Tag Archives: Objectivism

What is the motive of a FAU’s professor’s demand that students “stomp on Jesus” ? Nihilism #tcot #tlot #jcot

Ayn Rand ‘s: The Fountainhead Toohey …..”One does not reverence with a giggle”…. Envy/Hatred of the Good for Being the Good — Ayn Rand Lexicon http://aynrandlexicon.com/lexicon/envy-hatred_of_the_good_for_being_the_good.html …..”

Today, we live in the Age of Envy. “Envy” is not the emotion I have in mind, but it is the clearest manifestation of an emotion that has remained nameless; it is the only element of a complex emotional sum that men have permitted themselves to identify. Envy is regarded by most people as a petty, superficial emotion and, therefore, it serves as a semihuman cover for so inhuman an emotion that those who feel it seldom dare admit it even to themselves. . . . That emotion is: hatred of the good for being the good. This hatred is not resentment against some prescribed view of the good with which one does not agree. . . . Hatred of the good for being the good means hatred of that which one regards as good by one’s own (conscious or subconscious) judgment. It means hatred of a person for possessing a value or virtue one regards as desirable. If a child wants to get good grades in school, but is unable or unwilling to achieve them and begins to hate the children who do, that is hatred of the good. If a man regards intelligence as a value, but is troubled by self-doubt and begins to hate the men he judges to be intelligent, that is hatred of the good. The nature of the particular values a man chooses to hold is not the primary factor in this issue (although irrational values may contribute a great deal to the formation of that emotion). The primary factor and distinguishing characteristic is an emotional mechanism set in reverse: a response of hatred, not toward human vices, but toward human virtues. To be exact, the emotional mechanism is not set in reverse, but is set one way: its exponents do not experience love for evil men; their emotional range is limited to hatred or indifference. It is impossible to experience love, which is a response to values, when one’s automatized response to values is hatred

”…… “The Age of Envy,” Return of the Primitive: The Anti-Industrial Revolution, 152 What’s Wrong with Stomping on “Jesus”? http://www.theobjectivestandard.com/blog/index.php/2013/03/whats-wrong-with-stomping-on-jesus/ ….. ”

We all recognize that intentionally stepping on something in such a context, or spitting on it, or burning it, is a sign of disrespect of the person or thing symbolized. There is of course nothing wrong with showing disrespect toward a person (or institution) who deserves it and for whom one legitimately holds contempt. For example, Hitler, Stalin, and comparably evil figures are worthy of nothing but contempt. And TOS published images of Mohammed that Muslims find offensive; but this was in response to Muslims assaulting and murdering people for exercising the right to freedom of speech ”….. ….” The problem with the exercise at Florida Atlantic University is that it asked students to show disrespect toward a figure they likely personally admire. The assignment did not argue that Jesus was a bad person or that Christianity is a bad religion; nor was the assignment a response to something horrific or irrational that Christians had done in the name of Jesus. Rather, this assignment asked students to personally stomp on a symbol representing a religious figure for whom they likely hold great reverence. The purpose of the assignment was to make them assault their own values. It was an exercise in moral nihilism. This —not the mere fact that it offended some Christians—is what was reprehensibly wrong with it.

“…. RRD: Exactly. I have encountered this before,it is not a attack on Christianity per se. It is an attack on that which someone values because they value it. It’s purpose is not to tear down a false standard & replace it with a true one,its purpose is to to tear down standards for the sake of tearing down standards. It is destruction for its own sake ,it is pure nihilism. Unlike Voltaire with his Satires this is not about ridiculing or rebutting Christianity so as to replace it with some belief system that the satirist thinks is superior,it is about making people attack their own values,precisely because they are sacred to them. This type of “teacher” would probably do the same to an Atheist. It is an act of impotent rage,it is the kind of spite for its own sake that one encounters in a Dostoevsky villian.

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Byron York absolves the GOP of their responsibility for tax increases

http://m.washingtonexaminer.com/how-gop-can-turn-the-tables-on-obama-on-spending/article/2514983/?page=2&referrer=/politics ….”

Republicans will cave on the question of raising the tax rate for the highest-income Americans. The only question is whether they do so before or after the government goes over the so-called fiscal cliff. First, many in the GOP do not believe that raising the rate on top earners from 35 percent to 39.6 percent (the rate before the Bush tax cuts) would seriously damage the economy. Second, they know that most Americans approve of higher taxes on the top bracket, and President Obama, having campaigned and won on that platform, seems dead-set on higher rates. Third, they fear that if the government does go over the cliff and Democrats propose re-lowering taxes for everyone except the highest earners, Republicans would be in the impossible position of resisting tax cuts for 98 percent of the country on behalf of the top 2 percent.

