Ayn Rand Institute Director Yaron Brook Speaks to Divided Audience
A disruptive renegade youth choir, a deeply divided crowd, a World War II history lesson, a radical soap-box performance by a former Israeli Military Intelligence Agent and a dead writer whose philosophy is still influential all came together at UC Irvine on Nov. 6.
Ayn Rand Institute President Yaron Brook spoke Monday to an audience of varying ages, cultural backgrounds and political ideologies for an event held by UCI’s Ayn Rand Club, titled ‘Destroying Islamic Totalitarianism: The West’s Moral Imperative’ at the Social Science Lecture Hall.
The Ayn Rand Club is a student organization whose goal is to promote objectivism, the philosophy of Ayn Rand, author of books like ‘Atlas Shrugged’ and ‘The Fountainhead.’
Specifically, the club argues that ‘reason, laissez-faire capitalism and rational self-interest are the foundations of a free society.’
Brook, whose advocacy group has encountered controversy and protest at many of its lectures at campuses across the country, argued for taking a much stronger stand against countries he deems ‘Islamic totalitarian regimes,’ expressing concern primarily over Iran, and using past military action against Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan as models for ending terrorist attacks against the United States.
The first half of the event was marked by a pre-planned protest organized by the LaRouche Youth Movement in which protesters stood during the speech and sang songs critical of Brook. Fifteen of the protesters, some of whom were peaceful and others who violently resisted police, were escorted from the building one by one and were arrested.
This did not deter the calm, collected Brook, who continued his lecture after each wave of protesters were dejected and followed his speech with an extensive question-and-answer section. Ayn Rand Club President and first-year undeclared humanities major Eric Brunner was pleased with the event’s turnout and was also not fazed by the protesters.
‘The event was a total success,’ Brunner said. ‘About 170 people attended. The people who disrupted my event are less than zeros and are barely worth mentioning. Simply observing their behavior speaks for itself.’
In his speech, Brook identified several countries