9 results found for "Ayn Rand Essays"

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Moral Environment Essay

Words: 768 Length: 2 Pages Document Type: Essay Paper #: 36357339

Moral Environment

Ayn Rand's The Ethics of Emergencies speaks about the value of selfishness or self-interest. Although "selfishness" might seem negative at first, Rand's explanation makes quite a bit of sense. Rand speaks about selfishness as a rational process in which a person sets his/her hierarchy of values and lives according to those values in order to achieve the moral purpose of life: one's own happiness.

Summary of The Ethics of Emergencies

According to Ayn Rand's The Ethics of Emergencies, the moral purpose of life is to achieve one's own happiness. Describing her belief in Objectivism in 1962, Rand stated, "Man -- every man -- is an end in himself, not the means to the ends of others. He must exist for his own sake, neither sacrificing himself to others nor sacrificing others to himself. The pursuit of his own rational self-interest and of his own happiness is the highest moral purpose of his life" (Rand, Introducing Objectivism, 2012). Rand rejects "altruism," which can be defined as "unselfish concern" (Dictionary.com LLC, 2012), and believes that the ethical basis for altruism is a "malevolent universe" metaphysics. "Malevolent universe" metaphysics, which Rand also rejects, holds that "man, by his very nature, is helpless and doomed -- that success, happiness, achievement are impossible to him -- that emergencies, disasters, catastrophes are the norm of his life and that his primary goal is to combat them" (Peikoff, 2012). According to Rand, given the moral purpose of achieving one's own happiness, sacrifice is neither morally required nor admirable. The rational principle of conduct to adhere to this moral purpose is to always act in accordance with the hierarchy of your values. Rand believes that the virtue called "selfishness" requires: "(a) a hierarchy of values set by the standards of one's self-interest, and (b) the refusal to sacrifice a higher value to a lower one or to a nonvalue" (Rand, 1964, p. 55).

Application of Rand's Ideas to Today's Moral Environment

We might tend to think of "selfishness" as a…… [Read More]

Dictionary.com LLC. (2012). Altruism. Retrieved on June 10, 2012 from thesaurus.com Web site: http://thesaurus.com/browse/altruism?s=t

Peikoff, L. (2012). Malevolent universe premise. Retrieved on June 10, 2012 from aynrandlexicon.com Web site: http://aynrandlexicon.com/lexicon/malevolent_universe_premise.html
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Recurring Dream in Which I Am Standing Essay

Words: 699 Length: 2 Pages Document Type: Essay Paper #: 51932588

recurring dream in which I am standing at a podium in front of a large audience. I am the head of an organization, although my exact title and the nature of the organization are vague. In the dream, I deliver a speech, detailing some aspect of company policy. I am sure of myself; I speak with authority and conviction but for some reason I stand alone. Not one member of the crowd agrees with me, likes me, or supports me. When I wake up I feel a strange mixture of pride and humiliation. Yet like Howard Roark, hero of Ayn Rand's novel The Fountainhead, I realize that my unpopularity does not preclude my success. Roark succeeds not according to an external scale of measurement, based on societal values or norms and fueled by conformity. Rather, Roark is a hero and a success because of his unflinching individualism and his willingness to stand up for his principles in spite of immense opposition. Like Rand, I look to heroes like Roark for my inspiration and role modeling. Unlike the fleeting qualifiers of conventional success such as fame and fortune, the truly successful hero demonstrates unflinching idealism and unwavering pursuit of personal goals. Success defined by individualism and nonconformity is a difficult and demanding path but which in the end yields the true mark of heroism: integrity.

Roark succeeds in the end in spite of his struggles, just as I will succeed regardless of how unpopular my ideas or notions may be. In the short-term I will define success by my admission to a school in which I can thrive, a school that can help me to hone my talents and broaden my horizons. While I intend to participate fully in campus life and student activities, much as Roark participates fully in his social life, I will…… [Read More]

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Polygamy Should the State of Missouri Legalize Essay

Words: 1546 Length: 5 Pages Document Type: Essay Paper #: 98656881


Should the state of Missouri legalize polygamy?

Comprising 114 counties, Missouri is a U.S. state located in mid-west of the country. The debate of whether or not legalize polygamy (i.e. one man marrying many women) is ethically evaluated here using ethical method and theories.

Five-point analysis method for resolving ethical dilemmas

Ethical questions are deep rooted in the emotions of individuals as well as the society. It is not easy to present and get accepted a solution to ethical dilemma. The five point analysis method for resolving ethical dilemmas has following steps:

Develop a list of premises: This step is of finding options. Listing the solution alternatives. The method will evaluate if polygamy should be legalized, illegalized, banned with heavy punishment, or allowed under specific conditions where the wife has medical issues that require the husband to marry someone else.

Step 2. Eliminate irrelevant or weak premises: After analyzing consequences, and evaluating all possible positive and negative consequences like who will be hurt, helped and what will be long-term short-term gains and losses, shed those solutions that are weak. Assessment in this ethical case tells that the first wife may be at losing end when the husband is allowed to marry other women and husband is being helped (Sotelo, 1994). Otherwise, if the husband is not allowed for polygamy, he may indulge into extramarital relationships that will be more devastating for the wife since it is an act of cheating. Letting a husband marry other women is like binding him to responsibilities.

Step 3. Come to conclusion: How the solution stands ethically and whether or not this action crosses line. The legalization or illegalization of polygamy should be evaluated from the perspective of men and woman. This action can, on one hand, be considered as unjust to wife thus she has to share her personal life and husband's belongings with another woman but illegalizing polygamy means the husband may be understaisfied with his needs being unfulfilled sufficiently.…… [Read More]

Bramhan, D., (2011), "Tradition of monogamous marriage traced in polygamy hearing,"

Retrieved from: http://www.vancouversun.com/life/Tradition+monogamous+marriage+traced+polygamy+hearing/4087361/story.html
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Atlas Shrugged Essay

Words: 1185 Length: 4 Pages Document Type: Essay Paper #: 38778132

Atlas Shrugged

John Galt, Ayn Rand's Ubermensch, relays his values in the poignant rhetorical question: "Which is the monument to the triumph of the human spirit over matter: the germ-eaten hovels on the shorelines of the Ganges or the Atlantic skyline of New York?" Galt's public address, delivered over the subverted airwaves, encompasses the major themes running through Atlas Shrugged. In the speech, Galt claims the triumph of reason over religion, of individualism over collectivism, of self-determination over governmental intervention. Galt's libertarian ideals are at the heart of Rand's novel, forming the basis for the author's own philosophical stance. It is not so much the buildings lining the Manhattan skyline that so inspire Galt; rather it is the motivation behind them: the desire to propel human consciousness and human society forward and to continue to expand the boundaries of human potential. Rand does not glamorize capitalism arbitrarily; the author's thinly veiled personal philosophy rests on solid bedrock of reason. For her heroes, such as Dagny Taggart and John Galt, capitalism is the manifestation of key social, political, and economic ideals. Such ideals, which include the expansion of the mind, continual progress, and individualism, form the philosophical core of Atlas Shrugged.

Furthermore, Galt's allusion to the "germ-eaten hovels on the shorelines of the Ganges" is not arbitrary. Rand carefully selected imagery from India's sacred river to denounce delusion, to criticize those who would propose that society restrict its impetus for technological and social change in favor of superstition and socialism. The Ganges River also represents the dual forces of life and death, which are examined closely in Rand's novel. The Ganges also evokes imagery of funeral pyres: images that closely mimic some of the novel's key events. For example, the destruction of industrial enterprises pervade Atlas Shrugged. From the Taggart railroads, to d'Anconia's ore industry, to Rearden's metal. Ellis Wyatt's setting fire to his own oil wells points directly to the fire symbolism that the Ganges River image invokes. The concept of death is also central to Atlas Shrugged.

Galt's quote also demonstrates Rand's willingness to liberally…… [Read More]

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Capitalists of the World Unite You Have Essay

Words: 979 Length: 2 Pages Document Type: Essay Paper #: 58824526

Capitalists of the World Unite! You Have Everything to Gain -- profit, individual excellence, and personal appeal!

