Leonard Peikoff

Canadian-American philosopher

Leonard Sylvan Peikoff (born October 15, 1933) is a Canadian American philosopher. He is an Objectivist and was a close associate of Ayn Rand, who designated him heir to her estate. He is a former professor of philosophy and host of a nationally syndicated radio talk show. He co-founded the Ayn Rand Institute (ARI) in 1985 and is the author of several books on philosophy.

Leonard Peikoff

Quotes edit

1980s edit

  • It is too obvious, too easily demonstrable that fascism and communism are not two opposites, but two rival gangs fighting over the same territory - that both are variants of statism, based on the collectivist principle that man is the rightless slave of the state - that both are socialistic, in theory, in practice, and in the explicit statements of their leaders - that under both systems, the poor are enslaved and the rich are expropriated in favor of a ruling clique - that fascism is not the product of the political "right," but of the "left" - that the basic issue is not "rich versus poor," but man versus the state, or: individual rights versus totalitarian government - which means: capitalism versus socialism.
    • As quoted in The Ayn Rand Lexicon, 1988, p. 213 [1]

1990s edit

  • 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

2000s edit

2010s edit

  • 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)

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