear of the future when one is under 30, and too late after that. What I mean is that one must never allow fear to become one's permanent sense of life. The important thing is to prepare yourself intellectually to deal with whatever circumstances you may encounter, which requires that you define your values fully, clearly and rationally -- and never betray them.
Do not let your fire go out, spark by irreplaceable spark in the hopeless swamps of the not-quite, the not-yet, and the not-at-all. Do not let the hero in your soul perish in lonely frustration for the life you deserved and have never been able to reach. The world you desire can be won. It exists.. it is real.. it is possible.. it's yours.
Do not let your fire go out ... Do not let the Hero in your soul perish ... Check your road and the nature of your battle. The world you desired can be won. It exists, it is real, it is possible, it is yours.
Don't help me or serve me, but let me see it once, because I need it. Don't work for my happiness, my brothers-show me yours-show me that it is possible-show me your achievement-and the knowledge will give me the courage for mine. Mallory (the young artist) to Roark in "The Fountainhead"
It's true that there's no such thing as free will. We can't help what we are or what we do. It's not our fault. Nobody's to blame for anything. It's all in your background ... and your glands. If you're good, that's no achievement of yours - you were lucky in your glands. If you're rotten, nobody should punish you - you were unlucky, that's all.
Have you felt it too? Have you seen how your best friends love everything about you- except the things that count? And your most important is nothing to them; nothing, not even a sound they can recognize.
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).
Roark smiled, "Gail, if this boat were sinking, I'd give my life to save you. Not because it's any kind of duty. Only because I like you, for reasons and standards of my own. I could die for you. But I couldn't and wouldn't live for you.
He, too, stood looking at her for a moment--and it seemed to her that it was not a look of greeting after an absence, but the look of someone who had thought of her every day of that year. She could not be certain, it was only an instant, so brief that just as she caught it, he was turning...
The Founding Fathers were neither passive, death-worshipin g mystics nor mindless, power-seeking looters; as a political group they were a phenomenon unprecedented in history: they were thinkers who were also men of action.
But the mind is an attribute of the individual. There is no such thing as a collective brain. There is no such thing as a collective thought. An agreement reached by a group of men is only a compromise or an average drawn upon many individual thoughts.
One of the methods used by statists to destroy capitalism consists in establishing controls that tie a given industry hand and foot, making it unable to solve its problems, then declaring that freedom has failed and stronger controls are necessary.
The great creators - the thinkers, the artists, the scientists, the inventors - stood alone against the men of their time. Every great new thought was opposed. Every great new invention was denounced. The first motor was considered foolish. The airplane was considered impossible... But the men of unborrowed vision went ahead. They fought, they suffered and they paid. But they won.
The man without a purpose is a man who drifts at the mercy of random feelings or unidentified urges and is capable of any evil, because he is totally out of control of his own life. In order to be in control of your life, you have to have a purpose-a productive purpose.
I came here to say that I do not recognize anyone's right to one minute of my life. Nor to any part of my energy. Nor to any achievement of mine. No matter who makes the claim, how large their number or how great their need. I wished to come here and say that I am a man who does not exist for others." - Howard Roark
Peter Keating: "Do you always have to have a purpose? Do you always have to be so damn serious? Can't you ever do things without reason, just like everybody else? You're so serious, so old. Everything's important with you. Everything's great, significant in some way, every minute, even when you keep still. Can't you ever be comfortable-and unimportant?" | Howard Roark: "No."
You'll get everything society can give a man. You'll keep all the money. You'll take any fame or honor anyone might want to grant. You'll accept such gratitude as the tenants might feel. And I - I'll take what nobody can give a man, except himself. I will have built Cortlandt. - Howard Roark
I don't want to see you. I don't like you. I don't like your face. You look like an insufferable egotist. You're impertinent. You're too sure of yourself. Twenty years ago I would have punched your face with the greatest of pleasure.
I regret nothing. There have been things I missed, but I ask no questions, because I have loved it, such as it has been, even the moments of emptiness, even the unanswered-and that I loved it, that is the unanswered in my life.
The moral absolute should be: if and when, in any dispute, one side initiates the use of physical force, that side is wrong - and no consideration or discussion of the issues is necessary or appropriate.
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.
The right to vote is a consequence, not a primary cause, of a free social system - and its value depends on the constitutional structure implementing and strictly delimiting the voters' power; unlimited majority rule is an instance of the principle of tyranny.
