The foundation of the USA


Old NFO has published an essay by Ayn Rand dating back to 1944.  It’s prescient in the way it outlines the dilemma in which we find ourselves today.  Here’s an excerpt.

Individualism holds that man is an independent entity with an inalienable right to the pursuit of his own happiness in a society where men deal with one another as equals.

The American system is founded on individualism. If it is to survive, we must understand the principles of individualism and hold them as our standard in any public question, in every issue we face. We must have a positive credo, a clear consistent faith.

We must learn to reject as total evil the conception that the common good is served by the abolition of individual rights. General happiness cannot be created out of general suffering and self-immolation. The only happy society is one of happy individuals. One cannot have a healthy forest made up of rotten trees.

The power of society must always be limited by the basic, inalienable rights of the individual.

The right of liberty means man’s right to individual action, individual choice, individual initiative and individual property. Without the right to private property no independent action is possible.

The right to the pursuit of happiness means man’s right to live for himself, to choose what constitutes his own, private, personal happiness and to work for its achievement. Each individual is the sole and final judge in this choice. A man’s happiness cannot be prescribed to him by another man or by any number of other men.

These rights are the unconditional, personal, private, individual possession of every man, granted to him by the fact of his birth and requiring no other sanction. Such was the conception of the founders of our country, who placed individual rights above any and all collective claims.

There’s more at the link.

Old NFO concludes:  “Time to sit back and think about those words, especially as the left is doing its best to rile up the ‘masses’.”  I couldn’t agree more!  Click over to his place to read the whole thing.  It’s well worth your time.



  1. Given all of the political crap over the past 5-7 years or so, I find myself getting back into Ayn Rand more and more these days.

  2. My number one book of all time. I read it in one day and got up the next morning and read it again. All told I've read it 12/13 time and I always find something new.

  3. Never read her books. She was a struggle. I did not read the bible either. I did take not of the bible of Thomas Jefferson. He read that again and again in almaic, greek, latin and english and then he pasted all the parts of the bible that each had in common. It was fascinating to see a book with foldouts with comparative notes from the almaic, greek, latin and english versions. I visited his house.
    Those guys didn't have the tv, radio or wives and so in their idle time before dark used to create amazing things..
    Electricity ruined all that. 🙂

  4. I can agree with every word in that excerpt, and yet …

    Individualism, if not tempered by family and community ties, leads to atomization and ultimately, societal collapse. The glue that kept these ties in place used to be religion. In an increasingly irreligious society, there is ample space for ideologies such as socialism, the climate church, critical race theory and other poisonous creeds to step in.

    And let's face it, even the free market — the best economic system, better than every kind of centrally planned system — has had its excesses. We blame women for feminism. That is too simplistic. Another major factor has been the push for women to enter the workplace, so as to stimulate demand (more income earners = more consumers). We men bear our share of responsibility for that.

  5. I'm with froginblender. Libertarianism and Objectivism share one huge defect – there are no families. They're 'philosophies' for the young unmarried man.

  6. FrogInBlender is right.

    It's bad enough to be lectured and brainwashed about your Second Founding by a bunch of Alien Shape-shifting Straussians. How much worse to have the Founding Founding retconned by an even more egregiously unpleasant Lizard Person?

  7. The free market, as many have mentioned, is the best system yet discovered for transacting business. Its greatest virtue is also its worst vice: it is inherently amoral (it has no inherent moral component).

    Libertarianism strikes me as an attempt to use the definition of the free market (freedom from outside coercion) to create a moral framework. The attempt is made because most of the libertarian founders (including Ayn Rand) had no interest or belief in organized religion.

    I agree that libertarianism is a very appealing concept, especially in the current age of overweening government.

    It is true that less government control is usually better. Libertarianism attempts to take this to its ultimate conclusion. Interestingly, Catholic teaching has a related concept of subsidiarity. Libertarianism argues that government regulation is evil. Subsidiarity asserts that social issues should be addressed by the most basic unit of society capable of addressing the problem. This obviously STARTS with the individual, but then proceeds to the family, then the local community and local government, with the higher levels of government addressing only those issues the lower levels cannot.

    As this example hints, libertarianism gets many things almost right. Unfortunately, the devil is in the details. As a result, I disagree very strongly with most libertarian philosophy.

  8. Ayn Rand was demonstrably an idiot: change my mind.

    Because what happens, under her recockulous theorems, when in "the sole and final judgement" of one individual, his pursuit of happiness includes grooming your 5 year old child for his sexual fulfillment, because his "happiness cannot be prescribed to him by another man or any number of other men"?

    Randian Idiot spouting nonsense. Rope. Lightpole.
    Some assembly required.

    People read this bit now through their own lifelong filter of what the Founders conceived of as liberty, based on Enlightenment sensibilities and English common law (which liberty being denied them was the exact cause of the American Revolution), but Rand wasn't saying that, and did not.

    She was preaching anarchy under the guise of liberty, a literal pack of wolves in sheeps' clothing, and which template has produced functional civilization never, and at no time, never could in 100,000 years of trying.

    Hard pass.

  9. I did read 'Atlas Shrugged.' Miss Rand has flashes of genius, BUT wordy does not begin to describer her.

    Some people use a sentence when a word would do. Others use a paragraph. Miss Rand uses a chapter. What a drag reading.

    There is a tendency I noticed in a Psychology course that most of the soft sciences use: This theory, whatever it is, describes the totality. Talk to a behaviorist and all of the human experience is described by ringing bells. Well, no. Obviously.

    Jerry Pournelle described unrestrained capitalism ending up with human flesh being sold in the market. Very few really want that. What Ayn Rand described wasn't what we should do. Bureaucrats are not all evil, even if many seem so, and not all libertarians are hedonists. All things in moderation, including moderation.

  10. This obviously STARTS with the individual, but then proceeds to the family, then the local community and local government, with the higher levels of government addressing only those issues the lower levels cannot.

    And we see this in the Bible when Moses led the Israelite's out of Egypt on their 40 year wandering in the wilderness.Moses would judge and determine many issues within the group and tribes it became over powering over time and if memory serves me he asked God for help.Your answer was God's answer the Captains of the tribes started taking on more responsibility it went top down for establishment.

  11. IIRC, they ended up spending so much time in the desert to eliminate one or two generations, essentially those who lived in Egypt, to clean up the culture that had grown while they were there.

    Founder Franklin or Jefferson stated that what government they were creating was only for a moral people. I think that is key.

    I keep hearing people on the conservative side stating that the founders were not Christians. I assume they think this because, of course, they would have pushed for a .gov recognized Church if they really were religious. If they think this, they were not paying attention. The founders were well aware of the historical hazards of a state religion. They were clear that would not be acceptable. They were also well aware that "morals" that were included in the various other religions throughout history were very flexible in application and consideration. That was not really the case for Christianity, in comparison. Where Christianity failed was when it essentially became the government. That brings out the failures of humans almost instantly, it seems. They did not want a direct connection between the two groups.

  12. @froginblender, et al

    Without freedom and individualism, love isn't likely, perhaps not even possible.

    It's the natural condition and bent for men to create families, and individualism is the path to that.

    Individualism is the pre-condition, not the end state.


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