One woman, one microphone, one key to the Ayn Rand Institute audio archives — that’s Rise & Fall: How Ideas Move the World, a podcast about the power of philosophic ideas hosted by Ayn Rand Institute research associate Amanda Maxham.
“Ideas surround you,” Maxham said. “Ideas shape the way you act, how you feel, what you think is good and what you condemn as evil. Whether it’s the first spark of a new invention or the fall of Rome, ideas shape the world. Rise & Fall illuminates those ideas, one at a time.”
Maxham chooses a theme for each episode and then digs into ARI’s audio archives, where every lecture, radio program, course and Q&A from Objectivist voices that were caught on tape over the past fifty years waits to be uncovered. She weaves these audio gems together with commentary and original interviews to create each episode of Rise & Fall.
The topics vary, from genetically engineered mosquitoes to the use of language, from “Islamophobia” to courtroom justice, but no matter the topic, Rise & Fall looks at the world through the lens of the power of philosophic ideas.
Listeners are encouraged to call the toll-free Rise & Fall line (888-673-5553) to leave a message with reactions to the show or questions for the host and guests. Maxham plans to use these reactions in shaping future episodes.
Each episode also features an original illustration by former Institute intern Robert Simpson.
Here are summaries of the first three episodes, slated for release next week (available now on YouTube here):
Episode 1: The Four Events That Significantly Emboldened Islamic Totalitarians: The Iranian Hostage Crisis, the Salman Rushdie Affair, September 11th and the Charlie Hebdo Massacre. Are we in the Western world doomed to more and more attacks by Islamic totalitarians? And what can anyone do about it? The answer might surprise you.
Episode 2: Nature’s Deadliest Killer: The recent outbreak of Zika (a mosquito-borne virus) in the United States brings mankind’s battle against mosquitoes and the diseases they carry to the forefront. We have many tools we can use to fight mosquitoes, such as DDT and GMOs (genetically modified organisms), so why aren’t we using them?
Episode 3: Anti-Concepts: “Islamophobia,” “meritocracy” and “extremism.” These three anti-concepts obliterate clear thinking and shut down thoughtful discussion. Have you unwittingly accepted them into your thinking?