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The American Spirit
- and Trump Derangement Syndrome at the Ayn Rand Institute -

Written soon after Trump won the 2016 presidential election.

Despite the political establishment, despite La Raza, despite Jewish fear and loathing, despite vote fraud, despite the Leftist media and a smear campaign unprecedented in American history, despite the Ayn Rand Institute (LOL) — despite everything except a preponderance of Americans — Hillary Clinton is history and Donald Trump is president of the United States.

From an AP dispatch, right after Trump became president elect, that I made up out of whole cloth :

Staff at the Ayn Rand Institute scrambled to help their students deal with Donald Trump’s stunning victory over Hillary Clinton, trying to assuage a widespread sense of shock and despair at the triumph of a candidate who had offended Mexicans, Muslims, women, cripples and Jews during the course of his campaign. Yaron Brook, head of the Institute, was overheard muttering “I feel we are doomed. This can’t be real.”

The day after the election dozens of OAC students gathered outside ARI’s Irvine, California headquarters for a cry-in to mourn the result, with Yaron Brook and Onkar Ghate providing facial tissue and hot chocolate. Arts and crafts were also on offer, including Play-Doh and coloring books. Students were reminded of the therapy dogs available for comfort every other Wednesday.

Now into its third day ...
OK, enough with the satire, [1]  the truth is crazy enough, as we shall see.

All through the long campaign Yaron Brook made it clear he preferred Hillary to Trump. Mr. Brook called Trump an authoritarian, a fascist and other hard names he didn’t call Hillary. Trump was scary, scary, scary. Those who supported him were gullible, compliant and shallow. Above all they were emotional. He said, not too grammatically, “I think it’s better that he loses.” And that Trump might well “eliminate free speech in America.” This while Mr. Brook completely ignored the violence perpetrated by Leftist thugs against Trump’s supporters.

The day before the election Mr. Brook tweeted (along with a link to a Forbes magazine article):

 ‘Why Republicans Should Hope Donald Trump Loses In A Landslide’  via @forbes. 
The evening of the election and through the early morning hours of the next day, as poll results drifted in and it became increasingly clear Trump would beat Hillary, Mr. Brook tweeted one after the other: [2]
“This is a victory for anti-trade, anti-immigrant, nationalism. Trump will win popular vote & electoral college.”
Comment:  It was a significant victory for immigration patriots, a victory for America’s self-interest – go ahead, call it nationalism – and a victory against NAFTA, TPP and one-world globalists.
“We must now pivot:  time to talk more about the value of free trade, immigration, etc.  Fight against nationalism instead of socialism.”
Comment:  Mr. Brook prefers socialism to restrictions on immigration.
“Trump is going to win big (WI, MI, PA).  Rust belt – this is the anti-trade, anti-immigration, ignorant, nationalist vote.”
Comment:  Those dumb hicks in fly-over country !  Trump, the blue-collar billionaire, connected with the wrong sort of people. [3]

Greg Salmieri, an ARI associate, did his part trying to stem the tide of rednecks and rubes. On election day he posted to his Facebook page:

“In case anyone is interested:  I voted for Clinton  (who, though awful, is by far the least anti-American and anti-reality candidate who has a chance of winning the presidency).”
Yet Trump loves America at least enough to want to keep criminals and terrorists out of it, and he’s reality-oriented enough to master manage the building of one skyscraper after another. In the other corner sits Hillary Clinton who has never done an honest day’s work in her life, an extreme Leftist as anti-American as Obama and corrupt as hell. In short, a producer versus an especially rapacious parasite. The epistemology and ethics of Objectivism tell us to vote for ... Hillary? [4]

In 1972, eons ago politically, when the race for president was Richard Nixon vs. George McGovern, Ayn Rand wrote (“A Nation’s Unity” The Ayn Rand Letter) that though she is not an admirer of Nixon his flaws are nothing compared to the bald statism espoused by McGovern. Come election day Nixon won every state except Massachusetts (and D.C., which the Electoral College treats as a state). In her next Letter (“The American Spirit”) she said that Nixon’s landslide victory was proof that the American people’s sense of life is still intact, that “when the chips are down, it will break through and proclaim to the world that this is still the country of freedom and self-esteem.” [5]

In every way  Trump is better than Nixon,  and  Hillary worse than McGovern.  Draw your own conclusion.

 ...   Wait a minute, let me figure this out.  Let  >  mean  better.
 ...   Let  T = Trump,  N = Nixon,  M = McGovern,  H = Hillary.
 ...   Then we have

...                     N  >  M Ayn Rand
...          T  >  N   and   M  >  H Clear to any but bedumbed followers of ARI.
...                         ∴ The transitive property of inequalities.
...                     T  >  H Q.E.D.

 ...   OK, I understand.

My God, an algebraic frog !

Back in June Harry Binswanger published on his website the article “Contra Trump,” proclaiming to his followers  “I will either not vote, or vote for Hillary.” [6]  At some point he made up his mind which of the two because the evening before the election (held November 8th) he posted to his “Harry Binswanger Letter” (HBL) a last minute plea for everyone to vote for Hillary.

Near the end of March of next year Mr. Binswanger posted a comment about the election to the blog of Robert Paul Wolff, professor emeritus at the University of Massachusetts. Because Mr. Binswanger knew Rand personally he feels he can speak in her name (he has done this repeatedly – see his entry in “Who’s Who” on this website for another example). In fact probably Rand would have liked much about Trump, especially compared to Hillary, but here is what Mr. Binswanger posted, and recall that this is after Trump had nominated a conservative Supreme Court justice:

“Rand (whom I knew well personally) would have loathed Trump. All the leading Objectivist intellectuals do.  I voted for Hillary.”

