The Objectivist movement seeks to study and advance the philosophy of Objectivism. It was founded by novelist, screenwriter, and philosopher Ayn Rand. The movement began informally in the 1950s and consisted of students who were brought together by their mutual interest in Rand's novel, The Fountainhead. The group, ironically named "the Collective" due to their actual advocacy of individualism, in part consisted of Nathaniel Branden, Barbara Branden, Alan Greenspan, and Leonard Peikoff. Nathaniel Branden, a young Canadian student who had been greatly inspired by Rand's work, became a close confidant and encouraged Rand to expand her philosophy into a formal movement. From this informal beginning in Rand's living room, the movement expanded into a collection of think tanks, academic organizations, magazines, and journals.
- The Collective 1.1
- The Nathaniel Branden Institute 1.2
- The 1970s 1.3
- The 1980s 1.4
- The Peikoff–Kelley split 1.5
- The 1990s 1.6
- 2000 to present 1.7
Objectivism in academia 2
- Student activism 2.1
- Influence 3
Criticisms and responses 4
- Criticisms 4.1
- Responses 4.2
- See also 5
- Works cited 6.1
- External links 7
"The Collective" was Rand's private name for a group of close confidants, students, and proponents of Rand and Objectivism during the 1950s and '60s. The founding members of the group were Nathaniel Branden, Barbara Branden, Leonard Peikoff, Alan Greenspan, Allan Blumenthal, Harry Kalberman, Elayne Kalberman, Joan Mitchell, and Mary Ann Sures (formerly Rukavina). This group was the nucleus of a growing movement of Rand admirers whose name was chosen as a joke based on Objectivism's staunch commitment to individualism. It had originally started out as an informal gathering of friends (many of them related to one another) who met with Rand on weekends at her apartment on East 36th Street in New York City to discuss philosophy. Barbara Branden said the group met "because of a common interest in ideas." Greenspan recalled being drawn to Rand because of a shared belief in "the importance of mathematics and intellectual rigor." The group met at Rand's apartment at least once a week, and would often discuss and debate into the early morning hours. About these discussions, Greenspan said, "Talking to Ayn Rand was like starting a game of chess thinking I was good, and suddenly finding myself in checkmate." Eventually Rand also allowed them to begin reading the manuscript of Atlas Shrugged as she completed it. As the years went on, the Collective would proceed to play a larger, more formal role, promoting Rand's philosophy through the Nathaniel Branden Institute (NBI). Some Collective members gave lectures at the NBI in cities across the United States and wrote articles for its newsletters, The Objectivist Newsletter (1962–65) and The Objectivist (1966–71).
In 1968 after a complex series of events, Rand expelled Nathaniel and Barbara Branden from the Collective. In the subsequent years, the Collective slowly broke apart for numerous reasons. (Peikoff, Greenspan and Sures remained associated with Rand until her death. Kay Nolte Smith was expelled by Rand, while Allan and Joan Mitchell Blumenthal and Robert Hessen left on their own.) Peikoff eventually became Rand's legal heir and the person she described as the best teacher of her ideas, and has been called Rand's "intellectual heir." Following Rand's death in 1982, Peikoff founded the Ayn Rand Institute to promote Objectivist philosophy.
The Nathaniel Branden Institute
The first formal presentation of Objectivism began with the Nathaniel Branden Lectures (NBL), shortly after the publication of Rand's final novel, Atlas Shrugged. Nathaniel Branden was the first member of The Collective, and later, Rand's "intellectual heir." In time, Branden and Rand became romantically involved. After the publication of Atlas Shrugged, Rand was inundated with requests for more information about her philosophy. Not wanting to be a teacher or leader of an organized movement, she allowed Branden to lecture on her behalf.
|Timeline of the Objectivist movement|
The Fountainhead published
The success of NBL prompted Branden to expand his lecture organization into the Nathaniel Branden Institute (NBI). Rand and Branden also co-founded the first publication devoted to the study and application of Objectivism. The Objectivist Newsletter began publication in 1962 and was later expanded into The Objectivist.
