"...and we must consider," Austen Heller was saying unemotionally, "that
since--unfortunately--we are forced to live together, the most important thing
for us to remember is that the only way in which we can have any law at all is
to have as little of it as possible. I see no ethical standard to which to
measure the whole unethical conception of a State, except in the amount of time,
of thought, of money, of effort and of obedience, which a society extorts from
its every member. Its value and its civilization are in inverse ratio to that
extortion. There is no conceivable law by which a man can be forced to work on
any terms except those he chooses to set. There is no conceivable law to prevent
him from setting them--just as there is none to force his employer to accept
them. The freedom to agree or disagree is the foundation of our kind of
society--and the freedom to strike is a part of it. I am mentioning this as a
reminder to a certain Petronius from Hell’s Kitchen, an exquisite bastard who
has been rather noisy lately about telling us that this strike represents a
destruction of law and order."
Ayn Rand
[Alisa Zinov'yevna Rosenbaum] (1905-1982) Russian-American novelist, philosopher, playwright, and screenwriter
The Fountainhead, as Austen Heller
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Reader comments about this quote:
YES ! self explanatory and easily understood.
 -- Mike, Norwalk     
    Agreed ! No nonsense statement!
     -- Elaine, Atlanta     
    She was among the best there could ever be.
     -- cal, lewisville, tx     
     -- jim k, Aystin,tx      
    mindless babblings of and for the self-centered who are out for themselves and no one else... the very first premise "that we are forced to live together" is pure BS, if you so dislike society, live outside and separate from it, don't collect its tender (money), and do not expect anything in return from it... or put succinctly: go away, you bother us
     -- Anonymous, Reston, VA, US     
    This quote from a woman who understood the evils of "The State". Reston, don't be late for the party meeting tonight. Those socialists get cranky when you come in late.
     -- jim k, Austin,Tx     
     -- Jim K., Phoenix, AZ      
    Reston has got it right. I fianlly agree with Ayn about something, "the right to strike". The rest as Reston said is mindless. What is ethics if not some commonality concernig the way to do things together, thus the so called "state" or "society". What civilization would exist if each and every individual had a different ethics and no commonality. Ayn Rand was a blowhard, low life writer.
     -- Waffler, Smith     
    Well said, Reston. Rand was a nut-case with a skill at writing fiction and pro-fascist propaganda masquerading as "Americanism" or "conservatism" or "patritoism," when her whole philosophy of man is based on a hate-filled exclusiveness that would shock and affront the liberal thinking men who founded this country.
     -- dick, fort worth     
    Well Dick, if she was so fictional then can you explain why so many events we see today were in her books "The Fountainhead" and "Atlas Shrugged!" It seems she saw coming then what you are unable to see today.
     -- cal, lewisville, tx     
    Great book. The statists above have continually shown their true colors -- the exploitation of the workers' rights to contract without interference from busy-bodies who narcissitically believe their opinons about what others should be forced to make/pay for the 'privilege' of living in 'their' society. The fatal flaw with their ideology is that someone somewhere is to be paid by the rest of us to determine how to fix the game. The right to strike stems from the right to contract. Rand grew up in Communist Russia -- she has seen the results of Reston's and dick's utopian dreams first hand. You guys have no right to tell the rest of us how to lead our lives, how much we are 'allowed' to produce and how much we can profit from our labors. The pinkos ever distrust those that produce for them but never consider their own human weaknesses among those who they would have lord over us. Such blind hypocrisy is the very definition of ignorance. Parasites.
     -- E Archer, NYC     
    The liberal Democrat's comments here are almost as twisted as their Tennessee co-heart. The liberal liar(s) uses false flag techniques to claim their opponent is doing exactly the same thing as they themselves are doing. By way of example; a centrist, omnipotent, and self proclaimed organic hegemony (government) compels slave labor compliance to pay an increase into a specific one sixth of the entire nation's economy through state owned entities (corporatism or fascism) by way of making life illegal without state mandated insurance. Then that same fascist calls those that would rather live by truth, non-fascist induced life styles, personal responsibility, law, justice, their Creator endowed unalienable rights, the Constitution, liberty and freedom of choice, fascists and liars. hmmm, it is a very strange world we live in when it is the liberal government, media, and herd mentality (borg) norm to enlarge the vitriol by following Joseph Goebbels' advocacy: "If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it." Goebbels finished that same quote with: "The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State." ". . . the most important thing for us to remember is that the only way in which we can have any law at all is to have as little of it as possible."
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
    The writer is absolutely right, in my opinion. And her words convey her inner beauty, as they show that she believes not only in liberty, but also in the natural human pursue of ways to settle down their differences and/or of their best interest; things that have have this country great!
     -- Elizabeth, Astoria, NY     
    Reston...Are the socialist that advocate for the State to pass laws that give them the fruits of someone elses labor, anything other than the self-centered who are out for themselves and no one else? And we are all forced to live together. Each of us need the benefits of society but we can never create a civilization in which everyone agrees on everything; parties and factions will always exist and we have no choice but to live with it.
     -- Publius     
    Waffler...Do not mistaken "society" and the "state" as being the same thing. They are not only different, but have different origins. Society is produced by our wants, and the state by our wickedness. Society promotes positively by uniting our affections, the state promotes negatively by restraining our vices. One is a patron that encourages intercourse, the other is a punisher that creates distinctions. Society everywhere is a blessing, but the state even at its best is but a necessary evil.
     -- Publius     
    Having as "little of law as possible"...is anarchy and licentiousness - NOT liberty! Having JUST LAWS - (like the U.S. Constitution) - IS liberty. Having an UNSUSTAINABLE WORLD of LAWS, Regulations and wholesale buffoonery of LITIGATION and TAXATION to support an OLIGARCHY of ELITISTS - is SLAVERY! "Presto-chango"...The DEVIL in the DETAILS...changes the FREE into a SLAVE....and the SLAVE doesn't even know it! Hence the DELUSION of "progressivism" - which has HATCHED from the COCKATRICE EGGS they planted - 100 years ago! NOW we are all stuck fighting 3 Headed dragons - cutting off one head and 3 more grow in the STUMP.
     -- Anonymous     
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