One of the most popular quotes attributed to Ayn Rand is: “The question isn’t who is going to let me; it’s who is going to stop me.” Many people are inspired by the self-confident attitude these words imply. “I don’t need anyone’s permission to live my life,” the words suggest. “All I need is an unobstructed road. As long as nobody stops me, I’ll prove myself.”
Robert Reich attributes a long list of current social ills to Rand’s influence over Donald Trump, political conservatives, and the culture at large. But his argument depends on distorting Rand’s actual views and exaggerating her cultural influence.
“Three Free Speech Myths” is the latest essay by Steve Simpson, the Ayn Rand Institute’s director of Legal Studies. It’s online at Merion West. Simpson will participate in a public debate and panel discussion at UC-Berkeley on March 8, “Are We Killing Free Speech?” He will be joined on the panel by Heather Mac Donald and Dave Rubin.
Ayn Rand originally envisioned Atlas Shrugged as a socio-political novel that would build on the ethical ideas of The Fountainhead, but as she worked on Atlas, she developed and revised her ethical thought in unexpected ways. In his lecture course “Ayn Rand’s Ethics: From The Fountainhead to Atlas Shrugged,” available at ARI’s eStore, Darryl Wright explores how, and why, her ideas changed — as well as what did not change.
One of the Ayn Rand Institute’s most popular education programs is its annual essay contests. Contests on Anthem, The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged collectively attract the attention of approximately fifteen to twenty thousand students each spring, as they compete to win a share of more than $130,000 in cash prizes. ARI’s goal, however, is that participation in an essay contest should mark the beginning of a lifetime’s interest in Ayn Rand’s works.
In her 1970 lecture The Anti-Industrial Revolution, Ayn Rand analyzes the arguments and underlying motivation of the emerging “ecology” movement, the forerunner of today’s environmentalism. Separating legitimate concerns about pollution from the movement’s deeper animus toward industrial civilization and technological progress, Rand explains her view of the proper relationship between human beings and their environment.
“I got the blue one, which one did you get?” “I’m reading the red one first.” This is some of the chatter I hear as a group of about thirty high school students rush up to the front of a Santa Ana classroom to choose a free book from a cardboard box. These students have just listened to Yaron Brook, chairman of the board of the Ayn Rand Institute, speak to them about selfishness.