The Rewrite Squad

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Has anyone ever asked Mayhew or any of the other ARI folks why they have airbrushed Nathaniel Branden out of Objectivism. An explanation might be interesting.

If you asked this question, you would probably get the reply, "Nathaniel who?" :mellow:


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If you asked this question, you would probably get the reply, "Nathaniel who?" :mellow:

I knew someone who called Second Renaissance Books to get on their mailing list, a newbie in the early 90’s, so pre-internet. She innocently asked what they had by Nathaniel Branden, I believe she’d read The Virtue of Selfishness after the two big novels, and that was it. She said the person literally screamed, as in surprise, and then went into a tirade. Needless to say she was very unimpressed, and last time I saw her she’d gotten into eastern mysticism via yoga; I think she did try The Psychology of Self-Esteem, but that was it. I bet she carries the Rand-cult meme to this day.

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The Objectivist Ethics (radio version) 1962

Q&A, CD 2, Track 1, 11:08 through 12:09

Q: Another question from a listener, an important one, I think. I'll ask Miss Rand how is the transition from the "is" to the "ought" accomplished exactly? And how can a statement involving the term "ought" be deduced from premises which do not contain such a term? Don't we get at best what Kant called a hypothetical imperative? That is, if you want to be rational, do so-and-so, or if you wish to survive, do such-and-such. But let's suppose that I don't desire to survive.

A: Now this is a very interesting question, and a very important one. And I would like to start by pointing out that what, euh, the Hume-Kant axis has in fact accomplished here, uh, is what I call the rebellion against the whole concept of ethics. It is a rebellion against the possibility of ethics

CD 2, Track 2, 0:00 through 11:54

or, more specifically, a rebellion against ethics as choice.

Now observe what it is that Kant is saying, in effect: that at best we can get hypothetical imperatives, uhh, meaning what? If you want to achieve certain thing, then you do a certain thing.

I would like to challenge Kant, or any of his, uhh, advocates, to, uh, tell me what would be the meaning of ethics devoid of choice. If we have such a discipline or such a, euh, concept as morality, implicit in it is the concept that we are confronted by a choice. We have to choose one of two possible alternatives. If there is no choice, in any issue not open to our choice, there can be no question of ethics or morality.

Uh, now, when we are confronted with a choice—and choice is not possible without the concept of purpose—a choice necessarily in, includes, implies in it, inbuilt in the concept of a choice is the fact, the question, "For what—for what purpose?"

Nobody but an insane person can make a choice without a concept of a "why." And even then it's doubtful whether an insane person—he may think he knows the reasons, but that would apply more to a neurotic—uh, nonetheless, there are some reasons for every choice, and if it's not a man's conscious, purposeful choice, well, then, he's acting as a deterministic entity and something is making the choice for him.

But now we are not talking about psychological determinism here; we are talking about ethics. And once we talk about ethics, we have already admitted the fact that man has choice. If he has choice, then a hypothetical imperative—if you want to call it that—is all that ethics can properly be concerned with.

Only I will immediately challenge the term. Uh, neither "imperative" nor "hypothesis" are terms applicable to the fact that man has to make choices [word partly covered by noise in the recording]. What does Kant's term imply? Well, of course, it implies the opposite of what he was aiming at; namely, his categorical imperative. What did he mean by that? Some sort of, apparently, innate instinct, which forces us to make a certain kind of choice in certain circumstances. Some sort of categorical imperative for a duty which we all are born with and have to follow.

Well, of course, if this were true—which it isn't—if in fact we had such an instinct, it would be outside the province of morality or ethics. It would have nothing to do with ethics since it would be an innate imperative which we could not resist. It would not be open to our choice. And this is the basic contradiction in the whole Hume-Kant attitude toward ethics. I'd make it wider—in the whole mystic attitude toward ethics. If any ethical proposition, any, uh, commandment or precept, cannot be resisted, if it is from God or our glands or any authority other than our free will choice, if it cannot be resisted, it no longer belongs in the realm of ethics, and it's a contradiction in terms to talk of an irresistible imperative or an irresistible choice, choice which we cannot help but make. If we could not choose, we are no longer in the issue of ethics.

Now that is my first answer and objection to approaching the question in the Humean-Kantian way. Uh, by the nature, uh, of the way they set up the problem, they eliminate the possibility or the reality of choice, and they in effect tell you, "Unless there is some enormous mystical compulsion, unless in some way you cannot help acting in a certain way, uhh, you, uh, have only a hypothetical, uh, ethics. An absolute ethics would be one which you couldn't, ehh, help but follow. Well, I repeat, if you couldn't help it, it would no longer be an issue of ethics.

Uhh, now then, where, how do we, uh, relate the "ought" to the "is"?

Well, first, we have to identify the "is" of ethics. What is ethics? And that is precisely what I do in the Objectivist approach to ethics. I first identify what it is: the entire issue of ethics, what is choice, what are values, why does man need them. And when you identify what is the issue of an "ought," where does an "ought," a "should"—that is, a moral precept—where does it come from, then you realize that it comes from the needs of living organisms. The concept "ought" could not have arisen—would not exist—neither the concept nor the reality corresponding to that concept could not , uh, exist—except as a need of living organisms, as a necessity of a living entity's survival.

Uh, to give you the simplest example: A fish ought to live in water. Now a fish by itself has no choice about it; it is not a moral choice for the fish. Nevertheless, a fish is a living entity. It is an entity which has to live in water, or, if it is removed from that environment, it dies. Therefore, if we as men would ask, er, "Should a fish live in water?" the answer will be, "If it is to live, yes, it has to live in water. Take it out on dry land and it will die." Now there is the simplest example of the relationship between an "is" and an "ought."

Since all life is conditional, in the sense that life has to be maintained by a certain kind of action of the living organism itself, then every form of life has an "ought" inbuilt into it and every living organism will live only if it follows a certain course of action, such as a fish has to live in water. And when we come to the highest, uh, living species, man, then we discover that man has to discover what is his proper manner of survival by a conscious, rational process. Man's form of survival is not automatically granted to him, but nevertheless he can survive in only, uh, one specific manner: he has to use his mind, his reason, in all, order to survive. Therefore, implicit in what he is, implicit in the fact of being a certain kind of entity, a human being, implicit in it is the necessity for a certain kind of course of action and for the pursuit of certain values, the first one of which is the value of rationality. Implicit in man's nature, in what he is, is the necessity to be rational, but that necessity is not force on him; he needs it, but it is up to him to choose it or not to choose it. Therefore, the "ought" in human nature comes out of the "is" in human nature. Man ought to be rational, if he is to live. But that "if" is also a fact, and not someone's conditional, uhh, hypothetical, arbitrary prescription. Every living entity, if it is to live, has to act in a certain way; therefore, that "ought" is inbuilt in the concept, in the fact of, the "is" of any living entity.

