Monday, July 13, 2015

The 1964 Playboy Interview with Ayn Rand

In March 1964 Playboy Magazine published an interview of Alvin Toffler with Ayn Rand. The interview serves as one of the best comprehensive statements of Rand's views and the philosophy of Objectivism. Playboy has now republished the article. 

Ayn Rand in 1964, "an intense, angry young woman of 58". 

Forty years ago this month, in its March 1964 issue, Playboy magazine interviewed Ayn Rand . This interview would prove to be a significant event for Rand and for Objectivism. Playboy was one of the earliest mass-circulation public forums to offer Rand an opportunity to explain her philosophy and address at length a broad range of topics. She discussed everything from metaphysics, epistemology, and ethics to sex, religion, politics, and art. The interviewer was Alvin Toffler, later to become famous as author of Future Shock. 

At a time when Rand's books and ideas were often maligned and misrepresented by the media, Toffler and the editors of Playboy treated her seriously and respectfully. The introduction characterizes her as "among the most outspoken—and important—intellectual voices in America today." And at a time when Rand had as yet published little non-fiction, the interview served as one of the best comprehensive statements of her views. In a twist that some might have found appropriate and others incongruous, the cover of the issue touted a pictorial essay: "Girls of Russia and the Iron Curtain Countries."

Source (includes the "lost passages")


By Alvin Toffler

This interview originally ran in our March 1964 issue.

Ayn Rand, an intense, angry young woman of 58, is among the most outspoken – and important – intellectual voices in America today. She is the author of what is perhaps the most fiercely damned and admired best seller of the decade: Atlas Shrugged, which has sold 1,200,000 copies since its publication six years ago, and has become one of the most talked-about novels in the country. Ayn Rand discussion clubs dot college campuses. Professors debate her ideas in their classrooms. More than 2,500 people in 30 cities from New York to Los Angeles attend courses given by the Nathaniel Branden Institute, in which they listen to live speakers and taped lectures expounding the principles set forth in the book. Thousands more subscribe to The Objectivist Newsletter, a monthly publication in which Miss Rand and her associates comment on everything from economics to aesthetics. And sales of her previous best seller, The Fountainhead, have climbed to almost the 2,000,000 mark.