Comments from NoodleFood

Note: This comment system was replaced with Disqus in May 2010.

Comment #1

Monday, July 16, 2007 at 20:26:28 mdt
Name: Postman

Just thought this quote from the second Philippic of Cicero would be of interest to the group.

"But he [Mark Antony] even quoted a letter which he said I had written him--this fellow devoid of good breeding, and ignorant of the usages of life! For what man, having only a slight knowledge of the customs of gentlemen, because of some offence in the meantime, ever produced in public a letter written to him by a friend and openly quoted it? What is this but to eradicate from life life's social intercourse, to eradicate the communion of friends in absence? How many jokes are commonly found in letters which, if published, seem jejune! how many serious thoughts which nevertheless should in no way be divulged! So much for ill-breeding: mark his incredible folly!...But I make no denial, and you [Antony] in this very matter I convict not merely of ill-breeding, but also of madness. For what word is there in that letter that is not full of civility, of friendliness, of kindness? This is the sum of your charge, that in this letter I express no bad opinion of you, that I write as if to a fellow-citizen, as if to a good man, not as if to a criminal and a brigand."

Comment #2

Tuesday, July 17, 2007 at 0:42:54 mdt
Name: Anon$

"Is Miss Hsieh an Objectivist intellectual?

I ask because she frequently implies/pressumes that her standing in Objectivism is far higher than anyone who has SEARCHED "Hsieh" on the ARI and ARB sites would assume."

I lol'ed. And then again when Betsy Speicher treated that comment as a completely literal one.

There's always at least one ass-hole afraid that the content of one's mind might be more substantial than a "position" someone else awards you. Life would be too big and scary to face otherwise! *insert halloween-style ghost noises here* This is not to say ARI in particular would arbitrarily just give a position out.

Anyway, So much drama over something that should be so simple. Perhaps Dr. Peikoff should consider hiring a non-objectivist to design a new CD-ROM interface.

Comment #3

Tuesday, July 17, 2007 at 19:54:18 mdt
Name: Uh...

"If you choose to continue posting on The Forum, then however honest and nice you are, please do not post comments on NoodleFood. Do not e-mail me with or for information -- or for any other purpose. Do not talk to me at conferences or elsewhere. Just stay away from me....I do, after all, prefer to maintain some shred of self-respect."

Yikes... You're...kinda losing it there, aintcha babe? Slender thread to hang your self-respect on, that you might bump into somebody who talked to somebody who said something you didn't like. Step back. Take a breath. Ponder.

Comment #4

Tuesday, July 17, 2007 at 21:23:56 mdt
Name: James

I am sorry about your decision.

Among Objectivists, I can't see why even a few insulting remarks should yield anything beyond mild annoyance, possibly with the desire to clear things up later.

Comment #5

Wednesday, July 18, 2007 at 4:23:27 mdt
Name: Flibbert

Diana, I applaud your decision.

My very brief encounter with that forum was one of shock and utter disappointment. As it stands, I refuse to have anything to do with that group either for reasons you've cited numerous times.

Those who criticize your decision here obviously do not understand the level of intellectual corruption that the Speichers and their direct supporters advocate and represent. To continue to participate in a forum dominated by such rampant anti-rationality isn't merely to tolerate a few insults but to subject one's mind to a barrage of wrong and evil ideas or, to use a phrase from The Primacy of Awesome, a bukkake of stupid.

This strikes me as very similar to the debate over sanctions and tolerance.

Again, I think you've made the right decision to put your foot down on this one, Diana.

Comment #6

Wednesday, July 18, 2007 at 8:09:34 mdt
Name: Jeff Montgomery

Good move. My tolerance would not have lasted nearly as long as Diana's did. Who needs the negativity? Life's too short.

James wrote:
>Among Objectivists, I can't see why even a few insulting remarks should yield anything beyond mild annoyance, possibly with the desire to clear things up later.

Well, I can't see why would anyone want to interact with those who are insulting you. (Such as: "Yikes... You're...kinda losing it there, aintcha babe?" [Tesseract(at)])

Flibbert wrote:
>This strikes me as very similar to the debate over sanctions and tolerance.

Yes! I was thinking *exactly* the same thing. Tolerance as in: "Oh, lighten up, we're all Objectivists after all. We're trying to be levelheaded in the face of your fanatical attacks. Won't be you be our friend?". What baloney.

I think I'm beginning to better understand Peikoff's and Rand's occasional silence in the face of critics such as the Brandens. I used to think it was a mistake, but I'm beginning to see that sometimes it's the only logical strategy. (and no, I'm not saying the Speichers are equivalent to the Brandens, etc. It's just a way of dealing with critics that I'm citing)

And as for Betsy's attempt to set up anonymous accounts for people so they can post both places despite Diana's wishes, what can you say to that? And why would anyone *want* to post to both sites if Diana is really as awful as they claim? Again, ridiculous.

Comment #7

Wednesday, July 18, 2007 at 8:20:07 mdt
Name: Jeff Montgomery

I said:
>And as for Betsy's attempt to set up anonymous accounts for people so they can post both places despite Diana's wishes, what can you say to that?

