Sex and OPAR


Michael Stuart Kelly

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Bottom line, I think AR wasn't too intelligent about sexual matters, and of course Leonard Peikoff carries the torch. I don't know about his first wife, but I don't think it's a coincidence that his next two were young enough to be his daughters. What better way to control a woman than when she's young and naive.

To Peikoff. sex may be all spiritual, but I'd be real curious how many orgasms his poor wives have had. I'm sure they can count 'em on one hand. (sorry for being katty).

I just signed on a couple minutes ago and saw that a new member had joined and that the new member was female (judging from the name) and had posted twice in "Sex and OPAR," and I started to chuckle thinking that one thing about this list is that we're getting a higher percentage of females who are speaking up than has been characteristic of O'ist -- and other libertarian -- lists I've lurked or participated on.

Welcome, Ginny.

Re the age of Leonard's first wife, Susan Ludell (I'm not certain of how her last name is spelled), she's younger than he but I think not as much younger as Cynthia and Amy. I think each succeeding wife has been younger than he by a progressively increasing number of years. Susan, judging from her appearance when I met her on several occasions in the early '70s, is about my age. If she is my age, she's about eleven years Leonard's junior. (I'm 64 now; Leonard is about 75.)

Ellen

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Hey Ginny, welcome to OL. It's great to see you here!

I could only image what you describe as your experience with Orthodox Objectivists in New York. Sounds like a bunch of losers unable to loosen up enough to even begin to enjoy the experience. Those guys are better left to their blow-up Dagny dolls. Objectivist sex kind of sounds like a disease....

My advice, don't write off all Objectivists as potential partners, but don't even waste your time with the Randroid types, find a true individual. I love my renegade Objectivist and he was well worth the wait.

Kat

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I suppose I'd ask how you got in bed in the first place with this person. Why were they flirting with you to begin with? What was the attraction? Did they just happen to catch sight of you and decide they wanted to go to bed with you? Or did you actually have a conversation and they (and you) decided on that basis? In my mind, that makes all the difference. I've no aesthetic objection to people going to bed with each other after they just meet, but I do have an aesthetic objection to people using each other's bodies as sex toys. Are they people encountering each other? People having a relationship on the basis of who they are, no matter how short the acquaintance? Or people using each other?

Judith,

That scenario was invented. I have not experienced that particular one, but I have had an intimate one-time encounter with a woman when I was going through a tough time and was extremely fragile. There was certainly more of a connection than a sex toy. We survived, we served each others needs, and it was good. I even found Kat later, so that part of me wasn't damaged at all.

At another time in life, that would not have happened. Sex is not static, like buying merchandise off a shelf. There are many factors involved.

btw - I also am not opposed to prostitution, although I think that this is playing with fire because of the volatile self-esteem issues.

Michael

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btw - I also am not opposed to prostitution, although I think that this is playing with fire because of the volatile self-esteem issues.

Do you mean that you don't believe it should be against the law? Or are you really just not opposed to it?

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I suppose I'd ask how you got in bed in the first place with this person. Why were they flirting with you to begin with? What was the attraction? Did they just happen to catch sight of you and decide they wanted to go to bed with you? Or did you actually have a conversation and they (and you) decided on that basis? In my mind, that makes all the difference. I've no aesthetic objection to people going to bed with each other after they just meet, but I do have an aesthetic objection to people using each other's bodies as sex toys. Are they people encountering each other? People having a relationship on the basis of who they are, no matter how short the acquaintance? Or people using each other?

That scenario was invented. I have not experienced that particular one, but I have had an intimate one-time encounter with a woman when I was going through a tough time and was extremely fragile. There was certainly more of a connection than a sex toy. We survived, we served each others needs, and it was good. I even found Kat later, so that part of me wasn't damaged at all.

At another time in life, that would not have happened. Sex is not static, like buying merchandise off a shelf. There are many factors involved.

btw - I also am not opposed to prostitution, although I think that this is playing with fire because of the volatile self-esteem issues.

I didn't mean to suggest "you" you by my rhetorical questions; it was more along the lines of the impersonal "one" you.