All the ARI-affiliated intellectuals anyway. On his BlogTalkRadio show of November 12th Yaron Brook described his reaction to Trump’s defeat of Hillary.  A few disconnected excerpts:

“I am horrified.”

“... that so many people in this country have voted 56, 57 million people have voted for this, this creature, right, this creature, this vulgar creature.  That’s what Donald Trump is.”

“I do not know of a more anti-American president – and I used to say this about Obama, but now I say this about Donald Trump – in his ... approach to the world than Donald Trump.”

“... the electorate ... indicated a willingness to accept a dictator, a willingness to accept an authoritarian ... Trump is no hero, Trump is a villain, the villain of our time.”

“This is the first small step towards totalitarianism.”

Harry Binswanger, Gregory Salmieri, Jonathan Hoenig, and who knows what other writers associated with the Ayn Rand Institute, voted for Hillary. [7]  We’ll analyze Mr. Brook’s BlogTalkRadio show in detail in a moment; our theme will be:  Yaron Brook makes up and believes fairytales to get you where he wants you to go.

Three days later, 15 November 2016, in a Wall Street Journal online interview:

“I fear more the electorate that voted for Donald Trump than Donald Trump himself.”

In his own way he is correct. Trump didn’t create the parade; he saw the parade and stepped in front of it – a representative, not a leader.

In 2012 when Ron Paul ran for the Republican nomination Mr. Brook had a problem. He hated Ron Paul’s foreign policy – Ron Paul was not enamored of Israel – and he had to find something to undercut Ron Paul’s obvious appeal to Objectivists. He groped and reached and stretched and came up with this:  Despite Ron Paul’s pro-liberty rhetoric, “underneath he’s anti-business and particularly anti-banking, and not just in the crony sense but in the more fundamental sense.”  He referred to Paul’s “hatred of big business.”  And he claimed Paul “comes from a libertarian tradition that is on the anarchist side of the spectrum,” which in Objectivist circles is beyond the pale. That Paul was any kind of anarchist or was anti-business per se, or anti-banks per se, was a fairytale invented by Mr. Brook for himself and his Objectivist underlings. [8]

Four years later out of the blue comes Donald Trump, the blue collar billionaire. Now Mr. Brook has a huge problem. Trump opposes (to some degree) unrestricted immigration, he opposes NAFTA and TPP, and he is something of a wild card regarding Israel – yet many Objectivists like him, like him a lot. What to do? The answer is easy for a man of Yaron Brook’s caliber, I mean in his ability at self-deception. As he did with Ron Paul, he invents a fairytale salted with Objectivist phrases such as “collectivism versus individualism” and “mysticism versus reason.” The fairytale has to be supple because most Americans, not just independent-minded Objectivists, like Trump too. (Other Jewish groups besides ARI use the same fairytale without the salt).  Here it is:  Trump is an authoritarian personality paving the way for a future dictator, and the fact that Americans voted for him proves they are ripe for a totalitarian state.  Scary, scary, scary.

But before we continue with Mr. Brook’s post-election BlogTalkRadio show first some unfinished business about what he said during the campaign.


ARI Watch’s previous “Presidential Elections 2016” articles showed the venom that ARI people unleashed against Trump, and those who support him, during the first half of the campaign. Towards the end of the campaign Yaron Brook became unhinged. On his BlogTalkRadio show of 1 October 2016 (“Voting Objectively”) soon after the third presidential debate, he referred to Trump in these terms:

“... that arrogant stupidity that he has. He is such an idiot. I mean I really do think that Trump is an idiot. ... But after [that is, not only because of] his performance in the debate, but just generally, the guy’s not smart, he’s just not smart. And maybe he was smart once, maybe he has a high IQ, but he has no smarts, he has no capacity to think on his feet. ...

“He really is an idiot, and, you know, it would be cool to see an idiot, an idiot who has no self esteem, who declares himself a winner, it would be fun to watch him lose. ... With that stupid smile of his, that smirk, declare himself the winner, I don’t know what I would do. I probably wouldn’t watch television that night, or I’d watch MSNBC the whole time.”
He and the mainstream media deserve each other.  The psychological mechanism is clear:  Mr. Brook disagrees with Trump’s positions, therefore Trump must be an idiot, and what’s more have no self-esteem.

On the same show Mr. Brook said that a Trump victory would be the end of liberty forever. He never remotely made such an apocalyptic pronouncement about a Hillary victory.

On his BlogTalkRadio show of 11 October 2016, “Corrupt Candidates & Repulsive Politics”:

“The guy’s a loser, he really is a loser. And I’m sure many of you who’re listening are big supporters of Trump, right, you know,  and-and-and-and-and  you think you’re gonna vote for him, and you think he’s great, and everything? Just listen to what he’s been saying.”
Has Mr. Brook himself been listening? He seems to have a built in filter that retains nonessentials such as silly jokes and rejects important things such as the “Drain the Swamp” platform.


On 12 November 2016, three days after the election result was definite, Yaron Brook again broadcast his weekly BlogTalkRadio show, this time called “Trump Won, What Next?”  After a few introductory remarks he introduces the theme of the show:  Americans have an evil sense of life: [9]

“I am horrified, I’m horrified. Again, not completely unexpected, I somewhat, in some moments of dread, predicted this, but I think this is a really-really-really bad sign about America. I think this is the beginning of a decline that won’t be measured by the specific things that he does, it will be measured by the state of mind, the sense of life, the approach that the American people have today that is reflected by this election.