The second part of the question, uhh, uh, really contains a certain contradiction in it. If a man says, "I don't desire to survive qua human being," my answer to him would be, "And just where did he get the concept of desire?" The mere fact that he is capable of desiring anything comes from, is based on the fact that he is a certain kind of entity and thus has the capacity for certain kinds of values. Now he does not have to know where his desire comes from. Morally he should, but in fact he's free to evade the source of his desires. He is also free to decide that he does not want to desire anything or, above all, which he is free to say, he wants to be irrational— many people do.

But my answer to that is, yes, you have this capability, but it is the purpose of ethics to tell you why if you do not want to survive as a human being, why if you do not want to live as a man, you are evil, mistaken, and wrong—and this is the purpose of the Objectivist ethics, specifically, to tell you why you are wrong in such a desire and why such a desire is evil. Euh, but you will always have the possibility, the capacity not to choose to live as a man, and precisely because you have such cap, that capacity, that is why man needs ethics. That is why ethics is an issue of choice. If man didn't have that choice, the question of ethics would not come up.

Ayn Rand Answers: not included.

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The Objectivist Ethics (radio version) 1962

Q&A, CD 2, Track 3, 0:00 through 7:30

Q: One principle of Objectivist ethics seems to be, ehh, never sacrifice something of greater worth in favor of something of lesser worth. Another principle seems to be that of rational self-interest. Now I wonder whether these two don't sometimes run into a contradiction with one another, in a case such as this: Suppose that a colleague and I are both being considered for a promotion, let's say, and I happen to know that the colleague is a worthier candidate than I am—is a better teacher, a better scholar, and has a more profound grasp of the subject. Now if he were promoted instead of me, um, the first principle that I've cited would be fulfilled; that is, the worthy would be triumphing over the less worthy. But my own self-interest would be promoted only if the second principle were fulfilled—at least, so it would seem—the second principle being that of self-interest. Now what should be done in such a case? Should I, in such a case, withdraw from the competition in favor of him, kno, knowing as I do that he is superior to me, and wishing to have that of greater worth triumph?

A: Uhh, to begin with, there is one error in, uh, definition in this question. Oh, uh, it's quite correct that, uh, the Objectivist ethics would hold, "Never sacrifice something of greater worth in favor of something of lesser worth." But in the example you then give, uh, the error is in assuming that, uh, one candidate for the job, uhh, has in his power to sacrifice the other. The, uh, it is not here in the power of the two competing colleagues, let us say, it is not in their power to decide each other's fate. The question of not sacrificing the greater one to the lesser one applies only to their employer. The issue of, uh, giving the job in this case to the man of greater ability or greater worth, uhh, that principle here concerns the employer. He must decide, after judging boch, both men objectively, which one he considers best and give the job to the better man. One could not even say, in such a case, properly that the employer here would then sacrifice the lesser man. Uh, not giving you a job, or abstaining from handing you a value of some kind does not mean that you are being sacrificed. So one couldn't even apply the term "sacrifice" to the action of the employer who chooses between those two men. Uhh…

Q: But I could decide it by withdrawing from the competition.

A: Uh, yes, but then if you put the question that way, you would be assuming one wrong premise; namely, that it is your responsibility to provide employment for the other colleague, assuming that you consider him better. I would say that here you would be in, in effect, an altruist in reverse. If an altruist usually would advise you, if you are the better of the two men, to sacrifice yourself—step out of the competition in order to leave the job to the weaker man, who may need it more—what you would in effect be doing is deciding to be an altruist toward a better man, by your own example here. You would say, "Well, since, uhh, the other, uh, man is better qualified for the job, I will sacrifice myself."

Well, now, whose interests then are you here adopting? Well, the interests of, uh, your rival and the interests of the employer—you are then assuming their responsibility and taking it upon yourself. That would be a totally improper, uh, enlargement of your own responsibilities and, in fact, of your power. You cannot be responsible for running the business of another man or the life of another man. You cannot decide to sacrifice yourself for the sake of a better colleague or an employer picking a better employee than you are; you are here substituting your judgment for theirs, and would be wrong on this count.

But, and now it comes to the main part of the question. Irregardless of the issue of sacrifice, or of whose sacrifice such an action would represent, I want to challenge the basic approach of the candidate, ehh, in this example. Uhh, what, uh, would avoid a man ever putting himself in, uh, conflict of this kind—and this, incidentally, would be true of every, uhh, apparently insoluble conflict—what would avoid it is for a man not to act ever, on, in any issue, on the premise of seeking the unearned or the undeserved, and this is the moral, uh, category under which this example really belongs.

To begin with, human abilities cannot be measured in as exact a term as is implied by your question. Unless there are gross inequalities, where one man, of two men applying for a job, one man is blatantly superior to another, unless we're talking of gross and obvious superiorities, uh, you, you cannot measure the, ehh, qualifications of every proper candidate for a position in this kind of way. You cannot really decide that someone, uhh, applying for a job is in fact better than yourself. Unless, as I said, there are gross inequalities, where you could really say that you don't think you could do the job very well, you're not qualified, but someone else—and you can objectively demonstrate—is, perceptibly and obviously, demonstrably better than you are. And in such case, you should not apply for that job. That, the way to avoid conflict of that kind is never to apply for a job in which you know that some better qualified man will do a demonstrably better job than you will. If such is your judgment, you're applying for the wrong job; you're asking for the unearned. If however, you should have the qualifications for a job, then it is not incumbent on you to measure every small degree of superiority or inferiority of all the other applicants. Your job, then, is to do your best and follow only your own self-interest, granting the same right to the other applicants. But they are not your responsibility.

Ayn Rand Answers (pp. 111-112)

Compressed again.

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It just occurred to me that we are derailing Robert's magnificent thread.

Robert's contributions to Randian scholarship are magnificent indeed. I obviously haven't read all the threads on OL, but it's a safe guess that Robert's transcriptions comprise the most important thread by far. I hope they eventually get wider circulation, but I don't know how copyright laws apply to transcriptions of verbal responses by Rand.

One thing is certain, however: If Robert ever attempted to publish these transcriptions commercially, Peikoff would use his considerable Rand-generated wealth to fight Robert in court every inch of the way. Peikoff would bleed Robert dry financially, even if he didn't have a sound case.


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The Intellectual Bankruptcy of Our Age 1962

Q&A, CD 2, track 3, 2:13 through 9:57

Q: Miss Rand, you have what's often been described as a minimal view of the function of government. And, uh, what about functions like this? Uh, regulations for highways, for air travel, railroads, interstate commerce of all kinds, presumably only the State could, uh, require, uh, such regulations and make them stick, and conceivably in the minds of many people the State must do this.

