|Peikoff writes, "I have, for years, long before Harrimanís book, condemned McCaskey morally: I regard him as an obnoxious braggart as a person, and a pretentious ignoramus as an intellectual."
If Peikoff has long regarded McCaskey as immoral, then why did he sanction him as a representative of Objectivism? Since he was apparently comfortable with McCaskey's role as a Board member, Peikoff's dismissal of him for such a mild criticism of Harriman's book is clearly uncalled for.
Something else to bear in mind here: Peikoff is not Ayn Rand, nor is he channeling Ayn Rand. He is giving his opinion on what he views as consistent with Objectivism -- and that includes Harriman's book. Rand didn't write it, so what is he upholding the purity of? He says, "To sneer in a public setting at an epochal Objectivist book qualifies, in my judgment, as harm." As others have pointed out, McCaskey's criticism does not in any way rise to the level of a sneer.
But there is an even more important lapse of judgment here: Peikoff's description of Harriman's The Logical Leap as an "epochal Objectivist book" is itself a logical leap, for Harriman's book is epochal only in Peikoff's (and perhaps other Objectivists') judgment, not in Ayn Rand's. Rand didn't write and didn't read it, so we don't know what she would have thought of it. Lest we forget, Objectivism is Rand's philosophy not Peikoff's.
Peikoff writes as if he alone is entrusted with protecting Objectivism's purity from detractors. Why? Other Objectivists are certainly entitled to their views on what is and is not consistent with Rand's philosophy. How do we know that Rand wouldn't have agreed with McCaskey's evaluation of Harriman's book rather than Peikoff's. We don't.
Come on Leonard, lighten up a bit here. There is certainly room for disagreement within the Objectivist movement among well meaning and well educated Objectivists. McCaskey is not a troll or a Trojan horse plotting to do harm to the sanctity of Rand's philosophy.
(Edited by William Dwyer on 11/11, 12:01am)
P.S. I've edited this by removing my comment about McCaskey's giving talks on Objectivism. He may have, but I don't know for a fact that he spoke on Objectivism as have other ARI spokespersons. In any case, it's irrelevant, because he was considered a board member in good standing.
(Edited by William Dwyer on 11/11, 7:44am)