Yaron Brook's Trump Derangement Syndrome and the Words of Guru

Grant Jones's picture
Submitted by Grant Jones on Mon, 2018-01-15 21:55

Currently, Yaron Brook is chairman of the board of the Ayn Rand Institute (ARI). He recently stepped down as ARI's CEO, who is now Jim Brown. Despite this change, Brook still remains the public face of ARI and is its most well-known and traveled figure. Not long ago he joined the Blaze "radio network" and still does his other audio uploads such as his Yaron's News Briefs. Sadly, these efforts are largely failures on his part. He often uploads several times a week and never suppresses the temptation to rattle on at great length. He would be more effective simply writing an 800-1000 word weekly column. Writing would be nice in that what he actual thinks on any given topic with be available to interested parties in objective black-and-white.

I recently watched Brook's 100 minute long bombast (really, there is no other word for this speaking style) on the "year in review" that was uploaded on 2 January 2018.

This episode was divided into two parts. The first twenty-five minutes was devoted to extolling the virtues of business, most especially that of high-tech. The second half was a nearly one hour long diatribe on Brook's bete noire President Donald Trump. It is difficult to analyze a nearly 100 minute stream-of-consciousness rant. But, I'll give it a try.

The chief intellectual error in this thing, of many, is Brook's gross over-generalizations. The repetition of his delivery is very tiresome. The message is clear within five minutes: multinational corporations (especially tech companies) can do no wrong and Donald Trump is the Devil - he's even worse than Obama. He seems to approach his topics from a Manichean perspective. Complex organizations or individuals are presented as wholly good or evil. There is no grey or people of mixed premises in Brook's world.

A case in point is Brook's corporation worship. He seems to actually believe that most CEOs and businessmen are giants of productive ability who don't have serious flaws. There are few, if any, Hank Reardens in the American corporate world. At best, most are a amalgamation of Orren Boyle and Mr. Mowen with hopefully a little Dagny Taggart mixed in. Brook doesn't even make the distinction between real entrepreneurs who create new businesses and the top management class of CEOs who basically inherit someone else's creation.

An example of the latter is the notorious Robert Nardelli who almost managed The Home Depot into the ground. It's a well-known story, except to Brook, so I don't need to go into the details. Nardelli did great damage to the firm, some of which will probably never be undone. But, he represents a familiar pattern. Genuine businessmen have a vision and create a successful enterprise. They eventually retire or die. Then along comes some Nardelli who doesn't share the founders' vision, or is even aware of it. He then causes untold damage by following some generic Harvard Business School playbook. Nardelli accepted a $210 million kiss-off to leave The Home Depot. What man of any integrity or honesty would accept such a sum for complete, utter and disgraceful failure? These types of "businessmen" are far from admirable. And they exist in far greater numbers than Brook would ever want to admit. Incredibly, Nardelli became CEO of Chrysler in 2007. Chrysler filed for bankruptcy in 2009.

Even real entreprenuers who create successful companies are not necessarily decent or respectable human beings. Silicon (Soviet) Valley that Brook idealizes provides many good examples of this complex reality. The creator (or alleged creator) of Facebook is a case in point. Just today PJ Media posted a story of Facebook banning a bestselling author whose book criticizes Obama.

"Shockingly, Margolis paid for this ad to be "boosted" throughout Facebook using the advertiser program they offer. Facebook had no problem taking his money for this ad but banned him directly after he posted it to several groups. The groups he sent it to were all conservative-friendly groups that normally welcome such announcements and buy conservative books."

Such action is called fraud. But that social media companies violate their own terms of service (arguable breach of contract) is hardly news. Twitter is on fire with outrage over President Trump's alleged "shithole" remark. Meanwhile, this is what Twitter thinks of anyone to the right of Jeb! Bush!

"Olinda Hassan, Policy Manager for Twitter Trust and Safety explains, “we’re trying to ‘down rank’… shitty people to not show up,” “we’re working [that] on right now”"

The issue here is not whether these corporations have the right to be dishonest scum. The issue is why anyone would heap unqualified praise upon such vicious scum. Apparently, Brook has never heard the name James Damore. Some of the people running and working for Google sound certifiable. Clearly, their actions are in violation of numerous employment laws.

