These are mine (without any particular order). What are yours?
It is appallingly obvious that our technology exceeds our humanity.
Genius is one percent inspiration, and ninety-nine percent perspiration.
Most people would rather die than think; in fact, they do so.
The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man.
I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason, and intellect has intended us to forgo their use.
You must be the change you wish to see in the world.
The best way to predict the future is to invent it.
We do not inherit the land, we borrow it from our children.
He who asks is a fool for five minutes, but he who does not ask remains a fool forever.
If all economists were laid end to end, they would not reach a conclusion.
It has been said that the primary function of schools is to impart enough facts to make children stop asking questions. Some, with whom the schools do not succeed, become scientists.
A person who won't think has no advantage over one who can't think.
The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time, and still retain the ability to function.
Truth never damages a cause that is just.
Please accept my resignation. I don't care to belong to any club that will have me as a member.
Did you know you can't steer a boat that isn't moving? Just like a life.
People are always blaming their circumstances for what they are. I don't believe in circumstances. The people who get on in this world are the people who get up and look for the circumstances they want, and, if they can't find them, make them.
And if they're great and I'm not - isn't that exactly why they should bow to me, because I'm not? Wouldn't that be an act of true humanity? It takes no kindness to respect a man who deserves respect - it's only a payment which he's earned. To give an unearned respect is the supreme gesture of charity.
Money will not purchase happiness for the man who has no concept of what he wants; money will not give him a code of values, if he's evaded the knowledge of what to value, and it will not provide him with a purpose, if he's evaded the choice of what to seek. Money will not buy intelligence for the fool, or admiration for the coward, or respect for the incompetent.
To love a thing is to know and love its nature.
Then you will see the rise of the men of the double standard - the men who live by force, yet count on those who live by trade to create the value of their looted money - the men who are the hitchhikers of virtue. In a moral society, these are the criminals, and the statutes are written to protect you against them. But when a society establishes criminals-by-right and looters-by-law - men who use force to seize the wealth of disarmed victims - then money becomes its creators' avenger. Such looters believe it safe to rob defenseless men, once they've passed a law to disarm them... And then that society vanishes, in a spread of ruins and slaughter.
Did you really think that we want those laws to be observed? ...We want them broken... We're after power and we mean it... There's no way to rule innocent men. The only power any government has is the power to crack down on criminals. Well, 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. Who wants a nation of law-abiding citizens? What's there in that for anyone? But just pass the kind of laws that can neither be observed nor enforced nor objectively interpreted - and you create a nation of law-breakers - and then you cash in on guilt.
"Are you going to be as impractical as that?"
The evaluation of an action as 'practical,' Dr. Ferris, depends on what it is that one wishes to practice.
You have been scorned for all those qualities of character which are your highest pride. You have been called selfish for the courage of acting on your own judgment and bearing sole responsibility for your own life. You have been called arrogant for your independent mind. You have been called cruel for your unyielding integrity. You have been called anti-social for the vision that made you venture upon undiscovered roads. You have been called rutparagraphess for the strength and self-discipline of your drive to your purpose. You have been called greedy for the magnificence of your power to create wealth... Have you stopped to ask them: by what right? - by what code? - by what standard?
That's the conceit I'm talking about - the idea that it matters who's right or wrong. It's the most insufferable form of vanity, this insistence on always doing right. How do you know what's right? How can anyone ever know it? It's nothing by a delusion to flatter your own ego and to hurt other people by flaunting your superiority over them.
I think you should learn to get along with other people. The day of the hero is past. This is the day of humanity, in a much deeper sense than you imagine. Human beings are no longer expected to be saints nor to be punished for their sins. Nobody is right or wrong, we're all in it together, we're all human - and the human is the imperfect. You'll gain nothing tomorrow by proving that they're wrong. You ought to give in with good grace, simply because it's the practical thing to do. You ought to keep silent, precisely because they're wrong. They'll appreciate it. Make concessions for others and they'll make concessions for you. Live and let live. Give and take. Give in and take in. That's the policy of our age - and it's time you accepted it.
I will not help you pretend that I have a chance. I will not help you to preserve an appearance of righteousness where rights are not recognized. I will not help you to preserve an appearance of rationality by entering a debate in which a gun is the final argument. I will not help you pretend that you are administering justice.
I am fighting all of them, I have fought to my limit and am condemned to fight beyond it.
Action presupposes a goal which is worth achieving.
...ingenuity was a virtue of the mind - and in the issue confronting them, the mind had been discarded as irrelevant long ago.
If the only goal possible was to wheedle a precarious moments favor from men who held guns, then neither action nor desire could exist any longer.
I must study politics and war that my sons may have liberty to study mathematics, philosophy, geography, commerce and agriculture, in order to give their children a right to study painting, poetry, music, architecture...
"Our first rule here, Miss Taggart" he answered, "is that one must always see for oneself."
...we have no laws in this valley, no rules, no formal organization of any kind. We come here because we want to rest. But we have certain customs, which we all observe, because they pertain to the things we need to rest from. So I'll warn you now that there is one word which is forbidden in this value: the word 'give.'
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.
But what man does out of despair, is not necessarily a key to his character. I have always thought that the real key is in that which he seeks for his enjoyment.
