Ayn Rand Quotes

A collection of Ayn Rand Quotes

A creative man is motivated by the desire to achieve, not by the desire to beat others.— Ayn Rand

A crime is the violation of the right(s) of other men by force (or fraud). It is only the initiation of physical force against others- i.e., the recourse to violence- that can be classified as a crime in a free society (as distinguished from a civil wrong). Ideas, in a free society, are not a crime- and neither can they serve as the justification of a crime.— Ayn Rand

A gun is not an argument.— Ayn Rand

A leash is only a rope with a noose on both ends.— Ayn Rand

All the reasons which made the initiation of physical force evil, make the retaliatory use of physical force a moral imperative.— Ayn Rand

America's abundance was created not by public sacrifices to the common good, but by the productive genius of free men who pursued their own personal interests and the making of their own private fortunes. They did not starve the people to pay for America's industrialization. They gave the people better jobs, higher wages, and cheaper goods with every new machine they invented, with every scientific discovery or technological advance- and thus the whole country was moving forward and profiting, not suffering, every step of the way.— Ayn Rand

An inventor is a man who asks 'Why?' of the universe and lets nothing stand between the answer and his mind.— Ayn Rand

Anyone who fights for the future, lives in it today.— Ayn Rand

Aristotle may be regarded as the cultural barometer of Western history. Whenever his influence dominated the scene, it paved the way for one of history's brilliant eras; whenever it fell, so did mankind.— Ayn Rand

Ask yourself why totalitarian dictatorships find it necessary to pour money and effort into propaganda for their own helpless, chained, gagged slaves, who have no means of protest or defense. The answer is that even the humblest peasant or the lowest savage would rise in blind rebellion, were he to realize that he is being immolated, not to some incomprehensible noble purpose, but to plain, naked human evil.— Ayn Rand

Businessmen are the one group that distinguishes capitalism and the American way of life from the totalitarian statism that is swallowing the rest of the world. All the other social groups- workers, farmers, professional men, scientists, soldiers- exist under dictatorships, even though they exist in chains, in terror, in misery, and in progressive self-destruction. But there is no such group as businessmen under a dictatorship. Their place is taken by armed thugs: by bureaucrats and commissars. Businessmen are the symbol of a free society- the symbol of America.— Ayn Rand

By the same principle, the government may not give special leniency to the perpetrator of a crime, on the grounds of the nature of his ideas.— Ayn Rand

Civilization is the progress toward a society of privacy. The savage's whole existence is public, ruled by the laws of his tribe. Civilization is the process of setting man free from men.— Ayn Rand

Definitions are the guardians of rationality, the first line of defense against the chaos of mental disintegration.— Ayn Rand

Do not make the mistake...of thinking that a worker is a slave and that he holds his job by his employer's permission. He does not hold it by permission - but by contract, that is, by a voluntary mutual agreement. A worker can quit his job; a slave cannot.— Ayn Rand

Philosophy studies the fundamental nature of existence, of man, and of man's relationship to existence. ? In the realm of cognition, the special sciences are the trees, but philosophy is the soil which makes the forest possible.— Ayn Rand

Since there is no such entity as 'the public,' since the public is merely a number of individuals, the idea that 'the public interest' supersedes private interests and rights can have but one meaning: that the interests and rights of some individuals take precedence over the interests and rights of others.— Ayn Rand

Do you believe in God, Andrei? No.Neither do I. But that's a favorite question of mine. An upside-down question, you know.What do you mean?Well, if I asked people whether they believed in life, they'd never understand what I meant. It's a bad question. It can mean so much that it really means nothing. So I ask them if they believe in God. And if they say they do--then, I know they don't believe in life.Why?Because, you see, God--whatever anyone chooses to call God--is one's highest conception of the highest possible. And whoever places his highest conception above his own possibility thinks very little of himself and his life. It's a rare gift, you know, to feel reverence for your own life and to want the best, the greatest, the highest possible, here, now, for your very own.— Ayn Rand

Economic power is exercised by means of a positive, by offering men a reward, an incentive, a payment, a value; political power is exercised by means of a negative, by the threat of punishment, injury, imprisonment, destruction. The businessman's tool is values; the bureaucrat's tool is fear.— Ayn Rand

City smog and filthy rivers are not good for men (though they are not the kind of danger that the ecological panic-mongers proclaim them to be). This is a scientific, technological problem—not a political one—and it can be solved only by technology. Even if smog were a risk to human life, we must remember that life in nature, without technology, is whole-sale death.— Ayn Rand

Every coercive monopoly was created by government intervention into the economy: by special privileges, such as franchises or subsidies, which closed the entry of competitors into a given field, by legislative action.— Ayn Rand

Every government interference in the economy consists of giving an unearned benefit, extorted by force, to some men at the expense of others.— Ayn Rand

Every movement that seeks to enslave a country, every dictatorship or potential dictatorship, needs some minority group as a scapegoat which it can blame for the nation's troubles and use as a justification of its own demands for dictatorial powers. In Soviet Russia, the scapegoat was the bourgeoisie; in Nazi Germany, it was the Jewish people; in America, it is the businessmen.— Ayn Rand

Existence exists and the act of grasping that statement implies two corollary axioms: that something exists which one perceives and that one exists possessing consciousness, consciousness being the faculty of perceiving that which exists.— Ayn Rand

Force and mind are opposites; morality ends where the gun begins.— Ayn Rand

God... a being whose only definition is that he is beyond man's power to conceive.— Ayn Rand

Happiness is that state of consciousness which proceeds from the achievement of one's values.— Ayn Rand

Honor is self-esteem made visible in action.— Ayn Rand

I am a man who does not exist for others.— Ayn Rand

I can accept anything, except what seems to be the easiest for most people: the half-way, the almost, the just-about, the in-between.— Ayn Rand

I can say - not as a patriotic bromide, but with full knowledge of the necessary metaphysical, epistemological, ethical, political, and aesthetic roots - that the United States of America is the greatest, the noblest and, in its original founding principles, the only moral country in the history of the world.— Ayn Rand

I guard my treasures: my thought, my will, my freedom. And the greatest of these is freedom.— Ayn Rand

