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Annotated captions of Ayn Rand Interview (1959) Part 1 of 3 in English

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This is Mike Wallace with another television portrait from our gallery

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of colorful people.

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Throughout the United States small pockets of intellectuals

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have become involved in a new and unusual philosophy,

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which would seem to strike at the very roots of our society.

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The fountainhead of this philosophy is a novelist Ayn Rand.

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Whose two major works The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged

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have been best sellers.

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We'll try to find out more about her revolutionary creed

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and about Miss Rand herself in just a moment.

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And now to our story

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Down through history various political and philosophical movements

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have sprung up but most of them have died.

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Some however like Democracy or Communism

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take hold and affect the entire world.

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Here in the United States perhaps the most challenging

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and unusual new philosophy has been forged by a novelist Ayn Rand.

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Miss Rand's point of view is still comparatively unknown in America,

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but if it ever did take hold it would revolutionize our lives.

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And I'm to begin with... I wonder if I can ask you to capsulize...

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I know this is difficult... Can I ask you to capsulize your philosophy?

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What is Randism?

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First of all, I do not call it Randism, and I don't like that name.

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I call it Objectivism. Meaning a philosophy based on objective reality.

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Now let me explain it as briefly as I can.

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First my philosophy is based on the concept that reality exists

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as an objective absolute. That man's mind reason

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is his means of percieving it.

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And that man needs a rational morality.

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I am primarily the creator of a new court of morality

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which has so far been believed impossible.

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Namely, a morality not based on face, not on faith,

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not on arbitrary whim, not on emotion, not on arbitrary edict,

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mystical or social, but on reason.

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A morality which can be proved by means of logic.

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Which can be demonstrated to be true and necessary.

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Now may I define what my morality is,

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because this is merely an introduction.

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My morality is based on man's life as a standard of value.

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And since man's mind is his basic means of survival,

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I hold that if man wants to live on earth, and to live as a human being.

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He has to hold reason as an absolute.

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By which I mean, that he has to hold reason as his only guide to action.

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And that he must live by the independent judgement of his own mind.

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That his highest moral purpose is the achievement of his own happiness.

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And that he must not force other people

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nor accept their right to force him.

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That each man must live as an end in himself

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and follow his own rational self-interest.

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May I interrupt now? You may.

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Because you put this philosophy to work in your novel Atlas Shrugged.

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You demonstrate it, in human terms, in your novel Atlas Shrugged.

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And let me start by quoting from a review of this novel Atlas Shrugged

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that appeared in News Week. It said that, "You are out to destroy

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almost every edifice in the contemporary American way of life.

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Our Judeo-Christian religion

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our modified government regulated capitalism

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our rule by the majority will."

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Other reviews have said that, "You scorn churches,

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and the concept of god."

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Are these accurate criticisms?

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Ah.. Yes... I agree with the fact, but not the estimate of this criticism.

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Namely, if I am challenging the base of all these institutions,

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I'm challenging the moral code of altruism.

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The precept that man's moral duty is to live for others.

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That man must sacrifice himself to others.

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Which is the present day morality.

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What do you mean sacrifice himself for others? Now were getting to the point.

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Since I'm challenging the base, I necessarily will challenge

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the institutions you name, which are a result of that morality.

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And now what is self-sacrifice? Yes...What is self-sacrifice?

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You say that you do not like the altruism by which we live.

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You like a certain kind of Ayn Randist selfishness.

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I will say that, "I don't like" is to weak a word.

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I consider it evil. And self-sacrifice is the precept

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that man needs to serve others, in order to justify his existence.

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That his moral duty is to serve others. That is what most people believe today.

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Yes...Were taught to feel concern for our fellow man.

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To feel responsible for his welfare.

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To feel that we are as religious people might put it, children under god,

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and responsible one for the other. Now why do you rebel?

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What's wrong with this philosophy?

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But that is in fact what makes man a sacrificial animal.

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That man must work for others, concern himself with others,

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or be responsible for them. That is the role of a sacrificial object.

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I say that man is entitled to his own happiness.

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And that he must achieve it himself.

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But that he cannot demand that others give up their lives to make him happy.

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And nor should he wish to sacrifice himself for the happiness of others.

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I hold that man should have self-esteem.

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And cannot man have self-esteem if he loves his fellow man?

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What's wrong with loving your fellow man?

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Christ, every important moral leader in man's history has taught us

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that we should love one another.

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Why then is this kind of love in your mind immoral?

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It is immoral if it is a love placed above oneself.

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It is more than immoral, it's impossible.

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Because when you asked to love everybody indiscriminately.

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That is to love people without any standard

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To love them regardless of whether they have any value or any virtue,

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you are asked to love nobody.

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But in a sense, in your book you talk about love as if it were a

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business deal of some kind.

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Isn't the essence of love, that it is above self-interest?

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Well, let me make it concrete for you.

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What would it mean to have a love above self-interest?

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It would mean for instance that a husband would tell his wife

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if he were moral according to the conventional morality,

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that I am marring you just for you own sake, I have no personal interest in it,

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but I'm so unselfish, that I am marrying you only for your own good.

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Would any woman like that?

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Should husbands and wives tally up at the end of the day

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and say, "well now wait a minute, I love her if she's done enough for me today,

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or she loves me if I have properly performed my functions?

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No, you misunderstood me. That is not how love should be treated.

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I agree with you that it should be treated like a business deal.

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But every business deal has to have its own terms and its own kind of currency.

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And in love the currency is virtue.

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You love people, not for what do for them, or what they do for you.

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You love them for their values, their virtues,

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which they have achieved in their own character.

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You don't love causes. You don't love everybody indiscriminately.

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You love only those who deserve it.

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And then if a man is weak, or a woman is weak, then she is beyond,

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he is beyond love?

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He certainly does not deserve it, he certainly is beyond.

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He can always correct it. Man has free will.

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If a man wants love he should correct his weaknesses,

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or his flaws, and he may deserve it.

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But he cannot expect the unearned, neither in love, nor in money,

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neither in method, nor spirit.

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You have lived in our world, and you realize... recognize...

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the fallibility of human beings, there are very few us then in this world,

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by your standards, who are worthy of love.

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Unfortunately.... yes... very few.

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But it is open to everybody, to make themselves worthy of it

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and that is all that my morality offers them.

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A way to make themselves worthy of love

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although that's not the primary motive.