Thanks for sharing !
Rand's main point about conscription seems so self-evident it amazes me that it was (and probably would still be) deemed "controversial." Yet, her follow on point about the comparative "effectiveness" of a volunteer army has been warped badly in the 50 years since this interview. It was an understandable deflection from her critics at the time but I wonder what she would say about the rampant militarism and multiple perpetual wars conducted by the gov't today with such a volunteer army.
We do not have a volunteer army. We have a gang of mercenaries funded by an extortion racket called taxation. Rand uses words very carefully.
I always wince when I hear her talk about "self-interest" because I can see how objectionable that can sound in isolation. I wish that she would have always followed up immediately with the notion that, in a world of voluntary exchange, and assuming no autarky, the only way to serve yourself is to serve others first. You have to produce something valued by others and exchange it for what you value. I think if people understood that implication, they might not be so quick to write her off as a crank.
True, it is in one's self-interest to be a productive and popular trader. But selling self-interest as the best way to achieve altruism defeats the point. We should aim to overthrow, not appease the altruist morality. Your wincing is a sign (I would guess) that you don't want to become unpopular. But remember, Rand is one of the most popular thinkers we have precisely because she did not pull her punches.
As a Rothbardian, I'm plenty unpopular. My wincing is on Rand's behalf, and has nothing to do with the substance of her point, but rather her presentation style. I wouldn't say Rand is "one of the most popular thinkers" among the general population. Most shallow intellectual thinkers are put off by her leading with "self-interest," which is why I made the comment I did.