Words to think about…

For some of us, Ayn Rand was required reading in college… a compelling excerpt.
The Only Path To Tomorrow

Reader’s Digest, January 1944, pp. 88-90

The greatest threat to mankind and civilization is the spread of the totalitarian philosophy. Its best ally is not the devotion of its followers but the confusion of its enemies. To fight it, we must understand it.

Totalitarianism is collectivism. Collectivism means the subjugation of the individual to a group — whether to a race, class or state does not matter. Collectivism holds that man must be chained to collective action and collective thought for the sake of what is called “the common good.”

Throughout history, no tyrant ever rose to power except on the claim of representing “the common good.” Napoleon “served the common good´´ of France. Hitler is “serving the common good´´ of Germany. Horrors which no man would dare consider for his own selfish sake are perpetrated with a clear conscience by “altruists´´ who justify themselves by-the common good.

No tyrant has ever lasted long by force of arms alone. Men have been enslaved primarily by spiritual weapons. And the greatest of these is the collectivist doctrine that the supremacy of the state over the individual constitutes the common good. No dictator could rise if men held as a sacred faith the conviction that they have inalienable rights of which they cannot be deprived for any cause whatsoever, by any man whatsoever, neither by evildoer nor supposed benefactor.

This is the basic tenet of individualism, as opposed to collectivism. Individualism holds that man is an independent entity with an inalienable right to the pursuit of his own happiness in a society where men deal with one another as equals.

The American system is founded on individualism. If it is to survive, we must understand the principles of individualism and hold them as our standard in any public question, in every issue we face. We must have a positive credo, a clear consistent faith.

We must learn to reject as total evil the conception that the common good is served by the abolition of individual rights. General happiness cannot be created out of general suffering and self-immolation. The only happy society is one of happy individuals. One cannot have a healthy forest made up of rotten trees.

The power of society must always be limited by the basic, inalienable rights of the individual.

The right of liberty means man’s right to individual action, individual choice, individual initiative and individual property. Without the right to private property no independent action is possible.

The right to the pursuit of happiness means man’s right to live for himself, to choose what constitutes his own, private, personal happiness and to work for its achievement. Each individual is the sole and final judge in this choice. A man’s happiness cannot be prescribed to him by another man or by any number of other men.

These rights are the unconditional, personal, private, individual possession of every man, granted to him by the fact of his birth and requiring no other sanction. Such was the conception of the founders of our country, who placed individual rights above any and all collective claims. Society can only be a traffic policeman in the intercourse of men with one another.

From the beginning of history, two antagonists have stood face to face, two opposite types of men: the Active and the Passive. The Active Man is the producer, the creator, the originator, the individualist. His basic need is independence — in order to think and work. He neither needs nor seeks power over other men — nor can he be made to work under any form of compulsion. Every type of good work — from laying bricks to writing a symphony — is done by the Active Man. Degrees of human ability vary, but the basic principle remains the same: the degree of a man’s independence and initiative determines his talent as a worker and his worth as a man.

The Passive Man is found on every level of society, in mansions and in slums, and his identification mark is his dread of independence. He is a parasite who expects to be taken care of by others, who wishes to be given directives, to obey, to submit, to be regulated, to be told. He welcomes collectivism, which eliminates any chance that he might have to think or act on his own initiative.

When a society is based on the needs of the Passive Man it destroys the Active; but when the Active is destroyed, the Passive can no longer be cared for. When a society is based on the needs of the Active Man, he carries the Passive ones along on his energy and raises them as he rises, as the whole society rises. This has been the pattern of all human progress.

Some humanitarians demand a collective state because of their pity for the incompetent or Passive Man. For his sake they wish to harness the Active. But the Active Man cannot function in harness. And once he is destroyed, the destruction of the Passive Man follows automatically. So if pity is the humanitarians’ first consideration, then in the name of pity, if nothing else, they should leave the Active Man free to function, in order to help the Passive. There is no other way to help him in the long run.

The history of mankind is the history of the struggle between the Active Man and the Passive, between the individual and the collective. The countries which have produced the happiest men, the highest standards of living and the greatest cultural advances have been the countries where the power of the collective — of the government, of the state — was limited and the individual was given freedom of independent action. As examples: The rise of Rome, with its conception of law based on a citizen’s rights, over the collectivist barbarism of its time. The rise of England, with a system of government based on the Magna Carta, over collectivist, totalitarian Spain. The rise of the United States to a degree of achievement unequaled in history — by grace of the individual freedom and independence which our Constitution gave each citizen against the collective.

