Some good quotes from Ayn Rand’s Anthem
Overall, I found Rand’s Anthem to be a decent read. It catches you right from the beginning (although it doesn’t quite keep up throughout), but it has some troubling holes, in my opinion (doesn’t the narrator end up sounding just a bit like a dictator himself?). Here are some of my favorite quotes:
“[A]s we all undress at night, in the dim light of the candles, our brothers are silent, for they dare not speak the thoughts of their minds. For all must agree with all, and they cannot know if their thoughts are the thoughts of all, and so they fear to speak. And they are glad when the candles are blown for the night.”
Always worth remembering in these days of political correctness and attacks on free speech.
“[...] I know what happiness is possible to me on earth. And my happiness needs no higher aim to vindicate it. My happiness is not the means to any end. It is the end. It is its own goal. It is its own purpose.
“Neither am I the means to any end others may wish to accomplish. I am not a tool for their use. I am not a servant of their needs. I am not a bandage for their wounds. I am not a sacrifice on their altars.”
Kantian egoism. Nice.
“But what is freedom? Freedom from what? There is nothing to take a man’s freedom away from him, save other men. To be free, a man must be free of his brothers. That is freedom. That and nothing else.”
This understanding of freedom – that it means being free of one’s fellow people, and this alone – is a important point. It’s also a good point to remember when people around you justify all sorts of coercive policies by reference to the need to eliminate e.g. “freedom from want”, etc.
“Perhaps, in those days, there were a few among men, a few of clear sight and clean soul, who refused to surrender that word [i.e. "I", TF]. What agony must have been theirs before that which they saw coming [i.e. the incremental coming of extreme collectivism, TF] and could not stop! Perhaps they cried out in protest and in warning. But men paid no heed to their warning. And they, these few, fought a hopeless battle, and they perished with their banners smeared by their own blood. And they chose to perish, for they knew.”
Sounds about right.