Saturday, September 24, 2011

Ayn Rand's Playboy Interview: Politics in Life

By Diana Hsieh

As part of Modern Paleo's Saturday blogging on Objectivism, here's another tidbit from Ayn Rand's 1964 Playboy interview. Here, she discusses the nature of her concern for politics.

PLAYBOY: But you are interested in politics, or at least in political theory, aren't you?

RAND: Let me answer you this way: When I came here from Soviet Russia, I was interested in politics for only one reason -- to reach the day when I would not have to be interested in politics. I wanted to secure a society in which I would be free to pursue my own concerns and goals, knowing that the government would not interfere to wreck them, knowing that my life, my work, my future were not at the mercy of the state or of a dictator's whim. This is still my attitude today. Only today I know that such a society is an ideal not yet achieved, that I cannot expect others to achieve it for me, and that I, like every other responsible citizen, must do everything possible to achieve it. In other words, I am interested in politics only in order to secure and protect freedom.
Too many readers of Ayn Rand's novels focus on nothing but the politics. That's wrong -- and obviously so, simply based on the wide-ranging concerns of those novels. Even Atlas Shrugged is not primarily about politics: it's theme is the role of the mind in human life, and politics is only one aspect of that.

In Ayn Rand's philosophy and her own life, politics was only a means to an end. If you think otherwise, then you've not really understood her!

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