Chris Grieb

ARI Watch

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Does anyone out there know anything about this site?

It sounds like an excellent idea but no one is named as being a writer. They seem to be critizing the foreign policy ideas of ARI but I would like some names.

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Does anyone out there know anything about this site?

It sounds like an excellent idea but no one is named as being a writer. They seem to be critizing the foreign policy ideas of ARI but I would like some names.

Which site?

Ba'al Chatzaf

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I logged onto the site, and read a whole lotta hooey. This site is ONLY about ARI's positions vis-a-vis the War On Islam.

Even though I think the people at ARI are kind of like Michael Savage in foreign policy experience, I do believe their hearts are in the right place.

Any computer nerds here know how to find out who owns this site? It's completely anonymous.

The site owners have accomplished something I had not thought possible, though:

They actually make me LIKE the Ayn Rand Institute and want to defend them.

Because: If all you know how to do in foreign policy is bash Israel, then, yes, you ARE an anti-Semite!

Betcha dollars-to-doughnuts it's owned by some CAIR offshoot.

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Robert,

Here is some information (especially in the thread):

The Effect by Mark ___(?), on ariwatch.com

I don't like this kind of thing. It is trying to cure one poison with another (cure hemlock poisoning by drinking battery acid). On top of that, ARI has done some very good things and has some products I buy and use.

Michael

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Robert,

Here is some information (especially in the thread):

The Effect by Mark ___(?), on ariwatch.com

I don't like this kind of thing. It is trying to cure one poison with another (cure hemlock poisoning by drinking battery acid). On top of that, ARI has done some very good things and has some products I buy and use.

Michael

Oh, I agree with you Mike. I just think most of them are (to be charitable) lacking in personal character. But, my point was I'm not for throwing out the baby with the bathwater and accusing them of Zionist conpiracies and whatnot. Personal loyalty is my number one personal value and many there are willing to chuck loyalty to real, living, people in the name of loyalty to abstract notions. Or, in the name of loyalty to someone who's long since passed on. It's not healthy.

One such case is their recent rant against "theocracy" (i.e., any Republican who has even a smattering of religious motivation for their political beliefs). So, now -- despite their extremely hawkish foreign policy -- they are virtually endorsing Hillary Clinton (who, herself is oddly getting a free ride for her Methodist makeover) while bizarrely pooh-poohing the idea of a Giuliani presidency. I do not grok this. Somehow Giuliani, whom the evangelicals are attacking for his pro-choice politics and threatening to form a breakaway party under the aegis of Dr. James Dobson, is part and parcel of the theocracy? The pretzel logic of it all makes the mind reel.

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Robert,

We agree on ARI's shortcomings and I like to think we are intelligent critics, not bashers.

I am curious as to why people demonize, i.e., distort and omit facts and make things up about a targeted scapegoat. ARI certainly does it when they get it in for someone. ARI-bashers do it, too. It's crazy because propaganda hardly convinces anyone except insiders in the age of the Internet. Those involved with a philosophy of reason should be above that.

I wonder what Angelina Jolie would say... :)

Michael

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Michael’s latest post insinuates that the attitude of ARI Watch towards ARI is:

“... demonize, i.e., distort and omit facts and make things up ...”

“Make things up” is an indefensible slur. As for “distort and omit facts,” though that too is a slur, if I were charitable I could see how someone might think it at first. Sometimes ARI will turn 180 degrees on an issue and then pretend they were going in that direction all along. But that they contradict themselves is their problem not mine. For an analysis of one case see the review of ARI’s

“What We Owe Our Soldiers”

While acknowledging that ARI is poison (‘hemlock’) Michael in an earlier post claims that ARI Watch is just another (‘battery acid’). I myself view ARI Watch as herbicide (Roundup) for weeds in the garden of Objectivist discourse. Purple prose that, but Michael’s metaphor asked for it.

“ARI has done some very good things and has some products I buy and use.”

I too have been reduced to ordering ARI products. I do it through a bookstore though. That way ARI takes a 40% hit (anyway that’s what the bookstore discount was with Second Renaissance some years ago), and you pay no shipping (which may be more than the sales tax you will pay). Also it costs you nothing to return something if it’s damaged.

Mark Hunter

ARI Watch

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Renee writes :

“... Thanks to ARI Watch I now know that not only is the Ayn Rand Institute actually detrimental to the Objectivist Movement, but they may very well be responsible for 9/11! ...”

