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North Texas Objectivist Society (NTOS) Message Board › Excerpt from "Anthem," Author's Forward by Ayn Rand

Excerpt from "Anthem," Author's Forward by Ayn Rand

Old T.
OldToad
Group Organizer
Dallas, TX
This story was written in 1937.
...
Some of those who read the story when it was first written, told me that I was unfair to the ideals of collectivism; this was not, they said, what collectivism preaches or intends; collectivists do not mean or advocate such things; nobody advocates them.
...
"Social gains," "social aims," "social objectives" have become the daily bromides of our language. The necessity of a social justification for all activities and all existence is now taken for granted. There is no proposal outrageous enough but what its author can get a respectful hearing and approbation if he claims that in some undefined way it is for "the common good."

Some might think—though I don't—that nine years ago [1935] there was some excuse for men not to see the direction in which the world was going. Today, the evidence is so blatant that no excuse can be claimed by anyone any longer. Those who refuse to see now are neither blind nor innocent.

The greatest guilt [i.e., moral responsibility] today is that of people who accept collectivism by moral default; the people who Seek protection from the necessity of taking a stand, by refusing to admit to themselves the nature of that which they are accepting; the people who support plans specifically designed to achieve serfdom, but hide behind the empty assertion that they are lovers of freedom, with no concrete meaning attached to the word; the people who believe that the content of ideas need not be examined, that principles need not be defined, and that facts can be eliminated by keeping one's eyes shut. They expect, when they find themselves in a world of bloody ruins and concentration camps, to escape moral responsibility by wailing: "But I didn't mean this!"

Those who want slavery should have the grace to name it by its proper name. They must face the full meaning of that which they are advocating or condoning; the full, exact, specific meaning of collectivism, of its logical implications, of the principles upon which it is based, and of the ultimate consequences to which these principles will lead.

They must face it, then decide whether this is what they want or not.

—Ayn Rand, "Anthem," Author's Forward, 1946 (emphasis added).
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