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Ayn Rand’s “The Fountainhead”: The Story of Her Original Screenplay by Shoshana Milgram

Ayn Rand’s original screenplay for The Fountainhead was 283 pages long. The final screenplay for the 1949 film was less than half that length. Much of her work, therefore, has never been available to the public. The OCON program includes a performance of several scenes as originally planned and written. This follow-up talk provides additional information about Ayn Rand’s choices in the 1944 screenplay regarding the order and contexts of scenes and includes scenes rendered visually with no dialogue.

Recorded live on July 4, 2022 as part of the Objectivist Summer Conference.

Building the Builder’s Mindset: Psychological Lessons from Working with Entrepreneurs by Gena Gorlin

Having spent much of the past two years offering psychological support to entrepreneurs, Dr. Gorlin has witnessed how much support the most ambitious people need—even, sometimes especially, when they already have the right philosophy. This talk will recount what she has learned about the psychological needs and challenges of entrepreneurs, and what this has taught her about the work we all need to do on ourselves in order to build the lives and careers of our choosing.

Recorded live on July 5, 2022 as part of the Objectivist Summer Conference.

Emil Theodor Kocher: A Chance to Cut by Laura Mazer

Emil Kocher, Swiss surgeon in the late 1800s, is known mostly for revolutionizing surgery of the thyroid. In his hands, the mortality rate of thyroid removal dropped from 50% to less than 1%. But tragedy soon followed triumph: before Kocher, no one could take out the thyroid gland. So no one asked if you should. The consequence of his surgical genius was the belated realization that the thyroid plays a crucial role in growth and development — much to the dismay of his young patients. This is the story of one man’s professional crisis, and how he met the challenge.

Recorded live on July 5, 2022 as part of the Objectivist Summer Conference.

Frege’s Logic: Revolution or Devolution? by Mike Mazza

The most significant figure in the history of logic after Aristotle is 19th-century German philosopher Gottlob Frege. Frege’s work in logic and philosophy is foundational to the “analytic” tradition in philosophy and has had a strong influence on mathematics and computer science. This lecture discusses his revolution in logic and critiques its philosophical foundations.

Recorded live on July 6, 2022 as part of the Objectivist Summer Conference.

The Case for Open Borders by Harry Binswanger

Dr. Binswanger defends a radical position on immigration: the moral imperative to end all forms of governmental interference with freedom of travel. Crossing a national border, he argues, should be as free, unregulated, and unsupervised as crossing a state border. He takes on all the common objections to open borders, including: “Immigrants take our jobs away,” “Open borders abandon sovereignty,” “Immigration is harmful in a welfare state,” and “Immigrants will vote the wrong way.” He concludes by explaining why freedom of entry is of special importance to Objectivists.

Recorded live on July 2, 2022 as part of the Objectivist Summer Conference.

Criminalizing Economic Inequality through the Prohibition on Insider Trading by Kevin Douglas

Mr. Douglas will describe how insider trading laws criminalize several forms of economic inequality. Property law generally protects a business owner’s freedom to profit from trade secrets and business opportunities, and by setting prices. By contrast, the prohibition on insider trading undermines the usefulness of information for its owners and treats less informed investors as victims of investors with information advantages. The result is a system of regulation that actively redistributes and even nullifies investors’ wealth—all in the name of protecting property rights in information.

Recorded live on July 5, 2022 as part of the Objectivist Summer Conference.

Understanding Evil: The Soviet Union and the Sanction of the Victim by Nikos Sotirakopoulos

The Bolsheviks began as an insignificant, minority group that seized power in 1917, yet they maintained it for seven decades and established an empire with global reach. The regime struggled from day one, and yet it managed to sustain itself and expand. There are useful lessons to draw from this for the student of history and ideas. What does the Soviet Union’s history teach us about the nature of evil? How does it survive, and how important is the role played by the sanction of the good?

Recorded live on July 7, 2022 as part of the Objectivist Summer Conference.

The Dollar and the Gun Under Xi Jinping’s Dictatorship with Scott McDonald, Adam Mossoff, and Elan Journo

Rapid economic opening and growth since the 1980s led many to expect the People’s Republic of China (PRC) to undergo political liberalization and assume a business-friendly environment. This panel will explore contemporary conditions in the Communist Party–ruled state and seek answers to the coming challenges posed by its approach to economics: What are the implications for foreign corporations investing in the PRC? What risks do they face to their intellectual property? How is the Party leveraging technology for geopolitical gain?

