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The Daily Wildcat


Ayn Rand Institute fellow to speak at the UA

Ayn Rand Institute

Headshot of Don Watkins, a fellow at the Ayn Rand Institute and best-selling author. Watkins will be speaking in an event hosted by UA’s STRIVE chapter on April 20 at 6 p.m.

UA Students for Reason, Individualism, Value pursuit and Enterprise, a campus club known as STRIVE, will be hosting author and Ayn Rand Institute fellow, Don Watkins for a talk on April 20 at 6 p.m. in the Cesar E. Chavez building, room 110.

Watkins is a fellow at the Ayn Rand Institute, a nonprofit organization in Irvine, California, and is also a national best-selling author and former columnist for Forbes. The talk he will be giving is titled “Choosing to Succeed: Why Your Future is in Your Control.”

STRIVE is an national organization based on the philosophy of objectivism and the teachings of Rand. A novelist and philosopher in the mid-20th century, Rand coined what she called “a philosophy for living on earth.” Although her philosophy was not widely recognized when she wrote “The Fountainhead” in 1943, objectivism as well as Rand’s takes on metaphysics and epistemology gained steam through her following works, including the novel, “Atlas Shrugged.”

Watkins’ latest book titled “Equal is Unfair,”argues that the national movement against income inequality is misdirected. All of which circles back to Rand’s philosophy of objectivism.

“Objectivism has inspired me to do things I never thought I could do,” said Jackson Cassidy, leader of the STRIVE club at the UA. “I do believe Don’s talk can provide that inspiration for every student.”

Objectivism is founded on the principle of pursuing rational self-interest, or as most people call it, happiness, according to Cassidy. The idea being that people need to be selfish or self-interested and face the facts of reality in order to create a better society focused on capitalism.

Rand’s writings on capitalism are part of the reason why objectivism is embraced by libertarians and conservatives alike. By emphasizing fundamental rights including the pursuit of happiness, objectivists argue that capitalism is the only system which does not impede human rights.

Watkins has been heavily involved in a campaign he founded called End the Debt Draft. The goal of the project is to end America’s social welfare programs because they are, as Watkins puts it, bankrupting an entire generation.

In a recent interview with USA Today, Donald Trump endorsed Rand’s book, “The Fountainhead,” and said he was indeed a Rand fan. Trump also told his interviewer that he liked the novel because it discusses business, life and it relates to almost everything.

“I promise you that pushing aside political obstacles and distractions, trusting your own ability to think rationally and defining a clear-cut purpose in your life is by far the most rewarding way to achieve success,” Cassidy said.

Admission to the talk is open to everyone and is free of charge. The lecture will conclude with a book signing and open discussion with Watkins. Students interested in joining STRIVE at the UA will receive a free book, courtesy of the Ayn Rand Institute.

Follow Brice Lennon on Twitter.

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