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?
On a Pedestal: Sport as an Arena for Admiration
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.
“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.