Ayn Rand Quotes 1–30 of 171 Quotes

Ayn Rand (2 February 1905 – 6 March 1982) was a Russian-born American novelist, philosopher, playwright, and screenwriter. She is known for her bestselling novels, The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged, and for developing a philosophical system called Objectivism.

Below are 30 of 171 sourced Ayn Rand quotes. Sources and related information appear under each quote. Use the 'Cite this quote' link to get citation references.

“I hope you will understand my hesitation in writing to one whom I admire as the greatest representative of a philosophy to which I want to dedicate my whole life.”

— Ayn Rand

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Quote source: Letter to H.L. Mencken July 28, 1934.

“That particular sense of sacred rapture men say they experience in contemplating nature- I've never received it from nature, only from. Buildings, Skyscrapers. I would give the greatest sunset in the world for one sight of New York's skyline. The shapes and the thought that made them. The sky over New York and the will of man made visible. What other religion do we need? And then people tell me about pilgrimages to some dank pest-hole in a jungle where they go to do homage to a crumbling temple, to a leering stone monster with a pot belly, created by some leprous savage. Is it beauty and genius they want to see? Do they seek a sense of the sublime? Let them come to New York, stand on the shore of the Hudson, look and kneel. When I see the city from my window - no, I don't feel how small I am - but I feel that if a war came to threaten this, I would like to throw myself into space, over the city, and protect these buildings with my body.”

— Ayn Rand

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Quote source: The Fountainhead (1943).

“An individualist is a man who says: "I'll not run anyone's life – nor let anyone run mine. I will not rule nor be ruled. I will not be a master nor a slave. I will not sacrifice myself to anyone – nor sacrifice anyone to myself."”

— Ayn Rand

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Quote source: Textbook of Americanism (1946).

““Free competition enforced by law” is a grotesque contradiction in terms.”

— Ayn Rand

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Quote source: The Objectivist Newsletter “Antitrust: The Rule of Unreason,” The Objectivist Newsletter, Feb. 1962, 1

“I am not primarily an advocate of capitalism, but of egoism; and I am not primarily an advocate of egoism, but of reason. If one recognizes the supremacy of reason and applies it consistently, all the rest follows.”

— Ayn Rand

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Quote source: Introducing Objectivism. The Objectivist Newsletter, Vol. 1, No. 8. August, 1962. p. 35.

“Objectivism is a philosophical movement; since politics is a branch of philosophy, Objectivism advocates certain political principles — specifically, those of laissez-faire capitalism — as the consequence and the ultimate practical application of its fundamental philosophical principles. It does not regard politics as a separate or primary goal, that is: as a goal that can be achieved without a wider ideological context. . . . Objectivists are not "conservatives." We are radicals for capitalism; we are fighting for that philosophical base which capitalism did not have and without which it was doomed to perish.”

— Ayn Rand

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Quote source: “Choose Your Issues,” The Objectivist Newsletter, Vol. 1, No. 1 (1962)

“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.”

— Ayn Rand

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Quote source: "Foreign Policy Drains U.S. of Main Weapon," Los Angeles Times, Sept. 9. 1962, G2 — as reported in The Ayn Rand Lexicon: Objectivism from A to Z (1986)

“What is greatness? I will answer: it is the capacity to live by the three fundamental values of John Galt: reason, purpose, self-esteem.”

— Ayn Rand

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Quote source: Playboy Interview (March 1964)

“Even if smog were a risk to human life, we must remember that life in nature, without technology, is wholesale death.”

— Ayn Rand

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Quote source: The Objectivist February 1971

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“Now, I don’t care to discuss the alleged complaints American Indians have against this country. I believe, with good reason, the most unsympathetic Hollywood portrayal of Indians and what they did to the white man. They had no right to a country merely because they were born here and then acted like savages. The white man did not conquer this country...”

— Ayn Rand

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Quote source: Address To The Graduating Class Of The United States Military Academy at West Point, 1974

“The Arabs are one of the least developed cultures. They are typically nomads. Their culture is primitive, and they resent Israel because it's the sole beachhead of modern science and civilization on their continent. When you have civilized men fighting savages, you support the civilized men, no matter who they are."”