The 1960s saw a rapid expansion of the Objectivist movement. Rand was a frequent lecturer at universities across the country. Rand hosted a radio program on Objectivism on the Columbia University station, WKCR-FM. The Nathaniel Branden Institute (NBI) hosted lectures on Objectivism, the history of philosophy, art, and psychology in cities across the country. Campus clubs devoted to studying Rand's philosophy formed throughout the country, though operated independently of NBI. Rand was a frequent guest on radio and television, as well as an annual lecturer at the Ford Hall Forum. At the peak of its popularity, NBI was delivering taped lectures in over 80 cities. By 1967 NBI had leased an entire floor in the Empire State Building (with The Objectivist as a sub-tenant).
In 1968, Rand publicly broke with Nathaniel and Barbara Branden. She accused Nathaniel Branden of a "gradual departure from the principles of Objectivism," financial exploitation of her related to business loans, and "deliberate deception of several persons." In a response sent to the mailing list of The Objectivist in 1968, the Brandens denied many of Rand's charges against them. The result of their conflicting claims was a "schism", as some participants in the Objectivist movement supported the Brandens, while others supported Rand's repudiation of them. 
NBI was closed and its offices vacated, in an environment that Barbara Branden described as "total hysteria" as its former students learned about the matter. The Brandens continued for a time to sell some of NBI's recorded lectures through a new company, but otherwise had little involvement with the Objectivist movement until their biographical books about Rand were released. The Objectivist continued publishing with Rand as editor and Leonard Peikoff as associate editor. Peikoff also took over Nathaniel Branden's role as the primary lecturer on Objectivism. Peikoff later described the Brandens' expulsion as the first "of the many schisms that have plagued the Objectivist movement."
In the 1970s, Rand gave fewer public speeches. She concentrated instead on nonfiction writing and on helping the work of her students and associates, through efforts such as a series of private workshops on epistemology that she conducted from 1969 through 1971 for about a dozen students and professionals in philosophy, math and physics. The Objectivist was replaced by The Ayn Rand Letter in 1971. While The Objectivist had published articles by many authors, The Ayn Rand Letter, marketed as a personal newsletter from Rand, published only her work (plus occasionally Leonard Peikoff's).
Throughout the decade, Peikoff continued to offer a number of lecture series on various topics related to Objectivism to large audiences, often incorporating new philosophic material. Rand worked closely with Peikoff, helping edit his book, The Ominous Parallels, for which she wrote the introduction. In mid-1979, Rand's associate Peter Schwartz began editing and publishing The Intellectual Activist, a publication which Rand recommended to her audience. Another associate of hers during this period was Harry Binswanger, whom she advised on his mini-encyclopedia of Objectivism, The Ayn Rand Lexicon: Objectivism from A to Z. After the close of The Objectivist Calendar, a short publication listing upcoming events within the Objectivist movement, Binswanger began editing and publishing The Objectivist Forum, a bimonthly journal on Objectivism which had Rand's support and for which she served as "philosophic consultant."
Upon Rand's death, on March 6, 1982, Peikoff inherited her estate, including the control of the copyrights to her books and writing (barring Anthem, in the public domain). Shortly after Rand's death, Peikoff's first book, The Ominous Parallels, was published. In 1983, Peikoff gave a series of lectures titled Understanding Objectivism, for the purpose of improving the methodology used in studying Objectivism, as a corrective to what he describes as the "Rationalist" and the "Empiricist" methods of thought.
- Ayn Rand Institute
- Ayn Rand Society
- The Center for the Advancement of Capitalism
- The Atlas Society
- Nathaniel Branden's site
- Leonard Peikoff's site
- Barbara Branden's site
- The Institute for Objectivist Studies (new organization founded 2013 with the same name as the 1990 organization, but distinct from it)
- Baker, James T. (1987). Ayn Rand. Boston, Massachusetts: Twayne Publishers.
- Burns, Jennifer (2009).
- Gladstein, Mimi Reisel (1999). The New Ayn Rand Companion. Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press.
- Gladstein, Mimi Reisel (2009). Ayn Rand. Major Conservative and Libertarian Thinkers series. New York: Continuum.
- Heller, Anne C. (2009).