I have come here to say that I do not recognize anyone's right to one minute of my life....It had to be said. The world is perishing from an orgy of self-sacrificing.— Ayn Rand

I need no warrant for being, and no word of sanction upon my being. I am the warrant and the sanction.— Ayn Rand

I shall choose friends among men, but neither slaves nor masters. And I shall choose only such as please me, and them I shall love and respect, but neither command nor obey. And we shall join our hands when we wish, or walk alone when we so desire.— Ayn Rand

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.— Ayn Rand

If you ask me to name the proudest distinction of Americans, I would choose- because it contains all the others- the fact that they were the people who created the phrase to make money. No other language or nation had ever used these words before; men had always thought of wealth as a static quantity- to be seized, begged, inherited, shared, looted or obtained as a favor. Americans were the first to understand that wealth has to be created.— Ayn Rand

In a capitalist society, all human relationships are voluntary. Men are free to cooperate or not, to deal with one another or not, as their own individual judgments, convictions and interests dictate.— Ayn Rand

In any compromise between food and poison, it is only death that can win. In any compromise between good and evil, it is only evil that can profit.— Ayn Rand

In the name of the best within you, do not sacrifice this world to those who are its worst. In the name of the values that keep you alive, do not let your vision of man be distorted by the ugly, the cowardly, the mindless in those who have never achieved his title. Do not lose your knowledge that man's proper estate is an upright posture, an intransigent mind and a step that travels unlimited roads. Do not let your fire go out, spark by irreplaceable spark, in the hopeless swamps of the approximate, the not-quite, the not-yet, the not-at-all. Do not let the hero in your soul perish, in lonely frustration for the life you deserved, but have never been able to reach. Check your road and the nature of your battle. The world you desired can be won, it exists, it is real, it is possible, it's yours.— Ayn Rand

In the temple of his spirit, each man is alone.— Ayn Rand

Individual rights are not subject to a public vote; a majority has no right to vote away the rights of a minority; the political function of rights is precisely to protect minorities from oppression by majorities (and the smallest minority on earth is the individual).— Ayn Rand

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

It is a grave error to suppose that a dictatorship rules a nation by means of strict, rigid laws which are obeyed and enforced with rigorous, military precision. Such a rule would be evil, but almost bearable; men could endure the harshest edicts, provided these edicts were known, specific and stable; it is not the known that breaks men's spirits, but the unpredictable. A dictatorship has to be capricious; it has to rule by means of the unexpected, the incomprehensible, the wantonly irrational; it has to deal not in death, but in sudden death; a state of chronic uncertainty is what men are psychologically unable to bear.— Ayn Rand

It is futile to fight against, if one does not know what one is fighting for.— Ayn Rand

It makes no difference whether government controls allegedly favor the interests of labor or business, of the poor or the rich, of a special class or a special race: the results are the same. The notion that a dictatorship can benefit any one social group at the expense of others is a worn remnant of the Marxist mythology of class warfare, refuted by half a century of factual evidence. All men are victims and losers under a dictatorship; nobody wins-except the ruling clique.— Ayn Rand

It stands to reason that where there's sacrifice, there's someone collecting sacrificial offerings. Where there's service, there's someone being served. The man who speaks to you of sacrifice, speaks of slaves and masters. And intends to be the master.— Ayn Rand

Love, friendship, respect, admiration are the emotional response of one man to the virtues of another, the spiritual payment given in exchange for the personal, selfish pleasure which one man derives from the virtues of another man's character. Only a brute or an altruist would claim that the appreciation of another person's virtues is an act of selflessness, that as far as one's own selfish interest and pleasure are concerned, it makes no difference whether one deals with a genius or a fool, whether one meets a hero or a thug, whether one marries an ideal woman or a slut.— Ayn Rand

Loyalty is like rubber: one can stretch it so far and then - it snaps.— Ayn Rand

Man cannot survive except by gaining knowledge, and reason is his only means to gain it. Reason is the faculty that perceives, identifies and integrates the material provided by his senses. The task of his senses is to give him the evidence of existence, but the task of identifying it belongs to his reason, his senses tell him only that something is, but what it is must be learned by his mind.— Ayn Rand

Man's character is the product of his premises.— Ayn Rand

May the God you invented forgive you!— Ayn Rand

Men have been taught that it is a virtue to agree with others. But the creator is the man who disagrees. Men have been taught that it is a virtue to swim with the current. But the creator is the man who goes against the current. Men have been taught that it is a virtue to stand together. But the creator is the man who stands alone.— Ayn Rand

Men have been taught that the ego is the synonym of evil, and selflessness the ideal of virtue. But the creator is the egoist in the absolute sense, and the selfless man is the one who does not think, feel, judge or act. These are function of the self.— Ayn Rand

Men have been taught that the highest virtue is not to achieve, but to give. Yet one cannot give that which has not been created. Creation comes before distribution- or there will be nothing to distribute. The need of the creator comes before the need of any possible beneficiary. Yet we are taught to admire the second-hander who dispenses gifts he has not produced above the man who made the gifts possible. We praise an act of charity. We shrug at an act of achievement.— Ayn Rand

Money demands that you sell, not your weakness to men's stupidity, but your talent to their reason.— Ayn Rand

My philosophy, in essence, is the concept of man as a heroic being, with his own happiness as the moral purpose of his life, with productive achievement as his noblest activity, and reason as his only absolute.— Ayn Rand

No concept man forms is valid unless he integrates it without contradiction into the sum of his knowledge.— Ayn Rand

Nobody respects an altruist, neither in private life nor in international affairs. An altruist is a person who keeps sacrificing himself and his values, which means: sacrificing his friends to his enemies, his allies to his protagonists, his interests to any cry for help, his strength to anyone's weakness, his convictions to anyone's wishes, the truth to any lie, the good to any evil.— Ayn Rand

One can not be a traitor to anything, except to oneself.— Ayn Rand

Pity for the guilty is treason to the innocent.— Ayn Rand

Politics is based on three other philosophical disciplines: metaphysics, epistemology and ethics- on a theory of man's nature and of man's relationship to existence. It is only on such a base that one can formulate a consistent political theory and achieve it in practice. When, however, men attempt to rush into politics without such a base, the result is that embarrassing conglomeration of impotence, futility, inconsistency and superficiality which is loosely designated today as conservatism.— Ayn Rand

