Inalienability

  • The Ayn Rand Column

    When we say that we hold individual rights to be inalienable, we must mean just that. Inalienable means that which we may not take away, suspend, infringe, restrict or violate — not ever, not at any time, not for any purpose whatsoever.

    You cannot say that “man has inalienable rights except in cold weather and on every second Tuesday,” just as you cannot say that “man has inalienable rights except in an emergency,” or “man’s rights cannot be violated except for a good purpose.”

    Either man’s rights are inalienable, or they are not. You cannot say a thing such as “semi-inalienable” and consider yourself either honest or sane. When you begin making conditions, reservations and exceptions, you admit that there is something or someone above man’s rights, who may violate them at his discretion. Who? Why, society — that is, the Collective. For what reason? For the good of the Collective. Who decides when rights should be violated? The Collective. If this is what you believe, move over to the side where you belong and admit that you are a Collectivist.