I feel bad for Leonard Peikoff:
First, his entire “career” has consisted of wallowing in Nathaniel Branden’s “sloppy seconds”:
N.B. was Rand’s first “legal and intellectual heir”. Moreover, HE got to “tap that ass”. I’ve always wondered if Peikoff was similarly privileged, or, if he wasn’t, whether he was jealous on any level.
See, one of Rand’s most disastrously stupid ideas (which is actually a recurring motif in her shitty, schlock novels) centers around the notion that rational/heroic women want to be “conquered” and power-fucked by “ideal” men — as an expression of their “deepest philosophical values”.
The thing is: when Rand attempted to enact this stupid shit in the real world, it didn’t work out too well. For one thing, Frank O’Connor and Barbara Branden (Rand and N.B.’s respective spouses) didn’t really enjoy sitting around in the living-room, making awkward small-talk, while their respective spouses enacted their “highest philosophical values” (IE: the “benevolent rape scene” from the Fountainhead) several times a week for several years.
This had to be particularly humiliating for Frank O’connor, given that he was essentially Rand’s “anchor husband” (IE: the poor, dumb schmuck she had married so as to avoid being deported back to Russia, after having deliberately “over-stayed” her Visa.)
(stupid bitch cheated her way into the U.S., relentlessly “milked” her State-side relatives for months with nary a “thank-you”, and then cheated her way past that pesky “citizenship” thing by marrying an American — who she later cuckolded on principle.)
Predictably, Frank O’connor (being exactly the gentle-natured, non-confrontational sort of guy most likely to tolerate that kind of vicious little shit-shrew as a “wife”) turned into a semi-functional, drunken wreck (instead of beating the fuck out of N.B./bashing Ayn Rand’s skull with a table-lamp, etc.)
For her part, Barbara Branden ended up an axiety-riddled wreck, who ended up being back-stabbed by Rand, anyway — explicitly for having tried to keep a potentially explosive situation from going COMPLETELY to shit.
So, yeah: Ayn Rand was a slutty, chain-smoking, pseudo-intellectual, pretentious hack “novelist” who pretended to be a “philosopher” mostly so she could get power-fucked by her foremost “student”.
Why do I say that Ayn Rand pretended to be a philosopher?
Simple: A real philosopher would have at least bothered to actually write down “her” philosophy in something approximating an organized fashion, when presented with the opportunity to do so.
Ayn Rand? Not so much.
She had TWO opportunities to do so (The Moral basis of Individualism and Objectivism: a philosophy for living on Earth) — and she failed miserably, to the point where Nathaniel Branden had no choice but to eventually admit the following:
In discussing Rand’s philosophy, there are certain difficulties. One is the task of separating her basic ideas from her own style of presentation. She could be abrasive, she could make sweeping generalizations that needed explanations that she did not provide; she made very little effort to understand someone else’s intellectual context and to build a bridge from their context to hers.
A further difficulty lies in the fact that she was a novelist and chose principally to present her philosophy in fiction, the important exceptions being, of course, her monograph, Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology, and a number of collections of her nonfiction essays, such as The Virtue of Selfishness. There are some wonderful benefits to be derived from dramatizing one’s ideas in a novel, but there are also hazards. A novel can be a superb form through which to illustrate a new code of ethics or morality because one really has the opportunity to show, concretely and specifically, what one means and what one advocates; one can dramatize one’s ideas through characters, actions, and events — saying to the reader, in effect, “This is what I mean.” The problem lies in the fact that a good novelist has to consider many other elements besides philosophical exposition: drama, pace, excitement, suspense, and so forth. There is no time for the kind of qualifications — amendments, exceptions, special cases — that slow down the pace. So what we get are broad slashes, sharp-cutting strokes, which make superb reading and fantastic theatre — unless you’re sixteen years old, reading this novel and feeling more excited than you’ve ever felt in your life, your mind and soul on fire, and taking it all in as if it were to be read like a philosophical treatise. That’s not how novels are to be read. But you see the problem, especially when reading a novelist as powerful and hypnotically persuasive as Ayn Rand.
Oddly enough, N.B. admits THIS little semi-Freudian gem earlier in the same article:
I told Miss Rand that I felt that she had, in effect, brought me up, long distance, through The Fountainhead. That book was the most important companion of my adolescent years. We became friends and were associated for eighteen years — often in daily contact. I remember, in the first year of our relationship, when I was twenty years old, that my biggest expense — at a time when I was on a very modest allowance — was my phone bill. Typically we would talk philosophy on the telephone three or four nights a week, two or three hours at a time. In those days, thirty or forty dollars a month for toll calls from Los Angeles to the Valley was a lot of money.
Our relationship went through many stages over the next eighteen years. It came to an end in the summer of 1968. There was an explosive parting of the ways. I intend to write about that break one day, but I shall not concern myself with it here.
So, yeah: N.B. was “hot for teacher”. Rand was a pseudo-intellectual hack with what would nowadays be recognized as a BDSM fetish, and a desperate need to be “dominated” by one of Nietzsche‘s Ubermenschen.
The results were are predictable as they were pathetic.
But, back to Peikoff:
I’m pretty sure that one of the reasons he’s so prickly about the “legal and intellectual heir” bullshit has to do with his subconscious (but chronically evaded) knowledge that he has spent (wasted) the last 30+ years on a variety of utterly futile tasks:
- Rebuilding NBI, and manage to create some equivalent of Nathaniel Branden’s Basic Principles of Objectivism course. (result: ARI — the “Ayn Rand Institute”, and the vast corpus of poorly-recorded “lecture courses” they’ve cranked out over the years.)
- Cherry-picking from Rand’s convoluted morass of speeches/lectures/newsletter articles etc. — and THEN “organize” that source-material into something approximating a coherent and systematic presentation of “her” ideas. (Result: Philosophy: who needs it, etc.)
- Hand-hold Harry Binswanger through creating the Ayn Rand lexicon — yet another morass of cherry-picked quotes and tidbits.
- Attempt to make his bitch-goddess’ scribbles appear to be “relevant”, by creating the sort of “agitprop” which would , essentially, scare people into becoming Randroids. Result? The Ominous Parallels.
- He ALSO had to write the single-volume presentaiton that Ayn Rand couldn’t be bothered to do. Result? OPAR.
On top of all of this, he also ended up doing “damage control” against Nathaniel and Barbara Branden’s respective “tell-all” books, AND the fact that David Kelley & pals stubbornly refrained from kissing his ass.
In many ways, Peikoff is the real-life equivalent of the “Little Dutch Boy” who jams his finger into the dyke (in hopes of staving off its complete collapse).
Peikoff knows what went down back in the NBI days. Hell, a college dissertation of his was even quoted by Nathaniel Branen during the Basic Principles of Objectivism tape-lectures (and also in the print version: The vision of Ayn Rand).
Who do you think was behind James Valiant’s idiotic hit-piece The Passion of Ayn Rand’s critics?
Like I said: I kinda feel bad for the guy.