Nature, to be commanded, must be obeyed

Richard Goode's picture
Submitted by Richard Goode on Sat, 2012-01-28 11:27

"Nature, to be commanded, must be obeyed" is one of Ayn Rand's essential dictums. But did she mean to imply Leonard Peikoff's view transcribed below?

Is it proper for a doctor to perform a sex-change operation for a patient?

Now here I say absolutely no. Unequivocally. I regard the desire of any individual who is formed already—not a hermaphrodite but who is formed already as one sex—to say, "Nature has made a mistake. I am really the opposite gender and I have to operate to fix Nature's mistake and give myself the right body."—I believe that that is an arch-example of a whim over reality. The definition of male and female is biological. So to say I know more than the biological, I feel, regardless of fact is ... it's more, though, than an evasion of reality, it is a war against reality. It is a way of saying, reality gives me this and I am going to smash it and turn it into something else.

I'll give you an analogy. I mean it's just as bad ... no, it's not as bad, because cutting off your genitals is the worst. I mean, you know, you can weigh which is worse, that or scooping out your brain, it's a hard call.

But, suppose a person were to say, "I was really intended to have no fingers. They feel alien to me and funny when I move them and I want to get back to what I really am which is, you know, a non-fingered person, and therefore I want them amputated." And then imagine that this person goes to a doctor and the doctor says, "Oh, fine, you know, ten more and then we just hand the Medicare form in."

That is totally corrupted, the doctors who perform those operations, in my opinion, are corrupt, without qualification. I put them in the same category as the doctors in the Nazi concentration camps who took out perfectly healthy organs simply as an exercise in their skill, completely independent of the validity or the value or the morality of what they were doing. (... I'll let that go, but you get my drift, I'm sure.)

Peter Jackson demonstrates how to scoop out brains in this clip from the movie Bad Taste. (At approx 12:02.)

But, suppose a person were to say, "I was really intended to have no fingers. They feel alien to me and funny when I move them and I want to get back to what I really am which is, you know, a non-fingered person, and therefore I want them amputated."

It may come as a surprise (it surprised me), but people really do say exactly this. They have a disorder called Body Integrity Identity Disorder. Leonard Peikoff take note.

See also Lindsay Perigo's Man Qua Woman.

[Cross-posted from Eternal Vigilance.]


( categories: )

WOW...

Michael Moeller's picture

What a LAME-O!! Not only does Darren mindlessly regurgitate numerous philosophical/religious ideas that have been debunked for over centuries, the guy can't even come up with an original insult!

Leave it to a Modern Creationist to fail to appreciate the palpable irony in using religious symbols as an insult. Hahahaha! Oh man, it doesn't get much better than that. At least Darren is keeping in accord with the religious practice of self-immolation.

Oh yes, I am so intellectually shackled that I need to constantly misrepresent my opponent's positions, not understand my opponent's actual positions (See page 2 post Submitted by Michael Moeller on Mon, 2012-01-09 17:05), and when those don't work -- just transparently evade questions when asked a multitude of times. Oh wait, that's Darren at work.

The work of a mediocre mind and second-hander, that is. But hey, when resiling from argument at least he can produce pictures with totally unoriginal and ironic insults.

Michael

Lots of people have 2nd jobs today.

darren's picture

Hey, Moeller,

I see you're moonlighting.

It fits you.

Well...

Michael Moeller's picture

Since Miss Cleo can't argue and is reduced to pictures, we might as well take a good look at her latest advertisement:

By the way . . . congratulations, Maestro!

darren's picture

I understood that you and Moeller were an item, but I didn't know things had progressed this far. You deserve each other — best of luck to you both! (And thanks for sending me these wonderful photos. I shall cherish them always.)

Linz

Michael Moeller's picture

Very good points. We were both there for the original, eye-popping Parille declaration, and let's not forget The Prof's admonition that hero worship is not appropriate for adults.

