The Rewrite Squad


Robert Campbell

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America's Persecuted Minority (radio version) 1962

Q&A, CD 2, Track 3, 9:02 through 10:22

Q: Since there's only about two minutes left, how about this additional matter? Parents who are abusing their children—does the State have a right to interfere?

A: Yes, in, in a case of physical and demonstrable abuse, and this would come again under the issue of protecting individual rights. Since, uh, children in fact cannot protect themselves from physical abuse, and they're dependent on their parents, the government would have the right to interfere in the protection of a child's rights, but interfere against what? Against any physical maltreatment—beating, starvation, or any physical, demonstrable damage done to a child—the government would have the right to prevent it, just as it would have the right to prevent an adult beating up or, euh, locking up and starving another adult. The child is dependent for his survival, euh, on the parent, the government would have the right to see to it that the child's life was safe, but this right would never extend to intellectual issues. The government has no right to interfere in the upbringing of the child, only in any physical d, injuries done to a child. As to the upbringing, it is entirely the responsibility and the right of the parents.

Ayn Rand Answers (p. 3)

Mildly compressed.

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Brant; I remember hearing from a tape by Kaye Nolte Smith that Leonard Peikoff got into trouble because he said something like did Ayn Rand think she could get away with a big raise in the price for the ARI from the Objectivist. I know that in my circle many of the poorer Objectivists had to stop taking the ARI.

There were reports on circulation of the Objectivist published. The first was published in the Nov. '66 Objectivist and reported a circulation of 21,056. The next one published in Nov. '67 reported a circulation of 17,469. The next one was published in the July '68 reported a circulation of 18,296. Another one was published in December '69 and showed a circulation of 16,169. The next one was December '70 and the circulation was 16,195. The Objectivist ceased publication before the next report was required.

It is interesting that the Objectivist reached a high in '66 which it never reached again. ARI types all claimed that Branden was cooking the books for the first high figure.

Why would he do that? He'd have to write a bigger check to the US Postal Service and one to Ayn Rand who did own half the publication.

The figures sound right to me.

Rand left an estate of slightly over half a million dollars. Without the ARL it would have been much smaller. That'd be like 1.5 million today.

--Brant

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Faith and Force (Purdue University) 1961

Q&A, Track 6, 0:00 through 2:21

Q: Under Objectivism… Under Objectivism, what do you believe your social responsibilities are to other people?

A: The question is, under Objectivism what would be your social responsibilities toward other people.

Only one: rationality. And hands off, if you want the briefest formulation.

Meaning: you are not your brother's keeper; you cannot and do not have unchosen obligations; but you are responsible for your own actions; you would be responsible for any harm that you do to other people; you will be responsible for any relationship which you undertake voluntarily to enter into, for any contract, which you cannot break unilaterally; you would have to stand by your word; and you would have to bear the responsibility for any action which you initiate; you will have no right to pass on the burden of your mistakes or failures or changing your mind onto others who maybe suffered from it.

In other words, you cannot make other men your victims and you do not have to be their victim. That is all.

Now any help that you may want to give others would be strictly your private privilege, but not your moral and certainly not your legal and political duty. If you want to help others, fine, so long as you can afford it, so long as it's your voluntary choice, and so long as you do not claim it as a major virtue or moral duty.

And, properly speaking, it is good to help others only when you help them on the ground of the value you see in them. If you see a talented man struggling and you want to help him financially, if you can afford it and it's not a sacrifice, that would be a good gesture under my morality. But it is not a good gesture to help a man who is suffering for his volitional evil. If you see a man who is in need or in trouble through his own moral fault, then you are only sanctioning and helping his immorality if you help him. Therefore, it is evil ever to help those who are in trouble or who suffer through their own fault. Euhh, in such cases, it is evil to help them.

That, in brief, would be the social relationships.

Ayn Rand Answers (pp. 110-111)

Rationality and hands off, if you want the briefest formulation. You are not your brother's keeper. You cannot and do not have unchosen obligations; you're responsible for your own actions. You would be responsible for any harm you do to other people. You would be held responsible for any relationship that you enter into voluntarily, for any contract that you break unilaterally. You would have to stand by your word. You would have no right to pass on to others the burden or consequences of your mistakes or failures or whims. In other words, you cannot make other men your victims; and you need not be their victim.