“... this is a first of its kind election in the sense that it is [sic] elected a kind of person that we’ve never seen hold the presidency of the United States.  ... this suggests the first step towards authoritarianism that we have seen in this country, the first real step towards the American people wanting an authoritarian, not the government. ... What’s unique here is that ... [they’ve] elected a person .. . because he exhibits authoritarian tendencies. That is the reason he won.”
Mr. Brook is working up his fairytale about why Trump won. The truth is people voted for Trump because they liked what he said he would do (and considering his business record believed him), compared with what Hillary said she would do (and considering her record of corruption they wanted to avoid her in any case). The question is, were Trump’s proposals “authoritarian?” Trump said he would appoint court justices who would uphold the Constitution, that he would work to end the worst of NAFTA, back out of TPP, enforce immigration law, lower corporate taxes, rescind many federal regulations, cancel Obama’s executive orders that are illegal, etc. None of these things are “authoritarian,” quite the opposite. Even if some of his positions were authoritarian altogether he was hugely less authoritarian than Hillary.  All that is why people liked him, why they voted for him and why he won the election.

But Yaron Self-Deception Brook has the specifics covered too. According to him it doesn’t matter how many good things Trump says or does. They could even all be good, he has an authoritarian personality, and therefore the people who elected him are ripe for a Hitler – read on.  Mr. Brook then lights into the American people again:

“I’m not interested in what he is in private ... I’m not interested even in what he’s going to be as president, because I do not think that what he’s gonna be as president, which might be much better than what he was as a candidate, is the essential issue here. ... It’s not what he passes, it’s not if he repeals Obamacare,  ... it’s not these particulars that are the issue. What we need to be concerned about  ... is the state of mind of the American people that has brought them to the point of electing Donald Trump.”
Note how Mr. Brook assumes the iniquity of Donald Trump. It’s like the Bible stories of lepers. You are never told what a leper is or what they look like but you understand they are loathsome nonetheless.

Mr. Brook will again trash the American people for voting for a leper which we will quote in its place. Mr. Brook returns to the irrelevancy of particulars when a caller asks if there are any good things we can look forward to in Trump’s administration:

“The answer unfortunately I think is no, because the specific things he does don’t matter, it’s how he does them and how people interpret the reason that he does it.”
There’s a grain of truth in this if you let your imagination run wild. If Trump were to drone Ruth Bader Ginsburg in order to fill the resulting vacancy with a conservative jurist, that would be the wrong means to a good end. But Mr. Brook knows the U.S. is not yet a dictatorship and Trump couldn’t make it one if he wanted to. Even Obama’s use of executive orders was limited by the courts. [10]

Resuming where we left off:

“Now, I know, a lot of people voted for Donald Trump ’cuz they hated Hillary Clinton more ... and I understand that. I did not do that, but I understand that.”
He goes on to say that he enjoyed watching CNN’s pundits speechless at Hillary’s loss  and yet ...
“And yet, at the back of my mind, deep down, I was truly horrified by the idea that this guy is now president-elect of the United States and will actually serve as president. So, granted, Hillary would have been awful ... but Hillary would have been status quo.”
No, Hillary would not have been status quo.  That we just coast along going round in a circle, each day like the one before, is the major fallacy in ARI’s mendacious propaganda.  The status quo of a car going 60 miles per hour in a circle is one thing, the status quo of a car headed straight over a cliff won’t be status quo for much longer.

America cannot suffer burgeoning statism year after year and remain the same.  America cannot suffer the influx of a million Third Worlders year after year and remain the same.  The country is in a terrible state already and there is a tipping point where disaster looms. Later Mr. Brook will say this is “dark, dark” and no way to talk.

Mr. Brook continues, saying this election shows

“... a fundamental change in the electorate, in its attitude toward ... what America stands for. ... I know many of you listening hate the Left more than anything else. And many of you ... have bought into all kinds of conspiracy theories about the Left. They’re gonna take over the world, George Soros and all this stuff.”
Note the bait and switch.  By conflating concern for the Left with concern for George Soros becoming dictator of the world, Mr. Brook belittles our concern about the Left (which includes George Soros). Mr. Brook doesn’t discuss the Left further, he is more worried about Trump and those who voted for him than he is about Leftists taking over America.
“But we need to be objective about what just happened here. And the standard by which you evaluate ... political events is: ... is this a sign that we’re moving towards more respect for individual rights or less respect for individual rights. Is this moving us away from collectivism or towards collectivism. ... And my conclusion from this election – now it would have been true with Hillary as well but I think even worse in this [Trump’s] case – is they’re moving dramatically away from individualism.

“This election is gonna elevate the ... engagement with collectivism to a level we’ve never seen before in the United States. You’re already seeing it in the analysis. The analysis is all about your ethnic group, your racial group, ... and so on ... So collectivism is on the rise, individualism is on the decline, again no matter what specific policies Trump engages in. What does this tell us about the electorate?”
Election analysts have been breaking down the vote every which way from Sunday since before we were born. The racial breakdown is a valid concern, especially today. Mr. Brook doesn’t want you to notice that whites are becoming a minority in their own country, that you are effectively being disenfranchised by immigration, slowly being outnumbered and outvoted.

Consider the recently concluded election, Clinton vs. Trump:

2016Dem.  Rep.                 
White 37 58
Black 88   8
Hispanic 65 29
Asian 65 29
other n/w       56 37

The other relevant statistic is each division’s percentage of the whole population. If there are very few non-whites it wouldn’t matter if all of them voted Democrat. But as the non-white percentage increases and the white percentage decreases it begins to matter, then it begins to matter a lot. Trump won only because of whites and their still comparatively large percent of the population. [11]

Recall again Nixon’s landslide victory in the presidential race 44 years ago. To repeat, Rand was delighted with what it indicated about the American people. As usual the demographic breakdown shows non-whites voting overwhelmingly for the more statist candidate:

1972Dem.  Rep.                 
White          32 68
n/w 87 13

Back then the non-white vote was of marginal consequence because there were few of them. It reduced Republican dominance 7 percentage points, from 68% to 61%.

