Quote of the day—Ayn Rand

Contrary to the prevalent views of today’s alleged scholars, history is not an unintelligible chaos ruled by chance and whim—historical trends can be predicted, and changed—men are not helpless, blind, doomed creatures carried to destruction by incomprehensible forces beyond their control.

There is only one power that determines the course of history, just as it determines the course of every individual life: the power of man’s rational faculty—the power of ideas. If you know a man’s convictions, you can predict his actions. If you understand the dominant philosophy of a society, you can predict its course. But convictions and philosophy are matters open to man’s choice.

There is no fatalistic, predetermined historical necessity. Atlas Shrugged is not a prophecy of our unavoidable destruction, but a manifesto of our power to avoid it, if we choose to change our course.

It is the philosophy of the mysticism-altruism-collectivism axis that has brought us to our present state and is carrying us toward a finale such as that of the society presented in Atlas Shrugged. It is only the philosophy of the reason-individualism-capitalism axis that can save us and carry us, instead, toward the Atlantis projected in the last two pages of my novel.

Ayn Rand
1966
Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal, Is Atlas Shrugging? Pages 181 and 182
[It is trivial to see the dystopia Rand wrote about in Atlas Shrugged in the world around us. It is also trivial to see her utopian correction to that path is not being, and probably could never have been, followed.

I’m usually accused of being too, if not insanely, optimistic. And even looking through those rose colored glasses I only see a tiny hint of a mirage that might be a path to recovery without going through an extremely dark place and time. I fear we went speeding past our exit years, if not decades, ago and our economic and personal freedoms will suffer violent abuse without realistic hope of recovery without extreme suffering and great loss of life.—Joe]

2 thoughts on “Quote of the day—Ayn Rand

  1. Pingback: Quote of the day—Ayn Rand | Gunpon

  2. She correctly distilled it down to the question of allegiance, and correctly finds two alliances in the world, but she fails to correctly identify those two alliances.

    Her “mysticism-altruism-collectivism” axis would be benign if it were prevented the use of coercion.

    The “reason-individualism-capitalism” axis grew largely of the Judeao/Christian narrative, and some would refer to that as “mysticism”. “Capitalism” is an unnecessary word meaning simply “liberty” although it is now often used to mean “Fascism” or government cronyism, British style Mercantilism or similar arrangement involving government intrusions, restrictions and subsidies (all coercive), and so the word is less than worthless nowadays because it so often means anything but itself. That ambiguity is no surprize, the C-word having been invented by authoritarians.

    The American founders would not have understood you if you’d spoken to them of “capitalism”. They’d probably think you were creepy, referring to some new and insidious religion worshiping mammon.

    Rand, at least in the quote as isolated, does not hit the nail on the head. She fails to make a clear distinction between a system of coercion on one hand, and a system based on respect for life, liberty and property on the other.

    It is a moral difference, having little to do with “reason verses mysticism” per se. The morals supporting a right to life, liberty and property are part of the Judeao/Christian narrative. The imposing, genocidal Eugenicists and the Global Warming alarmist authoritarians believe they’re operating on pure reason.

    What we have today, in most arguments, is one kind of coercive (authoritarian) system competing with another, which why I bring this up. Thus it is easy for Democrats to hate Republicans, and easy for Republicans to hate Democrats. They’re both pro-coercive.

    Liberty (the banishment of coercion) is never on the table for discussion, so it is easy, and quite common, for a person to believe he’s in the “reason-individualism-capitalism” camp and at the same time be a strong and proud advocate of coercion.

    That would describe nearly all Democrats and nearly all Republicans. They share an almost religious worship of coercive power, and their disagreements center only around the details, application and purpose for their precious coercion.

    It has been said that the main reason (the only real reason) Jews have been hated around the world and throughout history, is that they sought to impose restrictions on human behavior, mostly in the form of the Ten Commendments.

    “We can’t kill, conquer, steal, rape, and worship our idols? To hell with that! We want to be free!”

    And so we have to be very, very, careful when we talk about “freedom” because there are two kinds of freedom- freedom from right, to do wrong, and freedom from wrong, to do right.

    The “Charter of Negative Rights” that is the U.S. constitution is of the same nature as the Ten Commandments. They both impose hard and fast restrictions on human behavior, without which we have no true freedom and no true liberty. They are both universally despised and hated by authoritarians because authoritarians seek the other kind of freedom, which is the “freedom” to use coercion.

    The way you see it depends on where you’ve put your allegiance, and regardless of how “reasonable” or “logical” you may think you are, your allegiance is almost certainly determined by your emotional history and the degree and nature of your faith (in one system or the other).

    In summary, here’s a Roy Masters quote;

    “Loving what is right is different from hating what is wrong and feeling right about it.”

    That’s just about all we’re ever talking about here, really.

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