“….. ….”

A Republican offer to allow a top rate increase in exchange for entitlement cuts would turn the spotlight on the Democrats’ entitlement dilemma. If President Obama takes the position of many in his party — AFL-CIO chief Richard Trumka, for example, has written, “NO to cuts to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid and YES to fair taxes on the wealthiest 2 percent”– there will be no deal. But that would not stop the Republicans from saying right now: While we do not support raising taxes on anyone, especially in this weak economy, we will accept the president’s top-bracket rate increase in exchange for trillion-dollar cuts in the big three entitlement programs.

“…. RRD: Being a Objectivist has its perks,such as knowledge of the term “The metaphysical vs the man-made”. Metaphysical vs. Man-Made — Ayn Rand Lexicon http://aynrandlexicon.com/lexicon/metaphysical_vs_man-made.html Metaphysical: You have cancer. Man-made: You cannot get treatment because the government has decided that you are “unfit” to live. Both are facts of reality,but the former is an amoral act of nature ,while the latter is subject to human volition (i.e. Free Will) & therefore has a moral dimension. It does not have to be. It is a man-made injustice. The appropriate response is outrage at the evil men making such a determination. Another example is when we are told that the desire of the voters for entitlement spending is a “reality” ,(while the fact that we are bankrupting our country apparently is not. ) Now we are being told that the Republicans WILL cave;as if it were a fact of nature rather than a immoral decision freely made by adults. The purpose of this is to absolve those RINOS of responsibility for their actions. But if it is a “fact” that Republicans will cave on taxes,then why is it not also a “fact” that Republicans will cave on spending? Experience has taught us that real,actual spending cuts either never arrive or are soon reversed. What’s more whether “many in the GOP” believe that raising taxes in a recession would not harm the economy or not, the fact is that IT WOULD HARM THE ECONOMY. That brings us to the third absurdity: That Obama will cut non-defense spending;ever. What on earth leads York to think this? What in Obama’s past indicates that he is anything less than a tax & spend liberal at best? (And likely something far worse) What Obama will likely do is to say “aha! Republicans concede that we should raise taxes on those who can afford to contribute more,so why are they holding the Middle-Class hostage to their mean-spirited desire to throw grandma off a cliff!” The only thing from York’s argument that will likely be adopted by the GOP establishment is the part that absolves the GOP of all responsibility. They will say :”look mainstream Republicans said that we didn’t have any choice about raising taxes”… Will they be selectively quoting him? Of course,what of it? These people don’t think about the long-term consequences of the debt. They do not think about our country becoming Weimar Germany economically (with the potential danger of a strongman taking advantage of the disaster to seize power),they think of nothing, other than their re-election. If Obama would agree to this proposal, fine. He won’t,and any concessions will simply serve to embolden Obama rather than to persuade him to make concessions.

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A sense of life is not a substitute for explicit knowledge. Values which one cannot identify, ….are not in one’s control. One cannot tell what they depend on or require, what course of action is needed …

A sense of life is not a substitute for explicit knowledge. Values which one cannot identify, but merely senses implicitly, are not in one’s control. One cannot tell what they depend on or require, what course of action is needed to gain and/or keep them. One can lose or betray them without knowing it.

“Don’t Let It Go,” Philosophy: Who Needs It, 210


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To those who think that Obama is Peter Keating #aynrand #objectivism #tlot

RRD: There are some individuals who believe that Obama is “a Peter Keating”,and that Ryan is “the real threat” . To those people I would say that this is what the “pragmatic”,”go along” Democrats,led by Obama,are saying about the Health Care Bill that cost them the House.

Dems embrace Obama health law – The Hill – covering Congress, Politics, Political Campaigns and Capitol Hill | TheHill.com


Kathleen Sebelius:

