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2. Reality, reason, self-interest, capitalism


My philosophy, Objectivism, holds that:

Reality exists as an objective absolute—facts are facts, independent of man’s feelings, wishes, hopes or fears.

Reason (the faculty which identifies and integrates the material provided by man’s senses) is man’s only means of perceiving reality, his only source of knowledge, his only guide to action, and his basic means of survival.

Man—every man—is an end in himself, not the means to the ends of others. He must exist for his own sake, neither sacrificing himself to others nor sacrificing others to himself. The pursuit of his own rational self-interest and of his own happiness is the highest moral purpose of his life.

The ideal political-economic system is laissez-faire capitalism. It is a system where men deal with one another, not as victims and executioners, nor as masters and slaves, but as traders, by free, voluntary exchange to mutual benefit. It is a system where no man may obtain any values from others by resorting to physical force, and no man may initiate the use of physical force against others. The government acts only as a policeman that protects man’s rights; it uses physical force only in retaliation and only against those who initiate its use, such as criminals or foreign invaders. In a system of full capitalism, there should be (but, historically, has not yet been) a complete separation of state and economics, in the same way and for the same reasons as the separation of state and church.

Capitalism was the system originated in the United States. Its success, its progress, its achievements are unprecedented in human history. America’s political philosophy was based on man’s right to his own life, to his own liberty, to the pursuit of his own happiness, which means: on man’s right to exist for his own sake. That was America’s implicit moral code, but it had not been formulated explicitly. This was the flaw in her intellectual armor, which is now destroying her.

America and capitalism are perishing for lack of a moral base.

The destroyer is the morality of altruism.

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