Why was Ayn Rand opposed to religion? What does Rand make of the notions of the sacred, of reverence, of worship, of the exalted? What is the difference between the ideals common to religions and the ideals projected in Rand’s fiction? Why does she think that man is a proper object of reverence? In this session, we discuss these questions from the perspective of Ayn Rand’s view of reason, of man, and of the world in which he lives.
This talk was recorded at Objectivist Summer Conference 2018.
Ayn Rand held that an individual’s pursuit of “his own rational self-interest and of his own happiness is the highest moral purpose of his life.” Fifty years ago, Rand published The Virtue of Selfishness, a groundbreaking book laying out her ethics of rational egoism. What does it look like to be selfish in your own life? In this introductory talk, Elan Journo discusses Rand’s conception of morality and sketches what it looks like in practice.
College used to be grounded in the inviolate principle that each of us should confront new ideas, speak our minds, and learn. Has that time passed? This year (2017) alone we have seen a riot at U.C. Berkeley and violence at Middlebury College over controversial speakers. Instead of “express yourself,” a new view seems to be taking hold: “Suppress yourself—or I’ll do it for you.” What is happening to free speech on campus?
In this panel discussion (sponsored by the Ayn Rand Institute and the University of Southern California Political Student Assembly and Young Americans for Liberty), three leading voices in this field address current threats to freedom of speech on college campuses: Dave Rubin, Creator and Host of “The Rubin Report”; Colin Moriarty, Creator and Host of “Colin’s Last Stand,” and Steve Simpson, Director of Legal Studies, Ayn Rand Institute, and editor of “Defending Free Speech.”
This panel was recorded live at the Seeley G. Mudd Building, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California, on Thursday, April 13, 2017.
Discussing Objectivism: Ayn Rand’s Philosophy for Living on Earth (Part 2). Recorded at Objectivist Summer Conference 2018. This session explores the basic contours of Ayn Rand’s overall philosophy by discussing highlights from Galt’s speech in Atlas Shrugged. (We try to avoid Atlas plot spoilers.)
This is the tenth episode in a series looking at Objectivism’s approach to Happiness. Philosopher Gregory Salmieri and psychologist Gena Gorlin join Dave Rubin to discuss the psychological requirements of happiness.
This is the fifth episode in a series looking at Objectivism’s approach to Happiness. Philosophers Gregory Salmieri and Harry Binswanger join Dave Rubin to discuss Objectivism’s view on the relationship between facts and values, why Ayn Rand’s ideas generate the strong reactions they do, and Harry’s experience knowing Ayn Rand personally.
This is the third episode in a series looking at Objectivism’s approach to Happiness. Yaron Brook and Onkar Ghate join Dave Rubin to discuss Enlightenment culture and the pursuit of happiness, in contrast with the culture of tribalism and self-sacrifice.
This session explores the basic contours of Ayn Rand’s overall philosophy by discussing highlights from Galt’s speech in Atlas Shrugged. On Day 1, we discuss the following questions: Is our society and our world, like Galt’s, going through a moral crisis? Why does Galt think the solution to this crisis is to discover morality, rather than return to it? What is the morality for living on earth, and on what earthly facts is it based? (We try to avoid Atlas plot spoilers.)
In recent years, the internet has become the focus of debates about free speech, and the issue is rapidly coming to a head.
The internet provides a platform to bring people closer together and to empower individuals by enabling new voices to be heard and sparking the formation of new communities and new movements. But some of these communities are rife with hatred and bullying, and there are worries that social media is coarsening our political discourse. Many people think that social media outlets have too much power over how we speak and interact on the internet and that more government oversight is needed.
Where does this leave the idea of free speech? What sorts of speech should be permitted and prohibited online? And who should decide?
