Dennis Hardin

Branden’s "Vision of Ayn Rand" as “Official Objectivism”

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Dennis:

I am glad that you posted this.

I have not, and never will, give to a non-profit. The fact that any organization purporting to advance Ayn's ideas files as a non-profit disgusts me.

When my partner and I were deciding how to form F.A.M.I.L.Y., Advocates, we went over the 501 (3) © filing idea and rejected it for several reasons. One being that our organization was going to be a frontal assault on the vicious family court system and we did not want the government to be entitled to our membership and financial records.

Sure enough, as we became successful in forcing open the family court courtrooms to the public, forcing the assignment of counsel for contempt hearings [now precedent in NY State because of our members winning at the NY State Supreme Court level] and other reforms, we were hit with a subpoena for our records and membership lists.

In a conversation with their counsel, after we told her we were having lunch with the money sent for the subpoena, she lost it and screamed that you have to give us the information because you are a non-profit.

We explained, much to her dismay, that 1) she did not do her homework, and 2) that we were a for profit membership organization and she could stick her demands in the circular file.

Her parting words, which stumbled out of her mouth, were, "...but...how could you survive that way..." click...

It was a really nice day.

Adam

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Seymour:

Since the notion of Brant being a hacker would be far less credible to even the dumbest judge than the notion of your being insane, I think his chances of suing you would be better than yours of suing him.

I'm not concerned with being sued. It wouldn't be the first time. Good luck, anybody.

--Brant

it's costless sport to me

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Seymour: Since the notion of Brant being a hacker would be far less credible to even the dumbest judge than the notion of your being insane, I think his chances of suing you would be better than yours of suing him.
I'm not concerned with being sued. It wouldn't be the first time. Good luck, anybody. --Brant it's costless sport to me

I suggest we pull a variant of the Spartacus routine and, each in turn, call Seymour insane. Then she can sue all of us. I will start.

Brant was right, Seymour: YOU ARE INSANE!

If you sue me and win, you can have my books and my Curbside Contemporary Furniture, but you will never get my dog!

:lol:

Ghs

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Cool it. It's between me and her. The problem is involving Michael's and Kat's Web site. It's not libel but harassment to do any more with this.

--Brant

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Cool it. It's between me and her. The problem is involving Michael's and Kat's Web site. It's not libel but harassment to do any more with this. --Brant

Bullshit, but I will do what you ask.

Ghs

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Seymour: Since the notion of Brant being a hacker would be far less credible to even the dumbest judge than the notion of your being insane, I think his chances of suing you would be better than yours of suing him.
I'm not concerned with being sued. It wouldn't be the first time. Good luck, anybody. --Brant it's costless sport to me

I suggest we pull a variant of the Spartacus routine and, each in turn, call Seymour insane. Then she can sue all of us. I will start.

Brant was right, Seymour: YOU ARE INSANE!

If you sue me and win, you can have my books and my Curbside Contemporary Furniture, but you will never get my dog!

:laugh:

Ghs

Now that you've brought up the subject of your dog, this reminds me of a question I meant to ask you.

I know, from having read many of your posts, that you really really loved your old bichon Herbert, and that you also really love your new bichon Jazz.

However, I've started reading your book "Why Atheism" and I noticed the following passage on page 45:

"I happen to believe that George Carlin is a funny guy, that basketball is more entertaining than baseball, that cats make better pets than dogs ..."

I was really surprised to read this last phrase, given that I know how much you love dogs, and I don't recall you ever expressing any great love of cats. So I thought I'd ask for an explanation, even though it's rather off topic from the subject of this thread.

