In order to place the retaliatory use of force under objective legal control — that is, under clearly defined laws that are logically deduced from the principle of rights — those who make up society delegate their right to retaliate against those who initiate force, to government.
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Man’s state in nature, where every man is allowed complete discretion in the retaliatory use of force, according to the laws of the jungle, is nothing more than a state of anarchy — perpetual civil war and gang warfare. If there were no legal agency to carry out such a task, each man would be forced to carry out retaliation at his own discretion, i.e., anarchy.
A modern day example of such a situation is Bosnia, where two gangs, or “competing governments” — the Croats and the Serbs — are competing with each other in the same geographical area.
Individualism is not opposed to a man living in society, so long as he is free from the initiation of force by others.
Individualism is only opposed to man living in society as a non-individual amorphous member of a collective, i.e., a slave. Individualism holds that it is much better for man to live on a deserted island, than to live in a society where he is nothing more than a pawn ready to be sacrificed to the altar of the “public good.”
Rights are not merely political principles, but they are principles that form the bridge between individual morality (ethics) and the moral principles governing society (politics). Rights say that morally certain actions are right, and all other actions that forcibly interfere with those actions are wrong.
Capitalism is not opposed to an individual living in a society, so long as he is free from the initiation of force by others.
Capitalism is opposed to slave states. Capitalism is only opposed to man living in society as a non-individual amorphous member of a collective, i.e. as a slave. Individualism holds that it is much better for man to live on a deserted island, than to live in a society where he is nothing more than a pawn ready to be sacrificed to the altar of the “public good”.
Man can gain immense values (such as knowledge and trade) by living with other men in society, if that society is a proper society. A proper society is one where each and every man holds as an absolute the fact that every man is an end to himself, and that other men are not his pawns, nor is he theirs, or in the famous words of the hero of Atlas Shrugged, John Galt,
“I swear by my life and by my love of it — that I will never live for the sake of another man, nor ask another man to live for mine.”
Such is the credo of the individualist — the independent mind — that recognizes no authority higher than its own judgment of the truth. Since capitalism is based upon the only system that leaves each and every man free to act independently — by his own mind — it is the only moral system.