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      New upgrade with simpler interface   05/13/2016

      Once again, the fine folks at IPB made a new upgrade and things might not be where you started to learn they were. However, this is one time where I think they actually improved things for navigation. There are only a few big buttons: When you click on one of those buttons, some other stuff opens up, depending on which button you click. (Later Note: These only appear when zoomed in or in the mode for smartphones/tablets.) I'm learning this as you are, so I suggest you do what I am doing: click on these big buttons, see what they open and fiddle with the software some. Ironically, you will find there is a lot that is intuitive. That's what I'm discovering. (Later note: I just discovered that I was viewing the site zoomed in too far to see the normal view. The menus are still there with the old buttons, but when I zoom in too much, they disappear and the new buttons appear. I believe this zoomed in way is what the site looks like on mobile devices. I'm going to mess with it some more, then maybe make some explanations.) Sorry for the inconvenience. Still, over time, I hope you end up liking these changes. Michael
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Michael Stuart Kelly

Leonard Peikoff: In His Own Words

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Leonard Peikoff: In His Own Words

This is a DVD on the life of Leonard Peikoff. I tried to find out the date it was issued, but I could not. I do know it was a while ago. For example, here is a blog entry on it dated May 18, 2004. The reason I am mentioning this is because someone sent me a review from Amazon dated September 8, 2007 by a reviewer ominously named Interplanetary Funksmanship. On looking at his linked profile and seeing the picture of him, I saw that it was entirely appropriate to post his review here on OL.

Ein Heldenleben, September 8, 2007

If you've ever wanted to know everything there is to know about Leonard Peikoff, PhD., then look no further than this biographical documentary film by Northern River Productions, a here-today, gone-tomorrow outfit you can't find on IMDB or by googling. Hmmm. Could this hagiography be a "vanity" production? I really can't tell, but here's a clue: If you enter the name of the cinematographer, Scott Hylton, you won't find this biopic among his credits on IMDB -- but you *will* find "Hot Body Competition: Beverly Hills Naked Cheerleader Competion" and (from the same year as this flick, 2004) "Hot Body Quick Strips: Blondes Tease, Brunettes Please." Odd, when a cameraman doesn't list a PG-rated documentary film, but he *does* list the softcore porn movies he's done. Kinda embarrassing, wouldn't you say?

Ah, but I digress. Back to our subject, Dr. Leonard Peikoff. I didn't know that his life was a heroic one. Apparently, though, he *has* been leading a heroic life. How do I know? It says so on the liner notes on the back of the box.

Thank God! I couldn't wait to open up this video to find out what acts of heroism the good professor has hidden from public view for the 70-some-odd years of his life. I just finished watching another documentary about another American hero, Navy pilot Dieter Dengler, who planned and executed a daring escape from a Laotian POW camp during the Vietnam War. The picture was called "Little Dieter Needs to Fly," and was directed by Werner Herzog. In it, Dengler exclaims when Herzog asks whether he was a hero, "I'm not a hero, only dead people are heroes." Modesty aside, Dengler truly *was* a hero, so I'm really getting jazzed about watching this Peikoff disc, in which the subject tells the whole world he's a hero (or, at least the keepcase does). I'm wondering: What did Lenny Peikoff do? Throw himself on a grenade to save his platoon? Take out a column of Nazi tanks with nothing but an M1 and a bazooka? Perhaps he used his flamethrower to bar-b-que some Viet Cong, to save his own battalion.

So, with bated breath, I put Leonardpalooza in my DVD player, to find out what I've been dying to know.

The first thing I learn is that Lenny's father, a physician, wanted his boy to follow in his footsteps. In fact, the "erratic" old guy (who looked a lot like Ernst Lubitsch) would hit and knock around his son one minute, and then hug him the next (sort of like Gregory Peck does, with another insufferable child, in "The Omen"). Unfortunately, these shots of Leonard looking back on his life are intercut with other shots about what a mama's boy he was, dutifully pleasing the old lady with Chopin Mazurkas. He obviously warmed to Mama's bosom, which brings us to Act II.