Martin

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Seymour: Since the notion of Brant being a hacker would be far less credible to even the dumbest judge than the notion of your being insane, I think his chances of suing you would be better than yours of suing him.
I'm not concerned with being sued. It wouldn't be the first time. Good luck, anybody. --Brant it's costless sport to me
I suggest we pull a variant of the Spartacus routine and, each in turn, call Seymour insane. Then she can sue all of us. I will start. Brant was right, Seymour: YOU ARE INSANE! If you sue me and win, you can have my books and my Curbside Contemporary Furniture, but you will never get my dog! :laugh: Ghs
Now that you've brought up the subject of your dog, this reminds me of a question I meant to ask you. I know, from having read many of your posts, that you really really loved your old bichon Herbert, and that you also really love your new bichon Jazz. However, I've started reading your book "Why Atheism" and I noticed the following passage on page 45: "I happen to believe that George Carlin is a funny guy, that basketball is more entertaining than baseball, that cats make better pets than dogs ..." I was really surprised to read this last phrase, given that I know how much you love dogs, and I don't recall you ever expressing any great love of cats. So I thought I'd ask for an explanation, even though it's rather off topic from the subject of this thread. Martin

I wondered if anyone would ever bring up that passage....

At the time I wrote it (c. 1999) I hadn't owned a dog in years, not since I was in high school. And that was a family pet -- a Dalmatian that I liked okay but wasn't crazy about.

I had a couple cats at the time (they were actually my wife's), and I really liked one of them. Dogs didn't appeal to me much -- until, that is, I got Herbert, my first Bichon. That breed is exceptionally cute and affectionate, and they can grow on you very quickly, especially when you live alone, as I have for the last seven years.

That's the story of why I changed my mind.

Ghs

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As you may know, I've never been able to get excited about the open/closed debate. It is of interest to historians who want to know what Rand thought about certain issues, just as historians might want to know what John Locke or Herbert Spencer thought about certain issues, but the controversy has never made sense to me as a philosophical issue.

I think open/closed debates are generally more connected to ideology than to philosophy.

People should take from Rand whatever they consider to be of value, just as they would from any other philosopher.

Proceeding like that has distinct advantages: One can work into one's own 'philosophical quilt' that which one considers as the "gems", and doesn't have to waste energy defending the complete philosophy against critics.

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Insane is a legal definition which means that one has to be declared insane by the state. Since that is not the case I could sue you. That is, if you had anything to get. But people with nothing to get often shoot off their mouths like hot shot adolescents in a drive by, not because there is such a thing as free speech, but because they have nothing to lose in legal action.

Be much more careful Brant. You know what you said about Foucault and AIDS and Mexican boys. You were laying low for awhile after the brutal hacking I received from objectivist lliving. I suspect you of being involved. No I don't think you have the smarts to do it yourself, but that's the way you operate.

"Insane" has a legal definition, which is one among several, but it is not itself "a legal definition" -- whatever the hell that is supposed to mean. Many people OL, including myself, have been called names a lot worse than you ever have.

Should you ever threaten, if only by implication ("I could sue you"), to use force against someone again, then I will personally lead a campaign to get you booted off this list. Michael is very tolerant, even of fools like you, but I doubt if he will tolerate that kind of barbarism for very long.

You said on SOLO that the hacking originated in London. You know very well that Brant does not live in London, and you have no evidence whatsoever that anyone on OL had anything to do with that unfortunate incident. Frankly, I'm still not sure whether I even believe you. You are such a pathetic egomaniac, an old woman crying out for attention, that I don't trust much of anything you say.

The fact that you still post on OL, despite your complaints that it is a fascistic website (or whatever), that an OLer hacked you, that you are libeled, etc., speaks volumes. Any semi-rational person who truly believed such things would have left OL long ago. You stick around because you get attention, and you don't really care what kind of attention it is. Then, to top things off, you repeatedly insult Michael, the guy who pays for your attention-sponge.

Again, be as boorish as you like -- that is part of life on Internet forums -- but drop the threats of force. If you don't like what is said about you on OL, then get the hell off.

Ghs

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Cool it. It's between me and her. The problem is involving Michael's and Kat's Web site. It's not libel but harassment to do any more with this. --Brant

Bullshit, but I will do what you ask.

