The Ayn Rand Institute is Dead

The Obleftivist vampires at the Ayn Rand Institute have soaked the life blood out of what was a very good organization and ruined Objectivism as a philosophy. While yours truly has moved on to bigger and better things, the split in the Objectivist movement as outlined by Susan Hanson is indicative of the culture at large.

The Ayn Rand Institute Does Not Speak for Ayn Rand

By Susan Hanson, August 24, 2020, American Thinker

The Ayn Rand Institute (ARI) was founded in 1985, three years after Ayn Rand’s death, by Ed Snider and Leonard Peikoff, Rand’s legal heir.  The stated purpose of the Institute was “to introduce young people to Ayn Rand’s novels, to support scholarship and research based on her ideas, and to promote the principles of reason, rational self-interest, individual rights and laissez-faire capitalism to the widest possible audience.”

The current website states: “ARI also engages in research and advocacy efforts, applying Rand’s ideas to current issues and seeking to promote her philosophical principles of reason, rational self-interest and laissez-faire.”

ARI’s first projects were college scholarship essay contests based on Rand’s novels and developing a network of college clubs in order to study Objectivism.  They were worthy projects that introduced people to Ayn Rand’s ideas.  Over time, however, the intellectuals at the Institute have become involved in political analysis and authoritatively pronounce their conclusions on controversial topics that Ayn Rand herself didn’t address directly, dismissing those who disagree and refusing to consider that they might be wrong about those conclusions.  

Here are a few of the controversies:

Political position.  The Ayn Rand Institute website states, “We are neither of the right nor the left[.]”  Yet Ayn Rand defined the right as “those who are predominantly in favor of individual freedom and capitalism — and the word ‘leftist’ to denote the views of those who are predominantly in favor of government controls and socialism.”  By her own definition, ARI should be on the right.

Trump. Yaron Brook, who was executive director from 2000 to 2017 and is the current chairman of the board, said it is a huge mistake to be a Trump-supporter and that there is no way in hell that Ayn Rand would have voted for Trump.  ARI put out an article by Onkar Ghate, its chief philosophy officer, claiming that Trump won the presidency because he projected himself as a dictator and that this revealed disturbing things about the American citizens.

Ayn Rand had some views about whom to vote for in past elections.  In the run-up to the 1972 election, Rand wrote that she did not like Nixon but advocated voting for him because while Nixon could not be counted on to save the country, for certain McGovern could destroy the country.  She said, “It is against statism that we have to vote. It is statism that has to be defeated — and defeated resoundingly.”  She was consequently very happy to see the Americans elect Nixon.[1]  For certain, Hillary Clinton could destroy the country, yet Ghate and Brook were not happy when Trump was elected.  Intellectuals at ARI voted for Hillary Clinton and plan to vote for Biden, who could also destroy the country.

Brook even went so far as to say anyone who supports Trump is a 5th-column Objectivist.  Come to find out, Leonard Peikoff donated to the Trump campaign in February 2020.

Toward the end of Brook’s podcast on January 2, 2018, he said, “Do I buy that Trump colluded with the Russians?  Yeah, I believe that[.] … I don’t have any evidence to support it[.]”  Brook is forming a conclusion without proof.  This is not objective and is in conflict with Rand’s philosophy, which is based on reason.