Honesty

  • For the New Intellectual
    Honesty is the recognition of the fact that the unreal is unreal and can have no value, that neither love nor fame nor cash is a value if obtained by fraud — that an attempt to gain a value by deceiving the mind of others is an act of raising your victims to a position higher than reality, where you become a pawn of their blindness, a slave of their non-thinking and their evasions, while their intelligence, their rationality, their perceptiveness become the enemies you have to dread and flee — that you do not care to live as a dependent, least of all a dependent on the stupidity of others, or as a fool whose source of values is the fools he succeeds in fooling — that honesty is not a social duty, not a sacrifice for the sake of others, but the most profoundly selfish virtue man can practice: his refusal to sacrifice the reality of his own existence to the deluded consciousness of others.
  • Return of the Primitive

    Self-esteem is reliance on one’s power to think. It cannot be replaced by one’s power to deceive. The self-confidence of a scientist and the self-confidence of a con man are not interchangeable states, and do not come from the same psychological universe. The success of a man who deals with reality augments his self-confidence. The success of a con man augments his panic.

    The intellectual con man has only one defense against panic: the momentary relief he finds by succeeding at further and further frauds.

  • The Ayn Rand Column
    The mark of an honest man . . . is that he means what he says and knows what he means.
  • Philosophy: Who Needs It
    Intellectual honesty consists in taking ideas seriously. To take ideas seriously means that you intend to live by, to practice, any idea you accept as true.
  • Philosophy: Who Needs It
    Intellectual honesty [involves] knowing what one does know, constantly expanding one’s knowledge, and never evading or failing to correct a contradiction. This means: the development of an active mind as a permanent attribute.