New Ideal - Reason | Individualism | Capitalism
Exploring Objectivism with Gloria Alvarez

New Interview Series: Gloria Álvarez Explores Objectivism

Ayn Rand’s ideas have the power to change people’s lives for the better. But first those ideas must become better known and more widely understood by active-minded individuals.

Finding those active minds is a big part of the Ayn Rand Institute’s mission, which is why we’re particularly excited to release a new and lively video series, Exploring Objectivism with Gloria Álvarez. We teamed up with popular and passionate Guatemalan author, radio host and political commentator Gloria Álvarez for a set of seven interviews with seven Objectivists.

Opening the series, Álvarez interviews philosopher Harry Binswanger, who knew Ayn Rand personally and shares his first-hand observations from time spent with her. Binswanger explains Rand’s unique and important contributions to the philosophic scene. He answers questions about Rand’s philosophic connection to — and estimate of — Aristotle, John Locke, the American Founding Fathers, the Austrian economists, the Libertarian movement, and the “counterculture” of the 1960s.

Other episodes in the series discuss why the Enlightenment ultimately failed, how socialism and communism are akin to religions, how philosophic principles relate to practical politics, why Objectivism champions free will, what is wrong with the income inequality debate, how philosophy relates to religion — and many more topics of interest both to audiences familiar with Rand and to those who are just beginning to explore her ideas.

Running through the series is the idea that Rand offers a unique perspective on a wide range of issues and questions that can have a profound impact on one’s life and the society in which one lives.

The interviewees are:

  • Harry Binswanger, author of How We Know: Epistemology on an Objectivist Foundation
  • Yaron Brook, international speaker, host of The Yaron Brook Show and chairman of ARI’s board
  • Onkar Ghate, senior fellow and chief philosophy officer at ARI
  • Tara Smith, professor of philosophy, University of Texas at Austin
  • Ben Bayer, fellow and instructor at ARI
  • Don Watkins, coauthor (with Yaron Brook) of Equal Is Unfair: America’s Misguided Fight Against Income Inequality and former ARI fellow
  • Rob Tarr, economist, private investor and independent researcher

Says Álvarez: “In this series, we’re trying to present Objectivism to people who have never heard of it, or maybe they’ve heard [only] . . . misconceptions about it.” A self-described libertarian frustrated with both the political “right” and “left” in Latin America, Álvarez tells one of the interviewees: “I find myself more comfortable now exploring Objectivism. I read Rand . . . ten years ago for the first time, . . . and I find that Objectivism has answers that not even Libertarians in Latin America are willing to discuss.”

READ ALSO:  Objectivism on Happiness: A Rubin Report Wrap-Up
In the U.S., Rand is a cultural icon whose central ideas — reason, self-interest, individualism and capitalism — resonate with the nation’s founding documents, which enshrine the principle that every individual has the right to life and liberty and to the pursuit of his own happiness.

In Latin America, by contrast, the deep cultural influences of Catholicism, Marxism and authoritarianism make the situation more complicated. But as ARI recently learned from its first-ever conference there, Latin America is home to many individuals who are both hungry for new ideas and almost completely unfamiliar with Rand’s philosophy and the radical alternative it can offer them. Gloria Álvarez is well positioned to reach this audience with this new video series, which is fully captioned in Spanish.

A list of episodes released to date appears at the end of this article. But if you want to start by dipping in here and there, here are a few short clips to get you started:

Exploring Objectivism with Gloria Álvarez — Episode List

In this episode, Gloria Álvarez and philosopher Harry Binswanger discuss Ayn Rand’s life and her philosophic achievements from a historical perspective, her views about the cultural revolution of the 1960s, Austrian economics and the Libertarian movement—and other topics. Binswanger, who knew Ayn Rand personally, also shares first-hand observations from time spent with her.
In this episode, Gloria Álvarez and Ayn Rand Institute chairman Yaron Brook discuss a wide range of popular current topics in science and philosophy—including free will and determinism, the role of genetics in a person's life, evolution and the Declaration of Independence. Brook contrasts the ideas of Steven Pinker and Yuval Noah Harari with those of Ayn Rand and Objectivism.
In this episode, Gloria Álvarez interviews philosophers Onkar Ghate and Ben Bayer about Objectivism's unique perspective on free will. Ghate and Bayer differentiate Ayn Rand's view from traditional viewpoints in the free will versus determinism debate and they discuss the implications for the law of causality. They take up questions about whether man is a "blank slate" at birth, the role of genetics and environment in his life, and whether he is free to change his character.
In this episode, Gloria Álvarez interviews Ayn Rand Institute board chairman Yaron Brook and philosopher Tara Smith about Objectivism's perspective on the relationship between fundamental philosophical issues and practical politics. They shed light on Ayn Rand's view of the proper limits of government power, what distinguishes Ayn Rand from libertarian thinkers, and why she held that advocates of a free society could not defend capitalism without defending its moral roots.
In this episode, Gloria Álvarez interviews author and former Ayn Rand Institute fellow Don Watkins about the debate over income inequality, the real causes of wealth or poverty, and what advocates of capitalism can do to promote the spread of free market ideas. Watkins is co-author with Yaron Brook of the book Equal Is Unfair: America's Misguided Fight Against Income Inequality.
In this episode, Gloria Álvarez interviews investor and economist Rob Tarr about the Austrian school of economics, contrasting it with the Neoclassical and Keynesian schools. They discuss the competing theories of value and other topics at the intersection of philosophy and economics. Tarr’s essay “Economic Theory and Conceptions of Value” was recently published in the book Foundations of a Free Society: Reflections on Ayn Rand’s Political Philosophy, edited by Gregory Salmieri and Robert Mayhew.
In this episode, Gloria Álvarez interviews philosopher Onkar Ghate on why Ayn Rand wrote that religion is a “primitive form of philosophy” (“Psycho-Epistemology and Art,” The Romantic Manifesto). They discuss the fundamental questions addressed by religious and secular philosophies and why man needs answers to these questions. Ghate explains why Plato and Aristotle represent the two basic and conflicting approaches to philosophy, and defines the historical legacies of both.

Join the conversation. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Share this article:

Aaron Smith

Aaron Smith, Ph.D. in philosophy, is a fellow at the Ayn Rand Institute where he lectures and develops educational content for the Institute’s intellectual training and outreach programs.

Updates from New Ideal

 

Ayn Rand University App

Explore unique philosophical content that challenges conventional views — in courses you can take on the go.

Available on Google Play and
the App Store.

A Must-Read from Elan Journo

What Justice Demands: America and the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict defies conventional views on the issue and shows what’s at stake if you value freedom and progress.

learn more