Fresh from the success of “Building a Future of Reason and Capitalism” in New York City last month, Fox News contributor and hedge fund manager Jonathan Hoenig is looking forward to emceeing the event on March 11 in his hometown of Chicago.

“New York was standing room only, with a notable turnout of young people new to Ayn Rand,” Hoenig said. “I saw familiar faces as well and met a lot of people I had only previously known through social media. There were lots of listeners to Yaron Brook’s radio show and a few people who recognized me from Fox News. I even met a few people who knew Ayn Rand personally, and their stories were amazing. But I’m hoping the Chicago turnout will be even better.”

The Chicago event takes place on March 11, from 12:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. at the W Chicago-City Center hotel. Details and registration information are here. The speaker lineup includes:

  • Yaron Brook, executive chairman of the Ayn Rand Institute and co-author of Equal Is Unfair: America’s Misguided Fight Against Income Inequality and Free Market Revolution: How Ayn Rand’s Ideas Can End Big Government
  • Aaron Smith, ARI instructor and philosopher
  • Elan Journo, ARI fellow and director of Policy Research
  • Don Watkins, ARI fellow and co-author of Equal Is Unfair and Free Market Revolution

The event is designed to showcase 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 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.

If New York is any indication, the March 11 event in Chicago will be inspiring. “Everyone there was hugely passionate about what’s happening in today’s culture,” said Hoenig. “Everybody was chatting even before the event started. The prepared remarks were inspired, with a lively Q&A session that ran the gamut. I know I especially enjoyed playing ‘devil's advocate,’ offering up the best objections to the speakers’ claims, but to no avail.”

Everyone interested in Rand’s work can find something of value in the event. “Even people who had only read a little Ayn Rand were enthusiastic,” he said. “The true power of philosophy — the real-world, daily application — was apparent in talking with many of the attendees in New York. Ayn Rand's work has changed their lives for the better, if making them question and think about their beliefs, business, relationships and life more closely.”

Here’s part of an interview with Hoenig that preceded the New York event:

What is 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 a lot 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 over 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, e.g., libertarianism or conservatism 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 do you most look forward to personally at these 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.