When presidential candidate Mitt Romney announced Paul Ryan as his running mate for the 2012 Republican ticket, the world was reintroduced to the philosophy of novelist Ayn Rand. Ryan, a congressman from Wisconsin, has cited Rand as one of his philosophical touchstones, especially regarding her take-no-prisoners defense of capitalism. The Russian-American writer and philosopher authored such works as Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead.
In 1961 Rand appeared on University of Michigan Television as the guest of Professor James McConnell of the Department of Psychology. View this original kinescope from the archives of the Bentley Historical Library, and hear Rand explain her theories in real time in her own words: “My philosophy, in essence, is the concept of man as a heroic being with his own happiness as the moral purpose of his life with productive achievement as his noblest activity, and reason as his only absolute.”
The clip runs 30 minutes. It’s an interesting time capsule, whether one deems Rand relevant or not. As an interviewer, McConnell does his best to demystify one of the most polarizing figures in literary and political history.