His father, having passed on, leaves the family business -- an old Motel off the main highway -- to his wife. Meanwhile, one night, Marion Crane (Janet Leigh) pulls into the parking lot during a thunderstorm, and sensitive young Leonard makes her a sandwich in the family parlor. "An office would just be too...officious," he tells Marion, who's about to take a shower and retire for the night.

Oh, wait a minute! I keep getting my movies mixed up! It's probably because Leonard Peikoff, circa 1955, keeps appearing in the movie in old stills, and he bears a striking resemblance to Anthony Perkins. Actually, though, that's not quite true. Our hero Lenny bears more of a striking resemblance to Anthony Perkins, *if* he'd done a screen test in which he'd have mimicked Bug Bunny playing Mr. Hyde (as in Jekyll and Hyde). There's one black-and-white glossy after another of Leonard smiling with his teeth bared and clenched (you can almost count them all) and his wide-opened eyes, big as fried eggs. You can almost see the pinwheels whirling round and round in his pupils!

Actually, Act II is about the Prodigal Leonard. He doesn't want to operate in surgeon Dad's shadow (he'd probably get shadow boxed into a corner), and he wants to cut the apron strings to Mama, but he finds a surrogate mother in novelist/philosopher Ayn Rand. She, too, had eyes bigger than the Big Bad Wolf playing Grandma. There are also plenty of photographs of her with Peikoff: Put the two of them together, and it looks like a Graves Disease convention.

In this act is my favorite line about his first meeting with Ayn Rand. Not only did meeting the iconoclastic novelist change his whole outlook on life, but suddenly, Leonard had to divide his life into "pre" and "post" meeting of Ayn Rand. Not only did she change his outlook on the moral versus the practical, but -- and I'm not making this up -- he even felt he couldn't *wash his hands in the men's room* the same way again, either. Now, there are very few people I can imagine that would inspire me to think differently about such a prosaic task (Adrian Monk, Pontius Pilate, and Adolph Eichmann come to mind), but from what I understand, Rand had this kind of spellbinding influence on people, so who am I to judge?

Having found a mother figure, he more-or-less latches onto her with a tenacity others in her inner circle couldn't muster: By the time she died, the "Atlas Shrugged" author had no one left around her she could trust. No-one at all in the world, except her only dear son, Leonard.

When nobody's looking, Leonard removes Ayn's corpse from the casket and mummifies it, using his knowledge of taxidermy. Oops, for some reason, I keep confusing this with another movie. Never mind. No, what happens next is Act III, in which our hero proudly proclaims that -- after spending about 50-plus years learning, teaching and espousing his mentor/mama's philosophy -- he wants nothing more than to go down in history than as a footnote to dear old Ayn. Which isn't as bad as it sounds, since she treated everyone else in her entourage like a foot*stool*.

Pretty heroic stuff, indeed. Act III is about what a swell guy Lenny is. Aside from the overtones of the Oedipus myth in the first two-thirds, Act III is all about how Leonard has become his own man. Of course, having been left Ayn's entire fortune, and being named her "intellectual heir" (Nathaniel Branden had hitherto been Rand's intellectual heir, until he got caught giving one of his pillars of self-esteem to a younger, less worthy vixen than his aging, wrinkled, paramour, Mrs. Ayn Rand O'Connor), the dreadful task of pulling himself up by his bootstraps was made a *lot* easier.

Although it largely glosses over how Leonard became the Yoko Ono of the Objectivist movement, constantly reissuing and retreading every last scrap of Ayn's writings (e.g. "The Ayn Rand Shopping Lists, 1936-1982," Michael Berliner, ed., with additional essays by Peikoff and Peter Schwartz), the movie *does* show how Leonard got the beautiful house of his dreams (to the strains of Rachmaninoff's Third Piano Concerto), a lovely daughter (good thing her dad, owner of the website "Abortion Is ProLife," decided not to go with the coathanger on that one), a trophy wife (well, for this not-exactly-an-oil-painting kinda guy, Rosie O'Donnell would be a trophy wife, but in fairness, Amy is quite better looking), and a convertible BMW roadster.

There are some rip-roaringly hilarious moments in this movie: I supose that John Little (who "conceived, produced, and directed" this monumental epic) wanted to look visually sophisticated with the constant insertions of titles, being handwritten in real-time by Leonard's hand (get it? "In his own words"). But, in actual execution, they come out more like an instructional video on how to write in cursive, for third-graders.