Getting into the swing Chris responds :

“... Thank you! I thought George Bush did all of 9-11. I guess it was Lenny Peikoff.”

If you disagree with ARI Watch, silence will persuade your readers better than silly remarks.

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Robert Jones visited ARI Watch and had an unpleasant experience:

“... read a whole lotta hooey. This site is ONLY about ARI’s positions vis-a-vis the War On Islam.”

I guess there are two points here: ARI Watch is “a whole lotta hooey” and, in addition, it should address other things besides the war.

Leaving the ‘hooey’ charge aside, could it be that ARI Watch – which calls itself a critical review of ARI – finds little to criticize about ARI other than its position on the war and related subjects? And that this position is far more important than the others? And that ARI itself gives it prominence?

Regarding ARI:

“... I do believe their hearts are in the right place.”

Good people can make mistakes, but I find it incredible that ARI acts as it does out of some fumbling good will.

(Considering the remainder of Robert’s post and his other posts I don’t share his idea of a well positioned heart anyway.)

Robert then says ARI Watch is so bad it makes him want to defend ARI – for the first time in his life!

ARI Watch does repel many sorts of people. It’s pro Ayn Rand, and liberals hate Ayn Rand. (Paleo-conservatives were never too keen on her either.) It’s anti the Bush administration, and neo-conservatives love the Bush administration. It’s critical of ARI, and “official-minded” Objectivists love ARI. (The other organized group – TOC/TAS – has pretty much the same position on the war as ARI.)

Read the ARI Watch “Cheers” page to find some positive remarks about it.

Then Robert Jones goes robotic:

“If all you know how to do in foreign policy is bash Israel, then, yes, you ARE an anti-Semite!”

Well, Robert, nobody asked you. In any case, anyone who criticizes Israel for anything soon gets used to such attacks. You are immediately called an anti-semite. (Such an anti-semite!) Not to mention obsessed (which in fact applies to ARI). And your argument is characterized as bashing.

Robert again:

“Betcha dollars-to-doughnuts it’s owned by some CAIR offshoot.”

The assumption here is that practically everyone who criticizes Israel is Arab. Be that as it may, and it ain’t, Robert loses his bet.

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Mark Hunter documents what he says. He performs an essential and, at times, heroic service. He also, to me, bends too far backwards at times in expecting better of ARI. Its principals know what they are doing, and deserve far worse rhetoric than he chooses to use.

Those who endorse the perpetual and pointless Mideast war and ignore its inevitable "blowback" are, naturally, not going to agree with Hunter's general viewpoint. Nothing new.

I've seen and heard ARI's Yaron Brook and Andrew Bernstein up close — and I mean that literally, two to three feet. I have almost never seen, as I did with them, such a concentrated, visual suggestion of a malevolent personal attitude. So much so that when I see ARI openly endorsing torture, I cannot be surprised in the slightest.

That this organization is the entry point to Objectivist culture, for thousands each year, especially high school and college students, depresses me all over again.

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Mark Hunter documents what he says. He performs an essential and, at times, heroic service. He also, to me, bends too far backwards at times in expecting better of ARI. Its principals know what they are doing, and deserve far worse rhetoric than he chooses to use.

Those who endorse the perpetual and pointless Mideast war and ignore its inevitable "blowback" are, naturally, not going to agree with Hunter's general viewpoint. Nothing new.

I've seen and heard ARI's Yaron Brook and Andrew Bernstein up close — and I mean that literally, two to three feet. I have almost never seen, as I did with them, such a concentrated, visual suggestion of a malevolent personal attitude. So much so that when I see ARI openly endorsing torture, I cannot be surprised in the slightest.

That this organization is the entry point to Objectivist culture, for thousands each year, especially high school and college students, depresses me all over again.

Look, it's not torture, yes or no, it's people who try to get their views, however asinine, attention and gravitas by saying they are Ayn Rand this and Ayn Rand that. And they complain through their Valliant-type auxiliaries that Nathaniel and Barbara Branden have defamed and slandered Ayn Rand by testifying to their very human experiences with her over nearly two decades of one-on-one relationships?

--Brant

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Look, it's not torture, yes or no [...]

