You can't expect people who hate each other to enjoy attending a conference together. It's not a matter of "growing up." It's a matter of valuing the experience.
Isn't Objectivism about not sacrificing one's values? Hasn't Linz given up his claim, his stake, in a value to someone of no value to him?
And doesn't Objectivism teach us why it's a bad idea to worship our emotions or use them as methods of cognition? Doesn't it clearly teach that emotions are the product and not the cause of values? Doesn't it teach us to get a handle on our emotions and not use what we feel as tools of decision making?
I don't get the impression that Lindsay though long and hard on this, maybe he did, but it doesn't appear so. Honestly, I could better understand why he did this if he'd made a more solid argument against TOC forcing his choice, instead of fabricating some deliberate move by them to fill seats with this drama (there's no proof that it holds any wide appeal, is there? Is TOC obligated to understand the emotional motives of each of it's attendees?)
To Linz's credit, he does think about how he may come across as a "prima donna," but that was the closest he got to any real grasp of, what seems to me, to be a emotional choice. He seemed obviously more interested in how the situation of attending would appear without any real evidence, none that satisfied me, anyway. Linz just "flounces off," something he criticized others for doing on Solo not too long ago.
Perhaps Phil could have done a better, more precise job of complaining, but it's clear to me where his head was at the time of his original post.
> Perhaps Phil could have done a better, more precise job of complaining [Teresa]
Yes. If I wanted to write a complete treatise. I touched on a lot of different issues in one condensed post and so didn't completely describe or qualify each one. That's the way it is with posts. I don't consider them a final form or a complete form of writing on -any- topic.
So, for example, I didn't completely list every type of case worthy of condemnation or disassociation (or not inviting to a conference), just referring to Hitler or equivalent. However, I would have expected someone as bright as Bill or Diana to be able to infer (or at least ask the question of me rather than assume) that OJ Simpson would indeed fall into that category of someone on the moral level of Hitler. To me that's obvious.
Bill extrapolates incorrectly from my statements about conferences that I have a general and sweeping view in all areas of life that "it is wrong to condemn someone who is blatantly immoral by refusing to validate and support his activities". Or that I would associate with them: "tolerate anyone who isn't a monster".
[Aside #1: In a lesser way, since I only said a few sentences without a philosopher's technical precision, he does the same thing Diana and others do with Kelley in "Truth and Toleration": drop the context or qualifications -or- overextend or extrapolate what you think his view on toleration would have to be having long forgotten what -he actually said- in the monograph. ]
[Aside #2: One of the reasons people (certainly in my case) don't post more or write lots of articles is that they then have to fight off uncharitable misunderstanding or write a second or a third post -explaining - either what was not discussed or could be inferred or was already stated clearly....or they have discussed in other posts and don't want to endlessly repeat. ]
I don't want to rehash and reexplain my entire post, but just take this one phrase, "on the level of Adolph Hitler...or some equivalent...or advocates of some totally vicious doctrines".
Shouldn't it be clear to any reasonable reader that there are other categories besides mass murderers I would not sanction? I mean, why did I attempt to put in qualifying words like "on the level of" and "some equivalent"...and most importantly "advocates of some totally vicious doctrines"? Perhaps I could have added another clause like "people who are otherwise thoroughly evil"? Do I have to attempt to hunt for a complete list of five or six categories and completely specify who I would not associate with and every possible context?
Subject(s): Judging People, Intellectual Thoroughness, and Objectivist Arrogance
Thanks, Michael for your support, but let me disagree with you on something and then extend it into another set of areas:
I don't assume bad motives of people without systematic evidence ruling out the other possibilities. There are plenty of intellectual or emotional of lack of precision or careful reading issues which explain why people misinterpret or misread or are rationalistic in their interpretations. Objectivism is a hard philosophy. I don't assume Diana or Linz or Barbara or Peikoff or Schwarz or Kelley or Binswanger or Rowlands or Valliant or anyone else is doing anything other than saying their own views. Mistaken though they may sometimes be.
Honest error is far more prevalent than most Objectivists are capable of grasping. And, no, years of study of Objectivism don't inoculate you against rationalism, carelessness, lack of psychological insight, compartmentalization, oversimplification, and the fact that there are other subject areas besides pure, theoretical philosophy that need to be studied and mastered separately.
And over the long course of years.
I *do* assume that often people are not as thorough as they need to be in examining an issue: If shooting from the hip while ski jumping on top of someone's character while doing a Triple Oversimplification Loop were a Winter Olympic event, rationalistic Objectivist intellectuals might sweep the medals.
