<< ARI Watch
Biden Must Win or America is Doomed
- so says Yaron Brook -
In 2016 Ayn Rand Institute honchos promoted Hillary Clinton for president, painting Trump as an American version of Adolf Hitler. After Hitler won the election ARI’s Onkar Ghate trashed the benighted deplorables who voted for him:
“... Trump publicly projected the mentality, methods and campaign of a would-be dictator ... he won the presidency because of this.” (“One Small Step for Dictatorship” 17 November 2016)As if over half of suburban and rural Americans yearned for a dictator. 
So it will come as no surprise that in 2020 Yaron Brook, ARI’s board chairman, is promoting Joe Biden, a leftist who was Obama’s vice president through both his terms. Mr. Brook began the new campaign in earnest when he answered a chat room question on his podcast of July 7th. He reads aloud:
“What will do less harm to freedom, the Christian Right electing Trump or the secular left electing Biden? I side with the Christian Right. Am I wrong?”And replies: 
“Yeah, I think you are wrong. ... Trump being elected, whether by the Christian right or anybody else it doesn’t matter, another four years of Trump will basically eviscerate any goodness in the Republican Party, and will set us up for the Republican Party becoming not just a Christian Right but a Christian nationalist party.We interrupt. The references to Christianity are unjustified. Trump is more or less unreligious, as was Reagan. What Reagan brought into the Republican Party were the neoconservatives – and they remain a major infestation.
“Just like Ronald Reagan brought Christianity into the Republican Party and embedded it into the core of the Republican Party, Donald Trump is—”
Mr. Brook continues:
“Donald Trump is bringing the nationalists, racists, into the Republican Party, embracing them and putting them at the core of the Republican Party. The Catholic nationalists, and the BAPs – the Bronze Age Perverts – the alt right neo-Nazi types, and the various degrees in between, they are being made, by Donald Trump and the people around him, they’re being made mainstream.”By nationalism Mr. Brook means controlling the country’s borders. By racism he means any objection to swamping America with Third World migrants.
Before this I had never heard of “Bronze Age Perverts.” Researching a bit, Bronze Age Pervert, singular, is the author of a book titled Bronze Age Mindset, and those who subscribe to its ideas call themselves Bronze Age Perverts or BAPs. As far as I can tell from reviews, they lament that today – culturally and economically – white men are getting the short end of the stick. ARI is anti white men,  so Mr. Brook’s fear and loathing of whites and hatred of Trump might be causing him to project BAP’s views onto Trump. As far as I know Trump has not invited the pseudonymous BAP to the White House. 
Then Mr. Brook describes an apocalyptic future, reminiscent of Leonard Peikoff in 2004 predicting certain doom should the Republican get elected. 
“Already the best Republicans have left the party or are silent because they’re afraid. And the worst elements of the Republican Party, the Catholic nuts over at First Things, or this new American Compass think tank that Oren Cass has started ..., the nationalists, all the variations of statists, the Tucker Carlsons of the world, who want to destroy private equity in financial markets and have an economic socialist agenda – those are the people who will define the Republican Party for generations to come. And you’ll have the wacky statists of the Right versus the wacky statists of the Left.”American Compass is a mixed bag. It advocates “reshoring” (undoing offshoring) via tariffs, so there is some good in the think tank that would repel Mr. Brook. Then again, it approves of the government subsidizing scientific research.
First Things, a Catholic oriented journal focusing on religion and public life, is iffy as well. Though it does publish articles criticizing open immigration, which again would repel Mr. Brook, it also publishes articles praising it and even welcoming race-mixing.
Tucker Carlson will be no stranger to the reader. Though one could carp about a few things – his virtue signaling and occasional schoolmarmish manner for example – he deserves his success. If not an Objectivist he is not by any stretch of the imagination a statist. He criticizes Trump as he should be criticized, not from TDS. Objectivists ought to be happy his program exists and is extraordinarily popular. Mr. Brook trashes millions of patriotic Americans when he trashes Tucker Carlson.
