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Question: Ayn Rand said, "The only action which a government can take to protect free competition is: Laissez-faire! which, in translation, means: Hands off." But how is illegitimate economic power deriving from false value contained without government interaction? And how, then, is the government to protect man's rights (i.e., how can Rand justify copyright laws when thay are hands-on)?
Answer: Ayn Rand maintained the necessity of a government that kept its “hands off” the private lives of its citizens, while at the same time protecting their individual rights. This means ensuring that the same inalienable rights are granted to all citizens equally. Illegitimate economic gains such as fraud are violations of the individual rights of others and must be dealt with in a court of law. The government is the only entity that can be justified in the use of physical force, as may be the outcome of judicial proceedings. (Ayn Rand deals with this in detail in her book The Virtue of Selfishness in the chapter “The Nature of Government.”)