Simple Exercise

James S. Valliant's picture
Submitted by James S. Valliant on Sun, 2009-05-10 18:08

This is a paragraph from the ethics section of Wikipedia's article "Objectivism."

It's so very bad that it provides beginning students of Rand's thought with a (simple) exercise: how many misstatements of Rand's ideas can you detect?

"In The Virtue of Selfishness [Rand] attempted to derive ethical egoism from first principles. Value is relative: something can only be valuable for a particular being, and it can only be valuable if that being has a choice. Only living things are able to choose, therefore values only exist for living things, and whatever a living thing acts to gain or keep is a value for that thing. Every living thing maintains its life for its own sake, and - according to Rand - for any living thing, only its own life is valuable for its own sake. On the assumption that every living thing should do or ought to do whatever is valuable for itself, it follows that it should do whatever promotes its own life. But people can only live if they are rational. Since reason is man's means of knowledge, it is also his greatest value, and its exercise his greatest virtue. 'Man's mind is his basic tool of survival. Life is given to him, survival is not. His body is given to him, its sustenance is not. His mind is given to him, its content is not. To remain alive he must act and before he can act he must know the nature and purpose of his action. He cannot obtain his food without knowledge of food and of the way to obtain it. He cannot dig a ditch––or build a cyclotron––without a knowledge of his aim and the means to achieve it. To remain alive, he must think.' Therefore everyone ought to be rational."

My list.

1. Values require choice? Not according to Rand, who said that only conceptual consciousness is volitional. Or, is it that values require an "alternative" according to Rand? (For example, a living organism can adapt [either modifying its behavior within its own life-span or through mutation and natural selection]. Such adaptation is a kind of value pursuit that does not necessarily imply a volitional choice.)

2. Values are "relative"? Does this mean that values imply "of value to whom and for what?" That's certainly true, but it also here seems to require a state of consciousness.

3. Values are that which are pursued, sure, but, are values then subjective, i.e., "whatever" happens to be pursued?

4. Get this: "Every living thing maintains its life for its own sake"? IF ONLY!

5. Does Rand "assume" that "every living thing" should do "what is valuable for itself"? Is this idea any part of Rand's case? Isn't this precisely a circle Rand avoids -- and answers? (Talk about upside down and inside out.)

6. "People can only live if they are rational"? Say what?! As Rand knew and dramatically depicted, irrational people survive all the time -- but even for them, reason is their basic tool of survival, of course.

7. Finally, my favorite, the last "therefore" -- as if Rand's argument had just been recounted!

I've said it before and will say it again: Criticism, rational criticism, is a good thing. It sharpens that tool of survival to its finest edge. But the two sorts of criticisms which have unfortunately marred most of Rand scholarship are: 1. ad hominem, i.e., the Branden and Rothbard based lies and distractions about Rand herself, and 2. gross misstatements of what Objectivism says, i.e., the Nyquist, Whittaker Chambers, Robert Nozick, and, now, the Wikipedia, stuff.

( categories: )

Not to mention...

Ellen Stuttle's picture

The Blue Danube (and others of its ilk).

I think he's had latent EDS for some while; the symptoms are becoming overt. Its severity, however, doesn't compare to the LDS.


"Kiss me Hardy" (Dying Words of Lord Nelson)

Brant Gaede's picture

Michael, you're only naive on the outside.


Unholy matrimony

Michael Hardy's picture

I hadn't really realized marriage proposals could work that way. I guess I'm pretty naive.

test--I was not able to

Lance's picture

test--I was not able to delete the post per se, only change the text. Maybe there's a way I don't know about.

Ah I was mistaken then, and could have saved sometime by not checking Robert Campbell on the logs. I assumed users could delete their own posts.

And to the peanut gallery: No I was not speculating that RC nefariously deleted his own post - merely that it could have happened by accident. The same reason I checked logs of my own activity.

If someone has their

Lance's picture

If someone has their settings so that new copies of a page do not overwrite old copies(I think that's possible), they can, in firefox at least, search their disk cache for an older copy of the page.

Pop that (sans quotes) into address bar in firefox hit enter, then hit "/" (again sans quotes) to search for ""

You should (if your internet settings specify to not overwrite pages in cache but to store multiple copies - again, I think that is possible) find multiple entries like this:

Data size: 177892 bytes
Fetch count: 26
Last modified: 2009-06-11 10:40:33
Expires: 1970-01-01 13:00:00

You'd be looking for a timestamp that correlated to the time of Robert's posting - after, but not too long after.


Brant Gaede's picture

test--I was not able to delete the post per se, only change the text. Maybe there's a way I don't know about.


Thank you

Brant Gaede's picture

Lance for trying to find the lost post. I'm sorry you put so much effort into it. I did want to read it, but not desired in a way commensurate with your efforts. I don't think Robert could have deleted it without leaving something behind. I'm going to make another post and try to completely delete it.


Oh, groan!

Lindsay Perigo's picture

MSK's been waxing scurrilous ever since Amy verified that Leonard did write the email to Jimmy Wales. (Among his entertainments, Linz, he proposed unholy matrimony between you and me.)

I should imagine that nincompoop thinks the moon-landing was a hoax, Bush planned 9/11, and Perigo/Valliant were plotting to take over TAS. Does MSK now have EDS as well as LDS?

I'd be up for marrying you, Ellen, except I fear the Warsaw Concerto would be an insuperable barrier between us.

"Ellen Stuttle's ever so delicate honour"

Ellen Stuttle's picture

(The subject line is quoted from Lance's post immediately below.)

MSK's been waxing scurrilous ever since Amy verified that Leonard did write the email to Jimmy Wales. (Among his entertainments, Linz, he proposed unholy matrimony between you and me.)

I'll speculate that he's having trouble accepting that the Peikoff-to-Wales email wasn't a hoax.


MSK says: Also, there is a

Lance's picture

MSK says: Also, there is a boy who is likewise turning himself into a pretzel trying to "prove" that your deleted post never existed.*

Okay "boy" ugh, fine, whatever.

However, I spent most of yesterday trying FIND and RESTORE the post - along with attempting to discover HOW it disappeared. Not "prove" it never existed you bloody tool. In fact I went to great lengths to find and restore the post, searching not only my disk cache, but cached copies of the page from every independent search engine that keeps an up to date cache. In every case the cache was made either before the post - or after it had been lost/accidentally deleted/purposefully removed in dire and spurious circumstances in an attempt to preserve Ellen Stuttle's ever so delicate honour.**



MSK says about Ellen Stuttle in the first post linked: Nothing pleases her more than when she can speculate all over the place

Pot meet kettle.

If it was deleted (either

Lance's picture

If it was deleted (either through accident or shenanigans) rather than "lost somehow", the three most likely candidates would be Lindsay, myself and Robert.

I personally checked the logs for those three yesterday from the time of the prior post through to your reporting of the missing post (the logs show every page visited - reply, edit, delete count as pages). Lindsay didn't delete it, I didn't delete it, Robert didn't delete it.


Brant Gaede's picture

saw Robert's post. No one has said they didn't delete it except LP. It's gone.

Maybe quantum mechanics had something to do with this.


Missing Link

Robert Campbell's picture


When I try to follow that missing link, it brings me right back to the top of this thread.

Robert Campbell

Robert's missing post. I've

Lance's picture

Robert's missing post.

I've checked Ask, Live, Gigablast, Google, Yahoo - none of their cached pages have the entry (either cached too soon or too late) - along with my disk cache on the off chance a copy of the page remained there. Nada.

I also can't find the unique comment number in the site admin controls:

I'm assuming the missing link* is

Bear in mind I'm not the web admin or overly familiar with the site controls.

