Comments from NoodleFood


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Comment #1

Wednesday, November 30, 2005 at 16:41:03 mst
Name: Mike
URL: http://passingthoughts.blogsome.com

Andre Zantonavitch is obviously the fictional creation of an ARI supporter, designed to be a self-parody, thus making TOC and SOLO supporters look bad. For a post like that to be written by someone who stands for "tolerance" is too ironic to be serious.



Comment #2

Wednesday, November 30, 2005 at 17:27:30 mst
Name: L.S.

Mike writes:

"Andre Zantonavitch is obviously the fictional creation of an ARI supporter, designed to be a self-parody, thus making TOC and SOLO supporters look bad. For a post like that to be written by someone who stands for "tolerance" is too ironic to be serious.'

Oh, if only that were true. Zantonacitch's comments are no different in form or content from what I used to hear all the time when I moved in such circles and thus wasted valuable years when I could have been better understanding Objectivism.

All he does is state in strong emotional terms what are obviously ideas underlying the standard ARI criticisms that have been heard for years. Most just tone it way down in intensity and when directly confronted with the naked meaning of their hostility start denying that this is their meaning--then get flustered when asked to clearly state just what is their view. By the time they've finished back-pedaling and softening the view you have simply no idea what is the actual evaluation of ARI they hold and it seems they don't either. I've commented on this before in this blog several times.

It all comes down to taking a standard objection to Objectivism as a philosophy which often comes from people raised in our culture when they are first introduced to it--even people like myself who eventually come to accept Objectivism. The objection amounts to: "Hey, man! all this morality and absolute reality talk is making me feel all restricted! This is like a religion or something with all its dogmas and rules and judging. If I accepted this I'd be some miserable stoic robot innapropriately judging people at every turn and feeling guilty all the time . . . " etc.

Then when such a person starts to get an idea of why the above is an error on so many levels--rather than reject the view and embrace real Objectivism and go on to move up the "spiral" of deeper understanding and integration into their life, they project those feelings onto ARI and its associates. ARI, Leonard Peikoff, etc. then become "the Man" to them against which they "rebel" in the name of their personal "freedom" and so on. It's all so silly and obvious to me, personally what is at work here with this.

Now read again the comments by this guy--who is also my favorite "ARI-hating crazy"--with this in mind. Or indeed take a look at the toned-down versions of the same attitude that appears all over SOLO and it's crystal clear how all this comes about, IMO.



Comment #3

Wednesday, November 30, 2005 at 17:37:42 mst
Name: NickMunro

Is there a pro-ARI forum where one can discuss Objectivism ?



Comment #4

Wednesday, November 30, 2005 at 17:43:25 mst
Name: Don Watkins
URL: http://www.axiomaticmagazine.com

Nick,

You can try www.objectivismonline.net.



Comment #5

Wednesday, November 30, 2005 at 19:19:16 mst
Name: Jeb Jepson

Solo no doubt had it's flaws. But it least encouraged open discussion of Rand's ideas. Some articles were supportive, some critial, some in between, and some stupid.

But unless you believe that one has to refer to Rand as "Ayn Rand" 100% of the time, it's fair to say that SOLO improved the level of discourse in the Objectivist world.



Comment #6

Wednesday, November 30, 2005 at 19:33:18 mst
Name: N D

I haven't really learned how to view quotes like these as fun. I found them downright creepy. Remember, these people exist.



Comment #7

Wednesday, November 30, 2005 at 19:39:33 mst
Name: Jeb Jepson

To the extent that Objectivists deem it necessary to defend stuff like the Ominous Paralels

http://www.lewrockwell.com/gordon/gordon13.html

How can anyone take them seriously?



Comment #8

Wednesday, November 30, 2005 at 20:48:09 mst
Name: Diana Hsieh
URL: http://www.dianahsieh.com/blog

Here's another recent delight from Andre:

***

Despite what Lindsay Perigo and James Heaps-Nelson have plausibly recently written, when considering the character and personality of James Valliant and Casey Fahy, the terms "cultist" and "Randroid" come immediately to mind. So too "evader," "second-hander," and "social metaphysician." So too "collectivist" and "self-sacrificer" -- as in religious and joiner types of an odd and malevolent Randian sect who defer exclusively to her divine authority and slavishly take her word on faith.

I think people here are badly underestimating the quiet but immense power of Ayn Rand. Ideas really do matter. So too idealism. They rule people's lives. In this regard, Rand's intellectual and ideological seductiveness and charisma is simply overwhelming. Unfortunately for the planet, human history, and the ascent of man -- there is moralizing, psychologizing, emotional repression, and intellectual bullying on practically every page of her non-fiction and latter fiction. It is a stunning contradiction of rational liberal culture and her literal philosophy.

Valliant and Fahy are like natural scholars of the Talmud or Hadith who accidently wandered upon Objectivism and, bizarrely, became converted to this belief-system. But they maintain their old attitude, approach, and personal nature. They diligently pour over every word and half-thought of Rand, and then use their high intelligence to gain a kind of ersatz understanding of the material. This makes them very strange people -- but it doesn't make them Objectivists. Or if it does -- then Objectivism is an evil thing.

It's dangerous to read Nietzsche, especially when you're young. Rand is far, far worse. The power of ideas and idealism is almost limitless. Those created by Ayn Rand, and their ability to impact people -- for good and ill -- should not be underestimated.

***

<http://solohq.com/Forum/ArticleDiscussions/1541_11.shtml#223>



Comment #9

Wednesday, November 30, 2005 at 20:52:14 mst
Name: RT

Ah yes, SOLO...

The place where every discussion followed this pattern:

A: Let's discuss X.
B: Yes, well, above all, the most important thing about X is that we SOLO-ists are free to reach our own free conclusions about it.
C: That's so right, those damn ARI dogmatists would just try to shove their dogmatic views about X down our throats and tell us what to think.
B: Exactly. God, we are so morally and intellectually superior to those ARIans when it comes to discussing and thinking about X. (And I would probably be excommunicated by ARI just for using the word "God" in that last sentence.. lol, hyuk, hyuk, hyuk!!)
E: Yeah -- and another thing -- those ARI people have no sense of humour, unlike B's amusing comments.
A: Well, good, I think we've now thoroughly finished discussing X. Great discussion everybody.

A: Let's discuss Y.
B: Well, before we touch on anything else, the most important thing to say about Y is that we SOLO-ists don't have to go running to Ayn Rand's 'sacred texts' so we can just regurgitate whatever she says.
C: Exactly, B is so right, ARI people are so dogmatic...

Etc., etc, ad nauseam...



Comment #10

Wednesday, November 30, 2005 at 21:03:02 mst
Name: Jeb Jepson

But let's be honest: it doesn't matter to the ARI types how good or bad SOLO people are. Only the ARI can tell you what Rand meant, and only those scholars who are associated with ARI are worth reading. Everyone else is a hack or a rationalist.

That's why I don't take the ARI seriously.



Comment #11

Wednesday, November 30, 2005 at 23:46:37 mst
Name: Shayne Wissler

The jabs at Solo are mostly well-deserved, but ARI isn't beyond reproach. On the other hand, I have a hard time with critiquing ARI in the same context since the two organizations aren't even remotely similar. ARI has clear goals and people who are pursuing them with intellectuality and seriousness, Solo is just a bunch of hacks hanging out gabbing.

But on the other hand, I think that Solo exists precisely because of mistakes ARI has made. So in that sense it might make sense to critique ARI. E.g., ARI has created an environment where some issues are taboo. And that thing with Leonard Peikoff being an "intellectual heir"--what does that mean exactly? The only sense I can make of it does imply a kind of religious orthodoxy.

Sorry, but the fact that Solo or TOC are whacky doesn't mean that ARI is perfect.

Shayne Wissler



Comment #12

Thursday, December 1, 2005 at 0:18:48 mst
Name: Diana Hsieh
URL: http://www.dianahsieh.com/blog

Jeb: Please take your absurd strawmen elsewhere. I'm more than willing to hear polite particular criticisms of ARI work. The sweeping, vague, and unsubstantiated attacks in your comments do not qualify. Go post them on SOLO while you still can: You will surely be hailed as an independent and insightful thinker by many there.



Comment #13

Thursday, December 1, 2005 at 0:43:56 mst
Name: Fred Weiss
URL: http://www.papertig.com

SOLO's demise is yet one more example of the "self-protective" mechanism in Objectivism, i.e. it is not a philosophy that permits contradictions. Or, in other words, that one cannot have one's Objectivism and eat it, too. If you try, eventually you will choke on it.

The common theme that runs through all of these pseudo-Objectivist undertakings is a rebellion against objectivity. To them Objectivism is just...an hypothesis. So obviously anyone who upholds Objectivism as true and claims certainty in regard to it is by necessity, to them, a dogmatist. It doesn't matter how that certainty is arrived at. The mere fact of the claim of certainty is sufficient to be damned by these people.

Of course they are prime practitioners of "the self-exclusion fallacy". It is the certainty of others that they condemn - not their own, including their certainty that the certainty of others should be condemned.

Needless to say, to be regarded as a Darth Vader (or Vaderette) by such people is a mark of distinction. :-)



Comment #14

Thursday, December 1, 2005 at 0:47:33 mst
Name: Diana Hsieh
URL: http://www.dianahsieh.com/blog

Shayne: I'm sure that ARI has at least a few bores, if not worse, in its midst. The vast majority of ARI supporters, scholars, and staff that I've gotten to know a bit have been extremely friendly and polite, however.

As for those issues that you claim are taboo, I've never encountered that. I've always felt perfectly free to inquire with ARI staff and scholars about such issues. (It does matter a great deal that such inquiries are polite and open, rather than shrouded in hostile suspicion.) I have my own opinions on the matter of the "intellectual heir," based upon my study of the massive body of work that LP has produced over the years, but I'd feel perfectly comfortable asking almost any ARI scholar for their view of the matter.

