To the New Intellectuals
A Ballad of the Objectivist Revolution
The time will therefore come when the sun will shine only on free men who know no other master but their reason. –Condorcet
The modern age! A wonder far beyond the greatest tales
Told in medieval kingdoms from the Orient to Wales;
The ancients in their myths and legends never dreamed our wealth,
Our leisure, our prosperity, our peace of mind, our health.
And yet this paradise of ours may not be here to stay—
Its philosophic base has all but rotted clean away.
Look past our superficial comforts—underneath you’ll find
Our age is filled with contradictions of the gravest kind:
Our scientists unlock the laws of nature day by day—
But our philosophers say faith, not reason, shows the way.
By engineers our quality of life has been increased—
Our writers glorify the starving artist or the priest.
Our businessmen bring products to the public at low price—
We call them “robber barons” and demand their sacrifice.
Our Founding Fathers once were held by all in great respect—
Today their Constitution barely keeps the tyrants checked.
Our culture’s intellectuals have failed us, this is plain,
Attacking and denying all that was theirs to explain.
They should have opened up the world to knowledge-seeking eyes,
Instead, they offered only bromides backed by ancient lies:
They say that we can never know what’s false and what is true;
They say we can’t know right from wrong, or what we ought to do;
They say our only choices are: to worship every whim,
Or find a great Authority—and simply bow to him.
They say we cannot rule ourselves, that liberty is hell,
They have another plan, they say—I fear they do, as well.
Unless we change our course, the day may come—indeed, it must—
When all that the Enlightenment has left to us is dust.
A new Dark Age of faith and force may fall upon us then,
When science, art, and leisure vanish from the lives of men.
But there is hope: for just as in adventure tales sublime,
The hero never comes until the very nick of time;
A breed of heroes has arrived, their banner now unfurled:
The bold New Intellectuals who’ve come to save the world,
Their bright young minds like torches that know nothing but to burn;
Not the last of reason’s champions, but the first of their return.
These thinkers soon will sweep away the errors of the past,
Beginning to repay the debt our culture has amassed—
A philosophic debt, paid not in gold or jewels, but thought,
Undoing all the damage that the foes of man have wrought,
Rebuilding the foundations of the greatness of our land,
The ground upon which all the pillars of our culture stand.
They’ll validate our senses and our reason—they will show
That though we can’t know everything, we do know what we know.
They’ll show that mind and body are an integrated whole,
That Earth is not a vale of tears which traps a mystic Soul,
That reason is man’s way of life, of worldly success,
That virtue is the means to flourishing and happiness,
That men can live in harmony, if only they would heed
The principle of trade, and not the tyranny of “need”.
These thinkers will inspire generations—the response
Will soon reach the crescendo of a Second Renaissance,
When after ages trapped by faith and force, man will, at last
Begin to break the chains and shed the darkness of the past.
When the old, worn ivory towers all have tumbled with a crash,
And philosophy has risen like a phoenix from the ash—
When scientists declare that matter acts in just one way,
But know that man’s free will gives him a choice from day to day;
When teachers tell their students that the hallmark of mankind
Is the proud and upright posture of a brave and active mind;
When writers offer us a view of heroes bright and clean,
On the page or on the stage or on the silver screen;
When businessmen have peace of mind, but bureaucrats beware;
When preachers find their pews are empty and their coffers bare;
When free republics all earn praise, and tyrants naught but scorn;
When faith has lost its luster; when reason is reborn—
Then we will know the glory that is mankind’s proper place;
Then we will see the full potential of the human race;
Then every man can finally end his altruistic strife:
His happiness can be the moral purpose of his life.
And as he works to win his dreams, his breast can swell with pride
To know his greatest virtue is the fire that burns inside.
And all that man has ever been, and all that he can be,
At last will know the sanction of his own philosophy.
The climax of the ages is approaching us, and fast,
And we must now prepare ourselves to fight until the last.
A philosophic battle’s coming, and we cannot see
If it will be Thermopylae, or be a Normandy.
And yet no matter what the outcome, this much we can say:
By fighting for the future, we all live in it today.