<< ARI Watch

The Center of Mass Shifts Further
- OSI vs. ARI -

Carl Barney had been the Ayn Rand Institute’s largest donor by far when in 2019 he suddenly left its board of directors, taking his purse with him. Since then he has paid more attention to his Prometheus Foundation and to Craig Biddle’s The Objective Standard.

On 1 May 2020 Barney announced:

“Dr. Peikoff has given me (Prometheus Foundation ...) permission to publicize and deliver worldwide his courses and lectures.”
“He has also granted me permission to use his trademark, “Ayn Rand,” as well as excerpts from his and Ayn Rand’s works, which will aid me in marketing. With these assets and my considerable resources, I am eager and ready to ensure that Dr. Peikoff’s courses and lectures reach and continue to reach minds throughout the world. ...

“I do not intend to start another ARI or to compete with ARI. I don’t intend to establish a new organization of any kind. I intend only to support and fund other organizations and individuals who promote Ayn Rand and advance Objectivism.”

Of course  it competes with ARI.  And though Barney may not intend to start another ARI apparently he will finance those who do. [1]  As Yaron Brook’s Ayn Rand Institute wanes Carl Barney’s Prometheus Foundation and Craig Biddle’s The Objective Standard waxes. The waxers are linked together in that Barney has long supported TOS and Biddle is executive director of Prometheus.

Earlier Barney had in effect moved the money he was giving ARI to Prometheus and TOS.  Now Peikoff, who owns Rand’s copyrights as well as her name, is moving from ARI toward Prometheus and TOS.

The announcement, titled “Dr. Leonard Peikoff’s Courses and Lectures,” was headed by a photograph of Leonard Peikoff and Carl Barney standing side by side, one arm of each around the shoulders of the other. The photograph can be considered the first in a pair of photographs, the second photograph being of Barney and Richard Minns (TOS 6 June 2019) likewise standing side by side very chummy. Taking “degree of separation” to mean not merely knowing but associating with, together the two pictures show in visual terms that Peikoff is but one degree of separation away from a psychopath: [2]

Peikoff  &  Barney ←→ Barney  &  Minns

In a TOS mass email Biddle made the same announcement the same day as Barney did.  Biddle begins with a bit of autobiography:

“Once upon a time, my life was aimless and somewhat discombobulated [sic]. I had lots of friends and fun hobbies, but I lacked an overarching purpose. Only when I learned and began to leverage the principles of Objectivism  Ayn Rand’s ‘philosophy for living on earth’  did I begin to turn my life around.”

He doesn’t say what his life turned to, only that Peikoff’s courses and lectures helped do the turning. Eventually, we observe, he turned to ARI, then to TOS and to defending Barney’s career in Scientology and how he runs his “for-profit” (but dependent on the U.S. government) colleges. [3]  Later Barney made Biddle executive director of his foundation.

You need a program to follow the fluid loyalties in organized Objectivism.  When in 2010 Peikoff effectively forced John McCaskey out of ARI [4]  Biddle defended McCaskey in the article “Justice for John P. McCaskey” on his personal website (separate from TOS’s). He called Peikoff’s behavior “nonobjective and unjust.” In 2014, soon after Barney started the Objectivist Venture Fund (later Prometheus), Biddle took down his personal website and it remains “Under Construction.”

Now there is Richard Salsman. When he was a graduate student ARI loaned him money for his studies. Later ARI helped raise the money that made possible his current academic position at Duke University.  Salsman used to be a frequent speaker at ARI events. Probably never again. In a Facebook post of 29 April 2020 he called Onkar Ghate, ARI’s Chief Content Officer, a  “wholly unqualified charlatan ... venerated by the likes of YB [Yaron Brook], TS [Tara Smith or perhaps Tal Tsfany], HB [Harry Binswanger] and a host of other sycophants ... .”  He described Ghate’s performance in a recent ARI webinar as  “dishonest and pathetic,” “wholly lacking in rational content,” “devoid of any coherent argument,” etc.

