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Dr. Peikoff on McCaskey


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#1 Paul's Here

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Posted 11 November 2010 - 12:42 AM

PEIKOFF VS. AN ARI BOARD MEMBER
ANTHEM
"It is my eyes which see,
and the sight of my eyes grants beauty to the earth.


It is my ears which hear,
and the hearing of my ears gives its song to the world.


It is my mind which thinks,
and the judgment of my mind is the only searchlight that can find the truth."


---------

"Life, if well spent, is long." - Leonardo

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#2 jordanz

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Posted 11 November 2010 - 12:59 AM

This is not a very helpful statement from Mr. Peikoff. The only thing we learn is that his dislike of McCaskey is longstanding and severe. No evidence is given for Peikoff's opinion. However, Peikoff's claim that McCaskey "sneer[ed] in a public setting at an epochal Objectivist book" is contrary to the evidence. If Peikoff reads McCaskey's post on Amazon as sneering, I conclude that he is not being objective about it.

#3 Carlos

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Posted 11 November 2010 - 01:16 AM

PEIKOFF VS. AN ARI BOARD MEMBER


Excerpt from the above:

3. Because some people have turned the dispute into a moral issue, I should state the full truth...


In this public statement of his, Peikoff asks for our understanding, and describes the situation as if he, out of kindness or professionalism, had been staying his hand, until events and people beyond his control turned a harmless intellectual dispute into a moral issue, resulting in him grudgingly having to take sharper actions.

But this description of events is simply bewildering. Peikoff turned this into a moral issue when he morally damned and demanded the expulsion of McCaskey from ARI. He is the one who pulled the trigger on this issue, exploding a seemingly harmless intellectual debate into a much more bitter and larger issue.

Note that Dr. Peikoff still has not presented any additional facts about this. Instead of facts, we find sharp comments such as

... I regard him as an obnoxious braggart as a person, and a pretentious ignoramus as an intellectual...

and irrelevant comments such as

If any of you believe that this makes me a dictatorial opponent of independence or free speech, then God help you, because reality obviously hasn’t. And if, as seems possible, my detractors in this issue represent a sizable faction within the Objectivist movement whose spokesmen include magazine founders and PhDs with podcasts– then God help Objectivism, too.

This is the response to repeated polite questions from Objectivists on why a seemingly good man was expelled from ARI over an intellectual dispute. An excess of polemics, and a deficit of facts, wrapped in veiled statements suggesting criticism on those who still disagree with him on this.

There is nothing of substance in his public statement for an honest, inquiring Objectivist to analyze. Just sharper and more bitter personal criticism from him, all of which are irrelevant to the information required for a non-involved 3rd party to actually understand this personal dispute.

#4 Paul's Here

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Posted 11 November 2010 - 01:40 AM

What does this mean?

Dante’s phrase does not necessarily imply moral criticism, as Ayn Rand (who often used it) understood. It is merely an eloquent way of saying that in certain extremely negative situations—whether pertaining to poor behavior, poor penmanship, or a poor manicure —there is also a positive element, but that it is not enough to diminish the negative essence.


ANTHEM
"It is my eyes which see,
and the sight of my eyes grants beauty to the earth.


It is my ears which hear,
and the hearing of my ears gives its song to the world.


It is my mind which thinks,
and the judgment of my mind is the only searchlight that can find the truth."


---------

"Life, if well spent, is long." - Leonardo

--------------------
(Avatar shows the Milky Way and our place in it.)

#5 Paul's Here

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Posted 11 November 2010 - 01:42 AM

What does this mean in view of his previous statements that Objectivism is only what Ayn Rand stated during her lifetime?

To sneer in a public setting at an epochal Objectivist book qualifies, in my judgment, as harm.


ANTHEM
"It is my eyes which see,
and the sight of my eyes grants beauty to the earth.


It is my ears which hear,
and the hearing of my ears gives its song to the world.


It is my mind which thinks,
and the judgment of my mind is the only searchlight that can find the truth."


---------

"Life, if well spent, is long." - Leonardo

--------------------
(Avatar shows the Milky Way and our place in it.)

#6 ewv

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Posted 11 November 2010 - 01:44 AM

This is not a very helpful statement from Mr. Peikoff.

