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安蘭德:什麼是美國價值


【曹長青按語:安.蘭德(Ayn Rand)是美國最重要的思想家之一。她1905年在俄國出生,21歲到美國,后成為暢銷小說作家和哲學家(1982年去世)。1998年美國蘭登出版社評選“20世紀百部最佳英文小說”,在“讀者投票評選榜”上,安蘭德的《阿特拉斯聳聳肩》獲第一名,《源泉》獲第二名。她的另兩部小說分別排第七、第八位。而她一共就出版過四部小說。

在“非虛構類”的讀者票選榜上,第一名仍是安蘭德的理論專著《自私的美德》。第三名是安蘭德的思想繼承人佩可夫介紹安蘭德哲學思想的專集,第六名則是一本關于蘭德的評傳。

一個作家,能夠同時獲得虛構、非虛構兩個讀者評選榜的第一名,並且全部主要作品都進入前十名,這在美國、在整個英語作品的歷史上,都沒有過先例!

安蘭德的作品為什麼會有如此這般的影響力?主要因為她用小說形式傳播了一種前所未有的哲學思想——客觀主義。所謂客觀主義,核心思想是推崇“個人主義”(individualism),強調以人為本,理性,個人主義對抗群體主義。對此我曾在“奧巴馬Vs.安蘭德”一文中做過介紹分析。

(奧巴馬Vs.安蘭德: http://caochangqing.com/gb/newsdisp.php?News_ID=1883)

美國是人類有史以來最實踐保護個人權利的國家;安蘭德則是最高揚這種個人主義價值、並是對此闡述得最清晰、最深刻的思想家。那麼什麼是個人主義價值?安蘭德在1946年發表這篇《什麼是美國價值》對此作了簡要、深刻、清晰的論述。

此文的中譯(譯者不詳)曾發表在中國“安蘭德書友會”網站,原英文標題Textbook of Americanism被譯為“什麼是西方價值觀”。其實直譯應為“美國主義的教科書”,這裡意譯為:“什麼是美國價值”。

今年是安蘭德誕辰110周年。在此之際,曹長青網站強烈推薦這篇經典力作。】

下面是這篇問答式文章:

什麼是美國價值

作者:安.蘭德

【英文原文注:本文寫于1946年,最初發表在位于加州比弗利山莊 (Beverly Hills) 的以保護美國理念為宗旨的電影協會的刊物《警戒》(The Vigil)。文章的目的在于定義和闡明政治領域的一些基本原理,所以主題僅限于政治。這裡選登的十二個問題是一個計劃中的長文的前三分之一,剩余部分沒有完成。】

1、當今世界的根本問題是什麼?

當今世界的根本問題是兩大原則之間的對立:個人主義和集體主義。個人主義認為,每個人都擁有不可剝奪的權利,任何他人或集體都不得剝奪其權利,所以,每個人都有生存的權利,並且是為了自己而生存,而不是為了集體的利益而生存。

集體主義認為,個人沒有任何權利,他的工作、身體和個性都屬于集體,集體為了它自己的利益可以用任何方式任意對個人進行處置,所以,個人的存在需得到集體的允许,並且是為了集體而存在。

這兩種原則是兩個對立的社會制度生成的根源。當今世界的根本問題就是兩大社會制度之間的對立。

2、什麼是社會制度?

社會制度是人們為了能共同生活而遵守的法令。制定這樣的法令,必須以一個基本原則作為起點,那就是要首先回答這樣的一個問題:社會的權力是有限的還是無限的?

個人主義的回答是:社會的權力是有限的,因為它受到不可剝奪的個人權利的限制,社會只能制定不會侵犯這些權利的法律。

集體主義的回答是:社會的權利是無限的,社會可以任意制定法律,並任意地強加給任何人。

例如:在崇尚個人主義的制度下,任何人都不能為了自己的利益去通過一項法律以結束某個人的生命,哪怕是有百萬人之眾。如果他們真的這樣做了,那麼他們就侵犯了保護生存權利的法律,必將受到懲罰。

在奉行集體主義的制度下,只要有利可圖,任何人多勢眾的群體(或任何自稱可以代表多數的人)完全可以通過一項法律來結束某個人(或任何少數人群體)的生命。個人的生存權利在那裡是得不到承認的。

根據個人主義原則,殺人是非法的,而保護自己是完全合法的,法律站在權利一邊。根據集體主義原則,人多勢眾的一方殺人是合法的,而自衛卻是非法的,法律站在多數人的一邊。

在第一種情況裡,法律代表的是道德原則。

在第二種情況裡,法律代表的是無視道德原則的觀點,人們可以為所欲為,只要他們能在數量上占上風。

在崇尚個人主義的制度下,在法律面前任何時候人人都是平等的。每個人都擁有相同的權利,不論他是勢單力薄,還是身后有百萬人撐腰。

在奉行集體主義的制度下,人們需要拉幫結派,誰的幫派最壯大,誰就擁有所有的權利,而失敗者(個人或少數派)卻沒有任何權利。根據他所在幫派勢力的強弱,一個人可以成為具有絕對權威的主人,也可以成為孤苦無助的奴隸。

美利堅合眾國可以作為第一種制度的典型例子(請參見《獨立宣言》)。

蘇聯和納粹德國是第二種制度的見證。

在蘇聯,數百萬農民或“富農”被依法消滅,理由是統治集團認為這樣做有益于大多數人,因為他們認為大多數人都是反對富農的。在納粹德國,數百萬猶太人被依法消滅,理由是統治集團認為這樣做有益于大多數人,因為他們認為大多數人都是反對猶太人的。

蘇聯和納粹的法律是集體主義原則不可避免的必然結果。在現實中,無視道德標准和個人權利的原則最后只能導致暴力。

在你確定哪一種社會制度更為優越之前,一定要記住以上的分析。你需要回答前面提出的問題,社會的權力要麼是有限的,要麼是無限的,不可能兩個同時成立。

3、美國的基本原則是什麼?

美國的基本原則是個人主義。

美國是建立在“人人擁有不可剝奪的權利”這一原則之上的:

——這些權利屬于每個作為個體的人,而不屬于作為群體或集體的眾人;

——這些權利是無條件的,是每個人私有的,屬于個人,而不具有公眾性和社會性,不屬于團體;

——這些權利是與生俱來的,而不是社會賦予的;

——個人擁有的這些權利不是來自集體,也不是以集體的利益為目的,它們同集體相對立,是集體無法逾越的障礙;

——這些權利可以保護個人,使他不受到任何他人的侵害;

——只有建立在這些權利的基礎上,人們才可能擁有一個自由、正義、尊嚴、體面的社會。

美利堅合眾國的憲法不是限制個人權利的法律,而是限制社會權力的法律。

4、什麼是權利?