Let me take a specific case. Uh, smoke exudes from factories in a city. Uh, all the smoke from the various factories together creates a hazard to the health of everybody. If one factory owner conscientiously, uh, put a smoke-screening device on his own factory, uh, he would be setting himself back financially and he also wouldn't be doing very much good, as long as all the other factory owners continued to have smoke pouring forth into the city. Don't you have to have then a regulation by the State? Uh, what else could make it stick?

A: Uh, that is somewhat a question of preventive law, and I think we discussed something similar earlier, euh, on a former session.

The issue here is not an issue of regulation. When and if the actions of one individual, or one factory, can be scientifically proved, beyond any doubt, to be damage to other people, then it is the suit, the claim of the victims that the government would enforce. In other words, if, in your example, it has been scientifically proved that the smoke is damaging, uhh, the health of the people in the community and known smoke-control preventatives are available and are possible to be installed, it isn't the government's, euh, job, nor its right, to declare that the smoke has to be controlled. It would be any one citizen of the community that would care to sue the factory owners and would win his suit, if it could be demonstrated that [A] the smoke is hurting him and that there are possible preventions or precautions to take which the factory owners do not take. Therefore, one case of that kind would determine, euhh, the fact that, euh, all factory owners then should put these preventives, euh, or these smoke controls into effect.

This is assuming that your example is true. However, in reality, I would, euh, raise many objections to this kind of example.

For instance, it may be possible to control smoke only at such an expense that the factory owner would in fact go broke. Then I would say let that community consider what would they prefer: dirty curtains in their houses, or to go broke and starve. As an example, Pittsburgh was probably the dirtiest community in America originally, in the sense of soot, in the early days of the steel industry, uh, yet it was probably one of the greatest industries that made this country, and the kind of people who would have died of starvation without the existence of the steel industry and of those who made it have no right to complain about the factory smoke.

Even today, I am not at all sure that any of this air pollution business is not merely Leftist propaganda. I do not know the extent of the danger. I do know that the people in America, which is the most industrialized and, therefore, I would assume, the most air-polluted nation on earth, have the longest life expectancy and are the healthiest. Therefore, if we talk about social problems of that kind, I would require an enormous amount of specific proof before I would even grant the reality of such a problem as factories polluting air.

But I am taking your example as, uh, uh, an issue of principle, if this were true—meaning that I don't grant that it's necessarily true that they do pollute the air—but if this were true, then the issue would be only: can that be proved and is the remedy within the means of the factory owner? Because let us assume that maybe the air is somewhat dangerous to, to the population and that in a period of years it might be bad for their lungs, only the remedy would cost $10 billion. Then either the people move out of there and don't work for that factory, or they stay and work but they do not ask the factory owner to assume impossible expenses, which, incidentally, would put him out of business anyway very shortly, and the community along with him. Euhh, therefore, even in an extreme case of this kind, there is no reason for the government to step in and no moral right to do so.

Now in the earlier part of your question you asked about railroads and, uh, highways…

Q: Television, television stations…

A: Oh, you didn't mention television before. Fine.

Now on railroads, euh, highways, transportation, there isn't any reason for any kind of control; there's no control necessary. Who would control that? The owners. And I include here highways, which in an ideal capitalist society would also be privately owned and the tolls would be charged by the private owner, not by the government, and it is the private owner that would establish the rules under which, uh, the road or the railroad or the airline is to be used.

Now as to television, that, too, should be private property. The claim that there are only num, a limited number of channels is no more valid, uhhh, than the same claim which, uh, could be made about real estate. There is only so many acres of land, but that does not, euhh, serve as a justification for a Communist state in which the government would own the land.

In television or radio channels, what the government should have properly done, euhh, was the same thing as the government did in distributing public land in the land rush; namely, first come, first served. The government acts merely as a trustee who will register who is the first man that applied for a certain frequency, after which that frequency becomes his; that is the way it should have been handled. It wasn't, and observe that today you are in enormous danger of losing all freedom of speech because of the precedent established in television.

For details, I suggest, read the March issue of The Objectivist Newsletter, where I write the lead article under the title, "Have Gun, Will Nudge." It deals with Mr. Minow and the present policy of the Federal Communications Commission. My details will be found there.

Ayn Rand Answers: not included

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I obviously haven't read all the threads on OL, but it's a safe guess that Robert's transcriptions comprise the most important thread by far.


Not even close. Here's the most important one:

Who is Michael Stuart Kelly? by Barbara Branden


OK, OK...

I know...

Back to Robert's great work...


Very nice, Michael. So how much did you have to pay Barbara to write this piece? Since she mentions her unpublished novel, Price No Object, I assume it was a hefty sum. :lol:

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In the early 1960s, Rand took her talk on "America's Persecuted Minority: Big Business" on the circuit with her. She gave it at Ford Hall Forum (1961), Columbia University (1962), and McCormick Place in Chicago (1963), among other locales.

If there was a Q&A after the Ford Hall Forum presentation, it isn't preserved. But after the Columbia speech, WKCR ran two segments of its Ayn Rand on Campus program: first a rebroadcast of Ford Hall Forum speech, then, a week later, a question-and-answer session recorded in the studio with just Rand and the announcer.

The 1963 speech in Chicago was recorded, as was its Q&A. However, these are not commercially available.

Mayhew, who had access to both presentations of "America's Persecuted Minority," identifies the WKCR version as "APM62" and the McCormick place version as "APM 63."

I've transcribed APM62 and will post some answers from it. Fortunately, the surviving tape is probably from the WKCR archives, as the sonics are really good.

Robert Campbell

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America's Persecuted Minority: Big Business (radio version) 1962

Q&A, CD 2, Track 1, 1:13 through 5:19

Q: Do you think that a laissez-faire, free capitalist society is possible for America in the 1960s? How could it be put into effect now, as a practical matter?

A: Uh, first I would have to clarify, uh, one point. Uh, the questioner doesn't quite make clear whether he means the time element; that is, could we have a free capitalist society achieved in, in the decade of 1960s, or whether he means that, uh, in the present trend or the present state of our society, uh, we can no longer hope to have capitalism. I believe that he probably means the second, but I can briefly answer both.

Uh, let's start, I will start with the second. To ask, "Are we too far gone to return to a proper and rational society?" is the same thing as asking, if a man is dangerously, but not hopelessly ill, to ask, "Is it too late for him now, euh, to be healthy? Should we do anything about it? Why not let him die?" That is the meaning of any question which asks, uhh, in effect, "Capitalism may be a good idea, but in our present state it's too late for us, or we can't do it, or, euh, are we ready for it?"

