Objectivist – Part 8 (Ayn Rand)

  • The initiation of force as evil: The virtue of rationality requires one to think, and then to be guided by his conclusions in action. Force clashes with both those requirements.
  • In unleashing a process of force, the brute acts to nullify his victim’s independence – while himself becoming a second-hander, whose concern is the conquest not of nature, but of men.
  • An attempt to achieve the good by physical force is a monstruous contradiction which negates morality at its root by destroying a man’s capacity to recognize the good, i.e., his capacity to value.
  • Altruism demands the initiation of physical force. When the representatives of the needy use coercion, they regularly explain that it is obligatory: it is their only means of ensuring that some recalcitrant individual, whose duty is self-sacrifice, carries out his moral obligations – of ensuring that he gives to the poor the unearned funds he is born owing them, but is trying wronfully to withold.
  • Moral codes qualify as practical or impractical. Most of those that have been offered to the human race are impractical. These codes prescribe ends and/or means which clash with the requirements of man’s life. To the extent that men obey such codes, they are led to contradiction, frustration, and failure.
  • Just as the moral and the practical go together, so do the immoral and the impractical.
  • In the ethics that so far has ruled the world, the transfusion of value from the deserving to the undeserving is regarded as the essence of virtue; the virtuous man, by definition, must work to bring about the success of the parasites.
  • Happiness is properly the purpose of ethics, but not the standard. One must choose values by reference not to a physical state, but to an external fact: the requirements of man’s life – in order to achieve the state of enjoying one’s life.
  • The intrinsicist (god) says: give up your happiness. The subjectivist (might makes right) replies: no go after it – by any random means you choose. Just as, in epistemology, the two theories knock mankind off the road of knowledge, so, in ehtics, they knock mankind off the road of joy, into the gutter of suffering.