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Sunday, November 20, 2005 - 11:52pmSanction this postReply
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My wife and I are very excited about a meeting of the Karl Hess Club we will be attending this evening (Monday, Nov. 21)  in Los Angeles. The speaker is Barbara Branden, and she is going to address her concern about one of the factors behind the factionalism that threatens to undermine the Libertarian and Objectivist movements. In an announcement sent out by Richard Ebeling, Barbara was quoted as saying:
I see so many people exploding in rage and moral condemnation of those who disagree with them; it's a destructive phenomenon, and militates against the clear communciation of our ideas. I have identified some of the causes of it, and this is what I'd like to talk about."
I have no idea whom she could be referring to <g>, but those whom the shoe fits are hereby invited to wear it. :-)
 
Report on Ms. Branden's talk to follow...
 
REB




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Post 1

Monday, November 21, 2005 - 12:58amSanction this postReply
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Roger,

I look forward to hearing about this event. And the acceptance and/or repercussion.

Michael




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Post 2

Monday, November 21, 2005 - 7:26amSanction this postReply
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Well, Roger, I hope you are treated better here than I was.

--Brant

(Edited by Brant Gaede on 11/21, 1:29pm)




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Post 3

Monday, November 21, 2005 - 1:24pmSanction this postReply
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I wonder if Ms. Branden is going to address the undermining effects of lining up with Namblaphiles, smearing, Shadowlands back-biting, ARIan-type refusal to debate issues raised in posthumous biographies, & angry hatred of anger just because it's anger.

Linz



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Post 4

Monday, November 21, 2005 - 1:35pmSanction this postReply
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I've noticed this too, it's all very Schopenhauer the way factions fracture and fracture and re-fracture. Also..http://solohq.com/Articles/Perigo/Perigos_Law.shtml

It's the case here in Australia too. Only the other day I met a hard core freedom-fighting Austrianomics writer from Dandynong. He works all alone and his articles are published in the news on occasion. I asked him why he wasn't working with the libertarianesq Center for Independent Studies in Sydney?
It was nothing to do with dedication, objective or understanding. It's all about personal 'clubhouse' differences that stop the full united force of Oz libertarianism from being able to muster and defeat the fog of statism.




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Post 5

Monday, November 21, 2005 - 4:35pmSanction this postReply
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Bab's is going to talk about "people exploding in rage and moral condemnation of those who disagree with them" at a "Karl Hess Club." Karl Hess by the late sixties was making a living "exploding in rage and moral condemnation of those who disagree with" him. She continues his work today. Now that's funny.



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Post 6

Monday, November 21, 2005 - 7:09pmSanction this postReply
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Linz,

If you remove the aggressive manner and jargon and mention only essentials, Barbara has discussed every single one of those issues with me. I now know the answers to many questions concerning those very topics that were perplexing me. But I did what the anti-Barbara brigade does not do. I wrote to her and asked her about them. I did not engage in endless speculation.

You might not like her comments, though. Believe it or not, most of them have nothing at all to do with Solo or you, except some remarks on people talking bad about her on Solo. Even then, her comments to me on that are much less than on other issues (which are usually about extremely positive things).

As a personal witness to her offline behavior, I can state that she has not once - not even during the most acrimonious times - suggested to me or prompted me to sever my ties with you or Solo. On the contrary, she has always told me to follow my own values. The harshest thing on that topic I ever heard was, "To each his own."

Michael




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Post 7

Monday, November 21, 2005 - 7:20pmSanction this postReply
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Glenn Heppard wrote, "Bab's is going to talk about 'people exploding in rage and moral condemnation of those who disagree with them' at a 'Karl Hess Club.' Karl Hess by the late sixties was making a living 'exploding in rage and moral condemnation of those who disagree with' him. She continues his work today. Now that's funny."

I attended a gathering back in the '60's at which Karl Hess was present. I had a brief discussion with him, and I must say, Glenn, that your assessment is right on the money! That man was one of the angriest, most condescending jerks I've ever met. That there should be a club devoted to his memory is a monumental disgrace.

- Bill





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Post 8

Monday, November 21, 2005 - 7:33pmSanction this postReply
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As someone who was encouraged back to Objectivism at one point by Barbara, I can question the value of her memoir after reading PARC without condemning the whole person. She and Nathaniel have made mistakes, and like the rest of us, will continue to do so. Let them pay and move on. Barbara especially has been too much of an influence for me to write her off. They are not irredeemable scum.



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Post 9

Monday, November 21, 2005 - 8:42pmSanction this postReply
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Today, I had a discussion with a philosophical rationalist and I failed to condemn her.  She said that A is A.  She said that the law of identity is universal, but then she said , "in our universe."  And she said that the laws of physics might be different in a different world, "not just a world like a planet, but a universe," she said.  I knew that I should have knocked her down in self defense, but something stopped me.  Perhaps it was benevolence, or perhaps I was compromising on a moral principle.  She said that she is going to spend Thanksgiving in Columbus.  Therefore, it is moral to drop an atom bomb on the town, is it not?




