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Speaking of New Developments at ARI...


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#81 Ted Keer

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Posted 13 November 2010 - 10:09 PM

See if you can spot the connection to leaders, mentors, and Objectivists:

I like Jimmy Smits and the way he combines intensity and passion with a wry, slow-to-take-offense sense of humor. I just watched him tonight on the new tv series "Outlaw". He's a very conservative former Supreme Court Justice and major figure in American law who has his own band of young staff and followers and associates in his employ. Unknown to the outspoken young smart-alecky associate who is making jokes with the other associates at the bar down the street from the law offices about him being an old man who needs his rest, lacks energy, needs little blue pills of viagra to push himself, Smits has quietly walked in the bar behind them. He sits down, smiles at everyone and discusses the next day's business while he has sips quietly on a beer. Then he says "You know, having a three hour erection isn't all that bad." And the embarrassed associate gasps and says "Oh, you heard that!"

Smits grins easily and relaxedly takes another sip of his beer, and settles in to enjoy the evening "happy hour" with his associates. The tension is broken, and everyone laughs: End of scene. End of tonight's episode.

( Sense of proportion. Not taking offense, being easy-going, able to take a joke. As opposed to mortal - or moral - offense. )


Yes, Phil, exactly.



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#82 Robert Campbell

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Posted 13 November 2010 - 10:22 PM

Do Robert Mayhew and Diana Hsieh sound much different from Binswanger and Peikoff?


Neil,

Bob Mayhew doesn't sound all that different from Harry Binswanger.

Diana Hsieh doesn't sound all that different from Leonard Peikoff.

But Hsieh's stated views are the product of calculation, in an environment where Peikoff exerts ultimate control but will not be keeping ultimate control forever.

Whether there is such an element of calculation for Mayhew, I have no idea.

In either case, ARI after Peikoff can't remain what it's been while Peikoff was around. Peikoff has held complete control over the Estate of Ayn Rand, and has consistently used it to make ARI subordinate to his every whim.

If the Estate passes to Kira Peikoff, and she is not interested in becoming an Objectivist pope, there won't be anyone who can do what Leonard Peikoff just did to John McCaskey.

It won't matter whether Harry Binswanger or David Harriman or Bob Mayhew or someone else wants to exercise such power.

Not unless Peikoff changes his will and makes one of them his heir.

Robert Campbell

#83 Starbuckle

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Posted 13 November 2010 - 10:52 PM

Robert CAmpbell writes: "If the Estate passes to Kira Peikoff, and she is not interested in becoming an Objectivist pope, there won't be anyone who can do what Leonard Peikoff just did to John McCaskey. It won't matter whether Harry Binswanger or David Harriman or Bob Mayhew or someone else wants to exercise such power."

Omigod. This is, like, so naive. There is a ring, and whoever gets hold of this ring will have the ultimate power. That's a matter of lunging and jockeying, and authoritative pronouncing, not of last wills and testaments. Whosoever maneuvers in the most wiley way and authoritatively pronounces in the most emphatic and demanding way is going to be the bearer and wearer of that ring. One ring to rule them all, one ring to find them, one ring to bring them all and in the culture-darkness bind them.

#84 Rich Engle

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Posted 13 November 2010 - 11:31 PM

Follow the money.

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#85 Barbara Branden

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Posted 13 November 2010 - 11:34 PM

Jerry, an excellent post -- particularly:

"Objectivism fulfills for the "orthodox," a chronic need that is also shared by adherents of other "closed" ideological systems and some religions - it is a totalistic system that they are depending upon to fulfill a need in their personalities, in their character. It is complete. It seems to have all the answers, no need to work it out for yourself. But, the ideology itself, is all "window dressing." Instead of Objectivism, it could be a variant of Marxism, or some religious cult. The set of behaviors that these people display has been accurately described and analyzed in Eric Hoffer's The True Believer. Those that have not read that book should pick it up and see how much in common the ARIans have with other "true believers."

Hoffer's book is brilliant, and offers the best explanation of what I call the "Fundamentalist Objectivists" that I have ever read.

Barbara

#86 Ted Keer

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Posted 14 November 2010 - 12:49 AM

Robert CAmpbell writes: "If the Estate passes to Kira Peikoff, and she is not interested in becoming an Objectivist pope, there won't be anyone who can do what Leonard Peikoff just did to John McCaskey. It won't matter whether Harry Binswanger or David Harriman or Bob Mayhew or someone else wants to exercise such power."

Omigod. This is, like, so naive. There is a ring, and whoever gets hold of this ring will have the ultimate power. That's a matter of lunging and jockeying, and authoritative pronouncing, not of last wills and testaments. Whosoever maneuvers in the most wiley way and authoritatively pronounces in the most emphatic and demanding way is going to be the bearer and wearer of that ring. One ring to rule them all, one ring to find them, one ring to bring them all and in the culture-darkness bind them.


