juni 28, 2005

The Ten Commandments of Ayn Rand

1. Thou shalt protect the Rights of Men. "A 'right' is a moral principle defining and sanctioning a man's freedom of action in a social context. There is only one fundamental right (all others are its consequences or corollaries): a man's right to his own life."

"The concept of a 'right' pertains only to action--specifically, to freedom of action. It means freedom from physical compulsion, coercion or interference by other men." "It was the concept of individual rights that had given birth to a free society. It was with the destruction of individual rights that the destruction of freedom had to begin."

"Any group or 'collective,' large or small, is only a number of individuals. A group can have no rights other than the rights of its individual members. In a free society, the 'rights' of any group are derived from the rights of its members through their voluntary, individual choice and contractual agreement, and are merely the application of these individual rights to a specific undertaking... A group, as such, has no rights. "

"Any doctrine of group activities that does not recognize individual rights is a doctrine of mob rule or legalized lynching... A nation that violates the rights of its own citizens cannot claim any rights whatsoever. In the issue of rights, as in all moral issues, there can be no double standard."

"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 man's rights is not divine law or congressional law, but the law of identity. A is A--and Man is Man. Rights are conditions of existence required by man's nature for his proper survival. If man is to live on earth, it is right for him to use his mind, it is right to act on his own free judgment, it is right to work for his values and to keep the product of his work. If life on earth is his purpose, he has a right to live as a rational being: nature forbids him the irrational. Any group, any gang, any nation that attempts to negate man's rights is wrong, which means: is evil, which means: is anti-life."

2. Thou shalt not commit acts without Reason, for it is evil "Since reason is man's basic means of survival, that which is proper to the life of a rational being is the good; that which negates, opposes or destroys it is the evil."

"Thinking is man's only basic virtue, from which all the others proceed. And his basic vice, the source of all his evils, is that nameless act which all of you practice, but struggle never to admit: the act of blanking out, the willful suspension of one's consciousness, the refusal to think--not blindness, but the refusal to see; not ignorance, but the refusal to know. It is the act of unfocusing your mind and inducing an inner fog to escape the responsibility of judgment--on the unstated premise that a thing will not exist if only you refuse to identify it, that A will not be A so long as you do not pronounce the verdict 'It is.'"

3. Thou shalt not comprimise with evil "In any compromise between food and poison, it is only death that can win. In any compromise between good and evil, it is only evil that can profit."

4. Thou shalt not violate another man's Rights, as the rights of one man cannot violate the rights of another. "Since Man has inalienable individual rights, this means that the same rights are held, individually, by every man, by all men, at all times. Therefore, the rights of one man cannot and must not violate the rights of another.

For instance, a man has the right to live, but he has no right to take the life of another. He has the right to be free, but no right to enslave another. He has the right to choose his own happiness, but no right to decide that his happiness lies in the misery (or murder or robbery or enslavement) of another. The very right upon which he acts defines the same right of another man, and serves as a guide to tell him what he may or may not do."

"The Right to the Pursuit of Happiness means man's right to live for himself, to choose what constitutes his own private, personal, individual happiness and to work for its achievement, so long as he respects the same right in others. It means that Man cannot be forced to devote his life to the happiness of another man nor of any number of other men. It means that the collective cannot decide what is to be the purpose of a man's existence nor prescribe his choice of happiness."

5. Thou shalt be a proud Individual "Do not make the mistake of the ignorant who think that an individualist is a man who says: 'I'll do as I please at everybody else's expense.' An individualist is man who recognizes the inalienable individual rights of man--his own and those of others.

An individualist is a man who says: 'I will not run anyone's life--nor let anyone run mine. I will not rule nor be ruled. I will not be a master nor a slave. I will not sacrifice myself to anyone--nor sacrifice anyone to myself.'"

"The Objectivist ethics proudly advocates and upholds rational selfishness--which means: the values required for man's survival qua man�.

The Objectivist ethics holds that human good does not require human sacrifices and cannot be achieved by the sacrifice of anyone to anyone. It holds that the rational interests of men do not clash--that there is no conflict of interests among men who do not desire the unearned, who do not make sacrifices nor accept them, who deal with one another as traders, giving value for value."