In her fictional work of philosophy entitled Atlas Shrugged, one of Ayn Rand's central characters, Francisco d'Anconia, expresses outrage at the expressed ideal that "money is the root of all evil." He argues instead that money is the root of all human advancement and gain. Money provides motivation for humans to rise above the level of beasts and create unique works of human production and the imagination. Money is an objective standard of valuation, unlike airy systems of merit that are open to bias. It is for this reason, d'Anconia ominously says, why the systems of money evaluation and money production is one of the first things that are attacked by invaders, when attempting to destroy a country.

Rand's protagonist accuses those that spout "that phrase about the evil of money," as being aristocrats. She states that such an idea comes "from a time when wealth was produced by the labor of slaves -- slaves who repeated the motions once discovered by somebody's mind and left unimproved for centuries." In other words, before capitalism, individuals labored at brute tasks for no reward, other than not to be lashed to death by their masters. Even today, the only people who really despise money are those who gain it by corruption, pandering, and fraud, for if the "source is corrupt, you have damned your own existence ... Then all the things you buy will become, not a tribute to you, but a reproach; not an achievement, but a reminder of shame. Then you'll scream that money is evil. Evil."

But merely because an individual is rewarded with money for subordinate or slavish actions today does not mean that money is intrinsically evil. Now there is another option other than slave labor, or to labor slavishly for money -- one can become an entrepreneur, work independently and…… [Read More]

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Progress and Technology Essay

Words: 1464 Length: 4 Pages Document Type: Essay Paper #: 87844581

Philosophical and Literary Representation of Capitalism

Progress & Technology in Capitalism

John Steinbeck wrote the social The Grapes of Wrath during the interwar years, just after the Great Depression harrowingly illustrated the power of unchecked capitalism. His novel takes the position that revolutionary change is needed, is inevitable, and that a just and non-exploitive society can only come about when capitalism is eliminated. Steinbeck is reported to have made clear his intentions as he prepared to write The Grapes of Wrath. In his words, "I want to put a tag of shame on the greedy bastards who are responsible for this" [the Great Depression and its widely destructive effects]." Steinbeck's collectivist-leaning voice at the time of his writing The Grapes of Wrath would become so altered over the course of three decades that it hardly seemed to belong to this writer who created on the very edge of moral fervor. Marxism acquired as decidedly Stalinist hue after the death of Lenin, further solidifying Steinbeck's skepticism about philosophical and political systems.

Despite the collectivist theme that is threaded throughout The Grapes of Wrath, Steinbeck considered socialism to be "simply another form of religion and thus delusional" (). The path that Steinbeck took to a practical -- if not moral -- acceptance of the capitalist-fueled Vietnam war stands as a microcosm of a view of capitalism which argues that workers are both the victims and the creators of the capitalism that damns them. With the industrialization o the nation -- and the laboring of American culture, as Denning (1996) put it -- people from the working class entered culture industries, becoming both subjects and producers of culture. In the cultural expressions of progress, which invariably engaged big business, workers could be compelled to sell their labor and, in effect, have their power co-opted against their own class's interests. Steinbeck saw clearly that poor migrants he wrote about in The Grapes of Wrath and the class of readers to whom he intended to most appeal -- were at once workers and victims of the same social processes. His understanding of production was decidedly Marxist -- in the words of the narrator in The Grapes of Wrath, "Men made it, but they…… [Read More]

Cunningham, C. (2002). Rethinking the politics of The Grapes of Wrath. [In Cultural Logic, ISSN 1097-3087].

Denning, M. (1996). The cultural front: The laboring of American cultural in the twentieth century. London and New York: Verso.
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Education and Meaning Essay

Words: 991 Length: 3 Pages Document Type: Essay Paper #: 9521882


When Henry Adams described the "task of education" as being "this problem of running order through chaos, direction through space, discipline through freedom, unity through-multiplicity," it appears that he was referring to something that people today would more readily refer to as the meaning of life. This may seem a loose phrase that risks cliche, but in fact it is the easiest way to make sense of Adams's set of paradoxes about education. After all, the events of life are a pure chaos of one event after another, unless one has obtained the mental criteria to evaluate them. Similarly, life is directionless unless one has a specific purpose, and life is marked by a bewildering freedom of options unless one is restricted to certain choices, and life can appear as numerous unique phenomena unless we have learned to recognize the underlying patterns and categories in those events. In some sense, then, what Henry Adams means is that education is our chief way of providing meaning to life (and religion, philosophy, science, art, politics, and economy) although he is too rhetorically elegant to come right out and say so. In the writings of great minds, as in life, the meaning is never readily apparent.

