The Night Watchman

A Small Beacon in the Night of Unreason
raised and maintained by Per-Olof Samuelsson


Letter to Robert Stubblefield

Robert Stubblefield was the publisher of The Intellectual Activist from 1991 to 2001. He also ran an Objectivist e-mail discussion group called the "Objectivism Study Group" or OSG for short. (I was a member of this discussion group in the years 1992–93.) The following letter is in response to an essay he published on OSG some time in 1995. My letter was written on October 3, 1995.

Some background: Stubblefield's essay was in response to an announcement George Reisman made at a one-day TJS conference on October 23, 1994. – The "conference call" referred to later on was a telephone conference on September 19, 1994, called by Leonard Peikoff, allegedly to solve the conflict once and for all. (George Reisman has, quite aptly, referred to this conference call as a "Kangaroo court".)

I have done some very minor editing here (marked by square brackets) and added quite a few end notes.

I have read the analysis of the TJS conflict that you sent to Jerry Nilson(1). Jerry forwarded it to me at my request. (He is also showing it to other students of Objectivism in Sweden, in an effort to make them take sides against Dr. Reisman and Dr. Packer.) Essentially, I disagree with your assessment of the situation. There are some points I agree with, but I do not believe those are the essential points. My reasons are as follows:

(i)

Dr. Reisman's conflict with Peter Schwartz started as a quarrel concerning the copyright to Dr. Reisman's TIA essays. You describe this conflict as follows:

The Reismans' problems with Peter Schwartz in 1990 stemmed from a dispute over who owned the copyrights of Dr. Reisman's articles that Peter Schwartz had published in The Intellectual Activist. In brief, there was no written contract and Peter Schwartz assumed that his default agreement (purchasing essentially all rights) held. When Dr. Reisman wanted an article brought out as a pamphlet on a schedule that did not match Peter Schwartz' plans, Dr. Packer attributed his actions to his being "vicious". He ceased dealing with her from there on – as he should have.

Some facts should be added to this account:

a) Dr. Reisman wanted to publish his essays himself, under the auspices of TJS. Had he demanded that Second Renaissance Books bring out the pamphlets on a schedule that did not fit Mr. Schwartz' plans, then Mr. Schwartz would have been right in objecting. But that was not the case.

b) Dr. Reisman solved the problem by buying back from Mr. Schwartz the copyrights to everyone of his own TIA essays for a sum equivalent to what Mr. Schwartz had originally paid him for those rights.

The important issue here is the principle of property rights. George Reisman's TIA essays are the product of George Reisman's mind, not of anybody else's mind. He is the one who is entitled to decide how they are to be used and/or disposed of.

Peter Schwartz, however, took the attitude that those essays were his by right, and that he was only granting Dr. Reisman a favor by even discussing the conditions under which Dr. Reisman could bring out those essays in pamphlet form. I profoundly disagree with this attitude. While I recognize that both an author and a publisher are needed to bring a work to market, I do not see any justification for the notion that the primary right should belong to the publisher.

Dr. Reisman, in his statement of September 19, 1994(2), refers to this as a legal issue: he claims that the copyright law is on his side. (I already knew that the copyright laws in Europe, in countries which are under the Bern convention, recognize the primacy of an author's right over the publisher's right. I believed that the legal situation was different in the United States. But is seems it is not.)

My point, however, is that the law is right on this issue. The publisher's right has to come second to the author's right. I do realize the complexities involved: it would be absurd to claim that the publisher has no rights in a joint venture. But I do think that Mr. Schwartz acted in violation of Dr. Reisman's rights, when he objected to Dr. Reisman bringing out his essays as pamphlet under Dr. Reisman's own auspices. Dr. Reisman should not have had to buy his rights back to do this.

(ii)

After Second Renaissance Books had decided not to carry Dr. Packer's tapes and pamphlets, a dispute arose about the conditions under which those materials could be transferred to TJS. And SRB (in the person of Ed Podritske) demanded $1200 for returning the master tapes of Dr. Packer's lectures; he also demanded that this money be paid within 6 months, lest those master tapes be erased.