Recorded live on July 6, 2022 as part of the Objectivist Summer Conference.

China’s Long March to Market Authoritarianism by Scott McDonald

During the seventy-plus-year history of the People’s Republic of China, it has transformed from a Leninist state, through chaos and technocrats, to what has been dubbed “market authoritarianism.” How can this change be accounted for under the continued reign of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP)? This talk will explore the consistencies and inconsistencies in the CCP’s governance that have brought us to today and lay the groundwork for exploring what it will become tomorrow.

Recorded live on July 6, 2022 as part of the Objectivist Summer Conference.

Ayn Rand on the Genealogy of Altruism by Ben Bayer

Ayn Rand made abundantly clear that the morality of altruism had no basis in reason. Where then, if not from logical arguments, did it originate? It is not enough to point to irrational philosophies: the ultimate question is, where did philosophers get the idea? This talk will explore Ayn Rand’s own views on the motives that led thinkers to adopt this irrational morality. The talk will also examine how her views on this subject developed and deepened between the writing of The Fountainhead and her later nonfiction essays. It will also compare her views to Nietzsche’s views in The Genealogy of Morals, which are similar in certain respects but profoundly different in others.

Recorded live on July 3, 2022 as part of the Objectivist Summer Conference.

Ayn Rand Interviewed with Mickey Spillane by Mike Wallace

Mike Wallace interviews Ayn Rand and Mickey Spillane on their reasons for becoming authors, their view of what makes a hero, and why, despite being viciously denounced by critics, they both maintain a large popular appeal. Hear Ayn Rand’s straight-to-the-point analysis of her own and Mickey Spillane’s work in this 1961 interview.

Audio licensed courtesy of The Bentley Historical Library, University of Michigan.

Behind the Scenes: Ayn Rand on What Makes a Hero

In 1961, Mike Wallace sat down with both Ayn Rand and Mickey Spillane for an interview. For decades, this interview has been unavailable to the general public. Now we are releasing it for the first time. In this YouTube livestream event, join Elan Journo and Tom Bowden as they go “Behind the Scenes” of this historic interview and discuss how Rand and Spillane found themselves on the same stage. This interview offers a unique view of Rand—we see Ayn Rand, the friend, coming to the defense of the critically attacked Spillane and giving him credit as a “moral crusader.” Through his character Mike Hammer, Rand explains, Spillane presents us with a man who refuses to compromise his integrity. Join us for this remarkable interview and discover Rand’s answer to “What Makes a Hero?”—an answer she says will “astonish you.”

Happiness by Jean Moroney

Ayn Rand’s distinctive view of values gives her a distinctive view of happiness. Topics discussed:

– What happiness is
– Why it’s “the normal condition of man”
– The practical steps to move from unhappiness to happiness

Recorded live on July 2, 2022 as part of the Objectivist Summer Conference.

Mickey Spillane: Crusader for Justice by Shoshana Milgram

Mickey Spillane is one of the best-selling writers of all time, with estimated sales of 225 million copies. Mike Hammer, his most enduring hero, is a private detective who pursues justice with physical and moral courage. Mike uses his gun, his fists, and his mind to avenge the innocent, to destroy the evil, and to guard the good. Many reviewers dismissed or condemned Spillane’s writing; many readers, undeterred, have devoured the books anyway. Ayn Rand admired the Mike Hammer books and praised them publicly. This talk surveys the range of Spillane’s writing career (including his ideas for films starring his friend John Wayne), with emphasis on the voice and virtues of his crusading hero.

Recorded live on July 3, 2022 as part of the Objectivist Summer Conference.

Don’t Be Boring: Winning the Attention Game by Don Watkins

There has never been more competition for people’s attention. And yet you can’t win the war of ideas unless you can cut through the noise and get your message heard. In this talk, Don Watkins looks at the theory and practice of capturing attention and how you can use that knowledge to promote Ayn Rand’s ideas. 