Any help you might want to give others would be your private privilege, but not your moral—and certainly not your legal—duty. If you want to help others, fine, so long as you can afford it, so long as it's your voluntary choice, and so long as you do not claim it as a major virtue or duty. It is good to help others only when you help them on the grounds of the value you see in them. If you see a talented man struggling, and you want to help him financially (and you can afford it), that's not a sacrifice, and would be a good gesture, under my morality. But it's not good to help someone who is suffering as a result of his own evil. If you help him, you are sanctioning his immorality, which is evil.

For some reason, Mayhew inserts the word "whim" when Rand didn't use it. So "changing your mind" becomes "whims"—go figure. He also breaks the link she made in "if you can afford it and it's not a sacrifice."

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Faith and Force (Purdue University) 1961

Q&A, Track 6, 2:22 through 11:04

[There are multiple exchanges with the questioner, who is sometimes barely audible.]

I think this young man here was trying for a long time…

Q: What I'd like to know, Miss Rand, is what would say is the rational long-term self-interest of a capitalist—and, by a capitalist, I mean here someone who by his own previous wealth assured his political freedom, his material well-being, and so forth. Say he's in a situation in which he's fighting other large corporations. Now what would be his rational self-interest here?

A: I don't quite get the question. Let me repeat it. You say what would be the self-interest of a man under capitalism…

Q: A capitalist.

A: A capitalist, ehh, ehh, what do you mean by a capitalist? A man who has reached and who, let us say, owns a corporation of a certain kind? And he has to fight other corporations…

Q: For the life of his corporation…

A: What do you, uh, mean by that? What would be to his self-interest?

Q: His corporation…

A: Now you're talking about a free society and a free economy. On a free economy, uhh, there's only thing that determines the life of a corporation or any other profession: competition on a free market. If a man has a corporation and they are doing, uh, producing a good product and people are willing to buy, that is what makes them continue and prosper.

Now suppose other corporations come on the market and they are putting out a better product, or the same product cheaper. Then nothing can save the life of that first corporation. If it cannot improve and meet that competition, it has to go out of existence—which is only justice, because why should anybody have to pay for a less competent product? Why should you penalize the public? Here you would make the public the victim, if you said that this man—the first one—with his corporation, which is now failing, is entitled to hold his corporation when he is unable to meet an abler competitor.

Now, in a free economy, he would have no way to save his corporation, except by devising a still better product and holding his own with the customers—that is the way it actually functions; this is not theory. Now he would have no way to resort to law. The one thing he couldn't do is by, in any sense go to the government and then demand special privilege, which will tie up his competitors or give him a monopoly on his particular territory. Monopolies, incidentally, are always created by an act of government and maintained by an act of government, which gives a special franchise, privilege, or subsidy to some corporation or individual and bars others from that field.

You, beh… Now do you want to debate, or to ask another question?

Q: I must admit that I want to debate a certain point…

A: Put it in the form of a question, then.

Q: I'd like to clarify the question. What I mean is, it seems to me that under your philosophy of Objectivism there would be no reason for a capitalist who had assured what would seem to be me what you would think to be his personal survival, political freedom, material well-being, and if has these assured, aside from the position of the corporation, there would be no reason for him to continue to improve his product or to do anything of this sort. I don't see how rational self-interest applies.

A: Uh, the question is—may, may I condense it?—the question is that you do not see why under capitalism if a man once established his position and got wealthy and had a good company and his freedom, there would be no incentive for him to improve his product.

Q: Well…

A: That would not be to his rational self-interest? Is this what you said?

Q: I'm, I'm saying that this, his wealth is insured, so it's that already, aside from the life of his corporation…

A: Oh, you mean that once he has made his pile, so to speak, there's no reason for him to improve his product?

Q: You're not bluffing…

A: Uhh, no. [Laughter] Now let's differentiate two points.

Point Number 1 is that, economically, I think I answered you in my preceding answer. That he would have to, if he wants to continue on the market, he would have to improve his product or, ehh, go bankrupt or quit and close. Therefore, economically, you see, if he wants to remain in business, a free system will force him for his, ehh, free interest—by "force" I mean metaphorically, now—force him to compete by producing better and better.

But now, under my morality, well, very good question. Now look, take terms literally. When I say that the man survives by means of his mind, when I say that a man's first moral virtue is to think and to be productive, it isn't the same as saying, "Get your pile by hook or crook and then sit at home and enjoy your money," even if it were possible. Incidentally, in a free economy it won't last very long. If you don't invest your fortune productively, if you don't have the judgment for that, you will still be wiped out, but maybe you'll last your lifetime if you're very rich.

