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Ayn Rand: No Innocent People In War

An audience member once asked Ayn Rand what did she think about the killing of innocent people in war.

This is how she answered.

Why do you think people should be concerned about the nature of their government? Certainly the majority in any country at war is innocent, but if by neglect, ignorance or helplessness, they couldn’t overturn or choose a bad government… and choose a better one, then they have to pay the price for the sins of their government as all of us are paying for the sins of ours. That’s why we have to be interested in the philosophy of government, and in seeing to the extent we can, seeing to it that we have a good government. Because a government is not an independent entity, it’s supposed to represent the people of a nation. If some people put up with Soviet dictatorship – not all of them you know, but some do as they did in Germany – they deserve whichever their government deserves. There is no innocent people in war. The only thing to be concerned with is who started that war. And once you can establish that it’s a given country, there is no such thing as considerations for the right of that country because it has initiated the use of force and therefore stepped outside the principle of rights.

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