And I'm not coming from the oh-so-serious point of view that others may be coming from, that suggests that you (or "one") may be "damaging yourself". Not at all.

And I'm not opposed to one-time encounters, as I've said before.

I'm just looking at the whole thing from my own personal point of view in terms of what I'd WANT to do and what I wouldn't WANT to do, and how I'd feel if I found out that someone had slept with me without even liking me.

Frankly, I can't even imagine being able to perform in a "casual sex" context. It would be along the lines of a mind-rape. Maybe even worse than an actual rape, because in this situation I would be forcing myself to do it.

It's been said that there are real differences between men and women in terms of being able to separate love and sex, and maybe it's true. I'm not saying one needs to feel about someone as one would feel about the love of one's life to jump into bed, but if there isn't SOME level of emotional connection, where's the desire? Why would I WANT to sleep with someone with whom I have no emotional connection?

I just don't get it. I don't care how physically beautiful a man is, or how rich he is, or how sexually experienced or talented he is said to be, if I don't have some emotional connection to him, I have no desire for him -- period. Similarly, if I DO have an emotional connection to a man, I don't care what he looks like, I don't care how much money he has, I don't care what other people say about him; I WANT him -- ferociously. I don't understand how other people feel otherwise.

If I did go to bed with someone on short acquaintance, thinking we had that kind of connection, and found out later that it hadn't been reciprocated, I'd first feel used, and later feel disgust and contempt for the man for being capable of that kind of thing. In the long run, there would be no permanent damage to my psyche, of course.

Judith

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I suppose I'd ask how you got in bed in the first place with this person. Why were they flirting with you to begin with? What was the attraction? Did they just happen to catch sight of you and decide they wanted to go to bed with you? Or did you actually have a conversation and they (and you) decided on that basis? In my mind, that makes all the difference. I've no aesthetic objection to people going to bed with each other after they just meet, but I do have an aesthetic objection to people using each other's bodies as sex toys. Are they people encountering each other? People having a relationship on the basis of who they are, no matter how short the acquaintance? Or people using each other?

That scenario was invented. I have not experienced that particular one, but I have had an intimate one-time encounter with a woman when I was going through a tough time and was extremely fragile. There was certainly more of a connection than a sex toy. We survived, we served each others needs, and it was good. I even found Kat later, so that part of me wasn't damaged at all.

At another time in life, that would not have happened. Sex is not static, like buying merchandise off a shelf. There are many factors involved.

btw - I also am not opposed to prostitution, although I think that this is playing with fire because of the volatile self-esteem issues.

I didn't mean to suggest "you" you by my rhetorical questions; it was more along the lines of the impersonal "one" you.

And I'm not coming from the oh-so-serious point of view that others may be coming from, that suggests that you (or "one") may be "damaging yourself". Not at all.

And I'm not opposed to one-time encounters, as I've said before.

I'm just looking at the whole thing from my own personal point of view in terms of what I'd WANT to do and what I wouldn't WANT to do, and how I'd feel if I found out that someone had slept with me without even liking me.

Frankly, I can't even imagine being able to perform in a "casual sex" context. It would be along the lines of a mind-rape. Maybe even worse than an actual rape, because in this situation I would be forcing myself to do it.

It's been said that there are real differences between men and women in terms of being able to separate love and sex, and maybe it's true. I'm not saying one needs to feel about someone as one would feel about the love of one's life to jump into bed, but if there isn't SOME level of emotional connection, where's the desire? Why would I WANT to sleep with someone with whom I have no emotional connection?

I just don't get it. I don't care how physically beautiful a man is, or how rich he is, or how sexually experienced or talented he is said to be, if I don't have some emotional connection to him, I have no desire for him -- period. Similarly, if I DO have an emotional connection to a man, I don't care what he looks like, I don't care how much money he has, I don't care what other people say about him; I WANT him -- ferociously. I don't understand how other people feel otherwise.

If I did go to bed with someone on short acquaintance, thinking we had that kind of connection, and found out later that it hadn't been reciprocated, I'd first feel used, and later feel disgust and contempt for the man for being capable of that kind of thing. In the long run, there would be no permanent damage to my psyche, of course.