Love is our response to our highest values - and can be nothing else. Let a man corrupt his values and his view of existence, let him profess that love is not self-enjoyment but self-denial, that virtue consists, not of pride, but of pity or pain or weakness or sacrifice, that the noblest love is born, not of admiration, but of charity, not in response to values, but in response to flaws - and he will have cut himself in two.
I did it - in the name of pity for the most contemptible woman I know. That, too, was their code, and I accepted it. I believed that one person owes a duty to another with no payment for it in return. I believed it was my duty to love a woman who gave me nothing, who betrayed everything I lived for, who demanded her happiness at the price of mine. I believed that love is some static gift which, once granted, need no longer be deserved - just as they believed that wealth is a static possession which can be seized and held without further effort.
I believed that love is a gratuity, not a reward to be earned - just as they believe it is their right to demand an unearned wealth.
When one acts on pity against justice, it is the good whom one punishes for the sake of the evil; when one saves the guilty from suffering, it is the innocent whom one forces to suffer. There is no escape from justice, nothing can be unearned and unpaid for in the universe, neither in matter nor in spirit - and if the guilty do not pay, then the innocent have to pay it.
The future is the eternal present.
Are you thinking death and taxes are our only certainty, Mr. Rearden? Well, there's nothing I can do about the first, but if I left the burden of the second, men might learn to see the connection between the two and what a longer, happier life they have the power to achieve. They might learn to hold, not death and taxes, but life and production as their two absolutes and as the basis of their moral code.
Dagny, we can never lose the things we live for.
Check your premises, Dagny. Contradictions don't exist.
Dagny, this is not a battle over material goods. It's a moral crisis, the greatest the world has ever faced and the last. Our age is the climax of centuries of evil. We must put an end to it, once and for all, or perish - we, the men of the mind. It was our own guilt. We produced the wealth of the world - but we let our enemies write its moral code.
Who are you to stand against the government? Who are you, you miserable little office rat, to judge national policies and hold opinions of your own? Do you think the country has time to bother about your opinions, your wishes or our precious little conscious? You're going to learn a lesson - all of you! - all of you spoiled, self-indulgent, undisciplined little two-bit clerks, who strut as if that crap about your rights was serious!
An error made on your own is safer than ten truths accepted on faith, because the first leaves you the means to correct it, but the second destroys your capacity to distinguish truth from error.
Rationality is the recognition of the fact that nothing can alter the truth and nothing can take precedence over that act of perceiving it.
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.
Love is our response to our highest values. Love is self-enjoyment. The noblest love is born out of admiration of another's values.
I know not what course others may take, but as for me, give me liberty, or give me death.
The germ of destruction of our nation is in the power of the judiciary, an irresponsible body -- working like gravity by night and by day, gaining a little today and a little tomorrow, and advancing its noiseless step like a thief over the field of jurisdiction, until all shall render powerless the checks of one branch over the other and will become as venal and oppressive as the government from which we separated.
Those who make peaceful revolution impossible, make violent revolution inevitable.
The law is simply and solely made for the exploitation of those who do not understand it or of those, who out of naked need, cannot obey it.
A democracy is always temporary in nature; it simply cannot exist as a permanent form of government. A democracy will continue to exist up until the time that voters discover that they can vote themselves generous gifts from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates who promise the most benefits from the public treasury, with the result that every democracy will finally collapse due to loose fiscal policy, which is always followed by a dictatorship.
I didn't attend the funeral, but I sent a nice letter saying I approved of it.
President Bush announced tonight that he believes in democracy and that democracy can exist in Iraq. They can have a strong economy, they can have a good health care plan, and they can have a free and fair voting. Iraq? We can't even get this in Florida.
Government is not reason. Government is not eloquence. It is force, and like fire it is a dangerous servant and a fearful Master.
Disobedience is the true foundation of liberty. The obedient must be slaves.
"Do you mean that you are refusing to obey the law?" asked the judge. No. I am complying with the law - to the letter. Your law holds that my life, my work and my property may be disposed of without my consent. Very well, you may now dispose of me without my participation in the matter. I will not play the part of defending myself, where no defense is possible, and I will not simulate the illusion of dealing with a tribunal of justice... A prisoner brought to trial can defend himself only if there is an objective principle of justice recognized by his judges, a principle upholding his rights, which they may not violate and which he can invoke. The law, by which you are trying to hold me, holds that there are no principles, that I have no rights and that you may do with me whatever you please. Very well. Do it.
"Mr. Rearden, the law which you are denouncing is based on the highest principle - the principle of public good." Who is the public? What does it hold as its good? There was a time when men believed that 'the good' was a concept to be defined by a code of moral values and that no man had the right to seek his good through the violation of the rights of another. If it is now believed that my fellow men may sacrifice me in any manner they please for the sake of whatever they deem to be their own good, if they believe that they may seize my property simply because they need it - well, so does any burglar. There is only this difference: the burglar does not ask me to sanction his act.
"Are we to understand," asked the judge, "that you hold your own interests above the interests of the public?" I hold that such a question can never arise except in a society of cannibals... I hold that there is no clash of interests among men who do not demand the unearned and do not practice human sacrifices. "Are we to understand that if the public deems it necessary to curtail your profits, you do not recognize its right to do so?" Why, yes, I do. The public may curtail my profits any time it wishes - by refusing to buy my product.
