The intellectual progeny of musky intellectual mistress Ayn Rand. She wrote the mammoth Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead, clunky, expository novels barely dressing up a simple-minded, hooray-for-capitalism philosophy laid out with painful clarity in her collection of essays, The Virtue of Selfishness; he wrote in 1982 the windy The Ominous Parallels on philosophical similarities he discerns in Nazism and contemporary America. To honor his intellectual mother, Peikoff founded in 1985 the (now Irvine-based) Ayn Rand Institute, which is something like a Soviet-style guarantor of Randian purity; the institute referees disputes that occasionally end in excommunication. When Randians don't sound like hair-splitting theologians, they merely sound nuts: last month, Peikoff's Institute colleague told a crowd at the Hyatt Regency Irvine that (a) America was attacked Sept. 11 because it is "a shining sun of capitalism," and then (b) seemed to contradict himself by arguing that our failure to level the Middle East before the evening news is evidence that Americans are "moral cowards." Mitigating Factor:Looks like Lou Reed, so he's suffered enough already.