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Post 20

Friday, March 5, 2004 - 1:08amSanction this postReply
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I'm interested in what Diana Hsieh will eventually have to say about Truth and Toleration.


Her lectures on the essentials of Objectivism were very useful to me. TOC makes tapes available of a lot of their events, and I listened to her 2002 Objectivism 101 course to fill in some gaps in my knowledge of the philosophy. I respect her and learned quite a bit from her, though her atheism is too strident for my tastes. (I'm pro-reason, more than I'm anti-religion. And having met Henry Emerich online and debated peaceably with him, he could (grudgingly) attest to that.)


So if Diana's made a decision to sever her ties with David Kelley and TOC completely over a philosophical dispute, she must have some pretty damn solid reasons behind her decision. Or at least, that's what I would expect. Perhaps she has defined limits on toleration that Kelley is unwilling to accept?


I hope it's the facts that determine the outcome of all this. I'm naïve enough to believe that.


Post 21

Friday, March 5, 2004 - 8:03amSanction this postReply
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 Matthew Graybosch said, "Having read your reasons for doing so, Ms. Hsieh, I understand and agree with your breaking away from TOC. You're doing the right thing."

I suspect Matthew is either the only one who actually read what Diana wrote, or the only one that understood it. (I've since seen David Ostroske's post, who also seems to have read and understood Diana's article.)

When someone of character and intelligence makes a hard choice, one neither desired or enjoyed, based on objective principles, and that choice and resulting action are called, silly childish “I won’t play with you anymore?”, the very nature of what moral values means is being demeaned. In this case, it would not matter if Diana was wrong in her evaluation of the TOC's teaching or motives, a courageous choice is still a courageous choice. Something Objectivists used to admire.

And what does: 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, mean?

Diana was not publishing, "concerns/suggestions for improvement," which might be appropriate in the meeting of some collectivist club. What is someone morally supposed to do when an organization's essential principles, the one's it promotes, are contrary to one's own principles? Compromise?

You do not publish, "concerns/suggestions for improvement," when there are "underlying philosophical causes of systemic problems at TOC..." [emphasis added]. When you discover you have stepped into a cesspool, you don't stop to examine the contents or make suggestions for improvement. You get out as quickly as you can.

Ms. Hsieh argues in favor of a false dichotomy between complete absorption of all "new" thoughts into the doctrine ... and complete isolation of the doctrine from filosofical (sic) innovation.

Diana never makes such an argument. Her argument is that she has major disagreements on fundamental issues: I was surprised to find myself in strong disagreement with critical elements of the arguments on almost every issue: moral judgment, tolerance, sanction, and Objectivism as an open system. None of my disagreements are minor. All seem to bear upon TOC's disturbing trajectory over the years. But I regard the last, that Objectivism is an "open system," as the most widely misunderstood, deeply flawed, and practically dangerous of the lot ... In the open system view, Objectivism is only limited by the principles Kelley cites as fundamental to the system.

I certainly consider that a major difference, and a major mistake. No matter how "open" you think Objectivism is, or how much you think can be added to or taken away from Objectivism as Ayn Rand explicated it, and still call it Objectivism, when someone presumes to redefine its essential nature, that is out-of-bounds.

I would not care if Diana Mertz Hsieh were completely wrong, I would have to applaud her courage and her action in being willing to take a stand on what she believes, especially in the face of the criticism and resistance she will receive from those who supposedly admire individualism and character. In this case, I also think she is right.

I do not have any respect at all for those who believe the way truth is to be promoted is by means of mini-collectivist movements, organization, and coalitions. Objectivists can get along with anyone, even those we strongly disagree with. I strongly disagree with Linz, for example, mostly on one issue, but I certainly get along with him. Please do not tell him, but I even like him. We both work to promote the truth. We don't have to form a coalition to do it.

Regi


Sanction: 3, No Sanction: 2
Post 22

Friday, March 5, 2004 - 2:47pmSanction this postReply
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Mr. Firehammer has referred to certain arguments I had made in regard to Ms. Hsieh's statement, and I respond here.

Mr. Firehammer: In this case, it would not matter if Diana was wrong in her evaluation of the TOC's teaching or motives, a courageous choice is still a courageous choice. Something Objectivists used to admire.

