December 15, 1971
St. Louis, MO 63104
Dear Mr. Laury:
I deeply appreciate the fact that you understood my article on “Racism” in The Virtue of Selfishness and that you liked The Fountainhead. I hope that you will continue to find my philosophy helpful.
What you say about the faults of the black leadership is true, but the same is true today of the white leadership. It is not an issue of race, but of the wrong philosophical influence on all groups in our society.
If you understand my philosophy as I think you do, you know that you must never allow the actions of others to be a reflection on you. Every man has to judge himself and be judged only by his own actions and character.
Do not allow anyone ever to make you feel ashamed of being black. That would be an acceptance of the vicious racist premises of other people. The best way to fight racists of any color, black or white, is never to allow their ideas into your own mind.
In regard to my article “The Age of Envy” [reprinted in The New Left: The Anti-Industrial Revolution], observe that the white groups I mention, particularly Women’s Lib, are much worse and much more guilty than the black movement.
You should be proud of your intellectual achievement, which your letter demonstrates, and I urge you to continue along the road of individual, intellectual independence.
With my best wishes,
[handwritten note by Rand’s secretary:] AR has his letter.