6. Thou shalt form and live in a free republic "The American system is not a democracy. It is a constitutional republic. A democracy, if you attach meaning to terms, is a system of unlimited majority rule; the classic example is ancient Athens. And the symbol of it is the fate of Socrates, who was put to death legally, because the majority didn't like what he was saying, although he had initiated no force and had violated no one's rights.

Democracy, in short, is a form of collectivism, which denies individual rights: the majority can do whatever it wants with no restrictions. In principle, the democratic government is all-powerful. Democracy is a totalitarian manifestation; it is not a form of freedom�.

The American system is a constitutionally limited republic, restricted to the protection of individual rights. In such a system, majority rule is applicable only to lesser details, such as the selection of certain personnel. But the majority has no say over the basic principles governing the government. It has no power to ask for or gain the infringement of individual rights."

7.Thou shalt always protect the Right of Property

"The right to life is the source of all rights--and the right to property is their only implementation. Without property rights, no other rights are possible. Since man has to sustain his life by his own effort, the man who has no right to the product of his effort has no means to sustain his life. The man who produces while others dispose of his product, is a slave."

"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--and thus keeps the road open to man's most valuable attribute (valuable personally, socially, and objectively): the creative mind."

8. Thou shalt trade in a capitalist market "Capitalism is a social system based on the recognition of individual rights, including property rights, in which all property is privately owned."

"When I say 'capitalism,' I mean a full, pure, uncontrolled, unregulated laissez-faire capitalism--with a separation of state and economics, in the same way and for the same reasons as the separation of state and church."

"The moral justification of capitalism does not lie in the altruist claim that it represents the best way to achieve the common good. It is true that capitalism does--if that catch-phrase has any meaning--but this is merely a secondary consequence. The moral justification of capitalism lies in the fact that it is the only system consonant with man's rational nature, that it protects man's survival qua man, and that its ruling principle is: justice."

"The institution of private property, in the full, legal meaning of the term, was brought into existence only by capitalism. In the pre-capitalist eras, private property existed de facto, but not de jure, i.e., by custom and sufferance, not by right or by law. In law and in principle, all property belonged to the head of the tribe, the king, and was held only by his permission, which could be revoked at any time, at his pleasure. (The king could and did expropriate the estates of recalcitrant noblemen throughout the course of Europe's history.)"

"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�."

"Fascism and communism are not two opposites, but two rival gangs fighting over the same territory--both are variants of statism, based on the collectivist principle that man is the rightless slave of the state."

9. Thou shalt not be altruistic nor run a society in which it is considered to be the good

"What is the moral code of altruism? The basic principle of altruism is that man has no right to exist for his own sake, that service to others is the only justification of his existence, and that self-sacrifice is his highest moral duty, virtue and value.

Do not confuse altruism with kindness, good will or respect for the rights of others. These are not primaries, but consequences, which, in fact altruism makes impossible. The irreducible primary of altruism, the basic absolute, is self-sacrifice--which means; self-immolation, self-abnegation, self-denial, self-destruction--which means: the self as a standard of evil, the selfless as a standard of the good.

Do not hide behind such superficialities as whether you should or should not give a dime to a beggar. That is not the issue. The issue is whether you do or do not have the right to exist without giving him that dime. The issue is whether you must keep buying your life, dime by dime, from any beggar who might choose to approach you. The issue is whether the need of others is the first mortgage on your life and the moral purpose of your existence. The issue is whether man is to be regarded as a sacrificial animal. Any man of self-esteem will answer: 'No.' Altruism says: 'Yes.'"

10.Thou shalt not engage the idea of the supremacy of any collective

"Collectivism is the theory that the group (the collective) has primacy over the individual. Collectivism holds that, in human affairs, the collective--society, the community, the nation, the proletariat, the race, etc.--is the unit of reality and the standard of value. On this view, the individual has reality only as part of the group, and value only insofar as he serves it; on his own he has no political rights; he is to be sacrificed for the group whenever it--or its representative, the state--deems this desirable."

"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."

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