- Kelley, David (2000). The Contested Legacy of Ayn Rand: Truth and Toleration in Objectivism (paperback ed.). New Brunswick, New Jersey: Transaction Publishers.
- Paxton, Michael (1998).
- Rand, Ayn (May 1968). "To Whom It May Concern". The Objectivist 7 (5): 449–456.
- Rand, Ayn (June 1968a). "A Statement of Policy (Part I)".
- Sciabarra, Chris Matthew (Fall 1998). "A Renaissance in Rand Scholarship" (PDF). Reason Papers 23: 132–159.
- Walker, Jeff (1999).
- Branden 1986, p. 254. In public she referred to them as "the class of '43", after the year The Fountainhead was published. cf. Baker 1987, p. 18 and Gladstein 1999, p. 15.
- Britting 2004, p. 88; Branden 1986, p. 254.
- Paxton 1998, p. 156; Greenspan 2007, p. 40
- Branden 1986, p. 254.
- Greenspan 2007, p. 51
- Greenspan 2007, p. 40; Paxton 1998, p. 156.
- Greenspan 2007, pp. 40–41.
- Branden 1986, pp. 254–255; Paxton 1998, p. 156.
- Britting 2004, p. 95; Baker 1987, p. 18; Branden 1999, p. 255; Branden 1986, pp. 307, 312–313.
- Paxton 1998, p. 142; Britting 2004, p. 101; Rand 1968.
- See Branden 1986, pp. 363–422, esp. "Denouement" and "Epilogue," and Doherty 2007, pp. 537–538.
- Heller 2009, p. 387; Doherty 2007, p. 661n16; Gladstein 2009, p. 86
- Gladstein 1999, p. 18
- Branden 1986
- Branden 1999
- Hessen 1999, pp. 351–352.
- Heller 2009, p. 320
- The Objectivist Newsletter vol. 4 no. 12
- Heller 2009, pp. 350, 373
- Rand 1968, p. 449.
- Rand 1968, pp. 452–453; cf. Doherty 2007, p. 334.
- Branden 1986, pp. 354–355; Doherty 2007, pp. 334–335.
- Doherty 2007, pp. 334–336; Baker 1987, pp. 24–25; Branden 1986, pp. 355–356; Gladstein 1999, p. 18; Walker 1999, pp. 43–46. Baker and Walker both use the term "schism," as does Peikoff 1989, pp. 1, 5.
- Bradley Jr. 2009, pp. 320, 327 Bradley devotes Appendix A in his book (pp. 320–331) to "The Ayn Rand Problem."
- Branden 1986, pp. 351–352; cf. Rand 1968, p. 455.
- Holzer, Henry Mark (May 1969). "Legal Notice". The Objectivist 8 (5): 656.
- Branden 1986 and Branden 1999, which was originally released in 1989 under the title Judgment Day: My Years with Ayn Rand.
- Hessen 1999, p. 353.
- Peikoff 1989, p. 5.
- Burns 2009, p. 250
- "Founders of Western Philosophy" (1972) and "The Philosophy of Objectivism" (1976)
- Peikoff, Leonard. Leonard Peikoff in His Own Words (DVD). Northern River Productions.
- Peikoff, Leonard (1982). The Ominous Parallels. Plume.
- New American Library, 1986; online at www.aynrandlexicon.com
- "To the Readers of the Objectivist Forum," The Objectivist Forum, vol. 1, no. 1 (Feb. 1980)
- "Announcements". The Objectivist Forum 3 (3): 16. June 1983.
- Berliner, Michael S. (October 1985). "Report from the Ayn Rand Institute".
- Impact (newsletter of the Ayn Rand Institute), June 2003
- Doherty 2007, pp. 538–539; the italics are Doherty's.
- Kelley 2000, p. 13.
- Schwartz, Peter (February 27, 1989). "On Sanctioning the Sanctioners". The Intellectual Activist 4 (20): 1.
- Ramsey, Bruce (January–February 2008). : R.I.P.?"Laissez-Faire". Liberty 22 (1).
- Kelley's paper was at first circulated privately, but is reproduced as an appendix in Kelley 2000, pp. 113–117.
- Peikoff, Leonard (May 18, 1989). "Fact and Value". The Intellectual Activist 5 (1).