Another great scene shows the self-admittedly total non-jock doing circuit weight training on his back, curling 10-pound dumbbells. Unfortunately, even after all that pumping iron, Leonard still looks like the poor schmuck who got sand kicked in his face in those Charles Atlas "dynamic tension" comic book ads.

But, my favorite is at the very end, a real Hollywood shot: Leonard and Amy kiss, like 13 year-olds on a first date. The next shot is of a personalized California license plate, bearing the letters AYNRAND. Suddenly, the license plate rolls away from the camera, revealing Lenny and Amy riding off into the sunset in his BMW sports coupe (purchased with proceeds from the Estate of Ayn Rand). What beautiful circularity!

I never did find out about anything heroic Leonard ever did, except going to NYU on his father's dime to play hooky and live off the philosophical crumbs Ayn Rand threw him.

But, I did learn this: That if you attach yourself to someone with money and power long enough, you too can realize the American Dream of inheriting all their money and living like a philosopher king into your waning years in Orange County.

Beats drowning girls' cars in the swamp behind your motel, just to pocket a lousy $40,000, that's for sure!

"I'm ready for my close-up, Mr. DeMille!"

If anyone wants to own this DVD, they can get it from the ARI bookstore for $34.95 at the link in the title, or they can order it from Amazon for $16.00 (at the price given today).

There is a very different adulatory review written by one John Little, Who is Leonard Peikoff?, on a site devoted to bodybuilding equipment called Max Contraction. (I wonder if he is related to Tony Little.)

This puts one part of a strange puzzle into place for me regarding Northern River Productions, which produced the training workout video for Max Contraction (see here). Earlier, I had mentioned that in the extra feature documentary added to the DVD version of The Fountainhead called The Making of the Fountainhead, special thanks had been given to Michael Mentzer, an Objectivist weight lifter who died in 2001 (see here). On running the credits of that film (see here), where I couldn't help but notice that it was made by Northern River Productions Canada Inc., the narrator was none other than John Little, the very same individual who "'conceived, produced, and directed' this monumental epic" (the Peikoff documentary) according to the inestimable Interplanetary Funksmanship.

I wonder what connection Little had to Mentzer and what connection he has to Peikoff (personal trainer maybe?). At least, this explains why there was a weight lifting scene in the Peikoff documentary. (What an idea! I haven't seen the documentary, but I don't imagine this is very flattering to Peikoff.)

I noticed that Northern River Productions also made Leonard Peikoff at West Point, filmed in September 2003, starring Kira Peikoff and Dr. Yaron Brook. (Maybe the connection is hinted at here? Hmmmm... The plot thickens... dahm-ta-dah-dum). Although neither the ARI bookstore nor the other place where the work is advertised, Max Contraction (see here and here), mention Northern River as the producer, I was able to confirm that it was on a client list of a media services company called "Dub-it Media Made Easy" that Northern River used for the film (see here). The part where this appears is given below.

City/State Government/Military

California Department of Health Services

California Highway Patrol

Department of Veterans Affairs

LA Dept. of Water and Power

Northern River Productions (Leonard Peikoff at West Point)

What I find interesting about this is that the client list has a whole bunch of categories of private enterprise clients, but this particular work appeared under "City/State Government/Military" as if it were a project funded by the government. If that is true, then the first documentary Northern River Productions made of Peikoff, the one that ARI presently sells for $34.95 a pop, was paid for by USA taxpayers.

And if that is true, that is not good for any authority on Objectivism, much less one who claims to be "the world's foremost authority on Ayn Rand's philosophy, Objectivism."

This should be confirmed one way or another. How can a movement like Objectivism preach small government, then use government resources to produce an information product—one that is practically promotional in nature—to sell to the public? Whatever happened to laissez-faire capitalism?

Michael

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I had already decided not to get this DVD but thanks for the review. It is very funny.

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I'll seen it on eBay.

If it was cheap enough, I might get it for a few laughs. Hell, the review was laugh out loud funny. (maybe you need to link this over to the humor section)

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I want to be specific about my objection to getting the government to pay for a product to be sold on the private market.

