On August 16, 1967, Ayn Rand made her first appearance on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. The surviving segment is worth watching for three reasons:
- There are some good sound bites introducing Objectivism for those who don't have the time or inclination to plow through a couple of thousand pages of The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged. Although an Ayn Rand soundbite lasts about 5 minutes.
- Ayn Rand would be fairly horrified by her fan club these days. And I suspect that many of them would be fairly horrified by her if they paid closer attention.
- Could you imagine something like this taking place on a talk show today? Or anywhere on television? Carson self-deprecatingly refers to his program as a "crazy entertainment show," although one in which "we do like to sit down occasionally and get some views of people that are important in the world today." What follows is a high-minded and civil discussion in which Carson is neither a proponent nor an opponent, but rather an interested and skeptical thinker who is trying to draw out Rand's arguments as well as he can.