Finally, you said "the fact that Solo or TOC are whacky doesn't mean that ARI is perfect." Why would you ever think that I (or any normal ARI supporter) might claim that? I don't mean to pick on you here, but I've just heard this argument in various forms ever so many times. For example, if a person says that he regards the Brandens' biographies as dishonest smears of Ayn Rand, someone will (within mere moments, usually) accuse that person of worshipping Ayn Rand as a goddess who never erred in any way in her whole entire life. That's an absurd non-sequitur! Similarly, I know perfectly well of a few people involved with ARI whom I don't much like or respect. (I don't publicly air those opinions on NoodleFood, for hopefully obviously reasons.) More generally, I don't claim that ARI is beyond reproach, incapable of even the slightest wrong or error, that every staff member, every lecturer, every writer, every student, and even all its supporters are nothing but the best of men, and so on. Nonethless, I can and do certainly say that the standard litany of accusations leveled against ARI by the supporters of SOLO and TOC are absurdly false, if not entirely dishonest. I've verified that myself, after believing many of those accusations for years.

ARI is, in my judgment, a very good organization worthy of both moral and financial support.



Comment #15

Thursday, December 1, 2005 at 2:03:20 mst
Name: michael

I am looking forward to the next live show from Hsieh and the Randoids, opening with special guests Typical Zombie Cyborg Losers.

More seriously, in thinking about Fred's comments, I wonder whether opposition to certainty or opposition to moral judgement is the key motivating factor behind some of the anti-ARI comments (leaving Andre aside).



Comment #16

Thursday, December 1, 2005 at 2:06:43 mst
Name: Shayne Wissler

Diana: Quite a few of my friends are ARI supporters, some of them good friends, so don't take what I'm saying as some kind of sweeping indictment of anything ARI.

I'll be the first to credit LP, indeed I credit him for saving my intellectual life as I didn't "get it" from just Atlas, it took OPAR. However I think the term "intellectual heir" is ludicrous. It's indefensible. It goes against everything Ayn Rand ever said. I dare anyone to produce a plausible rationale for adopting such a term for oneself.

Along these lines, I think that ARI acts as if they carry some sort of torch handed down from Ayn Rand. Well they don't. They're just an organization NOT sanctioned by Ayn Rand, just like any other that exists or might exist at some future time. Nothing they do is inherently Objectivist, and they should be subject to a high degree of scrutiny about whether what they are doing is really in line with Objectivist values or not by supporters. And I don't believe that most ARI supporters do enough questioning.

If I had to pick, who would I pick? Not TOC or Solo (as if Solo were really an option...). I'd pick ARI. But I don't actually have to pick, and I don't find ARI compelling enough to send them my money anymore (I used to). If a particular ARI intellectual produces something of value (and many do of course), I'll buy it, but I don't have confidence that money sent to ARI will be spent on the right things.

I don't think this should have to be said, but I'll say it: I realize I've presented scant evidence for my judgment of ARI. My particular conclusion isn't the point of this post, the point is to identify the type of organization ARI is: a NON-sanctioned, NON-official Objectivist organization, which should be judged with just as much scrutiny as any other organization. The point is: whatever you conclude about ARI, conclude it, don't assume it.



Comment #17

Thursday, December 1, 2005 at 3:48:57 mst
Name: Lindsay Perigo

I'm afraid all this celebration of "SOLO's demise" is premature. Reports of SOLO's death are greatly exaggerated. SOLOHQ has demised, but SOLO lives on at SOLOPassion.com, where SOLOHQ is archived.

Folk should read announcements more carefully!

Linz



Comment #18

Thursday, December 1, 2005 at 4:54:27 mst
Name: Shayne Wissler

If this is the kind of spirit we're going to see at Lindsay's new Solo:

http://www.solopassion.com/node/11

Then I have to say that I approve, and will still be happy about the original Solo's demise.

Shayne



Comment #19

Thursday, December 1, 2005 at 6:29:50 mst
Name: Jeb Jepson

Diana,

Do you seriously deny that the ARI has a de facto policy of forbidding its scholars to interact with non-ARI pro-Randians?

If an ARIan wrote an article speaking of favorably of Chris Sciabarra is there any doubt his days with ARI would be numbered?



Comment #20

Thursday, December 1, 2005 at 8:55:31 mst
Name: Dave Harrison

Diana,

You said,

"My choice not to post to SOLO is a matter of upholding basic standards in intellectual discussion, particularly as to what constitutes Objectivism. Never in a million years will I chime in with Bob Bidinotto, Barbara Branden, Robert Campbell, Ed Hudgins, Roger Bissell, Michael Kelly, and the like--as if we're all good, honest, and chummy friends of Ayn Rand's philosophy of Objectivism, albeit with some minor differences of opinion."

Why did you cut them off? Too much ad hominem?



Comment #21

Thursday, December 1, 2005 at 9:06:33 mst
Name: Fred Weiss
URL: http://www.papertig.com

Jeb, if ARI had such a policy then it would oppose The Ayn Rand Society of the American Philosophical Association, which it doesn't.

http://www.aynrandsociety.org/

As for Chris Sciabarra, ARI doesn't support Hegelian Dialectics - not to mention his providing a platform for egregious distortions of Objectivism in JARS* and books he's edited. Sciabarra in fact is a prime example of what I consider the rebellion against objectivity in approaching Objectivism, which is a pretty blatant contradiction, wouldn't you say? What more needs to be said on that subject? Incidentally, Chris Sciabarra doesn't support ARI (and doesn't even consider himself an Objectivist for obvious reasons), so the feelings are mutual. I think the expression for that is "we've agreed to disagree". What's the problem?

*Fondly known by me as The Journal of Ayn Rand Sludge



Comment #22

Thursday, December 1, 2005 at 9:31:04 mst
Name: Dave Harrison

Fred,

"What's the problem?"

The problem is that some folks here have no idea what you're talking about. Maybe some elaboration here is warranted.



Comment #23

Thursday, December 1, 2005 at 10:46:27 mst
Name: Diana Hsieh
URL: http://www.dianahsieh.com/blog

Jeb: I thought that I was clear enough in my last post to you, but just in case: You are not welcome to post on NoodleFood. Go away.



Comment #24

Thursday, December 1, 2005 at 10:54:50 mst
Name: Jeb Jepson

Fred,

The only exception I can think of is the Ayn Rand Sociey. Even there it doesn't appear that the higher ups like Peikoff are involved.

It seems to just about everyone not associated with the ARI that the ARI has various "associational rules" (I can't think of a better term). Just compare Tara Smith's first book and her second (Viable Values) as far as whom she cites.



Comment #25

Thursday, December 1, 2005 at 11:13:53 mst
Name: Diana Hsieh
URL: http://www.dianahsieh.com/blog

Okay Jeb, now I'm going to start deleting your posts. If you have anything to say to me, say it privately in e-mail.



Comment #26

Thursday, December 1, 2005 at 11:25:50 mst
Name: Diana Hsieh
URL: http://www.dianahsieh.com/blog

Goodness me. SoloHQ has arisen from the dead almost exactly as before, with all manner of lovely epitets directed at me within the first few hours!

<http://rebirthofreason.com/cgi-bin/SHQ/SHQ_FirstUnread.cgi?Function=FirstUnread&Board=5&Thread=1216>

So why did Joe and Linz bother killing it at all?



Comment #27

Thursday, December 1, 2005 at 11:32:30 mst
Name: Diana Hsieh
URL: http://www.dianahsieh.com/blog

Linz: You are right. I should have been more careful in my wording, as it's only SoloHQ that shut down, but not SOLO itself. (I'll fix the post now.) I am surprised to see that Joe's the new "Rebirth of Reason" site seems like an exact copy of SoloHQ. I wonder why he said that he was unhappy with the state of SoloHQ if he's doing exactly the same site again.

And if the "Rebirth of Reason" consists of calling intellectual opponents names too nasty to repeat here, I wonder what's left to irrationality.



Comment #28

Thursday, December 1, 2005 at 11:47:35 mst
Name: James Heaps-nelson

Diana,

I'm sure if they had actually met you they wouldn't say such things. However, I'm looking forward to the segmenting off of some of the Branden/Valliant discussions and if things get too crazy on the solopassion site I can go to RebirthofReason and vice-versa.

Jim



Comment #29

Thursday, December 1, 2005 at 11:55:33 mst
Name: Diana Hsieh
URL: http://www.dianahsieh.com/blog

Jim said: "I'm sure if they had actually met you they wouldn't say such things." Actually I'm sure they would say the same, although perhaps not to my face. I doubt they're brave enough for that. I think that you're just too reasonable a person to appreciate the depth their kind of irrational hatred of anyone connected to ARI, Jim.

As I said in my update to this post, "I am quite amused by the fact that people who so vociferously proclaim their low opinion of me care so much what I think about them." I'm amused, but not surprised: The insecurity engendered by irrationality does strange things to people.



Comment #30

Thursday, December 1, 2005 at 12:15:56 mst
Name: Fred Weiss
URL: http://www.papertig.com

Well, of course ARI has "associational rules". Who doesn't? Why even SOLO does, judging from the various people who have been kicked out and the numerous others who stormed off slamming the door behind them - so much so that I'm surprised anyone's left. (Not exactly what one would expect from a group one of whose prime directives is...err...tolerance. But, then, that's an anti-concept if ever there was one.)



Comment #31

Thursday, December 1, 2005 at 12:19:33 mst
Name: Tom Rowland

Diana,

Thanks for your clear statement on the demise of SOLOHQ. I am amused by the thread on the new site that attacks it. And hardly surprised that they basically resurected the same site. It's like socialism -- THIS time it will be what we intended.

