What are Ayn Rand's most overlooked works

Understand the US and Israel? Read the «philosopher» Ayn Rand!

She is one of the most influential political authors of the 20th century in the USA: Ayn Rand. Your writings have reached a total circulation of 25 million. All of today's leading politicians were and are under their influence. Her credo: Those who act ethically only represent their own interests. Doing something for others is lying, amoral and unethical. In their eyes, the USA is the noblest country in human history because it has made self-interest the only correct moral principle.

Ayn Rand literally: “Look at the results of a society built on the principle of individualism. This, our country (the USA. Red.). The noblest country in human history. The country of the greatest achievement, the greatest prosperity, the greatest freedom. The land that is not founded on selfless service, sacrifice, renunciation, or any prescription of altruism. It was founded on the human right to pursue happiness. His own happiness. Not someone else's luck. A private, personal, selfish motive. Look at the results. "

And elsewhere, Ayn Rand literally: “For the glory of mankind there was for the first and only time in history a land of money - and I cannot imagine a higher, more venerable award for America, because it means: a land of reason , justice, freedom, production and performance. [] If I were to name the proudest quality of Americans, because it includes everyone else, I would choose the fact that they were the people who used the term 'money do›Has shaped. In no other language or nation were these words ever used before; people had always viewed wealth as a static quantity - something that was conquered, begged, inherited, shared, plundered, or obtained as a favor. Americans were the first to understand that wealth must be created. The words' money do›Contain the core of human morality.»

The USA, the longed-for country!

“Ayn Rand's parents were Russian Jews; her father was from Brest-Litovsk, her mother from St. Petersburg. When she was nine years old, she decided to become a writer. In 1917 she witnessed both the February and October revolutions. Her family's possessions (her father was a pharmacist) were expropriated. As a result, the family became impoverished and soon after moved to Ukraine and a short time later to Crimea, where the sixteen-year-old graduated from school in 1921. In the same year the family went back to Petrograd, where Rand studied philosophy and history at the Petrograd State University. In 1924, after successfully completing her studies, she went to the State Institute for Film Arts to learn screenwriting. Towards the end of 1925, she received an exit visa for a limited visit to her relatives in the United States. On January 17, 1926, she left the city of her birth and never returned. " These brief biographical information, quoted from Wikipedia, may suffice to see where the origin of their glorification of egoism could lie.

Ayn Rand saw herself as a philosopher, not just a writer. However, she was not taken seriously by the philosophical faculties at the universities, not recognized as a 'philosopher', so there was no in-depth academic examination of her work. Unfortunately, it has to be said today, because their influence on thinking in the USA was and still is extraordinarily strong. Her message was very well received in the USA; the egoism she glorified legitimized the mentality of the immigrants who had taken what they wanted from the new country. In Europe, however, it remained largely unknown. She has hardly a good word for Europe in her writings. For them Europe was - Europe, not just the then communist Russia! - a lost region because too much succumbed to altruism and collectivism.

Ayn Rand's thinking is what is now called "libertarian". An example: If a city builds a public park on the basis of a democratic vote, then it is an act of expropriation to those who voted against but have to pay taxes in this city. According to Ayn ​​Rand's libertarian view, the state and the community have absolutely no right to spend money for the good of the community.

Ayn Rand's influence today is stronger than that of Marx

On November 14, 2017, the Israeli newspaper Haaretz wrote: “The (Israeli) Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked, without a doubt the greatest reformer in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's government, told the New York Times in 2015 that her propensity to change the face of society was based in part on the theses of the author Ayn Rand. 'It is a fact that you sometimes think differently from others', she told the newspaper, 'and yet you have to insist on your opinion, even if you are attacked in the process'. Shaked isn't the only person who has been influenced by Rand. The Russian-American author's extremely libertarian philosophy currently has a significantly greater impact on the world than Marx's discredited theory. Rand's books are the bottom line of reading Donald Trump and several members of his cabinet and have also made a deep impression on Netanyahu. "

Ayn Rand needs to be read!

Reading Ayn Rand is no fun. On the contrary. It is astonishing, if not to say frightening, to read what a human being, a woman, is able to write - and thus to have a huge success: Ethical is someone who only represents his own interests. Anyone who represents the interests of others is acting unethically. Only egoism creates freedom and justice. The United States is the noblest country in human history because it has made self-interest the only correct moral principle. Etc etc.

