Memorial Day observances are replete with references of the fighting men and women who made “the ultimate sacrifice.” But Ayn Rand invited us to think of this loss in a deeper, and more ennobling way still when she observed, “If a man dies fighting for his own freedom, it is not a sacrifice: he is not willing to live as a slave…”
Ayn Rand hated war which she viewed as antithetical to rational self-interest and the ultimate denouement of collectivism, which destroys the productive capacities of its subjects, and therefore “cannot exist for long without looting some freer, more productive country.”
But despite her distaste for war, she admired the military men who waged war in defense of human liberty, an admiration underscored by her addresses to military audiences, including her 1972 talk at the U. S. Naval Academy, and her 1974 speech to cadets at West Point Military Academy (which later became the title essay of Philosophy: Who Needs It.
On a personal note, in my family, Memorial Day means more than an excuse to barbecue. Both of my parents and sister are veterans, my brother is an active duty airman, and my cousin is an Embassy guardsman in Oman. For them, serving in the military is more than a job, but a calling to defend our country and its founding ideal: individual rights.
While I didn’t directly follow in their footsteps by donning the uniform, I feel that I’m doing my patriotic part by waging the philosophical battle for reason, individualism, and capitalism, along with my sisters and brothers-in-arms here at The Atlas Society. We do this by creatively crafting an arsenal of heat-seeking, light-bearing content that takes direct aim at the deadly ideas that threaten freedom at home—and abroad.
Some of the most effective weapons in that arsenal are our Draw My Life videos, including:
- My Name is Postmodernism—taking aim at the relativism and nihilism of cultural Marxism
- My Name is Frederick Douglass—celebrating the abolitionist who recruited African American men for the 54th Massachusetts Infantry Regiment, the first Black military unit raised by the North during the Civil War
- My Name is Socialism—dramatizing socialism as a serial killer rampaging throughout history
- My Name is Kira Argounova—capturing her heroic struggle to love and live under totalitarianism
- My Name is Venezuela—a hostage drama, with Venezuela imprisoned by socialism, yearning for her escape
In the months ahead, we’ll be releasing several NEW Draw My Life videos, including
- My Name is Francisco d’Anconia
- My Name is Cuba
- My Name is Crypto
- My Name is Critical Race Theory
We can’t all defend America’s founding ideals by serving in the military—or by working full time to advance Objectivist ideas. But you can fight for your own values by supporting the work of those of us who are fighting, day in and day out, on your behalf.
On this Memorial Day, I encourage you to consider even a small gift to help us arm the next generation with the ideas of Ayn Rand, as an act of rational self-interest, benevolent generosity, and in tribute to those who paid the highest price for our freedom.
Thank you in advance for supporting The Atlas Society, Friend. Our organization would not be here today if not for your investment!