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Quote: Ayn Rand on a Free Nation’s Military

You have chosen to risk your lives for the defense of this country. I will not insult you by saying that you are dedicated to selfless service–it is not a virtue in my morality. In my morality, the defense of one’s country means that a man is personally unwilling to live as the conquered slave of any enemy, foreign or domestic. This is an enormous virtue…

…The army of a free country has a great responsibility: the right to use force, but not as an instrument of compulsion and brute conquest–as the armies of other countries have done in their histories–only as an instrument of a free nation’s self-defense, which means: the defense of a man’s individual rights. The principle of using force only in retaliation against those who initiate its use, is the principle of subordinating might to right.



— philosopher and novelist Ayn Rand speaking at the United States Military Academy at West Point in 1974


 


 

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