Yaron Brook

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Yaron Brook
Brook speaking at a Tea Party Patriots event
Brook speaking at a Tea Party Patriots event
Native name ירון ברוק
Born (1961-05-23) May 23, 1961 (age 57)
Israel
Occupation Chairman of the board at the Ayn Rand Institute
Citizenship American, Israeli
Alma mater Technion – Israel Institute of Technology (BS)
University of Texas at Austin (MBA, PhD)
Notable works Free Market Revolution
Equal is Unfair

Yaron Brook (Hebrew: ירון ברוק‎; born May 23, 1961)[1] is an Israeli-American entrepreneur, writer, and activist. He is an Objectivist and the current chairman of the board at the Ayn Rand Institute, where he was executive director from 2000 to 2017. He is also the co-founder of BH Equity Research and the author of several books, in which he analyzes a variety of topics from an Objectivist perspective.

Early life and education[edit]

Yaron Brook was born and raised in Israel. His parents were Jewish socialists from South Africa. When he was sixteen, a friend lent him a copy of Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged, leading him to abandon the socialism taught to him by his parents and to embrace Objectivism.[2] After graduating from high school, he served as a first sergeant in Israeli military intelligence (1979–1982) and then earned a Bachelor of Science in civil engineering in 1986 from the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa.[3] In 1987, he moved to the United States, where he received his Master of Business Administration in 1989 and Doctor of Philosophy in finance in 1994 from the University of Texas at Austin.

Career[edit]

Brook began his career as a finance professor at the Leavey School of Business at Santa Clara University, a position he held for seven years and which won him awards of recognition.

In 1998, he co-founded a financial advisory firm with Robert Hendershott, BH Equity Research, where he continues today as managing director and chairman.[4]

Brook became an associate of leading Objectivist intellectuals, such as philosopher Leonard Peikoff, and in 1994, he co-founded Lyceum International, a company that organized Objectivist conferences and offered distance-learning courses. 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. In 2002, ARI relocated to Irvine, California.[5]

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,[6] Argentina,[7] Greece,[8] Iceland, Bulgaria, Israel,[9] Guatemala,[10] and England.[11]

Brook is a columnist for Forbes,[12] 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 Free Market Revolution: How Ayn Rand's Ideas Can End Big Government, and contributing author of Winning the Unwinnable War: America’s Self-Crippled Response to Islamic Totalitarianism. His newest book is Equal Is Unfair: America's Misguided Fight Against Income Inequality, co-authored with Don Watkins.

Views and opinions[edit]

Rational selfishness[edit]

Brook promotes the Objectivist ethical position that rational selfishness is a moral virtue and that altruism is evil. In addition to teaching classes on his moral view of self-interest at ARI and as a guest lecturer at Brown University, Brook also defended the egoist position in a 2006 debate with former US Senator Robert Krueger at Texas State University, San Marcos.

Politics and economics[edit]

Brook is an outspoken proponent of laissez-faire capitalism. In appearances on CNBC[13] and in several articles[14] 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 defended multimillion-dollar CEO pay packages against the attempt by government to regulate them.[15] In a 2010 interview, Brook called the efforts of Democrats to raise taxes on multi-millionaires "totally immoral." He criticized George W. Bush for signing the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, which regulates corporate accounting practices.[16] He has also argued that antitrust laws are "unjust and make no sense ethically or economically."[17]

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.[18]

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.[19]

Foreign policy and war[edit]

American foreign policy

Brook has gained much attention for his application of Objectivist moral philosophy to the question of American foreign policy, particularly on 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, state-building, or spreading democracy.[20] He has criticized the foreign policy of Ron Paul and other libertarians.[21]

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.[22]

Brook calls for an embargo on North Korea, denouncing the regime as "threatening" and "belligerent", but believes that war is not necessary at present.[23]

War against Islamic terrorism

Brook argues that Islamic terrorists initiated a war against the West because they hate its culture, wealth, love of life, and global influence,[24] and that they attack Israel because of the influence Western culture has had on it.[20] He explicitly rejects the idea that Islamic terrorists attack Western nations because they support Israel or because of any other reason, such as poverty or retaliation.[20]

Brook claims that the West is not at war with terrorism but the ideology of Islamic totalitarianism. He repeatedly says that just like in World War II, the US wasn't at war against Japanese Kamikaze pilots or German tanks, but the ideas of Nazism and Japanese Imperialism.[25][26]

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.[26] 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.[26] 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.[26]

Morality of war

Brook has done a fair amount of work to formulate a unique morality of war[27][28] (but a morality originated by Ayn Rand[29] and also advocated by other Objectivists like Leonard Peikoff,[30] Onkar Ghate,[31] and Craig Biddle).[32]

Brook claims that when the US 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).[27] 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.[33]

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.[27]

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.[34]

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.[27]

From the beginning of the War on Terrorism, Brook has argued that Iran should be the primary target of US retaliation for Sept. 11, secondary targets being Saudi Arabia and Syria.[20]

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.[35]

In his 2006 speech "Democracy vs. Victory: Why the 'Forward Strategy of Freedom' Had to Fail"[36] 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. US 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."[37]

Israel

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.[38][39] 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".[40]

Brook advocates morally, but not necessarily financially, supporting Israel, which he sees as a Western ally against Islamic terrorism.[41]

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.[38][42]

Personal life[edit]

Brook is married and has children. He has a son named Niv.[43]

Published works[edit]

Books[edit]

  • Brook, Yaron; Watkins, Don (2012). Free Market Revolution: How Ayn Rand's Ideas Can End Big Government. New York: Palgrave Macmillan. ISBN 0230341691. 
  • Brook, Yaron; Watkins, Don (2016). Equal Is Unfair: America's Misguided Fight Against Income Inequality. New York: St. Martins Press. 
  • Brook, Yaron; Watkins, Don (2017). In Pursuit of Wealth: The Moral Case for Finance. New York: Ayn Rand Institute Press. 

