took the oath. He stood by the steps of the witness stand. The audience
looked at him. They felt he bad no chance. They could drop the nameless
resentment, the sense of insecurity which he aroused in most people.
And so, for the first time, they could see him as he was: a man totally
innocent of fear.
fear of which they thought was not the normal kind, not a response
to a tangible danger, but the chronic, unconfessed fear in which they
all lived. They remembered the misery of
the moments when,
in loneliness, a man thinks o the bright words he could have said,
but had not found, and hates those who robbed him of his courage.
The misery of knowing how strong and able one is in one's own mind,
the radiant picture never to be made real. Dreams? Self-delusion?
Or a murdered reality, unborn, killed by that corroding emotion without
stood before them as each man stands in the innocence of his own mind.
But Roark stood like that before a hostile crowd-and they knew suddenly
that no hatred was possible to him. For the flash of an instant, they
grasped the manner of this consciousness. Each asked himself: do I
need anyone's approval?—does it matter?—am I tied? And
for that instant, each man was free—free enough to feel benevolence
for every other man in the room.
was only a moment; the moment of silence when Roark was about to speak.
of years ago, the, first man discovered how to make fire. He was probably
burned at the stake he had taught his brothers to light. He was considered
an evildoer who had dealt with a demon mankind dreaded. But thereafter
men had fire to keep them warm, to cook their food, to light their
caves. He had left them a gift they had not conceived and he had lifted
darkness off the earth. Centuries later, the first man invented, wheel
He was probably torn on the rack he had taught his brothers to build.
He was considered a transgressor who ventured into forbidden territory.
But thereafter, men could travel past any horizon. He had left them
a gift they had not conceived and he had opened the roads of the world.
man, the unsubmissive and first, stands in the opening chapter of
every legend mankind has recorded about its beginning. Prometheus
was chained to a rock and torn by vultures—because he had stolen
the fire of the gods. Adam was condemned to suffer—because he
had eaten the fruit of the tree of knowledge. Whatever the legend,
somewhere in the shadows of its memory mankind knew that its glory
began with one and that that one paid for his courage.
the centuries there were men who took first step down new roads armed
with nothing but their own vision, Their goals differed, but they
all had this in common: that the step was first, the road new, the
vision unborrowed, and the response they received—hatred. The
great creators—the thinkers, the artists, the scientists, the
inventors—stood alone against the men, of their time. Every
great new thought was opposed. Every great new invention was denounced.
The motor was considered foolish. The airplane was considered impossible.
The power loom was considered vicious. Anesthesia was considered sinful.
But the men of unborrowed vision went ahead. They fought, they suffered
and they paid. But they won.
creator was prompted by a desire to serve his brothers, for his brothers
rejected the gift he offered and that gift destroyed the slothful
routine of their lives. His truth was his only motive. His own truth,
and his own work to achieve it in his own way. A symphony, a book,
an engine, a philosophy, an airplane or a building—that was
his goal and his life. Not those who heard, read, operated, believed,
flew or inhabited the thing he had created. The creation, not its
users. The creation, not the benefits others derived from it. The
creation which gave form to his truth. He held his truth above all
things and against all men.
vision, his strength, his courage came from his own spirit. A man's
spirit, however, is his self. That entity which is his consciousness.
To think, to feel, to judge, to act are functions of the ego.
creators were not selfless. It is the whole secret of their power—that
it was self-sufficient, self-motived, self-generated. A first cause,
a fount of energy, a life force, a Prime Mover. The creator served
nothing and no one. He lived for himself.
only by living for himself was he able to achieve the things which
are the glory of mankind. Such is the nature of achievement.
cannot survive except through his mind. He comes on earth unarmed.
His brain is his only weapon. Animals obtain food by force. Man has
no claws, no fangs, no horns, no great strength of muscle. He must
plant his food or hunt it. To plant, he needs a process of thought.
To hunt, he needs weapons, and to make weapons—a process of
thought. From this simplest necessity to the highest religious abstraction,
from the wheel to the skyscraper, everything we are and everything
we have comes from a single attribute of man—the function of
his reasoning mind.
the mind is an attribute of the individual. There is no such thing
as a collective brain. There is no such thing as a collective thought.
An agreement reached by a group of men is only a compromise or an
average drawn upon many individual thoughts. It is a secondary consequence.