You've got to be kidding me. Peikoff is not talented enough to be that sort of a Machiavel, He won his spot as controller of the purse strings by effacement and endurance. As Rich just said, cherchez l'argent.



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#87 Rich Engle

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Posted 14 November 2010 - 01:13 AM


Robert CAmpbell writes: "If the Estate passes to Kira Peikoff, and she is not interested in becoming an Objectivist pope, there won't be anyone who can do what Leonard Peikoff just did to John McCaskey. It won't matter whether Harry Binswanger or David Harriman or Bob Mayhew or someone else wants to exercise such power."

Omigod. This is, like, so naive. There is a ring, and whoever gets hold of this ring will have the ultimate power. That's a matter of lunging and jockeying, and authoritative pronouncing, not of last wills and testaments. Whosoever maneuvers in the most wiley way and authoritatively pronounces in the most emphatic and demanding way is going to be the bearer and wearer of that ring. One ring to rule them all, one ring to find them, one ring to bring them all and in the culture-darkness bind them.


You've got to be kidding me. Peikoff is not talented enough to be that sort of a Machiavel, He won his spot as controller of the purse strings by effacement and endurance. As Rich just said, cherchez l'argent.


I have yet to check, but I bet it is enough of a bundle to make for something meaningful. Cha-ching, and that ain't French.

rde
Next thing you know LP is on the Italian Riviera, looking fo hoes.



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#88 Neil Parille

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Posted 14 November 2010 - 08:02 AM

I don't think Robert is being naive. Peikoff was able to do what he did because he threatened to walk away from the ARI, which might result in its dissolution. If Kira inherits the Estate and Binswanger and others impose on her to get rid of someone then she could do the same thing of course. But it's not as likely.

Maybe after LP shuffles off this mortal coil there will be a regency council headed by Binswanger, Mayhew and Tara Smith.

Unless the donors boycott the ARI, it will remain a well-funded organization. And if you want to become an "Anthem scholar," have your overpriced lectures sold by the Bookstore, etc. you will have to toe the party line.

-Neil Parille

Edited by Neil Parille, 14 November 2010 - 09:22 AM.


#89 Robert Campbell

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Posted 14 November 2010 - 12:38 PM

It isn't just that someone from within ARI would have to persuade Kira Peikoff to intervene and demand the removal of a rival.

Think how different John McCaskey's alleged offense is from David Kelley's.

McCaskey and Kelley both offended Leonard Peikoff and one or more of Peikoff's protégés.

But the public charge against Kelley was "the sanction of libertarianism." The private charge against him was reading Barbara Branden's book and recommending it to others.

Both were charges that the average ARIan could relate to and had an opinion on.

The public and private charges against McCaskey are that he criticized a book that most ARIans haven't read.

They come down to such matters as whether Isaac Newton thought that inertia is a force.

Can you imagine Yaron Brook delivering a detailed critique of McCaskey and defense of Harriman on the historical issues? Can you envision a "Fact and Value Part 2" centered on these issues?

It's going to be obvious even to fanatical ARIans that David Harriman has been on the ARI payroll because Leonard Peikoff wanted him there; Harriman has been granted a monopoly on officially sanctioned lectures on physics because Peikoff wanted him to have it; The Logical Leap has been sponsored by ARI because Leonard Peikoff insisted on it; and The Logical Leap didn't become a "major" or "crucial project" of the Ayn Rand Institute that all Board members must get behind until the day in August 2010 that Leonard Peikoff started militating for John McCaskey's removal.

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#90 PDS

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Posted 14 November 2010 - 01:12 PM

McCaskey has been strangely silent on the latest series of events.

Wouldn't it be interesting if he took his $$$ and tried to develop an Objectivist Third Way?

#91 Brant Gaede

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Posted 14 November 2010 - 02:02 PM

It's going to be obvious even to fanatical ARIans that David Harriman has been on the ARI payroll because Leonard Peikoff wanted him there; Harriman has been granted a monopoly on officially sanctioned lectures on physics because Peikoff wanted him to have it; The Logical Leap has been sponsored by ARI because Leonard Peikoff insisted on it; and The Logical Leap didn't become a "major" or "crucial project" of the Ayn Rand Institute that all Board members must get behind until the day in August 2010 that Leonard Peikoff started militating for John McCaskey's removal.

Peikoff has invested a lot in physics these last few years. Having that threatened or traduced toward the end of his professional life must be intolerable for someone seeking sanction and agreement for who his is as opposed to the what of the what. I must have been the only one walking around the open grave of Ayn Rand to toss in a flower who then didn't turn and acknowledge him sitting under the awning. I just kept going.

