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Ayn Rand on Organized Objectivism


The following two extracts from The Objectivist were written by Ayn Rand in 1968. The publication month is nominal because the journal was several months behind schedule at the time.  The first article quoted has the date September 15, 1968 printed at the end.

From  “To Whom It May Concern” (The Objectivist, May 1968)  about her break with N. Brandon and NBI:


“I never wanted and do not now want to be the leader of a ‘movement’.  I do approve of a philosophical or intellectual movement, in the sense of a growing trend among a number of independent individuals sharing the same ideas.  But an organized movement is a different matter.”

From “A Statement of Policy” (The Objectivist, June 1968):

“I regard the spread of Objectivism through today’s culture as an intellectual movement – i.e. a trend among independent individuals who share the same ideas – but not as an organized movement. … Objectivism is not an organized movement and is not to be regarded as such by anyone. … I shall not establish or endorse any type of school or organization purporting to represent or be a spokesman for Objectivism.  I shall repudiate and take appropriate action against any attempt to use my name or my philosophy, explicitly or implicitly, in connection with any project of that kind or any organization not authorized by me.”

Nonetheless these days we have the “Ayn Rand Institute,” created three years after her death.  In 2016 its top officials urged us to vote for Hillary Clinton.  Now they say that were Rand alive today she would hate everything there is about President Trump.  Those pronouncements among many others (endorsing government institutionalized torture, promoting the invasion of Iraq, promoting “gay marriage,” etc.) show that Rand was right to oppose setting up an organization such as ARI.

When Harry Binswanger began publishing a bimonthly journal The Objectivist Forum in 1980 Ayn Rand supported it but took care to write in the inaugural issue that it was not “the official voice of Objectivism ... [or] my representative or my spokesman.”  And neither is the (misnamed) “Ayn Rand Institute.”

Rand made Leonard Peikoff the heir to her estate but she did not, and could not, make him the heir to her intellect.  Unfortunately for the spread of her ideas she chose a man with checkered common sense.  Mr. Peikoff worries, for example, that a Christian theocracy will soon control the United States – he wrote a whole book about it – and he ends up deferring to a Zionist Israeli, Yaron Brook, on the most important issue of our time:  mass Third World immigration (Mr. Brook praises it to the skies, legal and illegal, into the U.S. – and rejects it outright when it comes to Israel).  ARI has been a complete disaster for the spread of Objectivism.