- Kelley, David (1990). Truth and Toleration. Verbank, New York: Institute for Objectivist Studies. Revised as Kelley 2000.
- Walsh, George (November 17, 1989). "A Statement". The Intellectual Activist 5 (3): 5.
- IOS Summer Seminar (1995). Faculty Biographies. http://www.objectivistcenter.org/events/oldsems/seminars-sem95.asp#fac Accessed July 28, 2009.
- Sciabarra 1995
- IOS Summer Seminar (1996). http://www.objectivistcenter.org/events/oldsems/seminars-sem96.asp#pers Accessed July 28, 2009.
- IOS Summer Seminar (1999). http://www.objectivistcenter.org/events/sem99/seminars-sem99.asp Accessed July 28, 2009.
- Impact September 2000
- OAC website
- Impact December 2006
- ARI website
- Impact April 1999
- Impact March 2000
- Impact February 2007
- About ARI From the Ayn Rand's Institute's website
- The Jihad Against the West
- "The Objectivist Center to Move to DC". December 15, 2004. Archived from the original on November 19, 2005.
- "The Atlas Society and The Objectivist Center Names". The Atlas Society. June 5, 2006. Archived from the original on March 12, 2007. Retrieved June 16, 2006.
- "The Atlas Society Announces Aaron Day as New CEO and Appoints New Board of Advisors" (Press release). PRWeb. October 19, 2012.
- Rand, Ayn (1961). For the New Intellectual. Signet.
- Peikoff, Leonard (1993).
- "About ARI". Retrieved July 25, 2007.
- O'Neill, William F. (1971). With Charity Toward None: An Analysis of Ayn Rand's Philosophy. New York: Philosophical Library. ; cf. discussion of O'Neill's book in Gladstein 1999, p. 100.
- For example:
- Gladstein 1999, pp. 101–102.
- Thomas, William (April 2000). "Ayn Rand Through Two Lenses". Navigator 3 (4): 15–19.
- "Ayn Rand Society". Retrieved May 30, 2009.
- Gladstein 1999, p. 106.
- Sciabarra 1998, p. 132
- Sciabarra 1998, p. 133
- Impact July 2003
- Fricke, Erika (Summer 2004). "Follow Reason: An Objectivist Viewpoint". Pitt Magazine. Archived from the original on 2007-06-11. Retrieved July 25, 2007.
- "Concepts and Objectivity" (PDF). 2006. Retrieved July 23, 2007.
- "BB&T Programs". Retrieved July 25, 2009.
- Smith, Tara (2006). Ayn Rand's Normative Ethics: The Virtuous Egoist. Cambridge University Press.
- "The Journal of Ayn Rand Studies". Retrieved July 25, 2007.
- Bernstein, Andrew. "To All Sincerely Concerned With Objectivism". Retrieved July 25, 2007.
- Lists of such groups can be found at: "Find Nearby Clubs". Ayn Rand Institute. Retrieved May 30, 2009.; "Local Clubs". The Atlas Society. Retrieved May 30, 2009.; "Ayn Rand Meetup Groups". Meetup.com. Retrieved May 30, 2009.
- Dickerson, Marla (June 6, 2008). "Leftist thinking left off the syllabus". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved May 30, 2009.
- Cohen, David (December 7, 2001). "A growing concern". The Guardian. Retrieved May 31, 2009.
- Epstein, David (March 20, 2006). "To Show or Not to Show Muhammad Cartoon". Inside Higher Education. Retrieved May 31, 2009.
- "ARC Speakers & Writers". Retrieved May 30, 2009.
- "The Undercurrent". Retrieved May 30, 2009.
- Hospers, John (1971). Libertarianism. Los Angeles: Nash.
- Individualism and the Methodology of the Social Sciences, Cato Paper no. 4, Cato Institute, 1979, and The Ethics of Liberty, Humanities Press, 1982
- Walker 1999, p. 38
- Gladstein 1999, pp. 111–112. Gladstein cites articles titled "The Curious Cult of Ayn Rand", "The Cult of Ayn Rand", and "The Cult of Angry Ayn Rand", and comparisons of Rand to Joan of Arc and Aimee McPherson.