Michael

Hahahaha, again!

Lindsay Perigo's picture

Branden's name was included in that list for the sake of completeness. Couldn't help noticing that you've gone into denial over the others (Robert Hessen, George Reisman, David Kelley, Michael McCaskey).

So you added the name of a low-life for "completeness." That bestows credibility on the low-life's claim that Peikoff is malevolent, does it?

I know two of the non-low lifes quite well: Reisman and Kelley. Reisman definitely thinks Peikoff was malevolent in those matters which led to their estrangement. But my own belief is that Leonard was guilty not of malevolence but cowardice: he allowed Binswanker and Warts to dictate his responses. That is certainly what the documentation indicates ("I can't control Peter and Harry"). It's contemptible, but it's not malevolence.

David, quite rightly, puts Leonard's delinquencies down to intrinsicism. (That's akin to goblinism, Darren. You should love Lenny for it.) If he thinks Leonard is malevolent I've never heard him say it, and can't remember him writing it. A citation, perhaps, Darren? Incidentally, your eagerness to invoke Kelley reads rather oddly in light of your trashing of him in connection with the Atlas movie.

I'm in no position to comment on Hessen, and as far as McCaskey is concerned I was one of those who protested Leonard's behaviour. I believe I wrote a piece about it called "Does a Leonard Ever Change Its Spots?" But I never thought that behaviour was born of malevolence.

If you think I'm worried about not "looking good" in the eyes of ignoble, malevolent Pomo-Goblians, Darren, you know me even less well than you know the Objectivism that has occasioned your ODS!

Why don't you get on with your memoir?

Perigo

darren's picture

if you didn't have full-blown ODS . . . you wouldn't be so impaired as to inform me that a low-life like Branden would not agree that Peikoff is not malevolent . . . and expect me to be impressed.

Branden's name was included in that list for the sake of completeness. Couldn't help noticing that you've gone into denial over the others (Robert Hessen, George Reisman, David Kelley, Michael McCaskey).

As far as expecting you to be "impressed" by anything, my position is this: anyone who would find anything comparable in Leonard Peikoff and Ludwig von Mises is either extremely easily impressed, or, conversely, just has no clue how to evaluate innovative intellectual achievement.

I'm not sure yet which side of that divide you're on. But neither side makes you look good.

Hahahahaha!

Lindsay Perigo's picture

Perhaps if Leonard treated them to dinner they would change their minds and agree with you.

And perhaps, Darren, if you didn't have full-blown ODS (Objectivism Derangement Syndrome) you wouldn't be so impaired as to inform me that a low-life like Branden would not agree that Peikoff is not malevolent (again, tell me something I don't already know) ... and expect me to be impressed. Jeezy!

Keep toutin' dat ol'-time superstition, Darren! Goblins, ghouls, ghosts, etc. Bring 'em all on!

Maestro Perigo

darren's picture

How you flatter yourself.


I deserve it.



I don't need you to spot the many contradictions in Peikoff's statements on sundry matters . . . I've managed quite well without you in the past; I suspect I shall continue to do so.


Only so long as the sundry matters concern sex. If they concern metaphysics and epistemology, however, you're either blind to the contradictions or go into denial over them. That's why you actually do need someone like me. It's a dirty job but someone's got to do it. (I volunteer.)



But he gets a free pass in the way Rand gave a free pass to von Mises, when asked why she didn't go after him on account of his appalling philosophical delinquency: "He's done enough."


That's funny! You're comparing Leonard Peikoff with Ludwig von Mises?? That's a bit like comparing a bureaucrat on the administrative board of The Juilliard School with Rachmaninoff. Rand gave a pass to Mises because Mises made many original and significant contributions to economics, and by doing so, greatly strengthened arguments in support of classical liberalism — a goal she shared. She didn't give him a pass because he had "high ideals". You're completely lost if you believe that.



Peikoff's done enough.


