Tuesday, May 04, 2021

New Book: "The Faux-Rationality of Ayn Rand"




I am pleased to announce the publication of my latest book, The Faux-Rationality of Ayn Rand, which is available at amazon.com in paperback (and hopefully soon in kindle). Whether this is the best critical book on Ayn Rand and her Objectivism philosophy on the market today I will leave to others to decide. But I'd like to think it's the most readable, succinct, and relevant piece of Randian criticism that we've seen to date. It covers the main points of Rand's Objectivist philosophy (i.e., her views on human nature, metaphysics, epistemology, ethics and politics), showing, in lively, pointed language, what is wrong with her various contentions about these domains of experience. It is hardly an exhaustive critique of the Randian sophistry. It doesn't cover everything — only the most important stuff. More than anything else, I see this book as a one-stop shop for discovering what is fundamentally wrong with Rand's philosophy. 

The book is only about sixty-thousand words long and is based on posts published here at ARCHN. The fact is this blog is a bit of a mess. Although most of Rand's philosophy is critiqued in a reasonably systematic matter, it's challenging to read the posts on the blog in the order they were originally meant to be read. The format of the blog simply doesn't allow for that, nor is this something that's easily fixable. Another issue is that many of the posts I contributed to ARCHN were written very hastily and they were not always well proof-read. Much of the material could really use a serious and thorough re-write — but that would be an immense job, and given the slippage of interest in Rand's philosophy, I doubt it would be worth the trouble. So instead I have culled the best and most pertinent posts that I have written for the blog, cleaned them up, arranged them in as systematic a way as possible, and then published them via amazon.com. 

    

Sunday, March 07, 2021

Peikoff vs. ARI

Documents reveal that Leonard Peikoff, the founder of ARI and the heir to Ayn Rand's literary estate, gave $297 to Donald Trump's Make America Great Committee. The date on the document December 14, 2020, but it's likely the donation was given earlier (almost certainly before the election). Peikoff's generous donation allows us to get a better sense of how much influence he still exerts over ARI.

So how much influence does Peikoff still exert over ARI? Probably very little. Consider Yaron Brook's view of Objectivists who "apologize"  (i.e., support) Trump:

Those of you who are apologists for Donald Trump, please never use the word "Objectivist" to associate it [Objectivism] with yourself. Because you cannot be Objectivists, you are not Objectivists, if you apologize for this guy.

And you are not doing anybody a favor by selling-out, selling-out the fundamental ideas that we believe in. For the sake of what? Popularity, for the sake of defeating the left?

You are sell-outs, you are the fifth-column within Objectivism.

And:

But the Trumpists are a disaster. If they win, and they come to dominate all of the Republican Party and all of its candidates, this country is finished, this country is finished.

Given Brooks uncompromisingly extreme stance against Trump, what are we to make of Peikoff's $297 donation to the Trump campaign? Is Peikoff a "sell-out" and fifth-columnist within Objectivism? How are we ever going to square this particular circle?

Several years ago, when Peikoff was still doing a podcast, he came out in favor of closing the borders. Brooks quickly stepped in to put a stop to this. On Peikoff's next podcast, we hear Brooks explaining why closing the borders is a bad thing to do and Peikoff rather sheepishly admitted he had been led astray by conservative talk radio. 

Flash forward to the last year or so. Peikoff is now in permanent retirement. For health reasons, he can no longer make public appearances. What is he doing with his time? When he feels up to it, he's supposedly writing short stories. What does he do when he's not writing stories? Could he be listening to conservative talk radio? Peikoff has been a fan of Rush Limbaugh at least since the nineties. Is it possible that in his retirement Peikoff is listening more to conservative talk radio hosts (and not just Rush, who recently passed away) than he is to Yaron Brook and other ARI figures? Or has he simply become a fan of Trump on his own unbiased judgment, irrespective of influences? Whatever the case, his $297 donation to the Trump campaign strongly suggests that he does not agree with the folks who have taken over the institute he founded way back in the eighties. It also strongly suggests that Peikoff's influence over ARI has come to an end. I don't know whether Brooks knows (or if knows, whether he cares) that Peikoff has a soft spot for Trump. Whatever the case, it clearly doesn't matter. Peikoff is no longer relevant  in the world of Objectivism.  It's Yaron Brooks and his people who control the institute and who are the big players in that space. They decide what Ayn Rand would have thought if she were still alive.

Friday, January 15, 2021

Anne Heller, as long ago as 2009, published her biography of Ayn Rand. I have finally gotten around to reading it and will at some point make a post or two commenting upon it. In this post I want to turn to another issue --- namely, one of the two organizations tasked with the propagation of Rand's ideas, The Atlas Society. I had not realized the extent to which Heller had used TAS in research for her book. It is notorious that ARI refused Heller access to their archives until long after her book was finished. But it appears Heller didn't need ARI because she had TAS and David Kelley, who explained Rand's philosophy to Heller. It wouldn't be that much of an exaggeration to call Ayn Rand and the World She Made the official Rand biography of the Atlas Society --- although technically that's not true.