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Sunday, August 14, 2005 - 1:24amSanction this postReply
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Chris Matthew Sciabarra,

CONGRATULATIONS on 10 years of AYN RAND: THE RUSSIAN RADICAL!!"
(Or as I am going to call it now, AYN RAND: THE.)

I first read THE in 97, I believe it was, not quite 10 years ago, but I can't remember time before it. If Rand shook my foundations, you built them up again. Not only did I learn about Rand, I learned about history, psychology, dialectics, and much more. You've been a brave, dedicated and seemingly tireless champion of so many things, Randian and otherwise, and carried yourself with the grace of a saint. And you've provided a good soundtrack to go with it with your Songs of the Day.

You've dragged Objectivism kicking and screaming out of the academia closet, and even took your queer eye to the homophobia and gave it a fabulous makeover.

You've shared the strength of New York in her most trying time. You've kept your reason and your humanity above your anger and fear. You've called for retribution and vengeance without sacrificing justice and understanding. I stand by you and defend you from the slurs of Saddamy.
You've been my inspiration, my mentor, my hero.

And even through all you've been through, physically and mentally, you've kept your sense of life intact and found time to enjoy life. While others are desperately seeking to extend it, you've embodied the Objectivist virtue of "selection, not accumulation."

You guide us through the tearjearking songs of Lanza, bebop us through jazz, you even tackled the perils of prog, and still got Lindsay Perigo to shake his booty to some BeeGees.

Shine On, Chris. May there be many more footnotes.






(Edited by Joe Maurone
on 8/14, 6:45am)




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Post 1

Sunday, August 14, 2005 - 5:19amSanction this postReply
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Chris,

This was a deeply moving retrospective.

I have said it before and I say it again: your work on dialectics and liberty is magnificent on it's own terms, but seems all the more so given the various personal issues you have overcome while developing your ideas. Your work has certainly influenced my intellectual development, and I have long valued your input on matters of  a more personal nature.

Enjoy this special anniversary Chris, and thank you for everything :-)
MH




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Post 2

Sunday, August 14, 2005 - 5:31amSanction this postReply
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Chris: I, too, found this very inspiring. What a remarkable life you've lived! I'm thrilled that The Russian Radical is now in its seventh printing, and I hope that this essay stirs up enough interest here to ensure an eighth printing :-) In fact, I'm off to Amazon right now. 



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Post 3

Sunday, August 14, 2005 - 6:31amSanction this postReply
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Chris, you have mightily rocked a boat that seriously needed rocking, as Rand would put it. You have suffered some pretty outrageous slings and arrows in the process of bringing your vision of dialectics to life and sharing it with a sometimes fearful and angry audience, and I hope it has lessened some of the sting to know that there are others out there who share and applaud your vision. Bravo, I say, for your intellect, your diplomatic skill, your courage, and above all, your decency -- in respect of all of which you stand head and shoulders above your critics. And the best is yet to come -- and considering your trilogy, Feminist Interpretations, JARS, cyberseminars, etc., that means that truly fabulous things lie ahead! But even though you are the last person I would expect to rest on his laurels, you have already achieved more than many would-be scholars and intellectuals have achieved in a lifetime. I salute you.

Your admirer and friend,
Roger Bissell




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Post 4

Sunday, August 14, 2005 - 6:52amSanction this postReply
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I first read this in the FR.

I think it just goes to show what a productive career Chris has had.
May the next ten years be just as productive as we wait for his final part of the trilogy.

Congratulations Chris.




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Post 5

Sunday, August 14, 2005 - 10:24amSanction this postReply
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    There's certainly nothing I can add that hasn't been properly said already...other than repeating here what I've said in a pvt e-m: I think that ARI really 'blew' it when they decided to give you the cold shoulder.
    Clearly, as time goes on (even if you stopped writing anything now [heh, fat-chance, I know]), ARI, with their monopoly on Rand's writings will have to continue to reckon with your writings on her history, whether they want to or not. Such a state of affairs is unfortunate.
     Anyhoo...


MTFBWY
LLAP
...and Keep On (Dialectically) Truckin'

J-D (aka Morganis)




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Post 6

Sunday, August 14, 2005 - 10:38amSanction this postReply
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Hi Chris:

Thank you for all of  your insightful (but sometimes misunderstood) books, articles and postings, for founding JARS, and for all the great  help and suggestions that you always have time and energy to give enthusiastically  to me and to so many others who work with issues in political and economic philosophy!!!

So when is your next book coming out? Its been five years.

:)

Cheers!!!

Ed




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Post 7

Sunday, August 14, 2005 - 11:00amSanction this postReply
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Congratulations, Chris, and thank you for your work. You're truly an inspiration.