權利是對獨立行為的認可。擁有權利意味著行動不需任何人的许可。

如果你的存在僅僅是因為社會允许你存在,那麼你就不具有擁有自己生命的權利,因為外來的许可隨時可能取消。

如果在采取任何行動之前,你必須獲得社會的许可,無論你能否獲得這樣的许可,那麼你都不是自由的。只有奴隸在行動之前需要獲得主人的恩准。恩准不是權利。

千萬不要以為工人也是奴隸,以為他是因為老板的恩惠才獲得工作的。他不是靠別人的恩惠才擁有工作,而是靠雙方自願簽訂的合約。工人可以辭職,而奴隸不可以。

5、什麼是不可剝奪的人權?

不可剝奪的人權包括:生命權、自由權和追求幸福的權利。

生命權是指任何人不會因為他人或集體的利益而被剝奪生命。

自由權是指個人享有個人行動、個人選擇、個人創制並擁有個人財產的權利。失去了擁有個人財產的權利,獨立行動就無法得到保障。

追求幸福的權利是指在尊重他人相同權利的前提下,人有權為了自己而生活,可以選擇能給自己帶來幸福的生活方式並予以實現。也就是說,任何人都不必為了他人或集體的幸福而犧牲自己的幸福,集體不能決定個人的生存目的,也不能左右他追求幸福的方式。

6、我們怎樣承認他人的權利?

既然人人都享有不可剝奪的權利,那麼每個人在任何時候都享有相同的權利,不能也不應該為了自己的權利而去破壞他人的權利。

例如,一個人有活著的權利,但他無權剝奪另一個人活著的權利;他有追求自由的權利,但他沒有奴役他人的權利;他有追求自己幸福的權利,但他沒有把幸福建立在他人痛苦之上的權利(或對他人進行謀殺、搶劫或奴役)。他在享受某種權利的同時應該意識到,這正是他人也應享受的權利,從而了解他應該做什麼或不應該做什麼。

千萬不要以為自由主義者會說這樣的話:“我想做什麼就可以做什麼,不必管別人會怎樣。”自由主義者清楚地知道,每個人都擁有不可剝奪的權利——不光是他自己的,還有別人的。

自由主義者是這樣的人:“我不想控制任何人的生活,也不想讓任何人控制我的生活。我不想統治,也不想被統治。我不想作主人,也不想作奴隸。我不願為任何人犧牲自己,也不願任何人為我犧牲。”

集體主義者會說:“伙計們,我們一定要在一起,管他好死賴活。”

7、我們如何判斷權利受到侵犯?

權利無法受到侵犯,除非是運用武力。一個人無法剝奪另一個人的生命,無法奴役他,也無法阻止他追求幸福,除非是動用武力。如果一個人不是出于自由自願的選擇而被迫采取行動,那他的權利就受到了侵犯。

所以,我們可以在一個人和另一個人的權利之間劃上一條清楚的分界線。這是一條客觀的分界線,不因觀點差異而改變,也不受多數人的意見或社會的硬性規定左右。任何人都沒有權利率先向另一個人動用武力。

在一個自由的社會裡,在一個強調個人主義的社會裡,人們遵守著一條簡單明確的行為規則:你不能希冀或要求他人采取某種行動,除非這是他人自由自願的選擇。

不要被集體主義的老把戲所迷惑,他們說:世界上根本不存在絕對的自由,因為你不能隨意殺人,社會不允许你殺人的時候已經約束了你的自由,社會擁有以任何它認為合適的方式約束你自由的權利,所以,丟掉自由的幻想吧——自由取決于社會的決定。

阻止你殺人的不是社會,也不是某種社會權利,而是其他人不可剝奪的生命權。這不是雙方權利之間的“妥協”,而是確保雙方權利不受侵犯的分界線。這條分界線不是來自社會法令,而是來自你自己不可剝奪的權利。社會無法武斷地定義這條分界線,你自身擁有的權利裡已經隱含了這條分界線。

在你的權利範圍內,你的自由是絕對的。

8、什麼是政府正確的職能?

政府正確的職能是保護公民的個人權利,保護他們不受到暴力的傷害。

在一個合理的社會制度裡,人們彼此之間不會動用武力,他們只在自衛時才會訴諸武力,也就是說,他們只用武力來維護受到侵犯的權利。公民賦予政府在反擊時使用武力的權力——而且只能在反擊時使用。

一個合理公正的政府不會率先動用武力,它只在回應那些首先動武的人時才使用武力。例如:政府逮捕一名罪犯時,侵犯權利的不是政府,而是罪犯,他的所作所為剝奪了自身的權利,人們除了通過武力對付他之外別無他法。

我們要記住一點,那就是,在一個自由的社會裡任何被定義為犯罪的行為都是涉及動用武力的行為——只有這樣的行為才需要通過武力來回擊。

千萬不要相信這樣的鬼話,說什麼“殺人犯對社會構成犯罪”。殺人犯殺害的不是社會,而是一個個體;他侵犯的不是社會權利,而是屬于個人的權利。他不是因為傷害了一個集體而受到懲罰——他沒有傷害整個集體,他傷害的是一個人。如果一個罪犯搶劫了十個人,那麼他搶劫的仍然不是“社會”,而是十個個體。根本不存在“對社會構成犯罪”這種情況,所有的犯罪都是針對具體的人,針對社會中的每一個個體的。保護每一個個體不受到罪犯的傷害,正是一個合理的社會制度和公正的政府應該承擔的責任。可是,如果政府成為武力的始作俑者,就一定會禍患無窮。

例如:一個倡導集體主義的政府以處死或監禁作為懲罰,強行命令一個個體工作,並且讓他永遠束縛于某種工作——這裡,率先動用武力的就是政府了。這個個體沒有對任何人使用暴力,但是政府卻對他施以暴力。這樣的做法根本沒有任何道理,其結果只能導致血腥和恐怖,這一點你已經在任何一個倡導集體主義的國家中找到了例證。

如果人類沒有政府和任何形式的社會制度,人們可能會通過純粹的暴力形式來解決彼此間的分歧並生存下來。在這種情況下,一個人擁有和另一個人抗爭的平等權利,但他無法和十個人抗爭。一個人需要保護的是不受群體的傷害,而不是某個個體。即使是在這種無政府的狀態下,雖然多數派可以自行其道,但是少數派還是可以通過任何可能的方式進行鬥爭,使多數派的統治無法長久。

而集體主義連原始的無政府主義都不如:它剝奪了人們反擊的權利。在這裡,暴力是合法的,而反抗是非法的;在這裡,多數派(或任何聲稱代表多數派的人)有組織的暴力行為受到法律的保護,而少數派則孤立無援,隨時面臨被趕盡殺絕的命運。可以肯定的是,你再也找不到比這更不公正的事情了。

在現實中,當一個倡導集體主義的社會侵犯了少數人的權利(或其中任何一個人的權利)時,多數人往往也同時失去了自己的權利,並且受制于某個通過暴力進行統治的小團體。

如果你想了解並且記住把武力作為反擊手段(倡導個人主義的政府就是這樣做的)和把武力作為基本政策(倡導集體主義的政府是這樣做的)之間的區別,這裡有一個最簡單的例子:它們之間的區別就同殺人和為了自衛殺人之間的區別一樣。一個合理公正的政府採取的原則是自衛的原則,而倡導集體主義的政府則與殺人犯同出一轍。

9、“混合的”社會制度存在嗎?

