|With all due respect to both Mr. Emrich and Mr. Rowlands, I am glad to learn that Mr. Emrich has returned to SOLO. I have followed the "organo-centrism" discussion and the resulting unfortunate quarrel, and have concluded that neither side should have elevated it to the level of conflict that occurred. Though we are Objectivists, we will inevitably disagree on certain periferal issues. Though we are all rational men, it is quite possible for our minds to perceive as rational different elements of the same reality. There is an absolute good and absolute right, but it cannot be reached through accusation, alienation, and schism. Rather, polite discourse amongst those who disagree should aim to illustrate the core of the disagreement and the reasons for it. |
I, for one, have benefited greatly from both the works of Mr. Emrich and those of other SOLO contributors, just as my magazine, The Rational Argumentator, posts works from Objectivists ranging from SOLOists to ARI authors, as well as any other men (libertarian, "conservative," classicist), who express an earnest viewpoint in favor of cultural change and backed by that quality for which my publication bears its name. While I may disagree with some of those men on issues such as abortion, religion, and the particular mechanisms of ideal government, the core principles, individualism, reason, capitalism, extensively shunned by the general culture, are still manifested by those esteemed persons.
If we are truly to initiate a cultural renaissance, we should not lapse into the same bickering that afflicted Brahms and Tchaikovsky, both great composers who could not stand each other over minor stylistic differences, and whose energy was thus expended on vile epithets rather than mounting a resistance to the emerging dissonant "modernism" just around the corner. Similarly, I do not agree with Ms. Hsieh's total severance with The Objectivist Center. It is proper to voice one's disagreements in published form and put forth one's concerns/suggestions for improvement, but dissociating oneself from a whole organization (and even a whole person) for such flaws (warranted, perhaps) as mentioned in the statement neglects many of Dr. Kelley's essential contributions to Objectivism, including the very open-theory doctrine that Ms. Hsieh decries.
Ms. Hsieh argues in favor of a false dichotomy between complete absorption of all "new" thoughts into the doctrine (and sets up Kelley as holding such a mindset) and complete isolation of the doctrine from filosofical innovation (a la Peikoff, in whom I do see considerable merit outside of the schisms, however), but, in, fact, this is the same fallacy as Ayn Rand had detected in the "open-mind, closed-mind" dichotomy. One need not choose between being a sponge and a solipsist; neither does a doctrine. One of the prime characteristics of the rational man is selectivity in all aspects of judgment. I have sought to practice this selectivity with all my evaluations, including those of Rand herself (I disapprove, for example, of her stance on abortion and her actions during the Branden schism), but I at the same time am able to objectively appreciate the merits of all formidable thinkers I come across (Rand, Locke, Kelley, Peikoff, Hsieh, Emrich, Perigo, and Rowlands included).
What occurred on the organo-centrism board notwithstanding, the overwhelming quantity of Mr. Emrich's work and posts indicate him to be a coalition-builder who is genuinely concerned about the future of Objectivism and its success in the one and only reality. I think that his presence in this organization is an immense asset that we, in our value-trading dispositions, can derive plentiful insights and innovations from.
G. Stolyarov II