Ayn Rand 1967 Lecture on Capitalism
John R. Houk
© October 7, 2018
In my twenties (early 1980s) I became enlightened that the Democratic Party had moved to a political place that placed its moral make-up and stealth support of Socialist principles were antithetic to the Founding Fathers’ vision of a Constitutional Republic.
And so, I abandoned supporting the political party my family insured was the way of thinking that saved America from the poverty of the Great Depression (circa 1929 through the 1930s decade). My Grandparents and mother lived through that devastating economic period in America. (I have since learned that Franklin Roosevelt’s policies may not have been as saving as my Grandparents and Parents were led to believe. But that is another story.)
As a former Dem I didn’t exactly embrace Ronald Reagan in the 1980 voting cycle. I fell for the line that Reagan was such a Hawk, he would push the nuke buttons ushering in WWIII. And I was so disenchanted with President Carter, there was no way I would vote for him. In 1980 I went Third Party. I voted for Ed Clark of the Libertarian Party.
In those days Ayn Rand writings were very influential among Libertarians thus that was my introduction into Randian Philosophy. I was addicted to all things Ayn Rand.
By 1980 I had been a Christian for two years. In case you didn’t know it, Christian Morality and Randian ethics influencing moral thinking do not line up well. You can guess the longer I have been a Christian, the more I gravitated away from an extreme affinity to Randian Objectivism Philosophy. And yet I still like Rand’s economic principles.
As such you should be aware Rand was a staunch Capitalist and very combative against Socialism and Communism. Ayn Rand was born into Czarist Russia in 1905. She endured the travesty of the Bolshevik (Communist) Revolution. She managed to complete her education and find a way to get out of the USSR in 1925 one year of graduating from a college in St. Petersburg (then Petrograd – later Leningrad then back to St. Petersburg). Rand passed away in America 3/6/1982. (Ayn Rand Lexicon bio)
I stumbled onto a lecture provided by Ayn Rand herself on Capitalism:
Posted by Ayn Rand Institute
Published on Sep 28, 2018
This 1967 lecture is Ayn Rand’s flagship talk on capitalism. In it she explains in depth what capitalism is, why it is often misunderstood and why it is the only social system consonant with man’s nature. She discusses the philosophical and ethical roots of capitalism, and contrasts them with the moral-philosophic doctrines that lead to rule by force. She then discusses progress under capitalism and how it is fundamentally different from the so-called progress of a statist society. Along the way, Rand takes up such questions as:
- What is the essence of man’s nature?
- What is the fundamental basis for the concept of individual rights?
- How is capitalism consonant with man’s nature? Why are other social systems not consonant with it?
- Why is serving “the common good” not a sound principle for governing a free society?
- What are the different perspectives on “the good,” and how do they inform people’s views on what constitutes a proper social system?
- What has been the ethical basis of all tyrannies in history?
- Who prospers on a free market?
- How does a free market unleash man’s creative abilities?
- What is so often misunderstood about progress under capitalism?
This talk is excerpted from Rand’s substantially longer and more comprehensive essay of the same name. Students interested in mastering Rand’s views on capitalism are encouraged to study the full essay, available here, in addition to enjoying this course.
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