Ask yourself whether the dream of heaven and greatness should be left waiting for us in our graves - or whether it should be ours here and now on this earth.
Yet no one, not the lowest of humans, is ever able fully to renounce his brain. No one has ever believed in the irrational; what they do believe in is the unjust. Whenever a man denounces the mind, it is because his goal is of a nature the mind would not permit him to confess. When he preaches contradictions, he does so in the knowledge that someone will accept the burden of the impossible, someone will make it work for him at the price of his own suffering of life; destruction is the price of any contradiction.
Love is the ultimate form of recognition one grants to superlative values.
It's strange how simple things become, once you see them clearly.
I quit when the court of appeals reversed my ruling. The purpose for which I had chosen my work, was my resolve to be a guardian of justice. But the laws they asked me to enforce made me the executor of the vilest injustice conceivable. I was asked to use force to violate the rights of disarmed men, who came before me to seek my protection for their rights. Litigants obey the verdict of a tribunal solely on the premise that there is an objective rule of conduct, which they both accept. Now I saw that one man was bound by it, but the other was not, one was to obey a rule, the other was to assert an arbitrary wish - his need - and the law was to stand on the side of the wish. Justice was to consist of upholding the unjustifiable. I quit - because I could not have borne to hear the words 'Your Honor' address to me by an honest man.
I quit when medicine was placed under State control, some years ago... Do you know what it takes to perform a brain operation? Do you know the kind of skill it demands, and the years of passionate, merciless, excruciating devotion that go to acquire that skill? That was what I would not place at the disposal of men whose sole qualification to rule me was their capacity to spout the fraudulent generalities that got them elected to the privilege of enforcing their wishes at the point of a gun.
Dagny, every form of happiness is one, every desire is driven by the same motor - by our love for a single value, for the highest potentiality of our own existence - and every achievement is an expression of it.
This country was the only country in history born, not of chance and blind tribal warfare, but as a rational product of man's mind. This country was built on the supremacy of reason - and, for one magnificent century, it redeemed the world. It will have to do so again.
Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.
To see what is right, and not to do it, is want of courage or of principle.
Democracy is the worst form of government except for all those others that have been tried.
Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch.
It is the first responsibility of every citizen to question authority.
'All men are created equal' says the American Declaration of Independence. 'All men shall be kept equal' say the Socialists.
[A] wise and frugal government...shall restrain men from injuring one another, shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned. This is the sum of good government.
I cannot undertake to lay my finger on that article of the Constitution which granted a right to Congress of expending, on objects of benevolence, the money of their constituents....
The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government are few and defined [and] will be exercised principally on external objects, as war, peace, negotiation and foreign commerce.
Here is my principle: Taxes shall be levied according to ability to pay. That is the only American principle.(I can't help but commenting here on this idiotic quote. "From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs." That sentence was (and is) the driving force behind Marxism, Socialism, and Communism.)
But so long as I choose to go on living, I cannot desert a battle which I think is mine to fight.
But, you see, the measure of the hell you're able to endure is the measure of your love.
Whenever anyone accuses some person of being 'unfeeling,' he means that that person is just. He means that that person has no causeless emotions and will not grant him a feeling which he does not deserve.
From the first catch-phrases flung at a child to the last, it is like a series of shocks to freeze his motor, to undercut the power of his consciousness. "Don't ask so many questions, children should be seen and not heard!" - "Who are you to think? It's so, because I say so!" - Don't argue, obey!" - "Don't try to understand believe!" - Don't rebel, adjust!" - "Don't stand out, belong!" - "Don't struggle, compromise!" - "Your heart is more important than your mind!" - "Who are you to know? Your parents know best!" - "Who are you to object? All values are relative!" - "Who are you to want to escape a thug's bullet? That's only a personal prejudice!"
To live, man must hold three things as the supreme and ruling values of his life: Reason - Purpose - Self-esteem. Reason, as his only tool of knowledge - Purpose, as his choice of the happiness which that tool must proceed to achieve - Self-esteem, as his inviolate certainty that his mind is competent to think and his person is worthy of happiness, which means: is worthy of living. These three values imply and require all of man's virtues, and all his virtues pertain to the relation of existence and consciousness: Rationality, independence, integrity, honesty, justice, productiveness, pride.
Emotions are inherent in your nature, but their content is dictated by your mind. If you hold the irrational as your standard of value and the impossible as your concept of the good, if you long for rewards you have not earned, for a fortune, or a love you don't deserve, for a loophole in the law of causality, for an A that becomes a non-A at your whim, if you desire the opposite of existence - you will reach it.
Happiness is not to be achieved at the command of emotional whims. Happiness is not the satisfaction of whatever irrational wishes you might blindly attempt to indulge. Happiness is a state of non-contradictory joy - a joy without penalty or guilt, a joy that does not clash with any of your values and does not work for your own destruction, not the joy of escaping from your mind, but of using your mind's fullest power, not the joy of faking reality, but of achieving values that are real, not the joy of a drunkard, but of a producer. Happiness is possible only to a rational man, the man who desires nothing but rational goals, seeks nothing but rational values and finds his joy in nothing but rational actions.