But now look, why I'm telling you that your first moral duty is to think (not duty, I don't like the word—virtue, because duty implies the arbitrary), if your basic virtue's to be productive, to use your mind and to think, what would that alleged millionaire do after he retires? Uh, ee, ee, do you assume it's to a man's self-interest, rationally, to just insure his physical luxury? Well, what would he do with himself when he has those millions? He would have to stagnate. No man who has used his mind enough to achieve a fortune is going to be happy doing nothing. His, in, self-interest does not lie in consumption. The self-interest of a rational man lies in production, in the creative expansion of his mind.

If you want me to take it deeper than that, observe: In order to exist, every part of your body, every part of your organism has to function. If it doesn't, it atrophies. Well, it applies to a man's mind more than to any other faculty. In order to actually be alive, properly, and therefore under my morality this is why it's the basic virtue, a man has to use his mind constantly and productively. Every achievement is only an incentive for the next achievement. What does he want from that? The, ek, creative happiness of achieving greater and greater control over reality; the, eahh, greater, and more ambitious values in whichever line of endeavor he is using his mind, whether as an industrialist, scientist, artist, or in any activity.

For a man to decide, "I am, now have enough, so I don't have to think," it would be the same thing as to decide, "Why should I use my legs now? I am rich; I will go around in a wheelchair." Uhh, that would not be to his physical self-interest.

Well, it's even less conceivable and less rationally justifiable for a man to decide that it's in his self-interest not to use his mind. You see, the idea of survival—perhaps you might have misunderstood me on this point—is not merely that you have to think in order to survive physically for this moment. In order to survive properly man has to think constantly. There never is a day when he can say, "Well now I've thought enough." Man cannot survive automatically. The day he decides that he does not need to be creative any more, he is dead, spiritually, and old. Only I have, do not know of an occasion, psychologically incredible, where any productive man would decide to retire because he is now rich. The truly productive men don't; they work, uh, and die at their desks. The only ones that do, sometimes, particularly in recent times, are the ones who give up in discouragement, because the social system destroys them, not otherwise.

I'm out of time; we can't have more arguments.

Moderator: Thank you, Miss Rand. We certainly appreciate your coming and speaking to us.

A: Thank you. [Lengthy applause]

Ayn Rand Answers (pp. 29-30)

Mayhew takes the last 7 paragraphs of Rand's original answer and applies a lot of compression.

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Sometime in the very early 1960s when I was living in northern New Jersey I heard this strange and captivating voice on the FM radio band--it was the forceful voice of clarity and certainty. To my dying day I'll be sure it was Ayn Rand even though then I didn't know her from a hole in the ground. There has been no voice like it or since addressing our intellectual and social culture. The Russian accent was so important in all this. If she hadn't had that accent ... well, I just don't know. I just haven't an idea. But that accent has always been the most under-rated thing in addressing the power of her. In the early 1980s I had a one-time date with a Russian emigre and I was struck how powerful she was stylistically just like Rand even though her ideas were not really similar. I concluded there was something powerful in the Russian culture that Rand brought to America and kept for the rest of her life; and that this thing was very common in Russia, not in the United States.

--Brant

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Brant; I remember hearing from a tape by Kaye Nolte Smith that Leonard Peikoff got into trouble because he said something like did Ayn Rand think she could get away with a big raise in the price for the ARI from the Objectivist. I know that in my circle many of the poorer Objectivists had to stop taking the ARI.

There were reports on circulation of the Objectivist published. The first was published in the Nov. '66 Objectivist and reported a circulation of 21,056. The next one published in Nov. '67 reported a circulation of 17,469. The next one was published in the July '68 reported a circulation of 18,296. Another one was published in December '69 and showed a circulation of 16,169. The next one was December '70 and the circulation was 16,195. The Objectivist ceased publication before the next report was required.

It is interesting that the Objectivist reached a high in '66 which it never reached again. ARI types all claimed that Branden was cooking the books for the first high figure.

Why would he do that? He'd have to write a bigger check to the US Postal Service and one to Ayn Rand who did own half the publication.

The figures sound right to me.

Rand left an estate of slightly over half a million dollars. Without the ARL it would have been much smaller. That'd be like 1.5 million today.

--Brant

Your comment about having to write larger checks did not occur at the time. Ayn Rand's estate size suggests that Barbara's point about her not getting very good investment advice is true. She may also not had a very tax attorney after Atlas.

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My understanding is that until very late in her life Rand didn't invest her money at all.

After she died, a friend remarked that her estate was awfully small for a writer who had enjoyed her level of commercial success.

