In this episode of New Ideal Live, Ben Bayer and Nikos Sotirakopoulos analyze the moral justification and the criticisms of dropping the atomic bombs on Japan in light of the movie Oppenheimer. The episode features audio clips of Ayn Rand discussing the right of military self-defense and the issue of “innocents in war.”
Among the topics covered:
- The claim that Japan would have surrendered before the US dropped the bomb;
- Why the Japanese military kept fighting despite knowing the war was lost;
- Why the bomb was dropped when Japan was already defeated militarily;
- The crucial distinction between military defeat and unconditional surrender;
- The bogus claim that the bomb was dropped to deter the Soviet Union;
- The defense of your own citizens’ lives and rights as the moral purpose of war;
- How Rand thought about “innocents in war” and their moral responsibilities;
- A previously-unreleased clip of Rand speaking about the controversial issue of targeting civilians in war;
- Lessons to draw from this podcast.
Mentioned in this podcast and relevant to the discussion are Rand’s 1966 article “The Roots of War,” Rand’s 1972 and 1976 Ford Hall Forum lectures “A Nation’s Unity,” and “The Moral Factor,” Onkar Ghate’s article “Innocents in War?,” John David Lewis’ book Nothing Less than Victory, and Brandon Lisi’s New Ideal article “Rand and Oppenheimer: The Atomic Bomb Movie that Wasn’t.”
The podcast was recorded on August 24, 2023. Listen to the discussion below. Listen and subscribe from your mobile device on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify or Stitcher. Watch archived podcasts here.