世界上根本不存在個人主義和集體主義混合存在的社會制度。社會要麼承認個人的權利,要麼不承認,絕不可能出現中立曖昧的狀態。

但現在經常發生的是,建立在個人主義之上的社會缺乏在實際生活中始終堅持原則的勇氣、正義感和智慧。由于無知、怯懦或疏漏,這樣的社會常常采納和接受與自己的基本原則相左的法規,從而侵犯了公民的權利,結果使整個社會充滿冤屈、邪惡和弊端。如果這樣的錯誤得不到糾正,那麼整個社會將陷入集體主義的紛亂之中。

如果你看到一個社會在某些法律條文中承認人權,而在有的地方又不承認人權,你千萬不要誤以為這是一種“混合的”制度,也不要以為這是兩種互相對立的基本原則之間的妥協,能夠行之有效地存在下去。這樣的社會是不可能發展的——相反,它正日漸解體。解體需要時間,沒有一樣東西會瞬間四分五裂——人的身體不會,人的社會也不會。

10、沒有道德原則的社會能夠存在嗎?

很多人至今還幼稚地認為,社會是可以為所欲為的,原則可有可無,權利只是一個幻影,權宜之計才是行動的有效指南。

確實,社會可以摒棄道德原則,任憑自己變成無所約束的獸群狂奔地走向滅亡;社會中的每一個人似乎也可以選擇隨時割斷自己的喉管。但是,如果他想生存下去,他就不能這樣做;同樣的道理,如果一個社會想繼續存在下去,它就不能摒棄道德原則。

社會是一群生活在同一國家同生同息的人。如果沒有一個明確客觀的道德規範供大家理解並自覺遵守,人們就不知道應該如何彼此相待,因為大家都不知道彼此會如何行事。不承認道德存在的人是罪犯,對于這樣的人你別無他法,只有在他敲碎你腦袋之前敲碎他的腦袋;和這樣的人你無話可說,因為你和他之間沒有有關行為規範的共同語言。贊同沒有道德原則的社會,就是贊同讓人們像罪犯一樣地生活。

由于傳統,我們仍然在遵守很多道德規範,我們對這些規範習以為常,根本不會意識到,正是因為它們的存在,我們的日常生活才得以順利進行。為什麼你可以走進擁擠不堪的百貨商店,買好東西安然無恙地走出來?你周圍的人們和你一樣需要商品,他們完全可以輕易地制服商店裡屈指可數的幾個售貨小姐,把商店搶劫一空,搶走你的背包和錢包。他們為什麼沒有這樣做?沒有任何東西可以阻止他們,也沒有任何東西可以保護你——除了尊重個人生命權和財產權的道德原則。

不要錯誤地以為人們是因為害怕警察才沒有為所欲為。如果人們認為搶劫是合情合理的,那麼有再多的警察也沒有用。而且,如果其他人認為搶劫有理,那麼警察為什麼就不能這樣想呢?那麼,誰還願意當警察呢?

更何況,在崇尚集體主義的社會裡,警察的職責並不是保護你的權利,而是侵犯你的權利。

如果你認為某個時候的利益驅動可以成為行動的理由,那麼搶劫商店自然是順理成章的。可是,如果大家都信奉這樣的行為准則,還會有多少百貨商店、工廠、農莊或家庭可以存在,可以存在多久?

如果我們摒棄道德,並代之以集體主義的多數裁定原則;如果我們認為多數人的一方就可以為所欲為,多數人做的事情一定正確,就因為這是多數人做的事情(這是對或錯的唯一標准),那麼人們該怎樣把這樣的做法運用到實際生活中呢?誰是多數人?對于每一個個體來說,除了他以外的任何人都可能是多數人中的一員,可以隨時任意地傷害他。因此,每個人和其他的所有人就成了敵人,每個人都會害怕、懷疑別人,每個人都必須在被搶劫殺害之前去搶劫殺害他人。

如果你認為這只是抽象的理論,那麼就請看看歐洲,去那裡你可以找到實證。在蘇聯和納粹德國,老百姓做著克格勃(蘇聯國家政治保衛局)和盖世太保(納粹德國的國家秘密警察組織)的肮髒勾當,互相監視,把自己的親屬和朋友送到秘密警察手上,送進可怕的行刑室。這就是集體主義理論在實際生活中產生的結果,這就是空洞罪惡的集體主義口號的實際運用。對于缺乏思考的人來說,這樣的口號確實是很動聽的:“公共利益高于任何個人權利。”

但是,沒有個人權利,就根本不可能有公共利益。

集體主義把集體置于個人之上,告訴人們為了他們的兄弟犧牲自己的權利,結果,人們除了害怕、憎恨和毀滅自己的兄弟之外別無選擇。

和平、安全、繁榮以及人與人之間的合作和善意,所有這一切美好的東西,都只有在個人主義的制度下才能實現。在這樣的制度下,每個人都能安全地行使自己的個人權利,都知道社會可以保護他的權利,而不是要毀滅他。于是,每個人都知道他可以或不可以對自己的鄰居做什麼,知道他的鄰居(一個或一百萬個)可以或不可以對他做什麼,這樣,他就可以坦然地把他們當作朋友,當作一個同類。

沒有道德規範,就不可能存在合理的人類社會。

不承認個人權利,道德規範就不可能存在。

11、“大多數人的最大利益”是一條道德的原則嗎?

