The Enlightenment and the Foundations of Liberty and Progress with Onkar Ghate

This talk is the opening keynote of Ayn Rand Conference USA–Live 2020, the Ayn Rand Institute’s two-day virtual conference about “Ayn Rand and the Revival of the Enlightenment.”

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What were the essential ideas that defined the Age of Enlightenment? How did those ideas lead to the founding of America and the explosion of progress that was the Industrial Revolution? And why—in spite of that progress—did the world reverse course politically, leading to the rise of totalitarian statism in the 20th century? This talk explores the philosophical ideals of the Enlightenment, the deficiencies in Enlightenment philosophy, and what is needed to shore up those deficiencies and put the Enlightenment’s ideals, for the first time, on a fully rational, fully defensible foundation.