This is a gross violation of Dr. Packer's property rights. SRB certainly had the right to cease selling her works (one does not have to agree with this policy, but they have the right). Since it was their unilateral decision, it is highly doubtful that they had the right even to charge Dr. Packer storage money for her materials. But they can have absolutely no right to threaten to erase her master tapes.

I have to point out that this is true regardless of Dr. Packer's moral character. Even if every single allegation against Dr. Packer is true (which I do not believe), it remains true that she is the owner of her own work. And the master tapes of her lectures are the form in which this particular work exists.

(iii)

When Dr. Reisman's pamphlet "The Real Right to Medical Care vs. Socialized Medicine" was published, Michael Berliner solicited Harry Binswanger's advice as to whether the ARI should promote this pamphlet or not. Dr. Binswanger wrote a memo, a copy of which was sent to Dr. Reisman. Since Dr. Reisman mentioned the existence of this memo, I requested and received a copy from Dr. Reisman. (I requested it because I wanted to judge the dispute first-hand, not through an intermediary.) I also later received a second copy, with approving comments from Dr. Peikoff.

I have to say that I am extremely disappointed by the contents of this memo. It completely misrepresents the ideas presented in Dr. Reisman's pamphlet, ascribing to the pamphlet a "re-conceptualization" of the Objectivist view of rights that simply is not there. What is worse: Dr. Binswanger himself makes a complete mess of basic Objectivist principles. Space does not permit a complete analysis here of Dr. Binswanger's memo. But to make my disappointment understandable, I have to give you the "low points":

In his memo, Dr. Binswanger argues that the purpose of the principle of rights is to make economic arguments for capitalism unnecessary. This is not merely to say that "rights" are hierarchically more fundamental than any economic analysis (which, of course, they are); nor is it to say that economic argumentation for capitalism has to be built on the principle of rights (which, of course, it has to do). It is to say that, once you know the principle of rights, you no longer have to bother with the actual life applications of this principle. Economics, properly approached, consists of applying the principle of rights – and the corollary principle of non-initiation of force – to economic activity (and, incidentally, the master of this kind of application is George Reisman). In short, Dr. Binswanger here abandons the proper view of principles (that they are a guide to thinking and living) and makes them instead a substitute for thinking and living. I cannot imagine a theory-practice dichotomy more abysmal than this.

Furthermore, he argues that making an economic case for capitalism is subscribing to the "trade-off" view of ethics. Here, he obviously forgets what this view is. It is the view that one may occasionally abandon a moral principle for the alleged or imagined "benefits" of breaking the principle. (Text-book example: robbing a bank and use the loot to promote Objectivism – which would never work, no matter what intricate cost-benefit analysis precedes the robbery.(3)) But Dr. Binswanger charges Dr. Reisman with a "trade-off" view merely on the basis that Dr. Reisman writes on the subject on which he is an expert: economics. This could only be true on the fantastic assumption that economics per se is an immoral subject (in fact, that economics is the intellectual equivalent of bank robbery).

To compound the matter, Dr. Peikoff makes approving comments on his copy of the memo on the very points I have objected to above.

I realize that when you read this, you will suspect that it is I who misunderstand or misrepresent Dr. Binswanger's reasoning. You might think it is impossible for Harry Binswanger to express views such as these, and that it is even more impossible for Leonard Peikoff to approve of them. (This is how I would react.) My answer would have to be a much more comprehensive critique of the memo. And that would necessarily have to take some time.

No doubt, few persons alive have a better understanding of Objectivism than Harry Binswanger, and no one alive has a better understanding of it than Leonard Peikoff. But this is precisely what makes this so disappointing. In this case, I can find only one possible explanation: that their judgment is being clouded by hostility toward George Reisman. And that, I regard as inexcusable. Again, this holds regardless of whether their hostility is well-founded or not. Objectivist principles are not to be twisted in this manner for reasons of personal animosity – and certainly not by the persons who have the best knowledge of those principles.

