The title of this post comes from Ayn Rand’s classic dystopian novel, Atlas Shrugged. I’ve been working my way through that novel and I got to the point where steel tycoon, Hank Rearden, is on trial for violating a government regulation limiting the sale of his wonder alloy “Rearden Metal.” When Rearden comes before the tribunal, the three judge panel hearing his case asks for his plea. Rearden replies that he has no defense to offer. The court, stunned, asks him if he is throwing himself on the court’s mercy. Rearden replies that he does not recognize the court’s right to try him. From that point on, Readern offers a classic defense of the Randian ethics of rational self-interest. It also highlights a very important truth: Evil requires the sanction of the victim in order to succeed.