Then Mr. Brook comes to the main reason we should vote for Biden (emphasis his):
“Indeed another four years of Trump will only make the Left worse. They will become more and more and more radicalized, more and more wacky. With [that is, if] Biden loses their answer will be: ‘You see, we tried a mainstream Democrat and he lost. We need to abandon the mainstream, we need to abandon the center left, we need to go all-out crazy left.’ ”So, why vote for Biden? To prevent the Left from becoming worse than it is already ! Apparently keeping Leftists from going further left is part of an Objectivist’s job description. Voting for one of them will preserve the status quo. Pandering to the Left will help shore up what goodness remains in them. On the other hand, voting for Trump will annoy them. Or something – maybe you can figure it out.
It’s as if Mr. Brook were to say: I am concerned about the future of burglars. Instead of placing better locks on our doors and windows we should invite the burglars in and let them steal what they want. That will prevent them from turning to murder.
To cap off the absurdity, the burglars in the analogy have already substantially turned to murder. Is Mr. Brook paying attention to current events? The virulence of the Left has come uncorked for all to see. The Left is already extremely radicalized.
He uses the words “wacky” and “crazy” to describe the Left’s evil in order to underplay its severity and significance. Later he will use “nutty,” again trying to make the Left sound harmless. Imagine Rand talking like that !
Then Mr. Brook’s first wind-down to the apocalypse, spoken with self-righteous earnestness:
“So if Trump wins another four years my prediction is that we get two political parties that are both statist, authoritarian, and nutty. And nothing else. And that’s the end of America. That is the end of America.”But if only Biden can defeat Trump all is not lost:
“Biden buys us time. Biden’s an idiot, Biden stands for nothing, and the Left will try to manipulate him ... and [that is, but] the Left wants to win, so the Left can’t go too far to the left. The thing about Donald Trump is he’s not a strategist, he’s not a tactician. He has no long-term strategy. He doesn’t give a [here Mr. Brook catches himself halfway through an obscenity, then says] damn about the long term. The Left does give a damn. They’re not gonna succumb to the craziness on the Left. They’re gonna try to hold up Biden as a center-left candidate. They’ll do a few things, they’ll move us towards more socialized medicine, they’ll sign on to the Paris Accord, they’ll move us a little bit, just like, just like Obama did, but it wasn’t the end of the world, it wasn’t a complete nuttiness.”The Left can go only so far? Look at history, past or recent. There is no limit to how far the Left will go.
All the Left cares about is gaining power, and fast. They will always grab what they can. Mr. Brook says the Left will never “succumb to the craziness” of its extreme elements, though just moments before he claimed that if Trump gets elected again the Left will go “crazy.” The truth is that whether Trump wins or loses the Left will do what Leftists do and only get worse. Appeasing them at any point only accelerates their growth.
No one ever claimed that the Obama administration was “the end of the world.” If the end of the world is the line short of which everything is OK then anything is OK, including President Biden. But the premise of the argument is absurd. And in what parallel universe did the Obama administration only change government “a little bit?” How ignorant and/or stupid does Mr. Brook think his listeners are?
When ARI types find it convenient to make Trump out a fool then “he’s not a strategist, he’s not a tactician.” When they need to present him as fearsomely evil, he suddenly acquires the ability to transform the Republican Party “beyond recognition.” He’s an idiot one day, a genius the next.
It’s all wrong. Trump is no idiot and the Republican Party, his own party, for the most part has been fighting him from the 2016 nomination process, through the 2016 election, and through his first term.
Returning to the happy vision of Biden as president of the United States, Mr. Brook says:
“And that will give time – if Trump is thoroughly defeated – for the right to reorganize around alternative principles. That’s the only hope we have. If Trump wins, this country’s lost. The only hope we have is that Biden wins, the Republicans hold the Senate, and it buys us another four years to reorganize, ... maybe get some competent, semi-pro free market advocates who can win.”Of course it’s the other way around. A Biden presidency, like Obama’s, will increase the speed of America’s degradation. One feels a sea change even now and with Biden as president our situation will indeed become apocalyptic.
