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Onkar Ghate, Dave Rubin and Tara Smith discussing Objectivism on happiness

Ayn Rand’s Philosophy of Happiness on The Rubin Report

In an era of tweets and memes, Dave Rubin has built a large YouTube following of people seeking deep, long-form conversations with serious thinkers on important intellectual topics.

His show, The Rubin Report, is therefore a fitting venue for an in-depth exploration of Ayn Rand’s philosophy of Objectivism and the guidance it can offer to people seeking meaning and happiness in their lives.

Provocative and wide-ranging, the conversations all center in one way or another around one crucial topic: What is happiness — and how do you achieve it?
We’re excited to announce that Rubin has recently partnered with the Ayn Rand Institute (ARI) to conduct a whole series of interviews with some of today’s most knowledgeable experts on Rand’s ideas.

Provocative and wide-ranging, the conversations all center in one way or another around one crucial topic: What is happiness — and how do you achieve it?

The full set of interviews will be released over the next few weeks. We’re delighted to introduce the series by presenting on New Ideal the first five videos: an in-depth exploration of the nature of happiness and of Rand’s radical conception of its roots and requirements.

One of the most provocative features of Rand’s philosophy is that she upholds selfishness as a moral virtue. In her view, the pursuit of your own happiness is not just a good idea; it should be your highest moral purpose. Rubin sat down with ARI senior fellow and chief philosophy officer Onkar Ghate and Tara Smith, professor of philosophy at the University of Texas, Austin, to delve into the question of how selfishness could possibly be a good thing — and why Rand is the only thinker who has dared to challenge the basic moral premises that have animated our culture for more than two thousand years.

Objectivism, Ghate observes, is the philosophy that the Enlightenment deserved, but never got.
Another highlight of the ARI-Rubin Report series is Rubin’s conversation with Ghate and Yaron Brook, chairman of ARI’s board of directors, on tribalism. While explaining the rise of tribalism today, they discuss how this pernicious trend negates the Enlightenment ideals of reason and individualism, and how the recognition that we have free will is crucial to political freedom.

Rand’s unique conception of free will, Ghate explains in another interview, is not simply compatible with a scientific outlook, but in fact underpins the pursuit of all knowledge. Rand’s advocacy of reason is a theme running through all the conversations. The faculty of reason, she held, is our only means to knowledge and our source of life-furthering values.

Objectivism, Ghate observes, is the philosophy that the Enlightenment deserved, but never got. These lively, in-depth conversations amply justify that bold claim by introducing viewers to the unique value of Rand’s philosophy.

The first five interviews are now featured here at New Ideal. Stay tuned for the new episodes as they’re published.

Audio podcasts of the above episode are available on iTunes and Stitcher.

Audio podcasts of the above episode are available on iTunes and Stitcher.

Audio podcasts of the above episode are available on iTunes and Stitcher.

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Audio podcasts of the above episode are available on iTunes and Stitcher.

Audio podcasts of the above episode are available on iTunes and Stitcher.

Objectivism on Happiness (Rubin Report episode list):