Ghs

Thank you. I don't want to be the launching pad for a flame war, especially considering the horrific stress I'm currently living under and trying to deal with. I did like your subsequent analysis of what she's about. The basic reason her postings have deteriorated so much compared to when she first arrived is there is no real analytical substance behind her stream of consciousness post-modernism nonsense--she's run out of things to say. Yes, she did threaten me, but I hardly notice such things. I do hope someday soon to again have the luxury of worrying about that level of threat. And people trying to kill me so long ago hardened me up.

--Brant

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"Insane" has a legal definition, which is one among several, but it is not itself "a legal definition" -- whatever the hell that is supposed to mean. Many people OL, including myself, have been called names a lot worse than you ever have.

Maybe it's easier to stick to graphics when discussing this individual.

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The world happens by Events. Things do not develop linearly. They appear to because of our perceptual illusions but linearity is just an illusion. LIke those booklets that when you flutter the pages like a deck of cards the figures appear to be walking or running or....

I think the notion of "linearity" is connected to our thinking in "time arrow" mode. For example, we compare "then" and "now", we notice the change between what was "before" and what came "after"; we look "back" into the past and "forward" for the future, etc.

You open a book - it has a "beginning" and an "end" (even if it should happen to be be a postmodern story attacking the idea of 'beginning' and 'end' :wink:). Reading the book through from beginning to end happens within a section of the time arrow structuring our thinking.

"I went to Delaware in 62 to grad school", you wrote. Again, this places you in a specific place within a linearly conceived time arrow where one marks a "past" (1962) and a "present" (March 2012) when you wrote this.

NBI was an Event on the scene, unexpected, coming from elsewhere, unpredicted, unplanned, just a little 2 x 3 inch rectangle in the entertainment section of the Sunday Inquirer. And my mother who read every single death and birth notice saw it.

But this "Event" can also be positioned linearly on the time arrow as having happened at a specific time in the past.

Three Events that intersected in my life. Destiny. The moment of kairos as the Greeks said. Without that, no grad school, no thousands of things it enabled me to do because it was a particular push. Her fiction would never have done that for me.

Often, we are only able to 'connect the dots' in hindsight, when "looking back".

was reading Atlas at that exact time and I was enthralled. I was also quitting smoking on a deconditioning program I read about while I was reading Atlas. Think of the irony of that!

That's quite ironic indeed, lol. Didn't you have a relapse when reading all those atmospheric scenes where the heroes and the heroine enjoy their cigarettes? :smile:

As for the 'villains' in AS - did any of them ever have a smoke? I don't think so, but maybe my memory fails me.

I owe the Brandens my life, even more so than Rand. I received a great gift from Rand through the Brandens. Now it is time for the Counter-gift. I intend to make Rand more radical than she ever dreamed of being. Just as Baudrillard made Foucault more radical than Foucault ever dreamed of being. Such is the counter-gift.

But isn't it important, before offering a gift (or counter-gift), to consider whether the receiver is going to like it? :smile:

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The world happens by Events. Things do not develop linearly. They appear to because of our perceptual illusions but linearity is just an illusion. LIke those booklets that when you flutter the pages like a deck of cards the figures appear to be walking or running or....
I think the notion of "linearity" is connected to our thinking in "time arrow" mode. For example, we compare "then" and "now", we notice the change between what was "before" and what came "after"; we look "back" into the past and "forward" for the future, etc. You open a book - it has a "beginning" and an "end" (even if it should happen to be be a postmodern story attacking the idea of 'beginning' and 'end' :wink:). Reading the book through from beginning to end happens within a section of the time arrow structuring our thinking. "I went to Delaware in 62 to grad school", you wrote. Again, this places you in a specific place within a linearly conceived time arrow where one marks a "past" (1962) and a "present" (March 2012) when you wrote this.
NBI was an Event on the scene, unexpected, coming from elsewhere, unpredicted, unplanned, just a little 2 x 3 inch rectangle in the entertainment section of the Sunday Inquirer. And my mother who read every single death and birth notice saw it.
But this "Event" can also be positioned linearly on the time arrow as having happened at a specific time in the past.
Three Events that intersected in my life. Destiny. The moment of kairos as the Greeks said. Without that, no grad school, no thousands of things it enabled me to do because it was a particular push. Her fiction would never have done that for me.
Often, we are only able to 'connect the dots' in hindsight, when "looking back".
was reading Atlas at that exact time and I was enthralled. I was also quitting smoking on a deconditioning program I read about while I was reading Atlas. Think of the irony of that!
That's quite ironic indeed, lol. Didn't you have a relapse when reading all those atmospheric scenes where the heroes and the heroine enjoy their cigarettes? :smile: As for the 'villains' in AS - did any of them ever have a smoke? I don't think so, but maybe my memory fails me.
I owe the Brandens my life, even more so than Rand. I received a great gift from Rand through the Brandens. Now it is time for the Counter-gift. I intend to make Rand more radical than she ever dreamed of being. Just as Baudrillard made Foucault more radical than Foucault ever dreamed of being. Such is the counter-gift.
But isn't it important, before offering a gift (or counter-gift), to consider whether the receiver is going to like it? :smile:

I think the notion of "linearity" is connected to our thinking in "time arrow" mode. For example, we compare "then" and "now", we notice the change between what was "before" and what came "after"; we look "back" into the past and "forward" for the future, etc.

And: Often, we are only able to 'connect the dots' in hindsight, when "looking back".

Exactly. We look back and "paste" a cause on what happened. It's called precession. And in fact causes may have been made up all along. How about that!

I refer you to the first conversation between Roark and Wyand on exactly this. Roark says he knew these moments when they happened. Wyand says he knew them only in retrospect. These are Foucauldian "cuts" at a micro level in a single human life. Remember when Wyand says:Here's Rand:

....Howard, when you look back, does it seem to you as if all your days had rolled forward evenly, like a sort of typing exercise, all alike? Or were their stops - points reached - and then the typing rolled on again?

"There were stops."

"Did you know them at the time - did you know that that's what they were?"

"Yes."

"I didn't. I knew afterward....."(F 25th ed p. 542-3)

This is the first conversation in Howard's office with Gail. In Foucault's language a stop can be seen as a CUT, although he saves the term for a more elaborate genealogy rather than a personal instance in a life. IMO it is the micro, so I will use it.

Don't you remember anything x-ray? I feel I explain over and over and you never get it. I do not have the exquisite patience darren has with you.

But isn't it important, before offering a gift (or counter-gift), to consider whether the receiver is going to like it?

As for cigarettes it made me wonder about their take on reality. You see I knew what it was doing to me to smoke. I wondered why they didn't know how it was affecting them if they were so adament about reality.

X-ray your problem is still that you are a literal thinking person. You are defining gift in your mind as a present, like a Xmas present. This "gift" falls within the order of Symbolic Exchange and Death. The 9-11 attack can be seen as the "gift" to which the US must reply with the "counter-gift" or suicide. We have not returned the "counter-gift.

Reading the book through from beginning to end happens within a section of the time arrow structuring our thinking.

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Insane is a legal definition which means that one has to be declared insane by the state. Since that is not the case I could sue you. That is, if you had anything to get. But people with nothing to get often shoot off their mouths like hot shot adolescents in a drive by, not because there is such a thing as free speech, but because they have nothing to lose in legal action.

Be much more careful Brant. You know what you said about Foucault and AIDS and Mexican boys. You were laying low for awhile after the brutal hacking I received from objectivist lliving. I suspect you of being involved. No I don't think you have the smarts to do it yourself, but that's the way you operate.

"Insane" has a legal definition, which is one among several, but it is not itself "a legal definition" -- whatever the hell that is supposed to mean. Many people OL, including myself, have been called names a lot worse than you ever have.