Done enough what? What, precisely, has a he done?



And his ideals for which he has fought so passionately do not "stink." He may sabotage them to some degree by his mistakes, but that's what they are: mistakes.


You're lost. What you see as "sabotage," he sees as "achievements." What you believe to be his mistakes are, in fact, his ideals: viz., to keep Objectivism "pure" and untainted from any criticism and change — in a word, to keep Objectivism (and the minds that believe in it) closedare his ideals for which he has fought so passionately. And those ideals stink. As for not being malevolent, I'm fairly certain Branden, Blumenthal, Hessen, Reisman, Kelley, and McCaskey would disagree.


Perhaps if Leonard treated them to dinner they would change their minds and agree with you.

Michael

Lindsay Perigo's picture

What are your thoughts on this phenomenon? It really is bizarre.

I have but one thought for the moment: it's hatred born of resentment on their part. They see Objectivism as a reproach. Objectivism is a command to rise. They'd rather wallow, and not have it pointed out. They hate Objectivism because it insists that reality is where we start; they insist on the validity of fantasies. And the reality of man as a heroic being is the last thing they want to hear. As Parille openly avowed, humanity to them is small; they want it to be smaller still, and to smash anything that champions the heroic. This latter accounts for their fascination with enemy sites, I expect. It also accounts for their interchangeability. Post a piece by Parille, Darren or Baade without the name of the author and it'd be difficult to know which one it was (the length of Darren's might be a give-away). The sniggering, wantonly ignoble tone would be identical.

But it doesn't hurt us to be challenged by Goblians. Superstition is rampant in the world, so it's good target practice, should we choose to bother. I'm looking forward to Darren's memoir, but am rather wondering if it might turn out to be like Scherk's much-awaited definitive debunking of Objectivism—a no-show—since it would require more than snide pot-shots, their stock-in-trade.

Linz

Michael Moeller's picture

I think it was Greg who asked Darren on another thread why he bothers with Objectivism/Objectivists/Rand if it is so flawed. Over the years I've often observed the bizarre phenomenon of people like Darren, Goode, and Parille (among the many) lingering around Objectivism with their transparent hatred of Objectivism and Rand. I mean, would I go to a Creationist website or a Marxist website and do the same? Fat chance, and it is rather curious why they do.

Miss Cleo described it as "fun", but I hardly would find "fun" in debating superstitious drivel like Creationism on a Creationist website. Watching paint dry would be more "fun".

I think it has a lot to do with low self-esteem, attention-seeking mediocrities who have nothing better to do with their time, and the only way they can get attention is by loudly banging on a hornets' nest. I mean, check out Darren who never passes up a chance to insult an opponent, yet will call that opponent "amigo" if they agree with him; thus apparently so on low on self-esteem that he tries to prop it up with being "right" and trying to prove other people wrong. I think it was Ellen Stuttle who astutely observed that the compliments are as worthless as the insults.

What are your thoughts on this phenomenon? It really is bizarre.

Michael

Venting More Than Just Spleen

Michael Moeller's picture

Miss Cleo was also recently caught venting hot gas from a location where a human brain normally resides. Objectivist ideals "stink" and she's debunked the flawed metaphysics and epistemology, says Miss Cleo. Rather amusing, considering she had to be corrected upmteen times on what Objectivism actually says about those topics (See page 2 post Submitted by Michael Moeller on Mon, 2012-01-09 17:05). Oh well, I guess competency of the subject matter does not matter to such "critics".

Yes, when Darren wasn't evading simple questions like mad and making bald misrepresentations of Rand's position after being corrected umpteen times, he was promoting his own, um, special brand metaphysics and epistemology, which included his ability to predict the future and an unobservable non-entity conscious only of itself when it created existence out of non-existence. All original and stunning philosophical stuff, if by philosophy one means the incantations of a witch doctor.