What Might Be and Ought to Be: The Idealism of Objectivism
Ayn Rand is often charged with advocating a kind of cynical amoralism; but the opposite is true. Rand was a moral idealist. In this session, we will discuss the nature and roots of that idealism, addressing such questions as: What does it mean to be an idealist? Why does Rand think that ideals are so important to have and to fight for? What is the connection between having ideals and having a self? Is idealism naïve and impractical?
This talk was recorded at Objectivist Summer Conference 2018.
In this video, recorded at Objectivist Summer Conference 2018, Patrick Bet-David interviews Yaron Brook to discuss Objectivism and Capitalism. Brook responds to questions such as: Is Objectivism a philosophy for elitists? Is it sustainable to run a nation based on this philosophy? How is world peace achieved? Has religion done more good or bad for the world? Was Ayn Rand’s move to America as a young woman a “leap of faith”? What would the world look like if everyone accepted Objectivism? Does the virtue of selfishness work in every aspect of life? And more. . . .
Yaron Brook is chairman of the board of the Ayn Rand Institute and travels extensively as ARI’s spokesman.
Brook can be heard weekly on The Yaron Brook Show, which airs live on the BlogTalkRadio podcast. He is also a frequent guest on national radio and television programs. He is the coauthor, with Don Watkins, of the national best-seller Free Market Revolution; How Ayn Rand’s Ideas Can End Big Government and of Equal Is Unfair: America’s Misguided Fight Against Income Inequality.
Brook serves on the boards of the Ayn Rand Institute, the Clemson Institute for the Study of Capitalism and CEHE (Center for Excellence in Higher Education), and he is a member of the Association of Private Enterprise Education and the Mont Pelerin Society.
Mr. Bet-David is passionate about shaping the next generation of leaders by teaching entrepreneurship and disrupting the traditional approach to a career. His popular YouTube videos “The Life of an Entrepreneur” and others are available on Valuetainment, a channel for entrepreneurs. He has hosted one-on-one interviews with NBA Hall of Famers James Worthy and Magic Johnson; author Robert Greene; entrepreneur and NBA team owner Mark Cuban; Indy-500 winner Al Unser Jr. and Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak.
Yaron Brook talks with Onkar Ghate and Greg Salmieri about free speech, the Patreon scandal, and Sam Harris’s reaction. During this Livestream from the Ayn Rand Institute the guests will discuss free speech from an Objectivist perspective and why the controversy is philosophic in nature.
This session explores a key theme of The Fountainhead: the importance of thinking for oneself. We discuss how key speeches and passages from the book address these questions: What does it mean to think for oneself? Does it mean believing whatever one likes, never learning from or agreeing with others, judging everything on a case-by-case basis? Or does it mean using a disciplined, principled method consistent with learning from others? (May contain mild Fountainhead plot spoilers.)
Recorded live at Objectivist Summer Conference 2018
This talk integrates the moral perspective offered by Rand’s “trader principle” with psychological tools and insights for improving assertive communication. Attendees will learn how skills such as reflective listening, the “broken record” technique, perspective-taking, and ”I”-statements can deepen the intimacy and value derived from close personal relationships, largely by conveying respect for the other person’s volition and value-context while also demanding respect for one’s own. Recorded at Objectivist Conferences 2018
This talk shows that there are several attributes of literary heroism: the promotion of life-affirming values, the depth of virtue(s) manifested, the power of antagonists faced, and the hero’s degree of prowess. When we deploy such criteria and compare and contrast Howard Roark to some of literature’s other great heroes-for example, Odysseus, Cyrano, Doctor Stockmann, and Shane-where do we find he stands in the pantheon of literary heroism? This talk examines and answers this question.
In the 1960s, protests erupted at U.C. Berkeley over a ban on political activity on campus. Students marched and occupied school property, all in the name of “free speech.” Today, the Free Speech Movement launched at Berkeley in the 1960s is widely held as a model for advocates of the right to free speech. Is that true? This talk analyzes the Berkeley Free Speech Movement and its implications for free speech today.