The cries of those who claim that ARI forbids debate -- despite evidence to the contrary -- are cries of those who want to gain legitimacy from such a debate for any cockamamie idea, any distortion, they wish to promolgate. Which is precisely the reason I, for one, no longer engage in such debates. It's called picking your battles. Can you imagine Rand spending any time at all with the likes of MSK?



Comment #32

Thursday, December 1, 2005 at 12:29:40 mst
Name: Tom Rowland

Just to site the name of a person with whom she did spend a lot of time: John Hospers. What a difference!



Comment #33

Thursday, December 1, 2005 at 12:52:07 mst
Name: James Heaps-Nelson

Fred,

I'm assuming you're directing the associational rules comment at me, since I mentioned that in one of my posts on the old Solohq. I have no dispute with ARI's right to create associational rules. I simply exercise my prerogative not to associate officially based on those conditions.

Incidentally, my policy from now on is to encourage people to explore all Objectivist-related organizations, gather the relevant data and come to their own conclusions. I think that people who are not happy at TOC or SOLO are better off somewhere else. The same goes for ARI.

Jim



Comment #34

Thursday, December 1, 2005 at 13:15:39 mst
Name: James Heaps-Nelson

Tom,

You bring up John Hospers. It's been a while and I am bringing this up from the dusty recesses of my memory, I seem to remember Hospers as being a psychological determinist in ethics and he has written papers to that effect. Given that, I would have thought there would have been a wider gulf between Hospers and Rand than seems to be the case.

Also, what are your thoughts on the amount of rational disagreement it is possible to have with a person and still maintain association (I'm sure much of this is context-driven and philosophical contexts presumably require a stricter set of rules)?

Jim



Comment #35

Thursday, December 1, 2005 at 13:53:37 mst
Name: Fred Weiss
URL: http://www.papertig.com

No, James, my "associational rules" comment was directed at the now unceremoniously departed Jeb.

As regards John Hospers, there was as you say a wide gulf between AR and himself (see Letters of Ayn Rand). But she saw some unusual potential in him and she was able to move him on at least a few points (mainly in politics). Also, he was one of a rare handful of academics who accorded her ideas some respect. However, in the end the fundamental gulf couldn't be bridged, most especially as regards Objectivist epistemology.

I was able to observe that directly myself since Hospers was a teacher of mine at Brooklyn College.



Comment #36

Thursday, December 1, 2005 at 13:57:33 mst
Name: Shayne Wissler

Didn't John Hospers go to the last Solo "conference"?

Shayne



Comment #37

Thursday, December 1, 2005 at 14:21:29 mst
Name: James Heaps-nelson

Fred,

I apologize for concluding your comment was directed at me. I used the same phrase in a post of mine on SOLO on Bill Dwyer's ridiculous "Cult" thread, hence the confusion.

Jim



Comment #38

Thursday, December 1, 2005 at 15:17:43 mst
Name: Shayne Wissler

> Well, of course ARI has "associational rules". Who doesn't?

Although in practice Solo leadership have been hypocritical about their vision of being more "open" than ARI to a variety of ideas, it is refreshing to see the progress Valliant and Fahy have made there. Some people have been swayed completely from being Branden fans. Fundamentally this is the right way to deal with these kinds of issues: in the open. No ARI-supporting forum except maybe this one would have permitted such a thing (though maybe now they will realize they must change), the minute a debate about the Brandens happened, the person who was as yet unconvinced would have been booted right out of the forum after having first been chastized by all the loyal ARI people--End of discussion.

Diana should know this, as part of her history was I think to be booted for debating taboo issues in an ARI forum. I take it that she was never dishonest just questioning, and even if she did make mistakes they were from a desire to seek the truth, and that this ARI behavior only delayed her ultimately coming to it.

In spite of Solo's serious flaws, in spite of the nut cases they let stay there, they are demonstrating (albeit in limited and imperfect measure), a proper way for Objectivists to interact with "students of Objectivism."

There's something to be learned from Solo, and I think if ARI doesn't learn it they're ultimately going to become irrelevant.



Comment #39

Thursday, December 1, 2005 at 15:47:09 mst
Name: Don Watkins
URL: http://www.axiomaticmagazine.com

Shayne writes:

"No ARI-supporting forum except maybe this one would have permitted such a thing (though maybe now they will realize they must change), the minute a debate about the Brandens happened, the person who was as yet unconvinced would have been booted right out of the forum after having first been chastized by all the loyal ARI people--End of discussion."

What's your evidence for this? The only open forums run by ARI supporters have included lengthy debates on just that issue without anyone being banned merely for defending Branden (to my knowledge, anyway).

And doesn't the fact that even you admit such wouldn't happen on *this* forum prove that this has nothing to do with ARI supporters as such, but only (at best) particular individuals hosting particular forums?

"Fundamentally this is the right way to deal with these kinds of issues: in the open."

I have no idea what this is supposed to mean. Who is *not* dealing with these issues "in the open"?

My guess is that you don't mean "in the open" but "open to everyone". That's the only sense in which SOLO is "in the open" -- and in that sense, being open is NOT a virtue.

You praise Jim Valliant for convincing people of his position by his arguments on SOLO? Well, okay, except you'll have to explain to me how he was aided in the venture by the dishonest, Rand-hating, pseudo- and anti-Objectivists who thrive on that space. And you'll have to explain to me why helping a few more people recognize Branden's immorality is worth sanctioning a place that gives the sort of people I listed above a forum to viciously attack people like Diana (not to mention me).

"Diana should know this, as part of her history was I think to be booted for debating taboo issues in an ARI forum."

Diana has already addressed this: the fact that someone says they support ARI doesn't make him John Galt. Particularly in the mid-ninties, some of the people who ran and partcipated in pro-ARI forums were , how should I put this, asses. But that has nothing to do with ARI, or with the current ARI-supporting forums, none of which are guilty of the more objectionable actions and sad behaviors committed in years past.

"In spite of Solo's serious flaws, in spite of the nut cases they let stay there, they are demonstrating (albeit in limited and imperfect measure), a proper way for Objectivists to interact with 'students of Objectivism.' There's something to be learned from Solo, and I think if ARI doesn't learn it they're ultimately going to become irrelevant."

I can't even take this seriously enough to respond to it.

To sum up, open debate between honest participants is fine. That is not what takes place at SOLO. It does take place on forums such as this one and Objectivism Online, for example. The idea we are not engaging people who disagree with us, while the other side is is plainly false. Rather, we are refusing to partcipate in forums which give a platform to individuals who are plainly dishonest and hostile to Objectivism. It's just that simple.



Comment #40

Thursday, December 1, 2005 at 16:25:11 mst
Name: Kelly Elmore

Hi everyone. This is my first post on Diana's blog, though I read it regularly. So let me say first, you rock, Diana! I hope that we will meet at the conference this summer.

I want to address what Shayne said about having problems with ARI and not feeling like they are worth giving money to. I agreed with you completely until recently. I believe that ARI is philosophically in the right, but I do have problems with some of the major spokespeople. David and I did not give money to them for the last three or four years and hoped that a competitor would soon be up and running. About three months ago, we went to Yaron Brooke's lecture on the state of ARI. I cannot even express how impressed I was with him and with the work ARI is doing. Brooke didn't have the condescending and hostile attitude that I have observed in some of the ARI leaders (past and present). He was basically a CEO, just after ideological change instead of monitary profit. The numbers of people being reached by the Books for Teachers program and the essay contests astounded me. (I don't have much of a head for numbers, so if you want specifics, I refer you to the ARI website or to Yaron Brooke.) I was impressed with the allocation of money, with the focus on outreach to students rather than political shows and opeds (though they are still done), and with the emphasis on supporting intellectuals. He proved to me that ARI is on the right track and getting results. David and I immediately started sending money to them again (and in larger amounts than we ever had before). Even though there are many ARI higherups that I wouldn't invite over for dinner or ask to instruct my child on integration, I truly think the organization is doing the right things to spread Objectivism throughout our culture. I hope you will look into their goals, methods, and results again, Shayne. I think a huge change happened for the better when Yaron Brooke took charge.

Can I also say that the image of Ayn Rand and Michael Stuart Kelley sitting down for a quiet talk about his addictions and how he was duped by some Brazilian beauties gave me one of Linz's fabled belly laughs? I think that, in the past few months, SOLOHQ was better fun than Saturday Night Live. Having said that, do you think I will get a cool thread about what a bitch I am too?



Comment #41

Thursday, December 1, 2005 at 16:34:20 mst
Name: Shayne Wissler

Don: After having virtually been banned from Solo by Linz for defending the Objectivist principle of property rights amongst a bunch of touchy tolerationists, it's a bit ironic for me to be defending Linz in any measure. But I'm an individualist, so truth is more important than associations.

There are a lot of unwarranted assumptions in your questions to me. I don't claim anything about ARI supporters, just *some* ARI supporters. You agree with me that at least in the 90's, the kind of thing I describe was going on, so I don't understand why you're asking me for evidence. Pardon me for not keeping up with the times--I admit that I don't know what's going on today in ARI forums.

However I do know that ARI has done nothing to make their position on these issues clear, to remedy past mistakes. For example, to my knowledge, ARI bookstore still does not carry George Reisman's "Capitalism." Now I admit that Reisman has his faults, as is quite evident in his latest article in JARS, but I don't think they are sufficient reason not to promote his book (with qualification if necessary), not by a long shot. I mentioned the above issue about LP being an "intellectual heir"--they've had years to retract that bogus title and they've done nothing. Until and unless ARI addresses these historic issues and more--officially and in the open--I will be critical of them.

You ask what I mean by "in the open", and then proceed to try to pin a Kellyite interpretation of it on me. Quoting Stossel: "Give me a break!" I suppose I could try to write a manifesto of how reasonable people should interact for you, but you know, I think you're a bright guy.

