Letter 102, pg. 1
To Reverend Dudley
Reverend Dudley’s (first name unknown) letter to AR is not in the Ayn Rand Archives (nor is any response or book review). This letter was published only in the Winter 2017-18 issue of The Objective Standard.
139 East 35th Street
New York City
October 23, 1943
Dear Reverend Dudley:
Thank you for your very interesting letter. Unfortunately, you mailed it to the printers, not the publishers, of my book, so I did not receive it until today. I hope this will reach you in time for your lecture.
You asked for information on my background. I am a Russian woman by birth, but an American citizen now. I came to this country in 1926. My first novel was “We the Living” published by Macmillan in 1936. I worked on “The Fountainhead” for seven years. I wrote it as my tribute to America and to the American spirit.
Now as to your most interesting philosophical questions. You wonder “what are we going to do with the two billion people that populate the earth in the light of my thesis.” The only thing to do with them is to do nothing. The only thing good we can do to mankind is to leave it alone, which means to leave it free. Men do have the capacity to work out their own destiny, and nobody else can work it out for them, and the only obstacle that stops them and destroys them is the interference of other men. All tyrannies have originated, not for an evil, but for an altruistic purpose—the desire “to do something” with mankind. When men recognize that doing things for and with others is improper and immoral and can lead only to the most vicious consequences—most of mankind’s problems will be solved.
America, as it used to be, in the form and principles established by her Constitution, has shown the proper manner of living for all mankind. Individual freedom and unalienable individual rights, independence of individual action and choice, no “planning” or “directives” of any “social aims” whatever—that is the whole formula for human decency and happiness. American has shown that it worked and how magnificently it worked. The rest of the world has America’s example. They can follow it, if they wish. If they do not wish, there’s nothing we can do for them. One cannot force men—or nations—to live as human beings if they prefer to be swine in a collectivist pig pen.