Power-lust is a weed that grows only in the vacant lot of an empty mind.— Ayn Rand

Rights are moral principles which define and protect a man's freedom of action,but impose no obligation on other men.— Ayn Rand

So you think that money is the root of all evil? Have you ever asked what is the root of money? Money is a tool of exchange, which can't exist unless there are goods produced and men able to produce them. Money is the material shape of the principle that men who wish to deal with one another must deal by trade and give value for value. Money is not the tool of the moochers, who claim your product by tears or of the looters, who take it from you by force. Money is made possible only by the men who produce. Is this what you consider evil?— Ayn Rand

Tell me what a man finds sexually attractive and I will tell you his entire philosophy of life— Ayn Rand

That something happened to you is of no importance to anyone, not even to you. The important thing about you is what you choose to make happen - your values and choices. That which happened by accident - what family you were born into, in what country, and where you went to school - is totally unimportant.— Ayn Rand

The action required to sustain human life is primarily intellectual: everything man needs has to be discovered by his mind and produced by his effort.— Ayn Rand

The basic need of the creator is independence. The reasoning mind cannot work under any form of compulsion. It cannot be curbed, sacrificed or subordinated to any consideration whatsoever. It demands total independence in function and in motive. To a creator, all relations with men are secondary.— Ayn Rand

The evil of the world is made possible by nothing but the sanction you give it.— Ayn Rand

The Middle Ages were an era of mysticism, ruled by blind faith and blind obedience to the dogma that faith is superior to reason. The Renaissance was specifically the rebirth of reason, the liberation of man's mind, the triumph of rationality over mysticism - a faltering, incomplete, but impassioned triumph that led to the birth of science, of individualism, of freedom.— Ayn Rand

The moral cannibalism of all hedonist and altruist doctrines lies in the premise that the happiness of one man necessitates the injury of another.— Ayn Rand

The moral precept to adopt...is: Judge, and be prepared to be judged.— Ayn Rand

The only proper purpose of a government is to protect man's rights, which means: to protect him from physical violence... The only proper functions of a government are: the police, to protect you from criminals; the army, to protect you from foreign invaders; and the courts, to protect your property and contracts from breach or fraud by others, and to settle disputes by rational rules, according to objective law.— Ayn Rand

The only purpose of education is to teach a student how to live his life-by developing his mind and equipping him to deal with reality. The training he needs is theoretical, i.e., conceptual. He has to be taught to think, to understand, to integrate, to prove. He has to be taught the essentials of the knowledge discovered in the past-and he has to be equipped to acquire further knowledge by his own effort.— Ayn Rand

The precept: Judge not, that ye be not judged ... is an abdication of moral responsibility: it is a moral blank check one gives to others in exchange for a moral blank check one expects for oneself.— Ayn Rand

The purpose of all art is the objectification of values.— Ayn Rand

The purpose of morality is to teach you, not to suffer and die, but to enjoy yourself and live.— Ayn Rand

The right of a nation to determine its own form of government does not include the right to establish a slave society (that is, to legalize the enslavement of some men by others). There is no such thing as the right to enslave. A nation can do it, just as a man can become a criminal- but neither can do it by right.— Ayn Rand

The right to agree with others is not a problem in any society; it is the right to disagree that is crucial. It is the institution of private property that protects and implements the right to disagree...— Ayn Rand

The smallest minority on earth is the individual. Those who deny individual rights, cannot claim to be defenders of minorities.— Ayn Rand

The spread of evil is the symptom of a vacuum. whenever evil wins, it is only by default: by the moral failure of those who evade the fact that there can be no compromise on basic principles.— Ayn Rand

The uncontested absurdities of today are the accepted slogans of tomorrow.— Ayn Rand

The verdict you pronounce upon the source of your livelihood is the verdict you pronounce upon your life. If the source is corrupt, you have damned your own existence— Ayn Rand

There are four characteristics which brand a country unmistakably as a dictatorship: one-party rule- executions without trial or with a mock trial, for political offenses- the nationalization or expropriation of private property- and censorship. A country guilty of these outrages forfeits any moral prerogatives, any claim to national rights or sovereignty, and becomes an outlaw.— Ayn Rand

There are only two means by which men can deal with one another: guns or logic. Force or persuasion. Those who know that they cannot win by means of logic, have always resorted to guns.— Ayn Rand

There are two sides to every issue: one side is right and the other is wrong, but the middle is always evil.— Ayn Rand

There can be no such thing as a political crime under the American system of law. Since an individual has the right to hold and to propagate any ideas he chooses (obviously including political ideas), the government may not infringe his right; it may neither penalize nor reward him for his ideas; it may not take any judicial cognizance whatever of his ideology. By the same principle, the government may not give special leniency to the perpetrator of a crime, on the grounds of the nature of his ideas.— Ayn Rand

There can be no such thing, in law or in morality, as actions forbidden to an individual, but permitted to a mob.— Ayn Rand

There is a level of cowardice lower than that of the conformist: the fashionable non-conformist.— Ayn Rand

There is no escape from the fact that men have to make choices; so long as men have to make choices, there is no escape from moral values; so long as moral values are at stake, no moral neutrality is possible. To abstain from condemning a torturer, is to become an accessory to the torture and murder of his victims.— Ayn Rand

There is nothing to take a man's freedom away from him, save other men. To be free, a man must be free of his brothers.— Ayn Rand

There's no way to rule innocent men. The only power government has is the power to crack down on criminals. When there aren't enough criminals, one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws.— Ayn Rand

Thinking men cannot be ruled.— Ayn Rand

Thought does not bow to authority. — Ayn Rand

To arrive at a contradiction is to confess an error in one's thinking; to maintain a contradiction is to abdicate one's mind and to evict oneself from the realm of reality.— Ayn Rand

To deal with men by force is as impractical as to deal with nature by persuasion.— Ayn Rand

To discuss evil in a manner implying neutrality, is to sanction it.— Ayn Rand

To fear to face an issue is to believe the worst is true.— Ayn Rand

To know one's own desires, their meaning and their costs requires the highest human virtue: rationality.— Ayn Rand