The answer, of course, is so long as men are alive, it is never too late to take the right action or to adopt the right policy. Since laissez-faire capitalism is the only society under which men can live properly—the only society proper to a human existence, men can begin planning for it, advocating it at any time, uhh, so long as they are not under a total dictatorship. Uhh, when they are under a total dictatorship and cannot speak, then the only thing to do is to escape or to upset, euh, that particular regime, but so long as we are talking about a semi-free society, it is never too late to advocate the right political system. Therefore, I would say no, it is certainly not too late for us, and a free capitalist society is certainly possible for America.

Now whether we could establish it in the 1960s, or when, that is a question which nobody can answer. It is certain that nobody could establish a perfect system overnight, and if we today decided, uhh, to have a free capitalist society, it would take quite a long time, euhh, as I will explain in a moment, to achieve it. Well now, now nobody can predict how quickly a society—uh, a group of men—will accept an idea; therefore, time guesses here would be impossible and, in fact, irrelevant. Uhh, I, my guess, and it's strictly a guess, would be that, yes, we could have it in the 1960s, if enough people chose to think about what they are doing and where they are going.

The second part of the question, how could we put into effect as a practical matter? Euh, my answer is that every change in practical political action in a society has to be preceded by a cultural change; that is, a change in the philosophy dominating the culture of a certain society. And therefore as a practical matter and before one thinks of political action, one has to concentrate on cultural action, on spr, spreading the right philosophy, the right ideas, which would make it possible for an enlightened society to adopt the proper, enlightened, rational political action. And that action will be an advocacy of total laissez-faire capitalism to replace our present mixture.

Ayn Rand Answers (pp. 48-49)

The questioner doesn't make clear whether he is asking (1) Can we achieve a fully capitalist society in the 1960s? or (2) Given the present state of our culture, can we still hope to achieve capitalism? He probably meant the latter, but I'll briefly answer both, starting with the second.

To ask "Are we too far gone to return to a proper and rational society?" is like asking of a man dangerously, but not hopelessly, ill: "Should we do anything, or just let him die?" So long as men are alive, it is never to late to take the right action or adopt the right policies. And laissez-faire capitalism is the only system under which man can live properly. So long as men are not living in a dictatorship, they can advocate and begin planning for capitalism at any time. Under a dictatorship, all one can do is escape or overthrow the regime. But so long as we are in a semi-free society, it is not too late to advocate the right political system. Therefore, it is not too late for us. But whether we can establish it in the 1960s is a question nobody can answer. Nobody can establish a perfect system overnight. If we decided today to have a proper capitalist society, it would still take a long time, and nobody can predict how quickly a society would accept the idea. So such predictions are impossible, and in fact irrelevant. My guess is that we could establish full capitalism in the 1960s if enough people chose to think about what they were doing.

How could we achieve this? Every change in practical politics has been preceded by a cultural change—that is, a change in the philosophy dominating the culture. Therefore, as a practical matter, one must concentrate on the culture—on spreading the philosophy that makes it possible for an enlightened society to adopt laissez-faire capitalism.

Did Rand ever say "the latter" when she hadn't written it out first?

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America's Persecuted Minority (radio version) 1962

Q&A, CD 2, Track 1, 5:20 through 8:59

Q: One listener writes as follows: "I would like to know if Miss Rand would care to predict what the final result of statism will be in regard to the private practice of medicine in the United States." Uh, this questioner is presumably a physician or a physician-to-be. "The idea of being my own boss in medical practice appeals to me strongly and the thought of being coerced into being a Federal drone, is most disquieting. As I'm not yet in private practice, I'm trying to see which way the current is flowing before I jump into the stormy waters."

A: This is a very good question, and it bears a certain relation to the preceding question. This question is almost an answer to the person asking, "Can we have a free, capitalist society?" This is one indication or proof of why we can't afford to have anything else.

Here's a young man who is considering whether he will or will not adopt the career of medicine if he is threatened with Federal enslavement. Uhhh, this is how the best people in, uh, go on strike, without knowing it and without a formal strike, under any regulated, controlled, semi-controlled, or total, uh, dictatorship.

The answer to this young man is as follows: Euh, certainly if America goes further and further into full statism, then socialized medicine will probably, more likely be one of the first professions enslaved. However, the other professions will not ta, take long to follow. Euh, this young man should not believe that he would save himself from slavery by abandoning medicine merely because medicine is on, in the first line of attack. Uh, when medicine is enslaved, very shortly thereafter all other professions, professions will be enslaved as well.

Therefore, one should not give up a profession merely because it is threatened. Today, euh, euh, I would say the practical action for this young man is most certainly to get into medicine, if that is what he wants to do, and to work from within the profession to advocate freedom, to, euh, euh, persuade his colleagues, uhh, to refuse to function under controls, to persuade them to protest, to persuade them to fight properly and intellectually, not apologetically and timidly as they seem to be doing today, according to such literature as I have seen. Uh, therefore, yes, I would say do go into medicine, but remember that you have a very hard fight ahead of you—and, euh, so do all the rest of us. The issue is the same for every profession. What is important, however, is never to accept the idea that the government, society, or any form of collective has the right to enslave any man, any group, or any profession. Euhh, this is the sort of thing which we must realize, and realize why it affects every one of us personally. This is not an issue of sacrificing oneself for the future or for society; it is an issue where the interests of society and the interests of the creative individual do not clash. We must fight for freedom, or, uh, there will neither be medicine, nor any other profession, nor any civilization.

Ayn Rand Answers: not included.

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I realize this has been quite a project, but have you considered doing something similar with Objectively Speaking (a collection of interviews)?

Maybe I'll give it a shot.


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I realize this has been quite a project, but have you considered doing something similar with Objectively Speaking (a collection of interviews)?

Maybe I'll give it a shot.


It has been quite a project.

I figured I would stop posting transcribed quotations and Mayhew items after I hit 200. As of this afternoon, I've posted 191 comparisons; a few more will follow over the next week. After which, I need to write an article about Mayhew's editing, which will be at the top of my writing stack for the next couple of months.

There are still several batches of items in the Mayhew book whose originals are not accessible to me (e.g., the Chicago 1963 version of "America's Persecuted Minority," or Rand's 1969 lectures on non-fiction writing).

Just one big batch is both untranscribed and available on recordings. It comes from Rand's 1958 course on fiction writing.

I've been interested in listening to those lectures for a long while, so, after I've taken a several-week breather from stopping recordings every few seconds to type a few more words, I'd like to tackle them—both the main body of material that Tore Boeckmann rewrote, and the answers and "outtakes" that Bob Mayhew rewrote. Because of the length of the actual lectures, I wouldn't be aiming to post any of them in its entirety here, but I would like to post sections that Boeckmann used in his rendition along with answers to questions that Mayhew used.