In the election of 2016 the choice between the candidates was, to repeat, even more stark than it had been in 1972 (Hillary worse than McGovern, Trump better than Nixon) yet Trump, though he won decidedly, outside of a few states it was not a landslide. Partly this was due to Trump himself, partly because he fought in the teeth of a massive and well-financed smear campaign, but without doubt it was largely due to the country’s changed demographics. Among whites he did win in a landslide. Non-whites, having greatly increased as a percentage of the population since 1972, undercut that landslide.  As with the victory of Brexit in Britain, Trump may have just squeaked in before the demographic door slams shut. Mr. Brook’s talk about “individualism versus collectivism” cloaks his real concerns, one of which is that Trump might reduce non-white immigration.

Then Mr. Brook lights into Objectivists:

“My concern is that so many of you ... are being bought [sic, are buying] into his agenda. ... You’re not critical of what he really stands for, and that so many people in this country have voted 56, 57 million people have voted for this, this creature, right, this creature, this vulgar creature. That’s what Donald Trump is.”
He goes on to say that Trump’s unconstrained speech is  “exactly a characteristic of an authoritarian.”  But even though Trump wants to be a dictator:
“... the system is still such that we are protected from dictatorship and authoritarianism. But as the electorate ... indicated a willingness to accept a dictator, a willingness to accept an authoritarian, yes.  Trump is no hero, Trump is a villain, the villain of our time.

“ ... the long term consequences here I fear is the rise of a populist authoritarian leaning population that is willing to elect somebody into power who has no firm positions on anything.”
Trump has been hammering at immigration, NAFTA / TPP, supreme court appointments, the Second Amendment, etc. since day one. He’s given more details of his positions than any candidate in recent memory. Even assuming he was lying, Americans believed him, they didn’t say to themselves:  “Trump has no firm positions on anything, by golly I’ll vote for Trump.”  Mr. Brook continues trashing Americans:
“... they take Trump as a figure, Trump as a leader, Trump as somebody to follow, Trump as somebody who will solve all our problems. They take that Trump seriously, they don’t take him literally, it doesn’t matter what positions he takes. ... they don’t take him literally on any of the things that he says. ... They don’t care what his specific positions are, what they care about is the individual, the person, the person that is Donald Trump.”
Mercy.  If, like Hillary, Trump had been for open borders and gun control he never would have made it beyond the first Republican convention debate. If I may descend to the emotionalism I’ve had to listen to for hours in order to write this review, Mr. Brook is really, really, really ... no, I will not say it. Mr. Brook is not stupid. That he may think you are stupid is another question.

He continues trashing Americans:

“... that is the sign of people accepting authoritarianism.  ... No specific positions, vague generalities. ... Forget about details, we don’t need details, it’s about Donald Trump and [mocking] “making America great again.” That’s what it’s about. Nothing else matters. It’s not about facts. It’s not about reality. It’s not about what’s doable. It’s about Donald Trump.”

Mr. Brook says Trump started his campaign by pointing out how bad things are. America is in decline, there is crime and so forth. What Mr. Brook says about this echoes the headlines of the mainstream media at the time:

“I thought that his speech at the Republican National Convention was one of the most horrific speeches I have ever heard. It was sooo dark, sooo negative ...”
Mr. Brook draws a caricature of what Trump said and presents it as an honest picture:
“Our borders are completely open, completely open, we’re being flooded by immigrants. Just like what happened in Europe, where Muslims just flooded across the border, supposedly the same thing is happening in the United States. Again, no facts, no evidence. We’re being flooded by illegal immigrants who are committing amazing numbers of crimes. ...”
Then knocks down the caricature:
“... there is no mass migration happening in the United States. There is no flooding of the U.S. borders.”
Ignoring visa violations and considering just the southern border, Mr. Brook would have you believe that over a hundred thousand known crossings a year, and twice as many known attempts at crossing a year, is of no concern to anyone. Considering all immigration (legal or not), he would have you believe that non-whites going from about 10% of the population in 1965 to about 35% today is not a flood.

Sure, the borders are not completely open, but – contrary to Mr. Brook’s caricature – Trump never made such a claim. As for crime, Third World immigrants do commit stranger violent crime at a far higher rate than white Americans. (This fact is not an essential point in the anti-immigration argument. The Third World ought to be kept out regardless of crime rate.) Furthermore, the flood of legal Third World immigrants is as undesirable as the illegal. (At this time Trump seems to realize it only regarding the Middle East.)

Mr. Brook claims Trump offered no solutions, which of course isn’t true. He claims that Trump’s RNC speech was full of lies and misinformation, and for an example he mocks Trump’s and his supporters’ concern about immigration.

Historical Interlude

The year is about three quarters into the 18th century, before the French Revolution, the place Paris. The peasants’ usual diet is bread, but at this time famine stalks the country, that is, the peasants; the aristocrats are eating as well as they always had. When some courtier in the King’s palace, better informed than was typical, told the Queen, Marie Antoinette, that the peasants were starving, the Queen instantly replied, “Let them eat cake.”

The story, even though apocryphal, illustrates how oblivious aristocrats are to the suffering of the peasants, and how nasty aristocrats can be. That’s the trouble with living in a palace, you sort of lose touch.

