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Ayn Rand Interviewed by Phil Donahue

I just watched these interviews which I found quite entertaining and decided to share them. A wide range of issues are discussed including the free market, monopolies, atheism, the non-aggression principle, morals, individuality, welfare, the Middle East, oil, and there is even a question about The Illuminati!

Ayn Rand on Phil Donahue Show 1979


A rare public appearance by Ayn Rand in the 1970's. She's in her 70's in this video and her first public appearance since husband Frank O'Connor's death.



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Ah... The Smoky Mistress Herself

The grandmother of philosophy; RIP.

She is best known for "Atlas Shrugged," but "The Fountainhead" was her first great book, and you get most of the same philosophy as Atlas Shrugged without as much complication.

SteveMT's picture

Selfishness is a virtue.

Ayn Rand defined selfishness as "concern with one's own interests." Aren't we all?

The Mike Wallace interview is

The Mike Wallace interview is my favorite and the Donahue interview is the one were she lost my support in her defense of interventionist military action to "protect" corporate American assets abroad.

I had trouble with that position too.

I had trouble with that position too.

The way I understood her argument was that US oil companies contracted with Middle Eastern countries to provide technology in exchange for access to the oil. Upon completion of the US oil companies' portion of the deal, the Middle Eastern countries nationalized the oil and restricted the flow or somehow reneged on their obligations of the contract.

In this scenario, who enforces the contract if there is a breech? According to the Constitution? How should it be if we don't agree with the Constitution?

Again, I'm just offering this for discussion purposes. I personally lean that it is the responsibility of the contractors to enforce their contracts, and perhaps in a completely free society, we'd join some type of Contract Association which would help private parties facilitate and enforce contracts and perhaps they had a rating system which would help people determine if the other party is reliable or a potential contract breaker.

I'm a serial entrepreneur and liberty activist from Texas!


I've attached a link

to an article about the nationalization of foreign oil fields and how OPEC was formed. It talks about contract enforcement. "The established contracts between oil companies and nations with oil reserves gave the oil companies an advantageous position, leading to the inclusion of choice-of-law clauses. In other words, disputes over contract details would be settled by a third party instead of the host country. The only way for host countries to alter their contracts was through nationalization. Most of the countries, with the exception of Venezuela, even signed away their right to tax the companies in exchange for one time royalty payments.[4]"

You could wire the rigs you

You could wire the rigs you built with explosives and if the govt you are dealing with starts talking about stealing your property you show them the red button on the detonator. Checkmate scum!

A self-destruct feature may work!

You could do it with software too so that you didn't actually destroy the capital, but rather render it useless until your contract is honored.

I'm a serial entrepreneur and liberty activist from Texas!


For Me

For me, this is a factor of RISK the corporation must wager to take and thus weigh if the benefits are worth the potential of losing their entire investment.

I love Ayn Rand. If only our

I love Ayn Rand. If only our children could be taugh Fransico De'Anconia's definition of money. We wouldn't have collectivism or central banking in this world.

Ayn Rand points to altruism

Ayn Rand points to altruism as what is going on in the world and creating problems. Is it possible that people that are not altruistic, might be pretending to be altruistic in order to obtain power and serve themselves?

Communist and fascist states are not altruistic. They use the notion of altruism as a bait and switch. Lets not be naïve.

She concludes there is no God because she can not be called upon to prove a negative. This is a logical fallacy. If someone believes there is probably at least some form of microscopic life out there somewhere in the universe, but can't yet prove it against my belief there is no life, that doesn't confirm me as right in taking a negative position. Absence of proof is not proof of absence. Because you don't have a space ship, space suit, and space shovel, doesn't mean I am correct. It means the jury is still out. An intellectually honest person has to conclude that the answer to a God is, maybe, or I don't know for sure. Saying you know there is no God is an act of faith, saying their is one is also an act of faith. The problem is atheists are not supposed to be operating on faith like a theist embraces. Not if they want to uphold their ideals.

She says that it is not good to be optimistic about seeing what is next after this life. That this life is "wonderful". Is this life wonderful for someone starving to death in the third world? Is this life wonderful for someone who's family is wiped out by genocide? For someone that has been forced into sexual slavery in an Indian slum? This life is heaven?

She says Israel is advanced and civilized while the Arabs are primitive savages. Quite a generalization to label everyone in an ethnic group. I think that is the actual definition of racism. When people are of lower value, it is a lot more justifiable to commit genocide, isn't it? The Arabs murder innocent women and children she says (does murdering innocent men matter?). So only the Arabs murder innocents, that doesn't go both ways???

