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New Ideal, from the Ayn Rand Institute

Ayn Rand Institute

25 episodes

Jan 21, 2021

Racism, ‘Color Blindness,’ and Tribalism 


In this episode of New Ideal Live, on the occasion of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Elan Journo and Onkar Ghate discuss the ideal of “color blindness” and its relation to the struggle against racism.



Among the topics covered:



* The meaning of the ideal of “color blindness”;* Whether this ideal promotes blindness to injustice;* How emphasizing awareness of color differences aggravates tribalism;* Why inherited skin color and culture should not be packaged together or regarded as objects of shame or pride;* Whether the concept of “race” is valid;* Why cultural achievements are caused by chosen values, not “race”;* Why racism is empowered by determinism;* How to combat racism in one’s own thinking;* How today’s intellectual culture encourages racist thinking;* Whether there is such a thing as “systemic racism”;* Whether there is such a thing as “cultural appropriation”;* How our culture can deal honestly with questions about racism.



The discussion analyzed two articles critical of the idea of “color blindness,”
“Colorblind Ideology Is a Form of Racism” by Monnica T. Williams in Psychology Today and  “Color-Blindness Is Counterproductive” by Adia Harvey Wingfield in The Atlantic. Also referenced were contrasting perspectives in “The Left's Attack on Color-Blindness Goes Too Far” by Conor Friedersdorf in The Atlantic and Ayn Rand’s essay “Racism” from her book The Virtue of Selfishness.



This podcast was recorded on January 18, 2021. Watch or listen to the discussion below. Listen and subscribe from your mobile device on Apple PodcastsGoogle PodcastsSpotify or Stitcher. Watch archived podcasts here.









Podcast audio:






Jan 20, 2021

Talking with Glenn Loury about ‘Woke’ Culture and Racism Today 


Amid controversy following the killing of George Floyd, many companies, organizations and universities issued statements about confronting racial injustice. The one from Brown University,
emailed to its students, staff and alumni, conformed to what’s become a widely accepted view about racism in America:



. . . this is not a mere moment for our country. This is historical, lasting and persistent. Structures of power, deep-rooted histories of oppression, as well as prejudice, outright bigotry and hate, directly and personally affect the lives of millions of people in this nation every minute and every hour.



But one professor at Brown University raised his voice in protest against this “structural racism” narrative. In an incisive letter, Glenn Loury objected that letter’s authors treated many controversial and complex claims as if they were obviously true. “Is it supposed to be self-evident that every death of an ‘unarmed black man’ at the hands of a white person tells the same story? [The letter’s authors] speak of ‘deep-rooted systems of oppression; legacies of hate.’ No elaboration required here?” This, he went on, “is no reasoned ethical reflection. Rather, it is indoctrination, virtue-signaling, and the transparent currying of favor with our charges.”



 “What I found most alarming,” he wrote, “is that no voice was given to what one might have thought would be a university’s principal intellectual contribution to the national debate at this critical moment: namely, to affirm the primacy of reason over violence in calibrating our reactions to the supposed ‘oppression.’”



Loury’s rebuttal to the Brown statement reflects his longstanding critique of prevailing “woke” views on racism and how to combat it.  An economist and social critic, Loury is the Merton P. Stoltz Professor of the Social Sciences at Brown. He has published more than two hundred essays and reviews in journals and magazines, along with several scholarly books on race and racial inequality.



Recently, Onkar Ghate and I talked with Loury about racism in America. Loury’s knowledge of the issues is extensive, and we covered a lot of ground. Among the topics we discussed:



* Loury’s assessment of the scale of anti-black racism today compared with the climate during the mid-20th century* The debates about over-incarceration of blacks and racial bias in school discipline* The roles of the War on Drugs, minimum wage laws, and the welfare state in impeding economic progress* The underappreciated role of cultural ideas and values in understanding black communities* The impact of state-run schools, particularly in impoverished areas* The climate at universities and his experiences teaching a course on race and inequality



A point that resonated strongly with me: Talking about the situation on campus, Loury argued that professors have a responsibility, rather than jumping on a bandwagon, to adopt an “objective, critical, analytical posture” toward the issues and racially charged events we’re living through. He observed: “We’re letting our kids down if we don’t have a robust argument” about issues of race today.



Listen to or watch the conversation below.









Podcast audio:






Jan 18, 2021

The Storming of the Capitol 


In this episode of New Ideal Live, Onkar Ghate and Elan Journo discuss the moral significance and the consequences of the January 6 storming of the Capitol by supporters of President Trump.



Among the topics covered:



* How the storming of the Capitol resembled the 9/11 terrorist attacks* Trump’s level of moral responsibility for the attack* The arbitrariness of Trump’s conspiracy assertions* Our culture’s descent into irrationalist tribalism* The increasing authoritarianism on both the right and the left* The importance of recognizing the varying degrees of support for violence and authoritarianism on both sides of the culture* The importance of recognizing the various forms of dictatorial aspiration* The tribalistic attempt to claim victimhood in order to scapegoat the other side* Why the attackers were not “patriots” but nihilists* The commonalities between the storming of the Capitol and the BLM protests* The attack as an attempt to defy the rule of law* The political institutions worth supporting in an irrational political culture* The philosophical causes of tribalism* How to think rationally about election fraud claims* What should happen to Trump in the future given his moral responsibility for the attack* What is the best path forward for America



Mentioned in the discussion is Onkar Ghate’s 2016 essay “
One Small Step for Dictatorship: The Significance Of Donald Trump’s Election.”



This podcast was recorded on January 13, 2021. Watch or listen to the discussion below. Listen and subscribe from your mobile device on Apple PodcastsGoogle PodcastsSpotify or Stitcher. Watch archived podcasts here.









Podcast audio:






Jan 4, 2021

Can People Change? A Conversation with Gena Gorlin 


In this episode of New Ideal Live, Ben Bayer is joined by
Gena Gorlin, professor and clinical psychologist, to discuss the psychology of personal change and its connections with philosophy.



Among the topics covered:



* Gorlin’s view of New Year’s resolutions, and why change is so hard;* Considerations for making effective New Year’s resolutions;* Whether and how we can change fundamental aspects of ourselves;* How conscious and subconscious beliefs impact our mental health;* How our motivations impact our ability to change;* How we can tell when a change is worth making;* The role of heritability in shaping our character.



Mentioned in the discussion are Ayn Rand’s essay “Causality Versus Duty” and her book Atlas Shrugged. Also mentioned are Gorlin’s Psychology Today article “What It Really Looks Like to Rebuild Your Soul” and her paper, with Reinier Schuur, “Nurturing Our Better Nature: A Proposal for Cognitive Integrity as a Foundation for Autonomous Living.”



This podcast was recorded on December 29, 2020. Watch or listen to the discussion below. Listen and subscribe from your mobile device on Apple PodcastsGoogle PodcastsSpotify or Stitcher. Watch archived podcasts here.









Podcast audio:






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