- Teachout, Terry (July 1986). "The Goddess That Failed". Commentary.
- Ellis did not employ the word "cult."
- Branden, Nathaniel (1989). Judgment Day: My Years with Ayn Rand. Boston: Houghton Mifflin. p. 256.
- Rothbard's essay was later revised and printed as a pamphlet by Liberty magazine in 1987, and by the Center for Libertarian Studies in 1990.
- Walker1999, p. 274
- Gladstein 1999, p. 108.
- Bradford, R.W. (February 1999). "Ayn Rant". Liberty 13 (2). Archived from the original on February 11, 2005.
- Ellis, Albert (2006). Are Capitalism, Objectivism, and Libertarianism Religions? Yes!. Santa Barbara, California: Walden Three.
- Block, Walter (Summer 2000). "Libertarianism vs Objectivism; A Response to Peter Schwartz" (PDF).
- Ayn Rand Phil Donahue Part 5.
- Rand, Ayn (1995). Berliner, Michael S., ed. In a letter to Ida Macken (December 10, 1961), Rand wrote, "A blind follower is precisely what my philosophy condemns and what I reject. Objectivism is not a mystic cult." (emphasis in original)
- Rand 1968a, p. 471 "I want, therefore, to make it emphatically clear that Objectivism is not an organized movement and is not to be regarded as such by anyone."
- Peron, Jim (July 31, 2000). "Is Objectivism a Cult? Part 4: Understanding Cults". The Laissez-Faire City Times 4 (31). Archived from the original on 2002-10-14. Retrieved July 29, 2009.
- Sures, Mary Ann & Sures, Charles (2001). Facets of Ayn Rand. Los Angeles: Ayn Rand Institute Press. p. 29. (emphasis in original)
- Hudgins, Edward (January–February 2007). "Interview with Michael Shermer". The New Individualist. The Objectivist Center. Retrieved April 29, 2014.
Meanwhile, Shermer, who considers himself an admirer of Rand, has tempered his judgment. Contrasting Leonard Peikoff's "heavy-hammer approach" with the "big-tent approach" of The Atlas Society, Shermer told Ed Hudgins: "If we're close enough on the same page about many things, I think it's more useful to cut people some slack, rather than going after them on some smaller points. I don't see the advantage of saying, 'You shouldn't have liked that movie because ultimately, if you were an Objectivist, you wouldn't have.' I guess it was those sorts of judgments made by some Objectiv[ists] that I objected to."
Some critics have tried to turn her certainty into a desire on her part to be an authority in the bad sense, and they accuse her of being dogmatic, of demanding unquestioning agreement and blind loyalty. They have tried, but none successfully, to make her into the leader of a cult, and followers of her philosophy into cultists who accept without thinking everything she says. This is a most unjust accusation; it's really perverse. Unquestioning agreement is precisely what Ayn Rand did not want. She wanted you to think and act independently, not to accept conclusions because she said so, but because you reached them by using your mind in an independent and firsthand manner.
In 2001, Rand's long-time associate Mary Ann Sures remarked:
I cannot see how a disembodied philosophy can be a cult. I say Objectivism was disembodied because there was no Objectivist organization to join. The Nathaniel Branden Institute gave lectures but had no membership. You could subscribe to a newsletter but you couldn't join. Objectivism was, and is, structureless. And without a structure there cannot be cult. [...] The vast majority of self-proclaimed Objectivists are people who read Rand's works and agreed with her. Most have never attended an Objectivist meeting nor subscribed to any Objectivist newsletter.
Jim Peron responded to Shermer, Rothbard and others with an argument that similarities to cults are superficial at best and charges of cultism directed at Objectivists are ad hominem attacks. Objectivism, he said, lacks layers of initiation, a hierarchy, obligation, cost or physical coercion:
Rand stated that "I am not a cult", and said in 1961 that she did not want "blind followers." In the wake of NBI's collapse, she declared that she did not even want an organized movement.
