I was originally planning on making a separate post for each of the 19 chapters, but to truly understand the code of ethics Rand advocates one must have a full understanding of all of its antecedent concepts. Reading the book cover to cover is the only sufficient way to accomplish this; there is no way to give it justice with out-of-context notes.
Still, I have too many gems from the later chapters to let go to waste so I’ll share them in 3 parts.
Chapter 12 – Man’s Rights
“The right to life is the source of all rights – and the right to property is their only implementation. Without property rights, no other rights are possible. Since man has to sustain his life by his own effort, the man who has no right to the product of his effort has no means to sustain his life. The man who produces while others dispose of his product, is a slave.” (110)
“Bear in mind that the right to property is a right to action, like all the others: it is not the right to an object…but only a guarantee that he will own it if he earns it.”
“Rights are conditions of existence required by man’s nature for his proper survival. If man is to live on earth, it is right for him to use his mind, it is right to act on his own free judgment, it is right to work for his values and to keep the product of his work.” (Atlas Shrugged.) (111)
“(The Declaration of Independence) provided the only valid justification of a government and defined its only proper purpose: to protect man’s rights by protecting him from physical violence. Thus the government’s function was changed from the role of ruler to the role of servant.”
“Just as in the material realm the plundering of a country’s wealth is accomplished by inflating the currency – so today one may witness the process of inflation being applied to the realm of rights. The process entails a growth of newly promulgated ‘rights’ that people do not notice the fact that the meaning of the concept is being reversed. Just as bad money drives out good money, so these ‘printing-press rights’ negate authentic rights.” (112)
-ie: American democrats claiming that people have the “right” to have a job, no matter what.
“If some men are entitled by right to the products of the work of others, it means that those others are deprived of rights and condemned to slave labour.” (113)
“Any alleged ‘right’ of one man, which necessitates the violation of the rights of another, is not and cannot be a right…there can be no such thing as ‘the right to enslave.’”
“A right does not include the material implementation of that right by other men; it includes only the freedom to earn that implementation by one’s own effort.” (113-4)
“(The Founding Fathers) spoke of the right to the pursuit of happiness – not of the right to happiness.” (114)
“The political function of ‘the right of free speech’ is to protect dissenters and unpopular minorities from forceable suppression – not to guarantee them the support, advantages and rewards of a popularity they have not gained.” (117)
Chapter 13 – Collectivized “Rights”
“Just as the notion that ‘Anything I do is right because I chose to do it,’ is not a moral principle, but a negation of morality – so the notion that ‘Anything society does is right because society chose to do it,’ is not a moral principle, but a negation of moral principles and the banishment of morality from social issues.” (118)
“A man can neither acquire new rights by joining a group nor lose the rights which he does possess…any group that does not recognize this principle is not an association, but a gang or mob.” (119-120)
“The notion of ‘collective rights’ (the notion that rights belong to groups, not to individuals) means that ‘rights’ belong to some men, but not to others” (120)
“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).” (121-122)