Ayn Rand's Evil Offspring: Leonard Peikoff
The Liberal Institute
ARTICLE ANALYSIS

Rand's Epigone

Leonard Peikoff pompously calls himself "the world's foremost authority on Objectivism" and Ayn Rand's "intellectual heir." This last is a title long, originally, and better bequeathed by Rand to Nathaniel Branden. Peikoff rightly does not call himself a pure liberal.

On October 2nd, 2001 -- 20 days after 9/11 -- the self-styled Objectivist "pope" published a long article in The New York Times asking the American government to "End States Who [sic] Sponsor Terrorism." He asked us to start with the relatively large, rich, and semi-democratic state of Iran.

But the American people -- then and now -- don't want this. And Peikoff knows it. So in the article he goes over their heads and right to the top by demanding this of the president, George W. Bush. Rand's epigone seems to have forgotten that only the US Congress can declare war on Iran. Or maybe this quasi-illiberal and proto-fascist opposes the US constitution on this.

One major problem -- then and now -- with attacking Iran is that the main military, financial, intellectual, moral, and spiritual supporters of Al Queda, the Taliban and Osama bin Lauden all live in Saudi Arabia and Pakistan. America fatuously and depravedly calls these two states strong allies in general, and in the "war on terrorism" in particular.

But Peikoff doesn't mention these gross philosophical errors in his monograph. He glaringly does not call for an attack or war on the Saudis or Pakis. Indeed, he doesn't even mention them.

For all his ham-handed ineptitude as an intellectual, Leonard Peikoff actually starts off his rambling 2000-word article on the right foot. He reminds us of the rarely-discussed, truly humiliating, and absolutely devastating way the Arabs stole our oil. He correctly states that

"Fifty years ago, Truman and Eisenhower surrendered the West's property rights in oil, although that oil rightfully belonged to those in the West whose science, technology, and capital made its discovery and use possible. The first country to nationalize Western oil, in 1951, was Iran. The rest, observing our frightened silence, hurried to grab their piece of the newly available loot."

But he incomprehensibly fails to mention that we desperately need to take back our property, including all back payments. This act alone would generate trillions in assets for the US and West to use in our war on terrorism. And money is the sinews of any war. Such an act of reparation would virtually crush the Muslim dictatorships, and win the war on terror in one fell swoop.

After this shocking omission Peikoff goes on in his article to damn the Muslims for their evil belief system. This he describes as "selfless duty, anti-materialism, faith and feeling above science, the supremacy of the group." All of these he labels as also being Western ideals. This is his intellectually sloppy way of referring to our planet's ubiquitous love for religion, socialism, and the religio-socialist ethic.

Peikoff doesn't offer much here in the way of correct and helpful terminology. But he does successfully point out the disaster of the West and Islamdom holding such virtually identical fundamental beliefs.

On this issue, as for all the others, the West desperately needs to turn to -- to ascend to -- the transcendental values of reason, freedom, and egoism. Peikoff believes this too, but only obscurely refers to it, and he manages to use mostly the wrong words again. These three values alone -- vigorously and clearly promoted by Peikoff and others -- would by themselves almost crush the evil Muslim belief system and derivative anti-Western terrorist network.

When the article continues, this disappointment to Objectivism runs thru a brief history of Muslim evil over the past 50 years. Peikoff makes a few good points here -- or at least offers up some helpful reminders.

But he fails to mention the catastrophic ascent of Muslim hatred and wickedness after their humiliation in the 1967 Israeli war -- and after the great Second Socialist Wave of the hippie generation and Lyndon Johnson's "Great Society." These two factors -- especially the explosive growth of world belief in collectivism -- truly energized Muslim depravity in the post-'67 period. All those airline hijackings began, followed by all those planted bombs in civilian areas, followed by the tour de force uglyness of the 1972 massacre at the Munich Olympics (which he also omits), followed by every other damn thing.