From another Facebook post, replying to a post by Todd Hartle:  “The Yaron Brook Show? ... it’s garbage. Second-hand trash. Unoriginal. Borrowed. Filched. ... Worse, it’s uninformed.  ... he is now a mere wannabe Jordan Peterson. Pathetic.”  Salsman goes on to say that Brook has left “the life of principle and integrity” and consequently detests “those who retain those virtues.”  He should have made the following singular instead of plural because Brook is the only one at ARI who has moved to Puerto Rico to avoid income taxes:  “Sunshine patriots, they cravenly flee to and podcast from the decadence of places like Starnseville – aka Puerto Rico. Real heroes. To Hell with them ...”

Salsman may have gone too far because soon afterwards he disappeared from the masthead of TOS as shown on its website.  Then on 6 May Biddle mass-emailed an announcement titled “Richard Salsman is no longer with TOS,”  saying that Salsman’s behavior was “non-objective and unprofessional” and affirming his removal from the masthead.

Later the same day Salsman deleted the offending Facebook post of 29 April (his reply to Todd Hartle had been deleted earlier, either by him or Hartle) then posted an apology of sorts which began:  “In two recent posts I harshly criticized a handful of people who I know to have misused ARI to besmirch solid Objectivists and Objectivist organizations whom they oppose and in consequence have risked devaluing Ayn Rand’s reputation.”  He says posting as he did was a mistake because  “FB isn’t the forum for that, since the matter requires lots of information, background, context, and judgment that most readers don’t have.”

Earlier, in a blog post of 24 March 2020, Barney had announced that Salsman would co-host a “Rand Camp” event under the auspices of the Prometheus Foundation next May. The announcement is still there (moved from the section of his website called “Blog” to a new section called “Objectivism”) but the event had to be cancelled because the hotel of the resort at which it was to be held was closed due to the coronavirus. The event is now planned for next year, May 2021.

Much of what Salsman said about ARI is true, if expressed in intemperate language, but look who’s talking. At the time he had been a contributing editor of TOS for nine years and in some respects it is even worse than ARI. [5]  And speaking of sycophancy, how to explain his defending Carl Barney’s Scientology career? [6]  Would that there were an insider hero to root for but Salsman is not it.

On 22 May 2020 Biddle announced the creation of a non-profit educational organization called the Objective Standard Institute (OSI)  “related to but distinct from The Objective Standard (TOS).”  OSI’s mission statement is similar to that of the Ayn Rand Institute.  You might call the new non-profit “Barney’s ARI.”  Its website was in a mature state of development the day it was announced which suggests it had been planned months before. OSI was trying to hire the Director of Technology at least two months before the announcement. [7]

As the two Obleftivist organizations  ARI  and  PF/OSI/TOS  squabble between and among themselves, a plague on both their houses.

1  He is financing what Rand did not want.  See  Ayn Rand on Organized Objectivism.

2  Who Is Richard Minns?

3  Barney’s Big Lie  and the other “Follow the Money” articles about Barney.

4  The details are complicated.  See  The Ayn Rand Institute vs. John McCaskey.

5  TOS promotes the same open borders, anti-white neurosis as ARI does. (For an example of the latter see  Valedictorians of Yesteryear.)  And like ARI they promoted homosexual “marriage” knowing full well that the so-called “Civil Rights” laws would shove it down our throats:
But it’s normal after all:
(The lead photo is like that in ARI’s The Undercurrenttinyurl.com/MarriageQuoteUnquoteARI )
And they promote perversion, which beats ARI – at least the public ARI:
All of this was published when Salsman was a TOS contributing editor, and he worries about “devaluing Ayn Rand’s reputation?”

6  Barney Tells His Story.

7  In OSI’s attempt to get an H-1B visa for the man last March it gave as its location Laguna Hills, CA where Carl Barney resides.
Craig Biddle had moved from Glen Allen, VA to Laguna Hills, CA. OSI is incorporated in Virginia but headquartered in Laguna Hills.  It looks like the point of the move was to make OSI headquarters near Carl Barney.