The primary act—the process of reason—must be performed
by each man alone. We can divide a meal among many men. We cannot
digest it in a collective stomach. No man can use his lungs to breathe
for another man. No man can use his brain to think for another. All
the functions of body and spirit are private. They cannot be shared
inherit the products of the thought of other men. We inherit the wheel.
We make a cart. The cart becomes an automobile. The automobile becomes
an airplane. But all through the process what we receive from others
is only the end product of their thinking. The moving force is the
creative faculty which takes this product as material, uses it and
originates the next step. This creative faculty cannot be given or
received, shared or borrowed. It belongs to single, individual men.
That -which it creates is the property of the creator. Men learn from
one another. But all learning is only the exchange of material. No
man can give another the capacity to think. Yet that capacity is our
only means of survival.
is given to man on earth. Everything he needs has to be produced.
And here man faces his basic alternative: he can survive in only one
of two ways—by the independent work of his own mind or as a
parasite fed by the minds of others. The creator originates. The parasite
borrows. The creator faces nature alone. The parasite faces nature
through an intermediary.
creator's concern is the conquest of nature. The parasite's concern
is the conquest of men.
creator lives for his work. He needs no other men. His primary goal
is within himself. The parasite lives second-hand. He needs others.
Others become his prime motive.
basic need of the creator is independence. The reasoning mind cannot
work under any form of compulsion. It cannot he curbed, sacrificed
or subordinated to any consideration whatsoever. It demands total
independence in function and in motive. To a creator, all relations
with men are secondary.
basic need of the second-hander is to secure his ties with men in
order to be fed. He places relations first. He declares that man exists
in order, to serve others. He preaches altruism.
is the doctrine which demands that men live for others and place others
man can live for another. He cannot share his spirit just as he cannot
share his body. But the seeond-hander has used altruism as a weapon
of exploitation and reversed the base of
principles. Men have been taught every precept that destroys the creator.
Men have been taught dependence as a virtue.
man who attempts to live for others is a dependent. He is a parasite
in motive and makes parasites of those he serves. The relationship
produces nothing but mutual corruption. It is impossible in concept.
The nearest approach to it in reality—the man who lives to serve
others—is the slave. If physical slavery is repulsive, how much
more repulsive is the concept of servility of the spirit? The conquered
slave has a vestige of honor. He has the merit of having resisted
and of considering his condition evil. But the man who enslaves himself
voluntarily in the name of love is the basest of creatures. He degrades
the dignity of man and he degrades the conception of love. But this is the essence of altruism.
have been taught that the highest virtue is not to achieve but to
give. Yet one cannot give that which has not created. Creation comes
before distribution—or there will thing to distribute. The need
of the creator comes before the need of any possible beneficiary.
Yet we are taught to admire the second-hander who dispenses gifts
he has not produced above the man who made the gifts possible. We
praise the act of charity. We shrug at an act of achievement.
have been taught that their first concern is to relieve the suffering
of others. But suffering is a disease. Should one come upon it, one
tries to give relief and assistance. To make that the highest test
of virtue is to make suffering the most important part of life. Then
man must wish to see others suffer in order that he may be virtuous.
Such is the nature of altruism. The creator is not concerned with
disease, but with life. Yet the work of the creators has eliminated
one form of disease after another, in man's body and spirit, and brought
more relief from suffering than any altruist could ever conceive.
have been taught that it is a virtue to agree with others. But the
creator is the man who disagrees. Men have been taught that it is
a virtue to swim with the current. But the creator is the man who
goes against the current. Men have been taught that it is a virtue
to stand together. But the creator is the man who stands alone.
have been taught that the ego is the synonym of evil, and selflessness,
the ideal of virtue. But the creator is the egotist in the absolute
sense, and the selfless man is the one who does not think, feel, judge
or act, These are functions of the self.
the basic reversal is most deadly. The issue has been perverted and
man has been left no alternative—and no freedom. As poles of
good and evil, he was offered two conceptions: egotism and altruism.
Egotism was held to mean the sacrifice of others to self. Altruism—the
sacrifice of self to others. This tied man irrevocably to other men
and left him nothing but a choice of pain: his own pain borne for
the sake of others or pain inflicted upon others for the sake of self.
