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Besides, there are a great many people with whom you will disagree vehemently and spend time in fruitless exchanges. And in a few rare cases, there are those whose intent is not to debate Objectivist philosophy, but to insult its fundamental principles and/or slander the character of individual Objectivists themselves.
In this respect SOLO is not unique as an open forum of ideas; it possesses all of the negative characteristics typical of such websites. Stroll through any 100 posts at random and you will almost assuredly come across at least one example of the following: the ‘wacko’ looking to get attention of any type, the nut-case (religious or philosophical) trolling for converts, and the vitriolic condemnations of the self-proclaimed ‘guardian’ of pure Objectivism. Not to mention, the usual heated exchanges that occur by accident, simply from failing to communicate one's ideas as clearly as one would have liked.
So why SOLO? What is the difference here, over other Objectivist discussion forums? I offer the readers the following as the ‘difference-maker’ when it comes to SOLO:
If interacting with interesting and intelligent people is your goal, look no further. The wonderful cast of characters to choose from is unequaled on the Internet. There is a wise old owl with his weekly 'musings', a dialectician with a 'heart of gold', a hard-boiled advocate of ‘kick-ass’ who weeps during arias, and a lady of deep insight with a weakness for ‘Snoopy.’ The list is extensive and impressive, it includes: Tibor Machan, Chris Sciabarra, Barbara Branden, Lindsay Perigo, Edward Younkins, Nathaniel Branden, James Kilbourne, Jeff Landauer, and Joseph Rowlands. There are many, many others, all passionate about ideas and staunch defenders of their values. They're not always right (although you will be hard pressed to prove it!), but they never fail to offer thought-provoking and interesting analysis.
If talking, arguing and analyzing Objectivist philosophy is your primary goal, look no further. Not only will you get the input from some of the minds I mentioned above, but also you will become immersed in a style of Objectivist presentation that is unique. Here Objectivism is not an intellectual parlor game where one dissects every word, as if it were the words that give meaning to the concept instead of the inverse. Here Objectivism is not some endless ‘open system’ unwilling to judge the culture at large. Nor is the Objectivism expressed here a series of stifling rule-bound exercises in being a ‘true believer.’ For years Objectivism has needed a bridge between dogmatism and philosophical eclecticism; it is as this bridge that SOLO makes its appeal.
Here almost anything goes. If you have become accustomed to stringently controlled debate, then SOLO is not the place to hang out in. On the other hand, if you have become accustomed to an environment where it has become the norm to see excessive and gratuitous profanity or character assassination, then you will find that eventually (after a half-dozen chances) you will be banned. SOLO comes as close as you can get to the right balance between free expression of ideas (and emotions), while maintaining some semblance of civil discourse.
Last, but most importantly, you will not find a better place to check your OWN premises! Errors in judgment are quickly forgiven and seen for what they are. But, if you are weak in the knees, don’t bother posting here. If you think that your ideas should be accepted without question, move on. Here you will be challenged, and challenged often. But if the argument is sound, the rationale strong, and the spirit behind it benevolent ... you will find many fellow-travelers.
PS - Folks, I must apologize for this article sounding more like an advertisement than anything else. That was not my intent.
(Hmmmm? I lied, that was my intent.)
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