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Ayn Rand on Watergate

In this episode of New Ideal Live, Ben Bayer and Harry Binswanger discuss Ayn Rand’s little-known analysis of the Watergate scandal, fifty years after the Congressional hearings. They draw attention to how Rand’s evaluation differed from the conventional commentary of the day, and her analysis of how pragmatism and the mixed economy function as the deepest causes behind political scandals like Watergate.

Among the topics covered:

  • Why Ayn Rand didn’t want to write about the scandal at first and why she later decided to do so;
  • Rand’s evaluation of Nixon in the decades before the scandal;
  • Rand’s evaluation of the crude pragmatism of Nixon and his aides;
  • Pragmatism as an anti-conceptual philosophy that still pervades our culture;
  • Why the conservatives’ obsession with scandals leads them to passively accept the moral premises of the left;
  • How bad ideas, not money, corrupt politicians;
  • Why Watergate-like chaos takes hold in a mixed economy;
  • The fact that no real issues are discussed in America anymore;
  • Parallels between Nixon and Donald Trump.

Recommended in this podcast are Rand’s five articles covering Watergate compiled in The Ayn Rand Letter.

The podcast was recorded on August 10, 2023. Listen to the discussion below. Listen and subscribe from your mobile device on Apple PodcastsGoogle Podcasts, Spotify or Stitcher. Watch archived podcasts here.

Podcast audio:


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Ricardo Pinto

Ricardo Pinto, BA in philosophy, is a junior fellow at the Ayn Rand Institute.

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