My philosophy, in essence, is the concept of man as a heroic being, with his own happiness as the moral purpose of his life, with productive achievement as his noblest activity, and reason as his only absolute.
—Ayn Rand, Appendix to Atlas Shrugged
In her novels The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged, and in nonfiction works such as Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal, Ayn Rand forged a systematic philosophy of reason and freedom.
Rand was a passionate individualist. She wrote in praise of “the men of unborrowed vision,” who live by the judgment of their own minds, willing to stand alone against tradition and popular opinion.
Her philosophy of Objectivism rejects the ethics of self-sacrifice and renunciation. She urged men to hold themselves and their lives as their highest values, and to live by the code of the free individual: self-reliance, integrity, rationality, productive effort.
Objectivism celebrates the power of man’s mind, defending reason and science against every form of irrationalism. It provides an intellectual foundation for objective standards of truth and value.
Upholding the use of reason to transform nature and create wealth, Objectivism honors the businessman and the banker, no less than the philosopher and artist, as creators and as benefactors of mankind.
Ayn Rand was a champion of individual rights, which protect the sovereignty of the individual as an end in himself; and of capitalism, which is the only social system that allows people to live together peaceably, by voluntary trade, as independent equals.
Millions of readers have been inspired by the vision of life in Ayn Rand’s novels. Scholars are exploring the trails she blazed in philosophy and other fields. Her principled defense of capitalism has drawn new adherents to the cause of economic and political liberty.