“大多數人的最大利益”是用來欺騙人類的最荒謬的口號之一。

這句口號沒有具體明確的意義。我們根本無法從善意的角度來對它加以解釋,它只能用來為那些最邪惡的行為狡辯。

這句口號裡的“利益”應該如何定義?無法定義,只能說是有利于最多數人的東西。那麼,在具體的情況下,誰來決定什麼是大多數人的利益呢?還用問嗎?當然是大多數人。

如果你認為這是道德的,那麼你一定也會贊同下面的這些例子,它們正是上面那句口號在現實中的具體運用:51%的人奴役了另外49%的人;10個人中,有9個飢餓的人以另外一個伙伴的肉為食;一群殘忍的匪徒殺害了一個他們認為對他們造成威脅的人。

德國有7千萬德國人和60萬猶太人。大多數人(德國人)都支持他們的納粹政府,政府告訴他們,只有消滅少數人(猶太人)並且掠奪他們的財產,大多數人的最大利益才可能得到保障。這就是那句荒唐的口號在現實生活中制造的恐怖結果。

但是,你可能會說,在上述的例子中,大多數人並沒有得到什麼真正的利益。對,他們沒有得到任何利益,因為“利益”不是靠數字決定的,也不能通過什麼人為了別人所作的犧牲獲得。

頭腦簡單的人相信,上面的那句口號包含著某種高尚的意義,它告訴人們,為了大多數人的利益他們應該犧牲自己。如果是這樣,大多數的人會不會也高尚一次,願意為那些邪惡的少數人作點犧牲?不會?那麼,為什麼那些少數人就一定要為那些邪惡的多數人犧牲自己呢?

頭腦簡單的人以為,每個高喊上面那句口號的人都會無私地和那些為了大多數人而犧牲自己的少數人站在一起。這怎麼可能?那句口號裡絲毫沒有這種意思。更可能發生的是,他會努力擠進多數人的隊伍,開始犧牲他人。那句口號傳遞給他的真實信息是,他別無選擇,搶劫別人或被別人搶劫,擊毀別人或被別人擊毀。

這句口號的可鄙之處在于,多數人的“利益”一定要以少數人的痛苦為代價,一個人的所得必須依靠另一個人所失。

如果我們贊成集體主義的教義,認為人的存在只是為了他人,那麼他享受的每一點快樂(或每一口食物)都是罪惡而不道德的,因為完全可能有另外一個人也想得到他的快樂和食物。根據這樣的理論,人們不能吃飯,不能呼吸,不能相愛(所有這一切都是自私的,如果有其他人想要你的妻子怎麼辦?),人們不可能融洽地生活在一起,最終結果只能是自相殘殺。

只有尊重個人的權利,我們才能定義並且得到真正的利益——私人的或是公眾的利益。只有當每個人都能為了自己而自由地生活時——不必為了自己而犧牲他人,也不必為了他人而犧牲自己——人們才可能通過自己的努力,根據自己的選擇,實現最大的利益。只有把這種個人努力彙合在一起,人們才能實現廣泛的社會利益。

不要認為與“大多數人的最大利益”這種提法相反的是“極少數人的最大利益”,我們應該提倡的是:每個人通過自己自由的努力所能得到的最大利益。

如果你是一個自由主義者,希望保留美國的生活方式,那麼你能夠作出的最大貢獻就是,永遠從你的思想、言語和情感中清除“大多數人的最大利益”這樣的空洞口號。這完全是騙人的鬼話,是純粹集體主義思想的教條。如果你認為自己是自由主義者,你就不能接受它。你必須作出選擇,非此即彼,不可兼顧。

12、動機能否改變獨裁統治的性質?

一個誠實的人有別于集體主義者的標志是,他說話算數,而且十分清楚自己所說的話有什麼含義。

當我們說我們認為個人權利不可剝奪時,我們的意思明白無誤。“不可剝奪”的意思是,我們不能在任何時候為任何目的奪走、終止、侵犯、限制或破壞個人權利。

你不能說“除了冷天和每個星期二,人們擁有不可剝奪的權利”,同樣,你也不能說“除緊急情況外,人們擁有不可剝奪的權利”或“除非是為了善意的目的,否則人的權利不得侵犯”。

每個人的權利要麼是不可剝奪的,要麼是可以剝奪的,而不可能出現兩種情況並存的狀態,這就像你不能說自己既神志清醒又神經錯亂一樣。一旦你開始提出條件,說出保留意見或舉出例外的情況,你就已經承認在個人權利之上還存在某種東西或某個人,他們可以任意地侵犯別人的個人權利。是誰?當然是社會,換句話說,是集體。他們為什麼可以這樣做?為了集體的利益。誰來決定什麼時候可以侵犯別人的權利?仍然是集體。如果你贊同這一切,你就應該回到你原本屬于的陳營,承認自己是個集體主義者,並且承擔集體主義可能產生的后果。這裡沒有任何中間路線。你不能既想吃掉蛋糕,又想把它留下來。你這樣做只能欺騙你自己。

不要藏在“中間路線”這樣的無稽之談背后而不敢面對現實。個人主義和集體主義不是一條路的兩側,留出中間的路讓你走。它們是兩條方向完全相反的道路,一條通往自由、正義和繁榮,另一條走向奴役、恐怖和毀滅。要走哪一條路全看你自己的選擇。

集體主義在全世界範圍的日益擴張並不歸于集體主義者的聰明才智,而是因為那麼表面反對集體主義而其實骨子裡信仰它的人。一旦人們接受某個原則,能夠取得最后勝利的是那些一心一意的人,而絕不是半心半意的人,是那些堅持到底的人,而不是那些半途而廢的人。如果你開始賽跑時就說“我只想跑前十米”,而另一個人卻說“我要跑到終點”,那麼這個人肯定能打敗你。如果你說“我想侵犯一點點人權”,而法西斯分子卻說“我要毀滅所有的人權”,他們也肯定會打敗你,取得最終的勝利,因為你已經為他們開辟了道路。

一旦有了最初的不誠實和回避,人們就已經掉進了集體主義關于獨裁統治是否合理的陷阱。大多數人只在口頭上反對獨裁統治,很少有人明確表明立場,認識到獨裁統治的本質:無論何時何地,為了何種目的,以何種形式出現,它都是十惡不赦的。

現在有很多人開始討論一些奇怪的問題,如“好的獨裁統治”和“壞的獨裁統治”之間有什麼差別,以及什麼樣的動機和理由可以使獨裁統治名正言順。集體主義者不問“你想要獨裁統治嗎”,而是問“你想要怎樣的獨裁統治”。他們改變了討論的出發點,他們已經達到了目的。