It would be great if you could take on the interviews that Schwartz and Podritske edited. I'm assuming enough of these can be heard on CD or at to make the project worth your while.

Robert Campbell

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Would it be possible to move this string of posts to another thread?

I'm interesting in weighing in again (on Rand's understanding of Kant and what first-hand knowledge might have been involved), but would rather do so in a discussion focused on that topic.

Robert Campbell

>>>>>> NOTE FROM MSK: I moved the discussion of Rand and Kant to a new thread here: Rand's notions of Kant and Hume.

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America's Persecuted Minority (radio version) 1962

Q&A, CD 2, Track 1, 9:00 through 11:43

Q: In view of that, let me ask this question of Miss Rand.

If you were elected President of the United States tomorrow, what changes would you institute to set up the type of government that you favor; that is, what measures would you take first, and in what kind of succession would they occur, and why?

A: Oh, first of all, I, this is the last thing in the world that I would ever want or would drive anyone to attempt, but, taking it simply as a hypothetical question, uh, meaning what would I advocate if I were in a position, euhh, for my advice to be immediately put into effect:

I would say that I would start decontrolling the economy as fast as rational economic considerations permitted. What do I mean by rational economic considerations? I mean the following: Today, euh, every class of the population is enormously dependent on government controls—most professions, certainly most businesses, have to function under certain controls and their activities are calculated on that basis. Therefore, if I or anyone else were to repeal all controls overnight, by legislative fiat, that would create a disaster and would be an arbitrary, dictatorial action.

What a free country would do in such a case is to give all the people concerned sufficient notice to readjust, reorganize their economic activities. Therefore, uhm, after working out with economists the kind of program necessary to decontrol the country and what controls should go first, I would then advise that one pass legislation announcing that a certain type of control, uh, will be abolished within a year or three years or five years, whichever the case may be, ehh, the time element being calculated to allow the people involved ample opportunity to readjust their activities gradually.

You see, under a free enterprise system, no change happens out of the blue and overnight; every economic change, every development is gradual, and, therefore, uh, in a free society there are, uh, no immediate and disastrous changes. However, uhh, in a position where we are today, any sudden change can create enormous, disastrous dislocations and, therefore, that would be the reason why one would have to decontrol gradually.

CD 2, Track 2, 0:00 through 3:53

Now, to be more specific, you asked me what specific legislation I would advocate to be removed first. It would be the antitrust laws.

As my, euh, lecture presented, euh, last week, I consider antitrust laws the most disastrous legislation that has contributed the most to the destruction of free enterprise and, therefore, once you remove that particular cancer all the others, euh, will become much easier to remove. Once you free the most essential and the most productive group of our society—namely, the industrialists and the businessmen, once you free them from controls, and, great many, if not most, of our economic problems would vanish.

Even here, one would probably have to combine such a decontrol with a tax reduction law; otherwise, uh, you are leaving the society in a very improper, unbalanced condition; namely, any company which is large today has an enormous advantage over competitors who never had a chance even to rise to that level because their earnings have been undercut by taxes. Today, many companies which in a free society might have been the economic leaders, uhh, struggle somewhere halfway down the line, or perhaps never start going properly, because whichever profit they make are taken from them in taxes to such an extent that they have no chance to rise to the level of competing with the big companies, uf, who were established before today's tax rates went into effect. I'm saying this only very tentatively because these are complete specific questions and an exact answer would depend on the specific facts, euhh, that one would be facing.

Euhh, however, I'm answering only as a matter of principle, what kind of principle would I advise people to follow in such an issue, and I would say that one would have to remove the antitrust provisions one by one. The first one to go—and this one should go overnight, if there were enough people with a sense of justice in this country who cared to be active about it—the first, uh, thing to go is to repeal the jail penalty provisions of the antitrust laws and to stop sending men to jail for undefined offenses, which they had no way, euh, of avoiding. First, remove, uh, this particular injustice; not only, uh, will it be a matter of plain, humanitarian decency but also it would remove the terrorization of businessmen. It would, euh, remove them, the, uh, sword, the threat hanging over their heads, which they have no way of avoiding and which they cannot predict, uh, at what time the execution would occur.

Uh, first remove the terrorization, uh, uh, on businessmen, then remove the rest of the provisions, all of which today, as I have point out in my speech, amount to merely penalizing ability for being ability and sacrificing productive genius to mediocrity. Remove the enforcement of this kind of policy and you would be surprised at the kind of intellectual, moral, and economic Renaissance that the country would experience almost immediately. Then proceed with all the other, lesser decontrol. That would be my answer.

Ayn Rand Answers (pp. 49-50)

Mayhew sharply compressed this answer, dropping the last two paragraphs entirely.

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America's Persecuted Minority (radio version) 1962

Q&A, CD 2, Track 2, 3:54 through 8:00

Q: Here is a question which was asked Miss Rand from the audience on the evening of her talk at Columbia. I'll ask it of her now.

Should antitrust be applied to labor unions as well? That is, should labor unions be broken up into smaller unions under the power of the antitrust?

A: My answer is, most emphatically, no.

Uh, the antitrust laws are so vicious, so nonobjective an injustice that one does not correct the situation by extending the same evil, the same injustice to another part of the country or another group of people.

I know that there are many conservatives, so-called, who instead of advocating a reform or repeal of antitrust laws think that they can solve the situation by simply victimizing labor unions in the same way as businessmen are victimized. They advocate extending the controls of antitrust—with all of their monstrous, nonobjective, irrational abuse and injustice—they advocate extending it to labor unions in, apparently, the hope that this equalize the bargaining position of business, eah, and labor.

Uh, well, in effect, nobody gains from those, euh, laws. Nobody gains from that type of legislation except the bureaucrats and the government. Uhh, the extension of antitrust to labor unions would certainly not help business. It would only help to enslave a group of the population which today, fortunately, is still comparatively free.

You can never correct an injustice by performing another injustice. And you don't correct an evil by extending an evil. Much as labor unions today are in a more privileged position in regard to the issue of antitrust than are businessmen, nevertheless, the only correction is to free the businessman, not to enslave labor. Labor on many occasions has proved itself much more philosophically alert and aware of the issue of freedom than have businessmen, probably because labor leaders are still free to speak but businessmen are not—precisely because of the antitrust laws.

