Yaron Brook

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Yaron Brook
Yaron Brook at Tea Party Patriots.jpg
Brook speaking at a Tea Party Patriots event.
Native name ירון ברוק
Born (1961-05-23) May 23, 1961 (age 60)
Occupation Executive director of Ayn Rand Institute

Yaron Brook (Hebrew: ירון ברוק‎; born May 23, 1961)[1] is an Israeli-born American entrepreneur, author, and former academic, who currently serves as the president and executive director of the Ayn Rand Institute, a non-profit organization in Irvine, California that promotes the novels of Ayn Rand and her philosophy of Objectivism.


Yaron Brook was born and raised in Israel (by parents who were Jewish socialists from South Africa). A friend lent him a copy of Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged when he was sixteen, leading to his embrace of Objectivism.[2] He served as a First Sergeant in Israeli military intelligence (1979–1982) and earned a BSc in Civil Engineering from Technion-Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa (1986).[3] In 1987, he moved to the United States, where he received his MBA and PhD in finance (1989, 1994) from the University of Texas at Austin. For seven years he was an award-winning finance professor at Santa Clara University in California, and in 1998 he co-founded (with Robert Hendershott) a financial advisory firm, BH Equity Research, of which he is presently a managing director and chairman.[4] He became an American citizen in 2003.

Ayn Rand Institute

Becoming an associate of leading Objectivists such as philosopher Leonard Peikoff, Brook co-founded Lyceum International in 1994, a company that organized Objectivist conferences and offered distance-learning courses.[5] In 2000, he left Santa Clara University to succeed Michael Berliner as president and executive director of the Ayn Rand Institute, which was then located in Marina del Rey, California. The Institute moved to Irvine, California, in 2002,[6] and opened a second office in the DC area in 2008, currently located in Alexandria, Virginia.

Brook's philosophical activism includes teaching and public lecturing at events and conferences held predominantly in North America, speaking and debating at numerous American universities, delivering seminars for businesses and corporations in the United States and abroad, and writing opinion editorials for leading newspapers and websites. Speaking venues also include conferences, and professional and community groups. His subjects span a wide range of current events and philosophical issues, including: the causes of the financial crisis, the morality of capitalism, and ending the growth of the state, each discussed with Objectivism at its foundation. In recent years, he has spoken to audiences throughout the world, including those in China, Australia, Brazil,[7] Argentina,[8] Greece,[9] Iceland, Bulgaria, Israel,[10] Guatemala,[11] and England.[12]

Brook is a columnist for Forbes.com,[13] and his articles have been featured in The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Investor's Business Daily, and many other publications. A frequent guest on a variety of radio and national television programs, he is the co-author of Neoconservatism: An Obituary for an Idea and contributing author of Winning the Unwinnable War: America’s Self-Crippled Response to Islamic Totalitarianism. His newest book is Free Market Revolution: How Ayn Rand's Ideas Can End Big Government, co-authored with Don Watkins.

Views and opinions

Capitalism and business

Brook is also an outspoken proponent of laissez-faire capitalism. In appearances on CNBC[14] and in several articles[15] and speeches, he has defended the rights of corporations and businessmen and upheld the virtues of capitalism. In a January 7, 2007 editorial in USA Today, he defends multi-million dollar CEO pay packages against the attempt by government to regulate them.[16] In a 2010 interview Brook called the efforts of Democrats to raise taxes on multi-millionaires "totally immoral." He has criticized President Bush for signing the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, which regulates corporate accounting practices.[17] He has also argued that antitrust laws are "unjust and make no sense ethically or economically."[18]

Rational selfishness

As an Objectivist, Brook promotes the philosophical principles advocated by Ayn Rand, in particular her philosophy of "enlightened," or rational selfishness as a moral virtue (a position also known as rational egoism). In addition to teaching classes on her view of egoism at the Ayn Rand Institute and as a guest lecturer at Brown University, Brook has also defended the egoist position in a 2006 debate against former U.S. Senator Robert Krueger at Texas State University, San Marcos.

