Objectivism is a philosophy of individualism, yet most of us work inside organizations. How do you preserve the integrity of your individual values and principles when you are subject to bosses, rules, and corporate goals? David Kelley discusses a range of issues relevant to this challenge, including: being an entrepreneur in your job; dealing with moral conflicts; matching the authority and responsibility of your position, managing your career and your position; and avoiding the pathologies of organization life such as factions and gossip.   View now >

Economic Efficiency and Moral Value s

Economists typically contrast economic efficiency (also known as Pareto optimality) with equity as a moral value. The idea of economic efficiency reflects the win-win nature of trade: that each person become as well-off as possible as long no one is made worse-off. How does economic efficiency relate to moral values in general? In addressing this question, William R Thomas also argues that the contrast of "efficiency vs. equity" is a scientistic disguise for the outright advocacy of altruism.
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White Collar Crime

The notion of "white-collar crime" was originated by the Progressivist E. A. Ross, developed by the Dutch Marxist Willem Adrian Bonger, and conceptualized by the sociologist Edwin H. Sutherland. All were passionate anti-capitalists. A consideration of their work shows that they sought to damn the capitalist conception of a business relationship by contrasting it with various pre-capitalist conceptions of a business relationship that fundamentally denied self-seeking. As now used, the concept of "white-collar crime" perpetuates its founders' denial of the capitalist truth that self-seeking is a legitimate motive in business relationships. To reject the concept of "white-collar crime," Roger Donway argues, we should embrace its opposite: the hustler.
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The Essential Evil of Antitrust Law

Antitrust law purports to protect the “free market” from “anticompetitive behavior.” In fact it sometimes ends up burdening or impeding achievement. But the essential evil lies deeper: Antitrust law sees the “free market” as a mechanism set up by society to provide the best goods and services at the lowest prices for consumers. The real moral foundation of capitalism is each person’s right to live for his or her own sake, and it is this right that antitrust law despises.
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Energy: The Return of Ellis Wyatt?

Energy is at the center of Atlas Shrugged , whether in the present with Wyatt Oil and Danagger Coal or in the future with Galt's Motor. Ayn Rand understood that energy was the master resource; that energy comes from the mind before the mine; and that energy shrugs from punitive regulation, high taxes, and an altruistic philosophy at odds with the productive mind. The Obama Administration, philosophically opposed to carbon-based energy, has worked to both reduce supply and stifle demand. Featuring energy expert and author Robert Bradley, Jr.
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What Science Says About Free Will

Objectivism holds that people have free will, and also that free will lies in the area of cognition (i.e., there is a choice "to think or not to think"). There is now a growing scientific literature that supports this view and elaborates upon it. We now know that the capacity to shift attention is free, but also limited and powered by a distinct capacity—willpower. Raymond Raad reviews the scientific data and offer implications for Objectivism and moral reasoning. He will also give advice for how to use the information to live better lives.
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Objectivity and the Law

Political commentators routinely question the objectivity of judges, particularly when these judges find against pet partisan causes. Many question whether legal objectivity is even possible, as ideological and other interests necessarily bias even the most well-intended of judges. In this talk, Jason Walker argues that not only is objectivity possible, it is, thankfully, more commonplace than is realized. But legal objectivity is often misunderstood. By examining how objectivity in the law is possible, and how it can fail, we can more accurately distinguish cases where judges are genuinely biased from those cases in which we merely disagree with the outcome.
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The Role of Natural Kinds in Science

This lecture is concerned with the history and the meaning of natural kinds. The success of science is thought to depend on them. But does the idea of natural kinds imply that conceptual meaning is intrinsic to nature, a view the Objectivist epistemology denies? Physics professor Glenn Fletcher argues that the current way in which natural kinds are used in science does not conflict with the requirements of the Objectivist theory of concepts. He also discusses recent controversies surrounding this concept, including the status of biological species.
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New Romanticiscm

Part of the Symposium on Romanticism Today. In this video, artist Michael Newberry interacts with the Atlas Summit audience to find insights about older and contemporary romantic artworks. The session explores concepts of goal-directed action in means, emotion, sought-out states of being, and loss beyond our control. It teases out Objectivism ’s stance on art that “can and ought to be.” Because of the personal nature of art the goal of the presentation is to engage concepts, like in a dance, rather than as a dictate. Watch now >



The Coming Hyperinflation

Legendary Wall Street trader Victor Sperandeo presents a compelling, data-driven case that the current US and international monetary policies are creating the conditions for a hyperinflation on a scale never seen in the United States. The talk discusses what hyperinflation is, how it occurs, where it took place in the past within other nations, and why it has to occur ( a "statistical inevitability") in the US unless the government changes its ideology drastically.
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Where is John Galt?  

The Free State Project is building Galt’s Gulch in New Hampshire by recruiting 20,000 liberty-loving individuals to move to the state of New Hampshire in order to achieve "Liberty in Our Lifetime." President Carla Gericke discusses the Free State Project's origins and successes, what participants have accomplished since moving to the “Live Free or Die” state, and why rational beings are “disappearing” to the Gulch in pursuit of more freedom.
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Community College: Educational Opportunity or Psychiatric Institution?