I find myself agreeing with her on economics, but she has her head up her ass on everything else. She is a great economist, and a horrible philosopher.

I think she was talking about ...

... the concept of altruism as being a moral good.

Of course, politicians who promote such crap do not believe it themselves. They use it for propaganda purposes.

She was talking about the useful idiots who populate the ivory towers, and the minions who believe such ideas without any critical analysis.

I think you are right. Those that

I think you are right. Those that say altruism is a problem are not using critical analysis. They are failing to identify that a good thing has been hijacked into something different. Altruism is an Orwellian name for the exact opposite thing.

I love her philosophy too.

I love her philosophy too. This life is wonderful. If more people would realize that instead of trying to prep for the mythology that they pretend lay beyond, perhaps we wouldn't have some of the problems you listed.

Altruism, this idea that you should sacrifice your own interests for those of others. This idea is silly and unproductive. The "fact" is, when people on whole serve their own long term self interests, they "also" serve others as a bonus prize. That's how capitalism works. If you get "value" from serving others, then its not altruism, because you're trading value for value. Altruism involves "sacrifice." No one should ever have to "sacrifice." You should demand something in return, be it spiritual value, personal or emotional value or whatever. For example, someone might slave for free in a soup kitchen for the homeless. But if they are "Choosing" to be there, its not a sacrifice: Its a trade. The trade their labor for a cause they value. No one is forcing them to be there. Value for value. They get the self esteme and feeling of having done a "good deed" or the "spiritual currency" of knowing they've pleased their deity of choice, etc.

Example #2: Its not a sacrifice if I jump in front of a car to knock my daughter to safety, even if I die. I am exchanging something I value (my life) for something I value more (her life). That isn't altruism. Its self interest. Altruism is being asked to jump in front of that car to save someone you don't value more than your own life, but choosing to submit to that authority despite that you don't want to. Serving the state because it is "authority" is a good example of "Altruism" and "Sacrifice." Slavery & doing community service as a sentence from a court, and even overwhelming feelings of "obligation" are often examples of Altruism. You may feel overwhelming peer pressure to do something you don't want to do and which does not serve your interests. Sacrifice.

This life is wonderful. Most of the horrors in this life are caused by collectivism. Ayn Rand's philosophy is Individualistic Captitalism where those things would be rare at best.

She's also correct about proving a negative. Just because I say that there is a Flying Spaghetti Monster doesn't mean that I am right, and you have to prove me wrong or else you're "practicing the religion of atheism by claiming there is no Flying Spaghetti monster, which is a faith unto itself!" Ridiculous. It is for the person proposing the unlikely theory to produce proof, not for the skeptics who don't believe outlandish claims. You may be right that there a heaven with angels and an all powerful deity watching over all. Prove it, otherwise its just make-believe to me, and in no way is the burden of proof on me for not believing it. It isn't a "faith" based stance not to believe in outlandish claims.

I don't follow a man made

I don't follow a man made religion. I try to live by the loving teachings of Jesus Christ. This is what I do to prepare for what lays beyond. Those that use perversions of religious texts are not preparing for the beyond, they are utilizing a tool to get what pleases them in this life. Atheists often have a hard time understanding that God and religion are not mutually exclusive.

This world is not wonderful for all. According to my personal beliefs, those that find this life wonderful, or good enough, are not aiming high enough. Evil incarnate is in charge of this world. If the devil is satisfactory company, then that is the company a person will get. That doesn't mean I don't find beauty around me, it just means I don't forget who runs the show on Earth.

John 12:25
Anyone who loves their life will lose it, while anyone who hates their life in this world will keep it for eternal life.

Perhaps a love of this life is a matter of perspective. Like we don't know any better. Maybe you think your house is really nice, but if you visit Bill Gate's house, you will realize, shit my house sucks. You don't know what you don't know. If you knew for sure that there is a way more awesome place to go to, why would you stick around a crap ass existence? The idea is that the reward is for taking a gamble on being good at heart genuinely. Delaying gratification in this world, for reward in the next.

Maybe it is all wasted effort, and maybe there is a jackpot. We'll see on the other side, or maybe we will just rot in the ground and know no difference. C'mon big money, no whammies, no whammies...