It's ARI's institutional and, for its principals, specific viewpoint ("yes," that is, endorsing it) and, as such, it deserves severe criticism. As I see it, anyway.

[...] it's people who try to get their views, however asinine, attention and gravitas by saying they are Ayn Rand this and Ayn Rand that. And they complain through their Valliant-type auxiliaries that Nathaniel and Barbara Branden have defamed and slandered Ayn Rand by testifying to their very human experiences with her over nearly two decades of one-on-one relationships?

And this, also, is ARI's institutional and, for its principals, specific viewpoint and actions, and, as such, those deserve severe criticism. As I see it, anyway.

I'm not at all sure what your own point is here. Is your "it's not" saying that, for you, the ARI principals' endorsement of torture isn't an important issue? Or, for that matter, that you agree with them?

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Mark,

Before all else, let me welcome you to OL. I am going to operate under the assumption that you are the same person who runs ARI Watch. If I am wrong, please correct me. This being the case, there are a few comments I would like to make. To start, let's get to your post.

Michael’s latest post insinuates that the attitude of ARI Watch towards ARI is:

“... demonize, i.e., distort and omit facts and make things up ...”

“Make things up” is an indefensible slur. As for “distort and omit facts,” though that too is a slur, if I were charitable I could see how someone might think it at first. Sometimes ARI will turn 180 degrees on an issue and then pretend they were going in that direction all along. But that they contradict themselves is their problem not mine. For an analysis of one case see the review of ARI’s

“What We Owe Our Soldiers”

While acknowledging that ARI is poison (‘hemlock’) Michael in an earlier post claims that ARI Watch is just another (‘battery acid’). I myself view ARI Watch as herbicide (Roundup) for weeds in the garden of Objectivist discourse. Purple prose that, but Michael’s metaphor asked for it.

“ARI has done some very good things and has some products I buy and use.”

I too have been reduced to ordering ARI products. I do it through a bookstore though. That way ARI takes a 40% hit (anyway that’s what the bookstore discount was with Second Renaissance some years ago), and you pay no shipping (which may be more than the sales tax you will pay). Also it costs you nothing to return something if it’s damaged.

Mark Hunter

ARI Watch

As regards the charge of making stuff up, here is a direct quote from The Effect on ARI Watch (and this essay is discussed on another thread, so I might copy this post over there):

ARI must be fought continually, though, because Leonard Peikoff continually finances it from Ayn Rand’s estate. Each time someone buys a book by Ayn Rand part of the purchase price eventually goes to ARI, and every time someone looks at a paperback edition they see what appears to be Ayn Rand’s endorsement of ARI on the cover.

There is no way you could have known the income part of this because it isn't true that copyright fees go to ARI, not even partially. I have heard from more than one reliable source that Peikoff keeps the income from Rand's works. They go into his pocket. Peikoff even charges ARI for the use of some things from his inheritance. ARI is maintained by private donors, including a few millionaires. The main funding when it was founded came from the piggy-bank of Ed Snider, who later migrated to TAS in disgust. I personally think this funding was a rusty nail driven through Snider at the time as a rider on him getting the motion picture rights to Atlas Shrugged.

You stated your contention about ARI's funding as a fact and did not check or cite a source, thus you made it up. This could have been avoided easily by qualifying your speculation as speculation and not presenting it as a fact.

As to the other so-called slurs, I have not presented my criticism as such and that was not my intent. (Believe me, when I want to say something bad about someone, I do not mince words, so I really have no use for slurring.) I honestly do not like your rhetorical approach and I even think it is counterproductive to your goals. Your ham-handed lopsided rhetoric is what I mean by trying to cure hemlock poisoning with battery acid. One does not effectively counter propaganda with more propaganda from the other end. One kills propaganda with the simple truth. Thus, I am not trying to play oneupmanship or gotcha or smearing. It you have any discussions with me, you will find that I am a stickler for precision. I hold myself to that standard and I hold others to it.

Moving on, there are a few matters not related to the above post.

1. I do believe the watchdog work you are doing is valuable. It needs doing because the excesses by ARI are numerous and you have a good eye for them. I think you water your message down, though, and do not convince many people because of errors like the above and because of your overly-flamboyant rhetoric that borders on antisemitism and exaggerates too much when bashing ARI (or whomever/whatever you are bashing at the moment). I saw your site ages ago, but turned off at the time precisely for these reasons (and I was even into the flamboyant bashing style back then—I have since eschewed that).