….“For us Democrats, ObamaCare is a badge of honor,” “Because no matter who you are, what stage of life you’re in, this law is a good thing.” Michelle Obama at the convention: “When it comes to the health of our families, Barack refused to listen to all those folks who told him to leave health reform for another day, another president,” “He didn’t care whether it was the easy thing to do politically —that’s not how he was raised — he cared that it was the right thing to do.”…. Fmr.Gov. Ed Rendell of Pennsylvania said that Democratic candidates ….should challenge Republican opponents about what parts of the law they would repeal,citing provisions banning insurance companies from excluding children with pre-existing conditions and giving seniors rebates for prescription drugs not covered by Medicare. “We can kill them on it,” he said.” Neera Tanden, a former adviser to Sebelius who is now at the liberal Center for American Progress, said: . …“My advice to them will be to use Mitt Romney’s experience on healthcare as an attack on Mitt Romney but also a character point about what he was willing to do five years ago, six years ago. He was arguing for the individual mandate,” … . …“Do I think we could have done a better job of explaining what’s in the legislation? Yes, I think we could,” said Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.), a close ally of former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.). “But I think people are experiencing it, and that, I think, is the best way to get the word out.” DeLauro said the healthcare law represented “the proudest vote” she had taken in her 22-year career. “I think this is an opportunity, one, to let people know what’s in this legislation, and two, to dispel the misinformation about the legislation,” . “We are proud of the Affordable Care Act.We are proud of what’s in it and the difference it’s making in people’s lives. And we are going to talk about it here.” “I think we Democrats have basically turned a corner on that,” said Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), “We all knew that it was going to take some time for average Americans to understand what the Affordable Care Act was. But now they’re getting it. People are now saying, ‘Wow, this is good stuff.’ ” House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) “We don’t need a reason to defend the Affordable Care Act,” ,“We have millions of reasons to defend the Affordable Care Act.” Harkin again: “Don’t run away from ObamaCare. Embrace it.” “If people have something of value, and you want to take it away from them? Look out,” …“That’s a losing proposition.” RRD: As someone said recently “This is the power of belief!” But you see Obama is just a Peter Keating,he isn’t a driven ideologue,no,no he bends with the wind. He’s not a Toohey, or a Ferris or even a Walter Breckenridge. Keep telling yourself that a Peter Keating could have gotten Obamacare passed. Keep telling yourselves that Obama is a Peter Keating,but that Ryan,on the other hand is E-V-I-L. Why? I could understand it if someone said that both are evil in different ways or to different degrees,but how can one conclude that Obama is some kind of benign weakling? Maybe because Ryan is Catholic & wants to enact a constitutional amendment to outlaw abortion, even though that will never be passed or ratified? Is that it? If not, then why,& how? How,exactly,is Ryan “ten times worse than Obama”,or “five times worse than Obama”? How? What specific harm will Ryan inflict,that makes him worse than Obama? The first time that I heard the claim that Obama was like ”Peter Keating” was during the 2008 election. It was made by Robert Tracinski,so far as I know he has long since abandoned it. But never mind:Keep telling yourself that Democrats are just taking “some ambling steps” towards socialism. Keep telling yourself that socialism is “a fad”,which “has had its day” (during which time the ”fad” just happens to have killed tens of millions of people and left whole countries in ruins). Keep telling yourself that it is espoused only by “anti-ideologists” & “that Leftists are no longer the passionate collectivists” that they once were. Keep telling yourself that long after the person who made such statements has (at least partially) modified his view. Remember Obama is Peter Keating! One day he may even get the memo.

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Obama is not Mcgovern,he is more dangerous