Yet Ayn Rand must be noted. As a warning. Your message has an impact, is present, is one of the roots of US thinking and feeling: Only the egoist is honest, only self-interest counts, only the self-made man who, with whatever methods, has become a billionaire is a true hero. - We must, especially in Europe, take note of what can still await us. The prevailing neoliberalism is only the harbinger. And Donald Trump's previous financial decisions in favor of the rich and super-rich confirm the trend.

Ayn Rand has written technical and non-fiction books for the educated, interested upper class. And a novel - «The Strike» - for the masses. 25 million Americans bought at least one of their books in the 1960s, 1970s and 80s - and internalized their message through reading it themselves. Not least the US politicians who are at the levers of power in the US today. And also the politicians who are in charge in Israel today - like Netanyahu, who spent his student years in the United States.

Original statements by Ayn Rand

"As long as you don't realize that money is the root of all good, you beg for your own destruction."

“I'm done with the monster 'we', the word of slavery, looters, misery, falsehood and shame. And now I see the face of God, and I lift this God above the earth, this God whom people have been looking for since they existed, this God who gives them joy and peace and pride. This God, this one word: ME. "

“I came here to say that the integrity of a person's creative work is more important than any kind of charity. Those who do not understand this are the ones who destroy the world. "

«A pure capitalist system has never existed before, not even in America; various degrees of government control have undermined and distorted it from the start. Capitalism is not the system of the past. It is the system of the future - if humanity is to have a future. "

"If civilization is to survive, people must reject altruistic morality."

“To illustrate this with the altruists' favorite example - rescuing a drowning person: if the person to be rescued is a stranger, his rescue is only morally correct if the risk to his own life is minimal; if the risk is great it would be immoral to try. Only lack of self-esteem could lead one not to value his own life more than that of any stranger. "

“Since happiness is the moral purpose of life, the man who fails to achieve it is morally guilty for failure to fight for it. »

«Only individuals have the right to decide whether and when they want to help others; society - as an organized political system - has absolutely no rights on this issue. "

«Progress can only come from the surplus, i.e. from the work of those whose ability produces more than their personal consumption requires, who are intellectually and financially capable of setting out to strive for something new. Capitalism is the only system in which such people can work and in which progress is not accompanied by expropriation, but by a constant increase in general prosperity, consumption and enjoyment of life. "

«Altruism is incompatible with freedom, with capitalism and with individual rights. You cannot combine the pursuit of happiness with the moral status of a sacrificial animal. "

«The right to life means that man has the right to maintain his life through his own work (at every economic level, as far as his abilities take him); it does not mean that others have to provide him with the essentials of life. "

"There is no such thing as a 'right to a job' - there is only the right to free trade, i.e. the right to take a job if you are hired."

"Only those who represent laissez-faire capitalism represent human rights."

"Through capitalism, humanity took its first steps towards freedom and a rational way of life."

“America's greatness lies in the fact that its real monuments Not are public. The New York skyline is a monument of such size that the pyramids or palaces can never reach or surpass it. Yet America's skyscrapers were not built by public funds or for public use: they were built by the energy, initiative, and wealth of private individuals for personal gain. And instead of impoverishing the people, these skyscrapers, as they grew taller and taller themselves, raised the standard of living - including those of the slum dwellers, who live luxurious lives compared to the lives of an Egyptian slave or a modern Soviet worker. "

All of these quotes are from the books listed below.

Almost unknown in the German-speaking world - but accessible

Anyone who wants to get to know Ayn Rand and her "philosophy" has - in addition to her original texts in English - the following options in German:

  • Ayn Rand: The virtue of selfishness. A new conception of self-interest. TvR Medienverlag Jena, 2nd edition 2017. ISBN 978-3-940431-55-4. 190 pages.
  • Ayn Rand: For the new intellectual. A pamphlet against the pseudo-intellectual seducers in the media and universities. Verlag mises.at, 2016. ISBN 978-3902639363. 251 pages.
  • Ayn Rand: The strike. Novel. ISBN 978-3-00-037094-6. 1260 pages.

    Additional information

    Subject-related interests of the author

    To the author. There are no conflicts of interest.