For many years America has been in the process of turning into something other than what it was before WWII, and at an ever increasing rate. Trump is one of the very few in government trying, if infuriatingly inconsistently, to reverse some of what has happened.
As the man behind ObjectiveDissent.com points out in a privately circulated essay, in Trump’s first term we saw the plot to create an American KGB begin to unravel. We avoided a bullet in 2016. Had Hillary Clinton won the presidency that year, the transformation of the FBI and intelligence agencies into domestic secret police organizations designed to detect and stamp out dissent would have been completed. And, we say, if Biden becomes president, what little progress has been made in stopping it will be undone and it will proceed apace.
2020 is an election year for the U.S. Senate. Mr. Brook hopes the Republicans maintain their majority (currently only three seats). So his position is this: Don’t annoy the Leftists by retaining Trump because then they will go “wacky,” but it is all right to annoy them by retaining the Senate.
He has to live with the contradiction. He knows that you know what would happen with a Biden administration and a majority Democrat Senate. (And that there is a significant chance the latter will happen.  )
The final apocalyptic wind-down:
“But the Trumpists are a disaster. If they win, and they come to dominate all of the Republican Party and all of its candidates, this country is finished, this country is finished.”For sure it would put a dent in Mr. Brook’s anti-American plan for America.
The question asked of Mr. Brook was in brief: Which would do less harm to our freedom, Trump or Biden? Mr. Brook, with strident voice and self-righteous earnestness, came down squarely for Biden. He wants you to help make Biden president of the United States.
When someone produces a raft of patently fallacious arguments to get you to do ‘X’, he is either stupid or he is hiding his real reason for wanting you to do ‘X’. A case of incompetence — or malice. 
What is Mr. Brook’s real reason for wanting Biden president?-oOo-
What would Rand say about the election of 2020 ? Who knows, but recall that she voted for Nixon in 1972 despite his flaws, and urged her readers to do the same  A year later – despite Nixon’s wage-price controls, which she criticized vehemently – she had not changed her mind. At the Ford Hall Forum on 21 October 1973 a questioner asked if she stood by her earlier (supposed) statement that Nixon was not the most corrupt president ever, and what she thought of him now. Her reply, referring to that statement:
“I did make it, I still stand by it, and I would tell you more. I would vote for Nixon today even though I think his behavior has been contemptible. I wouldn’t say he is the most corrupt of our presidents but it’s quite probable that he is the most contemptible. I would still vote for him against McGovern ... [audience clapping] and against Senator [Edward] Kennedy [extended clapping].”She knew who the real enemy was, and so did her audience. 
As for Mr. Brook, it’s a wonder he still has an audience. It’s certainly not the same quality of audience that Rand had. Filter out the deplorables and you are left with the adorables, by Mr. Brook’s reckoning.
1 The end of our excerpt from Mr. Ghate’s essay, “he won the presidency because of this,” is italicized in the original.
Christians get their share of trashing for helping elect Trump:
“There is a further important cause ... religion.
... if you recognize that the attraction of religion stems much more from the mentality it encourages and the psychological environment among believers that it fosters – if you recognize that the particular dogmas are almost accidental ... – then Trump’s allure to evangelicals should have been expected.
Trump’s call for blind, unquestioning followers, his trafficking in conspiracy theories and disregard for facts and science, his claim that we are close to the end of days and that he, unerring and alone, can save us, his promise of miracles like building a wall and making Mexico pay for it ... should be seen as attractive to a religious mindset, especially of a fundamentalist variety.”
The title of Mr. Ghate’s essay, “One Small Step for Dictatorship,” with “for” instead of the more natural “towards,” sounds as if he is mocking Neil Armstrong’s first words on the moon (the misquoted version that leaves out the “a”).
2 False starts, uhs, two extraneous ands are silently omitted.
“Yaron Brook Show: ARI Refuses to Martyr Itself, Anti-Cancel Left & Kanye for President?”
YouTube, 7 July 2020. The question starts at 1:29:59.
