Are human beings unequal in essence?

The Perennial Questions

Most political views are based on a specific conception of human nature. He contends that the amount to which people are bad is crucial to political considerations. Spiritual and ethical considerations pervade the book, which poses various questions in each chapter, such as "are human beings unequal in essence?" In response to this philosophical challenge, Ayn Rand and Emma Goldman provide alternative responses, which Tinder himself kept to himself. Rand focuses on the role of objectivism as the tool for achieving unity, while Goldman prefers anarchy as the driver of a peaceful society where all people are equal and free. While the two authors do not explicitly agree that human beings can put away their differences and work together, they offer workable solutions and designs that help achieve a unified society.

Rand's Objectivism Approach

Rand developed a conception of metaphysical realism, ethical egoism, individual rights and capitalism to social issues. His response to Tinder's question on unequal human essence is an objectivism approach. His central message is that man a heroic being with his purpose in life and happiness, his only absolute is a reason and has productive achievement as his most excellent activity (69). Rand developed the philosophy of metaphysics on the idea that reality is objective and absolute. His view is that man's mind is sufficiently competent to achieve accurate knowledge of that which exists. The theory of man's self-interest is primarily derived from nature as a rational being and in himself (78)mind. He further recognizes people's ability to think and act according to their freely chosen principles and reflect man skills to the best person he can be in the context of the prevailing circumstances. His response to Tinder's questions is tightly wired to the notion of total separation of political power and economic power that effective authorities need to have no economic favors to portray. He defines the role of the government as to protect natural rights, ensure equality through the use of force against those who initiate the use of force.

Goldman's Anarchical Approach

Goldman embraces the anarchical approach by denying political party rules and structures, but an advocated for a society of simple anarchist molding (2). She exemplified the neglected aspect of the spirit and principals and insisted on the quality of egotism and individualism. She described herself as anarchists, not because she is an egotist, but because she believed being an anarchist can help end all suffering and inequality (4). She notes that quality dominates everywhere, destroying quality and any person's entire life rests on quantity. She argues that "In politics, naught but quantity counts. In proportion to its increase, however, principles, ideals, justice, and uprightness are completely swamped by the array of numbers" (52).

Rand's View on Human Essence and Value

Rand, just like Goldman, contends that the universe existed eternally and denounced the idea that it was created by an omnipotent God. The objectivism ethical system is founded on the idea that presupposes an entity capable of acting to attain goals in the face off and alternative. Where there are no alternatives, there are no goals and therefore no values. The choice in life is existence or non-existence, and since the presence of inanimate matter is unconditional, its only the living things that face the alternatives of being alive or dead. Inanimate things may change forms but cannot go out of existence. However, when a living organism dies, its essential physical elements remain although it stops to exist. The concept of value is seen as meaningful when the process of sustaining life and self-generating are at play. All living things are unequal in essence except human beings; given that they are determined by nature to take the actions necessary to sustain their survival. Animals have no critical faculty of the mind. They cannot control their functions of the brain and have no power to question its content. Animals attach reality to whatever they sense without trying to construct similarity or contrast in what they perceive. They, therefore, use emotions as tools for cognition and overcome the curiosity for knowledge by erasing the distinction between consciousness and reality, and between the perceiver and the perceived.

Man's Distinctive Nature and the Role of Thought

Just like animals, man acts to live and needs to gain values that his life needs. However, he has a distinctive nature and has no automatic means of survival. He does not function by automatic sensory or chemical reactions but through thinking- a process of abstraction and conceptualization. This is because the mind faculty is capable perceiving, identifying and integrating the substances given by the senses but does not work automatically (78). The man's tool of thought is logic, and he is free to think or not think. Given that man has no innate knowledge and must determine through goals upon which his life depends, he must consider his unique human life and what harms it. It only by refusing to recognize and act according to the facts of reality that man will face destruction.

