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Let me stress this. The first question is not: What particular code of values should man accept? The first question is: Does man need values at all—and why? Does an arbitrary human convention, a mere custom, decree that man must guide his actions by a set of principles—or is there a fact of reality that demands it?

Is ethics a subjective luxury— or an objective necessity? Some of them did so explicitly, by intention—others implicitly, by default. No philosopher has given a rational, objectively demonstrable, scientific answer to the question of why man needs a code of values. So long as that question remained unanswered, no rational, scientific, objective code of ethics could be discovered or defined.

The greatest of all philosophers, Aristotle, did not regard ethics as an exact science; he based his ethical system on observations of what the noble and wise men of his time chose to do, leaving unanswered the questions of: why they chose to do it and why he evaluated them as noble and wise.

Most philosophers took the existence of ethics for granted, as the given, as a historical fact, and were not concerned with discovering its metaphysical cause or objective validation. Many of them attempted to break the traditional monopoly of mysticism in the field of ethics and, allegedly, to define a rational, scientific, nonreligious morality.

But their attempts consisted of trying to justify them on social grounds, merely substituting society for God. By what? Faith—instinct—intuition—revelation—feeling—taste—urge—wish— whim. If you wonder why the world is now collapsing to a lower and ever lower rung of hell, this is the reason. If you want to save civilization, it is this premise of modern ethics—and of all ethical history—that you must challenge.

To challenge the basic premise of any discipline, one must begin at the beginning. In ethics, one must begin by asking: What are values? Why does man need them? It presupposes an entity capable of acting to achieve a goal in the face of an alternative. Where no alternative exists, no goals and no values are possible. The existence of inanimate matter is unconditional, the existence of life is not: it depends on a specific course of action.

Matter is indestructible, it changes its forms, but it cannot cease to exist. It is only a living organism that faces a constant alternative: the issue of life or death. Life is a process of self-sustaining and self-generated action. If an organism fails in that action, it dies; its chemical elements remain, but its life goes out of existence. It is only to a living entity that things can be good or evil.

It could have no interests and no goals. Only a living entity can have goals or can originate them. And it is only a living organism that has the capacity for self-generated, goal-directed action. What standard determines what is proper in this context? No choice is open to an organism in this issue: that which is required for its survival is determined by its nature, by the kind of entity it is.

In a fundamental sense, stillness is the antithesis of life. Life can be kept in existence only by a constant process of self-sustaining action. An ultimate value is that final goal or end to which all lesser goals are the means—and it sets the standard by which all lesser goals are evaluated. Without an ultimate goal or end, there can be no lesser goals or means: a series of means going off into an infinite progression toward a nonexistent end is a metaphysical and epistemological impossibility.

It is only an ultimate goal, an end in itself, that makes the existence of values possible. Thus the validation of value judgments is to be achieved by reference to the facts of reality. The fact that a living entity is, determines what it ought to do. By means of the physical sensations of pleasure or pain.

Just as sensations are the first step of the development of a human consciousness in the realm of cognition, so they are its first step in the realm of evaluation. He has no choice about it, and he has no choice about the standard that determines what will make him experience the physical sensation of pleasure or of pain.

What is that standard? His life. The physical sensation of pleasure is a signal indicating that the organism is pursuing the right course of action. The physical sensation of pain is a warning signal of danger, indicating that the organism is pursuing the wrong course of action, that something is impairing the proper function of its body, which requires action to correct it.

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The best illustration of this can be seen in the rare, freak cases of children who are born without the capacity to experience physical pain; such children do not survive for long; they have no means of discovering what can injure them, no warning signals, and thus a minor cut can develop into a deadly infection, or a major illness can remain undetected until it is too late to fight it. Consciousness—for those living organisms which possess it—is the basic means of survival.

The higher organisms, such as animals and man, cannot: their needs are more complex and the range of their actions is wider. The physical functions of their bodies can perform automatically only the task of using fuel, but cannot obtain that fuel. To obtain it, the higher organisms need the faculty of consciousness. A plant can obtain its food from the soil in which it grows. An animal has to hunt for it. Man has to produce it. A plant has no choice of action; the goals it pursues are automatic and innate, determined by its nature.

Nourishment, water, sunlight are the values its nature has set it to seek. Its life is the standard of value directing its actions. There are alternatives in the conditions it encounters in its physical background—such as heat or frost, drought or flood—and there are certain actions which it is able to perform to combat adverse conditions, such as the ability of some plants to grow and crawl from under a rock to reach the sunlight.

