The Ayn Rand Institute's Altruism as Appeasement

Grant Jones's picture
Submitted by Grant Jones on Wed, 2019-05-29 22:46
NPC Dems.jpg

In the last decade, or longer, the Ayn Rand Institute (ARI) has veered sharply to the political and cultural left. This sad reality has been documented on this blog and elsewhere. During this period these Obleftivists have sought moral sanction and social acceptance from the enemies of the American people (academia, Soviet Valley, globalist corporations, the media).

The above cartoon is not hyperbole. Obleftivists don't just uphold abortion as a right in the first trimester and as a necessary evil. ARI has accepted and trumpets the full blown leftist view of abortion on demand through all nine months of pregnancy (and thereafter?) as a positive good, as "sacred." ARI's strict adherence to their open borders (for America, not Israel) dogma hardly requires more discussion. As for the sacred right of self-defense, Yaron Brook has this to say

I don't think guns matter. If they took if they took all our guns it doesn't matter and if we kept all the guns it doesn't matter that much. What matters a thousand times more is what's happening in our schools. 

The question is why ARI is self-destructing in this manner. In part, Obleftivists live in existential fear of being blacklisted by the Cultural Marxist gatekeepers who rule public discourse. They seem to understand that if ARI moved to the "right," it/they would be smeared and purged in the manner of Lauren Southern, Stephen Molyneux, Katie Hopkins and Paul Joseph Watson. It's much safer to appease the left by joining the witch hunt against such people. But, the question remains: why?

The answer can be found in Ayn Rand's seminal essay "Altruism as Appeasement." This article should be read along with "The Comrachicos" and "The Cashing-in: The Student "Rebellion."" "Altruism as Appeasement" was published in the January 1966 issue of The Objectivist and was republished in The Voice of Reason. Rand examines the all too common phenomenon of intelligent people morally appeasing the left in order to have a seat at the table with the cool kids:

It is an attempt to apologize for his intellectual concerns and to escape from loneliness of a thinker by professing that his thinking is dedicated to some social-altruistic goal ... Some degree of social metaphysics is almost always involved in the psychology of such a man, but it is hard to tell whether it led to or resulted from his surrender ... Basically, a social metaphysician is motivated by the desire to escape the responsibility of independent thought, the realm of values, in order to be permitted to use his mind

She notes that such sell-outs exist on the right as much as the left. She takes to task "conservatives" who appease the left. It's an apt examination of who are today called "cuckservatives," such as George Will. But, the more dangerous variety are liberals. They have surrendered to the loony left and continue to appease the monsters. One has only to look at the Democratic Party to substantiate this sad reality.

Ayn Rand's argument is that this sell-out happens at an early age in high school or college. The question remains, once sold can one buy back one's soul? Yaron Brook was raised by socialists. He has stated that he was a socialist until high school. He must have internalized the values and thinking methods of socialism during his most important formative years. There is ample evidence that he still remains on the cultural left and seeks its moral sanction. Both this blog, ARI Watch and others have documented Brook's cultural leftism. 

Yaron Brook will argue that he has replaced the altruism of socialism with the self-interest of capitalism. However, Brook's version of "self-interest" is a crude materialism based on short-term expediency to maximize short-term profits. Ayn Rand's description of the late stage appeaser fits Brook perfectly:

The pretense at any belief in altruism vanishes from his mind in a very few years, and there is nothing left to replace it: his independent capacity to value has been repressed - and his fear of the brute [President Trump's deplorables] makes the pursuit of values seem hopelessly impractical ... One of the bitter penalties of the appeasers is that even the most brilliant of them turn out, as persons, to be conventional, empty, dull. If their initial crime was the desire to be "one of the boys," this is the way in which they succeed. 

The above could very well explain how so many Obleftivists have arrived at their shallow materialism. 

The hallmark of cuckservative or Obleftivist appeasers is their practice of always "punching right." They are notorious for reserving their moral outrage and sharpest barbs for those on their right. From attacks on President Trump, to ignoring or supporting the Deep State's coup attempt, to muting or memory holing Ayn Rand's hostility to second wave feminism and modern "art," Obleftivists only have enemies to their right and appease the left at every opportunity. They will also allow the left to choose the issues and frame to debate on contemporary culture and politics. As Ayn Rand described the appeaser's inevitable slide to complete moral degradation:

Moral cowardice is fear of upholding the good because it is good, and feat of opposing the evil because it is evil. The next step leads to opposing the good in order to appease evil, and rushing out to seek the evil's favor. But since no mind can fully hide this policy from itself, and no form of pseudo-self-esteem can disguise it for long, the next step is to pounce of every possible or impossible chance to blacken the nature of the good and to whitewash the nature of the evil.  