When you have established that one alternative is good and the other is evil, there is no justification for the choice of a mixture. There is no justification ever for choosing any part of what you know to be evil.
Andrei, did you like the opera?" "Not particularly." "Andrei, do you see what you're missing?" "I don't think I do, Kira. It's all rather silly. And useless." "Can't you enjoy things that are useless, merely because they are beautiful?" "No. But I enjoyed it." "The music?" "No. The way you listened to it.
Capitalism has created the highest standard of living ever known on earth. The evidence is incontrovertible. The contrast between West and East Berlin is the latest demonstration, like a laboratory experiment for all to see. Yet those who are loudest in proclaiming their desire to eliminate poverty are loudest in denouncing capitalism. Man's well-being is not their goal.
Government control of the economy, no matter in whose behalf, has been the source of all the evils in our industrial society -- and the solution is laissez-faire capitalism, i.e., the abolition of any and all forms of intervention in production and trade, the separation of State and Economics, in the same way and for the same reasons as the separation of Church and State.
Capitalism is the only system that can make freedom, individuality, and the pursuit of values possible in practice. When I say 'capitalism,' I mean a pure, uncontrolled, unregulated laissez-faire capitalism - with a separation of economics, in the same way and for the same reasons as a separation of state and church.
The right to life means that a man has the right to support his life by his own work (on any economic level, as high as his ability will carry him); it does not mean that others must provide him with the necessities of life.
I shall choose friends among men, but neither slaves nor masters. And I shall choose only such as please me, and them I shall love and respect, but neither command nor obey. And we shall join our hands when we wish, or walk alone when we so desire.
I am neither foe nor friend to my brothers, but such as each of them shall deserve of me. And to earn my love, my brothers must do more than to have been born. I do not grant my love without reason, nor to any chance passer-by who may wish to claim it. I honor men with my love. But honor is a thing to be earned.
You have no choice about your capacity to feel that something is good for you or evil, but what you will consider good or evil, what will give you joy or pain, what you will love or hate, desire or fear, depends on your standard of value.
The man-worshipers, in my sense of the term, are those who see man's highest potential and strive to actualize it. The man-haters are those who regard man as a helpless, depraved, contemptible creature-and struggle never to let him discover otherwise.
If an uncompromising stand is to be smeared as 'extremism,' then that smear is directed at any devotion to values, any loyalty to principles, any profound conviction, any consistency, any steadfastness, any passion, any dedication to an unbreached, inviolate truth -- any man of integrity.
I can say-not as a patriotic bromide, but with full knowledge of the necessary metaphysical, epistemological , ethical, political and esthetic roots-that the United States of America is the greatest, the noblest and, in its original founding principles, the only moral country in the history of the world.
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.
Lobbying' is the activity of attempting to influence legislation by privately influencing the legislators. It is the result and creation of a mixed economy-of government by pressure groups. Its methods range from mere social courtesies and cocktail-party or luncheon "friendships" to favors, threats, bribes, blackmail.
While, politically, a mixed economy preserves the semblance of an organized society with a semblance of law and order, economically it is the equivalent of the chaos that had ruled China for centuries: a chaos of robber gangs looting-and draining-the productive elements of the country.
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. So long as men live together on earth and need means to deal with one another--their only substitute, if they abandon money, is the muzzle of a gun.
Ah, there's nothing like tea in the afternoon. When the British Empire collapses, historians will find that it had made but two invaluable contributions to civilization - this tea ritual and the detective novel.
She looked at the crowd and she felt simultaneously astonishment that they should stare at her when this event was so personally her own that no communication about it was possible and a sense of fitness that they should be here that they should want to see it. Because the sight of an achievement was the greatest gift a human being could offer to others.
You're not sorry. You could've been here if you made the effort. But when did you ever make an effort for anybody but yourself? You're not interested in any of us or in anything we do. You think if you pay the bills, that's enough, don't you? Money! That's all you know. And all you give us is money. Have you even given us any time?
To interpose the threat of physical destruction between a man and his perception of reality, is to negate and paralyze his means of survival to force him to act against his own judgment, is like forcing him to act against his own sight
When you have made evil the means of survival, do not expect men to remain good. Do not expect them to stay moral and lose their lives for the purpose of becoming the fodder of the immoral. Do not expect them to produce, when production is punished and looting rewarded. Do not ask, "Who is destroying the world?" You are.
