"Today, when a concerted effort is made to obliterate this point,
it cannot be repeated too often that the Constitution
is a limitation on the government, not on private individuals --
that it does not prescribe the conduct of private individuals,
only the conduct of the government --
that it is not a charter _for_ government power,
but a charter of the citizen's protection _against_ the government."
Ayn Rand
[Alisa Zinov'yevna Rosenbaum] (1905-1982) Russian-American novelist, philosopher, playwright, and screenwriter
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Reader comments about this quote:
The United States government is destroying the private individual, the sovereign citizen, in the name of "the greater good." i.e. Who cares about the Fourth Amendment? It's okay for government agents to enter your home without a warrant...if it makes the people of our country safer.
 -- Joe, Rochester, MI     
     -- Mike, Norwalk      
    It really isn't repeated enough -- the Constitution is the rule book by which the government is authorized to govern -- it does not prescribe what the citizens must do. I know of no other Constitution that does that (i.e. Canadian, British, Australian, French, (new) Iraq, etc..).
     -- E Archer, NYC     
    As always she is right on.
     -- warren, olathe     
     -- Ken, Allyn, WA      
    Strange it takes a person imported from a communist country to see our constitution's intended application when the average person on the street thinks that "from each according to his ability and to each according to his need" came from the US constitution.
     -- warren, olathe     
    She well predicted what would happen to us here in America. Her, "Atlas Shruged" is happening today and anyone can easily see it!
     -- cal, lewisville     
    Of all the things I disagree with Rand on, this is actually spot on... Great quote.
     -- Logan, Memphis, TN     
    Joe, Rochester, I share the sarcasm expressed in your post and just want to suggest one additon to it.....It's okay for government agents to enter your home without a warrant...if it makes the people of our country "feel" safer. There's a big difference between thinking you're safe and actually being safe. Keep shrugging all, keep shrugging.
     -- Anon     
    Overall, I love these. Y'all have done an absolutely terrific job selecting and providing some of the most inspirational quotes. Much Thanks, Sincerely Beau Bonin
     -- Beau Bonin, Lake Charles     
    Warren, I speak to people here that are from Eastern European countries occasionally. They fled communism to be in a "free" country, and after just a few years they are saying they had more freedom where they came from. Sad.
     -- J Carlton, Calgary     
    I think that Ann sums it up perfectly, just as she usually does. Obama, Nancy, Harry, Barney and the rest of the usual suspects should be forced to write this quote 500 times each day. And while we're at it, it wouldn't hurt for the Repubs to do the same.
     -- jim k, austin     
    The reason the Constitution was written to create a government, a more perfect Union. As a protection to future actions of that government checks and balances were placed between the three branches of that government and guarantees of private individual rights were enacted. Ayn is wrong that it is not a charter for government power. In "order to form a more perfect union" could be paraphrased as to give the colonies greater cohesion we right this constitution to give power to a central government of the states to empower a greater degree of Justice, Security, General Welfare etcetera. And usual Ayn went off of the deep end.
     -- Waffler, Smith     
    Yes J Carlton. We hosted several exchange students over the years. 2 were from former communist countries. They had a much better understanding of what freedom is all about than most people here. Our lack of freedom tends to be self-imposed where their lack of freedom came from government actions. This seemed to be a more effective way of teaching one to recognize true oppression. Until recently our oppression was mostly imaginary. The students were from Moscow, Siberia, and Serbia. They had very strong feelings about what freedom was all about and certainly had little tolerance for any infringement of it. They were well aware what real oppression was all about and did not understand how so many people here had no clue. Perhaps we are going to have to let it slip thru our fingers before we wake up and realize that it is worth fighting for. Every day we here more news on how Obama is taking another giant step towards the destruction of our system and our constitution. I guess the framers had it right. Our form of government framed by our constitution is only fit to govern a moral people. If the president of the U.S. chooses to ignore the constitution and has control of the congress we are powerless to stop it. If the Supreme Court tries to stop him he can just replace or add justices till he has them in line also. Soon we will not even be able to complain about it on this site.
     -- warren, olathe     
    Again Waffler is clueless
     -- warren, olathe     
    Ten stars - and one day the people will take it back
     -- RBESRQ     
     -- brethrenunited, Detroit      
    Right on and way to go Jim.
     -- M. Brown, Florida     
    Bravo Ayn! It takes a woman to put it simply, clearly, concisely. Truth doesn't need a lot of rhetoric.
     -- Nancy Grigsby, Franklin     
    I would recommend anyone wanting to know how our constitution evolved, to read "The 5000 Year Leap," published by the National Center for Constitutional Studies. I believe ALL elected officials should be required to learn the basic principles of the constitution.
     -- Roy, Fort Worth     
    Warren I hosted two students and was an area superviser of 20 students from Europe primarily. A great experience it was.
     -- Waffler, Smith     
    The Constitution is only as good as the hearts and minds of the citizens that live within it's power. The framers of the constitution and the citizens that around when radified were a total different lot than today. The citizens then were moral and took responsibily for their lives, and knew very well the evils of government. They knew that government is a necessary evil. The only true purpose of government was to protect the citizens from foreign invaders, crooks and thieves. The government had a monoply on force and that force had to have limits. Thus the Constitution. If the majority of people are not moral and responsible then they can interpret the Constitution as they see fit. Have a good life.
     -- Joe Moffa, Caldwell, Idaho     
  • 1
    She has it dead on and from the personal experience of living with the evils of collectivism.

    Our problem today is expressed so well by Pogo: "We have met the enemy, and he is US!"
     -- bruski, naples FL     
    " Words spoken in due season, How sweet it is ! " Jewels of wisdom. She has pretty Eyes !
    Who is the happy Warrior ?
     -- Ronw13, Yachats Or     
    Zero stars, though not because Ms. Rand was in any way wrong about the INTENT of the Constitution.

    Zero because of the way its clear language and freedom-insuring intentions have been perverted by terrible laws like the Patriot Act and Military Commissions Act, laws subsequently upheld by politically beholden, old, white male judges. Laws that have metamorphosed into a militarized police state and surveillance state nightmare.

    It's an extant, quickly metastasizing nightmare where U.S. cops killed three times as many people in March, 2015, than have died at the hands of British police since 1900.

    All of it widely propagated and granted cover under the banner lie of "keeping Americans safe."

    Zero stars most of all because of selfie-obsessed Americans unable - nay - refusing to see and face what they've lost.
     -- Mann, Kalamazoo     
    A fabulous and concise statement. Too bad the 49% who are blood-sucking parasites are the ones calling the shots (voting)! Combine this quote with another of hers: "There is no difference between communism and socialism, except in the means 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."
     -- bojela, Dover, NH     
    Social consent is the rule of fools. !! We as a Nation of Sovereigns have lost Nothing but have all to Stand For !! Kiss my Liberty And Freedoms ASS !
     -- Ronw13, Yachats Or     
    Waffler truly lives in a fantasy land of believing that he is an intellectual instead of what Waffler truly is .. someone who truly lives in the Fog of the Unknown and as big an annoyance as a continuously buzzing UN-swatted mosquito.
     -- Mary - MI     
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