I made a transcript of the recording below of Ayn Rand’s “How Does One Lead a Rational Life in an Irrational Society” in April 1962, because I deemed it imperative that people view the current situation in Western Civilization through this stark, yet accurate lens. In the following one gets to understand Antifa, Trudeau and Obama, BLM, the programmed reaction to K and r Strategy behaviour, the social engineering taking place via Hollywood and governments’ lapdog media, Political Correctness, the LBGT movement, the war on whites, the importation of savages to civilized countries under the guise of “refugees,” Cultural Marxism, and more. Read it carefully, ponder upon it, and see how the fog clears. Let us begin:
“The idea which is so prevalent today, and which is responsible for the spread of evil in the world – that principle is, ‘One must never fail to pronounce moral judgment.’ Nothing can corrupt and disintegrate a culture or a man’s character as thoroughly as does the precept of Moral Agnosticism – the idea that one must never pass moral judgment on others, that one must be morally tolerant of anything, that the good consists of never distinguishing good from evil.
“It is obvious who profits and who loses by such a precept; it is not justice or equal treatment that you grant to men when you abstain equally from praising mens’ virtues and from condemning mens’ vices. When your impartial attitude declares, in effect, that neither the good nor the evil may expect anything from you, whom do you betray? And whom do you encourage? But to pronounce moral judgment is an enormous responsibility. To be a judge, one must possess an unimpeachable character – one need not be omniscient or infallible, and it is not an issue of heirs of knowledge: one needs an unbreached integrity, that is, any indulgence in conscious, willful evil.
“Just as a judge in a court of law may err when the evidence is inconclusive, but may not evade the evidence available, nor accept bribes, nor allow any personal feeling, emotion, desire, or fear to obstruct his mind’s judgment of the facts of reality, so every rational person must maintain an equally strict and solemn integrity in the courtroom within his own mind, where the responsibility is more awesome than in a public tribunal, because he, the judge, is the only one to know when he has been impeached.
“There is, however, a court of appeal from one’s judgments: objective reality. A judge puts himself on trial every time he pronounces a verdict. It is only in today’s reign of amoral cynicism, subjectivism, and hooliganism that men may imagine themselves free to utter any sort of irrational judgement and to suffer no consequences, but, in fact, a man is to be judged by the judgment he pronounces; the things which he condemns or extols exist in objective reality and are open to the independent appraisal of others. It is his own moral character and standards that he reveals when he praises or condemns others. If he condemns America and extols Soviet Russia, or if he attacks businessmen and defends juvenile delinquents, or if denounces a great work of art and praises trash, it is the nature of his own soul that he confesses.
“It is their fear of this responsibility that prompts most people to adopt an attitude of indiscriminate moral neutrality,” it is the fear best expressed in the precept, “Judge not, that ye be not judged.” But that precept is, in fact, an abdication of moral responsibility; it is a moral blank check that one gives to others in exchange for moral blank check one expects for oneself.
“There is no escape from the fact that men have to make choices, and so long as men have to make choices, there is no escape from moral values. So long as moral values are at stake, no moral neutrality is possible. To abstain from condemning a torturer is to be complicit in the torture and murder of his victims. The moral principle to adopt in this issue is: Judge, and be prepared to be judged. The opposite of moral neutrality is not a blind, arbitrary, self-righteous condemnation of any idea, action, or person that does not fit one’s mood, one’s memorized slogans or one’s snap judgment of the moment.
“Indiscriminate tolerance and indiscriminate condemnation are not two opposites; they are two variants of the same evasion. To declare that everybody is white, or everybody is black, or everybody is neither white or black but grey is not a moral judgment but an escape from the responsibility of moral judgment. To judge means to evaluate a given concrete by reference to an abstract principle or standard. It is not an easy task, it is not a task that can be performed automatically by one’s feelings, instincts, or hunches. It is a task that requires the most precise, the most exacting, the most ruthlessly objective and rational process of thought.
“It is fairly easy to grasp abstract moral principles, but it can be very difficult to apply them to a given situation, particularly when it involves the moral character of another person. When one pronounces moral judgment, whether in praise or in blame, one must be prepared to answer why and to prove one’s case to oneself and to any rational enquirer. The policy of always pronouncing moral judgment does not mean one has to regard oneself as a missionary, charged with the responsibility of saving everyone’s soul, nor that one must give unsolicited moral appraisals to all those one meets.
“It means, A. That one must know clearly, in full, verbally identified form, one’s own moral evaluation of every person, issue, and event with which one deals, and act accordingly, B. That one must make one’s moral evaluation known to others when it is rationally appropriate to do so. This last does not mean that one must lapse into unprovoked moral denunciation or debate, but that one must speak up when silence can objectively be taken to mean agreement with or sanction of the evil. When one deals with irrational persons where argument is futile, a mere “I don’t agree with you” is sufficient to negate any implication of moral sanction. When one deals with better people, a full statement of one’s views may be morally required, but in no case and in no situation may one permit one’s own values to be attacked or denounced and keep silent.
Moral values are the motive power of man’s actions. By pronouncing moral judgment, one protects the clarity of one’s own perception and the rationality of the course one chooses to pursue. It makes a difference whether one thinks one is dealing with human errors of knowledge or with human evil. Observe how many people evade, rationalize, and drive their minds into a state of blind stupor in dread of discovering that those they deal with – their loved ones, or friends or business associates, or political rulers are not merely mistaken, but evil. Observe that this dread leads to them to sanction, to help, and to spread the very evil whose existence they fear to acknowledge.
“If people did not indulge in such abjectivations as the claim that some contemptible liar means well, that a mooching bum can’t help it, that a juvenile delinquent needs love, that a criminal doesn’t know any better, that a power seeking politician is moved by patriotic concern for the public good, that communists are merely agrarian reformers, the history of the past few decades would have been different. Ask yourself why totalitarian dictatorships find it necessary to pour money and effort into propaganda for their own helpless, chained, gagged slaves who have no means of protest of defense. The answer is that even the humblest peasant or the lowest savage would rise in blind rebellion were he to realize that he is being immolated, not to some incomprehensible, noble purpose, but to plain, naked, human evil. Observe also that oral neutrality necessitates a progressive sympathy for vice and a progressive antagonism to virtue.
“A man who struggles to acknowledge that evil is evil finds it increasingly dangerous to acknowledge that the good is the good: to him, a person of virtue is a threat that can topple all of his evasions, particularly when an issue of justice is involved which demands that he take sides. It is then that such formulas as, ‘Nobody is ever fully right or fully wrong,’ and, ‘Who am I to judge?’ take their lethal effect. The man that begins by saying, ‘There is some good in the worst of us’ goes on to say, ‘There is some bad in the best of us,’ then, ‘There has GOT to be some bad in the best of us,’ and then, ‘It’s the best of us that make life difficult for the rest of us! Why don’t they keep silent? Who are they to judge?’ And then, on some grey, middle-aged morning, such a man realizes, suddenly, that he has betrayed all the values that he had loved in his distant spring and wonders how it happened, and slams his mind shut to the answer by telling himself peacefully that the fear he had felt in his worst, most shameful moments was right and that values have no chance in this world.
“An irrational society is a society of moral cowards, of men paralyzed by the loss of moral standards, principles, and goals. But since men have to act as long as they live, such a society is ready to be taken over by anyone willing to set its direction. The initiative can come from only two types of men: either from the man who is willing to assume the responsibility of asserting rational values or from the thug who is not troubled by questions of responsibility. No matter how hard the struggle, there is only one choice that a rational man can make in the face of such an alternative.”
Here’s the audio version:
Now hear this – Philosophy – Who Needs It?