*har har

edit: hummm... found the comment number being used today


Ellen Stuttle's picture

Had the Peikoff-to-Wales email been cc'd to me, Robert, I wouldn't have doubted its authenticity, and wouldn't have posted a passage from it on a discussion board, or been likely to reply to the email. I'd have wondered why Leonard cc'ed me; period. (I'm not sure I'd have noticed the hashed userid, but if I had, I'd have thought that Leonard was using a sub-address so he could promptly spot a reply if Jimmy Wales responded. His regular email address probably gets an enormous amount of mail.)

As you say, there remain zero grounds for doubt now as to the email's authenticity.


Uncertainty and Irritaiton

Robert Campbell's picture

Ms. Stuttle is still trying to rewrite my email correspondence for me.

Or find fault with it one way or another:

My irritation is at having wasted my time on a needless "Who might have done it?" pursuit.

Well, I'm irritated, too. I'd rather have known ASAP that the email was genuine—or ASAP that it wasn't. Wouldn't we all?

Eventually, it was confirmed as genuine. Issue now over.

Suppose the Peikoff-to-Wales email had been cc'd to Ms. Stuttle, instead of to me.

Then she'd have had only herself to blame for the irritation.

Robert Campbell

L. Peikoff's official statement

Ellen Stuttle's picture

Doesn't appear that he's caught up to the meaning of "reliable" in Wikipediaese not having to do with accuracy of content.


Yes, everybody makes presuppositions

Ellen Stuttle's picture

Yes, Robert, everybody makes presuppositions.

I made the mistake of presuming that you would have written to Peikoff in such vein that you had good reason to take his lack of response as (negative) evidence for questioning the authenticity of his email to Jimmy Wales. I regret that I didn't ask to see copies of what you'd sent to him. Had I seen your emails, I wouldn't have wasted time speculating over who might have forged an email which I thought from the start sounded as if Leonard Peikoff indeed had written it.

As I said, I don't think you were trying to be misleading. My irritation is at having wasted my time on a needless "Who might have done it?" pursuit.

Nor was I attempting to rewrite your, or anyone else's, email communications. I gave an example of how I would have inquired -- in a form which made crystal clear that a response was requested one way or the other. Obviously, you'd have used your own style of wording. I was attempting to illustrate to you why your letter to Peikoff's official address didn't seem to require a response. (Your email to the hashed id gave no indication whatsoever of a response even being hoped for.)

You write:

"Meanwhile, Ms. Stuttle has to rely on several presuppositions of her own:

"(1) That Leonard Peikoff received one or both of my emails back to him.
(2) That if he received them he read either or both of them.
(3) That if he read either or both of them he determined that no reply was necessary because I wasn’t jumping up and down in my request for authentication."

No, I didn't presume the first two. His not receiving the email to the hashed id could easily be evidence of his email originating from that address being a fraud. But you'd have no way of ascertaining from no reply to that one if he received it. He might have received but not read the one to his official address. If he didn't see it, lack of response provides no evidence one way or the other. The wording of your email to his official address, however, leaves very possible that he saw it and "determined that no reply was necessary" IF his email was genuine. On the assumption he read that email, he'd only be expected to reply (angered at the discovery of fraud) if someone had faked the email.


Publication on

Robert Campbell's picture

Well, we know for sure now that the Peikoff-to-Wales email was real.

But Leonard Peikoff didn't publicize it until Jimmy Wales had told him, in effect, that based on the information he had he was not going to intervene in the Wikipedia editors' decision. (Jimmy Wales emailed Dr. Peikoff Sunday evening, cc'ing me.)

There were a couple of things Mr. Wales suggested that Dr. Peikoff could do, to promote the book's reliability as a source. Instead, Dr. Peikoff just published his email of May 29.

Robert Campbell

Official statement.

Jmaurone's picture


June 8, 2009

To my listeners:

I would appreciate any help that you can give me in my effort to reverse Wikipedia’s decision in this issue.

Thank you,

Leonard Peikoff

Dear Mr. Wales,

I learned recently to my astonishment that while books by Nathaniel and Barbara Branden, attacking Ayn Rand and her personal life, enjoy the status of reputable references in Wikipedia, a book disputing their claims and presenting the opposite viewpoint has been removed from your list as non-reputable. I refer to The Passion of Ayn Rand’s Critics by James Valliant published in May 2005. On its face, this is a policy of egregious injustice on your part.

As Ayn Rand’s executor, heir, and longtime personal friend, I will testify in any forum to the accuracy of Mr. Valliant’s book. I do not pretend to know every detail of the clash between Rand and the Brandens, but I do know firsthand the essential truth of the Valliant book. I leave aside here my own personal observations and discussions on this issue with Rand, because the book itself contains lengthy excerpts from her own personal notes, which completely bear out Valliant’s thesis in her own words. I released these notes only after a 20 year wait, because in Valliant I found at last a writer who would give her personal viewpoint a rational hearing, neither hostile nor worshipful.

My understanding, which may not be correct, is that one of the instigators of your new policy is Barbara Branden, one of the two persons identified in the Valliant book, with substantial corroborating evidence, as hostile to Ayn Rand. Surely such an individual and her claque have a transparent motive to kill this book. Can you justify removing one side of this dispute, the one endorsed by someone with my credentials? Do you describe as “reputable” only enemies of Ayn Rand?

There are those in the academic world who question the objectivity of Wikipedia. I hope that your action on this matter will prove that they are wrong.

Sincerely yours,

Leonard Peikoff
Executor, Estate of Ayn Rand

Everybody Makes Presuppositions

Robert Campbell's picture

The post I previously made about this matter is the one that went disappearo.

I won’t try to replicate the lost version, but the substance should be the same.

Ms. Stuttle won’t quit with her efforts to rewrite everyone’s email communications to her personal satisfaction.

Somehow Leonard Peikoff isn’t supposed to have been able to tell that I was requesting confirmation on his email to Jimmy Wales, from a hashed userid, mysteriously cc’d to me.

Not even when I tried to reach him at 2 different userids.

Ms. Stuttle goes so far as to declare my statements about the Peikoff-to-Wales missive and my suspicions of it “misleading.”

There’s no other way to put it—her claim is complete bullshit.

If someone I’d cc’d out of the blue asked me to confirm my authorship of an email, I’d be happy to oblige. Leonard Peikoff is more likely to be the target of email forgery than I am, and as a semi-public figure he has more to lose if bogus emails are sent out and attributed to him.

What’s more, I wasn’t going to be needlessly harsh in my first communications ever with Dr. Peikoff. I figured it would be better not to say, “Authenticate this email at once, or I shall proclaim it a brazen imposture and a scurrilous fraud!”

Interestingly, I’ve now heard from Jimmy Wales. He cc’d me on his response to Dr. Peikoff, then sent me a separate short note along the lines of “Do I know you from somewhere? What do you have to do with any of this?”

Meanwhile, Ms. Stuttle has to rely on several presuppositions of her own:

(1) That Leonard Peikoff received one or both of my emails back to him.
(2) That if he received them he read either or both of them.
(3) That if he read either or both of them he determined that no reply was necessary because I wasn’t jumping up and down in my request for authentication.

In fact, no one on this board knows whether any of (1)-(3) is true. (Unless it’s Amy Peikoff and she hasn’t shared it with us).

Everybody makes presuppositions.

Robert Campbell

Mr. Valliant Keeps Going at Wikipedia

Robert Campbell's picture

Here's a further exchange involving Jim Valliant (aka Pelagius1) and a Wikipedia editor.

