Leonard Peikoff (born 1933) is an Objectivist philosopher. A former professor of philosophy, he was designated by the philosopher Ayn Rand as heir to her estate. He is an author, a leading advocate of Objectivism, and the founder of the Ayn Rand Institute (ARI). For several years, he hosted a nationally syndicated radio talk show.[
- A: "Your objection to the self-evident has no validity. There is no such thing as disagreement. People agree about everything."
B: "That’s absurd; people disagree constantly, and about all kinds of things."
A: "How can they? There’s nothing to disagree about; no subject matter. After all, nothing exists."
B: "Nonsense. All kinds of things exist, you know that as well as I do."
A: "That’s one. You must accept the existence axiom, even to utter the term “disagreement.” But to continue, I still maintain that disagreement is unreal. How can people disagree when they are unconscious beings who are unable to hold any ideas at all?"
B: "Of course people hold ideas. They are conscious beings. You know that."
A: "There’s another axiom, but even so, why is disagreement about axioms a problem? Why should it suggest that one or more of the parties is mistaken? Perhaps all of the people who disagree about the very same point are equally, objectively right."
B: "That’s impossible. If two ideas contradict each other, they can’t both be right. Contradictions can’t exist in reality. After all, A is A."
Existence, consciousness, identity are presupposed by every statement and by every concept, including that of "disagreement." … In the act of voicing his objection, therefore, the objector has conceded the case. In any act of challenging or denying the three axioms, a man reaffirms them, no matter what the particular content of this challenge. The axioms are invulnerable.
The opponents of these axioms pose as defenders of truth, but it is only a pose. Their attack on the self-evident amounts to the charge. "Your belief in an idea doesn't necessarily make it true; you must prove it, because facts are what they are independent of your beliefs." Every element of this charge relies on the very axioms that these people are questioning and supposedly setting aside.
- Objectivism: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand (1991) ; Dialogue used to show that existence, conciousness, identity, and non-contradiction are axioms, using A as a defender of the axioms, and B as an opponent of the axioms,
- Responsible parenthood involves decades devoted to the child’s proper nurture. To sentence a woman to bear a child against her will is an unspeakable violation of her rights: her right to liberty (to the functions of her body), her right to the pursuit of happiness, and, sometimes, her right to life itself, even as a serf. Such a sentence represents the sacrifice of the actual to the potential, of a real human being to a piece of protoplasm, which has no life in the human sense of the term. It is sheer perversion of language for people who demand this sacrifice to call themselves ‘right-to-lifers.’ “
- Objectivism: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand (1993), Chapter 10: Government
- To those who oppose war, I ask: If not now, when? How many more corpses are necessary before this country should take action?
- Fifty Years of Appeasement Led to Black Tuesday (12 September 2001)
- Now, the United States’ response, the western response to this is a continuation of the appeasement that was started back in the ’50s with Eisenhower when Iran seized western oil companies. The Americans, the British, and the Israelis, as I remember, launched an attack to try to reclaim it and — or at least the British and the Israelis did and Eisenhower vetoed it.
- On Middle East history and American foreign policy, in What do you think of the plan for a mosque in New York City near Ground Zero? (28 June 2010) - Transcript
- Now if you ask me, in conclusion, “Well, what, then should properly be done?” Obviously war, but I mean in regard to this issue I would say: Any way possible permission should be refused and if they go ahead and build it, the government should bomb it out of existence, evacuating it first, with no compensation to any of the property owners involved in this monstrosity.
- What do you think of the plan for a mosque in New York City near Ground Zero? (28 June 2010)