Should you ever threaten, if only by implication ("I could sue you"), to use force against someone again, then I will personally lead a campaign to get you booted off this list. Michael is very tolerant, even of fools like you, but I doubt if he will tolerate that kind of barbarism for very long.

You said on SOLO that the hacking originated in London. You know very well that Brant does not live in London, and you have no evidence whatsoever that anyone on OL had anything to do with that unfortunate incident. Frankly, I'm still not sure whether I even believe you. You are such a pathetic egomaniac, an old woman crying out for attention, that I don't trust much of anything you say.

The fact that you still post on OL, despite your complaints that it is a fascistic website (or whatever), that an OLer hacked you, that you are libeled, etc., speaks volumes. Any semi-rational person who truly believed such things would have left OL long ago. You stick around because you get attention, and you don't really care what kind of attention it is. Then, to top things off, you repeatedly insult Michael, the guy who pays for your attention-sponge.

Again, be as boorish as you like -- that is part of life on Internet forums -- but drop the threats of force. If you don't like what is said about you on OL, then get the hell off.

Ghs

Did I say Gaede did the hacking? No. I don't think he could do it. That's not to say he couldn't have instigated it. Could HItler fly an airplane? No. But he put an airforce in motion did he not?

You can make 1 more posts until Today, 10:47 PM. This restriction is in place until you have 99614 more approved posts

Does this mjean that I will have 5 more posts after 10:47? Does a new day start at 10:48? Will I get 5 more posts? Or will I lose 5? This software sucks. You need to pay more money and gt a better person to fix your software.

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Insane is a legal definition which means that one has to be declared insane by the state. Since that is not the case I could sue you. That is, if you had anything to get. But people with nothing to get often shoot off their mouths like hot shot adolescents in a drive by, not because there is such a thing as free speech, but because they have nothing to lose in legal action. Be much more careful Brant. You know what you said about Foucault and AIDS and Mexican boys. You were laying low for awhile after the brutal hacking I received from objectivist lliving. I suspect you of being involved. No I don't think you have the smarts to do it yourself, but that's the way you operate.
"Insane" has a legal definition, which is one among several, but it is not itself "a legal definition" -- whatever the hell that is supposed to mean. Many people OL, including myself, have been called names a lot worse than you ever have. Should you ever threaten, if only by implication ("I could sue you"), to use force against someone again, then I will personally lead a campaign to get you booted off this list. Michael is very tolerant, even of fools like you, but I doubt if he will tolerate that kind of barbarism for very long. You said on SOLO that the hacking originated in London. You know very well that Brant does not live in London, and you have no evidence whatsoever that anyone on OL had anything to do with that unfortunate incident. Frankly, I'm still not sure whether I even believe you. You are such a pathetic egomaniac, an old woman crying out for attention, that I don't trust much of anything you say. The fact that you still post on OL, despite your complaints that it is a fascistic website (or whatever), that an OLer hacked you, that you are libeled, etc., speaks volumes. Any semi-rational person who truly believed such things would have left OL long ago. You stick around because you get attention, and you don't really care what kind of attention it is. Then, to top things off, you repeatedly insult Michael, the guy who pays for your attention-sponge. Again, be as boorish as you like -- that is part of life on Internet forums -- but drop the threats of force. If you don't like what is said about you on OL, then get the hell off. Ghs
Did I say Gaede did the hacking? No. I don't think he could do it. That's not to say he couldn't have instigated it. Could HItler fly an airplane? No. But he put an airforce in motion did he not?

I've know Brant for years. He is a former Green Beret and a Vietnam vet -- a level-headed, disciplined, and honorable guy. The notion that he orchestrated a hacking plot against you is absurd on its face. He would never violate someone's rights in that way, so stop the reckless and baseless allegations.

Ghs

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It's interesting how she incompetently sort of tried to do to OL what she claimed OL or some of its members--through a London connection--did to her. I think her "will to power" came up rather short of the task along with her brainpower. OL is hard to troll.

I can fly an airplane; I can't launch an air force. Hitler lite?

