Podcast

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.

The Evolution of Work by Jason Crawford

Man has always needed to work. But throughout history, as work moved from farms to factories to offices, it has improved in many ways. Work has become easier, safer, more reliable, more enjoyable, more flexible. Above all, it has become more productive, resulting in both soaring real wages and increased leisure. This talk will tell the story of how we got from the hunter-gatherer life to the modern working world, and will celebrate the industrial heroes who brought us here.

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

Great Inventors as Great Capitalists by Adam Mossoff

We celebrate great inventors for their creations—the lightbulb, the sewing machine, the computer, the smartphone. Great innovators are often great capitalists, too. They often invent new business models, corporate organizations and other commercial mechanisms for producing, retailing and advertising their new products and services. In this talk, Adam Mossoff discusses the often-overlooked value-creating commercial innovations of great inventors in U.S. history.

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

O. Henry: Austin’s Storyteller and America’s Spirit by Shoshana Milgram

“More than any other author,” Ayn Rand wrote, O. Henry represents “the expectation of finding something wonderful around all of life’s corners.” He became world-famous for his ingenious plot twists, exuberant wordplay, and cheerful benevolence. It all began, in fact, in Austin—where he lived, loved, worked, and first expressed his glowing literary universe. (No advance reading required.) Recorded live as part of The Objectivist Conference on August 30, 2021.

The Anatomists: In Defiance of Man and God by Laura Mazer

An understanding of human anatomy makes possible modern medicine, surgery and even representational art. But the knowledge is hard-fought: the story of the early anatomists is a story of grave robbing, murder, heresy and heroism. This talk will introduce some of the individuals who have advanced our understanding of human anatomy, and relate the struggles and triumphs they faced along the way. Recorded live as part of The Objectivist Conference on August 28, 2021.

The Nature of Evil by Gregory Salmieri

A theme in Ayn Rand’s fiction is that the failure to understand evil is a source of error and unhappiness for good people. Drawing on the Objectivist corpus this talk will explore the nature of evil, including: the ways in which actions, motives, ideas and people can be evil; the respects in which evil is and is not important; and how understanding evil can help us to appreciate the good and to foster the best in ourselves and others. Recorded live as part of The Objectivist Conference on September 01, 2021.

Philosophy and Energy by Alex Epstein

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.In this talk, Alex Epstein, author of The New York Times bestseller The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels, will draw on his new book Fossil Future and explain why the root cause of this attack is bad philosophy, and why the root solution is good philosophy. Recorded live as part of The Objectivist Conference on September 01, 2021.

All Regulation is Over-Regulation by Harry Binswanger

Conservatives complain about “over-regulation,” but all governmental regulation—regulation as such—is destructive and evil. Ayn Rand wrote that the premise of regulation is “the concept that a man is guilty until he is proved innocent by the permissive rubber stamp of a commissar or a Gauleiter.” Dr. Binswanger will argue that government must have “probable cause” before it can use force against someone—and he will discuss how this applies not only to business activity, but also to immigration, “public health” and gun ownership. Recorded live as part of The Objectivist Conference on August 31, 2021.

Ayn Rand’s Intransigent Atheism by Robert Mayhew

Ayn Rand was not a crusader against theism, but a creator and defender of a rational philosophy for living on Earth. Every fundamental of her philosophy, however, has negative implications for theism and religious belief. This lecture examines the radical nature of her atheism, with special attention given to the idea of God, the arguments for God’s existence, and what Ayn Rand means in claiming “that nobody actually believes in God.” (Companion to Mayhew’s OCON 2014 lecture “Ayn Rand’s Sacred Atheism.”) Recorded live as part of The Objectivist Conference on August 30, 2021.

Your Best Self: The Catalyst of Integrity by Tara Smith

This talk examines the virtue of integrity in several lights. In particular, it highlights: · the practical role and selfish benefit of living with integrity · integrity as an ongoing, active commitment rather than simply forbearance from sin · the role of probing introspection in energizing integrity · integrity’s relationship to the virtue of pride In the end, we will see how living with integrity is essentially what selfishness looks like in a conceptual being. Recorded live as part of The Objectivist Conference on August 28, 2021.

OCON 2021: Spreading Objectivism: A Vision for ARI’s Future with Tal Tsfany

Tal Tsfany, ARI’s president and CEO, will review ARI’s mission to spread Objectivism and the progress made during 2020-21. ARI’s strategy for the future will be presented together with many data points and insights, collected through newly implemented technologies and methodologies. Mr. Tsfany will answer questions about the direction ARI is taking.

