Podcast

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

Perspectives on Pursuing an Intellectual Career | 2nd Panel Q&A

As a professional intellectual or an “intellectual professional,” there is a wide variety of possible avenues for advancing Objectivism in your professional work. In this session, a panel of distinguished speakers from a variety of professional backgrounds talks about their work and careers.

Adam Mossoff is Professor of Law at Antonin Scalia Law School at George Mason University, is Chair of the Forum for Intellectual Property at the Hudson Institute, and is affiliated with several other think tanks and policy organizations. He is a nationally recognized expert on intellectual property policy. His research has been relied on by the Supreme Court, by lower federal courts, and by federal agencies, and he has been invited five times to testify before the U.S. Senate and the House of Representatives on patent legislation.

Larry Salzman is the Litigation Director at Pacific Legal Foundation, a public interest law firm dedicated to advancing the principles of individual rights and limited government through law. He leads PLF’s attorneys in developing and litigating cases involving property rights, economic freedom, free speech, equality, and the constitutional separation of powers. He is also a graduate of ARI’s Objectivist Academic Center.

Dr. Robert Mayhew, a member of ARI’s board of directors, teaches philosophy at Seton Hall University. He is the author or editor of seven books in his area of specialization, ancient philosophy (most recently “Aristotle’s Lost Homeric Problems”), and author or editor of ten books related to Ayn Rand and Objectivism.

Alex Epstein is a philosopher and energy expert who argues that “human flourishing” should be the guiding principle of industrial and environmental progress. He is the author of the New York Times best-seller “The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels”.

Alex Epstein | Perspectives on Pursuing an Intellectual Career

As a professional intellectual or an “intellectual professional,” there is a wide variety of possible avenues for advancing Objectivism in your professional work. In this session, Alex Epstein talks about his work and career.

Mr. Epstein is a philosopher and energy expert who argues that “human flourishing” should be the guiding principle of industrial and environmental progress. He is the author of the New York Times best-seller “The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels”.

Robert Mayhew | Perspectives on Pursuing an Intellectual Career

As a professional intellectual or an “intellectual professional,” there is a wide variety of possible avenues for advancing Objectivism in your professional work. In this session, Robert Mayhew talks about his work and career.

Dr. Mayhew, a member of ARI’s board of directors, teaches philosophy at Seton Hall University. He is the author or editor of seven books in his area of specialization, ancient philosophy (most recently “Aristotle’s Lost Homeric Problems”), and author or editor of ten books related to Ayn Rand and Objectivism.

Larry Salzman | Perspectives on Pursuing an Intellectual Career

As a professional intellectual or an “intellectual professional,” there is a wide variety of possible avenues for advancing Objectivism in your professional work. In this session, Larry Salzman talks about his work and career.

Larry Salzman is the Litigation Director at Pacific Legal Foundation, a public interest law firm dedicated to advancing the principles of individual rights and limited government through law. He leads PLF’s attorneys in developing and litigating cases involving property rights, economic freedom, free speech, equality, and the constitutional separation of powers. He is also a graduate of ARI’s Objectivist Academic Center.

Adam Mossoff | Perspectives on Pursuing an Intellectual Career

As a professional intellectual or an “intellectual professional,” there is a wide variety of possible avenues for advancing Objectivism in your professional work. In this session, Adam Mossoff talks about his work and career.

Adam Mossoff is Professor of Law at Antonin Scalia Law School at George Mason University, is Chair of the Forum for Intellectual Property at the Hudson Institute, and is affiliated with several other think tanks and policy organizations. He is a nationally recognized expert on intellectual property policy. His research has been relied on by the Supreme Court, by lower federal courts, and by federal agencies, and he has been invited five times to testify before the U.S. Senate and the House of Representatives on patent legislation.

Perspectives on Pursuing an Intellectual Career | 1st Panel Q&A

As a professional intellectual or an “intellectual professional,” there is a wide variety of possible avenues for advancing Objectivism in your professional work. In this session, a panel of distinguished speakers from a variety of professional backgrounds talks about their work and careers.

Dr. Tara Smith is a professor of philosophy at the University of Texas at Austin. She has published books on individual rights, the foundations of value, Ayn Rand’s theory of egoistic virtues and the requirements of objectivity in judicial review. Current research focuses on psychological aspects of egoism.