When it was added that man must find joy in self-immolation, the trap
was closed. Man was forced to accept masochism his ideal—under
the threat that sadism was his only alternative. This was the greatest
fraud ever perpetrated on mankind.
was the device by which dependence and suffering were perpetuated
as fundamentals of life.
choice is not self-sacrifice or domination. The choice is independence
or dependence. The code of the creator or the code of the second-hander.
This is the basic issue. It rests on the alternative of life or death.
The code of the creator is built on the needs of the reasoning mind
which allows man to survive. The code of the second-hander is built
on the needs of a mind incapable of survival. All that which proceeds
from man's independent ego is good. All that which proceeds from man's
dependence upon men is evil.
egotist in the absolute sense is not the man who sacrifices others.
He is the man who, stands above the need of using others in any manner.
He does not function through them. He is not concerned with them in
any primary matter. Not in his aim, not in his motive, not in his
thinking, not in his desires, not in the source of his energy. He
does not exist for any other man—he asks no other man to exist
for him. This is the only form of brotherhood and mutual respect possible
of ability vary, but the basic principle remains the same: the degree
of a man's independence initiative and personal love for his work
determines his talent as a worker and his worth as a man. Independence
is the only gauge of human virtue and value. What a man is and makes
of himself; not what he has or hasn't done for others. There is no
substitute for personal dignity. There is no standard of personal
dignity except independence.
all proper relationships there is no sacrifice of anyone to anyone.
An architect needs clients, but he does not subordinate his work to
their wishes. They need him, but they do not order a house just to
give him a commission. Men exchange their work by free, mutual consent
to mutual advantage when their personal interests agree and they both
desire the exchange. If they do not desire it, they are not forced
to deal with each other. They seek further. This is the only possible
form of relationship between equals. Anything else is a relation of
slave to master, or victim to executioner.
work is ever done collectively, by a majority decision. Every creative
job is achieved under the guidance of a single individual thought.
An architect requires a great many men to erect his building. But
he does not ask them to vote on his design; they work together by
free agreement and each is free in his proper function. An architect
uses steel, glass, concrete produced by others, But the materials
remain just so much steel, glass and concrete until he touches them.
What he does with them is his individual product and his individual
property. This is the only pattern for proper co-operation among men,
first right on earth is the right of the ego. Man's first duty is
to himself. His moral law is never to place his prime goal within
the persons of others. His moral obligation is to do what he wishes,
provided his wish does not depend primarily
upon other men. This includes the whole sphere of his creative faculty,
his thinking, his work. But it does not include the sphere of the
gangster, the altruist and the dictator,
man thinks and works alone. A man cannot rob, exploit or rule alone.
Robbery, exploitation and ruling presuppose victims. They imply dependence.
They are the province of the Second-hander.
of men are not egotists. They create nothing. They exist entirely
through the persons of others. Their goal is in their subjects, in
the activity of enslaving. They are as dependent as the beggar, the
social worker and the bandit. The form of dependence does not matter.
men were taught to regard second-hinders---tyrants, emperors, dictators—as
exponents of egotism. By this fraud they were made to destroy the
ego, themselves and others. The purpose of the fraud was to destroy
the creators. Or harness them. Which is a synonym.
the beginning of history, the two antagonists have stood face to face;
the creator and the second-hander: When the first creator invented
the wheel, the fist second-hander responded. He invented altruism.
creator—denied, opposed, persecuted, exploited—went on,
moved forward and carried all humanity along on his energy. The second-hander
contributed nothing to the process except the impediments. The contest
has another name: the individual against the collective.
'common good' of a collective—a race, a class, a state—was
the claim and justification of every tyranny ever established over
men. Every major horror of history was committed in the name of an
altruistic motive. Has any act of selfishness ever equaled the carnage
perpetrated by disciples of altruism? Does the fault lie in men's
hypocrisy or in the nature of the principle?
The most dreadful butchers were the most sincere. They believed
in the perfect society reached through the guillotine arid the firing
squad. Nobody questioned their right to murder since they were murdering
for an altruistic purpose. It was accepted that man must be sacrificed
for other men. Actors change, but the course of the tragedy remains
the same. A humanitarian who starts with declarations of love for
mankind and ends with a sea of blood. It goes on and will go on so
long as men believe that an action is good if it is unselfish. That
permits the altruist to act and forces his victims to bear it. The
leaders of collectivist movements ask nothing or themselves. But observe
only good which men can do to one another and only statement of their
proper relationship is—Hands off!
observe the results of a society built on the principle of individualism.