A modern version might go like this:  When an intellectual con man with a six figure income was told that many “working class” people were having trouble finding good jobs so they could have a future, buy a house and raise a family, he replied “Let them buy iPhones.”  He almost said “Let them work in Silicon Valley” but thought better of it.

·   ·   ·

Mr. Brook claims that, contrary to Trump and his “dark, dark” view of America, everyone is better off economically than ever before:

“... even those white working class people in Ohio and Wisconsin and in Florida, even their standard of living has gone up. All of them are using iPhones. All of them are-are-are-are living, you know, much better lives, much better lives, than they did thirty years ago.”
That’s the trouble with a having a six figure income and living in a gated community, you sort of lose touch.

In a section of the show denouncing “conspiracy theories” which we won’t take time to review, Mr. Brook says  “I get money from the Koch Foundation.” – meaning that ARI gets the money then passes on some of it to him. Maybe I should apply for a Koch grant. Maybe I should try to swim the English channel in February.

According to Mr. Brook the “dark, dark” business was step one in a two part fascist propaganda technique. Step two was to blame other people besides Americans for why things are so bad.

“[Said in a mocking tone:] It’s somebody else. It’s not the America people, God forbid no, the American people are perfect. It’s all these people who’re screwing you. All these people are screwing you.

“So we scapegoat. Part 1, America is [again the mocking tone] a dark, dark scary place. [Part 2] Why is it scary? Because of Mexicans and Chinese and Muslims.”
“I do not know of a more anti-American president – and I used to say this about Obama, but now I say this about Donald Trump – in his ... approach to the world than Donald Trump.

“So, we’re all gonna die, it’s all their fault, the fault of the Other. And then of course the solution is to shield us from the Other.”
Again Mr. Brook, instead of addressing reality, draws a caricature of Trump and why people like him, then makes fun of the caricature. He mocks Trump’s position on immigration then lies when he calls Trump a liar.

Another piece of mendacity that deserves to be preserved:

“He [Trump] said he wouldn’t necessarily accept the results of the election, now he’s complaining about demonstrations who [sic] are not accepting the results of the election. Nobody seems to think that’s a problem. Nobody seems to think that maybe his saying over and over and over and over again that he would not accept the result of the election is not why, partially, there are demonstrations right now.”
Let’s back up.  Without question there had been massive vote fraud in previous elections (see our Links page). Trump was the first candidate ever with the courage to bring that out in the open:  fraud in counting and registering, not mistakes. Because of that and because it looked like the election would be very close, Trump left himself open to contest the poll results in court. (By the way, Mr. Brook’s four “overs” is a gross exaggeration.) Those who demonstrated against his victory did so because they are Leftists and that’s what Leftists do when they don’t get their way, but they chanted “civil rights” and “open immigration,” not “rigged election.”

Before we get to Mr. Brook’s next point first some background (see also “Contra Trump 2” on ARI Watch).  As the campaign progressed Trump became extraordinarily popular, and like Antaeus of legend who became stronger each time Hercules threw him to the ground, Trump’s popularity grew the more the lying media trashed him. He once encapsulated the loyalty of his supporters with an off-the-cuff, and admittedly tacky, joke at one of his rallies. It was on the 23rd of January 2016 when every mainstream pundit was saying he had no chance, no chance at all, of winning the Republican nomination. Trump spends several minutes showing how they are wrong. At one point he reads from an editorial by Doug Ibendahl:  Trump recognizes that “regular hard-working Americans are a lot smarter than any of the ideological eunuchs in all of their pontificating glory.”  Then Trump says (imagine you are there at the festive occasion):

“It’s true. ... And you know what else they say about my people, the polls, they say I have the most loyal people, did you ever see that, where I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose any voters, OK? It’s like incredible. [Extended laughter from audience.] No, they say, Trump [friendly shout from audience member, inaudibly recorded], we love you too man, Trump’s voters are by far, you know I’m at 68, 69 percent ...”
Etc.  Midway Trump was joking, and everyone in the audience knew it.  Anyone reading about it later, possessing an IQ over room temperature, knew it.

Now here is Mr. Brook, his voice dripping with moral indignation:

“This represents everything you need to know about the people who voted for Donald Trump, and his understanding of those who voted for him.  He said that he could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot someone and people would still vote for him.  Now think about that.  That means that he’s saying that his voters are so enamored with him, so focused just on his personality, the ability to get stuff done, that even if he was a murderer and everybody knew he was a murderer that people would still vote for him.”

Desperate to believe, and present, anything bad against Trump and those who voted for him, Mr. Brook refuses to see a joke for what it is, and expects you to be as blind as he is.

His moral indignation is as phony as the claim of the Jewish Standard that at these rallies Trump asked the audience to give him the Nazi salute. Mr. Brook slings lots of mud and hopes the trust of his listeners will let it stick. The man uses faux self-righteousness as a weapon.

The operative word in Mr. Brook’s propaganda is “just” – “just on his personality.”  Again Mr. Brook trashes Americans by saying they don’t care about the issues Trump had the courage to raise.

“How do we minimize the damage that has been done to the electorate that would vote for Donald Trump? ... [our] focus should be not on Donald Trump but ... on the people who voted for him. What do we have to do so this doesn’t happen again? What do we have to do to change the orientation of the American people away from authoritarianism?”
Etc.  His belittling of Americans does get tiresome after a while. Mr. Brook’s answer to his own loaded question (loaded because Trump’s victory means Americans are more intact than damaged) is Objectivist boilerplate: the power of ideas, it takes time, etc.