This really should be another thread, but I think the problem of most Objectivists is not EVIL but INTELLECTUAL ARROGANCE - thinking they know more...about people, about someone's intent and meaning, about issues they have not studied than they actually do, That reading a little Rand...well, okay, a lot of Rand...suddenly transformed them into omniscient geniuses who don't have to do the hard work and fact checking and careful research of other people.
Phil wrote: "...the problem of most Objectivists is not EVIL but INTELLECTUAL ARROGANCE..."
I wish there were more people that were intellectually arrogant--its actually my favorite type of person. I am using this definition: overbearing pride evidenced by a superior manner toward inferiors. The only qualifier I have is that their pride is justified.
I am glad this is out in the open, because I do think the two-ton gorilla needs to be looked at. Here are my views:
1. Nobody ever does anything from a single motive. Everybody has a wide range of interests in every act they do. I simply don't buy the image of an intellectually "pure" position in harsh denunciations and excommunications. That's crap - the game with denunciations and excommunications is power and influence and everybody knows it. Just because people use jargon phrases like "hidden agenda," that does not obliterate the reality of the variety of interests within human nature. Hell, even Rand said that man was complex.
2. After over three decades in another culture of watching people with extremely petty interests mouth glorious phrases of high morality to cover it up, I am a bit sensitive on detecting this in others. From my interaction with Objectivists during the last year, I have concluded that some individuals have the same extremely petty interests that I observed in Brazil, while mouthing Ayn Rand in loud voice to the four winds.
3. I have had considerable email interaction with many Objectivists. Some are really good people. Others are unbelievably petty. They all have multiple interests for every single act the perform.
From this perspective, I believe that, in this specific case being discussed, both you and your post are being used for a very, very, very petty purpose: lagging audience. It sure ain't got nothing to do with reality. Maybe there is a smidgen of real moral interest embedded in the corners somewhere, but I can't help noticing that big mother of a gorilla. He's drooling too...
(Dayaamm! Lemme stop now before that damn gorilla gets loose...)
(btw - We can disagree on this and still be friends, can't we?)
In a post ("the Face of Unreason") on her blog, Diana Hsieh misstates, oversimplifies, or drops the qualifications of what I said in my post 0 launching this thread. Here's what she said next to what I actually said (I list five of her misstatements):
Diana - " Philip explicitly declares himself closed to any and all objections to his view that intellectual associations with anyone less evil than Hitler are morally peachy...[His is a] call to **tolerate everything short of mass murder** " [emphasis added] Phil - " I would give exactly NO thought to jumping through hoops trying to evaluate the moral character of my speakers unless it is one thousand percent certain and not a disputed matter that they are on the level of Adolph Hitler...or some equivalent...or advocates of some totally vicious doctrines. "
1. I was talking about investigating speakers for a conference (or writers). She drops this context above and says I would more generally or in other contexts tolerate everything short of mass murder. 2. She drops my statement that I would not invite advocates of totally vicious doctrines, not merely those guilty of murder. 3. She ignores the phrase "jumping through hoops" trying to evaluate, which any reasonable person can see clearly means I would not go out of my way to launch investigations to evaluate moral character before I could invite or publish someone. Not that I would -never- consider moral character I was already certain about.
Diana - " He says that **he shall not listen to any arguments**, whether concerning universal principles or particular cases. He deems them all "angry moralistic contextless flag-waving" in advance. [He] openly declares himself impervious to whatever facts and whatever arguments you might raise... "[emphasis added] Phil - " Don't even waste my time with an angry moralistic contextless flag-waving rebuttal, inappropriately using the Rand "judge and be prepared to be judged quote", and exaggerating and demonizing the mistakes of your enemies. "
4. She converts not wanting to hear a certain kind of rebuttal (angry, contextless, exaggerating) into viewing any arguments as being of that kind. 5. She says I would not only not want to hear but I wouldn't even listen to any arguments or would try to judge them in advance of having even heard them.
In each of these five misstatements she has me espousing positions I don't hold, making it look like I embrace any monster short of Hitler and won't hear any arguments against that position. This is an idea so bizarre, twisted, and "over the top" that she should know better (or at least have asked if I meant that), having read my arguments and positions over the years...in a wide variety of different discussion forums!
Moral: You have to take the time to read phrase by phrase and sentence by sentence. You are not allowed to drop the qualifications or exact wording when stating someone's positions. Nor can you assume that they would adhere to what -you- think is an extension or more extreme implication. (And, no, that is not "essentializing".)
Phil: I won't say you don't have a good argument, and/or defense. But...there's so much of this frequent hypocritical dissing about those undesired for direct communication, and so much chronicdistance-fencing of lunge-parry, and so much never-ending "What can you expect from 'A' who dis 'us' just because we dissed 'B' who dissed 'C' for dissing 'A'? Clearly 'we' need to do some motivational analysis on them"...etc, which I've been reading, that it's all taking a toll.