Just as I support my life, neither by robbery nor alms, but by my own effort, so I do not seek to derive my happiness from the injury or the favors of others, but earn it by my own achievement. Just as I do not consider the pleasure of others as the goal of my life, so I do not consider my pleasure as the goal of the lives of others. Just as there are no contradictions in my values and no conflicts among my desires - so there are no victims and no conflicts of interest among rational men, men who do not desire the unearned and do not view one another with a cannibal's lust, men who neither make sacrifice nor accept them.
The symbol of all relationships among such men, the moral symbol of respect for human beings, is the trader. We, who live by values, not by loot, are traders, both in matter and in spirit. A trader is a man who earns what he gets and does not give or take the undeserved. A trader does not ask to be paid for his failures, nor does he ask to be loved for his flaws. A trader does not squander his body as fodder or his soul as alms. Just as he does not give his work except in trade for material values, so he does not give the values of his spirit - his love, his friendship, his esteem - except in payment and in trade for human virtues, in payment for his own selfish pleasure, which he receives from men he can respect.
Force and mind are opposites; morality ends where a gun begins.
It is only as retaliation that force may be used and only against the man who starts its use. No, I do not share his evil or sink to his concept of morality; I merely grant him his choice, destruction, the only destruction he had the right to choose: his own. He uses force to seize a value; I use it only to destroy destruction. A holdup man seeks to gain wealth by killing me; I do not grow richer by killing a holdup man. I seek no values by means of evil, nor do I surrender my values to evil.
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 immoral. To hold, as man's sin, a fact not open to his choice is a mockery of morality. To hold man's nature as his sin is a mockery of nature. To punish him for a crime he committed before he was born is a mockery of justice.
What is the nature of the guilt that your teachers call his Original Sin? What are the evils man acquired when he fell from a state they consider perfection? Their myth declares that he ate the fruit of the tree of knowledge - he acquired a mind and became a rational being. It was the knowledge of good and evil - he became a moral being. He was sentenced to earn his bread by his labor - he became a productive being. He was sentenced to experience desire - he acquired a capacity of sexual enjoyment. The evils for which they damn him are reason, morality, creativeness, joy - all the cardinal values of his existence. It is not his vices that their myth of man's fall is designed to explain and condemn, it is not his errors that they hold as his guilt, but the essence of his nature as man. Whatever he was - that robot in the Garden of Eden, who existed without mind, without values, without labor, without love - he was not man.
The good, say the mystics of spirit, is God, a being whose only definition is that he is beyond man's power to conceive - a definition that invalidates man's consciousness and nullifies his concepts of existence. The good, say the mystics of muscle, is Society - a thing which they define as an organism that possesses no physical form, a super-being embodied in no one in particular and everyone in general except yourself. Man's mind, say the mystics of the muscle, must be subordinated to the will of Society. Man's standard of value say the mystics of spirit, is the pleasure of God, standards are beyond man's power of comprehension and must be accepted on faith. Man's standard of value, say the mystics of muscle, is the pleasure of Society, whose standards are beyond man's right of judgment and must be obeyed as a primary absolute.
A sacrifice is the surrender of a value.
If a mother buys food for her hungry child rather than a hat for herself, it is not a sacrifice: she values the child higher than the hat; but it is a sacrifice to the kind of mother whose higher value is the hat, who would prefer her child to starve and feeds him only from a sense of duty. If a man dies fighting for his freedom, it is not a sacrifice: he is not willing to live as a slave; but it is a sacrifice to the kind of man who's willing. If a man refuses to sell his convictions, it is not a sacrifice, unless he is the sort of man who has no convictions.
For those of you who might ask questions, your code provides a consolation prize and bobby trap: it is for your own happiness, it says, that you must serve the happiness of others, the only way to achieve your joy is to give it up to others, the only way to achieve your prosperity is to surrender your wealth to others, the only way to protect your life is to protect all men except yourself - and if you find no joy in this procedure, it is your own fault and the proof of your evil; if you were good, you would find your happiness in providing a banquet for others, and your dignity in existing on such crumbs as they might care to toss you.
The justification of sacrifice, that your morality propounds, is more corrupt than the corruption it purports to justify. The motive of your sacrifice, it tells you, should be love - the love you ought to feel for every man. A morality that professes the belief that the values of the spirit are more precious than matter, a morality that teaches you to scorn a whore who gives her body indiscriminately to all men - this same morality demands that you surrender your soul to promiscuous love for all comers.
Love is the expression of one's values, the greatest reward you can earn for the moral qualities you have achieved in your character and person, the emotional price paid by one man for the joy he receives from the virtues of another. Your morality demands that you divorce your love from values and hand it down to any vagrant, not as response to his worth, but as response to his need, not as reward, but as alms, not as a payment for virtues, but as a blank check on vices.
Whenever you rebel against causality, your motive is the fraudulent desire, not to escape it, but worse; to reverse it. You want unearned love, as if love, the effect, could give you personal value, the cause - you want unearned admiration, as if admiration, the effect could give you virtue, the cause - you want unearned wealth, as if wealth, the effect, could give you ability, the cause - you plead for mercy, mercy, not justice, as if an unearned forgiveness could wipe out the cause of your plea.
