Monday, January 01, 2024

Objectivist Roundup, January 2024

1.   William O’Neill’s 1971 book With Charity Toward None: An Analysis of the Philosophy of Ayn Rand was recently re-published.  It was probably the first critique of Rand’s philosophy published.  It’s been years since I read it, but my recollection was that it was hit-or-miss.

[O'Neill's book was the first philosophical critique from an academically trained savant. Albert Ellis had a few years earlier written a book length critique of Objectivism (i.e., Is Objectivism a Religion?) focusing on psychology, politics and economics.]

2.  Carl Barney, the multi-millionaire ex-donor to the Ayn Rand Institute, and head of the Prometheus Foundation, recently posted a curious blog entry, Who Represents Objectivism.  He writes:

“There have been many alleged spokespersons for Objectivism—Mike Berliner, Harry Binswanger, John Ridpath, Peter Schwartz, Yaron Brook—and we’re now told of a “Chief Philosophy Officer,” Onkar Ghate. There’s something we should not forget.”

I’m wondering if there is a back story here.  With the occasional exception of Binswanger, I’m not sure if any of these have ever claimed to be a spokesperson for Objectivism.  Barney then goes on to sing the praises of Leonard Peikoff, who claims to quite literally speak in the name of Ayn Rand.  

This is something I didn’t know:

“Much of Leonard’s clarity and conviction undoubtedly was influenced by his 30-year close relationship with Ms. Rand—thousands of hours of discussion (from which he took careful notes), and the Q&As, and the collaboration undoubtedly enabled him to speak with such clarity and conviction.”

Can the publication of Leonard Peikoff’s Journals and Marginalia be far off?

3.  Long-time Objectivist author Andy Bernstein has a new Kindle book on racism called American Racism: Its Decline, Its Baleful Influence, and Our Looming Race War.

4.   Speaking of Bernstein, Yaron Brook wasn’t pleased to be asked why he isn’t teaching at Ayn Rand University.  Brook claimed not to know.  I certainly don’t know but considering that he writes for Craig Biddle’s The Objective Standard I doubt he will be teaching at ARU any time soon.

5.   Speaking of Brook, he is scheduled to appear on January 12, 2024 in Centennial, Colorado.  For a mere $400 you can sit next to him at the post-speech dinner.