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ARI taking on the debate at Freedom Summit Chicago 2015

On November 14, 2015, more than 200 attendees joined ARI’s sessions on immigration, inequality and educational freedom at Freedom Summit Chicago 2015.

In ARI’s first session, “How Republicans Are Making a Mockery of the Constitution — and What We Can Do About It,” Onkar Ghate argued that the Republicans’ anti-immigration rhetoric and policies show that they are not taking the Constitution and Declaration of Independence seriously. Not if that means consistently upholding the basic principle of those founding documents: the principle of individual rights. Onkar’s controversial message generated lively, even unruly, reactions from the audience.

In our second session, “Turning the Tables on the Inequality Alarmists,” Don Watkins presented ARI’s distinctive take on the inequality debate. Instead of arguing about whether economic inequality really is as large as the egalitarians are saying, he argued, we should be portraying the egalitarians as enemies of the only kind of equality that matters: political equality.

In the final session, “Freedom in Education,” Carl Svanberg and Onkar Ghate discussed the meaning, value and implications of educational freedom. Carl began by concretizing the pervasiveness of government in education and indicated why it is a mistake to equate educational freedom with “school choice.” Onkar then went on to explain that we should liberate education from government controls precisely because it represents such a basic but crucial human need — just like food, shelter, clothing and health care. Carl’s and Onkar’s remarks were followed by an extensive Q&A session.

Throughout the day, many new and old fans of Ayn Rand’s works approached our booth. We handed out multiple copies of Ayn Rand’s fiction and nonfiction books, as well as various pamphlets and brochures, and many attendees signed up to receive information about ARI and Ayn Rand’s ideas. Several people commented that they first heard about the Ayn Rand Institute from listening to The Yaron Brook Show on AM 560 The Answer, and from listening to “A Moment of Objectivism,” a campaign of 90-second spots which air during The Joe Walsh Show on AM 560 The Answer.

Others inquired when they could get their hands on Don Watkins’s and Yaron Brook’s upcoming book, Equal Is Unfair: America’s Misguided Fight Against Income Inequality. You can preorder the book from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Politics & Prose, Books-A-Million, eBooks or Kobo