In this episode, Onkar Ghate and Tara Smith delve into the question of how selfishness could possibly be a good thing — and why Rand is the only thinker who has dared to challenge the basic moral premises that have animated our culture for more than two thousand years. For more perspective, see the New Ideal announcement here. Audio podcasts are available on iTunes and Stitcher.
In this episode, Onkar Ghate explains why free will matters for one’s own life and happiness, and how human free will is consistent with the Law of Causality. He and Dave Rubin also discuss the effects of genes and environment on a person’s nature and choices of actions. For more perspective, see the New Ideal announcement here. Audio podcasts are available on iTunes and Stitcher.
In this episode, Dave Rubin has an in-depth discussion with Yaron Brook and Onkar Ghate about tribalism as a low form of collectivism. They examine its manifestations on the left and the right today, including “intersectionality” and “the oppression Olympics,” explaining how these are consequences of the moral code of altruism. They contrast all of that with the original American system, which was geared toward the rational, productive person pursuing his own happiness. For more perspective, see the New Ideal announcement here. Audio podcasts are available on iTunes and Stitcher.
In this episode, Onkar Ghate and Gregory Salmieri join Dave Rubin to discuss the moral and practical considerations involved in achieving one's own personal happiness. They discuss the Objectivist perspective on happiness as a flourishing and successful state of life and provide guidance on how to create a happy life that is a purposeful, meaningful and integrated whole. In discussing free will, they examine what is and what is not within an individual's control. The discussion also encompasses related topics such as how a deep sense of meaning is possible in a world without God. For more perspective, see the New Ideal announcement here. Audio podcasts are available on iTunes and Stitcher.
In this episode, Gregory Salmieri and Harry Binswanger talk with Dave Rubin about Binswanger’s experience knowing Ayn Rand personally, why Ayn Rand’s ideas continue to generate the strong reactions they do — and Objectivism’s novel view of the relationship between facts and values. For more perspective, see the New Ideal announcement here. Audio podcasts are available on iTunes and Stitcher.
In this episode, Tara Smith talks with Dave Rubin about what it means to take one’s happiness seriously. Smith discusses the objective requirements of flourishing, the role of the ideas one accepts in one’s pursuit of happiness, and what it means to be self-interested in the pursuit of team goals or relationships. Audio podcasts are available on iTunes and Stitcher. For more perspective see the New Ideal announcement.
In this episode, Yaron Brook and Gena Gorlin talk with Dave Rubin about what it takes to live a meaningful life. Among the topics discussed: why a career purpose is so important, and how to navigate the challenges inherent in a career; why deep engagement with art can be such a powerful inspiration; and why rationality is not only compatible with romantic love, but a necessary condition for it. For more perspective, see the New Ideal announcement here. Audio podcasts are available on iTunes and Stitcher.
In this episode, Harry Binswanger speaks one-on-one with Dave Rubin about Objectivism’s view of truth, objectivity and self-interest — and why these concepts matter outside the philosophy classroom. Other topics of discussion include Binswanger’s experience hearing Ayn Rand speak for the first time, and how that lecture affected the course of his life; how to answer a skeptic who claims there is no objective truth; and why Objectivism considers self-sacrifice to be immoral. For more perspective, see the New Ideal announcement here. Audio podcasts are available on iTunes and Stitcher.
In this episode, Yaron Brook joins Dave Rubin to discuss why Ayn Rand and her ideas matter today. Brook explains the unique value Objectivism brings to today’s intellectual landscape — and how Rand’s vision of what it looks like to achieve a truly happy, fulfilling life has inspired generations of idealistic young people to gravitate toward her. For more perspective, see the New Ideal announcement here. Audio podcasts are available on iTunes and Stitcher.
In this episode, philosopher Gregory Salmieri and psychologist Gena Gorlin talk with Dave Rubin about the psychological requirements of happiness. Among the topics discussed: what it means to treat happiness as a process, not just an outcome; the difference between Rand’s view of the pursuit of happiness and the “hedonic treadmill” notion of pursuing shallow pleasures that never truly satisfy; how having a central purpose can resolve internal conflicts; and how to find a sense of meaning in life. For more perspective, see the New Ideal announcement here. Audio podcasts are available on iTunes and Stitcher.
In this episode, John Allison and Dave Rubin discuss the role of philosophy in Allison’s business success. Ranked by Harvard Business Review among the world’s 100 most successful CEOs over the last decade, Allison explains how a business culture built upon Objectivist virtues helped his company, BB&T Corporation, to successfully navigate the 2008 financial crisis, growing in assets from $4.5 billion to $152 billion during his tenure. Audio podcasts are available at iTunes and Stitcher.
In the final episode of the series, philosopher Gregory Salmieri joins Dave Rubin for a big-picture discussion of today’s political culture. Salmieri compares the ugly aspects of our political situation with those of the past and gives advice about how to navigate it in a more positive way. Among other topics discussed: whether it’s important to “get good people into politics,” how to think about the “lesser of two evils,” whether the media is more biased today than in the past, and how to be a better consumer of news. Audio podcasts are available on iTunes and Stitcher.
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Elan Journo

Elan Journo is a senior fellow and director of Policy Research at the Ayn Rand Institute. His latest book is titled What Justice Demands: America and the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict. Elan is a senior editor of New Ideal.

Keith Lockitch

Keith Lockitch, Ph.D. in physics, is a senior fellow and vice president of content at the Ayn Rand Institute. He focuses primarily on the intersection of science with current events and policy issues. He is a senior editor of New Ideal.

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