One of the points that is lost on you and Diana: Solo isn't a unified organization. You two want to think of Solo in terms of its worst members, and yet it's clear if you look at it that Solo is, if it's anything, a quite non-united group of people. There are people there who hate ARI and who like ARI. There are those who hate Diana and I'm sure there are those that like her (indeed, at least one of them posts here and you sanction him by allowing it). In any case, Valliant isn't sanctioning irrationality, he's rather heroically regarding it as irrelevant while he appeals to the best in people. You think he's making a tragic mistake, which is ironic because the reverse is true. As I've followed them, I've come to have a great deal of respect and admiration for Valliant and Fahy. Objectivists could learn a lot from them, indeed they are.

Regarding your last few paragraphs, ...

Shayne



Comment #42

Thursday, December 1, 2005 at 16:44:49 mst
Name: Carla Marks

Fred Weiss wrote: "As for Chris Sciabarra, ARI doesn't support Hegelian Dialectics - not to mention his providing a platform for egregious distortions of Objectivism in JARS* and books he's edited. Sciabarra in fact is a prime example of what I consider the rebellion against objectivity in approaching Objectivism, which is a pretty blatant contradiction, wouldn't you say? What more needs to be said on that subject?" [*Fondly known by me as The Journal of Ayn Rand Sludge]

This: my understanding is that JARS is explicitly ~not~ put forth as an organ of Objectivism, that it is for the purpose of Ayn Rand Studies, and that it is open to dissenting points of view, unlike any journal that might be published by TOC or ARI. (Why ~isn't~ there a scholarly journal published by ARI, by the way?)(Also by the way, JARS is open to submissions by members of Anti-Rational Individualism (ARI), though it would be preferred that they be somewhat longer and more substantial than Andy Bernstein's path-breaking efforts.)

Also this: as for your remark about ARI not supporting Hegelian Dialectics -- as if Chris Sciabarra did! -- that is completely divorced from reality. Sciabarra advocates neither dialectical idealism (Hegel's brand), nor dialectical materialism (Marx's brand), but dialectical libertarianism (Chris's brand, which owes far more to Aristotle and Rand than to the bad boys, George and Karl). (If I really wanted to piss you off, I'd say "dialectical objectivism," which is really more accurate, but Sciabarra doesn't claim that of his position, so I won't either.)

Fred, you also wrote: "Incidentally, Chris Sciabarra doesn't support ARI (and doesn't even consider himself an Objectivist for obvious reasons), so the feelings are mutual. I think the expression for that is 'we've agreed to disagree'. What's the problem?"

The problem is that you are just ~supposing~, i.e., ~assuming~, and not speaking from knowledge. Talk about non-objective! Let me put it this way: do you know for a fact that Sciabarra does not support ARI? Answer very carefully!

Also, if you had just "agreed to disagree," that would be one thing. But various people on this blog have not simply registered disagreement with Sciabarra, but instead demeaned his intelligence, character, and morality, and that is not cool.

CM



Comment #43

Thursday, December 1, 2005 at 16:49:04 mst
Name: L.S.

I urge those who read my earlier comments on what I see as the fundamental involved in simultaneously claiming to be an Objectivist and being anti-ARI to read the Jeb Jepson comments up-thread and see if they don't make my point eloquently.

Yes, it is indeed an emotional response to the ideas of certainty and moral judgment clashing with the opposite ideas inculcated in all of us by the culture to some extent as someone else suggested. Because of the very nature of what ARI is and what it's modus operandi must be--it naturally becomes a convenient target to invest all of this misplaced emotion against, and the subsequent rationalizing becomes so protracted and bizarre it can be amusing.

It's easier for some to do that rather than to examine their emotional response of resistance along these lines when first encountering Objectivism and why they have it--then to unfreeze all of the frozen abstractions that are at work in bringing about the response and re-form those concepts in the way AR demonstrates makes rational sense.

Because once one does that, and one's view of what contextual absolutism and rational egoist morality actually mean gel into the new forms AR demonstrates are correct in accordance with reason and reality--then all of the anti-ARI or anti-Peikoff sentiments about "Randroids" and all such things come to appear to be the nonsense they are rather than sounding remotely plausible or important in the way they first may have.

It's intellectual laziness, really, IMO. Better to unfreeze these frozen abstractions and stop making ARI and other Objectivists "the Man" to be rebelled against in one's emotions. Either that or drop the philosophy for God's sake!



Comment #44

Thursday, December 1, 2005 at 16:54:09 mst
Name: Shayne Wissler

Kelly: Hello!

I certainly don't disapprove of someone sending ARI money--what I disapprove of is doing it without being critical. You and David are. I'd only add: if you think, as I do, that ARI should be on the hook for past behavior even if they have changed, then I think you should write them a letter asking them to own up.

Regarding Yaron, I met him once at a conference and I liked him a lot based on my first impressions. However I have also heard grumblings from a few ARI supporters--which is probably all I should say since it's they're business to air their complaints.

That, by the way, is a serious problem with ARI: Supporters tend to stay quiet about complaints. Which is no surprise given how some (e.g., Reisman) have been kicked out of the movement for (apparently) complaining.

Shayne



Comment #45

Thursday, December 1, 2005 at 17:02:09 mst
Name: Mike
URL: http://passingthoughts.blogsome.com

Shayne stated:
"That, by the way, is a serious problem with ARI: Supporters tend to stay quiet about complaints."

Not true. Have you been to a State of ARI talk? Brook specifically requested suggestions and criticism of the institute's programs. The OAC requests criticism and suggestion from students. Isn't this the exact opposite of what you just suggested?



Comment #46

Thursday, December 1, 2005 at 17:15:37 mst
Name: Shayne Wissler

>> Have you been to a State of ARI talk? Brook specifically requested suggestions and criticism of the institute's programs.

I haven't heard the talk but I've heard a lot of good things about it. Let me just point out two things:

1. Just because you ask for critique doesn't mean you really want it. If Yaron really does, great. Maybe someone will bring up my issues and I'll be back on their list of benefactors in a few years.

2. It's not good enough for an organization to change for the better, it also must recognize and address historical mistakes. Otherwise they aren't really practicing the crown of virtues: pride. Otherwise a request for critique is, in effect, a meaningless ruse, a grotesque pretense at practicing the virtue of pride.

Shayne



Comment #47

Thursday, December 1, 2005 at 18:32:13 mst
Name: RT

Shayne, what do you think of Reisman currently associating with Lew Rockwell, an Objectivist-hating, anti-defense Rothbardian Libertarian?



Comment #48

Thursday, December 1, 2005 at 18:53:37 mst
Name: Shayne Wissler

Don: Regarding your question about what I mean by "open", I have a much better answer for you. What I mean is embodied perfectly in that hero, James Valliant, both in his book and in his defenses of Ayn Rand on Solo. Contrast his approach with ARI's over the past 20 years or so. That ought to lead you to the proper concept of "open".

RT: What do you think of James Valliant associating with Solo?

George Reisman has, by any "open" account I know of, been unjustifiably been ostracized by Objectivists. There's a lot of context there, and there may be a lot of context surrounding his associating with Lew Rockwell (a person I'm not familiar with), but on the face of it I don't blame Reisman for hanging out with people who will recognize the value in his life's work.

For the slap in the face Objectivists have given him for the effort he's put in over the years to provide an Objectivist explication of Capitalism, it's really hard for me to blame him.

It's true that Reisman does't have a truly Objectivist grasp of epistemology and that's going to taint his book, but I think it's obscene that that should stop Objectivists from recognizing the values in his work. Criticizing the bad while failing to praise the good isn't justice.



Comment #49

Thursday, December 1, 2005 at 21:10:04 mst
Name: RT

Shayne, I have no opinion re Valliant and SOLO. Re Lew Rockwell, he is the founder along with Rothbard of the Mises Intsitute.

Check out this article "Kill an Arab for Ayn" (which is only a small taste of the website) on lewrockwell.com:
http://www.lewrockwell.com/sapienza/sapienza47.html

And then let me know if you still "don't blame Reisman for hanging out with people who will recognize the value in his life's work."



Comment #50

Thursday, December 1, 2005 at 21:59:29 mst
Name: Shayne Wissler

RT: Unless you also post something documenting the exact relationship of Reisman to Rockwell there's nothing to even begin to comment on. All you have above is an assertion that they are associated somehow (you don't specify how), along with an article of Rockwell foaming at the mouth about some Objectivists (yeah he castigates all--what's new, Objectivists do this sort of sweeping ad hominem all the time).

But let me get where you're going with this clear. Is it your argument that Reisman is evil now (since he "associates" with Lew Rockwell), and therefore everything that happened to him with respect to ARI years before was just?



Comment #51

Thursday, December 1, 2005 at 22:05:19 mst
Name: Lowell R.

It's sort of sad how the threads on libertarianism, SOLO, and TOC-vs.-ARI are always the longest, isn't it?

Anyway, regarding George Reisman -- RT criticizes him because a website run by the cofounder of an institute he's a part of posted an essay by some ignoramus. If you're interested in judging Reisman as a human being, that might be a valid point to make. But why waste time doing so when you could be discussing his, you know, ECONOMICS? His theories? That sort of thing?

For instance, Shayne argued that Reisman doesn't have a proper grasp of O'ist epistemology. I've never seen that argument advanced anywhere, and I for one think it would be worth it to debate on this. There are relatively few people in the world who've read all 1,000 double-columned pages in "Capitalism," and it would be a shame if their arguments were drowned out by people laughing at inconsequential articles written by nobodies. Why not just a, "But I don't think of you," and move on?

Even if Reisman's character were flawed by his association with Lew Rockwell and the ever-colorful cast of characters at his blog, if he has useful things to say -- and I and many others think he does -- THAT'S what matters. If no one's said this before, I'd be surprised: "People are transient. Ideas are forever."



Comment #52

Thursday, December 1, 2005 at 22:08:18 mst
Name: Lowell R.