Still at

Anyone care to itemize what we are talking about here? I'm too lazy to do so, but I'm curious if someone is up for it - how much content is taken from the Brandens' books in Ayn Rand and Objectivism (Ayn Rand)? In the Objectivist Movement article? What I'm fishing for is if there even exists some great wrongs - and if there is, do they even belong in an encyclopedic article - and if they are relevant, are the sources reliable. If we still have them after that scrutiny, does PARC offer us anything that is relevant - if the final question's answer is 'yes,' then we can resume discussion how PARC measures up to wikipedia policy for verifying the specifics. Otherwise there is no need to work this out. --Karbinski (talk) 17:55, 8 June 2009 (UTC)

This is not a whole summary, but stuff like this (from the Ayn Rand article) keeps coming up, again and again:
"Stressing that this 'is not to deny the sophistication or originality of Rand's thought,' Chris Matthew Sciabarra discusses Branden's suggestion that her 'wholesale rejection' of some other viewpoints was due to her 'theatrical, emotional, and abrasive style.' As a polemicist, he [?] argues, she often dismissed her opponents on 'moralistic or psychologistic' grounds, and her broad generalizations often lacked scholarly rigor.[77] For example, Rand has been criticized for her critique of Immanuel Kant. Rand was strongly opposed to certain views she ascribed to Kant, particularly that reason is unable to know reality 'as it is in itself." She considered her philosophy to be the "exact opposite" of Kant's on 'every fundamental issue'.[78] Objectivist philosophers George Walsh and Fred Seddon have both argued that Rand misinterpreted Kant and exaggerated her differences with him.[79][80] According to Seddon, Nathaniel Branden stated that Rand never read Kant's Critique of Pure Reason,[81] while Walsh contends that Rand and Kant adhere to many of the same basic positions."

Branden's credibility as a witness against Rand, his alleged "facts," and, most especially, his accusations (and their alleged basis in "fact") of what he calls Rand's moralism and psychologizing are all considered in detail with new evidence in PARC.

And, as participant in the exchange RL removed, I think it also should go as an irrelevant distraction, as well, so I removed it. Pelagius1 (talk) 8 June, 2009.


Notice that Mr. Valliant does not provide evidence that Ayn Rand read the Critique of Pure Reason (if she refused to read A Theory of Justice by John Rawls, what would have persuaded her to read Immanuel Kant's least readable book?).

He just complains about the use of Nathaniel Branden as a source for her not reading it.

Robert Campbell

Not That One

Robert Campbell's picture


It was my second reply to Ms. Stuttle that went disappearo.

Robert Campbell

~The Power~

Brant Gaede's picture

I guess. If I had ~The Power~ I'd delete a few--hundred! Evil Thank God, someone besides me has ~The Power~!


Lance's picture

Not that one?

Here's a cache of the thread from earlier


Brant Gaede's picture

Jeremy. You can do better than that.


I Saw It.

Lindsay Perigo's picture

And now I can't. I've no idea what happened to it. I certainly didn't remove it. I'm baffled. Ross, any idea what might have happened?


Robert Campbell's picture

Mr. Perigo says:

Nothing's been or being deleted.

Much earlier today, I posted in response to Ellen Stuttle's item below, in which she declared that one of my statements about the Peikoff-to-Wales email was "misleading."

I posted it. The header was "The Power of Presupposition" or something akin to that.

It was visible on this site for a while.

Then it disappeared.

Robert Campbell


Jeremy's picture

What makes you think PAR has nothing to do with nearly an entire thread concerning the validity of PARC? That is the root of the Wikipedia/Valliant/Peikoff/ discussion. I knew you were batshit fucking crazy, but not this far gone. Lay off the sauce. This entire debate stems from the creation and existence of PAR; if you can't see that you're blind as well as...befuddled.

Go be old with someone else, mate.


Lindsay Perigo's picture

Nothing's been or being deleted. Why do you ask?


Brant Gaede's picture

Are you deleting posts on this thread? LP?



Brant Gaede's picture

What pond are you swimming in? Yours may be the first reference to "PAR" on this whole thread, though I'd be surprised if it were actually true. And a PARC and PAR debate? Where's that thread? So I guess your last sentence of your first paragraph is true because none of those people are here doing those things. It might be of help if you'd digest what you are reading before commenting on it in such a general way.


I'm really starting to think

Jeremy's picture

I'm really starting to think the best way to approach the Wikipedia issue is to remove every reference to any kind of personal or professional schism or brouhaha within the Objectivist community from every single page dealing with Ayn Rand and the philosophy. Rand's page should have her known life--as it pertains to the subject and not her adherents or anti-adherents, her works and her philosophy--nothing else. Right now, none of you people debating PARC and PAR, Rand v. Branden v. Perigo have anything to do with Rand or Objectivism.

You people will simply not let this go.


Brant Gaede's picture

doesn't really matter when it comes to Rand and Objectivism. It never did. JV overplayed his hand and was neutralized and that's that.


Oh, hell!

Ellen Stuttle's picture

Re Robert C.'s post immediately below quoting new entries from "Pelagius1" on Wikipedia.

There goes my hope that JV has learned from this incident and is going to try to do it right on WP.


James Valliant on the Mend

Robert Campbell's picture

Mr. Valliant must be doing a little better, because he has returned to Wikipedia.

May I ask for that "summary"? Per consensus, may the Valliant book be cited or used at Wikipedia outside of the Bibliography? Pelagius1 (talk) 6 June, 2009

This is the letter sent to Mr. Wales from Ayn Rand heir, Leonard Peikoff, PhD, on May 29, 2009 (posted with his permission here):
[same text as previously posted at SOLOP--RLC]
Pelagius1 (talk) 6 June, 2009

Incidentally, the Wikipedia biography of Peikoff currently reads: "Kelley has worked with the libertarian movement in the United States and other groups with which Peikoff refused to associate. Nathaniel Branden, whom Rand herself had publicly repudiated, later joined with David Kelley and The Objectivist Center. This resulted in a number of members ending their own association with Kelley's group.[citation needed]" The needed citation, of course, are the numerous statements of scholars and writers influenced by 'The Passion of Ayn Rand;'s Critics.' This is bizarre, as most did not leave until they read Valliant's book. Have you decided to omit history as well? Pelagius1 (talk) 6 June, 2009

Valliant's eyewitness testimony re Rothbard, the actual Rand notes themselves, his arguments -- whatever the positive Kirkus Review said about it the book -- the impact of the book on scholars within the movement, are all censored, while the factually dubious works of Walker, Shermer, Rothbard, Ellis, and the Brandens are not? Pelagius1 (talk) 6 June, 2009

Far more shocking is the silence of all those (still) associated with David Kelley's group -- since Kelley had overtly called for such a debate about B. Branden's work in his initial attack on ARI. Here, a detailed reply, complete with Rand's own notes is published, and they stand silent after trumpeting the alleged silence of their opponents(!) Of course, this excludes those scholars who left association with TAS ~ because ~ of PARC.
Walker? He spread total nonsense. There is no reason to treat PARC differently from the Brandens' works. Pelagius1 (talk) 6 June, 2009.

Mr. Parille has evaded every response by Valliant to each of his nonsensical assertions about the book. His dishonesty and evasion should be ignored, it is baseless in every case. Some of what he writes (take #5) has absolutely nothing to do with the book in question, and illustrate here his wild animus against Rand and Peikoff, which are well-known. No one is likely to waste time or effort responding to a truly "unreliable" source. Pelagius1 (talk) 8 June, 2009.


The smarm and sleaze are wholly characteristic.

Note, too, how Mr. Valliant falsely alleges that a bunch of "scholars" left TAS because Mr. Valliant's opus revealed unto them the error of their ways.

I know of one person who left TAS on account of Mr. Valliant's book: Bill Perry. I believe that because Bill told me he had left for that reason, and said so here as well.

I once unwisely stated that Michelle Fram Cohen had left on account of the book. She indignantly denied it.

Who else?