How Obama is,& isn’t different from previous Democrats. Hercule Poirot once remarked that the difference between murder and attempted murder is not moral,it is that the attempted murderer is incompetent,whereas the murderer was successful. In this analogy Bill Clinton would be the attempted murderer and Obama would be the murderer. Some time ago I had a argument with someone who was urging us to vote for Romney. He was arguomg that,essentially,Obama would destroy the United States. (fn1) I responded to this by noting that Republicans had been proclaiming that “this time it’s different” at least since Bill Clinton vs Bush. They made the same argument against Clinton and against Kerry that they have made against Obama. I also noted that I knew some friends who had spelled Clinton with a K as “Klinton” to indicate that he was a Communist back during his reign. To this he replied that I was ”committing a horrendous injustice” against Bill Clinton, since Clinton “backed down” and “listened”. To this, I in turn responded :”No I really do not think that I have committed a ‘horrendous injustice” against Bill Clinton by saying that he is morally no different from Obama,Clinton proposed Hillarycare,and he wanted to install backdoors into our computers and into our phones via the Clipper chip. Cowardice is not a virtue,the fact that Clinton was not as driven,and as ruthless, and as competent as Obama made him less dangerous than Obama,but there was no moral distinction between the two”. And it was that very last sentence that gave me pause,not because I was in doubt as to whether there was a moral distinction between the two,but because I had inadvertently named the main,real,distinction between Obama and Clinton,and between Obama and Kerry and between Obama and Dukakis,hell for that matter between Obama and Mcgovern. Why do we call the Health Care bill Obamacare,instead of calling it Mcgoverncare,or Dukakiscare,or Clintoncare,or Kerrycare? “Why that’s obvious,Obama passed it” Exactly,for decades Democrats have lusted after a bill that would destroy private insurance and who passed it? Why did Obama not back down? For that matter,why did Obama get elected? Yes Bush and Mccain contributed to his victory,but Obama not only won, he won by large margins,at least part of this was due to the ruthlessness of David Axelrod (who should not be underestimated in 2012,see David Mendell’s: Obama from Promise to Power), but part of the reason was simply due to the fact that Obama is a charismatic demagogue. (Charismatic to me? No. To his followers,yes,even now when many have become disillusioned,one need only show up at a moderately liberal campus to see that some people, particularly women, still swoon over the man) And once Obama was elected,he was evidently prepared to sacrifice the House to ram through Obamacare,(hell if the claims about Fast & Furious are true,then he was willing to cause Americans to die to enact gun control). This is not ”Jimmy Carter’s second term”, Jimmy Carter,Clinton,Kerry etc were buffoons by contrast,(to paraphrase Rush Limbaugh) Nor is Obama Peter Keating. Long ago,back in 2008 ,Robert Tracinski remarked that Obama was a chamelon ”like Peter Keating”,that statement,though wrong,was at least somewhat understandable in 2008. This is not 2008. There is no justification for that belief now,none,(and so far as I know, Mr.Tracinski himself jettisoned that belief around 2009) Can you picture Peter Keating ramming through Obamacare? Comparing Obama to Keating,or Obama to Clinton ,is as absurd as comparing the Republican Guard of Iraq to the Revolutionary Guard of Iran because “just as people told us that the Republican Guard was fearsome,and it wasn’t,so they are now crying wolf about the Revolutionary Guard”. Ask the Israeli soldiers who fought both the PLO and Hezbollah in Lebanon whether Hezbollah–which was trained by the Revolutionary Guard–was “no different” than the PLO . Morally they weren’t. Hezbollah,however,at the height of the conflict,nearly inflicted a one-to-one casualty ratio against the IDF. They were that well disciplined,and that tenacious. They are not buffoons,and in the political realm,neither is Obama. People sometime forget that the last time the boy cried wolf, there was an actual wolf. And speaking of the Islamic Republic of Iran,those who see no difference between Romney and Obama on foreign policy should note that it is Obama, and not Romney,who has leaked operational information which could cripple the one program–the cyberwarfare program–that has slowed down Iran’s nuclear program. If that program is defeated, Israel will be forced to stage a strike alone,and absent American support, (indeed against ”American” opposition),it will be unlikely to succeed.

Who is Leaking About Cyberattacks? « Commentary Magazine


Also see

Obama, Gospel and Verse – NYTimes.com


Should that occur we may face a nuclear first strike on the United States, or on Israel. But Romney won’t stop Iran? Perhaps not,but I doubt that he will be trying to sabotage Israel’s efforts,Obama by contrast,IS DOING THAT RIGHT NOW. There is absolutely no reason why we must vote for Romney in 2016,certainly not if he betrays us,but it will take time to build up a alternative to the current choice of evils that we are offered. But back to Obama. Far from being Keating,if I had to name a Atlas Shrugged character that he is most like,it would be–at a minimum– Walter Breckenridge,& at worst,one of the Starnes heirs, or Ellsworth Toohey,or Floyd Ferris. ( And yes I am quite serious) Footnotes: fn1. I doubt that Obama will destroy the U.S., indeed the only possible way that I think that he could reasonably do so would be if he declared martial law after a terrorist attack ,or a nuclear first strike,and attempted to impose an Alien and Sedition like bill,that could be the trigger for massive civil unrest ( a “civil war” of a kind,though of “The Troubles” variety rather than the American Civil War) But I regard this as a improbable scenario.

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Argument from Intimidation — Ayn Rand Lexicon

http://aynrandlexicon.com/lexicon/argument_from_intimidation.html ”Let me emphasize that the Argument from Intimidation does not consist of introducing moral judgment into intellectual issues, but of substituting moral judgment for intellectual argument. Moral evaluations are implicit in most intellectual issues; it is not merely permissible, but mandatory to pass moral judgment when and where appropriate; to suppress such judgment is an act of moral cowardice. But a moral judgment must always follow, not precede (or supersede), the reasons on which it is based.” “The Argument from Intimidation,” The Virtue of Selfishness, 143

RRD: I should note that I believe that it is possible to say something that is–in its effect–a argument from intimidation, but to do so without a malicious intent.

