Ayn Rand described herself, not as a conservative, but as a radical for capitalism—and this 1960 lecture helps explain why. Conservatives, Rand argues, have proven themselves unable to defend the distinctive American ideology, which is capitalism, or to uphold freedom for the individual against the state. Conservatism’s “unbroken record of defeats, concessions, compromises, and betrayals in practice,” Rand argues, has left conservatism “futile, impotent and, culturally, dead.” Hence she urges her listeners: “Do not join any so-called ‘conservative’ group, organization, or person that advocates any variant of [conservative arguments.]” If capitalism and freedom are to be successfully defended, she contends, “dedicated moralists” must come forward to uphold the individual’s moral right to exist for his own sake.
This is an audio recording of a lecture that Ayn Rand originally delivered at Princeton University. This lecture is 53 minutes long, followed by a 30-minute Q & A period.
(MP3 download; 84 min., with Q & A, 59.89 MB)
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