Obviously, Mr. Valliant has regained enough energy to start telling lies again.

Robert Campbell

Trust me

jeffrey smith's picture

You might be expelled from the nunnery, and I'd hate to have *that* on my conscience.

Trust me, the only reason I would go into a nunnery is to help the inmates break their vow of chastity. (Hey, I'm Jewish. We think sex is good. Even put one whole book on the topic in the Bible--Song of Songs.)

[I hope Olivia doesn't need the smelling salts after she reads that.]

the entertainment I derive from your denunciations of me

Well, I'm glad there's some value to them Smiling

unforgedly yours....

Sister J

Lindsay Perigo's picture

Someone pretending to be you is posting reasonably. Unlike the Peikoff e-mail, your last post *has* to be a forgery. I think you should denounce and expose this impostor at once.

If it were really you, I'd be fearful for 2 reasons: 1) it indicates you are getting over your LDS, and that would be a devastating blow to the entertainment I derive from your denunciations of me; 2) it indicates a willingness to appreciate music with head *and* heart, and who knows where *that* might lead?! You might be expelled from the nunnery, and I'd hate to have *that* on my conscience. Eye

I don't rate you as a threat to Objectivism on a par with Babs; I included you on the list of folk with LDS, that's all. I don't even rate Babs as a threat to Objectivism except when she calls herself an Objectivist.

And to be clear, I believe in the truth first and Objectivism second. If I disagree with Ayn Rand I say so. I could never survive within the tread-on-eggshells culture of the orthodoxy. Doesn't mean I think of her as anything less than heroic, or that the obsessive attempts to diminish her by the Brandroids don't appall me.

Living on the East Coast of the USA you can still catch me on TV. Try the Triangle TV thread. I'm the same person there as here. Often to my detriment I have a big heart, and, for better or worse, I wear it on my sleeve.

Thank you for the display of good will.

Just so everyone's clear ...

Lindsay Perigo's picture

... since it's apparently a surprise and shock to Prof. Campbell, "Admin" is me, but isn't just me, it's all the gods of SOLO—me, the webmaster, the coordinators et al. But it's usually me who posts. This is not an attempt to deceive or effect something underhanded, as almost everyone apparently already understands. Equally, it is usually me posting the Drooling Beast or John Galt Awards. Ditto. If I were to post all those features under my own name, then that would be all the more you'd have to look at my ugly mug.

Ellen—if I were embarrassed I'd be the first to admit it. But I'm not. There was reason to suspect Babs because:

1) I was told it was she by someone I believed;

2) It coincided with an attempt to haul *me* off Wiki as well;

3) Having seen the atrocious lies Babs spread in her last effort to have me silenced, I wouldn't put *anything* past her.

This last is a stain on *all* Brandroids who know about it, given their failure to dissociate themselves from her lies.

So thank you for the offer of pie, Ellen, and I'm sure you do a delicious one, but on this occasion I decline. Eye I do, however, thank you for your steadying influence in this debate.

Prof. Campbell could launch a fresh start here by simply acknowledging he goofed, and not entirely without reason, rather than compounding the gaffe with more silly allegations such as this rocket socketry thing.


jeffrey smith's picture

As I recall you said something to the effect that you discounted "emotional response" when evaluating music. I would have deemed that to be rationalistic, intrinsicist and anal-retentive, for sure.

I look at evaluating music and enjoying music as two different things. The first is an exercise of the intelligence, and inherently rational; enjoying music is totally different--a whole mind affair, so to speak that should include the emotional response. And I do believe in controlling one's passions--but that means I believe in having passions. After all, you can't control passions unless you have them. Perhaps we've been talking (yelling?) past each other, because we haven't made our premises clear? Don't forget that other than rating Mahler higher, and Tchaikovsky less, than you, and a greater liking for Renaissance and Baroque music than you, your taste in music and mine run almost exactly the same. I've even started to take a liking to the Tchaikovsky Fifth, Dieu m'aide--although I still think that in the wrong hands it can easily degrade into a pool of molasses, and that Rachmaninov did it better in his symphonies.

But in fact, my changed view of the Fifth is a good instance of what I mean. At first I didn't like it, then I was prompted to go back and consider if my opinion was a fair one--which meant I put aside my emotional response to it, and listened to it several times purely for the purpose of hearing what Tchaikovsky actually did with it--which allowed me to realize it was better music than I originally thought (and that the recording I was used to, Ozawa and the Berlin Phil., was probably more saccharine than necessary)--which means that now when I listen to the Fifth (and the Sixth, for that matter), I enjoy it, intellectually and emotionally, much more, and I scorn it not at all. (But I still think the Fourth was his best symphony.)

The comment about journalists being second-handers is just silly.
Actually, it is just as over the top as many of the things you utter here. For instance, ranking me with Barbara Branden as a threat to Objectivism. Or Jonathan, for that matter (although I understand why you banned him--if only for his refusal to deal honestly with Ellen.) It probably doesn't help that I usually go online only after my work day is complete, and, to put it diplomatically, your rhetoric helps me find a useful punching bag to get the stress out.
At any rate, in the cold light of the next day, it was a silly thing to say, and I withdraw it.

And remember, that me being on the US East Coast, and not actually involved in the Objectivist movement, I have no idea of what you are like other than what you choose to post here at SOLO.

About as silly as Campbell's claim that posting
It isn't sock puppetry, but he does have a point. It is not always obvious to a newcomer that you are Administrator or the other personae. For instance, Administrator could easily be the tech person (Mr. Green, if I remember the name correctly): the only real clue that you are Administrator is the use of the term "KASS Quotes" in the post titles--and I am sure of it only because it's come up on this thread.

Thank you.
You're welcome.

I'd say that it's even.

Ellen Stuttle's picture

Re cause for embarrassment, Linz, there's been plenty of foolishness to leave pie on faces on both sides.

You were ready and eager to see Barbara behind Wikipedia deliberations. And maybe you still think that James -- who brought his troubles on himself through mismanagement -- was the victim of injustice.

A good title for the sequence since May 16 would be "The Power of Presupposition."



Ellen Stuttle's picture

The point is that you gave the impression that you'd questioned Leonard in such terms that his lack of response was grounds for considering the letter a hoax.

On seeing what you actually wrote to him, I demur from that evaluation. I don't think that you were intentionally misleading people with your report, but the report was misleading.


PS: I'd no more consider the Administrator and Drooling Beast features "sock-puppets" than I would the "From the Horror File" feature of The Objectivist. In both cases what's involved is a slot for posting quotes to be highlighted as being of a particular type.

I think Administrator and

Lance's picture

I think Administrator and Drooling Beast qualify as sock puppets because Mr. Perigo doesn't announce to participants that they are really just Lindsay Perigo.

No, they really don't.

Face it, you clutched at straws to make a point, you have no evidence of actual deceptive sock puppetry going on by Lindsay so you pointed at the Admin/DB accounts as a "Gotcha!" after Lindsay said he posted here only as himself.

I know coming from me this may seem a tad hypocritical... but grow up Campbell.

Edit: (Maybe take baby steps... I am, I just came back and edited out the terrible and foul language I used at first.)

Edited to add this from the Wikipedia entry on "Sockpuppeting": The key difference between a sock puppet and a regular pseudonym is the pretense that the puppet is a third party who is not affiliated with the puppeteer.

Emphasis mine.

Perigonian Immunity to Embarrassment

Robert Campbell's picture

I suspect Campbell might be lying low as far as SOLO is concerned, out of embarrassment. I'd like to think he'd have the grace to be embarrassed, at least.

I think Administrator and Drooling Beast qualify as sock puppets because Mr. Perigo doesn't announce to participants that they are really just Lindsay Perigo.

