Friday, April 1, 2011

AYN RAND AND NINOY AQUINO: THE LOST LETTERS, a.k.a. Ayn Rand, the closet Christian Socialist

“Altruism is evil, but were I to die for something, it would be for the Filipino.” ― Ayn Rand

Unknown to most people, a special relationship existed between Philippine national hero Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino and populist thinker Ayn Rand. New documents show that they were pen pals from as early as 1977 to Rand’s death in 1982. What may be harder to believe is Rand’s significant role in encouraging Ninoy to make that fateful (and fatal) trip back to Manila on August 21, 1983. Ninoy’s death by a bullet upon his arrival is said to have been the event that sparked the Philippine revolution of 1986 and led to his widow Corazon “Cory” Aquino’s rise to power, replacing dictator Ferdinand Marcos.

The frequent exchange of letters between “Alisa” and “Benny” ― as they endearingly called each other ― also reveals Rand’s grave doubts regarding her lifelong philosophy of reverence for the self, atheism and capitalism. Apparently, her husband Frank O’Connor’s death in 1979 led her to question these things for which she is now known, and it was Ninoy, whom she had met in New York in late 1977, to whom she poured her heart out.

It is quite understandable that it took nearly 30 years after Rand’s death before these letters resurfaced. Leonard Peikoff, Rand’s heir, had Ninoy’s letters sent back to the Aquino family, and it is only by accident that, with Ninoy’s showbiz daughter Kris’ change of residence in the mid-1990s, that the box of old letters between Ninoy and Rand was found in Kris’ garage. Not knowing what to make of it, Kris had the box sent to Peikoff.

Peikoff of course would not have wanted anyone to know about his master’s change of heart during her final years, but during the early 2000s, the Ayn Rand Institute was so hard up that he decided to have the letters sold to an unknown bidder, who has finally made the letters public. Whew!

Here are some juicy excerpts:

November 14, 1977

From Rand to Ninoy:

... When we met, you expressed concern about your son’s intellectual capacity. While eating b__gers isn’t all that normal for a teenager, I wouldn’t go so far as to call him mentally challenged...
... What you should be more concerned with is his reading material. I suggest you let him read ‘Atlas shrugged,’ ‘The fountainhead’ and ‘Capitalism: The unknown ideal’... that’s all for the meantime. Will give you a second to-read list later on...

January 4, 1978

From Rand to Ninoy:

... Here’s another to-read list: ‘We the living,’ ‘The romantic manifesto,’ ‘Anthem’ and ‘The virtue of selfishness’...

February 8, 1978

From Ninoy to Rand:

I just checked the bookstore. Curious thing, those books you recommended are all by the same author.
Alisa, from what I’ve read so far, your books’ message is so unchristian, and unsocialistic. I couldn’t recommend it to anyone in good conscience.
Re: socialism being detrimental to society, you cited the hardships of those in Communist Russia and Communist China, but you completely forgot the Christian component. If only Mao and Stalin had embraced Christianity, their prosperity would have spread to the poor by now...

February 10, 1978

From Rand to Ninoy:

You mystic whim worshipper, your Christian Socialism is anti-life and anti-man, and I could not give my sanction to our exchange of letters any longer!

February 14, 1978

From Ninoy to Rand:

Then why did you bother writing back? Happy Valentine’s Day by the way.

November 30, 1979

From Rand to Ninoy:

Happy Valentine’s Day to you as well.

Sorry for the delayed reply. My husband Frank, whom you used to call “The missus,” just died.

Anyway, I’ve been thinking, I’ve made a lot of money, as well as my reputation, on this whole capitalism selfishness schtick, but I now realize that I was just being, frankly (no pun intended), a bitch. At least I made lots of money, no?

I think I’ll change my will. There’s no rush, but I think I’ll hand over my estate to some African children’s foundation or something instead of that pain in the ass Peikoff.

December 23, 1979

From Ninoy to Rand:

Merry Christmas! Glad to hear that you’ve seen the light. Capitalism is about greed and profit, whereas my Christian Socialism is all about holding modest material things and entrusting the excess wealth to the government. Letting the government provide charity is the best way of showing charity.