J




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Post 8

Sunday, August 14, 2005 - 12:18pmSanction this postReply
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Chris,

Congratulations on your books and on everything you've done since. As you know, I strongly disagree with your emphasis on methodology (dialectics), which is a distraction from Ayn Rand's truly revolutionary transformation of philosophy from a "humanistic," primacy-of-consciousness discipline, into a family of new primacy-of-existence sciences. Still, in dealing with philosophy's academic tradition, your work has opened closed doors and opened closed minds with unprecedented effectiveness. I am especially grateful for JARS, which provides me and other Randian academics with a unique opportunity to publish interdisciplinary Randian scholarship in a recognized refereed journal. Here's to many more decades of success!



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Post 9

Sunday, August 14, 2005 - 12:26pmSanction this postReply
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Well done Chris,

I would personally put all three of your books on the top 15 most influential I've read.  I would also urge others here to read all three of his books, don't just stop at  Ayn Rand: The Russian Radical.

Take care,

Shane




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Post 10

Sunday, August 14, 2005 - 5:44pmSanction this postReply
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Chris,

I could say an awful lot more by way of a tribute.  But I believe that it will be more effective if confined to one theme.

I treasure your insistence on upholding the academic values of open debate, civilized discourse, and a genuine effort to understand (not endorse, but understand) all points of view.

Many professional academics honor these values more in the breach than in the observance.  Particularly when a controversial non-academic, like Ayn Rand, becomes the topic of discussion.

Many Randians react to universities and to scholarship in ways that range from sharply ambivalent to deeply hostile.  Your books, and the Journal of Ayn Rand Studies, are "academic."  For those affiliated with the Ayn Rand Institute, as well as for some who dwell outside its fortified walls, that is enough to sink them.

By conducting yourself as you do, you remind the academics of the very best among the values they profess to uphold.  And you remind Randians of the kind of intellectual culture they should be striving to promote, if open inquiry and a free marketplace of ideas mean as much to them as they say.

Robert




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Post 11

Sunday, August 14, 2005 - 6:47pmSanction this postReply
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Wow... a guy slips out for a few hours and comes back to lots of kind thoughts from lots of nice people.

Joe... you made me blush.  Thanks so much for that.  I'd like to claim that the greatest accomplishment on the list you constructed was getting Lindsay to shake his butt to the Bee Gees... but I think that one was entirely his doing.  :)

Matthew... very sweet and supportive.  Thank you much.

Derek... you'd make a wonderful sales rep.  :)  Thanks so much.

Roger:  What can I say that I haven't already said, my dear friend?  Thanks, thanks, thanks (have to keep up my reputation for triads) for your unfailing support over these many years.

Marcus, thank you so much for your kind words too.  The only surprise I have for you is that the trilogy was completed five years ago, with the publication of TOTAL FREEDOM: TOWARD A DIALECTICAL LIBERTARIANISM.

John, thanks for that vote of confidence, and I'm confident that I'll be writing lots more for ages and ages to come.  Chief among the promised pieces to come will be such articles as "Dialectics in One Lesson," and "The Art of Context-Keeping ... or Dialectics for Dummies" (present company at SOLO HQ excepted).  Or this one, just for Linz:  "Dialectics in English, not Polish!"  So much work to do... so little time!

Ed, you're a valued JARS contributor, and a valued colleague and pal.  Thanks for your support.  As for the next book:  It's on hold for now... because I have too many article-length projects on my plate currently. That's what happens when you devote 20 years to researching and writing a trilogy.  The good news is that I have many forthcoming articles... and these might even be integrated into a new book at some point.

Jonathan, thanks for your touching words too. 

Adam, you too are a valued JARS contributor... and your words mean much to me.  Few things bring me greater satisfaction than the respect of those with whom we might disagree.  I even see shades of Ronald Merrill in your words of criticism.  But not even Ron's criticisms were enough to fracture our cordial correspondence long after his online critique was published.  He was a gentleman, and so are you.  So, thanks much for your support.

Shane... I'm flattered and honored to see you characterize my three books on any list of influential works. 

Robert, colleague and friend, thank you for that tribute.  Our work together on JARS has been invaluable to me both professionally and personally. 

I'll check in again tomorrow.  Jeez, folks, all those sanction points too.  :)

All my best, always,
Chris




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Post 12

Sunday, August 14, 2005 - 7:14pmSanction this postReply
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Chris,

I first learned of you in various articles about Ayn Rand and her ideas, the likes of which would talk about some of the renewed interest in Rand in academia and how you were one of the rising stars making that possible.  I was fairly new to Objectivism at the time and in the process of still digesting as much of Rand's works as I could get my hands on, so I didn't get around to reading any of your published works.

