This is what I wanted to give for one of my speeches in my class. However, it would have been over twelve minutes long, and the speech requirement was seven, so I will instead post it here, and see what you think about it.

Note: this was written as a speech, so it is best read as if an orator were speaking it to you. Allow pauses in the words where you think there would be pauses, etc.


"It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it."

In my first speech, I told you that this quote was the single thought which I always hold imbedded within my reasoning and opinion. The reason I bring it up again, now at the closing speech of this class, is because I must now ask you to hold it within your reasoning and opinion, because what I am about to present will directly conflict with almost every policy that you hold. My only hope is that it will not conflict with the values that you hold.

I may make you angry, I may ignite the barriers you have constructed around your opinion in such a way that you feel aggression towards me. There will be time at the end to question what I am saying and why I am saying it.

But I will start with something I think we can all agree on. Politics is a mess. Whether you are democrat, republican, or something else entirely you can at least agree that there is something wrong with the system as we currently have it. I am here to tell you the vice that is eating away at our countries base, and although you may not immediately agree with me, I ask you to hold it within your mind, to take Aristotle's advice and entertain the concepts of which I am telling you.

What I will be talking about is the most brilliant form of government to ever enter the field of history. Its origins begin in Greece, but it was only actually ever created in America. The system which I will be discussing is Capitalism, and my speech will be split into three main sections. Firstly, I will dispel the common misconceptions of capitalism, such as that it causes poverty and depressions, secondly I will support capitalism ethically, showing that it is the only worthy system of governance, and thirdly I will show you the importance of voting for less government interference, rather than more.

To start out, I will give a small history lesson on Capitalism.

One of the founding fathers of capitalism was the philosopher John Locke. Locke once said that "Every man has a property in his own person. This nobody has a right to, but himself." This is the foundation of rights, that people have the right to use nature to their benefit, to support their own happiness and life, as long as they don't harm the rights of another.

This is the ethical foundation of capitalism, that each man owns himself, and thus, no man, and by man, I mean both men and women, has the right to initiate force against any other person. Let me repeat this, all initiation of force is evil, whether that is by a well dressed government official or a thief in the night—both are obtaining your money by threatening you with a gun. On this point I think we can all agree, I think we can all agree that initiating force is evil. But for some reason people have been giving asylum to the government for the past six thousand years. Our founding fathers removed that asylum. Our founding fathers recognized that every man has the right to their own person. No person should have force initiated against them.

Madison, the father of the constitution believed that government is a double-edged sword. That the power to deter and coerce criminals can be transformed into the power to restrict individual liberty, take property, and impose tyrannical government." This is why he created the constitution. To prevent the government from taking your rights. This is the reason for democracy, for the house, for the senate, and for the judiciary. To check the government against itself, to prevent it from doing what all other governments in history have done. To prevent it from violating your rights.

But there is a common misconception that the government has to get involved in order to make society more civilized. This is false. The government's only job is to prevent the initiation of force, not to initiate it. Let me repeat, the government's job is to prevent theft and murder, not steal and murder themselves. The government's job is not to take away rights, but to protect them. Not to remove free speech, but to allow you to speak freely. Not to deny you contracts, but enforce the contracts you make. Not to steal your property, but to defend what you own. Not to take your right to life, but to allow to live your life without fear of others.

There is a belief which is prevalent in our society that people should not be allowed to trade their labor and the products of their labor freely. This belief is a contradiction to capitalism. Somehow, the education system, our government, and people of society as a whole have gotten it across their head that in order for a free and prosperous society to exist, we must put restrictions on those who would wish to produce. In other words, there is a belief that we must take away the ability of people to choose whom they will work for, and for what price they will accept for their labor. What I am talking about is minimum wage and other government restrictions, and what I am saying is that not only does it not make any economic sense, but it is morally unjust and ethically reprehensible.