Celebrating Thirty Years of “OPAR” Panel with John Allison, Yaron Brook, Tara Smith

John Allison, Yaron Brook and Tara Smith each have a unique perspective on the role that Objectivism has played in their lives and work. Join these panelists as they celebrate the 30th anniversary of Leonard Peikoff’s masterwork and reflect on the impact that OPAR has had on their understanding of Objectivism and their ability to apply it successfully in their careers—in business, in public intellectual activism and in academic philosophy.

Keynote: Celebrating Thirty Years of “OPAR” by Yaron Brook

The publication of Objectivism: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand in 1991 was a landmark event. As a longtime student and friend of Leonard Peikoff, Yaron Brook will give some thoughts on the impact that OPAR has had on his own intellectual development and on the Objectivist movement.

Questioning the Sacrosanct: Is There a Right to Protest? by Onkar Ghate

Americans today are divided on many issues. But one thing almost everyone seems to agree on, from BLM protestors to January 06 demonstrators, is that they have a right to take to the streets in protest. What if this is a mistake? What if there is no right to protest, at least not in the way traditionally understood? And what if this misunderstanding fuels escalating conflicts in America? In this talk, Ghate explores these questions and offers a distinctive account of what forms of public protest are consistent with the principle of individual rights and which are not.

This talk was given as part of Free Speech Week at the Salem Center for Policy, The University of Texas at Austin on Thursday, October 21, 2021.

Making Sense of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict by Elan Journo

The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is dizzyingly complicated. In this talk, Elan Journo — author of an upcoming book on the conflict and America’s stake in it — looks at how intellectuals conceptualize and debate the issue, and spotlights the distinctive value of an Objectivist perspective on it.

Elan Journo is a fellow and director of Policy Research at the Ayn Rand Institute. This talk was delivered on Monday, June 12, 2017, at Objectivist Summer Conference 2017 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Free Trade, Immigraton and Robots, Oh My! by Yaron Brook

One of the biggest threats America faces—we are told—is the assault on our workforce: the loss of American jobs to immigrants, to foreign competition fueled by free trade, and even to technology that will make all kinds of jobs obsolete. In this talk the Ayn Rand Institute’s executive chairman, Yaron Brook, argues that this fear is entirely misplaced—that a proper grasp of the virtue of productiveness shows that far from fearing and opposing free trade, immigration and robots, we should be eagerly embracing all three.

This talk was delivered on Thursday, June 15, 2017, at Objectivist Summer Conference 2017 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Brook is joined onstage for the Q&A period by Onkar Ghate, ARI senior fellow and chief content officer.

Being Objective About the News by Ben Bayer

In the 2016 election, there was widespread concern about “fake news” and media bias. This talk explores the guidance Objectivist epistemology offers for being an objective consumer of the news. How do the requirements of integration and reduction help guide one’s acceptance of the reports of others? How do we avoid uncritical reliance on the media without becoming skeptics of journalism as such? How do we avoid bias without abandoning concern for our values?

This talk is by Ben Bayer, fellow at the Ayn Rand Institute and former teacher of philosophy at Loyola University New Orleans. His research focuses primarily on questions about the foundations of knowledge and the freedom of the will. This talk was delivered on Monday, June 12, 2017, at Objectivist Summer Conference 2017 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Life, Liberty, and Intellectual Property with Adam Mossoff

In this talk, Mossoff addresses the nature of patent rights, emphasizing the Founding Fathers’ moral achievement in securing patents and other intellectual property rights in U.S. law. Known for leading the charge on intellectual property rights, Mossoff has testified before the Senate and the House on patent legislation, and speaks and writes extensively on the issue.

This talk was recorded as part of OCON 2017 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

“Ayn Rand & the Revival of the Enlightenment” Q&A w/ Conference Speakers

Q&A with Onkar Ghate, Robert Mayhew, Gregory Salmieri, Tara Smith, and Yaron Brook.

The world today stands at a crossroads. We continue to reap the benefits of more than two centuries of progress. Yet there seems to be growing cultural strife and political conflict threatening to tear our civilization apart.

A number of thinkers—especially Steven Pinker in his best-selling book Enlightenment Now—are looking to the Age of Enlightenment for solutions, and this is the right direction to look. To the extent the world has moved forward in the last two centuries, it has done so by implementing the best of the Enlightenment’s philosophical principles: reason, science, individualism and government limited by the principle of individual rights.

So what is needed to bring about a lasting revival of Enlightenment ideals?

