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Yaron Brook of the Ayn Rand Institute.

Yaron Brook (Hebrew: ירון ברוק‎; born 1961) is the current president and executive director of the Ayn Rand Institute, a non-profit organization in Irvine, California, whose mission is to promote the novels of Ayn Rand and her philosophy of Objectivism. He regularly speaks at universities, corporations, and professional and community groups across America, addressing a wide-range of current events and philosophical issues from an Objectivist perspective. He is a frequent radio guest on The Thom Hartmann Program, a weekly guest on the Fox Business Network,[1][2] and has appeared many times on national TV shows such as CNBC's On the Money.[3] He has appeared on Glenn Beck Program, which airs on The Fox News Channel. He has been interviewed for his expertise on the Middle East, business ethics issues, and the economy. He served in the Israeli Army military intelligence, and he is a former professor with a PhD in finance.[4]

Contents

Early life in Israel

Brook was born and raised in Israel. His parents were Jewish socialists originally from South Africa.[5] A friend lent him a copy of Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged when he was 16,[5] and he eventually embraced Objectivism.[5]

At the age of 18 he was drafted into the Israeli Army. He served for three years (1979 - 1982), and was a First Sergeant in Israeli military intelligence. Once out of the army, he attended college at the Technion—Israel Institute of Technology located in Haifa, and in 1986 he received his B.Sc. in civil engineering.[4]

Emigration to the U.S.

In 1987 Brook moved to the United States to study at the University of Texas at Austin (UT). At UT he received his MBA (in 1989) and his PhD in finance (in 1994). He was subsequently hired to teach finance at Santa Clara University in California, where he was an assistant professor for seven years. He was a teacher and developed a class on Finance and Ethics.[6]

In 1998 Brook (with Robert Hendershott) started an investment consulting business called BH Equity Research, located in San Jose, California. He is currently a managing partner of that firm.[7] He also co-founded Lyceum International in 1994, a company that organized Objectivist conferences and offered distance-learning courses.[8]

Brook left Santa Clara University in 2000 to become president and executive director of the Ayn Rand Institute, which was then located in Marina del Rey, California. The Institute moved to Irvine, California in 2002.[9]

Advocacy of Objectivism

As head of the Ayn Rand Institute (ARI), Brook has become a well-known advocate of Objectivism. His philosophical activism includes teaching and public lecturing at ARI-sponsored events and conferences held predominantly in North America; speaking and debating at numerous American universities; delivering seminars for businesses and corporations in the United States and abroad; and writing opinion editorials for newspapers and websites.

On TV, Brook is a frequent guest on Fox News and popular CNBC programs such as On the Money and Morning Call, where he applies his philosophy to current issues related to finance, business ethics, and foreign policy.[10] He is also regularly interviewed on local and national radio, having appeared many times on The Thom Hartmann Program, which is carried by the Air America Radio network.[11] Brook has writings and interviews have also appeared on Forbes.com,[12] and Glenn Reynolds' Instapundit.[13]

Philosophical and Political Views

Rational Selfishness

As an Objectivist, Brook promotes the philosophical principles formulated by Ayn Rand, in particular her philosophy of rational selfishness (egoism) as a moral virtue. In addition to teaching classes on egoism at the Ayn Rand Institute and as a guest lecturer at Brown University, Brook has also defended the egoist position in a 2006 debate against former U.S. Senator Robert Krueger at Texas State University, San Marcos.

Foreign Policy and War

American Foreign Policy

Brook has gained much attention for his application of Objectivist moral philosophy to the question of American foreign policy in the Middle East.

He advocates an American foreign policy of rational self-interest that would serve to only protect the rights of Americans (as opposed to any form of government monetary aid, or state-building, or spreading democracy).[14]

The War Against Islamic Totalitarianism

Brook claims that the Islamic terrorists initiated a war against the West because they hate the West's culture, wealth, love of life, and global influence.[15] This is opposed to the ideas that Islamic terrorists attack the West because they are poor, or because the West supports Israel, or any other reason.[16]

They [Islamic terrorists] don't hate us because we support Israel, they hate Israel because they look like us[17]

Brook claims that the West isn't at war with terrorism, but the ideology of Islamic totalitarianism. He repeatedly says that just like in WWII, America wasn't at war against Japanese Kamikaze pilots or German tanks, but the ideas of Nazism and Japanese Shintoism.[18][19]

Brook claims that Islamic totalitarians are Muslims who wish to dictate every part of life from the teachings of Islam, taken to its logical extreme.[19] Most importantly, Islamic totalitarians want to organize their governments according to Islam, and they wish to spread a global Islamic government across the world, sometimes using legitimate means, but mainly by using physical force, i.e. terrorism.[19] Dr. Brook claims that the Islamic totalitarians repeatedly express this, openly.

