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Friday, March 31, 2017

The Boy Scout Objectivists Must Check Their Premises

Here’s an excerpt from a 457-word message that I received from an Objectivist ex-friend:

“I never expected that you will turn against Rand… If you had doubts you ought to have kept it to yourself, instead of going public with that [unprintable expletive] article. Only a [unprintable expletive] like you will have thoughts like this.”

A day later, another Objectivist, who has never been in my FB-friend-list but is known to me as we are part of same Objectivist groups and have been liking and commenting on each other’s posts for 3-years, tried to post a tirade against me in a FB group that I admin. I didn’t approve the post, but I have saved its screenshot.

Here’s an excerpt form this post:

“I will be leaving the group shortly but wanted to make sure you are aware of the change in the group. In my opinion this group should have been dismantled last week since "We are NOT all 'Open Objectivists' now"! but looks like Anoop Verma intends to keep it going.”

The post is tagged to 50-people and writer gloats that more people have not been tagged because a FB post “can only have a maximum of 50 tags.” This person is aggrieved because recently I came out in the support of an Open System for Objectivism. Instead of arguing with me with evidence and logic, this person is encouraging a 50-strong mob to lynch me.

Such behavior, I now realize, is symptomatic of the boy scout mentality that inflicts many followers of Ayn Rand. I blame Dr. Leonard Peikoff for the boy scout mentality of his followers. Well, if he calls himself the greatest authority figure in Objectivism, then he ought to take blame for the low intellectual standards of the movement.

Here is a list of Dr. Peikoff's mistakes:

1. He termed Barbara Branden’s The Passion of Ayn Rand as “non-cognitive” while in the same breath confessing that he had not read the book.

2. The treatment of Nathaniel Branden by the Objectivists raises many questions. I have no problem if Nathaniel is denounced for his mistakes but was he the only one to make the mistakes? Was Ayn Rand completely blameless in this sad affair?

3. To counter Dr. David Kelley's view of Objectivism, Dr. Peikoff wrote the article, “Fact and Value,” in which he solicits support for his position by questioning Dr. Kelley’s moral character, and by reminding the readers of the moral obligation that they owe to Ayn Rand and to him (because he is Rand’s heir).

4. By insisting that Objectivism is a Closed System, and is “rigid,” “narrow,” “intolerant” and “closed-minded,” Dr. Peikoff has turned Rand's philosophy into a dogma.

5. Dr. Peikoff’s letter to the board of directors of the ARI for demanding the excommunication of Mr. John McCaskey is something that is not expected from an exponent of Objectivism. In fact, Dr. Peikoff has evicted several other high-level intellectuals from the inner sanctum of Objectivism over petty differences. On these issues, Mr. Robert Tracinski's articles are worth reading.

6. Dr. Peikoff calls himself the “intellectual heir” to Ayn Rand. But I am unable to find the evidence of Rand appointing him as her intellectual heir.

7. I have listened to 90% of Dr. Peikoff’s podcasts. While many of the podcasts are good, in a few of them his voice does not sound like the voice of reason—he sounds authoritarian and makes disparaging comments about people with whose ideas he disagrees.

I fear that Dr. Peikoff is running a boy scout Objectivist camp. He has encouraged the development of a cult like environment in Objectivism. His Objectivist followers take cue from him, and they too demand an unquestioning conformity from everyone. Their method is to insult and troll anyone who asks difficult questions.

Related:

My Farewell To Organized Objectivism

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