Ayn Rand Quotes on Capitalism, Government, Philosophy, and More

Who is Ayn Rand? Born to a middle-class Russian-Jewish family in 1905, Rand was treated to a front-row seat to the wonders of communism in action. Rand fled with her family to the Crimea following the “liberation” of her father’s pharmacy but ultimately returned to Saint Petersburg where she could attend university when she wasn’t busy starving. Due to her life experiences, Ayn Rand’s quotes are some of the most thought-provoking in the world.

Rand was granted a visa to visit her relatives in Chicago in 1925. Upon her arrival the next year she was driven to “tears of splendor” by the sight of Manhattan’s skyline. Needless to say there was no going back for the young woman, who upon witnessing American cinema set out to become a Hollywood screenwriter.

As luck would have it Rand soon met the great director Cecil B. DeMille, thus securing work as an extra in one of his movies and a subsequent job as a junior screenwriter. By 1931 Rand had married and become an American citizen.

Rand began sharing her political leanings as she published her first works of fiction including We the Living, a semi-autobiographical novel set in Soviet Russia, and Anthem, a grim vision of a totalitarian collectivist future in which all innovation had been stifled and even the word “I” ceased to exist.

Rand’s breakout success arrived in 1943 when she published The Fountainhead, the story of a young architect who refused to conform to his industry’s hostility toward innovation. She would continue working in Hollywood until 1957 when she published her magnum opus Atlas Shrugged, again set in a dystopian future where bureaucratic legislation had made free enterprise all but impossible.

My philosophy, in essence, is the concept of man as a heroic being, with his own happiness as the moral purpose of his life, with productive achievement as his noblest activity, and reason as his only absolute.

Rand’s philosophy holds that knowledge and values are determined by reality, not the product of human thought. To attain the highest objectivist ideal – the achievement of one’s own happiness – man must place the greatest value on reason, self-interest, and liberty. For Rand, no social system other than “full, pure, uncontrolled, unregulated laissez-faire capitalism” could fully recognize individual rights.

In addition to her contributions to literature and philosophy, Rand actively supported anti-communist groups including the Motion Picture Alliance for the Preservation of American Ideals and the American Writers Association throughout her Hollywood career. Throughout her later years, Rand traveled the country to deliver lectures on her Objectivist philosophy. In her final public lecture the year preceding her death in 1982, Rand said the following:

There is hope so long as there is one man left living on earth. There is hope, but it will not be saved automatically. It depends on the free will and choice of every man who is able to think. Those who don’t want to think don’t matter in this issue. They’re merely social ballast.

Ayn Rand Quotes on Love

“Love is our response to our highest values – and can be nothing else.”
Ayn Rand

Ayn Rand Quotes - "Love is blind, they say; sex is impervious to reason and mocks the power of all..."
“Love is blind, they say; sex is impervious to reason and mocks the power of all philosophers. But, in fact, a mans’ sexual choice is the result and sum of their fundamental convictions. Tell me what a person finds sexually attractive and I will tell you their entire philosophy of life.”
Ayn Rand

“To say ‘I love you’ one must know first how to say the ‘I’.”
The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand

“Love is the expression of one’s values.”
Ayn Rand

“Love should be treated like a business deal, but every business deal has its own terms and its own currency. And in love, the currency is virtue. You love people not for what you do for them or what they do for you. You love them for the values, the virtues, which they have achieved in their own character.”
Ayn Rand

“If you tell a beautiful woman that she is beautiful, what have you given her? It’s no more than a fact and it has cost you nothing. But if you tell an ugly woman that she is beautiful, you offer her the great homage of corrupting the concept of beauty.”
Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand

“Man is an end in himself. Romantic love – the profound, exalted, lifelong passion that unites his mind and body in the sexual act – is the living testimony to that principle.”
Of Living Death by Ayn Rand

Ayn Rand Quotes - "There are two aspects of man's existence which are the special province and..."
“There are two aspects of man’s existence which are the special province and expression of his sense of life: love and art.”
Philosophy and Sense of Life by Ayn Rand