You know, I think the only problem in society is that some politicians like myself are corrupt. But if there are none corrupt, there will also be none poor [My note: Goosebumps!]. So all we have to do is get as much in taxes from the rich, and then make sure that the politicians are good-hearted people. Sounds good huh?

The correspondence is much more amiable afterwards. Whenever Ninoy needed encouragement with regards to opposing Marcos, it was to Rand and not to Cory that he turned. Maybe he thought Rand was more his intellectual equal; we could only speculate.

And when Rand felt lonely due to the absence of Frank or her original heir Nathaniel Branden, she would talk with Ninoy on the phone, to the point of Cory getting jealous about “that septuagenarian wench.”

Here is one of Rand’s last letters to him, just a couple of months before her death. This single letter may well have been responsible for the upheaval to follow in Philippine history:

January 1, 1982

God it’s boring here in New York on New Year’s Day. I miss your voice, Benny. I know that sounds weird, even creepy, even sick, but it wouldn’t seem so shocking if you knew about Nathaniel and I. You’re about the same age.

Anyway, I pray everyday for the intercession of the Virgin Mary in guiding your decision on going back to the Philippines. I will miss our frequent correspondence, but it is a sacrifice I’m willing to make. You’ve made me an altruist, and it’s more fulfilling than that ‘I swear by my life’ crap I made up years ago.

The way you describe the Filipino people, they must be really great, possibly even superior to us white folk. Over the years, I have proclaimed ― albeit with less and less conviction ― that altruism is evil. But were I to die for something, it would be for the Filipino. You should be willing to do the same. [My note: Goosebumps!]

About changing my will: No rush. Don’t worry, I’m definitely going to fund your daughter’s college education. I will ensure that she does not turn out to be “an actress.”

Rand died just two months after.

To read the entire correspondence, click here.



PMElla said...

Wonderful! You should have this article syndicated at Weekly World News! Or The Onion!

Nonoy Oplas said...

Paul, you pooled me. Nice one!

Anonymous said...

Looks from this like Rand was suffering heavily from some form of dementia in her elder years. Aquino on the other hand seemed more stable, insofar that his demented belief in plundering other people's wealth didn't change as he aged - once a plunderer always a plunderer, right?

It's one thing to voluntarily be charitable with your own wealth, buy to use government to rob other people under the guise of government "altruism" is still robbery.

The problem with Rand is how she promoted only her own books, while she herself shunned reading books by other authors. This is why, although much of her philosophy was profound and accurate, some of it was downright inane. Her primary fallibility was in he inability to accept even the slightest criticism or mention that any point of her philosophy could possibly be wrong - she actually was wrong about several things.

On book that could have helped her considerably was written by Frederic Bastiat, titled The Law [see], it demonstrated how it's never justifiable to rob (plunder the wealth of) one person merely to allegedly help another, (allegedly, because the people promised the help out of poverty rarely receive any meaningful help.)

Unfortunately, such ideas were completly above and beyond the Philippino educational comprehension, and also the Philippino Christian Socialist/Communist mindset of rationalizing robbing Peter to pay Paul, (where Peter represents the people who work hard to earn a living, and Paul represents the government and their cronies.)

The reason for this is deeply rooted in the absolute lacunae of proper and well stocked public libraries and bookstores, the poor educational system, as well as in the Church's millenia-long propensity toward denouncing and discouraging the use of books, logic, and reason, circumstances of which conspire to keep the Philippino, even the so called "educated" Philippino, in complete ignorance.

After all, an ignorate population is much easier to control and plunder - and that's the whole point behind central government, central banking, and revealed religion: the unholy trinity of plundering the people in the name of altruism.

Anonymous said...

Wait, 1977,

Ninoy is in prison at this time RIGHT?! IN LAUR! Where he doesn't have any writing or reading material!

How could he be in fucking New York to meet Ayn fucking Rand?!


This is fake!