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Ayn Rand Group Strives to Have Voice in Debate

Times Staff Writer

Ayn Rand’s desk has found a home in Irvine.

Looking slightly forlorn among the cardboard boxes stacked along the walls of a sleek glass office on Alton Parkway, the 72-year-old walnut table at which Rand penned “Atlas Shrugged” awaits its final assignation.

“We want to cordon it off,” said Yaron Brook, president and executive director of the Ayn Rand Institute now headquartered here. “We want to put it on display. We want to turn this into a place where people can come to learn about Ayn Rand.”

Founded in 1985 by followers of the late writer and dedicated to spreading her philosophy of rational individualism, enlightened self-interest and laissez-faire capitalism, the Ayn Rand Institute spent its first years in a cramped building with a view of Marina del Rey.

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Then Brook, 41, took over. Two years ago he moved his family to Orange County. Four months ago, the organization followed, bringing its 22 employees, sparse furnishings and Rand’s archives to the 12,500-square-foot office.

One reason for the move, Brook says, was to expand into larger quarters. Another was to shorten his commute and put him closer to the institute’s founder, Leonard Peikoff, who has lived in Irvine since the 1980s.

Shortly after relocating the office in August, Brook decided to offer a series of public lectures.

The initial lecture was “Why We’re Losing the War” on terror. Since then the institute has sponsored three additional lectures.

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He plans to continue the monthly lectures, held at the Hyatt Regency Irvine. “We want to have an impact on what people are thinking,” he says. “When people start talking about us to their friends, we will have a presence and a voice in the debate.”


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