Ayn Rand warned us when she wrote The Fountainhead – Unfortunately we did not listen

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.

Rest in Peace Walter E Williams

I was greatly saddened by the passing of Walter E Williams.  He was one of the two authors most responsible for me becoming a Libertarian and free market warrior, the other is Thomas Sowell. Through my teenage years, until I was in my early twenties I was a hardcore progressive/socialist.  It was through an exhaustive amount of reading and research that led to my great political enlightenment.  Walter Williams played a major, and very entertaining, part in that awakening.

As you can see from this quote, which appeared in the February 8 2006 article On Bogus Right, Walter Williams was a very outspoken critic of the federal government, and of the redistribution of wealth.

Three-fifths to two-thirds of the federal budget consists of taking property from one American and giving it to another. Were a private person to do the same thing, we’d call it theft. When government does it, we euphemistically call it income redistribution, but that’s exactly what thieves do — redistribute income. Income redistribution not only betrays the founders’ vision, it’s a sin in the eyes of God.

Walter Williams was an Economics professor at George Mason University.  I know he must have been a very informative and entertaining teacher because I’ve watched a great many videos of him speaking and T saw him on TV quite often. He was an outspoken critic of socialism. Here is a  quote from the article Evil Concealed by Money, 19 November 2008.

This is why socialism is evil. It employs evil means, coercion or taking the property of one person, to accomplish good ends, helping one’s fellow man. Helping one’s fellow man in need, by reaching into one’s own pockets, is a laudable and praiseworthy goal. Doing the same through coercion and reaching into another’s pockets has no redeeming features and is worthy of condemnation.

Here is another quote on the subject from Socialist Promises 25 May 2019.

Socialism promises a utopia that sounds good, but those promises are never realized. It most often results in massive human suffering. Capitalism fails miserably when compared with a heaven or utopia promised by socialism. But any earthly system is going to come up short in such a comparison. Mankind must make choices among alternative economic systems that actually exist. It turns out that for the common man capitalism, with all of its alleged shortcomings, is superior to any system yet devised to deal with his everyday needs and desires. By most any measure of human well-being, people who live in countries toward the capitalistic end of the economic spectrum are far better off than their fellow men who live in countries toward the socialist end.

Walter Williams was as big a proponent of free market capitalism as he was a critic of socialism.

Capitalism, or what some call free markets, is relatively new in human history. Prior to capitalism, the way individuals amassed great wealth was by looting, plundering and enslaving their fellow man. With the rise of capitalism, it became possible to amass great wealth by serving and pleasing your fellow man. Capitalists seek to discover what people want and produce and market it as efficiently as possible as a means to profit. A historical example of this process would be John D. Rockefeller, whose successful marketing drove kerosene prices down from 58 cents a gallon in 1865 to 7 cents in 1900. Henry Ford became rich by producing cars for the common man. 

Here is a quote by Walter E. Williams from All It Takes Is Guts that I’ve shared on social media many times

But let me offer you my definition of social justice: I keep what I earn and you keep what you earn. Do you disagree? Well then tell me how much of what I earn belongs to you – and why?”

The following two quotes are from memes I shared on Facebook.  I tried to track down the source of the quotes but Google failed me.  I’m 100 percent positive they’re accurate. I remember reading them in articles recently,―

Most of the great problems we face are caused by politicians creating solutions to problems they created in the first place

Whether we want to own up to it or not, the welfare state has done what Jim Crow, gross discrimination and poverty could not have done,  It has contributed to the breakdown of the black family structure and has helped establish a set of values alien to traditional values of high moral standards, hard work, and achievement.

I’m going to end this article with a very recent quote from a Daily Wire Article

The biggest casualty from the COVID-19 pandemic has nothing to do with the disease. It’s the power we’ve given to politicians and bureaucrats. The question is how we recover our freedoms.

Spliternet? Spare me.

No, seriously, its not

There has been plenty of discussion about Microsoft’s attempted acquisition of TikTok and the recent executive order that barred working with TikTok, WeChat and other Chinese social media apps. But amid all of this came an interesting article in the BBC accusing the United States of “splitting the internet.” Yup, really.

“It’s shocking,” says Alan Woodward, a security expert based at the University of Surrey. “This is the Balkanisation of the internet happening in front of our eyes.

“The US government has for a long time criticised other countries for controlling access to the internet… and now we see the Americans doing the same thing.”

Dr. Alan Woodward

The article does backtrack a bit and brings up legitimate security concerns posed by China. It sparked my curiosity in Pompeo’s speech, which hasn’t really made the news. So I found the transcript, and Pompeo had outlined five lines of effort for a Clean Internet:

First, Clean Carrier. We are working to ensure that untrusted Chinese telecom companies don’t provide international telecommunications services between the United States and foreign destinations.

Second, we call Clean Store. We want to see untrusted Chinese apps removed from U.S. app stores.

Third, Clean Apps. We’re working to prevent Huawei and other untrusted vendors from pre-installing or making available for download the most popular U.S. apps. We don’t want companies to be complicit in Huawei’s human rights abuses or the CCP’s surveillance apparatus.

Fourth, Clean Cloud. We’re protecting Americans’ most sensitive personal information and our businesses’ most valuable intellectual property – including COVID vaccine research – from being accessed on cloud-based systems run by companies such as Alibaba, Baidu, China Mobile, China Telecom, and Tencent.

Fifth and finally, Clean Cable. We’re working to ensure that the CCP can’t compromise information carried by the undersea cables that connect our country and others to the global internet.

Mike Pompeo, Secretary of State, in a speech on August 5, 2020.

This list doesn’t resemble censorship. Nowhere in the list does the U.S. censor information from other countries, prevent people from being critical of the United States, or otherwise interfere with other countries operations. It narrowly targets tech Chinese companies with known issues while leaving an open door to every other nation. It highlights some significant problems like stealing of COVID vaccine research that not enough people are tracking.

There is this libertarian view that a free and open internet means government’s should have no role whatsoever in the internet. There are plenty of flaws with this idea. The largest flaw is that this view fails to act when an entity like the Chinese Communist Party seeks to dismantle the Internet and subvert it for its own good. The BBC would perhaps brush this off as “market forces,” and to be sure, the UK has stood on the sidelines while China filters Hong Kong’s internet and even the internet at UK universities.

Perhaps better said in the movie Team America: World Police: “Freedom isn’t free.”

You can, and should, limit government involvement and allow the market to drive innovation, but when an obviously dark force threatens to break the freedom of information on the internet, you must act to stop it.

This post represents the views of the author and not those of the Department of Defense, Department of the Navy, or any other government agency.