Brook says that the politics of the country's richest people doesn't matter. I don't know if this statement is the result of naivete or evasion. Obviously, the political agenda of the leaders of corporate giants that control much of the world's information flow is of immense importance. What to do about it is another question.

Another example is Jeffrey Bezos who is reportedly the richest man in the world. Bezos founded Amazon and made it a success. Good for him. He has reaped the rewards of his success. His politics matter. He purchased the Washington Post. The newspaper is now just a purvayor of fake news and Progressive propaganda. Why such a successful businessman is a leading cheerleader for naked fascism is an interesting question. But, Brook will never consider it. One has to seriously wonder about the nature of Bezos' character. One would think that he would be able to at least treat his employees as human beings. But, for some people, the bottom line supersedes common decency. No wonder all these CEOs want to import large numbers of indentured servants, which Brook wholeheartedly supports. Brook's callowness is limitless. Obviously, he has never worked for the nasty people he praises.

Brook also briefly comments on the great work being done by American energy companies. Of course, he gives President Trump no credit for deregulation and reining in the EPA. The last hour of the show is devoted to a diatribe on how President Trump is Satan. In fact, Donald Trump may be the only successful businessman that Brook doesn't uncritically adore.

Instead he devotes much time to repeating such bon mots as Trump's being "the most mindless administration ... anti-reason administration, ever! Trump is the first post-modern president ... more so than Obama." After creating a cartoonish image of President Trump, he then ridicules his own cartoon monster. After attacking President Trump as a liar, Brook pulls out this whopper:

"I'm not going to get into an argument with you guys [?] on trade, because there is no argument on trade ... Trade is a settled issue ... Trade with [Red] China's a fantastic thing. Trump announces trade is bad."

Of course, the president has never said that trade is bad. He has said that certain trade deals have been bad for America and he will renegotiate them. It's not surprising that Brook doesn't want to have an "argument" about trade policy. He apparently believes that sweetheart deals between corrupt cronies on one hand and Red China's People Liberation Army (PLA) on the other are both "free trade" and good for America. Brook doesn't see any downside to funneling more $trillions into the coffers of the PLA.

Seriously, what could go wrong with financing the ChiComs hegemony in East Asia? Brook sees none.

After spending the better part of an hour castigating the president as a pathological liar with no concern for truth, Brook goes full Russian conspiracy. By the way, Brook views Russia as the greatest potential threat to American security, not Islam and certainly not his ChiCom pals. Anyways, at nearly the end of the show, Brook provides this bit of wisdom, "Do I buy that Trump colluded with the Russians? Yeah, I believe that ... I don't have any evidence to support this." He then hedges, then concludes, "It doesn't strike me as science fiction." Trump Derangement Syndrome means never having to cite any actual evidence for anything.

While listening to Brook, the phrase "The Words of Guru" came to mind. It's the title of a science fiction short story by C. M. Kornbluth. Published in 1941, it's more a fantasy story of a young boy who comes under the spell of Guru whose words can alter reality. An old man in the story gives the boy some good advice for the present context,

"Guru?", he asked. "Who is Guru? Some foreigner, I suppose. Bad business mixing with foreigners, young fellow. Who is Guru?"

In the present, Brook would like to be a Guru whose endless barrage of verbiage could somehow alter reality. For example, he spends some time on how America is becoming tribal. His evidence is the growing concern over immigration. He views such concerns as being based largely on "racism" and "xenophobia." Financial wizard Brook should reconsider the effectiveness of calling many in his audience "mindless racists." I doubt it is good for business or very convincing to those not already in complete agreement with his dogma.

One can almost observe the hamster wheel spinning in his head: If he says this ad hominem enough, it will become true; All the legitimate concerns over immigration will go away; People will forget the rank hypocrisy of applying the "open immigration" principle to the United States while ignoring the border fortifications of Israel and India; Americans will forget about the massive damage done to their country by "globalism." One can almost see the smoke from overheating ball-bearings as he labors with his denials and evasions.

In any event, the Ayn Rand Institute would be well served by severing all connection with Brook. A most thorough housecleaning of all Brook's comrades at ARI is also needed. Maybe then, ARI can again become a philosophical organization promoting Objectivism instead of an adjunct to the CATO Institute.

Originally posted with links here: https://militaryreviews.blogsp...


Direct Action

Kyrel Zantonavitch's picture

Lindsay asks:

"How did the organised version of a philosophy of reason and freedom come to this?!"