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Don’t let it go unheard #objectivist ( #aynrand )podcast:DOD bans criticism of Islam while Egytian pres. wants to conquer Jerusalem #tcot #jcot

Don’t Let It Go Unheard 06/24 by amypeikoff | Blog Talk Radio


….”PLANNED TOPICS: Just as a Muslim Brotherhood candidate wins the Egyptian Presidency, and his supporters call for a renewed drive to establish an Islamic Caliphate with Jerusalem as its capital, here in the U.S. our Department of Defense suspends a military instructor for including, in a course, material that crticizes Islam. Why you should vote for me (or yourself) instead of Gary Johnson. Disturbing evidence of Obama’s desperation to win. And more.”….

Disclaimer:Reposting does not imply agreement.(Nor does it constitute a political endorsement of Mitt Romney).

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Filed under 2012 elections, Activism, Arab Spring, Current events, Egypt, Human rights, Islamism, Israel, Muslim Brotherhood, Objectivism, Politics

Ayn Rand and #freespeech

Free Speech — Ayn Rand Lexicon


The Objectivist Calendar, June 1978

…”The communists and the Nazis are merely two variants of the same evil notion: collectivism. But both should be free to speak—evil ideas are dangerous only by default of men advocating better ideas. ”…

“The Cashing -In: The Student ‘Rebellion,’” Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal, 258

….”The difference between an exchange of ideas and an exchange of blows is self-evident. The line of demarcation between freedom of speech and freedom of action is established by the ban on the initiation of physical force.”…

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Ignoramus confesses her ignorance of #Objectivism by her ”death-blow” to it.

RRD:At this point the alert(or conscious) reader may ask:How can a ignoramus deal a death blow to a philosophy of which they are ignorant of?


Before continuing I wish to state that I am not any kind of “official” spokesperson for Objectivism,that what follows is My presentation of certain aspects of Objectivism as I understand the philosophy.
As always a detailed,serious study of the primary source material is needed to understand any philosophy,and I would refer the reader to Ayn Rand’s corpus of writings,which flesh out and apply her views,and answer criticisms raised against Objectivism.

Victoria Bekiempis,a ignoramus(or liar)–who claims to be a ex-Objectivist–published a column in The Guardian in which she cited a article entitled “Psychological Egoism and Ethical Egoism” written by another ignoramus (or liar),
named Sandra LaFave.

Bekiempis’ article is here:

Confessions of a recovering Objectivist | Victoria Bekiempis | Comment is free | guardian.co.uk


Bekiempis asserts that her own categorical assertion about unnamed ”experts”(below)
when taken together
with LaFave’s article(excerpted later),serve to illustrate “foundational problems” in Objectivism.To this she adds that it would be “generous” for Bekiempis and LaFave to “concede” that they do not deal a “death-blow” to Objectivism.

I will first critique Bekiempis,then LaFave.


”Another key concern is that psychological egoism might not be final stage of an individual’s ethical development. We start off selfish, say some theorists, but we must move beyond convention and toward post -conventional social contract and conscience for true moral growth. ”

Which theorists?

Do they have names?

Are their names unmentionable?

If they are mentionable,what are they?

What evidence or arguments do they have to back up their claims?

What counter-arguments are there from Rand or others?

Isn’t it begging the question to say: “but we must move beyond convention and toward post -conventional social contract and conscience for true moral growth”

Doesn’t that presuppose that ”selfishness” (aka ”convention”) is bad & that this ”post-conventional social contract and conscience ” is good?

If so it is not a argument,it is a assertion.

What–specifically–does it mean to “move beyond convention and toward post-conventional social contract and conscience”anyway & what are the arguments for doing this?

What are the counter-arguments?

Why is this so-called “true moral growth” supposedly moral?

Does Bekiempis expect us to research & assemble her argument for her?

Ayn Rand herself produced over two thousand pages of writing explaining her philosophy in great detail.

Those interested can find her full list of works at the Ayn Rand Bookstore,along with lectures & books by other Objectivists.

Ayn Rand Bookstore


Now let us turn to the arguments of LaFave which were cited by Bekiempis’.


Psychological Egoism and Ethical Egoism


”In fact, people who think psychological egoism is true (such as Thomas Hobbes and Ayn Rand) often use it as a premise in an argument to deny the validity of traditional ethics altogether”

…”The ethical egoist thinks we should pursue self-interest because we can’t help but do so. But if we must pursue self -interest, as the premise states, then what’s the point of saying we should ? If psychological egoism is true, we can’t act any other way. In other words,ethical egoism only makes sense if psychological egoism is false, i.e., if we have a genuine choice. ”….

RRD:There can be no doubt but that these are the people and wisdom shall die with them(paraphase of Job 12:2)

“But what’s wrong with their argument?”

What’s wrong with it is that Ayn Rand was not a adherent of the idea “that we should pursue self-interest because we can’t help but do so”,nor did she believe that ”all acts were selfish”.