--Brant

as a beer it's bad taste

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Shoshana Milgram will be speaking this summer on the history of The Objectivist Newsletter.

Announcement

In January 1962, Ayn Rand launched The Objectivist Newsletter, inaugurating simultaneously a weekly column in the Los Angeles Times.

Why did Ayn Rand, best known as the author of two best-selling novels, decide to become an editor as well as a writer? Why did she deem it necessary to start a new publication? How was the goal of publishing The Objectivist Newsletter different from the goal of writing a weekly newspaper column? Who was the newsletter’s target audience? What were the original plans, and how did the plans change? How did she ensure quality control?

At a time when she could not count on the press to represent her words and ideas accurately even when she provided a written text, she was committed to making everything within her own publication fully professional, accurate, and representative of her philosophy.

What can we learn, fifty years later, from the history of The Objectivist Newsletter?

Saturday, July 7, 2012; 5:10–6:40 p.m.

OCON 2012

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

That topic is related to 33, 50, 61, . . . of this thread.

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R.W. Bradford wondered about this, too, in his Liberty review of Judgement Day. He said that a lecture is more useful than a book for shaping a movement, which Rand and Branden wanted to do. People have to make an effort to show up. They're in the company of people who agree with them. A reader can stop and puzzle things over, make notes, spell out arguments and go back over earlier material. A listener can't do any of this. Finally, Branden is, in my observation, the kind of guy who likes an audience.

Peter,

This was definitely a reason to keep a lot of material in the oral tradition, both during the NBI days and later on.

Only now, as Pope Leonard the First and Only worries about his legacy, are we seeing the Harriman book, the Berlinerized Understanding Objectivism, and (supposedly in a few months) the DIM volume.

Robert Campbell

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Shoshana Milgram will be speaking this summer on the history of The Objectivist Newsletter.

Announcement

In January 1962, Ayn Rand launched The Objectivist Newsletter, inaugurating simultaneously a weekly column in the Los Angeles Times.

Why did Ayn Rand, best known as the author of two best-selling novels, decide to become an editor as well as a writer? Why did she deem it necessary to start a new publication? How was the goal of publishing The Objectivist Newsletter different from the goal of writing a weekly newspaper column? Who was the newsletter’s target audience? What were the original plans, and how did the plans change? How did she ensure quality control?

At a time when she could not count on the press to represent her words and ideas accurately even when she provided a written text, she was committed to making everything within her own publication fully professional, accurate, and representative of her philosophy.

What can we learn, fifty years later, from the history of The Objectivist Newsletter?

Saturday, July 7, 2012; 5:10–6:40 p.m.

OCON 2012

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

That topic is related to 33, 50, 61, . . . of this thread.

I hope she goes into the psychology of it all. Rand was slowly coming out of her great depression. Speaking at Yale and such.

--Brant

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Ayn Rand gave her explicit, unqualified approval to the content of Branden’s “Basic Principles” course at NBI. The original ‘Basic Principles of Objectivism’ course now exists in book form: The Vision of Ayn Rand. The book is a literal transcript of the original lectures. Therefore, according to Peikoff’s “closed Objectivism” criteria, The Vision of Ayn Rand is a reliable and accurate systematic presentation of Objectivism.

In fact, of the two comprehensive, systematic presentations of Objectivism in book form, only one meets Peikoff’s criteria of “official Objectivism.” Rand fully and unqualifiedly approved every word of Branden’s “Basic Principles” course, and—to repeat--VOAR is a literal transcript of those recorded lectures. In contrast, by Peikoff’s own admission, Rand had to correct multiple errors in his original course on “The Philosophy of Objectivism.” OPAR was largely based on Peikoff’s own Objectivism lectures, but is not a literal transcript, so we have no basis to conclude that she gave official approval to one word of it.