This, our country. The noblest country in the history of men. The
country of greatest achievement, greatest prosperity, greatest freedom. This country was not based on selfless service, sacrifice,
renunciation or any precept of altruism. It was based on a man's right
to the pursuit of happiness. His own happiness. Not anyone else's.
A private, personal, selfish motive. Look at the results. Look into
your own conscience.
is an ancient conflict. Men have come close to the truth, but it was
destroyed each time and one civilization fell after another, Civilization
is the progress toward a society of privacy. The savage's whole existence
is public, ruled by the laws of his tribe. Civilization is the process
of setting man free from men.
in our age, collectivism, the rule of the second-hander and second-rater,
the ancient, monster, has broken loose and is running amuck. It has
brought men to a level of intellectual indecency never equaled on
earth. It has reached a scale of horror without precedent. It has
poisoned every mind. It has swallowed most of Europe. It is engulfing
am an architect. I know what is to come by the principle on which
it is built. We are approaching a world in which I cannot permit myself
you know why I dynamited Cortland.
designed Cortland. I gave it to you. I destroyed it.
destroyed it because I did not choose to let it exist. It was a double
monster. In form and in implication. I had to blast both. The form
was mutilated by two second-handers who assumed the right to improve
upon that which they had not made and could not equal. They were permitted
to do it by the general implication that the altruistic purpose of
the building superseded all rights and that I had no claim to stand
"I agreed to design Cortland for the
purpose of seeing it erected as I designed it and for no other reason.
That was the price I set for my work. I was not paid.
do not blame Peter Keating. He was helpless. He had a contract with
his employers. It was ignored. He had a promise that the structure
he offered would be built as designed. The promise was broken. The
love of a man for the integrity of his work and his right to preserve
it are now considered a vague intangible and an unessential. You have
heard the prosecutor say that. Why was the building disfigured? For
no reason. Such acts never have any reason, unless it's the vanity
of some second-handers who feel they have a right to anyone's property,
spiritual or material. Who permitted them to do it? No particular
man among the dozens in authority.
No one cared to permit it or to stop it. No one was responsible.
No one can be held to account. Such is the nature of all collective
did pot receive the payment I asked. But the owners of Cortland got
what they needed from me. They wanted a scheme devised to build a
structure as cheaply as possible. They found no one else who could
do it to their satisfaction. I could and did. They took the benefit
of my work and made me contribute it as a gift. But I am not an altruist.
I do not contribute gifts of this nature.
is said that I have destroyed the home of the destitute. It is forgotten
that but for me the destitute could not have had this particular home.
Those who were concerned with the poor had to come to me, who have
never been concerned, in order to help the poor. It is believed that
the poverty of the future tenants gave them a. right to my work. That
their need constituted a claim on my life. That it was my duty to
contribute anything demanded of me. This is the second-hander's credo
now swallowing the world.
came here to say that I do not recognize anyone's right to one minute
of my life. Nor to any part of my energy. Nor to any achievement of
mine. No matter who makes the claim, how large their number or how
great their need.
wished to come here and say that I am a man who does not exist for
had to be said. The world is perishing from an orgy of self-sacrificing.
wished to come here and say that the integrity of a man's creative
work is of greater importance than any charitable endeavor. Those
of you who do not understand this are the men who're destroying the
wished to come here and state my terms. I do not care to exist on
recognize no obligations toward men except one: to respect their freedom
and to take no part in a slave society. To my country, I wish to give
the ten years which I will spend in jail if my country exists no longer.
I will spend them in memory and in gratitude for what my country has
been. It will be my act of loyalty, my refusal to live or work in
what has taken its place.
act of loyalty to every creator who ever lived and was made to suffer
by the force responsible for the Cortland. I dynamited. To every tortured
hour of loneliness, denial, frustration, abuse he was made to spend—-and
to the battles he won. To every creator whose name is known-and to
every creator who lived, struggled and perished unrecognized before
he could achieve. To every creator who was destroyed in body or in