Here, I will give a small illustration to help you understand what I mean. If I open a grocery store, then I need employees to run it efficiently. If there is a homeless person on the street who is willing to work for food, and I trade him a day's worth of calories for a days worth of his work, what injustice have I committed? I have not forced him to do anything, he and I have both gained from the trade of food for employment, and nobody is worse off. In fact, he is significantly better off, as he is no longer hungry and can now possibly concentrate on other problems in his life, such as getting a warmer coat, or maybe a better job. When he can provide for his basic needs through a job, he can then afford to look for a job which pays more. If a different grocer were to come into the town, as often happens in a free market, then he would have to offer a higher price to the man who was once a beggar if he wanted to entice him to his own store. This would force the original grocer to either raise his wage or risk loosing his employee. Thus, in a free market, wages raise automatically, and poverty and hunger are not allowed to last long. Government intervention, such as minimum wage laws, are completely contrary to basic economic principals.

To quote Professor in economics James A. Dorn, "The idea that legislators can help low-income workers simply by mandating a pay raise is the height of hubris. While the minimum-wage rhetoric may sound good, the reality is quite different. Forcing employers to pay low-skilled workers a higher than market wage — in the absence of any changes in productivity — will decrease the number of workers hired (the law of demand)."

Minimum wage does nothing to raise the wage of workers. It is a bureaucratic shield against the claim of inaction, erected in a haste against the charges that the politicians weren't doing anything against poverty. If you want higher wages then you need only one thing, more productivity. With more productivity comes more wealth, more competition, and higher wages.

Let us now move out of minimum wage and other government controls and onto child labor. To begin, I will quote a PhD in economic and business history, Robert Hessan, ""one is both morally unjust and ignorant of history if one blames capitalism for the condition of children during the Industrial Revolution, since, in fact, capitalism brought an enormous improvement over their condition in the preceding age."

I know you all have a prejudice towards labor during the industrial revolution. Put it aside. Listen to the facts and do not be deceived by what other have been telling you all your lives.

Hessan continues, "Before children began earning money working in factories, they had been sent to live in parish poorhouses, apprenticed as unpaid household servants, rented out for backbreaking agricultural labor, or became beggars, vagrants, thieves, and prostitutes. The pre-capitalist "good old days" simply never existed."

In other words, what most people have against capitalism is the false claim that it causes poverty. People firmly believe, with all their might, that the market cannot regulate itself, that consumers and producers are not rational enough to choose products which serve their own self interest and thus only the swindlers survive. They say things such as 'minimum wage is necessary because otherwise people would not be able to support their families.' But who, I ask, is the one who must support those they love? There is only one way to support—to produce. Without production, there can be no consumption. Without picking the apple, you can not eat it. Just as you can not have your cake and eat it too, you cannot eat a cake without it first being made. For a value, you must exert effort, and the effort which you must exert is your mind.

The fiction writer and philosopher Ayn Rand writes, "Man has no claws, no fangs, no horns, no great strength of muscle. He must plant his food, or hunt it. To plant, he needs a process of thought. To hunt, he needs weapons, and to make weapons, a process of thought. From the simplest necessity to the highest religious abstraction, from the wheel to the skyscraper, everything we are and everything we have comes from a single attribute of man—the function of his reasoning mind."

Force removes such a function by definition. It forces the men it coerces to choose between a bullet in the head and the irrational wishes of the one who holds such power. It destroys man's ability to survive.

Capitalism is the system of government which removes such an occasion from happening. A government under capitalism will not initiate force, it will protect against such initiation. It will not steal from its citizens; it will prevent its citizens from being stolen from. It allows each person to make their own selfish decisions in their lives, but does not allow their decisions to have negative externalities on those around them.

This is the basis of capitalism. That you have the right to life, that you have the right to liberty, and that you, and you alone, have the right to pursue your own happiness.

In a system where force is absent, men must choose between alternatives based on selfish desires. But such choice is not only restricted to the businessman, as society would have you believed. YOU choose what is more valuable to you. YOU decide whether you would like apples or oranges, whether you would like to spend hours laboring at weaving your own clothing, or if you would like to work one hour and buy a cotton T-shirt at K-Mart. YOU choose at what value to sell your labor.

