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Man's Rights: Ayn Rand's Historic Contribution

John Ridpath

Presented at: OCON 2005

Date: Jul 02, 2005

In his 1689 Two Treatises of Government, John Locke explicitly connects the concept of man's rights to the evil of the initiation of force. With this identification, the long struggle to discover and identify man's rights came to an end. But at that time the struggle to identify the deeper reasons for why man has rights and why survival qua man requires that they be recognized, had barely begun. And—tragically—through the 18th century such efforts were unsuccessful.

Dr. Ridpath will examine these 18th-century failings, the 19th-century dismissal of man's rights and the 20th-century perversion of the concept of rights. With this background in mind, we will then have the context for understanding, in full, the historic contribution of Ayn Rand. We will see that only with what she has discovered will men be able to fully defend man's rights—the concept on which any possibility of a future society proper to man's nature must be built.


Parts: 1

Handout: none