'We know that we know nothing,' they chatter, blanking out the fact that they are claiming knowledge - 'There are not absolutes,' they chatter, blanking out the fact that they are uttering an absolute - 'You cannot prove that you exist or that you're conscious,' they chatter, blanking out the fact that proof presupposes existence, consciousness and a complex chain of knowledge: the existence of something to know, of a consciousness able to know it, and of a knowledge that has learned to distinguish between such concepts as the proved and the unproved.
...power-lust is a weed that grows only in the vacant lots of an abandoned mind.
This idol of your cult of zero-worship, this symbol of impotence - the congenital dependent - is your image of man and your standard of value, in whose likeness you strive to refashion your soul. 'It's only human," you cry in defense of any depravity, reaching the stage of self-abasement where you seek to make the concept 'human' mean the weakling, the fool, the rotter, the liar, the failure, the coward, the fraud, and to exile from the human race the hero, the thinker, the producer, the inventor, the strong, the purposeful, the pure - as if 'to feel' were human , but to think were not, as if to fail were human, but to succeed were not, as if corruption were human, but virtue were not - as if the premise of death were proper to man, but the premise of life were not.
The early feminists who fought for true equality did not speak of 'special interests.' They spoke of human rights.
They keep talking about drafting a Constitution for Iraq. Why don't we just give them ours? It was written by a lot of really smart guys, it's worked for over 200 years, and well, we're not using it anymore.
The real reason that we can't have the Ten Commandments in a courthouse is that if you post 'Thou Shalt Not Steal,' 'Thou Shalt Not Commit Adultery,' and 'Thou Shall Not Lie' in a building full of lawyers, judges, and politicians.... it creates a hostile working environment.
There are two sides to every issue: one side is right and the other is wrong, but the middle is always evil. The man who is wrong still retains some respect for the truth, if only by accepting responsibility of choice. But the man in the middle is the knave who blanks out the truth in order to pretend that no choice or values exist, who is willing to sit out the course of any battle, willing to cash in on the blood of the innocent or to crawl on his belly to the guilty, who dispenses justice by condemning both the robber and the robbed to jail, who solves conflicts by ordering the thinker and the fool to meet each other halfway. 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. In the transfusion of blood which drains the good to feed the evil, the compromiser is the transmitting rubber tube.
Discard that unlimited license to evil which consists of claiming that man is imperfect. By what standard do you damn him when you claim it? Accept the fact that in the realm of morality nothing less than perfection will do. But perfection is not to be gauged by mystic commandments to practice the impossible, and your moral stature is not to be gauged by masters not open to your choice. Man has a single basic choice: to think or not, and that is the gauge of his virtue. Moral perfection is an unbreached rationality - not the degree of your intelligence, but the full and relentless use of your mind, not the extent of your knowledge, but the acceptance of reason as an absolute.
Learn to distinguish the difference between errors of knowledge and breaches of morality. An error of knowledge is not a moral flaw, provided you are willing to correct it; only a mystic would judge human beings by the standard of an impossible, automatic omniscience. But a breach of morality is the conscious choice of an action you know to be evil, or a willful evasion of the knowledge, a suspension of sight and of thought. That which you do not know, is not a moral charge against you; but that which you refuse to know, is an account of infamy growing in your soul. Make every allowance for errors of knowledge; do not forgive or accept any breach of morality. Give the benefit of the doubt to those who seek to know; but treat as potential killers those specimens of insolent depravity who make demands upon you, announcing that they have and seek no reasons, proclaiming, as a license, that they 'just feel it - or those who reject an irrefutable argument by saying: 'It's only logic,' which means: 'It's only reality.' The only realm opposed to reality is the realm and premise of death.
Accept the fact that the achievement of your happiness is the only moral purpose of your life, and that happiness - not pain or mindless self-indulgence - is the proof of your moral integrity, since it is the proof and the result of your loyalty to the achievement of your values.
As a basic step of self-esteem, learn to treat as the mark of a cannibal any man's demand for your help. To demand it is to claim that your life is his property - and loathsome as such claim might be, there's something still more loathsome: your agreement. Do you ask if it's ever proper to help another man? No - if he claims it as his right or as a moral duty that you owe him. Yes - if such is your own desire based on your own selfish pleasure in the value of his person and his struggle. Suffering as such is not a value; only man's fight against suffering, is. If you choose to help a man who suffers, do it only on the ground of his virtues, of his fight to recover, of his rational record, or of the fact that he suffers unjustly; then your action is still a trade, and his virtue is the payment for your help.
The only proper purpose of a government is to protect man's rights, which means: to protect him from physical violence. A proper government is only a policeman, acting as an agent of man's self-defense, and, as such, may resort to force only against those who start the use of force. 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, to settle disputes by rational rules, according to objective law. But a government that initiates the employment of force against men who had forced no one, the employment of armed compulsion against disarmed victims, is a nightmare infernal machine designed to annihilate the morality: such a government reverses its only moral purpose and switches from the role of protector to the role of man's deadliest enemy, from the role of policeman to the role of a criminal vested with the right to the wielding of violence against victims deprived of the right of self-defense.