Mr. Stolyarov: A courageous mistake? In what respect is severing contact with an entire organization on the basis of pinpointing disagreements (even underlying disagreements) courageous? You refer to TOC as a "cesspool," but this is entirely unjustified, even if several articles from its members or words from its students were less than pristine Objectivist. Severing all contact implies deeming the entire organization absolutely worthless, which TOC is not, just as ARI is not, just as SOLO is not, though both of us disagree with some of their members on some issues. In Ms. Hsieh's severing of all contact, I see the same mistake that Peikoff made when he labelled Kelley as a greater detriment to Objectivism than open cultural opponents (such as Marxists).

Mr. Firehammer: I certainly consider that a major difference, and a major mistake. No matter how "open" you think Objectivism is, or how much you think can be added to or taken away from Objectivism as Ayn Rand explicated it, and still call it Objectivism, when someone presumes to redefine its essential nature, that is out-of-bounds.

Mr. Stolyarov: Would you, Mr. Firehammer, care to present your interpretation of "the essential nature of Objectivism" and your reasons for thinking that Kelley is attempting to redefine said nature?

Mr. Firehammer: I do not have any respect at all for those who believe the way truth is to be promoted is by means of mini-collectivist movements, organization, and coalitions.

Mr. Stolyarov: I am afraid that the above statement exhibits the fallacy of "lone-wolfism," rejecting all cooperative action as "collectivist," and forging a (false) association between collectivism and coalition. Individuals still retain their autonomy to employ their own minds and conduct their own endeavors in coalition (unlike the total subordination to the "organic whole" that collectivism requires). Unlike the "organic whole," coalition is essentially a "mechanical whole," made, not of any self-renunciation, but of a pooling of intellectual resources to accomplish results at an improved pace and on a larger scale. This is the same purpose as a business entrepreneur has in mind when he hires workers or contracts franchises to expand his enterprise's productivity. Each member of an intellectual coalition is still essentially autonomous, posts his own ideas, writes his own articles, books, and speeches, but, where he agrees with others on the need for change in a particular field, he collaborates with them to bring said change about.

I see nothing collectivist about this.


Post 23

Friday, March 5, 2004 - 9:50pmSanction this postReply
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Why would Peikoff apologize? ARI's only purpose is to promote Objectivism, nothing else. David Kelley was obviously interested in other things. I agree with Ms. Hsieh, TOC is more interested in opening up Objectivism and incorporating the likes of Bob Barr to its teachings than promoting Objectivism.

Post 24

Friday, March 5, 2004 - 10:05pmSanction this postReply
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Stolyarov: You state: "You refer to TOC as a "cesspool," but this is entirely unjustified, even if several articles from its members or words from its students were less than pristine Objectivist."

I ask you what TOC is supposed to be? An Objectivist organization, of which the sole purpose is to promote Objectivism, should not allow the rampant posting of such articles, or allow the authors of those essays to be 'members' of such an organization.

Post 25

Saturday, March 6, 2004 - 7:36amSanction this postReply
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Hi G. Thanks for the comments!

A courageous mistake? In what respect is severing contact with an entire organization on the basis of pinpointing disagreements (even underlying disagreements) courageous?

I already explained it, thus:

"When someone of character and intelligence makes a hard choice, one neither desired or enjoyed, based on objective principles," that is courageous.

You refer to TOC as a "cesspool," but this is entirely unjustified, even if several articles from its members or words from its students were less than pristine Objectivist.

It is called rhetoric, in this case a combination of hyperbole and metaphor. The term "cesspool" refers to no individual or organization, but to anything promoting bad principles one has become involved in. I am surprised a poet would make this mistake.

Severing all contact implies deeming the entire organization absolutely worthless...
 
Since when? Most religious organizations do many good and useful charitable works. How many of them do you support and belong to. Almost anything has something of value to someone in it. We usually try to support that which is most valuable, not just anything that has any value at all. Our resources are limited.

Would you, Mr. Firehammer, care to present your interpretation of "the essential nature of Objectivism" and your reasons for thinking that Kelley is attempting to redefine said nature?
 
No! I would not presume to do what Diana has already done very well. I could not improve on it or make it easier for you to understand. She said:

"...I regard the last, that Objectivism is an "open system," as the most widely misunderstood, deeply flawed, and practically dangerous of the lot...