The range of actions required for the survival of the higher organisms is wider: it is proportionate to the range of their consciousness. The lower of the conscious species possess only the faculty of sensation, which is sufficient to direct their actions and provide for their needs.

A sensation is produced by the automatic reaction of a sense organ to a stimulus from the outside world; it lasts for the duration of the immediate moment, as long as the stimulus lasts and no longer. Sensations are an automatic response, an automatic form of knowledge, which a consciousness can neither seek nor evade. An organism that possesses only the faculty of sensation is guided by the pleasure-pain mechanism of its body, that is: by an automatic knowledge and an automatic code of values.

Within the range of action possible to it, it acts automatically to further its life and cannot act for its own destruction. The higher organisms possess a much more potent form of consciousness: they possess the faculty of retaining sensations, which is the faculty of perception.

An animal is guided, not merely by immediate sensations, but by percepts. Its actions are not single, discrete responses to single, separate stimuli, but are directed by an integrated awareness of the perceptual reality confronting it.

It is able to learn certain skills to deal with specific situations, such as hunting or hiding, which the parents of the higher animals teach their young. But an animal has no choice in the knowledge and the skills that it acquires; it can only repeat them generation after generation.

And an animal has no choice in the standard of value directing its actions: its senses provide it with an automatic code of values, an automatic knowledge of what is good for it or evil, what benefits or endangers its life. An animal has no power to extend its knowledge or to evade it. In situations for which its knowledge is inadequate, it perishes—as, for instance, an animal that stands paralyzed on the track of a railroad in the path of a speeding train.

But so long as it lives, an animal acts on its knowledge, with automatic safety and no power of choice: it cannot suspend its own consciousness—it cannot choose not to perceive—it cannot evade its own perceptions—it cannot ignore its own good, it cannot decide to choose the evil and act as its own destroyer.

Man has no automatic code of survival. He has no automatic course of action, no automatic set of values. His senses do not tell him automatically what is good for him or evil, what will benefit his life or endanger it, what goals he should pursue and what means will achieve them, what values his life depends on, what course of action it requires.

His own consciousness has to discover the answers to all these questions—but his consciousness will not function automatically. Man, the highest living species on this earth— the being whose consciousness has a limitless capacity for gaining knowledge—man is the only living entity born without any guarantee of remaining conscious at all. But conceptual knowledge cannot be acquired automatically. The faculty that directs this process, the faculty that works by means of concepts, is: reason.

The process is thinking. It is a faculty that man has to exercise by choice.

Thinking is not an automatic function. In any hour and issue of his life, man is free to think or to evade that effort. Thinking requires a state of full, focused awareness. Man can focus his mind to a full, active, purposefully directed awareness of reality— or he can unfocus it and let himself drift in a semiconscious daze, merely reacting to any chance stimulus of the immediate moment, at the mercy of his undirected sensory-perceptual mechanism and of any random, associational connections it might happen to make.

When man unfocuses his mind, he may be said to be conscious in a subhuman sense of the word, since he experiences sensations and perceptions.

But in the sense of the word applicable to man—in the sense of a consciousness which is aware of reality and able to deal with it, a consciousness able to direct the actions and provide for the survival of a human being—an unfocused mind is not conscious. For man, the basic means of survival is reason. He cannot provide for his simplest physical needs without a process of thought.

He needs a process of thought to discover how to plant and grow his food or how to make weapons for hunting. His percepts might lead him to a cave, if one is available—but to build the simplest shelter, he needs a process of thought.

Yet his life depends on such knowledge—and only a volitional act of his consciousness, a process of thought, can provide it. Man has to initiate it, to sustain it and to bear responsibility for its results.

He has to discover how to tell what is true or false and how to correct his own errors; he has to discover how to validate his concepts, his conclusions, his knowledge; he has to discover the rules of thought, the laws of logic, to direct his thinking.

Nature gives him no automatic guarantee of the efficacy of his mental effort. Nothing is given to man on earth except a potential and the material on which to actualize it. The potential is a superlative machine: his consciousness; but it is a machine without a spark plug, a machine of which his own will has to be the spark plug, the self-starter and the driver; he has to discover how to use it and he has to keep it in constant action.

The material is the whole of the universe, with no limits set to the knowledge he can acquire and to the enjoyment of life he can achieve. But everything he needs or desires has to be learned, discovered and produced by him—by his own choice, by his own effort, by his own mind.

