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Aaron Smith on Philosophy and the Fate of Nations

What happens when a nation lacks philosophic ideals, or when its professed ideals are hollow?

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ARI philosopher Aaron Smith will deliver a talk, “Philosophic Ideals and the Fate of a Nation,” at the upcoming Classical Wisdom Symposium 2021, “The Fall of Nations and the End of Empires.”

Here is Smith’s description of the talk:

Many today acknowledge that America is not in a healthy condition. For some, America was once great but is declining and must find a way back to its former greatness. For others, America is founded on pervasive social injustices that must be uprooted if the nation is to become great.

But if America was once great, what made it so — and what ideals must we fight for to restore its greatness? If America is rooted in injustice, what ideals must be enshrined for it to become a just society? This talk explores Ayn Rand’s perspective on the role of philosophic ideals in shaping the fate of a nation, and what happens when a nation lacks ideals, or when its professed ideals are hollow.

“Our mission is to show the importance of ancient history, philosophy and literature in our modern era,” said Anya Leonard, Classical Wisdom’s founder and director. Speakers at the symposium will include Classics professor Edith Hall, historians Paul Cartledge and Niall Ferguson, historian and classicist Barry Strauss, and many others.

“I’m really looking forward to the event.” said Smith. “I spoke at Classical Wisdom’s inaugural symposium last year on the theme of ‘Power and Politics’ and got a lot of good questions from the audience about Rand’s moral and political philosophy. Given the lineup of speakers, this year’s event should be every bit as interesting.”

The event will take place August 21 and 22, accessible online by registering at this link (with options available for those who cannot afford the $29 fee).


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Tom Bowden

Tom Bowden, J.D. and former civil litigator, is a research fellow at the Ayn Rand Institute and web editor of New Ideal.

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