In the past, routine conflicts could be resolved via ARI's board. But when major conflicts have broken out among board members, only one source of authority could be relied upon: Leonard Peikoff. Peikoff himself, in his apologia for having McCaskey removed from the ARI board, explained how this all works:
An organization devoted to spreading an ideology is not compatible with “freedom” for its leadership to contradict or undermine that ideology. In theory. the best judge of such contradiction would be the person(s) , if he exists, who best understands and upholds the ideology, as evidenced objectively by his lifelong intellectual consistency, philosophic attainments, and practical results. In practice, the best judge would be the person, if he is still alive, who founded the organization and defined its purpose, in this case as a step in carrying out a mandate given him by Ayn Rand. On both counts, only one individual qualifies: me.
The logic of this argument could be extended to cover any conflict, not just ones arising from intellectual criticism of one of Peikoff's pet projects. Because of Peikoff's unique position as the heir of Rand's estate and the individual who, among the living, "best understands" Rand's ideology, he was the obvious choice to occupy the role of Objectivist pope. Peikoff, however, will not be around forever. After Peikoff leaves the scene, who will be "best qualified" to fill the necessary role of authority at ARI (and, by implication at least, of the orthodox Objectivist movement)?