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

Ayn Rand Quote

“The secret dread of modern intellectuals, liberals and conservatives alike, the unadmitted terror at the root of their anxiety, which all of their current irrationalities are intended to stave off and to disguise, is the unstated knowledge that Soviet Russia is the full, actual, literal, consistent embodiment of the morality of altruism, that Stalin did not corrupt a noble ideal, that this is the only way altruism has to be or can ever be practiced.  If service and self-sacrifice are a moral ideal, and if the "selfishness" of human nature prevents men from leaping into sacrificial furnaces, there is no reason -- no reason that a mystic moralist could name -- why a dictator should not push them in at the point of bayonets -- for their own good, or the good of humanity, or the good of posterity, or the good of the latest bureaucrat's five-year plan.  There is no reason that they can name to oppose any atrocity.  The value of a man's life?  His right to exist?  His right to pursue his own happiness?  These are concepts that belong to individualism and capitalism -- to the antithesis of the altruist morality.”

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

Mike, Norwalk

Using the author's definitions and examples, yes, an accurate statement. If altruism is purely the principle or practice of unselfish concern for or devotion to the welfare of others, as is opposed to egoism and totalitarianism, then the socialist religion's claims to altruism are incorrect. The purely altruistic concepts that belong to freedom, liberty, prosperity, individualism and capitalism (having no compelled compliance, victimless crimes, larceny, or licensing) are antithetical to the religion of socialism's morality.

Mike, Norwalk

* a side note; capitalism is a system of fiscal activities at law and as such, is neither made up of or concerns morality. While capitalism is a definition at law, morality is a separate issue of understanding and discernment. It is the unselfish acts of an individual at the time of practicing capitalism that would lend an overall coloring of definitions. Capitalism is however tied to freedom, liberty and a government of law as is antithetical to Keynesian economics, crony capitalism, socialistic treatment of property, theft of the noble laborer's fruits and the moralities thereof.

dick, Fort Worth


J Carlton, Calgary

Well said as always Dick. I'm forever amazed at the eloquence and intelligence used by Liberals to win hearts and minds over to their way of thinking. Ayn Rand must be totally wrong because Dick used a two syllable expletive to refute her observation...I know I'm convinced. LOL

Sarah, New Rochelle, NY

People are punished 'for their own good' all the time - not because they are hurting others, but for an altruistic aim. Everytime a moralist pushes a law someone ends up dead... great examples are prohibition, the war against drugs, even speeding violations and the ban on selling loose cigs in NY. These are reasons for police interactions with people who are hurting no one, and every interaction with police is a chance for violence.


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