Some time later, as I began to develop a deep skepticism of the grand neoconservative vision that began to guide American foreign policy in the aftermath of 9-11, I was Googling the terms "Objectivism" and "neoconservatism" together to see if Objectivists had attempted any serious critique of neoconservatism, and I came across an article or post (I don't remember which) of yours that summed my own feelings about the current project in Iraq.  Your insights were unique and refreshing, and I've since always looked forward to your commentary on this website.  Coincidentally, that was my first exposure to SOLO - I've been here ever since.

The time has now come where I must purchase one of your books.  My question to you is: is the triology meant to be read in successive order, or can they be read independently?  Let me know and you've got yourself a sale....

Pete Linn
Chicago, IL 




Post 13

Sunday, August 14, 2005 - 9:46pmSanction this postReply
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More! More! I want more!

--Brant (greedy needy)




Post 14

Monday, August 15, 2005 - 2:33pmSanction this postReply
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Pete and Brant, thanks for your support and kind words.

Pete, with regard to my books, let me tell you how I teach my trilogy:

I start with Part 1 of TOTAL FREEDOM.  I continue with MARX, HAYEK, AND UTOPIA, and then, AYN RAND: THE RUSSIAN RADICAL.  I then close with Part 2 of TOTAL FREEDOM.  I plan to post a study guide to my work in the coming months; it's basically what I use when I teach my cyberseminar.

The books are self-contained, and can be read independently, but I think the material in TOTAL FREEDOM best contextualizes the material in the other books. 

Cheers,
Chris




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Post 15

Monday, August 15, 2005 - 6:23pmSanction this postReply
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"I treasure your insistence on upholding the academic values of open debate, civilized discourse, and a genuine effort to understand (not endorse, but understand) all points of view." [Robert]

All right, Chris, what's your secret??

!!@#$%@&*%

Some of us, myself included, have to constantly struggle not to get angry, to yell at people for their stupidity, views you would think they should know better than to hold, mental slovenliness, etc. How do you remain civil and sane at the same time?

[I'm assuming you have remained sane, of course - you can always correct me there :-) ]

--Needy and Advice-Seeking Phil



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Post 16

Monday, August 15, 2005 - 6:29pmSanction this postReply
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Phil Coates wrote: "Some of us, myself included, have to constantly struggle not to get angry, to yell at people for their stupidity, views you would think they should know better than to hold, mental slovenliness, etc. How do you remain civil and sane at the same time?"

What really works for me is to have a trusted, patient friend, who is willing to listen, and upon whom I can unload my frustrations and irritations about work or the whacky world of Objectivism. The only stipulation is that I be willing to do the same for my friend. My great fortune is to have not one, but (last time I checked) three such friends. :-)

Having such a release valve, a "confidante," means never having to say "you're a sorry motherf***er" in print. <g> You still are able to follow the Randian injunction to "always pronounce moral judgment." You just don't let it ~all~ hang out. <g>

REB




Post 17

Monday, August 15, 2005 - 6:41pmSanction this postReply
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Chris follows the "serenity now" mantra from SEINFELD. Serenity now, insanity later...

HOOCHIE MAMA!!!



Post 18

Monday, August 15, 2005 - 7:38pmSanction this postReply
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Chris, you done good.
I knew you would.



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Post 19

Monday, August 15, 2005 - 8:52pmSanction this postReply
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Chris,

I already read this article in Free Radical, but I read it all again here anyway.

As you know, I am in the middle of reading Ayn Rand The Russian Radical. Of course it is a magnificent work of scholarship.

One of the things I treasure most from my new-found Objectivist friends (I know you don't call yourself Objectivist, but fuck it anyway) is the dedication you wrote to me on the copy Kat bought for my birthday. I will shortly need dedications on the rest of the trilogy.

I know you try to avoid being polemical against persons, but not against ideas. Still, the "scholar" who opposed publication of your work should be identified by name publicly - especially since your work has had such a profound impact on Rand scholarship and I presume that there is documented evidence of such opposition. When the history of the Objectivist movement is written, this will become common knowledge anyway. But still, this kind of bullying in the wings needs complete exposure here and now.

One thing I do wish with all my heart (and I think I will see it happen). I wish your own efforts become one of the intellectual foundations of making individual liberty a political reality throughout the world - in our lifetime if possible. No just a study of other thinkers. It has all the right ingredients.

That you are so... polite... and still remain on Solo and Free Radical speak volumes of such a desire in you. To repeat, may this become a reality. You can count on me to support your work wherever I can.

Michael




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