Talk:Ayn Rand

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This is the talk page for discussing improvements to the Ayn Rand page.


I think it'd be cool if someone could categorize what she's said according to novel, as well. I've seen this done for other authors.

The Atlas Shrugged article should not be merged with the Ayn Rand article. They are separate entities, and should be kept that way. 129.215.149.98 09:12, 6 February 2007 (UTC)

Design?[edit]

Is there any disagreement in that this article needs pictures and perhaps some kind of design?

--StefanoB 17.36, 29 April 2009 (UTC)

this could help

http://www.cracked.com/video_18426_ayn-rand-5Bplaceholder5D.html

Native American Quote[edit]

Regarding:

"[The Native Americans] didn't have any rights to the land and there was no reason for anyone to grant them rights which they had not conceived and were not using.... What was it they were fighting for, if they opposed white men on this continent? For their wish to continue a primitive existence, their "right" to keep part of the earth untouched, unused and not even as property, just keep everybody out so that you will live practically like an animal, or maybe a few caves above it. Any white person who brought the element of civilization had the right to take over this continent." * Source: "Q and A session following her Address To The Graduating Class Of The United States Military Academy at West Point, New York, March 6, 1974"

I note that on page 102-104 of the Book Ayn Rand Answers ISBN 0-451-21665-2 there is an answer to the question "When you consider the cultural genocide of Native Americans, the enslavement of blacks, and the relocation of Japanese Americans during World War Two, how can you have such a positive view of America?" in the Q&A section of a lecture, "Philosophy: Who Needs It" given at West Point Military Academy, 1974. Parts of the quote as given above (and I'll note given verbatim to other websites that misattribute this quote to her book The Virtue of Selfishness) do not match precisely with the answer as given in the book:

Now, I don't care to discuss the alleged complaints American Indians have against this country. I believe, with good reason, the most unsympathetic Hollywood portrayal of Indians and what they did to the white man. They had no right to a country merely because they were born here and then acted like savages. The white man did not conquer this country. And you're a racist if you object, because it means you believe that certain men are entitled to something because of their race. You believe that if someone is born in a magnificent country and doesn't know what to do with it, he still has a property right to it. He does not. Since the Indians did not have the concept of property or property rights--they didn't have a settled society, they had predominantly nomadic tribal "cultures"--they didn't have rights to the land, and there was no reason for anyone to grant them rights that they had not conceived of and were not using. It's wrong to attack a country that respects (or even tries to respect) individual rights. If you do, you're an aggressor and are morally wrong. But if a "country" does not protect rights--if a group of tribesmen are the slaves of their tribal chief--why should you respect the "rights" that they don't have or respect? The same is true for a dictatorship. The citizens in it have individual rights, but the country has no rights and so anyone has the right to invade it, because rights are not recognized in that country; and no individual or country can have its cake and eat it too--that is, you can't claim one should respect the "rights" of Indians, when they had no concept of rights and no respect for rights. But let's suppose they were all beautifully innocent savages--which they certainly were not. What were they fighting for, in opposing the white man on this continent? For their wish to continue a primitive existnece; for their "right" to keep part of the earth untouched--to keep everybody out so they could live like animals or cavemen. Any European who brought with him an element of civilization had the right to take over this continent, and it's great that some of them did. The racist Indians today--those who condemn America--do not respect individual rights.

Does anyone have access to the <a href="http://www.aynrandbookstore2.com/prodinfo.asp?number=AR52M">original audio</a> and can confirm the correct wording of this quote? —This unsigned comment is by 63.252.244.50 (talkcontribs) 02:04, 27 February 2007 .

Perhaps someone will transcribe the exact words Rand spoke and attribute them to the published source of those words, such as the taped lecture published by ARI and referenced above by user 63.252.244.50. Meanwhile, I will remove this unverified putative quote because it has several suspicious features including the bracketed reference to Native Americans and the ellipsis, as well as the racial reference (any white person) in place of the more probable cultural one (any European) as found in the Ayn Rand Answers quote. Of course if the quote is accurate it shows what looks to me like a significant weakness in Rand's world view, or at least an uncharacteristic sloppiness in its expression, and ought to be retained. --Blanchette 22:22, 23 October 2007 (UTC)

The wording of the quote is corroborated in Derrick Jensen's book Endgame, Volume 1, on page 220. In the bibliography, the author cites:

Rand, Ayn. Talk given at the United States Military Academy at West Point, NY, March 6, 1974. Nita Crabb, who has been of invaluable assistance in tracking down sources, was able to obtain a CD of this talk with the help of some extraordinary librarians at West Point. The sound quality is poor, but where you can hear what she says, it really is quite appalling."