It isn't helpful if you were expecting an explanation. But if there is no such explanation then what does the statement tell you in the way of being helpful?

The only thing we learn is that his dislike of McCaskey is longstanding and severe. No evidence is given for Peikoff's opinion. However, Peikoff's claim that McCaskey "sneer[ed] in a public setting at an epochal Objectivist book" is contrary to the evidence. If Peikoff reads McCaskey's post on Amazon as sneering, I conclude that he is not being objective about it.

That would be an immediate conclusion except that he didn't say what "public setting" he is referring to. He didn't even literally say that John McCaskey did in fact "sneer", leaving it to insinutation: "To sneer in a public setting at an epochal Objectivist book qualifies, in my judgment, as harm."

Moreover, John McCaskey's two posts on amazon occurred after Leonard Peikoff's email ultimatum, so in logic -- if that is still supposed to be relevant in justifying these pronouncements -- amazon was not the "public setting" he was referring to. From what else has been said, there were no such settings concerning the book which Leonard Peikoff attended and he has no first hand knowledge of any such alleged "sneering" at all, nor has there been is any evidence that John McCaskey ever did that or intended to, nor is it consistent with anything he has publicly written.

Leonard Peikoff used to be a lot better than this. Histrionics of indignant polemics are no substitute and are very disappointing. The dramatic put-downs in the way of driving home an evaluation are supposed to follow the explanation justifying it.

#7 jordanz

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Posted 11 November 2010 - 01:58 AM

It isn't helpful if you were expecting an explanation. But if there is no such explanation then what does the statement tell you in the way of being helpful?

I wasn't expecting anything, but he has gone to the trouble of posting this statement so he's obviously trying to explain what's happened.

#8 ewv

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Posted 11 November 2010 - 02:39 AM

What does this mean?

Dante’s phrase does not necessarily imply moral criticism, as Ayn Rand (who often used it) understood. It is merely an eloquent way of saying that in certain extremely negative situations—whether pertaining to poor behavior, poor penmanship, or a poor manicure —there is also a positive element, but that it is not enough to diminish the negative essence.

As I recall, when Ayn Rand spoke in public about someone being in a higher rung of hell she meant it as a degree of serious deficiency, with moral implications, though not at the absolute bottom. Whether or not she ever used it humorously in private contexts to mean something frivolous, she understood enough about objective communication not to turn it into hyperbole in public statements. She was precise in her thoughts and in her communications as the context required.

But despite the defensive appeals to "eloquence" over what might be a minor issue, obviously this issue is bigger than "penmanship" and Leonard Peikoff just as obviously intended that. Passing it off retroactively as self-proclaimed "eloquence", while chiding us that "Dante’s phrase does not necessarily imply moral criticism", is no explanation. It is Leonard Peikoff who made a scholarly issue among serious, supportive intellectuals into an alleged moral issue over lack of obsequiousness -- which everyone else noticed based on what he himself wrote even though he tells us we weren't supposed to notice that.

Even now it doesn't stop with the "rungs of hell" rhetoric. It appears that he can't restrain himself from the dramatic denunciations that we were somehow not supposed to understand as he said them because he said them. Now we are told: "Because some people have turned the dispute into a moral issue, I should state the full truth, which is not stated in the letter: I have, for years, long before Harriman’s book, condemned McCaskey morally: I regard him as an obnoxious braggart as a person, and a pretentious ignoramus as an intellectual."

So who is it that has "turned this into" a moral issue? He chides us for misrepresenting what he wrote, then says he held back the "full truth" and really did mean it after all. We weren't supposed to realize what he meant until now????

I think we have all had more than enough of this; the overwhelming reaction has been: drop the dramatic, cape-waving rhetoric and appeals to "eloquence" and give us a rational, objective explanation based on facts, if you have one.

#9 ewv

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Posted 11 November 2010 - 03:07 AM

It isn't helpful if you were expecting an explanation. But if there is no such explanation then what does the statement tell you in the way of being helpful?

I wasn't expecting anything, but he has gone to the trouble of posting this statement so he's obviously trying to explain what's happened.

