Wednesday, March 11, 2009

A Letter from Dr. Yaron Brook of ARI

The following is a letter from Dr. Yaron Brook, President and Executive Director of the Ayn Rand Institute. It is both a request for a well-deserved donation and an outline of the opportunity presented to all lovers of liberty.

It should go without saying, but I'll say it anyway, that neither Dr. Brook nor the ARI (nor its offshoot, the Ayn Rand Center for Individual Rights) is responsible for any content that appears on Shaving Leviathan. Nor does the re-printing of this letter (by permission) imply any sort of endorsement by Dr. Brook or ARI of Shaving Leviathan or its content. (And, no, neither Dr. Brook nor any one else requested that I place this disclaimer on the site.)

I urge you all to read the letter and donate as much as possible, both in money and time. Dr. Brook is perfectly right that Obama and the enemies of freedom - quite without meaning to, of course - have handed us a golden chance to make our voices heard.

I urge you also to direct any questions about Objectivism to ARI. In addition, the works of Ayn Rand form no better source for those ideas and every single one of her works is worth reading multiple times. Thinking about them is even better.

Now, without further ado, Dr. Brook:

Last November, in the wake of the election results and the mounting crisis in the financial markets, I wrote to you that the months ahead could be a golden opportunity for ARI and for the advancement of Objectivism.

It appears that this opportunity is, in fact, upon us.

Since the first of this year, sales of Atlas Shrugged have skyrocketed—selling at a rate three times that of the same period last year.

CNBC’s Rick Santelli made headlines around the world with an impassioned call for resistance to Obama’s economic plans—making clear reference to Atlas Shrugged.

On the radio, Rush Limbaugh referred repeatedly to Atlas Shrugged in broadcasts to his tens of millions of listeners—and applied the ideas of Atlas to the crisis we now face.

Elsewhere, mentions of Ayn Rand, Atlas, and the current economic and political mess exploded across cyberspace: from Instapundit to The Economist; from Forbes magazine to Michael Savage; and from Michelle Malkin to (of all places!) an online publication in Abu Dhabi, UAE. A U.S. Congressman even declared that “We’re living in Atlas Shrugged”—and gives copies of the novel to his interns. Even the New York Times felt compelled to report on the skyrocketing sales of Atlas Shrugged—as well as the so-called “Going Galt” phenomenon.

Spontaneous protests, styled as “Tea Parties,” in the spirit of America’s original 18th-century tax revolt, have erupted across the country—some with protesters making specific Ayn Rand references; more protests are planned.

In other words, people are looking for answers, as I noted last November. And they are beginning to see that those answers can be found only in Objectivism.

ARI and our Ayn Rand Center for Individual Rights in Washington DC (ARC) have worked tirelessly to capitalize on this growing public discontent, and on the emerging public interest in Ayn Rand and her ideas.

ARC’s special Web page on the financial crisis adds new, hard-hitting commentary weekly; the site has attracted thousands of on-line readers—many of whom are directed there by links from the pundits listed above;

ARC’s new blog, “Voices for Reason,” has further strengthened our ability to issue rapid-response commentary on the news of the day.

Three public lectures in Washington, under the aegis of ARC, have drawn more than 600 total attendees—a turnout, we are told, that is extraordinary.

ARC is working right now to finalize several promising partnerships with think tanks, industry groups, policymakers, and media outlets. These are institutions and entities that are seeking us out, who are eager to learn the Objectivist perspective on the current crisis, and who are committed to working with us going forward.

I have received a number of invitations from a variety of groups seeking to learn more about the Objectivist perspective on the current political and economic crisis. One notable event will be an appearance at the Virginia state GOP convention in May, when I will deliver a 30-minute address to more than five thousand Republican activists.

The magnitude of the crisis appears to have served as something of a “wake up call”—at least for some Americans.

But with a growing number of citizens now roused, and aware of the need to change course, they need to understand not just the basic, summary “plot line” of Atlas. They need to know the full story—the full, philosophical background behind the novel.

In short, what’s needed—and what only we can provide—is the philosophical foundation for this nascent but growing opposition to the toxic ideas that animate Congress and the Administration. That foundation, of course, is Objectivism.

The opportunity we have at this moment in history is unprecedented. On the other hand, however, we do not know how much time we have. There is a very real risk that either:

Public attention will turn elsewhere; or

The economic and political situation deteriorates beyond the point of no return.

Which is why, in conclusion, I am turning to you for your assistance.

Please help the Institute to capitalize on this unprecedented opportunity. You can contribute right here and right now to help the ARC expand, and help us to get out the Objectivist message.

Your support will strengthen ARC’s media capabilities, our online presence; it will fund speakers and underwrite articles and publications; it will give us the resources to seek out and secure strategic alliances with organizations who are coming around to our point of view.

As I suggested might happen in November, people are looking for answers.

Better still, they are looking to us for answers.

At no point in recent history has there been such public interest in what Objectivism has to say on matters that affect the everyday life of Americans.

With your support, we will be able to take that public interest, give it a firm, philosophically-sound foundation—a foundation rooted in individual rights and reason—and help lead and give direction to the growing public discontent.

Every day, we read accounts of bad economic developments—and of even worse political ones.

Given the dire news, we should consider the fact that not only is this an unprecedented opportunity for the advancement of Objectivism—and thus an American renaissance—but that it may be one of the last such opportunities that many of us will see in our lifetimes.

With that in mind, I thank you in advance for your consideration and support.


Yaron Brook
President and Executive Director

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