"The essential characteristic of socialism
is the denial of individual property rights..."
by:
Ayn Rand
[Alisa Zinov'yevna Rosenbaum] (1905-1982) Russian-American novelist, philosopher, playwright, and screenwriter
Source:
_The Virtue of Selfishness_ 1964
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Reader comments about this quote:
Yes, and the absolute manifestation of societal democracy.
 -- Logan, Memphis, TN     
  •  
    I don't know that "denial of individual property rights" is 'The' essential characteristic but certainly one of. For example, yesterday's quote by Hitler "Society's needs come before the individual's needs." is also an essential characteristic of socialism (though both are much, one in the same).
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
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    Ayn Rands "Atlas Shrugged" was fantastic. Very true quote.
     -- Dan     
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    Ayn is right on the money.
     -- jim k, austin     
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    Two words: Eminent Domain
     -- J Carlton, Calgary     
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     -- Ron, Raleigh, NC      
    Two ways to look at this one. First it can be seen as shallow and simplistic and taken by many bombastically or as a rallying cry to arms against socialism, secondly it could be said to be absolutely true and thank God therefore for socialism. Socialism as practiced in most places requires the giving up of some property rights. Without this essential characteristic we would have no beaches to go to, no roads to drive on, no national or state forests and no national parks. In speaking of socialism and democracy one writer said this; "Visitors to Copenhagen and Stockholm are impressed not only by their tidiness but also by the absence of slums and other signs of poverty. and the co-operatives of Denmark and Sweden have received much praise as the "middle way" between welfare socialism and uncontrolled economic individualism." Ms Rand as an immigrant from communism was understandably impressed by the rights of the individual to own property in America especially the sky scrapers that she loved so much. The fact that she was so awestruck probably blinded her to a more circumspet understanding of the needs for some socialism or some "middle way". Have some pity on the poor girl. If we had only private property rights and no common areas (like village greens, parks etc) we would have to sit in or on our own property and have no place to otherwise go. Scary thought isn't it?
     -- Waffler, Smith, Arkansas     
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    Very few people have the slightest knowldge of the meaning of socialism. Over and over I read statements calling socialism what is really fascism. You people who think you know strictly from what many fanatics describe need to go to your encyclopedias and LEARN what the two systems mean. Ayn Rand is a fantastic writer and influence but she is more fascist than socialist. If the world were as she would like to see it, the disparity of earnings and worth would be hundreds of times worse than it is. Many of us would be working 16 hours a day, seven days and week and have an average life of 30 or so years. What we need more of in this country is a little compassion and humanity.
     -- Dick, Fort Worth     
  •  
    Ayn is right, but socialism does have good virtues. The problem is that neither capitalism nor Socialism have lived upto their individual billing. What we need to do is bridge the gap between the two and find a fair compromise. One were individuals and business can coexist with out the exploitation of the working class. With capitalism you exploit the workers and seperate them among differnent strata, socialism does this also but not as bad, yet you do not have the individual freedoms that you have in a capitalistic society,..at least prior to 9/11.
     -- Karl Marx, Franklin , Pa.     
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    This is true, and for this reason, all the socialists, and communists, who parade about democracy, are filthy lairs, opportunists and cunning fox under lion's skin. Democratic Republic, People's Republic, and blah blah blah!!! Just a high flying jargon of dictators.
     -- RKA, Wasilla     
  •  
    "Thou shalt not steal." I think I read that somewhere. What happens when we ignore that? We legalize theft in the name of democracy. If we can steal the wealth of our neighbors, why work so hard to earn it ourselves? This whole idea of a 'free lunch' is foreign to the intent of the founders who freed us from being the subjects of a Crown. If you love a crown so much, go to Sweden, England, Canada -- they are great countries (if you don't mind paying for it via taxes rather than paying for services directly). What a boon it is to have a beneficent king -- the problem is sometimes an asshole captures the throne. I prefer the risks in Liberty to the safety of a benefactor -- there are always strings attached. Human beings can be domesticated just like any other mammal. But it doesn't suit me at all. I can barely look at an animal in a zoo, a horse being ridden, or a bull being loaded for the slaughterhouse -- reminds me too much of what we have become (for the greater good, of course).