 

"In the open system view, Objectivism is only limited by the principles Kelley cites as fundamental to the system. All the rest may be debated, refined, altered, reorganized, and even outright rejected within the bounds of Objectivism so long as a person "defends his view by reference to the basic principles" (T&T 69). The open system thus minimizes the importance of the wide range of insights, applications, principles, methods, arguments, and logical connections found in the full and rich system of philosophy developed by Ayn Rand. It downplays the necessity of a deep and thorough study of that system, promotes casual and superficial criticisms of it, and trivializes Rand's tremendous philosophic achievement. Such is why I do not regard the persistent problems at TOC as fundamentally due to poor management, insufficient funds, meager talent pool, or whatnot. Instead, I see them as the natural, practical consequences of TOC's view of Objectivism as an open system." [Emphasis added]

 

I am afraid that the above statement exhibits the fallacy of "lone-wolfism," ...

 

I'm afraid you've got. Though a long-time student of logic, I admit I have never run across this fallacy, or even heard of it. I have seen the term "lone-wolf" used by certain collectivists and modern "liberals" as a slur for anyone who does not, "support the team," or, "go along with the program," but have never heard of any such fallacy. Could you kindly point out a source so I may add it to my nearly exhaustive list of Logical Fallacies, Formal and Informal?

 

... rejecting all cooperative action as "collectivist," and forging a (false) association between collectivism and coalition. Individuals still retain their autonomy to employ their own minds and conduct their own endeavors in coalition (unlike the total subordination to the "organic whole" that collectivism requires). Unlike the "organic whole," coalition is essentially a "mechanical whole," made, not of any self-renunciation, but of a pooling of intellectual resources to accomplish results at an improved pace and on a larger scale.

 

Only a collectivist could construe the observation that one does not have to be submerged in an organization or be a card carrying member of any coalition or movement as rejecting all cooperative action. As the Autonomist says, "There is nothing that people want to do together or commit themselves to that they cannot do just as well without joining something."

Collectivism does not require subordination to the "organic whole", it is not totalitarianism. Whenever a group, an organization, a movement or any other "collection" of individuals becomes the object to which any particular individual's values, purposes, or personal goals are subordinated, it is collectivism. An individual's autonomy is reduced by the extent they are required to support or go-along with what they do not agree with or like, just as you would require Diana Mertz Hsieh to do, if not literally, than by browbeating her into submission with accusations of  "lone-wolfism," or accusing her, like Peikof, of not knowing the difference between minor opponents and Marxists.

I see nothing collectivist about this.


A collectivist wouldn't.

Regi

(Edited by Reginald Firehammer on 3/09, 6:52am)


Post 26

Saturday, March 6, 2004 - 7:31pmSanction this postReply
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Mr. RussK: Why would Peikoff apologize? ARI's only purpose is to promote Objectivism, nothing else. David Kelley was obviously interested in other things. I agree with Ms. Hsieh, TOC is more interested in opening up Objectivism and incorporating the likes of Bob Barr to its teachings than promoting Objectivism. 
 
Mr. Stolyarov: What, in your judgment, are the "other things" Dr. Kelley is interested in? If what you mean is that he seeks to expand Objectivism beyond the bounds Rand had (during her finite and, alas, not infallible lifetime) extended it to, then I see nothing improper about this. (Of course, you, an advocate of the "closed doctrine," do not consider extrapolations to be "Objectivst").

Objectivism, as a filosofy, emfasizes a commitment to one's own rational mind, and not the subordination of said mind to any official doctrine. You state that any organization where thoughts deviant from the party line are expressed should ostracize those members and stifle those thoughts. This is not a fitting approach, as every person will disagree with every other on some, if not many, issues. If the closed-doctrine, alienate-everyone-who-does-not-correspond-with-100%-of-the-top-down-leadership's-mindset approach were utilized consistently, all organizations would cease to exist altogether, and everyone supporting the idea would become a withdrawn solipsist, gazing inward on his own unchanging inner state (this sounds too much like the Buddhist Nirvana for me to be comfortable with the notion).

The only reason why ARI and Peikoff have retained some measure of efficiency is because they have extensively given moral sanction to outside sources for the spread of their works and the introduction of new individual thinkers into the intellectual arena. Examples include ARI's press releases to major newspapers, its generous Media Department (which permits Objectivist, libertarian, and conservative publications, The Rational Argumentator included, to reprint ARI articles), and its essay contest offerings to high school students. Ms. Hsieh's cutting off of contact with TOC facilitates a greater isolation than even ARI allows itself, and is thus bound to be less efficient in transmitting her own ideas.