And regarding JARS: Have any of you naysayers actually READ the journal? If so, give some examples of this "sludge," if you'd be so kind, for us unenlightened; if not... well, you know.



Comment #53

Thursday, December 1, 2005 at 22:15:08 mst
Name: Lowell R.

Oops...that would be fish in a barrel, I must admit...how about explaining how the bad outweighs the good.



Comment #54

Thursday, December 1, 2005 at 23:11:34 mst
Name: Betsy Speicher
URL: http://forums.4aynrandfans.com

NickMunro asked "Is there a pro-ARI forum where one can discuss Objectivism ?"

Most certainly! Come on over to THE FORUM for Ayn Rand Fans. You'll find some lively discussions (21,000 postings since February) and many favorite ARI authors and conference speakers.

All the best,

Betsy Speicher

Facts, Values, Experts, and Friends -- <http://Forums.4AynRandFans.com>





Comment #55

Friday, December 2, 2005 at 0:19:17 mst
Name: L.S.

"Don: Regarding your question about what I mean by 'open', I have a much better answer for you. What I mean is embodied perfectly in that hero, James Valliant, both in his book and in his defenses of Ayn Rand on Solo. Contrast his approach with ARI's over the past 20 years or so. That ought to lead you to the proper concept of 'open'."

lol! Agreed, Valliant and his book are terrific. So then can we link arms and extend this praise to Leonard Peikoff as well for supporting Valliant's efforts enough to allow access to AR's journals and being impressed by the first half of Valliant's book online leading to this assistance? How 'bout it?



Comment #56

Friday, December 2, 2005 at 0:50:27 mst
Name: Casey Fahy

Diana,

I can't help but notice that you spotlighted the amazing diatribe against myself and James.

Thanks. I think it speaks for itself, too.

I leave it to others to decide whether my efforts at SOLO bore any fruit -- as the Marines say, I went in to win. And I guess I was bound to step on some toes, and get my hair mussed in the process.

Best regards,
Casey



Comment #57

Friday, December 2, 2005 at 0:51:21 mst
Name: L.S.

Mr. Wissler:

I'm trying to better understand your objection to "intellectual heir". You made it sound semi-plausible to me for a moment as maybe something bad, but then when I tried to think about it a little I couldn't really see what was the big deal.

If a philosopher chooses an individual to whom she will leave not only her wealth but also certain rights to her intellectual works which contain the philosophy; if she gives public endorsement of the heir's way of organizing lecture material that imparts the philosophy systematically to others; if she discusses with the heir issues about how the philosophy should be advanced and promoted and have its integrity maintained--is it not appropriate to use a term like "intellectual heir" and not have some imagined connection to something to do with religon?

I'm not quite following how that would connect to emulating religious dogma. Perhaps you think of heir as a family relation and then it evokes something like a mystical transfer of the philosophy to the "heir"? Obviously LP was chosen by Ayn Rand for this role--LP was not a family relation--and the philosophy was not imparted mystically to LP but through intellectual discussion over however many years. But that lame connection is all I could really come up with here, and I'm sure that's not where you're coming from.

Can you help me understand this better? It all seems perfectly appropriate to me and it seems like you're bringing in this association with religous dogma yourself which isn't warranted.



Comment #58

Friday, December 2, 2005 at 0:51:44 mst
Name: Shayne Wissler

LS:

> So then can we link arms and extend this praise to Leonard Peikoff as well ...

Agreed. It speaks to LP's honesty that Valliant changed his mind, and to his integrity that he then gave Valliant the materials.

So--then can we link arms and agree that Peikoff had been wrong on this issue all those years?



Comment #59

Friday, December 2, 2005 at 0:57:20 mst
Name: L.S.

Wissler: "So--then can we link arms and agree that Peikoff had been wrong on this issue all those years?"

What do you mean? Wrong how?



Comment #60

Friday, December 2, 2005 at 0:58:32 mst
Name: Fred Weiss
URL: http://www.papertig.com

Carla, you objected that "various people on this blog have not simply registered disagreement with Sciabarra, but instead demeaned his intelligence, character, and morality". I for one would never demean his intelligence. He's obviously a very bright guy - as for example is George Reisman, whose name has also come up. But then so is Nathaniel Branden and David Kelley. But...err...so were Kant and Marx.

This is a bit like Lowell asking us to weigh the "good" in JARS vs. the bad (naming the bad even he acknowledges is a bit like shooting fish in a barrel). This is a "Mussolini made the trains run on time" type of comment. I'd just ask anyone confused on this subject to review the principle underlying Robert Stadler in Atlas Shrugged. Robert Stadler was undoubtedly a brilliant physicist.

As for Carla's attempted defense of Sciabarra's "dialectics", I had a lengthy discussion with Roger Bissell on this very subject earlier this year on this blog. Carla claims that Sciabarra's view of it has nothing to do with Hegel or Marx. Actually it does, even by Sciabarra's own admission, but he attempts to smooth that association over by also attributing it to Aristotle - except for the little fact that Aristotle's view of dialectics has nothing whatever to do with Sciabarra's view of it. In short, Sciabarra's "dialectics" is entirely manufactured out of whole cloth and it is simply symptomatic of his pathetic attempts to make Objectivism (actually, Chris Sciabarra) more palatable to the academic establishment. (You'll have to judge for yourself the significance of the fact that Sciabarra's thesis advisor at NYU was a prominent Marxist).



Comment #61

Friday, December 2, 2005 at 1:02:23 mst
Name: L.S.

I wrote: "What do you mean? Wrong how?"

On second thought, nevermind this--the other issue I asked you about is much more interesting, if that's ok.



Comment #62

Friday, December 2, 2005 at 1:07:50 mst
Name: Betsy Speicher
URL: http://forums.4aynrandfans.com

Michael asked "More seriously, in thinking about Fred's comments, I wonder whether opposition to certainty or opposition to moral judgement is the key motivating factor behind some of the anti-ARI comments."

I think it varies from person to person. It most cases, it seems to be some combination of resentment toward anyone who is certain and a fear of _being_ morally judged. In a few rare cases -- the ones *I* am interested in -- it is a case of someone who values what I value but is new to Objectivism and just doesn't know how false the oft-repeated slurs against ARI really are.



Comment #63

Friday, December 2, 2005 at 2:36:36 mst
Name: Shayne Wissler

LS: If "intellectual heir" is supposed to mean that Peikoff has copyrights, then it's redundant (heir of her estate is sufficent); if it's supposed to mean that Peikoff can speak for Rand, it goes against everything she ever said while she was alive. Indeed it goes against what Peikoff himself has said in the forward of OPAR. So then which is it? Is he the "intellectual heir", or is what he said in the forward the truth?

The only sense I can make of the term is that it's intended to grant Peikoff the status of being able to speak for Rand, to settle issues for once and all, to be the unquestioned authority on what she thought. Which is a religious-like attitude.

What Rand wrote and approved of is limited by the things she did while she was alive. There is no extension. There is no "intellectual heir". There is only each individual's judgment about whether something is or isn't consistent with the philosophy. There's no "last word" for Peikoff (or ARI) to have, Rand had the last word.

Shayne



Comment #64

Friday, December 2, 2005 at 3:33:30 mst
Name: N D

SW:"The only sense I can make of the term is that it's intended to grant Peikoff the status of being able to speak for Rand, to settle issues for once and all, to be the unquestioned authority on what she thought. Which is a religious-like attitude."

This most certainly is not the meaning of the term. Peikoff often states that he can't speak for Rand and that it is up to the listener (in case of the taped courses) to judge whether what he says is consistent with Objectivism or not. You have never heard that? And if you have, why do you keep holding on to your interpretation of the meaning of "intellectual heir"? (As against, say, investigating what it really means before judging it). To make such a serious claim requires proof.

Without having thought much about it, I'd say that it just means that Ayn Rand considered him to the one that, at that moment in time, understood her philosophy best. Perhaps it's not the best term in the world (I don't know), but to go from that to saying that it speaks of a "religous-like attitude" is huge.



Comment #65

Friday, December 2, 2005 at 4:18:35 mst
Name: NickMunro

Thanks Don, I will check it out.

Nick



Comment #66

Friday, December 2, 2005 at 4:53:40 mst
Name: Carla Marks

Fred Weiss wrote: "You'll have to judge for yourself the significance of the fact that Sciabarra's thesis advisor at NYU was a prominent Marxist."

LOL! There is about as much significance in that connection as there is in the fact that Leonard Peikoff's thesis advisor at NYU was a prominent Pragmatist! LOL! Omigod -- Ayn Rand's intellectual heir, being advised by a prominent Pragmatist! How significant! How ominous! How pathetic. I'm going to call you "Threadbare Fred," for that's what your arguments are.

CM



Comment #67

Friday, December 2, 2005 at 4:58:11 mst
Name: Fred Weiss
URL: http://www.papertig.com

Shayne wonders what "intellectual heir" means and "if it's supposed to mean that Peikoff can speak for Rand". He then proclaims that,"goes against everything she ever said while she was alive".

Really, including her saying outright while she was alive that he could speak for her? I don't know how many different people can vouch for that, having heard it directly from her, publicly and privately, but I'm sure many, including myself - not I might add from any privileged position, but just from attending public lectures in which the subject came up.

Furthermore, it was inherent in his lecturing on all aspects of the philosophy with her full sanction and support. It is something she never would have permitted unless she thought he thoroughly grasped it - which he clearly did. He has been for several decades and remains the foremost authority on her work.

Perhaps a story will relate the regard in which AR held Leonard Peikoff. It is a story told by Harry Binswanger. I may not have it exactly right, so consider this a paraphrase. On one occasion when Harry was despairing of the future he asked Ayn Rand how we could hope for Objectivism to profoundly effect the culture since it would require a dozen or more "Leonard Peikoffs". Ayn Rand's answer was, "A dozen? No. One more would be enough."



