Video: Robert Mayhew on “Kill by Laughter”

Mayhew discusses humor in Ayn Rand’s popular novel, The Fountainhead, as displayed by the satire of Dominique Francon with the prevalence of the bad kind of “snarky” humor in today’s culture as dramatized by the villain in The Fountainhead, Ellsworth Toohey:

“Kill by laughter. Laughter is an instrument of human joy. Learn to use it as a weapon of destruction. Turn it into a sneer. It’s simple. Tell them to laugh at everything. Tell them that a sense of humor is an unlimited virtue. Don’t let anything remain sacred in a man’s soul—and his soul won’t be sacred to him. Kill reverence and you’ve killed the hero in man. One doesn’t reverence with a giggle. He’ll obey and he’ll set no limits to his obedience—anything goes—nothing is too serious.” — Ellsworth Toohey

Related Link: Howard Roark Laughed: Humor in The Fountainhead

Brian Philips “The Principles of Property Rights” Online Course Now Free

Brian Philips‘ online course on The Principles of Property Rights is now free online at Udemy.

Here is the course description:

Property rights have long been a part of America’s political heritage. Indeed, the Founding Fathers wrote extensively on the importance of protecting property rights. But property rights are under attack in America today. Part of the reason for the success of these attacks is imprecise or fuzzy thinking. Even many advocates of property rights are unable to clearly define the concept, and thus, they are unable to provide a consistent and principled defense. In this course, we will examine the principles that underlie property rights, as well as the principles underlying attacks on property rights. Only by understanding these principles can we clearly defend property rights and refute the claims of their enemies. Who is the target audience? Business owners harmed by regulations Property owners restricted by land-use regulations Organizations involved in defending property rights.

Link: The Principles of Property Rights

New Maria Montessori Education Podcast

“Let us imagine ourselves among a race of giants who differ from us in proportion as we differ from the child and we ourselves are forced to use the giant’s furniture, dishes and possessions. If we want to sit down, we have to climb on to a chair with our hands and feet. If we want to move the chair, we have to climb down the same way and move this great weight. We want to wash our hands but the [sink] is like a big bath tub. … It takes two hands to use a hairbrush. Everything is so high that we cannot use anything (without asking for help), doors to open, hooks on which to hang our clothes and other things. We are unable to do things we need to do and we feel the humiliation resulting from our failure to act. We certainly would disdain these giant people and not wish to live with them, if we knew they had prepared nothing so we might act. — Maria Montessori

“A century ago, Dr. Maria Montessori introduced the world to a new type of classroom — the “prepared environment” — which did away with the traditional teacher-as-master model in exchange for a wholly new method that encourages each child to happily develop mastery over himself. But what happens when a teacher or parent is no longer the “giant” ruler of the classroom or home, when children are allowed to direct their own development — won’t they then just go wild? No. In fact, in the right environment, the opposite occurs. As countless teachers and parents have experienced firsthand since 1907 (the year Dr. Montessori opened her original school in Rome), children truly transform themselves in Montessori classrooms and in Montessori homes. With adult guidance, they develop into independent individuals who are competent in the world, confident in themselves, and capable of connecting peacefully with others.” — Jesse McCarthy

To help introduce the Montessori Method to parents and teachers in the 21st century Jesse McCarthy of has launched a new podcast — now three episodes in. “Interviews range from What is Montessori?, to the challenges and fun of working with infants & toddlers, to becoming a Montessori parent. And there will be many more episodes and topics to come! … Current episodes range from about 20 to 30 minutes and offer listeners a chance to delve a little deeper into the world of thoughtful, down-to-earth parenting & teaching, with an emphasis on us adults growing right alongside children.”

You can listen in here:

New Website for The Yaron Brook Show

Yaron Brook is the host of the nationally syndicated Yaron Brook Show and renowned best-selling author. Brook’s Radical Capitalist series can be heard weekly on TheBlaze Radio and his Living Objectivism series can be heard on the Yaron Brook Show at BlogTalk Radio and YouTube.

The Yaron Brook Show is the premier broadcast that promotes the principles of rational self-interest, laissez-faire capitalism, and individual rights. 

Visit The Yaron Brook Show


Ayn Rand Institute Names Tal Tsfany As New CEO

The Ayn Rand Institute (ARI), the leading center for the advancement of Objectivism, today announced that its board of directors has unanimously chosen Tal Tsfany as the organization’s next president and chief executive officer (CEO). Tsfany, who currently serves as a consultant, will succeed Jim Brown, the current president and CEO, on June 29.

