Ayn Rand Institute

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Ayn Rand Institute
Ayn Rand Institute.jpg
Ayn Rand Institute Logo
Formation1985
TypeAyn Rand and Objectivism Research and Education Organization
HeadquartersIrvine, California
LocationWorldwide
Executive DirectorYaron Brook
Websiteaynrand.org
 
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Ayn Rand Institute
Ayn Rand Institute.jpg
Ayn Rand Institute Logo
Formation1985
TypeAyn Rand and Objectivism Research and Education Organization
HeadquartersIrvine, California
LocationWorldwide
Executive DirectorYaron Brook
Websiteaynrand.org

The Ayn Rand Institute: The Center for the Advancement of Objectivism (ARI) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit think tank in Irvine, California that promotes Ayn Rand's philosophy, called Objectivism. It was established in 1985, three years after Rand's death, by Leonard Peikoff, Rand's legal heir. Its executive director is Yaron Brook.[1]

ARI's stated goal is:

. . . to spearhead a cultural renaissance that will reverse the anti-reason, anti-individualism, anti-freedom, anti-capitalist trends in today's culture. The major battleground in this fight for reason and capitalism is the educational institutions—high schools and, above all, the universities, where students learn the ideas that shape their lives.[2]

ARI is mainly an educational organization, but also has "outreach programs." Its various programs include classes on Objectivism and related subjects offered through its Objectivist Academic Center, public lectures, op-ed articles, letters to the editor, competitions for essays about Rand's novels, materials for Objectivist campus clubs, supplying Rand's writings to schools and professors, and providing intellectuals for radio and TV interviews.[3]

History[edit]

During her lifetime, Rand helped establish The Foundation for the New Intellectual, to promote Objectivist ideas. The Foundation was dissolved some 15 years after her death, as having been made redundant by the Ayn Rand Institute. Although Rand never intended for Objectivism to become an organized movement, she heartily approved of rational individuals with the same ideas working toward a common goal.[4] Peikoff, her legal heir, was convinced to start the organization after businessman Ed Snider organized a meeting of possible financial supporters in New York in the fall of 1983.[5] Peikoff also agreed to be the first chairman of the organization's board of directors.[6]

ARI began operations on February 1, 1985, three years after Rand's death. The first board of directors included Snider and psychologist Edith Packer. Snider was also one of the founding donors for the organization.[6] Its first executive director was Michael Berliner, who was previously the chairman of the Department of Social and Philosophical Foundations of Education at California State University, Northridge.[7] ARI also established a board of governors, which initially included Harry Binswanger, Robert Hessen, Edwin A. Locke, Arthur Mode, George Reisman, Jay Snider, and Mary Ann Sures, with Peter Schwartz as its chairman.[8] M. Northrup Buechner and George Walsh joined the board of advisors shortly thereafter.[9]

ARI's first two projects were aimed at students. One was developing a network of college clubs to study Objectivism. The other was a college scholarship contest for high-school students based on writing an essay about Rand's novel The Fountainhead.[9] Later, additional essay contests were added based on Anthem, We the Living and Atlas Shrugged.[10] In 1988 the institute began publishing a newsletter for contributors, called Impact.[11]

In 1989, a philosophical dispute resulted in ARI ending its association with philosopher David Kelley.[12] Board of advisors member George Walsh, who agreed with Kelley, also left.[13] Kelley subsequently founded his own competing institute now known as The Atlas Society, which remains critical of ARI's stance on loyalty.[14]

In January 2000, Berliner retired as Executive Director, replaced by Yaron Brook, then an assistant professor of finance at Santa Clara University.[1] The institute was originally headquartered in Marina del Rey, California, but in 2002, it moved to larger offices in Irvine, California.[15]

Charity Navigator, which rates charitable and educational organizations to inform potential donors, gives ARI four out of four stars. According to the latest data from Charity Navigator, ARI spends 86.7% of its expenses on programs, 8.6% on fundraising, and 4.6% on administration.[16] As of June 2012 the institute's board of directors[17] consists of Dr. Brook; Dr. Berliner (co-chair); Arline Mann (co-chair), retired attorney, formerly of Goldman, Sachs & Co.; Carl Barney, CEO of several private colleges; Dr. Harry Binswanger, long-time associate of Ayn Rand; Dr. Peter LePort, a surgeon in private practice; Dr. Tara Smith, professor of philosophy at the University of Texas at Austin;[18] and John Allison, CEO of the Cato Institute and former CEO of BB&T.[19]

Peikoff retains a cooperative and influential relationship with ARI.[20] In 2006, he remarked that he approved of the work ARI has done[21] and in November 2010 that the executive director "has done a splendid job."[22] Peikoff was a featured speaker at ARI summer conferences in 2007 and 2010.[23] In August, 2010, he demanded and received a change to ARI's board of directors.[24]

Programs[edit]

ARI runs a variety of programs:

Ayn Rand Center for Individual Rights[edit]

In 2008, ARI opened the Ayn Rand Center for Individual Rights ("ARC") in Washington, D.C. to specialize in issues of public policy.[26]