If you have read much on OL, you will have perceived that there is probably not any Objectivist site out there that is friendly to understanding Islam and Muslims like you find here (see the Mideast section). I also run strong interference when the boundary of anti-Muslim bigotry or total misrepresentation is reached. (See this post as an example. For the record, none of the posters on that thread are racists to my knowledge, but I did pull the covers off the racism issue to show how it can be present with certain kind of rhetoric. btw - On that same thread, you can see part of the way I am presently approaching the issue of Islamism here.)

I am now on the other side of the fence on another thread defending the achievements of Jews and trying to keep the racism issue out of it. The Jewish culture encourages education and this results in high achievement. Any culture that encourages education harvests results of high achievement. I applaud this (see here, despite the horrible title I let slip by—see here for explanation).

The point is that if I am asked about which side I am on, Jew or Muslim, I say, "Neither," or "Both." I side with one or the other on specific issues, depending on whatever objective facts I can find and how they align with reason, thus I tend to piss off both sides. :) I have found an enormous amount of distortion in all quarters so far and not one person with a diploma of sainthood. Lots of loud honking, though, and lots of plain good people, Jews and Muslims, who try to stay out of all the yelling. At the present, I favor the works of Bernard Lewis, which I find to be the most level-headed, factual and insightful in interpreting a big picture view of the troubles.

I say this because I have detected a strong anti-Israel bias in your writing. I have no problem with you presenting your reasons and conclusions, but I will discourage preaching if that ever starts arising. I am not a big fan of scapegoating-type rhetoric.

2. Based on all this, I would like to ask you a question. Do you have a pro-Muslim bias or are you affiliated with any kind of Islamic organization, or is ARI Watch? (I hope I have managed to convey that I favor speaking well of cultures on matters like achievement, and that includes the different Islamic cultures.)

3. I have read your posts where you give some pretty nasty opinions about the Brandens on Internet discussions at other sites. I want to draw your attention to something in our opening orientation (from Basic Objectivist Living stuff):

For the detractors of the Brandens, please be advised that Objectivist Living is a haven for them. People can get a positive image of them here. They can learn about the Brandens and learn from them. The Brandens were fundamental to the creation of Objectivism and we feel lucky to be able to interact with them. Disagreements with them on specific issues are OK, but Branden bashing is not tolerated. Instead, we wish to honor them.

Please honor our policy in this matter when you post on OL.

As an aside on this, despite the lapse I mentioned, I do find your standard of scholarship on ARI Watch generally pretty good (albeit lopsided and stretched at times). I did not detect you using this same standard in relation to the Brandens. You seem to have relied on PARC and the general folklore. There are many discussions on OL of PARC's defects and shoddiness (the name of its shortcomings is "Legion"). If you are interested in accuracy as a value, I would like to draw your attention to two articles by Neil Parille here and here.

As another aside, I think your message on ARI Watch would benefit greatly from using a fact-focused approach like Neil used and omit the constantly repeated opinions. Impact and convincing power would certainly increase enormously. I know this is an unsolicited suggestion, but one good strong opinion after a mountain of facts showing errors and biases is far more effective than the nonstop voluminous haranguing interspersed around facts and quotes I have read in your articles.

That is what I have to say for now. I hope you find value here and, please, make yourself at home.

Michael

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Look, it's not torture, yes or no [...]

It's ARI's institutional and, for its principals, specific viewpoint ("yes," that is, endorsing it) and, as such, it deserves severe criticism. As I see it, anyway.

[...] it's people who try to get their views, however asinine, attention and gravitas by saying they are Ayn Rand this and Ayn Rand that. And they complain through their Valliant-type auxiliaries that Nathaniel and Barbara Branden have defamed and slandered Ayn Rand by testifying to their very human experiences with her over nearly two decades of one-on-one relationships?

And this, also, is ARI's institutional and, for its principals, specific viewpoint and actions, and, as such, those deserve severe criticism. As I see it, anyway.

I'm not at all sure what your own point is here. Is your "it's not" saying that, for you, the ARI principals' endorsement of torture isn't an important issue? Or, for that matter, that you agree with them?

I am actually not addressing torture here. That is all. I am referring to the inappropriateness of plastering Ayn Rand's name on an institute and then going around saying, in effect, Ayn Rand this and Ayn Rand that. It's like a religious procession led by an effigy of Jesus.