Judith

Judith,

I like what you say here--such passion and conviction. You are a woman after my own heart. Don’t tell Angie I said that. ;)

-Victor

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I suppose I'd ask how you got in bed in the first place with this person. Why were they flirting with you to begin with? What was the attraction? Did they just happen to catch sight of you and decide they wanted to go to bed with you? Or did you actually have a conversation and they (and you) decided on that basis? In my mind, that makes all the difference. I've no aesthetic objection to people going to bed with each other after they just meet, but I do have an aesthetic objection to people using each other's bodies as sex toys. Are they people encountering each other? People having a relationship on the basis of who they are, no matter how short the acquaintance? Or people using each other?

That scenario was invented. I have not experienced that particular one, but I have had an intimate one-time encounter with a woman when I was going through a tough time and was extremely fragile. There was certainly more of a connection than a sex toy. We survived, we served each others needs, and it was good. I even found Kat later, so that part of me wasn't damaged at all.

At another time in life, that would not have happened. Sex is not static, like buying merchandise off a shelf. There are many factors involved.

btw - I also am not opposed to prostitution, although I think that this is playing with fire because of the volatile self-esteem issues.

I didn't mean to suggest "you" you by my rhetorical questions; it was more along the lines of the impersonal "one" you.

And I'm not coming from the oh-so-serious point of view that others may be coming from, that suggests that you (or "one") may be "damaging yourself". Not at all.

And I'm not opposed to one-time encounters, as I've said before.

I'm just looking at the whole thing from my own personal point of view in terms of what I'd WANT to do and what I wouldn't WANT to do, and how I'd feel if I found out that someone had slept with me without even liking me.

Frankly, I can't even imagine being able to perform in a "casual sex" context. It would be along the lines of a mind-rape. Maybe even worse than an actual rape, because in this situation I would be forcing myself to do it.

It's been said that there are real differences between men and women in terms of being able to separate love and sex, and maybe it's true. I'm not saying one needs to feel about someone as one would feel about the love of one's life to jump into bed, but if there isn't SOME level of emotional connection, where's the desire? Why would I WANT to sleep with someone with whom I have no emotional connection?

I just don't get it. I don't care how physically beautiful a man is, or how rich he is, or how sexually experienced or talented he is said to be, if I don't have some emotional connection to him, I have no desire for him -- period. Similarly, if I DO have an emotional connection to a man, I don't care what he looks like, I don't care how much money he has, I don't care what other people say about him; I WANT him -- ferociously. I don't understand how other people feel otherwise.

If I did go to bed with someone on short acquaintance, thinking we had that kind of connection, and found out later that it hadn't been reciprocated, I'd first feel used, and later feel disgust and contempt for the man for being capable of that kind of thing. In the long run, there would be no permanent damage to my psyche, of course.

Judith

Couldn't agree more. I don't think Michael was condoning sex without some attraction first - mental as well as physical - sort of like a Kira/Leo scenario. I could understand someone doing that. . . however, I don't think I, personally, could. It would just feel weird having sex with someone based on a first impression, when so many first impressions of people I've met have been wrong.

~Elizabeth

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Sometimes two bodies just really like one another.

Ginny's (and welcome, btw) treatment of O-effing in the '70's... heh! It's further funnied, all that stiff nobility, by thinking about this: if they only knew what was going on under the covers on-high. Zowie!!

When the drive is "on," the chemistry is bubbling away, it's amazing how ruthlessly efficient the decision making process comes to aid. You become, for a moment, a pragmatist.

I think pragmatism has its uses, this is one of them-- it gets you right down to what's really doing.

I mean, yeah, you could call it mere rationalization but I have to go for (limited, but at times oh-so-propelling) pragmatism.

I obviously have an extremely open view of sex. This view was always in place, but I will confess it expanded greatly, first right after I got a vasectomy, being done making critters. That makes for some freedom between a man and a woman, boy does it ever.