If you choose to be employed, rather than provide employment, your employer decides at what wage he would like to hire you. It is a fair and equal trade. He is not imposing anything on you, and you are not imposing anything on him. BOTH of you are achieving a benefit.

Go back to my example with the homeless person and the grocer. Do you think the homeless person would have been better off had the grocer not hired him? Do you think the grocer would have opened a business if he were forced to pay his workers above the profit he could make? Would the chances of him opening his business have been higher if labor had not been so cheap? No! The only reason why people choose to hire or be hired is because there is a benefit in such activity. You are free to choose at what wage you will be hired, but you are not entitled to point a gun at someone's head and demand that they pay you. You are not entitled to initiate force and demand that they see your merit. And neither is the government.

The only thing which can properly drive people into contracts is reality. Because men must cooperate if they wish to achieve the maximum wealth, then cooperate they do. In the days of savages, they cooperated to bring down a mammoth. In the days of technology, they cooperate to raise up a skyscraper. But whom is working selflessly in killing a mammoth? Whom is working selflessly in building a skyscraper? Who is working selflessly in growing corn and selling it. Who is working selflessly in giving to a cause in which they feel deeply for?

Do you want the answer? Because I don't think you do. I don't think you want to hear it, I think you are afraid of what I am about to tell you, and I think you will reject it with every fiber of your being. Except for one. Your fundamental values.

The answerer to the question "who is working selflessly" is… no one. When you give food to your child, you are being selfish, you value your child more than the food. When you donate money to education, you are being selfish. You see some of your own struggle in the cause you are donating for, and thus it makes you happy to support it. When you are working at a job, or walking for breast cancer, or going to college, or eating a meal—you are being selfish. All of these are a benefit either directly to yourself or to a cause which you value.

And you should be! If you wish to be moral, you must put your own values first. If you wish to be ethical, you must put your own happiness first. If you wish to be reasonable, you must put your own life first.

To be selfless demands a sacrifice. And the first thing you must sacrifice is your morals. If you value your child, to be selfless you must kill it. If you value pacifism, to be selfless you must buy firearms for the brute. If you value life, to be selfless, you must hand the murderer the knife, and lay on your back and guide his hand.

Absolute selflessness involves destroying everything you love, everything you care for, everything which gives you pleasure—in favor of everything you hate, everything you despise, and everything which gives you agony—everything which is anti-you. To call any action which goes against everything you believe a virtue is a mockery of virtue itself. It is a mockery of ethics, it is a mockery of reason, and it is a mockery of yourself.

Now some of you will object by the question, "but do you not love your friends, do you not care about human suffering?" And the answerer is… yes! Empathy is not selfless. In fact, fulfilling your empathy is a selfish act. When you see a young child starving on the street, would it make you happy to help such a person? Yes! You can see their struggle, you can internalize their struggle, and thus when you help them, their struggle becomes your struggle, their despair becomes your despair, and thus their happiness can become your happiness. That is the nature of empathy, to be happy when you help someone else.

But would you be happy to help someone whom you didn't value? Which would be more selfless, to give ten dollars to a starving child, or to give ten dollars to a child rapist? Which would be more selfless, to shoot your enemy in the face, or to shoot your brother in the face? The call to selflessness is a perversion, it should have been destroyed and discredited by the philosophers of the Renaissance.

I am sure that not many here are agreeing with me. I am sure that right now, many of your are redefining what you had always taken selflessness to mean, putting it through the loopholes of your ethics so that it will fit. But do not run from it, recognize that selflessness is not ethical. Recognize that your happiness is. That is all I ask. After you recognize this simple fact, after you can understand that life is worth living, that joy and wonder of all that exists are good things—after you can see these things, then the world will be completely different for you. I believe that you will see things clearer. If you remember nothing else from this speech, remember that it is your values which are important, that it is your life which is worth living—and if you wish to live it, in the society in which we currently exist, you must fight for it. You must fight for your life, you must fight (pause) for your rights.

Wait for applause

Are there any questions?