Ayn Rand, the writer and philosopher famous for her bestselling novels The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged, addressed this question head-on. She identified weaknesses at the base of Enlightenment philosophy and viewed her original philosophy, Objectivism, as putting Enlightenment ideals for the first time on a durable foundation.

The Consequences of Enlightenment with Yaron Brook

The Enlightenment enshrined in Western culture a deeply held respect for reason, science and individualism. The result was an explosion of progress unprecedented in human history. In this talk, Yaron Brook discusses the consequences of the Enlightenment, and the future progress that’s possible if Enlightenment ideals can be reestablished on the more secure foundation provided by Ayn Rand’s philosophy, Objectivism.

Reason, Faith and the Road to “Alternative Facts” with Tara Smith

Respect for reason has suffered a notable decline in recent decades. This lecture examines one of the central contributors: the attempt to evade the fundamental alternative between reason and faith. It surveys numerous ways in which people disparage reason (sometimes unwittingly) and explains why the prevalent tendency to fudge the reason/faith alternative cannot succeed—and has actually hastened reason’s decline.

Extracting Force from Society with Gregory Salmieri

People often speak as though freedom is a default state from which human societies have strayed. This talk argues that the opposite is true. In a state of nature, human beings are unfree because we are under constant threat of force from one another. Extracting this force from human society is a tremendous achievement that has only ever been partially and fitfully reached. The greatest single step in the liberation of humanity was the founding of the United States of America based on Enlightenment ideals. But these ideals were never adequately defended or consistently applied, and our history is one of progressing toward freedom in some respects while backsliding in others. Those of us who value freedom must appreciate the achievements of the past and work to complete them in the future. The alternative is a descent into barbarism.

Ayn Rand and Enlightenment Attitudes Toward Religion with Robert Mayhew

The rebirth of reason in the Renaissance made possible, in the Enlightenment period that followed, was a reassessment of religion. In this lecture Dr. Mayhew sketches the main trends in a number of Enlightenment figures’ attitudes toward religion—with a focus on faith and Christian ethics—and then describes to what extent Ayn Rand’s criticism of religion represents a continuation of the Enlightenment approach to religion, and in what way she goes beyond it.

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.”

To attend future talks, Q&As and social events, register now to AynRandCon at http://aynrandcon.org/

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.

Selfishness Starts Here: Self-Esteem as the Gateway to Successful Egoism with Tara Smith

Alongside purpose and reason, self-esteem is one of the foundational values of the Objectivist ethics. By exploring select facets of self-esteem (such as the sense of one’s worth and of one’s ability that it turns on), this lecture seeks to illuminate the way in which self-esteem is indispensable to a fully selfish and happy life. It should help to sharpen our understanding of exactly what self-esteem is, how it is built, and the value that self-esteem uniquely provides.

Recorded on May 16, 2020 as part of OCON Live! 2020

Life as the Standard of Value: Ayn Rand’s Proof with Harry Binswanger

What exactly is Ayn Rand’s proof of man’s life as the moral standard? This talk gives the full answer, step-by-step. A brief concluding section analyzes the mistakes in the arguments by Hume and 20th-century philosophers that purport to show that morality is not subject to reason, logic or proof.

Recorded on May 16, 2020 as part of OCON Live! 2020

Covid-19 Observations and Insights Panel with Amesh Adalja and Onkar Ghate

Join Onkar Ghate for an interview and Q&A panel with Amesh Adalja—a world expert on infectious disease and pandemic preparedness—about issues related to the Covid-19 pandemic and infectious disease outbreaks more broadly.

Recorded on May 16, 2020 as part of OCON Live! 2020

Purpose and Values with Gregory Salmieri

Ayn Rand described purpose as man’s “choice of the happiness which [his reason] must proceed to achieve.” It is one of the three “supreme and ruling” values that she wrote are “the means to and the realization of one’s ultimate value, one’s own life.” In this talk, Dr. Salmieri explores this distinctive aspect of the Objectivist ethics, with special attention to what it means to value one’s choice of happiness, and how such a choice can be both a part of one’s ultimate end and an essential means to it.

Recorded on May 16, 2020 as part of OCON Live! 2020

The Purpose of Purpose with Yaron Brook

“The principle of purpose,” writes Leonard Peikoff, “means conscious goal-directedness in every aspect of one’s existence where choice applies.” In this talk, Yaron Brook will explore the role of purpose in human life: Why is it important and what does it mean to live purposefully, to have a central purpose, and to integrate all of your values around that central purpose? Recorded on May 15, 2020 as part of OCON Live! 2020