Robert Campbell

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I don't think she really cared about money that much, just appreciated it almost philosophically. Many people would find that strange given the Francisco speech about money in AS and the dollar symbol; notice that people that claim to detest money grubbing always think that money is all that anybody thinks about..projection perhaps?

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I don't think she really cared about money that much, just appreciated it almost philosophically. Many people would find that strange given the Francisco speech about money in AS and the dollar symbol; notice that people that claim to detest money grubbing always think that money is all that anybody thinks about..projection perhaps?

I think she enjoyed some of the trappings of money. Mink coats and Godiva chocolates come to mind.

Your comment about projection is spot on.

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Intellectual Bankruptcy of Our Age 1962

Q&A, CD 2, track 2, 4:05 through 7:37

Q: Miss Rand, many listeners have expressed the view, as the result of your last lecture, that you have more in common with former liberals than with the present conservatives. I wonder if you could amplify briefly on this point.

A: Uhh, yes, with pleasure.

I think the letter I have just answered, which I think comes from a conservative, is a very good illustration of why.

Uh, as I stated in my lecture, the liberals have predominantly been the intellectuals, particularly in America. What do we mean by intellectual? A man who understands the importance and the power of ideas and of broad, fundamental principles. A man who does not approach life, euhh, on the range of the moment. A man who sees beyond the immediate moment, who is able to identify broader principles, who thinks, plans, and lives his life long range. That would be, in brief, my definition of an intellectual. In other words, a man who faces life philosophically, by the guidance of broad principles with which he is able to integrate the immediate moment, the immediate action, into a long-range, fundamental principle of action—a fundamental goal.

Now the liberals were predominantly intellectuals. They held a certain philosophy. Their basic premise, in the 19th century, was that man is capable of planning his life, is capable of establishing a rational society and living a good life, a rational life, happy life here on earth. And the liberals started with the belief in the power of man's mind and, uh, in, uh, the, man's power to achieve the kind of life and the kind of social system that would be rationally right, rationally defensible. But as I stated in my speech, the enormous errors they committed is, uh, uh, that they, uh, assumed that socialism, or some form or another of collectivism, was a rational way to organize a society. Uh, eah, they have now become enormously disillusioned. At least the majority of the liberals are disappointed; they see now that collectivism is a failure; they have not yet discovered capitalism. The best of them, those who hold to the basic premise that men must have a philosophy and must face life by means of reason, they are the ones whom I consider the best audience for Objectivism, because what they bring to it is still the one most important and fundamental attitude: the idea that man's reason is capable of solving the problems of life and the idea that society should be organized on the ground of philosophical principles.

Today they will discover that, euh, the right, rational society, euh, will, is not socialism but the ideal which they have never learned to identify and which Objectivism will help them to identify; namely, capitalism.

Ayn Rand Answers: not included.

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Intellectual Bankruptcy of Our Age 1962

Q&A, CD 2, Track 1, 0:05 through 10:40

Q: Let me begin with a question that came in the mail.

"If, under a system of capitalism, a person is free to spend his earned money as he pleases, and if he chooses to spend it, or a part of it, charitably, altruistically, and gives it to persons he thinks deserving although they've done nothing to earn the gifts, or if he chooses to bestow his services voluntarily to aid those whom he thinks deserving, simply because they are in need or unable to do anything to help themselves, how can it be said that capitalism enjoins or requires the abnegation of altruism? Wouldn't it be more accurate to state that capitalism leaves this decision to the individual, who is free to grant or withhold his services or his earnings on whatever principle he thinks fit? While it may be possible to demonstrate in some instance that granting a person some unearned benefit may tend to enslave or corrupt or weaken him, can it really be established as a general principle that every act of altruism, defined as the free and voluntary giving of goods or services to one who hasn't earned them, is morally wrong?"

Miss Rand…

A: Well, the last part of the question gives us a clue to the error or, more likely, the evasion of the questioner.

To begin with, what he is talking about is not altruism. Observe that in practically every lecture so far, I have stated very carefully what is altruism. Specifically, to repeat once more, altruism is a term originated by the philosopher Auguste Comte, and it has been used ever since in the exact meaning that he intended. The word "altruism" comes from the word alter, meaning "others," and it, uh, implies and means and is even given as a dictionary definition, the following: the placing of the interests of others above your own. Euh, it means existing for the sake of others. Others are placed above yourself and their interests above your own. That is the meaning of altruism. More specifically, altruism holds that man has no right to exist for his own sake, that service to others is the only moral justification of his existence, and that self-sacrifice is his highest virtue.