It's all rather amusing how an Intelligent Design Advocate Modern Creationist comes up with the bold and original comparison of Objectivism to a brand of superstition not too far off from his own -- i.e. Scientology. Next up for Miss Cleo: laud the benefits of modern faith-healer Andrew Weil, while comparing modern cancer therapies to the healing techniques of Mr. Miyagi.

As I said before, irony is completely lost on Miss Cleo.

Michael

Oh Darren

Lindsay Perigo's picture

And it must be terribly embarrassing for you when I expose the many contradictions in his statements.

How you flatter yourself. Now, it will come as a great surprise to you, no doubt, to learn (or to hear, since I don't expect you properly absorb it) that I don't need you to spot the many contradictions in Peikoff's statements on sundry matters. Not to mention the sheer silliness of some of them. I've managed quite well without you in the past; I suspect I shall continue to do so.

But he gets a free pass in the way Rand gave a free pass to von Mises, when asked why she didn't go after him on account of his appalling philosophical delinquency: "He's done enough."

Peikoff's done enough. And his ideals for which he has fought so passionately do not "stink." Only a goblinite steeped in superstition would think that. He may sabotage them to some degree by his mistakes, but that's what they are: mistakes. Unlike you, Darren, Peikoff is not malevolent.

The reason for the supposed dearth is that if someone claims that Leonard Peikoff — La Leyenda — talks rubbish, then that someone cannot, in fact, be an Objectivist. How many Rand-fearing Objectivists would want to risk it? For example, by Peikoff's lights, Lindsay Perigo is no Objectivist.

Tell me something I don't know! But he did treat me to dinner once! See http://www.solopassion.com/nod...

There is truth in what you say, as I myself said loudly during the fatwa and McCaskey episodes. But the fault lies with the "Rand-fearing Objectivists." They need to get backbones! There's nothing inherent in Objectivism that makes it turn out milksops.

If Objectivists do not routinely start with reality—adopt it as their default position—but instead substitute the voice of Rand, Peikoff and other "authoritities," then the rest of us will have to call ourselves "small 'o' objectivists." I've thought about it often enough.

Maestro Perigo

darren's picture

You seem to be oblivious to what had already been said here about Peikoff's disgraceful views on transgenderism

Not oblivious; just not satisfied that previous posters have had the last word on the matter. At least one blogger, Jules Troy, appears to agree.

For all such lamentable lapses (including the fatwa), born of the rationalism to which he acknowledges being prone,

Peikoff's rationalism is the cause of his being a power-lusting ass-hat? How do you know that?

Peikoff is a legend in my view.

Peikoff agrees with you. And it must be terribly embarrassing for you when I expose the many contradictions in his statements. It reflects badly on your choice of hero. Hence, your previous post.

He's a passionate idealist who's worked tirelessly for his ideals.

So? Lots of people are passionate idealists who work tirelessly for their ideals. The problem is that his ideals stink.

His moral status is way higher than that of some congenitally malevolent pomowanker.

"Moral status"? You'll have to explain. You admit he's a rationalist (in fact, you claim that he admits it himself), which means he has made the choice NOT to think and NOT to observe reality. That puts him in the lowest rung of hell in Rand's "Inferno." You admit that he's on the morally right side of important issues about as often as someone like Diana Hsieh; i.e., she was right about gays, he was wrong; she was wrong about the NYC Islamic Center, he was right. By your lights, Peikoff and Hsieh are both wrong on the issues about 50% of the time. Yet he gets a free pass and she does not.

This wouldn't be mere misogyny on your part, would it?

Leonard hurt Objectivism by repairing to Goblian-style cultism after Babs's book came out.

Yes, sort of like Nathaniel Branden repaired to cultism well before Bab's book appeared. Maybe all of this repairing to cultism in Objectivism's history has more to do with the essential nature of Objectivism and less to do with the concrete fact of Bab's book.