Other[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Yaron Brook". Facebook.com. Retrieved 2015-03-31. 
  2. ^ "Atlas came to Irvine". The Orange County Register. Archived from the original on 2008-06-15. Retrieved 2015-03-31. 
  3. ^ "Yaron Brook". Ayn Rand Institute. Retrieved 2009-08-18. 
  4. ^ "BH Equity Research". Bhequity.com. Archived from the original on 2014-12-16. Retrieved 2015-03-31. 
  5. ^ Letran, Vivian (June 7, 2002). "Ayn Rand Institute to Move to Orange County". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2009-08-18. 
  6. ^ Anarchy and efficient law. YouTube.com. 10 December 2010. Retrieved 2015-03-31. 
  7. ^ Yaron Brook en Libertad Querida!. YouTube.com. 9 May 2011. Retrieved 2015-03-31. 
  8. ^ [1] Archived February 17, 2014, at the Wayback Machine.
  9. ^ Yaron Brook, Director of the Ayn Rand Institute at BGU MBA Program. YouTube.com. 13 June 2012. Retrieved 2015-03-31. 
  10. ^ "Ayn Rand: Radical for Capitalism". UFM New Media. Retrieved 2015-03-31. 
  11. ^ Yaron Brook - How to be a Rational Egoist. YouTube.com. 13 September 2011. Retrieved 2015-03-31. 
  12. ^ "Forbes Search". Forbes.com. Retrieved 2015-03-31. 
  13. ^ "yaron brook - CNBC". Search.cnbc.com. Retrieved 2015-03-31. 
  14. ^ Epstein, Alex; Brook, Yaron (October 22, 2002). "Paralyzing America's Producers". Ayn Rand Institute. Retrieved 2009-10-02. 
  15. ^ Brook, Yaron (January 7, 2007). "Pay is company's prerogative". USA Today. p. 19A. 
  16. ^ Brook, Yaron; Epstein, Alex (July 14, 2003). "The cost of the 'ethical' assault on honest businessmen". Retrieved 2009-10-02. 
  17. ^ "Capitalism and Business Ethics: Yaron Brook, Executive Director of the Ayn Rand Institute". Washingtonpost.com. July 19, 2000. Retrieved 2009-10-02. 
  18. ^ "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. 
  19. ^ Yaron Brook - Q&A Part 2 
  20. ^ a b c d [2] Archived October 5, 2013, at the Wayback Machine.
  21. ^ "To YB: Is Obama worse on foreign policy than Ron Paul? « Podcast « Peikoff". Peikoff.com. Retrieved 2015-03-31. 
  22. ^ "To YB: Should the United States be a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)? « Podcast « Peikoff". Peikoff.com. Retrieved 2015-03-31. 
  23. ^ "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. 
  24. ^ Dr. Yaron Brook speaks at UCLA panel on Totalitarian Islam. YouTube. 13 April 2007. 
  25. ^ [3][dead link]
  26. ^ a b c d Dr. Yaron Brook - Israel and the West's War against Islamic Totalitarianism. YouTube. 13 July 2007. 
  27. ^ a b c d ""Just War Theory" vs. American Self-Defense". The Objective Standard. 
  28. ^ [4] Archived October 29, 2013, at the Wayback Machine.
  29. ^ "Media Center". Aynrand.org. Retrieved 2015-03-31. 
  30. ^ Leonard Peikoff Interview about attacking IRAN. YouTube.com. 18 June 2008. Retrieved 2015-03-31. 
  31. ^ "Media Center". Aynrand.org. Retrieved 2015-03-31. 
  32. ^ "Reply to a Question about Targeting Non-Combatants in War". The Objective Standard. Retrieved 2015-03-31. 
  33. ^ [5] Archived October 29, 2013, at the Wayback Machine.
  34. ^ "No Apologies for Hiroshima and Nagasaki". Capmag.com. Retrieved 2015-03-31. 
  35. ^ "The "Forward Strategy" for Failure". The Objective Standard. 
  36. ^ [6] Archived October 13, 2008, at the Wayback Machine.
  37. ^ Josh Harkinson. "The Apostles of Ron Paul". Motherjones.com. Retrieved 2015-03-31. 
  38. ^ a b [7] Archived October 5, 2013, at the Wayback Machine.
  39. ^ "Israel Has A Moral Right To Its Life". Capmag.com. Retrieved 2015-03-31. 
  40. ^ Arfa, Orit (July 12, 2007). "'You don't fight a tactic'". The Jerusalem Post. Retrieved January 11, 2016. 
  41. ^ 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. 
  42. ^ Brook, Yaron (June 23, 2002). "Israel Has A Moral Right To Its Life". Retrieved 2009-10-02. 
  43. ^ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cbWgESQV9Eo

External links[edit]