--Brant

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On the one hand, Mark Hunter surmised (yes, it wasn't documented) that monies from Peikoff's holding Rand's copyrights find their way, eventually, to ARI's coffers.

Well, Peikoff founded ARI, so why wouldn't he somehow, at the end of the fiscal day, support it? By sending them money? That seems to be a reasonable gloss on what Mark said. I, for one, didn't assume that he was alleging a contractual diversion of some of those royalties to ARI.

The cards-in-Rand's-books and back-cover-links tactics also obviously constitute support, for Peikoff had to give his consent to them — and would have had to contractually insist on both elements with the publishing companies. They don't complicate the printing process that much out of their own corporate charity. You can trust me, professionally, on this one.

On the other hand:

There is no way you could have known the income part of this because it isn't true that copyright fees go to ARI, not even partially. I have heard from more than one reliable source that Peikoff keeps the income from Rand's works. They go into his pocket.

You don't document this yourself, though, Michael, however obvious this may be.

Peikoff even charges ARI for the use of some things from his inheritance.

Nor this. In any event, would that include charging rent for their holding the Ayn Rand Archives? I seriously doubt that, as they're saving him considerable archival and storage trouble, and providing Jeff Britting's careful attention to those materials.

I'm sure Peikoff is acting, in his own mind, like Midas Mulligan — who rented out his car for 25 cents a day in Galt's Gulch. Yet that, even in the book, was a moral formality and not a substantial accounting reality.

ARI is maintained by private donors, including a few millionaires. The main funding when it was founded came from the piggy-bank of Ed Snider, who later migrated to TAS in disgust.

These points, true enough, are a matter of admitted public comment, on ARI's part, or are documented by what's been filed for ARI's tax exemption, or are noted openly by Snider.

I personally think this funding was a rusty nail driven through Snider at the time as a rider on him getting the motion picture rights to Atlas Shrugged.

This, though, about a quid pro quo, is, on the face of it, just as much a supposition on your part — however plausible, as I'd say it is — as Peikoff's supporting ARI, on net, is on Mark's part. At least, without your supporting it otherwise.

To me, it's not really appropriate to simply discount such conclusions on Mark's part (or on my part, above, if you so choose). Not without attempting, on your own part, to at least give some reasoning as to why, let alone citing or alluding to documentation.

As for suggesting to Mark, within one post and without any citations, that he uses "ham-handed lopsided rhetoric," is "overly flamboyant," writes so as to "border on antisemitism," shows a "strong anti-Israel bias," uses "scapegoating-type rhetoric," may have "a pro-Muslim bias," holds "pretty nasty opinions about the Brandens [...] at other sites" (in advance of his even confirming he's the same person), commits "lopsided and stretched" scholarship, has "seem[ed] to have relied on PARC," and does "nonstop voluminous haranguing" ...

... you nonetheless, somehow, after all of that, "hope [he finds] value here" and want him to "make [him]self at home"?

{SpockRaisedEyebrow} Fascinating. {/SpockRaisedEyebrow} *sigh*

Edited by Greybird

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[...] I am referring to the inappropriateness of plastering Ayn Rand's name on an institute and then going around saying, in effect, Ayn Rand this and Ayn Rand that. It's like a religious procession led by an effigy of Jesus.

That's a keeper, amigo! Your simile has kept me laughing for the last half-hour, because it's so perfectly, sadly fitting.

Especially with Rand not having wanted this to happen. (Since, at least, her statement in the May 1968 issue of The Objectivist.)

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Steve,

I call it as I see it. I like the fact that someone like Mark is a watchdog and he makes some excellent observations. But one has to filter his writing to find them. I don't like his rhetoric.

I did not "simply discount such conclusions on Mark's part" about ARI's funding. I stated clearly that he made it up. (He even said my observation was an "indefensible slur." So I defended it.) My observation is due to his presentation, not mine. He presented speculation as fact. If he had stated, "I presume" or some other such qualification, that would have been OK. But he stated "Each time someone buys a book by Ayn Rand part of the purchase price eventually goes to ARI." That is not speculation (as rhetoric). That is make-believe (as fact).

