New Ideal - Reason | Individualism | Capitalism
Objectivism on Happiness series thumbnail

Objectivism on Happiness: A Rubin Report Wrap-Up

“People unfamiliar with Ayn Rand often view her narrowly as a political thinker, but in fact there’s far more to her philosophy,” says Tal Tsfany, CEO of the Ayn Rand Institute. “Rand described Objectivism as a philosophy for living on earth, and so we wanted to produce a video series that would highlight her unique approach to living well and achieving personal happiness. After all, that’s the ultimate goal, to which politics is only a means.”

The series, Objectivism on Happiness, features interviews by talk show host Dave Rubin with seven Objectivists — four philosophers, an internationally known speaker, a psychologist and a notable businessman — offering big-picture perspectives on what happiness is and how to achieve it.

The twelve episodes contain just over nine hours of interviews filmed in the studios of The Rubin Report. “Dave is a very talented host who has brought back and reinvented the long-form interview format on YouTube,” Tsfany observes. “He’s an intelligent, engaging and highly professional host who brings out the best in his interviewees and makes any conversation interesting, fun and flowing.”

Says Rubin: “This series is exactly what my show is about — put your ideas out there and see if they’re up to snuff. My audience loves hearing about ideas, exploring new thoughts, seeing what works, what doesn’t, and figuring out why people think the way they do. The fact that ARI wants to get their intellectuals out there and into the battle of ideas is a great thing.”

“My hope for this series is that people will forward the videos to someone who might be interested and help us spread the word that Objectivism is the best philosophy for living on earth.”
The series starts with an in-depth exploration of the nature of happiness and of Rand’s radical conception of its roots and requirements, addressing questions such as: What is happiness? Why is selfishness a virtue? What makes life worth living? Is morality grounded in facts? Do we have free will?

Later episodes tackle some practical implications of Rand’s approach: How to take happiness seriously, how to fill your life with meaning, and how to apply Rand’s ideas in business, society and politics. Through the series, the underlying theme is why Rand’s ideas matter if your goal is achieving happiness.

The interviewees are:

  • Onkar Ghate, ARI’s chief philosophy officer
  • 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
  • Tara Smith, professor of philosophy, University of Texas at Austin
  • Gregory Salmieri, instructor in philosophy, Rutgers University
  • Gena Gorlin, assistant professor of psychology, Yeshiva University
  • John Allison, former CEO of BB&T Corporation

“People really loved these interviews,” says Rubin, “which didn’t surprise me. Many Objectivist ideas are things I’ve incorporated into my life and business. I’ve openly talked about that, and the audience has been on the ride with me.”

Reaching individuals who are open to persuasion when it comes to Rand’s ideas is Tsfany’s goal. “We want Objectivism to become a known, relevant alternative to other prominent philosophies. My hope for this series is that people will forward the videos to someone who might be interested and help us spread the word that Objectivism is the best philosophy for living on earth.”

Brook sums up the main theme in episode 9 of the series: “It’s easy to get caught up in the politics, but what’s really important is how to live the best life that you can live — how to achieve happiness — how to find a great romantic partner — how to enjoy good art — how to have great friends — how to pursue a great career — how to live a full, complete, whole life. That’s what her philosophy is all about, and I wish the discussion out there about Ayn Rand was focused on that.”

A complete episode list appears at the end of this article. Meantime, here are a few short video highlights:

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.

Join the conversation. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Share this article:

Tom Bowden

Tom Bowden, J.D. and former civil litigator, is a research fellow at the Ayn Rand Institute.

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