(iv)

With regard to the point you raise:

First, you write:

Let me first note that TJS has been a huge value to many Objectivists, that its creators, George Reisman and Edith Packer, have fought for values of mine and yours – for Objectivism. Dr. Reisman's article "Education and the Racist Road to Barbarism" shows he can grasp important ideas and his intransigent stand against hooligans when he lectured at USCD(4) shows he has the courage of his conviction.

I agree with this, but I think it understates the matter. That George Reisman "can grasp important ideas" is not shown merely by his "Education" essay but by everything he has written or said in his lectures. As to his standing in his own field, economics, I am quite happy to quote Harry Binswanger (from an OSG posting dated March 23, 1992): "From where I sit, it looks like George Reisman will end up being the most important economist of the 20th century (with von Mises second). His views are revolutionary." Although I am only an informed layman in economics, I agree with Dr. Binswanger's statement. Dr. Reisman is a true intellectual giant. I suspect that his forthcoming treatise will be to economics what OPAR is to philosophy. (It would be improper to put him on a level with Aristotle or Ayn Rand; but I certainly put him on a level with the great names in his own field.)

(I would not call Dr. Packer a "giant", although I certainly appreciate her works. And I cannot help noting that it was she who originally persuaded Leonard Peikoff that OPAR needed to be written. I think that counts for something.)

But your nest sentence – "He disgraced himself with that announcement" [about the cancellation of TJS 95] – together with your decision to have no further dealings with him, his wife, or the persons who side with him – implies not merely that this announcement puts a blemish on his character, but that it wipes out all his virtues and the whole of his past (and future) record. This is grossly out of proportion.

Although I have reservations about some of the things said in that announcement (more of that later), I do not know what alternative Dr. Reisman had to making it. TJS 95 had to be cancelled, since the alternative would have been to run it at a financial loss. Should Dr. Reisman then have refrained from announcing the cancellation? Or should he have announced it without giving any hint as to the reasons? If, as you say, his actual announcement was "mysterious", then this alternative would have appeared even more mysterious. Should he have taken a cheek-turning attitude and made a public confession of his and his wife's [alleged] immorality? What alternative do you envision?

(v)

As to the Reismans' criticisms of their adversaries:

a) The criticism of Harry Binswanger discouraging his students from getting their PhDs. I agree with you on this point(5). The decision to pursue a PhD or not is heavily dependent on the person's own context. If a person decides to get his PhD (in today's intellectual climate), I would regard this as an act of heroism. If he decides not to, then his choice has to be respected. One does not live one's life "for the cause".

b) The criticism of Peter Schwartz for lecturing on psychology when he knows nothing about the subject. I tend to agree with you on this point. If, as you say, "the class in question was on the boundary between psychology and philosophy and identified the essential characteristic a mental error must have if it is to be classified as a psychological problem rather than a philosophical one" – then this is nothing but a chewing of Miss Rand's "Psychology of Psychologizing" essay, and a layman can do that. (I say "tend to agree, for I have not heard the lectures myself. I certainly agree that Peter Schwartz is an excellent teacher.)

c) I agree with you that it was improper for the Reismans to ascribe ARI:s decision to cease announcing TJS conferences to the fact that Sandra Schwartz [Peter Schwartz' wife] runs a competing conference organization. I do not believe that was the motive.(6) (And I do not believe there are too many competing Objectivist conference organizations.) On the other hand, I disagree totally with ARI:s actual decision. Its only purpose must have been to destroy TJS as a conference organization. (Remember that this decision was made before Dr. Peikoff had decided to withdraw from the conference. ARI must have understood that if TJS could not get enough students for their 1995 conference, they would not be able to pay Dr. Peikoff his fee. – And there is no justice in saying that TJS deserved to be destroyed.)

d) I agree with you that the first instructors of OGC have to be the best minds with the best grasp of Objectivism. I do not have the context of knowledge necessary to be able to judge the Reismans' criticism of how it was organized.(7)

e) It was Edith Packer who recommended that the Board of Directors be expanded from 2 to 5 or more persons. She did this because there was a legal problem involved with the smaller Board. Yet, she has been given no credit for this, and it has been attributed to her hostility toward Dr. Binswanger and Mr. Schwartz.

f) As to Dr. Packer's earlier criticism of Dr. Berliner: this concerned Dr. Berliner's experience and ability as an administrator. I am not in a position to judge whether this was just or not. I will just note that the continuous expansion of ARI proves that Dr. Berliner cannot have been a total disaster. (This is a deliberate understatement.)

g) I do not know enough about the "Poupore incident"(8) to have an opinion on it. [And for this reason, I delete the rest of this paragraph.]

