I discovered the philosophy of Objectivism when I read the book Atlas Shrugged at the "tender" age of 23. I was a Junior in College. I was so incredibly excited when I found this book; and then I continued to read and read and read everything I could get my hands on that Ayn Rand wrote.
The wonderful thing about this philosophy is that it completely supports and promotes individual thinking and independence. That support of individual thought is why I think there is so much in-fighting among Objectivists. I actually wish I had never met other Objectivists. My intention of reading and studying this philosophy never had anything to do with wanting to be a part of any particular group of people. And yet, when I am among professed Objectivists, I find myself worrying about whether or not I'll be morally judged, or misjudged, based on something I might say that they don't agree with.
I understand that Edit Packer is personna non grata with the ARI. If not for Ms. Packer, I have no idea what my life would be like. Her writings had a huge impact on me and helped me sort through the mud and crap left behind as a result of my upbringing in a cocktail of psychologically damaging experiences. So now that Peikoff has labelled her "immoral" does that now discredit her works from A - Z? (I'm trying to picture Edith Packar being forced to wear the letter "I" in scarlett blazened across her chest).
I have met other Objectivists and they don't seem to really explore ideas; they just seem to constantly go over and over Ayn Rand's philosophy. No one has their own individual take on anything because they fear being labeled "immoral". It's sad really.
I studied this philosophy in order to live an independant life; my own life. I think I need to keep that in mind and just carry one with my life.