     -- E Archer, NYC     
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    To a socialist all rights are granted by the government to the citizen rather than each individual being endowed with their rights, enumerated in a constitution or not, by a Creator or Nature's God, or some other idea that is greater than the government of the day. When government grants you a right, government can take it away at a whim, and does so at its convenience. Property is not the only right that is at risk under socialism; all are.
     -- Ken, Allyn, WA     
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    So?
     -- Jack, Green, OH     
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     -- RobertSRQ      
    Under socialism you have no rights, only privileges. You have no income, only an allowance.
     -- Ken, Allyn, WA     
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    "So?" Jack? Let's say for some wild reason you had a disagreement with your Utopian socialist government and you decided to publicly criticize it. I suppose you wouldn't mind if a government agent showed up at your door and told you to keep quiet, your disturbing the peace. The People's representatives have decided you don't need freedom of speech anymore. It's too disturbing and troublesome. I would guess that most of us here live in pretty comfortable conditions with extra space. What if a government agent showed up at your door with ten homeless people and told you to make room for them. They're living here now. You wouldn't mind would you. The People have decided, you don't have a right to your property anymore and since everyone has a "right" to a roof over there head, your's will do just fine. A right to a jury of your peers? It's much to troublesome and costly to the People. Sorry, that right is gone too. The People have spoken. Why should rights be beyond the touch of human hands? If you want to keep your rights, you'd better hope they are.
     -- Ken, Allyn, WA     
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    I don't know what you're driving at Ken. The fact is Ayn Rand had it exactly right, so what else is new? Her statement was exclusively about property rights, however, and I merely rated her quote. Any other rights, or prohibition thereof, can only be inferred All those rights you brought up are purely your own. Why not try confining your comments to the quote?
     -- Jack, Green, OH     
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    There are only two possible economic systems; barter and slavery. God commanded a barter ystem with: "Thou shalt not steal." The Constitution mandates a barter system of gold and silver coins with the dollar "fixed" as a measure of silver by the Coinage Act of 1792, never repealed or rescinded. The sole function of legal tender is to take labor and property without payment NO BRANCH OF GOVERGNMENT SPENDS MONEY OR PAYS FOR ANYTHING IN SPITE OF THE AUTHORIZATIONS TO SPEND BILLIONS. If congress authorized us to grow wings, could we fly?
     -- Dave Wilbur, St. Louis. MO     
  •  
    An economic system, such as capitalism or socialism, is not a monetary system, Dave, and a barter system of gold or silver is not a barter system at all, so what are you trying to say? A barter system is the direct exchange of goods and services... no medium of exchange, such as gold, silver, coins or any recognized currency, involved.
     -- Jack, Green, OH     
  •  
    You apparently work for government. I spoke of 2 possible ECONOMIC systems and you changed the subject to monetary systems. To barter is to exchange production for production and you want us to believe that gold and silver are not production? To exchange gold for corn is not a direct exchange of goods and services, it is a direct exchange goods for goods and that is bartering. Economics is the art of convincing people that paper is money and enslaving them with it. An economist like you is one skilled at calming the sheep while they are being shorn.
     -- Dave Wilbur, St. Louis. MO     
  •  
    Sorry, Dave. Our servers check for previous posts for Anonymous bloggers and replace their name. This helps prevent multiple posts from the same person using different aliases. Since you often include links to your web site in your posts, your anonymity seems unnecessary. You make good arguments, so I would ask that you use your name so that people can address your comments. Thanks.
     -- Editor, Liberty Quotes     
  •  
    You are not talking about economic systems, Dave, let alone one of the "only two possible economic systems", when you talk about barter, and using gold or silver as exchange media.. I didn't mix monetary and economic systems -- you did. Slavery is an economic system, as it identifies methods of production, but not barter. Barter is the direct exchange of goods and services without any exchange media. The whole matter is a little far afield, however, in a discussion of Ayn Rand's original quote about the denial of individual property rights under socialism.
     -- Jack, Green, OH     
  •  
    Dick, for all practical purposes socialism and fascism are the same.
     -- warren, olathe     
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    The quote would be even better with the word "property" removed.
     -- warren, olathe     
  •  
    I would go one step back: A denial of individualism. And it's more like a blank stare of non-recognition than a denial.
     -- Ancaps, Ancapolis     
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