I am convinced that sex is the most powerful thing on the planet. That's why it is always under scrutiny, care, control, and custody of whatever local gods are in question. Taboos are power tools.

Sex, in and of itself, is joyous, friendly, fun, and intense. You either know the rules of the road (such as, babies may or may not be involved) or you do not. I work in a place where, on the whole, they do not. And of course, that doesn't stop it. The levels of dangerous, irresponsible sex around here defy gravity. I wish I could say it's mostly an educational issue, but it is not. It's uglier than that.

I think Heinlein had a great view on sex. Read "Time Enough For Love." It's like anything else, once you bring it out into the clear light, there's no more secrecy or control available to put on it.

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btw - I also am not opposed to prostitution, although I think that this is playing with fire because of the volatile self-esteem issues.

Do you mean that you don't believe it should be against the law? Or are you really just not opposed to it?

Michael could be in trouble -- what's new? -- if he answers that. I figure that I know what his answer is, in general terms. I'll answer first. I am "really just not opposed to it." I considered, for a brief time when I was in college, offering my services for sale. You see, I had a ready-made clientele available in the horse world circles I frequented. And I was full of sexual energy, and enjoyed sex very much, and was very good at it. And I often got come-ons from horse world guys, who were aware of me in a different context from the academic one wherein I was top student (a turn-off to a lot of guys).

The reasons I decided against the idea of going pro were practical ones. This was in the days prior to legal abortion, and although I could have obtained an abortion if needs must, it would have been tricky and difficult to do that and there was no way I wanted to be burdened by a child at so young an age. (I wasn't sure if I ever wanted to have children; in the end I decided against. But I was sure I didn't want to have a child then.) The other reason I decided against was: the risk to my academic career if I'd done it and been found out by people in the academic world, as I too easily could have been since there were some people from Northwestern who took riding lessons at the stables at which I spent a lot of time. I was intending to become a college professor and didn't want the hassles of having to live down a "sordid" past.

Myself, though, I didn't see anything "sordid" about it. And addressing a point Judith has raised, what would be the emotional connection? A celebration of the joys of the flesh on the part of two energetic, robustly healthy human bodies. I wouldn't have wanted to do it with someone I didn't like, but there were quite a few men whom I liked in those horse-world circumstances. I would have thought of it more on the order of dancing partners. One needn't want to have a romance with a dancing partner. One can enjoy dancing with someone because you're both good at dancing.

Ellen

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Ellen,

The self confidence this kind of honesty requires....Wow! You know how such statements can be perceived but respecting who you are is more important. You never cease to impress.

Paul

Edit: I should add: What independence of perspective!

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Prostitution can go wrong in college, that's for sure.

In Brazil, they had a soap opera where the father of a female student showed up a day early to visit his daughter and called an escort service (euphemism for organized prostitute service in Brazil) for the evening. His daughter was the one who showed up at his hotel room door for the appointment.

Intense family moment.

I am sure this has happened at one time or another.

Michael

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In Brazil, they had a soap opera where the father of a female student showed up a day early to visit his daughter and called an escort service (euphemism for organized prostitute service in Brazil) for the evening. His daughter was the one who showed up at his hotel room door for the appointment.

I think this is a classical plot, that I've seen in books and in films, although I can't remember the titles now.

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My already established outlook on prostate-tooshy-nin has been hardened after two years here in the ghetto. (5 dollars for around the world right in front of our shop, incidentally-- YUCK).

Prostitution should be legalized, but I don't see that happening anytime soon outside of where it already is (sections of Nevada, for instance). It's a service, but once again, the big S-word is involved. I like that the food industry is regulated for hygiene, and a key factor in this is obviously that. Safety is another. Underground economy is another.

And, like anything else regulated, there will be those who continue to fly under the radar. Caveat Emptor, yuppers.

As far as self-esteem issues, I guess either you are a pro, or you are not. Pros: My boss was in Vegas not long ago and he was grilling his cabbie about things. The cabbie talked about two top customers-- two slightly older ("MLF" types if you know what I mean) ladies who come into town every two weeks. They own their own half-million dollar townhouses. Business. Of course, as nice as that operation is I still doubt it's legal because I believe it is still illegal in Vegas proper.

