What, in a nutshell, is Ayn Rand’s case for capitalism? How did her views contrast with libertarianism? anarchism? conservatism?

These are some of the questions addressed in my conversation with the coeditors of Foundations of a Free Society, an important new book on Ayn Rand’s political philosophy.On the book’s release, my colleague Keith Lockitch called it “a much-needed addition to the literature on Rand” and a resource of special interest to “the growing number of students active in what’s widely called the pro-liberty student movement.” Now available on Kindle, the book does a superb job of situating Rand’s views in relation to other thinkers and drawing out key points of contrast.

My conversation with coeditors Gregory Salmieri and Robert Mayhew and two chapter authors, Harry Binswanger and Onkar Ghate, took place at Objectivist Summer Conference 2019. Watch or listen to the panel discussion to get a sense of just how illuminating the book is. Among the topics we touched on:

  • The essence of Rand’s case for laissez-faire capitalism;
  • How Rand’s writings have ignited in many people an appreciation for capitalism;
  • The scope of Rand’s influence in the culture and on political movements;
  • Why Rand’s view stands in fundamental opposition to anarchism;
  • How Rand’s political theory relates to the work of philosopher Robert Nozick, author of Anarchy, State and Utopia;
  • How Rand’s theory of value relates to the views of the Austrian school of economics.

One point that emerges from the conversation is the pivotal role of nonfiction books in growing and advancing an intellectual movement such as Objectivism. There’s an enormous, ongoing need for such intellectual work. But on what topics? Make sure you catch the part when I ask the panelists to name some fields that they’d like to see future Objectivist scholarship explore.