...it is a movement that believes in conquest...Islam should rule every aspect of one's life...they don't believe in separation of religion and state...and those who disagree are second class citizens or worthy of death, they want an empire in middle east, but their goal ultimately is world domination, and they state this. They are never satisfied with oppressing their own people or the people around them, they want world domination.[19]

The Morality of War

Brook has done a fair amount of work to formulate a unique morality of war[20 ][21] (but a morality originated by Ayn Rand[22] and also advocated by other Objectivists like Leonard Peikoff,[23] Onkar Ghate,[24] and Craig Biddle).[25]

Brook claims that when America goes to war, it should only be to protect the rights of its people, and the government must do everything in its power to end the threat to its citizens, as soon as possible, by using overwhelming military force (or the threat of force).[20 ] If torturing enemy POWs and purposely targeting civilian population centers will end a war against American citizens, Brook is for it. The specific goal of this total war would be to crush the will of the people who started the war against the United States. After the government of the enemy country is destroyed, the United States should leave unless there is a special circumstance in which the people of the defeated country are realistically willing to adopt Western-style governments.[26]

In his article "'Just War Theory' vs. American Self-Defense," co-authored with Alex Epstein in The Objective Standard, Brook writes:

Without physical and spiritual support by these states, the Islamic Totalitarian cause would be a hopeless, discredited one, with few if any willing to kill in its name. Thus, the first order of business in a proper response to 9/11 would have been to end state support of Islamic Totalitarianism—including ending the Iranian regime that is its fatherland.[27]

Brook further argues that these Islamic states must be severely attacked in order to crush their will to engage in and support terrorism.

The US has been attacked first thus it has the moral right to fight Islamism. The sole moral duty of the United States is to defend its citizens against its enemies by all means, even with the use of the atom bomb if necessary.[28]

What specific military actions would have been required post-9/11 to end state support of Islamic Totalitarianism is a question for specialists in military strategy, but even a cursory look at history can tell us one thing for sure: It would have required the willingness to take devastating military action against enemy regimes—to oust their leaders and prominent supporters, to make examples of certain regimes or cities in order to win the surrender of others, and to inflict suffering on complicit civilian populations, who enable terrorist-supporting regimes to remain in power.[20 ]

From the beginning of the War on Terrorism, Brook has argued that Iran should be the primary target of U.S. retaliation for Sept. 11, secondary targets being Saudi Arabia and Syria.[14]

He is for waging war on Islamic totalitarian states, but he believes that Bush’s "Forward Strategy of Freedom" is altruistic, self-defeating, and in opposition to America’s national self-interest.[29]

In his 2006 speech "Democracy vs. Victory: Why the 'Forward Strategy of Freedom' Had to Fail"[30] given at the Ford Hall Forum in Boston he said:

Washington commanded the military to tip-toe around Iraq. Troops were coached in all manner of cultural sensitivity training, so they would not offend the customs of the locals. The welfare of Iraqis was placed above the lives of our soldiers, who were put in the line of fire but prevented from using all the necessary force necessary to win. U.S. troops died as a result. Washington treats the lives of our military personnel as expendable. Their blood is spilled for the sake of serving Iraqis, a people overwhelmingly hostile to America. Bush had committed America to this selfless mission in the run-up to the war.

On December 17, 2004 Yaron Brook appeared on O’Reilly Factor, Impact Segment, "Aftermath of Fallujah activities", the context was that an embedded journalist had reported about the shooting of previously disarmed Iraqi soldiers in Fallujah. During this interview he said:

I'm suggesting that we start bringing this war to the civilians, the consequences of this war, to the civilians who are harboring and helping and supporting the insurgents in Fallujah and other places. ... I would like to see the United States turn Fallujah into dust, and tell the Iraqis: If you’re going to continue to support the insurgents you will not have homes, you will not have schools, you will not have mosques ...

Israel

Brook considers Israel to be a morally good nation because its Western-style government protects the rights of its citizens, Arab and Jewish alike, vastly more that neighboring countries.[31][32] Brook is highly critical of Zionism, arguing that "Zionism fused a valid concern - self-preservation amid a storm of hostility - with a toxic premise - ethnically based collectivism and religion".[33]

Brook advocates morally (but not necessarily financially) supporting Israel, which he sees as a Western ally against Islamic terrorism.[34]

Brook strongly disagrees with many aspects of Israel's policies, including its collectivist and religious influences, and its 'self-sacrificial' foreign policy of giving its enemies land, money, and other goods.[31][35]

Capitalism and Business

Brook is also an outspoken proponent of laissez-faire capitalism. In appearances on CNBC[36] and in several articles[37] and speeches, he has defended the rights of corporations and businessmen and upheld the virtues of capitalism. In a January 7, 2007 editorial in USA Today, he defends multi-million dollar CEO pay packages against the attempt by government to regulate them.[38] Brook has criticized President Bush for signing the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, which regulates corporate accounting practices.[39] And he has argued that antitrust laws are "unjust and make no sense ethically or economically."[40]