Human Consciousness and the Role of Abstraction

Man shares with animals the first stages of development; Sensations and perceptions. It's the third state of consciousness- conceptions- that makes him a man. Sensations are automatically integrated into perceptions automatically by the man's brain but to integrate perceptions into conceptions, through abstraction, he must perform that action by making a choice. The act of abstraction and the concept-formation is a process of reason and thought. It's not intrinsic or involuntary. The conception must be initiated, sustain it, and bear responsibility for the consequences. Human beings have the choice to think and evade or maintain a state of fill awareness of their surroundings. Unlike man, an animal consciousness acts automatically; the animal perceives whatever it's able to perceive and survive accordingly. Man, on the other hand, lacks senses that have automatic guidance, and therefore he has to use the material of knowledge and can understand reality. This means he is conscious by choice and shares with the animals the punishment for being unconscious. While animals survive by changing to the environment, man survives by adjusting his background to himself. Rand notes that for those who do not seek to conquer nature, they survive by defeating those who do (80). Human beings cannot live lives moment by moment given that human consciousness preserves continuity requires some degree of integration. He needs a framework for reference and a view of existence and a justification for his deeds. This means man must live with a philosophical value.

Goldman's Critique of Religion, Property, and Government

Goldman insists that anarchism stands for the liberation of the human mind from the authority of religion, the liberation of the body from the dominion of property, and the liberation of man from restraints of the government (47). She goes ahead to state that anarchism is a social order based on the free division of individuals for the purpose of producing social wealth; an order that allows every member to access the earth regardless of the unequal human essence. According to Goldman, anarchy is not a theory of the future to be realized through some divine interventions but rather a living force in people's daily affairs. Its methods do not entail specifically tailored plans to be executed under all circumstances. The methods need to grow out of the economic needs of different places. Highly against government formations, Goldman states the governments mistakenly fool the public that they exist to diminish crimes. She agrees that the state is bone often the greatest criminal through actions such as breaking written laws, stealing from the people through taxes, committing murders in the form of war and capital punishments. It has failed to utterly destroy the horrible outcomes of its creation (45). She further defines crime as misdirected energy- so long as every social institution, political and plans to misdirect human efforts into wrong channels. Crime will be inevitable as long as there is inequality and given that people do the things they hate doing. Anarchism directs its forces against the forces of social inequality, which are the state, statutory law, and organized authority from where the dominion of human conduct rests upon.

Man's Enslavement by Religion, Property, and Government

The state has enslaved the spirit, dictating each and every behavior of mankind, just like religions do. The same can be said of property that has subdued man's needs. She sees the government as an agent of inequality of man in essence. Its injustice, arrogance, and self-sufficiency, the authority ordains, condemns, punishes, and judges the most insignificant crimes while taking part in the greatest t of all offenses such as war and annihilation. She claims that the government only instills those qualities in the public by which its needs are met.The three agents of man's enslavement, religion, property, and government entail horrors of humanity with religion dominating the mind, government governing human conduct, and assets dominating human needs. Goldman is bitter that religion claims God is everything while the man is nothing, but out of that nothing comes social institutions that are so cruel, tyrannical, and have established dominance for a long time. She argues that only anarchism can save man from this menace of religion by arousing man to rebel and break mental fetters.


Tinder explores different perennial questions without supplying arguments for various sides without offering opinions or answers. One of the intriguing questions is whether human beings can put aside their differences and work together for the betterment of humankind. In response to this issue, Ayn Rand in "For the New Intellectual" and Emma Goldman in "Anarchism and Other Essays" agree that human beings can put away their differences and work towards a common goal. However, Emma Goldman cautions that this is a courageous move that requires a drastic change in society settings. Social institutions like religion and political settings must be wiped off for the differences to be put away. Since human is constantly in conflict resulting in differences in ways of perceiving life, anarchy is the solution suggested by the two socialists. Rand, on the other hand, believes that human differences can be put away by having a society where members fully embrace objectivism. Rand argues that man has the capability to achieve strong knowledge of that which exists given that man is a rational creature.

Works Cited

Rand, Ayn. For the new intellectual: The philosophy of Ayn Rand. Penguin, 1963.

Goldman, Emma. Anarchism and other essays. Courier Corporation, 2012.

Tinder, Glenn. Political thinking: The perennial questions. Longman Pub Group, 2003.

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