“To love is to value. Only a rationally selfish man, a man of self-esteem, is capable of love—because he is the only man capable of holding firm, consistent, uncompromising, unbetrayed values. The man who does not value himself, cannot value anything or anyone.”
The Virtue of Selfishness by Ayn Rand

“One gains a profoundly personal, selfish joy from the mere existence of the person one loves. It is one’s own personal, selfish happiness that one seeks, earns and derives from love.”
The Virtue of Selfishness by Ayn Rand

Ayn Rand Quotes on Capitalism

“The businessman’s tool is value.”
Ayn Rand

Ayn Rand Quotes - "Money demands that you sell, not your weakness to men's stupidity, but your talent to their reason."
“Money demands that you sell, not your weakness to men’s stupidity, but your talent to their reason.”
Ayn Rand

“Money will not purchase happiness for the man who has no concept of what he wants.”
Ayn Rand

“Run for your life from any man who tells you that money is evil. That sentence is the leper’s bell of an approaching looter.”
Ayn Rand

Ayn Rand Quotes - "Money is only a tool. It will take you wherever you wish, but it will not replace you as the driver."
“Money is only a tool. It will take you wherever you wish, but it will not replace you as the driver.”
Ayn Rand

“Let me give you a tip on a clue to men’s characters: the man who damns money has obtained it dishonorably; the man who respects it has earned it.”
Ayn Rand

“Capitalism was the only system in history where wealth was not acquired by looting, but by production, not by force, but by trade, the only system that stood for man’s right to his own mind, to his work, to his life, to his happiness, to himself.”
Ayn Rand

“Capitalism is a social system based on the recognition of individual rights, including property rights, in which all property is privately owned.”
Ayn Rand

Ayn Rand Quotes - "Capitalism is based on self-interest and self-esteem; it holds integrity and trustworthiness as cardinal virtues and makes them pay off in the marketplace..."
“Capitalism is based on self-interest and self-esteem; it holds integrity and trustworthiness as cardinal virtues and makes them pay off in the marketplace, thus demanding that men survive by means of virtues, not of vices.”
Ayn Rand

“What it does guarantee is that a monopolist whose high profits are caused by high prices, rather than low costs, will soon meet competition originated by the capital market.”
Ayn Rand

“Let those who are actually concerned with peace observe that capitalism gave mankind the longest period of peace in history—a period during which there were no wars involving the entire civilized world—from the end of the Napoleonic wars in 1815 to the outbreak of World War I in 1914.”
Ayn Rand

“A free market never loses sight of the question: Of value to whom? And, within the broad field of objectivity, the market value of a product does not reflect its philosophically objective value, but only its socially objective value.”
Ayn Rand

“Child labor was not ended by legislative fiat; child labor ended when it became economically unnecessary for children to earn wages in order to survive—when the income of their parents became sufficient to support them. The emancipators and benefactors of those children were not legislators or factory inspectors, but manufacturers and financiers.”
Ayn Rand

“Prior to the American Revolution, through centuries of feudalism and monarchy, the interests of the rich lay in the expropriation, enslavement, and misery of the rest of the people. A society, therefore, where the interests of the rich require general freedom, unrestricted productiveness, and the protection of individual rights, should have been hailed as an ideal system by anyone whose goal is man’s well-being.”
Ayn Rand

Ayn Rand Quotes Government and Politics

“The man who lets a leader prescribe his course is a wreck being towed to the scrap heap.”
Ayn Rand

“Lobbying” is the activity of attempting to influence legislation by privately influencing the legislators.”
Ayn Rand

Ayn Rand Quotes - "Power-lust is a weed that grows only in the vacant lots of an abandoned mind."
“Power-lust is a weed that grows only in the vacant lots of an abandoned mind.”
Ayn Rand

“Government ‘help’ to business is just as disastrous as government persecution … the only way a government can be of service to national prosperity is by keeping its hands off.”
Ayn Rand

“Do you think nobody would willingly entrust his children to you and pay you for teaching them? Why do you have to extort your fees and collect your pupils by compulsion?”
Ayn Rand