But your religion "is" man

But your religion almost certainly "is" man made, you just can't see it. Still I have more respect for someone who follows the example of "Jesus" (man or myth) over an organized religion. So if you're going to be mistaken, that's a good way to do it.

My house is wonderful because it has everything I love in it. My wife and two daughters. Id be just as happy in a single-wide trailer. Bill Gates can keep his mansion and his bankster masters. I would find no joy in being "given" anything. I earn what I have or I don't deserve it. I have no desire to live as a parasite on earth or in the magic kingdom in the sky. You're wasting your life if you spend all your time waiting to be "given" something better by man or deity. If you can't learn to love and find happiness with what you have, you'll never be happy.

This delusion that you've got a giant country club in the sky with all your favorite celebs waiting for you when you die is killing your motivation to improve the world around you for yourself and your loved ones. Its one of the things I really hate about religion. Peasant control at its finest. "Don't worry if life sucks and your masters live in glass towers while you rot in a slum, because when you die, gods going to get all those evil rich people and give you a mansion! I promise!." This is what your masters "want" you to think. That's why they wrote it and taught you to believe a god did. This kind of horse shit is what's kept the 99% in their place for thousands of years. Get your head out of the clouds and start worrying about the life you "know" you have, instead of the one you dream you will have.

If people around the world lived by Ayn Rand's philosophy, they would demand value for value instead of holding their hand out to be "given" prosperity in exchange for tears. They wouldn't accept masters (terrestrial or divine) who decide when and if they eat, how they live, when and if they will have wealth. They would produce and earn for themselves and their loved ones what they deserve by their own power and reason. Those incapable would find help from those who value compassion and helping those in need.

Capitalism & individualism with the non-aggression principal is how the world enters its golden age. Governments and gods are what keep us in the dark ages and the collectivist slave-master cycle of death & entropy.

"But your religion almost

"But your religion almost certainly "is" man made, you just can't see it."

I was an atheist for 30 years and I would have said the same thing as well. What changed is that I couldn't stop pondering the question to the meaning of life. If this life is all there is, what a sad thing that would be.

Is it possible that religious organizations are corrupt because people can use them to get power over each other? You would probably agree I assume. Now, is it also possible that there is a God, and even he doesn't approve of those religious hucksters? Is it logical to point at corrupt religious organizations as proof God doesn't exist?

So why would God allow corruption and horrible acts to be done in his name, especially when he could stop it if he was all powerful? I also previously believed this was proof of no God.

Is it possible that this life is a proving ground? If God wants his children to love him, he could make it so, but without free will it is not real love. What if in order to appreciate goodness, you had to really understand evil first? Kinda like how a shower is more appreciated when you are really dirty.

Anyways, I aint recruiting you to my church or cult that doesn't exist. Just some food for thought. God bless.

If your god is all powerful

If your god is all powerful and all knowing, then he already knows who will pass his test and who will fail. That fact alone makes the myth of "free will" Christians love to cling to completely nonsensical. According to the bible, god sees all things, past, present & future. Your fate is predestined. He's placing things which he created with the full knowledge that they will fail a billion years before they even take the test into a painful arena, just to watch them fail. Then what? Watch them get tortured in hell for eternity. You had no free will. The outcome of your test was forseen, and god did nothing to save you from your ruin and eventual fall into the flaming pits of hell. So much for love.

Case in point: He makes Adam and Eve. He can see the future, he knows Adam and Eve inside and out, knows exactly what they'll do when he puts the @#$%ing apple in the garden... Yet... he puts the apple in the garden anyway.

Hello, earth to god. If you don't want your creations to botch your @#$%ing tests, how about you design them not to fail your tests, and don't bother testing them when you KNOW they are going to fail.

If I make a paper doll, ask it to be fireproof, then light it on fire, do I really have any place to be mad at my doll when in the idiot who set it up to a test I KNEW it would fail?

More importantly, what kind of psychopath do I have to be to torture my creations for all eternity for failing to pass tests that I KNEW THEY WERE GOING TO FAIL!?

In order to believe in a god, you have to invent hundreds of silly rationalizations to explain away all the things that don't make sense. The more you do this, the less your "version" of religeon will resemble anything else on the planet. What makes you think you were the one who got it right? You have to dig yourself deeper and deeper into nonsensical fantasy land rubbish to retain your faith until you become a zealot not really capable of non-compartmentalized reason. When you answer each one of these silly rationalizations with: "Because there is no god" they all make perfect sense.

