Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Ayn Rand on Individual Rights

"The principle of man's individual rights represented the extension of morality into the social system - as a limitation on the power of the state, as man's protection against the brute force of the collective, as the subordination of might to right. The United States was the first moral society in history.

All previous systems had regarded man as a sacrificial means to the ends of others, and society as an end in itself. The United States regarded man as an end in himself, and society as a means to the peaceful, orderly, voluntary coexistence of individuals. All previous systems had held that man's life belongs to society, that any freedom he enjoys is his only by favor, by the permission of society, which may be revoked at any time. The United States held that man's life is his by right (which means: by moral principle and by his nature), that a right is the property of an individual, that society as such has no rights, and that the only moral purpose of a government is the protection of individual rights."
Ayn Rand, Man's Rights

16 comments:

Christopher said...

It's a great argument. A great argument in favor of two propositions: a) that history is not the result of "morality" and that b) since this is the case, there is no reason to believe that the present economic is the best. Surely, the monarchs argued that their system was the most moral and just, and surely they did. They argued that without a strong central power, the multitude of voices of the resulting democracy would lead to the end of civilization via tyranny. Ayn Rand and ilk are no different. The only difference is that capitalism creates more wealth and the working class has struggled heroically.

Josh said...

I see no evidence that the struggle of the middle class was ever enhanced by capitalism. I see plenty of evidence that the middle class was created by and benefited from capitalism.

Christopher said...

Good thing I said working class and not "middle class".

The working class struggle with the companies for a 150 years, gain many of the basic concessions we take for granted.

Josh said...

What class is in opposition to the working class?

Christopher said...

The class that pays Chinese workers slave wages instead of paying livable wages. This class is known as the capitalist class, because they control and generate capital.

Josh said...

And you are not part of the capitalist class, right?

Christopher said...

Do I control capital?

Josh said...

Yes.

Christopher said...

No, sorry, I don't. Savings are not the same as capital.

Josh said...

That's because you do not understand capital or economics.

Chris said...

Nope. Savings are not capital. They only become capital when the person who owns them is a capitalist or when they are used to employ someone. That is when capitalism starts.

Josh said...

You do not understand capital, capitalism, or savings.

That your savings are used as capital in our fractional reserve banks to allow your particular bank to loan out more capital to borrowers is lost on you I suppose.

Christopher said...

"You do not understand capital, capitalism, or savings."

No, it seems you do not understand. If I don't use my savings as capital, it is not capital and I am not a capitalist.

"That your savings are used as capital in our fractional reserve banks to allow your particular bank to loan out more capital to borrowers is lost on you I suppose."

No, but that truth does not make me a capitalist. It makes the bank I deposit my saving in capitalist.

Josh said...

Savings are capital.

Christopher said...

Why? If saved money is not used as capital, it is not capital. Saved money, ie savings, is merely saved money. For example, I might save 100 dollars to buy a chair. Does my saving and buy make me a capitalist? Nope. It makes me a person who saved money to buy a chair. Now, if I saved 100 dollars to open a business to make a profit, then I become a capitalist. Not a very big capitalist, or even a capitalist capitalist, but a capitalist all the same. I am using my capital to make a profit. Generally we call this commerce, because capitalism as a term for describing started with the industrialists who used the socially organized factory production of hiring workers. Thus capital in the modern sense becomes the ability to hire workers to work in a factory to make a profit.

So, yes, the ancient inn keeper was a capitalist in the sense that he worked to profit from his inn, however, that is not what is meant by capitalism. Capitalism is, instead, the social relationship between the worker and capitalist in relation to factory production. Wages are paid and profit is made from the worker's labor. This is why commerce has a positive value and capitalism does not.

Josh said...

If I own an apple, its food whether I eat it or not.