Mr. Brook seems unable to sit still, as if suffering from choreomania while strapped in his chair. You might want to download the sound file by itself so you can listen without the visual distraction of a human Mexican jumping bean. I recommend:
4K Video Downloader
The free version will do and there is no time limit.
3 At least judged by their advertising, the pictures of which consist of typical “corporate artwork”: whites in shadow, people in silhouette, or facing away from the camera, even standing with their backs to the camera, photos blurred or greatly underexposed or overexposed, cartoon drawings, etc. – all resulting in racial shmoos. There are many identifiable non-whites and the few identifiable whites are more often than not women. This is a statistical observation, an isolated clear picture of a white man only shows that the observation is not universal, not that it is false.
4 Bronze Age Mindset was reviewed by Michael Anton (famous for the essay “The Flight 93 Election” September 2016):
“Are the Kids Al(t)right?”
Claremont Review of Books, Summer 2019
Michael Anton has written an excellent article for the 2020 election. It describes what a Biden presidency would mean:
“A Tyranny Perpetual and Universal?”
and written a book about the larger political situation, The Stakes, reviewed at:
5 Leonard Peikoff urged us to vote for the Democrat (Kerry) in the 2004 presidential election (that’s when he made his infamous “apocalyptic bad” remark). See Presidential Elections – ARI 2004: An application of the DIM hypothesis. According to Mr. Peikoff, electing the Republican would result in a Christian theocracy.
And in the Congressional election of 2006 he urged us to vote a straight Democratic ticket. From his podcast of 19 October 2006:
If anyone cares what Mr. Peikoff thinks anymore, in the presidential election of 2008 he said he wouldn’t vote for either candidate, and by 2012 had changed his tune completely and urged us to vote for the Republican. That was after Ron Paul had been eliminated; both Peikoff and Brook hated Ron Paul.
“In my judgment, anyone who votes Republican or abstains from voting in this election has no understanding of the practical role of philosophy in man’s actual life–which means that he does not understand the philosophy of Objectivism, except perhaps as a rationalistic system detached from the world.
“If you hate the Left so much that you feel more comfortable with the Right, you are unwittingly helping to push the U.S. toward disaster, i.e., theocracy, not in 50 years, but, frighteningly, much sooner.”
Just as in 2004 there was disagreement between Mr. Peikoff and ARI – Mr. Peikoff supported the Democrat, ARI the Republican – there is disagreement in 2020 only in reverse, at least as far as ARI’s Mr. Brook is concerned. According to the Federal Election Commission’s Schedule A, Form 3X “Itemized Receipts” item #B
Mr. Peikoff donated $250 to Trump’s Make America Great Again Committee, received on February 26th, towards the end of the Republican Party primaries. A paltry sum to be sure but it’s the thought that counts.
If Mr. Peikoff feels strongly about this election, why doesn’t he have Mr. Brook ousted from ARI, as he had John McCaskey? (See The Ayn Rand Institute vs. John McCaskey.)
Don Watkins is a former Fellow at ARI, 2006-2017. Still in good standing, ARI’s website keeps Mr. Watkins’s old “Meet Our Experts” webpage available in archive. When he was asked about Peikoff’s donation (on his podcast “Should I steal if I can get away with it? – Objectivism Q&A 3” YouTube 16 July 2020 – the questioner of the title was one Rodrigo, who apparently wanted to know) he replied:
“Leonard hasn’t made his reasons public. ... I certainly haven’t talked about it with him privately, so I don’t know his reasons. And I don’t think you can draw conclusions about a person contributing money to one of the two major presidential candidates, particularly in a primary, without knowing the reasons, so I have no opinion of it. I think anybody who does comment, positively or negatively, without further information they’re just using this as fodder for their own agenda ... And to be honest, I find the whole thing to be a little bit creepy. I know this was public information and you’re free to look it up, but to imagine that somebody sat down at their computer and started typing in the names of strangers to hunt down what causes these people are contributing to, like, that’s the best thing you have to do in life? I mean, don’t be that person.”