As to my sources, I prefer to keep them private because disclosure would result in an awful lot of yelling in their lives. You mentioned ARI's tax records. Being a non-profit organization, the financial statements and tax records are public. I don't know American tax law enough to know if that would include a list of donors, but that would be a good documental source to check if truth is the goal. Look for Peikoff's name among the donors, or any donations from the publishers of Rand's works. (I presume ARI makes a commission off of any of Rand's works they sell through their own outlets, but that was not Mark's so-called fact. His words are "each time.")

Michael

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Michael makes much of welcoming me but soon is referring to my “ham-handed lopsided rhetoric” and “nonstop voluminous haranguing” etc as if reading such epithets will convince me to mend my ways.

He descends to the level of Robert Jones. My writing, Michael says, “borders on antisemitism.”

No, Michael, it is antisemitism.

Michel refers to ARI Watch as “bashing” – the word not only means severe criticism but connotes mindless and reckless criticism. He claims my writing “exaggerates too much” – rather vague that. I would say, along with Greybeard (thanks Greybeard) that it’s frequently restrained – and anyway ARI is so bad on some issues it would be hard to exaggerate.

On first reading I didn’t understand why Michael next digresses into a discussion of Jewish and Muslim culture. But we soon see why.

“I say this because ...”

Hold it right there. No he doesn’t. Israel does not represent Jewish culture (contrary to their propaganda), and not all Jews are Israelis (though they say something like that too). Michael continues:

“... I have detected a strong anti-Israel bias in your writing.”

Actually my disgust with the actions of Israel is as obvious as the Rock of Gibraltar. Michael would sail into the Mediterranean and with surprise declare: I have detected a big rock !

Note that my “bias” is not prejudice. I seek justice. After investigating, and getting over the “not perfect but the vanguard freedom” business, you’ll find that Israel is no ally of America. I elaborate on ARI Watch, replying to ARI with but a fraction of the articles ARI puts out promoting the contrary view.

“I am not a big fan of scapegoating-type rhetoric.”

Thus insinuating that the rhetoric of yours truly is “scapegoating.” The word is pejorative. By itself it’s just name-calling.

“Based on all this, I ... ask you a question. Do you have a pro-Muslim bias or are you affiliated with any kind of Islamic organization, or is ARI Watch?”

Michael’s question is not based on anything except the ridiculous notion that only a Muslim would critique Israel. Michael’s introductory phrase “Based on all this” makes his question a loaded one.

And why ask the question? It’s an arbitrary insinuation I made fun of in an earlier post. (On the other thread “The Effect by Mark ... on ariwatch.com” post 23)

“I hope I have managed to convey that I favor speaking well of cultures on matters like achievement, and that includes the different Islamic cultures.”

This seeming concern for an alleged muslim’s sensibilities is, I suspect, only a way of saying yet again that ARI Watch looks like it was written by muslims.

“... despite the lapse I mentioned, I do find your standard of scholarship on ARI Watch generally pretty good ...”

OK, which is it, one lapse or riddled with errors?

“If you are interested in accuracy as a value ... .”

How shall I reply? Forget it Michael, I don’t value accuracy ? Stating the above premise is like beginning: If you aren’t beating your wife ... .

Another insinuation in the same vein: ARI Watch “would benefit greatly from using a fact-focused approach ... .” As if it uses some other approach.

Michael says he once wrote in my style. I didn’t know he wrote articles and have read only a few of his posts here, but maybe he flatters himself.

In his earlier post Michael claimed that in general ARI Watch makes things up. In his post considered here he insinuates several times (though once says otherwise) that ARI Watch is generally wrong. He refers to a plurality of errors. I trust even he will agree that his one alleged example – and presumably he put his best foot forward – is a very minor error if error it be.

There’s a mass of data on ARI Watch, hundreds of statements. Naturally I don’t think there are any factual errors but I will appreciate it if anyone brings any to my attention. I address Michael only substantive criticism in the next post.

-oOo-

One last thing. After all the insults, Michael has the fatuity to say:

“I hope you find value here and, please, make yourself at home.”

Who’s he trying to fool? Fortunately my home-life’s a lot more pleasant !

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I’d written that Mr. Peikoff continually helps finance ARI. The claim has been made that this is backwards, not only does he not financially support ARI, it’s the other way around: he charges them for the use of some items bequeathed to him by Ayn Rand.