I wasn't expecting anything either. It seems that he is reacting to the firestorm he created over his ultimatum to what is legally supposed to be an independent board of directors released to the public as an explanation with no explanation. The follow-up is not helpful in the way we wanted for those of us who wanted an explanation for the actions, but that doesn't mean that it isn't helpful in providing further insights into what increasingly looks like something with no justification -- it provides insight into a state of mind if not a justification.

#10 B. Royce

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Posted 11 November 2010 - 03:43 AM

I have several problems with Peikoff's statement. Here are a few.

First, "I have, for years...condemned McCaskey morally".

If McCaskey was an immoral man, why was he allowed to work for ARI? Would Ayn Rand have allowed it? Would you or I? What moral principle did McCaskey violate? "I regard him as an obnoxious braggart."

Later on Peikoff says that the judge of who will best serve the organization (ARI) is the one who is "carrying out a mandate given him by Ayn Rand." I always thought that Ayn Rand was against the foundation of such an institution as ARI. Am I wrong? Did she change her mind?

And later, "...a few longtime Board members and I are on terms of personal enmity and do not speak to each other." I just can't imagine Ayn Rand hiring, or keeping in hire, someone who had enmity towards her, or toward whom she had enmity.

Then, the P.S. "Ayn Rand would not have sought to defend herself against a similar attack."---followed by--"I am not as strong as she was." Well, if he knew how Ayn Rand would act in a similar situation, wouldn't he have her mandate to act as she would? If she is his hero, then it was right that he should have acted that way and wrong that he didn't.

#11 Carlos

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Posted 11 November 2010 - 04:15 AM

PEIKOFF VS. AN ARI BOARD MEMBER


Diana Hsieh responds:
http://blog.dianahsi...f-explains.html

Leonard Peikoff Explains
By Diana Hsieh

Leonard Peikoff has posted a statement explaining why he demanded John McCaskey's resignation from ARI's Board. People interested in this matter should read it. I should mention, for the sake of clarity, that Craig Biddle is the magazine founder and I'm the PhD with a podcast.

Paul and I will comment on this statement and some other matters later, likely early next week. Until then, and thereafter, I can only ask that my Objectivist friends and supporters, however upset, strive to be calm. We're all in danger of saying things in the heat of anger that we'll later regret, and I'd recommend against that. My hope has always been that the Objectivist movement not self-destruct over this issue, and I still think that's possible.

My super-strict comment policy will remain in force on this post.


The bolded section (my emphasis added) refers to this from Peikoff's statement:

And if, as seems possible, my detractors in this issue represent a sizable faction within the Objectivist movement whose spokesmen include magazine founders and PhDs with podcasts– then God help Objectivism, too.


Anyone who's been on this forum for a few years should remember the hysterics and categorical condemnations when Diana was accusing essentially everyone on this forum of "attacking" Peikoff. Suddenly she may be on the receiving end of such categorical, unfair condemnations.

Live by the sword, die by the sword.

#12 ewv

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Posted 11 November 2010 - 05:20 AM

I have several problems with Peikoff's statement. Here are a few.

These are all good questions. They are among several points that had not yet been mentioned here. Almost every sentence in his recent statement raises such questions.

First, "I have, for years...condemned McCaskey morally".

If McCaskey was an immoral man, why was he allowed to work for ARI? Would Ayn Rand have allowed it? Would you or I?

Of course it would not be tolerated, but more specifically regarding Leonard Peikoff's actions, notice that his ultimatum was issued over an alleged disagreement with his own theory, not because of his condemnation of John McCaskey's alleged immoral character. There was no ultimatum to throw him off the boards of ARI or Anthem while he was successfully raising money for them "for years, long before Harriman’s book" while Leonard Peikoff "condemned him morally".

It was only after the appearance of disagreement with Leonard Peikoff's views (not Objectivism) by questioning part of the historical factual basis of Dave Harriman's book that brought him to only one higher "rung of hell" in comparison with disagreement with Leonard Peikoff. This implies that there are rungs of immorality that are acceptable to Leonard Peikoff as long as the immoral creature supports his theories. I doubt he would say that (but who knows), yet that is the implication of his actions and statements on behalf of them.

What moral principle did McCaskey violate? "I regard him as an obnoxious braggart."