This quote from 1966 by Ayn Rand accurately describes ARI's trajectory of the last ten to fifteen years, or since Yaron Brook took over. 

Yaron Brook's policy has long been to hire like minded "intellectuals" at ARI. For example, there is Ben Bayer, instructor and fellow at ARI. A recent interview of Bayer by the American Philosophical Association (APA) is most revealing on the phenomenon of intellectual opportunism as self-interest:

I first got excited about philosophy in high school as a member of the debate team. At first, I was interested in it for purely instrumental reasons: I needed to know about how to argue for and against the positions of Locke, Rousseau, Kant, Mill, Nozick, and Rawls ... Initially I also read Rand’s book for purely instrumental reasons. I wanted to enter an essay contest about the book and win some money for college. I knew I would disagree with Rand’s individualist philosophy, but I thought that I could still write an impressive critical essay.

He continues by claiming that the character of Howard Roark in The Fountainhead changed his moral outlook:

I was also scared by the fact that I recognized too much of myself in Roark’s rival, Peter Keating, the conventional architect who derived his standards, interests, and values from other people. I began to reconsider my views in moral and political philosophy.

One can review his recent work for ARI in order to decide how much Peter Keating remains in his sub-conscious. And, there's this:

I went on a road trip with my family while listening to U2’s Joshua Tree on my Sony Walkman.

Not Rush. Not authentic American rock and roll such as Aerosmith, Lynyrd Skynyrd or the Steve Miller Band. Nope. It was Bono's anti-American anthem that was required listening for all leftists back in the day. Note how Bayer is careful to not say anything that would trigger the APA leftists. The entire interview with the ever loathsome APA can be cited as an example of appeasing the left by accepting them as one's moral equal. For further details see "The Chickens' Homecoming" by Ayn Rand from the June 1970 issue of The Objectivist and reprinted in Return of the Primitive

Ayn Rand identified a concept she discovered as "psycho-epistemology." Her definition: "Psycho-epistemology is the study of man’s cognitive processes from the aspect of the interaction between the conscious mind and the automatic functions of the subconscious." And, as Leonard Peikoff elaborated, "“Psycho-epistemology,” a term coined by Ayn Rand, pertains not to the content of a man’s ideas, but to his method of awareness, i.e., the method by which his mind habitually deals with its content."

It is fair and reasonable to question whether the cultural leftists at ARI have or can repair their psycho-epistemology that was programmed by socialism at a young age. For that matter, can any young person associated with ARI escape the pressures of "group think" so obviously at work there? 

It's no accident that such key Objectivist concepts and insights as psycho-epistemology and social metaphysics have been Memory Holed by ARI.  

Original article posted here: https://militaryreviews.blogsp...


Kochs Funding Amnesty-Dems ...

Lindsay Perigo's picture

... so why did they dump Amnesty-Yawon?? Why is Yawon weduced to working in a vape shop?

The pro-mass immigration Koch brothers’ network of billionaire, donor-class organizations is readying to financially back Democrats, so long as they promise to support amnesty for illegal aliens and vote to advance free trade at all costs.

In a memo to its staff, the Koch-funded Americans for Prosperity (AFP) organization announced that the economic libertarian group is set to back any elected official in Washington, DC, — including Democrats — who support their agenda of amnesty for illegal aliens and endless free trade, and oppose the GOP voter-preferred economic nationalist agenda of less immigration and tariffs to protect American jobs.

Poor Yawon!

Lindsay Perigo's picture

Evidently the Kochs and Soros have stopped funding Yawon, because he's now working in a vape shop. Nothing else has changed though:


Lindsay Perigo's picture

It was a podcast, within the last year I think, responding to a Trump speech in which Trump had said Americans are all part of one big beautiful family who have each other's back. (I know he always says that but he made a particular point of it in this particular speech, and got Bwook all wiled up.) Bwook basically said he proudly didn't give a shit about any other American just for being American—that would be twibalism or collectivism or nationalism or some such. Maybe it was a response to State of the Union? Sorry I can't remember specifically. Bruno may have a better recall than I.