One may wish to debate this. There certainly isn't the gross sleaze factor that attached to Mr. Valliant's employment of AnonIP160 and Pelagius1. But Mr. Perigo piously proclaimed that he and Mr. Valliant would never do underhanded things. "Say what you mean and mean what you say," and all that.

Given Mr. Perigo's habit of repeatedly pretending that he has received no evidence in support of a statement—when the poster from whom he is demanding the evidence presented it a little while ago right here on this same thread—he has no business telling anybody when he or she ought to be embarrassed.

For if Mr. Perigo had ever actually applied any of these norms to himself, he'd have become terminally embarrassed several years ago, and would now be permanently retired from online life.

Which, come to think it, wouldn't be such a dreadful outcome.

Robert Campbell

My Reply to a Less than Urgent PM

Robert Campbell's picture

I was traveling nearly all day yesterday. I didn't see Ellen Stuttle's PM till about an hour ago, but wouldn't have considered it urgent even if I'd seen it right after it was sent.

Ms. Stuttle did not have the apparently unique experience of receiving a Peikoff-to-Wales email out of the blue. If she had, she would of course have been free to respond to it any way she wanted.

Anyhow, here's my response to the PM:




Maybe I shouldn't have used an indirect speech act.

But where I live, "I received this item earlier today and would like to make sure that it came from you" is a polite way of saying, "Tell me whether this damn thing's for real."

Would you fault someone for asking "Do you know the time?" because the answer he got was "Yes"?


"his accusation against me

Michael Hardy's picture

"his accusation against me of suck-it rocketry or whatever"


He probably said "sockpuppetry". When one becomes persona non grata in an internet forum and then posts there under a fake name, the fake name is called a "sockpuppet".


Jeremy's picture

He's a Professor of Fuckwittery, Linz! Or maybe Witfuckery.....not sure. I'll check Wikipedia...


Lindsay Perigo's picture

I suspect Campbell might be lying low as far as SOLO is concerned, out of embarrassment. I'd like to think he'd have the grace to be embarrassed, at least. I haven't seen his name here all day. And aside from the principal issue here, his accusation against me of suck-it rocketry or whatever was ludicrous in its explication. This guy is a professor??!!

And meanwhile...

Ellen Stuttle's picture

Guess who's shown up on the thread?

None other than the longtime email friend I mentioned who's expert at Wikipedia ins and outs.

TA-TA: One mathematician extraordinaire, Dr. Michael Hardy.


PS: Mike, Valliant never posted under his own name; see links to the user-talk page for IP 160. He's been topic-banned for six months, not entirely banned.

PM to Robert Campbell

Ellen Stuttle's picture

I was dismayed to read on OL the text of the emails which Robert Campbell sent to, respectively, the "usrbsbv0i" userid (from which he received a copy of Leonard's email to Jimmy Wales) and Leonard's public userid.

I had wrongly thought that Robert would have written with some such inquiry as:

Dear Dr. Peikoff,
I'm wondering about the authenticity of this email (copied below) because I'm surprised at being copied by you and because of the peculiar userid.
Did you write the email?

If he'd inquired in these terms, Leonard could have answered with a one-word "Yes" or "No," thus ending speculation about the email's genuineness right there if the answer was "Yes."

Instead, here and here are the texts of the emails Robert sent.

And here is a PM I sent earlier to Robert:




I just read on OL the texts of your emails to Peikoff.

Do you realize that you don't say anything in either of them indicating that you expect a response?

The first says nothing whatsoever which would indicate that it has any purpose other than providing information.

The second says:


Dear Dr. Peikoff,

Sorry to bother you with duplicate emails, but I received this item earlier today and would like to make sure that it came from you.


Robert Campbell


He'd only be expected to respond to that if the email to Wales DIDN'T come from him.

Had you posted those emails from you along with the text of his to you, I would never have thought that his non-response to your emails gave any cause for suspecting his email of being a fake -- quite the contrary; I'd have taken his not responding to the one sent to his official address as affirmation that his letter was genuine.




I've received no response yet from Robert -- maybe he hasn't yet seen the PM.

Meanwhile, I've become sufficiently irritated by the wholly unnecessary farrago of speculating about the authenticity of the LPeikoff email to Jimbo, I decided to carry through with my initial impulse -- which was to post what I then sent as a PM.


From a Wikipedia administrator

Michael Hardy's picture

So I look in on this oddball forum for the first time in a few months and I find _this_ discussion.

I am a Wikipedia administrator and I've done about an eighth of a million Wikipedia edits, all of them under my real name and none of them of the kind where a bot identifies mismatched quotation marks etc. etc. etc. and one fixes them, and I've created hundreds of new articles.

I have good news for James Valliant, and information that will correct an error made by Leonard Peikoff.

First the simpler part: Leonard Peikoff is mistaken if he thinks Jimmy Wales is the one who decides such details as what he calls an injustice on "your" (Jimbo's?) part. Wallmart is located in the USA, therefore Barack Obama decides its policies on whether certain categories of products can be returned for a full refund within three weeks while others must be returned within two weeks? Peikoff could discover, by looking around within Wikipedia, how such decisions are made by those who choose to participate in discussions and those who are able to convince others.

Now the more complicated part: I see mentioned James Valliant's "removal" from Wikipedia. I wondered whether he had been banned from editing. I find no evidence of that, but I don't know what pseudonyms he might have used. I do find that at 03:00 (Greenwich time) on June 3rd, someone redirected the article about James Valliant to the article titled "Objectivist movement". This was not an article deletion: the whole edit history of the article is still publicly viewable, and anyone can see the article's content at every stage of its editing, from the initial version at 22:01 on 24 July 2006 to that most recent edit. For that matter, it would be a simple matter for even a non-logged-in editor to restore the article.

That's not what I had in mind when I said I have good news for James Valliant.

Rather, I meant that generally those who are able to demonstrate convincingly that they have understanding of an issue relevant to the editing of an article are respected by other Wikipedians who know less. They're happy to learn from those who can teach them. Some say that that's just my biased point of view, from having edited lots of math articles, since those who don't know math usually know that they don't know math, and the same is not true of philosophy, politics, etc. However, I find the climate generally changing (I've been editing Wikipedia almost daily for almost seven years) and that view penetrating further into controversial subjects (although there are some hot-button items that are still conspicuously problematic) and some of the more obnoxious irrationalities no longer as frequent as they once were.

Now, now, Sister J ...

Lindsay Perigo's picture

... don't get your chastity belt in a twist. As I recall you said something to the effect that you discounted "emotional response" when evaluating music. I would have deemed that to be rationalistic, intrinsicist and anal-retentive, for sure.

The comment about journalists being second-handers is just silly. About as silly as Campbell's claim that posting as Administrator or John Galt (for the John Galt Award) is puppet socketry or whatever it's called. Linz Derangement Syndrome sure makes folk say the darndest things.

And, seriously, I did appreciate your post about my not disclosing my sources. Thank you.


Brant Gaede's picture

A journalist/interviewer is not a second-hander profession altho it may attract second-handers.



jeffrey smith's picture

Maybe set up a support group with Babs, Sister Jeffrina, Jonathan and Michael Sewer Kelly?

So now I'm in the pantheon? I suppose I ought to feel honored. I guess this is my reward for defending you in the only comment I've made previously on this thread. (Go and look. I said it was probable that you had a justified, and even honorable, reason for not identifying the person whose identity would surprise us.)

But face it, Perigo. Every time you open your mouth or type another word on your keyboard, humanity is diminished.

Your profession is that of journalist/interviewer: you get people to talk about their lives and their interests. Fine as a job, but that's a perfect illustration of a second hander--you live through (and on) the lives of other people, instead of through yourself.

