Eppur Si Muove

The purge mentality at ARI appears to be alive and well; and it seems that the doctrine of Rand’s inerrancy in matters of philosophy has been extended to include an assertion of Peikoff’s inerrancy in matters of history of science. More info here, here, and here.

David Kelley said everything that needed to be said about this sort of crap back in 1990.

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28 Responses to Eppur Si Muove

  1. Roderick September 13, 2010 at 5:29 pm #

    P.S. – I think McCaskey is wrong when he says that it “would be damaging to the Institute if the Institute acted either way, either acceding to [Peikoff’s] demand or rejecting it.” On the contrary, I think that rejecting Peikoff’s demand would have been the best thing that could possibly happen to the Institute — it would have represented its institutional salvation in the same way that turning down Dominique’s proposal (2.14) would have meant personal salvation for Peter Keating. (But on, ahem, inductive grounds, I think the odds of its choosing rightly on this question would have been low.)

  2. Mr Civil Libertarian September 13, 2010 at 5:37 pm #

    There was once a post on the Mises Inst. forum which adequately sums up my views on Objectivism today. It comes from a thread discussing Peikoff’s controversial stance on the so-called “Ground zero mosque”:

    “I think the biggest mistake in both Islam and Objectivism is perhaps in assigning living heirs after the first teacher died.”

  3. JOR September 13, 2010 at 9:18 pm #

    Does Piekoff understand just how much he sounds like a parody of an Objectivist?

    I mean, does he do it on purpose?

  4. Rorshak (1313) September 13, 2010 at 11:35 pm #

    Good god, Peikoff is even worse than I thought he was.

    How does anyone genuinely interested in Objectivism take this ass clown seriously anymore?

  5. Kevin Carson September 14, 2010 at 12:44 am #

    Here’s an odd little exchange for anyone who’s ever wondered if it’s really true that Objectivists aren’t allowed to have a sense of humor:

    Commenting on Roderick Fitts’ post linked above, I wrote: Correction: Objectivism *didn’t* have a theory of induction. Since the Magisterium has spoken, it does. There is room for debate on open questions of Marxism-Leninism; but once Comrade Stalin has spoken, the question is no longer open.

    FITTS: It will never have a theory of induction; Objectivism, like all philosophies, is closed. Future Objectivists can present their own theories of induction as expressions of the philosophy, but they can’t add it to it.

    That goes for Dr. Peikoff or you or anyone else.

    It’s David Kelley’s “open system” that allows for growth and change of the system except for areas he deems to be “closed”: see chapter 5 of Truth and Toleration for his list of such closed issues.

    I don’t know why you’re using that way of expression, but there is no room for debate on whether or not Objectivism can have a theory of induction: it cannot.

    ME: Ummm… I’m trying to decide whether 1) I should have used tags, or 2) you shut off your sense of humor when you booted up the computer.

    For the sake of the terminally humorless, the references to Marxism-Leninism and Stalin should have served as a clue that my comment was a fucking JOKE about the authoritarianism at ARI and Peikoff’s magisterial authority to define Objectivist dogma, infallibly and ex cathedra.

    Sweet bleeding Christ, I’d tell you the one about the horse who walked into a bar, but I’m afraid you’d give a response that started out “I don’t know why you’re using that way of expression…”

  6. Kevin Carson September 14, 2010 at 12:46 am #

    Seriously, I can imagine Fitts as an especially Aspergerish character in an Ayn Rand novel.

  7. Mike September 14, 2010 at 1:30 am #


    This is a fair criticism of Peikoff, but is this really a fair criticism of ARI? From what I’ve heard, few if any ARI supporters think Peikoff is in the right. Most think he’s acted unjustly, and very much so.

    For instance: One of the posts you linked to is by Roderick Fitts, an ARI supporter and student in their programs. He’s pro-McCaskey. He wrote several posts about this on Facebook, saying much the same. Within those threads many recognizable ARI affiliated people (as well as less recognizable grad students) agreed with him. I get the general feeling that the ARI crowd (which includes me) is incredibly mad at Peikoff.

    • Roderick September 30, 2010 at 9:53 am #

      From what I’ve heard, few if any ARI supporters think Peikoff is in the right. Most think he’s acted unjustly, and very much so.

      But if they acquiesce in it, then it’s effectively their policy. This is the path they decided to continue down when they denounced Kelley’s Truth and Toleration twenty years ago, and this is where it has led them.

      • Irfan Khawaja September 30, 2010 at 11:29 am #

        Very true. Unfortunately, one of the loudest denouncers of David Kelley was none other than…John McCaskey.

