Personal Declaration of Intellectual War
On occasion, a decent respect for the opinions of mankind and for one's own beliefs requires one to stand firm and make one's position clear to all. This is such a time.
On September 20, 2001, Leonard Peikoff and the Ayn Rand Institute published a full page advertisement in the Washington Post titled "It Is Time To Declare War". As a human being and an Objectivist, I found this article so obscene, so riddled with errors, so intellectually dishonest, so antithetical to everything that Objectivism stands for that I must reply.
I cannot detail all the reasons for and areas of my disagreement in a short letter but I will state the particular ideas which I found most disgusting.
He advocates armed intervention by the US in foreign countries to protect business interests.
He engages in group blame for the actions of a few.
He ascribes evil motives based on his own evaluation of philosophical beliefs.
He calls for retaliation, another word for revenge, rather than justice.
He exhibits a fundamental ignorance of the roots of the conflicts in the Middle East including a complete denial of any errors on the part of Western nations.
He advocates the elimination of the government of Iran by war, invasion by ground troops, occupation of the country, and even the use of nuclear weapons.
He calls for this "regardless of the suffering and death this will bring to countless innocents caught in the line of fire."
By his own words, Peikoff has demonstrated himself completely unsuitable in the role of a leader of a philosophical movement. He has shown himself capable of logical errors so deep and so broad as to be completely unforgivable. He has exhibited irrationality, emotionalism, and prejudice so enormous as to be completely intolerable.
I call on all Objectivists, indeed all rational people of whatever philosophy, to shun Peikoff in whatever forum. I call for Peikoff to resign immediately from whatever position he holds in the Ayn Rand Institute. I call for the Ayn Rand Institute to publish a complete retraction of the published ad. Failing this, I call for all the employees of the institute to resign immediately. I call for all contributors to the institute to withdraw their support until Peikoff leaves.
Hopefully, the Objectivist movement can continue to influence others to follow the path of rationality, tolerance, peace, and freedom without the presence or influence of this detestable person.