If a businessman makes a mistake, he suffers the consequences. If a bureaucrat makes a mistake, you suffer the consequences.
It was not the tycoons of big business, it was not the working classes, it was the intellectuals who reversed the trend toward political freedom and revived the doctrines of the absolute State, of totalitarian government rule, of the government’s right to control the lives of the citizens in any manner it pleases. This time, it was not in the name of the ‘divine right of kings,’ but in the name of the divine right of the masses. The basic principle was the same: The right to enforce at the point of a gun the moral doctrines of whoever happens to seize control of the machinery of government.
The difference between [socialism and fascism] is superficial and purely formal, but it is significant psychologically: it brings the authoritarian nature of a planned economy crudely into the open. The main characteristic of socialism (and of communism) is public ownership of the means of production, and, therefore, the abolition of private property. The right to property is the right of use and disposal. Under fascism, men retain the semblance or pretense of private property, but the government holds total power over its use and disposal.
Whoever claims the right to redistribute the wealth produced by others is claiming the right to treat human beings as chattel.
Whenever destroyers appear among men, they start by destroying money, for money is men’s protection and the base of a moral existence. Destroyers seize gold and leave to its owners a counterfeit pile of paper. This kills all objective standards and delivers men into the arbitrary power of an arbitrary setter of values. Gold was an objective value, an equivalent of wealth produced. Paper is a mortgage on wealth that does not exist, backed by a gun aimed at those who are expected to produce it. Paper is a check drawn by legal looters upon an account which is not theirs: upon the virtue of the victims. Watch for the day when it bounces, marked: ‘Account Overdrawn.’
There is no difference between Communism and Socialism, except in the means of of achieving the same ultimate end: Communism proposes to enslave men by force, socialism — by vote. It is merely the difference between murder and suicide.
Independence is the recognition of the fact that yours is the responsibility of judgment and nothing can help you escape it — that no substitute can do your thinking, as no pinch-hitter can live your life.
Individual rights are the means of subordinating society to moral law.
If an uncompromising stand is to be smeared as ‘extremism,’ then that smear is directed at any devotion to values, any loyalty to principles, any profound conviction, any consistency, any steadfastness, any passion, any dedication to an unbreached, inviolate truth — any man of integrity.
The smallest minority on earth is the individual. Those who deny individual rights cannot claim to be defenders of minorities. Individual rights are not subject to a public vote; a majority has no right to vote away the rights of a minority; the political function of rights is precisely to protect minorities from oppression by majorities.