— Ayn Rand

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Quote source: Ayn Rand Ford Hall Forum lecture, 1974, text published on the website of The Ayn Rand Institute http://www.aynrand.org/site/PageServer?pagename=media_america_at_war_israeli_arab_conflict

“The worst evil that you can do, psychologically, is to laugh at yourself. That means spitting in your own face.”

— Ayn Rand

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Quote source: Question period following Lecture 11 of Leonard Peikoff's series "The Philosophy of Objectivism," 1976

“The trouble with the world today is philosophical: only the right philosophy can save us. But this party plagiarizes some of my ideas, mixes them with the exact opposite—with religionists, anarchists and every intellectual misfit and scum they can find—and call themselves libertarians and run for office.”

— Ayn Rand

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Quote source: Rand, Ayn (2005). Mayhew, Robert, ed. Ayn Rand Answers, the Best of Her Q&A. New York: New American Library. p. 73. (1976)

“They (Native Americans) didn't have any rights to the land, and there was no reason for anyone to grant them rights which they had not conceived and were not using. What was it that they were fighting for, when they opposed white men on this continent? For their wish to continue a primitive existence, their 'right' to keep part of the earth untouched, unused and not even as property, but just keep everybody out so that you will live practically like an animal, or a few caves above it. Any white person who brings the element of civilization has the right to take over this continent.”

— Ayn Rand

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Quote source: Q and A session following her address to the graduating class of The United States Military Academy at West Point, New York, March 6, 1974 - found in Endgame: Resistance, by Derrick Jensen, Seven Stories Press, 2006, pg 220

“Do you know that my personal crusade in life (in the philosophical sense) is not merely to fight collectivism, nor to fight altruism? These are only consequences, effects, not causes. I am out after the real cause, the real root of evil on earth — the irrational.”

— Ayn Rand

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Quote source: Goddess of the Market: Ayn Rand and the American Right, 2009, p. 100

“If you mean whose side one should be on, Israel or the Arabs, I would certainly say Israel because it’s the advanced, technological, civilized country amidst a group of almost totally primitive savages who have not changed for years and who are racist and who resent Israel because it’s bringing industry, intelligence, and modern technology into their stagnation.”

— Ayn Rand

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Quote source: Incomplete source info Q and A session during taping of Donohue, Live in New York (1979) Ayn Rand on Israel and the Middle East

“It took centuries of intellectual, philosophical development to achieve political freedom. It was a long struggle, stretching from Aristotle to John Locke to the Founding Fathers. The system they established was not based on unlimited majority but on its opposite: on individual rights, which were not to be alienated by majority vote or minority plotting. The individual was not left at the mercy of his neighbors or his leaders: the Constitutional system of checks and balances was scientifically devised to protect him from both. This was the great American achievement—and if concern for the actual welfare of other nations were our present leaders' motive, this is what we should have been teaching the world. Instead, we are deluding the ignorant and the semi-savage by telling them that no political knowledge is necessary—that our system is only a matter of subjective preference—that any prehistorical form of tribal tyranny, gang rule, and slaughter will do just as well, with our sanction and support. It is thus that we encourage the spectacle of Algerian workers marching through the streets [in the 1962 Civil War] and shouting the demand: "Work, not blood!"—without knowing what great knowledge and virtue are required to achieve it. In the same way, in 1917, the Russian peasants were demanding: "Land and Freedom!" But Lenin and Stalin is what they got. In 1933, the Germans were demanding: "Room to live!" But what they got was Hitler. In 1793, the French were shouting: "Liberty, Equality, Fraternity!" What they got was Napoleon. In 1776, the Americans were proclaiming "The Rights of Man"—and, led by political philosophers, they achieved it. No revolution, no matter how justified, and no movement, no matter how popular, has ever succeeded without a political philosophy to guide it, to set its direction and goal.”

— Ayn Rand

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Quote source: Incomplete source info The Ayn Rand Column

“"The people of Algiers marched through the streets of the city, in desperate protest against the new threat of civil war, shouting: 'We want peace! We want a government!' How are they to go about getting it? Through the years of civil war, they had been united, not by any political philosophy, but only by a racial issue. They were fighting, not for any program, but only against French rule. When they won their independence, they fell apart - into rival tribes and armed 'willayas' fighting one another"”

— Ayn Rand

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Quote source: Incomplete source info The Ayn Rand Column 'Blind Chaos'

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“Man—every man—is an end in himself, not a means to the ends of others; he must live for his own sake, neither sacrificing himself to others nor sacrificing others to himself; he must work for his rational self-interest, with the achievement of his own happiness as the highest moral purpose of his life.”

— Ayn Rand

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Quote source: Incomplete source info The Ayn Rand Column ‘Introducing Objectivism’

“Do you believe in God, Andrei? No. Neither do I. But that's a favorite question of mine. An upside-down question, you know. What do you mean? Well, if I asked people whether they believed in life, they'd never understand what I meant. It's a bad question. It can mean so much that it really means nothing. So I ask them if they believe in God. And if they say they do—then, I know they don't believe in life. Why? Because, you see, God—whatever anyone chooses to call God—is one's highest conception of the highest possible. And whoever places his highest conception above his own possibility thinks very little of himself and his life. It's a rare gift, you know, to feel reverence for your own life and to want the best, the greatest, the highest possible, here, now, for your very own. To imagine a heaven and then not to dream of it, but to demand it.”

— Ayn Rand

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Quote source: We The Living (1936) Source: We The Living Part One Chapter 9

“There is no such thing as duty. If you know that a thing is right, you want to do it. If you don't want to do it—it isn't right. If it's right and you don't want to do it—you don't know what right is and you're not a man.”

— Ayn Rand

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Quote source: We The Living (1936) Source: We The Living Part One Chapter 6

“There is only one thing that matters and that we'll remember. The rest doesn't matter. I don't care what life is to be nor what it does to us. But it won't break us. Neither you nor me. That's our only weapon. That's the only banner we can hold against all those others around us. That's all we have to know about the future.”

— Ayn Rand

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Source: We The Living (1936)

“The highest thing in a man is not his god. It's that in him which knows the reverence due a god. You are my highest reverence.”

— Ayn Rand

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Quote source: We The Living (1936) Source: We The Living Last Page

“A moment or an eternity—did it matter? Life, undefeated, existed and could exist. She smiled, her last smile, to so much that had been possible.”

— Ayn Rand

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Source: We The Living (1936)

“"I am. I think. I will."”

— Ayn Rand

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Rand, Ayn. “Ayn Rand Quotes: 1–30 of 171 Quotes.” QuotesCosmos.com, edited by QuotesCosmos, 5 August 2021, https://www.quotescosmos.com/people/Ayn-Rand-quotes.html#27

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Rand, Ayn. “Ayn Rand Quotes: 1–30 of 171 Quotes.” Last modified August 5, 2021. https://www.quotescosmos.com/people/Ayn-Rand-quotes.html#27

Source: Anthem (1937)

“I need no warrant for being, and no word of sanction upon my being. I am the warrant and the sanction.”

— Ayn Rand

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Rand, Ayn. “Ayn Rand Quotes: 1–30 of 171 Quotes.” QuotesCosmos.com, edited by QuotesCosmos, 5 August 2021, https://www.quotescosmos.com/people/Ayn-Rand-quotes.html#28

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Rand, Ayn. “Ayn Rand Quotes: 1–30 of 171 Quotes.” Last modified August 5, 2021. https://www.quotescosmos.com/people/Ayn-Rand-quotes.html#28

Source: Anthem (1937)

“And now I see the face of god, and I raise this god over the earth, this god whom men have sought since men came into being, this god who will grant them joy and peace and pride. This god, this one word: 'I.'”

— Ayn Rand

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Rand, Ayn (2021, August 5) Ayn Rand Quotes: 1–30 of 171 Quotes. Retrieved from https://www.quotescosmos.com/people/Ayn-Rand-quotes.html#29

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Rand, Ayn. “Ayn Rand Quotes: 1–30 of 171 Quotes.” QuotesCosmos.com, edited by QuotesCosmos, 5 August 2021, https://www.quotescosmos.com/people/Ayn-Rand-quotes.html#29

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Rand, Ayn. “Ayn Rand Quotes: 1–30 of 171 Quotes.” Last modified August 5, 2021. https://www.quotescosmos.com/people/Ayn-Rand-quotes.html#29

Source: Anthem (1937)

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