Schwartz and Binswanger were worse,

Never met Schwartz but I did know Binswanger slightly; was even up in his apartment once. He had an original Capuletti painting hanging in his living room. He complained about the painting, claiming that he was "tired of it" and that Capuletti had botched the rendering of the curve of the model's hip. I suspected, even then, that Binswanger was a fraud.

and I believe Peikoff would have been far better without their noxious influence.

I see the fantasy you've invented for yourself: Peikoff the Innocent, led astray by the team of Schwartz and Binswanger the Noxious Ones. Nice.

Schwartz seems, mercifully, to have disappeared, and Harry plays a benign grandfather these days, but he's not. Last I heard, Leonard doesn't speak to him—which speaks well of Leonard.

Leonard doesn't speak to Binswanger; Leonard doesn't speak to Kelley; Leonard doesn't speak to Reisman; Leonard doesn't speak to McCasky; Leonard doesn't speak to Branden; Leonard doesn't speak to Blumenthal; Leonard doesn't speak to Hessen . . .

But because you personally dislike Binswanger, you believe it speaks well of Peikoff — as in, it raises Peikoff's "moral status" — by his not speaking to him. You might have a bit of a tendency toward rationalism, too.

Still, Objectivism will probably take in oxygen only after they've all gone. That is what history tells us about original thinkers and the first generation of their disciples.

What history also teaches is that there's no such thing as a closed philosophic system.

I wonder, Darren, did Peikoff perchance offend you in some way back when?

Only recently. But then, I now find almost everything in Objectivism offensive, especially its naively materialistic metaphysics and patchwork epistemology. I agree with a morality of self-interest, just as I agree with a political/economic system of classical liberalism, but one scarcely needs Objectivism for that.

your animus against him seems disproportionate.

Disproportionate compared to what? I've already vented spleen on Objectivist metaphysics and epistemology, both of which obviously take aim against Miss Rand herself.

Indeed, if he's the liability you claim, shouldn't you be applauding, since you are so dedicated to Objectivism's failure?

As a cohesive philosophy, Objectivism already is a failure. Reality is taking care of that. The significance of Peikoff is that he is the kind of man that a closed-system Objectivism produces: a doctrinaire little tin-pot dictator. You're impressed. I'm not.

I repeat also: Leonard gets a free pass.

Peikoff agrees with you.

The abiding disgrace is the dearth of Objectivists prepared to come out and tell him he's talking rubbish.

1) He's talking rubbish, but 2) he gets a free pass for doing so?

The reason for the supposed dearth is that if someone claims that Leonard Peikoff — La Leyenda — talks rubbish, then that someone cannot, in fact, be an Objectivist. How many Rand-fearing Objectivists would want to risk it? For example, by Peikoff's lights, Lindsay Perigo is no Objectivist.

By his standards, there's no difference between you and Diana Hsieh. You even both have beards: you, when you walk on your feet; she, when she walks on her hands.

Darren

Lindsay Perigo's picture

Did you write this post for some other site and inadvertently post it here? You seem to be oblivious to what had already been said here about Peikoff's disgraceful views on transgenderism—about as ignorant as any goblinite's, Darren.

For all such lamentable lapses (including the fatwa), born of the rationalism to which he acknowledges being prone, Peikoff is a legend in my view. He's a passionate idealist who's worked tirelessly for his ideals. His moral status is way higher than that of some congenitally malevolent pomowanker. But like all of us he's made mistakes, some of them morbid and costly.

Leonard hurt Objectivism by repairing to Goblian-style cultism after Babs's book came out. Schwartz and Binswanger were worse, and I believe Peikoff would have been far better without their noxious influence. Schwartz seems, mercifully, to have disappeared, and Harry plays a benign grandfather these days, but he's not. Last I heard, Leonard doesn't speak to him—which speaks well of Leonard. Still, Objectivism will probably take in oxygen only after they've all gone. That is what history tells us about original thinkers and the first generation of their disciples.

