A theme in Ayn Rand’s fiction is that the failure to understand evil is a source of error and unhappiness for good people. Drawing on the Objectivist corpus this talk will explore the nature of evil, including: the ways in which actions, motives, ideas and people can be evil; the respects in which evil is and is not important; and how understanding evil can help us to appreciate the good and to foster the best in ourselves and others. Recorded live as part of The Objectivist Conference on September 01, 2021.
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.
Think about celebrities who tweet about their politics all the time, or think about companies who want you to buy their products because they’re supposedly eco-friendly. Some say that these are symptoms of an epidemic that’s coursing it’s way through social media and through our political discourse generally, an epidemic they call “virtue signalling”.
Ben Bayer, a fellow at The Ayn Rand Institute, has some questions about this. You’re said to be a virtue signaller when you promote some cause or criticize some figure people love to hate in a way that doesn’t involve much cost, but which draws attention to your own right way of thinking.
What, if anything, is wrong with this kind of behavior? Is there a kind of behavior here at all or do the critics of virtue signalling lump together lots of different things? Is speaking out ineffective only because it’s speaking? Does profiting from the judgment of others make you insincere?
Join Ben Bayer and explore the question: What’s wrong with “virtue signalling”?
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.
Recorded May 7, 2014
This is the eleventh episode in a series looking at Objectivism’s approach to Happiness. John Allison joins Dave Rubin to discuss how the Objectivist ethics enabled his business success.
This is the fourth episode in a series looking at Objectivism’s approach to Happiness. Philosophers Gregory Salmieri and Onkar Ghate join Dave Rubin to discuss how to create a life worth living.
This is the first in a series looking at Objectivism’s approach to Happiness. Onkar Ghate and Tara Smith join Dave to discuss the virtue of selfishness.
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.)
Recorded at Objectivist Summer Conference 2018.
FROM THE VAULT–classic content from the Ayn Rand Institute.
In this talk, Yaron Brook discusses how radical Objectivism is and the difficulties involved in applying it, especially in the current culture.
This lecture was recorded at Objectivist Summer Conference 2013 in Chicago.
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.
In this talk, Yaron Brook discusses what it means to be selfish, what role selfishness has in politics, and how selfishness contributes to creating a happy productive life.
This talk was streamed live from Exeter University on November 13, 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.
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.
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).