Therefore, labor today is one of our very powerful forces for freedom, in this particular sense: they are aware of government encroachment and are very sensitive to it, as witness, euh, euh, the opposition of Mr. Meany to Secretary Goldberg's attempt to sacrifice labor as well as management to the alleged public interest and to dictate in labor negotiations what is the public interest. Observe how quickly and properly Mr. Meany answered him, uhh, in the name of labor. That is the best example of why, if you want to protect freedom, you'd better leave labor and every other group of the population free rather than advocate their enslavement. In this sense, if labor leaders and industry leaders who also protested against Mr. Goldberg's idea, if they saw fully what mutual interest they have in common, and that they have a much stronger interest in common, uhh, that, uh, than any of them may have in government regulations or enlargement of government power, if they could see that they should unite politically and philosophically to fight the further growth of the government, that, weuh, would be one of the very desirable and very effective ways in which we could speed up the liberation of this country.

Ayn Rand Answers (pp. 39-40)

No! Antitrust laws are so vicious and so nonobjective that one does not correct the injustice against businessmen by extending the same evil to another group of people. There are many conservatives who, instead of advocating the repeal of antitrust laws, try to solve the problem by victimizing labor unions the way businessmen are victimized, in the hope that this would equalize the bargaining position of business and labor. But nobody gains from those laws except bureaucrats and the government. The extension of antitrust to labor unions would not help business; it would merely help enslave a part of the population that is still relatively free. You cannot correct one injustice with another injustice.

Labor is often more philosophically alert on the issue of freedom than businessmen—probably because labor leaders are still free to speak, whereas businessmen are not, owing to antitrust laws. Labor is a powerful force for freedom, in this sense: Labor is aware of government encroachment, as witness the opposition of George Meany to Secretary Goldberg's attempt to sacrifice both labor and management to the "public interest"—to dictate in labor negotiations what the public interest is. If you want to protect freedom, leave labor and every other group free.

"Owing to"? How often did Ayn Rand say or write that? Otherwise, the answer is heavily compressed. And notice how he takes Rand's first line as a recipe for applying Mayhew-emphais...

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Ford Hall Forum 1971

Q&A, 19:40 through 26:05

Q: Miss Rand, do you think, or is it too early to tell, whether if the 1972 election results in the defeat of Richard Nixon and his replacement by a more statist Democrat, would that push the country in the middle or the long run or ultimately towards statism because the Democrat is more statist, or would in the long turn it slow it down because it would promote the candidacy of conservative Republicans opposed to statist policies?

A: No, I don't think so, because, uh, the conservatives, Republicans—conservative in today's sense of the word, which I am not, and which does not mean pro-freedom or pro-capitalism—the conservative Republicans are worse than Mr. Nixon, and I think I would even prefer Humphrey—uh, to the conservatives; to Nixon, no.

I did advocate or endorse him—not very enthusiastically, but on the premise of the lesser of two evils. But by now it doesn't even matter; there are no degrees of evils. Uh, I, euhh, agree with George Meany in only one thing, and even then I'm not sure. [some laughter] He was asked what he would do if Mayor Lindsay of New York was the Democratic candidate, and Meany said, "I would vote for Nixon." [some laughter] I almost feel that way, except that I'm afraid I couldn't make myself do it simply on moral grounds. Because after all it is letting a man get away with an unspeakable series of turncoating.

That's all that he is—a plain turncoat. Now, a man can have a change of mind, and if he changes his mind and, rightly or wrongly, says, "You know, I don't know how to run the country except by this, and I know it's controls, but nobody has offered anything better, and I changed my mind for such-and-such reasons," you could still have at least some respect for him. Not when he turns right around and, if you study his speeches, every alternate one or every two is playing both sides—he will give you some slogans if you're pro-freedom, and then he will give the welfare-statists a few more. And I don't believe that that can be done fully innocently. Uh, except he thinks that that's patriotism. Why? Because pragmatism taught him that.

But at this coming election, I don't think it would matter whom we got in there. The only two persons … who might be worse … it's, ehh, the, uh, Conservative Party, ehh, George Wallace of Alabama, or Lindsay, because Lindsay also is a turncoat of—well, it's a race between him and Nixon, and Nixon. Uh, but, he's, today's situation proves why I have been saying for a long time: a country's practical politics do not determine its fate. Today, it doesn't really matter what they do; a president cannot reeducate a country. Uh, it's a machine today, really, without a driver—the government is—it's driven by pressure-group conflicts.

Ehh, where can the salvation come from? Only from education, from ideas, from colleges, from the intellectuals. The politicians can't do it. They never could, but today there is a peculiar kind of vacuum. We don't yet have and I hope we'll never have—and it's to the credit of this country that no Führer has yet appeared, to take advantage of this kind of chaos, because Nixon obviously is not a Führer, and that's fine. He's a mediocrity. [some laughter] Uhh, so are all the prospects, I don't mean to single him out since some are worse than others. But, uh, so long as there still is a kind of no man's land, they are afraid of the people. So was every European dictatorship; it tightened its power only about 2 to 5 years after it got, acquired full power. 'Cause they're always trying to see what they can get away with. Therefore … and Nixon and the press today are obviously waiting to see what they can do, can get away with. So we still have time.

If you ask me how, I would say speak, speak, and speak. And speak anywhere, to anyone in any form you can. By which I don't mean force your views on, uh, unwilling listeners—I don't mean you have to be, euhh, evangelists and save their souls—but people are in such confusion that whenever you can clarify even one point for them in your own circle, in a letter to an editor, in a school paper, that is what makes the public opinion of a country, that's what helps people who may be less brave or more ignorant. It helps to bring them out, and that is what puts the fear of God in the politician who needs it. [Laughter and applause]

Ayn Rand Answers (pp. 60-61)

Mayhew deletes the first paragraph, with its slam against conservative Republicans. Later he cuts Rand's single derogatory reference to the Conservative Party. He eliminates her mentions of George Meany, who got a favorable mention in a 1962 answer about not subjecting labor unions to antitrust law, and trims the rest of the answer mercilessly. Rand was reacting to current events; he seems uncomfortable with that.

He could be embarrassed that Rand was loudly rejecting Nixon in 1971, yet ended up re-endorsing him in 1972. She became an "Anti-Nixonite for Nixon" because of her even stronger reaction against George McGovern—who didn't rate a mention by name in this answer.

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America's Persecuted Minority (radio version) 1962

Q&A, CD 2, Track 2, 8:01 through 11:38

Q: Here's a question with many parts, but I think it's capable of a relatively brief answer, about the exact sphere in which the government is entitled to operate.

Does the government have any place in the following activities:

Legislation to prevent monopoly? (I think that's been answered already.)

Patents and copyrights?

Building codes and housing codes?

The licensing of physicians and dentists?

The, uh, requiring of inoculation against diseases or of quarantine of families having communicable diseases?

What about fire departments? Municipal water, electrical supply?

Now, if the answer is sometimes yes and sometimes no to these questions, why the difference?

