|The "blogosphere," as it is known, is made up of a lot of very interesting people. Especially in the Objectivist universe, one finds a wide diversity of blogs, written by individuals who exhibit very different opinions.|
In light of this discussion and others like it recently posted on the blog of Diana Hsieh (and with obvious spillover effects here at SOLO HQ)---all regarding her break from The Objectivist Center---many Objectivists and Objectivist-sympathizers have been discussing the relative merits of ARI, TOC, SOLO, and other Objectivist forums.
When I was alerted to the existence of a thread on the blog of ARI-friendly "Noumenal Self," wherein Mr. Self instructs Diana to turn "a similar crtical [sic] eye to the works of a certain NYU-based dialectical scholar she continues to regard as a friend," I was somewhat disturbed by the various misrepresentations that evolved throughout the discussion.
Robert Campbell, who is my Associate Editor at The Journal of Ayn Rand Studies, decided to post the following comment in response to Mr. Self's claim that "Independent scholars *do* have access to the material in the Ayn Rand Archives. Just not ones that have publicly attacked ARI or Ayn Rand, or misrepresented AR or Objectivism. Part of the evidence for this is that Sciabarra was originally granted access to the archive, until his intentions became clear."
Campbell replied: "Noumenal Self, I find one of your comments confusing.
Can you explain to me how an 'independent scholar' (as in, an independent scholar who is allowed access to the Ayn Rand archives) could be anything but an ARI-affiliated or an ARI-approved scholar?
Posted by: Robert Campbell at April 16, 2004 11:03 AM
Mr. Self responded: "I know for a fact that it is true, but I am not at legal liberty to give details. Sorry. Posted by: Noumenon at April 16, 2004 11:09 AM"
I found the response insufficient. So, I decided to make a contribution to Mr. Self's blog. Here's what I wrote:
"For the record, NS: I was ~never~ granted access to the archives, and my only 'intentions' were to write on a subject that I agreed to research ~free-of-charge~. The Institute blocked my access to Rand's college transcript
because they wanted to block my ability to ~write~ on the subject.
Also: I know of ~no~ instances where Rand extricated whole articles of Branden's from any of her books. In most instances, she also left references to his work, which encompassed issues such as volition, determinism, emotion, self-esteem, alienation, repression, and so forth. She was very clear that all of the articles he'd written prior to their break were part of the Objectivist corpus. One would not know that by the kind of air-brushing in which her Estate has engaged since her death."
Posted by: Chris Matthew Sciabarra at April 16, 2004 06:32 PM
Well, if one now returns to this discussion, one finds that all of the above comments are now GONE. Mysteriously, they have disappeared. Kind of like the air-brushing that I complained about. This must be one of those conditions that spreads, insidiously, like a disease.
But Mr. Self has an explanation! Yesterday, April 16th at 06:57 pm, he wrote: "I've exercised *my* right to excise references to characters I disapprove of on the blog that I own. They may assume I am doing this to cover up some unpleasant facts. They're free to think that. Actually I simply do not wish to give them a forum here."
Well, Mr. Self, you are within your rights. Far be it from me to assault the principle of private property. But, as a scholar, in my rights of fair use of quotations, I just wanted to quote the discussion that has now disappeared from your blog. I wouldn't want the integrity of a historical document to be altered, after all. That's precisely what I've complained about in the Estate's treatment of Rand's journals
, Rand's college transcript
, and the partisan
and hagiographic character of the writings of several orthodox scholars
(but by no means all, thank goodness).
To all of you people who periodically complain about SOLO HQ: Stuff it. This is one of the freest forums on the Internet. Count your blessings.
(Edited by sciabarra on 4/17, 6:27am)