I submit, if you were unhappy with the meaning of life, you were doing something wrong. God may act as a turniquite that keeps you alive, but it'll leave you a mental cripple. Inventing answers where you have none is a sign of mental weakness, not a virtue. You need to quit pretending to believe in nonsense and start striving for the truth. For example, we live in an electric universe. Youtube that, it'll blow your mind if you're anything like me.

I am just going to have to

I am just going to have to agree to disagree with you. You bring up some points that would be great to discuss in person, but do not translate well to comment threads.

I think your perspective is not broad enough, that you are seeing everything within the context of this existence, which makes it difficult to utilize the sense of imagination that Einstein found more important than "knowledge".

If there is no afterlife, and we are just waiting to be planted in the ground from the moment we are born, what's the point? Like the Johnny Cash song "hurt", everything goes away in the end. I might just be believing in a false hope that if I meet certain requirements, I go to a place better than this crappy world I live in. Anyone with enough empathy has to acknowledge this world sucks.

The flip side of that is accepting you are going to rot in the ground. Now maybe if everyone had that outlook, you could create heaven on earth. I seriously doubt that though, it defies everything I know of human nature. A Godless existence is a hopeless one.

If the choice is between putting my faith in man or in a God that may not exist, it is only logical to choose God. Man is hopelessly doomed. Don't take my word for it, take Einstein's. He believed in God btw. We can have both science and God.

“I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones.”

― Albert Einstein

"Unquestionably. No one can read the Gospels without feeling the actual presence of Jesus. His personality pulsates in every word. No myth is filled with such life. How different, for instance, is the impression which we receive from an account of legendary heroes of antiquity like Theseus. Theseus and other heroes of his type lack the authentic vitality of Jesus." -Einstein

"No man," Einstein replied, "can deny the fact that Jesus existed, nor that his sayings are beautiful. Even if some them have been said before, no one has expressed them so divinely as he." -Einstein

Wrong again Einstein. I am a

Wrong again Einstein. I am a man, and I deny that Jesus ever existed, not only that, I think most of the socialist nonsense (the beatitudes for example) he peddled was rubbish. The only thing I really like about the Jesus myth is that he threw the bankers out of the temple. Even Jesus knew banksters were the scum of the earth.

As for Einstein, he was wrong about the universe. But at least he had the integrity to admit he was unsatisfied with his: "Gravity" based universe where matter could bend space. The Electric Universe theory (youtube it) is prooving that nearly everything we "knew" about our universe was wrong.

Everything you wrote is what is wrong with the world. Millions of christians across the earth have to make the choice between putting their faith in "man" or "god" and choose to GIVE UP on earth and wait around to die so they can fly up to heaven and get a halo for their little heads.

Basically its the choice of: 1) man up, and "make" the world a better place by putting in a little @#$%ing effort, or 2) escape into fantasy-land delusions like a coward and "hope" that im going to be GIVEN paradise when I don't even have the fortitude to work for it here. Gee, I guess ill go with 89% of americans and opt for #2.

Another way to look at it is this: If YOU were god, what sort of people would you want in your kingdom? A bunch of sniviling yes-men who let the world around them fall into shit because they were depending on your charity to give them everything they ever wanted with 0 effort or work? Or would you prefer those who questioned everything and made their own way, earning what they had and never asking you for a handout?

There are those who accept what they are told and submit to arbitrary, cosmic monarchist authority in exchange for a "promise" of a better tomorrow, and there are those who demand answers via reason and MAKE a better tomorrow for themselves and their loved ones. Ayn Rand was right. They key to a better world is take personal resonsability and earn it. Not give up like a baby and go try to buy your way into heaven with your tears. Christianity is the prefect peasant control because it makes all those opressed masses living in the slums "accept" that they live under the jack-boot of their social masters and just accept their fate, rather than getting pissed off and demanding their freedom! The political elites have been laughing at christians since the day they invented it.

Ok, so if we are going to go

Ok, so if we are going to go down the path of no such thing as a selfless (altruistic) act. I will agree with you on that. If doing something nice for another person makes me feel good, then my motive of feeling good might be considered "selfish". It does however create a nice byproduct. So perhaps Ayn Rand is foolish to argue against altruism, if it doesn't even exist in the first place.

So maybe everyone is already serving their own interests in life. The difference being that some feel joy when they help another, and some feel joy when they are able to cause another pain.

