Various quotes from two of my favorite people:
"Since the golden age of Greece, there has been only one era of reason in twenty-three centuries of Western philosophy. During the final decades of that era, the United States of America was created as an independent nation. This is the key to the country--to its nature, its development, and its uniqueness: the United States is the nation of the Enlightenment.
Leonard Peikoff, from his book, 'The Ominous Parallels'
"The basic premise of the Founding Fathers was man's right to his own life, to his own liberty, to the pursuit of his own happiness--which means: man's right to exist for his own sake, neither sacrificing himself to others nor sacrificing others to himself; and that the political implementation of this right is a society where men deal with one another as traders, by voluntary exchange to mutual benefit."
Ayn Rand, 'For the New Intellectual'
"The difference between an exchange of ideas and an exchange of blows is self-evident. The line of demarcation between freedom of speech and freedom of action is established by the ban on the initiation of physical force."
Ayn Rand 'Capitalism:The Unknown Ideal'
"Every argument for God and every attribute ascribed to Him rests on a false metaphysical premise. None can survive for a moment on a correct metaphysics.
For instance, God is infinite. Nothing can be infinite, according to the Law of Identity. Everything is what it is, and nothing else. It is limited in its qualities and in its quantity: it is This much and no more. "Infinite" as applied to quantity does not mean "very large": it means "larger than any specific quantity." That means: no specific quantity--i.e., a quantity without identity. This is prohibited by the Law of Identity.
Is God the creator of the universe? There can be no creation of something out of nothing. There is no nothing.
Is God omnipotent? Can he do anything? Entities can act only in accordance with their natures; nothing can make them violate their natures...
"God" as traditionally defined is a systematic contradiction of every valid metaphysical principle. The point is wider than just the Judeo-Christian concept of God. No argument will get you from this world to a supernatural world. No reason will lead you to a world contradicting this one. No method of inference will enable you to leap from existence to a "super-existence."
Leonard Peikoff 'The Philosophy of Objectivism" lecture series.
"Mankind is not an entity, an organism, or a coral bush. The entity involved in production and trade is Man. It is with the study of man--not of the loose aggregate known as "community"--that any science of the humanities has to begin...
A great deal may be learned about society by studying man; but this process cannot be reversed: nothing can be learned about man by studying society-by studying the inter-relationships of entities one has never identified or defined."
Ayn Rand 'What is Capitalism?'