Tertullian and Thomas Aquinas by Robert Mayhew

Tertullian (ca. 160–220) and Thomas Aquinas (13th century) both defended faith as a justification for their Christian beliefs, but whereas Tertullian proudly defended faith even when it clashed with reason, Aquinas argued that there was a harmony between faith and reason — that the two could never clash. In this lecture, Dr. Mayhew will examine the views of each in detail and briefly discuss the continuing influence of their conceptions of faith and reason in the 21st century.

How to Set and Apply a Central Purpose by Jean Moroney

Having a central purpose can simplify your life, give meaning to all of your work, and ensure that your actions add up to a significant achievement. In this talk, you’ll learn the essentials of how to set and apply a central purpose:
What a central purpose is
Why only productive work can fill that role
Steps to take to find and commit to a central purpose
The role a central purpose plays in guiding day-to-day activity

Recorded live as part of The Objectivist Conference on August 28, 2021.

Hugo, Rostand, Hernani and How to Be a Romantic by Lisa VanDamme

Victor Hugo’s Hernani was more than a play. It was “the rehearsal of a revolution,” a bold theatrical rebellion that defied Classical dogmas and made way for a new Romanticism. On the centenary of Hugo’s birth, writer Edmond Rostand would pay worshipful tribute to his hero with a poem called Un Soir à Hernani. In this lecture, I will tell the thrilling story of Hernani, share excerpts from Rostand’s never-translated tribute, and highlight all that Hugo and Rostand have to show us about how to be a Romantic.

Recorded live on July 6, 2022 as part of the Objectivist Summer Conference.

Reproduction and the Objectivist Ethics by Gregory Salmieri

The Objectivist ethics is grounded in the nature of life. Spanning meta-ethics to politics, this talk surveys the implications for this ethics of an aspect of life about which Rand said little: reproduction. Topics include what it means for an organism’s life to be its ultimate value, whether (and when) having children is egoistic, and the rights of parents and children.

Recorded live on July 5, 2022 as part of the Objectivist Summer Conference.

Why I’m Still Optimistic in Spite of Everything by Yaron Brook

It’s difficult not to be discouraged at the state of today’s world: our dysfunctional politics, our battered economy, and a culture sinking deeper and deeper into irrationality and nihilism. In this talk, Yaron Brook explains why despite all of this, he is still optimistic. The signs of hope don’t make the headlines, but they’re all around us: from the continued innovation of the tech sector to the continued functioning of markets and businesses as engines of wealth- and job-creation, to the outraged backlash against the nuttiest ideas, to the persistent, gradual rise of Objectivism as it continues to reach more people and change more lives.

Recorded live on July 7, 2022 as part of the Objectivist Summer Conference.

Creating a New Generation of Energy Champions: A Panel hosted by Yaron Brook with Bud Brigham, Alex Epstein, and Onkar Ghate.

Recorded as part of the Ayn Rand Institute Gala at OCON 2021.

Today, the energy industry—the industry that powers every other industry—is under unprecedented attack, with widespread calls to eliminate fossil fuels and continue the strangulation of nuclear power. The attack on energy is fundamentally philosophical in nature, rooted in an anti-human philosophy that regards human impact on nature—an essential of human flourishing—as immoral and inevitably self-destructive. Fortunately, there is a growing movement of energy champions, who, armed with pro-human philosophical ideas and a deep command of the facts about energy, environment and climate, are winning hearts and minds. Join us for a panel of distinguished experts who will discuss the intellectual challenges facing the energy industry today and how ARI can help create a new generation of energy champions.

COVID-19, mRNA and the Future of Vaccines by Amesh Adalja

In this talk, Dr. Adalja will discuss the science behind vaccine platform technologies such as the mRNA vaccines. He will also describe how changes in the scientific context impact the role of vaccines, the misconception of science as omniscient, and how the arbitrary must play no role in scientific-medical matters.

Recorded live on July 6, 2022 as part of the Objectivist Summer Conference

Dismantling Roe by Onkar Ghate

If Samuel Alito’s leaked first draft of a potential majority decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization is a reliable indication, the Supreme Court will overturn (and may have already done so by the time of the conference) Roe v. Wade. Onkar Ghate examines the arguments offered in Roe, good and bad, the vulnerabilities of the decision, and the case being made for its overturn.