Mr. Firehammer: Hank

Mr. Stolyarov: Hank Kerchief from the Free Republic? I had suspected this much from your extensive links to The Autonomist in the "Why They Fear Us" discussion, where we had promoted the same ideas in the face of a barrage of attacks by religionists. http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1048820/posts. It surprises me that you are the same character who had given moral sanction not merely to a forum dominated by "traditional conservatives" but also to me, the "collectivist."

This even more vividly illustrates my understanding of cooperation and the fact that "closed doctrine" and its consequent schisms, purges, and isolation are not workable in practice. Whatever our minor disagreements about periferal issues, the fact remains that we both embrace reason, individualism, and capitalism, principles not fashionable in today's culture nor embraced by the religionists whom we had argued against. The two of us responded to a greater number of different arguments of various degrees of falsehood to an extent that one could not have possibly covered, considering time constraints.

Now, on to your post.

Mr. Firehammer:  I would not presume to do what Diana has already done very well. I could not improve on it or make it easier for you to understand.

Mr. Stolyarov: What you had posted in response was merely Ms. Hsieh's statement concerning what Dr. Kelley did to allegedly undermine yours and her interpretation of Objectivism. You still never stated what said interpretation was.

Ms. Hsieh wrote: "The open system thus minimizes the importance of the wide range of insights, applications, principles, methods, arguments, and logical connections found in the full and rich system of philosophy developed by Ayn Rand."

Are all insights, then, created equal, if we are to question none and accept the entirety of them without regard to the hierarchical nature of Objectivism? Does Rand's glorification of smoking assume the same moral character as her commitment to capitalism? Am I to be branded collectivist (again) because I deem tobacco a vile poison? An open system is necessary precisely for the purpose of prioritizing in favor of fundamentals and seeing whether derivative claims can stand up to the test. Many of Rand's ideas definitely could, but her embrace of smoking is an example of a notion disproved by every scientific study with relevance to human health (and by her own early death at 77, from lung and heart problems). Moreover, however rich Rand's system, she was neither omnipotent nor omniscient. She could not claim to (legitimately) have had the final word on filosofy. More always remains to be discovered and linked to the fundamentals.

Mr. Firehammer:

I'm afraid you've got. Though a long-time student of logic, I admit I have never run across this fallacy, or even heard of it. I have seen the term "lone-wolf" used by certain collectivists and modern "liberals" as a slur for anyone who does not, "support the team," or, "go along with the program," but have never heard of any such fallacy. Could you kindly point out a source so I may add it to my nearly exhaustive list of Logical Fallacies, Formal and Informal?

 

Mr. Stolyarov: I refer you to a source which you may have overlooked, Philosophy: Who Needs It by that very collectivist and modern "liberal" author, Ayn Rand. (Extreme irony and sarcasm intended.)

 

Page 46: Chapter 5: Selfishness without a Self:

 

"All tribalists are anticonceptual in various degrees, but not all anti-conceptual mentalities are tribalists. Some are lone wolves  (stressing that species' most predatory characteristics)."

 

Rand describes lone-wolfism most compellingly on page 50:

 

"... they seek escape from the two activities which an actually selfish man would defend with his life: judgment and choice... they prefer the tribe (the given) to outsiders (the new)-- they prefer commandments (the memorized) to principles (the understood)..."

 

Mr. Firehammer: Whenever a group, an organization, a movement or any other "collection" of individuals becomes the object to which any particular individual's values, purposes, or personal goals are subordinated, it is collectivism.

 

Ms. Rand (from that same chapter, page 49): If a man subordinates ideas and principles to his "personal interests," what are his principles and by what means does he determine them? ... With all of his [emfasis] on "himself"... the tribal lone wolf has no self and no personal interests, only momentary whims. He is aware of his own immediate sensations and of very little else.

 

Mr. Stolyarov: If one does not see it in one's self-interest to promote the spread of ideas that can make life livable and free of constant government intrusions upon one's welfare, I (and Rand) question that person's understanding of his/her own self-interest.

