-Ayn Rand, “The Objectivist Ethics” in The Virtue of Selfishness (New York: Signet Centennial Edition, 2005 re-print of 1964 edition), p.23.
- “A trader is a man who earns what he gets and does not give or take the undeserved. He does not treat men as masters or slaves, but as independent equals. He deals with men by means of a free, voluntary, unforced, uncoerced exchange—an exchange which benefits both parties by their own independent judgment. A trader does not expect to be paid for defaults, only for his achievements. He does not switch to others the burdens of his failures, and he does not mortgage his life into bondage to the failures of others.”
- “The basic political principle of the Objectivist ethics is: no man may initiate the use of physical force against others…Men have the right to use physical force only in retaliation and only against those who initiate its use…The only proper, moral purpose of a government is to protect man’s rights, which means: to protect him from physical violence—to protect his right to his own life, to his own liberty, to his own property and to the pursuit of his own happiness.”
- “Productive work is the road of man’s unlimited achievement and calls upon the highest attributes of his character: his creative ability, his ambitiousness, his self-assertiveness, his refusal to bear uncontested disasters, his dedication to the goal of re-shaping the earth in the image of his values. ‘Productive work’ does not mean the unfocused performance of the motions of some job. It means the consciously chosen pursuit of a productive career, in any line of rational endeavor, great or modest, on any level of ability. It is the not degree of a man’s ability nor the scale of his work that is ethically relevant here, but the fullest and most purposeful use of his mind.”
- “The basic social principle of the Objectivist ethics is that just as life is an end in itself, so every living human being is an end in himself, not the means to the ends or the welfare of others—and, therefore, that man must live for his own sake, neither sacrificing himself to others nor sacrificing others to himself. To live for his own sake that the achievement of his own happiness is man’s highest moral purpose.”
- “Man’s basic vice, the source of all his evils, is the act of unfocusing his mind, the suspension of his consciousness, which is not blindness, but the refusal to see, not ignorance, but the refusal to know.”