Letter 096, pg. 2


deal with each other. Where the hell’s the “interdependence”? Now, of course, in a communist society, I would be given a bread ration and I’d gobble it up, because I’d have nothing else—and the farmer would have my novel rammed down his throat (if [radio commentator] Elmer Davis liked it). Then, of course, if the Cambodians need milk—we’ve all gotta rush out and sacrifice and get milked, because we need the totem poles which the Cambodians produce—our economy couldn’t possibly survive without totem poles—we’re all “interdependent.” That, my dear conservative president of the National Small Business Men’s Association, is what the word was pushed into use for. 

You write: “Of course, there was a time in the evolution of mankind when each individual was absolutely dependent upon himself for everything, but that time was prior to the advent of the use of capital.” When was there such a time? No exact knowledge is available on pre-historical man. But every theory ever presented on the subject—on the basis of archaeological evidence—shows that man began with a collectivist society. Every recorded description of savages describes collectivism. Every contemporary savage society leads a tribal, communal, collectivist existence. The whole progress of mankind has been away from the collective toward individualism. Toward the independent man. This had been generally recognized and accepted. But about a year ago, for the first time to my knowledge, the newspaper PM came out with an article claiming that savages lived in a state of individualism and that we, the conservatives, were reactionaries who wanted to go back to the cave-man; while they, the collectivists, represented progress. Surely we haven’t fallen for that one, too? If we accept the premise of an individualistic savage (who never existed) then of course communism is progress. And there’s no way for us to argue ourselves out of that one. Then let’s close shop and go to Soviet Russia.

What is the “fish illustration” of Dr. Haake? I don’t know it—but it sounds fishy.

Well, I’ll close on this inexcusable form of humor.

With my best regards,


Ayn Rand