Monday, 13 February 2017

Ayn Rand’s Views on Political and Cultural Issues

Ayn Rand Answers: The Best of Her Q & A (Kindle Edition)
Edited by Robert Mayhew

Ayn Rand Answers: The Best of Her Q & A is an excellent resource for gaining insight into Ayn Rand’s views on political and cultural issues.

The interviews of Rand that are there in the book were conducted during the 1960s and 1970s but the ideas that she proposes are very relevant today. This is because the political problems that we are now facing are linked to the collectivist and altruist ideas that were developed during the first half of the twentieth century.

Ayn Rand could see further than most people and she knew about the absurd outcomes such ideas would inevitably lead to. It is an interesting experience to read her answers and compare what she has said to what is happening today.

Here are a few quotes from Ayn Rand Answers: The Best of Her Q & A:
“The first thing Objectivism would advocate in regard to undeveloped nations is not to send them material help but to teach them political freedom. For any nation, no matter how undeveloped, if it establishes a political system that protects individual rights, its progress and development will be phenomenal.” 
“When currency is not backed by gold, then we are under the power of a government that arbitrarily sets the value of money, devalues the currency, inflates credit, and taxes us indirectly through the manipulation of money (which is more disastrous than direct taxation). The government's power to destroy the objective value and security of currency is precisely what ultimately destroys the economy.” 
“The notion that antitrust laws protects free competition is a wide-spread economic fallacy.”
“Nationalism as a primary—that is, the attitude of “my country, right or wrong,” without any judgement—is chauvinism: a blind, collectivist, racist feeling for your own country, merely because you were born there. In that sense, nationalism is very wrong. But nationalism properly understood – as a man's devotion to his country because of an approval of its basic premises, principles, and social system, as well as its culture – is the common bond among men of that nation. It is a commonly understood culture, and an affection for it, that permits a society of men to live together peacefully. But a country and its system must earn this approval. It must be worthy of that kind of devotion.” 
"If men want to organize into a union and bargain collectively with their employer, that is their right, provided they don't force anyone to join, or force their employer to negotiate with them.
“Politics must begin with an idea. You cannot win elections with isolated slogans used once in four years. If anything practical can be done, it is this: Work out a consistent set of principles, and teach it to the people in your party: precinct workers, local candidates, and perhaps national candidates.”
“Anyone serious about saving the world today must first discard the dominant philosophy of the culture. Stand on your own as much as if you moved to a separate valley, like in Atlas Shrugged. Check your premises; define your convictions rationally. Do not take anything on faith; do not believe that your elders know what they're doing; because they don’t." 
“The difference between religion and philosophy is that religion is a matter of faith. You either have faith or you don't. You cannot argue about it. But when you deal with philosophy, you deal with reason and logic. That is an objective element of language common to all men. You can try to persuade others that you are right, or you are free to disagree with them. In a free country, you need not deal with them. But religion is an issue of faith. By definition, if one doesn't accept faith, or if different people believe different faiths, no common action, agreement, or persuasion is possible among them if religion is made a condition of political agreement.”  
“When a country doesn't recognize the individual rights of its own citizens, it cannot claim any national or international rights. Therefore, anyone who wants to invade a dictatorship or semi-dictatorship is morally justified in doing so, because he is doing no worse than what that country has accepted as its social system. It is improper to attack a free country, because it recognizes the individual rights of its citizens.”

1 comment:

  1. Note that Mayhew has rewritten these questions and answers.

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