A being who does not know automatically what is true or false, cannot know automatically what is right or wrong, what is good for him or evil.

Yet he needs that knowledge in order to live. He is not exempt from the laws of reality, he is a specific organism of a specific nature that requires specific actions to sustain his life. He cannot achieve his survival by arbitrary means nor by random motions nor by blind urges nor by chance nor by whim. That which his survival requires is set by his nature and is not open to his choice.

What is open to his choice is only whether he will discover it or not, whether he will choose the right goals and values or not. He is free to evade reality, he is free to unfocus his mind and stumble blindly down any road he pleases, but not free to avoid the abyss he refuses to see.

Man is the only living species that has the power to act as his own destroyer—and that is the way he has acted through most of his history. What, then, are the right goals for man to pursue? What are the values his survival requires? That is the question to be answered by the science of ethics. And this, ladies and gentlemen, is why man needs a code of ethics. Ethics is not a mystic fantasy—nor a social convention—nor a dispensable, subjective luxury, to be switched or discarded in any emergency.

Man has to be man—by choice; he has to hold his life as a value—by choice; he has to learn to sustain it—by choice; he has to discover the values it requires and practice his virtues—by choice. A code of values accepted by choice is a code of morality. Since everything man needs has to be discovered by his own mind and produced by his own effort, the two essentials of the method of survival proper to a rational being are: thinking and productive work. The survival of such mental parasites depends on blind chance; their unfocused minds are unable to know whom to imitate, whose motions it is safe to follow.

They are the men who march into the abyss, trailing after any destroyer who promises them to assume the responsibility they evade: the responsibility of being conscious. If some men attempt to survive by means of brute force or fraud, by looting, robbing, cheating or enslaving the men who produce, it still remains true that their survival is made possible only by their victims, only by the men who choose to think and to produce the goods which they, the looters, are seizing.

Such looters are parasites incapable of survival, who exist by destroying those who are capable, those who are pursuing a course of action proper to man. The men who attempt to survive, not by means of reason, but by means of force, are attempting to survive by the method of animals. But just as animals would not be able to survive by attempting the method of plants, by rejecting locomotion and waiting for the soil to feed them—so men cannot survive by attempting the method of animals, by rejecting reason and counting on productive men to serve as their prey.

Such looters may achieve their goals for the range of a moment, at the price of destruction: the destruction of their victims and their own. As evidence, I offer you any criminal or any dictatorship. Man cannot survive, like an animal, by acting on the range of the moment. He can alter his choices, he is free to change the direction of his course, he is even free, in many cases, to atone for the consequences of his past— but he is not free to escape them, nor to live his life with impunity on the range of the moment, like an animal, a playboy or a thug.

If he is to succeed at the task of survival, if his actions are not to be aimed at his own destruction, man has to choose his course, his goals, his values in the context and terms of a lifetime. It does not mean the momentary physical survival of a mindless brute, waiting for another brute to crush his skull.

Man cannot survive as anything but man. He can abandon his means of survival, his mind, he can turn himself into a subhuman creature and he can turn his life into a brief span of agony—just as his body can exist for a while in the process of disintegration by disease. Man has to be man by choice—and it is the task of ethics to teach him how to live like man. The task of applying this principle to a concrete, specific purpose—the purpose of living a life proper to a rational being—belongs to every individual man, and the life he has to live is his own.

Man must choose his actions, values and goals by the standard of that which is proper to man—in order to achieve, maintain, fulfill and enjoy that ultimate value, that end in itself, which is his own life.

Reason is the source, the precondition of his productive work—pride is the result. It means that one must never desire effects without causes, and that one must never enact a cause without assuming full responsibility for its effects—that one must never act like a zombie, i.

It means the rejection of any form of mysticism, i. It means a commitment to reason, not in sporadic fits or on selected issues or in special emergencies, but as a permanent way of life. It means the consciously chosen pursuit of a productive career, in any line of rational endeavor, great or modest, on any level of ability. Recommendation-only system Since its founding in , Booklist has followed a recommendation-only system; this means.

Booklist Selection Policy The editors of Booklist magazine adhere to a selection policy consistent with the Library Bill of Rights ; the process of choosing titles for reviews aims to promote readership, never censorship.

Booklist Reviewers Titles are reviewed by a corps of librarians, freelancers and educators, as well as Booklist editors and staff.