 

Your friendly arch-collectivist (worse than a Marxist or even (GASP!) David Kelley),

G. Stolyarov II    



Post 27

Sunday, March 7, 2004 - 4:47pmSanction this postReply
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Mr. Stolyarov:

Should anyone have the ability to be a memeber of an 'Objectivist organization' and have his/her work officially sponsored/published? The point has been made.

"(Of course, you, an advocate of the "closed doctrine," do not consider extrapolations to be "Objectivst")."

to this I say what you said:

"Are all insights [extrapolations], then, created equal, if we are to question none and accept the entirety of them without regard to the hierarchical nature of Objectivism?"

Extrapolations are fine by anyone, but not all extrapolations should be accepted by an organization who's goal it is to spread Objectivism, as I said before.

RussK

Post 28

Monday, March 8, 2004 - 8:20amSanction this postReply
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 Mr. Stolyarov,

To my statement: "I'm afraid you've got me. Though a long-time student of logic, I admit I have never run across this fallacy [lone-wolfism], or even heard of it. I have seen the term "lone-wolf" used by certain collectivists and modern "liberals" as a slur for anyone who does not, "support the team," or, "go along with the program," but have never heard of any such fallacy."

Mr. Stolyarov quoted various passages from Ayn Rand's "Selfishness Without a Self," Philosophy: Who Needs It in which she describes a "tribal lone wolf." Even if what she was describing were some generic concept that could be called, "lone-wolfism," it would still not be a fallacy.

In fact, what Ayn Rand was describing is the very opposite of independent individualism. It was Mr. Stolyarov who described my statement: "I do not have any respect at all for those who believe the way truth is to be promoted is by means of mini-collectivist movements, organization, and coalitions," as lone-wolfism. But what I said is the opposite of Ayn Rand's description of the characteristics of the "tribal lone wolfe," who has, she said, "only one constant in his behavior: the drifting from group to group, the need to cling to people," or, in other words, the insatiable desire to belong to something.

If my views are lone-wolfism, then we would have to accuse Ayn Rand of it:

"Independence is the recognition of the fact that yours is the responsibility of judgment and nothing can help you escape it—that no substitute can do your thinking, as no pinch-hiter can live your life—that the vilest form of self-abasement and self-destruction is the subordination of your mind to the mind of another, the acceptance of an authority over your brain, the acceptance of his assertions as facts, his say-so as truth, his edicts as middle-man between your consciousness and your existence." [Ayn Rand, "Galt's Speech," quoted in For the New Intellectual, p. 128]

And here ...

"The basic need of the creator is independence. The reasoning mind cannot work under any for of compulsion. It cannot be curbed, sacrificed or subordinated to any consideration whatsoever. It demands total independence in function and in motive. To a creator, all relations with men are secondary." [Ayn Rand, "The Soul of an Individualist," For the New Intellectual, p. 79]

And here ...

"Men have been taught that it is a virtue to agree with others. But the creator is the man who disagrees. Men have been taught that it is a virtue to swim with the current. But the creator is the man who goes against the current. Men have been taught that it is a virtue to stand together. But the creator is the man who stands alone. [Ayn Rand, "The Soul of an Individualist," For the New Intellectual, p. 80]

Whatever it is you wish to accomplish, or promote, or achieve, if it can only be done by "standing together," with others, then do so, with my blessing. Personally I am only interested in what can be accomplished by, "the man who stands alone."

"The reasoning mind ... cannot be curbed, sacrificed or subordinated to any consideration whatsoever.

If that is "lone-wolfism," I am guilty of it—but I have a lot of excellent company.

Your friendly arch-collectivist (worse than a Marxist or even (GASP!) David Kelley), G. Stolyarov II 

 

Actually you are pretty nice for a collectivist, so this wolf won't bite you ... yet!
Regi


Post 29

Monday, March 8, 2004 - 3:13pmSanction this postReply
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Mr. RussK: Should anyone have the ability to be a member of an 'Objectivist organization' and have his/her work officially sponsored/published? The point has been made.

Mr. Stolyarov: You are assuming that the only two alternatives before us are "accept everything indiscriminately" and "accept nothing that differs from one's (or Rand's) own views in the slightest." I suggest a different alternative: "accept everything that is in accord with shared fundamental principles" or "embrace the false dichotomy of all-or-nothing, two sides of the same coin, which will lead to solipsism, fragmentation, and zero practical gain."

Here, for the record, is a list of all of my explicit differences with Rand.

