In this 1981 lecture, Ayn Rand laments the growing political influence of the religious right, focusing especially on the incoming Reagan administration’s support for and sponsorship of such movements as the campaign against abortion rights, the advocacy of “creationism” in schools, the veneration of “family,” and the Moral Majority. Observing that American culture “has been growing progressively grayer, duller and more desolately empty,” Rand argues that the nation had entered an “Age of Mediocrity.”
In this 1978 lecture delivered at Boston’s Ford Hall Forum, Ayn Rand reviews the themes she had explored in her many presentations at the Forum since her first appearance in 1961. Introduced as the “most popular speaker the Forum has ever had,” Rand offers updates on the issues raised in those lectures, asking the question: “Have things changed since then, and, if so, in what direction?”
In this 1977 lecture delivered at Boston’s Ford Hall Forum, Ayn Rand examines the meaning of “ethnicity” and the consequences of “modern tribalism” in politics. Drawing her title from the Balkan Peninsula, where ethnic groups have splintered and warred against each other for centuries, Rand argues that the global trend toward political organization based on race, language, and religion bodes ill for the future of Western civilization.
In honor of the 200th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence, Ayn Rand contrasts the Founding Fathers’ principled concern for individual rights with the unprincipled views of voters and candidates in the 1976 presidential election. Rand also dissects the evils of the welfare state, focusing on Sweden as its exemplar, and calls for Americans to observe the Bicentennial by discovering and upholding the nation’s founding ideals.
In this 1974 lecture, Ayn Rand undertakes a multilayered analysis of inflation, explaining what inflation is and how it devastates savings and production. At a deeper level, Rand exposes thinking errors that have allowed inflation to destroy economies throughout history. Finally, she places inflation in a larger cultural context, as the inevitable price paid for coercive egalitarian measures that curtail economic production.
An edited version of this talk is available in Philosophy: Who Needs It, a book of essays by Rand. This lecture is 53 minutes long, followed by a 28-minute Q&A period.
In this 1973 talk, Ayn Rand illustrates the role of philosophy in politics and law by analyzing the ideas that led to the Supreme Court’s decisions that year in five “obscenity” cases. Arguing that those decisions “establish[ed] the legal and intellectual base of censorship” in America, Rand warns that the philosophic ideas underlying the decisions are leading to increased government control over every aspect of people’s lives.
An edited version of this talk is available in Philosophy: Who Needs It, a book of essays by Rand. This recording is 87 minutes long, including Q&A.
“National unity” is a bromide often trumpeted by politicians. In this lecture, Ayn Rand inquires into the preconditions of national unity: Can men peacefully coexist under any arbitrary terms — or are certain principles of human association necessary? Rand’s answer is that a nation can remain peacefully unified only if each individual’s life is his own, and the individual’s right to pursue his own happiness is protected against infringement.
An edited version of this talk is available in The Ayn Rand Letter, a biweekly newsletter published by Rand between 1971 and 1976. This lecture is 58 minutes long.
The environmental movement is often seen as a campaign to clean up man’s environment so that we can lead healthy and happy lives. But in early 1971, less than a year after the movement kicked off its first Earth Day celebration, Ayn Rand argued that this was a façade to cover the actual ideology animating the movement.
In her analysis, the leaders of the environmental movement are motivated not by a genuine concern for human life, but by hatred — hatred for technology, for man and for man’s basic tool of survival, his mind. Obviously these are strong claims, but in her lengthy essay “The Anti-Industrial Revolution,” Rand explains her viewpoint with compelling evidence and locates the movement within a long line of attacks on capitalism and freedom. (This essay can be found in Return of the Primitive.)
ARI maintains that it is vital to oppose the antihuman ideology of environmentalism and to uphold the indispensible values of reason, science, technology, industrialization and laissez-faire capitalism — cornerstones of the environment in which individual human beings flourish.
Rand’s essay “The Anti-Industrial Revolution” originated as a lecture given at the Ford Hall Forum in 1970. Below is the recording of that lecture.
In this 1971 lecture delivered at Boston’s Ford Hall Forum, Ayn Rand examines President Nixon’s imposition of a nationwide wage and price freeze aimed at curbing rapid inflation. Drawing her title from a chapter in Atlas Shrugged, Rand outlines the perils of policies that stifle innovation and the contradiction of trying to revive a nation’s economy by strait-jacketing the only people who can revive it.
An edited version of this talk is available in The Ayn Rand Letter, a biweekly newsletter published by Rand between 1971 and 1976. This lecture is 52 minutes long.
“On July 16, 1969, one million people, from all over the country, converged on Cape Kennedy, Florida, to witness the launching of Apollo 11 that carried astronauts to the moon. On August 15, 300,000 people, from all over the country, converged on Bethel, New York, near the town of Woodstock, to witness a rock music festival. These two events were news, not philosophical theory. . . . But if one cares to understand the meaning of these two events — to grasp their roots and their consequences — one will understand the power of philosophy.”
Thus begins Ayn Rand’s 1969 Ford Hall Forum lecture analyzing the cultural significance of the Apollo 11 moon mission and the Woodstock rock festival — two newsworthy events from that summer.
Using the Greek gods Apollo and Dionysus as symbols of two complex philosophical issues — reason and irrational emotion — Rand argues that Apollo 11 and Woodstock are “perfect, fiction-like dramatizations of these abstract symbols.” Analyzing the mindsets of participants, commentators and spectators based on news stories, interviews, commentary and eye-witness accounts of the two events (Rand was present at the Apollo 11 launch as an invited guest of NASA), she explains the events’ meaning by reference to the deep philosophic principles at work, along with their consequences.