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

Ayn Rand Quote

“Do you think that we want those laws to be observed? We want them broken. There’s no way to rule innocent men. The only power the government has is the power to crack down on criminals. Well, 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.”

Ayn RandAyn Rand
~ Ayn Rand

Atlas Shrugged, 1957

Ratings and Comments

Mike, Norwalk

How do you gain power over others unless you make victimless acts criminal, and you compel the otherwise free performance of others, or call religious ordinances and otherwise inalienable rights privileges; hmmm, you can't.

ZooT_aLLures, Wisconsin
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ZooT_aLLures, Wisconsin Mike, Norwalk 1/1/21

They forgot the great closing for the statement which says "And then cash in on the guilt" Add that to the bottom of this pseudo-quote and you'll get a more accurate idea of what Rand was saying.

E Archer, NYC

"There is no way to rule innocent men."

Me Again
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Me Again    8/18/06

What a great and TRUE quote! Soo fitting for the America of today.Soo inspirational to the posterity of our Founding Fathers who believe in the government that They founded.This quote brings rise to a sentiment of longing for the type of US. government that once was.It makes one feel sad for what has become of our once beloved Republic.Another great quote for a T shirt.

David L. Rosenthal

It is reasonable to state that whatever is a crime is so, independent of whatever law exists or does not exist. The law confirms that a portion of society agrees that a certain act is a crime, but the law cannot convert a crime into a lawful act. You can wrap a turd in pretty paper, and put a pretty bow on the package; but the turd remains a turd. A crime remains a crime, despite the law.

E Archer, NYC

Absolutely not, David -- it is entirely 'unreasonable' to state that whatever is called a crime is so independent from the law that creates it. Crimes do not exist in Nature -- they are made up by men. Period. There is only Natural Law -- laws that cannot be abridged or altered to suit -- gravity is gravity and cannot be removed. That is what a REAL law is. Men make up 'rules' and call them 'laws' and the breaking of these rules as 'crimes' -- there is no other source for 'crime' but man's own definition of it. The same is true for 'morality' -- it is a personal opinion, nothing more -- always has been and always will be a personal judgement upon social behavior. If religionists really believed in God's justice, then there would be no need of man's justice since God is the final judge. Those that consider themselves morally superior to their neighbors can hold whatever beliefs they wish, but when they attempt to criminalize something in order to promote their morality, they are merely exercising power over another in the name of morality. 'Judge not, lest ye be judged.'

David L. Rosenthal

I disagree with you, Archer. This quote does not discuss Nature. A crime is a crime, despite man's opinion. And your use of biblical quotations is inadequate. Their are many other quotes from the Bible regarding the approproiate use of judgment, but you only use one, or half of one, actually.

David L. Rosenthal

The first definition for Law in the New Merriam-Webster Dictionary: Law: a rule of conduct, recognized by custom or decreed by formal enactment, considered as binding on the members of a community, nation, etc. The second definition for Crime: any grave offense. Therefore, a gfrave offense is a crime, even when no law exists that defines it as such. Laws are written to define, not to create.

Dick, Fort Worth

Like so much nonsense Rand wrote, this has no meaning in and of itself.

E Archer, NYC

David, your definition of Law is exactly what I said -- 'rule of conduct' as decided by men. The 1st definition of 'crime' in at least 15 dictionaries available on the web is 'a violation of the law'. Therefore a crime is a violation of a rule of conduct as decided by other people. Crystal clear.

David L. Rosenthal

Archer: You obviously prefer to ignore the other definitions. Fortunately, that does not abolish them. Some people still reason.

Mike, Norwalk

The Law(s) of "Nature" are those absolutes that occur with a patterned regularity. All grave offenses will be judged by an eternal source (Rev.20:12), but concerning corporeal man, his rules are merely based on opinion. There are absolute laws of physics, economics, liberty, etc. (On an eternal scale). Laws (rules) being written to define, not to create; define how the powerful will interact with the benign. If the corporeal rule is contrary to 'Nature's Laws", Justice will ultimately correct the inappropriate action. The eternal law is: "Thou shalt not kill." (kill: Hebrew verb, ratsach {raw-tsakh'} premeditated or otherwise murder) Man hopefully places to statute his acceptance, defining 1st & 2nd degree, manslaughter, etc.

David L. Rosenthal

The same God that said "Thou shalt not kill" went on to give a number of commandments specifically indicating whom to kill under certain circumstances. "Thou shalt not kill" the innocent, but thou shalt kill the guilty of certain crimes, according to God.

E Archer, NYC

David, This is what you call 'reason'? Sounds like complete religious indoctrination. Please forgive some of us for not sharing your belief system -- God said this, God said that -- a simplistic justification for enslaving people. This is not reason at all -- and such justifications have been used by the world's worst murderers, emperors, dictators, and kings to control the masses. The Islamic fundamentalists speak the same way but because their 'god' is not the 'real' god we have 'our' god's permission to wipe them out because of their 'criminal' acts -- all the while our bombs and bullets serve as their redemption. O Man, is there nothing you cannot be made to believe?

