Libertarian Icon Ayn Rand Defended Native American Genocide: “Liberals Invented Racism”
Ayn Rand is the patron saint of the libertarian Right. Her writings are quoted in a quasi-religious manner by American reactionaries, cited like Biblical codices that offer profound answers to all of life’s complex problems (namely, just “Free the Market”). Yet, despite her impeccable libertarian bona fides, Rand defended the colonization and genocide of what she called the “savage” Native Americans — one of the most authoritarian campaigns of death and suffering ever orchestrated.
“Any white person who brings the elements of civilization had the right to take over this continent,” Ayn Rand proclaimed, “and it is great that some people did, and discovered here what they couldn’t do anywhere else in the world and what the Indians, if there are any racist Indians today, do not believe to this day: respect for individual rights.”
Rand made these remarks before the graduating class of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point on March 6, 1974, in a little-known Q&A session. Rand’s comments in this obscure Q&A are appearing in full for the first time, here in Salon.
“Philosophy: Who Needs It” remains one of Ayn Rand’s most popular and influential speeches. The capitalist superstar delivered the talk as a commencement address at West Point 41 years ago. In the definitive collection of Rand’s thoughts on philosophy, Philosophy: Who Needs It, the lecture was chosen as the lead and eponymous essay. This was the last book Rand worked on before she died; that this piece, ergo, was selected as the title and premise of her final work attests to its significance as a cornerstone of her entire worldview.
The Q&A session that followed this talk, however, has gone largely unremembered — and most conveniently for the fervent Rand aficionado, at that. For it is in this largely unknown Q&A that Rand enthusiastically defended the extermination of the indigenous peoples of the Americas.
In the Q&A, a man asked Rand:
At the risk of stating an unpopular view, when you were speaking of America, I couldn’t help but think of the cultural genocide of Native Americans, the enslavement of Black men in this country, and the relocation of Japanese-Americans during World War II. How do you account for all of this in your view of America?
Rand replied insisting that “the issue of racism, or even the persecution of a particular race, is as important as the persecution of individuals.” “If you are concerned with minorities, the smallest minority on Earth is an individual,” she added, before proceeding to blame racism and the mass internment of Japanese-Americans on “liberals.” “Racism didn’t exist in this country until the liberals brought it up,” Rand maintained. And those who defend “racist” affirmative action, she insisted, “are the ones who are institutionalizing racism today.”
Although the libertarian luminary expressed firm opposition to slavery, she rationalized it by saying “black slaves were sold into slavery, in many cases, by other black tribes.” She then, ahistorically, insisted that slavery “is something which only the United States of America abolished.”
Massive applause followed Rand’s comments, which clearly strongly resonated with the graduating class of the U.S. military. Rand’s most extreme and opprobrious remarks, nevertheless, were saved for her subsequent discussion of Native Americans.
Just in case you did not already know what an evil psychopathic racist shitbag Ayn Rand was.
Of course the usual crowd of wingnut morons love their heroine even more & more.