The removal of a threat is not a payment, the negation of a negative is not a reward, the withdrawal of your armed hoodlums is not an incentive, the offer now to murder me is not a value.
In the name of the best within us
If you understand that I acted for my own sake, you know that no gratitude is required.
Losses? I think we lost our temper for a few minutes back there, but we're recovering.
A is A.
There is no system ever devised by mankind that is guaranteed to rip husband and wife or father, mother, and child apart so bitterly than our present Family Court System.
Your job is not to become concerned about the Constitutional rights of the man that you are violating. Throw him out on the street, give him the clothes on his back, and tell him, 'see ya round.'
The greatest danger for most of us is not that our aim is too high and we miss it, but that it is too low and we reach it.
Man's inherent nature is to be curious, gentle, intimate, responsible, enthusiastic, sensual, tolerant, courageous, honest, vulnerable, affectionate, proud, spiritual, committed, wild, nurturing, peaceful, helpful, intense, compassionate, happy, and to fully and safely express all emotions. When will we stop training him to be otherwise?
When governments fear the people there is liberty. When the people fear the government there is tyranny.
A man should never be ashamed to own that he has been in the wrong, which is but saying that he is wiser today than he was yesterday.
Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom, must, like men, undergo the fatigues of supporting it.
Possunt quia posse videntur ~ (Latin: They can because they think they can.)
Give the world the best you have and you may get hurt. Give the world your best anyway.
I didn't say it would be easy. I just said it would be the truth.
Democracy is indispensable to socialism.
A lie told often enough becomes the truth.
Give me four years to teach the children and the seed I have sown will never be uprooted.
It is true that liberty is precious; so precious that it must be carefully rationed.
While the State exists there can be no freedom; when there is freedom there will be no State.
None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free.
The beauty of the second amendment is that it will not be needed until they try to take it.
"You are a slow learner, Winston," said O'Brien gently.
"How can I help it?" he blubbered. "How can I help seeing what is in front of my eyes? Two and two are four."
"Sometimes, Winston. Sometimes they are five. Sometimes they are three. Sometimes they are all of them at once. You must try harder. It is not easy to become sane."
Speaking the truth in times of universal deceit is a revolutionary act.
The illusion of freedom [in America] will continue as long as it's profitable to continue the illusion. At the point where the illusion becomes too expensive to maintain, they will just take down the scenery, they will pull back the curtains, they will move the tables and chairs out of the way and you will see the brick wall at the back of the theater.
The American people, North and South, went into the [Civil] war as citizens of their respective states, they came out as subjects, and what they thus lost they have never got back.
Freedom had been hunted round the globe; reason was considered as rebellion; and the slavery of fear had made men afraid to think. But such is the irresistible nature of truth, that all it asks, and all it wants, is the liberty of appearing.
If you have been voting for politicians who promise to give you goodies at someone else's expense, then you have no right to complain when they take your money and give it to someone else, including themselves.
The Constitution is not an instrument for the government to restrain the people, it is an instrument for the people to restrain the government - lest it come to dominate our lives and interests.
It is error alone which needs the support of government. Truth can stand by itself.
Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.
All men die, but not all men really live.
Most Americans fear the IRS. Standing up to "authority" makes most people uncomfortable. People don't want to make waves, and don't want trouble. They want to "get by," and take the safe road. They don't want to put themselves at risk. They don't even want to tell the truth, or even KNOW the truth, if it means they must go against the tide. And that is why tyranny happens.
Long, long ago, King Henry of England told Prince Hal that the way to run a country and keep the people from being too critical of how you run it is to busy giddy minds with foreign quarrels.
I predict future happiness for Americans if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them.
[I]t is a common observation here that our cause is the cause of all mankind, and that we are fighting for their liberty in defending our own.
When the state is corrupt then the laws are most multiplied.
75 to 90% of all American trial lawyers are incompetent, dishonest, or both.
Today, wanting someone else's money is called 'need,' wanting to keep your own money is called 'greed,' and 'compassion' is when politicians arrange the transfer.
Government's view of the economy could be summed up in a few short phrases, if it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it.
The nine most terrifying words in the English language are, 'I'm from the government and I'm here to help.'
Government is not the solution to our problem, government is the problem.
I am opposed to the theory of doing wrong that good may come of it. I hold to the belief that you must act right whatever the consequences.
The instrument by which it [government] must act are either the authority of the laws or force. If the first be destroyed, the last must be substituted; and where this becomes the ordinary instrument of government there is an end to liberty!
Almost funny irony: it's now against the law to knowingly give money to a terrorist organization. Keep that in mind on April 15th.
Be the change you are trying to create.
Mr. Montag, you are looking at a coward. I saw the way things were going, a long time back. I said nothing. I'm one of the innocents who could have spoken up and out when no one would listen to the 'guilty,' but I did not speak and thus became guilty myself. And when finally they set the structure to burn the books, using the firemen, I grunted a few times and subsided, for there were no others grunting or yelling with me, by then. Now it's too late.