Though to be fair, anything Rand wrote was "appalling" to most collectivists.
—This unsigned comment is by 58.34.70.168 (talkcontribs) .

The quote above is not a direct quote, but paraphrasing with some sections left out. An audio of her comments can be found online. Rand's comments came during a Q & A with cadets. The question was asked at 9:30 into the recording. She first discusses slavery, and then Japanese internment. Rand's comments about American Indians can be heard starting at 17:45. The audio recording can be found online at this website address: http://www.aynrand.org/site/PageServer?pagename=reg_ar_pwni . Philkon (talk) 14:51, 15 June 2013 (UTC) Phil Konstantin

The "smallest minority" quote[edit]

"Remember also that the smallest minority on earth is the individual. Those who deny individual rights, cannot claim to be defenders of minorities."

I've sourced the above using Amazon.com's Online Reader. Only the first 16 pages are available, but the search feature (keyword: "smallest") shows that the quotation is on page 61, and the table of contents shows that page 61 falls within chapter 3, which was written by Rand. Sysmsifa 20:34, 23 May 2008 (UTC)

this is sourced[edit]

I found "When I die, I hope to go to Heaven, whatever the Hell that is." in the unsourced section, I know that "When I die I hope to go to heaven, whatever that is, and I want to be able to afford the price of admission." is in Atlas Shrugged. is it just this line in that form that is unsourced or should this be changed and moved to sourced? —The preceding unsigned comment was added by 75.65.124.18 (talk)

Sure, correct it and move to sourced. If you feel like it, it looks like the whole Atlas Shrugged section could be moved to the Atlas Shrugged article. If you really feel inspired, chapter references for all these quotes would be very helpful. ~ Ningauble 17:09, 5 October 2008 (UTC)

Unsourced[edit]