David L. Rosenthal

When I responded to an earlier comment, instead of writing "The same God who said 'Thou shalt not kill' went on...," I could have written, "The Law wherein appears the statement 'Thou shalt not kill' went on..." I was making a point regarding a comment written by someone else, not you, who referred to this law. So excuse me for offending your atheist sensitivities. Nevertheless, I do not think you are a reasonable person, and that you demonstrate it all the time.

E Archer, NYC
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E Archer, NYC David L. Rosenthal 1/2/21

I am no atheist, in fact my sacred view of the Universe is much larger than yours.  I have pursued truth, and the truth HAS set me free!  Playing God is not new  it is a very popular game with very serious consequences.  Power corrupts, and those that believe that their actions are sanctioned by God are the biggest abusers with a clean conscience.

The Common Law is what America is based upon.  There are no statutes or rules other than to respect the rights of one another.  Whenever there has been a violation of those rights, the case may be brought to court.  The government has not been authorized to write statutes for the Common Law other than State and National Constitutions!  The government may only make 'laws' for the commercial law jurisdiction to enforce contracts and promises-to-pay.  These laws carry NO criminal penalties; they can't.  Any violation of the Common Law is to be tried in a Common Law court.

But with the introduction of commercial paper for all transactions, all users of these coupons are subject to the rules of their issuance, placing all within the commercial law jurisdiction.  The biggest deception is that we believe we are 'buying' things when in fact we are merely transferring liability for these assets which are actually owned by the issuers of the currency. We are essentially renting our lives and we must keep paying forever.

Soon thereafter, criminal penalties were created for commercial contract violations.  And then the plethora of laws emanating from Congress exploded!  Every law is about money  who can take from whom.  The government has been reduced to a clearing house for the Central Bank.  There aren't any more Common Law courts for the common man to take their case.

SO a 'crime' is whatever they say it is.  But in reality, a crime is any corruption of the truth, for which there are unavoidable consequences.

Mike, Norwalk
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Mike, Norwalk E Archer, NYC 6/13/24

By way of further clarification. Nature's law (the laws of nature and of nature's God (Declaration of Independence)) is the "law" (definition of an absolute(s)). All else is man's philosophy or religion. Natural law is a corporeal man's observation, moralizing the acts therein. The de jure States united founders used their natural law observations of the law of nature to construct administrations that were shown throughout history to best enhance and secure inalienable rights, liberty and justice.

David Price

This quote is about the use of guilt as power. David is wrong, there have been many laws in history which run contrary to morality. Slavery was protected by law, the NAZI's rounded up the Jews by laws that they made. Totaltarian states always have laws which allow the government to arrest people for almost any reason.

Beth, San Diego

Ayn Rand equals Drama Queen. Yes, there are problems with the law, but there are also good men who take the time and effort to change them. Ideology is not equal to action.

Tim, Platte Center

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.-- So yeah, I believe there are certain "natural laws."

RandFan, Libertyville, liberal pop. 0

Just read the tripe that all the good subservient statists type. Sock puppets all of you. You deserve to be ruled.

J Carlton, Calgary

This quote speaks directly to the corrupt nature of Governments who never stop legislating. The eventuality is that everything becomes illegal and no one has any respect for the law.

Mike, Norwalk

For a most fundamental understanding I would here like to comment about the law. There are 3 basic philosophies of law at work in the human psyche. First, natural law or as the U.S. Founders referenced it, the ". . . separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights."

Natural law would include the law of gravity, physics, fiscal law, and all other expressions that have a natural consequence. At natural law, morality can not be legislated and justice is a matter of restoring law - the work to the worker, the act to the actor, the property to the owner. The closer man's political tools define natural law by said codes, ordinances, regulations, rules, statutes, etc. the greater the freedom, liberty, prosperity, display of inalienable rights, etc. The further away man's political tools are from law, the greater the pain, suffering, poverty, enslavement, etc.

The Second philosophy of law is legal positivism. That is where man believes he is a god that can make law equal to the laws of nature and of nature's God. Legal positivism is an unstable despotism where man invents crimes. At legal positivism, man's political tools don't just image law, they are acted on as though they are law (legislators are called law makers) - such is one of the totalitarian tyrannies We The People find our selves under now. Legal positivism rationalizes its legislation as ethical and moral imperatives.

The third philosophy of law is called legal realism. Legal realism is when, for example: a judge neither follows natural law or legal positivism but rather, legislates from the bench to satisfy his immediate prejudice (the Warren Court was a great example of Unconstitutional, unlawful, legal realism). The application of these forms of law fall under such names as common law, monarchies, socialism (communism, fascism, etc.), etc.

Here, Rand's innocent man exists at natural law as administered under common law. The law to be broken is legal positivism and realism's tyranny under socialism.

E Archer, NYC
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E Archer, NYC Mike, Norwalk 1/2/21

Thank you, Mike!  Well said!

