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Ayn Rand on the Destructive Collectivist Scourge of “Egalitarianism”

Posted by westerncivisheretostay on March 23, 2010

Philip Daniel


Egalitarianism means the belief in the equality of all men. If the word “equality” is to be taken in any serious or rational sense, the crusade for this belief is dated by about a century or more: the United States of America has made it an anachronism—by establishing a system based on the principle of individual rights. “Equality,” in a human context, is a political term: it means equality before the law, the equality of fundamental, inalienable rights which every man possesses by virtue of his birth as a human being, and which may not be infringed or abrogated by man-made institutions, such as titles of nobility or the division of men into castes established by law, with special privileges granted to some and denied to others. The rise of capitalism swept away all castes, including the institutions of aristocracy and of slavery or serfdom.

But this is not the meaning that the altruists ascribe to the word “equality.”

They turn the word into an anti-concept: they use it to mean, not political, but metaphysical equality—the equality of personal attributes and virtues, regardless of natural endowment or individual choice, performance and character. It is not man-made institutions, but nature, i.e., reality, that they propose to fight—by means of man-made institutions.

Since nature does not endow all men with equal beauty or equal intelligence, and the faculty of volition leads men to make different choices, the egalitarians propose to abolish the “unfairness” of nature and of volition, and to establish universal equality in fact—in defiance of facts. Since the Law of Identity is impervious to human manipulation, it is the Law of Causality that they struggle to abrogate. Since personal attributes or virtues cannot be “redistributed,” they seek to deprive men of their consequences—of the rewards, the benefits, the achievements created by personal attributes and virtues. It is not equality before the law that they seek, but inequality: the establishment of an inverted social pyramid, with a new aristocracy on top—the aristocracy of non-value.

Ayn Rand, “The Age of Envy,” Return of the Primitive: The Anti-Industrial Revolution, p. 140

One Response to “Ayn Rand on the Destructive Collectivist Scourge of “Egalitarianism””

  1. clay barham said

    So, egalitarianism means I am equal to some three year old, or someone with far less education and experience than I, that my interests, values, skills, talents and aspirations are the same as everyone else, and if not, some of us have to be remodeled or exterminated? Obviously, this is counter to what began in America in 1620, and what made America so prosperous, where our inequalities could be pursued as long as we did no harm to anyone, where law was solely to prevent injustice and not pass out “justice” according to some community manager’s view of justice. As for me, I stand with Howard Roark’s jury summation and make my own waves and wakes. claysamerica.com

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