Picture of The Enemies of "Extremism" (MP3 download)

The Enemies of "Extremism" (MP3 download)

By Ayn Rand


For several years in the 1960s, Columbia University’s radio station WKCR hosted a program called “Ayn Rand on Campus,” featuring Rand and her associates lecturing and answering questions on a wide array of subjects.

In this 1964 recorded interview from the WKCR series, Rand responds to questions about the use of the term “extremism” in political discourse. Rand rejects “extremism” as an undefined term used to smear one’s opponent without evidence, analyzing several instances of the term’s use in presidential politics.

Here are Rand’s views on:

  • How the terms “extremist” and “moderate” are improperly used to imply negative and positive moral connotations;
  • Why the smear “extremism” is really an attack on consistency of principles;
  • The absurdity of morally equating the Communist Party, the Klu Klux Klan, and the John Birch Society;
  • How Barry Goldwater (1964 presidential candidate) could have defended himself against smears levied against him;
  • The importance of evaluating individuals and movements based on their ideas rather than on personalities.

(MP3 download; 27 min., 19.52 MB)

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