  • I guard my treasures: my thought, my will, my freedom. And the greatest of these is freedom.
Source: Anthem, p. 110, Chapter 11 (the climactic chapter) of 12. The quote is accurate. —Blanchette (talk) 09:01, 14 August 2012 (UTC)
  • If devotion to the truth is the hallmark of morality, then there is no greater, nobler, more heroic form of devotion than the act of a man who assumes the responsibility of thinking.
Source: Atlas Shrugged, p. 935, Part 3 Chapter 7, "This is John Galt Speaking." —Blanchette (talk) 09:01, 14 August 2012 (UTC)
The full paragraph reads:
A rational process is a moral process. You may make an error at any step of it, with nothing to protect you but your own severity, or you may try to cheat, to fake the evidence and evade the effort of the quest—but if devotion to truth is the hallmark of morality, then there is no greater, nobler, more heroic form of devotion than the act of a man who assumes the responsibility of thinking.
  • In western civilization, the period ruled by mysticism is known as the 'Dark Ages' and the 'Middle Ages'. I will assume that you know the nature of that period and the state of human existence in those ages. The Renaissance broke the rules of the mystics. Renaissance means the rebirth. Few people today will care to remind you that it was a rebirth of reason — of man's mind.
  • 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.
  • Intellectual freedom cannot exist without political freedom; political freedom cannot exist without economic freedom; a free mind and a free market are corollaries.
  • It is a grave error to suppose that a dictatorship rules a nation by means of strict, rigid laws which are obeyed and enforced with rigorous, military precision. Such a rule would be evil, but almost bearable; men could endure the harshest edicts, provided these edicts were known, specific and stable; it is not the known that breaks men's spirits, but the unpredictable. A dictatorship has to be capricious; it has to rule by means of the unexpected, the incomprehensible, the wantonly irrational; it has to deal not in death, but in sudden death; a state of chronic uncertainty is what men are psychologically unable to bear.
  • It is not justice or equal treatment that you grant to men when you abstain equally from praising men's virtues and from condemning men's vices. When your impartial attitude declares, in effect, that neither the good nor the evil may expect anything from you — whom do you betray and whom do you encourage?
  • 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.
  • It makes no difference whether government controls allegedly favor the interests of labor or business, of the poor or the rich, of a special class or a special race: the results are the same. The notion that a dictatorship can benefit any one social group at the expense of others is a worn remnant of the Marxist mythology of class warfare, refuted by half a century of factual evidence. All men are victims and losers under a dictatorship; nobody wins-except the ruling clique.
  • Just as life is an end in itself, so every living human being is an end in himself, not the means to the ends or the welfare of others — and, therefore, man must live for his own sake, neither sacrificing himself to others nor sacrificing others to himself.
    • (Introduction to Anthem)
  • Just as man's physical existence was liberated when he grasped that 'nature, to be commanded, must be obeyed', so his consciousness will be liberated when grasps that nature, to be apprehended, must be obeyed - that the rules of cognition must be derived from the nature of existence and the nature, the identity, of his cognitive faculty.
  • Justice does exist in the world, whether people choose to practice it or not. The men of ability are being avenged. The avenger is reality. Its weapon is slow, silent, invisible, and men perceive it only by its consequences — by the gutted ruins and the moans of agony it leaves in its wake. The name of the weapon is: inflation.
    • This is from the essay "Egalitarianism and Inflation" (1974), published in Philosophy: Who Needs It? --Brian0918 (talk) 17:19, 10 November 2012 (UTC)
  • Love, friendship, respect, admiration are the emotional response of one man to the virtues of another, the spiritual payment given in exchange for the personal, selfish pleasure which one man derives from the virtues of another man's character. Only a brute or an altruist would claim that the appreciation of another person's virtues is an act of selflessness, that as far as one's own selfish interest and pleasure are concerned, it makes no difference whether one deals with a genius or a fool, whether one meets a hero or a thug, whether one marries an ideal woman or a slut.
  • Loyalty is like rubber: one can stretch it so far and then — it snaps.
  • Man's character is the product of his premises.
  • Men have been taught that it is a virtue to agree with others. But the creator is the man who disagrees. Men have been taught that it is a virtue to swim with the current. But the creator is the man who goes against the current. Men have been taught that it is a virtue to stand together. But the creator is the man who stands alone.
  • Men have been taught that the ego is the synonym of evil, and selflessness the ideal of virtue. But the creator is the egoist in the absolute sense, and the selfless man is the one who does not think, feel, judge or act. These are function of the self.
  • Men have been taught that the highest virtue is not to achieve, but to give. Yet one cannot give that which has not been created. 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.
  • My philosophy, in essence, is the concept of man as a heroic being, with his own happiness as the moral purpose of his life, with productive achievement as his noblest activity, and reason as his only absolute.
  • Neither life nor happiness can be achieved by the pursuit of irrational whims. Just as a man is free to attempt to survive by any random means, as a parasite, a moocher or a looter, but not free to succeed at it beyond the range of the moment — so he is free to seek his happiness in any irrational fraud, any whim, any delusion, any mindless escape from reality, but not free to succeed at it beyond the range of the moment not to escape the consequences.
  • No concept man forms is valid unless he integrates it without contradiction into the sum of his knowledge.
  • No one's happiness but my own is in my power to achieve or to destroy.
  • Nobody respects an altruist, neither in private life nor in international affairs. An altruist is a person who keeps sacrificing himself and his values, which means: sacrificing his friends to his enemies, his allies to his protagonists, his interests to any cry for help, his strength to anyone's weakness, his convictions to anyone's wishes, the truth to any lie, the good to any evil.
  • One's own independent judgment is the means by which one must choose one's actions, but it is not a moral criterion nor a moral validation; only reference to a demonstrable principle can validate one's choices.
  • Philosophy studies the fundamental nature of existence, of man, and of man's relationship to existence. In the realm of cognition, the special sciences are the trees, but philosophy is the soil which makes the forest possible.
  • Politics is based on three other philosophical disciplines: metaphysics, epistemology and ethics — on a theory of man's nature and of man's relationship to existence. It is only on such a base that one can formulate a consistent political theory and achieve it in practice. When, however, men attempt to rush into politics without such a base, the result is that embarrassing conglomeration of impotence, futility, inconsistency and superficiality which is loosely designated today as conservatism.
  • Poverty is not a mortgage on the labor of others — misfortune is not a mortgage on achievement — failure is not a mortgage on success — suffering is not a claim check, and its relief is not the goal of existence — man is not a sacrificial animal on anyone's altar nor for anyone's cause — life is not one huge hospital.