1. My opposition to abortion. http://solohq.com/Articles/Stolyarov/An_Objectivist_Condemnation_of_Abortion.shtml
2. My severe dislike of smoking and recognition that it is objectively self-destructive.
3. My opposition to legalizing assisted suicide. http://www.geocities.com/rationalargumentator/Euthanasia_Debate.html
4. My support for the Vietnam War (but not the draft).
5. My admiration of Victorian morals and propriety. http://www.geocities.com/rationalargumentator/publicprivate.html
6. My strong distate for fysical intercourse outside of a strictly monogamous, permanent, married relationship.
7. My refusal to recognize Kant as "absolutely evil" (he was thoroughly mistaken in his ethics, but, despite that, commendably remained scientifically progressive and politically free-market).

Additionally, I have developed extrapolations on Objectivist thought that would be considered verboten under the "closed system."

1. Stolyarovian Continuum Theory http://www.geocities.com/rationalargumentator/continuum_theory.html
2. Laissez-Faire Meritocracy
http://solohq.com/Articles/Stolyarov/The_Betrayal_of_Checks_and_Balances.shtml
http://solohq.com/Articles/Stolyarov/Meritocracy_Cleansing_the_Smear.shtml
http://solohq.com/Articles/Stolyarov/The_Protectorate_The_Ultimate_Check.shtml
http://www.solohq.com/Articles/Stolyarov/The_Functions_and_Mechanisms_of_the_Protectorate.shtml
3. Orthografic Reform http://solohq.com/Articles/Stolyarov/An_Objective_Filosofy_of_Linguistics_Installment_I.shtml

Does this disqualify me from partaking in "Objectivist" organizations or from being "Objectivist?"

I think my point is clear; it is intellectual suicide to alienate all disagreeing persons from cooperation with one's organization. One shall have no means of achieving any concrete and effective change in the paradigm.

I am
G. Stolyarov II


Post 30

Monday, March 8, 2004 - 3:40pmSanction this postReply
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One final note to Mr. RussK, though it is true that Objectivist organizations are not obliged to accept all extrapolations, it is also necessary (for a successful spread of Objectivist) not to reject the people with whose extrapolations one disagrees. Some fruitful cooperation is certainly possible with those people so long as the latter hold fundamental principles of reason, individualism, and capitalism.

Mr. Firehammer: In fact, what Ayn Rand was describing is the very opposite of independent individualism. It was Mr. Stolyarov who described my statement: "I do not have any respect at all for those who believe the way truth is to be promoted is by means of mini-collectivist movements, organization, and coalitions," as lone-wolfism. But what I said is the opposite of Ayn Rand's description of the characteristics of the "tribal lone wolf," who has, she said, "only one constant in his behavior: the drifting from group to group, the need to cling to people," or, in other words, the insatiable desire to belong to something.

Mr. Stolyarov: And is this not the filosofy of someone who embraces the authoritarian group-think of "closed doctrine," that is, "Rand's ideas must be accepted unconditionally because Rand created them, and the official disciples of Rand's official heir are the only legitimate interpreters of Objectivist filosofy"? Note that Ms. Hsieh's split from TOC displayed merely the opposite side of that same coin. "Either I will accept the group unconditionally, or I will reject the group, simply because I disagree with its founder and some of its members on several issues." Never mind the fact that the majority of individuals in TOC will agree with Ms. Hsieh on the vast majority of issues. Group think is still evident, and that is why the tribal lone-wolfism concept is applicable.

Mr. Firehammer quoted Ms. Rand: "Men have been taught that it is a virtue to agree with others. But the creator is the man who disagrees. Men have been taught that it is a virtue to swim with the current. But the creator is the man who goes against the current. Men have been taught that it is a virtue to stand together. But the creator is the man who stands alone. [Ayn Rand, "The Soul of an Individualist," For the New Intellectual, p. 80]

I agree. Men disagree, and, often, it is this disagreement that serves as a foundation for progress. This is precisely why creators need to sanction disagreement amongst each other to a certain extent (not intruding on fundamental issues) and allow, in their cooperative endeavors, the option for detailed and even heated discourse of the points of disagreement. The "closed doctrine, no sanction" theorists envision subordinating this innovation through disagreement to an authoritarian structure immutable in all respects.   

