We who understand Objectivism and live by its principles enjoy profoundly better lives because of it. But few people understand and embrace the philosophy. Most embrace a mishmash of common sense blended with mysticism, skepticism, altruism, and collectivism. Today’s culture reflects this fact. We and our loved ones suffer the consequences.
Ours is a relatively unenlightened culture, with illegitimately expanding government, and with correspondingly stilted progress. Granted, many aspects of life have improved dramatically since the Renaissance, the Enlightenment, and the founding of the United States. And life continues improving in myriad ways today. But it is improving at a snail’s pace relative to the progress that we and our loved ones would enjoy if the culture embraced a philosophy of reason, egoism, and capitalism.
If we want to live in such a culture—or move in that direction—we need to advance the ideas that can make it so. Toward that end, I’ve created a catalog of resources for advancing Objectivism.
This is a companion to the much larger document, “Resources for Understanding Objectivism.” Whereas the purpose of that document is to marshal resources for learning about the philosophy, the purpose of this one is to aid Objectivists in our efforts to introduce others to the philosophy. Like its companion, this is a living document, which will expand over time.
It also warrants a similar disclaimer: Inclusion of a resource here does not imply my endorsement of its every policy, decision, contributor, or employee. Inclusion implies only that I regard the resource as substantially valuable for advancing Objectivism.
If a resource is not included here, that may be because I’m unfamiliar with it or because I regard it as unworthy (e.g., organizations, divisions, or products that misrepresent Objectivism to an extent that makes them more harmful than helpful). Or it may be simply that I overlooked the resource while preparing this document. Suggestions for additions are welcome.
Finally, some resources presented here are included in “Resources for Understanding Objectivism” because they serve the purposes of both documents. This redundancy is intentional.
With those preliminaries out of the way, here are key resources for advancing Objectivism:
The Example We Set
One of the most important resources for advancing Objectivism is the example set by Objectivists. When we advocate Objectivism or claim to subscribe to the philosophy, people naturally look at how we live as an indication of what the philosophy means in practice. They look at how we conduct our personal lives, how we conduct our professional lives, how we interact with people, whether we’re honest, productive, just. When Objectivists set a good example, when they act consistently in accordance with the principles of the philosophy, they do a great service, first and foremost to themselves, but also to the advancement of the philosophy. When people claim to live by the principles of Objectivism yet fail to uphold and enact them, they do a great disservice, primarily to themselves, but also to the effort at hand.
If we want to advance Objectivism in the culture, we must walk the talk. Not sometimes. Always. This means being rational, honest, independent, productive, just, and morally ambitious as a matter of principle. Put negatively, it means never ignoring reality or pretending that facts are other than they are; never acting like a collectivist, a tribalist, a cultist; never treating Objectivism as a form of dogma or a religion; never treating Ayn Rand or anyone else as a god; never treating people unjustly; and never being morally lazy.
This is not to suggest that we should never make mistakes. Obviously we are fallible. But errors of knowledge and breaches of morality are different things. And if we are committed to thriving in life and advancing Objectivism, we must never engage in the latter.
Ayn Rand’s Books
At the top of the list of materials for advancing Objectivism are Ayn Rand’s books, which spell out and dramatize the principles of her philosophy in her own words. I’ve listed all of Rand’s works under “Resources for Understanding Objectivism,” so I won’t re-list them here. Please visit that document for information about and links to Rand’s books. And do what you can to inspire people to read them. This is the most potent means of advancing the philosophy. (Helpful secondary presentations and applications of Objectivism may be found in that same document.)
Objectivist Venture Fund
The Objectivist Venture Fund (OVF) was established by Carl Barney in 2014 for the purpose of financially supporting worthy projects that will advance Objectivism and Ayn Rand.
“If you are an Objectivist, with a passion for advancing Ayn Rand and Objectivism,” says the OVF’s website, “please consider submitting an online grant proposal to learn if your request can qualify for support from the Objectivist Venture Fund.”
Although Mr. Barney established this Fund in 2014, he has been funding Objectivist ventures for decades. I’m not sure whether he accepts outside financial support for the OVF, but we can provide other kinds of support, such as helping to spread the word about the fund; encouraging people with good ideas for advancing the philosophy to make a viable plan, apply for a grant, and move forward with it; or doing so ourselves.
For information about the Objectivist Venture Fund, see “Funds Are Available for Advancing Objectivism: An Interview with Carl Barney.” To apply for a grant, visit OVF’s website.
For information about Mr. Barney and why he loves Objectivism so much that he is willing to put large amounts of money toward advancing it, see “Carl Barney on Objectivism and Success.”
Ayn Rand Campus
Ayn Rand Campus, a division of the Ayn Rand Institute (ARI), offers free articles, lectures, and courses by Ayn Rand, Leonard Peikoff, and other Objectivists. For information about the campus, visit its website. And to support this effort, make a donation to ARI, noting that you’d like the funds to be used specifically for that purpose.
ARI’s Free Books for Teachers Program
This program offers free books to high school teachers and college professors for use with their students. Information for high school teachers may be found here, and for college professors here. To support this program, make a donation earmarked accordingly.
ARI’s Essay Contests
ARI holds annual essay contests for Rand’s novels Anthem, The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged. Each year, cash prizes totaling more than $125,000 are awarded to winners. Information on these contests may be found here. And donations can be made specifically in support of them.
Free Objectivist Books for Students
This wonderful initiative by Jason Crawford enables anyone to “Get any Ayn Rand novel or book about Objectivism for free. You just have to pledge to read it.” You can donate books through the website.
STRIVE stands for “STudents for Reason, Individualism, Value pursuit, and Enterprise.”
This is a student-led organization whose mission is “to inspire and empower students to explore and put into practice the principles of Ayn Rand’s philosophy.” In particular, STRIVE focuses on helping students to understand and embrace the cardinal value of purpose. From their website: “We believe young people can all benefit from identifying an articulate, productive purpose that is central to their hierarchy of values. We also believe that reason, learning to apply one’s mind to the world, is essential to that aim.”
For information about STRIVE Clubs and to support their efforts, visit their website.
The Undercurrent (a sister organization to STRIVE) is “a publication for students and young professionals that offers cultural commentary inspired by Ayn Rand’s philosophy.” For information about writing for The Undercurrent or supporting the publication, visit its website.
The Objective Standard
The Objective Standard (TOS) is the preeminent source for commentary from an Objectivist perspective. Founded in 2005, TOS is home to a massive archive of articles on all manner of philosophic, cultural, and political issues. TOS produces a newsletter (TOS Weekly), a quarterly journal (The Objective Standard), books, videos, and more—all dedicated to helping people understand Objectivism and apply it to personal, cultural, and political issues.
For information about writing for TOS, see its writer’s guidelines. And to support TOS’s mission of helping people to understand the principles and practical value of Objectivism through crystal-clear commentary, make a donation.
TOS-Con: Philosophy for Freedom and Flourishing
TOS-Con is an annual conference hosted by TOS and dedicated to advancing the principles of philosophy for freedom and flourishing. This theme is broader than Objectivism, so the conference includes discussions of Rand’s philosophy as well as ideas of other great thinkers. The aim is to examine and integrate any and all rational philosophic principles in service of political freedom and human flourishing.
For information on TOS-Con 2019, which will be held in Park City, Utah, August 7–10, visit TOS-Con.com.
If you’d like to help students and young adults attend TOS-Con, you can register for the conference as an Atlas or as a Non-Attending Atlas, which are means of sponsoring the extremely low pricing we’ve extended to young people.