Podcast

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

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