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Thanks for the compliments, Paul. And while I'm at it, thanks for the coffee-conversation invitation in the "My Last Rant(s)" thread. By the time I got back to my computer after Christmas, that thread was no longer active, and I didn't want to restart it just to say thanks. I expect we would have a zinger of a conversation should we manage to meet one of these days.

Ellen

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It's interesting that the passage from Peikoff that began this thread consists of a string of assertions, with not a single scrap of evidence adduced for any of the assertions. With every sentence one reads, one must ask, "Why do you say that? What are your reasons?" No reasons are given.

"Sexual feeling is a sum; it presupposes all of a rational man's moral values and his love for them, including his love for the partner who embodies them. The essential meaning of such a feeling is not social, but metaphysical; it pertains not to any single value or love, but to the profound concern involved in all value pursuit: the relationship between a man and reality. Sex is a unique form of answering the supreme question of a volitional being: can I live? The man of self-esteem, using cognitive, conceptual terms, concludes in his own mind that the answer is yes. When he makes love, he knows that yes without words, as a passion coursing through his body."

Why could I not say, with equal authority and conviction:

"Sexual feeling is an instinct; it presupposes an animal's -- and a man's -- innate drive to reproduce. Thus, sex is not metaphysical, it is social; it is our means of keeping our species in existence. It is our unique form of answering the supreme question of a living being: Can my species survive?"

I don't believe a word of what I just wrote, but what is the epistemological distinction between Peikoff's statement and mine? Perhaps what Peikoff said is true, perhaps what I said is true -- perhaps both are false. But neither Peikoff nor I can reasonably require that our positions be taken seriously -- much less be accepted as true -- so long as we present them in the form of a string of arbitrary claims.

This method of presenting ideas is not uncommon among rationalistic Objectivists. There is no appeal to reality, to experience, to empirical fact, to science, to observation; ideas are merely tied together or split apart as the speaker desires; it's called "integration." But while tearing my hair out in frustration, I continue to ask: "What are the facts of reality that justify your claim? If you cannot tell me the facts, then please stop talking as if you know something and you expect me to agree with it!"

Barbara

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I was ~so~ hanging around for the Divine Ms. B to possibly do a bit of work here. Hi, honey, nice to see you!

So, if I am not mistaken, BB... basically you are saying that LP was proclaiming, if not preaching?

rde

I love stuff like this. Love it.

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Barbara,

Boy, did you hit the nail on the head. I have this problem with Rand's writing at times, too. I get very tired of phrases like "most people," etc., which are peppered throughout her writing, especially when she gets on a negative roll. At least with her, there usually will be some deep insight nearby.

What is sad is, as you mentioned, the rationalistic Objectivists who do this often call it "integration"--and sometimes "induction"--as if these were magic words that make an arbitrary opinion legitimate.

(btw - I sense a bit of familiarity with Peikoff's method of reasoning... :) )

Michael

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I don't believe a word of what I just wrote, but what is the epistemological distinction between [Ayn Rand's] statement and mine? Perhaps what [Ayn] said is true, perhaps what I said is true -- perhaps both are false. But neither [Ayn] nor I can reasonably require that our positions be taken seriously -- much less be accepted as true -- so long as we present them in the form of a string of arbitrary claims [or even in the form of literary presentations which are emotionally powerful to many].

ES

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It's interesting that the passage from Peikoff that began this thread consists of a string of assertions, with not a single scrap of evidence adduced for any of the assertions. With every sentence one reads, one must ask, "Why do you say that? What are your reasons?" No reasons are given.

...

This method of presenting ideas is not uncommon among rationalistic Objectivists. There is no appeal to reality, to experience, to empirical fact, to science, to observation; ideas are merely tied together or split apart as the speaker desires; it's called "integration." But while tearing my hair out in frustration, I continue to ask: "What are the facts of reality that justify your claim? If you cannot tell me the facts, then please stop talking as if you know something and you expect me to agree with it!"