To the rest:
Notice Perigo's modus operandi: Take a comment I made--that I don't like sentimentality, by which I mean false, manufactured, or manipulated emotion--and claim that I said I don't like passion, and based on this distortion launch invective, insult and nicknames worthy of a fifth grade homeroom, and now I have achieved equivalence with Ms. Branden and Michael Kelly, whom I don't know (to borrow Kasper's phrase) from a bar of soap. True, I am not the most amiable of interlocutors--but if someone wants to attack me, they ought to stick to what I actually say.

L'mah ragshu (Peri)goyim u'lumim y'gu rik.
Why do the Perigos gather together, and the peoples mutter a vain thing?

"in any forum"

Ellen Stuttle's picture

That wording was one of the details which to me lent some credence to the idea that the Peikoff email might be a forgery.

Since we now know the email was from Peikoff, I suggest that he didn't mean the phrase the way some are interpreting it. Maybe he meant "in any forum" of Wikipedia. He is on record as thinking that e-list disputations are often largely a waste (or a sentiment similar to that; I don't have a link to his statement on the subject of e-lists).


Re: Matters of Substance

Ellen Stuttle's picture

Quoting RC:


Mr. Perigo asks

Was there anything in the *substance* of what these parties [Messrs. Valliant, AnonIP160, Pelagius1] posted that was wrong?

I haven't tracked the Valliant household's 1300 edits. Mr. Valliant was charged by other editors with irrelevant and inappropriate citations to his own book (see below from RL0919 and J Readings, on this very thread).



Trying to track the history of the edits would be a long and tedious project. Edits can be tracked, but it can be worth the eyesight even of someone with no eye problems when the history becomes intense and complicated.

I gather that there was some edit warring of the sort where one editor deletes something and another puts it back, etc. There's a limitations ruling on Wikipedia such that an editor can do no more than (I think) 3 reversions in X (24?) hours.

Judging from the user-talk page, some of James' edits were ones in which he wholesale deleted what another editor had said. He was entreated not to do this, to come to the talk pages and discuss.

Linz, fact is, James did not conduct himself properly according to Wikipedia protocol, and it matters not one whit whether you'd have nasty things to say about that protocol. To have a chance of accomplishing anything worthwhile in producing accuracy in the Objectivism-related entries on Wikipedia, he has to do it by the slow patient route of complying with procedures and terms.

The net result of his activites there was basically a waste and a great deal of commotion. How does this help with conveying accurate information about Rand and Objectivism on Wikipedia? Not at all. James can strike a noble pose and consider himself the victim of injustice if he wants to, but all he'll be accomplishing is a pose and nothing of substance.


Re: Perigonian Puppetry

Ellen Stuttle's picture


Mr. Perigo declares

I post as myself and only as myself, and wouldn't remotely contemplate what you call sock puppetry.

So Mr. Perigo never posts here as Administrator?

Or as Drooling Beast?

Robert Campbell


Robert, come on. Posting as Administrator or as Drooling Beast isn't sock puppetry.


Matters of Substance

Robert Campbell's picture

Mr. Perigo asks

Was there anything in the *substance* of what these parties [Messrs. Valliant, AnonIP160, Pelagius1] posted that was wrong?

I haven't tracked the Valliant household's 1300 edits. Mr. Valliant was charged by other editors with irrelevant and inappropriate citations to his own book (see below from RL0919 and J Readings, on this very thread).

When Mr. Valliant finally realized he was in trouble, Pelagius1 tried to defend the reliability of Mr. Valliant's opus by claiming

— that Chris Sciabarra's invitation to Mr. Valliant to write about PARC in the Journal of Ayn Rand Studies was still open (the oh-so-honorable Mr. Valliant knew this was a lie)

— that Cass Hewitt's favorable review in the Autonomist was proof of impact (it's doubtful that such an online review would meet the Wikipedia editorial criteria, but Mr. Valliant won a gold star for chutzpah by citing this review after he'd publicly stated that his book's jacket should be covered with a plain brown wrapper, in order to hide the blurb from the Autonomist)

I mentioned both of these examples downthread. Mr. Perigo's reading disorder really seems to be taking a turn for the worse.

Robert Campbell

Another Link to Information about Mr. Valliant and his Puppets

Robert Campbell's picture

It may be easier to see the relevant material by following


The usual warnings about Perigonian priggery apply.

Robert Campbell

No Sock Puppets?

Robert Campbell's picture

Mr. Perigo never posts under other names here?

In any event, I was wrong about Jeremy being a sock puppet.

He is simply a stupid, foul-mouthed individual.

Robert Campbell

Perigonian Puppetry

Robert Campbell's picture

Mr. Perigo declares

I post as myself and only as myself, and wouldn't remotely contemplate what you call sock puppetry.

So Mr. Perigo never posts here as Administrator?

Or as Drooling Beast?

Robert Campbell

J. Valliant, IP 160, Pelagius1

Ellen Stuttle's picture

Robert C.:

"On Wikipeda Mr. Valliant at various times was appearing as himself, as AnonIP160, or as Pelagius1 (this last may have been a joint project with Holly Valliant)."

I don't think he ever appeard on Wikipedia as himself. The Pelagius1 posts started just at the juncture when IP 160 was topic-banned.

I've found no evidence of James' so much as being aware of the existence of the IP 160 user-talk page, on which other editors kept trying to get (anonymous) IP 160 to discuss issues.

Repeating Point 4 from my post titled "For the record re J. Readings" (#71936, now on the second page; I don't know how to get a working link to a post which has gone off the first page):


Point 4: Valliant was the primary cause of his own troubles on Wikipedia.

Take a look at this page -- the "User Talk" page for the IP from which Valliant was posting. He was warned numerous times, temporarily topic-banned several times, entreated repeatedly to join the discussions on the AR talk pages. Long-term, he wouldn't in any case have succeeded at getting the AR articles peppered with references to PARC, given the Wikipedia policies on sources. But he might have had some good effect in making an effort to improve articles about Rand and Objectivism had he been willing to discuss with other editors.



Bob Soup

Jeremy's picture

You know, it's kind of hard to tell, among some of the Perigonian acolytes, who is a real person and who is a sock puppet.

Just because I think you're a lowlife fuckstick does not mean I agree with Lindsay Perigo about anything other than that--that you're a fuckstick. I disagree with Perigo probably as much as you do, if about different things, but I've never been enough of a pussy (like yourself) to let Lindsay's hyperbole upset me too greatly when we differ. Grow a pair.

And in case you've already forgotten, there's no sockpuppetry going on here. That's one of your fantasies. Remember?

"Minor" Errors in Mr. Valliant's Opus

Robert Campbell's picture

Right here on SOLOP are several detailed comparisons of passages in Mr. Valliant's book with the sources that he is claiming to quote or net out:

Since the Perigonian line is that all errors in Mr. Valliant's opus are excruciatingly minor, perhaps Mr. Perigo and Gregster would care to respond.

If Leonard Peikoff is truly prepared to defend Mr. Valliant's opus in any forum, his thoughts would also be welcome.

Robert Campbell

Jim Valliant and the Estate of Ayn Rand

Robert Campbell's picture

Mr. Perigo proclaims:

I've visited ARI twice in the last 3 years, and can testify that James and his book are held in the highest regard in that quarter.

Presumably the high esteem in which Mr. Valliant is invariably held by ARI's interlocking entity, the Estate of Ayn Rand, explains why:

— Jeff Britting publicly praised his book, as Mr. Valliant assured us on this very site that he had.

— Neil Parille was granted access to interviews in the Ayn Rand Archives after Jim Valliant said, "Open sesame"—as Mr. Valliant assured everyone here that he would and could.

Robert Campbell

Exposure of AnonIP160

Robert Campbell's picture

William Scott Scherk is the best person to explain how Mr. Valliant and AnonIP160 turned out to be one and the same.

