May 1, 1941
Mr. Channing Pollock
600 West End Avenue
New York City
Dear Mr. Pollock:
Here it is [“The Individualist Manifesto”]. This may not be the final version, but it includes all the basic issues which, I think, should be stated to make our “ideology” clear and consistent.
This is what I have been waiting for years to see someone do. I really never intended to do it all alone. I can tell you now that I was plain scared when you asked me to do it. And also flattered. I had thought that our Committee would undertake the writing of some such document as its first action. But I suppose I was contradicting myself there—one can’t do those things collectively. Someone has to start. However, this is the point where I need all the “collective” help possible. I think that after you have read it and we make such changes as you suggest, we will have to submit it to our Committee, get their reactions and advice and then formulate the final shape before it is published or made public. When it is released, I think it should bear the signatures of our Committee—let us be the signers of a new Declaration of Independence.
I hope you won’t find that I am too much of an Intellectual Egotist in this Manifesto—which, of course, I am. Frankly and proudly, not apologetically. Some people might say that we should not come right out with such a doctrine. But I think we must. Evasion and compromise have killed all pro-capitalist movements so far. I think the tragedy of Capitalism from the beginning has been the lack of a consistent ideology of its own. It moved on the strangest mixture of Collectivist-Christian-Equalitarian-Humanitarian concepts, the worst mental hodge-podge in history. Are we to be the ones who will clear it up? I don’t know. It sounds presumptuous. But that is what I would like to see us do. And since I preach that all
public good comes from individuals—we have to attempt it.
I am anxious to have your opinion of the Manifesto, so I am sending it to you while I am working on the short “declaration”, which will be ready and mailed to you tomorrow.