Comment #68

Friday, December 2, 2005 at 5:16:01 mst
Name: Fred Weiss
URL: http://www.papertig.com

Carla, I wouldn't even have brought it up except that it is constantly mentioned by both Sciabarra himself and by others.

For example, "His mentor was Bertell Ollman, the celebrated Marxist theoretician" (From an interview with Sciabarra in Full Context, Sept. 1995).

Or from Sciabarra himself, "On these issues, see especially Ollman (1993). Ollman was my doctoral thesis advisor. I believe that neoliberals can profit from his work on method, abstracting it from its Marxist content." Footnote from "Reply to Critics: Ayn Rand: The Russian Radical", Reason Papers

If you require additional citations, I will be happy to provide them.

You will find nothing similar in regard to Sidney Hook from Leonard Peikoff.



Comment #69

Friday, December 2, 2005 at 8:04:03 mst
Name: Lady Attis

Although I'm not a heavy weight in the Oist community, I can see why SOLO has its problems, mainly because the old ghost of the Branden problem hangs over its head. It's quite sad, when folks invite this problem to their forums with passion, rather than accepting the fact it's dead and over with and it's time to do something else. I think for Linz, he couldn't do that, since it would require to lower the drama which it seems he really loves...And I've always had problems with even the other Oist forums online since many are not open to debate in a function that is friendly or otherwise. SOLO was just one of them...

-- Bridget



Comment #70

Friday, December 2, 2005 at 8:36:35 mst
Name: Dave Harrison

Fred,

"Furthermore, it was inherent in (Peikoff's) lecturing on all aspects of the philosophy with her full sanction and support. It is something she never would have permitted unless she thought he thoroughly grasped it - which he clearly did. He has been for several decades and remains the foremost authority on her work."

In the taped lecture, "Moral Virtue," Peikoff goes into great detail how he'd totally misunderstood the virtue of independence until he was well into writing OPAR and how that misunderstanding had "contaminated" other portions of the book and led to a significant rewrite. This was in the late eighties.

So I wouldn't be surprised at all if there were persons around who understand and/or understood Objectivism better than he.



Comment #71

Friday, December 2, 2005 at 11:15:57 mst
Name: Fred Weiss
URL: http://www.papertig.com

Dave, Peikoff is Ayn Rand's heir, not her clone - not that anyone could be (nor are we going to see the likes of her again probably for 100's of years, if then - we have yet to see anyone comparable to Aristotle as a philosophical mind and that is now over 2,000 years.)

Nonetheless, for the last 30 or so years, no one has understood Objectivism better than he, not even close - and that includes the two closest contenders, Peter Schwartz and Harry Binswanger. I'm sure they would agree.

Incidentally, I don't think we will see the likes of Peikoff again for some time either. I agree with Ayn Rand that one more Peikoff will shift the cultural axis of the world - and it may not happen until we do. I don't expect to see it in my lifetime. Don and Diana might. I hope they do, but I doubt it.



Comment #72

Friday, December 2, 2005 at 11:56:49 mst
Name: Diana Hsieh
URL: http://www.dianahsieh.com/blog

Fred said: "Nonetheless, for the last 30 or so years, no one has understood Objectivism better than [Leonard Peikoff], not even close - and that includes the two closest contenders, Peter Schwartz and Harry Binswanger."

To that, I would add that LP has produced far more on Objectivism than any other scholar to date. OPAR was the first fully systematic presentation of Objectivism in print -- and that's a much, much harder feat than most people realize, for the reasons discussion in his _State of the Art_ lectures. He's also contributed immensely -- far more than anyone else -- to our understanding of the philosophy in his many long lecture courses. And then there's his massive course on the history of philosophy, as well as his DIM hypothesis. Although outside the scope of Objectivism, it's a fascinating and powerful way of philosophically analyzing cultural trends. LP has educated more than a few generations of Objectivist scholars, not just with his regular courses, but also with the "confusion papers" seminars used by the graduate students at OAC.

Shayne, the fact that you suspect LP of taking a "religious" attitude toward the intellectual heir tells me that you haven't heard many (if any) of his lecture courses, since he speaks in such a totally different fashion in them, often explicitly so, as in the opening of _The Art of Thinking_. If you heard those lectures -- and believe me, they are well worth the steep price -- not only might you gain some greater appreciation for his unparalled contributions to our understanding of Objectivism, but you would also see for yourself that he never, ever acts as some kind of religious authority, proclaiming the title as a reason to accept his claims as Objectivism.

In F&V, LP says of Objectivism: "New implications, applications, integrations can always be discovered; but the essence of the system--its fundamental principles and their consequences in every branch--is laid down once and for all by the philosophy's author." LP's work has respected those fundamentals, while illuminating an astonishing range of subtle, difficult, and interesting "implications, applications, [and] integrations." For that reason, plus Ayn Rand's endorsement, I think he amply deserves the title "intellectual heir."

Shayne, I'm willing to answer your inquiry about this matter because I know enough about you to think that you're a decent and honest guy. But if I didn't know that, I doubt that I would have bothered to spend the last 20 minutes writing up these comments, given the demanding hostility of your original comments on the matter. It's fine to express frustration that you've long had this question, but never found a satisfactory answer. It's not fine to act as if anyone *owes* you an answer, as if your mere inquiry creates a moral obligation for someone to spend their time and effort discussing the matter with you. That's offensive: it's the ugly, demanding side of altruism, although I'm sure that's not what you meant by it. My point is simply that you ought to be careful about such matters -- and be sure to approach people with the respect for their lives, their values, and their time that egoists ought to grant each other.



Comment #73

Friday, December 2, 2005 at 12:28:56 mst
Name: Dave Harrison

Fred,

Based on my example I stand by what I said. I've listened to Peikoff for thousands of hours on tape, read The Ominous Parallels about seven or eight times and read OPAR a few times. So I do have some feel for his knowledge.

With The Ominous Parallels (per Peikoff) he submitted all drafts to Rand for critique and the stuff kept coming back to him for rewrites. So with even the end product of Parallels, I'm not sure how much of it is Rand and how much Peikoff.

The example I gave re independence reveals a relatively major gap in his understanding of Objectivism up to the late eighties.

Peikoff's excellent, but is he the best? Well, there's no real way to know for sure. There could even be one or more on this forum who are better. His contributions are certainly significant, but do not in any way prove that he's more knowledgable about Objectivism than everyone else on the planet.

But it really doesn't matter to me, and I'm not sure why this should matter to anyone else. I take from his works and others' what I can and am not concerned with how much he knows overall.

Peikoff's a great Objectivist philosopher. Why can't we just leave it at that?



Comment #74

Friday, December 2, 2005 at 12:48:27 mst
Name: Ergo

Diana, you quoted LP as saying, "New implications, applications, integrations can always be discovered; but the essence of the system--its fundamental principles and their consequences in every branch--is laid down once and for all by the philosophy's author."

I have strong reservations about that opinion of Peikoff. I understand that the crucial premises and axioms of Objectivism (or for that matter, any field of thought) is unalterable without then consequently changing the essential body of that thought into something totally different. I also understand that by the very definition of axioms, it is unalterable. Axioms cannot and do not change with differing opinions... nor can new truths be found that will contradict existing axioms (assuming that they are all really true).

So, in that sense, I agree that Objectivist axioms like "Existence exists" or premises like "humans are volitional beings with the faculty of reason" are unalterable without changing the entire philosophy.

However, according to Peikoff the only future 'changes' to Objectivism permissible are things like the "implications, applications, and integrations." I disagree with his narrow scope of permissible changes.
I think it only serves to benefit the philosophy of Objectivism if we are open to a wider range of possible changes, improvements, or unique perspectives without altering the crucial premises.
For example, the Objectivist contention that the human mind is "tabula rasa" at birth... since I'm new to this philosophy, I cannot mount any kind of reasonable argument for or against that contention. But I'm not sure if that contention is fundamentally true or axiomatic. Maybe that concept of tabula rasa might need to be modified or described better or differently or discarded altogether. I read the book by Scott Ryan, and his chapter on the critique of tabula rasa in Objectivism was quite persuasive. Though, I am as yet undecided because I was able to refute many of Ryan's other arguments quite easily. So, he is not wholly convincing... but neither are some Objectivists on that topic.

Another example, Ayn Rand's contention that colleges and educational institutions should stay out of political activism... I fully disagree with her. And, I read Peikoff say somewhere (I can't remember the source), that whatever Rand said, that is the philosophy of Objectivism. However, this contention by Rand of having colleges stay out of Political activism has no necessary basis in Objectivism as a philosophy... that merely might have been her personal opinion, to which she is entitled. But her strong proposition of that idea as something colleges and educational institutions "should" do (or "should not" do) is the thing I have a problem with. Why does Rand use words like "should" or "should not" - implying an obligation to behave in such manner - and not justify it fully and coherently with her philosophy.

Hmmm.. I seem to not be able to think of any other Objectivist principles that I disagree with or am unconvinced. Everything else seems to make sense. That is good.



Comment #75

Friday, December 2, 2005 at 13:16:32 mst
Name: Diana Hsieh
URL: http://www.dianahsieh.com/blog

Ergo:

You are free to accept or reject whatever ideas from Ayn Rand's philosophy you please. If you have doubts about some points of Objectivism, by all means don't accept them on faith! With your worries about man being tabula rasa, you might want to talk over the issue with some knowledgeable Objectivists.

LP's point in that paragraph I quoted concerns the nature of Objectivism, namely that its principles were established by Ayn Rand once and for all. So if you reject a philosophic principle of hers (e.g. that humans are tabula rasa), then you cannot simply say "Hey, I want to include the possibility of innate ideas in Objectivism." That approach is nothing more than a license for every ignorant, thoughtless, and/or confused person claim that Objectivism is whatever he wants it to be. The philosophy would be nothing but a contradictory hash of ideas, without any connection to the ideas advocated by Ayn Rand. You surely don't support that, but your proposal is just a more moderate variation thereof. And once you accept the principle of revisions, there's no way to draw a line, as seen in the revisions commonly proposed in TOC circles.