All are on most active O'ist comment-sites I try to keep up with, and, at this point my feelings about all of this back-biting subject too many belabor that others do...while they do it themselves, well, whoever's justified re whatever, it's all starting to seem summable up in terms of nothing more than...
Drums-keep-pound-ing a ry-thm-to-the-brain... La de da de de, la de da de da
The beat goes on... The beat goes on... (Sonny-Cher) The more things 'change', the more they are the same. (Karr) Round and round she goes, ...and where she stops, no-o-o-o-body knows; place yer bets, ladies and gentlemen, place yer bets. (ye olde carnival barker)
Phil, my understanding is that "The Face of Unreason" will be the title of the forthcoming biography of the indefatigable Ms. Hsieh. It seems to fit, don't you think? So, what makes you think she's going to admit her mistake -- her emotionalistic, out-of-context denunciation -- and give you an apology?
BTW, the one and only Michael Second-Year Molar, over on the "other" website, did a similar hatchet job on me. He has seen fit to set aside his pretense at rational discussion and instead simply label me as "the conceptual acid tank plastered with smiley faces (aka Roger Bissell)." When you can rate this kind of attention, Phil, then you will have truly arrived.
Suppressing my smiley faces...because all this hyper-judgmental stuff oozing out of the ARI side of the aisle really isn't a bit funny...
> what makes you think she's going to admit her mistake
Roger, I don't know that she will. It depends on whether she's even aware when she oversimplifies something or simplifies an abstraction or a proposition by 'stripping it of context' sometimes. Or extrapolating / adding her own. I believe she thinks she is "essentializing" when she simplifies something one of her opponents has said and removes the qualifications or nuances. [This is not to ignore the fact that often posts she makes on her blog are very good ones, not making this error.]
What this kind of person will often do is say: I've already thought this through and I have no reason to even think about the complaint that I've misstated or misunderstood things when there are new and exciting things to think about.
Typical mistake of those who are young or rationalistic or grad students. (The opposite mistake is to take simple matters and overcomplicate them.
In other words, having spent a lot of time reading the posters on (1) Noodlefood and the posters on (2) Solo->RoR, what I see is this:
(1) a high percentage of the people on the former "side" have a tendency to take complex matters or contextual issues and OVERSIMPLIFY them, thinking they are "thinking in principle",
(2) a high percentage of the people on the latter "side" have a tendency to take simple matters or issues where essentializing and thinking in principle are necessary and OVERCOMPLICATE them, thinking they are "being careful or scholarly".
That's why you'll see a lot of very terse, syllogistic, formalistic 'scientific' or equation style posts on Noodlefood, radically simplifying...and a lot of very long, repetitive, fuzzy or 'literary' posts on RoR/Solo.
The best thinkers on both types of websites, in both the ARI and TOC wings, will, over time, correct these thinking errors (which are related to intrinsicism and subjectivism). But the majority will be stuck with them for life and will not only never develop high functional intelligence or productivity or success for themselves, but will in fact be damaging and harmful to Objectivism.
Phil, I had a reaction very similar to Diana's when I read your piece. If we misinterpreted you, the fault lies as much with your writing as it does with our interpretation of it. My reaction when I read your post was "Whoa! What is Phil saying here?? This seems way wrong!"
You wrote, " I would give exactly NO thought to jumping through hoops trying to evaluate the moral character of my speakers unless it is one thousand percent certain and not a disputed matter that they are on the level of Adolph Hitler...or some equivalent...or advocates of some totally vicious doctrines." What this says to me is that unless it's not even in dispute that the speaker is someone as bad as Adolph Hitler or supportive of the doctrines of people as bad as Adolph Hitler, you would give no thought to evaluating the person's moral character. You say that any reasonable person can clearly see that all you mean is that you would not go out of your way to launch investigations to evaluate a person's moral character before you would invite the person to speak or publish his views. Well, I think I'm a reasonable person, and that's not how I read it.
Maybe Diana and I didn't parse your sentence in as precise a way as we should have, but the way you wrote it lent itself to this kind of misinterpretation. I mean, if you say that unless it is not a disputed matter that the person is on the level of Adolph Hitler or advocates of some totally vicious doctrine, it's hair splitting to cite the "totally vicious doctrine" as implying that you didn't really mean that the person had to be a Hitler. Okay, he didn't have to be a Hitler, but he had to be someone so bad as to support someone like Hitler. Like this is supposed to be some significant difference?? Hello!
I'm still shocked at what you wrote, and I'm no fan of Diana's. Remember, she kicked me off her list. So, I'm not supporting her out of any misplaced loyalty.