John Allison is an Executive in Residence at the Wake Forest University School of Business. He is the retired president and CEO of the Cato Institute and was chairman and CEO of BB&T Corporation. During Allison’s tenure as CEO from 1989 to 2008, BB&T grew from $4.5 billion to $152 billion in assets.

C. Bradley Thompson teaches Political Philosophy at Clemson University and is the Executive Director of the Clemson Institute for the Study of Capitalism. He received his Ph.D at Brown University, and he has been a visiting scholar at Princeton and Harvard universities and at the University of London.

Matt Bateman | Perspectives on Pursuing an Intellectual Career

As a professional intellectual or an “intellectual professional,” there is a wide variety of possible avenues for advancing Objectivism in your professional work. In this session, Matt Bateman talks about his work and career.

Brad Thompson | Perspectives on Pursuing an Intellectual Career

As a professional intellectual or an “intellectual professional,” there is a wide variety of possible avenues for advancing Objectivism in your professional work. In this session, Brad Thompson talks about his work and career.

C. Bradley Thompson teaches Political Philosophy at Clemson University and is the Executive Director of the Clemson Institute for the Study of Capitalism. He received his Ph.D at Brown University, and he has been a visiting scholar at Princeton and Harvard universities and at the University of London.

Professor Thompson has published five books, including: “America’s Revolutionary Mind: A Moral History of the American Revolution and the Declaration that Defined It”; the award-winning “John Adams and the Spirit of Liberty”; “Neoconservatism: An Obituary for an Idea”; “The Revolutionary Writings of John Adams”; and “Antislavery Political Writings, 1833-1860: A Reader”.

John Allison | Perspectives on Pursuing an Intellectual Career

As a professional intellectual or an “intellectual professional,” there is a wide variety of possible avenues for advancing Objectivism in your professional work. In this session, John Allison talks about his work and career.

Mr. Allison is an Executive in Residence at the Wake Forest University School of Business. He is the retired president and CEO of the Cato Institute and was chairman and CEO of BB&T Corporation. During Allison’s tenure as CEO from 1989 to 2008, BB&T grew from $4.5 billion to $152 billion in assets.

Tara Smith | Perspectives on Pursuing an Intellectual Career

As a professional intellectual or an “intellectual professional,” there is a wide variety of possible avenues for advancing Objectivism in your professional work. In this session, Tara Smith talks about her work and career.

Dr. Smith is a professor of philosophy at the University of Texas at Austin. She has published books on individual rights, the foundations of value, Ayn Rand’s theory of egoistic virtues and the requirements of objectivity in judicial review. Current research focuses on psychological aspects of egoism.

Keynote Session Q&A with Onkar Ghate, Yaron Brook, Tal Tsfany

In the keynote session preceding this Q&A, Ayn Rand Institute senior fellow and chief philosophy officer, Onkar Ghate, discusses Ayn Rand’s essay “For the New Intellectual,” and Rand’s perspective on the crucial role that intellectuals play in shaping the culture.

Dr. Ghate is senior fellow, chief content officer and a board member of the Ayn Rand Institute. He specializes in Rand’s philosophy, Objectivism, and is ARI’s senior instructor and editor. He publishes and lectures on Rand’s philosophy and fiction, including application of Objectivism in the culture, and has been a guest on national radio and television programs.

Dr. Brook is chairman of the board of the Ayn Rand Institute. He is co-author, with Don Watkins, of “In Pursuit of Wealth” (2017), of “Equal Is Unfair” (2016) and of the national best-seller “Free Market Revolution” (2012). He is the host of The Yaron Brook Show on BlogTalk Radio.

Mr. Tsfany is the CEO of the Ayn Rand Institute. Prior to this, he was an entrepreneur, investor and executive in the software world in Israel and the United States. He is a co-founder of the Ayn Rand Center Israel and has published a young adult book titled Sophie.

How ARI is Training Tomorrow’s New Intellectuals by Tal Tsfany

ARI’s CEO, Tal Tsfany, highlights the opportunities that ARI can offer to young people interested in an intellectual career.

Mr. Tsfany is the CEO of the Ayn Rand Institute. Prior to this, he was an entrepreneur, investor and executive in the software world in Israel and the United States. He is a co-founder of the Ayn Rand Center Israel and has published a young adult book titled Sophie.

What It Takes to Change a Culture by Yaron Brook

Yaron Brook, chair of ARI’s board of directors and host of The Yaron Brook Show, discusses how Rand’s perspective has guided ARI’s strategy over more than three decades. He also discusses his personal career path as an internationally known speaker and YouTube host.

