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George Reisman

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Based only on what's presented on that website, it's difficult to make a definite judgment on what should have been done. However, it does seem that some of Reisman and Packer's behavior was definitely, um, odd (to put it nicely), such as their objections to Peter Schwartz teaching a writing class on the grounds that they didn't approve of his qualifications in the fields of psychology and economics. That doesn't even make sense, especially considering the fact that none of the other teachers they suggested are any more qualified in those fields, to the best of my knowledge.

And there are only two explanations that I can come up with for their opening statement--in which they said that they "understand that...criticisms of any ARI policies is forbidden" (which I doubt was true then, or now)--in the conference they had with Leonard Peikoff, Mike Berliner, Harry Binswanger, and Schwartz. The first is that they were deliberately trying to piss off ARI, in which case I hardly blame ARI for not wanting to have anything to do with them anymore. The second, and I think less plausible, is that they were serious, which I would take to be evidence that they misunderstand ARI, or Objectivist philosophy, or both--which I can also see as a justification for ARI breaking off with them.

It's hard to tell for sure from the information we have whether the way that ARI dealt with them was entirely appropriate, but remember that this is just their side of the story, and as presented by a TOC supporter no less. We don't know what else went on in that conference call, and we don't know ARI's side of the story on the whole matter, and they don't seem to think it's worth discussing publicly. In any case, most of the people involved are no longer in those positions anyway--Yaron Brook, not Berliner, is now the executive director of the institute; and Rob Tracinski, not Schwartz, teaches the writing classes now. And based on what Trancinski and many other OGC graduates have said, their courses with Schwartz and Binswanger were invaluable.

On Dr. Peikoff's behalf, I can just say that if I had to judge between Binswanger and Packer based more or less only on their word (which seems to be the situation he was in), I would definitely side with Binswanger. Based on the contact I have had with him, and by pretty much all other accounts, Binswanger is not only the most knowledgable Objectivist philosopher (after Peikoff himself) but also an upstanding guy in general. Packer's behavior, on the other hand, seems highly questionable. (I would be unable to make even a tentative judgment between Schwartz and Reisman, as I don't know enough about either of them; same goes for Berliner.)

Anyway, while I do think their splitting with Reisman is probably unfortunate, I can't say that ARI was in the wrong (and by the available evidence, mostly from the other side, I would say that they were probably in the right). And the current staff of ARI, most of whom weren't involved in the incident anyway, are doing great work today, which I completely support.

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In his "Food for Thought," Wolf wants us to "follow the money" and goes on to complain about how much Dr. Peikoff earns, what car he drives, and so on--which is the favorite tactic of Marxist demagogues. In light of this, it is not surprising that he has a so-called "FAQ" entitled "What's REALLY Wrong With Objectivism?" with cynical sixties-style rants and links like "The Fountainhead (parody)."

I don't think he's the kind of person any self-respecting Objectivist will take seriously.

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I agree fully with Ash. Also, I thought Dr. Peikoff was probably trying to be fair and to give the benefit of doubt to Reisman and Packer by suggesting the conference call. It seemed Resiman and Packer TRIED to cause trouble while Dr. Peikoff was trying to fix the problem.

All that said, I thought the original question was why ARI never seems to mention Reisman's book, why it is not available at the ARI Bookstore, etc.

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I think the reason it wasn't available at Second Renaissance Books (the old name of Ayn Rand Bookstore) for a long time was because SRB was owned by Peter Schwartz, who had big personal beef with Reisman and therefore didn't want to support him. Probably not the best business decision, but hey, it's his bookstore. I don't know why it isn't available now. ARI dropped a lot of inventory when they acquired Ayn Rand Bookstore, presumably because of a change in policy regarding what the bookstore would carry now that it's under the ARI banner. I don't know what the new policies are, though.

It's unfortunate that his book doesn't get more press. I haven't finished reading it, but what I've read has been thoroughly great.

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Excommunication?????

ARI's December 1993 newsletter said "Announcement: Due to irreconcilable (non-philosophical) disagreements with ARI's Directors, Edith Packer and George Reisman have been asked to step down from the Institutes Board of Advisors."

