TRANSCRIPT: Ayn Rand. The Mike Wallace Interview 1959. Part 2

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May 18, 2011 03:02 comprehension check transcript
Today I finally managed to finish writing this interview down. Please, look through it, I'm not sure whether I've written all the phrases correctly.

As for the interview itself, I want to tell a little bit about the reason why I've chosen it for my listening comprehension check.

Well, not so long ago I was reading a book about Russia and Russian people in the 20th century. There was said that a lot of people left Russia for good after the Socialist Revolution in 1917 and there was a story about a Jewish woman from St. Petersburg who became a famous American writer. I got interested in the story and went on to find out that she was a philosopher. That’s why, to find out more about her philosophy, I watched her interview and, to kill two birds with one stone, wrote it down to check my English comprehension level :)

The written part is from 4:01 and up to the end.
Thank you very much!


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- Because you bring, you put this philosophy to work in you novelAtlas Shrugged” (That’s right), you demonstrate it in human terms in your novelAtlas Shrugged”. And let me start by quoting from a review of this novelAtlas Shrugged” that appeared in “Newsweek”. It said that you are out to destroy almost every atavism in the contemporary American way of life: a Judeo-Christian religion, a modified government-regulated capitalism, a rule by the majority will. Other reviews have said that you scorn churches in the concept of god. Are these accurate criticisms?
- Yes, I agree with the fact, but not the estimate of this criticism. Namely if I am challenging the base of all these institutions, I am challenging the moral cult of altruism, the precept that man’s moral duty is to live for others, that man must sacrifice himself to others which is the present day morality. Since I…
- What do you mean bysacrifice himself for others’? Now we’re getting to the point.
- One moment. Since I’m challenging the base, I necessarily would challenge the institutions you named, which are the result of that morality.
- All right.
- And now what is self-sacrifice?
- Yes, what is self-sacrifice? You say that you do not like the altruism by which we live. You like a certain kind of Ayn Rand-ist selfishness.
- I would say that I don’t like is to weak a word. I can see that evil and self-sacrifice is the precept that man needs to serve others in order to justify his existence, that his moral duty is to serve others. That is what most people believe today.
- Well, yes, you’ve talked as if you are concerned for our fellow-man to feel responsible for his welfare, to feel that we are as religious people might put itchildren under god’ and responsible one for the other. Now why do you rebel, what’s wrong with this philosophy?
- But that is what in fact makes man a sacrificial animal, that man must work for others, concern himself with others or be responsible for them. That is the role of a sacrificial object. I say that man is entitled to his own happiness and that he must achieve it himself. But that he cannot demand that others give up their lives to make him happy and nor should he wish to sacrifice himself for the happiness of others. I hold that man should have self-esteem.
- And cannot man have self-esteem if he loves his fellowman? What’s wrong with loving your fellowman? Christ, every important moral leader in human’s history has taught us that we should love one another. Why then is this kind of loving your mind immoral?
- It is immoral if it is a love placed above oneself. It is more than immoral, it’s impossible. Because when you are asked to love everybody indiscriminately, that is to love people without any standard, to love them regardless of the fact of whether they have any value or virtue. You are asked to love nobody.
- But in this sense in your book, you talk about love as if it was a business deal of some kind. Isn’t the essence of love that it is above? Above self-interest?
- Well, let me make it concrete for you. What would it mean to have love above self-interest? It would mean, for instance, that a husband would tell his wife if he were moral according to the conventional morality, that I am marrying you just for your own sake, I have no personal interest in it, but I am so unselfish that I am marrying you only for your own good. Would any woman like that?
- Well, should husbands and wives who are entirely up at the end of the day and say: wait a minute, I love her if she is done for me today or she loves me if I have properly performed my functions.
- Oh no, you misunderstood me. That is not how love should be treated. I agree with you that it should be treated like a business deal, but every business has to have its own terms and its own kind of currency. And in love the currency is virtue. You love people not for what you do for them or what they do for you. You love them for the values, the virtues which they have achieved in their own character. You don’t love causiously, you don’t love everybody indiscriminately. You love only those who deserve it.
- And then if a man is weak or a woman is weak, then she is beyond, he is beyond love?
- He certainly does not deserve it. He certainly is beyond. He can always correct it. Man has free will. If a man wants love, he should correct his weaknesses or his flaws, and he may deserve it. But he cannot expect the unurdent neither in love, nor in money. Neither in matter, nor spirit.
- You have lived in our world and you realize, recognize the fallibility of human beings. There are very few of us then in this world, by your standards, who are worthy of love.
- Unfortunately, yes, very few. But it is open to everybody to make themselves worthy of it and that is all that my morality offers them. A way to make themselves worthy of love, also, that’s not the primary motif.
- Let’s move ahead. How…