Now what this questioner substitutes for the definition is, uh, every act of altruism defined as the free and voluntary giving of goods or services to one who has not earned them. This is not my definition of altruism; this is not the dictionary definition; this is not the philosophical definition. Therefore, what this gentleman here is talking about is acts of kindness or courtesy. Under his definition, a Christmas present or a birthday present would be an act of altruism, which would be silly and foolish. It is precisely this kind of package deal that the altruists use in order to get away with the evil that they are perpetrating; namely, the package deal of attempting to equate every act of kindness, courtesy, or generosity as an act of altruism.

Now the essence of altruism is self-sacrifice. If you do something for another person at the price of harm or injury to yourself, that is an act of altruism. Merely voluntarily giving something to another person who has not earned it is not an act of altruism. It is morally a neutral act. You may have good reasons for doing it; you may have bad reasons. As a principle, uh, nobody would think of for, uh, forbidding any voluntary giving as such. Not only, ih, would the giving here, to be judged, have to depend on the full context of the situation and on the relationship of the two persons involved, but, more than that, the act of giving is the least important act in life. This is not where one begins a discussion of a moral or political system.

Now, remembering that altruism is self-sacrifice, now let us come to the first part of this gentleman's question. He asks, wuh, uh, why do I claim that capitalism forbids altruism? Wouldn't it be more exact to say that capitalism leaves the decision to the individual, I quote, "who is free to grant or withhold his services or his earnings on whatever principle he thinks fit." Here the questioner is ignoring or evading the difference between a legal principle and a moral principle.

Legally, it is true, under capitalism a man's property is his own and a man may do anything he pleases with it. He may waste it, he may give it away, he may enjoy it rationally. It is up to him. The law or the government have nothing to say and do not forbid him to give away his money if he cares to. Uh, the issue here is a moral issue. Now what do we mean by a moral issue? What is the right principle to guide a man's action and therefore to guide the laws of society?

Therefore, one can come to the question which is stated here; that is, what does a man do with his property? One has to answer the question, what are a man's rights? Does a man live for himself or does he live for others? If, under capitalism, the State, the law do not interfere into a man's disposal of his property, it is precisely because that ability is based on the principle that man's life and the result of his work, of his effort, that is, his property, belongs to him, that man exists for his own sake, and this is why the State cannot interfere into what disposal he makes of his own property.

If, however, you do not start with a morality of proper, Objectivist rational self-interest, then there is no justification for the State leaving a man's property alone. If a man does not have the right to exist for his own sake, then other men may make claims on him. Under the morality of altruism, they do. Under altruism, other men will say that since the right, the moral, the proper way for man to exist is in service to others, we should have a society based on this moral principle. And that society will dispose of every man's life, effort, and property. Therefore, if man does exist to serve others, the State—as the representative of others, or of the prevalent morality—has the right to tell him what to do with his property. The result, the fully consistent result of that morality is a totalitarian dictatorship: Communist, fascist, or of any other variety.

Now, this gentleman, this questioner, with the usual modern superficiality, does not start at the beginning, but starts with the end. In other words, he ignores or evades causes and discusses only effects or consequences. When he talks about a man's right to dispose of his property, he is now talking about the right of distribution. He is not concerned about the right of production. He is not concerned where does property come from. He is interested only in the, how we distribute it and he's very anxious, apparently, to make sure that somebody will give him a handout. Euh, I say this because no other motive could make a man approach a question from this particular aspect. Before one can talk about distribution, however, or the right to distribute, one must talk about the right to produce. And it's here, again, where the clash between altruism and capitalism, uh, enters.

What, uh, do men need in order to produce? He needs the moral certainty that he exists for his own sake and acts for his own sake. First of all, a proper producer has to hold the judgment of his mind against everybody else. The better the mind, the more likely he is to be an innovator or originator and, therefore, by the, this mere fact, regardless of the state, euh, of knowledge in a particular society, the better mind will be at odds with the rest of society at first, merely because he is an innovator. Now in a free society nobody will stop him, but he, the producer, the innovator, has to have the absolute assurance that he will place the judgment of his mind above the judgment of other people's minds, regardless of how many people disagree with him, that he would fight to produce what he thinks is good or correct or right, that he will act on his knowledge, on his judgment, on his principles, and he will leave everybody else the same right, to agree with him or disagree.