To love is to value. Only a rationally selfish man, a man of self-esteem, is capable of love - because he is the only man capable of holding firm, consistent, uncompromising, unbetrayed values. The man who does not value himself, cannot value anything or anyone.— Ayn Rand

To love is to value. Only a rationally selfish man, a man of self-esteem, is capable of love - because he is the only man capable of holding firm, consistent, uncompromising, unbetrayed values. The man who does not value himself, cannot value anything or anyone.— Ayn Rand

To rest one's case on faith means to concede that reason is on the side of one's enemies- that one has no rational arguments to offer.— Ayn Rand

Today, when a concerted effort is made to obliterate this point, it cannot be repeated too often that the Constitution is a limitation on the government, not on private individuals- that it does not prescribe the conduct of private individuals, only the conduct of the government- that it is not a charter for government power, but a charter of the citizen's protection against the government.— Ayn Rand

Unjust laws have to be fought ideologically; they cannot be fought or corrected by means of mere disobedience and futile martyrdom.— Ayn Rand

Volumes can be and have been written about the issue of freedom versus dictatorship, but, in essence, it comes down to a single question: do you consider it moral to treat men as sacrificial animals and to rule them by physical force?— Ayn Rand

Wealth is the product of man's capacity to think.— Ayn Rand

What they have to discover, what all the efforts of capitalism's enemies are frantically aimed at hiding, is the fact that capitalism is not merely the 'practical,' but the only moral system in history.— Ayn Rand

Whatever their future, at the dawn of their lives, men seek a noble vision of man's nature and of life's potential— Ayn Rand

When I say capitalism, I mean a full, pure, uncontrolled, unregulated laissez faire capitalism, with a separation of state and economics, in the same way and for the same reasons as the separation of state and church.— Ayn Rand

When personal judgment is inoperative (or forbidden), men's first concern is not how to choose, but how to justify their choice.— Ayn Rand

I am not primarily an advocate of capitalism, but of egoism; and I am not primarily an advocate of egoism, but of reason. If one recognizes the supremacy of reason and applies it consistently, all the rest follows. — Ayn Rand

They proclaim that every man is entitled to exist without labor and, the laws of reality to the contrary notwithstanding, is entitled to receive his "minimum sustenance" his food, his clothes, his shelter, with no effort on his part, as his due and his birthright. To receive it, from whom? — Ayn Rand

A desire presupposes the possibility of action to achieve it; action presupposes a goal which is worth achieving. — Ayn Rand

People create their own questions because they are afraid to look straight. All you have to do is look straight and see the road, and when you see it, don’t sit looking at it – walk.— Ayn Rand

Reason is not automatic. Those who deny it cannot be conquered by it. Do not count on them. Leave them alone.— Ayn Rand

Intellectual freedom cannot exist without political freedom; political freedom cannot exist without economic freedom; a free mind and a free market are corollaries.— Ayn Rand

If devotion to the truth is the hallmark of morality, then there is no greater, nobler, more heroic form of devotion than the act of a man who assumes the responsibility of thinking.— Ayn Rand

Poverty is not a mortgage on the labor of others - misfortune is not a mortgage on achievement - failure is not a mortgage on success - suffering is not a claim check, and its relief is not the goal of existence - man is not a sacrificial animal on anyone's altar nor for anyone's cause - life is not one huge hospital.— Ayn Rand

Contrary to the ecologists, nature does not stand still and does not maintain the kind of "equilibrium" that guarantees the survival of any particular species - least of all the survival of her greatest and most fragile product: man.— Ayn Rand

Competition is a by-product of productive work, *not* its goal. A creative man is motivated by the desire to achieve, *not* by the desire to beat others.— Ayn Rand

To the extent that a man is guided by his rational judgment, he acts in accordance with the requirements of his nature and, to that extent, succeeds in achieving a human form of survival and well-being; to the extent that he acts irrationally, he acts as his own destroyer.— Ayn Rand

Inflation is not caused by the actions of private citizens, but *by the government*: by an artificial expansion of the money supply required to support deficit spending. No private embezzlers or bank robbers in history have ever plundered people's savings on a scale comparable to the plunder perpetrated by the fiscal policies of statist governments.— Ayn Rand

When "the common good" of a society is regarded as something apart from and superior to the individual good of its members, it means that the good of *some* men takes precedence over the good of others, with those others consigned to the status of sacrificial animals.— Ayn Rand

Since time immemorial and pre-industrial, 'greed' has been the accusation hurled at the rich by the concrete-bound illiterates who were unable to conceive of the source of wealth or of the motivation of those who produce it.— Ayn Rand

Justice does exist in the world, whether people choose to practice it or not. The men of ability are being avenged. The avenger is reality. Its weapon is slow, silent, invisible, and men perceive it only by its consequences - by the gutted ruins and the moans of agony it leaves in its wake. The name of the weapon is: *inflation*.— Ayn Rand

An Asian peasant who labors through all of his waking hours, with tools created in Biblical times; a South American aborigine who is devoured by piranha in a jungle stream; an African who is bitten by the tsetse fly; an Arab whose teeth are green with decay in his mouth; these do live with their 'natural environment,' but are scarcely able to appreciate its beauty. Try to tell a Chinese mother, whose child is dying of cholera: 'Should one do everything one can? Of course not.' Try to tell a Russian housewife, who trudges miles on foot in sub-zero weather in order to spend hours standing in line at a state store dispensing food rations, that America is defiled by shopping centers, expressways and family cars.— Ayn Rand

In order to survive, man has to discover and produce everything he needs, which means that he has to alter his background and adapt it to his needs. Nature has not equipped him for adapting himself to his background in the manner of animals. From the most primitive cultures to the most advanced civilizations, man has had to manufacture things; his well-being depends on his success at production. The lowest human tribe cannot survive without that alleged source of pollution: fire.— Ayn Rand

It is not justice or equal treatment that you grant to men when you abstain equally from praising men's virtues and from condemning men's vices. When your impartial attitude declares, in effect, that neither the good nor the evil may expect anything from you - whom do you betray and whom do you encourage?— Ayn Rand

Just as life is an end in itself, so every living human being is an end in himself, not the means to the ends or the welfare of others - and, therefore, man must live for his own sake, neither sacrificing himself to others nor sacrificing others to himself.— Ayn Rand

