Letter 108, pg. 1

To DeWitt Wallace

DeWitt Wallace (1889–1981) was co-founder of Reader’s Digest in 1922. A staunch anti-Communist, he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by Richard Nixon in 1972. The letter was published only on the Ayn Rand Institute website.
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Knickerbocker Hotel
Hollywood, California

December 8, 1943

Mr. DeWitt Wallace
Reader's Digest
Pleasantville, N.Y.

Dear Mr. Wallace:

Thank you for accepting my article “The Individualist Credo,” now entitled “The Only Path to Tomorrow.” I am very glad and proud to have become a contributor to the Reader’s Digest.   

I do not know whether it is considered correct in the circumstances to argue about the text of your condensation or whether one ever argues with the editor of the Reader’s Digest—but I assume that you do not want writers on such crucial subjects as politics and philosophy to sign their names to statements which are not their exact belief, so I feel sure you will not mind the few corrections I have made in the proofs.   

With the exception of these few points, let me say that your condensation is excellent and I appreciate it very much.   

In order not to appear arbitrary, I shall list here my reasons and explanations for each correction I made.    

Page 1. The examples of totalitarian dictators I used were Napoleon, Hitler and Stalin. Stalin has been eliminated in the proof. If you find it inadvisable to include Stalin at this time, then we must eliminate the whole list of examples and leave only the general statement. I do not object to that. But I object most emphatically to any mention of specific dictators which does not include Stalin. By omission and implication it amounts to saying that Stalin is not a totalitarian dictator. I would not allow this to be said in my name under any circumstances whatsoever.   

In the following paragraph my definition of what constitutes the collectivist doctrine has been given an entirely different meaning. I have corrected it to read as I intended it. If you find this too strong, then cut the line out entirely and make the paragraph read: “No tyrant has ever lasted long by force of arms alone. No dictator could rise if men . . . etc.” If you find it possible, please add the last sentence of this paragraph as I have marked it. I think it cinches the