Let me add that it was that podcast that made me realise fully just how OrgOism as embodied by Bwook and Binswanker had elevated sociopathy to a high-level virtue, and that the touchy-feely New Age Objectivism of the young 'uns is just the flip side of the same coin. Bwook and Binswanker are obvious psychopaths who make no effort to disguise the fact. The young 'uns bathe their rhetoric in the toxic saccharine of PC-speak. If you click on the link posted here to a post by one of the young ARIans about abortion you get chills down your spine as you read him justifying late-term abortion on the infantile "it's my body" premise. "Abortion is good." This is Hitlerian in its repulsiveness. Now, of course, ARI's Dem-Scum pin-ups have moved to a pro-infanticide stance, whereby it's OK to kill the newborn baby as long as you make it comfortable first. We live in truly evil times, and ARI is right up there at the forefront.

Personally, I've moved to the "heartbeat" position, and I applaud the slew of bills in the US to that effect. This is a human being, an invited guest. One does not have the right to kill invited guests just because they turn out to be inconvenient. I used to support the 3rd trimester view advanced by the late Tibor Machan, but now realise it was just sophism.

Question for Linz

Mark Hunter's picture

Linz wrote: “I remember Bwook bragging about how he experienced no fellow-feeling whatsoever for his fellow-Americans.”

Can you give a time frame in which he said this? The subject of the talk, the place, or anything to help specify the recording?


edpowell's picture

Of course Linz I fully agree with your analysis. Brook is an anti-American, anti-Christian, anti-Western bigot, and is evil through and through. It was Ed Mazlish who made the point you were approving of.

There is a question of tactics, however, when one is trying to educate the people in the middle, the ones who think ARI is doing good work spreading Ayn Rand’s ideas, and don’t really know the real positions espoused by Brook. When dealing with that sort of audience, and Sunny knows her audience better than I do, it can be best to lead with facts and analysis before coming to the conclusion later that Brook is anti-American and/or evil.

I was speaking to my wife last night about this after she listened to the podcast, and I told her Brook moved to Puerto Rico to save money on taxes. I said to her that we ourselves could probably save $50,000 a year in taxes if we too moved to Puerto Rico, and asked her whether that tempted her. She told me in no uncertain terms she would never do that. Why would any sane person ever WANT to move to Puerto Rico. Half the Puerto Rican’s have moved out of Puerto Rico, it’s such a shithole. But not Superchat Brook, Citizen of the Globe No real American would ever even conceive of moving to the third world just to escape taxes, even if the particular third world venue was officially part of the USA.

It's Still an Advance

Lindsay Perigo's picture

I remember Bwook saying Twump was "despicable" for calling the first judge who blocked the travel ban a "so-called judge." That Bwook would not have countenanced a complete Muslim ban. He's been dragged kicking and screaming to this position—and he sure does scream in that clip—and of course is just as likely to abandon it in the next podcast or even in the same one.

I just received an email from a friend who's overseas in a country that signed the Global Migration Compact. He says "they're [Muslims] everywhere now with their hideous hijabs and whatever it is that the men wear on their heads. Humourless, hate-filled faces, every one of them."

That's what's ahead for New Zealistan, and for Americistan if it doesn't repair to Trump's original position: a complete ban on Muslim migration. Enjoy Sharia Law!

I lost track of who was who in the YouTube discussion, but whoever said Bwook's policies are conspicuously anti-American was right on the money. I remember Bwook bragging about how he experienced no fellow-feeling whatsoever for his fellow-Americans. He wouldn't. He's American in passport only, and is a Narcissistic jerk. In his indifference to the engulfing of America by a savage, hostile superstition, he's as anti-American as you can get. As such he's evil.

I didn't mean to diss this YouTube panel. It's great that other anti-Obleftivists are stepping up and standing up to Bwook. And I acknowledge that Bruno and I have been remiss of late. It's difficult organising these things with a twelve-hour time difference. I'd advise this panel to stick to one hour and don't shy away from calling a spade a spade. It's not ad hominem when there are reasons for it!