I wonder, Darren, did Peikoff perchance offend you in some way back when? Will this be part of your memoir? Because your animus against him seems disproportionate. Indeed, if he's the liability you claim, shouldn't you be applauding, since you are so dedicated to Objectivism's failure?

I repeat what I said in Man Qua Woman: Leonard's views on transgenderism (and homosexuality—he used to hold identical views to Rand's very stupid ones on this matter and probably still does, secretly) are ignorant, unscientific, bigoted and goblinesque. I repeat also: Leonard gets a free pass. The abiding disgrace is the dearth of Objectivists prepared to come out and tell him he's talking rubbish. But no superstition-touting goblinite, Darren, can fault him with impunity.

How would he qualify this..

Jules Troy's picture

The supermodel known as "Tula" was born male however was actually discovered to be a bit of an anomaly as she was born with XXY chromosomal pattern.

He totally invalidated the aspect of the individual and is flawed as darren pointed out in his points.

Chalk it up to old age?

Peikoff can't argue his way out of a paper bag.

darren's picture

From a podcast by Leonard Peikoff, in which he answers a question about gender-reassignment surgery:

But, suppose a person were to say, "I was really intended to have no fingers. They feel alien to me and funny when I move them and I want to get back to what I really am which is, you know, a non-fingered person, and therefore I want them amputated." And then imagine that this person goes to a doctor and the doctor says, "Oh, fine, you know, ten more and then we just hand the Medicare form in."

I believe Peikoff has stated that he supports a person's right to commit suicide, as well as the right of doctors to assist someone to that end. In other words, Peikoff has no problem with someone working with a doctor to help him remove his own life, but he has a big problem with someone working with a doctor to help him remove his own fingers. Not exactly consistent thinking on Peikoff's part.

The great thinker continues:

That is totally corrupted, the doctors who perform those operations, in my opinion, are corrupt, without qualification. I put them in the same category as the doctors in the Nazi concentration camps who took out perfectly healthy organs simply as an exercise in their skill, completely independent of the validity or the value or the morality of what they were doing. (... I'll let that go, but you get my drift, I'm sure.)

Prisoners in Nazi concentration camps were forced to suffer involuntary surgeries at the hands of doctors who complied with the aims of the state. What does any of that have to do with the voluntary trader-relation between a transgender patient and the surgeon whom he hired to perform a desired service? Absolutely nothing. That Peikoff might subjectively feel the same sort of aesthetic disgust at both doesn't make them similar in any essential way.

Not keeping in sharp focus the essential difference between voluntary and involuntary is an example of the worst kind of context-dropping.

And some people think Peikoff is a "legend"? In his own mind, no doubt, but that's about it.

Aside from his own personal,

darren's picture

Aside from his own personal, aesthetic disgust over the issue, the problem Peikoff seems to have with trans-genderism is that it strongly suggests a very basic attribute of mind — identification of one's psychology as being of a certain gender, either "masculine" or "feminine" — in conflict with a basic attribute of one's body as being of a biologically-given sex, either male or female.

And if there's one thing Peikovians don't tolerate, it's any hint of such a thing as a mind-body dichotomy.

Therefore, for him, the conflict doesn't even exist, by definition. The whole thing revolves around an arbitrary "whim".

Peikoff also writes:

The definition of male and female is biological.

True. But "male" and "female" refer to SEX not GENDER, the latter having reference to psychological perceptions of oneself as being either "masculine" or "feminine".

"Male" and "female" are biologically given phenomena. "Masculinity" and "femininity" are not.

For some reason, Peikoff seems to think that if a person born with, e.g., male sex characteristics feels in psychological gender conflict with his given sex traits, it is his psychology that should be altered via therapy, rather than his physical sex traits via surgery. Why? For Peikoff, the mind must follow the dictates of the body, and not the other way around.

Didn't I tell you in previous posts that Objectivism — especially its metaphysics — was really just materialism?

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