On gun rights, Brook has stated, “The government certainly has a role in regulating ownership of weapons”, but he states that it is a "complex" issue to do with the philosophy of law. He is inclined to draw the line of prohibition between “offensive” weapons, such as tanks and weapons of mass destruction, and “defensive” weapons.[19]

Environment and climate change

Brook has stated that he does not believe regulation has any role to play in protecting the environment and believes human-originated climate change to be a doomsday scenario propagated by environmentalists. He has indicated that as an ideological iteration it goes back decades, and that he believes global warming is "another in a line of failed scare stories," with preferential funding given to researchers promoting it. Drawing a comparison between the role played by low quality housing and infrastructure in the 2010 Haiti earthquake and the contrasting resilience of more developed countries, he suggests the solution to supposed environmental changes is laissez-faire capitalism and the resultant rise in standard of living.[20]

Foreign policy and war

American foreign policy

Brook has gained much attention for his application of Objectivist moral philosophy to the question of American foreign policy in the Middle East.

He advocates an American foreign policy of rational self-interest that would serve only to protect the rights of Americans (as opposed to any form of government monetary aid, or state-building, or spreading democracy).[21] He has criticized the foreign policy of Ron Paul and other libertarians.[22]

He advocates the withdrawal of US troops from Europe, and US withdrawal from the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and the United Nations, calling the latter “one of the most immoral institutions ever created by man". He is ambivalent about the World Trade Organization.[23]

Brook calls for an embargo on North Korea, denouncing the regime as "threatening" and "belligerent", but he believes that war is not necessary at present.[24]

The war against Islamic totalitarianism

Brook claims that the Islamic terrorists initiated a war against the West because they hate the West's culture, wealth, love of life, and global influence.[25] This is opposed to the ideas that Islamic terrorists attack the West because they are poor, or because the West supports Israel, or any other reason.[21]

They [Islamic terrorists] don't hate us because we support Israel, they hate Israel because they look like us[21]

Brook claims that the West isn't at war with terrorism, but the ideology of Islamic totalitarianism. He repeatedly says that just like in World War II, America wasn't at war against Japanese Kamikaze pilots or German tanks, but the ideas of Nazism and Japanese Imperialism.[26][27]

Brook claims that Islamic totalitarians are Muslims who wish to dictate every part of life from the teachings of Islam, taken to its logical extreme.[27] He believes Islamic totalitarians want to organize their governments according to Islam, and that they wish to spread a global Islamic government across the world, sometimes using legitimate means, but mainly by using physical force, i.e. terrorism.[27] Brook claims that the Islamic totalitarians repeatedly express this, openly.

...it is a movement that believes in conquest...Islam should rule every aspect of one's life...they don't believe in separation of religion and state...and those who disagree are second class citizens or worthy of death, they want an empire in middle east, but their goal ultimately is world domination, and they state this. They are never satisfied with oppressing their own people or the people around them, they want world domination.[27]

The morality of war

Brook has done a fair amount of work to formulate a unique morality of war[28][29] (but a morality originated by Ayn Rand[30] and also advocated by other Objectivists like Leonard Peikoff,[31] Onkar Ghate,[32] and Craig Biddle).[33]

Brook claims that when America goes to war, it should only be to protect the rights of its people, and the government must do everything in its power to end the threat to its citizens, as soon as possible, by using overwhelming military force (or the threat of force).[28] If torturing enemy POWs and purposely targeting civilian population centers will end a war against American citizens, Brook is for it. The specific goal of this total war would be to crush the will of the people who started the war against the United States. After the government of the enemy country is destroyed, the United States should leave unless there is a special circumstance in which the people of the defeated country are realistically willing to adopt Western-style governments.[34]

In his article "'Just War Theory' vs. American Self-Defense," co-authored with Alex Epstein in The Objective Standard, Brook writes:

Without physical and spiritual support by these states, the Islamic Totalitarian cause would be a hopeless, discredited one, with few if any willing to kill in its name. Thus, the first order of business in a proper response to 9/11 would have been to end state support of Islamic Totalitarianism—including ending the Iranian regime that is its fatherland.[28]

Brook further argues that these Islamic states must be severely attacked in order to crush their will to engage in and support terrorism.

