“If you are seriously interested in fighting for a better world, begin by identifying the nature
of the problem. The battle is primarily intellectual (philosophical), not political. Politics is the
last consequence, the practical implementation, of the fundamental (metaphysical-
epistemological-ethical) ideas that dominate a given nation's culture. You cannot fight or
change the consequences without fighting and changing the cause; nor can you attempt
any practical implementation without knowing what you want to implement.
“In an intellectual battle, you do not need to convert everyone. History is made by minorities
—or, more precisely, history is made by intellectual movements, which are created by
minorities. Who belongs to these minorities? Anyone who is able and willing actively to
concern himself with intellectual issues. Here, it is not quantity, but quality that counts (the
quality—and consistency—of the ideas one is advocating).
“An intellectual movement does not start with organised action. Whom would one organise?
A philosophical battle is a battle for men's minds, not an attempt to enlist blind followers.
Ideas can be propagated only by men who understand them. An organized movement has
to be preceded by an educational campaign, which requires trained—self-trained—teachers
(self-trained in the sense that a philosopher can offer you the material of knowledge, but it
is your own mind that has to absorb it).
“Such training is the first requirement for being a doctor during an ideological epidemic—and
the precondition of any attempt to ‘change the world.’”
- Ayn Rand, “What Can One Do?,” from the book Philosophy: Who Needs It