American cultural and intellectual history final

Since knowledge thinking and rational action are

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Since knowledge, thinking, and rational action are properties of the individual, since the choice to exercise his rational faculty or not depends on the individual, man’s survival requires that those who think be free of the interference of those who don’t. Since men are neither omniscient nor infallible, they must be free to agree or disagree, to cooperate or to pursue their own independent course, each according to his own rational judgment. Freedom is the fundamental requirement of man’s mind. It is the basic, metaphysical fact of man’s nature—the connection between his survival and his use of reason—that capitalism recognizes and protects. Capitalism demands the best of every man—his rationality—and rewards him accordingly. It leaves every man free to choose the work he likes, to specialize in it, to trade his product for the products of others, and to go as far on the road of achievement as his ability and ambition will carry him. His success depends on the objective value of his work and on the rationality of those who recognize that value. When men are free to trade, with reason and reality as their only arbiter, when no man may use physical force to extort the consent of another, it is the best product and the best judgment that win in every field of human endeavor, and raise the standard of living—and of thought—ever higher for all those who take part in mankind’s productive activity. If everyone does what is best for them with reckless disregard for those around you then you will help them?
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Ayn Rand believes in, and above all else defends, mans right to act and operate as an individual. As Rand puts it “The right of liberty means man's right to individual action, individual choice, individual initiative and individual property”(Rand). This presumption is the cornerstone from which Rand builds the rest of her theories. A man should act as an independent agent, his motivations should originate from within. A man that acts based on societal or communal pressures is not free according to Rand; rather they are slaves to the collective. On the subject of collectivism Rand explains that,“The greatest threat to mankind and civilization is the spread of the totalitarian philosophy .... Totalitarianism is collectivism. Collectivism means the subjugation of the individual to a group”(Rand). According to Rand the
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formation of a collective means the death of the individual, his will is forgotten and replaced by that of the masses. Under the wight of this burden the individual suffers, his ambitions unrealized, his labors benefiting another, and his goals warped for the greater good. This is an unsustainable model of society in Rands eyes as she explains, “The only happy society is one of happy individuals. One cannot have a healthy forest made up of rotten trees”(Rand). The individual must be free to pursue his own ends, uninhibited and unfettered.
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