He also included "a pretentious ignoramus as an intellectual". But there is no evidence provided for any of that, or even a description of the alleged behavior. Not that there haven't been obnoxious, swaggering, pretentious Objectivists before this, but there isn't any indication that that description fits John McCaskey, whose intellectual crime appears to be a concern for fact in accounts of the historical progress of science before accepting a new theory said to be based on them.

Later on Peikoff says that the judge of who will best serve the organization (ARI) is the one who is "carrying out a mandate given him by Ayn Rand." I always thought that Ayn Rand was against the foundation of such an institution as ARI. Am I wrong? Did she change her mind?

No she didn't, and Leonard Peikoff agreed with her until well after she died. He reluctantly agreed to give founding ARI a try after others convinced him that it was the best approach.

But he had no "mandate" at all. Just before Ayn Rand died she asked him, as the only one left in her circle of intellectual friends, to do the best he could for Objectivism, which of course he wanted to do anyway and was working very hard at.

Not only does he not have a mandate to determine who will be the best to serve on the ARI board, he is not legally permitted to. The board of directors is independent of him, subject to the laws governing the 501c3 non-profit corporation. The board members have an obligation to do the best they can for the purpose for which ARI was founded, and that includes considering the views of experts willing to help them, but there can be no "veto" power over their selections by any non-board member. That whole paragraph describing the qualifications for ultimately determining ARI actions -- designed to describe himself -- is, or should be, irrelevant to any claimed outside veto power.

If there is a backdoor 'understanding' that the board will defer to Leonard Peikoff in cases he personally regards as important enough to impose on -- such as in exchange for the copyrighted material he has turned over to ARI which would be withdrawn if he breaks off under an ultimatum -- it would be illegal and would jeopardize the tax exempt status of the organization and the tax exempt status of all donors to it. Leonard Peikoff relinquished any real or de facto legal right to influence ARI when he resigned his position with ARI. The fact that he was the founder does not change that -- he is either on the board operating in accordance with the laws governing the 501c3 and its bylaws or he is not. This could be very serious as a legal matter if there is such an arrangement, especially in the light of Leonard Peikoff's decisions regarding the operation of a non-profit corporation being based on acceptance of his own theories, books, and lectures like DIM and his theory of induction.

And later, "...a few longtime Board members and I are on terms of personal enmity and do not speak to each other." I just can't imagine Ayn Rand hiring, or keeping in hire, someone who had enmity towards her, or toward whom she had enmity.

Leonard Peikoff has no say over excluding his personal enemies from the board, nor does such a hostile personal relationship imply that such people have enmity towards Ayn Rand or the purposes of ARI.

Then, the P.S. "Ayn Rand would not have sought to defend herself against a similar attack."---followed by--"I am not as strong as she was." Well, if he knew how Ayn Rand would act in a similar situation, wouldn't he have her mandate to act as she would? If she is his hero, then it was right that he should have acted that way and wrong that he didn't.

Ayn Rand's "strength" in such matters was her choice and not necessarily a moral issue that he is obliged to follow, although his insistence in following her principles does raise the question of consistency and willingness to do in practice what one regards as right. But that whole PS passage at end is mostly the usual dramatic rhetoric, excusing him from having to answer to what everyone else sees as legitimate concerns which are hardly beneath legitimate discussion. I am sure that Leonard Peikoff is sincere in his beliefs, but this is very sad.

#13 JeffT

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Posted 11 November 2010 - 06:04 AM

Many people online have stated that Leonard Peikoff retains de jure veto power over the Ayn Rand Institute.

I have only run across two potentially reliable sources for this.

One is the US News and World Report article from 1998:

http://www.usnews.co...ve_003425_3.htm

Peikoff, fearing a takeover [of the Ayn Rand Institute] by hostile forces, insisted on total control. Although he has since withdrawn from everyday operations to become chairman emeritus, he retains veto power on every decision. "I was afraid it would attract crackpots," he explains. "We used a variant of the Pepsi-Cola licensing agreement to permit no deviations."

The other was a printed book that I read in 1997, of which unfortunately I don't remember the title or author. It was a short overview of Ayn Rand and Objectivism written by, I think, somebody outside the Objectivist movement. By looking at a list of books about Ayn Rand, I have a guess at which book it was, but don't have access to a copy of the book to look it up again or confirm which book it was. I don't remember exactly how it described the status of ARI but believe, from memory, it used the phrase "veto power" when describing Peikoff's control.