Certainly I agree with Adams's contention that education is how we discover meaning in life. This is perhaps easiest to see when a bad or inadequate education performs a pale parody of this task, and gives people an illusory meaning. The first example that springs to mind are devotees of the writer Ayn Rand. In these overheated paperback screeds familiar to many adolescents, Rand offers her readers a form of education: she has figured out her own meaning in life (and in religion, philosophy, science, art, politics, and, alas, economics) and she intends to share it, at great length. Ultimately these books are offering a course in the meaning of life -- the meaning propounded by Ayn Rand and her followers seems to be that there is no God and the only moral obligation is to be selfish -- but this is why they appeal mainly to teenagers, who are undergoing their education at the…… [Read More]

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Dystopia the Idea of the Essay

Words: 4215 Length: 10 Pages Document Type: Essay Paper #: 4643949

The actions of these collective groups lead only to frustration, a lack of responsibility, ineptitude, and inefficiency.

What sort of world does this lead to? The people who are most capable seem to be disappearing, while the least capable are left in charge. Dagny wants to know why the capable people are disappearing, and she has to find the answer to this question in order to understand what is happening throughout society. The old virtues, virtues that sustained the business community and that made America great in the past, are no longer in force. People once took pride in their work and in the act of earning their own way. These things seem to have disappeared just as have the capable workers. The consequences are all around as things keep breaking down -- systems, machinery, people.

The villains in this story are socialists, or more descriptively those who oppose individualism and free enterprise. Wesley Mouch is representative of this group. He is a collectivist who sees the need for social programs and welfare systems that in essence protect the workers from having to work at all. He sees the big factories and manufacturing plants as places whose ownership should be divided among the workers, while he views the leaders at the top as parasites who make no contribution to the general welfare. In the structure of the novel, Mouch is one of those responsible for the long slide of the economic system into torpor and decay, while Dagny and the men with whom she becomes allied fight to stop this slide and to return the economy to an individualistic base.

In the novel, Rand presents good characters as those who believe in personal achievement and individual effort, while the bad characters are those who accept collectivism and who do not value the individual as much as they…… [Read More]

Ames, Russell. Citizen Thomas More and His Utopia. Princeton, Princeton University Press, 1949.

Baker, James T. Ayn Rand. Boston: Twayne, 1987.
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Laura Nash Ethical Decision-Making Essay

Words: 747 Length: 2 Pages Document Type: Essay Paper #: 26553874


Helping others is not explicitly prohibited in Objectivist philosophy: it is just not considered the highest moral good, in contrast to acting in one's own, personal self-interest. It should be noted that acting in self-interest can result in assisting others indirectly: for example, in a capitalist society, my desire to sell a product and a consumer's desire to purchase a product frequently result in both individuals benefiting from this exchange. But this is not the ultimate purpose and goal of the capitalist exchange. People may also help others to make themselves feel better but Rand regards this impulse as inferior to self-interested actions such as creating art or working to sustain one's business.

Although in theory helping the poor is not banned in the Objectivist philosophy, all of Ayn Rand's writings show profound mistrust of altruistic impulses and question the idea that helping the weakest members of society achieves any meaningful moral purpose. In The Fountainhead, the desire of architect Howard Roark to make great buildings is shown as antithetical to the need to create buildings that help the poor survive (Badhwar & Long 2015). Survival of the self is the greatest good, according to Rand. While conventional moral conceptions of capitalism suggest that self-interest results in benefits for all -- for example, that Roark's desire to live as an architect and make buildings would benefit both himself and others, in Rand's view, the greatness of Roark must ultimately be distilled from any supposed benefits for others outside of the marketplace. The project Roark is contracted to create is evil because it is a housing project that is designed for the public good and does not realize his individual artistic vision. Those who wish to help the poor, in Rand's view, either do so because they are covering up their real socialist agenda like Ellsworth Toohey or who, like Peter Keating, do so out of their inability to resist societal conventions and celebrate their own superiority and ambitions (Badhwar & Long 2015).

