Wednesday, May 01, 2024

Objectivist Round-up, May 2024

1.  Former Ayn Rand associate Robert Hessen has died.  Chris Sciabarra has a post.  For reasons I can’t recall, Hessen and his wife Bea Hessen ended up in Peikoff’s dog house after Rand’s death and they were written out of Objectivist publications.

2. Objectivist philosopher Tara Smith will soon be publishing Egoism Without Permission: The Moral Psychology of Ayn Rand’s Ethics.  Although associated with the Ayn Rand Institute, Smith is one the less dogmatic of ARI scholars.  ARI Chairman of the Board Yaron Brook interviews Smith. here.


Albionic American said...

So what's the long-term plan for these Ayn-Rand astroturfing organizations? What happens after the money dries up?

gregnyquist said...

There is no long-term plan. Instead, there's a complete denial that there is a problem. Objectivists officially believe that Rand's ideas will one day rule the world, although this could take some time (hundreds of years). In the meantime organizations like ARI exist to keep Rand's ideas alive until they catch on --- or at least that's what the theory is.

The problem of the money drying up, however, is a genuine one. ARI could presumably survive up to a point on royalities from Rand's work (the novels still sell), but there are rumors that Peikoff wants some (if not all) of those royalties to go to his daughter, and even if those rumors are exaggerated or untrue, at some point Rand's writings will fall into the public domain and no more income will be derivable from them.

A bigger problem might be that orthodox Objectivism, as an intellectual movement, is incapable of attracting the sort of eminent intellectuals and thinkers that would be capable of leading ARI into the future. The very fact that ARI preaches a closed version of Rand's philosophy keeps the especially intelligent and innovative intellects safely away. ARI has been and will continue to fall under the control of especially the narrow-minded and the intellectually mediocre persons. That more than anything else will doom it to insignificance and increasing provincialism and obscurity.

Anonymous said...

Sometimes I wonder if the appeal of ARI-style Objectivism is more sociological. They convince themselves that they are the most rational people on earth and the associate with each other to confirm it. All the ARI supporters then overlook that high salaries of its officials and the relative unimportance of their intellectuals.


Anonymous said...

Will her books ever be in the "public domain?"

Albionic American said...

Yeah, it's funny that organized Rand cults have attracted mostly ordinary people with such high time preferences. I thought that the Men of the Mind "plan in terms of decades, invest in terms of generations and undertake ninety-nine-year contracts," the way Rand describes them in Galt's speech in Atlas Shrugged.

Anonymous said...

"Will her books ever be in the "public domain?""


Anonymous said...

To Greg above:

Some Objectivists believe, with delusion, that they are winning the culture war right now. In a thread denying that America is declining, a relatively well-known Objectivist writes:

"Yes, I understand the fall of Roman Empire (although it wasn't as good as we've created today). Wag the dog, bread and circuses, etc. But we have Ayn Rand's powerful philosophy of Objectivism today, right now."

ROFL! If only the Romans had known of Ayn Rand's Objectivism, their society would be alive and thriving today. Presumably, this means Objectivism will also save the United States.