All intellectual material produced by the government is in the public domain. There are people who make a living out of digging up old how-to manuals, films, etc., that the government produced for one reason or the other, then repackaging them and selling them. People buy this stuff and, to me, that is legal and completely moral.

This applies to Peikoff's West Point address if the military decided it wanted to film the event for its archives or for its own distribution. All Peikoff or Little or Northern River Productions would have to do is request a copy of the tapes, then package it in their own manner. I have no problem with this. This is as it should be.

What bothers me is if they get the government to pay for the packaging and products they sell. That includes DVD authoring (which means doing the computer work for the film to be digitized and wedded to a navigational menu and extra content), making the master DVD tape for the factory, doing the art work for the jewel boxes, and paying for the copies manufactured at the factory. The government has no business paying for any of this and, if that was the case, then shame on these people for calling themselves the vanguard of Objectivism.

According the the listing of this project on the Dub-it site's client list, this is precisely what is insinuated. I don't think Dub-it would list Northern River Productions as a client under the heading of "City/State Government/Military" if it only received the tapes from the military, but Northern River paid the bill. It sounds like the military or government paid the bill directly to them with the stipulation that they handed over the products over to Northern River. Thus Northern River gets products to sell without having to invest any money in manufacturing them—not even the cost of repackaging the intellectual content.

This is why it would be useful to confirm this one day.

Michael

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Who needs reviews -- even humorous ones -- written by hostile, disrespectful morons? Agree or disagree with Leonard Peikoff, but give him his due. He is an imperfect, but very intelligent man who has done a lot of good work.

There is humor that places people in human perspective, highlighting their limitations and flaws -- and there is humor that is basically nihilistic, for the purpose of destruction. "Interplanetary Funkmanship" is clearly engaged in the latter.

For the record, I got the DVD "In His Own Words," and I thought it was a bit corny at times, but overall quite interesting and worthwhile. It's an interesting contrast to Nathaniel Branden's autobiography; I wonder if it would be as interesting in written form.

Anyway, I recommend it to anyone who is curious about Peikoff's background and personality. You learn quite a bit about the man from this DVD. And you have this from a maverick, lone-wolf, heretical, revisionist, non-Loyalist.

REB

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Roger,

When I posted that, it was the ONLY review on Amazon of the DVD. The ONLY ONE.

Compare that to the large number of Amazon reviews of PARC from the ARI crowd.

This tells me a lot about their mentality. They vastly prefer to attack something or someone than speak up to defend a presumably positive work about their head honcho.

That a "a maverick, lone-wolf, heretical, revisionist, non-Loyalist" had to do this for them (albeit over here, not over there) is incredible.

I NEVER want to be like that. Not in a million years. I defend those I admire, especially if they are still living, by holding them up for public praise (with my own praise leading the way) in addition to contesting attacks against them. Look what I have done with the Brandens, for one example.

It makes you wonder. Does too much Objectivism turn you into something like those people?

:)

Michael

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Michael: "It makes you wonder. Does too much Objectivism turn you into something like those people?"

No, but too many compromises and betrayals and posturing and hypocrisy will do it.

Barbara

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I agree with Roger. I have extremely severe criticisms of Leonard P., but the review is nihilistic crap.

--Brant

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Excellent review, very funny. It's a good illustration of Mencken's maxim: "One horse laugh is worth ten thousand syllogisms". Who can take a DVD on the "heroic life" of Peikoff seriously? I wouldn't be surprised if "the designated legal and intellectual heir of Ayn Rand" had written those lines themself. I dislike the idea that some of my money would get into Peikoff's pockets, otherwise I'd immedately buy the DVD to have a good laugh. Just the idea of seeing him pumping iron... :D That must be as successful as his attempts to study physics!

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Leonard Peikoff: In His Own Words

This is a DVD on the life of Leonard Peikoff. I tried to find out the date it was issued, but I could not.

You could have asked ~me~. Perhaps you don't recall, but a scant year-and-a-half ago, when we were convening here in Orange for the TAS Summer Seminar, I told you I had the video and suggested that we get together at my place and watch it. What with providing transportation for Barbara and other activities, you declined, but you knew I had the video.

