Ayn Rand–the foremost champion of Capitalism–and her philosophy based on objective reality, reason and the morality of rational self-interest, will lay the groundwork and address the fundamentals of individual rights and capitalism as I begin to write this blog. Ayn Rand’s non-fiction works describe the principles of individual rights, capitalism, rational selfishness, as well as understanding the role of reason and art in man’s life. It will be necessary to address all of these concepts if we are truly going to understand the role of individual rights and capitalism, and how to win the fight for freedom and capitalism–once and for all.
There’s so much information and there are so many places to start, like the non-fiction work “Capitalism The Unknown Ideal,” which discusses the causes of the modern world’s collapse and what is required to save it. I would like to start however, with her book, “The New Left: The Anti-Industrial Revolution” and it’s focus on “reason and morality [which] are the only weapons that determine the course of history. The collectivists dropped them because they had no right to carry them. Pick them up: you have.”
The current Occupy Movement (OWS) which began September 17, 2011 is a barometer of general unrest today in the US and around the world. The purported central issues of concern are social and economic inequality, greed, corruption, and the undue influence of corporations–especially the financial services sector–on government. It is however, in essence, a condemnation of capitalism.
The liberal activists aren’t just against the shenanigans of the wall street financial elite. They condemn making money as man’s means of generating self-sustaining wealth; while they favor government handouts. They don’t want to work, they want someone else to sweat and slave, putting in long hours to earn a living or invent a new product, while they reap the rewards of another’s production. They think they are owed a college education, health care, a good job, secure retirement just because they are alive. And they never stopped to ask: at whose expense?
Does money just grow on trees? (Well Ben Bernanke thinks it does, but that’s another story.) Where does money come from if not from productive individuals–from day laborers to multi-million dollar business owners? How does one go about making money and therefore make a living for himself? What is required of a country to respect the productive energy of the the citizens who live there?
These and other questions must be answered if we are to make sense of what is going on around us today. To offer you a glimpse of the answer, I’d like to quote a small portion of Francisco’s speech on the nature of money in Atlas Shrugged:
“So you think that money is the root of all evil. Have you ever asked what is the root of money? Money is a tool of exchange, which can’t exist unless there are goods produced and men able to produce them. Money is the material shape of the principle that men who wish to deal with one another must deal by trade and give value for value. Money is not the tool of moochers, who claim your product by tears, or of the looters, who take it from you by force. Money is made possible only by the men who produce. Is this what you consider evil? …
To trade by means of money is the code of the men of good will. Money rests on the axiom that every man is the owner of his mind and his effort. Money allows no power to prescribe the value of your effort except the voluntary choice of the man who is willing to trade you his effort in return. ..Money permits no deals except those to mutual benefit by the unforced judgement of the traders. ..And when men live by trade–with reason, not force, as their final arbiter–it is the best product that wins… the degree of a man’s productiveness is the degree of his reward. This is the code of existence whose tool and symbol is money. Is this what you consider evil?”
Therefore, the role of the government is the protection of individual rights–so that man may produce and live to the extent of his ability. And all those who cannot match a business man’s degree of ability reap enormous rewards by working for and prospering themselves as a result of his achievements. Thus the nature of the worker to the business owner. Where we got off track and got confused about the trader’s role here was when business and government teamed up and paid off one another in a gigantic ponzi scheme called crony capitalism. That is not the nature of a trader nor of capitalism.
The solution is to roll back government interference in our business and private lives until finally government is what it should have been in the first place–the protector of individual rights. This will take thinking and educating on everyone’s part. But when we understand and can share with others the fact that the moral foundation of capitalism is based on individual rights–we will have won the battle to save America from ultimate collapse into totalitarianism.