Peikoff’s Ninth Podcast

Leonard Peikoff has released his ninth podcast. I’ve been going back and forth about where to blog about these podcasts; this time I’ll put my notes on rather than because one question involves religion. The notes that follow are my own summaries that should not be taken as a substitute for Peikoff’s comments. In this podcast, Peikoff addresses four questions.

1. A 17-year-old atheist asks about how to relate to his religious parents. Should he pretend to pray and worship at church? Would discussing the matter with his parents somehow diminish the value of the teenager’s views? Peikoff describes a very sensible course: “be pleasant, do not be argumentative, but don’t lie.” He points out that it’s generally not possible for a child — even an older one — to convince parents about things of this sort, so it might be necessary for a teenager living at home to “follow what [parents] require, but within limits.” Peikoff also explains why expressing one’s views does not somehow taint them but rather gives them the force of an “objective presence.”

While I agree with Peikoff’s advice for normal situations, I would add that, in the case of particularly irrational parents who might subject their “disloyal” children to spankings, indoctrination camps, or the like, teenagers should keep their views quiet until they get out of the house. But such situations are abnormal and rare (in the West).

2. How does Peikoff stay youthful? Peikoff says the key is “ambition, passion for work,” but that exercise, diet, and genetics also play a role.

3. Do (older) teenagers (and presumably those a bit older) have to have sex in order to discover their romantic values? Peikoff replies that, while one should select romantic partners who are virtuous, one cannot deduce before hand what one will find romantically attractive. But this does not imply that casual sex is the way to go.

4. What is the relationship between integrating new knowledge and disintegrating wrong ideas? Peikoff answers that the two steps generally go hand in hand; if one holds incorrect views, then one must break up the incorrect views as one discovers and integrates correct ones.