Disagreeing men, still being creators (in certain cases) can still benefit from each other's accomplishments and insights. There is no need to sever contact or blanketly condemn an entire organization. This is where Ms. Hsieh's primary error was displayed.

I am
G. Stolyarov II


 


Post 31

Wednesday, June 2, 2004 - 4:17pmSanction this postReply
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I just have to shake my head and laugh. Diana Mertz Hsieh does something courageous--splits with a group that in large part has become a part of her identity, thereby fracturing long friendships and professional associations. Why? Because of her estimation of the facts of reality--her disagreement with the direction the organization is heading.

The response?

(Some constructive, interesting posts.)
Insults.
Forum hijacking.
SOLO dirty-laundry airing.
Suggestion that insults and dishonesty be welcomed because it 'adds something to the discussion.'
(Welcome admonition from Joe and Linz that the above is horseshit.)
Letter picked apart and analyzed out of context in l-o-n-g, drawn out posts signifying very little, and doing very little of any importance in any context.

I have only been back for a little while, but I am on the verge of being able to ignore the majority of posts and posters.

Diana Mertz Hsieh, you seem like a very nice person and a great mind. I hope you will make SOLOHQ and the yahoo soloforum a regular part of your daily routine. I am sorry that TOC disappointed you. Your views as expressed edify my own impressions regarding TOC. Good luck!

Post 32

Wednesday, June 16, 2004 - 10:26amSanction this postReply
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ok, I'll wade in here... in the sense that there seems to be a lack of encouragement to scholarly studies, perhaps true... I know that in my case, my manuscript on "Ethics and Aesthetics - origins, consequences, and resolution" was totally ignored, not even to telling me if I was simply 'off the wall' or had valid points which need to be made... in the arena of aesthetics, neither 'camp' seems to care about its importance, kamhi's efforts notwithstanding... so - where else to go to get a hearing? here? seen articles, but nothing on the scope of projected book exerpts - and a LOT of childish bickering not seen since the days of creative writing in college... in the 60's...politics seem to be where all is at - but the SO much more to her philosophy than that... and aesthetics is the PERSONAL aspect of it and should be enlarged much more than it has... yes, there are fine art works shown in the store - but what of the theories and the application of those theories - the bones behind those works? where's the explanations here... or have I missed something... and I speak as an artist - what of the other arenas?

Post 33

Wednesday, June 16, 2004 - 4:54pmSanction this postReply
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Mr. Malcom,

You may interest yourself in some of my postings to the Art Gallery at SOLO along with my commentaries; they are about individual works of art and are fairly brief; I have yet to write a more thorough treatise on esthetics.

Also, please visit Mr. Stolyarov's Gallery of Rational Art, my personal online collection of some of my favorite works. http://www.geocities.com/rationalargumentator/gallery_main_hall.html.

I agree with you that esthetics is a worthy area of expansion for Objectivist thought; Ayn Rand admitted in The Romantic Manifesto that there still exist numerous areas of esthetic theory that she has had neither the time nor the capacity to delve into. Perhaps you could submit your treatise for publication on The Rational Argumentator; I will be happy to render it available to a steadily growing audience. Send your work to me at rationalargumentator@yahoo.com.

I am
G. Stolyarov II
Atlas Count 507Atlas Count 507Atlas Count 507Atlas Count 507


Post 34

Wednesday, June 16, 2004 - 11:29pmSanction this postReply
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I don't have much experience with The Objectivist Center at all, but it almost sounds to me like it's abandoning some important concepts of Objectivism, and supplanting them with concepts which are not better, but worse...

Religion is intrinsicism, subjectivism... To bring God into Objectivism, is to cease to have objectivity any longer. 

It also sounds like The Objectivist Center has forgotten the rationale for money; that is, it was created to represent real value.  From what you're saying, they're making money alright, but by compromising some essential values of Objectivism and ultimately selling a substandard, even malignant product, if they're caving into the inclusion of religion. 

Perhaps TOC erroneously thinks that anything is okay, so long as they're making money in the process.  Perhaps they think that this means they are being faithful to the principles of Objectivism.  But much of the money they're making would be counterfeit, if that's the case.

(Edited by Orion Reasoner on 6/17, 1:39am)


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Post 35

Thursday, June 17, 2004 - 10:33pmSanction this postReply
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Orion,

I've known David Kelley since the 80s and have been fairly heavily involved in TOC for about 2 years now. (I will be attending my 3rd TOC summer seminar this summer, this one in Vancouver.)