While men are still pondering upon the causes of the rise and fall of civilizations, every page of history cries to us that there is but one source of progress: Individual Man in independent action. Collectivism is the ancient principle of savagery. A savage’s whole existence is ruled by the leaders of his tribe. Civilization is the process of setting man free from men.

We are now facing a choice: to go forward or to go back.Collectivism is not the “New Order of Tomorrow.´´ It is the order of a very dark yesterday. But there is a New Order of Tomorrow. It belongs to Individual Man — the only creator of any tomorrows humanity has ever been granted.

Time to sit back and think about those words, especially as the left is doing its best to rile up the ‘masses’. AND Xiden is calling the MAGA crowd ‘The most extreme political organization that’s existed in American history.’


Words to think about… — 24 Comments

  1. Half of society lacks the mental capacity to read and understand what she wrote. The average IQ in America is nose diving at a precipitous rate. The movie “Idiocracy” is no longer comedic satire but PROPHECY.

    • True. But at the time of the American Revolution, what fraction of the population read and understood John Locke? More than now understand Ayn Rand I’m sure, but still a small fraction.

      History is made by determined minorities.

      • I persume your determined minorities are white men, period. Judao Christian Western Civilization had brought the greatest civilization the world has ever seen stretching from Europe’s Greek and Italian population on the Med Sea, across Europe to Russia, from the Atlantic to North American, N.Zeeland, Austriala and of course Britian’s isles. Only the integration of minorities who spout Marxist garbage has derailed these successes. It seems the American Work Ethic and Christian Work Ethic borne of the Greeks and then Romans, is the superior cultural.

  2. Where the heck did you go to college that Ayn Rand was required reading? I read the Objectivism Journals back in college (the ’80’s) and if they had cough me they would have kicked me out.

  3. The WEF and our Democrat President are doing their best to march the entire world to a collectivist society where they will have all the power to rule over us. It is tantamount that we, the people, resist this push toward a despotic government and vote for candidates that espouse individual freedom and the Constitution as it is written.

  4. When I was in college, many, many moons ago, I needed some credits to finish my degree. I chose a seminar class in “Current Politics” led by one of John Foster Dullus’ deputies from the Eisenhower administration. One of the required readings was Ayn Rand’s “Atlas Shrugged.” In class, he broke down the book, chapter-by-chapter and explained the parallels of the country in the ’20s, ’30s, ’40s, and ‘1950s.

    One of the new classes I took that I got an “A”.

    • I tried to read “Atlas Shrugged” and never did finish. At least I know the answer to “Who is John Galt?”.

  5. Dan- Point…

    Trumpeter- Louisiana Tech, 1969

    Hereso- 🙂

    John/WSF- Agreed!!!

    Mike- That sounds like a great class!

    JMI- It’s not for everyone…

  6. hey Old NFO;

    I see a lot of passive men, and they are donk voters and the TPTB cater to them because they vote to keep them in power and I really wish that there was a “voting” test…or only the rules from Starship trooper where “Veterans voted because they were willing to look for the interest of society as a whole, rather than themselves.” or basically they have skin in the game. I remembered reading Atlas shrugged in the 90’s and I recall a lot of parallels where the competents are being run out of modern society so the incompetents due to political favors can take over.

  7. I tend to think of Ayn Rand as, well, more than a little goofy, especially as time went on. That said, this is, by far, one of the best things she ever wrote.

  8. Was she talking about the demand to payoff college loans?

  9. I agree whole heartedly with the basic premise. The problem is that people must take responsibility for their actions. People who are screaming for student loans for useless majors to be paid off are an example of the problem. The women who say my body my choice about abortion but want vaccine mandates are trying to say their happiness requires promiscuous sex regardless of the outcome including STD diseases as well as conception don’t want any responsibility. And controlling population is one of the benchmarks of fascism and communism!

  10. Excellent point by Beans, imo. That said, I’m not a Randist. She seems to forget the God aspect in the individual right/Founders equation.