CD 2, track 2, 0:00 through 4:04

But nobody will come to him in a free society, in an Objectivist capitalist society, and tell him that "Since the majority disagrees with you, who are you to hold your judgment above theirs?" As a good altruist or collectivist, you should give in; you should agree with and conform with the decision of others. Therefore, the rational selfishness necessary for production begins on this level: the moral right to hold a judgment of your mind above the judgment of everyone else, without ever forcing it on others, but not allowing them to force their judgment on you. That's the first step of selfishness for a producer.

Here is the second. The producer has to decide for what purpose he wants to produce. Before a man has any wealth to distribute, he has to decide why does he want to work at all, and what does he intend to do with his wealth. Here again, he has to have the absolute assurance that he has the right to produce what he wants and to do what he wants with the result. In other words, he has to have the absolute primacy of the choice and the distribution of his own goals, regardless of the ideas, wishes, or needs of others, always of course granting them the same rights; not forcing anybody, not allowing anybody to force him.

It is on those two questions—the right to use your judgment, and the right to choose your goals and then achieve them—that altruism and capitalism clash. Altruism would not permit a man to choose his own goal with his own happiness as its only justification. Altruism would not permit a man to work for his own profit or his own happiness. That is the clash. That is the root of a moral system and a political system. This is where you begin your political thinking, not at the last end result, like a parasite who is only caring about who is going to do the giving away. Before you come to the giving away, there has to be something to give, and before there can be something to give, you have to have independent, rationally selfish minds able to function. Now that type of mind isn't going to give away his money to the undeserving.

It is quite proper, under the proper circumstances, to help others; it is proper to help your friends. But it is not your moral duty, and capitalism cannot function on any other morality, only a morality where it is not your duty to serve others. The moment you introduce that element of duty, you are on the road to Communism, and, ehh, the rest is only a matter of time, speed, and degree. It is not with the giving away of things, or the hoarding and keeping instead, with which one has to be concerned, but with the right of man to live and to produce. And again, euh, ehh, I repeatedly stress it: a rational man will not give his wealth away without reason and he will not get it to those who did not, he will not give it to those who did not earn it. Affection, incidentally, or value, euh, of another person is a sufficient reason, and in that case, marginally, when it is not a sacrifice, the rational man may give presents or help to others. Only marginally, only as a non-sacrificial issue; never at the price of his own sacrifice, which means: never at the price of values or issues more important to him.

Ayn Rand Answers (pp. 27-29)

From 14 paragraphs down to 6. Did Mayhew cut Rand's answers from the early 1960s, when she delivered them faster and more fluently, so sharply to make them look more like her later answers?

From what was originally a 15-minute speech, Mayhew has cut all but one charge of evasion by the questioner, and dispensed with the imputation that he must be approaching her with his own hand out.

It's hard to figure Mayhew's policy on these kinds of things. In many answers, he's left intact Rand's charges that a question must be dishonest or that a questioner has deliberately insulted her, though he has toned down some of her grandstanding.

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I don't think she really cared about money that much, just appreciated it almost philosophically. Many people would find that strange given the Francisco speech about money in AS and the dollar symbol; notice that people that claim to detest money grubbing always think that money is all that anybody thinks about..projection perhaps?

She cared about money a lot. She needed it to keep doing the work she was doing. That's why she was so strong about keeping it safe--in the bank, free from worry so she could write.

--Brant

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The Objectivist Ethics (radio version) 1962

Q&A, CD 2, Track 3, 7:31 through 11:54

Q: One last question. Is it all life, or one's own in particular, that one is morally bound to preserve? Let's suppose it comes to a conflict between one's own and others', either in life or in happiness. Suppose I think a choice in which I can increase my own happiness at the expense of that of others, or that of others at the expense of my own. Which should I do? Should I, for instance, see a whole nation going down in ruins rather than give up my own life?

A: Well, uh, starting with the first part of your question, is it all lives or one's own in life in particular that one is morally bound to preserve? In your first question, just the issue of what one is morally bound to preserve, I hope that you mean it in the Objectivist definition, euh, of one's, euh, life, in the sense of preserving, not preserving but maintaining man's life qua man. If you mean it in this sense only, that is, because I don't want to give the impression here that, uh, the preservation of one's life for, by any means whatever, out of context and on a split-euh-second range, is a moral obligation. This, euh, is not what you meant in your question. You here, euh, meant the Objectivist, euh, definition of the moral obligation to maintain one's life; it doesn't mean survival at any price.