Democracy, n: A government of the masses. Authority derived through mass meeting or any other form of direct expression. Results in mobocracy. Attitude toward property is communistic... negating property rights. Attitude toward law is that the will of the majority shall regulate, whether it is based upon deliberation or governed by passion, prejudice, and impulse, without restraint or regard to consequences. Result is demagogism, license, agitation, discontent, anarchy.
It is well enough that people of the nation do not understand our banking and monetary system, for if they did, I believe there would be a revolution before tomorrow morning.
Strictly speaking, it probably is not necessary for the federal government to tax anyone directly - it could simply print the money it needs. However, that would be too bold a stroke, for it would then be obvious to all what kind of counterfeiting operation the government is running. The present system combining taxation and inflation is akin to watering the milk: too much water and the people catch on.
Guard with jealous attention the public liberty. Suspect everyone who approaches that jewel. Unfortunately, nothing will preserve it but downright force. Whenever you give up that force, you are ruined. The great object is, that every man be armed... that everyone who is able may have a gun.
Good intentions will always be pleaded for any assumption of power. The constitution was made to guard the people against the dangers of good intentions. There are men in all ages who mean to govern well, but they mean to govern. They promise to be good masters, but they mean to be masters.
It's only after we've lost everything that we are free to do anything.
Children should be educated and instructed in the principles of freedom.
Timid men prefer the calm of despotism to the tempestuous sea of liberty.
We are apt to close our eyes against a painful truth.
The foundation of national morality must be laid in private families... How is it possible that children can have any just sense of the sacred obligations of morality or religion if, from their earliest infancy, they learn their mothers live in habitual infidelity to their fathers, and their fathers in as constant infidelity to their mothers?
Contrary to the fanatical belief of its advocates, compromise does not satisfy, but dissatisfies everybody; it does not lead to general fulfillment, but to general frustration; those who try to be all things to all men, end up by not being anything to anyone. And more: the partial victory of an unjust claim, encourages the claimant to try further; the partial defeat of a just claim, discourages and paralyzes the victim.
...thought does not bow to authority.
Loneliness is specifically the experience... of those who have something to offer. The emotion that drives conformists to "belong," is not loneliness, but fear - the fear of independence and responsibility. The thinking child seeks equals; the conformist seeks protectors.
An unusual kind of moral strength and of personal ambition (i.e., self-esteem) is required to regain one's sight: a profound love of life, a passionate refusal to remain a cripple, an intense dedication to the task of achieving the best within one's reach. The reward is commensurate.
I've missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I've lost almost 300 games. Twenty-six times, I've been trusted to take the game-winning shot and missed. I've failed over, and over, and over again in my life. And that is why... I succeed.
Do, or do not. There is no try.
Don't be afraid to take a big step. You can't cross a chasm in two small jumps.
It is a just person who disobeys an unjust law.
Whenever the legislators endeavor to take away and destroy the property of the people, or to reduce them to slavery under arbitrary power, they put themselves into a state of war with the people, who are thereupon absolved from any further obedience...
Non-cooperation with injustice is a sacred duty.
In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.
Liberty lies in the hearts of men and women; when it dies there, no constitution, no law, no court can save it.
Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate for the government of any other.
And then she understood the devilish cunning of the enemies' plan. By mixing a little truth with it they had made their lie far stronger.
A society of sheep must in time beget a government of wolves.
Permit me to issue and control the money of a nation, and I care not who makes its laws.
Don't think about the cost of doing something; think about the cost of doing nothing.
Our federal tax system is, in short, utterly impossible, utterly unjust and completely counterproductive ... [it] reeks with injustice and is fundamentally un-American ... it has earned a rebellion and it's time we rebelled...
Single acts of tyranny may be ascribed to the accidental opinion of a day. But a series of oppressions, ...pursued unalterably through every change of ministers, too plainly proves a deliberate systematic plan of reducing us to slavery.
Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.
Suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a member of Congress. But I repeated myself.
No man's life, liberty, or property is safe while the legislature is in session.
There is no distinctly native American criminal class save Congress.
I don't make jokes. I just watch the government and report the facts.
A government big enough to give you everything you want, is strong enough to take everything you have.
We hang the petty thieves and appoint the great ones to public office.
Just because you do not take an interest in politics doesn't mean politics won't take an interest in you.
The most effectual engines for [pacifying a nation] are the public papers... [A despotic] government always [keeps] a kind of standing army of newswriters who, without any regard to truth or to what should be like truth, [invent] and put into the papers whatever might serve the ministers. This suffices with the mass of the people who have no means of distinguishing the false from the true paragraphs of a newspaper.
The state must declare the child to be the most precious treasure of the people. As long as the government is perceived as working for the benefit of the children, the people will happily endure almost any curtailment of liberty and almost any deprivation.
You let one ant stand up to us, then they all might stand up to us. Those puny, little ants outnumber us a hundred to one, and if they ever figure that out, there goes our way of life. It's not about food, it's about keeping those ants in line.
I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.
In the beginning of a change the patriot is a scarce man, and brave, and hated and scorned. When his cause succeeds, the timid join him, for then it costs nothing to be a patriot.
In a recent conversation, with an official at the Internal Revenue Service, I was amazed when he told me that, 'If the taxpayers of this country ever discover that the Internal Revenue Service operates on 90 percent bluff, the entire income tax system will collapse.'