With the exception of Branden’s later essay, “The Benefits and Hazards of The Philosophy of Ayn Rand,” all of the philosophical material in VOAR was officially approved by Ayn Rand as consistent with Objectivism. Because it was written after her death and is not a literal transcript, exactly none of the material in OPAR was ever officially endorsed by Ayn Rand.

According to Peikoff’s criterion of material approved by Ayn Rand before her philosophy became “closed,” VOAR is “official” Objectivism.

OPAR is not. :smile:

Dennis,

I agree.

The fact that Basic Principles was given several times (and circulated in different taped editions) with some changes to the lecturer lineup, is of historical significance, but Ayn Rand blessed every version.

And the Academic Associates recordings (except for one or two salvaged from the wrack of NBI) were remakes, in any empty studio, from the same scripts that Nathaniel Branden used for his NBI work.

Besides, Roger, Jerry, and I produced transcriptions to a much higher standard of accuracy than prevails in the ARI orbit :)

Of course, the real problem with "official Objectivism" as defined by Ayn Rand is that it's not her definition any more.

Leonard Peikoff merely pretends to follow her definition, while imposing one of his own and expecting his disciples to overlook the contradictions.

De facto, Peikovian "Objectivism"

— Excludes all published work by Nathaniel and Barbara Branden through July 1968.

— Excludes all material published with Ayn Rand's blessing when it is by authors who either fell out with Rand later (e.g., Robert Hessen) or fell out with Leonard Peikoff even later (e.g., George Reisman). Remember, Harry Binswanger and Robert Mayhew have both edited Beatrice Hessen out of volumes they were entrusted with.

— Excludes all other material published with Ayn Rand's blessing, when it is not by Rand, Peikoff, Harry Binswanger, or Mary Ann Sures.

— Includes all posthumous works by Leonard Peikoff.

— Includes all works by Peikoff's designates.

No one in the ARI orbit dares to criticize one word of OPAR, despite its notionally "unofficial" status.

And those who criticized The Logical Leap quickly learned their lesson.

Robert Campbell

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There were things still being distilled during Peikoff’s ’76 lecture series. I recall one lecture he opened by correcting something misleading he had said in the preceding lecture. He wanted to retract his earlier statement that all one’s knowledge was implicit in one’s sensory experience.

Stephen,

Yes, some things were being distilled in 1976.

But who was doing the distilling?

Leonard Peikoff built up the doctrine of the arbitrary assertion between the mid-1960s and mid-1970s. In Basic Principles, statements arbitrarily asserted could be true or false (and were presumed, in the normal run of things, to be the latter). In the 1976 lectures, "the arbitrary" lacks a truth value.

Rand obviously approved the 1976 lectures. But no statement has come to light of the doctrine of the arbitrary by Ayn Rand, in her own words.

Rand even made a statement in her last Ford Hall Forum speech that is grossly irrational, according to the latter-day doctrine of the arbitrary. Yet there is no evidence that she ever realized this.

Robert Campbell

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The top-down authority model, no matter how necessary and justified during the NBI years, was and is intellectual cancer leaving behind cultist behavior and impotent irrelevance.

--Brant

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. . .

Yes, some things were being distilled in 1976.

But who was doing the distilling?

. . .

Robert,

Yes, it always seemed likely to me that Ayn Rand developed some lines of her philosophy, beyond Atlas, through discussions with Branden, Peikoff, and Gotthelf. With Branden I figured it was mostly psychology, which she found smoothly joined to her philosophy and her own psychological views. When I read the epistemology seminar transcript added to ITOE in1990, it was clear that two characters were “on the dais” with Rand: Professors B and E. They would help her to understand what others were asking. They would refer to previous discussions they had with Rand. They would elaborate on a point extensively, ask Rand if she concurred, and most always she did, perhaps with further clarification. I figured those two were Peikoff and Gotthelf, and when Allan told me he was B, I inferred Peikoff was E. This was later confirmed by another participant in the seminar, as you know.