During the current economic crisis, the ARC has been a vocal proponent of the position that government intervention is responsible for the crisis, and that the solution lies not in further government regulation but in moving toward full laissez-faire capitalism.[27][28]

On foreign policy, the ARC advocates American national self-interest, including ending the regimes that sponsor terrorism, rather than the Bush Administration's policies which they see as timid, halfway measures that only weaken America's position in the world.[29]

Ideas promoted[edit]

ARI sponsored writers and speakers have promoted a number of specific positions in contemporary political and social controversies.[30]

Opposition to religion in politics[edit]

Since Objectivism advocates atheism, ARI promotes the separation of church and state, and its writers argue that the Religious Right poses a threat to individual rights.[31] They have argued against displaying religious symbols (such as the Ten Commandments) in government facilities[32] and against faith-based initiatives.[33] The institute argues that religion is incompatible with American ideals[34] and opposes the teaching of "intelligent design" in public schools.[35]

Islam and the War on Terror[edit]

ARI has taken many controversial positions with respect to the Muslim world. They hold that the motivation for Islamic terrorism comes from Muhammad's teachings, not poverty or a reaction to Western policies.[36] They have urged that the US use overwhelming, retaliatory force to "end states who sponsor terrorism", using whatever means are necessary to end the threat.[37] In his article "Ends States Who Sponsor Terrorism", which was published as a full page ad in The New York Times, Peikoff wrote, "The choice today is mass death in the United States or mass death in the terrorist nations. Our Commander-In-Chief must decide whether it is his duty to save Americans or the governments who conspire to kill them." Although some at ARI initially supported the invasion of Iraq, it has criticized how the Iraq War was handled.[38] Since October 2, 2001, the institute has held that Iran should be the primary target in the war against "Islamic totalitarianism".[37]

ARI is generally supportive of Israel.[39] Of Zionism, executive director of the institute Yaron Brook writes: "Zionism fused a valid concern – self-preservation amid a storm of hostility – with a toxic premise – ethnically based collectivism and religion."[40]

Other issues[edit]

In response to the Muhammad cartoons controversy, ARI started a Free Speech Campaign in 2006.[41]

ARI is highly critical of environmentalism and animal rights, arguing that they are destructive of human well-being.[42][43]

The institute is also highly critical of diversity and affirmative action programs, as well as multiculturalism, arguing that they are based on racist premises.[44][45]

ARI supports women's right to choose abortion,[46] voluntary euthanasia, and assisted suicide.[47]

