Other serious fans of Ayn Rand who read in the recently-published 100 Voices: an Oral History of Ayn Rand about Ayn Rand being contacted for approval to reprint an article by Alan Greenspan in the Congressional Record may have had the same reaction as I did: What were the comments written from within the Capitol Building as an introduction to the article that impressed Ayn Rand as good writing?
Here’s the background given in the book. Ken MacKenzie was working on Capitol Hill in 1973 and 1974 as an aide to Congressman Phil Crane. Crane sought to make it legal for citizens to own gold, so MacKenzie decided to publish Alan Greenspan’s “Gold and Economic Freedom” in the Congressional Record. Greenspan gave his permission, but MacKenzie also sought approval from The Objectivist, which had originally published it. When MacKenzie spoke by phone to the administrative assistant of the magazine, she suggested that MacKenzie write for permission, attaching a copy of the introduction he had already written. When MacKenzie responded that the delay would harm the prospects for legislation, in that a vote could come too soon for approval-by-mail, the administrative assistant put Ayn Rand on the phone.
Ken MacKenzie read his introduction over the phone to Ayn Rand, and Rand (as MacKenzie recalled years later) “was very supportive.” During the reading, “two or three times, she said, ‘oh yes, oh, good, good.’” (100 Voices: an Oral History of Ayn Rand, by Scott McConnell, New American Library, 2010, pg. 462.)
What prompted Ayn Rand to say “oh yes, oh, good, good”? Read on. What follows is what appeared in the Congressional Record.
Hon. Philip M. Crane
Mr. CRANE. Mr. Speaker, amidst the ever-growing evidence of the seriousness of our economic problems, two recent events give cause for optimism: the nomination of Alan Greenspan to be Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisors and the passage of legislation legalizing ownership of gold effective January 1, 1975.
For years Mr. Greenspan, president of Townsend-Greenspan & Co., a New York economic consulting firm, has sounded warnings of the dangers that lie ahead as long as the rate of increase in Federal expenditures and credit guarantees is allowed to run in excess of the revenue-raising capacity of our tax system. Inflation, Mr. Greenspan argues, is the inevitable result of such a policy and can be checked only by balancing the U. S. budget.
Thus the appointment of Mr. Greenspan, who is a staunch advocate of free enterprise, indicates that the administration seriously intends to follow a policy of fiscal and monetary restraint, and abandon—forever, I hope—interventionist policies such as wage-price controls.
The legalization of ownership of gold is likewise good news to everyone suffering the effects of inflation. Gold cannot be inflated and thus can serve as a store of value to protect one’s savings from inflation.
While these two events may appear to be unrelated, there is a sense in which their happening now is not accidental. It is a rapidly rising inflation of the past several years that led to the public pressure which has resulted in the legalization of gold ownership.
This same inflation has generated economic conditions so serious as to threaten our basic political and economic freedoms which in turn has led Government leaders now the call on the advice of the man who predicted it and knows how to correct it.
Therefore it is particularly appropriate to call to the attention of my colleagues an essay by Mr. Greenspan entitled “Gold and Economic Freedom.” This essay appeared in Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal by Ayn Rand, New York: the New American Library, 1966; and in the July 1966 issue of the Objectivist, copyright 1966 by the Objectivist, Inc. It is reprinted here with permission:
There followed a reprint of the aforementioned article, seemingly complete.
The above introduction attributed to Representative Crane and the reprint of the article appeared on pages 27313 through 27315 of the Congressional Record, volume 120.
The discussion in Rep. Crane’s remarks referring to legalization of gold ownership in the past tense (“two recent events give cause for optimism: … the passage of legislation legalizing ownership of gold effective January 1, 1975”) may seem to be in conflict with the account given by MacKenzie in 100 Voices. Legislation which would (if ratified in the Senate and signed by the President) legalize ownership of gold was passed in the House of Representatives prior to the reprint of the article on August 7, 1974. Presumably, this was the legislation which Rep. Crane was interested in promoting to the Senate with the help of a reprint of Greenspan’s article. H.R.15465 (of which Crane was one of 14 co-sponsors to Rep. Wright Patman) and H.RES.1209, both of which were “bill[s] to permit U.S. citizens to purchase, hold, sell, or otherwise deal with gold in the United States or abroad”, passed the House of Representatives on July 2, 1974. Passage of its Senate counterpart, S.2665, and the signing of it into law by President Ford as Public Law 93-373, resulted in the bill becoming law as of August 14, 1974, with an effective date of December 31, 1974.
I believe it reasonable to assume that the wording of the introduction of the above is substantially as it was when read aloud by MacKenzie to Rand, and that the past-tense reference to the passage of legislation may be the only change. Even here, it should be recalled that on August 7, the bill had not yet become law—Rep. Crane might have started the ball rolling in July or early August, as he could rightfully have decided at that time to seek wider readership of Greenspan’s article so that it might influence the Senate and President.
top illustration: President Gerald Ford, Alan Greenspan, and Ayn Rand, at the Oval Office, 1974. Photo by David Hume Kennerly, United States White House.
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© 2011 David P. Hayes
Under American law, copyright protection “is not available for any work of the United States Government,” this being defined as “a work prepared by an officer or employee of the United States Government as part of that person’s official duties.” (17 USC 101,105) Thus, the introduction reprinted here attributed to Representative Crane, whether or not written by an aide, is not eligible for copyright protection. Likewise, neither is the photograph from an official White House photographer. More information: http://law.copyrightdata.com, http://chart.copyrightdata.com