history

Stoicism vs Objectivism: What Is (and Is Not) Under Our Control? by Aaron Smith

Objectivism holds that it’s vital to understand what things are under our control and what are not. To avoid passive resignation toward what we can change and futile rebellion against the unchangeable, we need to internalize the right perspective on this issue. This talk contrasts the Objectivist perspective on this question with that of Stoicism. Both philosophies regard the issue as of central practical importance to a good life, but they differ in fundamental ways that are instructive to explore.

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

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

Victor Hugo and You: The Art of Spiritual Splendor by Shoshana Milgram

Hugo was a giant. He created brilliantly Romantic novels, poetry and plays, and he did so with dedicated purpose: “Everything in a work of art is an act of will.” Learn about the life, works and impact of the man Ayn Rand considered “the greatest novelist in world literature.” His writing, he said, “knocks on the door and says, Open up, I have come for you.” Let’s accept his invitation.

This talk was recorded live on June 25th as part of OCON 2019.

Aristotle and the Romantic Manifesto by Robert Mayhew

In the Romantic Manifesto, Ayn Rand reports that before she heard the name “Aristotle,” she had accepted his principle “that fiction is of greater philosophical importance than history, because history represents things only as they are, while fiction represents them ‘as they might be and ought to be.’” The aim of this talk is to explain the role of this principle in Aristotle’s esthetics and Ayn Rand’s, and to note other parallels between the Poetics and Romantic Manifesto.

Recorded live on June 27, 2019 in Cleveland, OH.

Why Ayn Rand Matters with Yaron Brook and Dave Rubin

This is the ninth episode in a series looking at Objectivism’s approach to Happiness. Yaron Brook joins Dave Rubin to discuss why Ayn Rand matters.