Yes, fighting statism is an intellectual battle and it takes time. However Trump, unlike Hillary, will fight statism to some degree and help give us that time. Furthermore, to begin fixing the immigration disaster is relatively easy and Americans are already convinced it needs to be done. The problem is that politicians are against them or indifferent, most Republicans as well as most Democrats, including to some extent even Trump, whose promises on the subject haven’t gone far enough though we are grateful for what there is.

Mr. Brook again:

“For those of you who wonder would I be this angry if Hillary Clinton had won, my answer is, no I would not. Hillary Clinton would have suggested to me that the electorate has rejected authoritarianism.”
You heard that right.  Then he goes on to repeat the “status quo forever” fallacy addressed above:
“... And we would have dealt with another four years of the status quo. But Donald Trump’s election is a seismic shift in my view.”
It sure is, and Mr. Brook doesn’t approve of it. Then he repeats his “the specific things he does don’t matter” nonsense:
“Now again, Donald Trump might turn out in his specific policies to be much, much better than anybody else. ... He might concretely do good things, but the question is what does this election tell us about the American people. What does this election tell us about the future of America ... This is the first small step towards totalitarianism.”

After claiming that no previous president has been a step towards dictatorship (apparently FDR was small potatoes) he lays on more Objectivist jargon:

“You have to be able to think conceptually about this. If you just focus ... on a list of concrete items ... that is not the right approach to thinking, it’s not the right approach to evaluating. One has to look at the fundamentals. One has to look at what one can deduce from the character, the language, the ideas of the person who ... motivated the people to vote for him. That is what Objectivism is.”
Ayn Rand’s work turned into doubletalk. Think of Mr. Brook as a linguistic meat-grinder:

Rand’s writing     
Yaron Brook
     Objectivist doubletalk

Someone comments on the BlogTalkRadio chat:

“I’m getting somebody on the chat, [reads in a mocking tone of voice]  ‘Yaron please leave Trump alone. That man has not harmed you.’  Yes he has, he just became president. I can’t think of things that have harmed me more, that are harming me more and will be harming me more. He’s a reflection of the American people, and it scares me, of the way the American people are today.”

In order to determine what to do about the leper we must ask:

“How did the American people get to the point of electing this guy? What are the things that have happened in America, to our people, that have brought us to this point.”

After Mr. Brook claims that he has given plenty of concrete examples of major flaws in Trump,

“You want to avoid facts, you want to avoid reality, you are blinded, you are blinded by – this is exactly what authoritarianism does to you – you are blinded by [voice becomes mocking] ‘Oh, he said this thing out of context that sounded right. Oh, but he get’s stuff done.’ Yeah, that’s exactly what authoritarians do.”
Because you see what you eat doesn’t mean you eat what you see. Because an authoritarian supposedly gets things done doesn’t mean a man who gets things done is an authoritarian. For Mr. Brook to prove a man eats what he sees he must give many specific examples of his bizarre eating habits. To prove Trump is an authoritarian he must provide examples of his authoritarianism. Though Mr. Brook claims he has given plenty of concrete examples, really all he can muster is his own feeling that Trump has an “authoritarian personality,” whatever that is.

According to Mr. Brook, in “essential terms” the election of the leper

“... is the worst thing [sic] than any previous election. ...

... How did we get here? ... where ... the American people have gotten to the point where they are willing to vote for somebody like Donald Trump.”

He says the election is a backlash against the Left, which – setting aside the aspersion “somebody like” – is true enough. He says that the trouble with the Right is that it has no intellectual answer to the Left. True to a large extent but that doesn’t mean you vote for McGovern instead of Nixon, or for Hillary instead of Trump.

Like McGovern, Hillary appealed to welfare people who want handouts. Trump appealed to people who want to work and keep the money they earn.

Earlier we mentioned Rand’s 1972 essay “The American Spirit” about Nixon’s stunning victory over McGovern. She wrote of the  Leftists’ hatred of Americans as shown by their commentary on that election, quoting a number of examples. She also considered the question of Supreme Court appointments. Here our analogy between the Nixon-McGovern election back then and the Trump-Hillary election today is perfect. Compare Rand’s analysis with that of the Leftist in Objectivist clothing we’ve been quoting ad nauseum (we leave off our external quote marks):

The extent of these liberals ... hatred for the people is startling. ... Nixon’s “genius lay in appealing to the worst in us, to selfishness and meanness ...” (The Times, November 6.)  A majority of the voters “care more about keeping taxes down and keeping the blacks out than they do about the poor who have been left behind.” (The Times, November 5.)  Nixon “represents some of the uglier instincts of the American character .... He stood for deceit, evasiveness, corruption, and criminality; and still the people chose him ...” (New York Post, November 10.)  “The people, as always, voted their fears, their pitiful hopes and their meanest prejudices .... People feel more comfortable with Nixon, a Michigan professor wrote to The Times the other day. ‘They feel more at home in the presence of self-serving power, corruption, lying, callousness and hokum.’ ” (The Post, November 8.)

The darkest shadow hanging over America’s future is the intellectual vacuum filled, by default, with voices of that kind. It is hard to tell what Nixon’s policies will be, and – within the usual range of a mixed-economy Executive – it is almost irrelevant.
After saying that a politician can destroy a culture but cannot rebuild it:
We may hope that Nixon might gain time for the nation, by granting some relief (i.e., removing a few chains) to the private sector of the economy and by arresting the growth of the public sector. But, in view of his record, we cannot be certain. There is, however, one promise of his 1968 campaign – perhaps, the most important one – which he has kept: the appointment to the Supreme Court of men who respect the Constitution. It is still too early to tell the exact nature of these men’s views and the direction they will choose to take. But if they live up to their enormous responsibility, we may forgive Mr. Nixon a great many of his defaults: the Supreme Court is the last remnant of a philosophical influence in this country.