很多人認為,如果獨裁統治的動機不良,這樣的獨裁就是恐怖的,但如果動機純正,獨裁統治就是合理的甚至受人歡迎的。那些傾向共產主義的人(他們通常認為自己是“人道主義者”)聲稱,如果集中營和行刑室是用于“自私”的目的,“為了某個民族的利益”,就像希特勒所做的那樣,那麼它們就是罪惡的;但如果它們是用于“無私”的目的,“為了廣大人民的利益”,那麼它們就是高尚的。那些傾向法西斯主義的人(他們通常認為自己是強硬的“現實主義者”)聲稱,鞭子和工頭使用“不徹底”時就會無效,而使用“徹底”時,就是十分有效的,如納粹德國的情況。

在你討論什麼是“好的”或“壞的”獨裁統治時,你就已經接受並認可了獨裁統治的存在。你就已經接受了一個邪惡的前提——為了你的利益,你有權奴役他人。從那時起,這就變成了一個誰來支配盖世太保的問題。你永遠無法和你的集體主義同伴在什麼是實施暴行的“正當”理由、什麼是“不正當”理由這些問題上達成一致。你的定義他們也许無法接受。你也许認為為了窮人殺人是正當的,而其他人也许認為為了富人殺人才正當;你也许認為殺害某個特殊階級之外的人是不道德的,而其他人也许認為殺害某個特殊民族之外的人是不道德的。你們達成共識的只有屠殺,這是你們唯一能做到的。

一旦你贊成獨裁統治的原則,你其實就已經鼓勵所有人和你采取一樣的立場。如果他們不想接受你的思想或者不喜歡你的某種“良好動機”,他們就沒有別的選擇,只能衝上來打你一頓,逼你接受他們自己的“良好動機”,在你奴役他們之前奴役你。“好的獨裁統治”本身就是一種自相矛盾的東西。

現在,我們的問題不是:“為了怎樣的目的去奴役人民才是合理的?”我們的問題是:“奴役人民是否合理?”

如果獨裁統治因為有了什麼“良好動機”或“無私的動機”就可以名正言順,那麼這樣的道德墮落實在令人髮指。人類所有那些經過幾百年的努力拼命摆脫的殘暴和犯罪傾向,如今又找到了一把“社會的”庇護傘。很多人相信,為了自己的利益去搶劫、殺人或折磨他人是罪惡的,但如果是為了他人去做這些就是高尚的。你不能為了自己的利益濫用暴力,但如果是為了別人的利益,你盡可大膽去做。也许我們聽到的最讓人作嘔的話是:“確實,斯大林屠殺了數百萬人,但他這樣做是對的,因為他是為了人民的利益。”集體主義是一種最新式的野蠻行為。

不要認為集體主義者是“真誠但迷茫的理想主義者”。為了某些人的利益去奴役另外一些人,絕不是一種理想;殘暴不是“理想主義”,不管它是出于什麼目的。千萬不要說通過武力“做好事”是一種良好動機,對于權力的貪欲和愚昧無知,都不能算是良好的動機。

下面是原英文:

TEXTBOOK OF AMERICANISM

by Ayn Rand

[These articles were written in 1946 for and appeared originally in THE VIGIL, a publication of The Motion Picture Alliance for the Preservation of American Ideals, Beverly Hills, California. The subject of these articles was limited to the sphere of politics, for the purpose of defining and clarifying the basic principles involved in political issues. The series is incomplete; the twelve questions reprinted here were only the first third of a longer project; the rest has remained unwritten.]

1. What Is the Basic Issue in the World Today?

The basic issue in the world today is between two principles: Individualism and Collectivism.

Individualism holds that man has inalienable rights which cannot be taken away from him by any other man, nor by any number, group or collective of other men. Therefore, each man exists by his own right and for his own sake, not for the sake of the group.

Collectivism holds that man has no rights; that his work, his body and his personality belong to the group; that the group can do with him as it pleases, in any manner it pleases, for the sake of whatever it decides to be its own welfare. Therefore, each man exists only by the permission of the group and for the sake of the group.

These two principles are the roots of two opposite social systems. The basic issue of the world today is between these two systems.

2. What Is a Social System?

A social system is a code of laws which men observe in order to live together. Such a code must have a basic principle, a starting point, or it cannot be devised. The starting point is the question: Is the power of society limited or unlimited?

Individualism answers: The power of society is limited by the inalienable, individual rights of man. Society may make only such laws as do not violate these rights.

Collectivism answers: The power of society is unlimited. Society may make any laws it wishes, and force them upon anyone in any manner it wishes.

Example: Under a system of Individualism, a million men cannot pass a law to kill one man for their own benefit. If they go ahead and kill him, they are breaking the law -- which protects his right to life -- and they are punished.

Under a system of Collectivism, a million men (or anyone claiming to represent them) can pass a law to kill one man (or any minority), whenever they think they would benefit by his death. His right to live is not recognized.

Under Individualism, it is illegal to kill the man and it is legal for him to protect himself. The law is on the side of a right. Under Collectivism, it is legal for the majority to kill a man and it is illegal for him to defend himself. The law is on the side of a number.

In the first case, the law represents a moral principle.

In the second case, the law represents the idea that there are no moral principles, and men can do anything they please, provided there’s enough of them.

Under a system of Individualism, men are equal before the law at all times. Each has the same rights, whether he is alone or has a million others with him.

Under a system of Collectivism, men have to gang up on one another -- and whoever has the biggest gang at the moment, holds all rights, while the loser (the individual or the minority) has none. Any man can be an absolute master or a helpless slave -- according to the size of his gang.

An example of the first system: The United States of America. (See: The Declaration of Independence.)

An example of the second system: Soviet Russia and Nazi Germany.

Under the Soviet system, millions of peasants or "kulaks" were exterminated by law, a law justified by the pretext that this was for the benefit of the majority, which the ruling group contended was anti-kulak. Under the Nazi system, millions of Jews were exterminated by law, a law justified by the pretext that this was for the benefit of the majority, which the ruling group contended was anti-Semitic.

The Soviet law and the Nazi law were the unavoidable and consistent result of the principle of Collectivism. When applied in practice, a principle which recognizes no morality and no individual rights, can result in nothing except brutality.

Keep this in mind when you try to decide what is the proper social system. You have to start by answering the first question. Either the power of society is limited, or it is not. It can’t be both.

3. What Is the Basic Principle of America?

The basic principle of the United States of America is Individualism.

America is built on the principle that Man possesses Inalienable Rights;

that these rights belong to each man as an individual -- not to "men" as a group or collective;

that these rights are the unconditional, private, personal, individual possession of each man -- not the public, social, collective possession of a group;

that these rights are granted to man by the fact of his birth as a man -- not by an act of society;

that man holds these rights, not from the Collective nor for the Collective, but against the Collective -- as a barrier which the Collective cannot cross;

that these rights are man’s protection against all other men;

that only on the basis of these rights can men have a society of freedom, justice, human dignity, and decency.