Now, in that context, of course it is only one's own life that is a primary moral obligation, if you want to call it that, because it is the only life over which you have power and control. It is the only life which you can live, and the only life for which ethics gives you guidance. Since, ehh, the Objectivist ethics tell you how man should be qua man, and this means every living human being, it is only your own life that you can maintain. Now it doesn't meant that you have to be indifferent to the lives of all others. Certainly for, uh, the same reason that you value your own life, you, you will value life as such. Now that doesn't mean, indiscriminately, the life of every other human being. It will mean the life of any human being who corresponds to your values, the life of any man whom you consider good, whom you rationally hold as a value. All life will have certain value for you. I would go even further; I would say that even animal life has a certain value which man should respect, but it does not mean that anyone's life is of greater value to you than your own, and it does certainly, does not mean the duty to sacrifice your own life to others.

As to the last part of your question, now, unfortunately we won't have time to go into details. I would only say that, in fact, metaphysically, reality never puts us in a position where the life of a whole nation depends on the sacrifice of the life of one man. If such a thing really occurred outside of collectivistic fiction, we would be living in a different universe, and then the rules of our existence would have to be different. But the life of a whole nation never depends on the life of a man and of course it's a different issue whether a man may give his life fighting in a political battle for freedom, such as the American Revolution—only it's not for the nation that he is dying then. I would, uk, consider it an honor for, uh, the men who, who died fighting for freedom in the past, I'm doing them an honor when I say I hope they died for their own freedom. That the rest of us profited, we should appreciate it, but it was not their duty to be martyrs to us.

[An announcer signals the end of the program.]

Ayn Rand Answers (pp. 112-113)

Compressed.

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More missing answers...

Mayhew presents two items, supposedly from the same 1962 radio program on "The Objectivist Ethics," that cannot be heard on the recording: one on the use of logic by a Macchiavellian who cheats his aunt of her money (pp. 168-169) and a follow-up on context-dropping (p. 110).

Robert Campbell

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Ford Hall Forum 1971

Q&A, 29:45 through 31:40

Q: What would you say to a businessman who might want to contest the rules of Phase I or II [of Nixon's wage and price controls]?

A: Well, he wouldn't have a chance. He would only make himself a martyr. If his idea of protest would simply be disobedience, that wouldn't do him or anyone else any good.

If a businessman wanted to fight it, he should fight it on political, ideological grounds. He should protest, and if he has a good case, make a test case out of it. But not simply cheat and make himself a martyr, and vanish from circulation or lose his business. I never believe it's necessary to create martyrs; martyrs don't accomplish very much.

If a businessman undertook only this much: Try to influence about a dozen other businessmen not to issue the kind of statements I was quoting here, and not , uh, to permit the American Association of Manufacturers, if it still exists, and the American Chamber of Commerce to issue the kind of statements that they are issuing, he will do infinitely more for himself, for liberty, and this country, because they have done more than any other group to bring on collectivism. And disobedience now is much too late, and futile. It's ideas that are [needed] [End of answer lost in a tape edit]

Ayn Rand Answers: not included.

[Presumably she meant the National Association of Manufacturers and the US Chamber of Commerce.]

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  • 3 weeks later...

Sotheby’s is about to auction the manuscript of The Intellectual Bankruptcy of Our Age, the catalog is available here, it starts on page 114 of 162. I suspect Robert Campbell of backstage shenanigans here, as the product description includes the following:

Interesting to note is the fact that the original manuscript differs significantly from the published version in Rand's
The Voice of Reason: Essays in Objectivist Thought
, 1989. For example, the very first line of her speech differs from the published version. In the manuscript the opening line is: "Ladies and Gentlemen, I am speaking here today on the assumption that I am addressing an audience consisting predominantly of my enemies that is: of so called 'liberals.'" In the published version, "Ladies and Gentlemen" has been deleted and the word "enemies" has been changed to "antagonists." Other discrepancies between the manuscript and the printed text abound providing important insights to Rand's writing process.

I checked the book and this is correct, however the audio of the lecture wouldn’t play when I tried to confirm it here. Has L’Alpha Bête Noire succeeded in creating an evil meme? J'accuse!

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Sotheby’s is about to auction the manuscript of The Intellectual Bankruptcy of Our Age, the catalog is available here, it starts on page 114 of 162. I suspect Robert Campbell of backstage shenanigans here, as the product description includes the following:

Interesting to note is the fact that the original manuscript differs significantly from the published version in Rand's
The Voice of Reason: Essays in Objectivist Thought
, 1989. For example, the very first line of her speech differs from the published version. In the manuscript the opening line is: "Ladies and Gentlemen, I am speaking here today on the assumption that I am addressing an audience consisting predominantly of my enemies that is: of so called 'liberals.'" In the published version, "Ladies and Gentlemen" has been deleted and the word "enemies" has been changed to "antagonists." Other discrepancies between the manuscript and the printed text abound providing important insights to Rand's writing process.

