By Shoshana Milgram
As a public speaker, Ayn Rand demonstrated the application of philosophy to human life - whatever the topic, time period or audience. From her first lecture (New York, 1936) to her last (New Orleans, 1981), her procedure was consistent: she offered new, true and important insights about her chosen subject - in the light of principles unlimited by any particular subject. Even before she chose her career, even before she dedicated herself to fiction writing, she had imagined herself, as a grown-up, fighting against wrong ideas, speaking up and speaking out. From early youth she understood that the world of ideas was her business, and she resolved to reach a worldwide audience.
Her public speaking was well integrated with the overall goal of her writing: it is not an accident that, in her first major public address, she quoted Kira's speech from her first novel - and, in her last public address, she quoted Galt's speech from her last novel.
This talk examines her public speaking - the reasons for her choice of topics and venues - including her lectures on Soviet Russia, her campaign speeches for Wendell Willkie, her talks about The Fountainhead, her lectures at colleges and universities - and her numerous appearances at the Ford Hall Forum in Boston. Also described are two undelivered speeches: "The Speech America Is Waiting to Hear" (1944) and the speech she wrote for Goldwater (or Eisenhower) to deliver as the last speech in the 1964 presidential campaign.
This talk was recorded at the 2006 Objectivist Summer Conference in Boston, MA.
(MP3 download; 88 min., with Q & A, 63.09 MB)