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“The three cardinal values of the Objectivist ethics ... are: Reason, Purpose, Self-esteem, with their three corresponding virtues: Rationality, Productiveness, Pride.”
   ~ Ayn Rand

The virtues on which the primary values depend are rationality, productivity, and independence. The man who is successful in living is able to derive the values necessary for his life and to translate them into the virtues necessary to gain and keep them. Some skeptics might say that this is a "cold, unemotional, and rationalistic" way to go about life, but nothing can be further from the truth. The man who confidently acts to achieve the values necessary for his life knows that it is his life he is acting to further, and that it is his values that he is achieving. The emotional state of knowing that one is an effectual, capable, productive individual, who is master of his own destiny, is self-esteem. Self-esteem is the confidence one has in his own worth as a human being and his ability to achieve his values. When a man makes the achievement of his values a way of life, happiness is the state of consciousness that results. Thus, the rational, productive, and self-confident man knows the values of their life and takes pride in their achievements.

List of Objectivist Virtues

  • Rationality - this is the cardinal virtue, which leads to all other virtues. Rationality means using reason (and rejecting emotions) to identify reality.
  • Honesty is the refusal to fake reality.
  • Integrity is consistency in the application of reason.
  • Independence means being first-handed, or refusing to leave one's thinking to others.
  • Pride is the pursuit of moral perfection. Pride is related to self-esteem - the belief that one is capable of gaining and keeping one's values--and that one deserves them.
  • Justice is the principle of applying reason to the actions of other men, or giving other people what they deserve.