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Post 10

Monday, November 21, 2005 - 9:11pmSanction this postReply
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Michael-
What would you be willing to bet me that you just opened up a can of argument-from-intimidation worms with that last post?  Well said my friend, but no one will engage you seriously, instead you'll get chest-beating posturing(which, by the way, is not a hard-on, but an attempt to disguise impotence).




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Post 11

Monday, November 21, 2005 - 9:56pmSanction this postReply
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Michael,

After due reflection and although it is a close call, I would probably opt not to nuke Columbus, Ohio at the present time.

After all, it is entirely conceivable that one or maybe even two innocent people live within the city limits. Besides, you can always nuke the place later should this prove not to be the case. Also, depending on which way the wind is carrying the radioactive fallout, you might kill people in Cincinatti as well. And I can send you via email the names of several philosophically uncorrupted people there.

Besides guilty people who willfully do not subscribe to Objectivism from age 8 onwards should be made to suffer. And nuclear atomization is too quick. We wouldn't want to think you are going soft on us. Otherwise we may have to get your address and re-target those nukes.



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Post 12

Tuesday, November 22, 2005 - 1:06amSanction this postReply
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Joe -- I reserve the word "mistakes" for those things one does not consciously set out to do.

There won't be any chest-beating or hard-ons -- I'm too intimidated by the "worm" comment.




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Post 13

Tuesday, November 22, 2005 - 2:06amSanction this postReply
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Jody, you wrote
What would you be willing to bet me that you just opened up a can of argument-from-intimidation worms with that last post?
Does smarm come in cans?

Michael




Post 14

Monday, November 21, 2005 - 8:50pmSanction this postReply
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I thought almost everybody was a condescending jerk back in the 60s, Bill.

--Brant




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Post 15

Tuesday, November 22, 2005 - 1:49pmSanction this postReply
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Referring to my estimate of Karl Hess, Brant wrote, "I thought almost everybody was a condescending jerk back in the 60s, Bill."

Do you mean that when you lived back in the '60's, you thought everyone was a condescending jerk, or that you thought everyone who lived back in the '60's was a condescending jerk? I assume you mean the former and that you had that attitude because you were young, rebellious and resentful. I didn't have that low an opinion of the culture, but I could still see a jerk when he was staring me in the face or denouncing me to my face. When Hess found out that I believed in property rights, he became bewilderingly incensed and began a vitriolic denunciation of Objectivist "conservatives" who think that property rights are the be-all and end-all of a just political system. He literally became unglued. I remember thinking, for someone who believes in laissez-faire (which he purportedly did), this guy is bizarre. He's a complete nutcase. Why he managed to acquire such a vaunted reputation that libertarians are now worshipping his memory is unfathomable.

- Bill



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Post 16

Tuesday, November 22, 2005 - 2:31pmSanction this postReply
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Glenn I. Heppard wrote:
Bab's is going to talk about "people exploding in rage and moral condemnation of those who disagree with them" at a "Karl Hess Club." Karl Hess by the late sixties was making a living "exploding in rage and moral condemnation of those who disagree with" him. She continues his work today. Now that's funny.
Barbara Branden is "continuing" Karl Hess's work?? Yeah, that's hilarious, a real side-splitter. Sheesh.

More like, ironic, considering how diametrically opposed she is to Hess in her personality and behavior.

Consider this parallel:

David Kelley was criticized (even excommunicated) for speaking about the need for a comprehensive philosophical foundation for one's political views to a libertarian group that had no comprehensive philosophical foundation (as a group) for its political positions. Kelley was trying to persuade them of the benefits of eschewing their basic stance, and for his troubles he got dissed by the very people (ARI, Peikoff et al) whose views he was championing!

Barbara Branden is being scorned for speaking about the need to not explode in rage and moral condemnation toward those who disagree with one to a libertarian group dedicated to the memory of someone who (reportedly) had the bad habit of exploding in rage and moral condemnation toward those who disagreed with him. Barbara was trying to persuade them of the benefits of eschewing the basic stance of their group's namesake, and for her troubles she is being dissed by people on this list. (Ah, but do her critics on this list really reject inappropriate anger?)

REB




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Post 17

Tuesday, November 22, 2005 - 3:54pmSanction this postReply
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Well, this critic does, Roger. You can read my thoughts on this in In Praise of Anger elsewhere on this site. Appropriate anger! Not to say that I haven't been guilty of inappropriate anger myself on occasion, as anyone who's been here a while knows (possibly you've been guilty of it yourself once or twice in your life, Roger). But I'm blessed if I know why it's blown up to be such a cosmic issue. The appropriate thing for the inappropriately angry person to do is apologise for his inappropriate blow-up & then everyone should get on with life, not make anger its central issue or go into permanent grievance mode.