A genius is a genius, regardless of the number of morons who belong to the same race - and a moron is a moron, regardless of the number of geniuses who share his racial origin.— Ayn Rand

I'm working to improve my methods, and every hour I save is an hour added to my life.— Ayn Rand

We cannot fight against anything, unless we fight for something -- and what we must fight for is the supremacy of reason, and a view of man as a rational being.— Ayn Rand

All work is an act of philosophy.— Ayn Rand

No one's happiness but my own is in my power to achieve or to destroy.— Ayn Rand

The desire not to be anything is the desire not to be.— Ayn Rand

The men who are not interested in philosophy need it most urgently; they are most helplessly in its power.— Ayn Rand

Whether you know the shape of a pebble or the structure of a solar system, the axioms remain the same: that it exists and that you know it.— Ayn Rand

I made my fortune by being able to spot a certain kind of man.— Ayn Rand

Throughout the centuries there were men who took first steps down new roads armed with nothing but their own vision.— Ayn Rand

To preserve one's mind intact through a modern college education is a test of courage and endurance, but the battle is worth it and the stakes are the highest possible to man: the survival of reason. {from "The Comprachicos"}— Ayn Rand

America's abundance was not created by public sacrifices to the common good, but by the productive genius of free men who pursued their own personal interests and the making of their own private fortunes.— Ayn Rand

And now I see the face of god, and I raise this god over the earth, this god whom men have sought since men came into being, this god who will grant them joy and peace and pride. This god, this one word: "I."— Ayn Rand

Words are a lens to focus one's mind.— Ayn Rand

One's own independent judgment is the means by which one must choose one's actions, but it is not a moral criterion nor a moral validation; only reference to a demonstrable principle can validate one's choices.— Ayn Rand

It is the metaphysically given that must be accepted: it cannot be changed. It is the man-made that must never be accepted uncritically: it must be judged, then accepted or rejected and changed when necessary.— Ayn Rand

In western civilization, the period ruled by mysticism is known as the 'Dark Ages' and the 'Middle Ages'. I will assume that you know the nature of that period and the state of human existence in those ages. The 

Renaissance broke the rules of the mystics. "Renaissance" means the "rebirth". Few people today will care to remind you that it was a rebirth of reason - of man's mind.— Ayn Rand

Just as man's physical existence was liberated when he grasped that 'nature, to be commanded, must be obeyed', so his consciousness will be liberated when grasps that nature, to be apprehended, must be obeyed - that the rules of cognition must be derived from the nature of existence and the nature, the identity, of his cognitive faculty.— Ayn Rand

Neither life nor happiness can be achieved by the pursuit of irrational whims. Just as a man is free to attempt to survive by any random means, as a parasite, a moocher or a looter, but not free to succeed at it beyond the range of the moment - so he is free to seek his happiness in any irrational fraud, any whim, any delusion, any mindless escape from reality, but not free to succeed at it beyond the range of the moment not to escape the consequences.— Ayn Rand

Contrary to the ecologists, nature does not stand still and does not maintain the kind of "equilibrium" that guarantees the survival of any particular species - least of all the survival of her greatest and most fragile product: man.— Ayn Rand

The hardest thing to explain is the glaringly evident which everybody had decided not to see.— Ayn Rand
She could not have reached this white serenity except as the sum of all the colors, of all the violence she had known. — Ayn Rand

One method of destroying a concept is by diluting its meaning. Observe that by ascribing rights to the unborn, i.e., the nonliving, the anti-abortionists obliterate the rights of the living: the right of young people to set the course of their own lives.— Ayn Rand

Don't work for my happiness, my brothers--show me yours--show me that it is possible--show me your achievement--and the knowledge will give me courage for mine.— Ayn Rand

He explained why an honest building, like an honest man, had to be of one piece and one faith; what constituted the life source, the idea in any existing thing or creature, and why- if one smallest part committed treason to that idea- the thing or the creature was dead; and why the good, the high and the noble on earth was only that which kept its integrity.— Ayn Rand

Achieving life is not the equivalent of avoiding death.— Ayn Rand

Reason and morality are the only weapons that determine the course of history; the collectivists dropped them because they had no right to carry them. Pick them up; you have.— Ayn Rand

The world you desired can be won, it exists, it is real, it is possible, it's yours. But to win it requires total dedication and a total break with the world of your past, with the doctrine that man is sacrificial animal who exists for the pleasure of others. Fight for the value of your person. Fight for the virtue of your pride. Fight for the essence, which is man, for his sovereign rational mind. Fight with the radiant certainty and the absolute rectitude of knowing that yours is the morality of life and yours is the battle for any achievement, any value, any grandeur, any goodness, any joy that has ever existed on this earth.— Ayn Rand

There has never been a philosophy, a theory or a doctrine, that attacked (or 'limited') reason, which did not preach submission to the power of some authority.— Ayn Rand

The course of mankind's progress is not a straight, automatic line, but a tortuous struggle, with long detours or relapses into the stagnant night of the irrational. Mankind moves forward by the grace of those human bridges who are able to grasp and transmit, across years or centuries, the achievements men had reached—and to carry them further.— Ayn Rand

Philosophy is the goal toward which religion was only a helplessly blind groping. The grandeur, the reverence, the exalted purity, the austere dedication to the pursuit of truth, which are commonly associated with religion, should properly belong to the field of philosophy.— Ayn Rand

When you clamor for public ownership of the means of production, you are clamoring for public ownership of the mind. — Ayn Rand

Rationality is man's basic virtue, the source of all his other virtues... The virtue of Rationality means the recognition and acceptance of reason as one`s only source of knowledge, one`s only judge of values and one's only guide to action. — Ayn Rand

Reason integrates man's perceptions by means of forming abstractions or conceptions, thus raising man's knowledge from the perceptual level , which he shares with animals, to the conceptual level, which he alone can reach. The method which reason employs in this process is logic -- and logic is the art of non-contradictory identification.— Ayn Rand

That which you call your soul or spirit is your consciousness, and that which you call free will is your mind`s freedom to think or not, the only will you have, your only freedom, the choice that controls all the choices you make and determines your life and your character. — Ayn Rand