#14 ewv

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Posted 11 November 2010 - 06:58 AM

Leonard Peikoff Explains
By Diana Hsieh

...Until then, and thereafter, I can only ask that my Objectivist friends and supporters, however upset, strive to be calm. We're all in danger of saying things in the heat of anger that we'll later regret, and I'd recommend against that. My hope has always been that the Objectivist movement not self-destruct over this issue, and I still think that's possible.

My super-strict comment policy will remain in force on this post.

After this hand-wringing drama and call for "calm" against "danger of saying things in the heat of anger that we'll later regret", here is how she enforced the "super-strict comment policy" calling for "civility" against "Vulgar, nasty, and otherwise uncivilized comments". This is hilarious.

Diana Hsieh [Moderator] Today 03:09 PM
OMG, what the f-u-c-k is the matter with you, CM? How about respecting the explicitly-stated rules of these comments? You're banned, but I'm leaving your comments up, so that people can see what an utter asshole you are. I shouldn't have to be the only one to suffer through them. The same goes for the comments from Harry, which are false and wrong and unfair.

People, I'm serious: Be polite, or be banned. And if you're way over the line, like CM, I'll just ban you.

The bolded section (my emphasis added) refers to this from Peikoff's statement:

And if, as seems possible, my detractors in this issue represent a sizable faction within the Objectivist movement whose spokesmen include magazine founders and PhDs with podcasts– then God help Objectivism, too.

Anyone who's been on this forum for a few years should remember the hysterics and categorical condemnations when Diana was accusing essentially everyone on this forum of "attacking" Peikoff. Suddenly she may be on the receiving end of such categorical, unfair condemnations.

Live by the sword, die by the sword.

And after the despicable way she personally treated Betsy and the categorical excommunication and exclusion of anyone posting here on the Forum from posting at her site, she advertises there:

I'm Diana Hsieh, a philosopher specializing in practical ethics.

You couldn't make these things up. :D

Despite the hand-wringing over swords coming home to roost in the name of "ethics" while hoping "the Objectivist movement not self-destruct over this issue", and despite the histrionic moral condemnations and panicky calls for "God save Objectivism if I'm in the minority", no intellectual movement that is in fact a real movement will "self-destruct" over the antics of any particular individuals. Real movements have always had splits and denunciations, disagreements over ideology, etc., and Objectivism has never been an exception. If the cultural success of Objectivism, like any other movement, depends only on the activities of any single individual or institution, then it is done for anyway.

Ayn Rand's ideas are what they are and are here to stay, along with Leonard Peikoff's exemplary past work. They are available to any rational individual who cares to understand them regardless of what group he belongs to or what website he is allowed to post at or who he is denounced for voting for. Objectivism will survive or not independent of whether Dianna Hsieh continues to have institutional support for her operations, and so will John McCaskey, David Harriman, Craig Biddle and the new ideas they and others are pursuing.

#15 ewv

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Posted 11 November 2010 - 07:17 AM

Many people online have stated that Leonard Peikoff retains de jure veto power over the Ayn Rand Institute.

I have only run across two potentially reliable sources for this.

One is the US News and World Report article from 1998:

http://www.usnews.co...ve_003425_3.htm

Peikoff, fearing a takeover [of the Ayn Rand Institute] by hostile forces, insisted on total control. Although he has since withdrawn from everyday operations to become chairman emeritus, he retains veto power on every decision. "I was afraid it would attract crackpots," he explains. "We used a variant of the Pepsi-Cola licensing agreement to permit no deviations."

The other was a printed book that I read in 1997, of which unfortunately I don't remember the title or author...

Leonard Peikoff properly insisted that ARI remain true to what Ayn Rand wrote with no compromises or watering down (like David Kelley's operation). But once he left his position at ARI it was not legally possible for him to personally retain a literal "veto" over the operations of a 501c3 corporation other than indirectly through something like threats of disrupting the whole endeavor from the outside through use of his name or withdrawing assets. Any "variant of the Pepsi-Cola licensing agreement", whatever that is, would have to legally be cast in terms of people making decisions who have the legal right to make them. There are no self-enforcing intrinsic controls over a movement or organization. All thinking, decisions and actions are performed by human beings. That applies to ARI, the Constitution, and everything else.