Cultural observers have often noted that Europe — and, more broadly, Western civilization — despite historically unprecedented success, is in danger of losing itself. But what exactly is being lost, and why? And what can be done about it?
In a recent panel discussion entitled “What Is Killing Western Civilization?,” Yaron Brook (chairman of the board of the Ayn Rand Institute) and Douglas Murray (author of The Strange Death of Europe: Immigration, Identity, Islam) met at the Institution of Mechanical Engineers lecture theatre in central London to discuss the future of Western civilization in the context of its own identity crisis and the growing trend of immigration to the West from those outside it — and, in some cases, hostile to it. The panel, moderated by Claire Fox (director and founder of Academy of Ideas), addressed such questions as:
What is Western civilization?
What is the nature of the crisis that the West faces?
How should one think about immigration in today’s world?
This talk explores the value of admiration in the realm of sports. At a time when much in the world around us seems distinctly un-admirable, spotlighting athletes’ achievements offers a refreshing antidote. Even those who aren’t sports fans can gain a deeper appreciation of how admiration itself is a value and can contribute to the admirer’s own flourishing. We explore how the sight of an achievement (as Ayn Rand observed) is, indeed, a glorious thing.
This talk was recorded live in Newport Beach, California, at Objectivist Summer Conference 2018.
“More Things in Heaven and Earth”: Spacetime, Black Holes, and Gravitational Waves
The 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics was awarded for the first-ever detection of gravitational waves, confirming a 100-year-old prediction of Einstein’s. The discovery, announced in 2015, launched a new era of gravitational wave astronomy, but also raises challenging philosophical questions about the nature of space, time and gravity. What are gravitational waves and how are they being used to study the universe? And is there an inherent conflict between General Relativity and key metaphysical principles?
This talk was recorded live at Objectivist Summer Conference 2018 in Newport Beach, California.
A video version of this talk that includes supporting images can be found on ARI’s YouTube channel here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wwJ8Rl-dN9s
The political climate in the West, described by some as toxic, is deteriorating rapidly. The worse it gets, the more we hear about the conflation of speech and action, that words lead to violence, and that government should step in.
How serious are the problems around modern political discourse, such as trolling and de-platforming, and what is the best way to bring about constructive discussions on controversial topics?
This event was recorded live in London on October 12, 2018.
“Kill by Laughter”: Humor in The Fountainhead and Its 21st-Century Relevance
The Fountainhead is the novel in which Ayn Rand’s conception of humor (good and bad) comes across most clearly. The novel begins: “Howard Roark laughed.” Yet the villain Ellsworth Toohey, presenting his recipe for achieving power, recommends that we “kill by laughter.” This lecture discusses humor in The Fountainhead and the prevalence of the bad kind of humor in today’s culture.
The characters in The Fountainhead have differing views of what is important in life. The more sympathetic characters differ in the significance they place on the vices or inadequacies they observe in other people and in the culture at large. Dr. Salmieri explores the novel’s treatment of this issue and elaborates on Howard Roark’s distinctive perspective (which Dominique Francon comes to share).
This panel discussion centers on the impact of philosophy on a person’s life, wrestling with topics ranging from the sovereignty of the individual to the nature of human consciousness to how values are derived from facts. This discussion took place on July 1, 2018, at Objectivist Summer Conference 2018 in Newport Beach, California.
In his new book What Justice Demands: America and the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, Elan Journo explains the essential nature of this pivotal conflict, what has fueled it for so long, and America’s actual stake in the region. In this introductory talk delivered at Objectivist
Why would anyone be optimistic today? Given the state of politics and our culture, and what we see on the news, it can be difficult not to have a negative view of the future. In this talk, delivered at Objectivist Summer Conference 2018, Yaron Brook says that contrary to popular belief, we ought to look forward to the future. By introspecting and putting the present day in its proper historical context, Brook argues, we have very good reason to be optimistic.