Those of us who have actually read her works(or even just her novel Atlas Shrugged) are aware that she was not a advocate of these views,because of the very subtle hints she would drop from time to time in her writings.

Subtle hints like:

“Instinct” — Ayn Rand Lexicon


Galt’s Speech,For the New Intellectual , 121

..”An instinct of self-preservation is precisely what man does not possess. An “instinct” is an unerring and automatic form of knowledge. A desire is not an instinct. A desire to live does not give you the knowledge required for living. And even man’s desire to live is not automatic . . . Your fear of death is not a love for life and will not give you the knowledge needed to keep it. Man must obtain his knowledge and choose his actions by a process of thinking, which nature will not force him to perform. Man has the power to act as his own destroyer—and that is the way he has acted through most of his history.”….

RRD:And hints like:

The Ayn Rand Institute: The Objectivist Ethics, by Ayn Rand


(Ayn Rand quoting Galt’s speech her novel Atlas Shrugged part 3 chapter 7 ”This is John Galt Speaking” )

…“Through centuries of scourges and disasters, brought about by your code of morality[RRD:Altruism fn1] you have cried that your code had been broken,that the scourges were punishment for breaking it, that men were too weak and too selfish to spill all the blood it required.You damned man, you damned existence, you damned this earth, but never dared to question your code. . . . You went on crying that your code was noble, but human nature was not good enough to practice it. And no one rose to ask the question: Good ?—by what standard ?”..

“Yes, this is an age of moral crisis. . . . Your moral code has reached its climax,the blind alley at the end of its course. And if you wish to go on living, what you now need is not to return to morality . . . but to discover it.”

…”[Rand] I quote from Galt’s speech: “Man has been called a rational being, but rationality is a matter of choice—and the alternative his nature offers him is: rational being or suicidal animal. Man has to be man—by choice; he has to hold his life as a value—by choice; he has to learn to sustain it—by choice; he has to discover the values it requires and practice his virtues—by choice. A code of values accepted by choice is a code of morality.”….

Next Ayn Rand spoke directly in
The Objectivist Ethics.

“Man has no automatic code of survival. He has no automatic course of action, no automatic set of values. His senses do not tell him automatically what is good for him or evil, what will benefit his life or endanger it, what goals he should pursue and what means will achieve them, what values his life depends on, what course of action it requires. His own consciousness has to discover the answers to all these questions—but his consciousness will not function automatically . Man, the highest living species on this earth—the being whose consciousness has a limitless capacity for gaining knowledge—man is the only living entity born without any guarantee of remaining conscious at all. Man’s particular distinction from all other living species is the fact that his consciousness is volitional .”…

….”But man’s responsibility goes still further: a process of thought is not automatic nor “instinctive” nor involuntary—nor infallible. Man has to initiate it, to sustain it and to bear responsibility for its results. He has to discover how to tell what is true or false and how to correct his own errors; he has to discover how to validate his concepts, his conclusions, his knowledge; he has to discover the rules of thought, the laws of logic ,to direct his thinking. Nature gives him no automatic guarantee of the efficacy of his mental effort.”

…”He cannot achieve his survival by arbitrary means nor by random motions nor by blind urges nor by chance nor by whim. That which his survival requires is set by his nature and is not open to his choice. What is open to his choice is only whether he will discover it or not, whether he will choose the right goals and values or not. He is free to make the wrong choice, but not free to succeed with it.” …

Original Sin — Ayn Rand Lexicon


Galt’s Speech, For the New Intellectual , 136

…”The name of this monstrous absurdity is Original Sin.

…”A sin without volition is a slap at morality and an insolent contradiction in terms: that which is outside the possibility of choice is outside the province of morality. If man is evil by birth, he has no will, no power to change it; if he has no will, he can be neither good nor evil; a robot is amoral. To hold, as man’s sin, a fact not open to his choice is a mockery of morality. ”…

…”Do not hide behind the cowardly evasion that man is born with free will, but with a “tendency” to evil. A free will saddled with a tendency is like a game with loaded dice. It forces man to struggle through the effort of playing, to bear responsibility and pay for the game, but the decision is weighted in favor of a tendency that he had no power to escape. If the tendency is of his choice, he cannot possess it at birth; if it is not of his choice, his will is not free.”…

And Ayn Rand on Tabula Rasa.

