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An Interview with Jonathan Hoenig on “Building a Future of Reason and Capitalism”

Fox News contributor and hedge fund manager Jonathan Hoenig will emcee two upcoming Ayn Rand Institute public events, in New York City and Chicago, titled “Building a Future of Reason and Capitalism.” In a recent interview, he shared some personal thoughts on the importance of ARI and what others can expect to gain by attending an event.

What will be your role at these events?

I’ll be the moderator, of course, but I’m also there as a student of Objectivism and supporter of the Ayn Rand Institute. One of the most thrilling things about Rand is that I’m always learning something original; I’m always challenging my current beliefs and always becoming more knowledgeable about how to think.

While I’m a “talking head” on Fox News and YouTube, I’m an ardent pupil at ARI events and usually end up taking lots of notes as well. Given the level of enthusiasm among those attending, I see myself as standing on the deck of an intellectual aircraft carrier, watching each of these tremendous thinkers blast off into the sky.

How did your participation come about?

Over the past decade I’ve attended ARI events all around Chicago, on everything from metaphysics to the Middle East, in front of every type of audience imaginable. I do it selfishly — I always leave having received a value far outweighing the time, effort or expense to attend. These are the types of lectures and events I wish I had had access to in college.

To borrow a trope from the financial world, “When ARI scholars speak . . . I listen!” When the opportunity came up to participate in these lively events, I jumped at the chance.

What do you see as the importance of these events?

Without hyperbole, I firmly believe only Objectivism has philosophical and practical solutions to improve today’s culture and my own life on Earth. I’m one of the millions whose life has been positively transformed by reading Atlas Shrugged and learning about Ayn Rand’s ideas. It’s not only fun to help others discover Objectivism, but to whatever extent they can consciously integrate rational self-interest into their thinking, my world also improves.

More than anything, Ayn Rand Institute events inspire conversation and debate on the most pressing and fundamental issues of our time, which other intellectual movements like libertarians or conservatives typically avoid. They drone on in circles about politics and policies but overlook the essential philosophy that underpins it all. ARI is totally unique in providing that philosophical answer — it’s the only organization whose work has the potential to change the world, not just one particular industry or issue, but all of mankind.

What are you most looking forward to at the events?

The Q&A of course! Watching Yaron Brook, Onkar Ghate, Elan Journo, Steve Simpson and other ARI experts interact with an audience is a lesson in debate and critical thinking. It’s a rare speaker who can present ideas so accessibly and provocatively as they can, and I’ve often seen people who came in opposed to Rand’s ideas later nodding in agreement.  

Any surprises in store?

These events will be a lot of fun. Without giving away too much, I can promise some unique capitalism-themed door prizes for those who bring guests, who promote the events on social media and who demonstrate enthusiasm. The thing about Objectivism is that it truly is a philosophy of love and happiness on earth. Even amid troubling political trends, there’s limitless potential for true miracles — not the religious kind — every day. The best part of connecting with people over social media, who either are fans of Ayn Rand or curious about her ideas is meeting in person, because life is for living and living to the fullest. Everything starts with philosophy, and Objectivist ideas have improved my business, my family and personal relationships, my health and my well-being. It’s no surprise Ayn Rand continues to sell hundreds of thousands of books a year even decades after her death.

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For the February 4 event, four of ARI’s top experts will appear in New York City to discuss the future of the Objectivist movement in light of the November 2016 elections, the new administration in Washington, D.C., and the overall status of the culture. The event will take place from 1:00 to 6:30 p.m. at the Marriott Marquis hotel. Details on registration for this public event are available here. A three-and-a-half hour program will be followed by a reception with open wine and beer bar.

The event is designed to elucidate the Institute’s long-term, educational battle for philosophic change, with discussion of what ARI will be doing in the year ahead to educate the public on key matters of policy facing our country. The event will also update everyone on ARI’s ongoing work, especially with young people, to build momentum for a future that will enshrine reason, individual liberty and capitalism.

The lineup includes:

  • Onkar Ghate, ARI senior fellow and chief content officer, speaking on “Beyond Right and Left: Why Objectivism Is Needed to Oppose Today’s Rising Authoritarianism”
  • Elan Journo, ARI fellow and director of Policy Research, on “Bringing Reason and Egoism into America’s Bankrupt Foreign Policy”
  • Steve Simpson, ARI director of Legal Studies, on “Why Objectivism Is Essential to the Fight for Free Speech”
  • Yaron Brook, ARI’s executive co-chairman, with additional remarks

The Chicago event will happen on March 11, from 12:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. at the West Chicago City Center. Details and registration information are here.