Anyway, it was issued in 2004.

I do know it was a while ago. For example, here is a blog entry on it dated May 18, 2004. The reason I am mentioning this is because someone sent me a review from Amazon dated September 8, 2007 by a reviewer ominously named Interplanetary Funksmanship. On looking at his linked profile and seeing the picture of him, I saw that it was entirely appropriate to post his review here on OL.
Ein Heldenleben, September 8, 2007

If you've ever wanted to know everything there is to know about Leonard Peikoff, PhD., then look no further than this biographical documentary film by Northern River Productions, a here-today, gone-tomorrow outfit you can't find on IMDB or by googling. ...

Baloney. In several minutes, by googling, I found this:

11 Brian Rd

Bracebridge ON P1L 1A5 Canada

Northern River Productions

+1 705 646 9708

If anyone wants to own this DVD, they can get it from the ARI bookstore for $34.95 at the link in the title, or they can order it from Amazon for $16.00 (at the price given today).

There is a very different adulatory review written by one John Little, Who is Leonard Peikoff?, on a site devoted to bodybuilding equipment called Max Contraction. (I wonder if he is related to Tony Little.)

This puts one part of a strange puzzle into place for me regarding Northern River Productions, which produced the training workout video for Max Contraction (see here). Earlier, I had mentioned that in the extra feature documentary added to the DVD version of The Fountainhead called The Making of the Fountainhead, special thanks had been given to Michael Mentzer, an Objectivist weight lifter who died in 2001 (see here). On running the credits of that film (see here), where I couldn't help but notice that it was made by Northern River Productions Canada Inc., the narrator was none other than John Little, the very same individual who "'conceived, produced, and directed' this monumental epic" (the Peikoff documentary) according to the inestimable Interplanetary Funksmanship.

Inestimable is right. Simply too great too calculate. Uh-huh.

At least, this explains why there was a weight lifting scene in the Peikoff documentary. (What an idea! I haven't seen the documentary, but I don't imagine this is very flattering to Peikoff.)

Why imagine? Look for yourself. Far too many people on this list are "don't imagine"-ing and "wouldn't be surprised"-ing, when they ought to be informing themselves. Data is much more reliable than speculation and imagination. :poke: (And FYI, Peikoff is in a hell of a lot better shape than ~I~ am. He doesn't look too bad for a guy in his 70s!)

REB

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Michael, Roger, or others who have seen this: Does the documentary actually make the "intellectual heir" claim, in so many words?

If so, does it provide any citation to Rand that she ever used those precise words to describe Peikoff?

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Michael, Roger, or others who have seen this: Does the documentary actually make the "intellectual heir" claim, in so many words?

If so, does it provide any citation to Rand that she ever used those precise words to describe Peikoff?

As against the laudatory piece written and posted online by the documentary's producer, the video itself does not (as I recall) make that claim explicitly. (It has been over a year since I viewed it, so I could be mistaken; Peikoff may well have uttered something about his being Rand's intellectual heir, but I don't presently recall it.)

What is very clear is that Peikoff has publicly assumed the mantle of chief protector of Rand's philosophy, and that he is the most public in claiming to protect the integrity of her ideas. No one else of any prominence has made a similar announcement of taking on what amounts to a sacred task, or the keeping of a sacred pledge. Also, "heir" is a bit easier to spit out than "legacy upholder," which is probably closer to the truth.

REB

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Roger,

I do remember the invitation! I didn't connect it in my mind to this film, but now I do. (Duh!)

Robert,

I have not seen the documentary. I received a copy of the review by email and when I went to check, I saw that it was the only review on Amazon. So I thought this deserved mention and started looking up information to verify what I wanted to post. This is when I discovered all the rest.

Even though I have not seen the film, here is the opening of the sales blurb on the ARI site, and, according to the blurb, the "intellectual heir" mention is on the physical packaging of the DVD. The phrase has also grown a "designated" along the way. Who did the designating, however, is not stated. :)

Northern River Productions presents this new film documentary of Leonard Peikoff. The following text is an excerpt from the product package:

"This compelling film reveals the story of a brilliant intellect who forsook a career in medicine to study personally with the late novelist/philosopher Ayn Rand, and who, in time, became her designated legal and intellectual heir.