A: Yes, uh, sometimes yes and sometimes no, because these are not all questions of the same category. So let's take them in order.

Uh, legislation to prevent monopoly we have discussed in great detail. It is certainly not the place of the government to regulate by force any productive activities, any issue of production or trade.

Now patents and copyrights are a different issue. Because what is the role of government in, uh, patents and copyrights? Here the government merely acts as a witness who registers the time when an inventor, euh, has produced an invention or a writer has written a book, and therefore protects that inventor's, writer's right to the exclusive use of his own product, of his own idea.

Eahh, in the issue of patents and copyrights, what is really involved? It is the right of the inventor to use his invention socially, to use it in trade, and at the same time to protect his right in it and to prevent anyone from making use of his intellectual property without his consent. Therefore, the government's role here is not to control the individual inventor, but to protect that inventor from any, euh, forcible violation of his right by other men with whom he deals—forcible in the sense of someone copying his invention, stealing it, and using it without, uh, his consent, consent, thus undercutting his own way of earning his living by the result of his own mental effort.

The government does not force anyone to take out a patent or a copyright. If a man wants to give away his invention or his book, he is free to do so. It is up to him to decide whether he wants to use it exclusively and wants to be protected or, if for any reason, he wants to give it away, the government will not force him to patent it. Therefore, it is his choice when he wants, uh, protection, asks for it, the government merely acts as the protector of his property, in exactly the same way as the government protects physical property. If someone were to steal, euhh, a piece of jewelry, it is the policeman's job to, to try to apprehend the thief and return the property. Exactly the same principle applies in intellectual issues, uh, eah, particularly since we must remember that the mind is the source of any form of material production and material wealth.

CD 2, Track 3, 0:00 through 9:01

Uf, you cannot protect material property rights without protecting the rights of a man to the result of the work of his own mind. Uh, therefore, the right to protect your own invention by patents or copyrights is certainly a basic, inalienable property right, and it is quite proper of the government to protect it from unauthorized infringement or stealing. This, however, is not a control; the government properly does not have the right to tell a man how to use his patent or his copyright. All the government can do is stop those who attempt to infringe this patent or copyright and attempt to use it without the owner's consent. So here the government's, uh, function is strictly protective and comes strictly within a proper government's moral function.

Ayn Rand Answers: not included

Back to the original answer:

Now building codes and housing codes is the next question.

Uhh, this is a different issue, because here, you didn't, the government does not act to protect anyone but to regulate; namely to enforce certain kind of rules or decisions arbitrarily on the men involved in building. Uhh, here the government is enforcing its views or its ideas of what is proper building on a certain profession, and as such it is certainly one of the primary forms of improper government interference. Uh, now, but the question is asked, "But what would protect us from faulty housing?" and, and "Shouldn't we have government inspectors to protect us from collapsing buildings?"

The answer is [A] this protection does not protect us from anything and we have as many badly built or dangerous buildings as we would have without any gover, government housing code, and, C, uh, A, and [ B ] in a proper free society, it is the laws of fraud, in a broad sense of word, that would protect tenants from unsafe buildings. In other words, builders would not be ordered in advance to obey some kind of arbitrary and, very often, contradictory and impossible regulations, but if a builder rents a building and the building is unsafe, uh, or it collapses, or is a fire trap and its tenants are damaged, there would be very serve pen, penalties, and the tenants could sue a landlord for fraud, for presenting a building as being safe when in fact it wasn't. Of course, there would have to be very objective ways of proof that the landlord or the builder had neglected, ehh, the building in some issue, in some, euhh, structural matter which he knew to be unsafe, which he could have prevented. One could not blame him blindly for not knowing how to prevent something which nobody knew how to prevent. But this is assuming deliberate bad or shoddy building.

If, ehh, it could be proved that a landlord or a builder misrepresented his product, then the laws of fraud would punish him. And then his own self-interest would prevent him from ever resorting to such practices. In other words, one wouldn't have to have many building accidents to prevent, euhh, builders from dishonest or improper building; the more existence of this kind of code of law would be sufficient protection against the rare dishonest, uhh, builders, who could always exist at any time as individuals. The laws would be set to discourage them, and to punish them if necessary.

But all honest builders would be free and, in building as in any other profession, it is not to a man's self-interest to cheat. The majority of a profession would do an honest job. It is just only against a criminal minority that the laws would protect us, uh, rather than tie up honest men in advance, on the assumption that they are guilty before they have proved themselves guilty and that it is the government's place to protect, euh, euh, them from dishonesty; this is immoral and impractical and it cannot be done, and no building code or housing codes have ever achieved their alleged purpose.

Ayn Rand Answers (p. 12)

In establishing these codes, the government does not protect anyone; they regulate—that is, they arbitrarily impose certain rules or decisions on men involved in the building industry. The government enforces its view of what is proper building, and as such, that is improper government interference. Now, shouldn't government inspectors protect us from faulty housing and collapsing buildings? The answer is [A] this "protection" doesn't protect us from anything; we have as many dangerous buildings now as we would without government housing codes; and [ B ] in a free society, laws against fraud protect tenants from dangerous buildings. Builders would not be order to obey arbitrary and often contradictory regulations. But if a builder rents a building that is unsafe, and its tenants are hurt, there would be very severe penalties: the tenants could sue the landlord for fraud—for presenting a building as safe when it was not. Of course, there would have to be objective ways to prove that the landlord or builder had been negligent. He should not be blamed for not knowing how to prevent what no one could prevent. In a free society, a builder's own self-interest would prevent him from resorting to such practices as building shoddy houses. The occurrence of building accidents would not be necessary to prevent builders from improper practices. The mere existence of laws against fraud would be sufficient protection against the rare dishonest builder, and honest builders would be left free.

[Mayhew-emphasis at work. As with Rand's other radio-program answers from 1962, this one's been heavily compressed.]

Back to the original answer:

The same applies to the next question, the licensing of physicians and dentists.

Again, eah, the government does not have the right, eah, to pass on the fitness or unfitness of professional men. Uh, what would protect us from quacks in a free society? The free judgment of individual men and, euh, the protection of any professional organization, or professional publications, which could make reports to its members on the standing of various practitioners. But the mere al, issuing of a licensing by a government or of a diploma by a medical school does not protect us from quacks today. We still have to exercise our judgment in selecting a physician, and that is what we would properly do in a free society. Eah, government licensing protects us from nothing, but may progressively keep the better people out of any licensed or controlled profession.

Ayn Rand Answers (pp. 12-13)

In this case, Mayhew didn't correct Rand's grammar: "professional organizations … that report to its members."