There can be no compromise on basic principles. There can be no compromise on moral issues. There can be no compromise on matters of knowledge, of truth, of rational conviction. — Ayn Rand

Epistemology is a science devoted to the discovery of the proper methods of acquiring and validating knowledge. — Ayn Rand

Beauty is a sense of harmony. Whether it's an image, a human face, a body, or a sunset, take the object which you call beautiful, as a unit [and ask yourself]: what parts is it made up of, what are its constituent elements, and are they all harmonious? If they are, the result is beautiful. If there are contradictions and clashes, the result is marred or positively ugly. — Ayn Rand

Money rests on the axiom that every man is the owner of his mind and effort. Money allows no power to prescribe the value of your effort except the voluntary choice of the man who is willing to trade you his effort in return. Money permits you to obtain for your goods and your labor that which they are worth to the men who buy them, but no more. Money permits no deals except those to mutual benefit by the unforced judgment of the traders. — Ayn Rand

Wheeling his bicycle by his side, the boy took the narrow path down the slope of the hill to the valley and the houses below. Roark looked after him. He had never seen that boy before and he would never see him again. He did not know that he had given someone the courage to face a lifetime.— Ayn Rand

What objectivity and the study of philosophy requires is not an "open mind," but an active mind - a mind able and eagerly willing to examine ideas, but to examine them criticially.— Ayn Rand

Ellsworth Toohey: Mr. Roark, we're alone here. Why don't you tell me what you think of me? In any words you wish. No one will hear us. Howard Roark: But I don't think of you. — Ayn Rand

If it is now the belief of my fellow men, who call themselves the public, that their good requires victims, then I say: The public good be damned, I will have no part of it!— Ayn Rand

Observe, in politics, that the term extremism has become a synonym of "evil," regardless of the content of the issue (the evil is not what you are extreme about, but that you are "extreme" -- i.e., consistent).— Ayn Rand
...the person who loves everybody and feels at home everywhere is the true hater of mankind. He expects nothing of men, so no form of depravity can outrage him— Ayn Rand

Thanksgiving is a typically American holiday ... The lavish meal is a symbol of the fact that abundant consumption is the result and reward of production.— Ayn Rand

Productive work is the central purpose of a rational man's life, the central value that integrates and determines the hierarchy of all his other values. Reason is the source, the precondition of his productive work – pride is the result.— Ayn Rand

Why do they always teach us that it's easy and evil to do what we want and that we need discipline to restrain ourselves? It's the hardest thing in the world--to do what we want. And it takes the greatest kind of courage. I mean, what we really want.— Ayn Rand

The man who lets a leader prescribe his course is a wreck being towed to the scrap heap.— Ayn Rand

"If a dedication page were to precede the total of my work, it would read: To the glory of Man.— Ayn Rand

Capitalism demands the best of every man -- his rationality -- and rewards him accordingly. It leaves every man free to choose the work he likes, to specialize in it, to trade his product for the products of others, and to go as far on the road of achievement as his ability and ambition will carry him.— Ayn Rand

The skyline of New York is a monument of a splendour that no pyramids or palaces will ever equal or approach.— Ayn Rand

We can evade reality, but we cannot evade the consequences of evading reality.— Ayn Rand

The question isn't who is going to let me; it's who is going to stop me.— Ayn Rand

Pride is the recognition of the fact that you are your own highest value and, like all of man’s values, it has to be earned.— Ayn Rand

Everyone has the right to make his own decisions, but none has the right to force his decision on others.— Ayn Rand

The most depraved type of human being ... (is) the man without a purpose.— Ayn Rand

There's nothing of any importance except how well you do your work.— Ayn Rand

Reason is a faculty that man has to exercise by choice.— Ayn Rand

[T]he only real moral crime that one man can commit against another is the attempt to create, by his words or actions, an impression of the contradictory, the impossible, the irrational, and thus shake the concept of rationality in his victim.— Ayn Rand

I consider National Review the worst and most dangerous magazine in America. The kind of defense that it offers to capitalism results in nothing except the discrediting and destruction of capitalism ... because it ties capitalism to religion.— Ayn Rand

Money is the barometer of a society's virtue— Ayn Rand

Take a look at an electric generator and dare tell yourself that it was created by the muscular effort of unthinking brutes. Try to grow a seed of wheat without the knowledge left to you by men who had to discover it for the first time. Try to obtain your food by means of nothing but physical motions—and you'll learn that man's mind is the root of all the goods produced and of all the wealth that has ever existed on earth.— Ayn Rand

When men live by trade, with reason, not force, as their final arbiter, it is the best product that wins, the best performance, the man of best judgment and highest ability, and the degree of a man's productiveness is the degree of his reward. This is the code of existence whose tool and symbol is money. Is this what you consider evil?— Ayn Rand

The man who attempts to purchase the brains of his superiors to serve him, with his money replacing his judgment, ends up by becoming the victim of his inferiors. The men of intelligence desert him, but the cheats and the frauds come flocking to him, drawn by a law which he has not discovered: that no man may be smaller than his money.— Ayn Rand

Only the man who does not need it, is fit to inherit wealth—the man who would make his own fortune no matter where he started. If an heir is equal to his money, it serves him; if not, it destroys him... Do not think that it should have been distributed among you; loading the world with fifty parasites instead of one, would not bring back the dead virtue which was the fortune. Money is a living power that dies without its root. Money will not serve the mind that cannot match it. — Ayn Rand

Let me give you a tip on a clue to men's characters: the man who damns money has obtained it dishonorably; the man who respects it has earned it.— Ayn Rand

Run for your life from any man who tells you that money is evil. That sentence is the leper's bell of an approaching looter. So long as men live together on earth and need means to deal with one another—their only substitute, if they abandon money, is the muzzle of a gun.— Ayn Rand

When you have made evil the means of survival, do not expect men to remain good. Do not expect them to stay moral and lose their lives for the purpose of becoming the fodder of the immoral. Do not expect them to produce, when production is punished and looting rewarded.— Ayn Rand

To the glory of mankind, there was, for the first and only time in history, a country of money-and I have no higher, more reverent tribute to pay to America, for this means: a country of reason, justice, freedom, production, achievement. For the first time, man's mind and money were set free, and there were no fortunes-by-conquest, but only fortunes-by-work, and instead of swordsmen and slaves, there appeared the real maker of wealth, the greatest worker, the highest type of human being-the self-made man-the American industrialist.— Ayn Rand