“Jim Brown is a significant supporter of ARI, and he took on the role as CEO in 2016 with the proviso that he would help find a long-term CEO within three years,” said Yaron Brook, ARI’s chairman of the board. “Tal had been interested in the ARI CEO position for several years, but, until recently, personal and career considerations made the commitment impossible. About a month ago, he resolved these matters and was ready to commit.”

“Tal has worked with our staff to adopt technical tools and services that greatly enhance our mission,” said Jim Brown, ARI’s current President and CEO. “In addition, he’s a strategic thinker and has extensive experience in leading teams toward growth and increased performance. This is a unique opportunity to get a long-term CEO who can take us to a new level of productivity and influence, and I am very excited about it. In the coming weeks, we’ll work to make the transition as thorough and seamless as possible. There are great things ahead for ARI.”

Asked about his new role, Tsfany said, “I am honored and excited to lead ARI in spreading Objectivism and improving the lives of many individuals through the depth and power of Ayn Rand’s philosophy.”

Tal Tsfany is an entrepreneur, investor and a business executive in the technology field. Most recently Tal was the VP Customer Success at Mulesoft (Nasdaq: MULE) and served as a board member at Base CRM, a fast-growing software company based in Mountain View, Calif. Tal relocated to the US from Israel in 2006 with Amdocs, a telecommunications software company. In Israel, he was the CEO of Kidum, the largest private education company before it was sold to Kaplan University. Tal is also the co-founder of the Ayn Rand Center Israel.

A Moving Tribute To The Loss of A Great Love

Writes Dr. George Reisman in a moving tribute to his wife Edith Packer:


Edith was born on October 27, 1924. At this point, I don’t think she can hold it against me for revealing her age. So when she died this last Sunday she was over 93 years old. I had always expected her, and ardently desired her, to live to be at least 105. The fact that she didn’t, has devastated me. For over 48 years her presence filled my life, and now it’s simply gone. I feel a great void.


As I’ve said, Edith’s passing has left a great void in me. And my knowledge and commitment to reality and rationality have only made it worse. I know that Edith no longer exists as any kind of actual being. All that physically remains of her is a small pile of ashes. She no longer has eyes and so she cannot see me. She no longer has ears and so she cannot hear me. There just is no longer any “she.” But nevertheless, I pretend that in some way, she still exists and that she can still see and hear me, and so I still talk to her every day. And when I’m alone, out of anyone else’s hearing, I talk to her out loud. So I now need Edith more than ever—as my psychotherapist, in addition to everything else. But you know what. Until just this last Sunday, I did talk to Edith out loud, in reality, practically every day, for almost half a century. And so it feels much more normal to go on talking to her, even if only in pretense, than to slam into the brick wall of the fact that she simply is no more. So what I think I’m doing is trying to tap the brakes gently, so to speak, and come to a smooth stop, if that’s possible. I don’t think that’s actually unreasonable. [“Obituary and Eulogy for My Wife Edith Packer“]

The entire tribute is worth a read.


Dr. Packers’ Lectures on Psychology: A Guide to Understanding Your Emotions include some invaluable articles on understanding your own psychology including: The Art of Introspection, Toward a Lasting Romantic Relationship and Happiness Skills.

Loyalty to the Truth

Writes Gena Gorlin in A Passionate Call for a Commitment to the Truth | Psychology Today:

Indeed, people of all political persuasions seem increasingly willing to uphold their “principles” at any price—including the price of bending or disregarding reality. A recent meta-analysis (link is external) of 41 studies on partisan bias revealed that liberal and conservative participants show equally strong tendencies to distort factual information in line with their respective ideologies. For instance, participants rated the same scientific study as being more methodologically rigorous when told that the results supported versus opposed their political views. Similarly, participants evaluated the same policy proposal more favorably when told it had been endorsed by members of their party, and vice versa. Levels of bias were near-identical among liberal and conservative participants.

Perhaps, then, the one moral concern that most desperately needs defending is the one that would lend credibility to all the rest: loyalty to the truth. Without a commitment to grounding beliefs in what is true, we lack a fundamental motivation to check and validate (and, if need be, abandon or revise) whatever principles we happen to ingest from parents, peers, and professors. As a result, our “moral concerns”—rather than guiding us in the pursuit of a noble vision—may instead urge us blindly down the path of least emotional resistance.

The entire article is a must-read.

Atlas Project: This Is John Galt Speaking

The Atlas Project is an online, chapter-by-chapter discussion of Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged, exploring the novel’s intricate plot and abstract themes through online discussion and live interactive video with philosophers Dr. Greg Salmieri and Dr. Ben Bayer.