There have always been problems with organizations undermining what their founders intended, such as the institutions left and funded by wealthy industrialists which were captured by leftist heirs and now promote the opposite of the original intent. But the world belongs to the living and there is no way to prevent that. Whatever happens with ARI in the future, Objectivism will only survive and grow based on what it was intended to be: the ideas which can be grasped, espoused and applied by anyone.

#16 JeffT

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Posted 11 November 2010 - 07:42 AM

Any "variant of the Pepsi-Cola licensing agreement", whatever that is, would have to legally be cast in terms of people making decisions who have the legal right to make them. There are no self-enforcing intrinsic controls over a movement or organization. All thinking, decisions and actions are performed by human beings. That applies to ARI, the Constitution, and everything else.

That's exactly what's been reported (though not by any reliable source that I have found, except the two cited, and unfortunately I can't remember any more specifics about the book). That the ARI founding charter specifically grants this power, by name, to Leonard Peikoff. I guess that would mean it would say something like:

(this is purely made-up and by example; I cannot find a copy online of any such governing document for ARI)

"Decision-making power of the organization shall be vested in the board."
"Notice of board meetings, including any matters to be voted on, shall be provided to all directors and persons designated as holding veto rights."
"A majority vote of the board shall be controlling to take any action, provided that notice was given of the vote, and that no persons designated as holding veto rights have stated an objection before or during the vote."
"This charter designates the following person(s) as holding veto rights: Leonard Peikoff"

I have no idea if this would be legal per the requirements of a 501( c )3 or any other applicable law.

Again, this is just a made-up example of what "veto power" in the charter, if it even exists or did exist in the past, might mean. I think many people would like to know more details on what specific power and/or influence Peikoff holds over ARI, and what it would mean for him "to go", as he threatened in the email. Even if not to evaluate this incident, but just to know what they are supporting. (Personally, I have tried researching this issue many times prior to the McCaskey resignation, but couldn't find any more details than what I reported above.)

#17 Henrik Unné

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Posted 11 November 2010 - 08:15 AM

My take on Dr. Peikoff´s statements in regard to this conflict (concerning Mr. McCaskey) and others over the years is that Dr. Peikoff finds it tiresome to have to explain things which *he* thinks are so obvious that they are beneath discussion. He seems to be convinced that people such as Mr. McCaskey are *obviously* deviating from Objectivism. Well, if people such as McCaskey *are* deviating from Objectivism, and if Dr. Peikoff thinks that it is *obvious* that they are doing so - that may very well lead Dr. Peikoff to think that he would be wasting his scarce time if he gave other Objectivists lengthy explanations of just how and why Mr. McCaskey and the others were deviating from Objectivism. But Dr. Peikoff cannot reasonably assume that the deviations which he thinks are obvious are just as obvious to everyone else. Dr. Peikoff has only two reasonable options in this kind of a situation. He can go to the trouble of explaining *why* he thinks that the people in question (such as Mr. McCaskey) are deviating from Objectivism. Or - if he just does not have the time to do that - then he must simply state - "It is obvious to me that Mr. X is deviating from Objectivism, but I just do not have the time right now to explain it." But Dr. Peikoff cannot reasonably expect other people to just take him on faith, because of the fact that he is the leading authority on Objectivism. He must in reason put up with it if other people do not see what he sees, when he does not have the time to explain what he sees to them. After all - how can Dr. Peikoff expect others to see everything which he sees - when *he* is the leading Objectivist philosopher, and other people aren´t? The very fact that he is so knowledgable about philosophy means that he cannot assume that everything which is obvious to him is equally obvious to everyone else.

When I see Dr. Peikoff making the - "Do you know who I am?" - kind of argument (which he made in his letter to Arline Mann about Mr. McCaskey), I cannot help thinking to myself - "Would *Ayn Rand* ever have made that kind of argument? Would Ayn Rand ever have flouted her authority? Would Ayn Rand ever have demanded that anyone take her on faith?" - and - "Could I ever even picture to myself John Galt or Howard Roark uttering such words as - `Do you know who I am?´" Frankly, Dr. Peikoff´s recent actions are making me worry about Objectivism´s future more than the actions of people like Mr. McCaskey are doing.