The claims of cultism have continued in more recent years. In 2004, Thomas Szasz wrote in support of Rothbard's 1972 essay, and in 2006, Albert Ellis published an updated edition of his 1968 book that included favorable references to Walker's. Similarly, Walter Block, while expressing admiration for some of Rand's ideas and noting her strong influence on libertarianism, described the Objectivist movement as "a tiny imploding cult."
In 1999, Jeff Walker published The Ayn Rand Cult. In one passage, Walker compared Objectivism to the Dianetics practices of Scientology, which is considered by many to be a cult. Both, argues Walker, are totalist sets of beliefs that advocate "an ethics for the masses based on survival as a rational being." Walker continues, "Dianetics used reasoning somewhat similar to Rand's about the brain as a machine. ... Both have a higher mind reprogramming the rest of the mind." Walker further notes that both philosophies claim to be based on science and logic. Walker's book has drawn criticism from Rand scholars. Chris Matthew Sciabarra criticized Walker's objectivity and scholarship. Mimi Reisel Gladstein wrote that Walker's thesis is "questionable and often depends on innuendo, rather than logic." R. W. Bradford called it "merely annoying" for scholars.
[A]s soon as a group sets itself up to be the final moral arbiter of other people's actions, especially when its members believe they have discovered absolute standards of right and wrong, it is the beginning of the end of tolerance, and thus reason and rationality. It is this characteristic more than any other that makes a cult, a religion, a nation, or any other group, dangerous to individual freedom. Its absolutism was the biggest flaw in Ayn Rand's Objectivism, the unlikeliest cult in history.
In the 1990s, Michael Shermer argued that the Objectivist movement displayed characteristics of religious cults such as the veneration and inerrancy of the leader; hidden agendas; financial and/or sexual exploitation; and the beliefs that the movement provides absolute truth and absolute morality. Shermer maintained that certain aspects of Objectivist epistemology and ethics promoted cult-like behavior:
Rothbard also wrote that "the guiding spirit of the Randian movement was not individual liberty ... but rather personal power for Ayn Rand and her leading disciples."
If the glaring inner contradictions of the Leninist cults make them intriguing objects of study, still more so is the Ayn Rand cult... [f]or not only was the Rand cult explicitly atheist, anti-religious, and an extoller of Reason; it also promoted slavish dependence on the guru in the name of independence; adoration and obedience to the leader in the name of every person's individuality; and blind emotion and faith in the guru in the name of Reason.
In 1972, libertarian author Murray Rothbard began privately circulating an essay on "The Sociology of the Ayn Rand Cult", in which he wrote:
Suggestions of cult-like behavior by Objectivists began during the NBI days. With growing media coverage, articles began appearing that referred to the "Cult of Ayn Rand" and compared her to various religious leaders. 
Over the years, some critics have accused the Objectivist movement of being a cult or cult-like, and Rand of being a cult figure. The term 'Randroid' (a portmanteau of 'Rand' and 'android') has been used to evoke the image of "the Galt-imitating robots produced by the cult."
Criticisms and responses
There are a number of writers who cannot be classified as "Objectivist", but who still exhibit a significant influence of Objectivism in their own work. Prominent among these is John Hospers, Emeritus Professor of Philosophy, University of Southern California, who credited Rand's political ideas  as helping to shape his own, while in other areas sharp differences remained. Another is Murray Rothbard, who, like Rand, advocated volition, Aristotle and natural rights, but who also advocated anarchism, which was anathema to Rand. Also in this category are journalist Edith Efron, scientist Petr Beckmann, and author Charles Murray.
Objectivism has remained popular on college campuses, with dozens of student groups dedicated to promoting and studying the philosophy of Objectivism spread across the U.S., Australia, Canada, Guatemala, Israel, the Netherlands, New Zealand, and Norway. These clubs often present speakers on controversial topics such as abortion, religion, and foreign policy, often allying with conservative (and sometimes liberal) organizations to organize their events. For example, the New York University Objectivism Club hosted a joint panel on the Muhammad cartoons that received nationwide coverage for NYU's censorship of the cartoons. There are several dozen speakers sponsored by the Ayn Rand Institute and other organizations who give nationwide tours each year speaking about Objectivism.