The Constitution of the United States of America is not a document that limits the rights of man -- but a document that limits the power of society over man.

4. What Is a Right?

A right is the sanction of independent action. A right is that which can be exercised without anyone’s permission.

If you exist only because society permits you to exist -- you have no right to your own life. A permission can be revoked at any time.

If, before undertaking some action, you must obtain the permission of society -- you are not free, whether such permission is granted to you or not. Only a slave acts on permission. A permission is not a right.

Do not make the mistake, at this point, of thinking that a worker is a slave and that he holds his job by his employer’s permission. He does not hold it by permission -- but by contract, that is, by a voluntary mutual agreement. A worker can quit his job. A slave cannot.

5. What Are the Inalienable Rights of Man?

The inalienable Rights of Men are: Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.

The Right of Life means that Man cannot be deprived of his life for the benefit of another man nor of any number of other men.

The Right of Liberty means Man’s right to individual action, individual choice, individual initiative, and individual property. Without the right to private property no independent action is possible.

The Right to the Pursuit of Happiness means man’s right to live for himself, to choose what constitutes his own private, personal, individual happiness, and to work for its achievement so long as he respects the same right in others. It means that Man cannot be forced to devote his life to the happiness of another man nor of any number of other men. It means that the collective cannot decide what is to be the purpose of a man’s existence nor prescribe his choice of happiness.

6. How Do We Recognize One Another’s Rights?

Since Man has inalienable individual rights, this means that the same rights are held, individually, by every man, by all men, at all times. Therefore, the rights of one man cannot and must not violate the rights of another.

For instance: a man has the right to live, but he has no right to take the life of another. He has the right to be free, but no right to enslave another. He has the right to choose his own happiness, but no right to decide that his happiness lies in the misery (or murder or robbery or enslavement) of another. The very right upon which he acts defines the same right of another man. and serves as a guide to tell him what he may or may not do.

Do not make the mistake of the ignorant who think that an individualist is a man who says: "I’ll do as I please at everybody else’s expense." An individualist is a man who recognizes the inalienable individual rights of man -- his own and those of others.

An individualist is a man who says: "I’ll not run anyone’s life -- nor let anyone run mine. I will not rule nor be ruled. I will not be a master nor a slave. I will not sacrifice myself to anyone -- nor sacrifice anyone to myself."

A collectivist is a man who says: "Let’s get together, boys -- and then anything goes!"

7. How Do We Determine That a Right Has Been Violated?

A right cannot be violated except by physical force. One man cannot deprive another of his life nor enslave him, nor forbid him to pursue happiness, except by using force against him. Whenever a man is made to act without his own free, personal, individual, voluntary consent -- his right has been violated.

Therefore, we can draw a clear-cut division between the rights of one man and those of another. It is an objective division -- not subject to differences of opinion, nor to majority decision, nor to the arbitrary decree of society. NO MAN HAS THE RIGHT TO INITIATE THE USE OF PHYSICAL FORCE AGAINST ANOTHER MAN.

The practical rule of conduct in a free society, a society of Individualism, is simple and clear-cut: you cannot expect or demand any action from another man, except through his free, voluntary consent.

Do not be misled on this point by an old collectivist trick which goes like this: There is no absolute freedom anyway, since you are not free to murder; society limits your freedom when it does not permit you to kill; therefore, society holds the right to limit your freedom in any manner it sees fit; therefore, drop the delusion of freedom -- freedom is whatever society decides it is.

It is not society, nor any social right, that forbids you to kill -- but the inalienable individual right of another man to live. This is not a "compromise" between two rights - but a line of division that preserves both rights untouched. The division is not derived from an edict of society -- but from your own inalienable individual right. The definition of this limit is not set arbitrarily by society -- but is implicit in the definition of your own right.

Within the sphere of your own rights, your freedom is absolute.

8. What Is the Proper Function of Government?

The proper function of government is to protect the individual rights of man; this means to protect man against brute force.

In a proper social system, men do not use force against one another; force may be used only in self-defense, that is, in defense of a right violated by force. Men delegate to the government the power to use force in retaliation -- and only in retaliation.

The proper kind of government does not initiate the use of force. It uses force only to answer those who have initiated its use. For example when the government arrests a criminal, it is not the government that violates a right; it is the criminal who has violated a right and by doing so has placed himself outside the principle of rights, where men can have no recourse against him except through force.

Now it is important to remember that all actions defined as criminal in a free society are actions involving force and only such actions are answered by force.

Do not be misled by sloppy expressions such as "A murderer commits a crime against society." It is not society that a murderer murders, but an individual man. It is not a social right that he breaks, but an individual right. He is not punished for hurting a collective. He has not hurt a whole collective -- he has hurt one man. If a criminal robs ten men -- it is still not "society" that he has robbed, but ten individuals. There are no crimes against "society" -- all crimes are committed against specific men, against individuals. And it is precisely the duty of a proper social system and of a proper government to protect an individual against criminal attack -- against force.

When, however, a government becomes an initiator of force, the injustice and moral corruption involved are truly unspeakable.

For example: When a Collectivist government orders a man to work and attaches him to a job, under penalty of death or imprisonment, it is the government that initiates the use of force. The man has done no violence to anyone -- but the government uses violence against him. There is no possible justification for such a procedure in theory. And there is no possible result in practice -- except the blood and the terror which you can observe in any Collectivist country.

The moral perversion involved is this: If men had no government and no social system of any kind, they might have to exist through sheer force and fight one another in any disagreement; in such a state, one man would have a fair chance against one other man: but he would have no chance against ten others. It is not against an individual that a man needs protection -- but against a group. Still, in such a state of anarchy, while any majority gang would have its way, a minority could fight them by any means available. And the gang could not make its rule last.

Collectivism goes a step below savage anarchy: it takes away from man even the chance to fight back. It makes violence legal -- and resistance to it illegal. It gives the sanction of law to the organized brute force of a majority (or of anyone who claims to represent it)-and turns the minority into a helpless, disarmed object of extermination. If you can think of a more vicious perversion of justice -- name it.

In actual practice, when a Collectivist society violates the rights of a minority (or of one single man), the result is that the majority loses its rights as well, and finds itself delivered into the total power of a small group that rules through sheer brute force.

If you want to understand and keep clearly in mind the difference between the use of force as retaliation (as it is used by the government of an Individualist society) and the use of force as primary policy (as it is used by the government of a Collectivist society), here is the simplest example of it: it is the same difference as that between a murderer and a man who kills in self-defense. The proper kind of government acts on the principle of man’s self-defense. A Collectivist government acts like a murderer.

