1. A Companion to Ayn Rand (2018) is now out in a more reasonably priced paperback edition. Although all the contributors are associated with the ARI, the essays are in general valuable, albeit not particularly critical. What I found most interesting is that Greg Salmieri acknowledged that the editing of Rand’s posthumously published writings (such as her Journals and Question and Answers) leaves something to be desired.
2. The ARI’s recent “Of Schisms” essays has received criticism from two of its targets, Robert Tracisnki and Craig Biddle They challenge the essay’s description of their schisms.
3. William Swig and Scott Schiff have started the Ayn Rand Fan Club You Tube channel. It comes at Objectivism from a non-ARI perspective. They have interviewed a number of people associated with the movement such as David Kelley. Kelley talks about his break with Peikoff and says that his refusal to condemn Barbara Branden’s biography of Rand was a factor in his excommunication. He relates a conversion with Leonard Peikoff who said it was possible that Barbara made up the account of the Branden/Rand affair and that the claim of an affair constituted an "arbitrary assertion."
Addendum by Greg Nyquist: this roundup was assembled by Neil Parille. I simply wanted to add a comment on Robert Tracinski's article on schisms. Tracinski argues that the ARI type of Objectivism was in error because it sought to center the movement entirely around one person (i.e., Leonard Peikoff). What they should have done instead is foster "a movement of independent intellectuals in many different fields," which would enable admirers of Rand philosophy "to increase the extent to which [they] reach out and cooperate without being held back by divisions between factions or by old loyalties and grudges." Now there's a problem with this rather optimistic outlook --- and I don't just have in mind the difficulty of solving "moral differences" with "reason," which of course is impossible. The larger problem involves hierarchy. An organized Objectivist movement (which is what essentially ARI, the Atlas Society, and the Prometheus Foundation aspire to be) involves hierarchy and leadership. In the end somebody, whether the CEO or some board or another, has to make the decisions as to how to go about promoting Rand's philosophy. Now there's likely a great many Objectivists who would like to be making these decisions, but these decisions can often only be determined by a very few, sometimes just one person (especially if a broader consensus proves difficult, as it often does). So essentially you have a small elite at the top of the movement who determine how to use the money raised to spread Rand's philosophy and then you have a larger group of Objectivists who occupy positions directly beneath the elite --- a sort of sub-elite. Many of these sub-elites would like to become full-elites. They may even believe they can do a better job of running the movement and spreading the message than those currently running the movement. After all, it's not as if Objectivism is making much headway in the culture. It's very tempting for the sub-elites to blame Objectivism's lack of success on on poor leadership at the top. Of course, it's not necessarily true that Objectivism's failure to spread Rand's philosophy is due to elite mismanagement. Objectivism has a limited appeal: there exists a very low ceiling beyond which it cannot hope to grow. But Objectivists elites and sub-elites don't know this, and so out of the rivalries that emerge in the competition for status and influence within the Objectivist movement, there will always be those who are convinced they could do better of running the movement and that they therefore ought be in charge. Schisms therefore become almost impossible to prevent, despite the rather confined dimensions of the movement itself. Given how little appeal Objectivism shows as an explicit philosophy (Rand's novels, which can be interpreted in many different ways, have much broader appeal), it's extraordinary that there exists three reasonably well-funded organizations dedicated to the advancement of Rand's philosophy.