Recorded live on July 2, 2022 as part of the Objectivist Summer Conference.

Building the Ayn Rand University by Tal Tsfany

Tal Tsfany, ARI’s president and CEO, will review ARI’s mission to spread Objectivism and the progress made during 2021-22. ARI’s strategy for the future will be presented together with many data points and insights, collected through newly implemented technologies and methodologies.

Recorded on July 3, 2022 as part of the Objectivist Summer Conference

Stoicism vs Objectivism: What Is (and Is Not) Under Our Control? by Aaron Smith

Objectivism holds that it’s vital to understand what things are under our control and what are not. To avoid passive resignation toward what we can change and futile rebellion against the unchangeable, we need to internalize the right perspective on this issue. This talk contrasts the Objectivist perspective on this question with that of Stoicism. Both philosophies regard the issue as of central practical importance to a good life, but they differ in fundamental ways that are instructive to explore.

Recorded live as part of The Objectivist Conference on August 31, 2021.

Raising Ourselves: A Montessori-Inspired Self-Parenting Guide for All Ages by Gena Gorlin

Selfishness, as Rand conceived it, is a demanding discipline: only by tending to one’s character and nurturing one’s psychological development can one become fully a rational, self-esteeming being capable of authentic happiness. This self-nurturance is a continuation, applied to oneself, of the work a good parent does in raising a child. This workshop will synthesize insights from psychology, Objectivism, and Montessori education and parenting to offer a practical approach for lovingly observing, managing and, when needed, changing one’s own psychology.

Recorded live as part of The Objectivist Conference on August 30, 2021.

“What For?”: How Atlas Shrugged Dramatizes the Struggle for the Value of Purpose by Ben Bayer

Ayn Rand named “purpose” as one of the three cardinal moral values of the Objectivist ethics. Drawing especially on Atlas Shrugged, this talk will illustrate what the value of purpose is, how it relates to the virtue of productiveness, and why it amounts to “that choice of the happiness which [one’s reason] must proceed to achieve.”

Recorded live as part of The Objectivist Conference on August 29, 2021.

That Radiant Selfishness of Soul: the Virtue of Pride by Ben Bayer

Objectivism regards pride as a crucial moral virtue. But what does it mean to act with pride, as opposed to feeling pride or achieving self-esteem? This talk will identify and elaborate on the central concern of the virtue of pride (the creation of one’s own character) and explore the chief practical requirements of the virtue, drawing on crucial examples from the plot of Atlas Shrugged.

Recorded live as part of The Objectivist Conference on August 28, 2021.

Ayn Rand Con Second Q&A Panel on Objectivism with Onkar Ghate, Aaron Smith and Nikos Sotirakopoulos

After reflecting on the day’s talks, the audience asks questions they have about Ayn Rand’s philosophy, Objectivism.

Recorded at AynRandCon – Europe in London on April 3, 2022.

Reason Versus Faith and Emotionalism by Aaron Smith

At the root of Ayn Rand’s philosophy is the idea that reason is man’s basic tool of survival and only means of knowledge. What is reason? And why is it incompatible with faith? What are emotions and how do they relate to reason?

Recorded at AynRandCon – Europe in London on April 3, 2022.

Free Will by Onkar Ghate (ARC EU 2022)

One core premise of Ayn Rand’s philosophy is free will—the idea that you are not the deterministic product of your race or genes or tribal collective—but have a basic form of control over your thoughts and actions. What is Ayn Rand’s theory of free will and how does it provide the foundation for her radical new moral philosophy.

Recorded at AynRandCon – Europe in London on April 3, 2022.

Ayn Rand on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson | Dec. 1967

A special edition of the ARI Live Podcast: Ayn Rand’s third and final appearance on the Tonight Show.

Ayn Rand on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson | Oct. 1967

A special edition of the ARI Live Podcast: Ayn Rand’s second appearance on the Tonight Show.

Ayn Rand on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson | Aug. 1967

A special edition of the ARI Live Podcast: Ayn Rand’s first appearance on the Tonight Show.

Behind the Scenes: Ayn Rand on the Tonight Show with Elan Journo and Tom Bowden

In 1967, Ayn Rand made three controversial appearances in the space of four months on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, including one that hasn’t been heard publicly since its broadcast.