  • Power-lust is a weed that grows only in the vacant lot of an empty mind.
  • Rights are moral principles which define and protect a man's freedom of action,but impose no obligation on other men.
  • 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.
  • Since time immemorial and pre-industrial, 'greed' has been the accusation hurled at the rich by the concrete-bound illiterates who were unable to conceive of the source of wealth or of the motivation of those who produce it.
  • Tell me what a man finds sexually attractive and I will tell you his entire philosophy of life
  • That something happened to you is of no importance to anyone, not even to you. The important thing about you is what you choose to make happen — your values and choices. That which happened by accident - what family you were born into, in what country, and where you went to school — is totally unimportant.
  • 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 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.
  • The desire not to be anything is the desire not to be.
  • The evil of the world is made possible by nothing but the sanction you give it.
  • The hardest thing to explain is the glaringly evident which everybody had decided not to see.
  • The men who are not interested in philosophy need it most urgently; they are most helplessly in its power.
  • 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 proper purpose of a government is to protect man's rights, which means: to protect him from physical violence... The only proper functions of a government are: the police, to protect you from criminals; the army, to protect you from foreign invaders; and the courts, to protect your property and contracts from breach or fraud by others, and to settle disputes by rational rules, according to objective law.
  • 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. The training he needs is theoretical, i.e., conceptual. He has to be taught to think, to understand, to integrate, to prove. 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.
  • The precept: Judge not, that ye be not judged ... is an abdication of moral responsibility: it is a moral blank check one gives to others in exchange for a moral blank check one expects for oneself.
  • The purpose of all art is the objectification of values.
  • The purpose of morality is to teach you, not to suffer and die, but to enjoy yourself and live.
  • The right of a nation to determine its own form of government does not include the right to establish a slave society (that is, to legalize the enslavement of some men by others). There is no such thing as the right to enslave. A nation can do it, just as a man can become a criminal — but neither can do it by right.
  • 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...
  • The uncontested absurdities of today are the accepted slogans of tomorrow.
  • The verdict you pronounce upon the source of your livelihood is the verdict you pronounce upon your life.
  • There are four characteristics which brand a country unmistakably as a dictatorship: one-party rule — executions without trial or with a mock trial, for political offenses — the nationalization or expropriation of private property — and censorship. A country guilty of these outrages forfeits any moral prerogatives, any claim to national rights or sovereignty, and becomes an outlaw.
  • 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 are two sides to every issue: one side is right and the other is wrong, but the middle is always evil.
  • There can be no such thing as a political crime under the American system of law. Since an individual has the right to hold and to propagate any ideas he chooses (obviously including political ideas), the government may not infringe his right; it may neither penalize nor reward him for his ideas; it may not take any judicial cognizance whatever of his ideology. By the same principle, the government may not give special leniency to the perpetrator of a crime, on the grounds of the nature of his ideas.
  • There can be no such thing, in law or in morality, as actions forbidden to an individual, but permitted to a mob.
  • There is no escape from the fact that men have to make choices; so long as men have to make choices, there is no escape from moral values; so long as moral values are at stake, no moral neutrality is possible. To abstain from condemning a torturer, is to become an accessory to the torture and murder of his victims.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • They proclaim that every man is entitled to exist without labor and, the laws of reality to the contrary notwithstanding, is entitled to receive his minimum sustenance his food, his clothes, his shelter, with no effort on his part, as his due and his birthright. To receive it, from whom?
  • Thinking men cannot be ruled.
  • Thought does not bow to authority.
  • 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.
  • To deal with men by force is as impractical as to deal with nature by persuasion.
  • To discuss evil in a manner implying neutrality is to sanction it.
  • To fear to face an issue is to believe the worst is true.
  • To know one's own desires, their meaning and their costs requires the highest human virtue: rationality.
  • 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 values. The man who does not value himself, cannot value anything or anyone
  • To preserve one's mind intact through a modern college education is a test of courage and endurance, but the battle is worth it and the stakes are the highest possible to man: the survival of reason. {from The Comprachicos}
  • To rest one's case on faith means to concede that reason is on the side of one's enemies — that one has no rational arguments to offer.
  • To the extent that a man is guided by his rational judgment, he acts in accordance with the requirements of his nature and, to that extent, succeeds in achieving a human form of survival and well-being; to the extent that he acts irrationally, he acts as his own destroyer.
  • Today, when a concerted effort is made to obliterate this point, it cannot be repeated too often that the Constitution is a limitation on the government, not on private individuals — that it does not prescribe the conduct of private individuals, only the conduct of the government — that it is not a charter for government power, but a charter of the citizen's protection against the government.
  • Unjust laws have to be fought ideologically; they cannot be fought or corrected by means of mere disobedience and futile martyrdom.
  • 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?
  • 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.
  • Wealth is the product of man's capacity to think.
  • What they have to discover, what all the efforts of capitalism's enemies are frantically aimed at hiding, is the fact that capitalism is not merely the 'practical,' but the only moral system in history.
  • Whatever their future, at the dawn of their lives, men seek a noble vision of man's nature and of life's potential
  • 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.
  • When personal judgement is inoperative (or forbidden), men's first concern is not how to choose, but how to justify their choice.
  • Whether you know the shape of a pebble or the structure of a solar system, the axioms remain the same: that it exists and that you know it.
  • Words are a lens to focus one's mind.
  • I want to see, real, living, and in the hours of my own days, that glory I create as an illusion. I want it real. I want to know that there is someone, somewhere, who wants it, too. Or else what is the use of seeing it, and working, and burning oneself for an impossible vision? A spirit, too, needs fuel. It can run dry.
  • America is the land of the uncommon man. It is the land where man is free to develop his genius — and to get its just rewards.
  • When I die, I hope to go to Heaven, whatever the Hell that is.
  • Do not ever say that the desire to "do good" by force is a good motive. Neither power-lust nor stupidity are good motives.