All that the closed system asks is that Objectivism be recognized as a philosophy with a definite identity established by its author, as has always been done with the philosophies of Aristotle, Kant, Plato, and others. So disagreements with Objectivism should be honestly noted as such. If we discover that some of Objectivism's principles are wrong, then it's time to define a new philosophy. (Certainly, if humans aren't tabula rasa, then a host of other priciples and arguments in Objectivism would be completely invalidated.)

I do have a detailed discussion of this issue here:

<http://www.dianahsieh.com/blog/2005/07/ayn-rand-on-david-kelley.html>

Please do read it before raising further questions on this point, as I don't want to repeat arguments that I've already made.



Comment #76

Friday, December 2, 2005 at 15:23:55 mst
Name: Fred Weiss
URL: http://www.papertig.com

Dave, you can believe what you wish to believe about Peikoff's knowledge of Objectivism but it is not an arguable point as far as I'm concerned. I don't think anything more needs to be said on the subject and I don't want to discuss it any further, so I'll leave it at that.



Comment #77

Friday, December 2, 2005 at 22:57:18 mst
Name: RT

"RT: Unless you also post something documenting the exact relationship of Reisman to Rockwell there's nothing to even begin to comment on. All you have above is an assertion that they are associated somehow (you don't specify how), along with an article of Rockwell foaming at the mouth about some Objectivists (yeah he castigates all--what's new, Objectivists do this sort of sweeping ad hominem all the time)."

Shayne, I assume you have access to Google, so I'll let you "document" it for yourself. After all, it was *you* who cited the Reisman case of being such "hot" importance to *you* that it led you to condemn ARI wholesale. If, instead, you are not much interested in gathering more information about it, I'm certainly not going to waste my time trying to hand it to you on a silver platter. Frankly, I don't care if you support ARI or not.

"But let me get where you're going with this clear. Is it your argument that Reisman is evil now (since he "associates" with Lew Rockwell), and therefore everything that happened to him with respect to ARI years before was just?"

I don't know the details of what happened way back when, and neither do you. Moral character certainly seems to have been an issue. And whom Reisman chooses to associate with now certainly does say something about his moral character -- now. Perhaps earlier he was a perfect moral saint, only to be driven into the arms of 'the dark side' out of desperation, due to his unjust treatment at the hands of ARI. Perhaps.



Comment #78

Friday, December 2, 2005 at 23:14:59 mst
Name: Lowell R.

Though I doubt anyone wants to talk about JARS any more, let's take a step back for a moment.

Good side of Mussolini: Made trains run on time
Bad side of Mussolini: Sent a quarter of country's Jews to their deaths and killed thousands of others; instituted corporatist, totalitarian state
Good side of JARS: Some interesting, intelligent (though not always correct) articles
Bad side of JARS: Some poorly written, inanely argued articles

I'm not arguing -- nor has anyone, anywhere, ever, to my knowledge -- that a monstrous evil like mass murder can ever be justified by a relatively trivial good like timely transportation. I AM arguing that minor evils can be "remedied" by (even slightly) greater goods from the same source.

I'm guessing this is a sanction thing, but I still don't get it. I'm not endorsing or supporting any ideology, as far as I know, by subscribing or reading JARS, except the principle that Objectivism is important enough to be examined in a controlled academic setting like a journal, and JARS is all that the world has on that front for the time being.



Comment #79

Friday, December 2, 2005 at 23:19:41 mst
Name: Lowell R.

I almost forgot about Robert Stadler and the K's. Did d'Anconia and Galt sanction, endorse or perform evil when they studied under him? I think this is analogous to my reading JARS.



Comment #80

Saturday, December 3, 2005 at 0:45:53 mst
Name: Philip Coates

> On one occasion when Harry was despairing of the future he asked Ayn Rand how we could hope for Objectivism to profoundly effect the culture since it would require a dozen or more "Leonard Peikoffs". Ayn Rand's answer was, "A dozen? No. One more would be enough." [Fred W]

That's a great story. One of the most impressive things about Leonard Peikoff is the -breadth- of his work and of his study. He realizes that a well-educated Objectivist needs to understand Grammar, Logic, not just philosophy but the History of philosophy, Poetry and Drama, not just Objectivism but the psychoepistemogical mistakes which can impede it's integration (such as rationalism and the failure to be inductive)... and he has developed extensive lecture series on each of these and other topics.

You can't know only Objectivist MEEPA (the five branches) and be an integrated Objectivist...or an integrated human being.

As a thinker and speaker, he is a throwback to the old-fashioned tradition of the generalist, not merely a highly specialized academic philosopher.

We should try to follow his example in this regard.

He was -by an order of magnitude- the most brilliant teacher I ever had.

Philip Coates



Comment #81

Saturday, December 3, 2005 at 1:04:01 mst
Name: Joe Steele

Phil Coates wrote: "One of the most impressive things about Leonard Peikoff is the -breadth- of his work and of his study...He was -by an order of magnitude- the most brilliant teacher I ever had."

I completely agree with Phil. Peikoff is truly a (Second) Renaissance Man. Ayn Rand may have been right in supposing that one more of him would be enough to turn around our culture, but one more of him would not be *nearly* enough to offer the opportunity for private study with him to all those who would like it.

JS



Comment #82

Saturday, December 3, 2005 at 1:59:34 mst
Name: Fred Weiss
URL: http://www.papertig.com

Lowell, "the bad side of JARS" is much, much worse than "some poorly written, inanely argued articles." That's confusing the merely incompetent with the evil. Furthermore, there is nothing good in it, which you seem to recognize yourself with your faint praise in the form of "Some interesting,intelligent (though not always correct) articles". That's not exactly a ringing endorsement. The absence of some great and important articles should be the dead give-away that the purpose is not to elevate the study of Objectivism, but to drag it in the mud.



Comment #83

Saturday, December 3, 2005 at 7:37:24 mst
Name: Dave Zornek

Diana-

I just clicked on the last "crazed attacks" link in your posting. I had never visited SOLO before. I have to say that I found it absolutely revolting. I read maybe half a page before clicking the top-right red X in disgust. The fact that this sort of vicious, contentless ad hominem name-calling is sanctioned on a forum associating itself with Objectivism is appalling.

The kind of filth-names these "people"(and I'm using that word very loosely here; they've earned themselves the status of cockroaches) were using to describe you in lieu of presenting rational arguments is uncalled for, outrageous, and on a level with behavior I haven't seen since high school.

You and everyone else who is being subjected to these attacks have my sympathies. You can certainly take solace in the fact that, in trying to ruin your reputation, their doing exactly that--to their own.

P.S. It seems as though you might be their Lucifer. Take pride in it. :)



Comment #84

Saturday, December 3, 2005 at 13:13:43 mst
Name: Lowell R.

Fred,

My last points, then let's agree to disagree:
Just because something is evil, doesn't mean it shouldn't be read. See, e.g, Mein Kampf and Das Kapital -- two of the most influential books of the past two centuries. I think every person who aspires to be well-educated would do well to read them.

I don't waste my time reading, say, Jeff Walker or the Brandens, because from what I've read about them, they're not worth my time. I do (or have, or will) read Hitler and Marx because I think they are. I wouldn't read JARS if I thought it fit into the former category -- but as it gives me food for thought that Walker and the Brandens don't, I do. I don't see how this can be considered evil. And if it turns out I was wrong -- well, then I'll just cancel my subscription -- easy enough. Remember, it wasn't too long ago that Diana proclaimed Chris Sciabarra "a god" and asked, "Where would we be without you?" She turned out alright, I think.



Comment #85

Saturday, December 3, 2005 at 14:15:52 mst
Name: Dave Harrison

Lowell,

I agree. Some evil stuff should absolutely be read. Because of Rand I read Kant. Because of conservative republicans I read The Bible. Because of the Holocaust and The Ominous Parallels I studied Nazi history and literature. Because of 9/11 I read the Koran. They all just helped fortify my knowledge of the truth of Objectivism. In fact I can't conceive of not doing this.

Definitely know your enemy.



Comment #86

Saturday, December 3, 2005 at 14:20:05 mst
Name: Shayne Wissler

I had already decided I was done arguing here, but I just can't let this wild accusation by RT slide:

> After all, it was *you* who cited the Reisman case of
> being such "hot" importance to *you* that it led you to
> condemn ARI wholesale.

That is precisely what I DON'T do--condemn ARI wholesale. And this is precisely the kind of inanity that I just throw my hands up at. If you had even been loosely following this thread you'd have realized that I've got a great respect for Peikoff, that I like what I've seen of Yaron brook, that I've got a number of ARI-supporting friends. How you get from the fact that I actually have *criticisms* of ARI to the idea that I "condemn ARI wholesale", the thinking method that got you there is, ironically, incredibly germane to this discussion. But I'm bowing out because I've had it with this method, so I'll leave it for all of you to chew on.

Shayne



Comment #87

Saturday, December 3, 2005 at 14:31:04 mst
Name: Fred Weiss
URL: http://www.papertig.com

Lowell, far be it for me to tell you not to study wrong-headed and evil views, whether it be Mein Kampf, Das Kapital or...err...JARS. (Somehow I don't think this is exactly a point in JARS favor, though). :-)

As for Diana, well, that's nothing. I was a communist once myself. It has a certain educational value, one of which is the knowledge that the mistakes I made in embracing it were not entirely innocent. So it helps me to dismiss most of the excuses people make on its behalf.

Don't fall into the trap of subjectivism on this count.

Anyway, by all means follow your own path and come to your own conclusions. But you can't ask me to deny what I know to be true. You will hopefully see that for yourself at some point.



