Thursday, June 29, 2023

Objectivist Round-up, June-July 2023

1. James Valliant was on the History Valley podcast recently to discuss The Passion of Ayn Rand’s Critics.  While much of it was what you’d expect from Valliant (for example Rand wasn’t jealous contrary to the notes in Valliant’s book), I learned a few things.  First, Rand was not just a great philosopher, but also a great psychologist as well --  she pioneered cognitive behavioral therapy.  Second, Rand was morally perfect.  She made mistakes but never acted contrary to her principles.  I’d say that she largely lived up to her values, but for example denouncing Nathaniel Branden in 1968 as a thief without evidence was quite wrong.  Michael Prescott reminded me of Rand’s praise for murderer and kidnapper William Hickman.  

2. Long-time Objectivist writer Andy Bernstein has a new book on Global Warming (he’s a skeptic).  Bernstein was interviewed recently on the Ayn Rand Fans You Tube channel about his book.

3. Ayn Rand Institute COB Yaron Brook and ARI Chief Philosophy Officer Onkar Ghate critiqued the recent Craig Biddle/Steven Hicks debate on Open versus Closed Objectivism.  It’s two hours long, so I’ll summarize it: (1) Hicks is bad; (2) David Kelley is evil; (3) Biddle is a compromiser; and (4) Leonard Peikoff always gets things right.