Easy. Rand created Randroidism. She was a brilliant philosopher, but also a cult leader. The first part of her influence is currently rising, and the second is falling, but her second aspect is still far from extinct. One can either evade this issue and hope it goes away eventually, or one can directly confront it and work to defeat it. Sooner or later Brook and his Randroid, cultist, postmodernist friends will realize how wrong they are about enemy invasion immigration, Trump, and several other issues. The Good Guys of the world just need to keep hammering away. Brook and his evil pals are on the wrong wide of history.

Reading Material

Kyrel Zantonavitch's picture

Anoop -- What high quality reading material can you recommend which is better than the ARI stuff? Smiling

Ghastly Ghate and Cwooked Bwook ...

Lindsay Perigo's picture

... get their "news" from Far-Left CNN and NPR, remember, who are reporting nothing of the Clinton/Russia collusion, and still obsessing over Trump/Russia. Ghastly and Cwooked lap it up. Fuels their Obleftivism.

Just read today that Binswanker will be speaking at OCON. That'll be a must-attend! Evil

How did the organised version of a philosophy of reason and freedom come to this?!

Russia controversies & ARI

Chanakya's picture

Now there is such overwhelming evidence to show that the Obama administration used its powers to ensure the victory of Hillary Clinton. I mean, such misuse of govt. power is something that generally happens in countries like Cuba, Liberia, Cambodia and Kenya, it is not supposed to happen in USA.

All this is mind boggling for people like me. EXTREMELY SHOCKING.

How can the ARI intellectuals ignore these overwhelming moral and political failures of the Obama administration (the Democrat party)! The ARI rants only against Trump and the Republicans! Are they blind to all facts? What are their philosophical and political aims?

I have no idea what is happening in the ARI, but now I hardly care about them. I continue to be inspired by the ideas of Ayn Rand, but I have stopped looking at the articles and social media posts of the ARI intellectuals. I can't trust them any longer.

I have not read any article on the ARI blog in the last 6 months. I have better material to read. Smiling

Collusion Delusion

Kyrel Zantonavitch's picture

My opinion of cultist Yaron Brook is exceptionally low. But I never imagined he would say Trump colluded with the Russians. Do other cultists agree with him? This story has been reported to death for about a year now in the U.S., with never even the tiniest hint of evidence offered. Does Brook also think Trump is a racist or anti-Semite? Does he think him mentally deranged? Does ARI? I'm almost afraid to ask.

Bwook Weinvents Objectivist Epistemology

Lindsay Perigo's picture

Anyways, at nearly the end of the show, Brook provides this bit of wisdom, "Do I buy that Trump colluded with the Russians? Yeah, I believe that ... I don't have any evidence to support this." He then hedges, then concludes, "It doesn't strike me as science fiction." Trump Derangement Syndrome means never having to cite any actual evidence for anything.

Twump Dewangement Syndwome evidently means The Pwimacy of Consciousness, and the Validity of Arbitwawy Assertions. No evidence wequired, just a feeling that an assertion that bolsters one's pathology doesn't stwike one as science fiction.

Where is Peikoff?!

Again, someone please tell me: why are the rank-and-filers putting up with this?! What am I missing?!

Hatred of the Good for Being the Good

Kyrel Zantonavitch's picture

Donald Trump has virtually an infinity of flaws. Everyone honest or perceptive knows that. So is this why so many people revile and loath him?

Nah. It's mostly due to jealousy. Because Trump's a winner. Because he boldly aims high, speaks his mind, and often tells the truth. Cultists like Yaron Brook are natural losers. They aim low. And Brook doesn't dare speak his mind or tell the truth -- assuming he even has an independent mind or knows the actual truth. He slavishly repeats the Randroid party line as he pitifully bows down and submits.

Here's the truth about Trump: Thus far he's governed in a solidly more libertarian manner than the vast majority of the Republican politicians, Democratic politicians, media leaders, and American voters.

Can Brook seriously not see that?! Puzzled

Good article.

Mark Hunter's picture

Cyril M. Kornbluth also wrote the novella The Marching Morons (1951). I only read part of it, didn’t like the style but remember the catchy title.

Trying to salvage ARI by throwing out Brook and his cronies would mean throwing out everybody except perhaps Britting and Simpson, and how can those two be trusted when they know how to keep their traps shut?

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