In this YouTube livestream event, join Elan Journo and Tom Bowden as they discuss the cultural context of the 1960s, Rand’s ground rules for appearing on Carson’s show, the topics covered in the interviews, Carson’s conversational skills and intellectual courage, and the strong audience response.

Stay tuned for podcasts featuring all three interviews, in which Rand addresses an astonishing range of issues, from basic principles of philosophy to reasoned opinions on current events and cultural trends to lighthearted banter.

Rand stoked controversy and pulled no punches. She declared her reasoned opposition to the Vietnam War, the military draft, and to a papal encyclical attacking the moral foundations of Western civilization — while expressing support for rational self-interest, the pursuit of individual happiness, political freedom, Romantic art, and the novels of Mickey Spillane.

Although Rand would in later years give long-form interviews to Phil Donahue, Tom Snyder and others, these three Johnny Carson interviews remain unsurpassed for sheer breadth. Join us for a trip back to a time when talk-show discussions of highly contentious issues could be calm, focused, intelligent and rational.

How Tribalism Distorts Your Thinking by Nikos Sotirakopoulos

From politics to the “culture wars,” it is evident that tribalism has added to the toxicity of the public sphere. But there is one other field where tribalism, i.e., the viewing of the world through the prism of a group, can be even more insidious: in one’s own thinking. Nikos will talk about how tribalism can poison our mind, and discuss what the remedy is.

Recorded at AynRandCon – Europe in London on April 2, 2022.

Ayn Rand Con First Q&A Panel on Objectivism with Yaron, Onkar, Keith

After reflecting on the day’s talks, participants asked questions about Ayn Rand’s philosophy, Objectivism.

Recorded at AynRandCon – Europe in London on April 2, 2022.

Capitalism: The System of Individual Rights by Yaron Brook

Do citizens have a duty to serve the state? Or does government exist to protect the freedom of individuals to pursue their own lives and happiness? What are individual rights and what are they based on? Ayn Rand often described her political views by saying that she’s not a conservative but a “radical for capitalism.” What is capitalism? And how does it differ from both socialism and conservatism?

Recorded at AynRandCon – Europe in London on April 2, 2022.

The Virtue of Selfishness by Keith Lockitch

Everyone knows that selfishness is evil, right? But what if our concept of “selfishness” is completely mistaken? From Ayn Rand’s perspective, “selfishness” does not mean what people typically think it means. And a central tenet of her philosophy is that, properly understood, selfishness is actually the essence of virtue.

Recorded at AynRandCon – Europe in London on April 2, 2022.

The Evil of Self-Sacrifice by Aaron Smith

Everyone knows that altruism — selfless sacrifice for the sake of others — is the essence of virtue, right? But what if, like the concept “selfishness,” our understanding of the true meaning of “altruism” and “sacrifice” is completely mistaken? What if these ideas are actually destructive and harmful? From Ayn Rand’s perspective, our whole way of thinking about morality needs to be radically rethought.

Recorded at AynRandCon – Europe in London on April 2, 2022.

An Overview of Ayn Rand’s Ideas by Onkar Ghate

This talk was part of Ayn Rand Con Europe on April 3, 2022.

Theory to Practice: Applying Objectivism to the Pursuit of Happiness by Tal Tsfany

Ayn Rand gave us the gift of her fictional characters manifesting moral ideals, and showing us what is possible and admirable. How do we leverage that inspiration toward writing our own story, paving our own path, living our own heroic life? In this talk, ARI’s CEO, Tal Tsfany, shares his experience and insights about the process of implementing moral ideals in one’s life.

This talk was part of Ayn Rand Con Europe on April 3, 2022.

Using Reason to Cultivate Passion: A Moral and Psychological How-To Guide by Gena Gorlin

Despite all the graduation speeches enjoining us to “be passionate” about something, the experience of deep, passionate emotion is not an easy one to achieve, much less sustain. This talk offers guidance for achieving that rarified quality which Ayn Rand ascribed to one of Atlas Shrugged’s heroes — a “disciplined capacity to feel too deeply.” The talk by Gena Gorlin, a postdoctoral fellow at Boston University’s Center for Anxiety and Related Disorders, integrates tools from cognitive-behavioral therapy with insights from Rand’s theory of values, without assuming prior knowledge of either.