Mary - MI
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Mary - MI    11/21/11

Ayn Rand's statement as well as her book 'Atlas Shrugged' is as true today as it was yesterday. An example - 'Insider Trading Law.' Laws have been passed to make it a crime and yet the congress has made themselves immune from the very law they created. Martha Stewart went to prison because of being accused of the crime of Insider Trading. Nancy Pelosi and some of her elitist congressional colleagues on both sides of the aisle practice "Insider Trading" with impunity on a regular basis.

jim k, Austin, Tx

Right on Ayn. The criminals now infesting both houses of Congress are busy daily making more laws Doesn't that thought make you sleep better.

Winston Smith, Jersey City

I have read none of Ayn Rand's books but a quote of hers that I will never frirget is: "When destroyers appear aming men, they destroy first the money." The Fed said their system of plunder "works (us) only with credit" that would keep its value "if there were fewer people bidding against each other." NOTHING should concern us more than all of the means employed to reduce our bidding agasinst each other, A few of those means are abortion, chlorination, fluoridation, diet soda, subsidized milk, sugar, tobacco, wars, vaccines and endless tax illusions. Taxes can not be real in this system that works us only with weightless, intangible credit though the effects of taxation that regulate the ratio of production to consumption are very real. There can be no better way to enhance the ratio of production to consumption than to eliminate non productive consumers such as babies, retirees, cripples and military. "We must eliminate 350,000 people a day"--Jacques Costeau "There are many ways to make the death rate increase."--Former Secretary of Defense, Robert McNamara in New Solidarity, March 30, 1981. "If governments should refrain from regulation (taxation, extermination) the worthlessness of the money becomes apparent and the fraud upon the public can be concealed no longer."--The Economic Consequences of The Peace--John Maynard Keynes (1929)

Winston Smith

Dick said Rand wrote nonsense. A great writer wrote: "Those with simple minds tend to condemn that which they don't understand."

Winston Smith

Congress passed a law making it a crime to discriminate against races in the sale of real estate. That law was not passed to help minority races. It was passed knowing some agents would violate it and big fines could be imposed. Keep in mind that fines and taxes do the same thing for our misleaders, they regulate how much we spend for things to consume..

Jimi Bigbear, Libertyville, Iowa

Innocent men are self governing and need no rule. Rating this quote as zero - not so much for the quote itself, as for "Rand" herself as the center of a cult of personality that has "Neo'd" (think Neoconservatives and Neoliberals) the Libertarians. (If you want true Libertarian philosophy - go to the Proto-Libertarian, Lysander Spooner. http://lysanderspooner.org/node/44 ) "Ayn" Alisa Zinov'yevna Rosenbaum "Rand" was born into Jewish bourgeois family in St. Petersburg, was an atheist, took the name of her typewriter, and is the high priestess of the Wall Street tribe - the top ten percent of the one percent, that find in her writing the "moral" excuse (if not justification) for their stealing, raping, and murdering, the other 99% and destroying the nations and the planet we all share. The statement to judge her logic by is the her retort at the beginning of the Atlas Shrugged movie - that the proof of the existence of men such as Hank Rearden and Francisco d'Anconia is because she wrote about them. HUH?!?!

Kimo, USA
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Kimo, USA    11/21/11

The current admin should be very afraid, for when we replace them, [and we will] many will face criminal charges. They have broken our most high laws. soon friends, soon. There is an outcry louder than any in our history, and it will be answered. Those who have broken the law, have pushed those who are good, to the point of no fear. Everyone knows, so why hide it.

Mike, Norwalk

One of the laws just recently broken by Iceland was it declared bankruptcy, wrote a new constitution, executed a bunch of the bankers and told the IMF to take a hike. There's a little "Rand" on steroids. Did anybody here Limbaugh, Beck, Matthews, Maddow, any Amerikan news, or anybody talk about it. Hmmmm - - - http://bellacaledonia.org.uk/2011/08/25/why-iceland-shold-be-in-the-news-but-is-not/ What do you think would happen if everyday freemen new that nations were actually throwing off their banking slave masters? Hmmm, I say what if?

roberto esquenazi, fort lauderdale

this is very true when goverment want to have more control over the population they create more non sensible laws so you are allways breaking the law we the people dont have any saying in creating this laws so we dont know what we are protecting like FCPA the goverment doesnt want you to pay other goverments to do business in those country but we pay other goverment so we can do what we want

G. Perez, Sierra Vista, AZ

How can a law be made against something one does to one's self (possession, asst. suicide, gay marriage, etc., etc.)? The basis of all such laws is the idea that we are not sovereign individuals but instead belong to The State upon birth and live for the sake of the collective. Bugger that.

Don Lee, RENO

She hates Christians yet like this one keeps paraphrasing them. LOL

Fredrick William Sillik, Anytown

Uncoordinated quote, for eventually, essentially the innocent will become the most influential factor in the government, for they have learned self government and so qualify to govern.


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