Bibliography

References

  1. ^ YouTube - Fox Business News Mortgage Reform Commentary
  2. ^ YouTube - Fox Business News: Peter Schiff plugs in Ron Paul
  3. ^ Search Results - CNBC.com
  4. ^ a b "Yaron Brook". Ayn Rand Institute. http://www.aynrand.org/site/News2?page=NewsArticle&id=5151. Retrieved 2009-08-18.  
  5. ^ a b c http://www.ocregister.com/news/brook-rand-institute-1884783-self-money
  6. ^ http://www.aynrand.org/site/News2?page=NewsArticle&id=5151&news_iv_ctrl=1181
  7. ^ BH Equity Research
  8. ^ http://www.wju.edu/academics/bus/iscm/brook.asp
  9. ^ Letran, Vivian (June 07, 2002). "Ayn Rand Institute to Move to Orange County". Los Angeles Times. http://articles.latimes.com/2002/jun/07/local/me-rand7. Retrieved 2009-08-18.  
  10. ^ [1]
  11. ^ "Interviews on The Thom Hartmann Program". Ayn Rand Institute. http://www.aynrand.org/site/PageServer?pagename=interviews_hartmann. Retrieved 2009-10-02.  
  12. ^ http://search.forbes.com/search/colArchiveSearch?aname=Yaron+Brook&author=yaron+and+brook
  13. ^ http://pajamasmedia.com/instapundit/73624/
  14. ^ a b http://www.aynrand.org/site/PageServer?pagename=reg_ls_1yrlater
  15. ^ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fVz4hsx0uns
  16. ^ http://www.aynrand.org/site/PageServer?pagename=reg_ls_1yrlater Lecture from 2002: 9/11—One Year Later: Why America Is Losing the War!
  17. ^ 9/11—One Year Later: Why America Is Losing the War! Q and A http://www.aynrand.org/site/PageServer?pagename=reg_ls_1yrlater
  18. ^ http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1184168546756&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull
  19. ^ a b c d http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wZVNYH5aR9E
  20. ^ a b c http://www.theobjectivestandard.com/issues/2006-spring/just-war-theory.asp
  21. ^ http://www.aynrand.org/site/PageServer?pagename=reg_ls_moralityofwar
  22. ^ http://www.aynrand.org/site/News2?page=NewsArticle&id=5138
  23. ^ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JoAWCwm-UXw
  24. ^ http://www.aynrand.org/site/News2?page=NewsArticle&id=6418&news_iv_ctrl=1021
  25. ^ http://theobjectivestandard.com/blog/2006/10/reply-to-question-about-targeting-non.asp
  26. ^ Democracy vs. Victory: Why the "Forward Strategy of Freedom" Had to Fail Question and Answer period http://www.aynrand.org/site/PageServer?pagename=reg_ls_democracy
  27. ^ "'Just War Theory' vs. American Self-Defense"
  28. ^ http://www.capmag.com/article.asp?ID=4342
  29. ^ http://www.theobjectivestandard.com/issues/2007-spring/forward-strategy-for-failure.asp
  30. ^ http://forum.wgbh.org/wgbh/forum.php?lecture_id=3228
  31. ^ a b http://www.aynrand.org/site/PageServer?pagename=reg_ls_israel
  32. ^ http://www.capmag.com/article.asp?ID=1674
  33. ^ Arfa, Orit (July 12, 2007). "'You don't fight a tactic'". The Jerusalem Post. http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1184168546756&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FPrinter. Retrieved 2009-10-02.  
  34. ^ http://freemarketmojo.com/?p=3522
  35. ^ Brook, Yaron (June 23, 2002). "Israel Has A Moral Right To Its Life". http://www.capmag.com/article.asp?ID=1674. Retrieved 2009-10-02.  
  36. ^ http://search.cnbc.com/main.do?keywords=yaron+brook&target=video&x=0&y=0
  37. ^ Epstein, Alex; Brook, Yaron (October 22, 2002). "Paralyzing America's Producers". Ayn Rand Institute. http://www.aynrand.org/site/News2?news_iv_ctrl=-1&page=NewsArticle&id=5455. Retrieved 2009-10-02.  
  38. ^ Brook, Yaron (January 7, 2007). "Pay is company's prerogative". USA Today: p. 19A. http://www.usatoday.com/printedition/news/20070108/oppose08.art.htm.  
  39. ^ Brook, Yaron; Epstein, Alex (July 14, 2003). "The cost of the 'ethical' assault on honest businessmen". http://www.enterstageright.com/archive/articles/0703/0703businessassault.htm. Retrieved 2009-10-02.  
  40. ^ "Capitalism and Business Ethics: Yaron Brook, Executive Director of the Ayn Rand Institute". Washingtonpost.com. July 19, 2000. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/liveonline/00/business/specials/brook0719.htm. Retrieved 2009-10-02.  

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