In the meantime, anyone not afflicted with Perigonian priggishness can see the evidence here:


Michael Stuart Kelly's post is dated May 20, 2009.

One cannot fail to be impressed by Mr. Perigo's lack of eagerness to learn the facts about his associate, Mr. Valliant.

Robert Campbell

OK, Prof

Lindsay Perigo's picture

1) I have no sock puppets. I post as myself and only as myself, and wouldn't remotely contemplate what you call sock puppetry.

2) What is the evidence that AnonIP160 was Jim? How was it "exposed" by Scherk?

3) Pelagius1 ... well, that doesn't look good, I agree.

4) Was there anything in the *substance* of what these parties posted that was wrong?

5) I'll unblock Scherk so he can explain this stuff. But the instant he starts his bad-faith pomo-smart-assery, he's outta here again.

6) Is there anything in any of this that alters the status of you, Babs, Parille et al as humanity-diminishers, and Rand-as-hero whose status as such James has nobly been defending against the stiletto-diminution of Babs?


Robert Campbell's picture

Sockpuppetry is creating a fictional alter ego online, who, while pretending to be a different person, obligingly chimes in during debates and discussions and applauds or defends all of its creator's positions.

On Wikipeda Mr. Valliant at various times was appearing as himself, as AnonIP160, or as Pelagius1 (this last may have been a joint project with Holly Valliant).

AnonIP160 wouldn't acknowledge being Jim Valliant, but kept inserting references to Mr. Valliant's opus everywhere, including places where no one in the world but Jim Valiant would imagine that they were relevant, and was eventually exposed—by the still-banned William Scott Scherk.

Pelagius1 eventually admitted to living in Mr. Valliant's house.

Sock puppets.

You know, it's kind of hard to tell, among some of the Perigonian acolytes, who is a real person and who is a sock puppet. Sad

Robert Campbell

Problem is, Prof ...

Lindsay Perigo's picture

"Humanity-diminisher" is not my term, but that of one of your own, Mr. Parille, who unashamedly calls himself a "humanity-diminisher." That's what he is, and what you are. Nothing to do with me, or "Perigo-diminution." You're making stuff up again, rather akin to the claim that Peikoff doesn't like PARC. You should probably pull your head in, lick your wounds for a bit, and get treatment for your Linz Derangement Syndrome. Maybe set up a support group with Babs, Sister Jeffrina, Jonathan and Michael Sewer Kelly?


Neil Parille's picture

I've given my reasons for suspecting that the Peikoff letter wasn't geniune. I've discussed in detail the reasons why I consider Valliant's book a joke and why I consider The Passion of Ayn Rand accurate (reasons you, Gregster, Creswell, etc. haven't responded to).

I've asked the Archives for permission to listen to the interviews and read the other material, being the first to concede that neither of the Brandens' books are the final word on Rand.

James Valliant, although he claims that the Brandens make things up out of whole cloth, didn't even listen to any of the hundreds of hours of interviews which were made available to him. What else do you need to know about Mr. Valliant's "scholarship"?

I'd like to hear what Dr. Peikoff says about specific problems I've identified in PARC. I'm waiting to read Anne Heller's biography due out in October.

Until then I don't have anything else to add.

Source of Recycled Drivel

Robert Campbell's picture

The recycled drivel was Gregster's, not Mr. Perigo's.

I should have checked. Mixed 'em up on account of the interchangeable rhetoric ("hero-diminution").

When Mr. Perigo and his acolytes complain of


or, most grandiosely of all,


What they really mean in every case is


Problem is, no one else in the entire world is offended by Perigo-diminution.

Robert Campbell

What ...

Lindsay Perigo's picture

... is "sockpuppetry"?

And where, Neil, is the credibility of your insistence that Leonard's e-mail was a forgery, and that Leonard/ARI were embarrassed by PARC? I've no idea why you and Campbell would have gone off on the latter tangent. I've visited ARI twice in the last 3 years, and can testify that James and his book are held in the highest regard in that quarter.

I agree with Amy that Leonard shouldn't waste his time with this stuff. The infertile, inconsequential mini-ejaculations of self-confessed humanity-diminishers and mindless Branden-worshippers over numbingly trivial minutiae ... why would he bother?

Bottom line: the Brandens' treatment of Rand was rotten. They continue to downplay their rottenness and blame it on her. PAR was an exercise in the 'stiletto' assassination of which Babs later proclaimed herself a fan, when she ascribed it to Sciabarra over Valliant.

There are Ice Queens, and there's Babs. The coldest of cold, cold bitches, to paraphrase Nietzsche.


Neil Parille's picture

I'll add that Valliant brought this situation upon himself by his abuse of Wikipedia and his sockpuppetry, neither of which Dr. Peikoff is likely aware. Nor is Dr. Peikoff likely aware of how Wikipedia defines "reliable."

But lets see what Dr. Peikoff says if he decides to post here.

-Neil Parille

This just in re Jimbo, WikiP, and O'ist issues

Ellen Stuttle's picture

Link to Jimbo's Wiki User-talk page


I intend to treat this case in the same way as any other, which includes - of course - respecting the privacy of people who may contact me privately seeking advice on how to handle sensitive BLP issues. I have no special intention at the present time to either make a public statement nor to avoid making a public statement. NPOV is non-negotiable. If I were to weigh in with a comment regarding the underlying content issue (I was, 10 years ago, an amateur near-expert on the topic) I would do so with facts and arguments, and expect my argument to be respected on the merits, not because of my special role here in Wikipedia.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 10:30, 2 June 2009 (UTC)

Thanks for the confirmation, I appreciate it. For the time being we (the active Objectivism editors) will continue as usual (at {{Objectivism and Ayn Rand Cross Talk}}) but do let us know either here or at that page if there are issues raised by outside parties you think need addressing. Mahalo, Skomorokh 10:35, 2 June 2009 (UTC)


Well, Linz,

Ellen Stuttle's picture

now you have really insulted Jonathan -- way worse than I did.

No, I don't think those two gentlemen are moral equivalents. Although Jonathan has lately gone down in my estimation, I think that he has a much keener sense of honor than does James Valliant.

To repeat: I didn't think James V. would have done it except in a desperate (over the Wikipedia mess, which he doesn't seem to realize he needlessly caused himself) and fuzzy-headed state -- and I think that fear would likely have prevented him from doing it even in that state. But I haven't a high opinion of Valliant's honor. I've seen how he conducts himself in list discussions for years.

Final word on this issue, Linz.



Jeremy's picture

Don't have one. Removed the old to replace with the new, only to find that the new didn't exist, and here we are. I can put up a picture, but not necessarily my own. Maybe a t-rex? Everyone likes dinosaurs.

Well ...

Lindsay Perigo's picture

Put it back!!

"Jeremy" has actually been

Jeremy's picture

"Jeremy" has actually been around for more than 5 years, with some long breaks throughout, and "he" usually has picture. But "he" "doesn't" "now".

As I say, Ellen ...

Lindsay Perigo's picture

... no one on my side of the divide would do that. We're all honorable folk. James wouldn't remotely conceive of such a thing no matter how angered he was. You know what I think, by contrast, of the O-Liars and their underground labrynth. Thinking James or Jonathan might equally have done it is moral equivalence, and those two gentlemen are not moral equivalents!

Concerning suspicions, Linz,

Ellen Stuttle's picture

you have some significantly jumbled chronology in your imprecations against me.

It was about 6:00 pm my time (EDT) Wednesday, June 3, that the thought occurred to me that maybe folks were looking at things wrong way about in hypothesizing that the letter was a hoax intended to make Robert look foolish, and that maybe instead the target was you not Robert.

