In this 1977 lecture delivered at Boston’s Ford Hall Forum, Ayn Rand begins by asking: “Have you ever wondered about the process of the collapse of a civilization?” Speaking about what she sees as “the beginning of the end” of Western civilization, Rand explains the dangers of the global cultural trend of grouping people together not by their achievements but by their race, language or religion.
Drawing her title from the Balkan Peninsula, where a handful of different ethnic groups splintered and engaged in “endless bloody warfare” over many centuries, Rand examines the evils of racism as embodied in ethnic politics, in which one’s status is immediately given by birth rather than achieved by choice and action.
Pointing to examples from Canada to Europe as well as observations by the news media, Rand contrasts the disintegration of modern tribalism with the unity of societies that respect individual rights regardless of race or ancestry.
This lecture was delivered at Boston’s Ford Hall Forum, America’s oldest (founded in 1908) continuously operating free public lecture series. Over the years, such luminaries as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Eleanor Roosevelt, and Henry Kissinger have appeared on its podium.