(vi)

You defend the ARI:s policy of giving only the sketchiest information about this conflict in the following way:

ARI representatives were telling callers the true reason for the anti-TJS policy: it was a moral issue that led to the seven directors of the ARI unanimously to decide to stop supporting TJS. The moral issue was unspecified because it was a private matter.

I have to disagree with this.

If a conflict is truly private, then you do not need to make your reasons public. E.g.: if you break with a friend, you at most owe an explanation to a few mutual acquaintances, but not to the world at large.

But the TJS conflict is not private. ARI:s policy has led to the destruction of TJS as a conference organization, and this is not a private matter. Dr. Binswanger's memo about Dr. Reisman's pamphlet was not a private matter: it was intended as an advice to the ARI not to promote the pamphlet. Dr. Reisman's forthcoming book will probably not be promoted or even mentioned by the ARI and will not be carried by SRB: this is not a private matter; it concerns the fate of our civilization. And today, I am getting recommendations (from people who know far less about the conflict than I do) to the effect that my self-interest should require that I shun the Reismans and refrain from buying from TJS. If this conflict has spread to this remote corner of the world, then it is certainly not private.

(Parenthetically, you write in a separate letter to Jerry Nilson that "it would have been non-objective for me to recommend people to take action on the basis of the essay I wrote". I agree with that, and I am glad you wrote it. You acknowledge that a moral stand cannot be "dictated" and that every single person has to judge for himself, within the context of his knowledge, based on his perception of reality.)

If the ARI are declaring the Reismans immoral, then it is their obligation to prove their case. Conversely, if they cannot prove their case, they have no business pronouncing the Reismans immoral. The current policy merely leaves callers in a quandary. If anyone is interested enough to call in and ask, one must assume he is also interested in finding out the truth. And if he then only gets a sweeping generality, he has to form his conclusion on this single fact. An honest inquirer would necessarily conclude that the ARI has something to hide – but he would not know whether what they are hiding is some odious, hitherto unknown, fact about the Reismans too horrible to divulge, or if they are covering up a hole in their own case.

For the theoretical foundation of this reasoning, I refer you to "How Does One Lead a Rational Life in an Irrational Society" in The Virtue of Selfishness, which explains, very clearly, why one must be able to prove one's moral judgments "to oneself and to any rational inquirer".

You write that the ARI:s policy is a matter of confining the damage the Reismans might do. I grant you that this is completely consistent, given that you pin all the blame on them. But in my context of knowledge, it simply does not make sense. I see no damage here, except that a good Objectivist conference organization has been destroyed, and that a revolutionary work on economics, which is also compatible with Objectivism, will be silenced by the very people who should be the first to promote it.(10)

One further point in this context: you obviously believe that the Reismans deserve to be censured for the fact that they copied and distributed the letters from Mr. Schwartz and Dr. Binswanger on the basis of which they were declared to be immoral. I have to agree with Dr. Reisman on this point. There is absolutely no justification for the notion that the fact of their denunciation should be made public, and the basis of public shunning of them, while the reasons for their denunciation should be kept secret. The alternative to copying the actual letters would have been for Dr. Reisman to make a summary of their contents. But that would have left him open to the charge that his summary were "untrue" or a "mere rationalization". (You are making this charge about everything the Reismans say.) But the actual letters cannot, by any stretch of the imagination, be interpreted as the Reismans' rationalizations.(10)

(vii)

Your main charge against the Reismans is that they unjustly insulted their adversaries. I want to comment on some point. First, you write:

The unjust insults were no less obvious to anyone who has heard or read materials by the three men they attacked. Do they consciously think that Dr. Peikoff pronounces people immoral without good reason?(11)