This week’s discussion is on Part III, Chapter 7: “This Is John Galt Speaking” which contains “Galt’s Speech” where Rand first presented the fundamentals of her philosophy: Objectivism. For a list of study questions visit this link:




Thoughts on “Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress”

Jason Crawford has written an extended summary of Steven Pinker’s new book Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress over at his blog Roots of Progress:

Enlightenment Now is just what the world needs right now. It is a defense of the ideas and values that have created the modern world, and a defense of that world itself. I don’t agree with every word of it, but I agree with its theme and essence. The weakest aspect of the book, to me, is its morality. “Humanism” is a great start, because it sets the right standard: human life and everything that helps people thrive and prosper. But Pinker largely ignores issues of individualism vs. collectivism, and egoism vs. altruism, that I see as core to the ideological struggles of the modern world. And closely related, Pinker falls short of painting a truly inspiring, motivating picture, a heroic ideal to strive for. He himself indicates this in the final pages of the book, when he writes: “The case for Enlightenment Now is not just a matter of debunking fallacies or disseminating data. It may be cast as a stirring narrative, and I hope that people with more artistic flair and rhetorical power than I can tell it better and spread it farther.” [Enlightenment Now: A summary]

That person is in fact is pro-reason (and science), pro-happiness of the individual (humanism), pro-capitalist (the social system of progress) philosopher Ayn Rand, who described her philosophy as follows:

“My philosophy, in essence, is the concept of man as a heroic being, with his own happiness as the moral purpose of his life, with productive achievement as his noblest activity, and reason as his only absolute.”

Sadly Pinker ignorantly conflates  (and condemns by association) Ayn Rand with Friedrich Nietzsche, when in fact an actual reading of Ayn Rand’s works would show that any resemblance between the two is superficial at best.

Another problem with Pinker’s book according to energy expert Alex Epstein — author of the Moral Case For Fossil Fuels, is Pinker’s analysis of climate and energy. Writes Epstein:

I am generally very excited about Steven Pinker’s new book Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress. Unfortunately, the book’s treatment of climate and energy is deeply problematic. A few nights ago I recorded a 20 minute analysis of the climate section of the book. You don’t need a copy of the book to follow along since the text of the book is in the video. I hope you find my analysis useful. I think the principles involved apply to many smart people who get this issue wrong. Bonus: At the end of the video I defend “the Koch Brothers” from Pinker’s smearing. I haven’t spoken much about them publicly so I was glad to get the opportunity. [What’s wrong with Steven Pinker’s analysis of climate and energy | Center for Industrial Progress]

Though we recommend — with reservations —  Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress because of its excellent chapters that document progress; a far superior book on the case for optimism is Matt Ridley’s The Rational Optimist.

New Book: The Illusion of Determinism: Why Free Will is Real and Causal by Edwin Locke

Dr. Edwin Locke has just released a new book defending volition, called “The Illusion of Determinism: Why Free Will is Real and Causal.”

According to Dr. Locke, “Determinism is the doctrine that everything we think, feel, believe, and do is caused by factors outside our control—that we have no choice regarding our character, our thoughts, our actions, our lives. There have been many forms of determinism but the one that is most popular today is based on neuroscience, with the enthusiastic support of many psychologists, philosophers, and physical scientists (e.g., physicists). This version argues that we are controlled by our physical brains with the brain being which are set in motion by environmental factors. The debate continues because many people disagree with determinism and assert that they have, in some form, free will. Determinists insist that such a belief represents “folk psychology,” an illusion held by people who are ignorant of what science has allegedly proved.”

“Determinists typically believe that:

  • Consciousness is the same thing as brain activity (as opposed to requiring a brain)
  • The conscious mind, though real, plays no significant role in human life
  • The human mind is not significantly different from that of the lower animals such as chimpanzees
  • All causes are material (or mechanical)
  • Goal-directed action applies equally to people and machines
  • The concept of a self or the self as a causal agent has no intelligible meaning
  • Key neuroscience experiments have proven that the intention to act appears after the brain has already decided what to do
  • Determinism is not only compatible with objective knowledge but is also the only guarantee of objective knowledge, because it is based on scientific truth
  • Determinism has to be either proved or disproved based on philosophical and/or scientific arguments
  • Free will, at best, is a necessary illusion

“On the other side of the coin, various free will advocates typically believe that:

  • Elementary particles which make up our brain act at random, thus refuting causal necessity
  • Free will and determinism are compatible
  • Religion validates free will

In The Illusion of Determinism: Why Free Will is Real and Causal, Dr. Locke shows that all of the above beliefs are mistaken, and that free will is, as many have claimed, self-evident, even though most people have not validated it or correctly identified what it consists of—what it is, and what it isn’t.”

Order the book on Amazon