--Brant

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#92 Starbuckle

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Posted 14 November 2010 - 05:23 PM

After several years of absence from Solohq/RoR, it seems that my submissions are still going to be relegated to the "moderator q." (my besetting sin back then was a parody of Hshyster's attack on Sciabarra that one of the underlings there didn't like). I don't know whether the moderator team will condescend to let my new submission go through, so I'm cross-posting here just so my scribbling will be eternally preserved in the Inter-ether at least for the next day or two.


* * *

I don't understand the injunction to "remember, we are not discussing something Ayn Rand had written here..."

What difference would the subject of the criticism make with respect to the legitimacy of abiding honest criticism? Whether a person should remain on the ARI board in the wake of such criticisms would depend on the manner in which the criticisms were made and the substance of them.

I think we can all concede ARI's formal right to set whatever policies as an organization it wishes. Has this been disputed? But the issue is whether behaving like scared-rabbit cultists make any sense for an organization whose alleged raison d'etre is the promotion of individualism and reason.

Peikoff, for his part, is being willfully irrational, and overtly contemptuous of anyone who could desire anything even remotely resembling an intelligible, appropriate reason for his push to oust McCaskey from the board. He as much as concedes that he couldn't care less about the substance of McCaskey's criticisms. Even after Peikoff's "explanatory" memo, we don't know anything about what makes those criticisms beyond the pale.

Peikoff asserts that "reality obviously hasn't helped" anybody who still scratches his head at Peikoff's whim-worshiping conduct. This is true enough, I suppose. I haven't received any memos from "reality" telling me exactly why Peikoff is being so blatantly unreasonable, and even anti-reasonable, in his public posturing about McCaskey and the controversy over Peikoff's tantrums.

Edited by Starbuckle, 15 November 2010 - 12:24 AM.


#93 Ninth Doctor

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Posted 14 November 2010 - 07:19 PM

Just a random thought related to this whole saga, imagine if someone, say George Walsh circa 1983, privately commented that Peikoff's rendition of history in The Ominous Parallels was "unconventional". That Kant's epistemology inexorably led to gas chambers, well, that's pretty far from how historians view what happened...

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#94 Starbuckle

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Posted 14 November 2010 - 08:02 PM

Ninth writes: "Just a random thought related to this whole saga, imagine if someone, say George Walsh circa 1983, privately commented that Peikoff's rendition of history in The Ominous Parallels was 'unconventional.' That Kant's epistemology inexorably led to gas chambers, well, that's pretty far from how historians view what happened."

Despite the Hegelian tone of the book, Peikoff would object that he is not arguing therein that the progress from A to B (although in his view it in fact happened) was "inexorable" (i.e., determined).

An Amazon reader hacked away at McCaskey for using the word "conventional" to refer to the historical accounts from which he says McCaskey veers. But whether McCaskey's criticisms are right or wrong, it's clear that he has problems with Harriman's account on substantive grounds; he's not saying "unconventional, therefore suspect whether Harriman makes his case or not." McCaskey doesn't think Harriman makes his case. McCaskey might have predicted that some readers would make hay out of his reference to "conventional accounts," but his failure to cover every single base is not very relevant to the various historical, epistemological and socio-pathological matters being debated.

Edited by Starbuckle, 14 November 2010 - 08:05 PM.


#95 Ninth Doctor

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Posted 14 November 2010 - 09:52 PM

Despite the Hegelian tone of the book, Peikoff would object that he is not arguing therein that the progress from A to B (although in his view it in fact happened) was "inexorable" (i.e., determined).

Itís been awhile since I looked at that book, but ďinexorableĒ is my memory of the depiction of Kantís influence leading to gas chambers. My question (and I admit I didnít ask it well) is whether Peikoff could have gotten away with an excommunication then, especially if it played out as publicly as the McCaskey one has. This is in the time period when he did signings for Laissez Faire Books, imagine that!
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#96 Brant Gaede

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Posted 14 November 2010 - 10:34 PM


Despite the Hegelian tone of the book, Peikoff would object that he is not arguing therein that the progress from A to B (although in his view it in fact happened) was "inexorable" (i.e., determined).

It's been awhile since I looked at that book, but "inexorable" is my memory of the depiction of Kant's influence leading to gas chambers. My question (and I admit I didn't ask it well) is whether Peikoff could have gotten away with an excommunication then, especially if it played out as publicly as the McCaskey one has. This is in the time period when he did signings for Laissez Faire Books, imagine that!

Nathaniel Branden once stated that this line of reasoning led to the conclusion that if Hitler had been run over by a cart and killed as a child history wouldn't have been much different.