PART 2: Laura Nash

Nash's method reviews both the collective and individual implications of the ethical decision. Certain aspects of the problem-solving method like defining the problem accurately and looking at it from…… [Read More]

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Terrorism There Are a Number Essay

Words: 9571 Length: 30 Pages Document Type: Essay Paper #: 28900701

Fundamentally, the insurgents are fighting an enemy with superior weaponry, technology, and resources, so therefore, must seek avenues to mitigate these disadvantages. In other words, insurgent forces out vastly outdone in the traditional aspects of warfare, so they are forced to resort to unconventional modes of attack.

Early in his book, the Army and Vietnam, Krepinevich provides the broad game plan an insurgent force must follow to achieve final victory:

As developed by Mao in China and adapted by Giap in Vietnam, contemporary insurgency is a third world phenomenon comprising three phases: first, insurgent agitation and proselytization among the masses -- the phase of contention; second, overt violence, guerrilla operations, and the establishment of bases -- the equilibrium phase; and third, open warfare between insurgent and government forces designed to topple the existing regime -- the counteroffensive phase."

Primarily, this form of warfare consists of the formation of a political party, then attacks upon remote areas under governmental control to increase the insurgent's hold upon the public, and finally a full force is assembled that most closely resembles a conventional army. Without a doubt, the most important aspect of the insurgent movement is establishing at least passive support from the surrounding population. If the insurgents are able to illicit sympathy from a significant portion of the citizenry, they will find a base for operations and sanctuary; additionally, they will become more difficult for the occupational force to eradicate. Overall, this specific distinction between insurgence and terrorism comes about when the ideological or moral goals of violence are enhanced; insurgency can certainly take the form of terrorism; but if the motivations behind it appear just, then it becomes more complicated than merely asserting that those who attack civilians are terrorists.

Conceiving of terrorism in these terms results in the recognition that it is more easy to distinguish between utterly immoral terrorist actions and those that may possess higher levels of ethical backing: "The distinction between combatants and noncombatants and its relation to the notion of innocence are problematic, but to a lesser extent in the context of terrorism than in that of warfare." Thus,

It is well-known that the earliest and most dangerous form of terrorism is State Terrorism, which first appeared in the form of 'government terror,' which essentially entailed the use of violence…… [Read More]

Anonymous. 2004. Imperial Hubris. Washington, D.C.: Brassley's, Inc. Page, xxi.

Barringer, Mark. 1999. "The Anti-War Movement in the United States." The Oxford Companion to American Military History. New York: Oxford University Press Available: www.english.uiuc.edu/maps/vietnam/antiwar.html.
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Industry in America Are a Varied Lot Essay

Words: 647 Length: 2 Pages Document Type: Essay Paper #: 63548229

industry in America are a varied lot, ranging from self-righteous and mean-spirited individualists to community-minded altruists. The tensions among these capitalist types is as evident today as it was in the days when Ayn Rand first penned The Fountainhead. Since Rand was a Russian immigrant, it is not particularly surprising that her experiences with socialist and communist societies colored her perspective of capitalism, to a degree reminiscent of a defensive reaction formation. The protagonists in the film Atlas Shrugged engage in a capital strike that is intended to bring the economy to a standstill in order to emphasize the rightness and importance of laissez-faire capitalism. The decline of the transcontinental railway stands in for the future of America if it practices communism and upholds the values of moral relativism. The fundamental tenant of these industrialists was that they were entitled to function according to a natural order that encouraged individuals to put their own selfish interests before those of others as doing so would eventually contribute to the common good. Foremost in this effort was the desire to ensure that individual liberty and private property rights were paramount, and essentially unfettered by artificial governmental barriers and laws. While I certainly embrace the idea of supporting individual creativity and productivity, I can not support a management philosophy that does not consider solutions designed to improve the conditions and the community of the workers. The spark to work well for a company -- or for oneself -- should come from the significance of the contribution the business provides society. Sadly, the book and film portray pure economic forms, but pure systems do not exist -- any system is vulnerable to corruption by human beings, particularly those who are focused on their own happiness and self-interest above all else.

Atlas Shrugged 2. There emerges from the film the notion that industrialists -- capitalists -- are entitled to the fruits of their labor -- and,…… [Read More]