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

Ayn Rand Quote

“Individual rights are the means of subordinating society to moral law.”

Ayn RandAyn Rand
~ Ayn Rand

Ratings and Comments

cal, lewisville, tx

Her Objectivity is great.

Somebody, Somewhere

(I wrote too much -- will have to edit and get back to you.)

Mary - MI
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Mary - MI    8/21/13

Yes, individual rights are unalienable and should always be honored and respected. They include respecting each individual's person, property and rights to free and open speech. No collective mob or despot should be allowed to violate and usurp this natural right .... whether they wear a judicial robe or sit in the Oval Office.

Louis A. Chitty, III, Long Beach, CA (via Columbia, SC)

Cal, What is "objective" about this statement? How do you measure, quantify or "objectivize" "society" or "moral law"? Rand's statement is meaningless, being self-contradictory on its face, for how can asserting or even acknowledging one's "rights" SUBORDINATE an individual -- much less a society -- to some undefined "moral law" [and whose morality would we be talking about, anyway]? Last time I heard, there was no universally-accepted morality. "Rights," by their very nature, are NOT subordinate, else they are not absolute. This comment, like much of Rand's writing, is pure jibberish and what I call abstruse "word poop," being totally devoid of coherent thought and meaning. One need proceed no farther than this one-liner statement itself. Think about it (I will paraphrase): 'Individual rights are the means by which individuals are made SUBSERVIENT TO (some undefined) moral law'. I don't think so.

E Archer, NYC
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E Archer, NYC Louis A. Chitty, III, Long Beach, CA (via Columbia, SC) 1/15/20

Actually, Rand makes an excellent observation.  Respecting the 'rights' of each other naturally subordinates 'society' which is nothing but a group of people.  The actions of the group (society) must adhere to respecting the natural-born rights of the individuals within it, otherwise, it has become a mob making might right and subordinating the individual to the mob (society).  Of course, the mob has leaders, and the leaders act as totalitarians for the group.  The power of organizing society is what the totalitarians want, individual rights will be declared by the leaders, all else is forbidden.

Mike, Norwalk

Historically, natural law was considered to be based on that which was moral. The problem with that was each person's morals (individually and in concert) differed (sometimes radically). It was the de jure U.S. founders establishment of morals were based on natural law (that which is - the law of nature or of nature's God, i.e. math, science, etc.). that established a recognition and administration of individual rights. I'm not quite sure what the quote's ultimately intended meaning would be. Individual rights, by definition, do not / can not subordinate a grouping of individuals to anything - that is an oxymoron at best and immoral at worst. So, ? ? ? I would hope Mary above's explanation is the answer ?

Cal, Lewisville, TX

This quote is a little out of context, but when one reads her writings it all comes together on her belief of Objectivity.

E Archer, NYC

I agree with Cal. Would like to see the context -- I like the conclusion though.

Ronw13, Oregon

The "natural law of morality" written upon fleshly tables of the heart. The conscience bears witness, one can run but one cannot hide from the convicting power of the Spirit. The works of the flesh are manifest, as also the fruits of the Spirit are manifest. 
" For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For to carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God." Romans 8:5 thru 8

Ronw13, Oregon
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Ronw13, Oregon Ronw13, Oregon 1/14/20

A Big dose of Commonsense, when seeking after a civil society. 

jim k, Austin

Ayn is usually right.


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