You are forgetting the obvious here. A third party to the conflict may certainly entertain such a thought: that a man like Dr. Peikoff cannot pronounce people immoral without good cause. But the Reismans were not a third party to the conflict; it was they who were pronounced immoral. They must know whether Dr. Peikoff's reason for pronouncing them immoral was good or not. (Just think of it: if somebody pronounces you immoral, who knows whether this is fair or not? You.) What you imply here is that the Reismans should have compromised their own conviction about their own morality and merely accepted the verdict. Or else you imply [of course without any basis whatever] that they actually know that they are evil, and have decided to deny this fact to the world. These implications beg the actual question. And they certainly would not stand up in court. A judge cannot pronounce a person guilty merely on the grounds that he pleads "not guilty". The matter should have the same standing in the court of your own mind.

Now, I, too, am a third party to this conflict. And I do not know whether Dr. Peikoff's reasons were good or bad, for the simple reason that he has not announced them publicly. (If the reasons were those given in the letters from Mr. Schwartz and Dr. Binswanger, then they were not good reasons.)

To say the reason he calls them immoral is because they criticized Harry Binswanger and Peter Schwartz implies that Leonard Peikoff is a dogmatist looking for unthinking obedience to the authority he has delegated – the church of ARI and its priests.(12) The alternative they hint at is that he acts on whim: […]

But this means that Dr. Reisman, in order not to charge Dr. Peikoff with one side or the other of the intrincisist/subjectivist coin, simply has to accept the verdict that he is immoral. This begs the question in exactly the same way as your preceding remark: it assumes the Reismans' guilt ahead of proof. I grant you however that, apart from this, the logic of your reasoning is impeccable. And this is profoundly disturbing to me. If the Reismans are not guilty, one has to conclude that Dr. Peikoff is "acting as the pope". But I would not pass that judgment on Dr. Peikoff on inconclusive evidence.(13)

[…] because they imply that neither they nor their prospective speakers could count on him refraining from denouncing them without cause in the future.

Here, I believe you are missing the point. As Dr. Reisman reported this, Dr. Peikoff stressed two things: a) that the Reismans were immoral, and b) that he would nevertheless honor his contractual agreement to speak at TJS 95. There is a contradiction involved here: if one truly believes that the organizers of a conference are immoral, one cannot appear as a speaker at their conference. A contradiction cannot be maintained forever in one's mind; therefore Dr. Peikoff would ultimately have to change his mind and either retract his denunciation or withdraw from the conference. Thus Dr. Reisman was entirely justified in his fears.(14)

It is impossible to understand how the Reismans could be honest in their conclusions about Dr. Peikoff. Anyone who has read OPAR would have a difficult time imagining Leonard Peikoff making a moral judgment on whim. And anyone who accepts independence as a virtue, as a moral principle, knows that criticism per se cannot be a moral issue. And anyone who has heard Dr. Peikoff' answer questions cannot believe that conference call with the Reismans ended without their learning the real reason for his break with them.

There is a further instance of the same question-begging in this paragraph. I certainly agree that "criticism per se cannot be a moral issue". Thus, you imply here that Dr. Peikoff must have had another overriding reason, over and above their criticism, for condemning them. But you do not mention this overriding reason. [Emphasis added 2006.] You do say that it was not the criticism per se that were the issue, but their disrespectful and insulting way of presenting them. If this is all, I have to conclude that they have been condemned for a mere trifle.

More importantly, on this paragraph as a whole: since man has free will and is neither omniscient nor infallible, a man's past record is never a guarantee that he will act properly in the future. The best Objectivist minds are no exception to this. There is no justification for saying that Leonard Peikoff has good reason to break with Reismans just because he is Leonard Peikoff.

Now, I certainly would have a hard time imagining that Leonard Peikoff would do any of the things you say are implied about him. But I have to go by the evidence.(15) Since I do not know of any good reason Dr. Peikoff might have told at that conference call, I simply have to assume that he agreed with what Mr. Schwartz and Dr. Binswanger stated in their letters. And those were not good reasons. (I also would have a hard time imagining endorsing Dr. Binswanger's memo on Dr. Reisman's pamphlet. But the evidence is that he does endorse it.)