    Still, great critique of evil leftism and a great quote.

  11. I remember, in Atlas, the John Galt speech. I think that is where most people give up. I actually got through that speech. Atlas is a thick book. Galt’s speech took up some 1/4 to 3/8 inches of paper. Or more. It was a chore. I think Ayn did it that way to weed out the uncommitted. Whatever. I regard Atlas as one of the best books I have ever fought my way thru to the end.

    • I think I stopped around page 600-something. Maybe I’ll take another swing at it someday. At that point in time, I had three young children in the house and not much time for reading. I found her story-telling a bit repetitive and I had no patience for that.

      • I stopped at Galt’s speech.

        I love Rand’s essays. She really bangs her points home, briefly and succinctly, but her fiction? Cardboard cutout characters in black and white – not one shade of gray anywhere. And she repeats her points over, and over, and over again. I tried to read Atlas Shrugged, I really did. I’ll stick to her essays.

  12. What Rand observed, has been a long time coming … and we have become the Passive Men, victims of our own successes in securing the blessings of liberty and its derivative advancement of the human condition in times past.

    > We have put formal education and celebrity on pedestals of worship, as possessing the insight, wisdom, and virtue of superhuman deities … while summarily dismissing wisdom presented outside those channels as not worthy of consideration or trust.

    > We also put “non-profit” status on a pedestal of worship and trust, while treating those honest enough to state their intent to profit with perpetual suspicion and the application of restraints in a manner reminiscent of Gulliver.

    > We have come to believe that rules are the answer to every problem, assuming that compliance with them removes the need to think beyond them – and deal with their failures by creating more rules to cover the exception to the rule.

    > The above has combined to establish the conventional wisdom that all of us, except the elite few on the above pedestals, are incapable and unworthy of competently managing our own lives … and therefore we ordinary folks should be given a pass on the responsibility to make your own decisions to get through life; instead being content to just go to work, or to school, and trust The Pedestaled to make your decisions, use your resources, and dictate what you can and can’t do from their lofty heights as though they are standing right beside you … all in the name of establishing their current definition of the “common good” as though it is one-size-fits-all.

    Under these assumptions – benignly accepted by millions as simply the way an “advanced” civilization is to live, and is beyond question – the incentives to develop and exercise competence are highly diminished among the masses, who come to believe that they can’t really rise above their situation and should just (f__k up and) trust their “betters” in grand Flounderian fashion.

    We are incentivized to become Passive Men

    OTOH, The Pedestaled come to expect such trust and OUR SUBMISSION, regardless of their actual competence, oblivious to their own human limitations and capability for perpetrating evil upon others like a bull in a china shop.

    By this way of thinking, reinforced by The Pedestaled for decades, we have been led to sell OURSELVES short as though we’re shares of GameStop, and let them establish their rule over us.

    This also has the effect of effectively unplugging most of the distributed intellect in the world from the problem-solving processes. Intellect that might not meet the standards of MENSA or rocket scientists, but combined with its proximity-informed insight is far better equipped to solve the problems around the individuals possessing it.

    Instead, we have centralized decision-making by an elite few, who come to believe that faceless, industrial approaches and economies of scale can be applied to solve problems with up to 330 million living, breathing INDIVIDUAL variables in this nation alone. That’s akin to trying to text on your smartphone with a sledgehammer.

    It is this way of thinking that can be leveraged by a crisis-not-to-waste to open the door to the Great Reset, and the intergenerational decline under the then-entrenched oligarchic rule that will follow.

    If we want to reverse this lemming parade we are on now and make it stick … getting ordinary people to QUESTION the world around them, then build trust in their own insights and NOT delegate their decisions to others – even if that looks like more risk and effort for them – is essential to diminish the power of The Pedestaled and engage that distributed intellect.

    Perhaps the first question to ask a True Believer, is …

    … how can the “experts” and “leaders” you put so much trust in, ever know YOU well enough to get the answers right for YOU from the top down?

  13. May be that the tendency to produce more Passive Men and suppress Active Men is an natural outcome of physical biological and sociological properties of large groups of organisms social insects notwithstanding.

    However haploidy and diploidy in social insects may enhance their evolution along adaptive lines, while the excess of Passive Men may explain Fermi’s Paradox.