Neil Parille's picture

Astonished to hear Yawon in one of the clips say he could live with a total ban on Muslim immigration. That, I believe, is a huge concession to MOGA, though as the panelists noted, the one point of consistency with Bwook is his "slippery" inconsistency.

It's important to remember the context.  Brook says you can ban a group of immigrants during war time.  The USA, in World War 2, presumanly banned all Germans, not just Nazis.  Brook says the "war" on radical Islam will take all of 6 weeks.

Listened to almost an hour ...

Lindsay Perigo's picture

Astonished to hear Yawon in one of the clips say he could live with a total ban on Muslim immigration. That, I believe, is a huge concession to MOGA, though as the panelists noted, the one point of consistency with Bwook is his "slippery" inconsistency. As the hostess said, he'll never write anything down.

I loved it when she said "How about we just don't fucking live with this?" meaning the Burka-wearing Islamosavages in Minnesota.

Someone at some point said we don't need a total ban on Islamic immigration. Yes, we do. Not One Muslim.

Overall, got tired of everyone being too tame. Where's the fire in the belly?! This is life and death! Bwook is pwo-death. Don't be so precious about "name-calling." Bwook is evil. Call him that. The rational back-up for such a label is prodigious.

As Grant quotes Rand:

Moral cowardice is fear of upholding the good *because* it is good, and fear of opposing the evil *because* it is evil. The next step leads to opposing the good in order to appease evil, and rushing out to seek the evil's favor. But since no mind can fully hide this policy from itself, and no form of pseudo-self-esteem can disguise it for long, the next step is to pounce on every possible or impossible chance to blacken the nature of the good and to whitewash the nature of the evil.

We take Brook to task

edpowell's picture

Sunny, Doug, Ed, and I take on Brook's ever shifting slimy anti-American immigration positions in this week's podcast. You can find it on your preferred podcast app, or watch here on Youtube:

A few words

Mark Hunter's picture

It’s always a pleasure to read Grant’s articles. This observation is very true and well said:

The hallmark of cuckservative or Obleftivist appeasers is their practice of always “punching right.” They are notorious for reserving their moral outrage and sharpest barbs for those on their right.

A few words on Grant’s main point ...

The idea that appeasement motivates ARI people probably applies to the lower level people such as Benjamin Bayer and Thomas Bowden. I doubt if “pushing the problem back” to appeasement applies to the top guns, except perhaps the now retired Leonard Peikoff (something of a weathervane). I think Yaron Brook, Elan Journo, Onkar Ghate are just plain wrong to the core, no complicated analysis necessary. They appease only themselves. But, to repeat, I think Grant’s analysis is very interesting and probably a good way to view the underlings, many students, and the rank & file followers on Twitter and YouTube.

Grant doesn’t bring up ARI’s funding but the same goes for pushing the problem back to a pecuniary interest, as if, for example, ARI promotes open borders because they get money from the Koch Brothers. I’m sure they would promote open borders without pay if they could manage it, and you couldn’t pay them enough to promote immigration restriction à la Vdare.

In other words, even though Brook and friends argue fallaciously, evade facts, flat out lie, still they are sincere in that they really do want to make people believe what they are saying. The source of the evil is within themselves.

(I don’t much care to do serious writing on discussion groups – usually when I read it later I realize it’s not quite what I wanted to say – but anyway there it is.)

Different Take

Lindsay Perigo's picture

Grant, enjoyable and refreshingly articulate as always, but I think you're letting Yawon off the hook by offering the excuse of "psycho-epistemology that was programmed by socialism at a young age." I have an alternate take: the "man" is rotten, evil, vile, dirty and vicious to his core ... by choice. He knows what he's doing. His socialist upbringing has nothing to do with it. I had one of those too. To call him a rat would be insulting to rats. He is to Ayn Rand what Robert Mueller is to Trump. He even looks the same. And you don't have to listen to a word he says to know it. He exudes the very evil he embodies. At a certain point we have to accept that there is no "why" other than volition. Bwook has chosen to sabotage Ayn Rand and everything she stood for. That's it. Of course, he has accomplices, whom he has appointed, and he has mindless lackeys all over, including here in NZ. The cult-member who listens to headbanging caterwauling and virtue-signals to the APA is obviously a case in point.

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