Shortly after BB joined SOLO she told me & Joe she was preparing an article on appropriate presentation. She repeatedly said to me she didn't think I would publish it. I repeatedly assured her I would. But it never materialised. I guess what you heard last night was it. My fear is that BB believes that anger is never appropriate, even though she has one hell of a temper herself when riled. So, to paraphrase your questionódo you really endorse appropriate anger? Does she?

As an aside, on the matter of Kelley speaking to the libertarians, in my view he was entirely justified in doing so & Schwartz et al were completely unjustified in using that as a pretext for booting him. The ARI are their own worst enemies when they engage in that kind of behaviour. I have no truck with it. The fact that I have changed my mind about BB's character doesn't mean I've gone to the cultish "dark side" any more than it justifies your inappropriate psychologising innuendoes about my motives on the other thread, Roger.

Linz



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Post 18

Tuesday, November 22, 2005 - 4:28pmSanction this postReply
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Speaking of Barbara Branden, I wrote:
(Ah, but do her critics on this list really reject inappropriate anger?)
Linz commented:
Well, this critic does, Roger. You can read my thoughts on this in In Praise of Anger elsewhere on this site. Appropriate anger! Not to say that I haven't been guilty of inappropriate anger myself on occasion, as anyone who's been here a while knows (possibly you've been guilty of it yourself once or twice in your life, Roger). But I'm blessed if I know why it's blown up to be such a cosmic issue. The appropriate thing for the inappropriately angry person to do is apologise for his inappropriate blow-up & then everyone should get on with life, not make anger its central issue or go into permanent grievance mode.
Listen, there's a reason why early media coverage of the Objectivist movement wrote about "The Cult of Angry Ayn Rand." It's not an illusion, and it's not all justified, and the unjustified anger has a very harmful effect on our ability to effectively communicate ideas. Yes, indeed, I have been guilty of inappropriate anger, way too many times, as a matter of fact, and I don't doubt that I will again. But I'm criticizing a behavior that undermines values. Apologies are fine, but when the behavior recurs too often, the apologies lose credibility, as they should. Bad habits are better broken sooner, than later.
Shortly after BB joined SOLO she told me & Joe she was preparing an article on appropriate presentation. She repeatedly said to me she didn't think I would publish it. I repeatedly assured her I would. But it never materialised. I guess what you heard last night was it. My fear is that BB believes that anger is never appropriate, even though she has one hell of a temper herself when riled. So, to paraphrase your questionódo you really endorse appropriate anger? Does she?
Certainly, to both questions. BB gave some examples. Basically, she advises against getting angry at people just because they disagree with you, which we both see happening a lot. She believes that one must reserve one's wrath for people who behave viciously -- e.g., Nazis, racists, etc. -- not people who, for instance, oppose concealed carry gun laws. (Both pro and anti gun folks "see" bodies of innocent victims as a consequence of their opponents' goals, and both sides would do well to remember that in their discussions, rather than assume that what is "self-evident" to them is so to the other person.) More on this in my report on her talk...
As an aside, on the matter of Kelley speaking to the libertarians, in my view he was entirely justified in doing so & Schwartz et al were completely unjustified in using that as a pretext for booting him. The ARI are their own worst enemies when they engage in that kind of behaviour. I have no truck with it. The fact that I have changed my mind about BB's character doesn't mean I've gone to the cultish "dark side" any more than it justifies your inappropriate psychologising innuendoes about my motives on the other thread, Roger.
Don't flatter yourself, Linz. :-)  I wasn't referring to your motives in the comment I made on the other thread. I had two very specific people in mind; I won't name them on-list, but the context makes the identity of one of them fairly obvious.

I did mention your name in the P.S. to that post, so perhaps that's why you thought I was referring to you above. I guess I deserve that misinterpretation on your part for making a cheap Roark/Toohey joke at your expense. But the truth, Linz, is that I wasn't psychologizing you any more than BB was taking potshots at you in her talk last night. I was psychologizing those other two people. If I were going to psychologize you, however, right about now I'd suggest that you are being a little bit paranoid. :-)

I'm glad you agree that ARI's excommunication of Kelley was unjustified. I assume you think so, not just for speaking to the libertarians, but in general. But whatever. I agree that they are their own worst enemies. On the positive side, they are still doing a lot of good work -- two steps forward, one step back, approximately speaking. My wife and I have attended two of their free lectures this fall -- one on neo-conservativism, the other on "intelligent design" -- and they were both excellent. And their program to give several hundred thousand copies of Atlas Shrugged to high school English students is a wonderful idea.

Roger




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Post 19

Tuesday, November 22, 2005 - 5:32pmSanction this postReply
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Casey: "Joe -- I reserve the word "mistakes" for those things one does not consciously set out to do."

Fair enough, Casey.



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