"When you see that trading is done, not by consent, but by compulsion - when you see that in order to produce, you need to obtain permission from men who produce nothing - when you see that money is flowing to those who deal, not in goods, but in favors - when you see that men get richer by graft and by pull than by work, and your laws don't protect you against them, but protect them against you - when you see corruption being rewarded and honesty becoming a self-sacrifice - you may know that your society is doomed."
by:
Ayn Rand
[Alisa Zinov'yevna Rosenbaum] (1905-1982) Russian-American novelist, philosopher, playwright, and screenwriter
Source:
Atlas Shrugged, Francisco's "Money Speech"
Rating:
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Reader comments about this quote:
 -- Pat, Oakland      
 -- Logan, Memphis, TN      
Society is certainly doomed.
 -- David L. Rosenthal, Hollywood     
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     -- Joe, Rochester, MI      
    Much of that rings true today in this country ... scary.
     -- Mike, NC     
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     -- Anonymous, Reston, VA US      
    The only problem concerning Ayn Rand's works are: they are for the most part banned in establishments of public education, under-read otherwise, and less or not - comprehended at all by today's general herd.
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
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    This is the tendency of people in power. It is another example of what the Founders were trying to protect us from. We should always keep in mind this inevitable danger whenever we propose government solutions to our problems. For every bit of proposed legislation, we should consider it in this light. This is the mobster mentality that pervades business and government (of most any country). When hypocrisy becomes the norm, it is time for a revolution.
     -- E Archer, NYC     
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    I am always stunned...at liberals...how they can miss the obvious. Ms. Rand has described government--not business. She was as pro busines and wary of government as anyone you will ever meet. Government has the use of force...she came from Soviet Russia..and knew what governent was...businesss does not legislate. Government produces nothing.
     -- MK, Houston     
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    MK, When businesses (run by liberals or conservatives) use government to secure monopolies as described by Rand, the two become intertwined in corruption. Every government program results in government contracts to private industry. Rand spoke of men getting richer by graft and pull -- she was not speaking merely of government employees but of those that profit from government. Her quote above applies not just to government but to all forms of monopolies whether corporate, religious or secular.
     -- E Archer, NYC     
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     -- Anonymous      
    But your soul is not.
     -- warren, olathe     
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    WOW, greater examples today than when I wrote my original comment. Yep, history does repeat itself.
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
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     -- Ron, Plano, TX      
    One of my all-time favorite books!!!
     -- Lois Finlay, Clarkesville, GA     
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    Ayn Rand every day in the current WW economic situation would be good guidance.
     -- Carol, Bonita Springs     
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    A perfect description of our Congress, and yes, Mike, it is scary.
     -- jim k, austin     
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    Ayn Rand and Alan Greenspan were very close for many years. For whatever reason, he lost his way and destroyed the place. Atlas 'calls it quits' in 2009.
     -- Dan B, Rochester, NY     
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    Makes me want to read it again.
     -- warren, olathe     
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    Well done Archer and I'm a Liberal. MK should read his history books, especially on our founding fathers. I give this five but I disagree with some of her views. Most here will like Ayn as she was a libertarian.
     -- RBESRQ     
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    I read ATLAS SHRUGGED in the summer of 2006, and since then I've been looking at the front page news in horror. BTW, I thought for sure that Waffler would be posting rants against this quote.
     -- Chris, Rougemont, NC     
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    With the current administration occupying our White House, I fear that all we have to fear.... is THEM. 1 month in office and look what has become of us. Elections have consequences.
     -- Jason Elkin, Bozeman, MT     
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    I think it is a pretty fair bet that had McCain won the presidency, a bail-out/stimulus/pork bill of equal measure would have been introduced in Congress, too (wasn't it started during W's term?). With a Republican Congress, the 'stimulus' would just have been different corporate beneficiaries. What worries me is the trend towards nationalization -- read FASCISM -- that the Democrats are goose-stepping us towards. The average American knows nothing about the difference between nationalism & federalism, monopolies & free trade, fiat paper & hard currencies, or dependence & liberty. The powers-that-be have dumbed us down for nearly 100 years until the average American knows nothing about his/her own power and responsibilities in the free republic of America. I fear that if a revolution comes, the wrong people will end up in power because we want 'change' but we don't know what change is good for us. Obama promised transparency -- he pledged to not sign bills that hadn't been posted online for the public to read for at least five days BEFORE the final vote was cast. Speaker Nancy Pelosi, just a week ago, promised that the final version of the scam (stimulus) bill would be posted online for at least 48 hours before the vote. Instead, the 1,073 page scam bill, with an extra 421 page Explanatory Statement, was delivered, still unfinished, at midnight Thursday. The House passed the bill 14 hours and 24 minutes later. The Senate did likewise 3 hours and 5 minutes after the House. 'Change' you can believe in? Yeah, right... They knew damn well that if the public had a chance to read the bill (probably no Congressman or Senator or even the President has read the entire bill), the bill never would have passed. These guys are drunk with power.
     -- E Archer, NYC     
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    The dems have been marching towards fascism for a long time. We were very close to a fascist regime during the FDR years. It was very close to dictatorship. Glad to see someone besides me referring to the dems as fascists.
