Why is the idea of “Americanism” so widely misunderstood? What makes the term an “ism”? What did Ayn Rand think of the political labels “Left” and “Right,” and are such categories even useful today? Was America founded as a Christian nation? What role can art play in reclaiming the ideal of “Americanism”? What will it take to solve the enduring problem of racism? These are a few of the questions addressed by the speakers at a panel titled “Reclaiming Americanism.”
The panel met before a live audience and was, in part, a celebration of A New Textbook of Americanism: The Politics of Ayn Rand (2018), edited by Jonathan Hoenig. The book features Ayn Rand’s 1946 essay “A Textbook of Americanism,” spelling out and defending the philosophic principles underlying America’s unique political system. The panel speakers — Yaron Brook, Onkar Ghate, Greg Salmieri and Jonathan Hoenig, the editor — all contributed essays to the book. The discussion is replete with incisive philosophic analyses of issues such as racism, political tribalism and the role of moral ideas in the culture.
One upshot from the discussion — there is a pressing need today to reclaim the ideal of Americanism. What will it take to do that? The speakers each offer their perspective.