        • Roderick September 30, 2010 at 12:06 pm #

          They that sow the wind shall reap the whirlwind.

        • Irfan Khawaja October 1, 2010 at 10:59 am #

          Incidentally, documentation of McCaskey’s denunciation of Kelley is recorded in Kelley’s “Contested Legacy of Ayn Rand,” p. 109, note 17.

  8. Kevin Carson September 14, 2010 at 1:36 am #

    Just as a followup, one of the commenters under Fitts’ post tells me that a lot of people compare Peikoff to Stalin in all sincerity, that Fitts’ reaction was a perfectly natural reading, and that I need to “take a pill.”

    Come on, now–they’ve gotten serious *defenses* of Peikoff’s dogmatic pronouncements from people favorably comparing him to Stalin? To have read my remarks as a serious statement, Fitts would have had to assume I was defending Peikoff’s position on the one, true Objectivist theory of induction–and then defending Peikoff’s position, from a friendly perspective, by comparing him to Stalin.

    Does that strike you as a natural reading?

  9. Brian S September 14, 2010 at 10:30 am #

    Peikoff = Miscavige, as ARI-style objectivism continues to look more and more like Scientology.

  10. Anon73 September 14, 2010 at 1:02 pm #

    I wonder if it’s related to Sayre’s Law, the idea that people will fight more over trivial matters because they know more about them/have more invested. George H Smith tells an anecdote where he saw two baptists arguing vociferously over some trivial point of church doctrine, and thought as an atheist they’d really tear him apart. In fact it’s the opposite, the reason they were arguing intensely is because their beliefs are so similar.

  11. dennis September 14, 2010 at 2:31 pm #

    I know he posted about it on LRC, but I hope Kinsella shows up, when it comes to Objectivist silliness, he’s the bee’s knees.

  12. MBH September 14, 2010 at 10:44 pm #

    Roderick, do you think that knowledge-as-spiral can be reconciled with concepts-as-network?

    • Roderick September 30, 2010 at 9:54 am #

      Sounds ok to me. Is there a reason it shouldn’t?

      • MBH September 30, 2010 at 6:28 pm #

        I don’t think so. Just seemed like Harriman was operating under the assumption that it was an either/or.

  13. Neil Parille September 16, 2010 at 5:51 pm #

    I discuss it here —



    • Roderick September 17, 2010 at 6:01 pm #

      Thanks, Neil — great post.

  14. MagnusGoddmunsson September 16, 2010 at 8:43 pm #

    While we are having petty fights, the State keeps growing and growing.

    • Kevin Carson September 16, 2010 at 8:54 pm #

      If I can’t have petty fights, I don’t want to be part of your revolution.

    • JOR September 17, 2010 at 1:00 am #

      Because all couple-hundred people in the whole world who even really want to (and this doesn’t even include the Randroids, at least of the ARI variety, who at their best are about as libertarian as a standard issue Democrat or Republican), would totally be able to keep the state from growing if we stop our petty fights and… do what? Write essays at until it dies of boredom?

      Calls to tribal unity are not only intellectually and morally repulsive, but irrelevant practically. If we had the numbers or power to matter, all our petty fighting wouldn’t stop us, any more than it stopped the communists, or the monarchists, or anyone else.

      • Kevin Carson September 17, 2010 at 11:57 am #

        Exactly. For me, libertarianism is about living the way we want to live, here and now, and building a libertarian society is about getting more people to live the way they want to live. It’s not about doing my duty for the Party, or undertaking activism out of a sense of obligation like taking medicine.

        While people are wasting time scolding other people for doing what they feel like doing, they could be doing what they want themselves.

        • MBH September 17, 2010 at 3:12 pm #

          While people are wasting time scolding other people for doing what they feel like doing, they could be doing what they want themselves.

          Unless, of course, “what they feel like doing” violates another person’s rights.

  15. Roderick October 8, 2010 at 6:22 pm #

    Robert Tracinski has a mostly good piece on this here.

    But I’m still waiting to see an apology to David Kelley et al. from some of these guys. They’re finally beginning to see the points that Kelley made in Truth and Toleration / Contested Legacy, but they have to distort Kelley’s actual views to avoid admitting this (as when Tracinski attributes to Kelley the view that “the cause of dogmatism is excessive certainty”).

  16. EarthToContextComeInContext October 10, 2010 at 3:31 am #

    “This is a fair criticism of Peikoff, but is this really a fair criticism of ARI? From what I’ve heard, few if any ARI supporters think Peikoff is in the right. Most think he’s acted unjustly, and very much so.”

    Surf more.

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