I've never heard of anyone at TOC trying to smuggle God into Objectivism, or leave out essential parts of Objectivism. They do advertise the seminars as being open to anyone interested in Objectivism, not necessarily just Objectivists, and I have met a fair number of such folk at the seminars. But they are just there to talk about Objectivism, not to try to pervert it. They were not as down on Objectivism as are some of the frequent posters here on SoloHQ!

Last year at Bentley College one guy (and I'm pretty sure he's not religious) asked why we couldn't invite a religious person to come have a real debate about religion at a seminar. Will Thomas, the TOC's director of programs, answered him decisively and in a pretty serious tone of voice by saying that everyone there was surrounded by religionists and bombarded by religious ideas 51 weeks a year, and that on the one week a year when we were in an Objectivist forum we could jolly well just enjoy the atmosphere and express any views on religion only to our fellow atheists. This elicited a hearty round of applause from the audience.

So really I don't know where you are coming from on this post. I think maybe you are reading something into Diana's statement that is not there, or maybe you have seen unfounded rumors from some other source. And even though I share many of Diana's values and concerns, her statement was already much more strongly worded than anything I would write about TOC, and I have no plans of leaving TOC, of which I continue to be a financial sponsor.

-Bill

Post 36

Thursday, June 17, 2004 - 11:30pmSanction this postReply
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Bill,

Well, I knew I wasn't hallucinating seeing Diana make a comment on religious infiltration into Objectivism... My comments were strictly based on what she said, as I have never been to any TOC activities.  Here are paragraphs 8 and 10 from her essay:

·  Tim Richmond's defense of the group recitation of the modern "under God" Pledge of Allegiance in government schools in his July 2002 op-ed "One Nation Under ?" does not merely offer bad arguments; it bears no discernable relationship to Objectivism, either in substance or method. For example, the critical fact that such constitutional conflicts over religion are only possible only within the context of government control over education is ignored.
 
·  Ed Hudgins' Christmas 2003 op-ed "The Human Spirit of Christmas" repeatedly appeals to Christian ideas in such a way that a person unfamiliar with Objectivism would never guess that the philosophy is atheistic, let alone that it wholly rejects the Christian moral ideal. The basic approach to ideas in the op-ed is not only misleading and condescending, but also contrary to the Objectivist rejection of appeasement.

I am glad to hear that there was a round of applause when Will Thomas made his "oasis of atheism" argument. 


Post 37

Friday, June 18, 2004 - 12:28amSanction this postReply
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TOC are timorous, hand-wringing, bloodless namby-pambies, bereft of any sense of urgency about their mission, beholden to the masturbation of contemporary academia. That's well enough known now. For reasons best known to themselves they've invited me to be one of their speakers in Vancouver. There are no false pretences involved. They know me & I know them. If TOC is to have a future, it *must* grow testicles.

Linz

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Post 38

Friday, June 18, 2004 - 9:50pmSanction this postReply
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Orion,

The TOC's purpose in producing essays such as this is to smuggle Objectivist ideas into the general culture one at a time, so as not to scare off those with whom we might share some common values and who might be influenced in our direction if they could be introduced to our ideas gradually. TOC is trying to avoid the syndrome demonstrated by Dominique Francon when she stayed in the tenement, then gave a speech to a business group saying how rotten the landlord was, and a gave a speech to a liberal charitable group saying how rotten the other tenants were. We don't want to lead with the chin.

I have my own qualms about this TOC strategy, and the two essays Diana and you cited certainly do not advance the argument in its favor. Both err on the side of "not scaring off" and do nothing to "smuggle Objectivist ideas into the general culture", even at the rather sluggish pace of one at a time. But neither is typical of its respective author's best work. The TOC website has other online essays in which Richmond and Huggins do articulately advocate Objectivist ideas. And even the two essays cited are a far cry from TOC advocating "[r]eligion[, ...] intrinsicism, subjectivism... [t]o bring God into Objectivism" as you claimed.


Linz,

Maybe we can discuss our differences on this topic over glasses of red in the common room.

-Bill

Post 39

Friday, June 18, 2004 - 11:41pmSanction this postReply
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Ah, Bill - you *know* how to tempt me! I can't wait! :-)

Linz

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