Nixon turned out to be a disappointment, though Rand continued to say he was better than the Democrats. Nixon’s Supreme Court appointees (there were four), though probably not as bad as McGovern’s would have been, were disappointing too. It’s not clear how much this was the fault of Nixon – “good men are hard to find” as the saying goes – but in any case their judicial record is not the point. The point is that court appointments, especially Supreme Court appointments, are of paramount importance when considering a presidential candidate. With one voice ARI cried out “Vote for Hillary.”  Can you imagine? It would be Ginsburg times whatever.

After that refreshing bit of sanity, back to the salt mines.

... No, please, I can’t take any more. Give me the Chinese water torture, anythi—

Froggy, beat it.

Mr. Brook claims to have found a pitfall in the Internet:  it has become an echo chamber confirming your last search choice to a conspiracy theory. This is patently untrue. If you search a controversial topic, you get controversy: different websites taking different positions. [12]  Given, he says, (1) the public’s disgust with the Left, (2) the Right advocating religion, (3) the echo chamber, (4) the bad educational system that encourages emotion over thinking, “what you get is the election of Donald Trump.”  Claims 2 and 3 are false and in so far as 4 is true it doesn’t apply. Though Trump occasionally paid lip service to religion he’s no religious advocate. There is no echo chamber, only a debate chamber. Finally, positive emotion was the correct response to Trump given his positions.

Mr. Brook spends a great deal of time defending the mainstream media’s bias and outright libel against Trump. He attacks Objectivists for criticizing the mainstream media:

“The attacks on the media are very, very, very dangerous, and many of you are part of these attacks.”
Before Mr. Brook elaborates, recall that after Barry Goldwater lost the election of 1964 he sued a magazine for having claimed, quoting psychologists, that he was “narcissistic,” “emotionally unstable,” had “the same pathological make-up as Hitler,” etc. [13]  In response Rand wrote (in “The Psychology of ‘Psychologizing’ The Objectivist March 1971):
“... Senator Goldwater exhibited ... moral courage in challenging them [apparently referring to the psychologists, the lawsuit was against the magazine publisher – AW] and subjecting himself to their filthy malice in the ordeal of a trial, which he won.”
— in today’s dollars, over half a million dollars in punitive damages.

As Mr. Brook lights into Objectivists note how he:
1. confuses libel  with  exercising freedom of speech,
2. confuses criticizing the media  with  criticizing freedom of speech.

I’m willing to defend the mainstream media that all of you vilify so much because in defending them I’m going to defend free speech.
He goes on to say that a lot of the mainstream media
“ ... is better than the garbage a lot of you are reading from the so-called Alt-Right. ...

“ ... so the idea that we should limit the mainstream media, that we should be attacking the media, that we should be attacking expressions of free speech, expressions of people, biased as they may be, to deliver the news, to deliver information, is horrifying. ...”
He’s attacking a strawman. Neither Trump nor any Objectivist I know of says the courts should allow a lawsuit against a media outlet for being biased or being inaccurate in good faith. Even inaccurate in bad faith wouldn’t by itself be libel, the inaccuracy must be extremely malicious and do harm. Admittedly the criterion is vague, but some of the things claimed about Goldwater were over the line. The same was true with Trump, though I suspect this worked in his favor rather than otherwise; the obvious bias and lying by itself was reason to side with Trump, but who knows.

Mr. Brook says of free speech:

“... we have to fight for it, and if that means defending NPR, I’m on the front line. ... I listen to NPR everyday when I’m home and I enjoy it.”
No, he wasn’t joking.

Again he reluctantly admits Trump might do some good:

“He might do some good things potentially.”
“So, yeah, he’s gonna do some good things, probably, maybe. Hopefully [starts giggling], hopefully, hopefully.”

Here’s another bit of insanity worth preserving for posterity, all of it said in a self-righteous tone of voice. After praising Silicon Valley to the skies:

“Why is that culture anti the Republican Party? Because that culture won’t vote for somebody who doesn’t believe in evolution. They won’t vote for a party that rejects revolution. So they won’t vote Republican. And they shouldn’t vote Republican.”
It is absurd.

Before Mr. Brook’s usual end, a plea for donations, the meat of the show ends with a peculiar take on Rand’s theory of emotions. After referring to “emotionalism derived from emotion” he says:

“Almost all emotion is ultimately derived from mysticism of some form or another. So this [battle] is about reason versus mysticism and it’s about individualism versus collectivism. ... One of the things that appeals to people about Donald Trump is that [here Mr. Brook’s voice becomes mocking] he’s gonna  Make.  America.  Great.  Again. ... but his America is a collectivistic America.”
Yaron Brook canniot face the fact that Trump addressed people’s legitimate concerns. If they are emotional about it they have a right to be. Their concern isn’t based on emotion, their emotion is a result of their concern.

The way Mr. Brook uses the word “collectivism” needs to be examined, which is something for another article. If worrying about immigration and getting overrun with what Mr. Brook calls the Other is “collectivist,” then his anti-collectivism is altruism.

A major theme of ARI Watch is that the so-called Ayn Rand Institute hijacked Rand’s philosophy and twists it to justify your destruction, that is, your self-destruction because you are supposed to go along with it.

I’m prepared to be disappointed in Trump but it is flamingly obvious he will be orders of magnitude better than Clinton would have been. It takes a degree from ARI’s Objectivist Academic Center not to see this. [14]


A few days after that BlogTalkRadio show Onkar Ghate repeated Mr. Brook’s arguments in an article published on ARI’s website. The title is “One Small Step for Dictatorship” (17 November 2016). Above it is a photograph of a bright red cap with Trump’s campaign slogan printed on the front.