The US has been attacked first thus it has the moral right to fight Islamism. The sole moral duty of the United States is to defend its citizens against its enemies by all means, even with the use of the atom bomb if necessary.[35]

What specific military actions would have been required post-9/11 to end state support of Islamic Totalitarianism is a question for specialists in military strategy, but even a cursory look at history can tell us one thing for sure: It would have required the willingness to take devastating military action against enemy regimes—to oust their leaders and prominent supporters, to make examples of certain regimes or cities in order to win the surrender of others, and to inflict suffering on complicit civilian populations, who enable terrorist-supporting regimes to remain in power.[28]

From the beginning of the War on Terrorism, Brook has argued that Iran should be the primary target of U.S. retaliation for Sept. 11, secondary targets being Saudi Arabia and Syria.[21]

He is for waging war on Islamic totalitarian states, but he believes that Bush’s "Forward Strategy of Freedom" is altruistic, self-defeating, and in opposition to America’s national self-interest.[36]

In his 2006 speech "Democracy vs. Victory: Why the 'Forward Strategy of Freedom' Had to Fail"[37] given at the Ford Hall Forum in Boston he said:

Washington commanded the military to tip-toe around Iraq. Troops were coached in all manner of cultural sensitivity training, so they would not offend the customs of the locals. The welfare of Iraqis was placed above the lives of our soldiers, who were put in the line of fire but prevented from using all the necessary force necessary to win. U.S. troops died as a result.

Washington treats the lives of our military personnel as expendable. Their blood is spilled for the sake of serving Iraqis, a people overwhelmingly hostile to America.

Bush had committed America to this selfless mission in the run-up to the war.

On December 17, 2004, Yaron Brook appeared on The O’Reilly Factor, Impact Segment, "Aftermath of Fallujah activities", the context was that an embedded journalist had reported about the shooting of previously disarmed Iraqi soldiers in Fallujah. During this interview he said:

I'm suggesting that we start bringing this war to the civilians, the consequences of this war, to the civilians who are harboring and helping and supporting the insurgents in Fallujah and other places. ... I would like to see the United States turn Fallujah into dust, and tell the Iraqis: If you’re going to continue to support the insurgents you will not have homes, you will not have schools, you will not have mosques ...

Brook argued that if "flattening Fallujah to end the Iraqi insurgency will save American lives, to refrain from [doing so] is morally evil."[38]


Brook considers Israel to be a morally good nation because its Western-style government protects the rights of its citizens, Arab and Jewish alike, vastly more than neighboring countries.[39][40] Brook is highly critical of Zionism, arguing that "Zionism fused a valid concern - self-preservation amid a storm of hostility - with a toxic premise - ethnically based collectivism and religion".[41]

Brook advocates morally (but not necessarily financially) supporting Israel, which he sees as a Western ally against Islamic terrorism.[42]

Brook strongly disagrees with many aspects of Israel's policies, including its collectivist and religious influences, and its 'self-sacrificial' foreign policy of giving its enemies land, money, and other goods.[39][43]