With regard to the next two paragraphs, about the injustices toward Dr. Binswanger and Mr. Schwartz, I do agree with some of your points. I do believe that Dr. Binswanger's discussions are contextual and not "dogmatizing". I agree that Mr. Schwartz has earned his reputation on his own merits. But then, I would have to add that neither Dr. Binswanger's memo nor Mr. Schwartz cavalier dismissal of the Reismans' property rights are examples of proper Objectivist behavior.(16)

Essentially, however, your are arguing ad verecundiam. Your whole reasoning is personality-centered. And this necessarily makes you apply a double standard to this conflict. It is very easy to turn your words around. For example:

The injustice to the Reismans is obvious to anyone who has read or heard materials by them. Does anyone consciously think that they criticize people without good reason? Could anyone who knows their record consciously believe that they would ever raise the "cult" argument against Objectivism? Could anyone who has had reports about Dr. Reisman's calm and composed demeanor when faced with USCD hooligans believe that he would engage in "yelling" or "bullying"? Could anyone believe that Edith Packer is motivated by the wish to ascribe rotten motives to anyone she disagrees with? Could anyone believe that she would call someone's actions "vicious" without good cause? And how could anyone say that, when they defend their characters, they are acting on whim? Anyone who says any of these things is clearly dishomest.

If you heard this litany, you would probably dismiss it as ad verecundiam and say: "This does not prove anything. You have to go by the actual evidence." Which is precisely my point.

(viii)

In conclusion, while I do think there are injustices on both sides in this conflict(17), I think that the worst and potentially most dangerous injustices have been perpetrated against the Reismans. The worst injustice, in my opinion, is Dr. Binswanger's memo and Dr. Peikoff's endorsement of it. It is certainly the potentially most dangerous one. If the very best minds in Objectivism adopt the policy of twisting the philosophy to suit personal animosities (which is a subjectivist practice), then that makes me lose my hopes for the future of the Objectivist movement. And, since Objectivism is true and is the only philosophy that can save the world (if properly applied), it also makes me lose my hopes for the world.(18)

(I will send copies of this letter to Jerry Nilson and to anyone to whom he has shown your essay. They are entitled to know the reasons for my stand. I will also send a copy to George Reiman, who is certainly entitled to it. I will not send it around to people who have no knowledge of this conflict and no reason to be concerned with it. As for you, you may keep this communication confidential, or you may show it to the persons concerned, as you yourself deem best.)

I received no answer to this letter from Robert Stubblefield. I received a short note from Jerry Nilson, which stated that he found my letter "nauseating" (or "disgusting" – I do not remember the exact word). Well, some people do think with their stomachs and do judge by the seat of their pants.


1) Jerry Nilson is an Objectivist in Gothenburg, and a minor figure in this connection.

2) I quote from this statement:

According to the Copyright Act of 1976, which was and is the prevailing law, copyright to original materials created other than by an employee for hire automatically belong to the author, unless explicitly signed away in a written contract. George was definitely not an employee for hire […] In other words, under the law, the copyrights on all the articles George had written for TIA belonged to George […] Nevertheless […] Peter automatically copyrighted George's articles in the name of TIA, even including one that had appeared previously under George's copyright. Ultimately, in desperation, in order to get Peter out of the way, George bought back his own copyrights for an amount of money equal to the fees Peter had originally paid him for the articles. Even though legally entitled to a refund of that money, George accepts the fact of its payment as the penalty for his own ignorance.

3) This "text-book example" was used by Leonard Peikoff in his "State of the Art" lectures. Of course, the example is unrealistic, insofar as no Objectivist intends to rob banks for this purpose; but it certainly serves to highlight the principle. On the other hand, Objectivists seem to have no qualms about unjustly attacking perfectly good and innocent persons – on the grounds that this "would help Objectivism". This is a blatant example of the "trade-off" ethics.