9. Can There Be A "Mixed" Social System?

There can be no social system which is a mixture of Individualism and Collectivism. Either individual rights are recognized in a society, or they are not recognized. They cannot be half-recognized.

What frequently happens, however, is that a society based on Individualism does not have the courage, integrity and intelligence to observe its own principle consistently in every practical application. Through ignorance, cowardice, or mental sloppiness, such a society passes laws and accepts regulations which contradict its basic principle and violate the rights of man. To the extent of such violations, society perpetrates injustices, evils, and abuses. If the breaches are not corrected, society collapses into the chaos of Collectivism.

When you see a society that recognizes man’s rights in some of its laws but not in others, do not hail it as a "mixed " system and do not conclude that a compromise between basic principles, opposed in theory, can be made to work in practice. Such a society is not working; it is merely disintegrating. Disintegration takes time. Nothing falls to pieces immediately -- neither a human body nor a human society.

10. Can A Society Exist Without a Moral Principle?

A great many people today hold the childish notion that society can do anything it pleases; that principles are unnecessary, rights are only an illusion. and expediency is the practical guide to action.

It is true that society con abandon moral principles and turn itself into a herd running amuck to destruction. Just as it is true that a man can cut his own throat anytime he chooses. But a man cannot do this if he wishes to survive. And society cannot abandon moral principles if it expects to exist.

Society is a large number of men who live together in the same country, and who deal with one another. Unless there is a defined, objective moral code, which men understand and observe, they have no way of dealing with one another -- since none can know what to expect from his neighbor. The man who recognizes no morality is a criminal; you can do nothing when dealing with a criminal, except try to crack his skull before he cracks yours. You have no other language, no terms of behavior mutually accepted. To speak of a society without moral principles is to advocate that men live together like criminals.

We are still observing, by tradition, so many moral precepts that we take them for granted, and do not realize how many actions of our daily lives are made possible only by moral principles. Why is it safe for you to go into a crowded department store, make a purchase and come out again? The crowd around you needs goods, too; the crowd could easily overpower the few salesgirls, ransack the store, and grab your packages and pocketbook as well. Why don’t they do it? There is nothing to stop them and nothing to protect you -- except the moral principle of your individual right of life and property.

Do not make the mistake of thinking that crowds are restrained merely by fear of policemen There could not be enough policemen in the world if men believed that it is proper and practical to loot. And if men believed this, why shouldn’t the policemen believe it, too? Who, then, would be the policemen?

Besides, in a Collectivist society the policemen’s duty is not to protect your rights, but to violate them.

It would certainly be expedient for the crowd to loot the department store -- if we accept the expediency of the moment as a sound and proper rule of action. But how many department stores, how many factories, farms or homes would we have, and for how long, under this rule of expediency?

If we discard morality and substitute for it the collectivist doctrine of unlimited majority rule, if we accept the idea that a majority may do anything it pleases, and that anything done by a majority is right because it’s done by a majority (this being the only standard of right and wrong), how are men to apply this in practice to their actual lives? Who is the majority? In relation to each particular man, all other men are potential members of that majority which may destroy him at its pleasure at any moment. Then each man and all men become enemies; each has to fear and suspect all; each must try to rob and murder first, before he is robbed and murdered.

If you think that this is just abstract theory, take a look at Europe for a practical demonstration. In Soviet Russia and Nazi Germany, private citizens did the foulest work of the G.P.U. and the Gestapo, spying on one another, delivering their own relatives and friends to the secret police and the torture chambers. This was the result in practice of Collectivism in theory. This was the concrete application of that empty, vicious Collectivist slogan which seems so high-sounding to the unthinking: "The public good comes above any individual rights."

Without individual rights, no public good is possible.

Collectivism, which places the group above the individual and tells men to sacrifice their rights for the sake of their brothers, results in a state where men have no choice but to dread, hate and destroy their brothers.

Peace, security, prosperity, co-operation and good will among men, all those things considered socially desirable, are possible only under a system of Individualism, where each man is safe in the exercise of his individual rights and in the knowledge that society is there to protect his rights, not to destroy them. Then each man knows what he may or may not do to his neighbors, and what his neighbors (one or a million of them) may or may not do to him. Then he is free to deal with them as a friend and an equal.
Without a moral code no proper human society is possible.

Without the recognition of individual rights no moral code is possible.

11. Is "The Greatest Good For The Greatest Number" A Moral Principle?

’The greatest good for the greatest number" is one of the most vicious slogans ever foisted on humanity.

This slogan has no concrete, specific meaning. There is no way to interpret it benevolently, but a great many ways in which it can be used to justify the most vicious actions.

What is the definition of "the good" in this slogan? None, except: whatever is good for the greatest number. Who, in any particular issue, decides what is good for the greatest number? Why, the greatest number.

If you consider this moral, you would have to approve of the following examples, which are exact applications of this slogan in practice: fifty-one percent of humanity enslaving the other forty-nine; nine hungry cannibals eating the tenth one; a lynch mob murdering a man whom they consider dangerous to the community.

There were seventy million Germans in Germany and six hundred thousand Jews. The greatest number (the Germans) supported the Nazi government which told them that their greatest good would be served by exterminating the smaller number (the Jews) and grabbing their property. This was the horror achieved in practice by a vicious slogan accepted in theory.

But, you might say, the majority in all these examples did not achieve any real good for itself either? No. It didn’t. Because "the good" is not determined by counting numbers and is not achieved by the sacrifice of anyone to anyone.

The unthinking believe that this slogan implies something vaguely noble and virtuous, that it tells men to sacrifice themselves for the greatest number of others. If so, should the greatest number of men wish to be virtuous and sacrifice themselves to the smallest number who would be vicious and accept it? No? Well, then should the smallest number be virtuous and sacrifice themselves to the greatest number who would be vicious?

The unthinking assume that every man who mouths this slogan places himself unselfishly with the smaller number to be sacrificed to the greatest number of others. Why should he? There is nothing in the slogan to make him do this. He is much more likely to try to get in with the greatest number, and start sacrificing others. What the slogan actually tells him is that he has no choice, except to rob or be robbed, to crush or get crushed.

The depravity of this slogan lies in the implication that "the good" of a majority must be achieved through the suffering of a minority; that the benefit of one man depends upon the sacrifice of another.

If we accept the Collectivist doctrine that man exists only for the sake of others, then it is true that every pleasure he enjoys (or every bite of food) is evil and immoral if two other men want it. But, on this basis, men cannot eat, breathe, or love. All of that is selfish. (And what if two other men want your wife?) Men cannot live together at all, and can do nothing except end up by exterminating one another.

