Contrary to the prevalent views of today’s alleged scholars, history is not an
unintelligible chaos ruled by chance and whim—historical trends can be
predicted, and changed—men are not helpless, blind, doomed creatures carried
to destruction by incomprehensible forces beyond their control.
There is only one power that determines the course of history, just as it
determines the course of every individual life: the power of man’s rational
faculty—the power of ideas. If you know a man’s convictions, you can predict
his actions. If you understand the dominant philosophy of a society, you can
predict its course. But convictions and philosophy are matters open to man’s
There is no fatalistic, predetermined historical necessity. Atlas Shrugged is
not a prophecy of our unavoidable destruction, but a manifesto of our power to
avoid it, if we choose to change our course.
It is the philosophy of the mysticism-altruism-collectivism axis that has
brought us to our present state and is carrying us toward a finale such as that
of the society presented in Atlas Shrugged. It is only the philosophy of the
reason-individualism-capitalism axis that can save us and carry us, instead,
toward the Atlantis projected in the last two pages of my novel.