Believing that ARI pays for the right (in many cases the exclusive right) to publish copyrighted work is certainly reasonable, but the net effect is to the financial advantage of ARI as well as Mr. Peikoff. Elaboration in two parts:

1. Mr. Peikoff owns the copyrights, so royalties would go to him first. Now consider his attitude towards ARI in his talk “America versus Americans” given April 6, 2003:

”... we at the Ayn Rand Institute are doing what we can to spread some better ideas. Dr. Yaron Brook alone, its executive director – sitting right there – in the last six months has been interviewed on 59 radio and television programs and in the press, and has given 31 speeches to groups large and small, trying to get the word out. But no one man even he, no one institute, can change the world.”

Given Mr. Peikoff’s admiration and his ‘we’re all going to die’ outlook, isn’t it extraordinarily likely that he donates a lot, and regularly, to ARI from the royalty income bequeathed to him by Ayn Rand? (Of course ARI gets money from other sources as well.)

If Mr. Peikoff believed his house was on fire, would he charge the firemen an entrance fee? Of course not, he’d almost certainly help them all he can, and gratis.

This is not a sure thing. One can only infer with what I consider a high degree of probability that Mr. Peikoff regularly donates to ARI.

The part below is a sure thing.

2. Mr. Peikoff allows ARI to call itself the official Ayn Rand organization, and he allows ARI to be the exclusive distributor of many of Ayn Rand’s works. The cash value of both is enormous. Without question Mr. Peikoff continually provides value to ARI which translates into money, money over and above whatever ARI might pay for the privilege of receiving these favors.

One might reply that what I wrote is easily construed as something more specific. Here’s the entire contended phrase from my article (emphasis added):

“... Leonard Peikoff continually finances it [ARI] from Ayn Rand’s estate. Each time someone buys a book by Ayn Rand part of the purchase price
eventually
goes to ARI, ...”

It’s not so bad. Why burden the reader with text like this post? Making the lack of precision here into some sort of exemplary crime is ridiculous. The claimant should get some sense of proportion.

-oOo-

When I get around to it I’ll put this in the website’s “Jeers” section and perhaps reference it in the article.

Edited by Mark

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Mark,

I could not have furnished a better example of the kind of rhetoric I deplore. You sure can speculate up a storm. But the following is serious:

My writing, Michael says, “borders on antisemitism.”

No, Michael, it is antisemitism.

You cannot preach antisemitism on OL. Do that on your own site or anywhere else. I will not host it. Personal insults ditto. This is the only warning. Future offensive texts and bigotry will be deleted without notice or explanation.

I would say, along with Greybeard (thanks Greybeard)...

Greybird, not Greybeard.

Here’s the entire contended phrase from my article (emphasis added):

“... Leonard Peikoff continually finances it [ARI] from Ayn Rand’s estate. Each time someone buys a book by Ayn Rand part of the purchase price
eventually
goes to ARI, ...”

It’s not so bad. Why burden the reader with text like this post? Making the lack of precision here into some sort of exemplary crime is ridiculous. The claimant should get some sense of proportion.

Yeah, right. When you are wrong, you are not really wrong. The wrong one is actually the one who shows where you are wrong.

Gimme a break. This sounds like the worst of ARI. You can do better than that.

Michael

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Michael is mistaken, I can’t do any better than what I wrote. In fact I think that it’s pretty good, and that I’ve made a good case for my statement. (COMMENT DELETED BY ADMINISTRATION.)

I could just as well say: Come on Michael, you can do better than secret reliable sources you’re afraid to expose. But I don’t say that.

I’d written:

Each time someone buys a book by Ayn Rand part of the purchase price eventually goes to ARI ...

The worst I see – and here I repeat my last post – is that my statement relies on the word “eventually.” But even though the statement is not perfect if you’re worried about the details, when I wrote the article there was no point in elaborating when I had more important things to say, and I still see no point in elaborating, though I have now done so.

How could we change the statement? Consider:

Each time someone buys a book by Ayn Rand Mr. Peikoff gets a percentage of the purchase price. Mr. Peikoff helps ARI financially by etc (see my earlier post) and he is better able to do so because of the income he gets from Ayn Rand’s books.

Or:

Mr. Peikoff, who owns and controls Ayn Rand’s estate, has little or nothing to do with the financial viability of ARI.

For that’s what Michael is really saying.

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