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.— Ayn Rand

The three cardinal values of the Objectivist ethics ... are: Reason, Purpose, Self-Esteem, with their three corresponding virtues: Rationality, Productiveness, Pride.— Ayn Rand

The proof of an achieved self-esteem is your soul's shudder of contempt and rebellion against the role of a sacrificial animal, against the vile impertinence of any creed that proposes to immolate the irreplaceable value which is your consciousness and the incomparable glory which is your existence.— Ayn Rand

The basic social principle of the Objectivist ethics is that just as life is an end in itself, so every living human being is an end in himself, not the means to the ends or the welfare of others -- and, therefore, that man must live for his own sake, neither sacrificing himself to others nor sacrificing others to himself. To live for his own sake means that the achievement of his own happiness is man's highest moral purpose.— Ayn Rand

Productive work is the road of man's unlimited achievement and calls upon the highest attributes of his character: his creative ability, his ambitiousness, his self-assertiveness, his refusal to bear uncontested disaster, his dedication to the goal of reshaping the earth in the image of his values.— Ayn Rand

The social system based on and consonant with the altruist morality -- with the code of self-sacrifice -- is socialism, in all or any of its variants: fascism, Nazism, communism. All of them treat man as a sacrificial animal to be immolated for the benefit of the group, the tribe, the society, the state.— Ayn Rand

The man who attempts to live for others is a dependent. He is a parasite in motive and makes parasites of those he serves. The relationship produces nothing but mutual corruption. It is impossible in concept. The nearest approach to it in reality -- the man who lives to serve others -- is the slave. If physical slavery is repulsive, how much more repulsive is the concept of servility of the spirit. The conquered slave has a vestige of honor. He has the merit of having resisted and of considering his condition evil. But the man who enslaves himself voluntarily in the name of love is the basest of creatures. He degrades the dignity of man, and he degrades the conception of love. But that is the essence of altruism.— Ayn Rand

At first, man was enslaved by the gods. But he broke their chains. Then he was enslaved by the kings. But he broke their chains. He was enslaved by his birth, by his kin, by his race. But he broke their chains. He declared to all his brothers that a man has rights which neither god nor king nor other men can take away from him, no matter what their number, for his is the right of man, and there is no right on earth above this right.— Ayn Rand

I am an innovator. This is a term of distinction, a term of honor, rather than something to hide or apologize for. Anyone who has new or valuable ideas to offer stands outside the intellectual status quo. But the status quo is not a stream, let alone a 'mainstream'. It is a stagnant swamp. It is the innovators who carry mankind forward.— Ayn Rand

What is greatness? I will answer: it is the capacity to live by the three fundamental values of John Galt: reason, purpose, self-esteem.— Ayn Rand

A rational man is guided by his thinking – by a process of Reason – not by his feelings and desires— Ayn Rand

The right to vote is a consequence, not a primary cause, of a free social system – and its value depends on the constitutional structure implementing and strictly delimiting the voters' power; unlimited majority rule is an instance of the principle of tyranny.— Ayn Rand

I refuse to accept as guilt the fact of my own existence.— Ayn Rand

It is not merely symbolic that fire was the property of the gods which Prometheus brought to man. The ecologists are the new vultures swarming to extinguish that fire.— Ayn Rand

[O]bserve that in all the propaganda of the ecologists—amidst all their appeals to nature and pleas for "harmony with nature"—there is no discussion of man's needs and the requirements of his survival. Man is treated as if he were an unnatural phenomenon. Man cannot survive in the kind of state of nature that the ecologists envision—i.e., on the level of sea urchins or polar bears. . . .— Ayn Rand

If a life can have a 'theme song' -- and I believe every worthwhile one has -- mine is a religion, an obsession or a mania -- or all of these -- expressed in one word: Individualism.— Ayn Rand

A culture is made -- or destoyed -- by its articulate voices.— Ayn Rand

When a man declares: "There are no blacks and whites, only grays" he is making a psychological confession, and what he means is: "I am unwilling to be wholly good -- and please don't regard me as wholly evil!— Ayn Rand

Honest people are never touchy about the matter of being trusted.— Ayn Rand

Why ask useless questions? How deep is the ocean? How high is the sky? Who is John Galt?— Ayn Rand

America is the land of the uncommon man. It is the land where man is free to develop his genius -- and to get its just rewards.— Ayn Rand

Art is the technology of the soul. Art is the product of three philosophical disciplines: metaphysics; epistemology; ethics. Metaphysics and epistemology are the abstract base of ethics. Ethics is the applied science that defines a code of values to guide man’s choices and actions – the choices and actions which determine the course of his life; ethics is the engineering that provides the principles and the blueprints. Art creates the final product, it builds the model.— Ayn Rand

It is not proper for man's life to be a circle or a string of circles dropping off like zeros behind him--man's life must be a straight line of motion from goal to farther goal, each leading to the next and to a single growing sum, like the journey down the track of a railroad, from station to station.— Ayn Rand

We are fast approaching the stage of the ultimate inversion: the stage where the government is free to do anything it pleases, while the citizens may act only by permission; which is the stage of the darkest periods of human history, the stage of rule by brute force.— Ayn Rand

What is a demanding pleasure that demands the use of ones mind! Not in the sense of problem solving, but in the sense of exercising discrimination, judgment, awareness.— Ayn Rand

The ladder of success is best climbed by stepping on the rungs of opportunity.— Ayn Rand

If devotion to truth is the hallmark of morality, then there is no greater, nobler, more heroic form of devotion than the act of a man who assumes the responsibility of thinking...the alleged short-cut to knowledge, which is faith, is only a short-circuit destroying the mind.— Ayn Rand

There is nothing as boring as depravity.— Ayn Rand

It is important to tell Kant that he has rejected reality and is wrong ; it is more important that Aristotle find someone who understands that he has recognized reality and is right.— Ayn Rand

