“The right of “the self-determination of nations” applies only to free societies or to societies seeking to establish freedom; it does not apply to dictatorships. Just as an individual’s right of free action does not include the “right” to commit crimes (that is, to violate the rights of others), so the right of a nation to determine its own form of government does not include the right to establish a slave society (that is, to legalize the enslavement of some men by others). There is no such thing as “the right to enslave.” A nation can do it, just as a man can become a criminal—but neither can do it by right.
“It does not matter, in this context, whether a nation was enslaved by force, like Soviet Russia, or by vote, like Nazi Germany. Individual rights are not subject to a public vote; a majority has no right to vote away the rights of a minority; the political function of rights is precisely to protect minorities from oppression by majorities (and the smallest minority on earth is the individual). Whether a slave society was conquered or chose to be enslaved, it can claim no national rights and no recognition of such “rights” by civilized countries—just as a mob of gangsters cannot demand a recognition of its “rights” and a legal equality with an industrial concern or a university, on the ground that the gangsters choseby unanimous vote to engage in that particular kind of group activity.
“Dictatorship nations are outlaws. Any free nation had the right to invade Nazi Germany and, today, has the right to invade Soviet Russia, Cuba or any other slave pen. Whether a free nation chooses to do so or not is a matter of its own self-interest, not of respect for the non-existent “rights” of gang rulers. It is not a free nation’s duty to liberate other nations at the price of self-sacrifice, but a free nation has the right to do it, when and if it so chooses.”
HT: The Ayn Rand Lexicon
In addition, and this bears an underscore:
“This right, however, is conditional. Just as the suppression of crimes does not give a policeman the right to engage in criminal activities, so the invasion and destruction of a dictratorship does not give the invader the right to establish another variant of a slave society in the conquered country.”
Just read a great article about selfishness in The Undercurrent.
“Consider the phenomenal success of Apple and the contribution it has brought to the lives of so many Americans. Steve Jobs was not motivated to serve his country and community as his primary concern when transforming Apple into a multi-billion dollar company. Rather, Jobs was interested in creating innovative and life-enhancing technology-and earning a massive paycheck to boot. And yet, his efforts have introduced billions of dollars into the American economy as well as an iPod or iPhone into the hands of millions of his fellow Americans. Had Jobs sacrificed his vision, instead enlisting in AmeriCorps, much of the technology we enjoy today would have remained a fantasy of science-fiction.
Steve Jobs accomplished something on a tremendous scale, but something we are all capable of. One does not need to be a billionaire to pursue one’s happiness and provide value to others in the process. Every day, electricians, soldiers, musicians, and countless others make possible our modern economy and all the relative luxuries it affords. And yet, the most successful among their ranks pursue their careers from personal, self-interested motives—not because they’re willing to toil for decades out of a duty to their nation. Had those millions of passionate individuals renounced their self-interested goals in order to put country first, we’d be missing out on the countless values created through their passion. Those who selfishly pursue their chosen endeavors, not those dedicating themselves to a vague “national service,” are truly responsible for shaping the world into a better place.”
I’ve always liked her. I like her even more now.
“Chelsea Handler: …I know you’re an Ayn Rand fan, right?
Anne Hathaway: Yeah, I am.
Handler: What’s your favorite Ayn Rand book?
Hathaway: Atlas Shrugged.
Handler: Did you like that better than The Fountainhead?
Hathaway: I did. When I began Atlas Shrugged, I was really excited, because Ayn Rand said that The Fountainhead was the overture to Atlas Shrugged. I was like, “Ooh! What am I getting into?” Whether or not you agree with Ayn Rand-and I have certain issues with some of her beliefs-the woman can tell a story. I mean, the novel as an art form is just in full florid bloom in Atlas Shrugged. It’s an unbelievable story. The characters are so compelling, and what she’s saying is mind-expanding. I really enjoyed that book, and it was kind of prophetic. I read that book for the first time during the Bush Administration and I was like, “People are governing with their feelings as opposed to their intellect. This is happening.” And she wrote this how many years ago?”
This is a long article. I advise Objectivists and other people interested in Objectivism to read this. The article is called Fact and Value by Dr. Leonard Peikoff.
I wholeheartedly agree and endorse Dr. Peikoff’s article.