Back to the original answer:

Now, requiring inoculation against disease—should this be, ehh, ehh, a job for the government? Most definitely not. And there is a very simple answer for it. If it is medically proved that a certain inoculation is in fact practical and desirable, those who want it will take that inoculation. Now if some people do not see it that way, do not agree, or don't want to take it, they, only they will be in danger, since all the other people will be inoculated. Those who do not go along, if they're wrong in this case, will merely catch the disease. They will not be in da, a danger to anyone else, and nobody has the right to force them to do anything for their own good against their own judgment. Euh, they will merely be ill then, but they could not infect others.

The next question, in regard to quarantine, is somewhat different, because in the state of, uh, sense of a quarantine, someone has a contagious disease against which there is no inoculation, then the government would have the right to require a quarantine. What is the principle here? It's to protect those people who are not ill, to protect the people who, euh—to prevent the people who are ill from passing on their illness to others. Here you are dealing with a demonstrable physical damage.

Remember that in all issues of protecting someone from physical damage, before a government can properly act, there has to be a scientific, objective demonstration of an actual physical danger. If it is demonstrated, then the government can act to protect, uh, those who are not yet ill from contacting the disease. In other words, to quarantine the people who are ill is not an interference with their rights; it is merely preventing them from doing physical damage to others.

Ayn Rand Answers (p. 13)

Rand said "contacting" where she meant "contracting," but Mayhew cut the sentence where she made the error.

Back to the original answer:

Uhhh, now the, uh, fire department, water and electrical supply? That certainly is not the province of the government. All that are private activities and should be private, voluntary activities, just like any other, uyh, business or economic issue.

I think that is the last one of the questions, I believe, and in conclusion I would say, to sum it up, what I and the Objectivist philosophy advocate in economics and politics is the complete separation of state and economics—in the same way, for the same reasons, as we have the separation of state and church. In other words, the government then should only function in its proper policing, protective activities, but would have nothing to say about the issue of production or trade. Those activities, all of them, should, euh, be conducted by the voluntary choice and the free ability of free men.

Ayn Rand Answers: not included.

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In preparation for my article on Mayhew's rewrites, I've catalogued all of the items in his book whose originals I haven't been able to check.

He took 17 answers from Ayn Rand's 1958 lectures on fiction writing. These lectures are available on recordings and I plan to follow up on them later.

A couple of other sets of answers that I'm particularly interested in:

(1) I would hold these for a later project, but I am interested in Rand's lectures on nonfiction writing, which are presently unavailable commercially. Mayhew, who did the rewrite on these lectures, really mined their Q&A's for Ayn Rand Answers. He drew 40 items from them.

(2) Rand participated in the Q&A after the first lecture in Leonard Peikoff's 1980 course on Objective Communication. Mayhew used 18 answers from this source. I'm not that interested in Peikoff's whole course, just in transcribing the Q&A from Lecture 1.

Robert Campbell

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Ford Hall Forum 1971

Q&A, 45:07 through 46:34

Q: Miss Rand, are you working on a new novel?

Judge Lurie: The reason that I laugh is I predicted when I was talking to Miss Rand in the green room that a question would be asked about it. Are you working on a new novel, and when do you expect to finish it?

A: At the moment, no. As I told you last year, I was working, but, uhh, during this year, I've made a significant change in my publications. That is, instead of The Objectivist magazine, coming out once a month, I'm now publishing the Ayn Rand Letter, which comes out twice a month, or rather, buh, fortnightly. And that takes up a great deal of my time, particularly the organization and the transition to this new form, so at the moment I can do nothing else. My ultimate plan is to organize my time in such a way that I would be able to work on the novel systematically. Uh, but at present, it's the beginning of a very complex undertaking, and so I can't, I'm not allowed, right now I have to say no, I'm not. But I do hope I won't be, ehh, giving you an excuse each time that I come here. So someday I might announce it, but don't push me—I truly don't know.

Ayn Rand Answers: not included.

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Ford Hall Forum 1971

Q&A, 45:07 through 46:34

Q: Miss Rand, are you working on a new novel?

Judge Lurie: The reason that I laugh is I predicted when I was talking to Miss Rand in the green room that a question would be asked about it. Are you working on a new novel, and when do you expect to finish it?

A: At the moment, no. As I told you last year, I was working, but, uhh, during this year, I've made a significant change in my publications. That is, instead of The Objectivist magazine, coming out once a month, I'm now publishing the Ayn Rand Letter, which comes out twice a month, or rather, buh, fortnightly. And that takes up a great deal of my time, particularly the organization and the transition to this new form, so at the moment I can do nothing else. My ultimate plan is to organize my time in such a way that I would be able to work on the novel systematically. Uh, but at present, it's the beginning of a very complex undertaking, and so I can't, I'm not allowed, right now I have to say no, I'm not. But I do hope I won't be, ehh, giving you an excuse each time that I come here. So someday I might announce it, but don't push me—I truly don't know.

Ayn Rand Answers: not included.

I remember this.

In regard to The Objectivist, I always found it interesting that if they had published only one more issue they would have had to publish the circulation figures, due annually, for US mail mailing purposes. That might have been embarrassing.

I started writing down the date I got The Ayn Rand Letter on each envelope as it fell more and more behind. I still have those somewhere. They did manage to get The Objectivist up to date after 1968, but the article quality went down somewhat because of that effort and the absence of Nathaniel Branden.

The changeover from one publication to the other was done for economic reasons firstly. That's obvious. At 33 dollars a year gross revenues for the years of publication of TARL could have exceeded a million dollars, maybe considerably more. I never understood the twice monthly publication schedule. I had a strong sense from the beginning she would fall behind even without the effort to find other writers and edit them. It would have been harder to justify the high subscription price with a monthly, but you have got to pace yourself.


Edited by Robert Campbell
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Ford Hall Forum 1976

Q&A, 9:31 through 11:10

Q: In your last Letter, you mentioned the public indications of the influence of Objectivism around the world and in this country. And you mentioned something about something going on in Scandinavian countries that indicated their interest in Objectivism. And you said you were glad to hear it and, I can't remember your exact words, but I was wondering whether you meant physical or philosophical difference, or both? [Marsha Enright?]

A: Uhh, that was specifically Norway. Uh, there was a news report in the Times that I caught about a party, a Conservative party in Norway—Conservative in, uh, apparently in a good sense: pro-capitalist. Uhh, it's a new party that was formed and won a significant number of seats in their parliament, and they quoted me as one of their, I guess, philosophical inspirations. They said they followed the philosophy of Ayn Rand and Milton Friedman.

Well, Milton Friedman is practically my opposite, but what I said is that at that distance, if they are confused, I don't hold it against them, since there are worse confusions —intellectually, ideologically—right here in this country. Uh, that was Norway, it wasn't Sweden.

Ayn Rand Answers: not included.

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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.

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