Only after I had posted with this thought did I learn that Neil was the one who had sent a message to MSK suggesting that the letter might be a hoax aimed at Robert. Still later, in some back-and-forth with Neil, I learned that he was thinking it might have been someone amongst your friends OTHER than Valliant (and/or Holly and/or Casey). Up till then I had assumed that the person(s ) suspected was one or more of those three; it was exactly its not making sense to me that any of those three would have forged a letter from Leonard, since they'd have to have known Leonard would be furious, which led to my further speculations.

Thus, I wasn't thinking at all of other persons on SOLO as possibles until yesterday -- and I didn't know of any particular SOLO poster who I thought possible; I figured that Neil probably meant some unknown amongst your friends who reads the list but rarely if ever posts.

On a characterological basis (since my immediate thought was, none of them could do the writing, I didn't get so far as to assess in characterological terms), I would immediately dismiss as suspects all the SOLOists whose posts I read with any regularity. If I give names, I risk leaving someone out and having that someone wonder if I suspected him or her, so I won't give names. I'll just say that I DID NOT suspect any of the SOLOists whose names I know. There are people here, however, whose names pop up now and then in the on-line list or who post rare posts but whose names I don't remember. I'd have no way of assessing what those people might or might not be characterologically capable of doing and/or have the skills for doing.

In sum, of all the persons known to me on both lists, the only ones who seemed to me plausible from a might-they-do-it? standpoint were Valliant (and maybe Holly and/or Casey) and Jonathan. Up to about six months ago, I'd never have entertained the thought that Jonathan might write a (serious) forgery (he wrote goof-off stunts, along with everyone else who was playing games, back during the Old Atlantis fake-identity spree). In recent months, though, he's gotten so overboard in his Linz animus, and so far-out in some of his parodies, I thought maybe he might do it. Valliant I thought might possibly have done it if -- and this was a big if -- he was both so angered and desperate at the Wikipedia situation and so fuggy-headed from whatever medications he takes, as to forget the consequences in an impulsive moment.

My strongest belief all along was that the letter in fact had been authored by Leonard Peikoff -- despite the several various details which raised legitimate question.


Keep up Prof.

gregster's picture

Jeremy had a photo here a little while ago.

And Linz didn't offer any such drivel.


Robert Campbell's picture

I'm curious why "Jeremy" has been hanging around for over a year without a photo.

If he were the sock puppet of a person not allied with Mr. Perigo, wouldn't he have been challenged by now?

Robert Campbell

Hey, Neil, I have an answer

Jeremy's picture

Hey, Neil, I have an answer that fits for all those questions: Who fucking cares? Does it really matter in the grand scheme of the world whether or not you come down on one side or another in this trite little controversy, or if Leonard Peikoff comes down on a different side than you?

Another reminder: This is 40 years ago. 1968; one year before man touched the surface of another heavenly body. That is the time period your panties are in a tussle over. Hell, Linz was only in his late thirties back in 1968. That is ancient history.

Bob Campbell: Get a better hobby.

Drivel Fails to Improve with Repetition

Robert Campbell's picture

Mr. Perigo's drivel

Your willingness to remain in that tired orthodoxy suggests you may be a little long in the tooth for fresh facts that have an effect on one's vested interests or profound hero-diminution.

does not gain in impact from Gregster's repetition.

Besides, Mr. Perigo is 2 years older than I am.

Robert Campbell

Perigonian Self-Cancellation

Robert Campbell's picture

What the main clause giveth, the subordinate clause taketh away.

The Prof has a hard time accepting he was wrong, so questions the authenticity of the e-mail. That, fundamentally, is what this pantomine has been about, though the strangeness of the originating address and of Leonard's cc-ing to Campbell did raise genuine doubts.

Robert Campbell

No Prior Email Contact

Robert Campbell's picture


BTW, Robert, did you say you didn't know why he cc'd you? Had you written to him previously, wondering if he supported PARC?

I had never attempted to communicate with Dr. Peikoff by email—about Mr. Valliant's book or any other subject. I didn't know what his public userid was till I looked it up on his website after receiving the email.

I'd have been more surprised if I'd been cc'd on an email from Barack Obama to a third party. A little.

Robert Campbell

Ten Questions For Dr. Peikoff

Neil Parille's picture

Dear Dr. Peikoff,

Amy Peikoff recently confirmed that an email sent to James Wales of Wikipedia in your name is authentic. In this letter you state, “I will testify in any forum to the accuracy of Mr. Valliant’s book." That being the case, I would like to ask you a few questions touching on the accuracy of Mr. James Valliant’s book, The Passion of Ayn Rand’s Critics (“PARC”).

1. In PARC, Mr. Valliant claims that a surprise party that Nathaniel and Barbara Branden attended to celebrate the publication of Atlas Shrugged constituted an attempt by the Brandens to “control Rand’s context through deception” and “manipulate Rand with their lies.” Were you at this party and do you believe that the inference that Mr. Valliant draws is reasonable?

2. James Valliant writes that the 1968 statement by Ayn Rand concerning her break with the Brandens is accurate. In that statement Rand claimed that Nathaniel Branden authorized a loan in 1967 that depleted the cash reserves of The Objectivist. Do the Archives have the financial statements from this time period and, if so, do these documents support Ayn Rand’s claim?

3. In Ayn Rand’s 1968 statement she alleges that the Nathaniel Branden Institute lecturers were underpaid. In response, Barbara Branden claimed that you asked her (Branden) for permission to tell your professors how much you were paid to show Objectivism’s “practicality.” Do you dispute Mrs. Branden’s account?

4. What do you know about the origin of the name “Rand”? Did Miss Rand ever tell you or anyone else that she took her name from a Remington Rand typewriter?

5. In The Passion of Ayn Rand, Mrs. Branden writes that Ayn Rand stopped smoking in her doctor’s office because she was informed by her doctor that she likely had lung cancer. You have written that Miss Rand stopped smoking because you and she became convinced that cigarette smoking causes lung cancer. Is Barbara Branden in error?

6. Did you or anyone else ever ask Mrs. Rand if she had or was having an affair with Nathaniel Branden? If so what did she say?

7. In PARC, James Valliant disputes the Brandens' claim that the O’Connors’ marriage was in trouble in the forties for lack of intellectual communication. What can you tell us about their marriage at that time?

8. Many people have said that Miss Rand held eccentric ideas (such as cancer was caused by “bad premises”) and that she was extremely difficult and controlling. Do you dispute these characterizations?

9. Prior to the publication of PARC had you read Nathaniel Branden’s memoirs and Barbara Branden’s biography?

10. James Valliant argues that Miss Rand was not jealous of Patrecia Scott. Do you agree with Mr. Valliant?

Thanks again for this opportunity to ask you a few questions concerning Mr. Valliant’s book.

Warmest Regards,
Neil Parille

Seeing Peikoff defend PARC "in any forum"

Amy Peikoff's picture

I actually wouldn't like to see that. I'd rather see him finishing his book on the DIM hypothesis (which he's making good progress on) than spend time doing stuff like that. But thanks for answering about the grounds for suspicion.

BTW, Robert, did you say you didn't know why he cc'd you? Had you written to him previously, wondering if he supported PARC? If so, maybe that was why. Why write two e-mails when you can write one, and copy another who had a question on the same topic?


Bring back Scherk!

Richard Goode's picture

I'll unblock Parille for this purpose, though not Scherk, who's just an idiot.

Scherk was funny. SOLO is the lesser for his absence.

Accurate Ellen

gregster's picture

What you've written for this revealing episode is good.

I'd like too, to repeat to the Prof: "Your willingness to remain in that tired orthodoxy suggests you may be a little long in the tooth for fresh facts that have an effect on one's vested interests or profound hero-diminution."


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