I checked the book and this is correct, however the audio of the lecture wouldn’t play when I tried to confirm it here. Has L’Alpha Bête Noire succeeded in creating an evil meme? J'accuse!

Wonder how it compares to what she wrote in her newsletter...

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If his idea of protest would simply be disobedience, that wouldn't do him or anyone else any good.

I am pretty sure she knew; maybe she did not (entirely) but I do believe she truly knew what was really going on, even at that time. It "belies" the intelligence that I always found in AR. She chose her words carefully.

rde

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Hmm...

I hadn't paid attention to Rand's actual speech on "The Intellectual Bankruptcy of Our Age." The Q&A session for "Intellectual Bankruptcy" isn't from her 1961 Ford Hall Forum appearance; it was done in the WKCR studio around a year later, one week after the speech itself was (re?)broadcast.

Here's how Rand opened the speech on the commercially available CD of "Intellectual Bankruptcy." (Interestingly, the CD is copyrighted 1989, the same year as The Voice of Reason):

Ladies and Gentlemen, I am speaking on the assumption that I am addressing an audience that consists predominantly of liberals; that is, of my antagonists. Therefore, I must begin by explaining why I chose to do it. (CD 1, Track 1, 0:05 through 0:19)

The CD is labeled "Ford Hall Forum 1961," but I am not exactly persuaded that the recording of her speech originated from that venue. There is no stage or hall acoustic, no audience noise on it at all, nothing from the moderator, no applause at the end. Very likely Rand redid her speech in a studio.

Robert Campbell

PS. Some might imagine that I've hacked into atlasshrugged.com and gremlinized it, but several speeches and Q&A sessions that appear to be available via streaming audio won't play. If you see "00:00" displayed as both the start and the end times on the player, you won't be able to get any audio from the site. This is precisely why I invested in the CDs of several of the speeches.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Sotheby’s is about to auction the manuscript of The Intellectual Bankruptcy of Our Age, the catalog is available here, it starts on page 114 of 162.

According to this, it went for $68,500.

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  • 1 month later...

Hmm...

I hadn't paid attention to Rand's actual speech on "The Intellectual Bankruptcy of Our Age." The Q&A session for "Intellectual Bankruptcy" isn't from her 1961 Ford Hall Forum appearance; it was done in the WKCR studio around a year later, one week after the speech itself was (re?)broadcast.

Here's how Rand opened the speech on the commercially available CD of "Intellectual Bankruptcy." (Interestingly, the CD is copyrighted 1989, the same year as The Voice of Reason):

Ladies and Gentlemen, I am speaking on the assumption that I am addressing an audience that consists predominantly of liberals; that is, of my antagonists. Therefore, I must begin by explaining why I chose to do it. (CD 1, Track 1, 0:05 through 0:19)

The CD is labeled "Ford Hall Forum 1961," but I am not exactly persuaded that the recording of her speech originated from that venue. There is no stage or hall acoustic, no audience noise on it at all, nothing from the moderator, no applause at the end. Very likely Rand redid her speech in a studio.

Robert Campbell

PS. Some might imagine that I've hacked into atlasshrugged.com and gremlinized it, but several speeches and Q&A sessions that appear to be available via streaming audio won't play. If you see "00:00" displayed as both the start and the end times on the player, you won't be able to get any audio from the site. This is precisely why I invested in the CDs of several of the speeches.

I sent a bunch of NBI records to the Brandens two years ago and one of them might have been this one. Likely it was re-recorded. What was characteristic of these old NBI records is precisely absence of audience participation. I may have it on the DVD they sent me. I'll check.

Check: I couldn't find it but it may be a computer thing. I did notice Rand reading her short story "The Simplest Thing In the World" which was one of those old NBI records. I've never heard this any where else than on such. There may be conflicting copyright issues here. They have my record of this which I'll be getting back eventually and I clearly remember the studio quality of the recording. This one may never be commercially available. Let's have a poll: Who has ever heard Ayn Rand reading her short story "The Simplest Thing In the World"? I have.

--Brant

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All of the posts quoting Mayhew have now been edited.

Some no longer quote his book at all. If you want to know exactly how he rewrote Rand on that occasion, you'll have to look it up.

Others quote excerpts only, to illustrate particular problems with his editing.

A few still quote his entire entry, in cases where the discrepancy between Rand's words and his is particularly important.

Robert Campbell

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