Textbook of Americanism by Ayn Rand 1946

Ayn Rand - Russian refugee and outspoken advocate for minimalist government. Source: NNDB.com

By Ayn Rand, 1946

Freedom Force International

[These articles were written in 1946 for and appeared originally in THE VIGIL, a publication of The Motion Picture Alliance for the Preservation of American Ideals, Beverly Hills, California. The subject of these articles was limited to the sphere of politics, for the purpose of defining and clarifying the basic principles involved in political issues. The series is incomplete; the twelve questions reprinted here were only the first third of a longer project; the rest has remained unwritten.]

1. What Is the Basic Issue in the World Today?

The basic issue in the world today is between two principles: Individualism and Collectivism.

Individualism holds that man has inalienable rights which cannot be taken away from him by any other man, nor by any number, group or collective of other men. Therefore, each man exists by his own right and for his own sake, not for the sake of the group.

Collectivism holds that man has no rights; that his work, his body and his personality belong to the group; that the group can do with him as it pleases, in any manner it pleases, for the sake of whatever it decides to be its own welfare. Therefore, each man exists only by the permission of the group and for the sake of the group.

These two principles are the roots of two opposite social systems. The basic issue of the world today is between these two systems.  Continue reading

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