Inanity previously posted at top of page[edit]

I like that you guys have taken what most people would consider to be the most unflattering quote you can find and stuck it on top. I'm sure you do that with all of the authors/writers on here, eh? Real subtle. -MlR : —This unsigned comment is by 68.84.12.18 (talkcontribs) .

Quotes about Ayn Rand[edit]

A section needs to be added on quotes about Ayn Rand. Preferably something about how annoying her and her supporters are.

Nothing is quite so irritating as individuals declaring their wish to be free of the collective, I suppose. I apologize (collectively) for any psychological harm said individualism has caused you.
—This unsigned comment is by 58.34.70.168 (talkcontribs) .

I suggest we add a section on quotes about Ayn Rand. Preferably something about how great she and her supporters are. --109.72.34.44 09:49, 23 May 2010 (UTC)

Unsourced "sourced" attribution[edit]

I would think after the Limbaugh controversy that this issue should be taken on very carefully, but perhaps it has not occurred to some people that the so-called sourced Hospers' quote of Rand in recollection of a conversation fifty years ago is nothing more than repeated gossip as a third-hand source off some web site. [X says that Y said that Z said.] "The "quote" should be deleted as just silly at best.

—This unsigned comment is by 65.7.166.109 (talkcontribs) .

negativities[edit]

Doesn't anyone think that the "Quotes about Ayn Rand" section is a little too negative? For an unbiased encyclopedia/QDB, Wikiquote should probably include some quotes by her proponents as well. I don't have any, just a suggestion. If I find some; I'll add them. Croutonkid94 22:27, 18 May 2011 (UTC)

Please feel welcome to add any notable quotes in support of her or her ideas. I can recognize both worth and deficiencies in many of them, and those of many of her detractors, and have always sought to encourage honest dialogue and presentation of MANY ideas, whether I agree with them or not. ~ Kalki (talk · contributions) 23:11, 18 May 2011 (UTC)

Merging to Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead[edit]

I have restored InvisibleSun's proposal[1] to merge these sections, which was recently removed[2] by RL0919. It is normal to include a couple signature quotes with a {{main}} link to separate articles on works that are too large to be included in the author page; but it is not appropriate to maintain such large sections here in addition to separate articles on the works. Alternatively, they could be merged in the other direction, but that would make this article very large.

There is no rush. A lot of people are enthusiastic about these novels, and I am confident that eventually someone will take an interest in organizing these quotes by chapter and merging them. ~ Ningauble 17:02, 7 September 2011 (UTC)