I am fairly sure that the advertising text on the packaging was written by John Little, the producer of the film and one of the owners of Northern River Productions, from examining the information I looked up. Just so there is no doubt regarding how Mr. Little feels about the man he featured in the documentary, here is a quote from his own review of his own product on his own site:

As if this alone was not sufficient testimony to his philosophic significance, Rand then entrusted Peikoff with the future of her legacy and of the philosophic system she created by designating him as her legal and intellectual heir (this last title is, in many respects, of far greater and graver significance than the former).

Did Mr. Little know Ayn Rand and receive this information from her, or was this part of his briefing from Peikoff and staff? I don't think he would be so irresponsible as to make it up and print it on a product, so my speculation is that this was part of his briefing.

Michael

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I am fairly sure that the advertising text on the packaging was written by John Little, the producer of the film and one of the owners of Northern River Productions, from examining the information I looked up. Just so there is no doubt regarding how Mr. Little feels about the man he featured in the documentary, here is a quote from his own review of his own product on his own site:

This crap is infinitly worse than that other crap (the Amazon review).

--Brant

Edited by Brant Gaede
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This crap is infinitly worse than that other crap (the Amazon review).

Truly barfy. Has Peikoff read it? If so, did he fervently beseech the author to tone it down to saner proportions? Did the author refuse Peikoff's pleas?

Some interesting details re airbrushing; also re "intellectual heir":

http://www.maxcontraction.com/peikoff.htm

[emphasis added]

Peikoff recognized the significance of Ayn Rand’s novel The Fountainhead and detected within its pages a philosophical message of profound importance. Had he been like millions of others, he might simply have left it at that. Instead, he took it upon himself to contact the author and travel at his own expense to learn first hand at the university of the “self-made soul” that was Ayn Rand. [....] Any acceptance, however reluctantly granted, to Objectivism over the years as a legitimate philosophical system is due largely (if not solely) to the pioneering efforts of Dr. Peikoff. This was not unrecognized by Ayn Rand, who not only considered him intellectually (and solely) qualified to speak with authority on her ideas, but who encouraged him to write about his own conclusions (the result: The Ominous Parallels). As if this alone was not sufficient testimony to his philosophic significance, Rand then entrusted Peikoff with the future of her legacy and of the philosophic system she created by designating him as her legal and intellectual heir (this last title is, in many respects, of far greater and graver significance than the former).

In the decades just prior to and after her passing, Dr. Peikoff has proven himself to be not only a brilliant educator, but also a world-class thinker who has cultivated unique insights into history and man that have served to further validate the Objectivist postulates. He is Objectivism’s greatest protector, advocate and champion and he has proven himself to be an eminently worthy recipient of the trust and high moral judgment that Ayn Rand granted him. Moreover, Dr. Peikoff has demonstrated the most rare of qualities, that of being a dedicated and loyal friend; a friend to Ayn Rand, a friend to her philosophy, and a friend to all those who value reason, philosophy and man at his best.

It is one thing to have a “sense of life” or even a personal philosophy, but it is quite another to have the courage and conviction to act on it; i.e., to live it. And it is quite another thing still to possess the intellect and the ability to effectively communicate and advance such a philosophy when its creator is no longer present to offer advice and support. Leonard Peikoff has accomplished this, often doing so in the teeth of great adversity, because of his intellectual honesty and his passionate belief that the message he had been entrusted with safeguarding was vitally and historically important. The genius he has displayed is known by many today, but it is the generations not yet born that will be the greatest beneficiaries of his labors.

.

___

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Almost makes Leonard greater than Ayn Rand.

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Truly barfy. Has Peikoff read it? If so, did he fervently beseech the author to tone it down to saner proportions? Did the author refuse Peikoff's pleas?

Ha ha! If Peikoff didn't write it himself, he must at least have done some serious prompting for his autohagiography... I think even some ARIans will be embarrassed!

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[Quoting http://www.maxcontraction.com/peikoff.htm] [...] Moreover, Dr. Peikoff has demonstrated the most rare of qualities, that of being a dedicated and loyal friend [...]