Only on the basis of individual rights can any good -- private or public -- be defined and achieved. Only when each man is free to exist for his own sake -- neither sacrificing others to himself nor being sacrificed to others -- only then is every man free to work for the greatest good he can achieve for himself by his own choice and by his own effort. And the sum total of such individual efforts is the only kind of general, social good possible.

Do not think that the opposite of "the greatest good for the greatest number" is "the greatest good for the smallest number." The opposite is: the greatest good he can achieve by his own free effort, to every man living.

If you are an Individualist and wish to preserve the American way of life, the greatest contribution you can make is to discard, once and for all, from your thinking, from your speeches, and from your sympathy, the empty slogan of "the greatest good for the greatest number." Reject any argument, oppose any proposal that has nothing but this slogan to justify it. It is a booby-trap. It is a precept of pure Collectivism. You cannot accept it and call yourself an Individualist. Make your choice. It is one or the other.

12. Does The Motive Change The Nature Of A Dictatorship?

The mark of an honest man, as distinguished from a Collectivist, is that he means what he says and knows what he means.

When we say that we hold individual rights to be inalienable, we must mean just that. Inalienable means that which we may not take away, suspend, infringe, restrict or violate -- not ever, not at any time, not for any purpose whatsoever.

You cannot say that "man has inalienable rights except in cold weather and on every second Tuesday," just as you cannot say that "man has inalienable rights except in an emergency," or "man’s rights cannot be violated except for a good purpose."

Either man’s rights are inalienable, or they are not. You cannot say a thing such as "semi-inalienable" and consider yourself either honest or sane. When you begin making conditions, reservations and exceptions, you admit that there is something or someone above man’s rights who may violate them at his discretion. Who? Why, society -- that is, the Collective. For what reason? For the good of the Collective. Who decides when rights should be violated? The Collective. If this is what you believe, move over to the side where you belong and admit that you are a Collectivist. Then take all the consequences which Collectivism implies. There is no middle ground here. You cannot have your cake and eat it, too. You are not fooling anyone but yourself.

Do not hide behind meaningless catch-phrases, such as "the middle of the road." Individualism and Collectivism are not two sides of the same road, with a safe rut for you in the middle. They are two roads going into opposite directions. One leads to freedom, justice and prosperity; the other to slavery, horror and destruction. The choice is yours to make.

The growing spread of Collectivism throughout the world is not due to any cleverness of the Collectivists, but to the fact that most people who oppose them actually believe in Collectivism themselves. Once a principle is accepted, it is not the man who is half-hearted about it, but the man who is whole-hearted that’s going to win; not the man who is least consistent in applying it, but the man who is most consistent. If you enter a race, saying: "I only intend to run the first ten yards," the man who says: "I’ll run to the finish line," is going to beat you. When you say: "I only want to violate human rights just a tiny little bit," the Communist or Fascist who says "I’m going to destroy all human rights" will beat you and win. You’ve opened the way for him.

By permitting themselves this initial dishonesty and evasion, men have now fallen into a Collectivist trap, on the question of whether a dictatorship is proper or not. Most people give lip-service to denunciations of dictatorship. But very few take a clear-cut stand and recognize dictatorship for what it is: an absolute evil in any form, by anyone, for anyone, anywhere, at any time and for any purpose whatsoever.

A great many people now enter into an obscene kind of bargaining about differences between "a good dictatorship" and a "bad dictatorship," about motives, causes, or reasons that make dictatorship proper. For the question: "Do you want dictatorship?," the Collectivists have substituted the question: "What kind of dictatorship do you want?" They can afford to let you argue from then on; they have won their point.

A great many people believe that a dictatorship is terrible if it’s "for a bad motive," but quite all right and even desirable if it’s "for a good motive." Those leaning toward Communism (they usually consider themselves "humanitarians") claim that concentration camps and torture chambers are evil when used "selfishly," "for the sake of one race," as Hitler did, but quite noble when used "unselfishly," "for the sake of the masses," as Stalin does. Those leaning toward Fascism (they usually consider themselves hard-boiled "realists") claim that whips and slave-drivers are impractical when used "inefficiently," as in Russia, but quite practical when used "efficiently," as in Germany.

(And just as an example of where the wrong principle will lead you in practice, observe that the "humanitarians," who are so concerned with relieving the suffering of the masses, endorse, in Russia, a state of misery for a whole population such as no masses have ever had to endure anywhere in history. And the hard-boiled "realists." who are so boastfully eager to be practical, endorse, in Germany, the spectacle of a devastated country in total ruin, the end result of an "efficient" dictatorship.)

When you argue about what is a "good" or a "bad" dictatorship, you have accepted and endorsed the principle of dictatorship. You have accepted a premise of total evil -- of your right to enslave others for the sake of what you think is good. From then on, it’s only a question of who will run the Gestapo. You will never be able to reach an agreement with your fellow Collectivists on what is a "good" cause for brutality and what is a "bad" one. Your particular pet definition may not be theirs. You might claim that it is good to slaughter men only for the sake of the poor; somebody else might claim that it is good to slaughter men only for the sake of the rich; you might claim that it is immoral to slaughter anyone except members of a certain class; somebody else might claim that it is immoral to slaughter anyone except members of a certain race. All you will agree on is the slaughter. And that is all you will achieve.

Once you advocate the principle of dictatorship, you invite all men to do the same. If they do not want your particular kind or do not like your particular "good motive," they have no choice but to rush to beat you to it and establish their own kind for their own "good motive," to enslave you before you enslave them. A "good dictatorship" is a contradiction in terms.

The issue is not: for what purpose is it proper to enslave men? The issue is: is it proper to enslave men or not?

There is an unspeakable moral corruption in saying that a dictatorship can be justified by "a good motive" or "an unselfish motive." All the brutal and criminal tendencies which mankind -- through centuries of slow climbing out of savagery -- has learned to recognize as evil and impractical, have now taken refuge under a "social" cover. Many men now believe that it is evil to rob, murder, and torture for one’s own sake, but virtuous to do so for the sake of others. You may not indulge in brutality for your own gain, they say, but go right ahead if it’s for the gain of others. Perhaps the most revolting statement one can ever hear is: "Sure, Stalin has butchered millions, but it’s justifiable, since it’s for the benefit of the masses." Collectivism is the last stand of savagery in men’s minds.

Do not ever consider Collectivists as "sincere but deluded idealists." The proposal to enslave some men for the sake of others is not an ideal; brutality is not "idealistic," no matter what its purpose. Do not ever say that the desire to "do good" by force is a good motive. Neither power-lust nor stupidity are good motives.

(原文網址:http://laissez-fairerepublic.com/textbook.htm)



2015-12-19

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