[S]tatism is a system of institutionalized violence and perpetual civil war. It leaves men no choice but to fight to seize political power -- to rob or be robbed, to kill or be killed. ... Statism survives by looting; a free country survives by production.
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.
The uncontested absurdities of today are the accepted slogans of tomorrow. They come to be accepted by degrees, by dint of constant pressure on one side and constant retreat on the other - until one day when they are suddenly declared to be the country's official ideology.
She watched the tunnels as they flowed past: bare walls of concrete, a net of pipes and wires, a web of rails that went off into black holes where green and red lights hung as distant drops of color. There was nothing else to dilute it, so that one could admire naked purpose and the ingenuity that had achieved it.
Fransisco, you're some kind of very high nobility, aren't you?" He answered, "Not yet. The reason my family has lasted for such a long time is that none of us has ever been permitted to think he is born a d'Anconia. We are expected to become one.
A society that robs an individual of the product of his effort, or enslaves him, or attempts to limit the freedom of his mind, or compels him to act against his own rational judgment ... is not, strictly speaking, a society, but a mob held together by institutionalized gang-rule.
Since life requires a specific course of action, any other course will destroy it. A being who does not hold his own life as the motive and goal of his actions, is acting on the motive and standard of death.
Men have been taught that the ego is the synonym of evil, and selflessness the ideal of virtue. But the creator is the egotist in the absolute sense, and the selfless man is the one who does not think, feel, judge or act. These are functions of the self.
You have sacrificed justice to mercy. You have sacrificed independence to unity. You have sacrificed reason to faith. You have sacrificed wealth to need. You have sacrificed self-esteem to self-denial. You have sacrificed happiness to duty.
Do you want me to remind you that you once swore to make my happiness aim of your life? And that you cant say in all honesty whether i am happy or unhappy, because you haven't even inquired whether i exist?
For the "We" must never be spoken, save by one's choice and as a second thought. This word must never be placed first within a man's soul, else it becomes a monster, the root of all evils on earth, the root of man's torture by men, and an unspeakable lie.
People, he thought, were as hungry for a sight of joy as he had always been--for a moment's relief from that gray load of suffering which seemed so inexplicable and unnecessary. He had never been able to understand why men should be unhappy.
Andrei, did you like the opera?""Not particularly.""Andrei, do you see what you're missing?""I don't think I do, Kira. It's all rather silly. And useless.""Can't you enjoy things that are useless, merely because they are beautiful?""No. But I enjoyed it.""The music?""No. The way you listened to it.
In the many months of his absence, she never wondered whether he was true to her or not; she knew he was. She knew, even though she was too young to know the reason, that indiscriminate desire and unselective indulgence were possible only to those who regarded sex and themselves as evil.
We are on strike, we, the men of the mind.We are on strike against self-immolation. We are on strike against the creed of unearned rewards and unrewarded duties. We are on strike against the dogma that the pursuit of one's happiness is evil. We are on strike against the doctrine that life is guilt.
We the Living is not a novel 'about Soviet Russia.' It is a novel about Man against the State. Its basic theme is the sanctity of human life - using the word 'sanctity' not in a mystical sense, but in the sense of 'supreme value.'
To love is to value. Only a rationally selfish man, a man of self esteem, is capable of love - because he is the only man capable of holding firm, consistent, uncompromising, unbetrayed value. The man who does not value himself, cannot value anything or anyone
You have chosen to risk your lives for the defense of this country. I will not insult you by saying that you are dedicated to selfless service--it is not a virtue in my morality. In my morality, the defense of one's country means that a man is personally unwilling to live as the conquered slave of any enemy, foreign or domestic. This is an enormous virtue.
She watched the prairies the rivers, the towns slipping past at an untouchable distance below - and she noted that the sense of detachment one feels when looking at the earth from a plane was the same sense she felt when looking at people: only her distance from people seemed longer. - Dagny Taggart
Hence the sterile, uninspiring futility of a great many theoretical discussions of ethics, and the resentment which many people feel towards such discussions: moral principles remain in their minds as floating abstractions, offering them a goal they cannot grasp and demanding that they reshape their souls in its image, thus leaving them with a burden of undefinable moral guilt.
And what, incidentally, do you think integrity is? The ability not to pick a watch out of your neighbor's pocket? No, it's not as easy as that. If that were all, I'd say ninety-five percent of humanity were honest, upright men. Only, as you can see, they aren't. Integrity is the ability to stand by an idea.