The Student “Rebellion” at Columbia University
In this radio program, Ayn Rand analyzes the 1968 student “rebellion” at Columbia University. Throughout her talk, Rand gives voice to a contrasting group of Columbia students that she believes should be heard — the Committee for Defense of Property Rights — by approvingly reading a series of statements they issued. These statements describe in detail the thuggish acts of the student “rebels,” argue that those acts are indistinguishable from the tactics of fascist groups in the 1930s, and critique the response of the university administration as appeasing and ineffectual.
Rand then adds her own observations and analyses, placing the Columbia protests in the context of other student “rebellions” of the 1960s. Assessing the philosophical principles of the students’ sympathizers, Rand argues that the political system actually advocated by the so-called New Left is fascism.
The program lasts 30 minutes.
About the Author
Ayn Rand created and defined her philosophy, Objectivism, in the pages of her best-selling novels, particularly The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged, and in a series of nonfiction books that address a wide range of fundamental issues in philosophy.
Born Alisa Rosenbaum in Tsarist St. Petersburg in 1905, Rand witnessed the Russian Revolution as a teenager and promptly condemned communism as immoral for sacrificing the individual to the collective. In 1926, shortly after graduating from the University of Leningrad, she fled to America, adopting the pen name Ayn Rand to shield her family from possible persecution once her anti-communism became well known.
In Hollywood, she wrote scenarios for famous director Cecil B. DeMille and met her future husband on a movie set, but the couple struggled financially for years. Then came a string of writing successes: a Broadway play, followed by her first novel, We the Living (1936), then a novella called Anthem (1938), and later her first best seller, the story of a fiercely independent architect named Howard Roark in The Fountainhead (1943). All these works of fiction feature gripping stories and exalted, egoistic, this-worldly heroes.
In writing Atlas Shrugged (1957) — the story of a man who said he would stop the motor of the world, and did — Rand had to define fully her new philosophy of reason, rational self-interest, and laissez-faire capitalism.
Thereafter, and until her death in 1982, Rand amplified and explicated her “philosophy for living on earth” in a stream of books whose theoretical essays and cultural commentaries cover important topics across the five major branches of philosophy: metaphysics, epistemology, ethics, politics and esthetics.