Tabula Rasa — Ayn Rand Lexicon


“The Comprachicos,” Return of the Primitive: The Anti -Industrial Revolution, 54

…”At birth, a child’s mind is tabula rasa; he has the potential of awareness—the mechanism of a human consciousness—but no content. Speaking metaphorically, he has a camera with an extremely sensitive, unexposed film (his conscious mind), and an extremely complex computer waiting to be programmed (his subconscious). Both are blank”…

…. To focus his eyes (which is not an innate, but an acquired skill), to perceive the things around him by integrating his sensations into percepts (which is not an innate, but an acquired skill), to coordinate his muscles for the task of crawling, then standing upright, then walking—and, ultimately, to grasp the process of concept -formation and learn to speak—these are some of an infant’s tasks and achievements whose magnitude is not equaled by most men in the rest of their lives.”…

Atlas Shrugged – Wikiquote


Francisco D’Anconia

“Until and unless you discover that money is the root of all good, you ask for your own destruction. When money ceases to be the tool by which men deal with one another, then men become the tools of men. Blood, whips and guns –or dollars. Take your choice – there is no other – and your time is running out.”

Francisco d’Anconia to Hank Rearden

“When you felt proud of the rail of the John Galt Line,” said Francisco, the measured rhythm of his voice giving a ruthless clarity to his words, “what sort of men did you think of ? Did you want to see that Line used by your equals—by giants of productive energy, such as Ellis Wyatt, whom it would help to reach higher and still higher achievements of their own ?” “Yes,” said Rearden eagerly. “Did you want to see it used by men who could not equal the power of your mind, but who would equal your moral integrity—men such as Eddie Willers—who could never invent your Metal, but who would do their best, work as hard as you did, live by their own effort, and—riding on your rail—give a moment’s silent thanks to the man who gave them more than they could give him?” “Yes,” said Rearden gently. “Did you want to see it used by whining rotters who never rouse themselves to any effort, who do not possess the ability of a filing clerk, but demand the income of a company president, who drift from failure to failure and expect you to pay their bills, who hold their wishing as an equivalent of your work and their need as a higher claim to reward than your effort, who demand that you serve them, who demand that it be the aim of your life to serve them, who demand that your strength be the voiceless, rightless, unpaid, unrewarded slave of their impotence, who proclaim that you are born to serfdom by reason of your genius, while they are born to rule by the grace of incompetence, that yours is only to give, but theirs only to take, that yours is to produce, but theirs to consume, that you are not to be paid, neither in matter nor in spirit, neither by wealth nor by recognition nor by respect nor by gratitude—so that they would ride on your rail and sneer at you and curse you, since they owe you nothing, not even the effort of taking off their hats which you paid for? Would this be what you wanted ? Would you feel proud of it?” “I’d blast that rail first,” said Rearden, his lips white. “Then why don’t you do it, Mr. Rearden ? Of the three kinds of men I described—which men are being destroyed and which are using your Line today ?” They heard the distant metal heartbeats of the mills through the long thread of silence. “What I described last,” said Francisco, “is any man who proclaims his right to a single penny of another man’s effort.”

John Galt

“I swear by my life and my love of it, that I will never live for the sake of another man, nor ask another man to live for mine.”

“There is only one kind of men who have never been on strike in the whole of human history. Every other kind and class has stopped, when they so wished, and have presented demands to the world, claiming to be indispensable – except the men who have carried the world on their shoulders, have kept it alive, have endured torture as sole payment, but have never walked out on the human race. Well, their turn has come. Let the world discover who they are, what they do and what happens when they refuse to function. This is the strike of the men of the mind, Miss Taggart. This is the mind on strike.”

“We’ve heard so much about strikes, and about the dependence of the uncommon man upon the common. We’ve heard it shouted that the industrialist is a parasite, that his workers support him, create his wealth, make his luxury possible – and what would happen to him if they walked out ? Very well. I intend to show the world who depends on whom, who supports whom, who is the source of wealth, who makes whose livelihood possible and what happens to who when whom walks out.”

“The businessman who wishes to gain a market by throttling a superior competitor, the worker who wants a share of his employer’s wealth, the artist who envies a rival’s higher talent -they’re all wishing facts out of existence, and destruction is the only means of their wish. If they pursue it, they will not achieve a market, a fortune, or an immortal fame – they will merely destroy production, employment and art. A wish for the irrational is not to be achieved, whether the sacrificial victims are willing or not. But men will not cease to desire the impossible and will not lose their longing to destroy – so long as self -destruction and self -sacrifice are preached to them as the practical means of achieving the happiness of the recipients.”

Chapter Seven: This is John Galt Speaking

“For centuries, the battle of morality was fought between those who claimed that your life belongs to God and those who claimed that it belongs to your neighbors – between those who preached that the good is self -sacrifice for the sake of ghosts in heaven and those who preached that the good is self -sacrifice for the sake of incompetents on earth. And no one came to say that your life belongs to you and that the good is to live it.”

