For the past many decades the United States has been embroiled in a fundamental conflict between two diametrically opposite philosophies. Regrettably this has not been noticed by the majority of those living in this great nation. On one side are those who believe in individual rights and individual liberty. On the side are those who believe in collectivism.
Those who believe In individual rights and individual liberty stand shoulder to shoulder with Thomas Jefferson and the rest of the Founding Fathers of this great nation. It was their radical philosophy of individualism that built the United States and turned it into the freest and most prosperous nation that ever existed.
Those who believe in collectivism are very much in lock step with the political philosophies that are responsible for the slaughter of over 100 million during the 20th century. Those collectivist philosophies are Fascism, Nazism, Socialism, and Communism. Modern day liberalism and progressivism are slightly watered down versions of the other loathsome collectivist philosophies. If we allow them to be fully implemented the results will be over time just as horrific as the other collectivist philosophies.
The Coronavirus lockdowns, mask mandates, and theft of the presidential election by the Democrats from President Trump are all battles in the war collectivists have been waging against individualism.
Ayn Rand, who escaped horrors of socialism and communism in the Soviet Union back in 1926, tried desperately to warn us that powerful elements here in the United State were determined to implement those disastrous philosophies here in the United States.
Without a doubt Ayn Rand’s most well known novel is Atlas Shrugged. It is a true Libertarian masterpiece. I most highly recommend it to everyone. A decade before she wrote the Fountainhead, which unfortunately is not as well known. Hopefully that will soon change because it is just as much a libertarian masterpiece as Atlas Shrugged.
I just finished reading The Fountainhead for the second time the other day. Reading it while I was living through the nightmare of continued Coronavirus lockdowns here is the People’s Republic of Massachusetts made it all the more meaningful.
I started this article by selecting only most important and influential quotes from throughout the book. Unfortunately that approach would have resulted in an article over four thousand words, which is four times what I consider to be an overly long article. I whittled it down to just the quotes from Chapter XVIII, pages 736-745. That is the climatic of the novel, the testimony of Howard Roark. There is no better defense of individualism and no stronger condemnation of collectivism than that one speech. Here are my favorite quotes from that summation. Enjoy and hopefully these quotes inspire you to read the novel.
Throughout the centuries there were men who took first steps down new roads armed with nothing but their own vision. Their goals differed, but they all had this in common: that the step was first, the road new, the vision unborrowed, and the response they received—hatred. The great creators—the thinkers, the artists, the scientists, the inventors—stood alone against the men of their time. Every great new thought was opposed. Every great new invention was denounced.
The creators were not selfless. It is the whole secret of their power—that it was self-sufficient, self-motivated, self-generated. A first cause, a fount of energy, a life force, a Prime Mover. The creator served nothing and no one. He had lived for himself. And only by living for himself was he able to achieve the things which are the glory of mankind. Such is the nature of achievement.”
Man cannot survive except through the use of his mind. He comes on earth unarmed. His brain is his only weapon. Animals obtain food by force. Man has no claws, no fangs, no horns, no great strength of muscle. He must plant his food or hunt it. To plant, he needs a process of thought. To hunt, he needs weapons, and to make weapons—a process of thought. From this simplest necessity to the highest religious abstraction, from the wheel to the skyscraper, everything we are and everything we have comes from a single attribute of man—the function of his reasoning mind.
But the mind is an attribute of the individual. There is no such thing as a collective brain. There is no such thing as a collective thought. An agreement reached by a group of men is only a compromise or an average drawn upon many individual thoughts. It is a secondary consequence. The primary act—the process of reason—must be performed by each man alone. We can divide a meal among many men. We cannot digest it in a collective stomach. No man can use his lungs to breathe for another man. No man can use his brain to think for another. All the functions of body and spirit are private. They cannot be shared or transferred.”
The basic need of the creator is independence. The reasoning mind cannot work under any form of compulsion. It cannot be curbed, sacrificed or subordinated to any consideration whatsoever. It demands total independence in function and in motive. To a creator, all relations with men are secondary.
Altruism is the doctrine which demands that man live for others and place others above self.
No man can live for another. He cannot share his spirit just as he cannot share his body. But the second-hander has used altruism as a weapon of exploitation and reversed the base of mankind’s moral principles. Men have been taught every precept that destroys the creator. Men have been taught dependence as a virtue.
If physical slavery is repulsive, how much more repulsive is the concept of servility of the spirit? […] But the man who enslaves himself voluntarily in the name of love is the basest of creatures. He degrades the dignity of man, and he degrades the conception of love. But that is the essence of altruism.”
Men have been taught that the highest virtue is not to achieve, but to give. Yet one cannot give that which has not been created. Creation comes before distribution—or there will be nothing to distribute. The need of the creator comes before the need of any possible beneficiary. Yet we are taught to admire the second-hander who dispenses gifts he has not produced above the man who made the gifts possible. We praise an act of charity. We shrug at an act of achievement.
Men have been taught that their first concern is to relieve the suffering of others. […] To make that the highest test of virtue is to make suffering the most important part of life. Then man must wish to see others suffer—in order that he may be virtuous. Such is the nature of altruism.
As poles of good and evil, he was offered two conceptions: egoism and altruism. Egoism was held to mean the sacrifice of others to self. Altruism—the sacrifice of self to others. This tied man irrevocably to other men and left him nothing but a choice of pain: his own pain borne for the sake of others or pain inflicted upon others for the sake of self. […] Man was forced to accept masochism as his ideal—under the threat that sadism was his only alternative.
Independence is the only gauge of human virtue and value. What a man is and makes of himself; not what he has or hasn’t done for others. There is no substitute for personal dignity. There is no standard of personal dignity except independence.
Every major horror of history was committed in the name of an altruistic motive.”
No man can live for another. He cannot share his spirit just as he cannot share his body. But the second-hander has used altruism as a weapon of exploitation and reversed the base of mankind’s moral principles. Men have been taught every precept that destroys the creator. Men have been taught dependence as a virtue.”
I came here to say that I do not recognize anyone’s right to one minute of my life. Nor to any part of my energy. Nor to any achievement of mine. No matter who makes the claim, how large their number or how great their need.
All quotes are copied exactly from the Fountainhead Wikiquote page. I did this because I am a painfully slow typist.
The movie is fantastic. This speech is captured almost word for word in it.