Barbara

Peikoff gave a whole lecture on the topic "Sex as metaphysical" in his OTI series. So all these Peikoff-bashing remarks are quite off the mark: clearly he thought this topic was worthy of a much more detailed treatment than he gave in OPAR.

Shayne

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It's interesting that the passage from Peikoff that began this thread consists of a string of assertions, with not a single scrap of evidence adduced for any of the assertions. With every sentence one reads, one must ask, "Why do you say that? What are your reasons?" No reasons are given.

...

This method of presenting ideas is not uncommon among rationalistic Objectivists. There is no appeal to reality, to experience, to empirical fact, to science, to observation; ideas are merely tied together or split apart as the speaker desires; it's called "integration." But while tearing my hair out in frustration, I continue to ask: "What are the facts of reality that justify your claim? If you cannot tell me the facts, then please stop talking as if you know something and you expect me to agree with it!"

Barbara

Peikoff gave a whole lecture on the topic "Sex as metaphysical" in his OTI series. So all these Peikoff-bashing remarks are quite off the mark: clearly he thought this topic was worthy of a much more detailed treatment than he gave in OPAR.

Shayne

Shayne,

Leonard Peikioff is disliked for a host of others reasons and not really because of sex. His views on sex [taking Rand’s lead] are simply up for grabs for ridicule. Hell, why not? It has got to the point that when someone is this disliked, they can’t say or do anything that is right and there is some cheery-picking among the Peikoff selected quotes here. There is a lack of objectivity. That has occurred to me, I just didn't bother to say anything...until now. I am among Objectivist Protestants after all. ;)

-Victor

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Peikoff gave a whole lecture on the topic "Sex as metaphysical" in his OTI series. So all these Peikoff-bashing remarks are quite off the mark: clearly he thought this topic was worthy of a much more detailed treatment than he gave in OPAR.

Shayne,

Please read carefully. Nobody called Peikoff any names (other than "rationalistic," and the excerpt is a perfect example of rationalistic reasoning). The purpose here is not to bash Peikoff, although he deserves it at times, like with that amazing vote Democrat on pain of not understanding Objectivism decree. The criticism here is focused on what he produced.

Peikoff obviously did not think his "much more detailed treatment" was worthy of publication so far and I remember him stating somewhere something to the effect that published work is more valid than lectures. So let him be judged by what he produces in the more valid form. He prefers to publish sanctimonious pontification as the valid. It's his choice.

Incidentally, there are many passages in OPAR I find wanting in the respect Barbara mentioned (arbitrary proclamations stated as fact). I just might make a list of them...

Michael

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Please read carefully. Nobody called Peikoff any names (other than "rationalistic," and the excerpt is a perfect example of rationalistic reasoning).

Since when does the term "bashing" exclusively refer to name-calling?

Peikoff obviously did not think his "much more detailed treatment" was worthy of publication so far and I remember him stating somewhere something to the effect that published work is more valid than lectures. So let him be judged by what he produces in the more valid form. He prefers to publish sanctimonious pontification as the valid. It's his choice.

That's a lot of nonsense. First off, his lectures are published, unless they've been recently retracted but I doubt that. You're probably just complaining that he didn't make a book out of them. Which is even more nonsense. By what right do you demand that he take up that effort? He obviously thinks his time is spent better on other things. And this allegation that Peikoff considers his published work "more valid" is again more nonsense. Clearly what he meant is that the written works have been through more thorough revision. He couldn't possibly have meant that the lectures are to be ignored as you are doing.

Shayne

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Shayne,

Too much. Too much.

I judge what I read. I make no demands on Peikoff at all--much less by right. He can make sanctimonious pontifications to his heart's content. He does it all the time. What's the big deal? I just can't take sanctimonious pontification seriously--I take people at their word. I call it as I see it. Peikoff also said some good stuff at times. I remember mentioning that in other posts.

Also, if Peikoff said that stuff about published work versus lecture (I will try to find it later), he said it. Any alleged nonsense is his, not mine for repeating what he said. And it is pure nonsense to call my mentioning of Peikoff's alleged nonsense "nonsense."

:)

Michael

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