And for those who still didn’t get it Ayn Rand published a essay in 1962 explicitly rejecting the claim that “all actions are selfish”.It was called “Isn’t Everyone Selfish” it was written on her behalf by Nathaniel Branden.

(Ayn Rand broke off relations with the Brandens and does not regard anything that they wrote after the break,or anything that they wrote which she did not oversee,to be part of her philosophy ) (fn2)

So far as I can tell the text of the article is not online,but it is hardly obscure.
It was included in the Virtue Of Selfishness Which is one of her more popular non-fiction books.(fn3)

But at this point you may say:”Aha!But Nietzche believed in ”blood” and instincts and Rand was a Nietzchean!”

It is true that Rand was heavily influenced by Nietzche when young(during what would later be called her Nietzchean phase),but her view of Nietzsche became progressively more negative as she became increasingly more “Neo-Aristotelian” in her outlook. (“Neo-Aristotelian” is how the academic community would term it,it was not her term)

In her Introduction to The Fountainhead she wrote:

Nietzsche, Friedrich — Ayn Rand Lexicon


“Introduction to The Fountainhead,” The Objectivist , March 1968, 6

”Philosophically, Nietzsche is a mystic and an irrationalist. His metaphysics consists of a somewhat “Byronic” and mystically “malevolent” universe; his epistemology subordinates reason to “will,” or feeling or instinct or blood or innate virtues of character. But, as a poet, he projects at times (not consistently) a magnificent feeling for man’s greatness, expressed in emotional, not intellectual, terms.


Selfishness — Ayn Rand Lexicon


“Introduction,” The Virtue of Selfishness, ix

..”The Objectivist ethics holds that the actor must always be the beneficiary of his action and that man must act for his own rational self -interest. But his right to do so is derived from his nature as man and from the function of moral values in human life—and, therefore, is applicable only in the context of a rational, objectively demonstrated and validated code of moral principles which define and determine his actual self -interest. It is not a license “to do as he pleases” and it is not applicable to the altruists’ image of a “selfish” brute nor to any man motivated by irrational emotions, feelings, urges, wishes or whims.

This is said as a warning against the kind of “Nietzschean egoists” who, in fact, are a product of the altruist morality and represent the other side of the altruist coin: the men who believe that any action, regardless of its nature, is good if it is intended for one’s own benefit. Just as the satisfaction of the irrational desires of others is not a criterion of moral value, neither is the satisfaction of one’s own irrational desires. Morality is not a contest of whims . . . .

RRD:Note that she is referring to ethics.In a Objectivist society people would be legally free to act in a way that Objectivists regard as irrational, so long as they did not violate individual rights. (fn4)

Since Ayn Rand is not a advocate of the ”we’re all selfish” view
everything that follows from the false premise that she is,is a straw man & invalid.

LaFave also makes other straw man arguments, which I will address in a later post.



Altruism — Ayn Rand Lexicon


Selfishness — Ayn Rand Lexicon



Ayn Rand:

”I want, therefore, formally to state that the only authentic sources of information on Objectivism are: my own works (books, articles, lectures), the articles appearing in and the pamphlets reprinted by this magazine (The Objectivist , as well as The Objectivist Newsletter), books by other authors which will be endorsed in this magazine as specifically Objectivist literature, and such individual lectures or lecture courses as may be so endorsed. (This list includes also the book Who Is Ayn Rand ? by Nathaniel Branden and Barbara Branden, as well as the articles by these two authors which have appeared in this magazine in the past, but does not include their future works.)

– “A Statement of Policy, Part 1” The Objectivist (Jun 1968/7:6, but written and sent out later)


The Ayn Rand Institute: The Virtue of Selfishness



Freedom — Ayn Rand Lexicon


Individual Rights — Ayn Rand Lexicon


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“You propose to establish a social order based on the following tenets: that you’re incompetent to run your own life, but competent to run the lives of others… #tcot #teaparty #tlot

Atlas Shrugged – Wikiquote


John Galt

“You propose to establish a social order based on the following tenets: that you’re incompetent to run your own life, but competent to run the lives of others — that you’re unfit to exist in freedom, but fit to become an omnipotent ruler — that you’re unable to earn your living by use of your own intelligence, but able to judge politicians and vote them into jobs of total power over arts you have never seen, over sciences you have never studied, over achievements of which you have no knowledge, over the gigantic industries where you, by your own definition of capacity, would be unable successfully to fill the job of assistant greaser.”

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June 19, 2012 · 5:25 pm