Website Booklist Online is the archive of the Booklist print magazine. Within the database, subscribers have access to digital editions of the print magazine, an archive of over , reviews, a host of feature content. Non-subscribers can sign up for free monthly webinars. The HUAC was created in to investigate alleged disloyalty and subversive activities on the part of private citizens, public employees, those organizations suspected of having Fascist or Communist ties. In , the House changed the committee's name to "House Committee on Internal Security"; when the House abolished the committee in , its functions were transferred to the House Judiciary Committee.

The committee's anti-communist investigations are compared with those of Joseph McCarthy who, as a U. Senator , had no direct involvement with this House committee. The subcommittee investigated German as well as Bolshevik elements in the United States.

This committee was concerned with investigating pro-German sentiments in the American liquor industry. After World War I ended in November , the German threat lessened, the committee began investigating Bolshevism, which had appeared as a threat during the First Red Scare after the Russian Revolution in ; the committee's hearing into Bolshevik propaganda , conducted February 11 to March 10, , had a decisive role in constructing an image of a radical threat to the United States during the first Red Scare.

Congressman Hamilton Fish III , a fervent anti-communist, introduced, on May 5, , House Resolution , which proposed to establish a committee to investigate communist activities in the United States; the resulting committee known as the Fish Committee, undertook extensive investigations of people and organizations suspected of being involved with or supporting communist activities in the United States.

Foster ; the committee recommended granting the United States Department of Justice more authority to investigate communists, strengthening of immigration and deportation laws to keep communists out of the United States.

Its mandate was to get "information on how foreign subversive propaganda entered the U. Its records are held by the National Archives and Records Administration as records related to HUAC; the committee investigated allegations of a fascist plot to seize the White House , known as the " business plot ".

Although the plot was reported as a hoax , the committee confirmed some details of the accusations. On May 26, , the House Committee on Un-American Activities was established as a special investigating committee, reorganized from its previous incarnations as the Fish Committee and the McCormack-Dickstein Committee, to investigate alleged disloyalty and subversive activities on the part of private citizens, public employees, those organizations suspected of having communist or fascist ties, it was therefore known as the Dies Committee.

In , Hallie Flanagan , the head of the Federal Theatre Project , was subpoenaed to appear before the committee to answer the charge the project was overrun with communists.

Flanagan was called to testify for only a part of one day, while a clerk from the project was called in for two entire days. It was during this investigation that one of the committee members, Joe Starnes , famously asked Flanagan whether the Elizabethan era playwright Christopher Marlowe was a member of the Communist Party, mused " Mr.

Euripides " preached class warfare. In , the committee investigated leaders of the American Youth Congress , a Communist International affiliate organization; the committee put together an argument for the internment of Japanese Americans known as the "Yellow Report".

Organized in response to rumors of Japanese Americans being coddled by the War Relocation Authority and news that some former inmates would be allowed to leave camp and Nisei soldiers to return to the West Coast , the committee investigated charges of fifth column activity in the camps. A number of anti-WRA arguments were presented in subsequent hearings, but Director Dillon Myer debunked the more inflammatory claims.

The investigation was presented to the 77th Congress, alleged that certain cultural traits — Japanese loyalty to the Emperor, the number of Japanese fishermen in the US, the Buddhist faith — were evidence for Japanese espionage. With the exception of Rep. Herman Eberharter, the members of the committee seemed to support internment, its recommendations to expedite the impending se We the Living We the Living is the debut novel of the Russian American novelist Ayn Rand.

It was Rand's first statement against communism. Rand observes in the foreword that We the Living was the closest she would come to writing an autobiography. Rand finished writing the novel in , but it was rejected by several publishers before being released by Macmillan Publishing in , it has since sold more than three million copies.

The story takes place from to , in post-revolutionary Russia. Kira Argounova, the protagonist of the story, is the younger daughter of a bourgeois family. An independent spirit with a will to match, she rejects any attempt by her family or the nascent Soviet state to cast her into a mold.

At the beginning of the story, Kira returns to Petrograd with her family, after a prolonged exile due to the assault of the Bolshevik revolutionaries. Kira's father had been the owner of a textile factory, seized and nationalized. Having given up all hopes of regaining their past possessions after the victories of the Red Army , the family returns to the city in search of livelihood.

They find that their home has been seized and converted to living quarters for several families. Kira's family manages to find living quarters, Kira's father gets a license to open a textile shop, an establishment, but a shadow of his old firm. Life is excruciatingly difficult in these times. Rand portrays weary citizens and low standards of living.

