carry on as if it were actually worth something in terms of gold or chickens or pelts. It’s not, but it drives our economy and hence the economy of the world, all based around an idea. Likewise, the idea of God, or of Love, or of Humans having Value is not the kind of thing that can be objectively proven, and yet it drives our society, it drives every society. To quote the new Battlestar Galactica, the most basic article of faith is “This is not all that there is.” It is the belief in something more - the specifics of which patently don’t matter - that keep us going when all reason tells us to lie down and die. It is the belief in more than we can see that keeps us fighting to survive in the death camps when we know that all hope is lost. It is man’s faith in God - whichever one you choose - that makes him stand up and say “No more. This is bad. Do what you will to me, but this stops now.” It is, conversely, a man’s belief that all he sees is all there is which causes him to say, “Well, I can’t see what harm there is in killing a few more unwanted babies.”
“Man…has no automatic sense of self-esteem and must earn it by shaping his soul in the image of his moral ideal.”
--- I’d agree with this.
“His own happiness is mans’ only moral purpose, but only his own virtue can achieve it. Virtue is not an end in itself. Virtue is not its own reward or sacrificial fodder for the reward of evil. Life is the reward of virtue - and happiness is the goal and reward of life.”
--- I’d actually go along with this, though I’d add some caveats about the costs of that price to others. If, for instance, my happiness comes from “Virtuously” killing thousands of “Less evolved” Africans, then clearly my happiness comes at too great a cost.
“Mystic parasites…have, throughout the ages, reviled the traders and held them in contempt, while honoring the beggars and the looters, have known the secret motive of their sneers: a trader is the entity they dread - a man of justice.”
--- I’m going to call “bullcrap” on this one because it’s simply not true. Certainly there are instances where a priestly caste has abused their power, but to maintain that that this is all that has ever been is to openly disregard history. The Jury Trial, which all modern justice is based on, was a decree of the Greek god Apollo, and was originally practiced only within his cult, though it quickly expanded to civil situations as well. The Koran specifically mentions Justice twenty times, most of them in exactly the context Rand means here - and goes on to condemn bribery, double-dealing, and corrupt judges. Fairness in this same context turns up seven times. There’s two condemnations of false witnesses, and four exhortations of how sacrosanct witnesses telling the truth is. In the bible, Justice is mentioned specifically twenty eight times, but there are scores of condemnations for those who would pervert it, exhortations for people to uphold it. Two of the first five books are extended legal codes which go in to great detail about protecting the rights of people, of women, of children even slaves; about dealing compassionately with outsiders and strangers, about punishments for those who cheat. I’ll be the first person to admit that many of these laws seem kind of goofy to us today, and some are even repulsive, but the point remains that the concept of “Justice” was of primary importance to the “Mystic Parasites” who compiled the bible. And the Koran. And the cult of Apollo. Hell, the earliest actual writing we’ve ever found is a legal code handed down from the gods commanding people to deal fairly with each other. And let’s not even mention the highly popular Roman cult of “Mithra, Lord of the Bond,” who’s central rule was egalitarianism and square-dealing. The fact of the matter is that not only is the concept of “Justice” of central importance to the entire western religious tradition, it was one of the things that allowed it to succeed. The laws of the gods - arbitrary or even fictional as they may well have been - allowed for the spread of civilization and justice. They walked the same road, they were the