Comment #88

Saturday, December 3, 2005 at 20:08:51 mst
Name: Philip Coates

Having praised Leonard, I realize I want to do the same...to render George Reisman's work a simple act of justice as well, since he has been discussed on this thread (in some cases negatively):

His book "Capitalism" is a book of massive importance: it is a heroic, sustained feat of integration, not merely of Von Mises and Rand, not merely of good, sound, free market economics. It is much more: It is a great example of how to develop and present a science in the humanities. So it is a great methodological, epistemological book. it is brilliantly written...and provides many lesson for too dry or too abstract Objectivists on how to use example, to concretize, how to be clear and not 'floating' or over-cerebral or rationalistic.

There are places where it sings with passion and inspiration.

And places where the cool, elegant, spare logic shines through.

It is a massive achievement. Just as one part of it, his single section devoted to an expose of environmentalism leaves it without an intellectual leg to stand on.

He knocks -every prop- from under it.

And that is one of the greatest virtues of this massive life's work: It's utter, single-minded, massive THOROUGHNESS.

That is the old-fashioned way of writing. Reading it, it struck me as if it were a work from another century trying to encompass A WHOLE SCIENCE.

One of the great books, a towering achievement. And highly original insihts and integrations.

And by an Objectivist.



Comment #89

Saturday, December 3, 2005 at 22:39:36 mst
Name: Ruth
URL: http://chaostheory.typepad.com

Diana-

I just clicked on the last "crazed attacks" link in your posting. I had never visited SOLO before. I have to say that I found it absolutely revolting. I read maybe half a page before clicking the top-right red X in disgust. The fact that this sort of vicious, contentless ad hominem name-calling is sanctioned on a forum associating itself with Objectivism is appalling.

The kind of filth-names these "people"(and I'm using that word very loosely here; they've earned themselves the status of cockroaches) were using to describe you in lieu of presenting rational arguments is uncalled for, outrageous, and on a level with behavior I haven't seen since high school.

You and everyone else who is being subjected to these attacks have my sympathies. You can certainly take solace in the fact that, in trying to ruin your reputation, their doing exactly that--to their own.

P.S. It seems as though you might be their Lucifer. Take pride in it. :)

YES - take pride in it woman,Lord knows I put up with it for a year on my blog before closing the door. If you did not speak the truth you would not get these Pavlovian, mouth foaming responses.

I salute you.



Comment #90

Sunday, December 4, 2005 at 15:09:56 mst
Name: Joe Steele

Again, I agree with Phil Coates, this time in regard to George Reisman's work. His previous book The Government Against the Economy was very good, but Capitalism is just mind-blowingly excellent. If this is Objectivism, give me more of it! But in any case, give me more like it!

JS



Comment #91

Sunday, December 4, 2005 at 17:58:23 mst
Name: RT

Shayne,

I went back and more carefully re-read all the comments from the beginning, and I see indeed that it was wrong for me to attribute 'condemning ARI wholesale' to you. For that I apologize.

Your criticisms of ARI, of which two major issues you cite here are Reisman and the 'intellectual heir' issue, do seem to be issues on which you condemn ARI (albeit not wholesale) to the point where you do not support it. You write that 'maybe someone will bring up my issues and I'll be back on their list of benefactors in a few years'. This suggests to me that these issues are of high interest/importance to you in your judgement of ARI. The rest of my comments stand.



Comment #92

Monday, December 5, 2005 at 1:43:49 mst
Name: Joe Steele

Someone should compile a book of quotable quotes by Andre Zantonovich! His latest (on the Rebirth of Reason site) has quickly become my current favorite:

"The real enemy of a rational liberal world order -- the fundamental and underlying enemy -- is Kant and Marx -- and Peikoff."

Wow. If Diana, Don, et al could crank out pithy, hard-hitting bon mots like that, there would be no limit to their impact. Heh.

JS



Comment #93

Monday, December 5, 2005 at 21:29:27 mst
Name: Shayne Wissler

RT: I'd consider accepting your apology, were it not for the irony of you committing your presumptuousness again in the very same post.

Adding to the irony is the fact that here you are, some anonymous nobody hiding behind "RT", happily attributing to me your distorted version of what I think, in a context where I've made it clear that I'm finished arguing--making your presumptuous attribution a double insult. I meant what I said, any implications a person like you draws from it is just that: implications you drew. They aren't my thoughts.



Comment #94

Monday, December 5, 2005 at 22:34:38 mst
Name: Diana Hsieh
URL: http://www.dianahsieh.com/blog

Shayne --

You claim that you've withdrawn yourself from the debate, even while you continue to post on it. Stay or leave as you please: it's entirely your choice. But please do one or the other.

You are not welcome to continue straddling the fence by anouncing your departure and then posting protest messages when you feel that your views have been misinterpreted. To do so while claiming some (unknown-to-me) privilege of withdrawl from debate -- upon which the rest of us seem to be obliged to pretend as if you never said anything -- is more than a little bizarre. Anyone can scroll back to read for themselves what you wrote -- and thus judge RT's comments about your views.

I might be more indulgent about this extended good-bye of yours were it not for your unpleasant comments about my character and intellect in our private e-mail exhange a few days ago. You cited those supposed faults of mine as the reason for your unwillingness to post any more comments on NoodleFood, remember?

I'm sure that you will be infuriated by this suggestion, but so be it: If so many people are drawing so many absurd inferences about your views from your statements, perhaps you need to consider whether you are properly expressing your views, rather than automatically condemning others for presumption and other such faults. (Oh, what a terrible presumption that was, since I have no idea what you've considered or not!)

If you are genuinely bowing out of the debate, please don't post a reply to this message. That would be more self-contradiction thatn I could stomach.



Comment #95

Tuesday, December 6, 2005 at 16:02:00 mst
Name: Shayne Wissler

Diana: That's a very interesting reaction, but it's entirely misplaced. When I said I was bowing out of the debate, I specifically meant I was done arguing about the intellectual heir/Reisman etc. stuff above (and in fact I have not argued in that vein here since). I did not mean that I was permanently committing to never posting again to this thread, even if someone had put their words in my mouth.

Indeed, if you had asked: "Shayne, do you mean that if someone were to post lies about you to Noodlefood that you'd not bother to point out that they were lies?" I'm sure I would have said "No, I think it would be appropriate to respond to that, even if I wasn't going to debate about Reisman anymore." Perhaps I'd have even thought of adding: "So I'm wondering Diana, would you try to stop me from correcting the lies?"

Shayne

PS: Speaking of false attribution, I disclaim your interpretation of our private correspondence, it is not accurate, but since it was private, I'll leave it at that.



Comment #96

Thursday, December 8, 2005 at 15:39:21 mst
Name: John

Diana it seems to me that you have consistently placed principle before personality. For this you have my admiration. I do think that you are mistaken in your assessment of SOLO however. The article collection is comprised of some stimulating and thoughtful Objectivist writing. Yes, it is also comprised of some trash. I may even have written some of the latter. What I liked about the place was that I was free to take what was of value to me, and discard the crap. This is true of any internet forum.

regards
John




Comment #97

Thursday, December 8, 2005 at 17:37:11 mst
Name: Diana Hsieh
URL: http://www.dianahsieh.com/blog

John,

I really appreciate your polite comments on this matter!

I fully recognize that some good essays have been published on SOLO. And I enjoyed some of what I read in the forums. As far as I'm concerned, that's what made it so dangerous! The good stuff legitimized the really awful essays and posts that were also found in SOLO -- awful in the sense of sloppy, dishonest, incompetent, malicious, and/or misrepresenting Objectivism. Good people shouldn't want to be associated with that.

Particularly given that Objectivism is such a minor force in the culture at present, it's critical for Objectivist organizations to uphold high standards in their intellectual activism and scholarship. Ayn Rand certainly did that with her publications -- and the result was an amazing resource of consistently excellent articles, not a pig sty with some pearls intermixed. Consistent quality is hard, I admit, but it's well worth the effort.

As an aside about the SoloHQ Split, Joe Rowland's new "Rebirth of Reason" is quite a puzzle to me. Despite his great claims of unhappiness with SoloHQ, nothing changed except the colors. He even let the old discussion threads continue. In contrast, I'm (very) cautiously optimistic about Linz's new SOLO site.



Comment #98

Thursday, December 8, 2005 at 20:24:40 mst
Name: Philip Coates

> Particularly given that Objectivism is such a minor force in the culture at present, it's critical for Objectivist organizations to uphold high standards in their intellectual activism and scholarship. [Diana]

I agree with this, but I don't view Solo as an Objectivist organization. I am much more upset when something which departs from Objectivism or is poorly written or is unknowledgeable comes out of TOC or ARI, then when it comes out of Solo, because it is a debating forum, a discussion place, merely a website. And if someone is taking it as representing Objectivism, then they are not reading it carefully. Nothing anyone says there is not contested within about five minutes.

> really awful essays and posts that were also found in SOLO

Unfortunately it is rife with this. But that is why I've advocated they have a -moderated- forum and just not post the sloppy, illiterate, uninformed, and the unread criticisms of Objectivism.

is there a value for me of posting there? It's very borderline as i've indicated in posts there. No one has been as harsh or as repeated a critic of Solo, to the point I've got both of founders furious at me. I'm a big believer in internal criticism in a movement ... and have also not pulled my punches with ARi or with TOC over the years.

Is Solo damaging to Objectivism? If I thought it was I wouldn't be posting there. No one is taking it very seriously, no media are covering it, and it is very tiny....we'll see if it changes or improves with the new split into two pieces. So far: nada.

Phil



Comment #99

Thursday, December 8, 2005 at 20:32:14 mst
Name: Philip Coates

I really wish there were a way to edit posts here. I just made quite a few typos on my last post, and they make me seem like a drooling monkey -- "then" for "than", lower case "i" for "I", etc. [Yes, I know, edit them -before- hitting Submit!]