Since 1999 The Journal of Ayn Rand Studies, edited by Stephen D. Cox, Chris Matthew Sciabarra, and R.W. Bradford (until his death in 2005), has been published semi-annually as a "nonpartisan," scholarly forum for the discussion of Rand's work and its application to many fields. None of its editors has been aligned with the Ayn Rand Institute, and no one affiliated with ARI has participated in its exchanges since 2002.
In 2001, John McCaskey founded the Anthem Foundation for Objectivist Scholarship, which sponsors the work of professors affiliated with the Ayn Rand Institute. As of 2007 there were 13 such fellowships for the study of Objectivism in universities in the U.S., including at the University of Pittsburgh and the University of Texas, Austin. In 2006, the Anthem Foundation in conjunction with the University of Pittsburgh hosted a conference on the philosophy of science called "Concepts and Objectivity: Knowledge, Science, and Values." Participants included Objectivists Onkar Ghate, Allan Gotthelf, James G. Lennox, Harry Binswanger, and Tara Smith, as well as noted analytic philosophers David Sosa, A.P. Martinich, and Peter Railton. Other Objectivists, not all of whom are affiliated with ARI, have received support from the BB&T Charitable Foundation's program to support the study of capitalism.
In 1995, Chris Matthew Sciabarra published Ayn Rand: The Russian Radical, an academic study of Rand's ideas and intellectual history. Rand bibliographer Mimi Reisel Gladstein called Sciabarra's work "a significant milestone in Rand studies." Three years later, Sciabarra declared a "renaissance" in the scholarship about Rand, noting that his book was only "one of fifteen book titles dealing with Rand that have been published since 1995, along with countless articles and other references to her work." However, he also noted that not all of the material carried "deep scholarly interest."
Thirteen years later, the second book-length academic study of Objectivism appeared. It was a collection of essays called The Philosophic Thought of Ayn Rand, edited by Douglas Den Uyl and Douglas Rasmussen. It was also the first book about Rand's thought to be published after her death. Den Uyl and Rasmussen made a specific effort to bring more serious scholarly attention to Objectivism by maintaining high scholarly standards for the essays in their book.
Some limited academic attention was given to Objectivism in the 1970s. In 1971, William F. O'Neill published With Charity toward None: An Analysis of Ayn Rand's Philosophy, in which he provides an academic discussion of Objectivism. Although he alleges flaws in Rand's thinking, he expresses admiration for her efforts, and particularly her ability to motivate readers to think about philosophical issues. There was occasional discussion of Rand in scholarly journals throughout the rest of the decade.
Despite the fact that several members of the Collective were philosophy graduate students at NYU, Objectivism did not begin to make serious inroads into academic philosophy until the 1980s. Rand herself had much disdain for modern academia, citing the poor state of American universities, particularly the humanities, as the source of much of the country's problems, and Peikoff expressed similar sentiments in the early 1990s, declaring that his book on Objectivism was "written not for academics, but for human beings (including any academics who qualify)." The Ayn Rand Institute initially concentrated on promoting Objectivism independently of academia, supplying free books to high schools and universities, sponsoring essay contests for students and support programs for teachers and professors interested in studying and teaching Rand's ideas.
Objectivism in academia
The Objectivist Center also went through a number of changes in the 2000s. In 2005, founder David Kelley stepped aside as executive director in favor of former The Atlas Society (TAS). In 2011, Aaron Day took over as the group's operational executive.
ARI intellectuals are frequently interviewed for their controversial positions, particularly on Islam and the war on terror. In 2006, ARI sponsored a conference on the war on terror. In addition to Objectivist speakers, mid-east scholars Daniel Pipes and Robert Spencer and Danish newspaper editor Flemming Rose gave lectures.
As of 2007, ARI has distributed over 700,000 free copies of Rand's novels to high schools around the country. In 2005 ARI opened a branch in Canada, which distributes free books to Canadian schools. Independently of ARI's free books program, Rand's books sell over 500,000 copies per year. Total sales of her books since publication is over 24 million copies.