Democracy is the monkeys running the zoo from inside their cages.
The individual has a soul, but the State is a soulless machine, it can never be weaned from the violence to which it owes its very existence.
Make no little plans; they have no magic to stir men's blood and probably will themselves not be realized. Make big plans; aim high in hope and work.
There is in all a strong disposition to believe that anything lawful is also legitimate. This belief is so widespread that many persons have erroneously held that things are 'just' because the law makes them so.
The spirit of resistance to government is so valuable on certain occasions that I wish it to be always kept alive.
The Constitution only gives people the right to pursue happiness. You have to catch it yourself.
I love the man that can smile in trouble, that can gather strength from distress, and grow brave by reflection. 'Tis the business of little minds to shrink; but he whose heart is firm, and whose conscience approves his conduct, will pursue his principles unto death.
It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker, that we expect our dinner, but from their guard to their own interest.
Humor is not an unconditional virtue; its moral character depends upon its object. To laugh at the contemptible is a virtue; to laugh at the good, is a hideous vice. Too often humor is used as the camouflage of moral cowardice.
[A]nger is simply a healthy response to injustice.
The difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has its limits.
To approve of another man's opinions is to adopt those opinions, and to adopt them is to approve of them.
If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their currency, first by inflation then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around them will deprive the people of their property until their children wake up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered.
I would not lose courage even now. I would not tire in saying what I knew to be true.
Action is eloquence.
Every decent man is ashamed of the government he lives under.
Every election is a sort of advance auction sale of stolen goods.
What I do today is important because I am exchanging a day of my life for it.
The business of the journalist is to destroy the truth, to lie outright, to pervert, to vilify, to fawn at the feet of mammon, and to sell the country for his daily bread. You know it and I know it, and what folly is this toasting an independent press. We are the tools and vassals of the rich men behind the scenes. We are the jumping jacks, they pull the strings and we dance. Our talents, our possibilities and our lives are all the property of other men. We are intellectual prostitutes.
Necessity is the argument of tyrants, it is the creed of slaves.
I ain't movin'.
It is no crime to be ignorant of economics, which is, after all, a specialized discipline and one that most people consider to be a 'dismal science.' But it is totally irresponsible to have a loud and vociferous opinion on economic subjects while remaining in this state of ignorance.
We can evade reality, but we cannot evade the consequences of evading reality.
Strong body, strong mind, strong self
The madman is not the man who has lost his reason. The madman is the man who has lost everything except his reason.
Those who want slavery should have the grace to name it by its proper name.
Men are the only animals that devote themselves, day in and day out, to making one another unhappy. It is an art like any other. Its virtuosi are called altruists.
If x is the population of the United States and y is the degree of imbecility of the average American, then democracy is the theory that x X y is less than y.
The kind of man who demands that government enforce his ideas is always the kind whose ideas are idiotic.
Thou shalt not be a victim. Thou shalt not be a perpetrator. Above all, thou shalt not be a bystander.
As Americans we must always remember that we all have a common enemy, an enemy that is dangerous, powerful and relentless. I refer, of course, to the federal government.
Never let school interfere with your education.
If you talk to God, you are praying; If God talks to you, you have schizophrenia.
Money is the barometer of a society's virtue.
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.
Cowardice asks the question: is it safe? Expediency asks the question: is it political? Vanity asks the question: is it popular? But conscience asks the question: is it right? And there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor political, nor popular - but one must take it simply because it is right.
The people who are trying to make this world worse are not taking a day off. How can I? Light up the darkness.
If you don't read the newspaper, you are uninformed; if you do read the newspaper, you are misinformed.
Religion [is] the primitive form of philosophy; it provided man with a comprehensive view of existence.
In order to live, man must act; in order to act, he must make choices; in order to make choices, he must define a code of values; in order to define a code of values, he must know what he is and where he is - i.e., he must know his own nature (including his means of knowledge) and the nature of the universe in which he acts - i.e., he needs metaphysics, epistemology, ethics, which means: philosophy.
Love is a response to values.
Chance is a word devoid of sense; nothing can exist without a cause.
The evils of tyranny are rarely seen but by him who resists it.
You cannot teach a man anything; you can only help him find it within himself.
What country can preserve its liberties if its rulers are not warned from time to time that its people preserve the spirit of resistance?
The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed -- and hence clamorous to be led to safety -- by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.
I shall be telling this with a sigh Somewhere ages and ages hence: Two roads diverged in a wood, and I I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference.
Interest is the best teacher.
The beginning of wisdom is to call things their right names.
I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something. And because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do the something that I can do.
The great barrier to progress is not ignorance, but the illusion of knowledge.
Our care of the child should be governed, not by the desire to make him learn things, but by the endeavor always to keep burning within him that light which is called intelligence.
Man's mind is his basic tool of survival. Life is given to him, survival is not. His body is given to him, its sustenance is not. His mind is given to him, its content is not. To remain alive, he must act, and before he can act he must know the nature and purpose of his action. He cannot obtain his food without a knowledge of food and of the way to obtain it. He cannot dig a ditch-or build a cyclotron-without a knowledge of his aim and of the means to achieve it. To remain alive, he must think.