Published works


  1. "Yaron Brook". Facebook.com. Retrieved 2015-03-31.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. "Atlas came to Irvine". The Orange County Register. Retrieved 2015-03-31.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. "Yaron Brook". Ayn Rand Institute. Retrieved 2009-08-18.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. "BH Equity Research". Bhequity.com. Retrieved 2015-03-31.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. https://web.archive.org/web/20071213052409/http://www.wju.edu/academics/bus/iscm/brook.asp. Archived from the original on December 13, 2007. Retrieved January 14, 2007. Unknown parameter |deadurl= ignored (help); Missing or empty |title= (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. Letran, Vivian (June 7, 2002). "Ayn Rand Institute to Move to Orange County". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2009-08-18.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. Anarchy and efficient law. YouTube.com. 10 December 2010. Retrieved 2015-03-31.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. Yaron Brook en Libertad Querida!. YouTube.com. 9 May 2011. Retrieved 2015-03-31.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. [1] Archived February 17, 2014 at the Wayback Machine
  10. Yaron Brook, Director of the Ayn Rand Institute at BGU MBA Program. YouTube.com. 13 June 2012. Retrieved 2015-03-31.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  11. "Ayn Rand: Radical for Capitalism". UFM New Media. Retrieved 2015-03-31.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  12. Yaron Brook - How to be a Rational Egoist. YouTube.com. 13 September 2011. Retrieved 2015-03-31.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  13. "Forbes Search". Forbes.com. Retrieved 2015-03-31.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  14. "yaron brook - CNBC". Search.cnbc.com. Retrieved 2015-03-31.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  15. Epstein, Alex; Brook, Yaron (October 22, 2002). "Paralyzing America's Producers". Ayn Rand Institute. Retrieved 2009-10-02.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  16. Brook, Yaron (January 7, 2007). "Pay is company's prerogative". USA Today. p. 19A.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  17. Brook, Yaron; Epstein, Alex (July 14, 2003). "The cost of the 'ethical' assault on honest businessmen". Retrieved 2009-10-02.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  18. "Capitalism and Business Ethics: Yaron Brook, Executive Director of the Ayn Rand Institute". Washingtonpost.com. July 19, 2000. Retrieved 2009-10-02.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  19. "YBrook: Did Ayn Rand ever discuss her views on the second amendment and gun control? What are your own views about what restrictions, if any, a proper government would place on ownership of handguns and other firearms? « Podcast « Peikoff". Peikoff.com. Retrieved 2015-03-31.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  20. Yaron Brook - Q&A Part 2<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  21. 21.0 21.1 21.2 21.3 [2] Archived October 5, 2013 at the Wayback Machine
  22. "To YB: Is Obama worse on foreign policy than Ron Paul? « Podcast « Peikoff". Peikoff.com. Retrieved 2015-03-31.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  23. "To YB: Should the United States be a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)? « Podcast « Peikoff". Peikoff.com. Retrieved 2015-03-31.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  24. "To YBrook: I recently read an article that urged the United States establish relationships with North Korea, similar to Vietnam under Clinton. Was it a good idea then? Is it a good idea now? « Podcast « Peikoff". Peikoff.com. Retrieved 2015-03-31.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  25. Dr. Yaron Brook speaks at UCLA panel on Totalitarian Islam. YouTube. 13 April 2007.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  26. [3][dead link]
  27. 27.0 27.1 27.2 27.3 Dr. Yaron Brook - Israel and the West's War against Islamic Totalitarianism. YouTube. 13 July 2007.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  28. 28.0 28.1 28.2 28.3 ""Just War Theory" vs. American Self-Defense". The Objective Standard.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  29. [4] Archived October 29, 2013 at the Wayback Machine
  30. "Media Center". Aynrand.org. Retrieved 2015-03-31.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  31. Leonard Peikoff Interview about attacking IRAN. YouTube.com. 18 June 2008. Retrieved 2015-03-31.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  32. "Media Center". Aynrand.org. Retrieved 2015-03-31.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  33. "Reply to a Question about Targeting Non-Combatants in War". The Objective Standard. Retrieved 2015-03-31.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  34. [5] Archived October 29, 2013 at the Wayback Machine
  35. "No Apologies for Hiroshima and Nagasaki". Capmag.com. Retrieved 2015-03-31.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  36. "The "Forward Strategy" for Failure". The Objective Standard.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  37. [6] Archived October 13, 2008 at the Wayback Machine
  38. Josh Harkinson. "The Apostles of Ron Paul". Motherjones.com. Retrieved 2015-03-31.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  39. 39.0 39.1 [7] Archived October 5, 2013 at the Wayback Machine
  40. "Israel Has A Moral Right To Its Life". Capmag.com. Retrieved 2015-03-31.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  41. Arfa, Orit (July 12, 2007). "'You don't fight a tactic'". The Jerusalem Post. Retrieved January 11, 2016.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  42. Sabo, Bevan (October 6, 2009). "An Interview with Yaron Brook (Part I)". Free Market Mojo. Archived from the original on November 22, 2010. Retrieved January 11, 2016.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  43. Brook, Yaron (June 23, 2002). "Israel Has A Moral Right To Its Life". Retrieved 2009-10-02.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links