     -- warren, olathe     
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    The USA is obviously doomed
     -- eugene, stoner     
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    Ayn Rand understood the evil of statism. Pick your variety it is all the same. This country is on a downhill course and has been since public education. When your children are brainwashed with socialistic garbage you will get dumbed down citizens who vote for the likes of Obama. Garbage in garbage out. You cannot have freedom and liberty without individual responsibility, morals and a capitalistic system. The only moral system is capitalism. The Republicans are a bigger part of the current problem. The Democrats we know are socialists. The Republicans we don't know what they are. What do they stand for? They are always on a slipperly slope with democrat issues. They think they can compromise their principles just a little and still have the moral high ground. How can you be bi-partisan when you are talking about socialism and capitalism. They can not coexist. They are opposites. Everyone should read Atlas Shrugged and then read Capitalism The Unknown Ideal. Good reading and have a good life.
     -- Joe Moffa, Caldwell,Idaho     
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     -- Anonymous      
    I certainly agree with the quotation, but I have a bit more of an optimistic view of our current situation. Luckily for us, even though a lot of the people in power are corrupt and power hungry, they are also incompetent. Every time I look, not at the news reports, but simply around me, I see people living their lives and doing the best they can. Life goes on whether or not Obama or whoever is in office. I think that the people in power are deceiving themselves by thinking that they are all powerful: they depend on the producers, not the other way around.
     -- Anonymous     
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     -- Margot, Glen Ellyn Illinois      
    The best definition of Brazil.
     -- Anonymous, Brasil     
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     -- Lucy, Lowell      
    If you were to read Atlas Shrugged and then immediately read Orwell's 1984...You would see the country in a very different light than you were taught at school. The corrupt and decaying nature of our nation would be painfully obvious to even the simplest of people.
     -- J Carlton, Calgary     
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    I reread Ayn Rand's 'Atlas Shrugged' this past year. Her book as a true today as it was yesterday and will be tomorrow. The unlawful and faceless federal bureaucracies (Politburos) are regulating and imposing fee's and fines to the extent of causing free enterprise and productivity to become impossible to exist.
     -- Mary - MI     
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    Ayn gave a perfect description of the government in Washington which started with Lincoln and got worse with each administration culminating with the absolute worse, the Obama bunch.
     -- jim k, Austin, Tx     
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    The quote is so true it is scary but the general response scares me. Talk will not change anything. When did Congress and the senate start making all this money? Did Abe get an outrageous pay check for being the president? Did Mary get compensated for his death and was she supported by our government for the rest of her life? did she have secret service men waiting on her until she passed? What I am getting at we sport so many people that were in some form of office for the rest of their lives that it is just ridiculous. I think that would be a good place to start trimming the fat, then there is the welfare professionals, the ones driving new cars, gold teeth, tats, spending their food stamp money on candy and cold sodas because they aren't paying for them. What happened to the "one child is a mistake, the second an accident, the third a career" It would be easy to change that system if this country wasn't so full of panty waists, drug test every one of them, make them work pubic service so many hours a week for every welfare dollar they get, we have enough foreclosed buildings to set up day care centers where they could leave there little welfare checks at while they worked picking up trash, sorting recycle material, cleaning libraries, hospitals, police stations. You would be amazed at how fast those same people would be out applying for a real paying jobs. The Fat cats in the government should never been allowed to send our jobs overseas, that was the beginning of the end. I get angry every time the news reports a drop in unemployment, that just means a bunch of people lost there benefits and are now unaccounted for. I would like to know how much our founding Fathers were paid for their contribution to the writing and signing of the Declaration, or as Senators or governors how much were they paid? did they get retirement benefits for life? When did that all start? I bet I can tell you where it should END! These same rich retired politicians get paid for public speaking, write books, have jobs, they don't need the tax payers to support them so why do we? Someone sent that around in an e-mail and the figures were mind boggling--- but when the talks get started it's lets take it from the elderly, or the troops--- don't touch our life style. Some of us working stiffs don't have a life style unless you call surviving a life style, I get to eat off the dollar menu at McD's now and then if I'm lucky. I say cut EVERYONE in Washington's pay by twice the minimum wage earners yearly salary, they probably wouldn't miss it. Better yet, give them twice the minimum wage for sitting on there tush doing nothing, with the same benefits we get for a part time job (none) and see how they like it! As for sitting around crying about Obama, he is nothing but a figure head, he does what he is told and says what he is told, I think he was someone's joke to see just how stupid the American public is. There was no one to vote for last election and there probably wont be this election, there is a movement to make the USA a third world country and it's happening, I hope some one comes up with a cure before we all pay the ultimate price!
     -- alive by the grace of God, Boston by birth     
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    Joe Moffa, (-; I've heard it takes a Republican to implement a failed Democratic policy ;-) I choose a third unrelated option !
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
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    We're there!
     -- Tom, Tarzana     
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    Stop Obamunism!
     -- Sam Adams, Everywhere     
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     -- Roland, Bonner's Ferry      
    Thailand, are you reading this?
    Definitely not.
     -- Anonymous, Phuket     
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