Ayn RandAyn Rand, [Alisa Zinov'yevna Rosenbaum] (1905-1982) Russian-American novelist, philosopher, playwright, and screenwriter

Ayn Rand Quote

“Make no mistake about it -- and tell it to your Republican friends: capitalism and altruism cannot coexist in the same man or in the same society.  Tell it to anyone who attempts to justify capitalism on the ground of the "public good" or the "general welfare" or "service to society" or the benefit it brings to the poor.  All these things are true, but they are the by-products, the secondary consequences of capitalism -- not its goal, purpose or moral justification.  The moral justification of capitalism is man's right to exist for his own sake, neither sacrificing himself to others nor sacrificing others to himself; it is the recognition that man -- every man -- is an end in himself, not a means to the ends of others, not a sacrificial animal serving anyone's need.”

Ayn RandAyn Rand
~ Ayn Rand

Faith and Force: The Destroyers of the Modern World, (A lecture delivered at Yale University on February 17, 1960, at Brooklyn College on April 4, 1960, and at Columbia University on May 5, 1960. Published as a pamphlet by the Nathaniel Branden Institute in 1967, and now included as a chapter in the book, Philosophy: Who Needs It )

Ratings and Comments

cal, lewisville, tx

How true. Socialism only works in ant beds or bee hives. Man is no social insect.

Mike, Norwalk

5 plus stars to cal's comment. I am here telling all my friends, capitalism and altruism can exist at the same time and by / in the same individual. They are not mutually exclusive. Altruism is of the heart of individuals - to be practiced or not. Forced altruism is not altruism. The rest of the statement is exactly right on. 'A' moral justification of capitalism 'IS' man's right to exist for his own sake. 'A' moral justification for altruism 'IS', being under no duress or mandate, it is man's personal right to sacrifice for others, or to practice unselfish concern for or devotion to the welfare of others.

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  • Reply
    Abby    10/12/12

    the difference between charity and force...the first is a gift from an individual, the latter is theft (a crime no matter what heading it is under)

    Mann, Kalamazoo

    Hmmm. I wonder where the "moral justification of capitalism" exists for those who provide labor, THE ACTUAL CREATORS OF CAPITAL, fits in this hypothesis - "every" man my aching ...

    J Carlton, Calgary

    Mann, those who provide labor are providing labor because it's all they have to offer. That is the nature of things, always has been. Without creative capitalists...what do "the labor" have to offer? It's a cooperative aspect of nature and if labor doesn't like being labor, they can go to school or go into business for themselves and take the risks. I have personally worked my way into a very comfortable position after starting out with nothing...twice. I did it by outworking and outhinking those around me. And so can anyone else who has the drive.

    Mike, Norwalk

    Mann, the premise of your oxymoron is mis-directional, misleading and flawed at best. (-; you know you made me smile, not a Joe laugh, but a hmmm moment ;-) To provide labor is a colloquial terminology made common by non-free socialist dogma defining an association and, is only cursory to the relationship. In a laissez-faire capitalistic system, all men (individually, in concert, or legal commercial personages) are equal opportunists. Certain individuals render such things as environments, others render such things as labor. The two harmonizing alliteratives then negotiate and settle on an equal exchange. For example, for a defined labor, possibly in time increments, the environmental opportunist and the laboring opportunist agree on a quantitative monetary exchange equal to the job. (See my comments on 10/10/12 - Murray N. Rothbard and 10/05/12 - Lew Rockwell here in this Liberty-Tree blog) Providing labor at a government of law would define a moral gift of working for free. In todays government of men vernacular, the providing of labor makes a second class individual out of a noble opportunist and is misleading in the promotion of socialist dogmas. Also, the lawful terms Capital and capitalism are only speciously related. Capital was originally a personal specie of tangible wealth (a tangible of intrinsic value) that could be bartered (sold, traded, invested, etc.). With the advent of debt replacing money, capitals meaning was expanded to meet crony-capitalism and other socialist theocracy dogma demands. Capitalism was the private use of excess capital, placed in the care of another to increase personally unearned income (often assisting another create or expand a commercial venture - a self perpetuating system) Capitalisms new theological use describes all wealth, derived from what ever source and by what ever means (criminal or otherwise). So to most clearly answer your question; capitalisms moral justifications do not begin to address, in any way, the providers of labor.

    Mike, Norwalk

    J Carlton (-; you remind me of a close friend - a real capitalist at heart ;-) As a youth, he started out as a motorcycle mechanic. He worked for many years on commission only (knowing the hard realization that if it wasn't done right the first time it didn't pay to fix it the second time). He wanted more benefits and retirement so he got a job at the post office. At the specific location where he went to work, they never had enough fork lifts - they couldn't keep up with the break-downs. My friend soon got all the extra fork lifts working so when one broke down, another was immediately available. His supervisor told him he would have to slow down or he would have to fire him because they had already let 2 people go and they couldn't afford to let any more go ;-) His attitude wasn't that he was providing labor to a superior or he was creating capital for others and, his belief structure didn't conform to the occupying statist theocracy's master / laborer impositions. He was / is an independent capitalist that agreed to exchange labor for his accepted equivalent in monetary values. He is an independent sovereign interacting with a theocratic melee of convoluted socialist dogmas.

    Don Lee Kevin Lee, Reno

    She is very bizarre. The entrpeneur has many reasons for doing what they do, certainly they sacrifice to being their product to the market. Addressing republicans who are the lesser of two evils is bizzare as well.

    E Archer, NYC

    I suppose it depends on the definition of 'altruism.'  Rand mostly was speaking of the conflict between individualism and collectivism.  The individual's motive is 'selfish'  that is to benefit himself and whomever he choses to share the benefits.  The collective's supposed motive is 'altruistic'  that is, what's best for the community as a whole, even at the expense of individual desires and consent.


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