As a yearly event where “Objectivists” (those who support Ayn Rand’s works, ideas, and philosophy”) come together from all around the world to discuss the philosophy and its applications to daily life, OCON is a breath of fresh air. Last week, for the second consecutive year, I attended the Objectivist Conference (OCON 2017) in Pittsburgh, PA.
The event attracts big names from the intellectual and business fields.
This includes Alex Epstein (The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels and Founder/CEO of the Center for Industrial Progress), John Allison (legendary BB&T exec and former CEO), Blake Scholl (Founder/CEO of Boom Technology, creating a commercial supersonic jet), and Dave Rubin (Host, The Rubin Report).
These individuals are joined by the Ayn Rand Institute (ARI) staff.
ARI provides commentary on topics that relate to the philosophy of Objectivism, and topics such as freedom, liberty, capitalism, individual rights, and freedom of speech. They speak frequently at college campuses, and the Executive Director, Yaron Brook, has visited some 20+ countries in his latest tour around the world spreading the ideas of Objectivism.
The Ayn Rand Institute is also responsible for providing education on the Objectivist Philosophy, explanations of Rand’s novels, and are constantly working towards a better, more individualistic society.
So what is the point of the Conference?
ARI hosts the event yearly in a different U.S. city to help build the Objectivist community. While many of us don’t call ourselves “Objectivists”, as named groups often sound like cults, we believe in the fundamental nature of human rights, namely the rights to life, liberty, property, and the pursuit of happiness.
There are a few key reasons we attend:
• To discuss controversial ideas with individuals who are willing to engage in productive, rational debate
• To surround ourselves with people who share the same fundamental values
• To rejuvenate our spirits, sharing the company of other happy, productive individuals
• To explore Ayn Rand’s ideas in greater depth
• To network with ARI Staff and Business Professionals
What was discussed at this year’s Conference?
This year, there was an emphasis on Productive Achievement, and how it often goes unrecognized (or sometimes even punished). Speakers explored what it means to be a productive achiever, what ideas lead to productive achievement, and why creating value is a moral ideal.
Guest speakers (Blake Scholl, Alex Epstein, Adam Mossof, John Allison, Michael Paxton, etc.) demonstrated how using the ideas that Objectivism promotes can greatly improve one’s ability and likelihood of success. Talks also examined the importance of having the right mindset, protecting intellectual property via patents and copyrights, and intellectual persuasion.
And, as always, the conference was geared towards how to live a happy life here on earth.
Objectivism: Reason, Purpose, Self-Esteem
Learn more here:
Onkar Ghate – “Productive Achievement is Man’s Noblest Activity.” Day 1 Highlights, OCON 2017
Adam Mossoff on Intellectual Property Rights – Day 2 Highlights, OCON 2017
Steve Simpson on the Proper Purpose of Government – Day 2 Highlights, OCON 2017