Ayn Rand on Phil Donahue – You MUST Watch This

This is Ayn Rand at 75 years old in her first public appearance after the death of her husband. I suggest that everyone spend the time to watch each of the 5 videos below – it is worth it. I have cataloged notes from each of the videos for your reference. The quotes i’ve listed are close to accurate, but may not be totally accurate.

Segment 1:

– Ayn gets to it right out of the gate, unapologetic for honest achievement.

– Donahue: “You are something.” Rand: “I think So”

– Ayn says Donahue is faking it when he acts humble

– Most men are repressors who hide their feelings out of weakness

– Jimmy Carter’s smile is not genuine. “I don’t think he has any ideas and if so he has no feelings.”

– Rand likes Charlie’s Angels

– Art should be romantic

– Rand pro Aristotle, con Plato

Watch it here.

Segment 2:

– Ayn regards altruists as evil.

– People can want to help other people but that is not altruism. Altruism is sacrificing yourself for other people. What’s wrong with it Donahue asks? Rand responds – what’s wrong with committing suicide?

– What I mean by sacrifice is to give up some value that is important to you for a lesser value. To die for your neighbor is sacrifice. By extension – evil.

– Recent proposals to spend millions on the handicapped (buses, etc) is to bring everyone to the level of the handicapped.

– It is unfair to build special schools for mentally retarded people when we don’t build special schools for the gifted, upon whom all of our lives depend. They carry the weight of everyone else and deserve first priority. Tax payers should not pay for either though – and each should rely on their parents or private charity.

– The gifted will make their own way if we don’t stop them

– Less government. We need only the basics: Police, law courts, armed forces.

– If there is a “mal” distribution of wealth, it is to those who have political pull. “If you made it yourself in free competition then you should keep all of it. Why shouldn’t you? You made it.”

– On the subject of oil, rising oil prices, and the then oil crisis: ” We should not have permitted altruistically all of those nations to nationalize what we built for them.”

Watch it here.

Segment 3:

– On Arab countries and their oil: “They took our oil. We own by contract right the installations which we devised to begin with and we helped them to build.” “They have no right to their soil if they do nothing with it. They want to bring us in to develop their oil and then to exploit and murder us.” It was our fault though for not putting a better contract in place and enforcing it. Blames government.

– It is not their oil. “It was there for centuries and they didn’t know what to do with it.” “We don’t export our technology, we export our minds and our knowledge without which they couldn’t exist.”

– “They can’t even run the oil industry after they copied everything from us.”

– Donahue: “You’re an atheist.” Rand: “Yes.” Donahue: “Tisk tisk tisk.” Rand: “I could do the same to you, you know. Since your the host I won’t say it but in other circumstances I would say that I don’t approve of religion.” It is not based on reason and facts.

– Donahue: “You’ve got to admit, you’re not smart enough to know whether there is a G-d.” Rand: “Yes, I am.” “It doesn’t take much intelligence.”

– “Religion is a psychological weakness of a man who is afraid to stand on his own mind and his own responsibility. The absence of proof has gone on for centuries.” “I regard it as evil to place your emotions, your desire, above the evidence of what your mind knows.”

– Donahue: “Aren’t you filled with wonder when you look up at the stars.” Rand: “No. And I don’t like to look at them. I like this earth. You know when i’m filled with wonder – when I look up at sky scrapers. At what man was able to achieve of their own… without the help of faith or desire.”

– Rand admires people who have helped to bring us so far from primitive jungles.

– Loathing of Russia.

Watch it here.

Segment 4:

– “For the good of the whole and sacrifice to the state… and whoever says it is or wants to be the State.”

– “I don’t believe that society has any responsibiliy towards anyone.” “Society has nothing to do with the life of anybody except to get out of his way.”

– “I don’t like the word responsibility.”

– “Do what I rationally think is right according to the right morality. And help others if you can but not as a primary obligation.”

– “We can’t have unearned obligations.”

– Questioner asked Rand what she thought of the architecture in Chicago. Rand said she has not been there in a while but liked the frank lloyd wright buildings. And likes the early Sullivan buildings which she hopes are preserved.

– Rand confronts a (“recently matured”) questioner who says she is trying to build an elitist society. Rand asks her why she came “here” to my show. “You want responsibility – go and practice it, but your not going to force any responsibility on me.” RAND BASICALLY THREATENED THIS IDIOT WOMAN TO STEP OUTSIDE AND DROP FISTS.

– “I would love to see an honorable adversary, but i’ve stopped hoping for it.”

Watch it here.

Segment 5:

– “I’m for freedom of the mind.”

– Donahue: Could you ever plot to overthrow a person you thought was denying civil rights to other people? Rand: Certainly. You have moral right to retaliate with force. But i’m not for murder.

– Calls Iran a “miserable” country

– “It is dangerous to ascribe your achievement to somebody else.” Don’t share credit.

– “I lost my top value,” referring to her passed husband. If I really believed I could reunite with him i’d commit suicide immediately.

Watch it here.



  1. Angela
    Posted February 14, 2008 at 6:53 pm | Permalink


  2. Barry
    Posted February 16, 2008 at 10:52 am | Permalink

    It’s pretty cool to see/hear Ayn Rand talk about her ideas like this.

  3. masteroftheuniverse
    Posted February 17, 2008 at 4:16 pm | Permalink

    Great links, thanks.


  4. Genya
    Posted February 18, 2008 at 2:59 pm | Permalink

    i’m sory, veri god

  5. Nick
    Posted February 28, 2008 at 7:49 pm | Permalink

    She is 75 here? So much for the idea that a person’s mental capacities must diminish with age.

