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.
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.
“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.
On February 8, the Ayn Rand Institute celebrated a significant milestone in its Free Books to Teachers program. Robert Begley, development specialist at ARI, presented a framed copy of ARI’s four-millionth free book, The Fountainhead, to Bayside High School English teacher Allan Weissmann. This is particularly noteworthy because 2018 happens to be the 75th anniversary of this best-selling Ayn Rand novel.
Merion West’s Alex Baltzegar interviews Steve Simpson, director of Legal Studies at the Ayn Rand Institute, on Ayn Rand’s philosophy of Objectivism, how it applies to free speech and foreign policy, and whether one can reconcile Christianity with her philosophy.
In my last blog post, I reported on how Greg Salmieri and I had done a special Atlas Project live broadcast from Atlanta, where we had both been attending the 2017 Ayn Rand Student Conference. The conference was exciting enough to warrant its own post.
ARI has held worldwide essay contests for students on Ayn Rand’s fiction for thirty years. This year we will award over 750 prizes totaling more than $130,000. Last year’s contestants read and responded to essay prompts on Ayn Rand’s Anthem, The Fountainhead or Atlas Shrugged. You can read all three winning essays on our essay contest page.