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With some effort, Kira manages to obtain her Labor Book, which permits her to work. Kira manages to enroll in the Technological Institute, where she aspires to fulfill her dream of becoming an engineer.

At the Institute, Kira meets Andrei Taganov, a co-student, an idealistic Communist and an officer in the Soviet secret police; the two share a mutual respect and admiration for each other in spite of their differing political beliefs, become friends. In a chance encounter, Kira meets an attractive man with a free spirit, it is love at first sight for Kira, she throws herself at Leo, who takes her to be a prostitute.

He is strongly attracted to her and promises to meet her again. Kira and Leo are shown to be united by their desperate lives and their beliefs that run counter to what is being thrust on them by the state. After a couple of meetings, when they share their deep contempt for the state of their lives, the two plan to escape the country together.

From this point on, the novel cascades into a series of catastrophes for Kira and Leo, they are caught while attempting to flee the country, but escape imprisonment with the help of an official who knew Leo's father before the revolution. Kira leaves her parents' apartment and moves into Leo's. Soon the state decides to expel any college students of a bourgeois background, Kira is fired from her job; the relationship between Kira and Leo and passionate in the beginning, begins to deteriorate under the weight of their hardships and their different reactions.

Kira keeps her ideas and aspirations alive, but decides to go along with the system until she feels powerful enough to challenge it. Leo, in contrast, sinks into indifference and depression.

He is prescribed treatment in a sanatorium. Kira's efforts to finance his treatment fail, her appeals to the authorities to get state help fall on deaf ears; as Kira's relationship with Leo evolves, so does her relationship with Andrei.

Despite their political differences, she finds Andrei to be the one person with whom she could discuss her most intimate thoughts and views.

Andrei's affection and respect for Kira turns into love; when he confesses his love to Kira, she is dismayed but desperate, so she feigns love for Andrei and agrees to become his mistress.

She uses money from Andrei to fund Leo's treatment. Leo returns cured of tuberculosis and healthy, he opens a food store, a facade for black market trade. Andrei, concerned that corruption is damaging the communist state, starts investigating Leo's store, he in the process discovers that Kira has secretly been living with Leo.

Disillusioned about both his personal relationship and his political ideals, Andrei secures Leo's release and shortly thereafter commits suicide. Kira the only genuine mourner at his state funeral, wonders if she has killed him.

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Having lost any moral sense that he may have left, Leo leaves Kira to begin a new life as a gigolo. After Leo's departure, Kira makes a final attempt to cross the border. In sight of freedom, she is shot by a border guard and dies; the novel was first completed under the working title Airtight. Despite support from H. Mencken , who deemed it "a excellent piece of work", it was rejected by several publishers until September , when George Platt Brett of Macmillan Publishing agreed to publish it.

Brett's decision was not without controversy within Macmillan. Rand said that Brett was unsure whether the novel would turn a profit, but he thought it was a book that ought to be published; the first edition was issued on April 7, The initial American publication of We the Living was not a commercial success. Macmillan did little marketing.

Initial sales were slow and although they picked up Macmillan destroyed the plates before the first printing of copies sold out. Eighteen months after its release, the novel was out of print.

There was a British publication by Cassell in January , editions w Albert Jay Nock Albert Jay Nock was an American libertarian author, editor first of The Freeman and The Nation , educational theorist and social critic of the early and middle 20th century.He can abandon his means of survival, his mind, he can turn himself into a subhuman creature and he can turn his life into a brief span of agony—just as his body can exist for a while in the process of disintegration by disease.

Just as sensations are the first step of the development of a human consciousness in the realm of cognition, so they are its first step in the realm of evaluation. His percepts might lead him to a cave, if one is available—but to build the simplest shelter, he needs a process of thought. The second great benefit is the division of labor: it enables a man to devote his effort to a particular field of work and to trade with others who specialize in other fields.

If some men attempt to survive by means of brute force or fraud, by looting, robbing, cheating or enslaving the men who produce, it still remains true that their survival is made possible only by their victims, only by the men who choose to think and to produce the goods which they, the looters, are seizing.

Men have the right to use physical force only in retaliation and only against those who initiate its use.

I will not attempt, in a brief lecture, to discuss the political theory of Objectivism. Fifth issue: deployment of important terms dogmatically without explanation, even though the rest of us know that the terms are burdened by much dialogue: e.

We are told, e.

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