The incompetent philosopher Peikoff simply doesn't seem to understand the intellectual importance of the late '60s, early '70s "civil rights " era. Socialism mixed with islam is absolutely deadly. It is a concoction and combination which is volatile and combustible -- a recipe for disaster in the Middle East, and everywhere else.

One especially notable point in the piece is Peikoff's glaring omission of that event which immediately preceeded 9/11 and which almost certainly encouraged and inspired it. The reference here is to the hideous cultural desecration and symbolic attack on the whole planet embodied by the destruction of the two giant Buddahs by the Taliban. They perpetrated this ghastly evil several months before 9/11 and in slow motion. The reaction of virtual silence by George Bush, America, the West, The Ayn Rand Institute, and Peikoff himself was a stunning act of moral depravity and intellectual bankruptcy. All five gave license to the radical Muslims to do their thing.

To give the devil his due, in the article Peikoff did mention another important motivator and psychological cause of 9/11: the remarkably poor, cowardly, depraved, and unwise British and American response to Iran's plan to murder minor, pretentious, anti-Western, pro-Islamic(!) author Salmon Rushie in 1989. How the ayatollahs ever got away with such worldwide censorship and international death-threats is amazing! Western intellectual weakness and moral impotence here was extraordinary.

The crux of this article, and of the whole world-wide situation, is something Peikoff actually seems to get right -- albeit very briefly. He correctly points out that all such 9/11-type "atrocities are not crimes, but acts of war." He rightly notes that "The proper response...is a war in self-defense."

But immediately after this, the article crashes and burns. Peifoff argues that America should attack foreign countries with great aggression and "regardless of the countless innocents caught in the line of fire." The stupidity and depravity of this policy, if enacted, would insure a great and justifiable hatred of the United States worldwide. Almost all our tepid allies would melt away while our enemies would swell mightily.

Peifoff's loose, careless arguments here might be true if some theoretical mass-murderer grabbed some hostages and then used them as human shields. The responsibility for the innocents' deaths would indeed reside with the mass-murderer. But that situation mostly does not obtain in the current world situation. It isn't necessary to slaughter people wholesale to win the war.

Mindlessly regurgitating Rand, Peikoff claims that in any US-led war that multitudes of Muslim "innocents suffer and die because of the action of their own government..." But that just means they aren't really innocent! Peifoff's intellectual sloppiness here is considerable.

Probably the most important point not made by the article is that for the past 40 or 50 years especially, the US government and people have perpetrated absolutely terrible evil against billions of Muslim innocents. We've propped up their dictatorships hideously by moral, economic, social, military and diplomatic means. And we've funded them enormously by letting their slave-masters "nationalize" our oil. Our unprincipled, irresponsible behavior and grotesque foreign policy constitutes a catastrophic American failure and evil. And this goes absolutely unmentioned in the article.

But it should be obvious to all that if the American people and government had declared their support for the innocent suffering Muslim peoples around the globe over the past 40 or 50 years -- and not for their destroyers, the Muslim dictators -- then nothing like 9/11 would have ever taken place. The fact is that the great roots of the current worldwide horror and menace lie largely with us and our current behavior. America and the West continue to prop up Muslim dictatorships. This is a disaster for the world -- as is the trillions in oil money the US, Britain, and France, etc. let the Muslim dictators steal from Western companies and people. These funds continue to massively hurt West and East to this day.

America and the West could solve both problems right now. We could back the suffering Muslim millions and recapture our oil property. But Peikoff and ARI don't remotely advocate this.

Ultimately, Peikoff denounces America for being a "paper tiger" and for lacking the "self-confidence and moral courage to act unilaterally in its own defense." But America can't find its ferocious tigerdom, self-confidence, and moral courage in his statement, himself, or his institute. The philosophic ineptitude of the Ayn Rand Institute and Leonard Peikoff is massive. The fact is, true greatness for America and mankind -- and the utter defeat of the Muslims -- lies strictly in reasonism and liberalism.