#18 ewv

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Posted 11 November 2010 - 08:24 AM

Any "variant of the Pepsi-Cola licensing agreement", whatever that is, would have to legally be cast in terms of people making decisions who have the legal right to make them. There are no self-enforcing intrinsic controls over a movement or organization. All thinking, decisions and actions are performed by human beings. That applies to ARI, the Constitution, and everything else.

That's exactly what's been reported (though not by any reliable source that I have found, except the two cited, and unfortunately I can't remember any more specifics about the book). That the ARI founding charter specifically grants this power, by name, to Leonard Peikoff. I guess that would mean it would say something like:

(this is purely made-up and by example; I cannot find a copy online of any such governing document for ARI)

Making up a hypothetical example doesn't help to identify what it is. You would have to look in the records of whatever state it is incorporated in (CA?).

"Decision-making power of the organization shall be vested in the board."
"Notice of board meetings, including any matters to be voted on, shall be provided to all directors and persons designated as holding veto rights."
"A majority vote of the board shall be controlling to take any action, provided that notice was given of the vote, and that no persons designated as holding veto rights have stated an objection before or during the vote."
"This charter designates the following person(s) as holding veto rights: Leonard Peikoff"

I have no idea if this would be legal per the requirements of a 501( c )3 or any other applicable law.

It is not legal for someone other than the current board to control the corporation, either directly or behind the scenes making the board a sham front.

If there is something in the bylaws requiring anything from an outsider -- if that is legal for substantive decisions, like selection of successors to the board, in some way at all -- the board would always have the legal right to override it even it means amending the bylaws to do it.

Particular legal requirements depend on the state of incorporation. The bylaws may be in the public record and easily obtainable if you know the state.

Another legal question is who now owns the objects and the copyrights for the material Leonard Peikoff made available to the use of ARI, including the archives, and what happens to them if he chooses to cut off all ties over an ultimatum. Another is the issue of ARI as a non-profit corporation making or deferring to decisions intended to benefit a private interest.

#19 JeffT

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Posted 11 November 2010 - 09:11 AM

Making up a hypothetical example doesn't help to identify what it is. You would have to look in the records of whatever state it is incorporated in (CA?).

It's Pennsylvania. (Confirmed by checking the California registration, which lists Pennsylvania, and then also finding ARI in the Pennsylvania nonprofit corporation search.)

I was creating a hypothetical to illustrate how a charter-based veto power could be implemented. I was hoping that somebody who definitely knew might see this and post.

If there is something in the bylaws requiring anything from an outsider -- if that is legal for substantive decisions, like selection of successors to the board, in some way at all -- the board would always have the legal right to override it even it means amending the bylaws to do it.

The charter or bylaws could also have the veto power apply to the process of amending the charter or bylaws. Anyway, it's not self-evident to me that applicable law forbids such a veto power. I could easily see an applicable law, in fact, disallowing this, but I can't assume that without knowing. (Continuing to research both Pennsylvania's nonprofit law, for which Westlaw's awful interface requires me to view each paragraph one page at a time, and which just booted me out because my session "timed out", and then looking up federal 501( c ) 3, is beyond the time or interest I have to research this at this time.)

You're right, there is little value in speculating; it would be best to seek out the actual document or to ask ARI. Given their past refusal to comment on this matter, I'm not in a mood to ask them right now; I may look into the matter later.

#20 Carlos

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Posted 11 November 2010 - 02:58 PM

Another excerpt:

In other words, my role in this connection is to remove from the existential center of the movement any influence which I evaluate as harmful in practice to the spread of Objectivism. To sneer in a public setting at an epochal Objectivist book qualifies, in my judgment, as harm.

The disturbing implication of the above and the surrounding events is that Dr. Peikoff actually considers LL to be part of Objectivism, and by "attacking" (point out factual inconsistencies) LL, McCaskey was "attacking" Objectivism and the spread of Objectivism.

So Objectivism is a closed system, except when you decide it's not?




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