You see, I’m an atheist. And I have only one religion; the sublime in human nature. There is nothing to approach the sanctity of the highest man possible, and there is nothing that gives me the same reverent feeling, the feeling when one’s spirit wants to kneel bareheaded… do not call it hero-worship, because it is more than that. It is a kind of strange and improbable white heat, where admiration becomes religion and religion becomes philosophy and philosophy, the whole of one’s life.— Ayn Rand

It is obvious why the quota doctrine appeals to modern intellectuals: it eliminates the responsibility of thought, judgment, and choice. Just follow your group leaders, it advises, they are physiologically predestined to protect you and take care of you. To most of them, this promises the comfort of lethargy, and to a few—a road to power.— Ayn Rand

The notion of racial quotas is so obviously an expression of racism that no lengthy discussion is necessary. If a young man is barred from a school or a job because the quota for his particular race has been filled, he is barred by reason of his race. Telling him that those admitted are his ‘representatives’ is adding insult to injury. To demand such quotas in the name of fighting racial discrimination is an obscene mockery.— Ayn Rand

Warfare—permanent warfare—is the hallmark of tribal existence. A tribe—with its rules, dogmas, traditions, and arrested mental development—is not a productive organization. Tribes subsist on the edge of starvation, at the mercy of natural disasters, less successfully than herds of animals.— Ayn Rand

The tribalists clamor that their language preserves their ‘ethnic identity.’ But there is no such thing. Conformity to a racist tradition does not constitute a human identity.— Ayn Rand

Neither am I the means to any end others may wish to accomplish. I am not a tool for their use. I am not a servant of their needs. I am not a bandage for their wounds. I am not a sacrifice on their altars.— Ayn Rand

Whatever your other claims may be, there’s one you can’t avoid, one that will turn your paradise into the most unspeakable hell: your claim that man must live for the state.— Ayn Rand

I would give the greatest sunset in the world for one sight of New York's skyline. Particularly when one can't see the details. Just the shapes. The shapes and the thought that made them. The sky over New York and the will of man made visible. What other religion do we need? And then people tell me about pilgrimages to some dank pesthole in a jungle where they go to do homage to a crumbling temple, to a leering stone monster with a pot belly, created by some leprous savage. Is it beauty and genius they want to see? Do they seek a sense of the sublime? Let them come to New York, stand on the shore of the Hudson, look and kneel. When I see the city from my window - no, I don't feel how small I am - but I feel that if a war came to threaten this, I would throw myself into space, over the city, and protect these buildings with my body.— Ayn Rand

Observe the intensity, the austere, the unsmiling seriousness with which an infant watches the world around him. If you ever find, in an adult, that degree of seriousness about reality, you will have found a great man.— Ayn Rand

America has not yet reached the state of a dictatorship. But, paving the way to it, for many decades past, the businessman has served as the scapegoat for statist movements of all kinds: communism, fascism, or welfare statism. For whose sins did the businessman take the blame? For the sins and evils of the bureaucrats.— Ayn Rand

The small minority of adults who are unable rather than unwilling to work, have to rely on voluntary charity; misfortune is not a claim to slave labor; there is no such thing as the right to consume, control, and destroy those without whom one would be unable to survive.— Ayn Rand

I stand here on the summit of the mountain. I lift my head and I spread my arms. This, my body and spirit, this is the end of the quest. I wished to know the meaning of things. I am the meaning. I wished to find a warrant for being. I need no warrant for being, and no word of sanction upon my being. I am the warrant and the sanction.— Ayn Rand

It is my eyes which see, and the sight of my eyes grants beauty to the earth. It is my ears which hear, and the hearing of my ears gives its song to the world. It is my mind which thinks, and the judgment of my mind is the only searchlight that can find the truth. It is my will which chooses, and the choice of my will is the only edict I must respect.— Ayn Rand

Whatever road I take, the guiding star is within me; the guiding star and the loadstone which point the way. 
They point in but one direction. They point to me.— Ayn Rand
I do not surrender my treasures, nor do I share them. The fortune of my spirit is not to be blown into coins of brass and flung to the winds as alms for the poor of the spirit. I guard my treasures: my thought, my will, my freedom. And the greatest of these is freedom.— Ayn Rand

I look upon the history of men, which I have learned from the books, and I wonder. It was a long story, and the spirit which moved it was the spirit of man's freedom. But what is freedom? Freedom from what? There is nothing to take a man's freedom away from him, save other men. To be free, a man must be free of his brothers. That is freedom. That and nothing else.— Ayn Rand

Romantic art is the fuel and the spark plug of a man’s soul; its task is to set a soul on fire and never let it go out.— Ayn Rand

One of the methods used by statists to destroy capitalism consists in establishing controls that tie a given industry hand and foot, making it unable to solve its problems, then declaring that freedom has failed and stronger controls are necessary.— Ayn Rand

[Man] has the power to choose, but no power to escape the necessity of choice. If he abdicates his power, he abdicates the status of man, and the grinding chaos of the irrational is what he achieves as his sphere of existence -- by his own choice.— Ayn Rand

It is not proper for man's life to be a circle or a string of circles dropping off like zeros behind him--man's life must be a straight line of motion from goal to farther goal, each leading to the next and to a single growing sum, like the journey down the track of a railroad, from station to station.— Ayn Rand

When you see that in order to produce, you need to obtain permission from men who produce nothing : you may know that your society is doomed.— Ayn Rand

Ask yourself whether the dream of heaven and greatness should be waiting for us in our graves – or whether it should be ours here and now and on this earth.— Ayn Rand

Do not ever say that the desire to “do good” by force is a good motive. Neither power-lust nor stupidity are good motives.— Ayn Rand

From the smallest necessity to the highest religious abstraction, from the wheel to the skyscraper, everything we are and everything we have comes from one attribute of man – the function of his reasoning mind.— Ayn Rand

Government “help” to business is just as disastrous as government persecution… the only way a government can be of service to national prosperity is by keeping its hands off.— Ayn Rand

A moral code impossible to practice, a code that demands imperfection or death, has taught you to dissolve all ideas in fog, to permit no firm definitions, to regard any concept as approximate and any rule of conduct as elastic, to hedge on any principle, to compromise on any value, to take the middle of any road.— Ayn Rand
Infallibility is not a precondition of knowing what one does know, of firmness in one’s convictions, and of loyalty to one’s values.— Ayn Rand

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.— Ayn Rand