4) This refers to an incident in 1992, when leftist hooligans interrupted a lecture by Dr. Reisman. (A similar thing happened to Richard Salsman that year.)

5) I think I have to retract this statement, because it is based on insufficient knowledge about the dispute on this issue between Binswanger and Reisman. What I do know is that Dr. Reisman once claimed that it would be possible to win the "fight for Objectivism" "within the universities"; and Dr. Binswanger obviously thought that this was impossible. Now, this is a complex issue, on which I certainly do not know on which leg to stand. But precisely because it is complex, it is also an issue on which honest disagreement is possible.

6) The actual motive was much worse: revenge and destruction for the sake of destruction.

7) I do know, however, that the Reismans' objections had to do with the original financing of the venture. I also know that they recommended Gary Hull, Darryl Wright and David Harriman as teachers. Which one of those persons has a "poor grasp of Objectivism"? They also recommended Linda Reardan. I do not know that much about her qualifications; but I do know she has the courage to stand up to injustice – a fact that, today, obviously disqualifies one from taking part in the "Objectivist movement".

8) This refers to an incident that happened some time in the 80's. A person named Poupore ran a small conference organization called "The Portland Institute", that on a couple of occasions ran weekend conferences. The problem was that he used an address list belonging to TJS to announce one of those conferences. The Reismans objected to this. To me, this is too small a point to waste time and adrenaline on. But Stubblefield claimed that the Reismans engaged in "hysterical bullying" and "yelling" in connection with this incident. Well, I would actually want to hear them yell, before I believe such a thing.

9) This whole paragraph, of course, is a polite way of saying that the ARI – and Mr. Stubblefield – are perfectly consistent in one respect: they are consistently evil. – Of course, it is part of the Objectivist philosophy that the evil cannot be consistent; this was one of the main subjects of a lecture series given by Leonard Peikoff in 1989 called "Objectivism: State of the Art", and it is mentioned in OPAR, p. 266. But those blokes are certainly doing their "best"!

10) A quote from Voltaire is very appropriate here: "There is nothing so disagreeable as to be hung in silence."

11) Well, that is precisely what he does.

12) Today, this is the only conclusion one can draw.

13) As above, the evidence today is conclusive.

14) To make this more understandable, I think I have to quote from a letter by George Reisman, dated November 15, 1994, giving the reasons why TJS 95 had to be cancelled:

I must say that I was actually frightened by his [Peikoff's] stress on honoring his contractual commitment, and decided then and there that I had to do everything possible to get him to agree to withdraw from the conference. This was because I judged that going ahead with it represented playing Russian roulette, so to speak, in which TJS would incur several hundred thousand dollars of liabilities to enrollees, speakers, and the hotel, and at any moment he might decide that his moral obligation was then to withdraw, after it was too late for us to avoid devastating loss. Thus, several days later, I called him and asked if he would like to be let out of his contract. To my great relief, he said yes.

In a letter to a third person (one of those who committed the "crime" of wanting to know the truth about the conflict), Leonard Peikoff refers to this as follow:

For your information, the latest development is the threat from the Reismans – devoid of any legal basis whatever – to issue an injunction to prevent me from speaking before an Objectivist conference this summer.

Well, maybe Reisman did issue an injunction. It was his conference Peikoff was supposed to speak before – and it was he who ran the risk of incurring a devastating loss.

15) i.e., not by my imagination – much less then by Robert Stubblefield's imagination.

16) Remember again that a man's past record is never a guarantee that he will act properly in the future.

17) I have to retract this sub-clause. It is grossly unjust. The things I have mentioned that I regard as mistakes by the Reismans are too small in comparison to even be worth mentioning. A parallel: undoubtedly, both AIDS and the common cold are illnesses. But if someone were to deliberately transmit AIDS to a partner, it is no justification to say that this partner had once given him a cold.

18) This policy – twisting the philosophy to suit personal animosities – was certainly perpetuated by Leonard Peikoff in his lecture "Judging , Feeling, and Not Being Moralistic".

© 1995, 2006 Per-Olof Samuelsson
May be quoted freely as long as the URL to this web site is included. May not be quoted out of context.


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