Day by Day

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Want some Rand?

Analog Kid is putting up a quote of the day from Ayn Rand every day, if you're interested.

And why wouldn't you be interested?

If some men are entitled by right to the products of the work of others, it means that those others are deprived of rights and condemned to slave labor.

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

Ayn Rand “Man’s Rights”

Now, I have a confession. I find Ayn Rand terribly dry to read. Almost boring. She was a writer of great technical skill, and she put more important messages into her books than almost anyone, but she's so damn DRY! The only reason I made it through "Atlas Shrugged" was because every time I turned the page, I kept finding little nuggets of wisdom that I hadn't found anywhere else.

Remember that rights are moral principles which define and protect a man’s freedom of action, but impose no obligations on other men. Private citizens are not a threat to one another’s rights or freedom. A private citizen who resorts to physical force and violates the rights of others is a criminal – and men have legal protection against him.

Criminals are a small minority in any age or country. And the harm they have done to mankind is infinitesimal when compared to the horrors – the bloodshed, the wars, the persecutions, the confiscations, the famines, the enslavements, the wholesale destructions – perpetrated by mankind’s governments. Potentially, a government is the most dangerous threat to man’s rights: it holds a legal monopoly on the use of physical force against legally disarmed victims. When unlimited and unrestricted by individual rights, a government is man’s deadliest enemy. It is not as protection against private actions, but against government actions that the Bill of Rights was written.

Ayn Rand, Man’s Rights

I guess I find her to be much like Bernard Lewis. Wonderful intellect. Great ideas, and the ability to put those ideas on paper. Horribly boring to read. That might get me excommunicated from the conservative blogger's club, but it's the truth.

If one wishes to advocate a free society – that is, capitalism – one must realize that its indispensable foundation is the principle of individual rights. If one wishes to uphold individual rights, one must realize that capitalism is the only system that can uphold and protect them. And if one wishes to gauge the relationship of freedom to the goals of today’s intellectuals, one may gauge it by the fact that the concept of individual rights is evaded, distorted, perverted and seldom discussed, most conspicuously seldom by the so-called “conservatives”.

“Rights” are a moral concept – the concept that provides a logical transition from the principles guiding an individual’s actions to the principals guiding his relationship with others – the concept that preserves and protects individual morality in a social concept – the link between the moral code of a man and the legal code of a society, between ethics and politics.

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

Ayn Rand: Man’s Rights - 1967

So make sure you visit Random Nuclear Strikes on a daily basis. I know I will be, because I can have my Rand without banging my head against a wall trying to get through yet another 1000 page beheamoth that when boiled down, simply says "Any 'right' that infringes on another person is not a right."

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