Follow-up: Betsy has already retracted that offer, good for her:

"Diana is right and it was wrong of me to offer that as an option. I withdraw my offer and suggestion."

Comment #8

Thursday, July 19, 2007 at 6:43:55 mdt
Name: Monica Hughes

Although I have not as closely followed the issue of posts disrespectful to other O'ists on The Forum for ARF, I have had my own experiences with what I believe is unfair moderation over there, and have a recent post on it here: <> At the time this happened about 9 months ago, I was simply too upset about it to address the matter in any significant way, and neither was I blogging then. However, a recent thread that was started on revived the issue, and I felt it would be helpful to others to make my experiences fully known. My personal belief is that if the unfair moderation was, or ever is, checked, then the disrespectul posts toward other O'ists would actually cease to be an issue - because various viewpoints would at least have a fair chance at defense (as they do on

I have had positive and negative experiences on both and The Forum. At first, I found the intellectual caliber of the discussions to be much higher on The Forum - with the caveat that you can't really disagree with the moderators in any major way on particular topics, and the insults are only one-way, such as thread titles like "Shamtistics: a noodly approach to supporting Peikoff's thesis." (Can you even imagine a thread title at The Forum attacking Binswanger in that way?) At, on the other hand, I don't observe any one way bias, but the general intellectual caliber is lower. However, I believe this is due to immaturity, youth, or errors of knowledge, rather than willful errors of judgment. We all know which is worse.

About a year and a half ago, I decided to stop wasting so much of my precious time on, and 9 months ago, The Forum. I actually started seriously studying Objectivist literature - something a lot of young people on all Objectivist forums should do rather engage in what Diana calls "pointless bull sessions" on a variety of topics such as, "The Only Two Things the Majority of Women Want." In the words of another Objectivist blogger, "Around 2002 I decided that if Objectivism is truly a philosophy for living on Earth, I should be able to stop arguing about it with net.idiots and actually apply it to the process of living on Earth."

Comment #9

Thursday, July 19, 2007 at 17:02:43 mdt
Name: Jeff Montgomery

Interesting perspective, Monica. I had a similar experience with I found it useful when I got back "into" Objectivism a couple of years ago, for learning about what was going on in the community. Some of the posters were very helpful (including Betsy Speicher I might add). However, I eventually tired of constantly arguing over very minor points that I thought should be givens among Objectivists, and pretty much stopped posting. I do browse it sometimes.

I never attempted to post to THE FORUM and read it infrequently. When I do, I find a variety of quality there also, from reasonable to not.

However, I am totally perplexed at the extent of negative comments I've seen there about Diana and NoodleFood, regardless of what barbs may have been traded. They're not talking about an obnoxious anti-Objectivist troll here, they're talking about someone who is a serious student of the philosophy who has a lot to offer. I think they are *seriously* off track over there, and those who are thoughtful and mean well should step back and check their direction in a big way.

Comment #10

Saturday, July 21, 2007 at 3:15:26 mdt
Name: Monica

One more note - lest we might think Diana has gone overboard, here is a very recent post indicative of the type of bilge spouted about Peikoff on The Forum:

"I can't help but notice, based on actual experience, that Leonard Peikoff's political descriptions on his website and elsewhere misrepresent both Democrats and Republicans in terms of what they are doing, what they want to do and what they are capable of doing. Many Objectivists question the political assessments of the two parties on his website and elsewhere for good reason, and his view of the political parties are no basis for his moral denunciation of those of us rejecting his politics while struggling with very real politically imposed problems. We have found in fact -- through actual experience, not by philosophical speculation and New Left propaganda in the New York Times and elsewhere -- what kind of people are likely to help and what kind are evil. Leonard Peikoff's statements are not criticized and rejected because they are "blunt", but because they are wrong, both in regard to his assessment of politics and his baseless moral denunciation following from it. Rejection of that kind of rationalism is not a "waste of time", but is of the utmost concern for those of us living in a part of reality and under conditions he seems to be completely unaware of while he tries to deduce from philosophy what will happen without knowledge of what already is happening and why."

So, let's recap and condense: Peikoff is guilty of 1) misrepresentation, 2) philosophical speculation based on propoganda, 3)rationalizing, and 4) being unaware of some aspects of reality that others are living in.

Link: <>


Comment #11

Saturday, July 21, 2007 at 6:06:46 mdt
Name: Jeff Montgomery

>"while he tries to deduce from philosophy what will happen"

No, it's called *integration*. Although Betsy corrects that poster somewhat regarding those accusations, it is nonetheless typical of the subtle and not-so-subtle philosophical style that I have seen there.

If Peikoff is a rationalist (he is not), then I would say the dominant style at THE FORUM is towards empiricism, if that's the correct term (?). Some examples would be that I have seen posts that 1) pit "fact" against abstraction and side with fact, 2) accuse the philosopher of blindness to reality from relying on abstractions 3) suggest that his ideas are warped by the influence of certain accidental facts (such as living in CO Springs and being around lots of religious people), 4) oppose learning "directly" from reality as opposed to "blindly" from authority, 5) place too much weight on Robert Tracinski's evaluations of events (his articles can be good for factual detail but IMO de-emphasize the role of philosophy in history).