It has always seemed natural to me to suppose that Rand learned things from these principals and vice versa. I have not studied Peikoff’s ideas on the arbitrary thoroughly, seen if they are irremediably contradictory or can be pieced together charitably into a consistent whole or are just fine when some error is removed. I have also not thoroughly studied your paper (long paper!) on this and made a comparison with Peikoff’s ideas on the arbitrary assertion in the context of what I know about Rand’s metaphysics and epistemology. I don’t recall just now if you offered a positive theory of your own about the arbitrary, meaningfulness, and assessibility for truth, but if you did, I have yet to absorb and evaluate it.

It would not surprise me if Rand to the end of her life had incomplete and inconsistent views on this issue(s) or on others. Likewise with Peikoff to this day. I’m pretty sure I will be in the same boat on some issue or other at the end of my life. Meanwhile, I have offered my own theory concerning the false, the invalid, and the meaningless (A, B), closely contoured to Rand’s theoretical philosophy as expressed in her writings, in Branden’s Basic, and in Peikoff’s writings. I’m working with a good team, and team of minds they will be by their writings, whether they like it or not, beyond the ends of their lives.

My work in those two peices overlaps some of what you have studied in Objectivism and written up in your essay. I have not studied your essay with a view to see if some of your criticisms of Peikoff also pertain to the course I have taken in these papers. Moving swiftly. Finally composing the Attribute part of “Randian Axioms and Postulates in Metaphysics.” That part had gotten deferred a couple of years as it entails treatment of some important history of philosophy on logical truths and on surfaces not at once all red and all green.

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Shoshana Milgram will be speaking this summer on the history of The Objectivist Newsletter.

Announcement

In January 1962, Ayn Rand launched The Objectivist Newsletter, inaugurating simultaneously a weekly column in the Los Angeles Times.

Why did Ayn Rand, best known as the author of two best-selling novels, decide to become an editor as well as a writer?

What can we learn, fifty years later, from the history of The Objectivist Newsletter?

OCON 2012

"What can we learn, fifty years later, from the history of The Objectivist Newsletter?"

Well, let's see. One thing we might learn is that followers of the orthodox wing of "official Objectivism" have no respect for historical accuracy when discussing Objectivist history. I'm looking at a copy of The Objectivist Newsletter of January, 1962, and the masthead clearly states: "Edited and Published by Ayn Rand and Nathaniel Branden." On the last page, there is is also a blurb which states: "Ayn Rand and Nathaniel Branden, Editors and Publishers." Ayn Rand did not launch The Objectivist Newsletter. Ayn Rand and Nathaniel Branden launched The Objectivist Newsletter.

In My Years with Ayn Rand, Nathaniel Branden states:

"That August, I proposed to Ayn that together we create an intellectual newsletter. It would be an outlet for articles we would write on a variety of subjects, as well as a means for maintaining contact with students and admirers of her work.

"My intention was that Ayn and I would be the chief writers for the newsletter and that the other members of the Collective would also contribute. We worked on developing the concept all through the fall, and the first issue of TON was planned for January, 1962. Ayn became progressively more enthusiastic about the undertaking as the months passed. . ." (p. 255)

Not only was the newsletter Branden's idea, but I would venture to say that it never would have happened without his entrepreneurial energy and drive. To suggest that she inaugurated the project on her own is an unmitigated lie. The wording of this course description would be an embarassment to any honest Objectivist historian.

It will be interesting to see how MIlgram will tap dance her way around these facts in her presentation. I would wager that she will make occasional disparaging references to Rand's "co-editor" at various points in her "talk," without ever mentioning Branden by name or giving him any credit whatever.

"How did she ensure quality control?"

Another brazen, outright lie. IN MYWAR, Branden explains that Rand's attorney advised her to take precautions in the event that she and Branden had a parting of the ways.

"Let's agree that nothing is published that the other opposes," [Rand said]. "Each of us will have absolute veto power. . ." Rand clearly shared the responsibility for quality control with Branden.

This kind of flagrant, shameful rewriting of history to suit the Peikovian agenda makes me want to puke.

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