Peikoff, Snider, and Packer(she is also an attorney) were the original Board of

Directors. Binswanger and Schwartz were added to the board, announced Dec.

1986. By the end of 1987 Packer was moved down to the Board of Advisors

because-Snider has said she was a massive pain and in everybody's business.

The letters at Jeffcomp prove that and she doesn't protest that part.

Packer and Reisman pulled there stuff from 2nd Ren. Books and started their

own service.

I think when Peikoff had his heart-attack in 92, she was worried the board of ARI would control the estate and she wouldn't, so she started to bother everybody.

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What I want to know with regards to this "schism" is, So what? It wasn't philosophical, Reisman seems to be in total agreement with Objectivism (he calls Fact and Value a brilliant article in his book), and it's not like either Reisman or Packer is actively attacking ARI or any Objectivist for that matter. This is the kind of story that someone who has a grudge against Peikoff or ARI constantly harps on. So some friends had a falling out, big deal. Newsflash: Not everyone can get along with everyone.

PS: Buy my stuff I need cash! http://forum.ObjectivismOnline.com/index.p...st=0entry2735

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What I want to know with regards to this "schism" is, So what? It wasn't philosophical, Reisman seems to be in total agreement with Objectivism (he calls Fact and Value a brilliant article in his book), and it's not like either Reisman or Packer is actively attacking ARI or any Objectivist for that matter. This is the kind of story that someone who has a grudge against Peikoff or ARI constantly harps on. So some friends had a falling out, big deal. Newsflash: Not everyone can get along with everyone.

You are exactly right. This is a case of several people who didn't like working with each other. They curiously got a friend (Peikoff) in the middle and demanded that he decide between them. For some reason, he did that and ended all professional association with the Reismans. It's a shame because both of the Reismans are excellent writers and original thinkers.

That's all fine and good. There's no reason why people should have to work together. But to pretend that their scholarship doesn't exist and that they have nothing to contribute is absurd and repellant. I can't count the number of Objectivists I have met that I find personally distasteful, including some very prominent ones. Would that influence my suggesting to someone to read their work? No way. My beefs are ones of temperament and manner, not philosophy.

I was quite active with ARI and the movement when this split happened and I remember hanging on every scrap of information I could accumulate because I felt like I had to choose between them. Thankfully, time has shown that such a choice wasn't necessary.

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On the basis of the correspondence and related material that was circulated at the time of this schism (and which is probably still available on the web), on fact stands out.

The Reismans made public distinctly personal documents written by Harry Binswanger and Peter Schwartz to Leonard Peikoff, which Dr. Peikoff had given them copies of on the understanding that they would not show them to anyone else. They certainly did not have permission to publish by Binswanger and Schwartz, the writers of the documents. This action alone was not only immoral but arguably criminal.

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On the basis of the correspondence and related material that was circulated at the time of this schism (and which is probably still available on the web), on fact stands out.

The Reismans made public distinctly personal documents written by Harry Binswanger and Peter Schwartz to Leonard Peikoff, which Dr. Peikoff had given them copies of on the understanding that they would not show them to anyone else. They certainly did not have permission to publish by Binswanger and Schwartz, the writers of the documents. This action alone was not only immoral but arguably criminal.

Criminal? Umm, IANAL, but I don't think it'd go that far.

Immoral? Hmm, it's a betrayal of trust I suppose. If it were a single incident, then I would say that they'd made an honest mistake because they were on the defensive. Oh, and I would want to know how they feel about the mistake. I don't know that I'd elevate the Reismans to evil people because they disclosed something that was advantageous to their position after a heated dispute. People say and do things in the heat of the moment that they may regret later—I know I have. After things have calmed down a bit, objectivity may cast your decisions in a much different light.

If I remember correctly, the Brandens did a similar thing after Ayn Rand disassociated herself from them. If you want something kept private, keep it in your head or verbalize it. Tacking on distribution instructions to private correspondence is woefully unreliable. I always assume that something I write will be read by others. That's the safest approach.

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