Here’s the article’s main point (as always, emphasis his):

“My argument is that Trump publicly projected the mentality, methods and campaign of a would-be dictator  ... and that he won the presidency because of this.”
Scary, scary, scary.

The ending of Onkar Ghate’s article quotes the title of Rand’s essay “Don’t Let It Go.”  Apparently we are supposed to think that those who voted for Trump have abandoned the American sense of life. Actually Trump’s victory affirmed it, as we wrote before the election that it would, in the section of “Fear and Loathing of Donald Trump” titled “The New Enemy.”  Click the title to go there.

1  Strange to relate, the satire is based on an authentic Wall Street Journal article, which was not about ARI but Tufts, Cornell and other universities. That article was not satire.

Over a year later on the Yaron Brook Show of 11 March 2018 Mr. Brook comments about Trump being president:
“To me it’s just unbelievable, and I literally wake up every morning thinking,  ‘Oh he can’t be our president, this didn’t happen’.  And I go to Facebook and I go to YouTube or whatever, and I see all these people raving about him ... and that is what boggles my mind.”
At the very least we love Trump for not doing what Hillary would have done.  Later in the above show Mr. Brook says:
“He [Trump] is anti-America in ways that are worse than Obama. ... This guy is an emotionalist, nationalist ... tribalist, so he is anti-reason and anti-individualism, and in that sense he is more anti-America than any president we’ve ever had.”
Even taking into consideration Trump’s amazing unpredictability, if in Mr. Brook’s estimation Trump is more anti-America than Obama and Roosevelt then it is Mr. Brook who is anti-America.  Mr. Brook has thrown around the words “reason” and “individualism” haphazardly so much it’s no wonder few people listen to him anymore. He goes on to say:
“... I’m so glad Ayn Rand didn’t see Americans descend to electing Donald Trump as president.”

2  Spelling and punctuation silently corrected.

3 The actor turned political activist Charlton Heston mocked the attitude of people like Mr. Brook in a speech sponsored by the Free Congress Foundation, 20 December, 1997:
“Heaven help the God-fearing, law-abiding, Caucasian, middle class, Protestant, or – even worse – admitted heterosexual, gun-owning or – even worse – NRA-card-carrying, average working stiff, or – even worse – male working stiff, because not only don’t you count, you’re a downright obstacle to social progress. Your tax dollars may be just as delightfully green as you hand them over, but your voice deserves a lower decibel level, your opinion is less enlightened, your media access is insignificant. And frankly, mister, you need to wake up, wise up and learn a little something about your new America, and until you do, would you mind shutting up?”

4  Mr. Salmieri deleted his post the next day.

Two and half years later or so he had grown more confident, for on 6 August 2018 this exchange occurred on his Facebook page:
Hawk Christian:  “Just curious Greg Salmieri, did you vote for Hillary Clinton?
Greg Salmieri:  “Yes.  I’ve said so in the past.  Clinton’s awful of course, but she’s less anti-American than Trump.  And on balance I judged she’d be less bad for the country.  I think I was right about that ...”

5  This continued her earlier endorsement of Nixon. The analog today that would express her position is “Anti-Trumpites for Trump.”  From “Preview” The Ayn Rand Letter Vol. 1 No. 24 August 28, 1972 (emphasis hers):

“I am not an admirer of President Nixon ... But I urge every able-minded voter ... to vote for Nixon – as a matter of national emergency. This is no longer an issue of choosing the lesser of two commensurate evils. The choice is between a flawed candidate representing Western civilization – and the perfect candidate of its primordial enemies.
“If there were some campaign organization called ‘Anti-Nixonites for Nixon,’ it would name my position.
“The worst thing said about Nixon is that he cannot be trusted, which is true: he cannot be trusted to save this country. But one thing is certain: McGovern can be trusted to destroy it.”

6  See  Contra Trump Part 1  on this website.

7  One exception, unless he voted illegally, is Onkar Ghate, who though a permanent resident is not a U.S. citizen. Yaron Brook has dual citizenship (Israel first, U.S. second) and could have voted legally, however after all ARI’s propaganda to vote for Hillary he says he didn’t vote.

8  This is fleshed out in  Yaron Brook vs. Ron Paul  on this website.

9  You knows, stuttering repetitions, false starts and other disfluencies have been silently omitted.

10  Mr. Brook himself approved of at least one of Obama’s illegal executive orders.  See  Yaron Brook On Executive Amnesty  on this website.

11  Obama won in 2008 and 2012 because of the non-white vote combined with low white turnout. His Republican opponents, McCain and Romney, were “cuckservatives,” which caused whites to stay home and vote “none of the above.”

12  For example, if at the time of this writing you search,
peikoff trump
the first is to an ARI Watch article, the second to a podcast by Yaron Brook. Instead of an echo chamber the Internet is a debating chamber. True, someone can willfully choose to follow only one side of a debate, but this decision was always possible, the Internet is unnecessary.

Today anyone can take on a multi-million dollar intellectual fraud like the Ayn Rand Institute and at least be heard by those who search.

13  You can read the whole story in  Fear and Loathing of Donald Trump,  footnote 23,  on this website.

14  After the better part of a year into Trump’s first term Andrew Bernstein gave a talk in London titled “Truth, the Whole Truth and Nothing but the Truth” (October 29, 2017)  In the blurb for his talk he writes  “Is ... the rejection [by the American public] of assumed US presidential shoo-in and fact checker, Hillary Clinton, a rejection of truth itself?”