If a person derives pleasure from harming another, would you encourage them to follow their own interests? Jeffery Dahlmer was following his own interests when he was collecting body parts, wasn't he? Why are his selfish interests to not be followed? Would you deny him his happiness?

#1: There is altruism in this

#1: There is altruism in this life. Its where people are forced to sacrifice through direct force or threat of force, or social pressure. Large tyranical states are famous for forcing "Altruism" from their people. Everyone sacrifices for someone else. Question is, who is that someone else? The state/church/party etc. Ayn Rand's philosophy is that you trade value for value. You give your best and expect the best in return for that which you value yourself at. You wouldn't donate your time to a shitty charity agency that did nothing for people. If you found out that you had been, you would demand better for your "charity" time. To do less would be to sacrifice.

#2: Ayn Rand is a follower of the non-aggression principal wherin all people have a right to life, liberty and property. Any act that deprives another of their rights is a crime. So no, Ayn Rand does not support criminals at all. Jeffery Dalmer, along with other who derive "joy" from inflicting harm on others are criminals. You have no right to commit crimes against others.

However that brings up another point: Ayn Rand's philosophy is that we are best off as individuals when persuing our own "LONG TERM self interests." Not to be confused with shooting crack and wasting your life. Those are short term whims, not long term self interests. Infact they work against your long term self interests, and while she does not believe people should be deprived of their rights for committing "victimless crimes," she is quite clear that this would be stupid behavior and not lead to successful lives.

To put it into my own words: You are free to be stupid in an individualistic "free" society, but don't expect me to bail your dumb ass out when you ruin your own life.

Pure altruism consists of

Pure altruism consists of sacrificing something for someone other than the self (e.g. sacrificing time, energy or possessions) with no expectation of any compensation or benefits, either direct, or indirect (e.g., receiving recognition for the act of giving).

When people are forced to give, it is NOT altruism. Altruism is a selfless act, and if someone is taking against your will, it is not a selfless act, hence NOT altruism. A new word should be found, as the application of the word altruism is incorrect here. Ayn Rand needs to buy a dictionary, she is a fool.

Also, there is no such thing as a selfless/altruistic act. Giving money to help others, in the name of a better society, is not an altruistic act. A person would be anticipating to indirectly benefit by living in a better society (self serving). Then there is also the benefit of feeling good about yourself by helping others, (self serving). I am not saying these are bad things, just self serving things.

Being self serving is what we all do in every decision we make, the only question is whether or not we derive joy from helping or harming. Some derive joy from harming.

But you miss the narative:

But you miss the narative: The state pushes for people to sacrifice for their fellow man. They try to make a moral "virtue" out of that concept. This was the entire theme of communism, and is the narrative from which Ayn Rand is speaking. She is telling you not to believe the state and give up your prosperity for the "future" because the "future" never comes. Altruism (as the state was defining it at the time) is not a "virtue" we should consider to be right. Rather it is the shackles they use to enslave us.

When I said Altruism can be forced on you by "social pressure" that's exactly what I mean. You give up the benifits of your labor for the prosperity of the state because its the "right thing to do." This is the lie that is the government's idea of Altruism.

But as you said, true "Altriusm" doesn't really even exist since we only do things because we place a value them, unless we are being forced (direct force or social preassure). They are either done by choice or by coersion. Any Rand is simply pointing out reality. Server yourself and we all benifit. You will work harder when you go after what "truly" motivates you.

Those who derive joy from helping themselves usually help others as a bonus (even directly if that's what motivates them). Those who derive joy from hurting others are called criminals and don't apply to the ideal of long term self interests. That's what jails & self defense are for.

Do yourself a favor and don't call Ayn Rand a fool. It doesn't reflect well on you. Whatever you may think of her, she is clearly not a fool.

Have you guys seen The Passion of Ayn Rand?

It's an interesting movie directed by Mel Gibson and done entirely in reconstructed Aramaic.

“The welfare of the people in particular has always been the alibi of tyrants.” — Albert Camus

The Passion of Ayn Rand is a

The Passion of Ayn Rand is a 1999 film directed by Christopher Menaul. It is based on the book of the same title by Barbara Branden (one of Rand's former associates and Nathaniel Branden's first wife). The screenplay is written by Howard Korder and Mary Gallagher.

That lady is half genius,

That lady is half genius, half crackpot.

She's a half genius if you

She's a half genius if you believe deities are real. She's a full genius if you don't.