The notion rampant in the community college environment today is that everyone deserves the opportunity for a college education. And yet, as a result, community colleges today have an atmosphere rife with people who are either too psychologically ill or too under-prepared to either complete their education or make any use of it once they finish. This is an enormous injustice—both to the students who take out the mounting loans to pay for a college education and to the community itself which invests randomly and without discrimination and pays very little attention to the return on investment. We have conditioned ourselves as a society to believe everyone deserves a chance without facing the reality that not everyone is able. Community college professor Kathy Prellwitz presents a chilling behind-the-scenes glimpse into current problems with the "everyone-should-attend" model.
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Living as an Individualist in a Collectivist World

The depressing political landscape need not leave us depressed as individualists. The Objectivist philosophy seeks foremost to show each of us how to live happy, individual lives. Atlas Society Director of Advocacy Edward Hudgins highlights bright spots in what might seem like a grim collectivist culture. He offers thoughts on how to flourish as individuals in today's world; indeed, how seeking one's personal fulfillment and pursuing one's dreams can change the culture and thereby, ultimately, change the political landscape, too.
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The Nature of Government and the Unintended Consequences of Interventionism

The U.S. is in quite a mess—from a national deficit approaching 100% of GDP to elected officials playing a game of political chicken rather than fixing the budget, and from combined governments consuming a third to a half of national output to an economy in crisis. This economic and political crisis is, at its root, a philosophical crisis—that is, the consequences of unsound political philosophy, which has lost the proper role of government. Nikolai Wenzel will discuss the unintended consequences of governmental regulation of the economy—that is, the problems that arise when government strays from its proper functions. He will argue that the current financial mess was caused by government, rather than being the result of insufficient regulation. He will conclude with a simple solution: return to government's constitutional functions and the proper, sound, philosophical role of government, as explained by Ayn Rand .
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The Romantic Revolution: The Glory, the Tragedy, the Future

  Ayn Rand argued that in esthetics Objectivism implies Romanticism. In literature, music, and painting the artists she loved are of the Romantic School. What ideas made Romanticism, which swept Western culture from 1750 to 1850, possible? What were contradictions in those premises limited Romanticism's achievements, often made its works seem inconsistent with reason, and ultimately crippled it? Is a new Romantic movement beginning today? What premises does it require? And what could it mean for the arts, for education and the crucial American sense of life?  Watch now >

 

How I Worked as an Objectivist in Left-Liberal Institutions

Most organizations working with ideas are at the "liberal-left" side of the spectrum. Walter Donway spent his career working for such institutions (publications, universities, and foundations) or with them (as grantees, publications for which he freelanced). Yet, he devoted almost every day, to some extent, to advancing Objectivist ideas. What skills, initiation of applied ideas, relationships with colleagues, and compromises does this require? Donway will discuss many examples—and a few crucial principles.
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Using Your Mind to Change Your Brain

Habits aren't just habits, they are reflections of neural pathways in the brain, laid down over time through practice. There are thoughts, feelings, and impulses that can feel like who we are, but in many cases these are just well worn patterns. You have the choice to create new pathways, new habits, that more closely reflect your conscious values and priorities; but it takes work, it takes using your will, and it takes a decision to do it. In this presentation Joel Wade will show you ways to train your brain to work for you, so that you aren't working against yourself.
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Building Atlantis: How to Create Your Own Personal and Business Paradise

If we can't escape to the idyllic mountain hideaway of Ayn Rand 's Atlantis, can we at least bring the core ideals and practices of Galt's Gulch into our own lives and businesses? The short answer is "Yes." In this provocative session, business growth expert David Blaise reveals how to quickly redesign your life and business to fully embody the Galt's Gulch experience, regardless of your physical location. Beginning with your mindset, it expands to include all aspects of your life: from the people with whom you choose to interact, to your daily environment and activities, to selecting your clients and coworkers proactively. If you find life in the land of takers to be unappealing, it's time to start building Atlantis.
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Rules for Radicals

How should one communicate and spread radical ideas? Matt Kneece examines the nature and impact of left-wing movements in the United States, the tactics and strategies Saul Alinsky explores in his book "Rules for Radicals" and finally how the left's tactics can be adopted and applied by both libertarians and conservatives.

This session provides useful training for anyone interested in activism for liberty.
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Liberal Capitalism: What Makes it Good?

What makes free-market capitalism good? Stephen Hicks contends that the arguments in favor of free-market capitalism (FMC) fall into two types.

One type says that free-market capitalism is good because it is based on prior goods—e.g., individual freedom is good, so FMC is good because it respects and protects individual freedom. The other type says that FMC is good because it leads to posterior goods—e.g., FMC leads to general prosperity or peace, and those consequences make FMC good. Are the two types of good claims about FMC compatible? Are they equally important in justifying FMC?

In this talk, Stephen Hicks argues that the answer to both questions is "Yes." Part of his answer will be that the traditional dichotomy of "deontological" versus "consequentialist" justifications of FMC is a false dichotomy.
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Organizing Objectivism on Campus

Alexander McCobin, co-founder and president of Students for Liberty, discusses how to organize campus study groups and activism centered on Objectivism.
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The Fourth Branch of Government

New Hampshire State Representative George Lambert diagnoses the grave threat that the "fourth branch of government" poses to our liberties and our democracy. The "fourth branch of government" is constituted by the Administrative Agencies, which administer significant influence over free markets and contain within their autonomous authority the ability to be a tool for the implementation of programs that can constrict free market capitalism, stifle innovation, and constrain competition, while providing additional funding sources for burdensome regulatory programs and initiatives. New initiatives can become regulatory policy with little more than backroom discussions transcribed into a policy recommendation and sent for a public hearing on their authorization and adoption. With these new regulations, these departments often have the power to implement new broad-based fees, taxation, regulation, and penalty regimes often outside of the awareness of either industry or the general public. The intrinsic structure of these "mostly self governing and regulated" administrative departments make them hard to understand, or control.
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The Capital Theory of Social Change

Why is that academics and politics are always looked to in order to solve the problems of society? Why is it that these two social constructs—the state and academia—are perceived to be the only way by which problems cease to be? What if, even more dangerously, while changes may happen due to the state or academia, no problems are actually solved there?
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