Dr. Brook is co-author, with Don Watkins, of “In Pursuit of Wealth” (2017), of “Equal Is Unfair” (2016) and of the national best-seller “Free Market Revolution” (2012).

Ayn Rand’s “For the New Intellectual” by Onkar Ghate

In this keynote session, Ayn Rand Institute senior fellow and chief philosophy officer, Onkar Ghate, discusses Ayn Rand’s essay “For the New Intellectual,” and Rand’s perspective on the crucial role that intellectuals play in shaping the culture.

Dr. Ghate is senior fellow, chief content officer and a board member of the Ayn Rand Institute. He specializes in Rand’s philosophy, Objectivism, and is ARI’s senior instructor and editor. He publishes and lectures on Rand’s philosophy and fiction, including application of Objectivism in the culture, and has been a guest on national radio and television programs.

Inequality: Should We Care? A debate with Dr. Yaron Brook and Dr. James Galbraith

A debate with Dr. Yaron Brook of the Ayn Rand Institute and Dr. James Galbraith of University of Texas at Austin’s Inequality Project.

Productive Achievement: Man’s “Noblest Activity” by Onkar Ghate

Most thinkers throughout history have held a negative or, at best, neutral view of productive work. If not scorned outright, production has usually been viewed as having no moral significance. But Ayn Rand had a unique view of the human potential, central to which is the importance she accords to the act of production. Productive achievement, in her philosophy, is man’s “noblest activity.” This talk explores what Objectivism means by the virtue of productiveness and discusses aspects of our culture’s positive and negative attitudes toward producers and productive activity.

Onkar Ghate is senior fellow and chief content officer at the Ayn Rand Institute. Tara Smith, who participates in the question period, is professor of philosophy and BB&T Chair for the Study of Objectivism at the University of Texas at Austin. This talk was delivered at Objectivist Summer Conference 2017 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, on Saturday, June 10, 2017.

Ayn Rand’s Ideas: An Introduction

Tens of millions have read Ayn Rand’s novels, including The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged, and half a million copies of her works now sell each year, but far fewer people know of the radical system of ideas underlying the stories she created. This lecture by Onkar Ghate introduces some of the main ideas of this controversial thinker — and their vital importance today. Recorded June 2, 2003

Reclaiming Americanism Panel

A New Textbook of Americanism: The Politics of Ayn Rand (2018) presents Rand’s distinctive philosophical conception of “Americanism” and shows why it is so urgently needed today. This panel features the book’s editor Jonathan Hoenig and several contributors.

Recorded live at OCON on June 24, 2019

Foundations of a Free Society Panel

Foundations of a Free Society: Reflections on Ayn Rand’s Political Philosophy (2019) is an in-depth philosophic exploration of Rand’s advocacy of capitalism. The book relates her ideas to contemporary and historical debates, and particularly the views of other thinkers seen as defending individual liberty and free markets. This panel moderated by Elan Journo features contributors to the book.

Recorded live at OCON on June 25, 2019

Facts and Fallacies About Intellectual Ability by Edwin A. Locke

This talk presents what is known about intellectual ability including its proper definition, its measurement, its genetic basis, its association with life achievements and outcomes, and its relationship to volition. It also explains why the issue of intellectual ability has been politicized especially among intellectuals. A proper view of social justice will be presented. Recorded live at

OCON on June 26, 2019

Earning Your Own Trust: The Psychology of Honesty by Gena Gorlin

This talk discusses the meaning and importance of being honest, especially with oneself—why it matters, why it can be hard and how to make it habit. Dr. Gorlin offers tools for introspecting the difference between reason and rationalizing, for staying selfishly committed to facts even when it hurts, and for correcting habits to the contrary. The talk draws on research and clinical experience, further clarified by Ayn Rand’s insights on the choice to focus.

Recorded live at OCON on June 25, 2019.

The Subtheme of Free Will in Atlas Shrugged by Ben Bayer

According to Ayn Rand, the theme of Atlas Shrugged is “the role of the mind in man’s existence.” In this session, we explore how Rand conveys her distinctive theory of free will, that the operation of the mind itself is volitional. In particular, we focus on a key conflict in the plot that is resolved only when one character realizes that the mind is volitional. Recorded live at OCON on June 27, 2019

The Romanticism of Atlas Shrugged by Ben Bayer

Ayn Rand described Romanticism as “a category of art based on the recognition of the principle that man possesses the faculty of volition.” In this session, we discuss how her novel “Atlas Shrugged” fits into this category. Drawing on the framework Rand establishes in her essay “What Is Romanticism?,” we explore how the major conflicts in the plot of “Atlas Shrugged” express Rand’s commitment to the premise of volition in man’s existential action, and how the major value-conflicts faced by central characters in the novel express the same commitment in regard to man’s consciousness. We also highlight the importance of each of these features of Rand’s Romanticism and how they contribute to the enjoyment of the novel.