ARI denounces neoconservatism in general. For example, C. Bradley Thompson wrote an article entitled "The Decline and Fall of American Conservatism",[48] which was later turned into the book (with Yaron Brook) Neoconservatism: An Obituary for an Idea.[49]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Yaron Brook". Ayn Rand Institute. Retrieved August 18, 2009. 
  2. ^ a b "Overview". Ayn Rand Institute. August 17, 2009. 
  3. ^ "Ayn Rand Institute: Overview". Retrieved August 9, 2012. 
  4. ^ Rand, Ayn (June 1968). "A Statement of Policy (Part I)". The Objectivist 7 (6). 
  5. ^ Merrill, Ronald E. (2013). Ayn Rand Explained: From Tyranny to Tea Party. Chicago: Open Court. p. 32. ISBN 978-0-8126-9798-8. 
  6. ^ a b "Announcements". The Objectivist Forum 5 (6): 13–15. December 1984. 
  7. ^ "Michael S. Berliner". Ayn Rand Institute. Retrieved August 18, 2009. 
  8. ^ "Announcements". The Objectivist Forum 6 (1): 13. February 1985. 
  9. ^ a b Berliner, Michael S. (October 1985). "Report from the Ayn Rand Institute". The Objectivist Forum 6 (5): 14–15. 
  10. ^ a b "Essay Contests". Ayn Rand Institute. Archived from the original on July 26, 2011. Retrieved August 22, 2011. 
  11. ^ "Announcements". The Objectivist Forum 8 (6): 14. December 1987. 
  12. ^ Kelley, David (2000). The Contested Legacy of Ayn Rand: Truth and Toleration in Objectivism (paperback ed.). New Brunswick, New Jersey: Transaction Publishers. p. 15. ISBN 0-7658-0863-3. OCLC 44727861. 
  13. ^ Walsh, George (November 17, 1989). "A Statement". The Intellectual Activist 5 (3): 5. 
  14. ^ Thomas, William R. "TAS vs. ARI: A Question of Objectivity and Independence". The Atlas Society. Retrieved May 25, 2012. 
  15. ^ Letran, Vivian (June 7, 2002). "Ayn Rand Institute to Move to Orange County". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved August 18, 2009. 
  16. ^ "Charity Navigator Rating – The Ayn Rand Institute". Charity Navigator. Retrieved May 24, 2013. 
  17. ^ "Board of Directors". Ayn Rand Institute. Retrieved June 28, 2012. 
  18. ^ "Professor — PhD, Johns Hopkins". Retrieved October 13, 2012. 
  19. ^ "Koch brothers, Cato Institute announce terms of settlement". Retrieved June 28, 2012. 
  20. ^ Brook, Yaron. "The Ayn Rand Institute: A Statement from ARI about the Resignation of John McCaskey from Our Board of Directors". Retrieved October 7, 2011. 
  21. ^ Leonard Peikoff (2004). Leonard Peikoff: In His Own Words (DVD). Northern River Productions. ISBN 0-9734653-2-8. 
  22. ^ Peikoff, Leonard (November 5, 2010). "Peikoff vs. an ARI Board Member". Archived from the original on December 18, 2010. 
  23. ^ "Objectivist Conferences". 
  24. ^ McCaskey, John P. (September 3, 2010). "My resignation from the Board of Directors of the Ayn Rand Institute and of the Anthem Foundation for Objectivist Scholarship". Retrieved May 24, 2013. 
  25. ^ "Student Clubs". Ayn Rand Institute. August 17, 2009. 
  26. ^ "The Ayn Rand Center for Individual Rights". Ayn Rand Institute. August 17, 2009. 
  27. ^ "ARC's Response to the Financial Crisis". Retrieved May 27, 2012. 
  28. ^ Brook, Yaron; Watkins, Don (November 13, 2008). "Stop Blaming Capitalism for Government Failures". Ayn Rand Center for Individual Rights. Retrieved May 27, 2012. 
  29. ^ Journo, Elan (September 10, 2009). "Our Self-Crippled War". Retrieved May 27, 2012. 
  30. ^ "Ayn Rand Center: Op-Eds". Retrieved August 9, 2012. 
  31. ^ Bernstein, Andrew (January 19, 2000). "Election 2000 Shows Religious Right Threat to Individual Rights". Ayn Rand Institute. Archived from the original on October 1, 2009. Retrieved August 17, 2009. 
  32. ^ Binswanger, Harry (October 25, 2004). "The Ten Commandments vs. America". Ayn Rand Institute. Archived from the original on October 1, 2009. Retrieved August 17, 2009. 
  33. ^ Epstein, Alex (February 4, 2003). "Faith-Based Initiatives Are an Assault on Secular Government". Ayn Rand Institute. Retrieved August 17, 2009. 
  34. ^ Peikoff, Leonard (November 11, 2002). "Religion vs. America". Ayn Rand Institute. Retrieved August 18, 2009.  Reprint of a speech delivered by Peikoff at the Ford Hall Forum in 1986.
  35. ^ Lockitch, Keith (December 11, 2005). ""Intelligent Design" Is about Religion versus Reason". Ayn Rand Institute. Retrieved August 17, 2009. 
  36. ^ Epstein, Alex (July 26, 2005). "The Terrorists' Motivation: Islam". Ayn Rand Institute. Retrieved August 17, 2009. 
  37. ^ a b Peikoff, Leonard (October 2, 2001). "End States Who Sponsor Terrorism". Ayn Rand Institute. Retrieved August 17, 2009. 
  38. ^ Epstein, Alex (May 28, 2006). "What We Owe Our Soldiers". Ayn Rand Institute. Retrieved August 17, 2009. 
  39. ^ Tracinski, Robert (April 1, 2002). "We Are Either With Israel, Or We Are With the Terrorists". Ayn Rand Institute. Archived from the original on October 1, 2009. Retrieved August 18, 2009. 
  40. ^ Arfa, Orit (July 12, 2007). "You don't fight a tactic". Jerusalem Post Online Edition. Retrieved August 18, 2009. 
  41. ^ "Highlights from the first 25 years". Impact (The Ayn Rand Institute) 16 (2). February 2010. 
  42. ^ Schwartz, Peter (April 23, 1999). "Man vs. Nature". Ayn Rand Institute. Retrieved August 18, 2009. 
  43. ^ Locke, Edwin. "Animal 'Rights' and the New Man Haters". Ayn Rand Institute. Retrieved August 18, 2009. 
  44. ^ "Multiculturalism: The New Racism". Ayn Rand Institute. Retrieved August 18, 2009. 
  45. ^ "Racism and Diversity". Ayn Rand Institute. Retrieved August 18, 2009. 
  46. ^ Woiceshyn, Glenn (April 24, 2000). "Supreme Court Should Protect Right to Abortion in Current Partial-Birth Case". Capitalism Magazine. Retrieved August 17, 2009. 
  47. ^ Epstein, Alex (April 1, 2005). "A Culture of Living Death". Ayn Rand Institute. Retrieved August 17, 2009. 
  48. ^ Thompson, C. Bradley (Fall 2006). "The Decline and Fall of American Conservatism". The Objective Standard 1 (3). Retrieved February 22, 2011. 
  49. ^ Laughlin, Burgess (Fall 2010). "Neoconservatism: An Obituary for an Idea by C. Bradley Thompson with Yaron Brook". The Objective Standard 5 (3). Retrieved February 22, 2011. 

External links[edit]