This talk was recorded live at Objectivist Summer Conference 2017 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, on Sunday, June 11, 2017.

Wealth Creators: The Forgotten Victims of Cronyism by Steve Simpson

Critics of cronyism typically describe the problem as politicians and businesses conspiring to win government favors at the expense of taxpayers, or the public in general. While this view is not entirely wrong, it misses important aspects of the problem and does a grave injustice to businessmen who succeed through production rather than pull. This talk, by Ayn Rand Institute director of Legal Studies Steve Simpson, untangles the confusion about cronyism and explains why its biggest victims are businessmen.

This talk was delivered at Objectivist Summer Conference 2017 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, on Sunday, June 11, 2017. He is joined in the question period by Gregory Salmieri, who teaches philosophy at Rutgers University and is a fellow at the Anthem Foundation for Objectivist Scholarship.

Montessori and the Independent Mind with Matt Bateman, Catherine Dickerson, Allison Kunze, and Anne Locke Bussey

Ayn Rand, champion of the independent mind, championed Montessori education. Drawing on their experience with hundreds of individual young minds in Toddler, Primary and Elementary Montessori classrooms as well as home environments, this panel will explore Montessori’s emphasis on children’s independence in thought and action. Parents and those who work with children will get ideas for supporting their children’s independence.

Rising in Love: Monna Vanna as Magnificent Drama by Shoshana Milgram

Maeterlinck’s Monna Vanna, set in Italy during the Renaissance, has a timeless theme: Romantic love ennobles the human soul. One rises in love. But how can one recognize true love? What price is worth paying for it? What risk is worth taking for it? This talk will consider the play’s special qualities, salient virtues, and significant history, including its role in Ayn Rand’s life and work.

The Regulatory State: Causes and Casualties with Harry Binswanger, Peter Schwartz, and Adam Mossoff

Government regulations have grown inexorably over decades and now impact all aspects of our lives. Just in the last year, we’ve seen regulatory measures ranging from the taken-for-granted Covid-19 lockdowns to the growing calls for antitrust attacks on the tech industry. Why do Americans increasingly look to government to regulate more and more of our activities? What are the underlying causes, and consequences, of the ever-growing regulatory state?

Note: Do to technical difficulties, the first few minutes of audio were not recorded. This podcast begins mid conversation.

Dostoevsky and the Drama of Ideas That Matter by Shoshana Milgram

Fyodor Dostoevsky was a novelist of ideas. Ayn Rand praised his “enormous intelligence” and “superb mastery of plot structure”; some of her fiction even has parallels with his. As a writer, he dramatized principles with passionate intensity and psychological complexity. As a man, he took part in Russia’s debates and dangers (including hard labor in Siberia). Powerful convictions inspired his characters’ actions–and his own. (No advance reading required.)

Recorded live as part of The Objectivist Conference on September 01, 2021.

Free Speech Under Attack Panel with Steve Simpson, Flemming Rose, Dave Rubin

Freedom of speech is a bedrock principle throughout the Western world, but increasingly it is being challenged — on college campuses, among intellectuals and in politics — in the name of preventing offense and “hate.” Why is this happening and what does it mean for the future of free speech.

Panelists are Steve Simpson, director of Legal Studies at the Ayn Rand Institute and editor of “Defending Free Speech”; Flemming Rose, author of “Tyranny of Silence: How One Cartoon Ignited a Global Debate on the Future of Free Speech,” and Dave Rubin, creator and host of the Rubin Report. The event, “Free Speech Under Attack,” took place at Objectivist Summer Conference 2017 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, on Tuesday, June 13, 2017.

The Unknown Nuclear Crisis by Thomas Eiden

The worldwide supply of nuclear medicine relies on the production of radioactive materials from a mere six government-run nuclear research reactors. Each year, the reliability of the supply chain responsible for life-saving radiopharmaceuticals becomes increasingly brittle as these facilities age or are slated to be shut down. Founder/CEO Thomas Eiden explains why he left what most would consider a dream job to create Atomic Alchemy Inc., and how his company plans to end this looming crisis.

Recorded live as part of The Objectivist Conference on August 30, 2021.