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When reading some of Ayn Rand's opinions on the subject of Native American property she seemed to conclude that because the Native Americans had not developed nor understood property rights they did not deserve them; it seems to me that the right to property (along with life and liberty) are rights that should be afforded to all humans as an imperative to survival; am I misinformed in saying Rand disagreed with this? Did i misunderstand her calm? If so what was her claim on this subject?

asked Aug 30 '12 at 23:34

TheBucket's gravatar image


To understand this issue, it's helpful to consider some concrete questions:

  • Does a thief have a right to what he holds?
  • Does a mugger have a right to be left alone?
  • Does a murderer have a right to live?

The answer to all of these is "no".

In principle, every person has rights, but those rights are conditional on whether they respect, in their action, the rights of others.

Any society where rights are unrecognized in action is, justly, a society ripe for violent overthrow for the sake of establishing rights.

The term "savage" is an appropriate one here. Savages don't know about, nor respect rights, and, as a result, they routinely perform atrocities which the forcible establishment of a rights-based government stops.

There is no right to remain a savage.

answered Aug 31 '12 at 09:40

John%20Paquette's gravatar image

John Paquette ♦

edited Aug 31 '12 at 09:46

Is this too strong of a statement?

Those who live like they are a part of nature (e.g., like an animal not respecting rights) are treated as if they're a part of nature (subjected to conquest by man). If they decide to use their mind and live like man, then they shall be treated as such.

(Aug 31 '12 at 15:28) Humbug Humbug's gravatar image

I don't like the phrase "like they are a part of nature". Man is part of nature.

I'd just say: if you act like an animal (non-rationally), you'll be treated like an animal.

(Aug 31 '12 at 15:53) John Paquette ♦ John%20Paquette's gravatar image

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Asked: Aug 30 '12 at 23:34

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Last updated: Aug 31 '12 at 15:53