In 2000, Yaron Brook succeeded Michael Berliner as head of the ARI. Op-eds put out by ARI are published by hundreds of newspapers annually, and ARI intellectuals are frequent guests on radio networks such as Air America and TV networks such as Fox News and CNBC. ARI speakers give scores of lectures on college campuses each year, which are sponsored by the hundreds of Objectivist campus clubs around the country. There are many community groups dedicated to the study of Objectivism, as well as several on-line forums and social networks for fans of Rand's novels and philosophy (see links).
2000 to present
In 1994, the Ayn Rand Institute (ARI) expanded its educational programs into the Objectivist Graduate Center (OGC), which held classes led by Leonard Peikoff and Harry Binswanger. The OGC expanded into the Objectivist Academic Center (OAC) in 2000, offering undergraduate and graduate courses on Objectivism, writing, history, the history of philosophy, and the history of science. Several OAC classes are now accredited. In 1991, Peikoff's book Objectivism: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand was published. It was the first systematic presentation of Rand's philosophy to appear in print. 1996 saw a series of lectures on Objectivism by ARI intellectuals at Harvard. ARI increased its notoriety by staging a protest against President Clinton's volunteerism initiative in 1997. ARI gathered more attention for its activism on behalf of the family of Elian Gonzalez. 1998 saw the release of Academy Award nominated documentary, Ayn Rand: A Sense of Life. In 1999 the United States Postal Service released an Ayn Rand stamp.
Kelley's Institute for Objectivist Studies (IOS) began to publish material on Objectivism and host conferences for Rand scholars in 1990. IOS held a symposium on Chris Sciabarra's book, Ayn Rand: The Russian Radical. IOS invited Nathaniel and Barbara Branden to participate in the institute's activities, effectively bringing them back into the Objectivist movement. Each has continued to appear at events for the organization, which renamed itself to The Objectivist Center in 1999 and to The Atlas Society in 2006.
 and Jim Lennox, as well as former Collective members Joan and Allan Blumenthal. He responded to his ostracism by founding the Institute for Objectivist Studies (later called The Objectivist Center, then .The Contested Legacy of Ayn Rand, later updated as Truth and Toleration Kelley responded to the Peikoff–Schwartz critique in his monograph,
Kelley responded, in a paper titled "A Question of Sanction", by disputing Schwartz's interpretation of the sanction principle in particular and his interpretation of moral principles in general. Subsequently, in an essay appearing in The Intellectual Activist, Peikoff endorsed Schwartz's view and claimed that Kelley's arguments contradicted the fundamental principles of Objectivism. Peikoff maintained that many non-Objectivist systems of thought, such as Marxism, are based on "inherently dishonest ideas" whose advocacy must never be sanctioned. He attributed the fall of NBI and subsequent schisms not to "differences in regard to love affairs or political strategy or proselytizing techniques or anybody's personality," but to a "fundamental and philosophical" cause: "if you grasp and accept the concept of 'objectivity,' in all its implications, then you accept Objectivism, you live by it and you revere Ayn Rand for defining it. If you fail fully to grasp and accept the concept, whether your failure is deliberate or otherwise, you eventually drift away from Ayn Rand's orbit, or rewrite her viewpoint or turn openly into her enemy." Those who criticized his position were to make their exit: "if you agree with the Branden or Kelley viewpoint or anything resembling it—please drop out of our movement: drop Ayn Rand, leave Objectivism alone. We do not want you and Ayn Rand would not have wanted you [...]"
Kelley was criticized by The Passion of Ayn Rand, that Schwartz maintained were hostile and defamatory towards Rand and Objectivism. (Although Schwartz made no mention of it, Leonard Peikoff had signed copies of his book The Ominous Parallels at three LFB events in 1982. According to Peikoff, he later broke off relations with LFB after being told that LFB offered anarchist literature.)
In 1989, there was another major split within the Objectivist movement. As Brian Doherty describes it, David Kelley, a philosopher and lecturer then affiliated with ARI, was "booted from the official Objectivist world" for disagreeing "about the inherent evils of Barbara Branden's Rand biography" and "publicly defend[ing] on principle the notion of Objectivists talking to libertarians."
The Peikoff–Kelley split
 In 1987 the institute began teaching aspiring Objectivist academics. The institute began by sponsoring essay contests on Rand's novels and distributing op-eds analyzing world events from an Objectivist perspective.