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Thread: On Her 111th birthday, Ayn Rand on Individual Rights, Liberty, and Government

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    Default On Her 111th birthday, Ayn Rand on Individual Rights, Liberty, and Government

    Few people have been more controversial than Alisa Rosenbaum. But few have heard that name, because the apoplectic responses are reserved for the new name she gave herself after she left Russia for America—Ayn Rand.

    Some people are devotees of everything Rand. Others use her name as a pejorative. Still others find some of her ideas insightful while rejecting others (e.g., anarcho-capitalists, who reject Rand’s “minarchism,” and Christian libertarians, who reject her lifestyle or insistence on atheism). Yet Rand’s influence is undeniable. She sold over 30 million books, and decades after her 1982 death, hundreds of thousands more annually. In a 1991 survey by the Library of Congress and the Book-of-the-Month Club, Atlas Shrugged was ranked behind only the Bible as the book that most influenced readers’ lives.

    What I find most inspirational in Rand’s work are her views on individualism, rights, liberties, and government. So, on the 111th anniversary of her February 2, 1905, birth, consider some of those words.
    Man holds...rights, not from the Collective nor for the Collective, but against the’s protection against all other men.

    Any alleged “right” of one man, which necessitates the violation of the rights of another, is not and cannot be a right.

    Since only an individual man can possess rights...“individual rights” is a redundancy. But...“collective rights” is a contradiction in terms.

    An individualist...says: “I will not run anyone’s life—nor let anyone run mine. I will not rule nor be ruled. I will not be a master nor a slave.”
    Whether one salutes or slams Ayn Rand, or is just trying to find wisdom wherever it can be found, her words on rights, liberties, and government offer serious food for thought. And particularly when so many pursue supposed collective “justice” by violating individuals’ rights, she stimulates foundational questions that have never been wise to overlook. Perhaps that is why she remains so divisive.
    More quotes at the link.
    Based on the idea of natural rights, government secures those rights to the individual by strictly negative intervention, making justice costless and easy of access; and beyond that it does not go. The State, on the other hand, both in its genesis and by its primary intention, is purely anti-social. It is not based on the idea of natural rights, but on the idea that the individual has no rights except those that the State may provisionally grant him. It has always made justice costly and difficult of access, and has invariably held itself above justice and common morality whenever it could advantage itself by so doing.
    --Albert J. Nock

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    R.I.P. Ayn, you made an awful lot of sense on an awful lot of topics.
    Last edited by Ronin Truth; 02-02-2016 at 05:28 PM.

  4. #3


    From Jeffrey Tucker:

    She was born in Russia and fated to live under communist despotism. Had she acquiesced to the systems around her, she might have lived and died in poverty and obscurity. … She wanted her life to matter. So she plotted her own escape from Russia. … Alone … built a career as scriptwriter, before writing her own plays and becoming a novelist. This peasant born in Russia made a brilliant career for herself, becoming one of the 20th century’s most influential minds – all without an academic career or any champions in the centers of power. …

    Rand’s greatest characters follow a similar path of refusing to go along … Her message is that one person with a mind and moral stamina can stand up to even the most powerful machinery of oppression. … Rand’s influence is still making the world a freer place. ...
    "Let it not be said that we did nothing." - Dr. Ron Paul. "Stand up for what you believe in, even if you are standing alone." - Sophie Magdalena Scholl
    "War is the health of the State." - Randolph Bourne "Freedom is the answer. ... Now, what's the question?" - Ernie Hancock.

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