Free Will by Onkar Ghate

Recorded live at Ayn Rand Conference Europe 2020

The Virtue of Selfishness by Elan Journo

Recorded live at Ayn Rand Conference Europe 2020

How Did Freedom Fare in the Supreme Court This Year? (2018) with Amy Peikoff, Larry Salman, Steve Simpson

Gay wedding cakes. Compulsory union dues. Mandatory disclosures for pregnancy centers. Police searches of cell phone records. These are just a few of the subjects the Supreme Court has taken up this term. The Court’s major cases impact freedom in America and involve fascinating political and philosophical questions. Our panel of experts: Amy Peikoff, Larry Salzman and Steve Simpson, analyze some of the Court’s most momentous decisions from this term and explain their implications.

Recorded live at OCON 2018 on July 3, 2018.

Music in Stone: Architecture and Sense of Life by Barry Wood

Architecture is in a class of its own among the arts, combining utilitarian function and expressive power. How, though, can a building, which is nonrepresentational, convey meaning? In this lecture, Dr. Wood draws on Ayn Rand’s writings on architecture, including The Fountainhead and The Romantic Manifesto, to deepen our understanding of how great buildings concretize abstract values. The talk includes analyses of several works of world architecture from an Objectivist perspective.

This lecture was delivered on July 5, 2018 at OCON 2018.

“Crypto Currencies” Panacea or Ponzi Scheme–or Neither? by Jim Brown, Lars Christensen, Carter Laren, Lawrence White

Bitcoin. Ethereum. Litecoin. Ripple. These and other digital currencies have fired the imagination of free-market advocates. Can crypto currencies replace fiat currencies? Can they compete with gold? What’s the future of the blockchain technology on which these inventions are built? Our panel of experts: Jim Brown, Lars Christensen, Carter Laren and Lawrence White have different points of view, and they will discuss the future — and the failings — of these fascinating innovations.

Recorded live at OCON 2018 on July 1, 2018.

Creativity Comes from the Subconscious — or Does It? by Edwin A. Locke

This talk argues that the prime mover in creativity is the conscious mind even though the subconscious plays a critical role. The conscious aspect includes: having a purpose or goal, passionate love of the goal, active thinking, vision, independent judgment, tenacity and objectivity, and the willingness to change goals or strategies in the face of failure. The role of intelligence and the subconscious will be explained. Dr. Locke gives specific examples from literature, business and science.

Yaron Brook and David Pakman Debate: “Does Pure Capitalism Work?”

Listen to the final installment in a series of four discussions between Ayn Rand Institute chairman Yaron Brook and David Pakman about Ayn Rand and Objectivism. Pakman is the host of the internationally syndicated television and radio program The David Pakman Show.

Yaron Brook and David Pakman Debate: “Should We Have Welfare Programs?”

Listen to the third in a series of four discussions between Ayn Rand Institute chairman Yaron Brook and David Pakman about Ayn Rand and Objectivism. Pakman is the host of the internationally syndicated television and radio program The David Pakman Show.

Yaron Brook and David Pakman Debate: “Is Capitalism Moral?”

The second of four debates between Yaron Brook and David Pakman. This debate covers the question: “Is Capitalism Moral?”

Yaron Brook Debates David Pakman on Ayn Rand

Listen to the first in a series of four discussions between Ayn Rand Institute chairman Yaron Brook and David Pakman about Ayn Rand and Objectivism. Pakman is the host of the internationally syndicated television and radio program The David Pakman Show.

Transforming Burnout with Selfishness – Ellen Kenner, Edwin A. Locke and Jean Moroney

Burnout is a vicious cycle involving loss of motivation for one’s job or career. Internal causes include altruism, the duty premise and secondhand values. External causes include unrealistic expectations of others and injustice. Our panel of experts: Ellen Kenner, Edwin A. Locke and Jean Moroney discuss how making selfish value choices breaks the vicious cycle of burnout, so you can experience a virtuous cycle of productivity for achieving selfish goals.