Peikoff Takes Cheap Shot at Immigrants During Election Commentary

In a recent podcast about the results of the recent presidential election, Leonard Peikoff, founder of the Ayn Rand Institute, took a cheap shot at immigrants.  Diana Hsieh properly summarizes, "He claims that immigrants are coming to America en masse for the sake of the welfare state, lacking any American sense of life."

I find Peikoff's comments particularly offensive since the vast majority of immigrants are here to work, not collect welfare.  I also find it disturbing since the namesake of the institute that he founded was herself a Russian immigrant.  Ayn Rand came here to live and work as freely as possible, and better her lot in life, just like so many others before and after her.

You can read the rest of Diana's excellent response to Peikoff's election commentary here.

Update: It was brought to my attention that Peikoff is a Canadian immigrant.  I suppose he came to the US for welfare?  I'm fairly certain he did not, but for him to assume the current lot of immigrants is so different from his own is ignorant, at best.

Comments (15)

Even more ironically, Ayn Rand was an *illegal* immigrant. She came to the US on a tourist visa and then just stayed.

This whole "illegal immigration" thing - "illegal immigration" being legally equivalent to jaywalking - is a canard. Ugh.

Good for Diana Hseih. Between statements such as these by Dr. Peikoff and the recent cuddling up between the ARI through Dr. Brook and libertarians, it seems like the top of the hierarchy is falling into the David Kelly, Atlas Society, movement. Objectivists seem to be as confused about identity and philosophy as Republicans...sad.

Publius, I don't recall Ayn Rand's coming to America as being illegal. Yes, she came on a visa, and yes, she ended up staying and becoming a citizen. But none of that implies that anything was illegal. Where do you get your info about it being illegal?

I mean, I wouldn't care one way or the other. I'm just wondering.

Rumor is that she overstayed her visa before she became a citizen. Here's what Reason had to say... http://reason.com/archives/2012/02/14/ayn-rand-was-an-illegal-immigrant

I dont think rand would have supported open immigration. Peikoff, her intellectual heir, doesnt.

Actually, if you listen to his comments on the subject, it sounds as though Peikoff does support open immigration, once we end the welfare state.

Rand did not speak much on immigration, but what little is published on it shows support. I've never heard her bad-mouth those who wish to immigrate to America, or their motives, as Peikoff did.

Anonymous, Ayn Rand advocated open borders.

Ayn Rand in her Question and Answer period in the 1973 Ford Hall Lecture:

“No one has the right to pursue his self-interest by law or by force, which is what you’re suggesting [with closing the borders and impede immigration]. You want to forbid immigration on the grounds that it lowers your standards of living—which isn’t true, though if it were true, you’d still have no right to close the borders. You’re not entitled to any ‘self interest’ that injures others, especially when you can’t prove that open immigration affects your self interest. You can’t claim that anything others may do—for example, simply through competition—is against your self interest. But above all, aren’t you dropping a personal context? How could I advocate restricting immigration when I wouldn’t be alive today if our borders had been closed?”

Anonymouos, Ayn Rand did support it.

Ayn Rand in her Question and Answer period in the 1973 Ford Hall Lecture:

“No one has the right to pursue his self-interest by law or by force, which is what you’re suggesting [with closing the borders and impede immigration]. You want to forbid immigration on the grounds that it lowers your standards of living—which isn’t true, though if it were true, you’d still have no right to close the borders. You’re not entitled to any ‘self interest’ that injures others, especially when you can’t prove that open immigration affects your self interest. You can’t claim that anything others may do—for example, simply through competition—is against your self interest. But above all, aren’t you dropping a personal context? How could I advocate restricting immigration when I wouldn’t be alive today if our borders had been closed?”

Thank you for finding that!

http://www.peikoff.com/2010/09/13/you-said-that-if-a-country-had-laissez-faire-it-should-not-control-immigration-what-if-new-zealand-with-a-population-of-4-5-million-people-had-laissez-faire-would-it-be-obligated-to-accept-all-imm/

Steve, I find it kind of silly to post a link with no comment, but I went ahead and listened. I do not understand its relevance to this post or any of the comments. No one here is suggesting we let rights violators immigrate to the US.

I'm curious how, in the process of allowing perhaps tens of millions of Moslems into the US, you would weed out the terrorist and that shariaists. I think it's a fair question.


-Mr. Bigshot

I wouldn't do it. I would leave it up to law enforcement and the military, who know far more about it than I do. It's their job.

If law enforcement and the military said there is now way to identify the non terrorists from the terrorists would you then oppose open immigration at least for moslems ?

Mr. Bigshot

You will never get me to advocate violating individual rights. Jeez. Get over it.

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