“The great creators – the thinkers, the artists, the scientists, the inventors – stood alone against the men of their time. Every great new thought was opposed. Every great new invention was denounced. The first motor was considered foolish. The airplane was considered impossible. The power loom was considered vicious. Anesthesia was considered sinful. But the men of unborrowed vision went ahead. They fought, they suffered and they paid. But they won.”
Ayn Rand

Ayn Rand Quotes - "There are two sides to every issue: one side is right and the other is wrong, but the middle is always evil."
“There are two sides to every issue: one side is right and the other is wrong, but the middle is always evil.”
Ayn Rand

“A government is the most dangerous threat to man’s rights: it holds a legal monopoly on the use of physical force against legally disarmed victims.”
Ayn Rand

“I can accept anything, except what seems to be the easiest for most people: the half-way, the almost, the just-about, the in-between.”
Ayn Rand

“There’s no way to rule innocent men. The only power any government has is the power to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren’t enough criminals, one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws.”
Ayn Rand

Ayn Rand Quotes - "The smallest minority on earth is the individual. Those who deny individual rights cannot claim to be defenders of minorities."
“The smallest minority on earth is the individual. Those who deny individual rights cannot claim to be defenders of minorities.”
Ayn Rand

“Force and mind are opposites; morality ends where a gun begins.”
Ayn Rand

“The right to agree with others is not a problem in any society; it is the right to disagree that is crucial.”
Ayn Rand

Ayn Rand Quotes on Life

“An individualist is a man who says: I will 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

“Man’s unique reward, however, is that while animals survive by adjusting themselves to their background, man survives by adjusting his background to himself.”
Ayn Rand

Ayn Rand Quotes - "when I die, I hope to go to heaven, whatever the hell that is."
“When I die, I hope to go to Heaven, whatever the Hell that is.”
Ayn Rand

“I swear by my life and my love of it that I will never live for the sake of another man, nor ask another man to live for mine.”
Ayn Rand

“Never think of pain or danger or enemies a moment longer than is necessary to fight them.”
Ayn Rand

Ayn Rand Philosophy Quotes

Ayn Rand Quotes - "The hardest thing to explain is the glaringly evident which everybody has decided not to see."
“The hardest thing to explain is the glaringly evident which everybody has decided not to see.”
Ayn Rand

“Rationalization is a process of not perceiving reality, but of attempting to make reality fit one’s emotions.”
Ayn Rand

“Any alleged right of one man, which necessitates the violation of the rights of another isn’t and can’t be a right.”
Ayn Rand

“Devotion to the truth is the hallmark of morality; there is no greater, nobler, more heroic form of devotion than the act of a man who assumes the responsibility of thinking.”
Ayn Rand

Ayn Rand Quotes - "I started my life with a single absolute: that the world was mine to shape in the image of my highest values..."
“I started my life with a single absolute: that the world was mine to shape in the image of my highest values and never to be given up to a lesser standard, no matter how long or hard the struggle.”
Ayn Rand

“The truth is not for all men but only for those who seek it.”
Ayn Rand

“My happiness is not the means to any end. It is the end. It is its own goal. It is its own purpose.”
Ayn Rand

“Civilization is the process of setting man free from men.”
Ayn Rand

“Achieving life is not the equivalent of avoiding death.”
Ayn Rand

“There are no evil thoughts except one; the refusal to think.”
Ayn Rand

“We can ignore reality, but we cannot ignore the consequences of ignoring reality.”
Ayn Rand

Ayn Rand Quotes - "I am, therefore I'll think."
“I am, therefore I’ll think.”
Ayn Rand

“The purpose of morality is to teach you, not to suffer and die, but to enjoy yourself and live.”
Ayn Rand

“God … a being whose only definition is that he is beyond man’s power to conceive.”
Ayn Rand

“Happiness is that state of consciousness which proceeds from the achievement of one’s values.”
Ayn Rand

“From the smallest necessity to the highest religious abstraction, from the wheel to the skyscraper, everything we are and everything we have comes from one attribute of man – the function of his reasoning mind.”
Ayn Rand

“The soul, Peter, is that which can’t be ruled. It must be broken. Drive a wedge in, get your fingers on it – and the man is yours … You won’t need a whip – he’ll bring it to you and ask to be whipped.”
Ayn Rand