On 15 October 2020 the Ayn Rand Centre UK livestreamed over YouTube the Zoom event “Celebrating Leonard Peikoff,” featuring the guest of honor Mr. Peikoff and Carl Barney, Andrew Bernstein, Ellen Kenner, Kira Peikoff, Lisa VanDamme. Near the end, after the moderator said they were going off YouTube, Mr. Peikoff interrupted (using “arguing” in the sense of arguing for it, explaining):
After tolerating a celebrant like Carl Barney who cares what Mr. Peikoff thinks? And recall that in another moment of sanity he denounced hispanic immigration in the strongest terms, only to completely reverse himself later.
“I want to add one sentence.
I am voting for Trump.
That’s it, ok?
[Laughter from some of the other participants.]
I’m not arguing but I heard somebody say ‘No Objectivist would vote for Trump’ and I’m still steaming over that.
I’m trying to publicize the fact that whoever said that is crazy.”
6 Mr. Brook is well aware of this. From his show of 24 May 2020:
Yet he prefers a Biden presidency anyway.
“I think that the Republicans ... won’t gain the House, even if Trump wins I think they won’t gain the House, and I think there’s a significantly better than 50% chance they lose the Senate.”
On his show of August 1st, “TikTok, Stimulus Gridlock, Biden VP Issues, Cuba & More,” Mr. Brook takes a related question from the chat room (starting at 1:37:59). He reads:
He replies, instantly and emphatically:
“Democrats are way ahead in the polls in winning the Senate. [Mr. Brook interrupts reading and interjects “Yes”] Worse case scenario of Biden-Harris having a free reign to pass anything, in the name of good luck would you consider supporting Trump?”
Thus Biden is our only hope without qualification.
“No, no. I consider supporting Republican senators who can beat Democrats.”
Mr. Brook goes on to say that he has no sway over the election, little over what his listeners think, and they shouldn’t care what he thinks about the election in any case. One wonders, then, what the purpose of these shows are.
During his show of 8 July 2020, “Dismantling the Whole System (Ilhan Omar),” he revisited the subject and later published an excerpt he titled “Trump Supporters Often Transcend Truth & Objectivity” in which he says:
“If Donald Trump gets reelected it’s much more likely Tucker Carlson gets that [2024 Republican] nomination. ... It won’t be the people you [that is, I] like, it’ll be the Tucker Carlsons of the world. The longer Trump stays in power, the more the nationalist, populist, socialist wing of the Republican Party, the stronger it’ll get, the more dominant it’ll get, and the more likely they will win in 2024 and dominate the Republican Party for decades to come. The only chance of saving the Republican Party is to defeat Donald Trump this election. Just to make clear that populism doesn’t work. ... Even if you have to elect a Democrat in order to achieve your [my, LOL] goal.”
7 Karl Marx describes the method Mr. Brook uses, applied to a different subject (where he approves of it), in “Introduction to A Contribution to the Critique of Hegel’s Philosophy of Right” (1844, translated from the original German, emphasis his):
Don’t debate, just denounce. It well describes what Mr. Brook does.
“In the struggle against [the German state of affairs], criticism is no passion of the head, it is the head of passion. It is not a lancet, it is a weapon. Its object is its enemy, which it wants not to refute but to exterminate. ... In itself, [the object of criticism] is not worthy of thought, it is an existence which is as despicable as it is despised. Criticism does not need to make things clear ... as regards this object, for it has already settled accounts with it. It [criticism] no longer assumes the quality of an end but only of a means. Its essential emotion is indignation, its essential work is denunciation
8 Presidential Elections – Ayn Rand 1932 to 1980. In the election of 1972 Rand thought Nixon was much better than McGovern. In the election of 2020 Trump is better than Nixon, and Biden is worse than McGovern (at least McGovern was a decent man personally, Biden is corrupt as hell). To borrow a phrase, you do the math.
9 When someone posted an abridged version of this quote (in the form of a “meme” – text plus a graphic, in this case a photo of Rand – to the “Ayn Rand” Facebook group (administered by an ARI admirer not associated with that organization) he was quickly blocked and his post deleted.