--Brant

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#97 Starbuckle

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Posted 14 November 2010 - 11:53 PM

Ninth says: "My question (and I admit I didn't ask it well) is whether Peikoff could have gotten away with an excommunication then, especially if it played out as publicly as the McCaskey one has. This is in the time period when he did signings for Laissez Faire Books, imagine that!"

Well, I think your question was clear enough, but I picked up on different parts of your statement. Mea minima culpa.

ARI was founded in 1985, a few years after the publication of Ominous Parallels, so it's hard to know. The Internet is one factor that changes things. Just as it's harder for the MSM to sweep bullshit under the rug, so it is for the cultist arbiters in these obscure corners of the culture wars. Peikoff did have readers for the manuscript of Objectivism: the Philosophy of Ayn Rand, and I remember that there was a report of some kind of back and forth with Binswanger, about an issue of conceptual heirarchy in the book. But I guess there was no animosity about it.

Peikoff later rationalized his 1982 book signings for LFB, saying that Andrea Millen Rich had told him (I think) that there would be no anarchist books under her management, or that it was no longer a libertarian-in-bad-sense store, or something. Some time later Andrea responded to this assertion in an email that was posted on the Internet, in which she made clear that Peikoff in making any such assertion was not exactly evincing a comfortable relationship with the truth thereby. (My periphrasis, not hers.)

Of course, nothing major changed about the libertarian movement or Laissez Faire Books over the next several years since Peikoff's book signings in 1982 except for the publication of The Passion of Ayn Rand, and Hessen's selling of Second Renaissance stock to LFB while simultanously giving the bio a glowing review in his mailing to the SR list. But now it was arch evil for Kelley (who was too charitable toward the bio in Peikoff's eyes) to give a talk to the LFB Supper Club to explain why Objectivism is the best foundation for political liberty.

See the schism chronology here:
http://www.objectivi...p?showtopic=776

Here is a response to an inquiry from Barbara Branden that Andrea gave about Peikoff's book signings for LFB:

>Dear Barbara,

>This is such an old story, dating back to 1982 or whenever it was when Leonard's book first came out. He did come down to LFB on Mercer Street for an autograph party. He never asked me if I were libertarian, and I assumed he knew that LFB was a libertarian bookshop.

>As I remember, someone asked him later that evening why he had agreed to sign books for us and he said something to the effect that he would sign books for Attila the Hun in order to get his message out. That doesn't sound like he thought we were "no longer libertarian," does it?

>A few months later he signed books for us again in New Orleans at the NCMR (Natl Cmte for Monetary Reform) hard-money investment conference (Jim Blanchard headed it), and hung around our booth for quite awhile in case people came over to chat with him.

>Yes, he signed a book for me personally, as you describe. I'm in San Francisco at the moment so can't give you the exact wording.

>Poor Leonard; this has haunted him for 20 years!
Andrea<

Archived here: http://www.dianahsie...259178750051950

The only reason I'm again dredging up all these old claims is that it's history and I like history. I like to study history and to refresh my memory of various dates and things.

###

Edited by Starbuckle, 15 November 2010 - 12:01 AM.


#98 Stephen Boydstun

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Posted 15 November 2010 - 09:11 PM

I gather I missed Tedís meaning, as quoted in #23. So I retract that dubious endorsement-part and simply reiterate my own two or three cents:

There is going to come a day when the last person who knew Rand personally and significantly will have died. . . . I expect that with each passing year after that day, the splits between Rand and the Brandens and between Peikoff and Kelley will become a smaller portion of what people attend to in their mining for value in Objectivism.

I should say, to be clear, I expect that the preponderant value of Randís works among those who live after her and her main circle (the Brandens, Peikoff, Gotthelf, Binswanger) will continue to be not the blooms of books or journals or political actions. It will be the blooms that are individual personal lives.



#99 Ted Keer

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Posted 15 November 2010 - 10:34 PM

I gather I missed Ted's meaning, as quoted in #23. So I retract that dubious endorsement-part and simply reiterate my own two or three cents:


There is going to come a day when the last person who knew Rand personally and significantly will have died. . . . I expect that with each passing year after that day, the splits between Rand and the Brandens and between Peikoff and Kelley will become a smaller portion of what people attend to in their mining for value in Objectivism.

I should say, to be clear, I expect that the preponderant value of Rand's works among those who live after her and her main circle (the Brandens, Peikoff, Gotthelf, Binswanger) will continue to be not the blooms of books or journals or political actions. It will be the blooms that are individual personal lives.


Yes, you should assume that if it sounds silly and you aren't quite sure, then I am most likely joking. I can feel the grin on my face as I write, and forget that the person at the other end of the internet can't see it.

Beautiful sentiment in your second self quote.

I still tend to blame Peikoff, rather than anyone else, for the interest in the gossip. Only his continued objections and threats, backed up by Rand's money, keep that stuff alive.



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