Even allowing for promotion hyperbole, this is a quite damning commentary on the crabbed ARIan outlook. In the rest of humanity, "dedicated and loyal friends" are hardly something "rare."

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One would suspect that if Peikoff believed these advertising statements to be over-the-top, he would have long ago taken steps to have Little (or whoever) modify the promotional and advertising language.

I agree with the comment that many members of ARI must find this truly embarrassing.

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The ARI Bookstore catalog describes Peikoff as "the preeminent authority on Objectivism". As may have been pointed Peikoff's lectures are the first item in the catalog.

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But then there is this about Leonard Peikoff, from the ARI website "FAQ":

http://www.aynrand.org/site/PageServer?pag...q_index#obj_q12

Duly noted. As I suspected, ARI officially endorses Peikoff's claim and/or claims about Peikoff being Rand's intellectual heir.

Out of curiosity (mostly at whether they would bother to respond), I just submitted the following question(s) on the ARI website:

When, and by whom, was Leonard Peikoff designated as Ayn Rand's ~intellectual~ heir? Was this done publicly? Is there documentation for it?

My own guess to the answers: by Rand shortly before she died, no, and no.

REB

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Duly noted. As I suspected, ARI officially endorses Peikoff's claim and/or claims about Peikoff being Rand's intellectual heir.

Interestingly, though, in his own bio on his website, he just says "legal heir." Also, he at least acknowledges the existence of "a friend" through whose intermediary role he met Ayn Rand (unlike the story told by Little -- see post #15 -- which makes it sound as if he got to know Rand entirely on his own doing):

http://www.peikoff.com/bio.htm

In 1951, when he was 17-years-old, Leonard Peikoff made a trip to California that changed the course of his life.

Through a friend who knew her, he was invited to the home of Ayn Rand, the novelist and Objectivist philosopher. Thus began a friendship and professional association that was to last until her death on March 6, 1982.

Peikoff is Rand's legal heir.

[....]

___

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But then there is this about Leonard Peikoff, from the ARI website "FAQ":

http://www.aynrand.org/site/PageServer?pag...q_index#obj_q12

Robert,

This link is a curious one. Within close proximity, you have the following texts:

Who is Leonard Peikoff?

Dr. Leonard Peikoff is Ayn Rand's legal and intellectual heir and the foremost authority on her philosophy.

. . .

Is ARI or anyone else formally vested with the right to speak on behalf of Ayn Rand's Objectivism?

No.

(scratching head...)

That's a hell of a text for a philosophy of reason. It invites new thresholds of nuances in hairsplitting of nonessentials...

Roger,

My bet is that you will not get a response, or you will get some kind of hostility that does not even deal with the issue. I hope I am wrong.

Michael

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If you read Rand's "To Whom It May Concern" in 1968, and her subsequent article or two of elaboration, she made it clear that after her experience with her only publicly designated "intellectual heir," she would never endorse any organization or individual to speak in her name again. Thus, I can't conceive of her so designating Peikoff or anyone else. There is certainly no language of this sort in her will (of which I have a photocopy).

The significance of this matter is that Peikoff's statements and theories after Rand's death are regarded by many as having been given a special benediction, as if he was specifically authorized to speak for her by that claimed "intellectual heir" designation. But despite having publicly questioned the validity of this claim for years, not a single soul has ever complied with my request for a source or citation for it. In the absence of any evidence for that claim, I believe it is justifiable to conclude that such a title was never granted to Peikoff, or to anyone else, by Ayn Rand.

In support of that interpretation, Peikoff himself says only "legal heir" on his own website; in his Preface to Objectivism: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand the term he uses is "chosen heir." He also has been cautious enough to concede that his own theories and books (such as his "DIM hypothesis") that have appeared after Rand's death are his interpretations alone, and not an official part of Objectivism...although you would never know it by how these ideas are discussed and treated by many in his orbit.

And sometimes, by how Peikoff himself describes his ideas. Consider Peikoff's confusing description of the relationship of his book Objectivism: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand to Rand's philosophy, as he presents the matter in the last two paragraphs of that book's Preface. Is he claiming that his book is a reliable guide to RAND'S ideas, or not? If you can figure it out, let me know.

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