22+ quotes from Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal by Ayn Rand

Quotes from Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal

Ayn Rand ·  340 pages

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“Since knowledge, thinking, and rational action are properties of the individual, since the choice to exercise his rational faculty or not depends on the individual, man’s survival requires that those who think be free of the interference of those who don’t. Since men are neither omniscient nor infallible, they must be free to agree or disagree, to cooperate or to pursue their own independent course, each according to his own rational judgment. Freedom is the fundamental requirement of man’s mind.

A rational mind does not work under compulsion; it does not subordinate its grasp of reality to anyone’s orders, directives, or controls; it does not sacrifice its knowledge, its view of the truth, to anyone’s opinions, threats, wishes, plans, or “welfare.” Such a mind may be hampered by others, it may be silenced, proscribed, imprisoned, or destroyed; it cannot be forced; a gun is not an argument. (An example and symbol of this attitude is Galileo.)

It is from the work and the inviolate integrity of such minds—from the intransigent innovators—that all of mankind’s knowledge and achievements have come. (See The Fountainhead.) It is to such minds that mankind owes its survival. (See Atlas Shrugged.)”
― Ayn Rand, quote from Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal


“Capitalism was the only system in history where wealth was not acquired by looting, but by production, not by force, but by trade, the only system that stood for man's right to his own mind, to his work, to his life, to his happiness, to himself.”
― Ayn Rand, quote from Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal


“This is said to civilized men who are to venture into countries where sacred cows are fed, while children are left to starve - where female infants are killed or abandoned by the roadside- where men go blind, medical help being forbidden by their religion - where women are mutilated, to insure their fidelity - where unspeakable tortures are ceremonially inflicted on prisoners - where cannibalism is practiced.
Are these the ‘cultural riches’ which a Western man is to greet with ‘brotherly love’? Are these the ‘valuable elements’ which he is to admire and adopt? Are these the ‘fields’ in which he is not to regard himself as superior? And when he discovers entire populations rotting alive in such conditions, is he not to acknowledge, with a burning stab of pride - of pride and gratitude - the achievements of his nation and his culture, of the men who created them and left him a nobler heritage to carry forward?”
― Ayn Rand, quote from Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal


“The concept of individual rights is so new in human history that most men have not grasped it fully to this day. In accordance with the two theories of ethics, the mystical or the social, some men assert that rights are a gift of God-- others, that rights are a gift of society. But, in fact, the source of rights is man's nature.”
― Ayn Rand, quote from Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal


“Observe the nature of today’s alleged peace movements. Professing love and concern for the survival of mankind, they keep screaming that the nuclear-weapons race should be stopped, that armed force should be abolished as a means of settling disputes among nations, and that war should be outlawed in the name of humanity. Yet these same peace movements do not oppose dictatorships; the political views of their members range through all shades of the statist spectrum, from welfare statism to socialism to fascism tocommunism. This means that they are opposed to the use of coercion by one nation against another, but not by the government of a nation against its own citizens; it means that they are opposed to the use of force against armed adversaries, but not against the disarmed. Consider the plunder, the destruction, the starvation, the brutality, the slave-labor camps, the torture chambers, the wholesale slaughter perpetrated by dictatorships. Yet this is what today’s alleged peace-lovers are willing to advocate or tolerate—in the name of love for humanity.”
― Ayn Rand, quote from Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal


“The right to agree with others is not a problem in any society; it is the right to disagree that is crucial.”
― Ayn Rand, quote from Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal


“Capitalism is a social system based on the recognition of individual rights, including property rights, in which all property is privately owned”
― Ayn Rand, quote from Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal


“Let anyone who believes that a high standard of living is the achievement of labor unions and government controls ask himself the following question: If one had a “time machine” and transported the united labor chieftains of America, plus three million government bureaucrats, back to the tenth century—would they be able to provide the medieval serf with electric light, refrigerators, automobiles, and television sets?”
― Ayn Rand, quote from Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal


“I shall remind you that"rights" are a moral principle defining and sanctioning a man's freedom of action in a social context, that are derived from man's nature as a rational being and represent a necessary condition of his particular mode of survival. I shall remind you also that the right to life is the source of all rights, including the right to property.”
― Ayn Rand, quote from Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal


“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.”
― Ayn Rand, quote from Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal


“Do you think nobody would willingly entrust his children to you and pay you for teaching them? Why do you have to extort your fees and collect your pupils by compulsion?”
― Ayn Rand, quote from Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal


“The issue is freedom versus dictatorship. It is only after men have chosen slavery and dictatorship that they can begin the usual gang warfare of socialized countries—today, it is called pressure-group warfare—over whose gang will rule, who will enslave whom, whose property will be plundered for whose benefit, who will be sacrificed to whose “noble” purpose.”
― Ayn Rand, quote from Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal


“statistics should be substituted for truth, vote-counting for principles, numbers for rights, and public polls for morality—that pragmatic, range-of-the-moment expediency should be the criterion of a country’s interests, and that the number of its adherents should be the criterion of an idea’s truth or falsehood—that any desire of any nature whatsoever should be accepted as a valid claim, provided it is held by a sufficient number of people—that a majority may do anything it pleases to a minority—in short, gang rule and mob rule”
― Ayn Rand, quote from Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal


“the penalizing of ability for being ability, the penalizing of success for being success, and the sacrifice of productive genius to the demands of envious mediocrity.”
― Ayn Rand, quote from Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal


“Let those who are actually concerned with peace observe that capitalism gave mankind the longest period of peace in history—a period during which there were no wars involving the entire civilized world—from the end of the Napoleonic wars in 1815 to the outbreak of World War I in 1914.”
― Ayn Rand, quote from Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal


“Whenever, in any era, culture, or society, you encounter the phenomenon of prejudice, injustice, persecution, and blind, unreasoning hatred directed at some minority group—look for the gang that has something to gain from that persecution, look for those who have a vested interest in the destruction of these particular sacrificial victims. Invariably, you will find that the persecuted minority serves as a scapegoat for some movement that does not want the nature of its own goals to be known.”
― Ayn Rand, quote from Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal


“Prior to the American Revolution, through centuries of feudalism and monarchy, the interests of the rich lay in the expropriation, enslavement, and misery of the rest of the people. A society, therefore, where the interests of the rich require general freedom, unrestricted productiveness, and the protection of individual rights, should have been hailed as an ideal system by anyone whose goal is man’s well-being.”
― Ayn Rand, quote from Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal


“Lobbying” is the activity of attempting to influence legislation by privately influencing the legislators.”
― Ayn Rand, quote from Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal


“It took centuries of intellectual, philosophical development to achieve political freedom. It was a long struggle, stretching from Aristotle to John Locke to the Founding Fathers. The system they established was not based on unlimited majority rule, but on its opposite: on individual rights, which were not to be alienated by majority vote or minority plotting. The individual was not left at the mercy of his neighbors or his leaders: the Constitutional system of checks and balances was scientifically devised to protect him from both.”
― Ayn Rand, quote from Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal


“Capitalism is based on self-interest and self-esteem; it holds integrity and trustworthiness as cardinal virtues and makes them pay off in the marketplace, thus demanding that men survive by means of virtues, not of vices.”
― Ayn Rand, quote from Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal


“When numbers are substituted for morality, and no individual can claim a right, but any gang can assert any desire whatever, when compromise is the only policy expected of those in power, and the preservation of the moment’s “stability,” of peace at any price, is their only goal—the winner, necessarily, is whoever presents the most unjust and irrational demands; the system serves as an open invitation to do so.”
― Ayn Rand, quote from Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal


“El estatismo necesita la guerra; un país libre no. El estatismo sobrevive a través del saqueo; un país libre sobrevive produciendo.”
― Ayn Rand, quote from Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal


About the author

Ayn Rand
Born place: in St. Petersburg, Russian Federation
Born date February 2, 1905
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