All of these things add up to a forum that is "empiricist-friendly", for lack of a better term. And I think this slant is behind many of the negative things that emanate from it.

Comment #12

Saturday, July 21, 2007 at 7:54:12 mdt
Name: Monica Hughes

Jeff - agreed. As for #3, we could also point out that living in la-la land (California) would lead one to de-emphasize the true influence of religion. Of course, California has its sprouting megachurches, too, and is on the leading edge, IMO, of religion adopting environmentalism.

I was at first surprised by Peikoff's October election statement, but I do understand his argument better now after listening to the DIM lectures online and at OCON. The DIM lectures were significantly refined at OCON, and the publishing of the DIM book will take several more years, which means there will be even further refinement.

HOWEVER, Peikoff still clearly stands by his statements about voting, if you read his Q and A's. He was quite specific in that statement, has not retracted it, and has even strengthened it by saying that unless the Republican party repudiates religion in his lifetime, he will not vote for them again. He does say that the best approach is to register Independent. That, and his OCON lectures, would indicate that he in no way endorses Democrats except as a lesser evil that is less consistent in application of principles. To the extent that you have outlined the "empiricist" trend on The Forum, I think you are correct - there are people who fail to understand that explicit philosophy trumps the implicitly held philosophy. And thus, Peikoff's statement that some do not understand the practical role of philosophy in man's life and do not understand Objectivism, except as a rationalistic philosophy detached from man's actual life, may hold some weight. I have noticed the same trends but have been unable to articulate them as such. In any case, I do NOT claim a full understanding of Objectivism myself, therefore I did not find his statement offensive, although I did find it surprising.

Despite Peikoff's political statements, he has also openly made statements to the effect of "I cannot predict for certainty what will happen" politically and philosophically in American culture and has said that his DIM hypothesis is just that - a hypothesis. Not a thesis, not a theory, not a law of nature, for Christ's sake. He admitted in the OCON lectures that some ideology might lie outside these 5 categories, although he has not run across one yet, and that some ideologies are difficult to categorize.

Comment #13

Thursday, July 26, 2007 at 7:11:25 mdt
Name: Tom Rowland

I have to disagree a bit with Monica's characterization of Peikoff's endorsement of Democrats. I don't believe that he endorses Democrats but rather that he endorses *voting* for Democrats as a tactical matter. It is not, as I understand it, a matter of the Democrats being "the lesser evil that is less consistent in application of principles." Instead, I understand Peikoff to be saying that the Democrats are equally consistent in the application of principles and that this makes religionist Republicans enormously attractive to the voting public.

The reason that religionist Republicans are more attractive to the average voter is that the voters are, I am convinced, less sure of the future than the democratic secularists. They see what the schools are like; they see what the welfare state has become. If man is, in addition, the despoiler of God's creation (Mother Nature), as the left has argued, how is some mere man or woman going to save us without divine intervention? Democrats have identified the problem--man; Republicans have the answer--God's Divine intervention.

If man is fundamentally a sinner, as the secular, Godless, left has said, what is needed is a savior. Clearly, that savior cannot be of the same order as the despoiler of the earth. So the religionists have created an entire story of God's demonstration of His power to bring man to God before the second coming and the resurrection of the dead in the "end times." Republican religionists have grafted a bastard son called "the Gospel of Wealth" to their fundamentally anti-reason (and therefore anti-Capitalist) agenda. The basic strategy -- and it is an explicit strategy (read the Christian media) -- is to show proof of God's power in the lives of believers. That is, it is not so much the power of capitalism and man's mind to produce the goods that support life on earth, but the power of God to transform gross matter into praise for God's abundance.

If the two parties are equally dangerous why is it important to vote for the Democrats? For one reason only--to eliminate religion as a political threat as swiftly as possible. Why is this important? Because the argument over the future of this country then comes back down to earth, and the issues escape the supernatural as a means of solving problems.

The prospects of a secular debate on how best to turn the country around are not promising. Currently we are witnessing two things: the turn of the left to God and religion and the turn of the right to environmentalism. Both of these only serve to convince me that a God-driven statist dictatorship is imminent--call it a theocracy if you wish or not--no matter how we vote.

Comment #14

Friday, July 27, 2007 at 6:03:37 mdt
Name: Monica

Tom - I don't necessarily disagree with your assessment. Although I will likely vote Democratic the next time around, it will be an awfully hard choice if Obama is on a ticket, as he is a firm "believer." You are right, and I hate to be pessimistic, but it may already be too late to think that voting Democratic will save us from the unity of religion and politics.

Comment #15

Sunday, August 19, 2007 at 20:47:00 mdt
Name: Samdish

Someone told me Ms Hseih was auditioning for the job of "enforcer" over at ARI. After reading this ludicrous post I find the report plausible.