Follow-up to Contra Peikoff on Rape

by Jason Stotts

Amy Peikoff has now weighed in on Leonard Peikoff’s statement about rape from his recent podcast and I agree with her assessment.  She also says she finds it interesting that no one has commented on the rest of what he said about rape.  I know that for me, there was no reason to do so, because I agreed with the rest of his analysis.  It is the part where he explicitly says that there are contexts in which rape is permissible that is the problem.  Apparently, he intends to clarify his position in his March 4th podcast and so we shall see then what he actually thinks.  Hopefully, he will recant his position and state unequivocally that he thinks rape is immoral in all contexts.

Now, on to Amy’s final comments about my original post where I said:

I think that Leonard Peikoff has done some great things for Objectivism, he is like a demi-Aquinas, but when he talks about sex and sexual issues, it makes me really sad.  Frankly, his position on rape is both disgraceful and disgusting. I don’t know how anyone of good moral character or intelligence could actually advocate what Peikoff advocated.  It is made much worse because Peikoff is someone I respect and I did not expect him to hold such a reprehensible view of rape.

I want to point out that I said, and maintain, that advocating rape is disgraceful, disgusting, and reprehensible.  This is a statement about a position, not a person. It is true that saying that “no one of good moral character or intelligence could actually advocate rape” is perhaps in poor taste, but I still maintain it.  I hope that Leonard Peikoff will explicitly say that he does not advocate rape at all and then my statement would not encompass him.  There are, however, people who do advocate rape in the world and this statement is intended for them.

The thing is that I have a really hard time not geting emotional about something so serious as rape.  When I analyze ideas, I try to concretize them and look at all of their angles.  Try to concretize rape in your mind.  It should make you furious.  Our emotions are automatic responses to our value judgments and the proper emotional response to someone  advocating rape is anger and revulsion. It is hard for me to elaborate just how terrible I think rape is and how passionately I am against it.

Finally, some people have commented that I make references to Peikoff only in order to increase my traffic or because I like to take “pop-shots.”  These are groundless accusations.  I have made exactly 5 references to Leonard Peikoff in as many years, two negative (“Contra Peikoff on Swinging” and “Contra Peikoff on Rape“), two positives (“Formspring: Puritanical Objectivists” and “Formspring: Sex without Love“), and one recommending his podcast as a good source of information.   So, I’m not sure why people are making that criticism.  I think that Leonard Peikoff has done a lot of good for Objectivism and that he has been the best expositor that Objectivism could have asked for.  Nonetheless, that doesn’t give him license to now advocate rape, even in delimited contexts, and I hope that he will soon make it clear that he does not.

1 Response to “Follow-up to Contra Peikoff on Rape”

  1. JasonStotts

    This is the danger of thinking that there are contexts where it isn’t rape: