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Ayn Rand on War & Peace

 


Capitalism is fundamentally opposed to war

Laissez-faire capitalism is the only social system based on the recognition of individual rights and, therefore, the only system that bans force from social relationships. By the nature of its basic principles and interests, it is the only system fundamentally opposed to war. Men who are free to produce, have no incentive to loot; they have nothing to gain from war and a great deal to lose. Economically, wars cost money, in a free economy, where wealth is privately owned, the costs of war come out of the income of private citizens. A citizen cannot hope to recoup his own financial losses by winning the war.
Source: The Ayn Rand Lexicon, by Harry Binswanger, p.526 , Jan 1, 1988

Statism needs war; a free country does not

Statism--in fact and in principle--is nothing more than gang rule. A dictatorship is a gang devoted to looting the effort of the productive citizens of its own country. When a statist ruler exhausts his own country's economy, he attacks his neighbors. It is his only means of postponing internal collapse and prolonging his rule. A country that violates the rights of its own citizens, will not respect the rights of its neighbors. Those who do not recognize individual rights, will not recognize the rights of nations.

Statism needs war; a free country does not. Statism survives by looting; a free country survives by production.

Observe that the major wars of history were started by the more controlled economies of the time against the freer ones. For instance, World War I was started by monarchist Germany and Czarist Russia, who dragged in their freer allies. World War II was started by the alliance of Nazi Germany with Soviet Russia and their joint attack on Poland.

Source: Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal, p. 37, by Ayn Rand , Jul 15, 1986

Only governments have power of war and dictatorship

Capitalism wins and holds its markets by free competition, at home and abroad. A market conquered by war can be of value (temporarily) only to those advocates of a mixed economy who seek to close it to international competition, impose restrictive regulations, and thus acquire special privileges by force.

Remember that private citizens--whether rich or poor, whether businessmen or workers--have no power to start a war. That power is the exclusive prerogative of a government. Which type of government is more likely to plunge a country into war: a government of limited powers, bound by constitutional restrictions--or an unlimited government, open to the pressure of any group with warlike interests or ideologies, a government able to command armies to march at the whim of a single chief executive?

Wars are the second greatest evil that human societies can perpetrate. (The first is dictatorship, the enslavement of their own citizens, which is the cause of wars.)

Source: Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal, p. 39-40&224, by Ayn Rand , Jul 15, 1986

Moral right, but not duty, to invade totalitarian states

Q: What about force in foreign policy? You have said that any free nation had the right to invade Nazi Germany during World War II.

RAND: Certainly.

Q: And that any free nation today has the moral right--though not the duty--to invade Soviet Russia, Cuba, or any other "slave pen." Correct?

RAND: Correct. A dictatorship--a country that violates the rights of its own citizens--is an outlaw and can claim no rights.

Q: Would you actively advocate that the US invade Cuba or the Soviet Union?

RAND: Not at present. I don't think it's necessary. I would advocate that which the Soviet Union fears above all else: economic boycott, I would advocate a blockade of Cuba and an economic boycott of Soviet Russia; and you would see both of those regimes collapse without the loss of a single American life.

Source: Interview in Playboy Magazine , Mar 1, 1964

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Page last updated: Mar 22, 2015