  6. Posted February 29, 2008 at 12:09 pm | Permalink

    Can I have the links via email? I don’t see the videos here. Best wishes.

  7. Keith maher
    Posted March 27, 2008 at 2:41 pm | Permalink

    Ah good old Rand, why does she whiff of contradictory fascist sentiment so much?

  8. Renee Katz
    Posted March 31, 2008 at 4:23 pm | Permalink

    Because you’re delusional, Keith.

  9. Posted April 6, 2008 at 9:12 am | Permalink

    I have seen references to these video clips many times, but just now – finally – watched them all. They are amazing. It has helped to restore my “faith” in Objectivism and appreciation for Rand.

    It was rather amusing to see Rand dispatch all manner of idiocy in such quick fashion – and usually with good cheer.

  10. marcus
    Posted April 17, 2008 at 3:18 pm | Permalink

    thanks for the post. i added it to my myspace with your link to bring them here 🙂

  11. Miguel Cruz
    Posted April 18, 2008 at 2:58 pm | Permalink

    A true genius at work. I miss her great mind.

  12. Posted April 19, 2008 at 7:37 pm | Permalink

    I have seen those videos earlier too, may be at youtube I guess.

    It was nice to watch those again.

  13. jim
    Posted June 22, 2008 at 10:09 pm | Permalink

    What a pathetic soul. She has lost her focus on reality and has perverted logic. What a waste of time, posting.

  14. Posted July 7, 2008 at 2:12 am | Permalink

    Human Relations are horizontal: – , – , -, …
    It’s a minus, a taking away. It’s unbalanced!
    Ayn needs a Vertical Relationship: |, |, |, …
    To make her balanced: +, +, +, …
    From negative (evil) to positive (GOoD!)…
    Seek ye first the Kingdom of God, and all of these things shall be added unto you!!!
    I’m praying for the renewing of her mind…

    By the Grace, Mercy, and Power of The Lord and my Savior Jesus Christ, Dan.

  15. Posted July 18, 2008 at 8:27 am | Permalink

    first reaction is to think, ‘what a mean-spirited bitch’

    on closer examination you realise she’s a mean-spirited bitch

    this kind of thinking is popular with fearful angry people.

    what has society ever done for me?
    let’s start with the language that allowed one to formulate that question. we owe each other more than we can ever ‘rationally’ work out.

  16. John
    Posted July 21, 2008 at 7:42 am | Permalink

    Keith, you don’t even know the meaning or concept of fascism. She is pro-capitalist (ie a free market). Nazi Germany was a fascist country!!! Fascism falls into the realm of socialism, communism, statism. Capitalism is the best way to run the government and country. That was how our country was built (in the 19th century). Now it is a mixed economy with socialist tendencies (unfortunately much more).

  17. John
    Posted July 21, 2008 at 7:52 am | Permalink


    What do we owe to society? So you are saying that we are all born to serve society? And that we have an obligation to society? Who says? Who is society? C’mon Chris, think??? Mother Theresa even had her doubts!!! Also, why is it that everyone that is a “non-you” is more deserving of your time, energy? Can you answer that Chris? We all have our self interest at hand, otherwise you would starve and be living in a cave. When Ayn Rand says self interest, she means people, things, activities that are a value to you. Taking care of my mother whom I love is a selfish act. Taking care of my neighbor (whom I don’t know), is not unless a freind. Again helping is not the issue here. It is about whether or not we should be obligated to help people who are non-values to us. I am not obligated to my neighbor, but if I choose to help and it does not involve sacrifice, it is perfectly alright.

  18. Randolph
    Posted August 2, 2008 at 4:21 pm | Permalink

    Rand and Randists do not completely understand what they are talking about. I would recommend they read John Rawls’ theory on social justice but I’m afraid they might just misinterpret it. Rand once did and boy did she get him wrong.

  19. Melissa LaFoy
    Posted August 10, 2008 at 3:08 pm | Permalink

    Wonderful! Thank you so much for this. For the first time I don’t like Donahue. Shut up and let her talk!

  20. Sid Cowan
    Posted August 29, 2008 at 6:26 am | Permalink

    I can’t imagine why she would agree to meet with a mental midget like Donahue. She exercised great restraint by not blowing him out of the water.

  21. Tory
    Posted August 29, 2008 at 1:33 pm | Permalink

    I’m praying for the renewing of her mind…

    That’s a sweet sentiment, Dan, but she’s dead. ^_^

  22. moldtex
    Posted September 20, 2008 at 9:28 am | Permalink

    Actually, Ayn Rand is evil incarnate. It’s amazing to actually see this seethingly angry and sociopathic pot calling the kettle black.

    Posted November 17, 2008 at 5:05 pm | Permalink

    “Ayn regards altruists as evil.

    – People can want to help other people but that is not altruism. Altruism is sacrificing yourself for other people. What’s wrong with it Donahue asks? Rand responds – what’s wrong with committing suicide?

    – What I mean by sacrifice is to give up some value that is important to you for a lesser value. To die for your neighbor is sacrifice. By extension – evil.”

    This is really an absurd notion. Many Christians have sacrificed themselves for others in following the example of Jesus, i.e. Mother Teresa. Jesus was the most rational being ever and His teachings, when followed sincerely, changed world societies for the good throughout history, as opposed to evil societies spawned by atheists. The former appears much more “rational” to my observation.

  24. reasonmrsmith
    Posted November 27, 2008 at 3:19 pm | Permalink

    check your premises

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