Article By: MC1 Leonardo Carrillo
As President of the Ayn Rand Center for Individual Rights, Dr. Yaron Brook has become a well-known and outspoken leader in individual rights and capitalism. During the latest edition of the Secretary of the Navy Guest Lecture series, Feb. 28, Brook shared his sometimes controversial but thought-provoking insights into what he calls true capitalism, or objectivism.
President of the Ayn Rand Center for Individual Rights, Dr. Yaron Brook speaks during a Naval Postgraduate School (NPS) Secretary of the Navy Guest Lecture series (SGL) Feb. 28. Dr. Brook gave a thought-provoking lecture on his views of what he calls true capitalism, or objectivism.
“I immigrated to this country almost 25 years ago and the reason I immigrated to this country has a lot to do with why a lot of you joined the military,” said Brook. “I looked at my life and I said where in the world could I make the most of my life? … It turned out that it was here.”
Brook asked the audience what they believe makes America such a great country, and why after so many years, millions of people still endure much hardship to become American citizens. The answer to him, he noted, was freedom.
He would continue, however, by noting that these freedoms have begun to erode because of a growing trend of government intervention that, according to him, has to change. Brook went on to offer his beliefs on the causes of the current recession, led in large part by failed policies that he said would not happen in a true capitalist society.
Brook stated that returning to economic freedom was the key to emerge from the current economic problems the world faces, noting that history demonstrates that more economic freedom leads to more prosperity.
“I thought the presentation was outstanding,” said NPS student Navy Lt. Jessie Hallan, who nominated Brook for the SGL. “It was very informative and inspiring.”
Hallan added that he nominated Brook after reading about his views on objectivism in 2006. Hallan admitted that while people will have different views about the presentation, the point of the SGL series is to compel students to think.
“I know that some may not have agreed with the point of view Dr. Brook presented but I hope it will inspire some more thought into the issues that are plaguing our country,” said Hallan. “As the future leaders of the Navy, it is important to have knowledge of the many methods to find solutions. Different points of view help to find these solutions.”
Navy Lt. Cmdr. Brad Coleman, also an NPS student, was compelled to present a different perspective, asking Brook what would happen if the freedoms of one group affected the rights of others. As an example, he gave the hypothetical example of a company freely dumping pollutants in a river affecting the population downstream.
Brook responded that in a truly capitalist world, the river would be privately owned and therefore polluting the river would infringe upon the rights of the owner, thus making it illegal.
Although Coleman accepted Brook’s concept that government can become too involved in individuals’ daily decisions, he noted that there are clear essential services that governments must manage -- transportation, infrastructures, utilities, building and safety codes, and many others.
He also said that government institutions, like NASA and the DOD, have generated innumerable innovations that have been the foundation of many of today’s scientific, medical, industrial, and technological advances.
“I thought Dr. Brook’s presentation was interesting and very thought provoking,” said Coleman. “I think SGLs should be chosen because they challenge the status quo of any organization through logical arguments.”
The Center for Individual Rights is the policy and outreach division of the Ayn Rand Center, and its mission is "to advance individual rights (the rights of each person to life, liberty, property, and the pursuit of happiness) as the moral basis for a fully free, laissez-faire capitalist society," as noted on the organization's website. The mission is based on the philosophy of Objectivism created by the organization’s namesake, the late author and philosopher Ayn Rand.