Here’s a point that I have never been able to get most self-idenfitied “Objectivists” to comprehend:
If “Objectivism” is “about” Reality, then it is NOT about “Ayn Rand”. OR Peikoff. OR David Kelley. OR the Brandens. OR Betsy Speicher, or….well, you get the idea.
Objectivism is NOT about “Ayn Rand”, any more than calculus is “about” Newton and Leibniz:
It isn’t important who figured out something first. Who was the “first” individual to discover the possibility of a counting system extending beyond the level of “One, two, three, many?” Nobody gives a shit, because it is entirely possible for disparate individuals to have made this same discovery INDEPENDENTLY — effectively, in isolation.
The standard ARI tendency is to treat “Objectivism” as, essentially, a “floating abstraction”, consisting exclusively of whichever of Ayn Rand’s scribblings they happen to designate as “published”, at any given time.
The truly inane thing about this is: ARI partisans are obsessed with spreading what they term “Ayn Rand’s Ideas” — without examining which of these “ideas” are of genuine importance, factually accurate, even genuinely “original” to HER.
For example: her identification of the “Primacy of Existence” vs. “Primacy of Consciousness” orientation strikes me as genuinely useful, valuable, and insightful. Her weirdly sexist blather about the purported “essence of femininity” as “hero-worship” and penchant for what amounts to bdsm at a construction site strikes me as a weirdly-specific “Kink” which is most likely only applicable to a specific subset of individuals, within a specific context. (BDSM, Dom-sub, a sort of “gender essentialist” sort of Paleoconservative, etc.) — but otherwise not particularly useful, valuable, or explanatory.
Now, here’s the problem:
The “Primacy of Existence” advocacy is NOT one of “Rand’s Ideas” — in the sense that it fundamentally traces back to Aristotle (at least among “Western” philosophers).
The “BDSM on a construction site is totally hawt!” thing IS one of “Ayn Rand’s ideas” — in that it was obvious one of her specific “kinks” — ESPECIALLY in light of what is euphemistically described as the “affair” between Nathaniel Branden and Ayn Rand.
So, there’s the first problem: The indefensible, dogged obsession with Ayn Rand — which leads “Randroids” to treat EVERYTHING SHE EVER WROTE pretty much the same way Fundamentalist Christians treat the Bible.
This necessarily results in exactly the kind of idiocy which is then exploited by Anti-Objectivists (Jeff Walker, Greg Nyquist, etc.): The antics of Rand/her “legal and intellectual heirs” are WEAPONIZED as ‘evidence” against NOT merely “Objectivism” in particular, but against the entire “Aristotelian”/reason-individualism-freedom axis, as well.
That’s where the endless “schismology” comes in: “Objectivists” tend to become really obsessed with the notion of “moral sanction”, to the point where what would otherwise be piddling minutiae can provoke exactly the sort of “break” for which Ayn Rand herself was (in)famous.
(See, for example, her shit-slinging against the Libertarian movement, and break with John Hospers, the whole “Isabel Patterson” fiasco, etc.)
The tragedy is: the relentless “in-fighting” and (fairly frequent) outbreaks of blatant emotionalism and irrationality are then (mis)used as ‘evidence” of (as one infamous anti-Objectivist blog puts it) “Ayn Rand contra human nature”.
This has wider implications than the “Objectivist movement”, itself.
For one thing, it tends to be used against anything which even vaguely resembles Objectivism, or “Ayn Rand’s ideas”.